Daily dose: Local history: Early rules of the road, Barickman goes to Cultra's base, State budget problems continue, End of the drought?, Roger Ebert's book
In 1911, one of the most important measures to come before the city council for action tonight is for the use of vehicles in Champaign. It is likely many changes will be made to the ordinance that was published last week. A number of physicians have objected to going a block or so out of his way to get his auto or horse and buggy when it is of vital importance to answer a call at once. But one part of the ordinance prohibits parking cars for more than 60 minutes between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. along any number of streets including most downtown streets.
In 1961, working is nearing completion on a new nightclub at the site of the former Rodney’s Park Club, razed by fire last February. The nightclub is located on the Danville Road, about a mile outside of Urbana. The main room at the business will accommodate about 175 people and includes a dance floor and bandstand.
Taking the fight into Ford and Iroquois counties
From Sunday's column ...
Jason Barickman, the Republican state representative from Champaign who is challenging Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, in the new 53rd Senate District, has scheduled a fundraiser in Loda this week — right in Cultra’s backyard.
And the list of the fundraiser’s co-hosts includes some impressive Republican names in Iroquois and Ford County politics.
From Iroquois County, there’s State’s Attorney Jim Devine, Treasurer Mindy Kunz, Sheriff Derek Hagen, Circuit Clerk Lisa Hines and Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood.
From Ford County, there’s Sheriff Mark Doran, Treasurer Judy Hastings, Circuit Clerk Kim Evans and Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. Several past countywide officials from both counties also are on the list of co-hosts.
“This is not an anti-thing. I can tell you that. We have known Jason for a while, and he is such a breath of fresh air in politics now,” Hastings said. “He’s been accessible. Whenever we have questions, he is quick to respond. And he’s a good conservative.”
She said she believes Barickman “will work with the Democrats and try to bring them to our side on issues.”
Hagen agreed, saying that one of the first times he spoke to Barickman, “He told me that he realized he was in the minority party and had a minority voice, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t effect some changes down there. That just resonated with me. I think sometimes it’s too easy for people on the minority side of an issue to say, ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do.’ ”
The Barickman reception is from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lakeview Country Club at Bayles Lake. Tickets are $25 per person and $40 per couple. Call 309-661-4200 for more details.
Continuing state budget deficit
From the Chicago Sun-Times ...
SPRINGFIELD — Despite an infusion of new tax dollars and budget cuts, state government’s deficit will grow to $5 billion by next July because of added pension and debt costs, a government watchdog group warned in a report being released Monday.
The Civic Federation said the jump in this year’s net operating deficit from $4.6 billion last year demonstrates why Illinois lawmakers need to wring pension concessions from existing state workers, an untried, constitutionally questionable proposition that could be on the General Assembly’s fall agenda.
“In spite of a tax increase, we’re actually losing ground under this budget,” said Laurence Msall, president of the non-partisan budgetary think tank.
The actual operating gap between revenues and expenditures dropped this year to $454 million from $3.9 billion last year because of the January increase in the state income tax, the group found.
But that improved financial position does not tell the whole story because the budget that Democratic lawmakers crafted and Gov. Pat Quinn enacted underfunds the state’s Medicaid health-care program for the poor by $1.7 billion, pushing those costs into next year, and did not include enough to pay off tax refunds owed to businesses, the group contended.
And even though the state has cut spending by $298 million over 2008 levels, those reductions will be more than offset by the need to spend $1.98 billion more in pension contributions and $1.14 billion more in increased borrowing costs.
“This doesn’t surprise us a lot in what we found. We warned against this. But when you see it put together and do the projections, these are staggering financial challenges the state faces,” Msall said. “It’s an incredible indictment to the state’s fiscal instability.”
Drenched in rain
Hey, we got .52 of an inch of rain overnight, bringing the September total in Champaign-Urbana to 1.99 inches, meaning we're only 1.14 inches below the normal September total of 3.13 inches. C-U actually has received at least a trace of rain for four consecutive days.
Perhaps the 2 1/2-month-long drought is ending.
NYT review of Ebert book
by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times ...
“I was insufferably full of myself,” he writes about his time at the University of Illinois in his new memoir, “Life Itself.” On his first day of classes, he took a shine to Daniel Curley, a corduroy-clad novelist teaching English 101.
“He would become my mentor and the friend of a lifetime,” Ebert writes. He viewed Curley as a surrogate for his father, an electrician who had worked at the university, whose favorite exclamation was “Boy, howdy!” and who smoked so many Lucky Strikes he died of lung cancer when Roger was 18.
Still, the overachieving undergraduate — he was an editor and columnist for The Daily Illini, president of the United States Student Press Association, a teenage sportswriter for The News-Gazette in Champaign, the winner of a Rotary fellowship for a year of study at the University of Cape Town and a successful applicant for the university’s graduate program in English — couldn’t resist.
Curley had lectured about the “first-rate second-rate writer,” an author like John O’Hara or Sinclair Lewis, “who was good but not quite that good.” So when the smart-aleck Ebert reviewed a new Curley novel for The Daily Illini, he skewered his favorite professor as a “first-rate second-rate writer.”
“How could I have been so cruel to a man who had been so kind?” Ebert wonders.
Karma’s a Fury. Ebert is now a first-rate second-rate memoirist.
This 69-year-old Chicago movie critic tells the harrowing story of his jaw, thyroid and salivary gland cancers, and the failed corrective surgeries that ravaged his face, plastering on a permanent Joker’s smile, and ransacked his body for spare parts, making him look, as he cinematically puts it, like “the thing that jumps out of that guy’s intestines in ‘Alien.’ ” He was, at last, stripped of his ability to talk, eat, drink, walk or stand easily and do what made him famous — appear on TV.