Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3rd St? 10th St?

First it would be best if you had a little background on the debate prior to reading my opinion.

3rd Street Rail
*This article is a recent position taken by House Speaker Madigan on the debate between the 3rd and 10th Street corridors.

First, I have to state my possible bias. I am currently living on fifth street, and I hear trains coming through at all hours of the night. However, I will not be living on Fifth when high speed rail in Springfield comes to fruition, so I don't have a stake in the game.

3rd Street is not an acceptable location for the incoming high speed rail line. The line would run through the center of the downtown area, and cause bottlenecks and headache for all downtown travelers. This would impede downtown traffic and business. The increased train activity would harm the look and flow of downtown.

Also, one of the proposed overpasses would cover three sides of the historic Dana Thomas House. This is unacceptable, the landmark should be preserved at its current view.

From a public administration perspective it makes sense to move the high speed rail onto the 10th St. corridor.

Now for the politics of the issue. Political pressure is coming from multiple groups. One advocating against using 3rd St. and another against using 10th St. The problem is the perceived split in the downtown area. The historically poorer area of town is along 10th St., this causes a political problem. Having forty additional trains a day go through the 10th St. corridor would create a permanent divide between the west and east of town.

Also up for consideration, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation has stated clearly that they do not have time to study the 10th St. corridor as an option. They need to apply for federal stimulus money by Friday. City groups and leaders have threatened lawsuits if the plan is pushed forward. Of course, Mike Madigan is moving to limit State funds from being spent on the project.

Should be interesting in the next few weeks. I say no to the 3rd St. corridor.

I'm Back!

It has been a very long time since I have posted. I am doing an assignment for my Effective Public Affairs writing class. For that I will be weighing in on the 3rd St. vs. 10th St. debate.

After I am done with that I will post my things from the inauguration. Only nine months late, I know. Lastly, I do get married in 18 days, so I'll try to get some pictures up on that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

D.C. or Bust

I know I haven't kept up with this, and there are probably very few people reading. However, I wanted to congratulate everyone that worked very hard to get Barack Obama elected the 44th President of the United States.

I am off to the inauguration in January. I recently got a phone call from Congressman Phil Hare's office. I received two tickets for the day!!!

I'll elaborate more later...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day four... The speech

I woke up around 6:00am, because I had to get to Invesco Field by 7:00am. My volunteer spot was awesome. I was in charge of getting delegates with disabilities to the floor. The floor is where the delegates all stay, and last night that meant the actual field of Mile High Stadium. One thing I was real worried about was the possibility of rain, but the skies were clear the entire day. While getting to the floor, I saw multiple celebrities including, Rosario Dawson, Fezz (Don't know his real name,) Wolf Blitzer, and a few other TV hosts. I also was in the middle of many of the most powerful people in our state and country.

I did not get to stay on the floor during the speech, but I did get to stay on the mdeia ledge of the thrid level terrace. The seat was great, and I was ready to watch history unfold before my eyes. Dick Durbin, the senior Senator from Illinois and Springfield native, introduced Barack to the crowd. He spoke of a man of intergrity, and someone that is ready to lead. When Obama came out he was surronded by 90,000 of his closest friends. He delivered a firey speech that including policy and inspiration. He finally went after McCain for using cheap attacks about patriotism. I persionally was glad that he did this. John Kerry allowed the Republicans to destroy a top notch military record with little response. Barack Obama will not allow this to happen, which means Karl rove may be out of a job. Obama's nomination also came on a historic night, the forty-fifth anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech. Today the dream has not quite been fulfilled, but Barack Obama brought it one step closer.

In closing, this convention was fantastic. So, to everyone reading this, get involved! There are great political clubs on campus, and they all will be joining together to have a voter registration drive. Democracy only works when there is a healthy debate and involvment by citizens. Lastly, if you can make it to the convention in 2012... DO IT!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day Three... A tale of two stadiums

Today started early. I went to Invesco Field for a volunteer meeting to determine the spot I would have for the show tomorrow. So, this meant I missed the talk of the Illinois delegation today, that would be Speaker Mike Madigan and Governor Rod Blagojevich giving each other a hug. Well, after the long training today I was assigned a position. Some advice to people that have yet to volunteer for political events, get there early and stay quiet. This will insure that you are given a "good job." However, if you don't get a good job, just do it and don't complain. Now, that being said I got an awesome spot for tomorrow. I will be assisting any disabled delegates to the field to find their seats. During the speech, I may be able to stay on the field!! Elated, I left Invesco and went back to the Marriott.

Back at the hotel I ran into my former State Senator Denny Jacobs. Denny had a few extra wristbands for a special event at Coors Field. Yes, this means I have made it in Coors for two events. This one was for select memebers of the Illinois delegation, and was hosted by Speaker Madigan. Mike, Renee, and I were able to go onto the field to take pictures. It was incredible.

I was able to get tickets to a DNCC watch party at the convention hall. Remember, the convention hall is not the Pepsi Center. However, there was about 2,000 people at the watch party. The speakers were great tonight. I only want to comment on John Kerry. All I want to say about Senator Kerry is that I wish he had that power and charisma when he ran four years ago.

Well, I have to report to Invesco by 8:00am tomorrow.... Wish me luck! I should note that more than likely I won't update this until atleast Friday morning. I expect tomorrow will be ridicoulous.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day two... I got in!

Above: Senator Hillary Clinton celebrating the 88th anniversary of women getting the right to vote
Below: Keynot Speaker fmr. Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia

Lilly Ledbetter

Head of Illinois Veteran's Administration Tammy Duckworth at the women's caucus

Three UIS students sneak into a Wisconsin party at Coors Field

David Shustter speaking with Chris Matthews at the live Hardball set downtown

Tom Brokaw!!!

Lobby of the Marriott Hotel (Illinois Delegation)

Day two started with the Illinois delegation breakfast in the lower lobby of the Marriott hotel. This breakfast happens every morning, and is open to anyone in the delegation. At today's breakfast Mayor Daley, Congressman Hare, and Senate President Jones were among a few of the speakers. After the breakfast I left for the convention center. Here I met up with Mike and Renee a the College Democrats of America forum on diversity. We left shortly after that ended to go to the women's caucus. Here we were able to listen to a multitude of speakers speaking about women's issues. They ranged from health care to choice issues to equal pay for equal work. All of which I agree with the caucus on. I then went to the hotel to take a nap, because these past two days have been incredibly tiring.

At 4:00pm I was woken by the best phone call of my life. Rep. Hare's Chief of Staff had found a credential for me. Credentials are what get you into the Pepsi Center to hear speakers. This was my high hope for the convention to get in, although I was not expecting it. So, by 4:15pm I was on a shuttle to the Pepsi Center. Once I arrived and got seated, I was able to see a great lineup of speakers. This lineup included Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), Gov. Mark Warner (Virginia), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (Montana), Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (Maryland), and of course Senator Hillary Clinton (New York).

I want to quickly expound upon two of the sepakers. The first I have not yet mentioned, Lilly Ledbetter. Lilly worked with Goodyear Tire in Alabama for 20 years. Near the end of her career she found solid evidence that her male coworkers were being paid more for the exact same job. She took Goodyear to court, and won. Goodyear appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost in a 5-4 ruling. People seem to forget that the Supreme Court is an important part of picking a President. If John McCain is elected there will be more conservative judges appointed, and he has promised to appoint only judges that believe in overturning Roe v. Wade. This is important, and everyone should pay attention.

Next, Hillary Clinton. Now, ask anyone from UIS College Dems my opinion of Hillary Clinton, extreme dislike would be an understatement. However, tonight she hit all the right notes. She spoke about her own historic campaign while at the same time fully endorsing Barack Obama. She also echoed what we heard at the women's caucus, that it is important for Hillary supporters to vote for Obama and not McCain. Mainly because McCain does not share any of the values of Hillary Clinton. By the end of her speech even I was waving a Hillary sign.

Tomorrow starts my volunteering portion of the convention. I have to be at Invesco Field by 8:00am. So, I am off to bed, but I do have a few pictures from the past two days up.

My first day...

WOW! Today was incredible. I will say though that it is 1:30am, and I am tired. So, pictures will have to be added at a later time, but I will give you a brief run down of my day.

Remember I am not set to volunteer until Wednesday and Thursday at Invesco Field for the acceptance speech. So, today I got into Denver off of Amtrak around 9am. The moment I got off the train I could feel the electric atmosphere. While standing in the lobby of the hotel I ran into multiple elected officials from Illinois, including Senate President Emil Jones, Congressman Phil Hare, Senator Mike Jacobs, and Secretary of State Jesse White. This is the point where I would again stress that you should all join the college political club that agrees with you. I have helped many of these officials before, and have worked on their campaigns. So, some recognized me, and helped me get on my way.

I then walked down to the convention center, and walked through the building. Meeting Terry McAuliff, former Chair of the DNC, and Tom Brokaw. I was able to get a book signed by each. I then met up with Mike Ziri, the President of UIS College Democrats, we wondered about and found a youth faith forum to sit in on. I left Mike at the convention center and went downtown where MSNBC was broadcasting "Hardball" live from behind Union Station. Amongst Obama and Clinton supporters I cheered my heart out, and got on TV for it.

I then met up with fellow UIS blogger Renee Rathjen, and we went to a viewing party for the convention. It is important to note that only delegates and guests can get into the Pepsi Center, where all the speeches happen. The Illinois delegation is doing a lottery for extra tickets, so cross your fingers for me to get some. Anyway, Michelle Obama gave an amazing keynote speech for the first day. YOU NEED TO CHECK IT OUT IF YOU DIDN'T SEE IT. Regardless of political affiliation, I think it is an important speech to watch.

A big part of the DNC is the parties, and Mike, Renee, and I were able to go to three tonight. The first was a dessert reception hosted by Representative Curry, the Majority Leader of the Illinois House. After that I was able to get into a Wisconsin delegation party at Coors' Field. Finally, I ended the night at a reception put on by Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Rahm Emanuel. These events are important for networking and lobbying. I spoke with the other University of Illinois Trustee that is in Denver, Dr. Carroll. She commended UIS for being rated the number one Graduate school in Illinois. Also, I was able to speak at some length with other members of the Illinois delegation about UIS. We may be a small school, but we are starting to build quite a reputation.

I will try to elaborate on this post later, but again it is getting late and I have a breakfast at 8am. I will also be posting photos later. Good night.