The [Friday] Papers
In yesterday's post about the implausible but routinely repeated claim that CPS officials have cut central office spending by $600 million since Rahm Emanuel came into office, I wrote that "I hope someone who isn't me goes back and adds up all the claimed cuts, because I'm certain it won't take long until we're dealing with negative numbers."
Well, guess what?
Reader Eric Skalinder did the hard work and found that "[I]n the last six years CPS has completely eliminated central office 5 times over."
"Mell has long denied having any financial interest in the landfill, which sold for $17.7 million in 2008."
Indeed. Last week, at his retirement press conference, Mell reiterated that he "never made a dime from that landfill."
"But the lawsuit filed by Robert Pruim Sr. and his son, Robert Jr., in Will County Circuit Court, accuses the powerful alderman of helping create the business, taking a one-third ownership stake and then conspiring to defraud the Pruims out of nearly $3.7 million when the sale occurred," the Sun-Times reports.
Click through for the dirty details - which are, of course, just allegations at this point.
"Mell has long denied having any financial interest in the landfill deal, which was the genesis of a public dispute with the now-imprisoned Blagojevich. Blagojevich temporarily shut down the landfill in 2005, accusing [distant relative Frank] Schmidt of accepting illegal waste and of promoting his ties to Mell as a way to get business.
"An infuriated Mell lashed out, telling the Chicago Sun-Times at the time that a key Blagojevich adviser - the late Christopher G. Kelly - had been trading plum state government appointments for $50,000 campaign contributions. Mell later publicly apologized after Kelly threatened legal action.
"Blagojevich was concerned that Mell had a hidden financial interest in the landfill. As governor, he launched a legislative assault on the landfill industry and pushed legislation that would specifically ban relatives of the governor from having any financial stake in landfills or receiving any 'personal financial benefit' from waste-disposal operators."
Mell's retaliatory allegations against Blagojevich are often cited as the spark of the investigation that eventually led to the former governor's imprisonment, though it's clearly not all the feds had to go on.
"State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed the job because her last name is Deb Mell," Rahm said earlier this week. "And State Rep. Deb Mell is not excluded from the job because her last name is Mell."
Sounds fair. Oh wait, he's still talking.
"State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed a job in City Council because she would be the first [openly] lesbian [alderman] or because she had breast cancer. But, she's not excluded because she would be the first lesbian and the first woman, as [far as] I know, that has breast cancer. I remind all of you [that] she was endorsed by both papers when she ran for state rep."
Wait. Did Rahm just pimp Deb Mell's breast cancer as a qualification for getting dad's old not reading $1.2 billion pieces of legislation and burying legislation at the mayor's behest despite being supported by the majority of council colleagues?
Why yes, he did.
State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed a job in the city council because she would vote Yes to all of Rahm's proposals without question. But she's not excluded because she would vote Yes to all of Rahm's proposals without question.
Notice how Rahm repeats that "State Rep." assignation so we think of her as a serious legislator and not a political brat whose daddy gave her the job.
"Barring a last-minute change-of-heart, the chairman of the City Council's Hispanic Caucus said Thursday's he's decided not to send a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel urging the mayor to appoint a Hispanic replacement for retiring Ald. Richard Mell (33rd)," the Sun-Times reports.
"Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said the eight Hispanic aldermen who comprise the [Hispanic] caucus' executive committee are evenly divided on the issue of pressuring the mayor, given their respect for Dick Mell and their admiration for his daughter, State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), who remains the odds-on favorite to fill her father's City Council seat.
"'I'm one of the four who doesn't think it's a good idea, considering who Dick Mell is, the qualifications of Deb Mell, the fact the 33rd ward is 51 percent Hispanic and the fact we'll be getting a Hispanic state representative to replace Deb Mell' if the mayor chooses her to replace her retiring father, Solis said."
Let's look at Solis's criteria:
1. Considering who Dick Mell is. A machine hack? Check.
2. The qualifications of Deb Mell. Daughter of a machine hack? Check.
3. A ward that is 51 percent Hispanic. Apparently not Hispanic enough! Check.
4. The fact that we'll be getting a Hispanic legislator to replace Deb Mell in the statehouse. In other words, the deal's already been struck. Check!
Excised passage from my Chicago magazine story about the city council:
"Emanuel also offered his support to Ald. Danny Solis in his fight against immigration rights activist and former juvenile probation officer Cuahutemoc Morfin, even though Solis, long a dependable Daley ally, supported Chico for mayor, which was considered much less of a sin than supporting the progressive in the race, Miguel del Valle. Solis held on to his seat."
And his zoning committee chairmanship, though not his credibility.
Redflex Finds Green Down Under
"The spread of mobile speed camera coverage in NSW will increase seven-fold by the start of next year, following the award of a $33 million contract to two firms on Thursday.
"The contract is a boost to the fortunes of Redflex, one of the two speed camera operators, which has been embroiled in a corruption inquiry in the U.S."
Remember, in Australia, taxpayer money swirls the other way down the drain.
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Posted on July 12, 2013
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