That's the number of clients Department of Human Services case worker Ebony Martin manages out of the agency's Dupage County office. When she started there four years ago, her caseload was 900. You can read the Chicago News Cooperative's full piece on DHS' "busiest branch" here.
And for more context, check out our post from March 2009 on the stress being felt at DHS offices across the state. It's only gotten worse in the year since.
In the past 24 hours, two stories have surfaced about supporters of Illinois candidates confronting videographers at campaign events. Carl Nyberg wrote about an incident at a meet-and-greet held by 10th Congressional District GOP nominee Bob Dold. And via Capitol Fax, a conservative blog at the national level highlighted an altercation at a D.C. rooftop fundraiser held by Democratic U.S. Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias.
Ever since the "macaca" uproar in 2006, the prevalence of "trackers" -- videographers hired by campaigns to follow and record their opponents -- has grown exponentially. But just as often as they capture candidate gaffes, these trackers bring home footage of campaign supporters or staffers getting angry at them for filming. Then -- surprise! -- these clips are used to depict the opposing campaign as bullies. It's meaningless, ridiculous, and completely needless.
We weren't the only media outlet to cover the Raise Your Hand (RYH) coalition's rally yesterday. Here's some additional video shot by the Chicago News Cooperative:
In other education budget news, both the Sun-Times and Tribune
editorial boards jumped all over the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) this week
for suggesting that they will fight to keep in place a scheduled four
percent pay increase (which will cost $135 million). But CTU president-elect Karen Lewis' position seems pretty
reasonable. She says the city should provide a
detailed budget before teachers are forced to choose between cuts or raises.
That way, all the stakeholders can assess whether there is waste in
other parts of the district, particularity in the central office
bureaucracy. Ben Joravksy wrote about that issue this week, as well.
After releasing their latest statewide numbers for the U.S. Senate and governor races earlier this week, Public Policy Polling notes today that the Democratic candidates here in Illinois are struggling more than most among Obama voters:
Only 50% of Obama supporters are currently committed to voting for
Giannoulias and just 48% say they'll cast their votes for Quinn.
No other Democrat we've polled on recently has been getting less than 60% of the Obama vote.
Illinois' unemployment rate might be dropping, but it's going to take a while
before the job market fully recovers, particularly for those already
caught up in the vicious cycle of unemployment. Over the past few
months, we'vespentsometimelooking at programs the government could support to curb the recent explosion in long-term employment. Yesterday afternoon, the Washington Independent's Annie Lowreysummarized
seven possible approaches as laid out during a House Ways and Means
Committee hearing on the topic. If you're interested, the research is
worth reading through.
The problem, as Lowrey
herself suggests, is money. The U.S. Senate, as currently constituted, is
not prepared to spend any significant resources on jobs programs if it
will add in any way to the national debt. Just last night, Senate
Republicans successfully filibustered
a slimmed-down jobs bill that would have extended the filing deadline
for unemployment insurance benefits. So-called "moderate" GOPers from Maine -- Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe -- have now demanded that Senate Democrats remove Medicaid assistance to state governments from the bill, despite rational economic evidence
suggesting that state cutbacks are thoroughly depressing the
stimulative effects of the government's new spending. Once again, it
appears that Republicans are playing politics with the nation's vulnerable.
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky will be appearing on both CNN's John King USA (7 p.m. 6 p.m. CST) and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show (8 p.m. CST). She'll be talking about her questioning of BP CEO Tony Hayward today on Capitol Hill.
- We've writtena lot in recent days about the escalating school reform debate in Chicago. On WTTW's Chicago Tonight this evening (7 p.m. CST), schools chief Ron Huberman will sit down for a one-on-one interview. Chicago Teachers Union president-elect Karen Lewis appeared earlier this week.
Right on the heels of our article noting the latest tax increment financing (TIF) reform activism in Chicago, the Reader's Ben Joravksy published a related piece
yesterday on the newly-formed Raise Your Hand (RYH) coalition. The city's
most dogged TIF reporter talked to a few parents involved in the
organization, who offered more specifics about how they want to see the system changed to exempt the Chicago Public Schools from having their tax revenue siphoned off into TIF accounts.
I talked to Goldman this morning to get a clarification on RYH's
proposal. While the organization originally told Joravsky that the state's
TIF statute would need to be revised to exempt CPS, he now thinks it might be possible for city officials to achieve the same outcome by amending the ordinance that establishes each TIF district.
Regardless of the level of government, Goldman believes that there won't be any action without Mayor Daley's blessing, which is why the
organization is still requesting a meeting with his
administration on the issue. Joined by State Rep. and Democratic Cook County commissioner candidate John Fritchey, the coalition pressed the mayor again outside the Thompson Center this morning. Watch:
Last September, after GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk switched his position on cap-and-trade for political gain, Greg Hinz directly questioned the candidate's principles. "Who knows what the man now really
believes," he wrote at the time.
Considering the glowing treatment Kirk had received in the media over the course of his career in Congress, Hinz's remark was ... well ... remarkable. But following the recent string of revelations about his resume inflation, the questions have moved beyond whether Kirk is intellectually principled to whether he is fundamentally honest. Case in point, this passage from Rich Miller's latest blog post on the issue:
These accusations against Mark Kirk are no longer about mere
“embellishments” or “exaggerations.” This campaign is now about whether
anything he says is true, and why.