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The [Friday] Papers

News on tap.

1. Gridlock in a bottle.

2. "When high-ranking University of Illinois administrator Craig Bazzani retired in 2002, the board of trustees praised him for his financial expertise, his efforts to modernize the university's operations and his knowledge of the state's political system," the Tribune reports.

"There was no mention of police work.

"Yet Bazzani, the university's longtime vice president for business and finance, is drawing a pension not as a regular university employee but under the more lucrative pension formula intended for university police officers and firefighters.

"As a result, he was able to retire with full benefits at age 55 and has collected roughly $365,000 more in pension payouts over the last decade than he would have under the regular formula, according to a Tribune analysis based on his pension records. During that time, he's received about $2.7 million from the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, or SURS."

Craig Bazzani, you are Today's Worst Person in Illinois.

3. "The last thing you'd expect to see at a museum exhibit on the Vice Lords, one of the largest, most vicious black street gangs in Chicago, is a photograph of a cherubic white guy," John Kass writes for the Tribune.

"A cherubic white guy in a graduate's cap and gown, with just a hint of a smile. Mayor Richard J. Daley."

Click through to find out why - if you don't know already. And even then.

4. "The city of Chicago is paying fire department employees more than $80 million a year for perks that boosted their salaries by an average of more than $15,000 apiece last year, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis finds."

"The salary-boosting extras aren't reflected in the online database of city workers' pay that Mayor Rahm Emanuel created in what he described as an effort to provide greater transparency for taxpayers about how City Hall operates.

"According to the Emanuel administration's 'data portal,' fire department employees made an average of about $87,000 last year. But when you take into account the extras, that boosted the average salary for the department to about $104,000 a year, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city budget data."

Data is meaningless without a reporter to tell you what it means - and to find what's missing or misleading. That's just one reason why putting energy into FOIA reform is far, far more important than politicians and their self-satisfied data-geek friends creating data portals that do little to actually transmit useful knowledge to citizens. It's the data public officials don't want us to have that's most important.

5. "Bridgeview officials stung by a costly soccer stadium got an earful from angry residents Wednesday who complained of a lack of answers on how much the struggling venture will cost them," the Tribune reports.

(See Fire Stadium Burning Taxpayers.)

"Mayor Steven Landek, who is also an appointed state senator running for election this fall, at first offered to meet privately in the homes of the handful of residents who complained."

The man wants two public jobs but doesn't want to have to perform them in public.

"But resident Julie Padilla told Landek that her husband was so angry he wouldn't let Landek in their house, and then she and two other residents asked Landek to hold a public forum. Landek said he would, although no date has been set."

Julie Padilla's husband is Today's Best Person In Illinois.

6. Chicago guitar player Durante sues NBA basketball player Durant over nickname Durantula.

7. "A Detroit-area pizza chain is launching a new line of Great Lakes-themed pizzas to help support environmental efforts in the region," AP reports.

"Buddy's Pizza announced Thursday that $1 from each pie sold from its Made in Michigan Great Lakes Pizza Collection will be donated to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a Chicago-based environmental group.

"Each of the five Great Lakes gets its own pizza. They include the Lake Michigan, which has ground beef, caramelized onions and blue cheese."

Down it with a bottle of ORD!

(I thought an Asian carp joke was too easy here.)

(Also, links mine.)

8. Average Raise In 2009-10 For CEOs Of 18 Nonprofits Double That For Private-Industry Workers.

9. The Week in Chicago Rock.

10. Boeing took $56 million from Chicago and Illinois taxpayers to move its headquarters here - peanuts compared to the billions it has received from the federal government, a small slice of which ($5 billion) was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. This despite being a hugely profitable company.

In fact, for the first quarter of this year alone, Boeing reported a profit of $923 million.

That's a nice chunk of change for a company that has mercilessly laid off more than 10,000 workers in recent years.

But then, Boeing has never exactly been a great corporate citizen, as the financial press has documented for years. BusinessWeek, for example, has summarized the company's scandalous culture several times.

So it's a little hard to stomach Boeing CEO Jim McNerney complaining that the regulatory climate in the United States is worse than its ever been. If only.

Worse, McNerney got a 34% raise last spring to $18.4 million.

Jim McNerney, you are Today's Worst Person in America.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Cold and refreshing.


Posted on June 22, 2012

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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