Daily dose: Local history, Tim Johnson makes p1 of the Washington Post, Prussing says no, expanded gambling on hold, push for concealed carry coming
100 years ago today:
In 1911, County Treasurer Lou N. Bear reports a strike of cherry pickers in Ludlow, not for higher wages but because the owners of the trees will not guarantee that the pickers will not fall out of the trees and break their legs. Ludlow boys were receiving 3 cents a quart for cherry-picking. But one of Mr. Bear’s pickers last week fell out of a tree and broke an arm after picking three quarts, for which he received nine cents and a doctor bill of $20, leaving him $19.91 in the hole. That was a mighty good excuse for the rest of the boys to play ball instead of picking cherries.
50 years ago today:
In 1961, a 19-year-old Urbana youth was arrested by Champaign Police in connection with dumping detergent into the fountain at West Side Park. Lawrence Crist, 1101 S. Cottage Grove, was arrested in the 600 block of East Daniel Street about 11 p.m. last night. A passerby called police with the license number of a car that was seen driving away from the fountain at the time of the incident.
Tim Johnson on page 1 of today's Washington Post
and the story ..
In a deserted park on Capitol Hill, a gaunt man with a head of gray wisps has a cellphone pressed to his ear.
Somewhere in Decatur, Ill., a phone is ringing.
“Ah, yes, Mrs. Stark? Uh-huh. Mrs. Stark, my name is Tim Johnson. Timothy Johnson. I’m the United States congressman for Decatur,” the man says. You learn a few things after making half a million phone calls. One is to get the word “congressman” out as fast as possible, so people don’t decide you’re a salesman and hang up.
“I really didn’t have any particular reason for calling, Mrs. Stark,” Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-Ill.) goes on. This one hasn’t hung up yet. “I just wanted to call and say hello.”
In the bellowing jungle that is the U.S. Congress, Johnson is a quiet man with an incredible story. His goal is to call all 300,000 households in his district. Personally.
Prussing says no to indepndent redisitricting for Urbana council
From Wednesday's N-G column ...
There will be no independent citizens redistricting commission drawing Urbana’s new city council ward map, says Mayor Laurel Prussing.
“I saw how it didn’t function at the county level. Some people were impressed with that process. I was not,” Prussing said of the Champaign County Board’s effort to develop the county board district map for the next 10 years with an 11-member commission made up of seven independent citizens.
The county board ended up adopting a redistricting plan that had been submitted by the local chapter of the NAACP, not any of those developed by the staff of the county regional planning commission.
“I think we have a good system. I don’t want to mess it up,” Prussing said.
The mayor said she’ll suggest a new map for the council’s seven wards and let the city council review it.
“I’m going to consult with every single council member, and they can come up with their own plan. But I’m not going to come up with a commission,” she said.
Citizens can provide input as well, said the mayor, but they won’t be drawing the map.
“Anybody can come up with any proposals they want to and bring it to the council, but I’m not going to go through some big setting up of a committee and saying we’re only going to get
absolutely objective people,” she said.
“I don’t think the county board one went that well, quite frankly. I don’t believe redistricting can be done by anyone other than the people who are actually involved. The city council, it’s their responsibility.”
Prussing said the current Urbana ward map — which some Republicans have claimed is gerrymandered to provide a 6-1 Democratic majority — is “based on neighborhoods, and I think that’s a reasonable breakdown.”
She said her main task with the new map will be revising the boundaries of Ward 6 — the home of the council’s only Republican, Heather Stevenson. That’s where most of Urbana’s population growth has occurred.
“The obvious thing is that Heather’s ward has to be smaller because she’s got too much population,” she said.
“But I’m not going to impose something. I will take input from every council member in the proposal, and they can change it if they want to,” Prussing said.
In Champaign, the city staff will come up with a redistricting plan for the city’s five council districts. It will be reviewed in October or later.
The council also will “consider alternatives for redistricting from any and all persons” that are submitted to the city clerk by Sept. 14.
Don't plan on gambling soon in Danville
From The Chicago Sun-Times ...
SPRINGFIELD — A parliamentary hold Senate President John Cullerton placed on legislation that would authorize a Chicago casino could stay in place through the fall, the top Senate Democrat said Wednesday.
That pronouncement came on a busy day when lawmakers sent Gov. Pat Quinn a spending bill to preserve funding for billions of dollars in construction projects and gave final approval to a plan to cut lawmakers’ pay.
Cullerton’s move is aimed at buying time for negotiations with Quinn on a follow-up bill designed to narrow the scope of the gambling package that passed in May with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s backing.
That legislation would authorize five new casinos statewide, including in Chicago, and allow slot machines at racetracks, but Quinn has signaled his potential opposition by describing the legislation as “top heavy.”
“There’s no sense in giving it to him to veto it,” Cullerton told reporters.
Game on for concealed carry in Illinois
From the Chicago Tribune ...
With Wisconsin poised to allow people to carry concealed weapons in public, gun advocates have made Illinois — the last holdout — a prime target in their campaign to give citizens unrestricted rights to carry weapons.
Illinois has been one of their toughest foes in the battle over Second Amendment rights. Chicago was forced by the U.S. Supreme Court last year to end a citywide ban on handguns that had been in effect since 1982. A bill to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons was defeated in the General Assembly last month after Gov. Pat Quinn threatened to veto it.
The legislation passed Wednesday would make Wisconsin the 49th state to allow concealed weapons such as handguns, stun guns and knives. Washington, D.C., also bans the weapons.
The bill, passed in part because none of the other states that allow concealed weapons has had to repeal their law, added momentum to pro-gun efforts in Illinois. The strategy, advocates said, is to attack Illinois from every direction, from the courts to the Legislature.
"This battle will be waged relentlessly at the polls and in the courts," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. "We expect a favorable outcome in the courts, but if these actions fail, it just means that more actions will follow. We will fight until we win, no matter how long it takes."