By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher
My disgust with the election process and many foregone results continues.
As I learned in Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976 as an American University School of International Service student, U. S. government policy is bought and sold, and the rule of law rarely has a damn thing to do with real policy. I walked the halls of the three House office buildings and those of the two Senate office buildings, passing out position papers for U.S. Committee for the Oceans, trying to see a legislative aide or the elected official. I mostly saw Armani-suited lobbyists and secretaries who rolled their eyes at me and my JC Penney’s sports coat from Rockford, Illinois.
Recently, this disgust was amplified by the Supreme Court’ s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, giving corporate entities human rights and depriving any Armani-wearer of their $48,600 campaign contribution cap — hats off to the sky is the limit now — and all the really expensive suits can get together without having to go to a clothing store — they can just PAC it up, one PAC can join 2 PAC and all have an unlimited party to back anyone who will decide on an issue at us poor sports’ expense.
The money’s really flowing, and what used to be one person’s vote is headed downriver in a current of canards cashing in as attack ads.
Un-fact-checked sharks aside (according to the polls, you believe all those sharks — don’t you — gulp and golly — don’t eat me!), let’s have some fun with “just some” of the issues and races, for this issue. We’ll post more endorsements on our website, www.rockrivertimes.com, to keep you on the hook.
First, really pay attention to this language on the ballot: “To cast a write-in vote, complete the oval to the left of the blank space provided and print the candidate’s name in that space, For specific write-in instructions, refer to the card of instructions provided in the booth. If you tear, soil, deface or erroneously mark this ballot, return it to the Election Judge and obtain another.”
While “none-of-the above” is not a printed option, writing in someone’s name is, and the lack of a vote, known as an “undervote” (unbeknownst to you, politicians REALLY pay attention to “undervotes”) also signifies “I don’t like the candidates in this race.”
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Now consider this language: “NOTICE THE FAILURE TO VOTE THIS BALLOT MAY BE THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEGATIVE VOTE, BECAUSE A CONVENTION SHALL BE CALLED OR THE AMENDMENT SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE IF APPROVED BY EITHER THREE-FIFTHS OF THOSE VOTING ON THE QUESTION OR A MAJORITY OF THOSE VOTING IN THE ELECTION. (THIS IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS A DIRECTION THAT YOUR VOTE IS REQUIRED TO BE CAST EITHER IN FAVOR OF OR IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSITION HEREIN CONTAINED.)”
This concerns the two “PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE 1970 ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION”
The first amendment expands the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, and will address crime victims’ issues of harassment, intimidation, addressing the court, being fully notified on many issues by the prosecution, bail input, right to testify, and be present at all proceedings. Dang, those state’s attorneys actually might have to work for us for a change, instead of just taking our money.
Vote YES For the proposed amendment of Section 8.1 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution
The second proposed amendment changes the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution. It would prohibit legislation that could limit voting on the basis of “race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income.”
If you could reel from the stench of road kill of the Jim-Crow South a-risin’ agin’ with “Voter Identification” — via Republican “hegislations” in the Land of Abolition and from the sea to shining sea of possible electronic voting fraud — please vote YES “For the proposed addition of Section 8 to Article III of the Illinois Constitution.” Have you ever heard the ugly electronic rumor that a certain businessman has representatives present in the vote counting entities of this area?
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Speaking of business, “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?”
While gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has backpedaled away from his previous statements about eliminating the current minimum wage, I predict if this passes, some folks are going to get laid off, and others will do more work. The kind of jobs we need in this state should pay more than this anyway, so I wouldn’t worry about huge firms staying away from our minimum wage, or will they? If anyone can get a higher wage, I say “go for it,” even at jobs across state lines, candidate Rauner. The marketplace will sort this out, and maybe the sorting floor will be ugly. Only one way to find out. Vote YES.
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“Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?”
I learn a long time ago it was not a good idea to tell women what to do unless they were in full agreement with your role to do so. Drugs are drugs, and all should be legal and all should be carefully prescribed with good health guidelines and within any good health care coverage. Vote YES.
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“Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?”
Class warfare is coming to a ballot box near you, right now! Ayn Rand’s John Galt would go “V-For Vendetta” on the ballot if he saw this tax proposal. Dang, I don’t believe I actually see a “tax the rich” proposal here, but we do. And what the heck, the Citizens United will McCutcheon this to death like a gobbling PAC MAN anyway, if a formal amendment was proposed, so let’s go for another “feel-good, with no-real-effect ballot item,” vote “YES” for the dead and circuitous.
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FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR
(Vote for one)
RICHARD J. DURBIN,
JAMES D. “JIM” OBERWEIS
Slam the Senate seat shut; it’s a slam dunk for Durbin! Poor Jimmy; he keeps trying and trying. See Dick run like he might lose. Ya gotta give it to both of them. Give it to Oberweis for perseverance and unending optimism; he lost five Illinois races and just won his state Senate seat in 2012. Give it to Durbin for taking every challenge seriously, even though he’s creaming dairy-farmer Oberweis in the campaign-contribution race, roughly $5 to $1, and will do the same at the ballot box. Oberweis touts his conservative ties, and many of them roll their eyes, but his own party won’t commit big money to him.
I think Durbin is a strong, cautious, tie-your-shoes-in-double-knots kinda guy, very conscious of the fact that the current president from this state does not have the same approval rating as the last one from his own land. Durbin wants to rise above a possible Republican landslide. Durbin is one of the few that can make Democrats look good. That’s why he’s the #2-leader in the U.S. Senate; Illinois needs to keep him there. Vote YES for Durbin.
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FOR GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT
(Vote for one)
I’ve been Quinned and Raunered to death.
How about this Libertarian, Chad Grimm.
Maybe believing the fairytale of a third party, I went to the Libertarians’ state convention about 10 years ago. After that, I began saying, “Libertarians are Republicans on crack.”
Every oddball with a twitch, some mean (foreshadowing the Tea Party), in the area seemed to have rolled into that convention hall. All were rambling about completely eliminating taxes, how all government agencies had to be dismantled, all drugs legalized and how anarchy could work. “You people are high,” I thought, and so ended my dreams for a party of the future.
Did you know if the Libertarian can get 5% of the vote, they are on the same standard for petition signatures for the next election as the Republicans and Democrats? If they don’t, they are back to the number Grimm had to get, 25,000, where the R&D gubernatorial candidates only had to get only 5,000 petition signatures.
Now Mr. Rauner is grim about Grimm. He could pull off the nightmare of being a fairytale (I couldn’t help it) spoiler for Rauner. Many Republicans are sick of Republicans; real ones vs. posers. They don’t like the mainstream compromisers or the anti-compromisers; look at the Tea Partiers (TP). In the perfect tale, if the TP gets together with all the other disaffected, maybe even some Green Partiers (GP). This fantasy movie could be rated GP + TP, wiping out a narrow lead for Rauner and awarding the glass slipper to Quinn.
In a Chicago Sun-Times editorial, Grimm said he is “not a bought and paid for politician,” wanting to take the state income tax back to 3%, and “giving pensions back in the form of tax credits to state employees.” He’d take the jail time out of victimless crimes, with a transparent administration, combine state agencies, support the Second Amendment, keep marriage a civil matter, with “less taxes, less prison and less red tape,” and no special interest influences.
Grimm sounds good to many of the disaffected of both parties, while Rauner sounds good to the business community because he’s rich. One of my friends says, “Rauner may not be to your personal likings, but you should like him because he has run big businesses. The state is a big business. We are at the bottom 10 or so of the list of state economies. We can’t pay our bills on time, and the pension crisis will eat us.”
Another friend says, “If Rauner is in, unions are out. There goes more of the middle class. Teachers’ unions, any union must oppose him because of what he’ll do to education, pension and public hiring practices.”
Following that sentiment and encouraging the spoiler, Chicago’s International Union of Operating Engineers have contributed almost all of Grimm’s campaign fund, $30,000, and they have given Quinn $500,000.
This is the same Pat Quinn who has sat in my lowly office and acted as front man for the Citizens Utility Board and Granny D, the little ol’ lady who walked across America for campaign finance reform.
Pat Quinn has done little to nothing about campaign finance reform as governor. If he wins, which I think he will, I hope he gets back to basics.
Quinn has supported our state parks, and our environment, through the efforts of his departing Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. He could be kinder to the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources; they are still understaffed and underfunded, and we need them to protect our rivers, forest and farmland with preservation and protection from pollution.
Quinn has his problems with his job training program missing goals, and return or fumble state funds.
Rauner fumbled when asked how many businesses he has personally brought to Illinois, with all of his millions. The answer seems to be a net loss in real numbers and his real memory.
Then we have the case of Don Mosely, the Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief resigning. He wrote about a former Rauner employee’s lawsuit, and alleged threats Rauner made if she pursued the case.
Mosely suddenly was pulled off the political beat, and his wife’s political ties questioned.
Rauner was a part-owner of the Chicago Sun-Times in the past, but has divested his interests in that paper. The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Rauner.
Between the want to remove the state existing minimum wage, his lack of knowledge of the Illinois impact of his own wealth, the Mosely incident and his general klutziness during debates, Quinn starts to look good. Human.
Yes, human being Pat Quinn fizzled with his pension efforts. He should steal Grimm’s ideas. His jobs program did not have the best people running it. He has raised taxes and probably will do so again because only by raising revenue and cutting spending will we get this state out of red ink.
But the elephant in Quinn’s room is not Rauner or a lousy state of affairs in the state. The elephant is Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. He has swung his trunk around to create much of the havoc in the jungle of Illinois. Madigan stages the legislation and says who gets what when. He has more clout as the oldest-times insider around. Lord, he considered our Zeke Giorgi a mentor.
Quinn is really an outsider compared to Madigan, and Madigan runs the dollars and cents show of Illinois. If Madigan wants his party to retain the governor’s chair, he’d better get out and support, really support Pat Quinn.
I think of who I’d like to run the state. Rauner’s too cold blooded, and Grimm is better but is still wet behind the ballot. Quinn will actually try to help people, even if he fumbles and has hidden road blocks. Quinn actually cares about the environment, and that’s the quality of “I’ll-vote -for-your-life” standard for me.
An old friend who isn’t so friendly anymore calls me “the green weenie” because of my focus on the environment and its critters rather than focusing on the weasels in office. I’d rather do something I like, rather than something I don’t.
Furthermore, if you can’t breathe the air, drink the water and stay outside comfortably, you’re dead anyway. Weasels will never go away. Our world should be our priority, and the only candidate I’ve seen in the race for Governor who acts for the priority of our natural world is Governor Pat Quinn. He even wanted to have campaign finance reform once upon a time.
Vote YES for Quinn.
And stay tuned to www.rockrivertimes.com for more endorsements.
From the Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2014, issue