Monday, June 27, 2005

Rep. Hamos on TV: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” features State Rep. Julie Hamos [D-Evanston, 18th Dist]. The show airs throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] tonight at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.
State Rep. Julie Hamos debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz drinking Speaker Mike Madigan’s Kool-Aid, pension legislation and reform; the state budget and taxes, Gov. Blagojevich, Rep. Jack Franks, education and affordable housing; CTA state subsidies-- the RTA, Metra, Pace, and mass transit reform; Medical Mal-Practice damage award caps, gaming, guns, mandatory minimum jail time for multiple sexual assaults and much, much more.
See here, and below, for partial transcripts of tonight’s show. This week’s guest on the suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” and next week’s guest on the City of Chicago Edition of “Public Affairs,” is State Senator and 6th Cong. Dist. candidate Carole Pankau [R-Itasca]. See conclusion of the post, here, for a detailed description of the “Public Affairs,” suburban airing schedule.
Jeff Berkowitz: Let’s go over to something that has come up in the news recently with sexual abuse [oops, meant to say sexual assault]…

Rep. Julie Hamos: We have a lot of laws on sexual—

Berkowitz: We have this case in Libertyville. This guy’s convicted three times [two sexual assaults and one assault]. The third time he gets eight years, and he gets out in four years for good behavior [and is now accused of a recent rape and attempted murder] . How can that make sense? Shouldn’t there be a mandatory sentence?

Rep. Julie Hamos: It doesn’t make sense.

Berkowitz: Three times, sexual assault…you are going to do serious time, like 25 years- and no time off for good behavior—what do you say?

Rep. Julie Hamos: Fine.

Berkowitz: You would support that?

Rep. Julie Hamos: Sure. I would support serious—I mean we already have a lot of laws on the books, so we don’t know what happened in this case. And under Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s leadership, we also have lifetime supervision for all sexual offenders, so—

Berkowitz: If she looks at this and says you folks should pass stronger laws—
Jeff Berkowitz: …one big aspect of that [resolving the budget issues] was getting a deal on pensions and as you said… Speaker Mike Madigan has been walking around for the last two years, lecturing his representatives on pensions and what should be done, and you said--you drank the Kool-Aid.

Rep. Julie Hamos: I did.

Berkowitz: And that’s the name of tonight’s show—the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test…everybody should remember that as a book written by Ken Kesey back in the 50s [Oops, meant to say written about Ken Kesey and the merry pranksters; Of course, it was written by Tom Wolfe] —

Rep. Julie Hamos: For us old-timers, anyway.

Berkowitz: The man [Ken Kesey] who wrote “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and much, much more, and of course got there by testing hallucinogens [taking LSD, aka acid] on the government’s dime… So, you drank the Kool Aid [served up by] Speaker Mike Madigan and then what happened, Speaker Mike came over to you and said, essentially --Forget it. You shouldn’t have been drinking that Kool-Aid, I was wrong.

Rep. Julie Hamos: Well, it was a little ironic, I thought…He [Speaker Mike] walks around the floor and says-- I am going to stand tall and say, we can’t do this-- keep underfunding pensions].
Rep. Julie Hamos: ….as a result of doing some reforms, we [they?] thought it was okay to take, between this year and next year, 2.3 billion dollars that we were supposed to pay into the pension system—and we are not going to pay that [into the pension system], we are going to spend that. And, I had a problem with that. [Rep. Hamos and Rep. Joyce were the only two members of Speaker Mike’s Democratic house caucus voting against the pension bill and they joined all of the members of House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ caucus in doing so. State Rep. John Fritchey, after voting for the pension bill, subsequently apologized on television for doing so].

Berkowitz: Kind of a “pension holiday.”

Rep. Julie Hamos: Kind of a pension holiday and the Speaker actually called it a pension holiday.

Berkowitz: He did.

Rep. Julie Hamos: Now, it’s not really [a pension holiday] because we are just paying less into the system than we are supposed to, but I really had a problem with that and I felt we could do better.

Berkowitz: So, in a sense, you paid about a billion less this year [into the pension system] than you perhaps should have, right.
Berkowitz: What about reform [at CTA]?

Rep. Julie Hamos: As we move ahead, we are going to need new revenue—

Berkowitz: Is Chicago ready for reform, is Illinois ready for reform? You know, Bruce Dold [Chicago Tribune Editorial Page Editor] has been writing [even going back to former RTA Chairman Tom McCracken and maybe to Jim Riley [who has been involved in this previously and is now the new RTA Chairman] ] that there are more efficient ways to run things—the CTA could auction off some bus routes, they could privatize some things, they could make it more efficient.

Rep. Julie Hamos: That’s up to the RTA—

Berkowitz: But none of that is happening.
Berkowitz: Is it time for Frank Kruesi [Head of the CTA] to go?

Rep. Julie Hamos: No, I don’t think so.

Berkowitz: You support Frank?

Rep. Julie Hamos: Oh, sure.

Berkowitz: You don’t think he is a problem there?

Rep. Julie Hamos: No, I think this is not about personalities.

Berkowitz: You think he has done enough reform?

Rep. Julie Hamos: No, but I think he has done a good job of making the CTA into a much better system thant the one he inherited.

Berkowitz: Could he do more to bring about reform?

Rep. Julie Hamos: Sure, and so could Metra and Pace, by the way. So, I hope the new RTA leader [Jim Riley] will do that.
State Rep. Julie Hamos [D-Evanston, 18th Dist], recorded on June 12, 2005 and as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21[CANTV].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at