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September 2010 Archives

The situation in Alaska, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she'll decide by Friday whether to run a write-in campaign to keep her seat, has led some people to wonder whether a write-in candidate might suddenly emerge in Illinois.

The short answer comes from Dan White, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections: No.

Murkowski is pondering a write-in race because she lost to little-known lawyer Joe Miller, who was backed by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, in that state's Aug. 24 Republican primary. It's the only way Murkowski can keep her seat in the U.S. Senate.

Daley ducking out before Burge sentence?

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If I had to guess, Rich Daley decided to hang it up as mayor because he'd like to spend more time with his family, because he's tapped out on ideas to fill the city's budget hole, because Chicago's failure to win the 2016 Olympics took away some of the fun, and because he's in his late 60's. As the mayor said, "It's time." Daley has always been a more complicated and well-rounded person than the title of "mayor" confers.

But Andrew S. Baer, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern, sees another reason for Daley's stepping down -- to duck the embarrassment sure to follow when a rogue Chicago cop who tortured suspects is sentenced in federal court next month for various charges involving obstruction of justice.

As Baer writes at History News Network, a website for historians weighing in on the issues of the day, Daley is looking "to escape scrutiny for his connection to a ring of over-zealous cops who forced confessions from murder suspects on Chicago's South Side from 1972 through the early 1990s."

Baer predicts the Burge scandal won't end with Burge's sentencing, but likely will lead to charges against other cops and officials directly or indirectly responsible for the reign of torture.

My guess is the Burge mess was the least of Daley's considerations when deciding to retire. He's been getting grief -- and ignoring it -- for years about his failure to do something about Burge back when he, Daley, was Cook County state's attorney. But Baer makes an interesting argument.

If you're unfamiliar with History News Network, by the way, it's a terrific website to drop in on once in awhile, well worth bookmarking. The historians and would-be historians posting there seem to share no one political persuasion, and they bring a perspective to current events you'll find nowhere else.

Is wide-open mayoral race overshadowing Nov. 2 vote?

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The first thing that Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin wants to tell voters about the suddenly wide-open Chicago mayoral race on the last Tuesday in February is this: Don't get overly focused on it yet.

"Two years ago when I was running for [Cook County] state's attorney and [Barack] Obama, was running for president, Obama sucked all the oxygen out of the political arena," Suffredin says. "I think that [the mayoral election] right now is causing people to skip the Nov. 2 election. We all have to be encouraging everyone to vote [on Nov. 2], not just to move on to the next election."

Survey says U. of I. is a good place to go to get a job

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New University of Illinois President Michael Hogan recently said he was personally devastated when the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings dropped the U. of I. out of the Top 10 for public universities. The rankings vary from year to year, but the U. of I. had been pretty much a Top 10 regular over the past decade.

Hogan was probably feeling a lot better Monday morning when a Wall Street Journal survey of recruiting executives ranked the U. of I. at Urbana-Champaign No. 3 in the nation, including private universities, for placing its graduates in jobs.

The survey results come at a time when the economic value of a college degree is starting to get the same kind of microscopic examination as a specimen in a life-sciences lab.

When will Cook County tax bills come out? Who knows?

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Sunday is a key date in the long-running war of words over this year's property tax bills in Cook County. That's the day that Board of Review Commissioner Joseph Berrios last week said his office will wrap up its work.

Under the official schedule, the second installment of property tax bills already should have been sent out. In practice, that doesn't happen very often. Last year, property tax bills went out with a due date at the start of December. What's different this year is that Cook County Assessor James Houlihan last spring alleged that some other officials were deliberately holding things up to ensure the bills wouldn't go out before the Nov. 2 election. Houlihan was responding to a March 25 letter from the Board of Review that blamed Houlihan for delays that would make this year's tax bills even later than last year's.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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