Quinn administration being committed to history
With weeks to go in Gov. Pat Quinn's term, a flurry of activity behind the scenes is trying to help the historians of the future understand the politics that sometimes confuse us in the present.
David Joens, director of the Illinois State Archives, is working with the Quinn administration to get six years of papers and emails from top officials preserved for good in the archives.
Joens says Quinn's office has been a big help in the process.
Adding to the size of the job: Quinn's office also is helping Joens and his staff get relevant emails from the Rod Blagojevich years, too. You may remember the previous governor's exit from office wasn't the smoothest.
After the archives office gets all the stuff, it will take years to sort through it and determine how best to make the emails in particular available for public consumption, Joens says.
For now, though, the job is to preserve everything.
"At least we know they're in a safe place," Joens said. "We'd like to at least have it."
The information someday could shed additional light on how certain decisions were made and why. And the volume of information in this increasingly digital time could be pretty revealing.
"We haven't really dealt with this on this level," Joens said.
Republican Lt. Gov.-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti resigned her seat on the Wheaton City Council at its meeting this week.
She made brief comments at her final meeting. She says she'll continue to live in Wheaton and that she made lifelong friends on the council.
"I came to you with all my vulnerabilities, all my brokenness and just wanted to serve all of you with a servant's heart," Sanguinetti said. "And so then came a man named Bruce Rauner that kind of saw all my vulnerabilities, all my brokenness, but my servant's heart."
Fellow council member Todd Scalzo wished her well.
"Don't go Springfield on us," he said. "Don't go Hollywood on us, with all your handlers."
Sanguinetti was elected to the post in 2011.
Recent Cuba visit
State Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, helped lead a delegation of state officials to Cuba in 2011.
It didn't get the same attention as former Gov. George Ryan's 1999 trip and meeting with Fidel Castro, but Franks praised President Barack Obama's decision this week to try to normalize diplomatic relations with the country.
"That's the only way we're going to change that culture, is by trading," Franks said.
Several state leaders have talked about the potential benefits to the state's agricultural industry if Illinois could send more corn "down the Mississippi (River) and turn left," Franks said.
Cook County Clerk David Orr released some interesting numbers Thursday about November's election.
First, the gender gap: He says in suburban Cook County 54.2 percent of voters were women and 45.8 percent were men.
Turnout was down compared to 2010. About 49.8 percent of registered voters cast a ballot this year. That's lower than the 52.5 percent who did four years ago.
But voting before Election Day by mail or in person was up by 26 percent.
So that big push by candidates to get people to vote early didn't translate into more voters. It could mean that crush of people who voted early would have done so on Election Day anyway.
In a week when a couple was convicted of stealing millions of dollars in state grant money, Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski pointed to legislation he and Republican state Sen. Pamela Althoff of McHenry won approval for earlier this year.
Leon Dingle Jr. and Karin Dingle were convicted of stealing money they got from the state to run AIDS and cancer awareness programs.
The new law requires stricter rules around who gets such grants, including making sure that people who get them have a budget showing how they will spend the money.