Sunday, April 29, 2007

I guess we're not in Kansas any more!

Not to say I told you so, but I told you so. This week an article by Andrew Herrman came out in the Sun Times about how shenanigans (I call it so whenever anythings rigged in your favor, legally or not) by Pete "Super Red" Ueberroth to maintain USOC's lion share of Olympic revenue. It's obvious the 2016 Olympic Chicago Boys, all pals of the Mayor, think they're still in munchkin land with their Olympics bid but the world is a big place. Not until President Obama and Vice President Bill Daley can help salvage the reputation of the US by appointing David Axelrod Secretary of Good Publicity and Only Good Publicity (Rezko who?) will Chicago have a clear shot without troubles. And of course people across the world are ticked off at the US for a few other things too... what were they so upset about? I can't remember... I must be getting Reaganesque in my old age.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Duncan next?

Botched payroll, stolen laptops and a generally unfocused, unremarkable education plan at CPS may contribute to the "resignation" of Duncan. As demonstrated yesterday, if heads are going to roll it has to be now before the new City Council is inaugurated. Not because they can stop the carnage but merely because they can draw attention to the way the Mayor handles defeat and the sloppiness that comes with purges.

Alderman Moore, by quickly questioning Huberman's replacement of Kruesi, showed what happens when you have a council that feels it has enough cover to be critical of the way decisions are made by the Mayor. Let's see if anyone else has half a mind to speak up.

Expect the Mayor to continue to have that exasperated and scowling look on his face for some time to come. The only other face he has for a situation like this is the perspiration laden giggling he does when he's whistling past the graveyard.

So when your downtown (when you can afford it) and you hear the hammering for the new guillotine (those TIF funds come in handy!) going up across from City Hall don't be surprised.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This just in...

Will the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce be sending bags of money and adulation to French Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in a desperate bid to bring not only expensive french bus shelters to Chicago but also special Sarkozy Water Cannons (shooting Chanel No. 5?) to control the Labor rabble? Who will the Higginbottoms look down on now that Dorothy Tillman is out? What Gore-Tex safety-taped jacket will Frank Kruesi wear to the unemployment line? Who else will be booted out to accommodate the wrath of the fearless leader of the fifth floor?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let's all take a deep breath and let in sink in for a second...

Call it a drubbing, call it a spanking or call it a message from GOD (remember Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce - the commandment "You shall have no other gods before Me", so stop the mayoral worship).

Yesterday's aldermanic run-off (there's that phrase again) proved to be the titanic struggle everyone anticipated. The results clearly are disturbing for City Hall. Witness the mayors confused and dismissive response to Gary Washburn of the Tribune today. The mayor does not want anyone but staffers and presumed allies to know just how ticked off he is.

But you have to imagine that when other big city mayors like Villaraigosa in Los Angeles or Bloomberg in New York hear about what went down they're going to take it very seriously. After all here is the mayor of Chicago, often imitated by others - even the President, getting his wings clipped by the unions. They're bound to think if these unions could organize against the democratic machine in Chicago what can they do to me here in _______________(fill in city here).

Lets hope also that all of this run-off puts to rest the notion that the mayor is a friend of Labor. The Mayor is a manipulator of Labor and an abuser of Labor. A friend , in real terms, I think not. In fact to say that the mayor was a friend of Labor is like saying that Bush is a veteran.

So now the mayor, instead of paying attention to the handful of alderman who regularly might oppose him, has more than a quarter of the council to worry about. May not seem like much now but in real terms it is a phenomenal shift. All sorts of people who previously had sleeper positions in the council, like president pro-tempore, might have to be pressed into service. Why, they might even need to have a majority whip... for whichever part of the democratic party you're affiliated with. Make no mistake, a great leviathan like effort will be made by the fifth floor of City Hall to compromise all of the newly elected alderman. But there is more of them now.

And what does this all do for the Olympics in 2016? Not until this fall will the city be able to formally push for Chicago to the IOC. Then onto the international stage where Chicago is competing not just as Chicago but as the United States selection and all of the baggage that goes with it. In October 2009 the IOC will make its decision and then the ball really starts rolling: Who gets contracts? What will labor agreements look like (thaaats riight!)? Who will have to be ejected from their homes by eminent domain to make way? Who will control the spigot on cost over-runs? How will different standards for security impact the disposition and behavior of the Chicago Police Department? So many questions and, really, so little time.

In 2011 we will have the next municipal elections and the argument will be that you can't switch horses (or generals or some such thing) at such a critical point. Let's hope that our new alderman will be able to set some precedents to protect the residents of our fair city. If not our only hope is US Attorney Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where did I put the 21st - I know its around here somewhere...

Ah yes... the 21st ward. The Jackson operation can't afford to lose this one even if it strains their currently cozy relationship with the unions (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Expect this to be a dogfight. By rights Brookins should win but this is Roseland and Pullman and these can be very independent minded if they are not reaping benefits from Brookins representation. Perhaps it was not wise to bring in Staples -its just more resources for your opposition.

Monday, April 16, 2007

To the Victor Go the Spoils, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Olympic Bomb

This Chicago neighbor is filled with a deep and abiding sense of sarcasm at the prospect of tomorrows Run Off ( a somehow apt way of describing aldermanic races and sewers).
So here it goes:
2nd Ward - I suspect demographics and DPD like gerrymandering of the ward conspire to make Fioretti a foregone conclusion. But who cares? Its not like he'll really have control of the ward.
3rd Ward and 16th - A twofer! Alderman Dorothy Tillman seems to be vying with Alderman Coleman for over the top performance in a Drama of their own creation. Even if they win, which I don't believe will happen, they're still both losers (in the High School sense, ya know - forefinger and thumb to the forehead). Both ignored their constituents for so long that one of the few ways of guaranteeing votes was to give jobs to family members. Both are desperate and God only knows what they will resort to tomorrow.
15th Ward - I'd go with a Jewel employee any day in a race in a regular neighborhood like the 15th ward. Ms. Simmons Stovall would do better in the rarefied environs of Beverly than West Englewood and Chicago Lawn. Here's hoping Ms. Foulkes can have her cake and eat it too.
18th Ward - The only mystery here is what job or favor is Paul Stewart holding out for.
24th Ward - Come on guys! The South Side is pouring money into Chandlers opposition. That'll work real nice - that's a better gambit for getting the incumbent elected than whining about union influence. I can see it now, West Side neighbor opens door to South Side organization election worker "Your from where and ya work for who? Uh huh - ya sure I'll vote for whoever you want."
32nd Ward - The only excitement I expect from this preening ward is a duck waddling around yelling "Matlak!"
35th Ward - Now here is a "Battle Royale" separated by a mere consonant! Will Richard "Top of the Desk this Morning to ya" Mell prevail? Or will newly minted City Clerk Del Valle maintain his hold in the continuing proxy battle with Mell. You say Colom , I say Colon, Lets call the whole thing off.
43rd Ward - Do I care? Do I really, really care? There's so much money, self interest and liquor swilling around this ward that Alberto Gonzalez could be Alderman and what difference would it make?
49th Ward - For the Swift Boat veterans to creep their way into an aldermanic campaign in Chicago just makes me feel tingly all over! I expect incumbent Alderman Joe Moore to redeem himself and duck innards everywhere.
50th Ward - Alderman Stone is cagey. Instead of whining about unions, he highlighted all the union support he has in his literature. Except for the most important union. The one whose leaders he testified for as a favor - Laborers 1001. The guys who were part of the "Outfit". So that gives you an idea of who Ald. Stones buddies are and why you should expect a classic Down and Dirty fight in the 50th Ward. Good Luck Ms. Dolar.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Whole World Is Watching!

In what appears to be some kind of cosmic force operating in Chicago a third recorded police fight is found. Of course not to be outdone by beating sprightly barmaids and fighting with businessmen this latest incident involves Terry Abbate, brother of Anthony "Smackin' da St. Pauli girl" Abbate, fighting with an off-duty police officer from the District of Columbia* on St. Patricks Day no less. We believe God has an extraordinary sense of irony and history when it comes to Chicago.

Reports from our far flung associates in other municipalities say that these incidents, especially the first one, enjoyed special prominence in nightly broadcasts about the city of "broad shoulders and kicks to the groin". Given the contemporary media's bent for playing found video to the point of infinity and beyond the Mayor must have been overjoyed to see news about home while on vacation. While in the City of Lights he got to see the City of Fights.

Time was in Chicago that on the night of the big fight everyone would gather around the radio set to hear the broadcast of the "Brown Bomber"** vs. "Poor Schlub". It was all legal of course. With any luck those days can return to our fair metropolis . The Mayor loves video cameras. He wants them everywhere! Think how fortunate the city is. They could raise revenue this way. Someone talk to this weeks fresh faced budget director!

So after countless hours of seeing and hearing about these officers Olympian efforts to subdue the citizenry, and even fellow officers, I have just one bit of advice to the boys in blue with pugilistic tendencies - The Whole World Is Watching.

* For Bernie's precinct captains in the 50th ward, the District of Columbia is our nations capitol - not a Latin-American country. Just trying to help you overcome your ignorance and prejudices...

** For those of you under the age of 70 this refers to Joe Louis, the great boxer, and one time resident of Chicago. No need to tell Bernie's boys. They saw Joe Louis fight.

Monday, April 2, 2007


Just what is Phil Cline the fall guy (besides the obvious) for? Is it his disagreement with Dick Devine that led to his ejection? Is this because of public safety or the Olympics bid? Finally, does this actually do anything to affect the situation that may have caused him to resign?

Mayoral Zealot Takes Over Trib

Chicago billionaire Sam Zell acquired the Tribune Company as everyone within earshot of a TV or a Tribune owned media venue knows by now. Sam Zell is identified by a Trib (eeggaad! put that away) article, "How Daley Campaign Keeps the Cash Flowing" February 18th '07, as fourth among the Mayors top contributers. Far be it for me to presume that the Tribs already "Aw Shucks! He's justa Mayor who can't say no!" editorial policy will nose dive into outright adulation and batting eyelashes, but money is money. What we're really concerned about is that they not start ejecting the fine reporters they have on staff. Those reporters plus John Kass and Jon Hilkevitch are the only thing that has redeemed the Trib in our eyes. That and the fact that the Cubs still haven't been to the World Series.

Surrender Dorothy!

Chicago neighbors tried to count how many times Ald. Tillman used the term "disingenuous" to describe her opponent Pat Dowell on City Desk this Sunday, but we finally gave up. Ald. Tillman who tried to accused Ms. Dowell of being in the pocket of the unions promptly showed she was in the pocket of developers a few minutes later (listing all the high ticket projects she was pushing). Were I a resident of the third ward I'd be asking myself "Why didn't Ald. Tillman once mention me as a constituent?" and her tepid response to questions about city hall corruption were almost Tribunesque. In fact Ald. Tillman mentioned the Jackson (dynasty) family more often than residents of her ward. Let's hope this desperation keeps up. It'll be entertaining at least. How beneficial it is for the people of the third ward is another story.