Democrat David Gill is seen during his "Susan" ad. (YouTube)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
Gill and Susan
A story by Kurt Erickson, the Lee Enterprises bureau chief in Springfield, is raising some big questions about a recent TV ad
from Democrat David Gill's campaign in the 13th Congressional District. It's the ad where Gill, a Bloomington doctor, talks about a woman named "Susan" who he says died of a heart attack because she lacked health insurance. I remember seeing the commercial before reading Erickson's story and thinking it was an effective ad. But Erickson points out that Gill used a very similar story in a 2006 ad, and again in a blog in 2009, and in those cases the story was about a man, not "Susan." Later, in a statement from Gill's campaign, a spokeswoman "suggested that Susan may be an amalgamation of a number of similar experiences Gill has had over the years." That "amalgamation" approach was, um, not so clear in the original ad. If Gill has had these experiences, I see no reason why he'd need to flub the truth now.
The Chicago Tribune tries to put its finger on what it calls a "new money-manager style of Republican activism," focusing on wealthy hedge fund founders Kenneth Griffin and Anne Dias Griffin. Sure, their campaign contribution history is interesting. They were caught up in that spat between Gill and his Republican opponent, Rodney Davis, over contributions to downstate GOP groups, but they've also simulatenously given to Democrat Rahm Emanuel's mayoral run and Republican Bill Brady's race for governor. Tribune reporter Rick Pearson writes that federal races in November are "only part of the picture for the new cadre of wealthy financiers who are looking to magnify their impact by focusing on state and local politics."
A 33-year-old sex offender has been arrested after being spotted in the one place he probably shouldn't be hanging out -- sitting at a table in the cafeteria of a Peoria school talking with children. Ricky D. Fletcher was reportedly inside Irving School for 15 to 20 minutes before being spotted by the principal and then leaving, Justin Glawe with the Peoria Journal-Star reports. Fletcher was arrested the next day and now faces two charges of violating the sex offender registry. Fletcher has been charged with violating the sex offender registry three times before Friday, and he had been warned to stay off school property twice since Sept. 13, Glawe reports. It's unclear from reports about the incident whether Fletcher knows or is related to one of the children at this school, but if he's not, these incidents are just scary.
The town of Normal is making good on plans to spend additional money on street upkeep over the next five years. The Normal Town Council meets Monday and will discuss a plan to spend an extra $3 million for road work over the next five years, helping the town chip away at more and more of the streets to-do list, including more residential resurfacing. The new money comes largely from a bond debt refinancing, tied to the Uptown redevelopment. "There'll be some short-term borrowing from the vehicle reserve fund, we're going to postpone two capital improvement projects that were planned but not essential. We can wait another year or two for those," Assistant to the City Manager Sally Heffernan said. "And, we're going to use some proceeds from the recent sale of property in Uptown Normal to Busey Bank."
Tom Kacich with the Champaign News-Gazette isn't worried about all 65 lawmakers who gave out one last round of General Assembly scholarships even as they killed the entire program. (As he points out, many of the Chicago Democrats who voted against killing legislative scholarships were the ones still doling them out.) But Kacich raises questions about the 22 lawmakers who voted to kill the waivers last spring but continued to give them out this fall, such as Democrat leaders John Cullerton (Senate) and Michael Madigan (House). Kacich got at least a reasonable explanation from Republican state Rep. Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake, who says he uses a committee of teachers and other community members to select his scholarship winners. "As long as we had them I was going to grant them. I wasn't going to deny access to them to my constituents," Tryon told the News-Gazette. "And if we weren't going to address the issue by creating rules about how they were awarded, then we just needed to get rid of them."
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.