Thursday, May 22, 2014

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over

If he hadn’t been a guru, of sorts, to the New York baseball scene, Yogi Berra could have had a career as a political observer to our local officials – perhaps the guy whispering his words of wisdom into their ears.

The Tao of Yogi?
Because that particular Berra-ism about declaring victory too soon is one that perhaps the people trying to lead a movement to change the way we draw our political boundaries should have learned a long time ago.

I STILL REMEMBER reading the reports about how the movement (calling itself Yes for Independent Maps) was crowing a month ago when they submitted nominating petitions that demand the issue be put on the ballots for the Nov. 4 elections in the form of a referendum question.

Let the people decide. “Yes,” or “no.” They had 532,264 signatures of support that they filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections

That is well in excess of the minimum number of signatures needed in order to actually get an initiative on the ballot across the state. They won. They declared victory. They made smug statements about how this, alone, showed the moral high-ground and desirability of their cause.

There was no way they could be stopped now!!!

READING THOSE ACCOUNTS, I recalled thinking they were premature in declaring victory. Way too cocky, as a matter of fact. Somebody was going to wind up eating some serious crow.

Which is what seems to be happening now.

Reports this week indicate that the State Board of Elections is finding that the 532,264 signature figure is off, way off.

Yogi 'plays' better on TV than most pols
For one thing, the elections board says it counted all the signatures, and only came up with 507,467. Which is still well ahead of the 298,400 valid signatures required this year (it’s based on voter turnout in recent election cycles, so it changes) to succeed.


The state Elections Board handles the process by doing a thorough review of a randomly-selected share of petitions.

Petitions containing 25,375 signatures were scrutinized – and 11,568 signatures were found to be legitimate. That’s less than half!

At this rate, the petition drive is going to turn out to have produced a lot of junk (that’s a lot of times that “Mickey Mouse” signed his name to these documents). May 31 isn’t only the deadline for the General Assembly to conduct its business. The end of the month (actually, May 30, the last business date, since May 31 is a Saturday) is when the process must be completed.

SO UNLESS SOMETHING shifts dramatically in the next week or so, this is going to wind up being a failed effort.

Like many pols, son followed him into family 'business'
Admittedly, the Yes for Independent Maps group is trying to fight back, although their route seems to be one more of whining about the review process being “hasty,” and the Chicago Tribune reporting about “personal advances” made by state Elections board officials to the group’s official watchers.

It sounds like this could be a cause that falls by the wayside. Which doesn’t surprise me because the whole process of nominating petitions is such a subjective one. There is so much leeway by officials to declare what is, and isn’t, valid.

Nobody should presume this is over until they actually walk into their polling place and see the question printed on their ballots.

IT MAY COME across that I’m enjoying this lesson in political reality being taught to the Yes for Independent Maps group – which at times behaves in ways that make it seem more like a cause funded by Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner so he can have something to talk about, rather than an actual concern for the issue.

Yogi comes equipped w/ his own 'yes' men
It’s actually funded in part by Chicago Cubs part-owner Tom Ricketts (he gave $50,000 back in March). Which makes me wonder why he’s not focusing more on his ball club.

Perhaps Yogi could come to Chicago and give the Wrigley Field set some advice on what constitutes a real winning ball club (he would know, 14 World Series appearances, with 10 of them on the victorious side).

Although reading through the various lists of Yogi-isms, I came across another one that I suspect many of our local political people would find applicable – “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”


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