BLAGO CRONY OCHOA MUST GO-A

O-choa! To which some might say, “Godzundheitor “God bless you.” Though some may beg to differ, a sneeze isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing. A sneeze can help get rid you of what ails you. In this case, what ails Illinois’ convention business is Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO and Blagojevich crony, Juan Ochoa.

This week, under a veil of secrecy, the Chicago Bureau of Tourism & Conventions, met with 40 unnamed tradeshow organizers and representatives from Ochoa’s epic managerial embarrassment and Funland of Political Hackdom known as “McPier.” The only difference between McPier and the now defunct Kiddieland is that the hacks are taking the taxpayers for a ride.

As has been reported in Crain’s, McPier’s projected operating losses will grow eightfold to $28.8 million for fiscal year 2009. To counter McPier’s shortfall, the state’s general sales tax fund was tapped for $18.8 million in 2009 and will is now being tapped $34 million in 2010. Reports indicate that McPier’s cumulative funding gap is expected to exceed $500 million by 2020.

And what does Chicago have to show for it? In November, the Healthcare and Information Management Systems Show announced it would be moving its 2012 show from Chicago to Las Vegas. The NPE Plastics Convention, which brings 60,000 to 80,000 attendees every three years, announced its move to Orlando. In January, the SuperComm Telecommunications Convention cancelled its show for October. Last but not least, the International Home and Housewares Show, which has been held in Chicago since 1939, announced it was considering a move to Orlando. O-Choa! Godzundheit.

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn ousted the 13 member  board that runs McPier but has yet to demand Ochoa’s resignation. Does Governor Quinn want a break with the past or not? Ochoa won his $195,000 post after raising campaign cash for our disgraced former governor. Illinois and Chicago’s economic climate are collapsing under this long-standing culture of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism. McPier is the latest example of this supreme incompetence and greed. In the wake of these mounting convention losses and the fiscal merry-go-round at McPier, it is clear that Juan Ochoa needs to go-a and go-a quick.

Chicago is the greatest city in the world and we deserve better than to have our convention business and the jobs it provides dismantled overnight. We have everything that a great city needs to succeed. It is hard to screw this up and yet these people have.

Governor Pat Quinn needs to demand the immediate resignation of McPier CEO Juan Ochoa and needs to do it now. O-choa! Yeah, one good sneeze might just do the trick.

William J. Kelly is the executive director of the new reform group, www.rebuildillinois.com.

COHEN RESIGNS: SCOTTY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE!

Scotty, we hardly knew ye!

 Democrat Lt. Governor Candidate Scott Lee Cohen Resigns Amid Scandal

Statement by William J. Kelly, Executive Director of Rebuild Illinois

Scott Lee Cohen, the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor never even got elected to a full term and Second City’s already working on the musical. The Democrats were so eager to get rid of him, they did everything but hold a knife to his throat.

Aside from the reports of Cohen’s abuse of his ex-wife and the accusations that he held a knife to his ex-girlfriend’s throat (prostitute or not), I don’t know why Governor Pat Quinn is complaining. He has proven this year that he doesn’t really want reform. Having Cohen on the Democratic ticket could have had some positive upsides. If Quinn was really desperate for a bridge loan, he could have just had Scotty taken him down to the pawn shop on Clark Street. How much are Abe Lincoln artifacts going for these days? I mean, at Cohen’s pawn shop, you wouldn’t get market value but still. With Illinois on the brink of insolvency, these times call for creativity.

In terms of creativity though, Scott Lee Cohen also falls short. Cohen’s a betting man. He used two million of his pawn shop proceeds to buy the lieutenant governor’s seat and won the primary with no media scrutiny. However, in terms of pioneering pay-to-play politics, Blagojevich beat him to it. It is a good thing Rod Blagojevich didn’t know Scott Lee Cohen in 2008. Blago wouldn’t have sold Obama’s seat, he probably could have pawned it instead.

 Illinois needs campaign finance reform now. We need to enact laws that prevent pay-to-play politics and spending caps across the board. We need full transparency and an end to all legal loop holes that circumvent campaign finance laws. In Illinois, state Republicans have proposed HB5008 to limit campaign contributions from legislative leaders and their caucus committees and political parties. Quinn’s reform bill only made House Speaker Michael Madigan and other elites even more powerful. This law puts no monetary limit on leaders and political parties during the general election. Governor Quinn, what kind of reform is that? Unless Pat Quinn is ready to pass a real reform bill, he may want to keep Scott Lee Cohen’s pawn shop number handy for future reference.

MEDIA ADVISORY: KELLY DEMANDS COHEN STEP ASIDE, CALLS FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

If you can’t sell the seat, pawn it

 (CHICAGO, IL) – Former Republican candidate for comptroller and director of new reform group, Rebuildillinois.com, William J. Kelly, held a news conference this morning in front of Royal Pawn Shop owned by family members of Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Scott Lee Cohen. Kelly talked about the urgent need for campaign finance reform and is calling on Cohen to step aside in the lieutenant governor’s campaign due to recent media disclosures about the candidate’s checkered past. Here is Kelly’s statement:

 “With comprehensive campaign finance reform, political candidates will not just be able to buy their way into an election without any track record of public service whatsoever. In Illinois, the Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor spent $2 million of his own money and had the support of party insiders. As usual, there was no transparency and the media was nowhere to be found when it counted: before the primary.”

 “Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn will now having to suffer the consequences of this embarrassing situation. For decades, Quinn has talked about being a reformer. But once he was in office, he gave Illinois an anti-reform bill – a bill that strengthens the hands of party insiders and influential money people.”

 “Today, in Illinois it is easy for corrupt politicians to play the system and skirt Illinois’ election disclosure requirements. There is no real transparency. New campaign contribution “limits” are not limits at all. Quinn’s new campaign finance reform just makes legislative leaders and political parties even more powerful. Now, instead of giving the money directly to the candidate, elites and insiders just funnel it through the legislative leader or political party. And…wealthy insiders continue to buy elections. That is not reform. That is not transparency.”

 “Scott Lee Cohen, the Democrat candidate for lieutenant governor is yet another example of pay to play politics in Illinois. It is a good thing that Rod Blagojevich didn’t know about this guy a few years ago. Instead of selling Barack Obama’s seat, he would have just pawned it. Scott Lee Cohen needs to step aside. We want reform and we want it now,” said Kelly.

 Kelly is calling for comprehensive campaign finance reform in Illinois as part of Rebuild Illinois’ Reform Agenda.

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KELLY DECLARES: “THE CAMPAIGN FOR REFORM CONTINUES!”

Kelly Announces RebuildIllinois.com’s Reform Agenda

STATEMENT BY WILLIAM J. KELLY, Executive Director, Rebuildillinois.com

Dear Friends,

I ran a campaign on the issues of reform – an effort that I am so tremendously proud of.  Even though we lost,  the issue of reform continues. We can build on what we have started. With this, there is much to do. As the General Election approaches, we are going to let voters know where the candidates stand on reform, support reform candidates, and once they are elected, make sure they keep their promises and go all the way on reform. Not half way and without any loopholes.

Today,  I am announcing a new initiative at Rebuild Illinois.com called the Rebuild Illinois Reform Agenda. As part of this new effort, we will begin the process of choosing a reform slate of candidates. This is a non-partisan effort to truly serve real people, not party insiders. 

OUR REBUILD ILLINOIS REFORM AGENDA

-         REFORM SLATE OF CANDIDATES: Rebuild Illinois will announce its own reform slate of candidates in an independent, non-partisan evaluation process and based on smaller government, free market philosophies, and full transparency.

-         STOP ELECTION FRAUD: We need to ensure that every election is fair and secure and that every vote is counted. Anything short of that will undermine what little faith is left in our elected officials.

 –         REFORM PENSION ABUSES IN ILLINOIS: Rebuild Illinois demands reform to Illinois’ pension abuse system of millionaires. We demand an end to early retirement, the double-dipping of more than 3,000 individuals with more than one state pension, an end to automatic cost of living adjustments that are annually compounded. Illinois is in an $80 billion dollar unfunded pension sinkhole and there is no end in sight.

 –         FULL TRANSPARENCY AND OPEN BIDDING ON PUBLIC CONTRACTS: Rebuild Illinois demands full transparency in Illinois’ finances. Let’s open the books to the government watchdogs, put everyone online, including state contracts and who donated what to whom. We need to open up the public bidding process to everyone – including small businesses – so that Illinois’ financial climate can be competitive once again and the taxpayers stop paying McCormick Place prices for basic goods and services. The sweetheart deals have ruined our state and our country.

 –         FREEZE ON NEW SPENDING, CUT WASTE FROM INSIDER DEALS: Last but not least, we need to put a halt to all new spending programs and cut obvious waste – the result of corrupt influence peddling in Springfield. For example, the Illinois Policy Institute reports that in fiscal year 2009, Illinois state government spent $4.3 billion more than it brought in. Of that, $2 million was spent on 3-D teaching technology called “Classroom Cubed”, $920,000 on an aerospace education initiative, $3 million on a mentorship program for new principals, $4 million on teaching kids about healthy food habits, and $137,000 for upscale porta-potties at the seven state parks.  This is why our state is in the mess it is in.

 As the former Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, I have spent years calling out waste, fraud, and abuse of power. Today, we must work together to make sure there is a future for ourselves, our families, and our businesses.

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 William J. Kelly will be launching a new website soon at http://www.rebuildillinois.com.

JOIN WILLIAM J. KELLY AND BECOME A PLAINTIFF AGAINST “GITMO NORTH” IN ILLINOIS!

JOIN WILLIAM J. KELLY AND SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP “GITMO NORTH” IN THOMSON, ILLINOIS. LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE A PLAINTIFF – THE MORE PEOPLE, THE STRONGER THE MESSAGE WE WILL SEND! (You do not need to be present in court!) 

IF YOU ARE FROM THOMSON OR WORK AT THOMSON PRISON – THIS IS THE TIME TO STAND UP AGAINST THE PLAN WE KNOW YOU ARE AGAINST!

TO JOIN THE HELP KELLYSTOP GITMO LAWSUIT…Sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/helpkellystopgitmo/ 

 “People in Illinois have not had their chance to be heard – whether they are for or against the Thomson Prison plan. Instead, what is happening here is the ‘Chicago Way.’  The “public hearings” in Sterling, Illinois were just a formality because the plan was decided upon by the Obama Administration and Governor Quinn.  In their rush to close Guantanamo and give terrorist detainees the same rights as American citizens, they have not stopped to consider the consequences: Why should we give terrorists the same rights as American citizens? Under U.S. law, could we be forced to let terrorists go free? Could we be making Chicago and Illinois a bigger terrorist target than it already is?”

“President Obama wants this prison in Thomson and Governor Quinn and every political hack will do everything possible to make it happen. Yet there is no economic benefit to this Cash for Al-Qaeda plan. The federal government will not even be paying half of what it cost the taxpayers of Illinois to build Thomson Correctional Center.  That is why we need public opinion more than ever before to help us fight this.”

“After canvassing potential plaintiffs in Thomson, Illinois over the last few weeks, we know that the residents and Thomson employees are against this plan. However, even the prison guards at Thomson who are afraid of losing their jobs, have been ordered not to speak with anyone. The message I am telling you is this: This is the time to stand up and fight this. You may not get another opportunity. If we stand up together and make our voices heard, we have the chance to stop this plan from happening. We fought a war in Iraq and Afghanistan to make sure that terrorists never set foot on American soil – let’s not start now. Please join us and become a plaintiff in this lawsuit to stop the closure of Thomson Prison and its transfer to the federal government.”

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William J. Kelly is running on a platform to be Illinois’ first “activist” comptroller. He is the former executive director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois. He is also an entrepreneur with an Emmy award-winning TV production company and currently hosts the multi-state sports TV series, “Sportsaholic.” For information, visit www.friendsofwilliamjkelly.com and see the web documentary that the Rockford Tea Party gave a standing ovation, “A Conservative in Chicago!” 

View the web documentary, “A Conservative in Chicago” – parts 1 and 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZIlJFM5JI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6hGdqy2zYE