Tag Archives: Beachwood Reporter

End of the Road for Division Street

Dear Readers:

Division Street was an experiment – along with California Faultline in L.A. – by the good folks at NBC Universal. With the launch of new local sites such as NBCChicago.com, the NBC folks have decided to shut down Division Street and Faultline. In turn, I will be increasing my contributions to NBCChicago.com, including material that you might have otherwise found here, and of course you can still read me at The Beachwood Reporter. Thanks for reading me here, and I’ll see you there.

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.

Infomercial Review

As an infomercial junkie, I gazed in particular wide wonder at the $4 million (!) advertising buy last night featuring our probable next president – and not just because I couldn’t get my head around the idea that one antidote to our broken political system was to spend more money than ever on campaign ads!

I truly consider myself a student of the form, and at times, considering his thin resume, I’ve considered Barack Obama to be little more than the next great televangelist or Ginsu knife salesman.

In March 2007, when Obama was still just a baby candidate, I wrote this (item No.9):

“Being a great speaker is also an overrated skill. Judgement and policy skill are far more important. We’re not electing a televangelist. In fact, if great oratory were the overriding quality to look for in a president, we’d elect Tony Robbins or Kevin Trudeau (or better yet, Joel Osteen). The value of being a skilled speaker should never override the value of what it is someone is saying.”

So I’ve listened very hard to the content of Obama’s rhetoric throughout this campaign – truly to my detriment, because apparently you’re not supposed to do that as it makes you a spoilsport.

Nonetheless, I watched and listened very closely last night to Obama’s “big gamble,” which struck me as hardly a gamble at all. I mean, c’mon! Where was the risk? That somehow David Axelrod would produce a video accidentally including a stray frame of Bill Ayers in it?

Anyway, let’s take a look at it in the inimitable style of the Infomercial Reviews we feature (or used to, submissions welcome!) on the Beachwood Reporter.

Continue reading

Programming Note

Beginning today, Division Street will focus exclusively on national politics and the presidential campaign through the election. You can continue to track local political follies at The Beachwood Reporter.

The [Fourth of July] Papers

At the Beachwood, including:

1. Miss Manners on patriotism.
2. Kim Wilde’s Kids in America.
3. Regulated Militia Well. A poem.
4. 13 Anthems. Including The Respangled Banner, The Alphabetically-Spangled Banner, The Star-Spangled Forecast, and The Redacted Banner.

Posting here at Division Street will resume later today.

Pfleger Film

A nice nugget from Lynn Sweet on Saturday: “Pfleger is the subject of a documentary being made by Chicago-based David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist. On Friday, Axelrod told me in an e-mail that the film project has ‘been dormant for much of the last two years due to other commitments.'”

Working title: Irony Man.


More on Pfleger (and his weird apology on Sunday blaming YouTube) over at the Beachwood.

The [Friday] Papers


* I think everyone’s missing the point about Mayor Richard M. Daley speaking at Northwestern’s commencement. Does NU president Henry Bienen believe that Daley is a good role model for ethical public service?

* Tony Rezko’s Las Vegas gambling debts.

* Children’s Museum parody songs.

Over at today’s Beachwood Reporter.

Please visit, and then return here for more political blogging throughout the weekend, after I duck out for some coffee that sadly won’t be from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Daley Recommended Irony

“Mayor Daley said today he asked a City Council committee to put off until June 5 a showdown vote on his plan to build a $100 million Children’s Museum in Grant Park because too many aldermen were out of town, and he wanted to give every one of them a chance to be heard,” the Sun-Times reports.

1. Except Joe Moore. Daley has already turned his microphone off.

2. The previous statement by Daley flak Jackie Heard that the delay was “not a request on our part” is now inoperative.

2. Daley says it’s “not my way” to “ram” something through committee. He’s right. He just sends the bulldozers out instead.

3. “[Ald. Bill] Banks insisted that aldermanic prerogative does not apply on an issue that involves a showcase park on Chicago’s front doorstep.” But mayoral prerogative does.

4. “Banks said he simply wants to have a majority of the 14 committee members present for the vote.” That didn’t stop the zoning committee from moving forward on other items of business, including a controversial senior housing proposal in the 50th Ward. (see third item)

5. This also puts in dispute the contention made by aldermen in this week’s Beachwood Reporter/Chicago Talks investigation that only “routine” matters are moved by committees without quorums.

Continue reading

Out of Order, Off the Record

An investigation by Chicago Talks and published jointly with The Beachwood Reporter shows that the Chicago City Council’s committees frequently meet without quoroms and conduct business anyway, a clear evasion of the law that could make the full council’s actions subject to legal challenge.

Similarly, our investigation found that Chicago City Council committees frequently fail to keep minutes of their meetings – and sometimes even basic information such as which members were actually in attendance.

Please give it a look-see – and see what our fair aldermen have to say for themselves.


Only two members of the Daley-appointed Chicago Plan Commission had the brains and the guts to vote last night against the Children’s Museum’s Grant Park land grab: Doris Holleb and Lyneir Richardson. I’ve got more over at the Beachwood today, including why Leon Finney Jr. is today’s Worst Person in Chicago.