Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The BIG meeting finally happens, although little of significance occurred

While some people are all determined to rant and rage about the firing, un-election or impeachment respectively of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy (to quote Hawk Harrelson, “He Gone!”), Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, others had their focus on the same ol’ nonsense.

The Statehouse scene is never this idyllic
As in the fact we’re now beginning month six of Illinois government’s current fiscal year without a balanced budget in place. It has been 155 days (and counting) since state government has had its full authority to operate.

THIS LEVEL OF nonsense and placement of partisan politics over public policy may be more offensive than anything that happened to Laquan McDonald. After all, we can blame racist cops for that one.

With regards to the state situation, our public officials are deliberately ignoring their sworn duties – one of the most significant of which is to keep the daily operations of state government going.

The partisanship has been as such that there hasn’t been a meeting between the four legislative leaders and Gov. Bruce Rauner since back in May – which was still the old fiscal year.

That is, until Tuesday, when the five of those officials spent some time talking at Rauner’s official office at the Statehouse in Springfield..

NOT THAT ANYTHING was ever going to come of this meeting.

The way it was staged was to create the impression that the state government leaders were trying to find a solution, without having to go through the hassle of finding a solution.

This was a meeting whose sole purpose was to get people like me to “Shut Up!” and quit whining about the lack of government activity towards approving a budget.

After all, can’t I see they were at the office in Springfield at a time when most people try to avoid having to be in the Illinois capital city? Can’t I appreciate how diligently they were trying to put together the spending plan mandated by the Illinois Constitution in order for the state to operate normally?

NOW I KNOW some people will argue that “normal” in Illinois isn’t necessarily desirable. Such as those people whom the New York Times this week reported were spending many millions of dollars to try to rig the system in their favor. But the chaos that the state now faces (such as us thinking it incredibly fortunate that the Illinois comptroller’s office says it WILL be able to meet its pension payment obligation this month as required after missing last month’s payment) is absurd.

The idea that we had a session held partially in public with each legislative leader being given 10 minutes to speak prior to the private part of the meeting where serious negotiations would take place makes me think Tuesday’s session was entirely about giving each public official a chance to try to spin us into believing their particular perspective about the state’s situation.

Because those public statements will be what makes it onto the television newscasts across Illinois, and will have way too much influence over the way people perceive the issue.

Nothing of significance was ever going to happen – other than some more cheap rhetoric being spewed.

THERE’S ALSO THE fact that this session was the one that Rauner scheduled for last month – only to have Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, say he wouldn’t show up because he had a funeral to attend.

Now I don’t doubt the sincerity of Madigan wanting to mourn – every Chicago politico worth his salt knows the significance of maintaining the personal touch all the way to the very end.

But this gathering wouldn’t have taken so long to schedule if there had been a chance that something real could have come out of it.

Instead, we got cheap talk spewed in the name of partisan politics. And we have a government that will continue to operate on auto-pilot while the state’s debt continues to grow and it becomes harder and harder, day by day, to envision the way to dig ourselves out of this mess.


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