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July 2011 Archives

Enthusiasm for term limits wanes

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Proponents of term limits have long touted the idea of citizen legislators who would hold office long enough to clean up the messes but not long enough to fall under the influence of entrenched interests.

That notion has been taking a hit lately in Washington, where 87 first-term Republicans, many of who were elected last fall with Tea Party backing, have been instrumental in pushing the federal government to the brink of what many of those old-fashioned insiders think will be an economic disaster.

In some quarters, people are muttering: Bring back the pros, who know something about getting the job done.

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Independents Day: The Preckwinkle-Evans faceoff

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Puzzled by the war of words between Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Chief Judge Tim Evans?

You need only look back to the long struggle between Chicago's political independents and the Machine.

At least, that's the opinion of Alan Dobry, former Democratic committeeman of Hyde Park's Fifth Ward,

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Alan Dobry in 1991

As recounted in earlier posts on this blog, Preckwinkle and Evans have been at loggerheads over her effort to infuse efficiency into county government. Preckwinkle says she needs Evans to cooperate in providing information so the county can track the effectiveness of its reform efforts. Evans says he's doing everything Preckwinkle has requested.

Chief judge: What silo?

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It may be too late to close the proverbial barn doors, but Tim Evans, Cook County's chief judge, is adamant about one thing: He's not in a silo.

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Tim Evans

The silo reference comes from County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who wants elected county officials to come out of their individual "silos" and work together to make county government more efficient.

Last week, Preckwinkle singled out Evans and Treasurer Maria Pappas as the two county officials who weren't getting with the program.


Operating 'in the dark' at Cook County

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New Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle says crafting her first budget early this year was like "operating in the dark."

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Toni Preckwinkle

"One of the most frustrating things -- we walk in the door and we had to do 16 percent budget cuts," Preckwinkle told the Sun-Times Editorial Board this week. "But it was like operating in the dark because ... the whole county staff couldn't report to us on how much it cost to fix a pothole or how long it took when someone was brought into the jail to get them to trial or how long people had to wait for care in our emergency room or the clinics or our pharmacies.

More ozone pollution days for Chicago: report

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We've already been told that ground-level ozone is a health hazard in Chicago. In April, the American Lung Association reported that high ozone levels here mean more than 1.1 million children 13 years of age or younger are at risk of developing asthma and other breathing disorders.

Now, in a new study, the Union of Concerned Scientists concludes ozone-related health problems are likely to get a lot worse.

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AL PODGORSKI~SUN-TIMES PHOTO

Liz Martin Perera, senior Washington representative for the UCS' Climate & Energy Program and co-author of the report, was in Chicago recently to talk about the link between ozone and climate change. Her conclusion: We can expect 144,000 more cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments annually here by 2020 if nothing is done because higher temperatures lead to greater formation of ground-level ozone.

Already, "mothers with kids with asthma and anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ... don't set foot outside if there is an ... air-quality alert day," Perera said.

But as average temperatures get warmer, the number of air-quality alert days will just go up if nothing is done to reduce air pollution, she said.

Ex-Mich. Gov: Time for national energy policy

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Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was in town this week to address the Clinton Global Initiative hosted by former President Bill Clinton, where hundreds of business leaders, politicians and nonprofit leaders were brainstorming on job creation.

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Jennifer Granholm

The two-day session was at the Sheraton-Chicago.

Joined by Laura Lightbody, who is manager of the Clean Energy Program for the PEW Charitable Trust, Granholm talked to the Sun-Times Editorial Board about the "absolute need for government to play a role" if the United States is to be a leader in clean energy. Granholm is senior adviser to the PEW Clean Energy Program.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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