The [Friday] Papers
"State officials have temporarily halted funding to the United Neighborhood Organization, contending the large charter school operator violated terms of a $98 million grant by hiring contractors who are related to one of the group's top executives," the Tribune reports.
"A source inside the organization said the board is being reconstituted because some believe [UNO CEO Juan] Rangel had gained too much control over the current board, which is when the problems started to flourish."
Hmmm, Juan Rangel . . . I'm certain I've heard that name before.
Oh yeah, he's the one who wrote this defense of patronage in the Tribune.
At least he warned everyone.
But someone please remind me, how on earth did Rangel land a $98 million state grant given our dire fiscal situation?
Oh yeah, Michael Madigan wired it up and Pat Quinn went along.
But why do I have this nagging feeling that there's another leg to this stool?
Oh yeah, the CPS school closings:
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel 's word - and possibly his political future - is riding on his ability to safeguard 30,000 students displaced by his decision to close 54 elementary schools and follow through on his promise to improve their new schools," the Sun-Times reported a few weeks ago.
"That's apparently why he's leaving nothing to chance. Emanuel has ordered the Chicago Public Schools to funnel through the Public Building Commission he chairs all of the construction projects that must be completed by fall for what he calls 'welcoming' schools for new students."
Emanuel is leaving nothing to chance - he's sending those lucrative school construction projects through the PBC instead of the CPS, who usually handle their own business.
And guess who Emanuel's main man on the PBC is? That's right, Juan Rangel.
It's really a thing of beauty, if you don't stop to think too long about the horror.
But isn't Emanuel all reformy and all about change from the old way of business done by one his oldest, dearest political allies?
Oh yeah, this is Chicago:
"Rangel endorsed Emanuel for mayor over two Latino opponents in the 2011 mayoral campaign, earning him a spot as campaign 'co-chairman," the Tribune reminds us.
"Emanuel later appointed Rangel to the Public Building Commission, which oversees millions of dollars worth of construction deals."
And where did Rangel come from?
"Rangel's status at City Hall began to rise under then-Mayor Richard Daley as UNO quickly grew to become one of the city's largest charter school operators. Rangel aligned himself with Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, the longest-serving alderman and the Finance Committee chairman.
"The organization became a counterweight to a more independent bloc of Latino officials, including former City Clerk Miguel del Valle, 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia.
"UNO also allied with some of the forces from the former Hispanic Democratic Organization, which helped Daley turn out the vote but later saw one of its leaders convicted in a City Hall job-rigging scheme."
So Rahm made a choice by aligning himself with the old way he rails about in his rhetoric while shunning those who are actually reform-minded.
What was it Karen Lewis said? Oh yeah: Rahm says one thing in public and another in private.
And sometimes nothing at all.
"Emanuel's office declined comment Thursday."
Pity, but Rahm is a busy man, what with all the scolding he has to do of parents who can't parent and teachers who can't teach. Don't even ask him about inspector generals who insist on inspecting.
Life's not easy for a mayor who doesn't want to mayor. When's the next flight to Utah?
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Posted on April 26, 2013
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