Daily archives: June 9th, 2008

Rezko’s Plan for a Third Airport

Tony Rezko allegedly tried his hand at starting a “pay-for-play” third airport in Will County.

I had my doubts the first time I read this, but, knowing Rick Bryant, this report is accurate.

Bryant writes in eNews Park Forest:

Two years ago – before Rezko’s indictment and trial – the Congressman and I (as executive director of the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission) were invited to meet with state officials about the third airport, a project we’ve championed for 14 years.

At the time, the governor was running for re-election and facing angry south suburban leaders who were running a massive ad campaign criticizing Blagojevich for reneging on his promise to build the airport.

Feeling heat from his voter base, the governor agreed to have two of his top aides meet with Jackson and ALNAC.

At the last minute, however, there was a change of plans.  Instead of meeting with the Governor’s aides, we would be meeting with Tony Rezko.

So, on Sunday, June 25, 2006, at the Chicago Four Seasons Hotel, Rezko showed up by himself.  He said he could offer gubernatorial support for ALNAC’s airport plan – if the governor were allowed to make key appointments to ALNAC’s Board.

Wow.  It’s worth it to read Bryant’s entire commentary.

To be honest, I tire of the back-and-forth sniping between Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson.  Both are good people.  That’s not the issue.  But both, at times, have postured unnecessarily over the Third Airport, bringing each other down in the process.  Thankfully, Bryant, a top aide to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., only takes a backhanded slap at Halvorson in this piece.

ALNAC’s model for building the airport comes with built-in accountability and ethics designed specifically to eliminate kickbacks and graft, thus creating 15,000 private-sector jobs at a low-cost airport that will attract low-cost carriers during this challenging economy.

Rezko’s model and the Senate bill would turn ALNAC’s innovative plan to construct a privately funded, publicly accountable, low-cost airport into a taxpayer-funded, pay-to-play, high-cost airport.

Bryant’s point, however, is clear enough: a third airport would be much less expensive and more accountable to the public under ALNAC.

I simply find it astounding that Rezko tried to put his finger in the third airport pie.


How Hillary got her groove back

“Today I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can!”

With those words, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton ended her historic run for the White House and endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. Senator Clinton said everything she needed to say, and more, with her sound endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president Saturday.

While some supporters called for Clinton to form a third party and challenge both Democrats and Republicans for the White House, there’s no indication that Mrs. Clinton took any of these ideas seriously.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton graciously thanked her supporters, strongly urging them to support Obama’s candidacy.

To all those who voted for me, and to whom I pledged my utmost, my commitment to you and to the progress we seek is unyielding. You have inspired and touched me with the stories of the joys and sorrows that make up the fabric of our lives and you have humbled me with your commitment to our country.

Some have said Hillary dallied too long on her campaign, that she should have spent more time talking about Barack.

But those words ring hollow.  Her supporters stood by her even as she spoke Saturday, and this was their time as much as it was hers.

This has been an extraordinary primary campaign season.  For the first time in the history of the United States, a woman and a black man stood as the front-runners overall in the primaries.  Both Clinton and Obama top John McCain in national polls throughout the primary campaigns.  Senator Clinton stood strong until she decided that it was time to suspend this campaign, and endorse another.

I would caution Democrats who might resent Hillary staying in the campaign as long as she did.  Some, I know, have become angry that she didn’t “get it” like they thought she should and bow out, leave the once crowded stage so Barack could concentrate on November.

But I disagree.

What she did, in fact, was extraordinary, and we owe her our gratitude.  Senator Clinton fought.  This was not ego — this was history in the making.

Hillary did not “get her groove back” by endorsing Senator Obama.

The Senator from New York had it all along.