Showing posts with label Governor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Governor. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Time to ask more questions about Peotone before it's too late!

In the past, CHBlog has been a source of information about the proposed Peotone Airport, a project that has been talked about for nearly a half century.

In recent times though, I've been avoiding the topic. I no longer live in Illinois, and have had little to do with the proposed airport for the past several years. However, I still maintain friendships with people there who remain deeply affected.

I admit that it surprises me that hearing about a resurgence in activity about the proposed Peotone Airport is still jarring. When I lived in Illinois, I was an active participant in the study process. My position--that an airport wasn't needed 40 miles south of the City of Chicago, didn't fit among the farm fields of eastern Will County, and is a project that has never stood on its own merit--has been well known and widely documented.

While there have been developments, they are virtually meaningless rhetoric from  a governor facing a tough re-election, if and until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) actually approves the project for construction. That hasn't happened yet!

English: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn addresses...
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the first of many resurrections of this project took place in 1985. I didn't personally become involved until 1987. It took that long for the private talk among legislative leaders to eke out into the public arena. I suspect Illinois leaders would have liked to keep things quiet a little longer, just so they continue getting all their ducks in a row. They like nothing better than control over the message that ultimately makes it to the public. So sorry that we learned before you were ready.

Controlling the message! That is how Illinois leaders in Springfield do things. In their zeal to control what the public perceives, elected officials rarely pay attention to public input. In the case of the Peotone Airport, they have long stifled public input whenever possible.

I am reminded of this practice by recent activity in the Chicago Tribune. An editorial was written to send the message that the next governor of Illinois is on notice. Forty-seven years is long enough to keep a project on the back burner. Whether the next governor is Pat Quinn or Bruce Rauner, it is time to put up or shut up. Either get on with building it or kill it once and for all. This message too is a repeated incantation spoken throughout the years. It is difficult though for anything to be new about this project since it has been around so long.

In response to the Chicago Tribune, my long-time friend Bob Heuer, reiterates the paper's call for a decision by the next Illinois governor. He also drives home my point about local input when he says, "The Springfield bureaucracy's heavy-handed tactics combines deep pockets, fuzzy math and an arrogant disregard for on-the-ground reality." He goes on to point out that a resolution passed by local governments and organizations to study reasonable alternatives to the airport has gone virtually unnoticed.

I concur with Heuer's call to the next Governor of Illinois to stop simply taking IDOT's word for it that thousands of jobs and economic potential lies just around the corner. IDOT should be scrutinized just like a con artist waiting for his next victim.

Heuer has given permission to print his letter. It follows:

Making an informed decision about an airport at Peotone

In “Knock-knock. It’s Peotone again,” (Aug. 26) the Tribune editorial board encourages the winner of November’s gubernatorial election to either go full throttle” on building a new airport in the eastern Will County countryside “or ground the issue once and for all.”

Our next governor can be sure of one thing: He won’t be able to make an informed decision based on analysis from the Illinois Department of Transportation. In recent decades, IDOT has spent tens of millions of dollars to engineer a consensus for the so-called “third” commercial airport in a tri-state region that isn’t fully utilizing the five we already have.

The Springfield bureaucracy’s heavy-handed tactics combines deep pockets, fuzzy math and an arrogant disregard for on-the-ground reality.

One example is a 2005 resolution adopted by a half dozen units of local government, the Will County Farm Bureau, and community group Shut This Airport Nightmare Down. Nine years ago, IDOT ignored the Peotone community's reasonable demand for an “independent study” of all viable alternatives.

IDOT never wavers from its agenda, which includes pummeling anybody obstructing Springfield's goal of seizing all of the land in the so-called airport “footprint.” Next month, IDOT will choreograph a Peotone forum which the Tribune recognizes as Gov. Quinn's attempt to “create a pre-election sense of inevitability for the airport development, as he has tried to do for the Illiana” toll road.

Our next governor owes the people of Illinois what the people of eastern Will County asked for in 2005. Is it too much to expect our governor to demand a legitimate analysis of “airport-related costs and benefits based on various scenarios, including an assumption that a Peotone airport would attract no daily commercial passenger service for many years, if ever?”

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jury still out on Blogojevich case

Illinois Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich looks just as dapper today as he did when this picture was taken in 2003 while he was still Illinois' governor. He made an appearance at Union Station in Joliet, IL to speak to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

Today, Blagojevich awaits a verdict by a jury of his peers after weeks of testimony was delivered in a federal court room in Chicago. Blagojevich stands accused of 24 charges, including racketeering for allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he won the Presidential election.

It is amazing that a man who is accused of acting in his own best interests over and above the very people he was supposed to represent, can still appear as cool as Blagojevich does during television appearances and in interviews.
At the time I took these photos, I was one of the people Blagojevich was supposed to represent, though I didn't feel very adequately represented.

I was among a small group at Union Station that afternoon, in an effort to lobby, and I use that term very loosely, against the state's plan to build a new airport, the South Suburban Airport, near the small town of Peotone, some 40 miles south of Chicago.

We did get noticed, thanks to the adoreable C.J. Ogalla, shown at right, who was just 7 at the time. She wrote a letter to Blagojevich. It was heartfelt and touching as it echoed the feelings her mother has expressed for years.

C.J. lives with her family on a working farm near where they want to build the airport. Her mother Judy has been an avid fighter for a long time, vowing she and her husband will never give up their family farm for a project that isn't needed. Blagojevich continued to support the airport while in office.

Blagojevich's latest criticism stems from the fact that he brought his daughters into the courtroom. Why not, he has consistency claimed he is innocent? It is not odd that he would want his family by his side to show their support for him. Besides, it would look good to members of the jury. And looking good is what Gov. Rod is all about.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Community leaders invite Gov. Pat Quinn to Eastern Will County

Current headlines scream "economic decline." The airline industry reports projected losses at $4.7 billion this year. They face losses greater than those experienced after Sept. 11, 2001. Fewer people and less cargo are filling Chicago airport terminals.

So why then would Gov. Patrick Quinn choose to pour another $100 million into buying land for a new airport in eastern Will County, near Peotone? The state has already spent millions of Illinois tax dollars on public relations work, coercing local governments into diluting their opposition and spreading misinformation, all in the name of a planning process to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

Local governments in eastern Will County have signed a resolution calling for the state to cease all land acquisition and threats of eminent domain until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues a final record of decision on the necessity and viability of the proposed Peotone airport. There is a regional consensus that land should not be purchased for a project that has not received federal approval, as was done with O'Hare expansion.

 "We demand no less than what was afforded O'Hare neighbors by the City of Chicago," said Brian Cann Supervisor of Will Township. "Those of us who live in eastern Will County demand to know why the state persists in this folly," Cann said. "For decades, our lives have been disrupted. We have undergone harassment and intimidation by the state and its agents. Nearly every governor since Richard Ogilvie in 1968 has chattered about building a new airport south of Chicago. But it hasn't happened because it just isn't a good idea."

"Enough is enough. It is time for Gov. Pat Quinn to finally Shut This Airport Nightmare Down," says George Ochsenfeld, president of STAND, a citizen’s group of over 5000 members. Ochsenfeld and Cann want Quinn to visit eastern Will County — to see why building another airport is a bad idea. They would like to show Quinn that an airport just doesn't fit into eastern Will County's rural landscape.

The truth is there are far better alternatives and less costly solutions. Use what already exists before building what would amount to a sixth (not third) Chicago area airport. Studies have never examined the efficiency of using a combination of O'Hare and Midway, with the region's three under-used supplemental airports that already exist — Gary/Chicago, Chicago/Rockford, and Mitchell in Milwaukee. Another alternative to a new airport that hasn't been studied was recently articulated by President Barack Obama — high speed rail — which would offer a competitive alternative to flying.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't buy George Ryan's apology

Isn't it interesting that George Ryan has now apologized for his crimes against the people of Illinois? I may be living in another state now, but I was an Illinois resident and taxpayer during Ryan's tenure as Illinois governor. Weren't we foolish not to elect Glenn Poshard?

Like most Illinoisans, I am also very much opposed to the release of George Ryan for any circumstances. I reiterate — from a commentary I wrote for the local paper — George Ryan's sentence should stand.

Despite what former Gov. Jim Thompson says, and who would ever question his judgement, I can't believe Ryan has had a change of heart, or a anything remotely related to such a human component. There is however, what Ryan is all about, the political component — the save your own ass component — of potentially winning a commutation of Ryan's sentence. Perhaps a public apology was a requirement for consideration by President Bush. But the timing becomes interesting in light of the recent arrest of the current governor. Perhaps 'the apology' was in the works already and the political train en route to Ryan's freedom, was already moving. I would say that any president who would let Ryan out of jail would be a fool, but there really is no point in speculating further on that thought.

I will never forget my own dealings with Ryan. Arrogant isn't enough to describe him. From my observance, seeing "the look" from George Ryan conjured up thoughts of snakes coming out of his head because "the look" could almost turn you to stone. I recall a press conference where I asked him a question. Instead of an intelligent answer, I got "the look." And this was not an isolated event. I disagreed with George Ryan. Simply, he didn't like people who disagreed with him.