Saturday, June 19, 2004

Updated June 19, 2004, 10:23 pm.

Connecting the Dots: Curtis to Hamos to Jeff Schoenberg to Lee Daniels to Speaker Mike to Justice Greiman to Hot Rod to Dart to Lisa to RFK to Schmidt to Vallas to Daley to Hynes to Emil to Jack to Danny to the liberalstream media to "Public Affairs,"-- the wonder of pols and connections.

Republican Julianne Curtis “takes on,” Democratic State Rep. Julie Hamos and as usual, you can’t understand political races (AG, Gov, Comptroller, 2nd Cong. Dist. and the 18th Dist.) in Illinois, even on the North Shore, unless you understand it’s, “All in the Family.” Please read on.

The week after this coming week's (Week of June 28) suburban edition of "Public Affairs," features Julianne Curtis (R- Wilmette), Candidate for 18th District State Rep., debating and discussing with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz whether the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, co-sponsored by Curtis’ opponent, Democratic incumbent Julie Hamos (D- Evanston) is an appropriate and sound public policy. Other topics debated and discussed include gun control, background checks, an assault weapon ban, abortion, parental consent, same sex marriages, civil unions, legislation banning housing or employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, the impact of minimum wage differentials across states, the business climate in Illinois and tort reform/pain and suffering damage caps.

Hamos is a six year incumbent, but only two years of that time have been spent representing the 18th District under the 2002 re-districted boundaries. The 18th District currently includes a small portion of Rogers Park, all of Evanston and Kenilworth, east Wilmette, most of Winnetka and a small portion of Glencoe- what Rep. Hamos likes to call a “regional district,” due to its combination of 95,000 North Shore Suburbanites [if Evanston counts as North Shore, or a suburb] with 10,000 residents of the City of Chicago.

In the early 1990s, the district that has become the 18th was fairly evenly split between Ds and Rs and included the Northern portion of Evanston. During the 1990s, Jeff Schoenberg, a strong Democratic candidate and campaigner, beat a series of weak Republican candidates, and the District became increasingly Democratic, with the numbers generally running 60-40 by the end of the decade. This numerical Democratic advantage reflected (1) the fact that Lee Daniels, when the Rs won the redistricting coin toss, had sliced the District too thin for his Party, (2) the growing strength of then State Rep. Jeff Schoenberg, (3) the changing demographics and the infusion of Democrats into the North Shore and (4) the cumulative impact of a string of weak Republican state rep. candidates in that District.

Then, adding to the above, the new 18th was made even more Democratic in 2002 by Illinois House Speaker and Illinois Democratic State Party Chairman Mike Madigan and his [and his staff’s] skillful line drawing when the Democrats won the coin toss. Speaker Mike, of course, knows Rep. Hamos’ now husband, who is now Appellate Justice Greiman, pretty well, going back to when Justice Greiman was himself a state Rep. and an Assistant Majority Leader in the House under Speaker Mike. In Illinois, political activism seems to be a prerequisite for becoming a judge in the state court system, especially in the Democratic Party- although the Rs may be no slouches in this area, too. Anyway, if you are a state Rep., it always helps to have friends in high places when it comes time to draw new district boundaries. And, they come no higher in Illinois than Speaker Mike. As Hot Rod is learning.

BTW, the strong relationship between the Illinois Supreme Court, the Democratic Party and trial lawyers explains why, of course, caps on “pain and suffering damages, “are unconstitutional,” in Illinois.

So, to close out the story of the evolution of the 18th Dist. Into very safe D territory, the Democrats’ decision to modify the 18th from including part to almost all of the People’s Republic of Evanston in the 18th meant that it would be unlikely that a Republican would win the 18th in this decade (Julie Hamos’ old district included the southern portion of Evanston). In 2002, State Rep. Julie Hamos beat her Republican opponent, James O’Hara, 71% to 29 %.

Also, in 2002, State Rep. Jeff Schoenberg wanted to run for State Treasurer. Democratic State Rep. Tom Dart wanted to run for Attorney General. Speaker Mike wanted to clear the field for his daughter, Lisa Madigan, then a 4 year state senator and all of 8 years out of law school, to run for AG. As JFK said in defense of making Robert F. Kennedy his AG, they needed to beef up his resume. So, too, with Lisa. Thus, Tom Dart was “given,’ the opportunity of a clear primary for Treasurer. An offer he couldn’t refuse, so to speak. Of course, to clear the Treasurer’s D primary for Dart, a very safe State Senate seat, the 9th, had to be created for Schoenberg. No problem. Indeed, in 2002, Schoenberg ended up not having a Republican opponent, which is a story unto itself.

Of course, John Schmidt, who started to run for Governor in the Democratic Primary, reversed direction and ran for AG in the Primary, spoiling the Speaker’s plans a bit. Lisa did win handily, but it did require some muscle by the Speaker, which the press noted, and the Speaker retaliated by boycotting the press, which takes us to the present spat between Rod and Emil on the one hand and the Speaker, on the other. Since the Speaker needs the press now, it looks like the boycott may be over. Of course, if the Speaker can undermine Rod, then he and a press that will increasingly admire Lisa can help her become Governor—and, finally, the Speaker can rest his tired muscles.

So, boys and girls, I leave you with this. If you want to understand why Lisa Madigan [and not John Schmidt] is Attorney General and perhaps the next Governor, why Rod [Mell] Blagojevich [and not Paul Vallas] is the current Governor, why Richard M. Daley is Mayor, why Dan Hynes is Comptroller, why Jesse Jackson [and not now State Senate President and, 23 year state legislator in 1995, Emil Jones] is the Congressman from the 2nd District and why Julie Hamos, a strong candidate and campaigner in her own right, can be expected to win the 18th pretty handily- just remember, "if you don’t have Family, you don't have anything."

And the mainstream, I mean, liberalstream media and bloggers are now busy obsessing on what terrible people are Jack Ryan and Cong. Danny Davis, while many of the above referenced nepotism pols are lionized. Sometimes it is good not to be a part of the “in-crowd.” But, not being mean-spirited, a Happy Father's Day from "Public Affairs," to Mike, Tom, Dick, Richie, Jesse and all the rest.

The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

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.

The show with Republican state rep. candidate Julianne Curtis will also air through-out the City of Chicago on Monday night, July 5 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21