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The [Friday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

* The [Fourth of July] Papers 2008: Miss Manners, Kids in America, Well-Regulated Militia, The Redacted Banner.

* The [Fourth of July] Papers 2007: Lead us away from here.

* A loyal Beachwood reader and Wisconsin native passes this on in response to my item yesterday expressing skepticism about generous tax incentives extended to Hollywood by various states, including Illinois:

"From mid-March until June 30 of last year, Public Enemies filmed in Madison, Manitowish Waters, Oshkosh, Columbus, Milwaukee, Darlington, Beaver Dam, Eureka, Oregon and around Mirror Lake in Wisconsin as well as in Indiana, Illinois and Los Angeles," the Rhinelander Daily News reports.

"According to records made available to the Associated Press, the film brought in $5 million in economic activity but cost the state $4.6 million in tax credits to Public Enemies Productions LLC, a subsidiary of Universal Studios.

"Under the tax credit law, the filmmakers were allowed to submit expenses and salaries that weren't paid in Wisconsin. Those included Director Michael Mann's $1.8 million salary, for which the film company received a 25 percent credit.

"The state's tax credits even covered about $100,000 of the cost of Depp's entourage of chauffeurs, hair stylists and assistants, the Department of Commerce told the AP."

* "Consultant Tom Lanctot of William Blair & Co. told aldermen that Hoffman's staff did not completely account for the financial risks of keeping the meters in public hands and underestimated the cost to run the system, noting the $50 million expense of replacing meters with new 'pay and display' machines," the Tribune reports.

Well, what if you didn't replace the old meters with pay-and-display machines?

And if the new pay-and-display machines don't pay for themselves and then some, why install them to begin with?

"[Lanctot's] explanation appeared to placate at least some council members. 'The methodology here may not have been the most responsible,' Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), one of 40 who voted for the lease, said of Hoffman's report."

As opposed to the methodology of the mayor's office and Parking Meters LLC? Please.

"Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), one of five who opposed the privatization of the meters, said other experts have come to the same conclusion as Hoffman. Waguespack suggested the city should have raised parking rates but kept the revenue 'instead of essentially giving it away'."

* From Clout City:

While Hoffman and his staff had performed an analysis that used information "from the Internet," Lanctot said, William Blair had relied on "widely accepted valuation methods" that more accurately assessed the long-term worth of the meter system. He added, just in case everyone had missed the point before: "There is a big difference between academic theory and the marketplace."

Alderman Scott Waguespack asked if William Blair had examined the specific terms of similar lease deals overseas.

No, said Lanctot. "We had limited access to them."

"Was it available on the Internet, maybe?" Waguespack said.

It appears from this account that the whole idea was Lanctot's to begin with.

* Back to the Trib: "Widespread technological problems plagued the turnover of the meters to the private firm, led by New York-based Morgan Stanley. Robert Sperling, a lawyer with the politically connected firm of Winston and Strawn, spoke on behalf of the company at the meeting.

"Sperling apologized for the problems but added that improvements have been made: 'We are doing an excellent job, and the citizens are getting a fine-run system'."

Are these people even human?

* Alexi Aide's Clout Kid. The tale of a South Side chocolate heiress, a Greek Orthodox priest, and a campaign adviser the state treasurer's office tried to pretend it barely knew.

* "That's bullcrap, my friend."

* July Jackpot. In Bloodshot Briefing.

* America's Pitchman. To the very end.

* Kurdistan vs. Chicago. In Cab #713.

* TrackNotes will return next week.

* The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week has been discontinued.

* Pols Take The Fourth. Our best guess as to how they'll spend the holiday.

* Revenge of the ATM fees. You could be a winner.

The Fog Of Montrose Beach


The Beachwood Tip Line: Sparkling.


Posted on July 3, 2009

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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