The [Friday] Papers
Sorry for not being excited about the return of Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson to the Channel 2 anchor desk, but neither has any rightful place in a newsroom anymore.
"Dignitaries at an announcement today for the new French Market at the Ogilvie Transportation Center were treated to a bit of political theater featuring a deep-voiced announcer, heckler and a mayor irked at some aldermen.
"It all began with Chicago TV legend Bill Kurtis, mustering his best baritone voice to introduce Mayor Richard Daley: 'The king of public-private partnerships, who of course makes all this possible. . . . Ladies and gentlemen, with a tip of the hat today to Paris, let's give a big Chicago welcome to, how we say, the greatest mayor in the greatest city in the world, Mayor Richard Daley!'"
How is this acceptable, Channel 2?
And it's not as if the French Market is an innocuous project.
"In the case of the market, the City Council, at Daley's urging, voted in 2006 to spend a total of $12 million in taxpayer money on construction of a new shopping area in the Ogilvie Transportation Center; $8 million of that sum went to the French Market," the Reader reported. "The project happens to be headed by a well-to-do, politically connected developer who's contributed thousands of dollars to the mayor's campaign coffers. And the city plans to spend another $23 million in the River West TIF district through 2011.
"By contrast Roseland, one of the poorest neighborhoods in town, will get just $5 million to spend through 2011."
The greatest mayor in the world also showed his petty, tyrannical side that day when Kurtis endorsed him.
"The mayor then lashed out at the dozen aldermen who dared to oppose his budget on the ground that Daley was draining the $1.15 billion windfall generated by the sale of Chicago parking meters to a private company," the Sun-Times reported.
"I really appreciate those 38 aldermen who stood with me and the taxpayers of Chicago. The other ones are not gonna convince me to raise taxes or raise fees," Daley said.
"Not one of 'em gave me one amendment to cut basic services or . . . raise taxes . . . If you voted 'no,' then be proud. And I'll debate any of 'em any time.''
Of course, that's simply not true. I was in the city council chambers when Ald. Tom Allen, for one, offered an array of budget alternatives. As for debating any of 'em any time, we'll see how that plays out if any of the council members rumored to be looking at a mayoral run go through with it - Daley has refused to debate his campaign opponents for 20 years.
Kurtis has been City Hall's official emcee for years. When I wrote about McCormick Place for Chicago magazine in 2004, Kurtis was championing an $850 million expansion there.
In January, Kurtis said he represented "an extension of the FBI in the media" while accepting an award from the very same.
And according to his speakers bureau, he is a board member of "several distinguished organizations including The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Foundation, Chicago Green City Market, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Field Museum of Chicago."
What does he do on the night AT&T executives are indicted and the Field Museum is embroiled in scandal?
As for Jacobson, in April he complained about media's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. "Too much on the Giannoulias family bank," Jacobson said. "It's not news."
Jacobson went on to claim that Giannoulias had "a pretty good record" as a state Treasurer still in his first term, but offered no such endorsement of Mark Kirk's nine years as a U.S. congressman.
I know these guys are gonna just be reading the news, but maybe the smart move for Channel 2 would be to start reporting some.
The Week In WTF
The Beachwood Tip Line: So cold.
Posted on July 30, 2010
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