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January 2012 Archives

Ill. lawmakers push to ease entry for Polish visitors

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If you're not of Polish ancestry, you probably don't check the website very often.

But if you look there today, you'll see photos of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) in Poland chatting with the foreign minister.

Kirk and Quigley are overseas pushing to have Poland join a list of 36 nations that quality for America's visa waiver program, which allows visitors with a passport to come to the United States without having to get a visa as well. Many Poles are offended that Poland, a longtime U.S. ally that has contributed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, is not one of the lucky 36. Poland's consul general in Chicago, Zyfmunt Matynia, calls it "a question of honor."

Poland repealed its visa requirement for U.S. travelers in 1991.

On Oct. 27, Calumet City passed a resolution supporting the visa waiver for Poland, Matynia said. So has Tinley Park.

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This year, even the pros are losing petition challenges

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Petition challenges are a traditional part of the election process. What better way to win an election than to knock your opponents off the ballot?

To appear on the ballot, a candidate must file petitions with a certain number of legitimate voter signatures. The number of required signatures varies depending on the office. But what doesn't vary is the need to make sure the petitions can withstand a challenge. If a page isn't notarized, for example, every signature on the page is thrown out.

State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (Seth Perlman~AP)

Normally, experienced politicians don't lose their places on the ballot because they file plenty of extra signatures. But this year, even incumbents have been falling and won't see their names on the ballot in the March 20 primary election.

State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican, withdrew when it became clear too many signatures on her petitions wouldn't be counted. She has said she will run as a write-in candidate, but it would have been easier to get enough signatures on petitions than to get a winning margin on write-in ballots.

Chicago Ald. Rey Colon (35th) was kicked off the ballot and will lose his job as Democratic ward committeeman, although he will remain as alderman. Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) had to drop her committeeman re-election bid, too. And Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), also running for committeeman, is fighting to rehabilitate his candidacy after falling short in a preliminary count.

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No end of the line for Chicago L - yet

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As contract talks with the CTA unions get going in earnest this month, it might be worthwhile to reflect on what Chicago L enthusiast and author Greg Borzo says:

The L never seems to be out of danger.

Greg Borzo (Sun-Times Library)

Borzo, author of The Chicago 'L,' points out that Chicago once had the nation's largest cable-car system and then the nation's largest streetcar system. But both are long gone.

"Over eight miles of the traditional structured steel [L] system have been torn down," Borzo says. "We have lost lots of the system. ... So who knows what is going to happen? Every time you hear about a budget crisis ... people start talking about closing the L down. Two years ago the plan was to shut down the Purple Line and the Yellow Line. Once you shut them down it is awfully hard to get them back."

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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