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The [Friday] Papers

Aides to Barack Obama- , Richard M. Daley - , and Sun-Times-endorsed Todd Stroger have converted a public elevator in the County Building to a private elevator for their boss, the Sun-Times reports.

"It's really for expediting his schedule so we can get him places and get everything completed," spokesman Bill Figel gamely told the paper. "It's one of the many features to modernize county operations, but it also speaks to his inclination to stop and talk to everybody."

Nice try, Bill.

"The new perk comes on the heels of other moves by Stroger that keep him away from the public and press," the Sun-Times's Steve Patterson reports. "He has demanded that reporters not talk to him while he's in the hallways near commissioners' offices. And he has put an end to public comments at County Board meetings, meaning residents can no longer stand up and address elected officials as they gather there.

"There has also been a stiffer security presence around Stroger at those board meetings - though his staffers admit there have been no recent threats against him."

Building Blockheads
Given the recent history of corruption, scandal, mismanagement, and tragedy involving the city's building department, the firing of yet another Chicago building commissioner is pretty big news - and a pretty big black mark against Mayor Daley.

Unless you're the Sun-Times. Then it's page 52 - in the business section.

At the Tribune, the news was page 3 of metro - still underplayed when you consider what we're just learning about the man the mayor handpicked to lead the troubled department.

"In one incident, before a recent staff party, [John] Knight told staff members that they could bring wives and husbands, but he didn't want same-sex partners to attend,' a source told the Tribune. "In another incident, Knight made 'fat jokes' in the presence of overweight staffers."

In the Sun-Times account, the presumably same source who might or might not be named Jackie Heard said, "The guy has deeply held religious beliefs. Sometimes, those beliefs run afoul of modern thinking."

Well, yeah. Daley hired Knight from the Moody Bible Institute. Apparently, in keeping with the pattern of his administration, he failed to check Knight's references.

Source Code
The mayor likes to talk about citizens taking responsibility, but announces the news of Knight's departure on the eve of a holiday weekend and makes sure "a source" tells both papers the real reason why Knight was pushed out. Nice.

And God forbid the "source" actually take responsibility for what he/she says about Knight. Why do the newspapers allow mayoral aides to remain anonymous when pushing the mayor's agenda?

Alternate lead, no less factual:

"Mayor Daley tried to avoid embarrassment Thursday about having to force out his bigoted and incompetent handpicked buildings commissioner by making sure an anonymous source smeared the man to reporters in order to shift the blame for his incredibly bad hiring decision for one of the city's most sensitive posts."

And by the way, the mayor, the self-proclaimed most accessible public official in the nation, was not available for comment.

Circuit Court Clerk and mayoral opponent Dorothy Brown gives Daley a D+ for education policy, the Sun-Times reports.

"Brown defined [educational apartheid] as a 'policy of seperation' - where the sky's the limit for students like her daughter who test in to elite magnet schools, while those stuck in neighborhood schools in low-income, minority areas 'underperform' because of unqualified teachers, 'low-grade' curriculum and low expectations," the paper says.

The self-proclaimed most accessible public official in the nation refused to comment, as he will during the entire campaign.

Bobblehead Burt
"[Ald. Burt] Natarus said he's witnessed numerous problems outside the [Ice Bar], including people with guns," the Sun-Times reports.

"When asked why he never called 911, Natarus said: 'I could be in court all day. I could be cross-examined all day, and I'm not that certain. I'm not at all certain, I don't think the courts regard an alderman as a good witness.'"

True enough, but perhaps that's because an alderman who says he sees people outside a bar with guns and doesn't call the police is either a liar or an idiot. And now someone is dead.

Teen Scheme
"Christopher Kozicki should lose his $129,528-a-year job, according to the recommendation [of an internal watchdog], based on his federal court testimony that he falsified an interview score to ensure the hiring of the 19-year-old son of a top carpenters union official," the Tribune reports.

That's right - the pal of Rich and Bill Daley still has his city job.

Get it yet?

And by the way, the mayor, the self-proclaimed most accessible public official in the nation, was not available for comment.

Olympic Nightmare
"In the 18 months since London edged out four other cities in the contest to host the 2012 Olympics, the estimated cost of staging the Games has risen from $4.65 billion to something in the neighborhood of $15.7 billion," the Tribune reports. "And that excludes the cost of actually running the games: another $4 billion. That has given some Londoners a bad case of what could be called bidder's remorse, and should serve as a cautionary tale for Chicago . . . Olympic costs have a history of ballooning."

Then again, Mayor Daley has a history of keeping the costs of big projects under control and delivering those projects on time.

The Daleys have jumped aboard the Obama bandwagon, which has been reported as good news for Obama, but I wonder if the point isn't the reverse: Mayor Daley associates himself with the African-American Man of the Hour during an election campaign and makes sure Obama continues to keep his mouth shut about corruption in City Hall, even as Obama goes around the country (and the world) preaching about the values of transparent and honest government.

When John Kass says that "It's been embarrassing watching mouthpieces from the political right and left pull at [Obama's] name like nervous brides yanking on the last gown in a discount rack," he must really mean it's been embarrassing watching the political right trying to make an issue of Obama's name, because that's the only side doing it.

And when John Kass refers to those "800 secret FBI files of [Hillary Clinton's] secret enemies hidden in some White House bedroom," he must really mean the right will be equally as scurrilous if it makes that a campaign issue given independent counsel Robert Ray's conclusion that "[T]here was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation background reports of former White House staff from prior administrations of President Bush and President Reagan."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Open for the holidays.


Posted on December 22, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Kanye, Chili, Jimmy, Tarik.

BOOKS - Conway Barbour & The Black Middle Class.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese.

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