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The [Friday] Papers

"The Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 asked a judge Thursday to unseal a special prosecutor's report on his investigation into the 2004 death of David Koschman in a case involving a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley," the paper reports.

Good. I always thought it was strange that the prosecutor, Dan Webb, courtier to power, asked for the report to be sealed out of concern that the defendant get a fair trial. Isn't that the defense attorney's job?

In fact:

"Thomas Breen, one of the lawyers representing Vanecko, said of Thursday's court filing, 'We do not take a position on that.'"

Then it's settled!

*

The Sun-Times notes in an editorial that the report's "focus is solely the questionable conduct of police and county prosecutors nine years ago, matters entirely irrelevant to Vanecko's trial."

I can only wonder if Webb has found that Vanecko himself behaved badly during the investigatory phase of the case. Either that or he found the behavior of the cops and prosecutors so egregious that Vanecko would become even more of a surrogate target for the entirety of the injustice.

*

Speaking of which, I have to take issue with Carol Marin's recent column headlined "Daley Nephew Never The Villain."

While I wrote myself just a few days before that column that Vanecko obviously didn't intend to kill Koschman, and Koschman's death was to some degree a fluke, I also explained why Vanecko still committed a crime. I doubt Marin disagrees with that. But make no mistake: Vanecko is still a villain, and not just because some sense of entitlement probably fueled his reckless behavior that night (behavior that has some sort of precedence).

Vanecko is a villain because he refused to cooperate with the police, who initially couldn't - or wouldn't - determine who threw the fatal punch, and who decided anyway that Koschman was the aggressor. Vanecko knew all along that he threw the punch; so did his friends who lied to police. Meanwhile, David's mother Nancy suffered through what would become a decade of not knowing the truth about how her child died. What a stupefying lack of compassion.

And yes, I know it was Vanecko's right to not answer questions from the cops - and that is a right we must fight to preserve. But invoking that right isn't always the right thing to do.

Judge Rips CPS's Hired Guns
"A federal judge Wednesday blasted lawyers from Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. for displaying a 'disrespectful, unprofessional and petulant attitude' while representing Chicago Public Schools in a class-action lawsuit over the education provided to disabled students," the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports.

'In a written opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman said attorneys who litigated the long-running case on behalf of CPS - before Shefksy & Froelich got involved - asserted the district's positions 'forcefully but professionally.'

"'After the attorneys from Shefsky & Froelich entered the case, however, the court has observed the type of respect and bravado by some of these lawyers that disserved their client and needlessly raised the level of contention when the case was entering its final phase,' he wrote."

Maybe that's why CPS hired them.

"Gettleman wrote that the lawyers gratuitously attacked the competence and integrity of the court-appointed monitor in the case - attacks he rejected as 'misplaced, unprofessional and totally without merit' - and repeatedly tried to relitigate long-resolved issues."

*

From Gettleman's opinion:

[T]he court finds that certain positions taken by CPS deserve comment. First, CPS's response ends with a nonsensical request that, "Because [CPS] is in substantial compliance with its Consent Decree obligations, this case should be dismissed with prejudice."

As CPS's counsel well know, the court has rejected CPS's many requests to find that it has "substantially complied" with the Consent Decree. (See e.g., Docs. 885, 929).

In any event, despite language in several agreed orders referring to dismissal, there is nothing left in this case to "dismiss" - with or without prejudice. As this court has reminded CPS previously, the Monitor's post-Decree report and the responses thereto were, as agreed by the parties, "for informational purposes" only. Like CPS's misguided motions to vacate the Consent Decree based on alleged and unproven "substantial compliance" and to decertify the class (which this court and the court of appeals have rejected), any attempt by CPS to "dismiss" the case is moot.

As the court of appeals recently noted in its order affirming this court's denial of CPS's motion to vacate, why CPS continues to expend scarce public resources attempting to relitigate moot issues is "mystifying."

And:

Rather than engaging in personal attacks and stiff-necked resistance to each other, the parties who are concerned with the issues addressed by [this case] should seek dialogue rather than discord. The scarce resources available to public schools should be spent on educating all children, those with disabilities and those without, rather than on lawyers and litigation.

*

It's hardly the first time Gettleman has gone off on CPS lawyers in this case. From 2012 (with case background as well):

After more than 20 years of litigation and 14 years after a court-approved Settlement Agreement between plaintiffs and defendant Board of Education of the City of Chicago ("Chicago Public Schools" or "CPS"), and within months before the termination of the Settlement Agreement, CPS has decided to waste scarce public resources by filing a near-frivolous motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) to decertify the class and vacate the judgment to which it had agreed in 1998 and again in 2010. (Doc. 852.) This effort is both mystifying and disturbing, driven perhaps by considerations that have no place in the administration of CPS's obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., ("IDEA") to educate children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment ("LRE").

See also:

* Who Is Corey H.?

* Schools Failed This Child.

And:

* Shefsky & Froelich: Lawyers With Real Imagination.

* They'll also help you get your video gaming license.

* "In 1987 [Gery] Chico left City Hall for a job with the corporate law firm Sidley & Austin," Ben Joravsky wrote for the Reader in 2011.

"He mainly dealt with zoning matters, working under the guidance of Jack Guthman, then and now one of Chicago's most prominent zoning lawyers.

"I knew Gery from his work at finance,"says Guthman. "He was just this hardworking, very knowledgeable guy. One day Ed Burke told me, 'Gery Chico is ready to leave the public sector.'" Guthman called Chico, and soon Chico was working for him, representing developers who were seeking city approval for their projects.

Guthman is Shefsky & Froelich's partner emeritus.

The Ricketts Are Ridiculous
It's pretty clear by now that the Rickettses are a bunch of bumblers.

Just consider: They have now presided over the worst three-year record in Cubs history.

The worst.

In Cubs history.

Cubs.

Worst.

The fact that they're rebuilding is hardly a defense; the Cubs have been rebuilding for most of the last 100 years and it's somehow never been that bad.

Great prospects on the way? That, too, is an old story.

But at least the Cubs used to be lovable losers, and the beauty of Wrigley Field was that it sold the idyllic experience of a baseball game, and that included the hope that maybe next year would be the year.

The Rickettses have killed that. Wrigley has become a clown show of advertising gluttony that's only going to get much, much worse. The quirky seventh-inning stretch singers have been cut. They're even getting rid of the Old Style. And guess what? Attendance, unwisely taken for granted while tampering with the formula made such a lousy product such a spectacular success, continues to plummet. Even the bros don't like it, bro!

Just ask city officials about the Ricketts clan and they'll roll their eyes. To wit:

"Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) on Wednesday ridiculed the Cubs as 'a needy group' and turned up the heat on the team to start construction on its $500 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the land around it," the Sun-Times reports.

"We rolled the red carpet out for them. Where's the permits?" said Tunney, whose ward includes 99-year-old Wrigley.. "It's time for them to build, like they said [they would] postseason. I'd expect permits to be there . . . I would have hoped, at this point, that they would be doing the permits."

So, um, the Cubs haven't even pulled the permits yet? Oy.

Tunney didn't give an inch when reminded that the Cubs want rooftop club owners to drop their threat of a lawsuit.

"They're a needy group," the alderman said. "That wasn't part of the agreement. They've got a private arrangement with the rooftops. I don't have any control over that. They should start construction."

The Rickettses seem unable to manage all the moving parts that go along with owning a major league baseball franchise in a city like Chicago. In other words, they don't seem up to the job. It's almost as if they have no business training at all.

Tunney was equally unsympathetic to the Cubs' demand for a legislative fix to the ordinance authorizing the team to play up to 46 night games per season at Wrigley.

That's even though Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to soften wording a top mayoral aide has called an 'overreach.'

The ordinance gives the city unprecedented control over when rained-out games are rescheduled, according to the Cubs.

It also would force the team - if chosen to play additional games on national television during a winning season - to 'choose between violating MLB rules or the city ordinance,' a Cubs spokesman has said.

Now, because this is a Fran Spielman story, we aren't informed if the ordinance gives the city unprecedented control over the rescheduling rainouts, or if the Cubs will be forced to choose between violating MLB rules or the ordinance; just that the Cubs say that. Which doesn't make it true. A real reporter would find out if that's true!

"I was comfortable with the night game ordinance as we passed it. It was very controversial for the community. We were very generous in that . . . There are provisions in there for MLB contracts," Tunney said Tuesday.

So either the Cubs are wrong or Tunney is wrong. We don't know because Spielman didn't bother to read the ordinance they are fighting over. But we do know the Rickettses are bumblers, so we're leaning in Tunney's direction on this one until proven otherwise.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team is prepared to proceed with electrical and structural work during the offseason.

But it won't happen unless rooftop club owners who share 17 percent of their revenues with the team drop their threat of a lawsuit aimed at preventing the team from bankrolling the project with two massive outfield signs that could block rooftop views.

"After the planned development passed back in July, the family put out a statement. To move forward with the project, we need to resolve the issue with the rooftops first," Green said.

1. Maybe resolve the issue with the rooftops before you pass your damn development through the city council! Sheesh.

2. Good luck getting the rooftops to agree to never sue. Anyone giving up that right is a worse business owner than the Ricketts family.

Tunney isn't the only one turning up the heat on the Cubs to start construction.

Rooftop club owners did the same last week in a statement that said, "There is nothing stopping owners of one of the most valuable teams in baseball from fixing the dugouts, the bathrooms or the multitude of improvements that are long overdue . . . Those aspects of renovation have nothing to do with the issue between the Cubs and rooftops. For a team that set deadlines, their silence has been deafening."

Exactly. I'm tired of reading stories about how the Wrigley doesn't have batting cages, for example. That's ridiculous, but the Rickettses could have gotten started on those kinds of fixes at any point in their ownership. Are they waiting for Jumbotron money? 'Cause that's gonna be a long, and uncertain, wait. Meanwhile, they are among the top five major league baseball teams in revenue, and last year led the league in profitability. Yes, they have some debt issues because Sam Zell played them like a rube piano when he sold them the team, but they are also among the nation's 500 most wealthy families. Start acting like it in a good way, instead of a dickish way.

Sports Hacks Live
On Sports Talk Live on Thursday, veteran Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander said "If you believe in sabermetrics and Moneyball, the Cubs should have won the World Series a couple times. I don't believe in statistics."

I hope it's obvious to Beachwood readers why this is maddening, but to the uninitiated, I'll explain: The Cubs were literally, factually the last team in major league baseball to embrace sabermetrics or any form of Moneyball, unless you count the Reds putting up with Dusty Baker for six years after leaving Chicago.

And if Telander was simply referring to two seasons under Theo Epstein, well, sabermetrics and Moneyball - not necessarily the same thing - don't work that way. They aren't magic beans that produce championship teams when you simply add water - especially now that every team in the league is using them.

Finally, to say you don't believe in statistics is like saying you don't believe in facts. Not all statistics are relevant or terribly meaningful, but even those still exist. You might as well not believe in air - or those kids on your lawn.

Sears Fears
Sears Selling Off Profitable Stores To Raise Cash.

Company president Theo Epstein says it will be worth it once prospect stores reach maturation.

*

No, seriously, this is a death spiral.

Chicago Housewares Authority
"CHA CEO Charles Woodyard, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn were on hand Tuesday to commemorate an important snapshot in Chicago's history - the opening of the new Target store at 1200 N. Larabee," the CHA said in an e-mail blast on Thursday.

That address, of course, is where Cabrini-Green once stood.

I find it a bit odd that CHA would announce this - even if they're trying to brag that jobs will be provided to what must be the last 75 public housing residents in the area (unless they're going to bus some in) out of the 15,000 who used to live there.

Spooky At A Distance
EFF Leaves GNI Over NSA.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos
Yard 32.

Sark vs. Kiffin
The College Football Report told you so.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Including: Grouplove, Phantogram, White Lies, Gideon, and Robert Randolph and The Family Band.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: To insure prompt service.



Permalink

Posted on October 10, 2013


MUSIC - Blues Fest 2017.
TV - 'The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'
POLITICS - Minimum Wage Hikes Work.
SPORTS - On Joe Louis, Race And Sports Heroes.

BOOKS - The Blood Of Emmett Till.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Artist As Alchemist.


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