Tag Archives: Ben Joravsky

Rocking the Vote

Ben and Mick at Clout City take a closer look at the strangest and most surprising votes cast on Wednesday in the Children’s Museum debacle.

Perhaps most surprising was Bob Fioretti, who, as the Chicago Journal reports, had at some point even advised Brendan Reilly on the issue.

And a constituent at Clout Street says that Fioretti’s office told him he was a No vote a mere two days before the meeting.

Fioretti’s explanation that the most recent draft of the museum’s design won him over sounds pretty thin, especially given his ridiculous assertion that aldermen weren’t lobbied by the administration. In fact, several aldermen have anonymously confirmed to the Tribune and the Reader that a whole lot of shakin’ was going on.

Fioretti has been an independent force in his rookie season as an aldermen, but he appears to have trod that well-worn path to the Dark Side.

Other surprises: Ricardo Munoz and Toni Foulkes supporting the mayor; Leslie Hairston not. And Helen Shiller isn’t even a shadow of her former self; she’s a shadow of her shadow.

Anyway, go read Mick and Ben’s piece.

P.S. I saw Billy Ocasio with one of those cheat sheets during an appearance on Chicago Tonight about the Olympics; he tried to argue that Millennium Park came in on-time and on-budget. Our mayor can control time and space!


Daley’s Superstation

Former CTA chief Frank Kruesi is being fitted for the jacket for the absolute disaster that is the CTA Superstation – and maybe he’ll even do his boss a favor and wear it. But how does Rich Daley escape from responsibility for once again bungling a big project? Paging the IOC!

“With the new expenditures, the project – originally budgeted at $213 million – will have consumed about $320 million,” writes Ben Joravsky at Clout City.

“I remember when the City Council passed the funding for this project back in 2005. A few aldermen told me they voted for it because they had no choice – it was one of the mayor’s pet projects. Keep in mind, the Olympics is another one of Mayor Daley’s pet projects – which everyone, including Barack Obama – feels compelled to endorse.”

(As if he ever opposed a Daley project. Can anyone name one?)

“Let’s hope the IOC gives the games to Rio,” Joravsky writes. “It will be a miracle if this bunch gets through the games without driving us bankrupt.”

Of course, the Children’s Museum is another pet project destined to go the way of the Superstation, Soldier Field, the expensively screwed-up expansion project at O’Hare, the five-years-behind-schedule CHA “transformation,” the massively overrun 911 center and on and on . . . including Millennium Park, whose mesmerizing Bean seems to have put a spell on everyone who thinks it’s the model of urban planning. And all that is just for starters. (The city is TIF’d to the hilt; consult Joravsky for the skinny on that scheme.)

Is it too pat to say the emperor of city management has no clothes? I mean, I haven’t even mentioned torture, Meigs Field, Robert Sorich, the criminal response to the 1995 heat wave, the police department, or Daley’s Friends & Family Program, which conveniently slips the minds of all those Todd Stroger bashers.

Paging Mike Madigan! I think we’ve got a bill of particulars for impeachment must stronger than the stew of incompetence and corruption emanating from the governor’s office.

Let’s take a closer look at the Superstation, just to get a whiff.

Continue reading

Roll Call

The Tribune has it here.

See how Ben and Mick did!

Odds & Ends

* Phil Kadner has more on Tony Rezko’s meeting with Jesse Jackson Jr. to discuss the proposed Peotone airport.

* Rich Miller has a dispatch about a state legislator angry about the governor’s slow response to downstate flooding.

* Media Matters has more about that “terrorist fist jab” that Barack and Michelle Obama apparently use to activate secret cells the world over.

* Ben Joravsky has more on Greg Hinz’s story this week about another Daley Special.

* CTA Tattler has more on that too.

Division Dispatch #3

In Studs Terkel’s Division Street: America, Division Street is a metaphor. But here in Chicago, Division Street is a living, breathing metaphor, and from time to time on this blog, I like to check in with it to see what it says about our city, our lives, our nation.

For example, Division Street separates Wicker Park from East Village (east of Damen) and Ukrainian Village (west of Damen). In last week’s Reader, Ben Joravsky described how “Dan Rostenkowski kept the villages under his thumb even after he’d gone off to Congress – and jail.”

What could be more Chicago than that?

Joravsky wonders, though, if the Rostenkowski era has finally come to an end with the arrival of Alds. Manny Flores in the 1st Ward and Scott Waguespack in the 32nd. In both wards, it ought to be noted, Machine incumbents were ousted in large measure for “haywire development” in their wards – development done at the behest of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Somehow, though, Daley found himself on the other side of the street when voter ferment threw the bums out.

* Division Dispatch #1: “You don’t have to worry about getting mugged on Division near Damen at 10 on Friday night like you did 10 years ago. And as folks who live there will tell you, the main drag isn’t a hooker depot anymore.”

* Division Dispatch #2: “A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house.”