The [Thursday] Papers
"The former city official now at the center of an ethics investigation into the city's red-light camera program was appointed last year by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to a part-time job on an obscure board known as a haven for those with political clout," the Tribune reports.
Ha! The only thing that could make it more perfect would be a Michael Madigan connection.
"John Bills, who retired from the city last summer after a 32-year career, is a longtime campaign worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman."
There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.
"Neither Madigan nor Preckwinkle would say whether Madigan recommended Bills for the appointment to the Cook County Employee Appeals Board."
It's nobody's business how these people get on the public payroll!
"'I don't think I want to talk about that today,' Preckwinkle said when asked about the appointment after an appearance Wednesday at the Tribune's editorial board."
Asked when she thought she would like to talk about it, Preckwinkle reportedly said, "How about never? Is never good for you?"
"She appointed Bills in December 2011 to the board, which meets once a month to hear appeals from county employees who have been fired or demoted. It pays $34,673.60 annually plus health benefits."
No wonder she doesn't want to talk about it. Instead, she'd like to discuss her proposal to raise the cigarette tax, because the county has to pay for the health care and salaries of Bills and his colleagues somehow.
"A Madigan spokesman also would neither confirm nor deny whether his boss played a role in Bills' appointment."
To confirm or deny would be to violate Madigan's personal code.
"'I made some calls and I was unable to confirm your question about any special support for Mr. Bills,' said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown."
Well, sure, but those calls were to your kids.
"I've moved on to other things now," Brown told the Trib. "I'm done with that."
That's understandable. I mean, Brown is just swamped with things to neither confirm nor deny. He can't spend too much time on any one un-confirmable, non-denying item.
"Public records show that Bills has for years been listed as a registrar for Madigan, supervising the collection of signatures for Madigan-backed candidates for office."
Seeing as how that's confirmable, Brown knows nothing about it.
"The May financial disclosure report Bills was required to fill out as a county appointee listed sports tickets worth more than $500 from one of Madigan's political committees. Brown said it is routine for Madigan to reward political workers with sports tickets."
That much he couldn't deny. Sports tickets. As far an appointment to a bullshit board, well, he'd look into that further - perhaps even placing a call to Madigan himself - but unfortunately he's done with that.
Besides, it's none of our business.
Tumbling Down Under
"Redflex investors are terrified the company could lose 13 percent of its revenue if Chicago, Illinois drops the automated ticketing firm for good when its contract to provide 384 red light cameras to the Windy City expires on January 31, 2013. Without that income, the Redflex 2012 profit of $15.1 million after tax would have been a $4 million deficit. The renewal is in significant jeopardy after city officials on Monday declared the firm a 'non-responsible bidder' ineligible to land the contract to run the upcoming speed camera program."
"The Australian firm came under fire after it was caught falsely claiming on customs forms that the radar units it had imported were certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). From 1998 to 2008, every time Redflex turned on a mobile photo radar unit, it violated federal law. When a rival firm, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), discovered this fact, it blew the whistle in a federal court case, the first round of which wrapped up in the spring."
See also the item Red Flexics from The [Wednesday] Papers.
Candidate ID Laws
22nd District: House Speaker Michael Madigan was first elected to the Illinois House in 1970 and became speaker in 1983. He's controlled the House for all but two years since then. In short, he has presided over nearly every bad decision that brought Illinois to its current mess, chasing employers away with higher taxes, watching its credit rating plunge, squeezing money out of valued social services. He is running against Robert Handzik, a 13th Ward denizen who faithfully voted in Democratic primaries until this year when he mysteriously filed to run as a Republican. He's one more Madigan plant to protect the speaker from the fuss of a real election.
Handzik, of course, is just the latest Madigan opponent to run from the confines of the federal witness protection program.
Get on it, Lisa.
It's Just Lunch!
But don't run a red on your way!
The Beachwood Tip Line: Feed the beast.
Posted on October 18, 2012
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