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The [Friday] Papers

The Sun-Times asks on its front page today - way down in the corner - if Mayor Daley ripped city workers. "You decide," the paper says, leading them to a story and audio posted online.

I just listened to the audio, and it's exactly as reported. What's to decide?

Even worse, Daley is not only denying what is on tape, but he's blaming the media.

"I said that some people just watch the clock-government workers or anybody else-and leave. But here in Chicago, we're fortunate that people just don't watch the clock."

"I never said city workers of . . . Chicago are not good workers. Would you correct that for me? I know it's hard because I'm a ping-pong ball for the media. If you don't have the Daley name, I guess they don't read the newspapers. But just correct that . . . Don't misinterpret what I say to try to bring confrontation against city workers. That's really unfair."

"City workers work hard. I talked about the city in a positive way. But you're trying to follow me in a negative way so you have people yelling at me. I know that's your gig. But be responsible."

Instead of asking readers to decide, why not use big bold letters on your front page that say: "You Said It, Not Us."

Maybe under that: "Mayor Denies What Is Clear On Tape."

How many more times must I ask why in the world you all let this guy get away with this nonsense? He's a liar. He has a pattern of lying. Call him on it.

Private Pap
The Tribune editorial on the matter is a mixed bag. On one hand, the paper acknowledges what we all know: that there are indeed slackers on the city payroll. But whose fault is that? Or, in other words, who hired Angelo Torres? (Or, for that matter, who told the mayor's (convicted) patronage director to hire drunks and dead people?)

Says the Trib:

"Who's the boss of those clock-watchers? Daley, that's who. How long as this been going on? Forever. The mayor presides over a workforce bloated with the friends of relatives of campaign workers and the relatives of campaign workers' friends."

The Trib goes off the rails, though, when it pretends that the private sector isn't riddled with the same problems. "If private employers get more out of their workers, it's because they demand it."

Um, ever look at your own newsroom? Even the slimmed down Trib workforce is riddled with deadbeats and layabouts - many hired and/or promoted by pals.

(Or just look to Wall Street for the latest example of the private sector's vaunted efficiencies.)

Finally, let's stop for a second and consider Daley's argument that government isn't cut out to manage parking garages and airports the way the private sector is. Well, what gives city managers expertise in managing libraries, parks and police departments? And didn't Daley just tell us he made Ron Huberman the chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools despite having no background in education because he's such a great manager? Why not lease every public asset? In fact, why have government at all? Let the citizens choose from competing service-providers!

Top Secret Stimulus
Meanwhile, the mayor is refusing to make public the wish list he has apparently shared with federal officials for ways to spend our taxpayer money that would fund the stimulus bill.

"We have our list," Daley said. "We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart . . . "

See, the mayor has already privatized city government.

"It's very controversial," the mayor says of the list. "It's very complicated."

He did say, according to the Trib's other editorial today, that the list includes projects for the CTA, the park district and the school system.

We shouldn't worry our pretty little heads over it, though. We're not customers, just citizens.

If reporters haven't already filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the list, they ought to. But here's another idea: file the request with federal officials, who after all were just instructed by President Obama to actually cooperate with the law.

Class Cluelessness
The Tribune's front page features a photo of a birthday celebration at restaurant with the amount each person is paying for dinner written in, for a story about, um, paying separate checks. The totals: $210, $162, $135, $85, $60. Tough times, indeed. I wonder which editor's birthday it was.

UPDATE 1:46 P.M.: The folks at TimeOut Chicago point out another embarrassment on the Trib's front page today.

COMMENT: 3:55 P.M.: A Beachwood reader writes:

Point well taken. But the larger question is this: with all that's going on in the world (not to mention this state and this city alone), the best the Tribune had to offer today was a bunch of fluff on . . . splitting the bill! Are they kidding? The Trib has long since ceased to be a serious publication and, as a result, lost my subscription about two months ago. It wasn't without a lot of sadness (I'm a J-school grad and former longtime newspaper reporter), but front pages like today's keep me from regretting my decision. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I now pick up the New York Times instead and browse the Trib Web site to get my local news.

Programming Notes
* I'm more than pleased to introduce Thomas Chambers today as our Beachwood handicapper-in-residence, or Our Man On The Rail. As he explains in his debut column today, he's a horseplayer not a gambler. His column will appear every Friday.

* Speaking of appearing every Friday, if you haven't been reading Stephanie B. Goldberg's Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week, you should get into the habit.

* We've got a whole new set of Political Odds today, from Fritchey's chances in the Fifth to the re-election chances of Quinn, Stroger and Durbin.

And at today:

* Daley vs. Daley. Says he didn't say what we know he said.

* Exclusive! What's on Daley's secret stimulus list.

* How the Blue Man Group will cope with layoffs.

Beachwood Classified
Just a reminder from The Beachwood Help Wanted Desk

* Deep Pockets. We have a beautiful business plan that will make you even richer. Inquire within.

* Techie proficient in Movable Type and human social behavior. For one-off and short-term projects or a long-term partnership.

* Honest advertising and marketing specialist who understands our brand and wants to help grow the company. Our business plan really does kick ass. Brains better than experience. No slicksters.

* Wanna edit a Beachwood section? Let's talk.

* Additional writers always welcome. Worldview better than experience.

* We're still accepting memberships in return for door prizes to be named later. (Speaking of which, our Super Bowl Halftime Bracket prizes should go out today.)

As always, you can contact the boss here. Or through the tip line. Much like the pipes in your home, it all ends up in the same place.

The Beachwood Tip Line: On the rail.


Posted on February 6, 2009

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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