Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fed Up?

I appreciate the e-mails asking me about my lack of blogging, and rather than make excuses for my long-term lack of blogging motivation, let me just try to get back into the swing of things. To facilitate the process, in the short run, I may stick to some short form entries aimed at putting some topics out there in order to at least try to prompt some thought and/or discussion.

I had said initially that the intention of this blog was not solely to be a forum for me to post my thoughts, but rather a place where I could try to give a perspective from the point of view of an elected official.

One of the reasons that my posting has been so scarce of late is that the majority of 'political' news has really focused on scandals, allegations and investigations. And since I don't want to tread in the waters of speculation and/or piling on, I have decided to stay away from this fray.

So rather than get into the individual merits or ramifications of any particular investigation, let's try to look at the issue globally. It is literally impossible to take in the local news on any given day without being buffetted by stories about the actions of the U.S. Attorney's office.

In fact, Federal agents are spending so much time going in and out of government offices these days, they shouldn't need warrants, they should get timecards.

And while all of this activity should help foster needed housecleaning (one way or another), it 's a sad statement about the state of local politics. One thing that it has done however is given the media ample material with which to work, and woken them from their tacit acceptance of business as usual. Gone are the days when a story that would chase an administration out of office in other cities or states merits only p.27 coverage in the local press. These days, the media seems emboldened to break the next big story and stay on the story until fruition (or conviction, whichever comes first). Whether this is a make-up attitude from the late start on the License for Bribes story is tough to determine, but I think that this new media vigilance is here to stay.

What is difficult to determine is what the impact of all of these actions will be on the electorate. It can essentially break one of two ways. Voters can toss up their collective hands out of apathy or cynicsm, or they can decide that they have had enough and use the power of their vote to effect change. Now I realize that, in some races, voters may feel that there is no real difference, and as such, not vote in certain races. But that mentality should not be used as an excuse to forego voting altogether in November or in the municipal elections next February.

Personally, I think that even mildly informed voters will see these two cycles as a unique opportunity to shake up the status quo and try to make their voice heard. That being said, it is still disheartening that the amount of campaign discussion cycle after cycle that is dedicated to corruption related topics drowns out so many other issues (education funding, healthcare, economic development, etc.) that the candidates should really be focused on.

So what say you, do all of these goings on help or hurt upcoming turnout?

9 Comments:

At September 27, 2006 at 3:30 PM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

John wrote:

"That being said, it is still disheartening that the amount of campaign discussion cycle after cycle that is dedicated to corruption related topics drowns out so many other issues (education funding, healthcare, economic development, etc.0 that the candidates should really be focused on.

EW:

John, how can you imply that corruption isn't linked to each and every one of those issues?!

How can Teacher's contracts be with held from the public until after the purchased board votes?

That's corruption.

Health care? Let's talk about the Hospital Board and Mr. Levine.

Pensions. How about donations before you can manage funds.

Economic Development. Why do business in a state where many forms of shakedowns are legalized?

Name an Illinois issue, and corruption (both legal and illegal) impacts it. It is a cancer that has metastized into every nook and cranny of Illinois government.

Disagree? Any and all can debate me on this every day from 10:00-Noon at www.wkrs.com (NOW STREAMING!)

 
At September 27, 2006 at 3:49 PM, Anonymous Patrick La Salle said...

John unfortunately I think you being a politician you missed the point completely. Its not that corruption and scandal drowns out real subjects that candidates should be focused on its corruption itself that will never let these issues be solved or addressed efficiently and properly. So corruption and scandal is the only issue that should be addressed aggressively right now . When we dent that then the real issues that we the tax payers sent you our elected officials to solve should be addressed. Also remember corruption and scandal only occurrs when you and our other elected officials allow it or succumb to it.

Patrick La Salle

 
At September 27, 2006 at 4:44 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Patrick,

Perhaps you stated better what I was trying to say. I'm not saying that the corruption issue should not be at the forefront, I am maintaining that it must be addressed and fixed so that we can focus on what our real priorities should be. I think that we are in agreement on this point, but I just didn't articulate it as well as I should have.

Bruno, I think that the above addresses your valid points as well. The other thing that addresses your argument is HB4073, my bill (along with Rep. Black and Sens. Dillard and del Valle) that would end pay to play in Illinois.

 
At September 27, 2006 at 8:30 PM, Anonymous Former Minion said...

Rep. Fritchey,

Love the play on words in the title, didn't catch it at first.

And interestingly, I think that all of the investigations are going to keep people away from the polls in November, but I think that Chicago voters smell opportunity in the air, and throw in a contested mayoral race, and I think that we are going to have a big turnout and a LOT of new faces.

 
At September 27, 2006 at 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

welcome back. good stuff. i say that voters have had enough and will come out and vote. they may be voting against somebody not for somebody, but they will vote.

 
At September 27, 2006 at 10:46 PM, Anonymous S2 said...

Good topic Rep., you've been missed. It seems the question is whether voters have reached the tipping point where apathy turns into rage.

I agree with the previous post, for some inexplicable reason, we don't seem to be there at the state level.

The City may be another story, mainly because you have voter unhappiness coupled with the perception that many of the organizations are vulnerable which in turn means that challengers have a chance to fight on a more level playing field.

 
At September 28, 2006 at 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the state level, many voters feel like they don't have a real choice, and for good reason. And the down ballot races aren't enough by themselves to get people to the polls. I would predict low turnout in November.

 
At September 29, 2006 at 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The track record of voters at punishing the corrupt around here is dismal. It's something that I don't entirely understand. But it does seem clear that corrupt politicians are receiving aid and comfort from their democratic machine party brethren. You party leaders have been in bed with complete sleaze. You should be cleaning house, not the FBI.

 
At September 29, 2006 at 2:59 PM, Anonymous kingpin10 said...

John I am not familiar with your record but from your blog you seem like a standup guy. How do you and other politicians let these guys slide who won't stand up to supporting real anti-corruption bills? I know there is probably alot of party pressure to look the other way when its your guy but as a "public servant" how can you and others not call more people to the mat when corruption is so evident? Also how can we believe self policing is good policy when the only people breaking corruption scandal is newspaper reporters?

Patrick La Salle

 

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