Contempt for voters
Published May 2, 2008
The Senate, largely because of Democratic opposition, denied Illinois citizens the right to decide whether to add a recall amendment to their constitution. The tally was 33 senators willing to give citizens that choice, three short of the 36 votes needed. Jones and 18 other Democrats voted no; two more Democrats voted present.Jones acolyte Rickey Hendon opened the vote, then instantly gaveled it to a close. Five senators didn't vote at all. The ploy couldn't have been more obvious: End this vote before it has time to pass.
Hendon then engineered a rapid adjournment, arrogantly denying a vote on a second version of the recall amendment, which the Illinois House had passed and sent to the Senate.
So the matter is dead. No recall amendment can clear the legislature by Sunday's deadline to put proposed amendments on the November ballot.
This stiff-arm by Jones & Co. to Illinois citizens not only protects his pal Gov. Rod Blagojevich from a post-November recall effort, but also insulates Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
Even the Senate debate was rushed. But some of it was telling. Sen. John Cullerton voted to deny citizens the right to recall the people they put in office. Cullerton was aghast at the notion of "turning over to an outside entity" the question of whether to recall inept judges.
Yes, you, Illinois voters, are that much-feared "outside entity."
So be it. All of us in the outside entity now need to ask every Democratic senator we encounter why he or she didn't do more to advance the recall amendment. If you make to-do lists, here are the 21 Democrats whose votes of no or present (the effect is the same) denied you a voice on that amendment:
Emil Jones, Jr., President
James F. Clayborne, Jr.
Jacqueline Y. Collins
John J. Cullerton
James A. DeLeo
William R. Haine
Kimberly A. Lightford
Iris Y. Martinez
James T. Meeks
John M. Sullivan
Donne E. Trotter