April 22, 2005

Local pols rush to snuff snafu on Casino relocation

It's got to be frustrating being a legislator. While regular readers of The Inside Dope realize that I don't exactly place politicians on a pedestal, this story illustrates the headaches that often emerge out of nowhere to threaten to undo a lot of work and thwart their plans.

This particular bugaboo appeared after a downstate Republican, Rep. Don Moffit of Gilson, requested an opinion from an assistant state A.G. as to whether current legislation gives the state gaming board authority to authorize Casino Rock Island's proposed move.

The assistant A.G. responded with an "informal" opinion that argued that the board indeed may not have the required authority.

The informal opinion upholds an opinion issued by then-Attorney General Jim Ryan in 2001, saying the gaming board doesn't have the authority to approve the casino's move. Since then, new legislation has been passed that appeared to allow the move, but the latest opinion rejects that notion.

Sen. Jacobs argued that legislation passed in 2002 and 2003 allows the move. Denny Jacobs, Sen. Jacobs' father, helped write those bills while he was state senator and will also attend Monday's meeting.

"These two bills passed clearly gives the state authority to move the casino within a confined body of water within a community," Sen. Jacobs said. "After all, in the past, they allowed the Peoria boat to move to East Peoria and allowed Joliet's Harris [sic] boat to move without giving up their licenses."
This seemingly minor incident has got local pols pretty excited. They initially wanted an appointment with an assistant state A.G., but now they're clamoring for an appointment with Attorney General Lisa Madigan herself.

Sen. Mike Jacobs, with dad Denny riding shotgun, Rep. Pat Verschoore, and Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert will all attend the meeting.

Even though the legislators argue that this opinion is invalid since it was an "informal", "unofficial" opinion given to a minor legislator who is neither a member of either party's leadership or a committee chair, it poses the real danger that it could adversely impact financing for the relocation of Casino Rock Island unless clarified.

Groups and lobbyists favoring the relocation of Casino Rock Island are also chiming in.
They [state legislators] will also be joined by gaming lobbyists. County board chairman Jim Bohnsack sent the Attorney General's Office a letter of support for the casino project. Tri-City Building Trades Council executive director Rory Washburn has also sent a letter of support and urged individual unions to do the same.
(Kudos again to both the Dispatch reporter who apparently can hear the word "Harrah's" in conjunction with a casino and think it's "Harris", and the editor for either missing it or not once wondering if maybe it should be "Harrah's".)

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At 4/22/2005 7:26 PM, Blogger LL Cool T said...

Why are you so concerned over the vacationing Mike Boland not attending the meeting? The Casino Rock Island is NOT in his District. Were the mayors of Moline or East Moline invited? No. Other legislators? No. Boland has enough to worry about in his own District like opening the Thomson prison or finding new tenants for the closed down factories or getting money to build roads. With his record of not getting anything done why would anyone want him to attend this meeting?

At 4/23/2005 12:17 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Boy, is my face red. You are correct. That was a mistake to think Boland's absense was notable. (I'd even forgotten that he was on vacation) That's what happens when I work too early in the morning.
As you note, it wouldn't make any sense for Boland to be involved.
I made the mistake of assuming that since all the other legislators from the area were involved that Boland would be too, but neglected to realize that the issue was outside his district. Sorry about that, and thanks for catching the mistake.

At 4/23/2005 8:19 AM, Blogger Dissenter said...

I realize that this comment is slightly off-topic, but ll cool t inspired me.

The Thomson prison should be the ultimatum of Boland's next election bid. As soon as he announces to the public (as he has already announced to supporters) that he plans to run for Senate, or alternative, assuming he thwarts those plans and decides instead to run for re-election, his opponent should characterize the issue "If the Thomson prison remains closed on election day, vote Boland out of office." I suspect that doing so would be highly effective.

At 4/23/2005 10:56 AM, Blogger theheadusher said...

"I think I've gone above and beyond the call, frankely, for that little village (Thompson)!"

- Mike Boland
QC TIMES, October 24, 2004

At 4/23/2005 10:58 AM, Blogger RepublicanJoe said...

The empty Thomson prison, the empty Case plant, the empty eagles in e.m. and moline, a 30% vacancy rate in downtown e.m., 40% vacancy rate of downtown morrison and savanna, only two bills passed as chief sponsor in 10 years... yes Mike Boland needs to go....

At 4/24/2005 1:01 PM, Blogger JCKDNLS69 said...

I agree OUt with the old and in with the new! Boland must go.

At 4/24/2005 9:34 PM, Blogger none said...

El Dop-O Rumblings this weekend from long time boland fans, the vynckes of hampton, that their man is licking his chops for a run at little mikey jacobs. seems they think is very winnable for their guy, and it will be announced BEFORE the end of the legislative sessoin.fires were stocked this weekend (in a tavern that is- is that a reliable source?) anyone else hearing this...
anyway, are vynckes on the payroll of the city of em, the city of hampton and the township??

At 4/25/2005 4:25 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Ah yes. Funny you should mention that. I reported back on March 25th that Boland was indeed telling people he plans a run for the state senate.

Of course, this was met with howls of derision and mockery from the usual gang of nay-sayers here. (not you other fine folks)

As my unimpeachable source reported and confirmed, this was not some barroom B.S., but a discussion with some serious players during a meeting in which Boland laid out his plans in hopes of gaining support.

What a politician says this far out from a race and what he actually does aren't necessarily the same thing, but it is clear that Bolan has and is telling certain people of his plans to run for senate.

As to the timetable for when Boland will finally show his cards, that still remains to be seen. A sentence buried at the end of an article a few weeks ago indicated that Boland would make his plans known around June if I recall. (unfortunately, a long search for the article was unsuccessful.)

There's certainly a huge amount hinging on his decision, and if it indeed turns out that he runs against Mike Jacobs, it will hit the local political scene like a lightening bolt.

But as of now, all we know is that he has stated his desire to run for state senate to certain people. When he'll make his plans known formally is anyone's guess at this point. Until further info comes forward, that's where it stands.

The Vynckes are a prominent name in East Moline, but I can't confirm what posts they hold if any, or where. Perhaps some more knowledgable reader might fill us in.

At 4/25/2005 9:58 AM, Blogger anonymight said...

good backtracking Dope - your a riot!

At 4/25/2005 7:35 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And you're a witless tool. You must be so proud.

At 4/26/2005 8:42 AM, Blogger theheadusher said...

If "old Mike Boland" runs aginst "young Mike Jacobs" that will end his political career.

As for the Vynkes, they have long been on the opposite political side of the Jacobs' Family. Although it never seemed to bother Denny in East Moline, nor will it bother Sen. Mike Jacobs In fact, the Vynke's appear split, as Rob Vynke is said to be supporting Mike Jacobs reelection!

I trust Grandpa Vynke is eternally thankful for the scholarship Boland gave his grand daughter. Who can blame him?

If Boland runs, he loses. My guess, Boland gets defeated in the Deocratic Primary for State Represetative by Moline activist Porter McNeil!

At 4/26/2005 10:21 AM, Blogger anonymight said...

just making your blood boil makes our day, sweetcheeks

At 4/26/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Your comments don't make my blood boil. It's really not a great surprise that there are total assholes such as yourself out there. Always have been, always will be. Disappointed, sure. Angry, no.

At 4/30/2005 9:07 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope, yes the Dispatch - fondly known as the Daily Disgrace earns that title daily because the editiors are either lazy or incompetent.

I remember years ago they wrote an Editorial piece in their large column and signed their name to it about then 1st District Iowa US Congressman Jim Leach and they inserted a photograph of then Mayor Stan Leach.

Now how stupid is that? The guys don't even have the same first name. So who is keeping the files straight over there anyway?

Grammatical errors aside, the Dispatch constantly rushs to publish and then if anyone contacts them about a mistake , they retract it in the small print at some obscure location.


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