The [Friday] Papers
This is why I hate pols like Toni Preckwinkle more than pols like Joe Berrios - whom I despise. Berrios actually believes that there is nothing wrong with the way he operates - or he simply doesn't care. But he doesn't hide who he is.
Preckwinkle, on the other hand, knows better. She believes differently. She fights - however meekly - against everything that Berrios stands for. But when she needs a heavy, she turns a blind eye.
I'm not sure there are any real reformers in Illinois politics, but there sure are a lot of fake ones.
Pat Quinn springs to mind. He, too, is a Berrios man.
Barack Obama, of course, is cut from the same cloth.
I used to tell a former girlfriend that I had more respect for a guy like Danny Rostenkowski than Barack Obama because at least Rosty wasn't such a consciously outrageous hypocrite.
She seemed perplexed by that, but as Old Man Daley believed, there's nothing worse than a faker.
The lesson, also, is that the very people who can put an end to our stinky political culture are the ones who most blatantly exploit it for their own political purposes. People like Joe Berrios aren't going to reform themselves. But when voters invest themselves in candidates like Obama and Preckwinkle - largely unaware of their true natures, often due to shallow and incompetent reporting - and then get let down, they become more cynical than if those candidates never spoke up to begin with.
So I ask: Who is more morally reprehensible - Joe Berrios or Toni Preckwinkle? Mitch McConnell or Barack Obama?
Why have an inauguration at all? Just swear in the constitutional officers in their offices and be done with it. It's really not a good time for a celebration - and a lame celebration at that - and the money could go to paying off at least a fraction of some social service agency's bills. Or sent to me. The rest is just ego-gratification.
Empire State of Mind
"A preliminary list of speakers for the 'When Walmart Comes to Town] hearing includes labor leaders, small business representatives and academics who have argued that Walmart has a negative impact on communities.
"Retail union chief Stu Appelbaum and Gristedes consultants plan to appear before the three council committees hosting the hearing, which yesterday was rescheduled for Jan 12.
"David Merriman, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who authored a study arguing a Chicago Walmart had not increased local employment or retail activity, will also be on hand."
Blue & Orange Julius
"He served as foreign editor, directing a cadre of correspondents as they covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian uprising. He was dispatched to Jerusalem for six months. It was a heady life of globe-trotting that not only allowed him to be a witness to history, but to bring stories from the far corners of the globe home to readers in America's third-largest city, readers who live in Chicago's distinctively ethnic neighborhoods, who often have intensely close ties to far-flung places and who might not get such a rich diet of newsbreaking or enterprise were it not for Colin McMahon.
"Now McMahon goes by the title of 'national content editor.' Once again he oversees the Tribune's foreign news operation. This time, however, McMahon does not direct a staff of foreign correspondents.
"The paper has none."
Chico and the Man
From the Tribune, Dec. 28, 1994:
"Democratic mayoral candidate Joseph Gardner demanded Tuesday that Mayor Richard Daley participate in a series of five prime-time television debates leading up to the Feb. 28 primary.
"The Daley camp immediately said no. End of debate.
"Although Gardner, a board member for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, is certain to continue to make a political issue of Daley's refusal, Daley campaign spokesmen made it clear they will brush off Gardner's request in the future.
"'Debates are ostensibly to allow candidates to debate on the issues. But Mayor Daley has appeared before virtually every civic organization in Chicago in virtually every neighborhood in Chicago,' said Carolyn Grisko, Daley's campaign manager. 'We believe that Mayor Daley's positions on the issues are well known.'
"Gardner made his demand in a letter he hand-delivered to Daley's fifth-floor City Hall office on Tuesday, after unsuccessfully trying to hand it to Daley directly twice last week.
"The mayor usually stops for an informal chat in the City Hall press room before regularly scheduled City Council meetings, so last week, Gardner planned to confront Daley there and give him the letter. But Daley was in and out of the press room before Gardner arrived.
"The candidate then followed Daley to the anteroom behind the City Council chambers, but his way was deftly blocked by a mayoral bodyguard while Daley entered the chambers to begin the meeting, thwarting the hand delivery attempt again.
"Daley was not in his office Tuesday to receive the letter.
"Also Tuesday, Gardner criticized two television shows that the city runs daily on two Chicago municipal cable television channels that are used to broadcast news and information from city government.
"One of the shows, Chicago Works, is produced and hosted by Jim Williams, Daley's press secretary. The half-hour show, which is broadcast at least five times a day, is filled with stories about Daley's neighborhood appearances and news conferences.
"Gardner Tuesday demanded that the Chicago Works show, along with its companion, Crimewatch, which gives news of Chicago Police Department activities, be halted during the campaign season. Or, Gardner said, he should be given equal time and access to the city's production facilities so he, too, can give his views about the operations of city government.
"'Every week when the president of the United States gives his Saturday morning radio address to the nation, the Republicans are given an equal opportunity to respond one hour later,' Gardner said.
"'The city must either cancel these shows or give my campaign equal access to these cable services and resources to produce a show,' he said. 'Daley's infomercials present a distorted one-sided view. This makes the need for a debate even stronger.'
"The mayor's office response to Gardner's request about the cable television shows was as succinct and final as the Daley campaign office's response to the debate request.
"'No,' said Gery Chico, Daley's chief of staff, when asked if the city will either take the shows off the air or give Gardner equal time.
"'We don't see these as political programs,' Chico said. 'For that reason, the question of equal time isn't even relevant. Just because we're in a political season doesn't mean that government takes a vacation.'
"Chico said the Chicago Works program costs about $175,000 a year to produce, and the Crimewatch program is produced by Peter Karl Productions at a cost of about $250,000 a year.
"'We use these programs as a way to get out information about services provided by the city of Chicago. They are not shows about Mayor Daley. They are shows about the city of Chicago government, and they are providing a public service,' Chico said."
From the Sun-Times, Dec. 28, 1994:
"Arguing that debates are 'about theater, not government,' Mayor Daley 's campaign manager Tuesday said Daley will not debate Joseph Gardner or give the mayoral challenger equal access to the city's cable television channel.
"Gardner, a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner, sought to engage Daley in a series of five debates before the Feb. 28 primary.
"Outside the mayor's City Hall office, Gardner said it's time Daley 'came out from behind the curtain.'
"'Here's an opportunity to say how well he's managed the Chicago public schools, his relationship with Springfield in terms of the third airport and casino gambling,' Gardner said.
"As a mayoral challenger in 1983 and 1989, Daley benefitted from campaign debates. As an incumbent, he has not afforded his opponents the same opportunity.
"Daley campaign manager Carolyn Grisko said the mayor has no intention of debating Gardner.
"'Debates are about theater, not government. It's not a matter of the mayor being afraid. There's just no particular benefit to it,' she said.
"Citing an equal access clause in the city's cable television ordinance, Gardner demanded Tuesday that Daley either pull the city's cable programs until after the election or give mayoral challengers equal time.
"He was taking aim at Chicago Works and Crime Watch, the city-financed cable programs that tout city programs and educate Chicagoans about community policing.
"The law states that cable systems choosing to allow candidates for public office to use their facilities 'shall afford equal opportunities to all other candidates for that office' without censoring program contents.
"Gery Chico, Daley 's chief of staff, said Gardner's equal-time demand 'isn't even relevant' because mayoral aides 'don't see either one of these programs as political programs.' Chico said the shows won't be yanked.
"Chicago Works is a 30-minute video produced by the mayor's press office. It appears five times a day and costs $175,000 a year to produce. Crime Watch is produced at a cost of $250,000 annually. Copies are distributed to district commanders.
"Gardner said the two programs are nothing more than 'filtered, staged, choreographed political advertisements' for Daley."
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Posted on December 10, 2010
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