Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the arrest of our beloved former governor, Rod Blagojevich. The state got to learn how Blagojevich spent some of his days. Yakking on the phone for instance. From his conversations, we learned that Blagojevich saw opportunities in places where many people probably didn't. Like filling a U.S. Senate seat because the previous occupant was elected president.

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the arrest of our beloved former governor, Rod Blagojevich.


The state got to learn how Blagojevich spent some of his days. Yakking on the phone for instance. From his conversations, we learned that Blagojevich saw opportunities in places where many people probably didn't. Like filling a U.S. Senate seat because the previous occupant was elected president.


As governor, Blagojevich had the power to fill that seat. He saw opportunity for personal gain in that process. Actually, it was more than your garden-variety opportunity. For Blagojevich, it was "(bleeping) golden." And thus, another term was added to Illinois' unique political lexicon.


Last week, on the anniversary of his arrest, Blagojevich was in a bookstore at the University of Chicago, signing copies of his runaway seller "The Governor." According to news reports of the event, someone asked Blagojevich to sign a copy of the U.S. Constitution. He did and included "(bleeping) golden" in his greeting.


The guy just oozes class, doesn't he?


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‘Tis the season for a lot of things, including political endorsements.


With so many candidates running for various state offices, the campaigns figure any endorsement is worth hyping. Hence the news release sent to Illinois media Friday with the headline "McKenna and Murphy Win Cuba Township Republican Organization." This is not to pick on former state Republican Party chairman Andy McKenna, one of seven Republicans running for governor. Others have also issued releases based on endorsements from pretty local organizations.


Of course, what any candidate for statewide office covets is the endorsement of statewide organizations. Maybe from a labor union, or educators, or a group like Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Illinois issued its list of endorsements, including one governor, one secretary of state, one attorney general, one treasurer and one comptroller. It also endorsed four of the six Democrats running for lieutenant governor. Sort of defeats the point of an endorsement.


Then again, this is an organization dedicated to choice.


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File this under the Not-To-Be-Missed category of upcoming events.


First up we have the Mainstreet Campaign, which will hold a news conference this week on their proposed Put Back amendment. What is a Put Back amendment you ask? It would impose term limits, end gerrymandering of legislative district boundaries and end the practice of ramming important legislation like budgets through the General Assembly at the last minute before anyone really has a chance to digest it. In other words, take all of the fun and tradition out of Illinois politics. Good luck to them in their effort. They'll need it.


Then on January 7, the six Republican candidates for lieutenant governor will debate in Springfield. Truly, this will be a pivotal event. Six mostly unknown people debating the issues facing an office that has virtually no power and pretty much no issues. Attend at your own risk.


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There must be some jinx on the Illinois Capitol when it comes to water pipes.


A couple of years ago, in the dead of winter, an outside door in one of Blagojevich's staff offices somehow opened, allowing bitterly cold air to flood in. It froze a water pipe which resulted in flooding on the Capitol's first and second floors.


Last week, there was another water problem. The state is in the process of slowly replacing the HVAC system in the building. In preparation for starting the second phase, an outside contractor was retained to do a mold survey. The workers had some lift equipment to help them get to hard-to-reach areas. In moving the lift around, it hit a valve on a 12-inch water pipe. Secretary of State officials said that within 45 minutes, 3,600 gallons of water poured out.


The office summoned its staff plumbers, electricians and laborers to deal with the mess. They eventually were able to staunch the flow of water, but there was about two inches of water in the basement, which includes offices and storage areas for the Illinois Senate.


Carpeting was taken to the adjacent Howlett Building and spread out to dry. Overnight building maintenance crews were assigned to using wet vacs to remove the standing water. The incident started about 7:45 p.m. SOS officials claimed clean-up was basically done by midnight.


Damage was estimated at $3,300.


Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527 or doug.finke@sj-r.com.