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Blago bloviation: Big talk for a little man

For a guy who is risking the success of the Legislature's transit funding solution with his insistence on free rides for seniors, he likes to talk big:

"If you are a senior citizen in Chicago, there are some dark clouds all over, dark clouds hovering over your head. Well, I've got good news for you," Blagojevich said. "If the lawmakers approve my bailout of the CTA by giving to our senior citizens free public transportation, then those dark clouds are going to roll away. The sun is going to shine. You can get on the Red Line and everything will be just fine."

"My bailout."

WTF?!? Is he nuts? Why yes, it appears he truly is. Self delusional if nothing else.

At least Daley had it right in his criticism of Blago on Saturday:

"Now we have people with disabilities saying 'We want it,' and we have students saying 'We want it,'" Daley said.  The governor should have spoken up earlier. Now, Daley said there's no guarantee the general assembly will again pass a bill, which, as it was last week, passed by just a handful of votes. "All this just puts everything up in the air for another week, which is really unfortunate," Daley said.

Meanwhile, probably the best dissing of the Gov came from his buddy Mike Madigan: "I congratulate the governor for breaking his campaign promise." Ouch.

Rod fired back that Madigan was old enough to take advantage of the free rides for seniors.

Finally, CTA Prez Ron Huberman warned that fare hikes may be needed in 2009 to pay for the fare break that Blago wants to give senior citizens.



I wonder if Blagojevich has anyone advising him anymore at all. Perhaps he has gone so insane that he has fired all his staff. Everything he says makes him look worse and worse. I don't think there is one person who will read about his comments at Meeks's church and then have a more positive opinion about him afterwards. I was laughing hysterically while reading that Tribune article because he seems like such a mentalcase. His comments were bizarre, patronizing, and not based the slightest bit in reality. And him mentioning that Madigan is eligible for free rides is such as stupid PR move. It just completely underscores the obvious reality that this benefits a huge amount of people who don't need it. He does every single thing for political reasons but he is a horrible politician (at least he has been lately, somehow his bulls--- got him elected twice).

Yes, all you seniors -- climb up the urine-scented, falling down stairs, holding tight to the chipped paint of the banister, all the way up to the rickety, warped wood of the L platform on a northern Red Line Stop, and bask in the brisk February breeze for 45 minutes (or so -- who's counting?) until the train shows up to whisk you off at 15 dreamlike mph. Your worries are over! After all, it's free; what more could anyone want?

Oh, G-Rod, what color are the skies in your world?

Worst governor in the history of Illinois.

Anyone get this email from Blagojevich. Absolutely infuriating...

I want to thank you for doing your part to help save mass transit. You and thousands of others sent emails, postcards and video messages to lawmakers this week urging them to pass a bill that provides a long-term solution for mass transit and end the constant threat of doomsday fare hikes, service cuts and lay offs at the CTA.
Congratulations – you were successful. On Thursday, the House and Senate passed a transit bill sponsored by State Representative Julie Hamos that would provide funding to the CTA, Metra and Pace. It’s not the bill that I supported, it relies in part on a .25% increase in the sales tax in Chicago and the surrounding counties. But I said yesterday that I will improve it to protect seniors from the impact of that sales tax increase passed by lawmakers. My changes will make sure seniors across the state will be able to use public transportation for free on fixed routes and main lines. A senior who uses public transportation twice a week could save $176 a year on CTA fares, $156 a year on Pace fares and $405 a year on Metra fares.
But our work is not done.
Lawmakers will now have to vote next week to approve these important changes. That means they have to quickly return to Springfield and cast their vote to ensure an end to transit doomsday and to protect seniors from their sales tax increase.
Join me in this fight – Send a message to your legislators telling them to accept these improvements by visiting www.illinois.gov and filling out the online form.
Thank you for your hard work.
Rod R. Blagojevich

i've heard rumours that more Doomsday scenarios will come and go until the federal government steps in and funds mass transit in chicago. why the feds? so chicago will have a better shot at getting the olympics. one thing is for certain, if the CTA shuts down for even half an hour, we can all wave Chicago's hosting hopes bye bye.

I don't have an objection to a moderate fare increase. I do have a major beef with Blago's last minute revisions and especially with his current peacock preening.

And I have minor objections to the free fare plan. I don't think it should be an age-based benefit. I think it should be tied to financial status. Cause there's no logical reason that my bosses should be riding for free just cause they're old. {snark} And why should the disabled and the truly low-income needy be locked out of the program?

So now I'm torn. I want the legislature to reject Blago's changes, but at the same time I don't want to lose every single possible direct bus I can take to my office come Monday. If nothing else, it's too blasted cold to walk two miles each way!

I've lived in Chicago now for almost 8 years...CTA was once something to be very proud of....now, I'm not so sure.

I have no problem with the FARES being raised if the SERVICE is improved.

Hats off to Ron Huberman for taking on such a monstrous task...if anyone can get this bloated system adjusted, it will be Mr Huberman.

Increase the FARES...but IMPROVE the SERVICE also.

Don't do one without the other.

I've emailed my state senator and rep that whichever way they vote on the bill this week is fine with me. I'm ready for Doomsday if they want to stand up to Blagojevich and his sudden grandstanding.

The guy is like every bad boss I've ever had. Do none of the work, and take all the credit.

What a moron.

Blago's response to Daley: "Maybe he needs to come to the House of Hope and have a little hope, 'cause I have high hopes for lawmakers."

Just how much hope can one sentence contain? Blago's so obviously lazy that he's recycling Obama's messages because they appear to work. Next we'll see Blago advocating change...

Surely even in our sorry excuse for a state, there's a law somewhere that provides recall for a clinically insane governor.

He's gone completely insane. Completely. I've rarely in my life read such other tripe. "If you are a senior citizen in Chicago, there are some dark clouds all over, dark clouds hovering over your head." Um, I'm 26 and I have serious financial problems. Where's my free ride? I struggle from day to day to make ends meet, but I still pay my $75 to the CTA to ride every month. Where is the Governor getting this nonsense?

I think free rides for seniors citizens is great. Many many many of them are housebound by not being able to go anywhere due to the expense of transit, which is a luxury on a fixed income (my grandmother barely got by on social security, a small union pension and the percentage she got from my grandfathers pension after he died). That said, it really shouldn't be tied to the initial financing of the CTA. And Blowdryavitch's cozying up to notorious homophobe meeks isn't exactly confidence inspiring.

Do people seriously think that the system is bloated?

Is this next week's sound bite?

"CTA cuts bus routes, due to 'Seniors Ride Free' program"

Quotes of Governor B. would make up most of the story. Quotes from legislators such as "...we sent him a bill, but the governor decided to make 'unilateral' changes instead of signing a solution and ending this mess...."

I know snow doesn't make sound, but I still hear a political blizzard coming...and the governor is the first to get buried.

(P.S. Note for Homeland Security - that is, buried by the snow)

The insane villans in the campiest of all movies don't hold a candle to Blago's insane ramblings.

But at lest the insane villians in those movies are fiction, and at most I'm out the cost of a movie ticket.

Toss in a bunch of petty downstate lagislators who are too stupid to understand how their constituants are supported by the Chicago economy that would colapse without mass transit, and what we're looking at could be disasterous for so many, many people. It would be instant economic depression without out even stopping at recession.

Anyone who voted for Blago should be ashamed of themselves.

All the political power in the world isn't going to save us from this lunitic. Certainly he's demonstrated that he's a danger to others, and meets the criteria for an involuntary commitment.

Who's in charge if the governer is incapacitated because of his (mental) health?

Reading the gov's comments in print has him sounding bizarre, but did you actually hear him on the radio/tv? He sounds disturbingly unbalanced. I can't believe that this is the leadership that Illinois and the 3rd largest city in the nation have to put up with.

Rod doesn't seem to know that the suburbs exist. The collar counties hate this bill because they feel like they pay sales tax to RTA and don't get much for it. For him to tack on a "gift" for people who already have public transportation -- mainly chicagoans -- while ignoring the unserved suburban areas ... well, he does so at his peril.

A year ago, friends & neighbors thought I was the crazy one when I said Blago was seriously mentally ill.
All those people now agree with me.

Actually, the collar counties' transit service is subsidized by suburban Cook county, the only constituency that can legitimately say they aren't getting back what they put in. The level of transit service in DuPage and Lake counties is far higher than the pathetic .25% sales tax those residents pay.

Hopefully Republicans and Democrats alike will vote to override the amendatory veto.

Even if one is opposed to the original bill, as most Republicans were, surely most legislators would agree that the original bill is better than the "amended" version put forth by the governor.

If that fails, the bills supporters should approve the amended version - it's better than letting service cuts and fare increases go into effect on January 20.

But if Democrats and Republicans can focus clearly on the question at hand and not let their initial opposition to the bill blind them, there is no reason why the amendatory veto can't be overriden.

After that, I think it would be wonderful if the legislature debated a reduced fare program based on financial need. But age is not an accurate predictor of financial need, and last minute grandstanding is not the way to make sound public policy.

FYI, you can still use the "Save Chicago Transit" button on the CTA's website to urge legislators to override the veto.

I highly recommend it.

I wasn't saying that the collar counties didn't get what they paid for in a global sense, but each person does pay .25% for public transportation in the collar counties and each does not have access to public transportation. I believe that the RTA sales tax should be raised to 1% across the board, but that it should be premised on universal coverage of dial a ride for seniors and people with disabilities who can't drive. Cook county does subsidize the collar counties, and also does not have complete, comprehensive dial a ride service for the people who need it. They (we!) should also be agitating for it. What I was pointing out was that Blago poked a stick in the eye of those who don't love the program already and may already be inclined not to vote for a tax increase the second time around. Bad move.

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