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The [Friday] Papers

"Three days after the snow stopped piling up on Chicago streets, complaints about side-street snow removal - or the lack of it - were going in the opposite direction," Fran Spielman reports for the Sun-Times.

"Some aldermen accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration of falling down on the job in a city where the politics of snow removal reached legendary proportions after the Blizzard of '79 buried then-Mayor Michael Bilandic.

"'The side streets are a problem. We've got to improve on the side streets,' Zoning Committee Chairman Danny Solis (25th), a mayoral ally, told the Chicago Sun-Times this week.

Another alderman, who asked to remain anonymous, called the condition of side streets "horrible" and said Emanuel "needs to beef it up or it could get ugly."

Asked to remain anonymous because they fear reprisals? Or perhaps they are already being reprised against.


The outstanding questions to me are these:

1. Was the city slow off the mark in any way because the mayor didn't come home from his Indonesian vacation early to ride herd on a historic weather event?

2. Was the clearing of side streets delayed because city crews focused first on school parking lots and streets near schools due to the mayor's insistence through Sunday that CPS would be open on Monday?


Perhaps Plow Tracker data could actually be put to good use here with a hardcore analysis of where crews were working.

Non-Trial Of The Century?
From the Papers in September:

"A nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley will stand trial Feb. 18 for involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman," the Sun-Times reports.

Will he? That's certainly the trial date given to Richard Vanecko, but isn't there a good chance he never sees in the inside of a courtroom? My guess is that he pleads out.

I went to explain why.

Now comes Mark Brown to finally raise the possibility for the Sun-Times, though his column is basically a shallow ramble.

Vanecko just doesn't seem to have enough of a defense. And even if Vanecko hangs a jury, Dan Webb will surely try the case a second time.

Vanecko is much more likely in my view to cut a deal while pretending to "spare" the Koschman family further pain, his friends a public shaming, and his family further embarrassment.

Can he avoid prison time? He'd have a better chance if he and his friends hadn't engaged in a cover-up. The clout-friendly Webb could try to get creative in fashioning a deal without hard time; then it would be up to the judge to approve.

How did UNO get so clouty and corrupt? They had Democrats Rahm Emanuel, Michael Madigan and Ed Burke at their side.

Chicago magazine and the Better Government Association have the details in their new investigation. I take a look and add value.

Blurred Poverty Lines
"In 1964, even a minimum wage job was enough to keep a family of two adults and one child above the poverty line, ensuring they would have the basic necessities of life," Sid Mohn, president of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance, writes at Huffington Post.

"All in all, in 1964, if you had a job, you could provide for your family. Not so in 2014. Today, nearly 60 percent of families (often minorities) who receive food stamps are working. Many of them work for minimum wage - just $7.29 an hour, or $279 a week before taxes for a full-time worker."

See also: The Poverty Line Was Designed Assuming Every Family Had a Housewife Who Was a 'Skillful Cook.'

Governor Burns
Pat Quinn this week compared the Republican candidates for governor to Montgomery Burns, but his administration has been a major disappointment to the social services sector, which has endured life-threatening cuts time and time again even while the governor continues to dole out tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies to wealthy corporations.

It's nice that he wants to raise the minimum wage, but unless it comes with a more comprehensive package of economic justice measures, it's hard to see his efforts in this area as anything more than cynical and disconnected posturing.

"A new forecast from the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) shows massive revenue losses for Illinois over the next three years," Larry Joseph says in a statement from Voices for Illinois Children.

"Unless the General Assembly maintains stable revenue beyond the end of 2014, billions of dollars in cuts to public services will be inevitable.

"According to GOMB projections, revenue losses due to the scheduled decrease in income tax rates will lead to budget shortfalls of $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2015 (which begins in July 2014), $4.1 billion in FY 2016, and $4.6 billion in FY 2017. Closing gaps of this magnitude would require draconian cuts to programs and services that are essential for the well-being of children, families, and communities across Illinois.

"The state's investments in early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education - which have eroded over the past five years - would be significantly undermined. Programs such as child care assistance, afterschool programs, child protection services, and a wide range of community-based services for families, people with disabilities, and seniors would be in serious jeopardy."

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring Meah!, Man Called Noon and Jay Z.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Bike

NFL Concussion Conclusion
Ex-Players Killing Themselves Because They Miss Football So Much.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Minimally mandatory.


Posted on January 10, 2014

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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