Friday, February 24, 2006

Illinois Commerce Commission

I came across this article about former Rockford Mayor Charles Box being up for nomination as chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Box is a pretty straight shooter, you get what you see and you see what you get. Very sharp. That doesn't mean I agreed with everything he did as mayor, but I respect him. Here's what I find interesting:

1. Sen. Rickey Hendon either doesn't know when Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was, or he doesn't care. Apparently he was in his office, at his desk, that day. How else would he know that Box missed a meeting with him.

2. Sen. Emil Jones, who has been in the State Senate for over 20 years, didn't even recognize Box's name, even though Box served as the first African-American mayor of the state's second largest city for most of the years that Jones has been in the State Senate. Apparently Jones also fails to read the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the two large newspapers in his own home town, nor does he follow the Illinois Government News Network. It leaves one wondering just what it is that he does with his time. But don't worry, after taking nearly a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions from utilities "he has said such financial support does not steer his decisions."

3. Is the ICC at all concerned with the people who live in Illinois?!? It certainly appears not! The Senate rejected a citizens' advocate out of a concern that he might be too hard on utilities. This after the Senate leadership accepted $400,000 in contributions from the utilities. Given that the previous ICC chair resigned over criticism that he was too cozy with the utilities, I say its time for Senate leadership to follow suit and resign as well.

4. It sounds like Box is exactly the person that the Senate wants in the position...willing to go with the utilities. Why is the Senate leadership delaying a vote on someone who appears, at least from this article, to be exactly what they are looking for? Box doesn't exactly come across as being too hard on the utilities, so what's the delay? Oh yeah, he's not from Chicago. I keep forgetting that Illinois is actually made up of two states, and I'm not in the same state as Hendon or Jones.