• Category Archives Chicago
  • Retire From Chicago Politics in Style

    Retire from Chicago politics in style.

    Keep your campaign contributions.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    Mayor Daley isn’t the only elected official who could retire from Chicago city government and take a pile of money in campaign cash with him.

    Twenty-two of the city’s 50 aldermen also would be eligible, when they retire, to keep some or all of their campaign funds, a Chicago Sun-Times review finds. The amounts they could walk away from office with range from as little as $629 to $2.4 million.

    When he retires next year, Daley can keep nearly $1.5 million or, if he chooses, do whatever he wants with the money, the Sun-Times has reported.

    The amount of campaign money that the aldermen could keep is largely a matter of whether they took office — and took in campaign contributions — before June 30, 1998.

    An Illinois law enacted that year barred state and local officials from converting campaign funds to personal use but also left an exception: Anyone who had money in their campaign accounts as of the 1998 date could keep the amount they had in the bank then whenever they eventually might retire.

    Like Daley, four aldermen have announced they won’t run for re-election next year.

    Too bad for those of us who contributed before 1998.

    The numbers are incredible.

    Check the Sun-Times.



  • Mark Kirk Bumbles Again: Exaggerates Role in Berman Bill

    Yes, Mark Kirk did it again.

    He claimed credit for something he did not do at all. Claimed credit for a bill the Democrats passed.

    Mark Kirk claimed credit for a Democratic initiative.

    Yet another Democratic wannabe.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    Rep. Mark Kirk claims credit for being a driving force behind a bill signed into law this year that requires the president to crack down on companies doing business with Iran.

    But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Howard Berman, says Kirk is guilty of "exaggeration" when he says the "Kirk bill" became the "Berman bill" so it could pass the Democratic Congress.

    "We didn’t even look at his legislation at the time," Berman said. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."

    Kirk told the Sun-Times editorial board last month, "The Iran Sanctions Bill, it was originally Kirk-Andrews, but if you were going to move it, that means you need to adjust to the power of the House. This legislation eventually became Howard Berman’s legislation, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He had my full approval in moving that forward under his badge."

    For years, Kirk has been an apostle of trying to hold Iran’s feet to the fire by choking off its supply of gasoline. He passed a resolution this year to do that — H.R. 3081. (His staff had inadvertently listed the resolution as 3801 — a bill dealing with mortgages — on his campaign website but corrected it Monday morning after a Sun-Times story was published.) Kirk is listed as a co-sponsor of Berman’s bill.

    "There is no doubt that Mark was a committed person on this idea, which wasn’t his idea, it was out there in the press," Berman said. "He introduced legislation in the previous Congress on refined petroleum products. He did chair a group I occasionally went to, the Iran Working Group.

    "The bill that I was involved with, we didn’t even look at his legislation at the time. It was a much broader bill than his bill and, in fact, we were persuaded that while the refined petroleum sanctions were valuable and useful, Iran has a way of reducing its reliance on imported petroleum."

    Illinois, you need to get it. Mark Kirk is not your man.

    Alexi Giannoulias is the only coherent vote for United States Senate.



  • NYTimes Explosive Report: Sam Zell’s Culture of Stupidity at the Tribune Company

    I heard Sam Zell speak a couple of years ago at the Inland Press Association’s Annual Meeting. He was funny. Seemed full of energy, off the cuff, eccentric.

    An article in today’s New York Times reveals so much more, reporting on the bizarre culture Zell and those he has brought in have created at the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere at the Tribune Company.

    Clearly, Zell is steering company into the ground.

    From the NYTimes:

    In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

    Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.

    After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.

    “Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present, who declined to be identified because he had left the company and did not want to be quoted criticizing a former employer. “I have never seen anything like it.”

    The report goes downhill from there, where sexual harassment is justified as path to creative thinking, with disclaimers like this in the Tribune’s revised employee handbook:

    “Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use,” the new handbook warned. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process.” It then added, “This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.”

    My jaw dropped several times reading this article. So sad. I don’t see how the Tribune can be taken seriously any more.



  • Todd Stroger Is There For You 24-9

    24-9: the new magic number to watch for in upcoming indictments.

    A top aide to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was arrested and charged Monday with several felonies relating to alleged money laundering and theft.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    Carla Oglesby, Stroger’s deputy chief of staff, was taken into custody about 4 p.m. by members of the Cook County state’s attorney’s financial crimes unit, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

    Oglesby is charged with several felonies, including theft of government property over $100,000, money laundering and official misconduct.

    “It’s in connection with the ongoing financial crimes investigation conducted by the state’s attorney’s office into the awarding of so-called 24-9 contracts,” Daly said.

    The “24-9″ reference is to contracts that fall below the $25,000 mark, the threshold requiring approval by the Cook County Board.

    On Monday afternoon Oglesby was pulling out of a Loop parking garage when investigators — armed with an arrest warrant — stopped her vehicle and took her into custody, placing handcuffs on her before they drove her to a nearby police station.

    Her attorney did not return a call for comment.

    Todd Stroger could not be reached for comment either, the Sun-Times reports.

    I remember when Todd Stroger was running to be elected to the seat his father held. I was at a meeting of a local township’s Democratic organization when a young college student asked the Democratic Committeeman if Stroger received the nod just because of his name. The committeeman responded with a lecture, “Young lady, you need to understand how things work.”

    “How things work” at the time essentially meant “fall in line.” The young college student was too naive.

    Weren’t we all…?

    Toni Preckwinkle, clean up this mess. Please.

    And work for the taxpayers of Cook County 24-7, not 24-9.



  • County Board Twits Can Continue to Tweet

    With all due respect and apologies to the Cook County Board for the title, I think it’s just too funny that this even came up for discussion. I would have loved to have been at the meeting only to hear Elizabeth Gorman call Tony Peraica a twit.

    From the Chicago Tribune:

    The electronic chirping can continue during Cook County Board meetings, as commissioners shot down a plan today to ban members from Tweeting during meetings.

    Several members of the board’s Rules Committee expressed frustration with the messages Commissioner Tony Peraica sends out to followers of his Twitter account as debates rage. In the end, however, only Commissioner Joseph Moreno, D-Chicago, voted to prohibit the practice.

    Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, said silencing the Tweets would infringe on board members’ freedom of speech. "In this situation, we are trying to limit First Amendment access — which has been guaranteed by both the federal and state constitution — between the elected officials and their constituents, and more importantly, between the constituents and the elected officials," Suffredin said.

    Peraica, R-Riverside, was not on hand for the meeting, but his presence was felt throughout the debate.

    "I’ll chime in, since I’ve been the target of erroneous tweets by the twit in question," said Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman, R-Orland Park.

    Gorman said Peraica has inaccurately Tweeted about her positions on county issues, but she acknowledged it’s a "behavioral issue" that shouldn’t be outlawed.

    Yes, there was actually action taken by the Cook County Board regarding Twitter.

    I think I’ll have to Tweet this.



  • Former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese May Lose Home

    Maltese home
    (Photo: Cook County Public Auction Notice)

    Betty Loren-Maltese may lose her home, but right now the auction is on hold.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    An attorney for former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese persuaded a federal judge today to postpone the auction of her Cicero home until she can challenge her 2002 corruption conviction.

    The government was scheduled to auction her one-story brick home Thursday to recoup a portion of the $8.3 million in restitution that she owes.

    But Judge John Grady granted a stay of the auction until Loren-Maltese can challenge her conviction based on the so-called "Skilling" defense, said her lawyer, Leonard C. Goodman.

    "It’s been hard for her," Goodman said of his high-profile client, who was sentenced to a 97-month prison term in 2003 and was released to a halfway house in February. "She’s been trying to get steady work." Since her release to a halfway house, Loren-Maltese has worked as a restaurant hostess and written a blog.

    Her attorneys are seeking to have her conviction thrown out based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s conviction for theft of honest services.

    The high court found the honest-services fraud law was unconstitutionally vague and that violations must include acts of bribery or kickbacks.

    I certainly don’t want to see anyone lose a home, but Betty was convicted. There’s no reason to say "alleged" here.

    There was no minimum price set for the home, according to the notice.



  • Bears Ride Cowboys In Dallas

    Let’s start at the beginning….

    Da Bears Won!

    Da Bears toppled the Cowboys! And Jay Cutler played one helluva game!

    From the Sun-Times:

    Before kickoff at Cowboys Stadium Sunday, Bears receiver Devin Hester wanted to clear the air with quarterback Jay Cutler.

    “I went to Jay and told him, ‘Regardless of what anybody is saying, don’t force nothing to me,’ ” Hester recalled telling Cutler, who quipped on Wednesday that he would have gotten the receiver the ball more than once if “Devin would’ve gotten open.”

    “ ‘If I’m not there, don’t throw me the ball,’ ” Hester said. “ ‘Let’s just go out and play ball and have fun.’ ”

    After a shaky start, the Bears regrouped and celebrated a 27-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, thanks to outstanding efforts from numerous players, including Cutler and Hester. The defense forced three turnovers; Cutler completed 21 of 29 passes for 277 yards with three touchdowns (136.7 passer rating) and no turnovers; and Hester showcased his playmaking skills with a one-handed nine-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter and a 38-yarder that set up the Bears final touchdown.

    “We’re going to hang in there, and take whatever flak or blame that comes our way,” Bears center Olin Kreutz said. “Really gratifying to watch Hester, just with the stuff he took last week. He just hung in there.

    “But that’s kind of the identity of our offense.”

    This was a statement game for the Bears and Hester.

    The Cowboys were a popular pick to win the NFC, and they are an excellent team at home, especially in their beautiful billion-dollar gold standard of a stadium. Heading into the game, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earned three Pro Bowl selections largely with his play in Irving (Texas Stadium) and Arlington (Cowboys Stadium; he was 19-9 with a passer rating of 99.6.

    But the Bears defense – just as they did against the Detroit Lions – made the Cowboys one-dimensional, stiflingly the three-headed running attack of Marion Barber (11 carries, 31 yards), Felix Jones (seven carries, seven yards) and Tashard Choice (one run, minus one yard). Romo attempted 51 passes, completing 34, for 374 yards, but he was twice picked off by third cornerback D.J. Moore, and he clearly struggled to adjust to the Bears’ zone.

    Incredible.

    More here at the Sun-Times.



  • Yes, Mayor Daley Is Right to Move 200 Cops to the Streets

    Mayor Daley

    Look: Yes, crime is a problem in Chicago.

    No, it is not the fault of Mayor Daley.

    No politician should have to deal with this much madness.

    It is the fault of Chicago’s gangs.

    So, I don’t quite understand the "controversy" in this story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

    Mayor Daley said Thursday he wants to take the police out of community policing to put 200 more officers on the street.

    Daley said Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy, known as CAPS, was conceived as a civilian-run program in the 1990s but now involves many more uniformed officers than was originally intended.

    “Over 200 police officers or more were assigned to CAPS over years — lieutenants and sergeants and patrolmen. In some districts, they had 8 to 10 or 12 people assigned to CAPS. . . . All the sudden, a civilian thing  . . . went to a Police Department [program]. That was not the concept,” the mayor said.

    The decision to yank the officers out of community policing comes three months after Daley asked Ron Holt, the police officer father of a 16-year-old gunned down on a CTA bus, to breathe new life into the CAPS program.

    “When Ron took it over, he couldn’t believe how many police officers were assigned and transferred over many years into it. It became a huge amount of police officers,” the mayor said.

    Good for "Da Mayor." This is a good move on his part.



  • Obama Sidesteps Senate Fight: Taps Elizabeth Warren to Launch Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    From Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times:

    President Obama found a way Wednesday night to sidestep a Senate confirmation blockade and install Elizabeth Warren to launch the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren was the first to suggest that consumers needed a government watchdog to prevent financial institutions from exploiting and tricking their customers. HOPE SHE WORKS ON TRANSLATING the small print INTO PLAIN ENGLISH.

    Thank you, President Obama!

    And Lynn Sweet better add ENEWSPF as one of her Sweet Links after this post!