Category Archives: Destroying Our City

Defensive Daley Disinforms

“Mayor Richard Daley today scoffed at complaints that next month’s increases in parking meter rates would affect people in many Chicago neighborhoods,” the Tribune reports.

“The mayor said there are ‘very few (meters) in the neighborhoods. It’s about 80 percent downtown – 80, 85 percent downtown in 2 or 3 wards. It’s not in the communities’.”


“In fact, of the city’s 34,264 metered spots, about 8,100 are in the 42nd and 2nd Wards that cover downtown. That’s only about one-fourth of them, not the four-fifths Daley claimed.”

Hey, no one said Daleyland was a reality-based community.

Chief of Cash

The New York Times delves into what it calls “a little-known episode of Mr. Emanuel’s biography” – you know, those 36 months in which he made $18 million working as a mergers & acquisitions guy.

My favorite part is this:

“Confidants of Mr. Emanuel’s said he decided to try his hand at business because he wanted financial security for his family, before eventually returning to public service.”

Oh, the sacrifices he’s made for us!

“He had a number in his head to make enough for the family,” one of Rahm’s brothers, Ezekiel, told the Times.

And he fell just short!

Obama Punts

“Add president-elect Barack Obama to the growing list of politicians across Illinois issuing statements this week about former George Ryan being released from federal prison,” reports. “He doesn’t have an opinion.”

You know, I wrote the other day over on the Beachwood that I wasn’t going to spend the next four years saying “I told you so,” but that doesn’t mean I’m never gonna say it. So consider it said.

The Devils in Durbin’s Details

A collection of noteworthy points, details and arguments from the Durbin-Ryan-commutation imbroglio that I haven’t yet had a chance to point out.

* “If Ryan is released early, he will have spent less time in prison than two friends convicted in the case – Ryan’s aide, Scott Fawell, who did the dirty work, and businessman Lawrence Warner, who profited from the dirty deals,” the Sun-Times notes in an editorial today.

* “Let’s also look at one of the main assertions on Ryan’s behalf, that he’s been punished enough in part because his government pension has already been taken away,” Mark Brown writes today.

“What they fail to mention is that he had already collected about $800,000 from his ridiculous $197,000-a-year pension before he was sent off to prison. How many of you can expect to collect $800,000 from a pension in your entire lifetime? Not many. It’s not our fault if he spent it all.”

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Field Notes: Minnesota (con’t)

6:20 p.m.: Local television station reports that Sex World will give you something for free if you are wearing your “I Voted” sticker and come in by midnight. Still unclear as to what you get.

Con’t from Field Notes: Minnesota

Con-Con Controversy

More Con-Con shenanigans? This morning I wrote this in my Beachwood Reporter column:

“I almost missed voting on the Con-Con referendum. After I thought I had completed my voting, I wondered where the Con-Con question was. I even thought it was missing. Then I found it at the very beginning of the ballot, right where I was instructed to ‘Start Voting Here.’

“It was shaded in blue, though, almost like a space for official use only or instructions. My guess is others will miss it too – and not go back looking for it.”

Cate Plys sends me this message:

“Bad news, you DID miss the con-con question. I, too, completed the question in blue at the very beginning – but that was just an example. I realized that when I got to the very bottom and found the real Con-Con question, which I almost didn’t see. Wonder if they did that on purpose? I checked with the election staff and they confirmed that the blue one was just an example. I checked with them because I was afraid filling out the sample one would ruin the ballot.”

You know, that was a vote I really cared about.

Blago Nixes CTA

“Gov. Blagojevich, who has criticized the CTA for mismanaging its budget, has appointed former Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix to the transit agency’s board,” the Sun-Times reports. “She had helped to create the Seniors Ride Free Program, which was added on to the RTA bailout bill in January. The CTA expects to lose $26 million in 2009 from giving free rides to seniors, and may raise fares next year.”

A) So Nix is already experienced in CTA mismanagement

B) Nix denied she was appointed by Public Official A.

C) Nix said she would fight against the CTA being used as a patronage dumping ground where politicians are given posts as rewards for lying through their teeth to defend their bosses against an intrusive public.

Daley’s CTA

First, let’s stipulate that the governor is an idiot.

According to CTA President Ron Huberman, the transit agency would have balanced its budget this year if not for the governor’s free ride programs and his elimination of a state reduced-fare subsidy.

And unlike Rod Blagojevich, I don’t think Huberman is lying.

But when Blagojevich accuses the CTA board of “taking its marching order from City Hall,” who can deny it?

The mayor appoints four members to the CTA board while the governor appoints three, and it’s clearly Daley’s board. Moreover, Daley has been mayor for 19 years. He may have inherited the perpetually troubled agency, but it’s clearly his agency – and his responsibility.

Unfortunately, the governor stepped on his message and drew attention to himself instead of leading reporters to ask where Daley’s board is in all of this. And just who is this board? Let’s take a look.

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Kimberly’s Karma

“[State Sen. Kimberly] Lightford said she hasn’t decided whom to support, but said she wants to make sure they back education finance reform, one of the Senate Education Committee chairwoman’s key issues,” the Oak Park Leaves reports.

“But she has another factor in making her decision: ‘I’ve got concerns about my future,’ Lightford said.

“‘I’ve been there 10 years in September,’ she said. ‘I’m in the top 10 now (as far as seniority goes). I have a passion to remain chairman of the education committee and I’d like to be put on the leadership team.

“‘Of course, I would like to see myself as an assistant Democrat leader.'”

Request for Proposals

The best part of today’s installment in the Trib series on the Chicago zoning game comes at the end:

“After the committee hearing, [Hugh] Devlin approached project architect John Hanna outside the council chambers. He asked Hanna why he gave $3,000 to [Ald. Berny] Stone before last year’s hard-fought 50th Ward election, even though Hanna does not live in the ward.

“‘I get requests [for donations] all the time, from every alderman,’ Hanna responded.

“‘This money has a big effect on who represents my neighborhood here,’ said Devlin, a computer consultant who has lived in the ward since 1975.

“‘Politics is politics, you know?’ Hanna said. ‘Nice meeting you.'”

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