201 Miles to Springfield: August 8, 2010

According to the Monday story, the National Beer Wholesalers Association introduced a bill that would limit direct sales of beer, wine and other alcohol. The NBWA contributed $45,000 to Michigan Congressman John Conyers (D), chairman of the committee considering the bill and a total of $300,000 to more than 100 other Congressional campaigns that agreed to co-sponsor the bill.

The Post notes many of the contributions happened within days of the formal support being announced.

According to the Post:

“Quigley, one of the bill’s chief sponsors, said in a statement that he has long supported a “sensible, state-based” alcohol regulation system and that he was not swayed by the wholesalers group’s campaign money.

“I haven’t changed my views on this issue since coming to Congress, and I’ve been very open and transparent about accepting support from those who share my views,” he said.

The Congressman’s Chief of Staff said much the same thing, the bill’s aim is to “protect the existing three-tier system of distribution, assure that states control how alcohol is sold. It’s not limiting anything, but assuring the system stays in place. This has been the position of the Congressman for years.” However, the question was about the appearance of more pay-to-play politics, not the Congressman’s support for the bill…

In addition, the Congressman disputed the Washington Post saying the contribution was for $2,500, not $5,000.

Calls to the local Koval distillery and Metropolitian Brewing and Half-Acre Brewing to determine their views of the bill were not returned. Koval said it sent the inquiry to an industry association, but the call ultimately was not returned.

<>

40th Ward Alderman Pat O’Connor is aiming to close what he calls a loophole in the city’s smoking ban. O’Connor alleges that hookah bars have turned into “super-bars” that encourage patrons to bring their own food and liquor, or have food delivered.

“Some even offer live music without the required public place of ammusement license,” O’Connor said in a newsletter to his ward this week.

O’Connor says there are a number of problem establishments among the hookahs. “Fights, drinking inside, drinking outside, gunshots, people coming from all over. We can’t allow that to take hold in a community,” he says. “They’re private little clubhouses that allow kids to drink under age, smoke under age and bring in food.”

The City Council Zoning Committee is recommending hookah bars obtain a special use permit so that local residents and the Zoning Board of Appeals can consider their application for business.

<>

An expansion to the Bowmanville Community Garden was announced by 40th Ward Alderman Pat O’Connor (D-Budlong Woods) Monday.  O’Connor says the Western/ Devon TIF contributed funds and the City Council approved the green space beautification project at 5384 N Bowmanville Ave. The project will be administered by the Bowmanville Community Organization.

<>

The Blagojevich’s could lose their Ravenswood Manor home and a condo in Washington, DC. The Federal government claims the former Illinois Governor illegally obtained more than $438K through his deals. The government has listed the condo, the Ravenswood Manor home and several bank accounts among the assets it could seize.

<>

Commedian Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) will be the keynote speaker at the Governor’s Day Brunch, August 18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield. Each of the constitutional officers and the two legislative leaders have been invited to speak.

So, the question is how will our neighbors fare? Of the local officials who will be on the bill with Franken, which can hold their own?

  • Lisa Madigan (D- St, Bens) Illinois Attorney General
  • Daniel Hynes (D-North Center) Illinois Treasurer
  • John Cullerton (D-Ravenswood Manor) Illinois Senate President

<>

Illinois State Representative Greg Harris (D-Uptown) will not be running for Helen Schiller’s aldermanic seat, according to a number of sources. Other sources just say Harris is “leaning against running” for alderman. Consensus though is that Harris is going back to the job of representing the district in Springfield, he is running unopposed.

Stories indicate Harris has unfinished business seeking marriage equality in Illinois. [UPDATE: We'll give the final word on this subject to David Ormsby at Illinois Observer. He interviewed Harris and has the definitive NO! He won't run and NO! he has no endorsement at this time.]

Schiller is one of three women choosing not to run for the City Council in next year’s municipal elections. Mary Ann Smith and Vi Daley are the other two women council members.

<>

The Ravenswood Bank, located at Lawrence and Oakley, is the 13th Illinois Bank to fail this year, the second Ravenswood area bank this year. The bank’s assets will be taken over by Northbrook Bank & Trust. The FDIC says the bank had $264.6 million in assets.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ravenswood bank is one of four banks that are believed to hold funds for the Friends of Blagojevich.

In April Lincoln Park Savings Bank was taken over. Its assets were also acquired by Northbrook Bank & Trust. The FDIC says LPSB had $199.9 million in assets.

April also saw the Broadway Bank of Uptown taken over, its assets are now held by MB Financial Bank.

<>

An illustration of a cat-sized crocodile found by Patrick O'Connor, not our alderman.

An illustration of a cat-sized crocodile found by Patrick O'Connor, not our alderman.

From the coulda, shoulda, woulda file we saw a news item about Patrick O’Connor, discussing a crocodile fossil with mammilian teeth. If only it were the same guy who is alderman in Budlong Woods, maybe he could discuss the small alligator pulled from Clark Park last week. Then we could have had a story about the politician and the alligator.

<>

From the Chicago Herptological page,  a picture of the small alligator found in Clark Park.

From the Chicago Herptological page, a picture of the small alligator found in Clark Park.

If you missed it previously, the Bulldog has updated the World of Blagojevich map with more sites.