Category Archives: Illinois Blues

40th Ward Chicago Alderman O’Connor the Democrat vs. challenger Vasquez the Socialist, Amundsen High School, 3/18/19

The 40th Ward is “under attack” by people who “think differently” from the people of this ward, 36-year incumbent alderman Pat O’Connor said at the March 18 Amundsen High School League of Women Voters of Chicago forum  in preparation for the April 2 runoff election in which he is opposed by the Democratic Socialist candidate Andre Vasquez.

Some people “say things,” he added in his opening remarks, referring to Vasquez’s history as a “battle rapper” (ending “about eight years ago”) whose lyrics became an important focus of the O’Connor counter-message as the evening ran on. (It is presented in alarming detail on the “Truth about Andre” site.)

Vasquez, 39, apologized for the offensive lyrics and said he would continue to do so, noting his age at the time (from his days at Lane Tech in the mid-’90s — by his count “more than 1,000 battles,” only seven losses — to 2011 or so) as partial explanation but also taking offense and marveling at O’Connor’s using the words in a public forum. His audience in the packed auditorium burst into laughter at this.

Also in his opening remarks, O’Connor touched on the main portion of his theme arguments, his achievements as an alderman, by citing the $28 million he (“we”) had gotten for this high school in the heart of the ward.

Vasquez, on the other hand, first runner-up in the crowded Feb. 26 primary election, as the son of immigrants (from Guatemala), married father of two, now an AT&T field manager after a relatively short career as entrepreneur and other jobs leading to his present position.

He was to feature during the forum his background as immigrant son, born in the U.S., and his wife and children as motivation for running for office and serving “the community” — a term he was to use frequently in this forum as focus for his future efforts.

Early on, he announced his eagerness to promote “affordable housing,” even to the point of using rent control to achieve it. He was to embrace other phrases and policies of standard “progressive” usage and goals. His campaign is endorsed by Democrat Socialists, of which he is a member.

O’Connor on the other hand spoke repeatedly of working for the same goals systematically, using means at hand in a city and state where the leaning is palpably leftward and government stands ready — to a fault, some say — to meet citizen needs.

Vasquez called for frequent town hall meetings, wants TIF money to go to schools, not to a mayor’s “slush fund.” Applause at this from a supporter brought immediate reminder by the alert and businesslike League of Women Voters chair that applause was to be held to the end. She further noted that such applause reflected badly on the candidate applauded.

On zoning changes, for instance, as a community-outreach example, O’Connor said all changes are decided with “the advice and consent” of residents. Vasquez replied that “the community” should decide such matters, implying that such is not currently the case and (apparently) that there was need for a sort of regular plebiscite (popular vote) to decide even small issues. As it is, he said, the Chicago “political system” is “not fair.”

Vasquez declared himself opposed to giving money to the proposed new Police Academy — first responders training academy, O’Connor called it, for firefighters and paramedics in addition to police. He declared opposition also to the Lincoln Yards development, also not a 40th Ward matter, instead wanting such funds to be “invested in neighborhoods,” rather than used to support “administrative bloat.” He sprinkled his commentary with such blanket analyses and accusations, O’Connor in each case offering at least plausible rebuttal. This was the last mention of bloat, however, Vasquez perhaps realizing it smacked more of slogan than argument.

Vasquez furthermore was opposed to “aldermanic prerogative” — which oddly enough reduces power of the citywide body in favor of the local. (Oddly in that his predilection for “community” is more likely to signal preference for locally based governance than citywide, in effect giving more “power to the people,” to use a populist battle cry of the ’60s that once inspired activists throughout the nation.)

He argued that wards are not “fifedoms,” meaning fiefdoms, and added that as alderman he would “speak out” against other city council members who he thought abused their authority. (Ever in protest mode, coming across as a scrappy, if genial, fellow.)

Discussing water testing, O’Connor detailed the numbers of tests sent to building owners and the numbers returned with results, arguing that the city was paying for such testing, if not doing it for owners.

He further objected to Vasquez’s making blanket statements and citing figures without telling where he got the figures. It’s a basic requirement learned in any debate class, he said: you have to give your sources.

To which Vasquez replied that since his parents were repeatedly “priced out” of a neighborhood and having to move every two years, he had attended as many as four schools in eight years and had never been in a debate class. He said nothing about the need to source data.

On the importance of recycling, he again brought up his two children, saying it was in part for their future that he promoted recycling. As alderman he would offer “help to the community” in this and “would advocate with landlords,” presumably recalcitrant ones, sounding a warning of sorts from a community organizer, such as he was at one time, according to his campaign web site.

“We need to do this,” he said.

Asked about LGBTQ issues, Vasquez bemoaned their plight in search for “meaningful lives,” receiving some forbidden applause again. These are people, he said, who “feel sad to be left out” of the greater society.

Not so, said O’Connor. “I work with them all the time. They are not sad but happy and energetic, involved. Gays are not unhappy in this ward, including my three lesbian daughters. We celebrate that, as in the recent wedding of one to her wife. I celebrate diversity, I live it every day.”

About the racial divide and how make blacks feel at home, Vasquez offered a “little history lesson” about segregation and discrimination, then listed percentages of racial and ethnic groups in the ward, the least of which was 16 per cent black and concluding there was “room for improving that.”

As for availability to the community, O’Connor pointed to his being at his office every Monday night.

V: He should be out “in the community,” said Vasquez, and not expect people to come to him, should have regular meetings with groups “on the ground.”

On charter schools, O’Connor said he supports good schools, public or otherwise, called it “a canard” that TIF takes money from schools, as Vasquez had said earlier.

Vasquez said the recently opened Waldorf school — in a major public school building that had been empty for many months — was an improvement. But for whom? he asked. For those who could afford it, he said, adding that in general, resources are taken away from public schools.

He did not connect this with charter (public) schools or Waldorf, a private school that provided a much needed market for a major school property, in effect adding to resources for public schools.

He also called for “small farmers’ markets . . . have a committee established” to achieve that.

In final comments, Vasquez, saying, “I’d better stand up,” half way thru his closing three minutes, criticized O’Connor for his support 30-plus years ago for the Vrdolyak 29, a mostly white bloc of aldermen who opposed Mayor Harold Washington during Washington’s first term.

“He knows nothing about the timeframe,” O’Connor told the Sun-Times after this forum. “When Harold Washington was re-elected he put me into a leadership position . . . Mayor Washington had dinner at my house. [Vasquez] comes from a time where if you disagree you have to hate one another — I come from a time where you can disagree but you can be friends, you can still have a dialogue and what’s what we had back then.”

Rauner blames Chicago crime on “massive number of illegal immigrants” who take away jobs

Capitol Fax has this revealing exchange, Rauner, Pritzker, Dem spokesmen. Good, clear argument by Rauner, Nonsense from Pritzker.

For instance, Rauner:

Reporter: Governor can we clarify what you said about illegal immigrants? It sounded like you were saying that illegal immigrants are the cause of crime in Chicago. What proof do you have of that and why would you say that?

Proof? This reporter a lawyer? A professor? “Why would you say that?” by itself would do the trick.

Rauner: Unemployment, unemployment and low wages are part of contributing to crime in Chicago. There’s a lack of economic opportunity. How does illegal immigration relate to that? Illegal immigration, large scale illegal immigration, holds down wages and takes jobs that would otherwise be available for American citizens, Chicago citizens, takes them for illegal immigrants. That’s the connection. It’s about lack of economic opportunity.

The heavy under construction 40th Ward has crews all over the place, and not just Spanish-speaking. No, it’s either that or Polish-speaking.

And then the old chestnut, plucked straight from the open-borders promoters:

Reporter: How many Chicagoans want the types of jobs that illegal immigrants are doing, though? Whether it’s a landscaping job or something else that’s being paid cash on the side. How many Chicagoans really want those jobs?

Rauner: Chicagoans want to work. You ask someone in Lawndale, Austin, Englewood whether they want to work. They do. They’re looking for jobs. Those jobs in too many cases are being filled by illegal immigrants. That’s wrong. I support legal immigration. Legal immigration is good and America is built by legal immigrants. But illegal immigration, we have immigration laws for a reason, and Mr. Pritzker has been very clear he says there’s no one here illegally. There’s no such thing as an ‘illegal person.’ That’s just not true. And he said specifically that he supports sanctuary cities and making Illinois a sanctuary state. I do not. We have immigration laws. They should be enforced. And the lack of economic opportunity on the South Side and West Side is a major driver of the violence there and we’ve got to fix that.

Reporter writes off unemployed blacks and Hispanics? Rauner does not.

And there’s more more more at Capitol Fax.com.

Get a load of main street mainstream post-SOTU offerings . . .

. . . as delivered by Chi Trib, faithful as ever to its lib-Dem convictions.

Tension grips Congress as Trump calls for unity, then touts GOP agenda
Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker [Wash Post!]

The president sought to repurpose the term “Dreamer,” saying that it shouldn’t be an excuse to shortchange Americans’ economic prospects or safety.

NEWS & ANALYSIS

Winners and losers from Trump’s State of the Union address  [Wash Post]

Fact check: Trump’s State of the Union speech doesn’t skimp on exaggerations [AP]

Huppke: State of the Union just fine for those turning blind eyes to Trump

Notice the prominence of  Wash Post and AP. Once it was merely second-city lemming-ism, now it’s actual transferring Trib’s Eastern-seaboard models to its front page.

Question: Where would Trib be without the Wash Post and AP? Once there was a newspaper, now a . . . copy cat?

Candidate Kennedy in the 40th Ward, 7/20/17

Appearing at the invite of my favorite alderman, Pat O’Connor, at North Side Prep on Kedzie Avenue on a warm Thursday night, Chris Kennedy kicked off with some personal history, including his being the 8th of the eleven offspring of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. No small point to make, of course. It’s a magic name, after all.

He also recalled working at the Board of Trade as a young man in the ’80s , having decided not to work with his older brother Joe — no fun to work with, he implied cheerfully — in his “non-profit oil company.” Have any of the Kennedys gone in for profit-making? Since their paternal grandfather, I mean.

At the Board he witnessed “raw capitalism” in broad daylight. The worst kind. And was there when the show came tumbling down, or stumbled, when a wire-wearing FBI poseur captured incriminating conversations and got some traders sent to jail.

Later, Chris K. and his wife formed a non-profit of their own that undersold grocery stores in a good cause, selling at cut rates to poor people, going regularly to 120 churches and community organizations, where people “left behind” were helped — while, he noted, retaining their dignity and willingness to look him in the eye when talking to him.

His major points included:

  • Ed funding:  He said 87% of  high school graduates are “not college ready,” using a number I could not find in the 2015 Chi Trib stat “Most Illinois high schools leave grads unprepared for college,” where the operable figure is 24.9 percent who scored high enough on ACT subjects to be considered college-ready. His point remains, of course, though he might want to change the number.
  • Schools, said CK, are “underfunded.” Which if there’s a more reliable Democrat meme, I’d like to know. In any case, he had a segue into how schools are funded, by local property tax and not “in Springfield.” Which led to the most interesting point of the hour-long session, namely . . .
  • Well-paid lawyers including state reps and senators who obtain tax breaks for wealthy owners, making money out of the property tax about which they have influence. It’s “dirty money,” he said. “There should be a ban on [such] outside income that conflicts” with legislative duties. Mike Madigan (and Ed Burke and Joe Berrios) come immediately to mind. “No elected official has spoken out” on this conflict issue, Kennedy continued. “No one is standing up to Madigan.”

He had already floated this keep-pols-out-of-tax-appeal-work position, in May, without naming anyone while calling the system rigged and likening it to ‘extortion.'” This time, before a smaller crowd (50 or so in the N. Side Prep auditorium, vs. 300 in May), he named The Name. We’ll see how that turns out.

  • Asked about electoral district “fair mapping,” he called it “a great objective,” since it’s a matter of: “voters choose representatives, representatives pick the voters.” As a result, elected officials “never lose the general and fear only the primaries,” in which left and right extremes challenge and move Democrats farther to the left and Republicans farther to the right, each fending off extremist challengers. He begged off, with notable candor: “I don’t know [enough] about it, will start reading up about it.”

Asked about the huge backlog of bills unpaid by the state: “All this is still manageable. We taxed goods, not services, when manufacturing dwarfed services. But services are now 70% of the economy. We should not raise the income tax but broaden it [expanding taxable parts of the economy]. It’s easy then” to solve money problems. Easy?

Tax on securities trades is “not a cure-all,” he said when another questioner raised that issue — of which Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park said a few years ago, it would drive the Options Exchange out of the state. Kennedy: “All have to feel a little pain. It’s unrealistic to expect no sacrifice.”

People leaving the state: “Out-migration happened because of Rauner’s weakening, destroying government.” Under Rauner “we are driving people away.” In any case, “young people no longer move to jobs, but jobs move to them.” Let us think about that.

As for some lesser points, Ronald Reagan started homelessness, he said. Reaganomics did it. Which is spelled out in this and other progressive outlets:

In his first year in office Reagan halved the budget for public housing and Section 8 to about $17.5 billion. And for the next few years he sought to eliminate federal housing assistance to the poor altogether.

However, neither Dems nor Republicans did anything about it, says a progressive writer, blaming the media.

Once the national and local media gave Reagan a pass for not addressing homelessness, a pattern was established of not holding federal politicians accountable. And when politicians are not held accountable for homelessness, they instead devote resources to the issues where the media is focusing.

If that seems too simple an explanation for three decades of homelessness, this is a problem that lacks a complex answer. Ending homelessness is not like finding a cure for cancer. From the 1949 National Affordable Housing Act to the early 1980’s the United States knew how to prevent homelessness. But when the federal government abandoned its responsibility, the predictable result occurred.

Complex problem calls for a complex answer, says this progressive writer.

The forgotten counties: Entire Illinois counties are “without a grocery store,” Kennedy said. People call 911 “and no one comes.” These people voted for Trump, who “spoke to them.” People whom Saturday Night Live made fun of.

As the TV detective asks the person of interest about a suspect, do these counties have names?

On Trump: “You can’t write a memo short enough so he will read it.” Good throwaway.

“He won’t listen to intelligence briefings.” A staple of Twitter commentary, mostly from pre-inauguration time.  Not so good a throwaway.

The state’s debt: Pension underfunding is the biggest problem. The state stopped paying into the funds under Rauner, having done so under Quinn. That started with Rauner too?

About Rauner: He’s not a Republican, but a libertarian, “using the GOP.” As such, he “does not believe in government.” Oh. Early in office, he “tried to privatize” government functions, in the process shrank government. It was “an attack on the poor,” who depend on those functions. But he learned he “can’t kill government, only wound it.” In this he succeeded, letting the bills pile up.

more more more later . . .

Later, from Oak Park Newspapers blog at Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, where this item was also published, two comments:

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: July 25th, 2017 11:42 AM

Is Chris Kennedy opening up the Merchandise Mart as a homeless shelter at night or a warming or cooling shelter for the homeless? I am sure he is, we just havent heard he is. Does his non profit food service pay management (ie. friends of the family) for management services? If Reagan cut the federal program, budget and taxes, doesnt that mean that there was more money on the local taxing level to develop programs for the homeless at a local level? What did Robert Kennedy learn while working on the staff of Sen. Joe McCarthy for nine months? Maybe how to sanitize a suicide scene of an actress or how to quiet J. Edgar Hoover, who had files on just about everyone. I am sure he is a fine fellow. Especially now.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2017 10:29 PM

How much pain does a Kennedy ever feel? None. They are so rich they can give everyone pain while they sit in their Merchandise Mart or get handed ambassadorships. We do not need any more of that.

Chi Trib front page clashing stories: two kinds of weeper . . .

The one on top weeps about diminished social services (always a grabber):

Senate health care bill takes a hit
CBO analysis: Uninsured would grow by 22 million,
costs would rise under Republican leaders’ proposal

The one on bottom weeps, sort of, about the cost of red ink for Chicago Public Schools (not much of a grabber):

Price for CPS loans: $70,000 a day in interest
Total cost could pass
$7M based on payback
date, financial woe

Make-up editors could have put them side by side as horns of the dilemma faced by lawmakers as regards public spending: 1) people want services, 2) government hasn’t got the money.

As for not having the money, move to the state’s (and city’s) fiscal crisis and see what Speaker Madigan and his Dems do not want in a budget and the governor does:

Democrats have resisted Rauner’s calls for mixing into budget discussions other issues including cost-saving changes to workers’ compensation, state-employee pension-benefit programs, and a local property tax freeze, among other things.

No, no, no, don’t touch our workers’ comp, state employees’ benefits, and property taxes, say Dems, clutching these items as dear to their hearts.

Later: As for “mixing into budget discussions other issues,” consider Madigan’s “non-budget demands,” as in the State Journal-Register,

including that Gov. Bruce Rauner sign a school funding reform bill that the governor has said he would veto.

Crafty fellow. Oh, and a Democrat.

Rep. Lilly in Franklin Park — not quite decipherable

More on two Oak Park legislators’ town-hall-meeting tour in 2013 as told in my Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters.

Sen. Don Harmon appeared with Rep. Camille Lilly and three other legislators on July 30 in Franklin Park’s park district headquarters, seven miles northwest of his and Lilly’s offices in Oak Park and on the West Side — another stark example of redistricting by Illinois Democrats according to their electoral requirements.

Among the other three was Sen. John Mulroe, a Northwest Side Chicago Democrat, who, “new to politics,” had run for office in 2010 because the state was “on the brink of disaster.” As an inveterate crisis-denier, Harmon must have cringed at that.

The two others were Rep. Kathleen Willis, from far-distant Addison, in DuPage County eight miles away, and Rep Mike McAuliffe, a Republican based on the city’s far Northwest Side. He made the point early on that he works with the others and had little to say in the ensuing conversation.

Neither did Oak Park’s Lilly, who did manage several times to squeeze in reference to her experience as a sophomore legislator. Indeed, her more extended contributions were about what she had experienced since her appointment — her voyage of discovery, as it were — even as she offered observations that she alone among the legislators apparently considered germane.

During discussion of the state’s economic situation, for instance, she noted that Illinois’ population was growing, which it was — one half of one percent since 2010, according to the Census Bureau — sixth-lowest growth in the nation, which had grown 2.5 percent in that time. Her point was followed up by no other panelist.

In a discussion of whether the state is business-friendly, she came up with something not quite decipherable. “We signed legislation today,” to encourage “small business loans,” she said. We? Signed? On that day? There was nothing in the news about this, nothing on state web sites. An email requesting clarification two days later and another two weeks later, each copied to Harmon, got no response from either.

She was proud of her vote to end double-dipping in pension payouts, she said, adding (twice) that there’s constant “monitoring” of that. “It’s important,” she said, adding, “To me,” squelching the rumor that when she says something is important, she sometimes means to others, not herself.

All in all, she remained true to form as modestly talented, inadequately informed, and good at picking out odd facts or fanciful pronouncements for mention in the public forum.

From Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Votersavailable in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

Mike Madigan pays an enemy back, creates a Democrat: from Illinois Blues Chapter 5

Next stop for Sen. Don Harmon in his 2013 series of pre-election town halls, was on July  23, when he partnered with a Madigan protege in Wood Dale . . .

. . . a middle-class town of not quite 14,000 at the northwestern edge of his district, in DuPage County, 14 miles from Oak Park. Here he partnered with Rep. Kathleen Willis, of nearby Addison, an Elmhurst College librarian recently elected for the 77th house district.

Willis came across as quietly competent, pleasant, comfortable. A married mother of four and local school board member, she appeared a wise choice by Michael Madigan seeking someone to face off against the veteran Republican house member, Angelo “Skip” Saviano, a one-time across-aisle ally for Madigan with whom he’d had a bitter falling-out.

Madigan had seen to his defeat in 2012, convincing the Republican Willis to switch parties and funding a campaign that left veteran politics reporter Rich Miller gasping for its effrontery, misrepresentation of opposition, and fight-to-finish maneuverings. In the middle stood Willis, by all indicators and appearance an unlikely contestant but victorious at the end with 53% of the vote.

“Willis steals 77th House [district] from Saviano,” was the rambunctious Daily Herald headline for a story that reported that had been unavailable for interviews while campaigning entirely door-to-door. The story also noted that she had “pulled Republican ballots in five primary elections between 2002 and 2010.” It didn’t matter. The 77th had a Democrat, and Madigan had the 77th.

From Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Votersavailable in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

Clout-heavy UNO hired his firm, Sen. Harmon clams up; narrow-gauge politics satisfy . . .

At town hall meeting, Oak Park library, July 17, 2013 — from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters — UNO, fracking, pensions:

The clout-heavy United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) was brought up, reference was made to a sizable public-money grant for a charter school in nearby Galewood in 2009. There had been much spending on a post-announcement celebration — all of it widely reported, especially in detailed Sun-Times accounts.

Harmon responded carefully: “I have no knowledge of money being wasted.”

Spoken like a lawyer, and more than that, a partner with UNO’s lawyer in the firm, Burke Burns & Pinelli, which had taken UNO on as a client as soon as the scandal took shape months earlier.

By March, 2016, the firm had worked long and hard on UNO troubles to the extent of more than $962,000 in fees, wrote Sun-Times’ Dan Mihalopoulos (“THE WATCHDOGS: UNO’s secret spending spree”).

Few knew of this cheek-by-jowl Harmon-UNO connection. Many did know of the news stories, however, about which Harmon apparently had not felt prompted to inquire. He pleaded ignorance, said no more. No one questioned him further on the point.

Other issues arose:

fracking downstate (approved later by the legislature and judicially good to go by December, 2014) , dispensing of psychiatric drugs, and others.

The pension comes first, said Lilly. Harmon backed her up with a graph thrown up on a screen showing the size of pension outlay, asking along the way if anyone had “missed a payment.”

He had asked earlier who worked in government jobs, twenty-five or so had raised their hands. None did so this time. It was a litigator’s question, asked knowing the answer.

Again, it was so far, so good for one side of the issue,

payouts to pensioners, without reference to the state’s fiscal health — and continued ability to meet payments, for that matter.

He was practicing narrow-gauge politics that was good enough for his supporters. He was a sort of good shepherd caring for his flock.

Illinois Blues is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

“Embarrassed by Illinois”

At the Oak Park library, July 17, 2013 — from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters — “some dramatic government failures”

The CPA who had urged Sen. Harmon to “do something about corruption” continued.

“To say the pension situation is complicated is a classic delaying tactic. We are spending way more than we are taking in. People leave Illinois [in large numbers]. . . . Taxes are huge, hit even homeless people, some of whom I help. You are part of the problem. not the solution.”

Not even the voluble Rep. Lilly directly engaged him. Harmon did not. Nobody in the audience picked up on his complaints. In the ensuing lull, someone asked about taxing retirement income.

It’s “on the table of [sic] discussion,” Lilly said.

Another man said he was “embarrassed by Illinois.” He cited National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. “It’s the worst state . . . “

Lilly denied it. “I have an opinion. The media doesn’t represent the facts accurately. The facts don’t state that. . . . I’m very proud to live in Illinois . . . Look at your [sic] history . . . We must come together . . . I celebrate that. . . . This is a great state [in which] to raise your family!”

Harmon conceded “some dramatic government failures,” naming none. “We are climbing out of the hole.”

The Chicago Tribune, he said, “has bashed the heart out of us.”

Illinois Blues is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

Illinois Blues: Limping North Avenue, Not Losing the Merc

At the Oak Park Library, July 17, 2013 — from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters, Chapter 3, “There Will Be No Cuts,” continued:

The man [who had complained about Illinois’ lowest-in-nation bond rating] threw in the towel, giving way to the next questioner, asking about a much-protested pawn shop on economically limping North Avenue and related matters.

Rep. Lilly jumped on this. With more pointing and waving, she declared that North Avenue issues were “what I call ‘on the docket.’” For action or consideration, she didn’t say, nor on whose docket.

Then from the floor came an enterprising suggestion, that even with Sen. Harmon’s proposed fair tax (“graduated”) there still wouldn’t be enough money. “So how about the proposed tax on stock trades?” (A “sales tax on speculators,” a columnist called it.)

Lilly laughed. “Actually, I saw that proposal, among so many that I didn’t read.”

Harmon said he had heard testimony for this tax, naming a local socialist who was an energetic proponent of a mandated “living wage” for village employees. But he gently poured cold water on the idea, Lilly next to him nodding vigorous agreement.

“There’s the fear that this legislation would push the Chicago Mercantile Exchange out of the state,” Harmon explained. It was a rare nod to the role of taxation in damaging the economy.

Illinois Blues is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

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