Wind farm ban becomes issue in Sangamon County, Illinois board election

Proposed changes to the county wind farm ordinance have become an issue in the election for Sangamon county board seats. In August, I wrote about the county board threatening to turn away green jobs and clean energy by adopting the most extreme restrictions in Illinois.

County board members punted the issue again by extending the ban on wind farms for another six months. Ordinance changes, which may halt development of a wind farm proposed in western Sangamon County, will be considered again after the election.

The delays, hesitation, and threatened destruction of a project that would create badly needed green jobs has been raised by several candidates challenging county board incumbents. Mike Ziri was the first to contact me after my blog post. Ziri is a Springfield Democrat running in district 11. Both Ziri and Mike Crews spoke in favor of wind farm jobs at the Liberty Brew & View candidate night last month. Crews referenced his opponent’s vote for the wind farm moratorium in a campaign mailing.

The sponsor of the ordinance is Springfield County board member Tim Moore. I contacted his election opponent, Tony DelGiorno, to ask if this is an issue in his race. He speaks about it with voters while knocking on doors and it’s included on his campaign website. Tony sent me this quote: Continue reading Wind farm ban becomes issue in Sangamon County, Illinois board election

What Would Lincoln Say About Occupy Wall Street?

Here’s my best guess.


I was the first Republican President.

I created the first federal income tax. It was a graduated tax based on ability to pay . . . → Read More: What would Lincoln say about Occupy Wall Street?

Illinois Capitol Building to be Served Eviction Notice

Occupy Springfield will serve a notice of eviction on the Illinois Capitol Building. It will be read during an “Occupy Your State Capital” rally, October 29, 1:00pm.

Notice of Eviction

The lobbyists for . . . → Read More: Illinois Capitol Building to be Served Eviction Notice

Sarah Palin disses Illinois State Fair

Sarah Palin’s bus sneaked in and out town before I knew she was here. Apparently, she only stayed long enough to visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum, only two blocks from the Old . . . → Read More: Sarah Palin disses Illinois State Fair

Downstate Democrats Lose in Proposed IL State Representative Map

I wasn’t going to write about redistricting for the Illinois legislature but I’m surprised that news outlets are missing this story. Although Democrats are in charge of redistricting, the proposed map for the Illinois state House of Representatives would unnecessarily limit the number of downstate Democrats and cede most of rural Illinois to Republicans.

In several areas that could support two Democratic leaning districts, the proposed map instead creates one super-Democratic district. These districts would be very easy to defend, but at the cost of keeping the downstate Democratic legislative caucus small and impotent for the next ten years.

The most obvious example is in the Quad cities, which has traditionally elected two Democratic state Representatives. Drawing two districts that are over 55% Democratic would be simple, but the most Democratic areas of Rock Island/Moline are lumped into one district instead.

The same thing happens in Decatur and Springfield. Decatur can support its own Democratic House district. A new Democratic leaning district that doesn’t include incumbent Republican Raymond Poe could have been created in Springfield as well. Instead, the most Democratic parts of both towns are drawn together, and a new Republican district would be created in southwestern Sangamon county. There would only be one oddly-shaped, heavily Democratic district where there could be two. Continue reading Downstate Democrats Lose in Proposed IL State Representative Map

An attack on public employees is an attack on the environment

I was asked to speak for the Sierra Club at the rally to save the American Dream held on the steps of the Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois in solidarity with Wisconsin public employees.  The large crowd was fired up from previous speakers so I was glad to have very enthusiastic response. Here’s the text of my speech from the February 26 rally.

American Dream rally

(Will Reynolds speaking at the Illinois rally to Save the American Dream at the Illinois Capitol. Springfield NAACP President Teresa Haley on the left introduced speakers.)

I’m here to say a few words as Chair of the Illinois Sierra Club about why Sierra Club and other environmental groups are supporting these rallies across the nation.  But I’m also here because I’ve been a union member and organizer. And because my dad was a state employee in AFSCME Council 31 from before I was born until he retired.

I know what the right to organize means for a workplace.  I know that those politicians who try to take away our right to organize are the same ones who would take away our right to clean air and clean water. Those who would unfairly apply budget cuts to public employees are the same forces attempting to gut environmental protections.

I know that an organized workplace that protects the safety of its workers is more likely to protect the safety of the environment and the community they work in.  It’s no coincidence that non-union coal mines with poor safety records are usually the same mines with poor environmental records.

The Sierra Club knows we don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and good union jobs.  Auto plants in Michigan and Illinois are reopening to build fuel efficient cars and hybrids.  Illinois fields that cover abandoned coal mines are now growing wind farms that are providing the good union jobs of our energy future.  America’s economy is being rebuilt on a foundation of green union jobs. Continue reading An attack on public employees is an attack on the environment

The pitfalls of political yard signs

You’d think that something as simple as yard signs wouldn’t be a big problem for political campaigns. But a bad sign strategy is one of the most common mistakes made by rookie candidates and even some seasoned veterans. Here’s my free, unsolicited advice to campaigns based on dealing with more political signs than I care to remember.

A common mistake candidates make is buying more signs than their organization can handle. They see that it doesn’t cost too much more to get an extra 500 or so signs. Why not order a large number to get more visibility?

But then the signs show up. At some point the candidate or campaign manager has an “oh shit” moment and realizes that they need to place another 700 signs that are sitting in the back room collecting dust.

So they recruit a volunteer to be the sign manager. Then they get a crew of volunteers to place signs all over creation. Maybe you run a phone bank to ask people if they’ll put one in their yard. The sign crew goes out every weekend or several times a week putting up new ones and replacing those that disappeared.

Pretty soon you realize that half your volunteer efforts are going toward placing those damn signs. Those are volunteers who could be knocking on doors, making phone calls to undecided voters, or doing something useful. Not good!

Don’t buy more signs than you can handle!

Other campaigns have the volunteers and staff to place all the signs they want and go overboard. I see this every year in Springfield, most often from any candidate endorsed by the local Republican organization. Party foot soldiers spam the town with endless signs in front of rental housing, abandoned lots, and public medians.

Springfield mayoral candidate Mike Coffey is the latest example but he’s by no means the only offender. One wonders how seriously he’ll take city beautification after letting his supporters clutter the town with signs. Continue reading The pitfalls of political yard signs