Tag Archives: cta

Statewide update—March 21, 2010

Chicago Sun-TimesMcHenry County State’s Attorney Bianchi’s misconduct trial begins Monday, “The twice-elected Republican is standing trial on 21 felony charges alleging he ordered employees to do political work for him during office hours while they were supposed to be carrying out their official duties.”

  • Daily HeraldState investigating Oak Brook mayor’s full-time job, “In addition to serving as the part-time village president of Oak Brook, John Craig has a full-time job with the state that pays $64,000 a year.  But a government watchdog now is trying to find out whether Craig, 76, is putting in a full day’s work on his job with the secretary of state’s office.”
  • Daily HeraldRTA aims to put Metra, Pace, CTA on same track, “The Regional Transportation Authority laid out long-term plans Thursday to meld service and operations at its three transit agencies, in proposals ranging from implementing a universal fare card to unifying lobbying efforts.”

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Sorry, Seniors — We Were All Taken For A Ride

By Andy Shaw, BGA President & CEO

Photo courtesy Salim Virji/Flickr

The BGA loves seniors. In fact, some of us watchdogs wear the gray mantle proudly.

But the old saying that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” actually rings true in this daunting and sometimes frightening era of massive government deficits, bloated bureaucracies, unaffordable services and benefits, and intolerable patronage. So the BGA is proud to have waged a successful campaign to eliminate the unaffordable aspects of the “Seniors Ride Free” transit program. The freebie was an ill-advised political stunt by our disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, and it proved to be a mismanaged, abuse-ridden boondoggle, as we demonstrated in an investigative series with FOX Chicago News that we titled “Riding While Dead.” More than a third of the free rides were taken by seniors with incomes above $55,000 a year, at a time when the state is billions of dollars in the red.

So we applaud the Illinois lawmakers who followed our stories and approved legislation that restricts the program to the neediest seniors, those taking home less than $25,000 a year. And we appreciate Gov. Pat Quinn signing a measure he opposed until recently. There are, sadly, still far too many “free lunches” permeating government. That’s a big part of the public sector fiscal crisis. Ending free rides for seniors won’t end the free lunch mentality, but it’ll take a few fries off the plate. Now we’ll go after the budget-busting burgers.

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Statewide Update—Jan. 31, 2011

  • The Southern—Public takes advantage of changes to open government laws, “Instead of filing a lawsuit, members of the public can ask the Public Access Bureau in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to review withheld documents or meetings complaints, to make sure government bodies are not violating the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act.”
  • (AP) Rockford Register Star—Pat Quinn to sign historic civil unions legislation, “Five states already allow civil unions or their equivalent, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Five other states and Washington, D.C., let gay couples marry outright, as do countries including Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands.”
  • State Journal-Register—Lawmakers seeking more money from state retirees for health care, “The legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will meet Wednesday to talk with two Quinn administration officials about how the state can craft an income-based formula for how much retirees will have to pay.”
  • Daily Herald—Law firm donates to DuPage board members, wins contract, “Nine of the 15 DuPage County Board members who approved a no-bid contract for an Itasca law firm to help redraw the county’s electoral boundaries have accepted campaign contributions from the group or its attorneys, a review by the Daily Herald and the Better Government Association shows.”
  • Chicago Tribune—CTA puts brakes on talk of closing Red Line stations, “The agency is in the early stages of soliciting feedback for an overhaul of the north branch of the Red Line and the Purple Line, from about Belmont north through Evanston and to Linden in Wilmette.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Lawsuit for Harlem Township records nears its end, “The township also has called the Freedom of Information Act requests by Mullins unduly burdensome and argues that some of the records she requested simply are not on file at the township.”

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Statewide Update—Jan. 25, 2011

  • Southtown Star—3 area men charged in ‘Cookie Jar’ probe, “A Tinley Park man, an Oak Forest man and a Burbank man, all of whom allegedly took part in a scheme to steal road salt from IDOT, were among seven people charged Monday in an ongoing crackdown on local public corruption.”
  • Trib Local (Evanston)—CTA considers chopping two Evanston stations, “As the Chicago Transit Authority seeks community input on potential improvements to the aging Purple and Red lines, three of the agency’s six options include eliminating the South Boulevard and Foster Street stations in Evanston — losses that city officials said would be a blow to commuters.”
  • Chicago Tribune—Editorial: Judicial arrogance, “With startling arrogance and audaciously twisted reasoning, two appellate judges ignored more than 100 years of legal precedent, invented a new definition of “residency” and ordered Rahm Emanuel off the Feb. 22 mayoral ballot.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Which School(s) could be closed? “Consolidating schools could help the district slash part of its $50 million budget shortfall for fiscal 2012.”
  • Daily Herald—East Dundee trustees discuss merits of PD merger, “Citing upcoming police contracts, a loss of autonomy, potential coverage issues and other reasons, several East Dundee trustees are balking at the idea of consolidating their police force with the ones in West Dundee and Sleepy Hollow.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Vehicles, EMS among Rockford outsourcing possibilities, “According to a report from Chicago-based Baker Tilly, the consulting firm hired last fall to assist in an outsourcing study, the city could realize up to $10.5 million is savings if it moved forward on five outsourcing and four service delivery suggestions.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Statewide Update—Jan. 24, 2011

  • Southtown Star—Worker’s compensation reform could delay borrowing, “Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) would consider it a “positive side benefit” if progress on worker’s comp makes Republicans more willing to consider borrowing money to pay bills, said spokesman John Patterson.”
  • Chicago Tribune—Plan would charge state retirees more for health care, “The new push is a crackdown on the rising cost of health care for retired state workers. The program costs the state nearly $500 million a year, and more than 90 percent of the retirees and survivors pay no premiums.”
  • State Journal-Register—Top aide leaving attorney general’s office, “Besides being deputy chief of staff for Madigan, Smith has served as the attorney general’s public access counselor for a year, since changes to the state Freedom of Information Act took effect that were aimed at increasing government transparency.”
  • Chicago Tribune—Editorial: Curb free rides, “Free rides, of course, aren’t free. The Regional Transportation Authority estimates they cost the transit system $38.5 million in 2009.”
  • State Journal-Register—Opinion: There’s a reason recall process is convoluted, “…it could be used to oust someone just because they made an unpopular decision. Trying to avoid that is one reason the recall process now part of the state constitution is as convoluted as it is.”

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Statewide Update—Jan. 19, 2011

  • Chicago Sun-Times—Preckwinkle warns: Cut Cook County budget—or I will, “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a warning Tuesday to Sheriff Tom Dart and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez — and anyone else balking at the looming budget cuts: help her swing the budget ax, or she’ll propose the cuts herself.”
  • Daily Herald—RTA awaits word on end of free rides for seniors, “The Regional Transportation Authority has had no word on whether Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a bill to limit free rides for senior citizens, but nevertheless is trying to calculate the revenue boost the agency would get if it does become law.”
  • Daily Herald—Des Plaines may update water meters, resulting in rate hike, “Des Plaines residents may see a rise in water rates starting next year if officials decide to eventually replace the city’s roughly 13,000 analog water meters with a new digital automated meter reading system.”
  • Southtown Star—Kaupas names cousin deputy police chief, “Kaupas, who is the second cousin of Sheriff Paul Kaupas, was hired as the spokesman in December at a salary of $75,000. He said he will perform the duties of both positions, replacing two people who retired, at a net savings to the sheriff’s department.”

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