Seemingly out of the blue, Ald. Ed Smith has written to President Bush requesting not only that George Ryan’s sentence be commuted, but that former Ald. Larry Bloom be pardoned.
Of course, nothing just happens out of the blue in Chicago politics, so I’m sure there’s a backstory we’re not privy to yet. But let us now take a moment to remember Bloom’s crime, and ponder whether he, of all felons in Illinois, deserves forgiveness.
Bloom, you may recall, was stung in Operation Silver Shovel, having accepted $14,000 in bribes from FBI mole John Christopher. A lousy $14,000!
He pled guilty to a felony tax charge and served six months in the famed federal retreat in Oxford, Wisconsin, where he was probably laughed at by other Chicago pols for his meager haul. Bloom was released in 1999.
He shared a prison wing with three former aldermen, Virgil Jones, John Madrzyk and Jesse Evans; a former Water Reclamation Commissioner, Tom Fuller; and a former state representative, Bruce Farley. “We didn’t have a name for our wing, but we’d call `quorum’ every time we walked down the hall,” Bloom joked to Sneed after his release.
Hilarious, don’t you think?
If Bloom had been any other pol, it would have been easier to take. But Bloom’s real crime was to deepen the cynicism of our local political culture because he wasn’t just any other pol – he was Mr. Clean. From Hyde Park. An independent. A reformer.
The latest scuttlebutt about who will replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress centers on Fortieth Ward Ald. Patrick O’Connor, Mayor Daley’s floor leader. He sounds perfect for the job.
“O’Connor noted that the field is getting more crowded by the day,” the Sun-Times reports, “setting the stage for an open Democratic primary election.
“‘We, as political leaders in this congressional district, would be pretty poor leaders if we allow it to dissolve into something like that’.”
God forbid we let this dissolve into an open primary!
“This is an opportunity for all of us to be together, work together and come up with a candidate we can all support.”
Yes. Don’t mind us. You guys decide and let us know.
From the office of Ald. Brendan Reilly:
The 42nd Ward: #1 in 2008 Voter Turnout and Voter Registration!
Alderman Reilly is thrilled that the 42nd Ward ranked #1 in both overall and early voting turnout! Current counts indicate that 36,224 ballots were cast out of a total registered voter count of 45,474, and 9,734 of these were early votes. Thanks to all who voted and contributed to the 42nd Ward’s 80% voter turnout rate!
The 42nd Ward is also ranked #1 for new voter registrations!
The office of downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly just released the following information about “parking restrictions, street closures and event guidelines that will be in place starting as early as Monday, November 3rd.”
Parking bans will be in effect from Lake Michigan to the Kennedy/Dan Ryan Expressway, as well as the Chicago River to the north to 22nd Street to the south Tuesday, November 4th after the PM rush hour.
Residents are advised to pay special attention to posted signs.
On Saturday, November 1, 2008, Balbo Drive will be closed between Columbus Street and Lake Shore Drive.
After the November 3rd AM rush hour, Columbus Drive will be closed between Congress Parkway and Roosevelt Street.
After the PM rush hour, the closure will extend as far north as Randolph.
Please note that residents may see additional rolling closures throughout the Central Business District from Tuesday afternoon thru Wednesday morning.
(Rolling closures are intermittent and temporary street closures used for motorcades as they travel on city streets. They are enacted for security purposes only.)
The Chicago Transit Authority will provide additional service and extend the hours of select bus and rail routes serving the Loop until 2 a.m. for individuals attending election night events downtown – including the Obama Grant Park rally – on Tuesday, November 4.
CTA will operate longer trains; provide additional bus service and later service to accommodate attendees. Temporary street closures in the vicinity of Grant Park may necessitate reroutes so customers should allow extra travel time.
In addition, due to potentially crowded conditions, bicycles will not be allowed on the rail system after 4:00 p.m. Tuesday until 4:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The November 4th event in Hutchinson Field is a ticketed event hosted by the Obama Campaign.
The site opens at 8:30 p.m. and ticketed residents have been asked to enter through either East Congress Parkway or East Jackson Boulevard.
Everyone coming into Hutchinson Field will be screened by event organizers and they have asked that residents refrain from bringing any bags, coolers, bottles, chairs, signs, banners or strollers into the park.
She defiantly proclaimed her innocence when charged last year, but today former Ald. Arenda Troutman pled guilty to mail fraud and income tax evasion charges.
This is the case in which she was famously captured on FBI wiretapes saying, “Well, the thing is, most politicians are hos.”
Here’s a Beachwood refresher.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th) has made a couple appearances in the last week defending the mayor’s decision to delay releasing budget numbers for a couple months. Here are a couple representative slices.
* On Sunday, he appeared with Ald. Joe Moore (49th) on the underappreciated Fox Chicago Sunday.
Moore: What [City Hall] need[s] to do is what a lot of progressive companies are doing these days – bring labor to the table right away and just open the books.”
Cardenas: We’ll see the numbers.
Moore: When? When we’re asked to take it or leave it? [Daley’s] holding press conferences telling us how dire the situation is. Show us how dire it is.
Cardenas: Everyone wants to rush into it. It’s bad. It’s bad.
Moore: Trust is earned. The way to earn trust is to open up the books.
A few days previously, Cardenas appeared on a Chicago Tonight panel moderated by Carol Marin with aldermen Patrick O’Connor (40th) and Sandi Jackson.
State Rep. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago, natch) will apologize for failing to disclose her campaign finances for three years running, according to an agreement reached with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Still pending: A similar case against Ald. Ed Smith.
Here is the press release announcing the agreement with Collins.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2008
LEGISLATOR’S CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE TO PAY $20,000 FINE FOR FILING ERROR-RIDDEN FINANCE REPORTS
Rep. Annazette Collins to issue apology
CHICAGO – State Rep. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago, has agreed to issue an apology for filing inaccurate and incomplete disclosure of contributions to her election campaigns from 2005 through 2007, and her campaign committee will pay a fine of $20,000 to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
After the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) questioned why the Collins committee reported no contributions or expenditures for three years running, Collins acknowledged that her campaigns had received more than $110,000 in contributions and had spent more than $120,000 during those three years.
The public apology and fine are part of a settlement agreement between the Friends of Annazette Collins political action committee and ICPR, which lodged a complaint against the committee earlier this year. The State Board of Elections recently voted to accept the settlement agreement.
A big change in Ald. Brendan Reilly’s office.
From: Jeff Riley [mailto:Jeff.Riley@cityofchicago.org]
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2008 5:50 PM
Subject: My Next Endeavor
I wanted to let you know that after a year as Alderman Brendan Reilly’s Chief of Staff and Policy Director, I have decided to return to my own public affairs and lobbying practice. Alderman Reilly had initially asked me for a one-year commitment to help as he reshaped the 42nd Ward and established a responsive and professional constituent office. Now with a great team in place (and having survived the first year!), the timing is right to return to building my own business.
I have an enormous amount of respect for Brendan and all that he has accomplished thus far as a hard-working, knowledgeable and progressive elected official. Over the years, Brendan and I have become good friends, having had the opportunity to work together on the Paul Vallas
campaign in addition to this past year. Going forward, I plan to continue to help in Brendan’s success and stay active in his organization.
Although not an easy decision, since I’ve enjoyed this job tremendously, I’m excited about the future. I will be transitioning over the next month if you need to contact me about any current matters. Thank for your assistance and support this past year, and I look forward to
working with you again.
– Jeff Riley