Neighbors, pols react to impeachment

Blago drama has Chicagoans talking
January 30, 2009 10:11:40 AM PST
Blagojevich woke up Friday to his first full day as a private citizen. Residents are finding things are changing now that Blagojevich is no longer in office. It was quiet all Friday morning outside the home of former governor Rod Blagojevich after he held court Thursday night with reporters, neighbors and supporters. He has been relatively low-key, unseen Friday morning, as the neighborhood continues to show support for him.

Like many who live here, Kally Darras remains concerned about what is next for her famous neighbor and his family.

"It is the extent of his governorship and we are a little concerned about them, the children," she said.

With the state security detail gone, it is a much quieter scene outside the residence of the now private citizen Blagojevich.

"I'm kind of sick of politics. We have had a lot of it. But it is sad. It is Chicago," said Shirley Egan.

Although he has his detractors, there is plenty of support for him. The working mother and wife Blagojevich mentioned in his speech at the impeachment trial showed up Friday morning to wish him well. She says he tried to help with a problem she had with police in January of 2006.

"He did good things for people. I was so happy because he listened to me," said Angeleca Cyobnu.

Now that Blagojevich is out of office, some hope Illinois' new governor will help solve state as problems.

"I have always liked Quinn. I think he will be good. I don't know if he has enough time to do a lot of good but he is good," said Nicole Ferentz.

Federal corruption charges are still pending against Blagojevich. He maintains his innocence and says he has done nothing wrong.

Around Chicago and the rest of the state, people are talking about little else.

On televisions everywhere, people watched the political theater in Springfield as it unfolded. And everyone has an opinion.

"I think it's sad, you know, that it had to come to this, but I think in the long run, it will be best for the state," said Jim Hampton.

"I don't think they should have impeached him because when they wire taped his phone, it was against the law," said Stephanie Higgins-Bey.

Current and former politicians from both parties say they are glad to see this chapter in Illinois history come to a close.

"I never want to see another day like this again. And I suspect the people of Illinois don't either. We haven't enjoyed being a national joke for the last several weeks, and we're better than that," said Former Gov. James Thompson, (R) Illinois.

"I think it's time to close this chapter in Illinois political history and look ahead. I think it's time for a new governor to accept the responsibility of guiding our state in a very difficult time," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois.

"Illinois' long nightmare is over, six-year nightmare has ended today," said Joe Birkett, (R) DuPage County State's Attorney.

Birkett says he is strongly considering running for governor in 2010.

The former governor's controversial appointee to fill Barack Obama's Senate term supports his removal from office.

"Today's conviction speaks loud and clear that there are serious issues preventing him from fulfilling his responsibilities and I support putting new leadership in place," said Sen. Roland Burris, (D) Illinois.

Last week then Governor Blagojevich agreed to an interview on WVON radio and many of their callers on Thursday afternoon offered support.