The Windy City is in Middle America’s cross-hairs but most Illinoisans realize it is simply politics as usual as the new year begins with an alderman indicted, additional gun legislation enacted, and 70 people shot resulting in 14 homicides.
Illinois already has one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation — that criminals continue to snub their noses at — yet Democrats still tilt at this particular windmill. And now newly minted Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker began pandering to the legacy media in earnest by signing additional restrictions on firearms sales as one of his first orders of business.
The media calls it “sweeping” legislation.
The immediate past governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, vetoed a similar proposal last year. But the Senate Democrats dropped back a few yards, reworked the bill, and held it until Pritzker took office.
This particular bit of legislation, SB 337, is touted as a “bipartisan plan to combat illegal gun trafficking and require firearm dealers to be licensed by Illinois State Police instead of the state agency that regulates professions and occupations.”
According to the sponsor, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), who in describing his success used the term bi-partisan five times in as many short paragraphs, lauded the new provisions:
- requiring gun dealers to safely store firearms at all times,
- requiring gun dealers to make copies of FOID cards or IDs and attach them to documentation detailing each gun sale,
- requiring employees to undergo annual training about the law and responsible business practices, and
- requiring gun dealers to open their place of business for inspection by state and local police.
Most of the electorate in the Prairie State find the new law ridiculous and frustrations raged on social media. On the local ABC affiliate’s Facebook page, there were few cheers and mostly jeers.
Eric Thompsonn, residing in Chicago was clearly agitated, writing, “All things the federal government already covers…. waste of money and time. Punishing the wrong people as usual. Isn’t that the Illinois way though? The democratic party’s way?
Mike Kirkland jumped into the fray as well, lamenting both sides of the aisle, “The only thing as bad as a gullible Republican, is a gullible Democrat.”
Perhaps gullibility is the disease affecting the people of Illinois, and specifically, Chicago. A recent study showed a whopping 90% of Chicago business leaders observe cronyism in city government. And while that may not surprise the jaded American, what will astonish most observers is that Chicago is the only top 10 city without term limits on council or mayor.
It’s fiefdom with legacy office positions that in some cases extend over five decades.
Meet Edward Burke, a 50-year incumbent on Chicago’s city council who until this past week chaired the powerful finance committee since 1983 — when big hair ruled fashion and Reagan was president. Burke ran and won the same seat his father, Joseph Burke held until his death in 1968, keeping the power in the family.
Just a few days past, the Federal Bureau of Investigation lodged a 37-page criminal indictment which alleges “attempted extortion, induced by the wrongful use of actual and threatened fear of economic harm, and under color of official right.”
Cronyism is flourishing in the Windy City.
Dick Simpson, a political science professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, released his research in 2018 that labeled Chicago “the most corrupt city in the U.S.” Simpson estimates there have been only 200 aldermen since 1969 when Burke first tasted the power of a Chicago elected official. And 33 have been arrested for corruption, including extortion, fraud, and bribery.
There has been a recent movement to enact term limits – a referendum on the November 2018 ballot brought by former Democrat Governor Pat Quinn. The measure, ruled invalid by a circuit court, is in limbo whether there were enough votes to carry to a win or not.
And the loudest anti-term limit mouth leading up to the ballot box? Yep, the seemingly corrupt and possibly immortal, Edward Burke. And he is up for reelection this coming February. Hopefully, Chicagoans will show Burke and the nation what term limits are all about.