Thursday, April 26, 2007

This weeks column, comcast show and more

This week's print column in the Southwest News-Herald examines how the April 17 regional elections in Chicago and the suburbs might impact two upcoming congressional races. Cong. Luis Gutierrez is expected to retire this term, opening the door to a battle for his succession between Chicago Ald. Rick Munoz, the favorite, and Chicago Ald. Danny Solis. Solis is Mayor Daley's man in the Hispanic community and City Council. Solis backed Daley in the fight to reject the Big Box ordinance, and Munoz backed the ordinance which would have required big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target and others to slowly start paying a decent minimum wage to their employees.

The Mayor opposed the bill. Big labor backed the bill and fought aldermen who backed Daley. Big Labor won nearly a dozen of the run-off elections proving that Big Labor does speak for the grass roots voters. That gives Munoz a running lead in the congressional race.

In the neighboring 3rd Congressional District, I call "Sleepy Hollow" where mediocre passes for activism, Dan Lipinski, who was handpicked by his popular father, William Lipinski, to succeed him once Bill managed to win the primary and prevent other Democrats from contending. He waited to the last minute to step down so that even the Republicans couldn't plan a serious challenge.

Since being elected, Dan Lipinski has been quiet, addressing some staple district issues but not much more, and avoiding the controversial issues. Dan is a good person. Just not a very aggressive congressman like his dad who was adept at political maneuvering.

Dan Lipinski has faced some tough challenges and it is only going to get tougher for him, given his and his father's role int he mudslinging that took place in Oak Lawn's 1st District between Jerry Hurckes, Lipinski's chief of staff, and Kurt Madey, a progressive who offered new ideas and some fresh air. Madey backs reform mayor Dave Heilmann. Hurckes represents the old ways. Hurckes won with a 2 to 1 margin over the outspent Madey. And he did so using the precinct captains who work in the 23rd Ward and for Dan Lipinski. They were out there in force. I saw many of them crawling through the district like termites.

Although Hurckes won the district, a small area of Oak Lawn, that popularity doesn't extend to the rest of the village, which is a cornerstone of Lipinski's 3rd District. The animosity and ugliness of the race will only move more Oak Lawn voters to consider voting for someone else besides Lipinski when he runs for re-election in the Spring.

The congressional primaries will probably start in February 2008, rather than in March, under legislation introduced by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who is doing this to help give U.S. Senator Barack Obama an equal footing in the presidential primaries next year. But it means congressmen like Lipinski, who justfinished a grueling race this past November, has to quickly jump into campaign mode.

And with the anti-Lipinski movement growing, next year's race will be even tougher, unless he sharpens up and starts leading. Being independent, and proves to voters in Oak Lawn that he, not Hurckes, is the real power house in the 3rd District.

Of course, maybe Hurckes is the "King" of the 3rd District. If that's the case, he should just run for congress.


I taped a show on Comcast Cable with Ed McElroy, and McElroy called me to say the show would air Tuesday April 24 and Tuesday May 1. Well, it didn't air April 24. I heard from many readers who went there looking for the show and found something else. No problem. Comcast has had some issues over the past year and they have become very unreliable. Still, because there is no cable competition or open market, we don't have much choice for alternatives. That could change, hopefully, someday.

Here is a link to a web page promoting better cable TV service in Illinois:

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