State Capitol Notebook

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Play of the Week

Imagine military troops patrolling rough neighborhoods of Chicago in search of gangsters and other thugs perpetrating street violence. That's the image Gov. Rod Blagojevich conveyed when he proclaimed -- apparently spontaneously -- that he might send the National Guard into Chicago to help quell "out of control" violent crime.

Blagojevich's handlers were quick to back-pedal on the governor's statement. They said National Guard helicopters might help with surveillance, but troops won't be dispatched for patrols. However, they said, the governor does plan to make state police available for the job.

Head Scratcher

Was it race-baiting? And if so, who was doing the baiting?

After Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, said during a committee hearing that downstate lawmakers want to stymie efforts to help ex-convicts get on with their lives in order keep prisons in their districts packed with inmates "from Chicago," three Republicans shot back that Davis was spewing racial hatred. Davis is black and the Republicans are white.

“Her comments were definitely racial,” Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, said. “They were directed at white Republicans. It was totally unacceptable.”

Davis noted after the hearing that she had not specified the race of inmates packing prisons.

“I didn’t say what color they are, but we all know what color they are,” she said.

Quote of Note

"There is no adult leadership in Illinois," said Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Greenville, while the House of Representatives on Wednesday considered restoring some of the cuts that Gov. Rod Blagojevich made to the state budget.

Numbers to Know

33. The number of motions filed in the House last week to attempt to put back money that Blagojevich eliminated from the budget.

6. The number of motions the House passed.

Coming Up

Gov. Blagojevich, state lawmakers and other state officials detail their campaign fundraising and spending for the first half of 2008 in reports due Monday, July 21, to the State Board of Elections.