24

Jun

2015

Dan Vera replaces James Smith as chairman of Rialto board

Author: Editor

James Smith, the embattled chairman of the Rialto Square Theatre board during the marquee crisis, was replaced in an election of officers on Wednesday.

The new chairman is Dan Vera, who had been vice chairman and has been taking an increasingly bigger role on the board since the marquee issue started.

The marquee issue arose again Wednesday as the board learned that it will cost about $40,000 to update the existing sign. The board voted to seek bids on auxiliary work needed to update the sign without making a final decision on whether to spend the $40,000.

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11

Jun

2015

Kirk's re-election bid complicated by controversial statements

Author: Editor

Sen. Mark Kirk's reference Thursday to an unmarried Senate colleague and presidential candidate as a "bro with no ho" is the latest in a string of controversial remarks that figure to make an already challenging 2016 re-election bid even more difficult.

While most of Kirk's verbal gaffes have been made in speeches or interviews, his remark Thursday about South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham was off-the-cuff and presumably meant to be private. Kirk was chatting during a Senate committee vote when his words were picked up by a live microphone.

"He's a bro with no ho," Kirk said, apparently talking to a colleague. "That's what we'd say on the South Side."

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23

May

2015

$34 million controlled by Rauner, allies looms over legislative session

Author: Editor

As state lawmakers find themselves in their typical late May posture of trying to pass a budget, a new political dynamic hovers over the proceedings: more than $34 million in campaign cash under the control of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies.

Rauner already has sprinkled a total of $400,000 in contributions to every Republican legislator as he talks about the need for the GOP to "stay unified" at the end of session. Democrats have made those campaign donations an issue, citing what they say are the bad optics of Rauner doling out money at the same time he's asking Republicans to take tough votes for what he calls his "Turnaround Agenda."

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Categories: State Issues

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22

May

2015

Illinois school districts still fatten pensions, pay millions in penalties

Author: Editor

Glenbard Township High School District 87 made a little-noticed wire transfer to the state two years ago, $164,198 that was never discussed in public.

What taxpayers weren't told was that the payment was required by state law because the west suburban district had given hefty pay hikes to two retiring educators, helping fatten their pensions.

A 2005 pension law was intended to rein in big salary spikes that boost retiree benefits and pension costs statewide, imposing cash penalties on districts that gave raises larger than 6 percent to outgoing educators.

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4

May

2015

Rauner DCEO privatization idea raises oversight concerns

Author: Editor

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his plan to privatize the state's economic development agency will improve job creation in Illinois. But similar plans in other states and even in Chicago have sometimes raised concerns about transparency and oversight, with taxpayers not always knowing how their money was being spent.

Rauner's plan, currently being considered by the Illinois General Assembly, would turn much of the development work of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity over to a new not-for-profit corporation.

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