A blog focusing on politics in Central Illinois.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

City council candidate Shampine says he will focus on economic development that provides good-paying jobs

Michael Shampine says economic development is the drive engine of the community, but it must be done wisely. "We need economic development that makes sense," Shampine said. "We can no longer afford economic development at any cost. It is time to see that we get a decent return on our tax dollars." If elected to Decatur City Council, Shampine intends to work toward that end. Shampine also pledged to conduct government business in the "light of day" and bring together a diverse group of community members to help map the city's future.

This is a good article by the Herald & Review today on Shampine. The interesting development here is that Marty Easterling B.A. for Laborer's 159, a member of the big five unions not expected to back Shampine, came out in support of Shampine. This will turn into an interesting four person race, it's hard to tell who's ahead now, but I'm sure we'll start getting a good idea within the next few weeks.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A red Macon County or Better dead than Red

Macon County going for Bush was the focus in the first part of a four part series the State Journal Register is doing on downstate Politics. The big question is what happened and why? The simple part of that is Bush won Macon County which one of the few blue spots on the county by county map of the 2000 election. How did Bush win when every other Republican above county board level was soundly beaten. One theory is as follows:
Bradley also thinks likeability goes a long way in presidential races. "That 'Aw, shucks,' mispronunciation thing worked quite well for Bush in smaller towns," he said. "For a lot of voters, that's what it boils down to - which one would you rather go out for a beer with."
But can it really be that simple? Was it about likeability, the war, gays gods and guns? It might be we really were afraid of change. But in Macon County the Democratic Party didn't do much to help Kerry's cause. We have an entrenched view that if we have yard signs we'll win. Yard signs is the first part of getting a vote, you get your name noticed, then you talk to the person and get them to say they'll vote for you, then you make sure they show up. It's not simple, it's just work, and we have a ruling cabal who doesn't want to do the work, but wont step out of the way and let others do the work.
All politics are local, Bush won Macon County because he related to the people. We won everything else because we were blessed with great candidates, as well as a ton of money to back them. But we can do better, lets make Macon County Blue again in '06.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Is there anybody out there?

Just curious if anyone is actually really this dribble. Leave a comment if you're out there!

Precinct Committeemen's Meeting

Well we had our Precinct Committeemen's meeting tonight, it was suprisingly informative and non argumentative. As a non member of the Central Committee it's fun just to be able to watch it all unfold. The Executive Director of the Township Officials of Illinois was there to explain caucus procedures for the upcoming township caucuses. There will be 21 caucuses in Macon County, 17 Township Caucuses, and 4 Multitownship Caucuses. Now, if you can follow that, that means we will be electing 17 township clerks, 17 road commissioners, 17 township supervisors, 68 township trustees, 11 township assessors, and 4 multi-township assessors. Underneath those elected officials you then have appointed positions which include cemetary trustees, and all sorts of other positions. Now, I'll add this, every single one of those elected officials is drawing a salary. As far as I know the only township that has a role in serving the people is the Long Creek Township, which operates more as a village than a township. When it comes to everything else, we would be well served to at worst, combine all of the townships together, and at best turn all the roads over to the county, and serve the rest of the functions through the state. It would serve the taxpayers well, and remove a level of bloated, and sometimes corrupt government from our backs.


Macon County tops list for most Christmas trees harvested in state

We''re the top tree county in the state by a 5,000 trees. I had always taken all of our Christmas tree farms for granted, I figured everyone has them. Their are 3 within 10 miles of me. I guess it's more unusual than I thought. But, then again maybe we can spur some more economic development by becoming the Christmas Tree Capital of the nation, hey it beats having the world's largest indoor water park. We can put it right next to the Lincoln Botanical Garden, which we could locate next to the ski resort built on a mountain made out of garbage. By the way therse are all real ideas, minus the christmas tree idea, that our council or others have pursued in the last 15 years as a means of economic development, some harder than others.

Homeless in Decatur

Marchers bring attention to plight of homeless in Macon County through Oasis Day Center event

This year, 10 people have died in the county because of being homeless, and there are some whose whereabouts are not known, said Nancy Rude, program director at Oasis Day Center.
It's much to easy to walk past, or otherwise ignore the people that have less than us. I was shocked when I read that 10 people in Macon County have died from being homeless this year. It's not a problem that is just going to end. We need to work more in developing city-private organizations contacts that would be able to help the less fortunate. Instead of spending millions of dollars to fill in a hole in downtown, or pursue a water park that isn't going to be built, wouldn't it be better to invest in our people?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

City Council Field Finalized

The Decatur City Council Field was finalized today. There will be seven people running for three spots, including two incumbents. A primary will be held in Feburary to narrow the field down.
Decatur will have city council primary
Macon County taxpayers likely will pay more than $50,000 so Decatur voters can eliminate one candidate for Decatur City Council in a February primary election. Billy Roberts and Mike Shampine filed paperwork Monday before the 5 p.m. deadline, bringing the total number of council candidates to seven. Five candidates filed early Dec. 6 including Councilman Shad Edwards, Councilwoman Betsy Stockard, Dan Caulkins, Patrick McDaniel and Kimberly Keck.

These divide easily into three tiers of candidates, with the first tier being incumbents Betsy Stockard and Shad Edwards joined by Dan Caulkins and Mike Shampine. The second tier is former mayoral candidate, and current Decatur Tribune reporter Pat McDaniel, followed up by Kimberly Keck, a relatively unknown and Billy Roberts a former City Council Candidate.
Caulkins is a businessman who will likely be backed by the Republican Party. Stockard is the sole black candidate which counts for a lot when the electorate is 25% black. Edwards and Shampine should share most of the union support with a few key unions possibly backing out. McDaniel is somewhat of a community activist in a more professional sense, helping to host Decatur's 175 anniversary as well as being active in promoting downtown Decatur. I have no knowledge of Kimberly Keck or Billy Roberts.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Hatfields and the McCoys

Before we start this post I would like to say this, there are two sides to every argument, some people accuse me of being on one side, others accuse me of being on the other. To be truthful I don't care, I just want someone willing to move past it all.
The Democrat Party in Macon County for the last few years has been embroiled in what could politiely be called civil unrest, bordering on an all out war. Results of these skirmishes include: a newly elected county officer being run out of office, the county chairman's son in line to become county sheriff arrested and fired from the force, a republican actively recruited and supported by democrats to run against another democrat, a failed takeover at the party elections leading to a splinter group forming made up of primarily Decatur Township precinct committeeman, two seperate headquarters operating for the general election blocks from each other, the county board democrat caucus violating the open meetings act to hold a caucus about re-electing the county board chairman, a former vice-chairman of the county party writing a letter to the editior demanding all county board members at that caucus be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and finally with the upcoming township caucuses another proxy battle for control will be held.
What is the start of all this, the answer, as it always is, is a long story. In its simplest terms the Macon County Democrat Central Committee has allied itself with the five big trade unions in Decatur, and the Decatur Township Democrats have allied themselves with the Central Labor Council. With one side, or both sides, it changes on who tells the story trying to destroy the other side, and exclude them at every possible turn. People say that it is an intra-labor dispute that has spilled out to the rest of the Democrat Party. But, one thing is sure, right or wrong, both sides are damaging the party. What is it about a house divided not standing?
Both sides must be willing to move forward and work to serve the party rather than themselves. Is this possible, will the crevass ever be bridged? Tune in next week as we explore the aftermath of the Precinct Committeeman's meeting on December 16th.

Township Caucuses

Township Caucuses will be held across the state of Illinois on January 11, 2005. Macon County will be hosting 15 caucuses I believe. The one worth watching this year will most likely be the Decatur Township Caucus. Decatur has 42 precincts in it. Ths year the Decatur Township Democrats have instituted a policy where you must notify the Decatur Township Democrat Chairman by January 1 to notify him of your intentions to run for an office. Contested office so far might include Township Supervisor and Township Clerk.
The Township Supervisor race will be for an open seat, Democrat Board of Education Member Mike Wakeland is the only declared candidate. Former County Board Chairman Joe McGlaughlin has been rumored to have his eyes on this office, but no word yet from him on whether he will be pursuing it. Former County Board Member and Current Decatur Road Commissioner Gordan Brenner has opted to stay put in his current office. Wakeland is backed by Current Supervisor Clara Mann. He will also most likely be recieving support from the Decatur Township Demorats.
The Township Clerk race took an interesting turn when Dee Mathews declared her intentions to run for this office. It is currently held by Democrat Jean Friend, who as far as I know still intends to run for the job. Mathews will most likely count on her ties to the Central Labor Council here as well as the Decatur Township Democrats.
With the current infighting in the Macon County Democrat Party this caucus will serve as just another proxy battle for control. Look for other townships in Macon County to follow the lead of Long Creek and Decatur Townships for caucus rules.

First Post

Welcome to the Decatur Democrat Blog. This will be a blog focused on politics in Central Illinois, specifically Macon County, with brief forays into State and National Politics. The goal of this blog is to bring coverage to the blogosphere of an area that is woefully undercovered. As this blog progresses I'll be writing my political biography, as well as informing you of the political climate of Decatur. Please leave suggestions on anything you might have for this blog.
Quis custodit ipsos custodes.