Governor’s Political Connections Pay Off

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Governor’s Political Connections Pay Off
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 — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania