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The [Thursday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on August 25, 2016

"Police Board President Lori Lightfoot argued Wednesday for increased training and changes to both the police contract and to the way police supervisors are chosen to restore public trust in the Chicago Police Department shattered by the police shooting of Laquan McDonald," the Sun-Times reports.

Let's be clear: What Lightfoot said made eminent sense, but it wasn't anything she hasn't said before. So a better lead would say "Lightfoot reiterated . . . "

Also, the shooting of Laquan McDonald wasn't what "shattered" public trust in the CPD; it was the tipping point (some would say the straw that broke the camel's back) of a series of incidents that no longer could be ignored by City Hall.

So, really, this lead needs to be rewritten (or better edited).

Moving on:

"Lightfoot laid out an ambitious and costly reform agenda . . . "

"Costly" is in the eye of the beholding reporter - who's to say Lightfoot's reform agenda is costly? Maybe it's actually cheap. In fact, Lightfoot makes the point later in the article that the settlement money the city is paying out, as well as other costs to the city of a police department lacking credibility. So why is the Sun-Times calling it costly? Have they done an analysis? Have they calculated the cost to the total police budget? Where is the paper's threshold?

Further:

" . . . while testifying at the second and final subject matter hearing on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to abolish the Independent Police Review Authority and replace it with a new multi-layered system of police accountability."

That's just factually wrong. These hearings haven't been on Emanuel's plan because the aldermen who called them - the Progressive Caucus - haven't seen Emanuel's plan.

The mayor's plan has been taking shape behind closed doors, despite repeated pledges of transparency and a new way of doing business. This is exactly right:

Finally:

"After Wednesday's hearing, Lightfoot was asked whether she has any interest in running for mayor in 2019. Her ambitious agenda sounded like it came from a mayoral hopeful."

How does an agenda for police reform sound like an ambitious mayoral agenda? Does it include a position on property taxes, TIFs, economic development, the schools, transportation, public health?

"Unequivocally no," she said. "I am not running for mayor."

Perhaps the Sun-Times was reacting to the Tribune's assertion that Lightfoot had "coyly left the door open" on Tuesday night to a mayoral run.

If so, just say it. If not, explain the basis of the question - i.e., "Lightfoot's aggressive approach about police reform, combined with her obvious smarts and articulate public persona, have led reporters, public officials, political consultants and civic leaders to wonder whether she'd make for a strong mayoral candidate - especially at a time when Rahm Emanuel's future looks unsettled. But Lightfoot said Wednesday, 'I am not running for mayor. Unequivocally no.'"

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This is the angle the Tribune chose for its account of the hearing:

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's top appointee to the civilian agency that rules on police misconduct cases reiterated her call Wednesday for City Hall to make changes to the police union's contract, singling out a long-standing requirement that citizens sign sworn affidavits to make a complaint."

Reiterated! Thank you! I hadn't even seen this account when I suggested using that word. I'm reading along as I'm writing.

Continuing:

"Lightfoot made her comments during a City Council committee hearing on police accountability as aldermen and the mayor are crafting an ordinance to replace the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates alleged police misconduct and shootings, and to establish an inspector general within the Police Department."

Emphasis mine, because I would take issue with the notion that this is a cooperative venture. From what I understand, this is a top-down venture, as nearly everything is with this mayor. And as I've shown, the aldermen haven't even seen the draft of the mayor's ordinance - the mayor's ordinance - though he's been buttonholing various community members in private to ensure their support.

In fact, the backstory on the journey this and other police reform efforts have taken this year is a fascinating, if not depressing, tale of cynical posturing, factionalism, backbiting, and, most importantly, a true failure to seize the moment before us. Paging the city's assignment desks!

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Now, here is how the Trib handles the mayoral bit - in a weird aside:

"Lightfoot, who's been in the spotlight lately but shut the door on a possible mayoral run Wednesday, also pointed to other task force recommendations, including a call for more training to deal with crises that often involve mentally ill people, a revival of community-oriented policing and the need for racial reconciliation."

There's no link, of course, though the Trib unhelpfully includes the article it is referring to as "Related" content on its site. The paper seems philosophically opposed to including links in the actual stories themselves, which is beyond baffling.

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Also noteworthy:

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Guaranteed Rate Bait
So y'all probably know by now that the White Sox have signed a new naming rights deal for their stadium (it's not a ballpark, sadly) with Chicago-based mortgage firm Guaranteed Rate. I've gathered all the best tweets about it here.

I also dug up this Trib article, from March. To wit:

Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate was ordered to pay more than $25 million in damages for an alleged corporate espionage scheme that seems straight out of the play Glengarry Glen Ross, with an employee diverting hundreds of loan applications from a rival mortgage company.

Glengauranteed!

A California jury this week found that Guaranteed Rate and loan officer Benjamin Anderson defrauded his former employer, Mount Olympus Mortgage, by downloading and transferring more than 200 active loan files and personal financial data on 900 borrowers before switching firms nearly two years ago.

"It was quite an elaborate scheme," said Chad Hummel, a Los Angeles-based partner with Sidley Austin who represented Mount Olympus Mortgage. "He transferred all of the data without our consent or any of the customers' consent."

Guaranteed Rate, of course, denied the allegations, before and after the jury's verdict.

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"Founded in 2000 by Victor Ciardelli, Guaranteed Rate is one of the 10 largest home lenders in the U.S., funding $18 billion in loans last year, according to the company."

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From the Trib in 2014:

Ciardelli, son of a lawyer and a homemaker, was raised in Oak Brook and attended Montini Catholic High School, where he excelled at doing exactly the opposite of what was expected of him, even if, deep down, he wanted to do it.

"I was always very much like I wanted to be, who I wanted to be, and if you didn't like it, too bad," he said. "I was smart enough to know how to graduate and do nothing. I had this crazy opinion of myself. I (was) an idiot. Total idiot."

He finished high school with, as he recalls, the second-to-lowest GPA of his graduating class. Ciardelli, ambitious and with no reputation to protect, made a new start at Columbia College in mid-Missouri.

"All the other kids were partying and going nuts," he said. "I'd done that for four years. I got it together and ended up doing incredibly well in college. My drive really started from that point."

Montini inducted Ciardelli into its Hall of Fame - showing that schools only care what you do later, especially if you are donor potential. Continuing:

In 1992, at age 25, Ciardelli started Guaranteed Financial Mortgage Services Inc. He struggled.

It was like "growing a business on mud," he said. "I didn't have any foundation, any substance. I didn't have a better value proposition to give to my customers, my loan officers and my referral partners. Loan officers would leave, and I would get new ones. Real estate agents would leave, and I would get new ones. There was no culture."

What he did do right, though, was identify the most active Chicago real estate agents and make inroads with them. Among them was Sean Conlon, who at the time was a top producer for Koenig & Strey.

"He was so enthusiastic," Conlon recalled. "He'd be calling; he'd want to drop in. I could call him at midnight, and he'd answer. Did I think he was going to do something fairly exceptional? Yes, I did. He just had that X factor."

Ciardelli retooled his business model in 2000 and called the new company Guaranteed Rate, focusing on the "value proposition." Customers get low rates because of low overhead and automated systems; real estate agents get help with their marketing; and employees get the training, technology and work environment to thrive and grow the business.

If only the White Sox had a value proposition.

Eventually, Ciardelli hopes to build a completely digital mortgage product for customers who don't want or need human interaction.

Part of the plan to move the company forward is to make it a nationally known brand. Last fall, the company hired Olson as its first public relations and advertising agency of record and this year undertook its first national television advertising campaign, a $10 million effort featuring Ty Pennington.

Ciardelli wanted the commercials to be sophisticated, warm, fuzzy and focused on the brand. He appreciated the agency's work, but two days before filming, he saw the campaign and hated it, thinking the commercials emphasized humor and Pennington rather than Guaranteed Rate.

So he's really enjoying the response to his naming rights deal about now.

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Finally:

[Ciardelli has a] 47-foot boat named Guaranteed Fun, and a rum-based drink, the Guarantini, which is trademarked.

And will soon be available at Guaranteed Rate Field, presumably.

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UPDATE: Missed this from Crain's, 2012:

[H]e started his own mortgage brokerage before launching Guaranteed Rate in 1999 with $2.5 million in equity from family and friends.

Aha. That's what I call a value proposition.

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Gawker Killer Peter Thiel Is Coming To Chicago
To help us reconsider the American Dream.

How Delaware Kept America Safe For Corporate Secrecy
With an assist from a cowering Obama.

Portrait Of Poor Pembroke
One of the nation's most impovershed communities is in Kankakee County and is the subject of a new book.

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BeachBook

The Brianna and Jaelin Walking Tour.

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TweetWood

You know they're gonna get a reality TV show. They're the next Speidi.

Previously: God Has A Plan For This Insufferable House-Flipping Couple That Doesn't Include Living In Chicago.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Guarantinied.

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MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Progressive Pie.
POLITICS - How Delaware Kept America Safe For Corporate Secrecy.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Guaranteed Grate.

BOOKS - Portrait Of A Remarkable African-American Town In Northern Illinois.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.


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