Friday, February 21, 2014

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Spouse says ‘no’ on mayoral bid

It usually becomes the gag of a campaign season when someone says he’s not going to run for electoral office because his spouse said “no.”

The influence of political spouses
It creates speculation about what it was the would-be candidate wound up having to do to get the spouse to go along with the thought of a campaign.

IN FACT, ONE of the few campaigns I can think of where a candidate actually listened to his wife was back in 1998 when Jim Edgar was contemplating a third term as Illinois governor, or perhaps running for the U.S. Senate.

Then-first lady Brenda Edgar made it known she didn’t want to be part of the Washington scene, and was somewhat tired of Springfield as well. Edgar (as in Jim) wound up running for nothing, and hasn’t held a government post since.

So it was interesting to learn that Chicago Teachers Union boss Karen Lewis made it clear this week that there’s no legitimacy to the speculation that she herself would take on Rahm Emanuel when he seeks re-election as mayor in next year’s election cycle.

Lewis let it be known that her husband, John, “has said ‘no’.”

WHICH MAY BE the part that gets taken more seriously than the Chicago Sun-Times reporting that Lewis said of herself, “I clearly am not a politician.”

Although I don’t doubt that Lewis will use her influence as head of the Chicago Teachers Union to try to affect the outcome of Emanuel’s campaign next year, or that of Emanuel’s friend, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner, in this year’s election cycle.

Whom Lewis couldn’t help but take a wisecrack at during her own denial of running for office, saying that comparing her to Rauner is wrong because, “I’m not egotistical or rich.”

What else is notable these days as we recover from months of sub-zero, Arctic-like temperatures that have literally caused 81 percent of Lake Michigan to freeze over?

OUT WITH THE OLD; IN WITH THE NEW?:  Former Cook County Board member Joseph Moreno, who got caught up in the same federal prosecution that turned one-time Alderman Ambrosio Medrano into a repeat political corruption offender, got whacked with an 11-year prison term, just slightly more than the 10 ½ years that Medrano got.

He got the lengthy sentence from U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman even though he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit extortion. He’ll be back in public circulation some time about the year 2023.

Meanwhile, aspiring county board member Richard Boykin is being challenged as to whether he’s even eligible for the post he’s running for. Critics say he and his wife actually live in Bolingbrook (in Will County).

Boykin backers say he has lived in Oak Park since 2005, and that he and his wife are estranged, although there has been no legal effort headed toward divorce. Boykin is among those who wants to replace long-time politico Earlean Collins, who is not seeking re-election this year.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OLD DAYS OF A PHONE NUMBER SCRAWLED ON THE MEN’S ROOM WALL?:  The state Legislature gets to consider the concept of “revenge porn” this spring.

A state Senate committee gave its support to a bill that would make it a felony to put compromising pictures of someone else on a web site without their consent. It would also make it a crime for the website owners to demand a fee to have such pictures removed.

That support came despite the fact that the American Civil Liberties Union said they regard such conduct, even if it is caddish, as amounting to freedom of expression – which is covered by that first amendment to the Constitution.

Which makes sense if you consider that our freedoms include the right to be stupid and ignorant at times. Somehow, I don’t expect the Illinois Legislature will feel the same way this year.


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