Connected to Chicago - 12/8/13 Added: 12/6/13 This week – the impassioned pension reform debate in Springfield - Host Bill Cameron with Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business, Lynn Sweet of the
Sun-Times, and Ray Long and Eric Zorn of the Tribune: Pension reform passes at last in Springfield. Now what? What's the legal future for it? "I think (it will pass muster) with the Illinois Supreme Court," says Long. "It could be a real split, but I think
in the end they'll get a majority." "It's going to be a political decision, don't worry about it," says Cameron. The gaze turns now toward reforming the Chicago pension systems which are facing cliffs in the coming year. Sweet predicts that some piecemeal
immigration reforms will work their way through Congress, such as help for the DREAM Act children. The next big issue in Springfield will be the extension of the state income tax hike, which is set to fall to 3.75 percent from 5 percent. That will cost the
state billions, which they don't have to spare down in Springfield. The state of the "political marriage" between Gov. Pat Quinn and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. Ventra and Obamacare websites are now evidently working OK. But does that rehabilitate the underlying
programs? Juan Rangel finally steps down as head of UNO. Also, John Dempsey reports on domestic violence calls in Chicago.
Connected to Chicago - (12/1/13) Added: 11/29/13 John Dempsey steps in for Bill Cameron this week and is joined by John Maki of the John Howard Association of Illinois to discuss federal criminal justice funding. Later, John is joined by Eric Zorn and Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune to form this week's panel of experts discussing all that's happening in Chicago and Springfield. Nick Gale also weighs in to discuss Black Friday and how to avoid a calamity.
Connected to Chicago - 11/24/13 Added: 11/23/13 WLS-AM 890. Host Bill Cameron with Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business, Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times, and Ray Long, Hal Dardick and Eric Zorn of the Tribune: Rahm Emanuel and his non-existent "Children's Fund" based on speed-camera revenues looks like yet another shell game. Will this come back to bite him? Fuel a challenge for re-election by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle? Hinz dissents and Sweet reminds listeners never to count out Rahm Emanuel. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka stole the show at the signing of the gay-marriage bill Wednesday. No one disagrees that she has got to be the favorite in her re-election battle against Democrat Sheila Simon. Bruce Rauner is slowly gathering (purchasing?) support among township committeemen. In Washington, the Democrats exercise the so-called "nuclear option" to defang the filibuster. In Springfield, legislative leaders are pawing the ground prior to an expected special session in early December to address pension reform. Mayor Emanuel is also facing a pension time bomb, and what happens in Springfield may address some of that but by no means all of it. The "We Are One" union coalition will likely balk at anything they don't sign off on. Would JFK be electable in 2014?
Connected to Chicago - (11/17/13) Added: 11/15/13 Connected to Chicago – Segment 1 – Christine Radogno
Bill begins by asking about the probability of pension reform becoming reality in Illinois. Christine outlines her plan. Bill asks how optimistic she is that it will pass. She says there’s never been a set date for legislators to come back and vote on it. Christine talks about how doing nothing has become a liability for all politicians. She also talks about how the ideas for pension reform are nothing new, just the best ideas that have come up in the past. Bill asks Christine to elaborate on her own contributions to the plan. She outlines the entire pension crisis. Bill talks about “pension sweeteners” from legislators over the years, to help with their re-election. Bill also brings up potential new sources of revenue for democrats, which are all tax increases. Christine goes through each one and outlines why they’re negative. Bill brings up the IL governor’s race – specifically Bruce Rauner raising the cap on campaign contributions. Christine makes the point that this won’t hurt the other candidates. Bill and Chris wrap up by talking about the Affordable Care Act and how it’s gone thus far.
Segment 2 – Round Table
The group discusses Obamacare – Lynn brings up those whose exchanges have been dropped and are looking for information. She suggests the website has been less than helpful. Bill brings up Governor Quinn and Paul Vallas – they all ponder if Vallas can play 2nd fiddle. The wind up on Bruce Rauner injecting his funds into the race, and Bill wonders if rich guys can buy elections. Bill then brings up the disastrous Ventra rollout and continuing issues. Greg discusses the similarities between Obamacare and Ventra. Greg also says that he’s had a Ventra card for a month and has had almost no issues. Bill asks Ray about scheduled “exorcisms” coming to Springfield, and then suggests that perhaps Washington D.C. could use one as well. December 3rd is brought up as a potential voting date for pension reform. Bill asks Ray if that’s true enough to print. Ray says the democrats need to go along with it in order for it to pass.
Connected to Chicago - (11/10/13) Added: 11/8/13 WLS-AM 890. Host Bill Cameron with Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business,
Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times, and Ray Long and Eric Zorn of the Tribune: Pat Quinn names Paul Vallas as his running mate. "He knows the numbers here in the state," says Long. But his trail of controversy will give "fodder for Republicans," says Sweet. But on
the plus side, "he has so much more experience and stature" than the Republican lt. gov. candidates. Did President Obama apologize for his earlier statements about Obamacare not causing anyone to lose the coverage they had? Mayor Emanuel's gun bill in Springfield
went down in Springfield due to a combination of skeptical African-American lawmakers and dubious supporters of the National Rifle Association. With the help of some formerly recalcitrant African-American representatives, Gay marriage passes the Illinois House
and will be OK'd by the governor, making Illinois the 15th state where same-sex couples will wed. "It will be close to 20 within the year, I'd guess," says Hinz. A bill banning discrimination against gays in the workplace passed the U.S. Senate, but its prospects
look dim in the U.S. House. Hinz tells the tale of Ill. Secy. of State Jesse White's number two in the security department. She has a sketchy resume and "as it turns out," White and the woman have "had a 'social friendship' for a good 15 years."
Connected to Chicago - (11/3/13) Added: 11/1/13 Ray and Bill discuss the 4 republican candidates for governor. They start with Bruce Rauner – whom Ray says hasn’t come out and related to the people or confessed to how much money he actually has. Bill postulates that the rich guys usually don’t win. Bill brings up last cycle’s candidate, Bill Brady. Ray brings up Kirk Dillard. Bill calls him a Springfield insider, who can stop anything if he wants to. Ray says Dillard’s big issue here was speaking about Obama and his Iowa ad when he was running for president. Bill brings up Dan Rutherford, and how hard he works particularly for minority communities. And Ray adds that Rutherford’s the only candidate who’s won a statewide election. Segment 2 – Lynn and Ray discuss Obamacare. Lynn says the website is botched and it’s unforgiveable. This was supposed to help people who need insurance. Lynn says the law needs fixing – but nothing that will come close to ending it. For some out there getting cancellations – it may be because they had a previous policy. She says going forward that people may have to face an increase in expenditures. Ray contributes that there may be some reluctance due to the bad reputation that Obamacare has garnered, more than the substance of the reform. Bill changes topic to the political ramifications. He says the Democrats bungled the opportunity they were given with the shutdown. Lynn compares this to “professional malpractice” – because this whole thing is misleading. Ray says the focus is being shifted, and people with short attention spans will forget what the government shutdown was actually about. Bill pivots to discussing the NSA spying on Germany and Spain. Lynn counters with the NSA has been spying on Germany since the end of the Cold War. She says this has no resonance as a domestic issue. Ray theorizes that this has disturbed those paying attention, but not many Americans are “stirred up”. Bill asks Lynn about Vice President Biden being considered for replacement in the 2012 elections. Then Bill Daley withdrawing from the Governor’s race is discussed. Bill asks Lynn about Illinois’ chances of legalizing gay marriage, due to other states’ ratification. Lynn discusses the petition window for voting on it closing for the March primary. Ray brings up the question of whether people will actually stand up if they want to vote for this. There won’t be any legislative session in December unless there’s a callback for pension. Bill asks Ray about Emanuel’s desire for a 3 year minimum charge for illegal possession of a weapon. Ray says that’s difficult to put through legislation. Ray says the “Hunters’ rights folks” want to help Emanuel . . . Lynn says Friday’s shootings will not help pass any new laws federally.
Connected to Chicago - (10/27/13) Added: 10/25/13 The roundtable discusses the Springfield session – and votes and mechanical difficulty with getting the votes they need. Fran and Bill go through Rahm’s property tax woes – and new possible sources of revenue. Bill asks Ray about the progressive income tax that may come to fruition early next year, and the city’s 5.4 billion dollar hole. Finances point to keeping the rate higher. Then the round table brings up the gun bill that Rahm wants – which didn’t even get out of the committee. Ray brings up the forces at work at the table, the mayor, Toni Preckwinkle, the NRA, and those who live downstate. Arrests that might be made due to mistakes seem to be a large part of the hold-up. There’s a 3 year minimum provision in the bill – and the bill itself created a racial divide between black and white members. The black caucus members don’t like the idea of any mandatory sentence. Greg thinks the mayor must cut a deal with NRA for this to work. Bill brings up the bicycle registration fee, possibly going into affect next year. Fran suggests it’s a fine line Rahm’s walking, between bikers and drivers. Greg tells a story about young male bikers who don’t care for rules of the road. Fran compares it to dog licensing Cigarette tax is also brought up, Fran counters with single cigarette sales. Greg brings up the Indiana retail association thanking Chicago for the business. Marijuana possession is also brought up. Fran says not as many tickets are being written as were originally suggested. Either they’re making arrests or letting it go. And the fines they do levy, they’re not collecting. Ray contributes that he thought there would be more enforcement, and more of a cash cow. Greg brings up the murder rate in Chicago as what takes up the time of most officers. Fines and fees are becoming the new syntax, and the pension crisis is also brought up. Bill asks if Rahm deserves credit for not raising property tax so far. Fran argues that even though Rahm’s held the line, he should change the tax to help with state pensions. Ray says lawmakers in Springfield aren’t doing enough to help out. Again sources of new revenue are tossed around. Boeing is brought up and made an example of.
Connected to Chicago - 10/13/13 Added: 10/11/13 Connected to Chicago - 10/13/13 --
Host Bill Cameron Interviews… Illinois State Senator and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Kirk Dillard. Is his party doing the right thing in Washington by shutting down the government to make a point about the disapproval of Obamacare? Dominick's has announced it's withdrawal from the Chicago market; is this going to impact Illinois unemployment problem? Illinois is still struggling to solve the pension problem. Does Dillard have a plan? Fundraising is a major concern for any candidate, does Dillard have enough support to win the election? He thinks so and believes that no office should be "bought" they should be earned. Mike Madigan will be speaker for a while, does Dillard have an advantage having previous experience working closely with Madigan during the Edgar administration? Did the withdrawal of Bill Daley from the race for Governor help or hurt Dillard's chances? Would Mike Ditka have made a better senator that Barack Obama?
Bill Cameron moderates this week's Round Table segment with: Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business, Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times, and Ray Long and Eric Zorn of the Tribune: Rating the chances that the federal government will reopen soon. The Republicans still need to unify behind a plan. "I think the ground is shifting," says Sweet. "The shutdown can't last forever....How long can it go?" The debt ceiling deadline is coming. Hinz: "You can smell the deal meat a cookin'" Long: "We know there's a bunch of losers, obviously...(but) the Democrats still come out on the upside of this." Is the debt-ceiling even constitutional? Major Chicago grocery chain Dominick's pulls up stakes. "The market's moved around them," says Hinz. Rahm Emanuel has raised $5 million to fund his re-election campaign. "Sends a message to any potential foes; don't screw around with me," says Hinz. The pick of conservative Long Grove councilwoman Evelyn Sanguinetti as GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's running mate. Who will Governor Quinn choose? Zorn puts his marker down on City Treasurer Stephanie Neeley. Cameron mentions State Sen. Toi Hutchison. The glitchyness of Obamacare and Ventra card rollout. But the Obamacare glitches "might not even make the history books," says Sweet, because we have several months to get them all worked out. The mess "also shows that many people are interested in it." Mike Ditka says he ‘shoulda-oughta’ run for Senate against Barack Obama in 2004. Zorn says he's deluded. Long says he would have done better than Alan Keyes. Sweet agrees with that, but reads Ditka's remarks as more of an attack on Obama.
Today starts Mental Illness Awareness week and 89 WLS reporter Ryan Burrow speaks to Katrina Gay with the National Alliance of Mental Illness. Mental health is in particular focus right now after Bear’s player Brandon Marshall used Thursday night's football game to raise awareness not only for the mental illness he battles with, but also the 60 million other Americans who are impacted.
Connected to Chicago - 10/06/13 Added: 10/4/13 Connected to Chicago - 10/06/13 - Bill's guest this week is former Senator, Alan Dixon about his new book, "The Gentleman from Illinois".
The Roundtable this week consists of: Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business, Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times, and Ray Long and Eric Zorn of the Tribune. Topics covered include: The partial shut-down of the Federal government.. How and when will it end? The panel that predicted last week that there was a 25 percent chance of a shut-down offers further prognostications. The Washington D.C. shooting incident -- was there a way out without killing the crazed motorist? The pension-reform cadaver is twitching, but is it breathing? "The next big date that we're looking at is Oct. 22 when the chambers return for the (six-day) fall veto session," says Long. But it will be "amazing" if they get something done, he says. Whatever gets passed is going to have to pass the constitutional test in the courts. Greg Hinz: "The big casino deal is there to be done." Archer Daniels Midland wants subsidies to move to Chicago. "Their timing here has been bad" though what they're are asking for is really quite small. "We really need some clear standards that will put some spine into the political class.... But we haven't done that. It's become a free-for-all." The Illinois Supreme Court is intervening in the Cook County criminal justice system -- it's high time!
It's one week to the Chicago Marathon, and John Dempsey talks to running coach Brendan Cournane.