Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Revised at 1:45 pm on Wed., 3/24/04

Scott Fawell "Comes to Jesus," suggests Carlos Hernandez-Gomez and Treasurer Topinka makes some deals with the Dems?

Jeff Berkowitz: Scott Fawell--

Carlos Hernandez-Gomez: As we tape this, Scott Fawell is going to be arraigned tomorrow [March 19], this may be Scott Fawell's last chance to-- Come to Jesus.

Berkowitz: Will Fawell become a witness against his so-called dad, [Former Governor] George Ryan?

Hernandez-Gomez: He may have to...Fawell is in trouble right now. He is serving a 6 1/2 year sentence...

Berkowitz: He doesn't want another one of those.

Hernandez-Gomez: And, it is going to be longer because he has already been convicted [once]. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, that puts him in an extra, higher sentencing category.

Berkowitz: So, he may not wear the shirt for George [Ryan].

Hernandez-Gomez: He may not.
Berkowitz: Because she [Judy Baar Topinka] made some deals with Democrats to support her?

Carlos Hernandez-Gomez: Of course, she had [Cong.] Bobby Rush and she had plenty of Democrats supporting her [in 2002 against Dem. Tom Dart for Treasurer].
Berkowitz: It [the Machine] is wobbly, but not dead?

Hernandez-Gomez: It is not dead. It is wobbly, that's what I will say.
From this week's suburban "Public Affairs," and next Monday night's City of Chicago edition of "Public Affairs," with WBEZ's Carlos Hernandez-Gomez. (See, below) for airing schedules and for an additional transcript of the conversation:

Upcoming Guests and airing Schedule for the City of Chicago and Suburban editions of “Public Affairs”:

"Public Affairs," airs every Monday Night at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21 through-out the City of Chicago.

This coming Monday night's (April 5) City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs and this week's (Week of March 29) suburban edition of Public Affairs feature Carlos Hernandez-Gomez, Chicago Public Radio's Political Reporter. The Chicago Public Radio station is WBEZ, 91.5 FM radio, and Carlos' reports on politics appear at various times every weekday from 5:00 am to 10:00 am, including on Steve Edward's intelligent, informative and entertaining "848," show, which starts every weekday on WBEZ at 9:35 am.

On "Public Affairs," Carlos discusses and debates with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz the Primary Election winners (such as Obama, Jack Ryan, Daley, Houlihan, Emil Jones, Rauschenberger, Oberweis and the Jesse Jacksons) and losers (such as Hynes, Mell, Blagojevich, Andy McKenna, Jr., Kjellander, Team Thompson, Team Edgar, Rush, Gutierrez and Stroger), whether the Democratic Machine and Republican Establishment are dead or just badly wounded, whether Scott Fawell will have a Come to Jesus moment, whether George Ryan should be trying on orange jumpsuits instead of publishers, and much, much more.

We have included, below, the suburban airing schedule of "Public Affairs," and a supplement to the above transcript of our show with Carlos Hernandez-Gomez.

The suburban edition of Public Affairs airs three times each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Winnetka, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire and Riverwoods.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Jeff Berkowitz is Host and Producer of “Public Affairs,” and President of JB Consulting Group, Inc. [A legal search firm].

You can contact Jeff Berkowitz at 312-214-6122 or JBCG@aol.com
Jeff Berkowitz: What is going to happen to [former Governor] George Ryan? He has been indicted. Will he be convicted?

Carlos Hernandez-Gomez: He'll be convicted.

Berkowitz: Will he do some serious hard time?

Hernandez-Gomez: Well, he may not go to trial. If I were George Ryan--

Berkowitz: Scott Fawell--

Hernandez-Gomez: As we tape this, Scott Fawell is going to be arraigned tomorrow [March 19], this may be Scott Fawell's last chance to--Come to Jesus.

Berkowitz: Will Fawell become a witness against his so-called dad, George Ryan?

Hernandez-Gomez: He may have to. He may have to. ..Fawell is in trouble right now. He is serving a 6 1/2 year sentence...

Berkowitz: He doesn't want another one of those.

Hernandez-Gomez: And, it is going to be longer because he has already been convicted [once]. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, that puts him in an extra, higher sentencing category.

Berkowitz: So, he may not wear the shirt for George.

Hernandez-Gomez: He may not.
Hernandez-Gomez: the big loser obviously is Dan Hynes. The problem is- what federal office does Dan Hynes go for now...if he wants to go for statewide office, he has Rod Blagojevich ahead of him...and ahead of him[Hynes] is [AG] Lisa Madigan, and that's a problem.

Berkowitz: So, he has nowhere to go- he can go back to his Comptroller office, but after that there is nowhere to go for the foreseeable future, right?

Hernandez-Gomez: for the foreseeable future, I mean, he could be AG...

Berkowitz: He could be AG?

Gomez: At some point, Lisa Madigan might--

Berkowitz: So, knocking at that door would be Tom Dart who backed out of the last AG primary for Lisa Madigan at the request of the Speaker [Mike Madigan].

Gomez: Speaker Mike Madigan, of course.

Berkowitz: So, Dart postponed it and they let him seek the Treasurer's post, which he really didn't care about and then they didn't give him support, right?

Gomez: ...I would say [they] made him the sacrificial lamb. I mean Judy Baar Topinka was the one Republican officer who really survived the Blagojevich led onslaught in 2002 and Tom Dart really had no chance-

Berkowitz: Because she [Topinka] made some deals with Democrats to support her?

Gomez: Of course, she had [Cong.] Bobby Rush and she had plenty of Democrats supporting her.

Berkowitz: Bobby Rush supported her?

Gomez: Oh, Topinka. Yes, he did.

Berkowitz: So, Rush's motto is, "Let's make a Deal."

Gomez: Everybody's motto in this business is "let's make a deal."

Berkowitz: Well, [Cong.] Rush made a deal with Blair Hull, right? Would you say?

Gomez: That's what one would guess. I would opine that yes, it appeared they probably made some kind of deal.

Berkowitz: His [Rush's] brother was put on the [Hull] staff, right?

Gomez: Blair Hull is a very generous man.

Berkowitz: So, Carol Marin interviewed him [Rush] on Ch. 5 [on the night of the election], so she said to Bobby Rush, "You backed Blair Hull, do you feel like you were on the wrong side of history on this one, that is-- on the Senate nomination of Barack Obama. Cong. Rush said, " Oh no, I feel like I did the right thing, most of the voters in my district agreed with me, I ran even with Barack in most of my district." ...

Gomez: I guess you could... in that sense Rush could have been saying Hull was a surrogate for him [Rush] perhaps.

Berkowitz: So, how did he [Rush] do, Carlos?

Hernandez-Gomez: He didn't do so well. Let's just take one of the wards that is in that [First Cong.] district. Barack got 82 % to Blair Hull's 3.9 %.

Berkowitz: I wouldn't call that even. 82 to 4?

Gomez: No, that's not even.

Berkowitz: And, that's typical of many of the wards in his [Rush's] district?

Gomez: Many of the wards in his district...
Gomez: ... the Hispanic Community is politically divided. You have got the independent faction, which Luis [Gutierrez] was a descendant of and you have the party regulars, with which Gery Chico is much more aligned-- if you remember during Council Wars

Berkowitz: But, Luis is now with the regulars, right? I mean he is joined with [Mayor] Daley. Come on, he is not an independent at this point.

Gomez: Not in the sense that he used to be, of course not.

Berkowitz: Not in any sense, He is Daley's boy.

Gomez: I wouldn't say he is Daley's boy, but I think--

Berkowitz: All right, we like [Cong.] Luis Gutierrez and we want him to come on this show, so Luis, we are just having a little banter back and forth here, don't take this too seriously.
Berkowitz: Stroger's toast, right. Stroger's toast, he's gone. He'll be gone in a year, would you say?

Gomez: I wouldn't say he's gone in a year.

Berkowitz: He is not going to resign? He is going to serve out his term?

Gomez: I see him serving out his term.

Berkowitz: You would predict that?

Gomez: I would predict that.

Berkowitz: Because people are saying he will resign and someone will get appointed President [by the County Board]. Isn't that how it works?

Gomez: I believe.

Berkowitz: Wouldn't they look to put someone like John Daley there as President?

Gomez: I do not think Mayor Daley wants his younger brother in control of the County Board.

Berkowitz: So who is next in line if it is not John Daley?

Gomez: I don't know. It could be if John Stroger were to die today, it might be Todd Stroger, it might be his son.

Berkowitz: Really? they might do that?

Gomez: That's a possibility.

Berkowitz: Certainly not Forrest Claypool. He would want to be there, but the Establishment won't-- well, talking about the Establishment, is the Machine dead? Why are we even talking about it.

Gomez: The machine is not dead.
Hernandez-Gomez: ...This was a race where they proved they could not deliver. You can't read the tea leaves. right now.

Berkowitz: They can't deliver. They just couldn't deliver because why, because Barack is African American and a [good] part of their base, or a [good] part of their machine is Black. They couldn't deliver the Black vote, is that right?

Gomez: Yes, I think that is certainly part of it. Part of it is that Barack Obama is a very appealing candidate. This is a guy who got people to vote for him in white wards [of the city of Chicago] where their parents would never have voted for a Black candidate.

Berkowitz: So, he [Barack Obama] is appealing. So, what you are saying is, the machine can only deliver when it has a mope [for an opponent] ... if you are running against a mope, the machine can deliver...but when you are running against a solid individual, a more than solid individual in Barack Obama, give it up, its not going to happen.

Gomez: But, there was a divide among the machine, Jeff, you have to understand. You had Eddie Burke on the south side backing Gery Chico and you had Dick Mell on the north side backing Blair Hull.

Berkowitz: Yeah, Blair got 10% of the vote, Gery got 5% of the vote--

Gomez: And, you also had a split among labor...

Berkowitz: So, you are saying tonight, on March 18th, the machine is not dead.

Gomez: I would say it is on its last legs. I won't say it is completely dead.

Berkowitz: It is wobbly, but not dead?

Gomez: It is not dead. It is wobbly, that's what I will say.
Berkowitz: Let's go over to the Republicans. Losers on the Republican side, who would they be? There have to be some. [RNC rep. from Illinois] Bob Kjellander, is he a loser?

Gomez: I think Bob Kjellander got a lot of bad-- I mean this whole Bear Stearns, $800,000 dollar commission--

Berkowitz: That may be. Is the Republican Establishment a loser in this race.

Gomez: I think it is somewhat. If you look at the fact that Andy McKenna, Jr. was being courted nearly two years ago to run against Peter Fitzgerald--

Berkowitz: Right, and got a lot of Establishment money [and he spent a few million dollars of his own] and he came up with what, 13% of the vote?

Gomez: And, if you look at his Finance Committee, it was all Team Thompson, Team Edgar.

Berkowitz: So, Rauschenberger would be a winner because he got about 21% of the vote

Gomez: With almost no money and no TV. I mean, he really is [a winner].

Berkowitz: And, Jim Oberweis is a winner because he got about 24 % of the vote and certainly with no support from the Establishment.

Gomez: Yeah, but he spent a lot more money than Steve Rauschenberger.

Berkowitz: He is still a winner. He is a base. He's got a base. You got to have a base to be a power in politics and he's got himself a base, don't you agree.

Gomez: I would say that. But, I would say that as to Steve Rauschenberger, had he had money, he would have been very dangerous in this race.

Berkowitz: Yeah, well, you know-- if we had some ham and we had some eggs, we could have some ham and eggs. Isn't that the saying?

Berkowitz: Well, so the winners in this race: Barack Obama, obviously a big time winner. Emil Jones, a big supporter of Barack's, another big time winner. The Jacksons [Senior and Junior], supporters of Barack, big time winners. Houlihan, he is a winner because so many people are dead from the machine and he doesn't need the machine, he may be a challenger to Lisa Madigan for Governor if that comes up soon. Right?

Gomez: Jim Houlihan?

Berkowitz: Yeah

Gomez: Really?

Berkowitz: You don't think?

Gomez: I have never thought of it, to be honest with you.

Berkowitz: Why is he doing all of this stuff about school financing and all that?
Berkowitz: Any other winners and losers that you want to comment on, here?

Gomez: I think a winner certainly is Jack Ryan. He is certainly a winner. He is someone who really came from the outside without much of an original base, and got out there early, before any of the other Republican candidates were out on TV, and got his attractive person out there, and he has a great story.

Berkowitz: But, what about the sealed records. Let me cut right to the chase, here. Jack does have a great story...if there is no issue of sealed records, this would be one of the most interesting races in the country, if not the most interesting. You have two very articulate individuals running for the Senate-- Barack Obama, on the Democratic side; Jack Ryan, on the Republican side. Jack Ryan, a conservative. Barack Obama, a liberal. So, you have a choice, not an echo, to use an old phrase. But, the question is-- will we see that or will we see the sealed records issue come up and block that, block it from being a race of issues?

Gomez: Well, I don't see Barack Obama as a guy who would make that an issue. But I do think the Tribune is trying to get those records, and those records are going to come out.

Berkowitz: As we speak here on March 18 [in Chicago], next week there will be a hearing, the Chicago Tribune has filed a petition in a California court to open up those records, right?

Gomez: They have indeed.

Berkowitz: So, there is a hearing set and it is a little odd because Bruce Dold, the Tribune Editorial Page editor, talks about what I just said-- this would be a great race, there would be an articulation of issues and wouldn't that be great, and then his paper [ he is a part of it] is out there trying to do what, smut it up.

Gomez: You can't certainly take one reporter and blame them for what their news organization did. I wouldn't go that far. You can't take one reporter and blame them for what their news organization did.

Berkowitz: One reporter? No, I am saying that the Chicago Tribune filed this thing. It is not a reporter. It is the Tribune. Bruce Dold is a part of it. I mean, you either are or you aren't.

Gomez: Yeah, but he is the Editorial page editor. Does he really have authority over the Managing Editor.

Berkowitz: So, it’s those guys, those bad guys, the Publisher? and others who want to smut it up?

Gomez: I am not saying they are bad guys, I mean--

Berkowitz: Okay. So, predicting to the end. How do you see this playing out? Will the records come out? Will they block it from being a [race of policy] issues. What's going to happen here?

Gomez: They are going to come out. One way or the other, they are going to come out.

Berkowitz: And, if they come out, will Jack survive that and will the [race be] a clear articulation of conservative/liberal issues.

Gomez: It depends on what is in those files?

Berkowitz: You don't want to speculate.

Gomez: I don't want to speculate. Let's be fair.
Berkowitz: The issues that will dominate this race...If it is Jack Ryan, as it is and Barack Obama, as it is, give me the two or three issues that will dominate.

Gomez: I say, it has got to be the economy. The Economy, the economy. The economy.

Berkowitz: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs?

Gomez: You are going to have Jack Ryan saying...his three priorities are keeping America safe, good education and good jobs...
Berkowitz: So, you don't see any bias on Ch. 2, Ch. 5, Ch.7, it's all straight coverage?

Gomez: I think the political guys are pretty much fair to everybody...

Berkowitz: Ch. 11, you think they are pretty fair...Is it fair and balanced.

Gomez: I think most of the panels they have are-- when they are talking about a particular issue they normally have a Dem and a Republican...

Berkowitz: Well, we saw the election night coverage [on the major stations]. We saw Corinne Wood who is certainly a notable personality and a frequent guest of "Public Affairs," so we certainly like Corinne and respect her and we saw Jim Edgar [in the election night commentary], long time Governor--but that would be representative of the moderate wing of the Republican Party, what conservatives did you see on TV...Pat O'Malley wasn't there. Joe Morris, the conscience of the Conservatives in Illinois, he wasn't there. You know, this is the problem [of media bias] when you think about it. On Ch. 11, whom do they have as a regular [public affairs] person who is conservative. Do they have one? ...What is the culture at Ch. 11. It is a liberal culture, wouldn't you say?

Gomez: I don't know if it is a liberal culture. I'm there--

Berkowitz: Chicago Public Radio. Is it a liberal culture there? You're there.

Gomez: I don't know if it is a liberal culture.

Berkowitz: When you dine there, do people just as frequently say conservative things as they say liberal things?

Gomez: I think people say a plethora of things.

Berkowitz: Anybody who you could identify as a conservative on Chicago Public Radio?

Gomez: It is not my job to explain someone's ideology and I don't think that's fair or responsible.

Berkowitz: Anyone on National Public Radio who you could identify as a conservative? We have Tavis Smiley-- he's not a conservative, right? We have Jim Lehrer [on PBS], he is not a conservative, right?

Gomez: I don't know Jim Lehrer personally. We've never talked. As a matter of fact, as far as I know, he doesn't vote.

Berkowitz: Okay, so you don't see any bias anywhere?

Hernandez-Gomez: I see some bias in places. I just don't think it is my place to judge other reporters. My job as a reporter is to report and to report the best I can and to inform people as best as I can.

Berkowitz: So, you think you are pretty fair and balanced. You don't have any liberal bias or conservative bias?

Hernandez-Gomez: I don't think I do.
Carlos Hernandez-Gomez, interviewed on Public Affairs, recorded on March 18, 2004, and as is being cablecast this week in 34 Chicago Suburbs. The show will also air throughout the City of Chicago on Monday night, April 5, on Cable Ch. 21 at 8:30 pm.