There could be some real interesting times ahead as the state evaluates its statuary and other artwork for appropriateness.
House Speaker Michael Madigan kicked things off last week with his declaration that he wants the statue of Stephen A. Douglas removed from the Capitol grounds and the statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King moved to a more prominent location. King’s statue stands alone in front of the Illinois State Library building across the street from the Capitol.
Madigan wants a painting of Douglas that hangs in the Illinois House chamber covered up until it can be replaced with a portrait of former President Barack Obama. And finally, Madigan wants a review of all "statues, portraits and symbols on the Capitol grounds to ensure any inappropriate fixtures are removed and all feel welcome."
And that’s where things could get interesting. There are artworks all over the place commemorating people, some very well known and others much less so. Maybe there’s research on some of those lesser-known people that would disqualify them from having their likenesses on display.
There’s the Hall of Governors on the second floor of the Capitol that has portraits of all but one of the state’s governors. Rod Blagojevich is missing for obvious reasons, but some of those other folks who do have portraits aren’t exactly of stellar character. Could some of them be put into storage?
There are pictures of past House speakers hung in a hallway on the third floor. That should provide some ample opportunity for review and reflection.
Also, the Douglas statue on the lawn isn’t the only one of the Little Giant. There’s one on a pedestal in the rotunda. Madigan’s decree didn’t mention what to do with that one. It is close to a portrait of George Washington, should the reviewers want to go down that road.
Reviewing the statuary and other artwork in the Capitol isn’t a bad idea, but it isn’t going to be an easy task, either. There have to be some clear standards and justifications for whatever decisions are made, either removing something or even allowing something to remain despite objections to it. The worst thing officials can do is make their decisions appear to be arbitrary.
* That Gov. JB Pritzker and President Donald Trump don’t agree on how to handle the coronavirus pandemic is no secret.
So when Pritzker testified remotely before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, he wasted no time in reiterating his displeasure with Washington. In fact, Pritzker wasn’t even a full minute into his remarks before his first criticism of the feds was aired.
He was just warming up, though, and he got a couple of zingers in. The best one?
"In the midst of a global pandemic, states were forced to play a sort of a sick Hunger Games game who to save the lives of our people. Let me be clear — this is not a reality TV show," the governor said.
That was directed straight at the former reality TV show host in the White House.
* Under state law, the Department of Central Management Services is supposed to record changes in assets on its inventory records within 90 days. That could be acquisition, disposal or whatever.
A recent audit of the agency found that didn’t always happen. Auditors tested 60 cases and found that the deadline wasn’t met 72% of the time. The length of the delays ranged from six days to 5,782 days late. Or, from about a week to nearly 16 years. As Maxwell Smart would say, missed it by that much.
The audit didn’t specify what the asset was or why it took 16 years to change the records. CMS said it would try to do better in the future.
Contact Doug Finke: email@example.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.
via The State Journal-Register
July 12, 2020 at 10:02AM