The [Friday] Papers
"Testimony in the federal corruption trial of a Chicago developer on Thursday revealed that U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez met with the developer and Mayor Richard Daley to push for the city's approval of a controversial real estate venture," the Tribune reports.
This may or may not be a problem for Gutierrez, but he clearly tried to soft-pedal his involvement in the deal - and the developer - up until now. One might wonder why he's been disingenuous to this point.
"Gutierrez's involvement in lobbying Daley to support the project goes a step beyond what the congressman has previously told the Tribune in stories documenting his political and financial relationship with the developer, Calvin Boender, and his unusual role in backing a project outside his congressional district."
Yes, one might wonder what he was doing involving himself with a mayoral meeting on a project that wasn't even in his district. Doesn't look good, Luis!
"The Tribune previously has reported that Gutierrez wrote a letter to Daley on Boender's behalf after receiving a $200,000 loan from Boender. The newspaper reported Sunday that relatives of Gutierrez and two other Chicago politicians who supported Boender landed jobs tied to the project known as Galewood Yards.
"Gutierrez, a friend and golfing partner of Boender's, has not been charged with any wrongdoing."
Gutierrez may not have done anything illegal, but he certainly did something - several things - wholly unethical. And he apparently smudged the truth hoping the real facts would never come out.
"In 2008 the Tribune chronicled how Boender overrode the opposition of city planners to Galewood Yards after enlisting the support of [former Ald. Ike] Carothers and Gutierrez, D-Ill. Boender and his associates had donated about $55,000 to Carothers' re-election campaigns and $41,000 to Gutierrez's.
"Gutierrez told the Tribune at the time there was no connection between the $200,000 loan and his lobbying of Daley. The congressman had sought to downplay his role in supporting Boender's project, saying at the time that his involvement was 'extremely minimal' and 'entirely appropriate.'"
"Gutierrez, who is up for re-election this year, has a sister-in-law who had sold real estate for the project."
"Taser International's registered lobbyist is former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard. The company's $5 million contract runs through 2011."
Here's one way to write a story:
"The menacing target looked a bit like Brian Urlacher with a hangover.
"I stood 7 feet away, pointing a yellow Taser gun at it. A red dot from the laser sight bounced above the target's belly. I squeezed the trigger.
"Two 21-foot wires ejected from the Taser. Metal barbs attached to the wires punctured the target, one near the red dot and the other about a foot lower in the crotch.
"Too bad for Urlacher - but a perfect shot. In the real world, the man would have collapsed as 1,200 volts surged through his body for five seconds. In that time, officers would have scrambled to grab his arms and handcuff him before he was able to get up and fight."
Here's another way (mine):
"In an effort to generate positive publicity for the expansion of a controversial program, the Chicago Police Department on Wednesday invited reporters to participate in training drills for Tasers, whose use is opposed by Amnesty International among others.
"The expansion can be credited in part to former police chief Terry Hillard, now a lobbyist for Taser International, which has a $5 million contract with the CPD that expires next year if it isn't renewed. Neither Taser International nor Hillard would say how much Hillard's slice is."
See what I mean?
The Tribune at least had a clue on this one:
"The Chicago Police Department is dramatically expanding its use of Tasers, adding several hundred more and putting them in the hands of patrol officers for the first time, officials said Wednesday.
"The 'stun guns' will go in every squad car to give front-line beat officers a more effective way to protect themselves and calm a disturbance.
"But the electrical devices have caused controversy nationwide, with debates about their safety and lawsuits filed on behalf of dozens of people, some in the Chicago area, who have died after being 'Tased.'
"Chicago police laid out their plans just hours after a 31-year-old south suburban man was pronounced dead after Midlothian police used a Taser to subdue him. Jaesun Ingles, of Riverdale, who was on parole, was stunned with the Taser after he tried to swallow a plastic bag that police believed contained drugs, resisted arrest and ran from officers, Midlothian police said. An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner's office Wednesday was inconclusive, pending further investigation."
I'm not even necessarily opposed to expanding the user of Tasers; I am, however, opposed to public relations disguised as journalism.
Roeper will continue to write his Sun-Times column four days a week, but now he'll spend only 10 minutes working on each one instead of the 15 he spends now.
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Life's Little Victories
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The Big Showdown Looms
The Beachwood Tip Line: Skate to where the puck will be.
Posted on March 12, 2010
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