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The [Friday] Papers

"On the eve of a vote that could nearly double tolls for Illinois drivers, Gov. Pat Quinn gave the tollway board the closest thing yet to a green light for a sweeping fare hike and massive road construction plan," the Tribune reported on Thursday.

"The tollway has to do what's necessary to protect safety, lessen congestion, make sure that we have roads that are efficient," Quinn said. "Clearly, there is public support for making sure that we do this and do it right."

Yes, the public always supports higher fees. I'm sure the governor has a poll somewhere he just misplaced that day.

But sure enough . . .

"An Illinois state board approved a massive toll hike Thursday to help fund an ambitious $12.1 billion construction plan to repair highways and bridges," WBEZ reports.

"The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority voted to raise tolls for I-PASS users from 40 cents to 75 cents at most toll plazas - a nearly 88 percent bump. Drivers who pay cash will still have to pay double the I-PASS fare, or $1.50 per toll. The toll hike takes effect at the beginning of next year."


Most interesting, though, is what the Tribune reported in 1994:

"Patrick Quinn, the Illinois state treasurer seeking to become secretary of state, was in his champion-of-the-tollway-user mode Thursday, threatening to block the agency overseeing tollway operations from issuing any more bonds unless it makes changes in how it does business . . .

"Among other things the Quinn proposals call for: setting a final date for all Illinois tollways to become freeways; creating an independent inspector general within the authority; banning the sale of any new tollway bonds until more than $200 million in surplus investment revenue is used up; and issuing a moratorium on any toll increases designed to pay for construction of new tollways or tollway extensions."

Has any of that happened?




Um, obviously not.


"Moody's Investors Service. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's rate the tollway's $4 billion of debt double-A minus," The Bond Buyer reports. "Fitch assigns a negative outlook, while Standard & Poor's is stable."

Miguel Is Right
"Miguel del Valle thinks this story is stupid," WBEZ reports. "Okay, so he didn't actually say that to me. He's too polite. But last week at a diner on Western Avenue, around bites of oatmeal and raisins, del Valle complained about the whole notion of 100 day assessments.

"'Well, I don't think it's a benchmark that should be used at all,' del Valle said. 'It takes time.'

"Del Valle is a former city clerk, and up until February 22, a candidate for mayor. He finished a very distant third to Emanuel.

"'The 100 days is more about a perception of whether or not there's movement, whether of not that movement is in the right direction,' del Valle said."

Ding ding ding! We have a winner.


"One area where del Valle thinks Emanuel is moving in the wrong direction is on property taxes.

"'The mayor said there would not be a property tax increase in the city of Chicago,' del Valle said. 'Well, we're looking at a property tax increase for CPS. Now, I think it's a bit disingenuous on the part of the administration to say, Well, we said that there wouldn't be a property tax increase for city services. Well, the schools are a part of the city.'"


Emanuel Launches Campaign WIth Tax Pledge.

"Raising taxes, he said, 'would price Chicagoans out of their homes.'"


Then again, there was this.


Politics is a hall of mirrors, folks. Nothing any candidate says is meant to be taken literally, just strategically or symbolically. And once in office, every previous statement is open to new interpretation, evolution or redefinition.

In fact, I have a new proposal. Let's stop reporting on what candidates and officeholders say altogether. Instead, let's only report what they do or have done. What a bold experiment that might be.


You'd end up with more stories like this and fewer stories like this.


Or maybe we just don't want to get bogged down in details, also known as "the facts."

New Pivot
Now that he needs them.

Homeowners Get Screwed Again
"Of the $45.6 billion in Trouble Asset Relief Program funds meant to aid homeowners, the most recent numbers available show that only about $2 billion has actually gone out the door," ProPublica reports.

Signage Remorse
"Recently removed from the Chicago Cubs, former General Manager Jim Hendry may now be removed from a busy northwest suburban thoroughfare as well. Park Ridge officials want the Illinois Department of Transportation to take down Honorary Jim Hendry Way signs on Northwest Highway, which were authorized in 2009 by Cubs enthusiast and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich," TribLocal Park Ridge reports.

Starlin Zambrano
It seems to have gone unnoticed but after Starlin Castro returned from his one-game "mental break" earlier this week, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto had to call timeout just before a pitch was thrown because Castro was over chatting with Aramis Ramirez instead of manning his position.

Mo Better Racing
"It's Travers Stakes Day, and in the liturgy of the rail, it's one of American horse racing's holiest days," our man on the rail Thomas Chambers reports in a beautifully written piece.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

Buzz Killington
Lay out your clothes? Oh lord . . .


Here's my advice:


The Beachwood Tip Line: L-I-V-I-N.


Posted on August 26, 2011

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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