While in Chicago for most of this past week I made a point of reading the local newspapers to find that not much has changed since I quit lobbying at the Illinois Legislature in 1998 -- corruption and sweet heart deals in the government are still prevalent. Two quick examples from the newspaper headlines (my summations are below) --
1.) City of Chicago buys lake front property for park -- political crony sells lot purchased for $50,000 to city for $1.5 million which is a nice profit for their 7 years he owned the lot. The land value changed dramatically as the city dramatically increased the assessed value of the land which is merely an odd-shaped parcel of contaminated land set to be turned into a park.
2.) Former Illinois Governor George Ryan is facing prison time for his practice of selling government licenses for cash on the side but is appealing to the US Supreme Court to avoid the jail time.
So let's turn our focus to the south for a moment to Louisiana which has "off-year" elections so they recently had their open primary election. US Congressman Bobby Jindal won this election with a campaign focus of bringing an end to the culture of corruption Louisiana government is known for historically. Assuming Governor Jindal is able to clean up the state government when the 2008 legislative session begins this could provide a campaign theme for political candidates in Illinois for the November 2008 elections so that Illinois starts moving away from their identity as the "Louisiana of the North" ( my phrase which was inspired by the Chicago Tribune's placement of Congressman Jindal's quote I used above to just below an op-ed entitled "Show Mercy for Ryan not System"). What a coincidence!
Good luck to Governor Jindal not Governor Ryan,