Oak Park’s Chris Meister helped to defuse bad press for alderman

Oak Park’s Chris Meister was in the thick of it in February 2011 when highly placed governor’s men and women worked in emergency mode to protect Ald. Deborah Graham in her re-election campaign. He emailed three of them with her complaint of opponents’ tactics — a “last-minute attack” that “stoops to a new low,” she said — and they got to work.

The opponents had called a news conference to accuse her of steering thousands in neighborhood anti-violence money to supporters, including her pastor. It was “questionable appropriation of anti-violence funding directly benefiting the incumbent alderman,” they said.

Meister was having none of it. “The potential exposure for the governor’s office from the factually incorrect press release alludes to a scenario where the governor and Alderman Graham made these funding decisions [on] their own,” he emailed his fellow strategists. He further noted that four of the opponents had “received . . . either directly or through affiliated organizations state and federal funds.”

They were all beneficiaries, in other words, pots calling the kettle black.

“Hopefully the story will die,” he emailed later, commending Jack Lavin, Gov. Quinn’s former chief of staff and one of the strategists, for his “very valuable” contribution.

Sen. Don Harmon’s office had also helped, in that an aide put together the rebuttal message which had apparently been jointly devised by Meister, Lavin, Quinn’s former chief operating officer Andrew Ross, and Quinn’s director of communications Mica Matsoff.

All in all, the emails give a fascinating snapshot of politicking at the highest levels, in this case to protect an alderman but also the governor himself. At issue was the $54-million state expenditure authorized by Quinn in 2010, weeks before his own election. Graham’s pastor had got $780,000 for his organization. Another Graham supporter had also been blessed with a grant. WBEZ had reported this in the middle of Graham’s campaign, and her opponents seized the opportunity to use them against her.

Meister’s emails came to light two weeks ago, when former COO Ross supplied them for an Oct. 8 and 9 Legislative Audit Commission hearing for which he and six other Quinn aides had been subpoenaed. Sun-Times’ equal-opportunity annoyer (of Dems and Republicans), the excellent Dave McKinney, wrote about them in his Oct. 7 story, Emails show Quinn aides had political concerns over NRI in 2011.

As director of the Illinois Finance Authority, itself a dispenser of government money — to a wide variety of institutions and organizations — Meister was apparently qualified to help tamp down the fallout.

A state audit eight months ago, in McKinney’s words “tore apart” Quinn’s NRI. The whole NRI operation is under federal investigation for its alarming resemblance to a very expensive vote-buying scheme.

If the emails depict high-level damage control, they also demonstrate Chris Meister’s ascension to high levels of gubernatorial consultation. In Oak Park he’s been prominent in DPOP (Dem Party of OP) activities, moderating a candidate’s panel, reporting to DPOP meetings, giving a sort of Joe Biden-like performance. He’s personable, articulate, energetic, on his way, one might guess, to bigger and better things.

He brings energy and smarts to the inevitable politicking that goes with government jobs. Head of the finance authority, thanks to Quinn, since 2009, its lawyer for two years before that, holding an assortment of state-employed lawyer’s jobs before that, including as lobbyist for the state’s Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, he’s been amassing credentials for quite a while.

He’s smart and competent and knows the ropes. Quinn’s been lucky to have him (Ald. Graham too, for that matter), among other things for his ability to head trouble off at the pass. Something of no small importance for a rising star.

RACE-BAITING alert

Dems depend on black votes, therefore . . . 

Paul remembers the guy who done him wrong

I would not want to be or have been in this coopersmith’s sandals when he faced his maker:

Alexander* the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.l

It’s 2 Timothy, 4.14.

I love this fellow Paul. He’s a real mensch (human being). He gets it.

Rauner, Quinn tied . . .

. . . in Public Policy poll:

CHICAGO – According the latest poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner are in a statistical dead heat as the campaign enters the final weeks.

Rauner held a slim lead among voters likely to cast ballots on Nov. 4, with 42.4 percent to Quinn’s 40.7 percent — within the survey’s margin of error, according to the statewide poll. Libertarian Chad Grimm had 3 percent.

With Sun-Times about to endorse Rauner . . .

And state Chamber of Commerce about to in effect endorse Quinn!

Elevated to the red, these cardinals go purple prose

Originally posted on Company Man:

As this fellow sights and cites.

In addition to the outright abominations put forth in the Synod’s already infamous Midterm Report, there are numerous flowery, and ultimately meaningless, musings such as the following:

The Gospel of the family, while it shines in the witness of many families who live coherently their fidelity to the sacrament, with their mature fruits of authentic daily sanctity must also nurture those seeds that are yet to mature, and must care for those trees that have dried up and wish not to be neglected.

The only way I can think to classify this particular style of writing, knowing that it emanated from an all-male committee of clerics, is to say that it is nothing more than pseudosacral homopoetic prose; an especially annoying symptom of the undeniable feminization of the Church Militant that began at Vatican II.

It’s the cardinals’ clerks that done it, but…

View original 8 more words

Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968 selling today

At Amazon, where the elite meet to buy good books.

Rauner coming to River Forest Oct. 24

He will be at the Good Earth Greenhouse, 7900 Madison, 5:30 pm, for a Get Out the Vote rally.

RSVP Bill Hogan, 312-201-7100

Documentary film at Columbia College-Chi

#3 Daughter here:

3:45pm – 5:15pm More than One: Producing the Documentary Series – A look at some of the most exciting new documentary series being produced in Chicago today. Scheduled to appear: Mike Schmiedeler (The Michael Group), Maggie Bowman and Justine Nagan (Hard Earned, Kartemquin Films for Al Jazeera America); along with Bob Hercules (Media Process Group),Greg Jacobs (Siskel/Jacobs) and Ines Sommer (Sommer Filmworks)

Go, #3!

Croatian nut roll advice from Catholic New World

Benevolent gossip from headquarters:

It’s an art —
Croatian potica, a dessert for special occasions.
Potica (pronounced po-teetsa), aka povitica, orehnjaca or Croatian nut roll, are all the same baked delicacy served on special occasions.

Archbishop Cupich says it’s one of his favorites. Naturally! It’s a delicious blend of Mediterranean sunshine, Roman ruins, tamburitza music, urban cities like Zagreb, fairylands like Dubrovnik, with just a touch of soccer and Olympic competition tucked in.

The knack of making good potica is in rolling and stretching the dough. That is the art. Anyone can make the filling — but try stretching that dough paper thin and rolling the filling in it without tearing. Attempt the adventure anyway.

One of these days, I (or someone in our house) is gonna try this.

Nothing unique about free trade in destroying or creating jobs, happens all the time

Shooting down foolishness about protectionism:

You ask why I cannot “be more practical about trade.” My answer is that unconditional support for unconditional free trade is the most practical policy that is practically available. Unconditional free trade is far more practical than is your proposed alternative of empowering government officials to decide when, for how long, and to what degree trade should be free.

Free trade is simply consumers spending their money as they – rather than as government officials – wish. Yes: changes in the pattern of consumer demands destroy some jobs.

But this reality is true whenever consumers change their spending pattern. It is as true, for example, when consumers shift their demands from domestically produced steel to domestically produced aluminum as when they shift their demands from domestically produced steel to foreign-produced steel.

Anytime consumers change their spending pattern some incumbent producers suffer – and others gain. There’s absolutely nothing about freedom to trade across political borders that uniquely “destroys” (or creates) jobs. [Italics not added]

more more more here

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