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I visited Big Debbie's house this week.  While reading the 3rd anti-Gordy post in 24 hours, I was very disturbed to see ridiculous anonymous attacks on people in the comment section.  Talk of DUIs, calling a highly respected elected official an incompetent hack, and even referring a GOP leader as a philanderer.  It is my goal to encourage people to get more interested and engaged in local politics.  It's one thing when people hide behind anonymity because of their insecurity, but it is far too easy and common for people to attack individuals when they lack the ability to engage in informed and constructive conversation about local topics.   I'm concerned there are those outside our small group of political nerds who might be discouraged from serving on boards or running for office if sites like Big Debbie continue to highlight the ugly side of politics.  I am happy that Big Debbie deleted some of those comments after I raised my concern on the BlogTalk show with Andy Quarnstrom, but I'm reluctant to participate in a discussion forum if the tone of that site doesn't shift back to where I thought it was headed.  I enjoy the fun teasing and gamesmanship, if you want to call it that, and I feel I can post using my real name and take on all the young muskateers with one arm behind my back.  I hope Big Debbie can dial down the hyper-partisan rhetoric, think about the concept of soft vs. hard spin, and do better job of not letting those ugly comments to slip through moderation.  

Gordy Hulten Boogeyman Conspiracy Nonsense Continues

It is just amazing how someone can criticize Gordy Hulten for registering voters at churches in North Champaign.  Yet, the whackadoodle conspiracy theorists creatively find a way again and again.  I like how Tom Kacich says, "Do you really want to criticize someone for registering voters?"  Check out the entire Tom's Mailbag article HERE.  Even the crazies need good legal representation and Matt Duco is happy to help.  HERE he writes a "guest" commentary on Big Debbies House, advertising his services for those who might one day experience that wrath from the ever-feared Gordy "the Boogeyman" Hulten. 

Frerichs, Barickman, and Rose advances legislation to help disaster-affected communities

Communities devastated by the November 17 tornadoes are rebuilding and repairing their homes and businesses. The Illinois Senate approved a measure co-sponsored by State Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) to allow the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to provide disaster assistance grants.  Under this proposal, IEMA would be allowed to administer grants to reimburse municipalities, school districts and community college districts for the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures. Grants would be administrated to reimburse current and future disaster-affected communities in cases where federal aid, insurance and other resources are not available.

U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS
The University of Illinois board of trustees held a special meeting by video conference Friday afternoon to discuss a quirk in the state’s pension reform law that officials are worried could trigger major brain drain across the system’s three campuses this summer.Because of an “unintended drafting error,” thousands of university employees hired before 2005 stand to lose a significant portion of their lifetime retirement income if they don’t retire before July 1, Avijit Ghosh, senior adviser to
Eric B: Welcome to the new and improved Halfway!
Enjoy the new and improved Halfway Interesting.  Halfway Interesting will be aggregating the most interesting political news content for state and local policy and elections.   Of course, I will be providing the occasional supplement from time and time when the situation requires.   Be sure to check out our BlogTalk page for in-depth interviews with C-U's political movers and shakers.  If you have any suggestions on news stories, please DM me on Twitter or FB.  Enjoy!
Mayors lobby legislature for help with police, fire pension liabilities

Representatives from the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference are in Springfield this week calling for the legislature to address the growing unfunded liabilities in the state’s local police and fire pension funds. The group, made up of local government leaders in Illinois’ second-most-populated county, is calling for “common-sense reforms” that could include doing away with compounding 3 percent cost-of-living adjustments for retirees, increasing required employee contributions, ...

Calling all candidates | News-Gazette.com
Champaign County Democrats are looking for a few good men or women.It's not easy being the chairman of a local political party, and that's especially so in an election year.So while congratulations are due to new Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Harrison and the re-elected Democratic Party Chairman Al Klein, so are condolences.
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Chapa La Via: Just Awful

During yesterday's debate on a bill to do away with a state commission which can overturn local school board decisions on charter schools, Dem Rep Chapa La Via experienced an enormous brain fart.  The reaction from Capital Fax is HERE.  She apologized afterwards.  It just makes me wonder how often we might read about Carol Ammons should she be elected in November...

Dialed In: Andy Quarnstrom 4/17/14

On this BlogTalkRadio episode we talk to City of Champaign Township Supervisor Andy Quarnstrom and do a political recap of the March 2014 Primary election.  Before the election, Angie Patton and I did our first-ever Google Hangout with Andy (watch HERE) where we discussed the (then) upcoming primary election.  It's fun to see the before/after.  This is a unique opportunity to listen to some unique, diverse, and informed local political perspective without the hyper-partisan rhetoric, anonymous mudslinging, or annoying conspiracy theories.  We follow up on: 1) Rosenberg vs. Ammons 2) Kurtz vs. Weibel 3) Rauner 4) Champaign Council developments 5) Big Debbie.  Thanks for listening!  Listen HERE.  

Tough tax votes loom for lawmakers
Faced with an expected $3 billion budget hole from an expiring income tax increase, Illinois lawmakers are grappling with whether to raise taxes to avoid major cuts to schools and social services next year.With six weeks left in the spring session, Democrats must weigh the political risks of extending a tax hike in a year Republicans are making streamlined government spending a focal point in their campaigns for governor and legislative seats.Lawmakers could make the 2011 temporary income tax
will Will Kyles run for mayor?

Big Debbie was trolling (did I use that word correctly?) for a Halfway Interesting response and succeeded. I commend Big Debbie for his/her success in promoting local political discussion. We will surely have our differences, but the landscape of the upcoming mayoral race is certainly Intereting and disussion-worthy.

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