The Blagojevich Reign Lives on in Paint

Name still sticks

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Blago is hard to erase.

    Among the acts of "fumigation" ordered by Gov. Pat Quinn when he took office was the removal of Rod Blagojevich's name from as many state assets as possible that still identified him as the governor, including signs at 32 tollway plazas.

    Those signs were put in place in 2004 for a hefty $480,000 - $15,000 each.

    The more modest non-Blago replacement signs cost a total of $15,000. 

    But the Blagojevich name hasn't been easy to remove from every nook and cranny of the state.

    Take that 41-story grain elevator near Lake Calumet that welcomes folks to the state's International Port District. 

    The Chicago Tribune found - in a story picked up by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday - that Blagojevich's name still looms large on the side of the facility, right above the looming large names of Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago, and William J. Braasch, Chairman, Illinois International Port.

    The port's executive director, Tony Ianello, is reluctant to spend the $5,000 it would take to remove Blagojevich's name - as well as the additional cost of adding Pat Quinn's name plus the cost of removing Quinn's name and adding another should he not win re-election.

    Of course, we could just stop spending taxpayer money to plaster public officials' names on everything as free political advertising when it serves no other purpose.

    Quinn has said just that:  this is a guy who still crosses out the "Lieutenant" part on his business cards rather than order new ones that simply call him "Governor."

    In the meantime, though, Ianello of the port district is biding his time.

    Besides, he says, there is some good news about Blagojevich's name on that grain elevator: 

    "It's flaking off."

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.