Governor’s Political Connections Pay Off

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Governor’s Political Connections Pay Off
By RAY HANANIA
Southwest News Herald • Friday, September 07, 2012
Gov. Pat Quinn has been in politics most of his life. When I knew him, he was a reformer, a Don Quixote type who fought against the establishment.

But one day he quietly became an insider and when his running mate Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted of corruption, Quinn found his chance and was appointed to take his place. He was later elected.

What has he done as governor since?

The usual political blathering. Lots of PR hype. A lot of empty rhetoric. And, he has pardoned more convicted criminals than any of his predecessors.

This week, Quinn pardoned Juan Elias, the political aid to First Ward Ald. Joseph Moreno. Elias is the head of the Alderman’s political organization and Ald. Moreno is one of Quinn’s strongest supporters.

You scratch my back, I scratch your back, apparently is the First Ward motto.

Years ago, the First Ward was notorious for its hoodlum connections. Things have changed.

But Quinn is concerned about pandering to the Hispanic vote. According to news reports, Elias got letters of support from his boss, Ald. Moreno, and also from controversial Cong. Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez is one of Illinois’ worst hypocrites who sold out his principles for selfish gain.

Elias also got a letter of support from his friend, Susana Mendoza, a former legislator who is now the City Clerk. I like Mendoza but you have to wonder about the people she is hanging around with.

Worse, Quinn doesn’t brag about pardoning crooks.

What I mean is that you can go to the Governor’s Web site and you won’t find anything on his 711 pardons of convicted crooks, felons and criminals. Who are these people that Gov. Quinn spends taxpayer money pardoning?

The Governor’s Web site should list each criminal and the reasons for each pardon. He owes that to the residents of Illinois, especially to the residents of Chicago, where the failed policies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel — another Quinn pal — have resulted in one of the worst crime waves in Chicago’s history.

I thought politicians were elected so they could fight crime, not set criminals free. I thought it was the job of a governor to strengthen crime fighting, not put convicted criminals with political clout back on the street.

Gov. Quinn owes the people of Illinois an explanation, more than a short story in one of the local newspapers. It’s called accountability and Gov. Quinn has been anything but accountable.

Gov. Quinn is neither Don Quixote and he is not the reformer he once set out to be.

Turns out he’s no different than any of the politicians he used to scream about when I knew him as a reformer fighting for good government.

Crime is rampant on the streets of Chicago. The killings and violence is spreading from Chicago to some of the suburban communities.

I thought it is the job of a good government official to crack down on the criminals and put them away, not pardon them and expunge their records all because of political cronyism and alliances.

Welcome to Illinois. One of the worst states in the Union.

I wonder if Gov. Quinn is going to put that on his banners and nameplates when he decides to seek re-election.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and media consultant. Reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com.) — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com