Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hitherto Unknowns (Will He or Won't He)

Its nice to see that the 18th is still up for grabs. Apparently the wards family feud hasn't quite been settled yet. Perhaps Mr. Stewart is holding out for better plum pickings.

Word on the street is that the 11th might be giving a hand to Ald. Shirley Coleman to fend off her challenge in the 16th. I will be saying a prayer that one day the Back of the Yards will have one alderman instead of the half dozen or so that appear to have jurisdiction there. Hey we could do a Berlin style airlift!

Any bets on how long it'll take the Stone camp to get down and dirty with opponent Naisy Dolar. Stone's last strong challenge from Hank Rubin led to accusations that Mr. Rubin, who is Jewish, was antisemitic. If the Stone family wants to hold onto this fiefdom they doubtless will concoct another such whisper campaign. Or maybe this time they'll take credit for their words.

Alderman Joe in the Fightin' 49th is doing his best to waddle to victory. Although the contentiousness amongst the various groups (or persons with too much time on their hands, like me) makes it seems like east Rogers Park is to liberal pontiffs (or pundits if you like) as Pilsen is to community activists. There just ain't nobody that's happy there.

More ward wallowing to follow.

Rogue Bad Apples and Power Strippers

It makes you wonder. Aside from the fact that two incidents were reported in the course of a single week, Officer Abbate has been on the force for 12 years. So when did this problem start? Just in February? Or has it been going on for sometime but this is the first time it has been caught on videotape? In the other case, six police officers were involved and one of those was a Seargent. I would be hard pressed to regard that as rogue conduct. It sounds more like sanctioned conduct or at least sanctioned by someone. What will be the price tag for the "Corruption Tax" for these two latest incidents? Why would these police officers commit these acts with such impunity - is it just because they are police officers or is there something else which they believe is protecting them? Is it a Higher Power or is it a fifth floor power? So many questions...Carol Marin writes an excellent column today about the legacy of this recent police corruption. And lastly, can anyone tell Chicago neighbors what it means to strip someone of their police powers? Did they use kryptonite? Better than stripping these officers, when will they be arrested?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Aaarrrggghh! I forgot this!

So consumed am I with the onslaught of news about corruption and police
beatings that I forgot this important celebration of Nelson Algren'
birthday at the ACME Art Works 1741 N Western at 8:00 p.m.. Admission is $10 and $5
for Seniors and Students. For more info log onto and be joyful for Gods sake!

Friday, March 23, 2007

How to Ward off insanity

Someone please tell me it matters who wins the 2nd ward run-off. I look at the map and I talk to people who live there and one thing is abundantly clear, the mapmakers screwed over the folks in this ward but good. It's as though the Department of Planning and Development mapped this ward instead of the usual cabal.

The first time ever I saw his face

Please read John Kass' column today about the illustrious Al Sanchez and Kass' first encounter with him. Also note how easily the Mayors Machine drops someone by the wayside who is not part of the 11th ward cabal.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Does HDO Really Stand For?

So it goes like this - its the late 80's, Chicago's first Black Mayor has died. The current Mayor can get elected but it's gonna take awhile as all of Washington's presumptive heirs and his enemies try to outgun each other. So he takes a new friend a, city worker, who is "Hispanic". This fits perfectly. Under Washington the alderman got cocky, too power hungry and they forgot their place. The same old tactics of compromise and favor couldn't work with these alderman - not yet. But what can be done this time is something that was done long ago when the machine was in its infancy and Cermak was Mayor. The current Mayor could take "Hispanics" from the oldest part of that community, the south-east side, and spoon feed them favors until they become a loyal army of street workers. He wasn't going to deal with those upstarts in Pilsen and Little Village who called themselves Latinos. They were too volatile, too arrogant and had been too close to Washington. Ironically the still divided African-American community would provide the opening to get elected that Washington had so insolently stolen from the current Mayors grasp. Once it was evident that the HDO was gonna gain power and favor. African-American leaders who felt isolated and marginalized in past and current battles would flock to curry favor with the new Mayor, a reincarnation of the old, sort of like Bush 41 and Bush 43. That began the long nightmare of Al Sanchez' rise to power along with Victor Reyes and other thugs. So this Mayor is in it deep. He's been in deep for a long time. So when he distances himself now with reforms, remember that he is just biding his time while a new patronage fix is constructed with say an Olympics and other new tricks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Feds cause downtown delirium

OK, first I gotta get this off my chest. What are they smokin' up there in the Trib editorial board room? Do they have an oak panelled room with grow lights? The city finally agrees to constraints on their hiring practices and a 12 mill pool of money to take care of their past hiring screw ups and the best the Trib editorial writer can come up with is "Wednesday's agreement on a new protocol for enforcing rules against illicit patronage hiring and promotion at City Hall is an upbeat chapter in a decades-long legal drama " Upbeat chapter (I can almost hear the champagne bubbles tickling their noses)! Then they go on to list a labored litany of new tasks that the city appointed inspector general will have to address to create this new upbeat chapter. In essence we have a shadow city hall that now hires, make sure inspections are proper, making sure contracts are on the up and up and so on and so on. Doesn't that sound odd? Is anyone awake down...oh....oh no no... UP there at the Trib? It's depressing and maddening to think how much work, effort and MONEY will go into policing city government. So we have the Mayor, also known as the inspector general, who is supposed to protect the citizenry and the Olympian Mayor who continues to wheel and deal. Phew! Thank God everythings settled.

It's as though John Kass were writing for another paper entirely. And the author of today's editorial at the Trib is gazing out through a THC haze at the river saying "That inspector general dude is awesome mannn!"

As long as we have this two tiered system of governance we will not be moving "Toward an honest City Hall". To do that would require massive electoral and judicial (as in US Attorney Fitzgerald prosecutes Scooter Degnan) regime change, not just of the fifth floor but of the City Council (getting there almost..) Cook County Board President, Chair and structure of the Cook County Democratic party and a few hundred or so of the weasels that feed at the trough downtown.

So how can the Trib editorial board do this. First they could take the advice of one of their columnists and CONNECT THE DOTS. There are twelve aldermanic races coming up for run offs and some one should ask them what as a city council member they are going to fight for so that it is no longer necessary to have an inspector general with such an extensive workload. Part of the problem of corruption in Chicago is the tepid if not privileged response of the Trib. This concludes the rant for the day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can I use you as a reference?

Thanks to fellow blogger the Marshfield Tattler, whose link is on the right, for "hipping" folks to this blog.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dirty Dozen

Twelve run-offs! Not ten. Any run-offs in municipal elections was thought to be a thing of the past. Like maybe under Big Bill Thompson or sumthin, geez! These are the following with occasional editorializing: 2nd Madeline Haithcock , 3rd Dorothy Tillman , 15th Theodore Thomas (retiree), 16th Shirley Coleman (Holy Hack), 18th Lona Lane , 21st Howard Brookins Jr. , 24th Michael Chandler (He is Not Worthy), 32nd Theodore Matlak (Ye Olde Machine Hacke), 35th Rey Colon , 43rd Vi Daley , 49th Joe Moore (Defend the goose!), and 50th Bernie Stone (Pre-Historic Hack). If only Danny were in the mix we could have Hack, Numero UNO. That's nearly a quarter of the council that voters are unhappy with. Only one ward is a genuine open seat (15th). Hmmmm, if only they had the power to do good........ We shall have to see what mayhem ensues as prospective candidates jostle for the Mayoral nod.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Green the Morning after

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patricks. And here's hoping all those protestant newcomers to Chicago didn't make too much of a spectacle of themselves on the day that "everyone's Irish" and if they did I hope they had some baggies and a small shovelling tool to make amends. It's wonderful to be Irish. Remember the IRA? That ragtag group of angry young men and women who made a stand at the Easter Uprising. Those were peat bog Irish not the lace curtain (almost English they are, with their class snobbery) Irish that have come to plague some cities. I'm Irish too but not in a way that would make the Pope happy. None the less like the great Parnell I can turn my back on my protestant brethren who caused, and some still do, pain and indignity and suffering to Irish Catholics. I'm not too fond of the protestants that settled this nation either.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Before I forget

The Chicago Reporter did an excellent article about the under belly of Chicago's political power. The Money, The Thugs, The Chills and thrills. And ya know... after this weeks revelation of possible impropriety on the part of Curie LSC chair Tom Ramos it just makes ya think. He works for Streets and Sans, as a seasonal laborer, he's boorish and petty and when city hall nailed him he changed his vote (a fine party member!). Could he be part of the HDO? Has he circulated for the Mayor? While the city's leading lights of educational policy wring their hands about principals and principles the Mayors thug army of precinct workers continue to wreak havoc on the streets and in the neighborhoods. It should come as no suprise that Mr. Ramos would not allow translation for non-english speaking members (it wasn't pertinent to the ultimate goal), after all the HDO is no more interested in in the rights of Latinos than William Dawson was a defender of African-American rights. The HDO is interested in one thing: trading jobs, city jobs, county jobs, menial jobs,powerbroker jobs and in this instance a principals job. As my dear friend used to say "Where is the Love"? It would help the voters and residents of Chicago if the wine and cheese set that works downtown could realize that the Mayors power is built precisely on this type of thuggery and all the pretty things downtown and on the North side, and now Bronzeville and east Taylor street, rest on the electioneering labors of cheap street enforcers such as the HDO. But you have to leave your ivory officer towers and go out onto the streets in real neighborhoods on election day.


The love just keeps on growing at Block 37! A lawsuit filed earlier this week and reported on in Crain's Chicago Business ensures that Block 37 will continue it's reputation as Chicago's magical Disneyland of City Hall's failed development efforts. Ohh I can just feel the love. Maybe Channel 2 could do live broadcasts from the vacant lot. We could all await the status reports... "there still hasn't been any movement here...". Maybe students at Gallery 37 could do artistic inerpetations of the grand empty space that once was their home. Then they could move on to the roof of city hall, another inaccessible space for Chicagoans but far more bucolic... the bird, the bees, the worms ahhh... nature! Alright enough brainstroming I'll leave that to the genius's huddled around the Olympic cauldron on the "Fifth Floor".

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This just in ...

A precinct captain was seen running, yes running, down Clark street with an Olympic torch headed for the fifth floor of city hall in a practice run for 2016. A baby blue helmet was seen bobbing behind the precinct captain a mere hundred yards away. One hopes the prior Mayor's order to "shoot to kill all arsonists" is not being applied here. In 2016 the Olympic torch will be used to light a cauldron in the Mayoral chambers rather than the customary lighting at the stadium.

Profiles of Courage

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle finally decided she had had it with the Olympics Juggernaut and voted no at today's city council meeting. Too little too fast to make a judicious vote on the matter. Can we really trust the Mayor's projections for the cost to taxpayers as well as the "private fundraising"? What's been happening in London lately ( under "Red" Ken) any way? I'm sure all of Parliament is enthusiastic at the prospect.

Running the gauntlet of reporters at the Federal Courts Building to become new Olympic Sport

Many believe that after US Attorney Fitzgerald uncovered criminal mayhem at City Hall that tthe Mayor suddenly came to his senses and cleaned house and thus corruption and double dealing was banished forever. Let us pause a moment and contemplate the Mayors Olympian efforts. New stadium, new housing, new sports venues and so on. Well by golly these things will require substantial construction contracts (Thank God, since school construction has slowed down)! Its 2007, the Olympics in Chicago will be in 2016. That's only nine years we have to make a buc..., I mean make the city shine for our international visitors. What? you're impugning the our motives for supporting the Olympics in Chicago! After all there must be substantial oversight by the IOC. The IOC is surely one of the premeire institutions of integrity. Well then who else?