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The [Friday] Papers

Wyma wore a wire.

[UPDATE 12/8: Or did he?]

No wonder Rod Blagojevich is already laying the groundwork for a pardon. It's almost a foregone conclusion that he's going to jail.

"Federal investigators recently made covert tape recordings of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the most dramatic step yet in their corruption investigation of him and his administration," the Tribune is reporting in an exclusive.

"As part of this undercover effort, one of the governor's closest confidants and former aides cooperated with investigators, and that assistance helped lead to recordings of the governor and others, sources said.

"The cooperation of John Wyma, 42, one of the state's most influential lobbyists, is the most stunning evidence yet that Blagojevich's once-tight inner circle appears to be collapsing under the pressure of myriad pay-to-play inquiries.

"Wyma, Blagojevich's chief of staff when he was in Congress, has long been one of the few advisers trusted by Blagojevich and kept in the loop on matters of policy and politics."

Can we just start the transition now?

The Mayor's Meter Management
"As expected, the full City Council signed off on Mayor Daley's plan to lease the city's parking meters to an assortment of private interests led by Morgan Stanley," Mick Dumke reports at Clout City. "Since word of the deal first emerged - a whole three days ago - the dramatic fee hikes that will result have pissed off people around the city. But as annoying, and potentially burdensome, as they are, they're not half the story."

And after you read what Mick politely describes as "a few other points worth reiterating," please try to curb your instinct to run outside and take a sledgehammer to the parking meter nearest you.

Or, on the other hand, go for it.

Council Follies
* The vote was 40-5 in favor of the mayor's deal. The No votes came from Toni Preckwinkle, Scott Waguespack, Billy Ocasio, Leslie Hairston, and Rey Colon.

* "Preckwinkle and Hairston said they did not have enough time to consider the measure, which Daley aides presented to aldermen Tuesday. Giving such quick approval makes aldermen 'partners in our own marginalization,' Preckwinkle said."

* Dick Mell called the deal "a once-in-a-lifetime shot to grab this pool of money."

Really? I wasn't aware that the offer expired at midnight Thursday.

* Brendan Reilly "said many drivers abuse low rates by feeding meters four times to cover their entire workday."

So now they'll have to "abuse" high rates?

* Reilly also said "For those people who chose to drive downtown and avail themselves of these metered parking spaces, we're happy to have you, but you need to pay a fair-market rate."

Agreed. What's the fair-market rate for a downtown meter on Sunday when you've got dozens of available spots to choose from?

Status Update
By John Kuczaj at 3 p.m. Thursday:

"John is hoping the Mayor of Chicago will sell the Michigan Avenue planters next."

Potato Principle
"The politicians are crooks!" Diane Hamernik of Wood Dale tells John Kass. "They nickel-and-dime everyone to death and you don't notice. That's how they get away with it."

Bless Hamernik's heart. She's fighting the Toll Authority over 30 cents. It is the principle. And she's doing it for all of us.

CORRECTION 4:19 P.M.: It wasn't Diane Hamernik, the subject of Kass's column, who said "The politicians are crooks . . . ", it was Kass's mother. Apologies to everyone involved!

People, Please!
Aren't you tired of everyone trying to screw you? Is this really the way we want to live?


Thanks, Consumer World!


I was recently waiting for AAA to come help me with a car problem when I ducked into Lucia's on North and Honore to get a soda. I grabbed a 12-oz. Diet Coke out of the refrigerator, went to the counter, and the lady said "$1.10."



For a can of Coke?

"How do you sleep at night?" I asked.

"This is a restaurant, not a liquor store," she said.


"Okay, I'll just go down to the liquor store then," I said, as I put the can back.

The liquor store is on the same block, and they charged me $1.19 for a 16-oz. Diet Coke. I was happy to pay it.

Even an economy - as we are now seeing for the umpteenth time - has to have principles.


Small businesses in particular should learn the value of the lifetime customer.


I was also recently at the Lavazza Cafe on Ohio Street downtown and watched the entire staff chat in front of me for about 10 minutes before I asked, "Um, am I gonna get my coffee any time soon?"

They weren't even apologetic.

Be consumers, people. It's just like being a citizen.


Hamernik is right. It's not about the money. It's about dignity and humanity.

Shower Boy
"Mayor Daley's $163,656-a-year budget director abruptly resigned Thursday, leaving a giant void as Chicago struggles to survive its worst financial crisis in recent history," the Sun-Times reports.

I'd like to say good riddance to Bennett Johnson III, but what's the difference? He'll just be replaced by another tool. Here's what I mean.

"Johnson made headlines in February when he installed a $5,400 shower in his City Hall office just weeks after pushing through a budget that raised taxes fines and fees by $293 million, including the largest property tax increase in Chicago history."

Said Johnson: "People just don't get where I come from. In the private sector, you get private showers and private gym memberships. It's just what I'm used to. That's why I didn't think it was such a big deal."

Burge Buckshot
The Fraternal Order of Police continues to burnish its well-earned reputation in Chicago. Bravo.

Big 3 B.S.
So this time the Big 3 CEOs drove to Washington to beg Congress for money instead of flying private jets. Should they get brownie points for better managing their stagecraft? Besides, they should have just flown commercial like normal people.


Inside the Bailout: A Beachwood Exclusive.

I can't remember if I put this on the site or just sent it around via e-mail, and I'm actually too lazy (long week) to do a search and find out right now. This is one of at least three "literal videos" out there that I've seen, and easily the best. In fact, it's brilliant.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Worth every penny.


Posted on December 5, 2008

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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