Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is It Good To Be Paul Vallas Now?

Back in August, I had a blog post about how Paul Vallas was in a fairly good position win or lose.

Now I have to say I am not so sure, because Pat didn't use Vallas that effectively in the general. He used him a bit as an attack dog, but pushing the billionare thing it seemed more than anything else. Right now assuming Lisa isn't going to run for governor and I am starting to think she will not ever run for governor, than Vallas is your likely frontrunner for the office on the Dem side at this point, which isn't saying much.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Thought For The Day...

If you deal with a regulator or have licenses issued by some government entity a professional association membership can be worth 10x the price easy....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No Metra, Not Good News....

Well, Metra thinks they have a solution to the crowding that happens on the south side of Union Station when there are major service interruptions.. Where basically it ends up wall to wall people (funny how the north side of Union Station seems to have that problem a lot less frequently)...

At the end of the post is the e-mail Metra sent out today, the plan sounds nice but it does not address the fundamental cause of the crowding.

The cause of the crowding isn't fundamentally the delays (stay with me a minute here), it is Metra's inability to share information about the delays and when trains will arrive and be able to leave. Trust me at least this commuter and I suspect lots of others would love to wait out these situations at the office or even at a tavern outside of Union Station.

The problem is normally these situations are either revealed late (so you are already waiting with several hundred friends on a platform or in the station) so you become 'trapped in the mass'... The other common occurrence is that metra shares no information besides 'we have no idea' and the 'trains are here and ready to go' an experienced Metra commuter knows it is worth waiting with the mass since the situation can change so rapidly.

If Metra did a better job of providing information about the delay (such as expected length) and get news of the delay out I think fewer people would try and wait it out at the station.

Also just for reference when you read the item below, keep in mind the Great Hall (where Superman killed General Zod) is rented out for private events, so sometimes the best place to have people wait (large space) is unavailable. When that is the case the plan is to keep folks in the other areas is going to fail IMHO...

I wonder if Metra considered why people feel they need to wait at the station, because I really doubt anyone enjoys being stuck in a crowd like that.  People end up waiting at the station because they don't know there is an issue and because it for want of a better term works since the system tends to go from 'screwed with no information' to trains moving in about 10 minutes (tops).

Attention Chicago Union Station Customers 

Good news for users of Union Station: Metra today unveiled a proactive plan to help avoid overcrowded situations on the South Concourse and south platforms of Union Station.

"This plan will rely on the assistance of our passengers, and Metra, BNSF and Amtrak would like to thank them in advance for their cooperation in following this plan and the directions of personnel at Union Station," said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno.

The plan, which was drafted with the help of Amtrak and BNSF Railway, will be implemented as soon as Metra suspects that peak outbound service could be significantly disrupted on the three lines that use the South Concourse - primarily the BNSF Line but also the SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines. (A flyer detailing the plan will be placed on those lines in the morning. It also is available on our website.)
If a disruption happens, Metra, BNSF and Amtrak personnel will restrict access to the South Concourse by controlling the flow of pedestrians so they can only enter that concourse from one location - the wide corridor that connects the concourse to the Great Hall waiting area and Metra ticketing area. The corridor will service as a loading/staging area where riders can queue until trains are ready to board, keeping the concourse clear so passengers can easily get to and from the train platforms. The goal is to create a safe and orderly wait for train service to resume.

If the Great Hall is open (Map 1), passengers will be encouraged to wait there. Metra will provide updates to riders with public address system announcements supplemented by staff members with bullhorns among the waiting passengers.

Access to the South Concourse primarily will be controlled by closing the main escalators/stairs that feed the concourse from the food court level. Passengers who use the Union Station entrance at Jackson and the Chicago River will have to walk north, use the escalators/stairs that feed the North Concourse and double back south past the Metra ticket area to the loading/staging area.

Riders who enter Union Station from Clinton/Adams and Clinton/Jackson will have to walk through the Great Hall to get to the staging area. If the Great Hall is closed, passengers will have to use a different entrance/path to the staging area, as shown on Map 2 of the flyer.

In the event of a disruption that is only affecting BNSF trains, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor passengers will be allowed to enter the South Concourse via the hallway that connects the South and North Concourses to the Amtrak ticket area, as shown on Map 3 of the flyer. BNSF riders will be directed to the staging area.

Metra requests that all riders please obey instructions from Metra, BNSF and Amtrak personnel and police.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Well I Got That Wrong..

Really thought Quinn would end up pulling it off...

I have to say I don't feel bad that I was wrong however...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sorry Mark Brown but I don't think it is about the money...

Mark Brown a few days ago wrote in the Sun Times why he doesn't like Bruce Rauner and it showed up in my feed as part of an ad for Quinn...

He is entitled to his opinion, certainly but I think there is an issue with his basic argument.

I don’t like people buying their way into political office at the highest levels. Never have. 
I don’t like it from Democrats (Al Hofeld and Blair Hull come to mind), and I don’t like it from Republicans. 
I particularly don’t like a new breed of uber-wealthy bullies who are intent on reshaping Illinois government more to their liking under the guise of reforming it for our benefit

Well Mark, most major money in politics, be it from PACs, Unions or someones pocket, it comes from entities reshaping government more to their liking or preventing it from being reshaped in a way that isn't to their liking.  Pure and simple...  Do you think the union money coming in for Quinn is because they think he is a great governor or because they are concerned about the economic impact to their members?

So using your own money to shape government is bad, but giving it to someone else who will likely shape it to your liking (that is why you are giving them money in the first place) is ok? Sorry I really don't see a difference between it being your dime and someone else's, the only difference is at least you don't have to feel beholden to the person who gave you the money.  If you don't think elected officials are beholden to donors?

The minimum wage is a great example of this... Why hasn't the legislature raised it?  The Democrats have the votes to do it, but instead we get an advisory referendum and lots of talk about an increase, but no action.  Think it might have something to do with not wanting to tick off voters and/or donors? Did they hold off on it so it could be an election issue? Is that for anyone's benefit besides the elected officials?

Give me a break...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The 84th House Race Kifowit vs. Bansal...

Well the only polling I have seen shows the race kind of close (about 7%), IMHO the questions were a sort of push poll but that is closer than I would have expected..

There are two other things that I think will result it this being a closer race than I think even the polling shows. I don't think the polling gives the full picture.

The South Asian vote in the district, not sure what the census numbers are, but I think it is safe to say that South Asians make up a larger % of the voters in the 84th than most other districts in the state. I think that is a real advantage for Bansal, I see lots of his yard signs in front of homes I have never seen anyone's yard sign in front of before, (just his sign usually).

Also Aurora had a Indian Festival of Lights event in the district (at Waubonsie Valley HS) with Bansal's campaign being one of the sponsors.  From what I understand there was significant crowd at the event, if Kifowit loses this race and it's close, I think that event will have pushed it over the edge since it gave him a lot of exposure for what I suspect was a small investment.

I am not sure there is really much of anything to really drive Democratic turnout in the district (well perhaps the top of the ticket to a limited degree), but don't see a lot of strong Quinn feelings in the district and the county wide races (at least in Kane) don't seem to be generating much heat.

When I got message tested on the race, most of the negative stuff they tested for him involved some tea party stuff, and people who support him also support something you may disagree with.  Not sure if that will really get people to the polls.. The 'better' negative stuff seemed to be focused on Kifowit, it was at least more direct.

So I think this is going to be interesting on election night.

Then again I might be nuts...