The week that was in Illinois politics and government (August 6-10).
Chicago and Cook County News
We reported that local advocates banded together Tuesday to protest an especially dubious use of Tax Increment Finance (TIF) money. More than 100 protesters marched through downtown Chicago to protest the allocation of $29.5 million in TIF cash for a corporate tower in the West Loop.
PI reported Friday that housing advocates in Chicago and across the country have begun to channel their frustration with the sprawling foreclosure crisis toward Ed DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). De Marco refuses to lower the principal on mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, defying the wishes of President Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Chicago area home foreclosure filings are on the rise.
Chicago alderman Walter Burnett (27th) raised eyebrows this week by comparing the job of an alderman to that of a priest.
We took an extended look Tuesday at a lawsuit filed bythe AFSCME public employees union to halt the planned closings of seven facilities including Tamms supermax prison. Prison reform groups fiercely oppose the suit: They contend Tamms violates the human rights of inmates who are forced to live in solitary confinement.
AFSCME won an initial court victory Wednesday when the state agreed to temporarily halt the transfer of inmates impacted by the closing.
Meanwhile, the Quinn administration announced Monday that more than 1,700 AFSCME employees will get pay hikes that were cancelled last year.
PI reported Thursday that the public employee pay freezes and layoffs experienced in Illinois are a national problem. State and local governments throughout the country must provide an array of public services under ever-tightening budget constraints.
We examined Thursday a new report from the American Cancer Society Action Network that says Illinois has a mixed record on polices to improve cancer prevention and treatments.
Due to the summer drought, Illinois corn crop production is the lowest it has been since 1995, according to estimates provided Friday by the National Agricultural Statistics Services in Springfield. The situation has grown so desperate that the Springfield city government has ordered limitations on when residents can do activities such as water their lawn and wash their cars.
The Illinois State Fair kicked off in Springfield Thursday and is offering free dental screenings and checkups for children.
Gov. Quinn sent letters Thursday to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Administration requesting an investigation into the safety practices of the company Megabus.com.
Bloomington-Normal and Springfield are listed as two of the top 10 cities to find a job in rankings released this week by job site Beyond.com.
SEIU* Health Care Illinois and Indiana gave a $25,000 check Tuesday to the Local Lodge 851 Machinists Union, which represents striking workers at Caterpillar's Joliet plant. Gov. Quinn also visited striking Caterpillar workers in Joilet this week and donated $10,000 to their food fund.
Ron Kurowski of the South Suburban MoveOn Council penned an op-ed for PI Tuesday that pointed out Caterpillar is playing hardball with the machinists union even as the company rakes in record profits.
A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge denied Monday former Gov. George Ryan's latest plea to get out of prison after a federal bribery conviction.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama were both in Chicago this week, mostly to raise cash.
But Romney first spoke Tuesday to manufacturers in Elk Grove Village, grousing about an Obama administration tweak to welfare reform policy. As PI looked at Wednesday, Romney mischaracterized this waiver and also how welfare reform policies are carried out in Illinois and across the country.
We looked Monday at dueling letters by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) that indicate Illinois will not complete a sale of the unused Thomson Correctional Center in Carroll County anytime soon.
Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) said Thursday that her husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Chicago), would return to his job and resume his re-election campaign, but could not say when this might happen.
The schedule for the 8th District Congressional debate between U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry) and Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth was set Monday — but not without some carping from Walsh’s campaign. Walsh wants to hold weekly debates, but the candidates are instead scheduled to square off three times prior to the November election.
* The SEIU Illinois State Council is sponsors this web site.