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The [Friday] Papers

The biggest story of the day appears in page three of the Tribune's Metro section - and not at all in the Sun-Times. Wouldn't want to spoil the Olympic visit by suggesting our mayor knew something about torturing innocent black men and blew it off.

"Less than two weeks after Richard M. Daley said he had 'no problems' with answering questions under oath in a lawsuit alleging that police tortured an innocent man to confess to murder, city lawyers on Thursday filed a motion seeking to block his testimony," Maurice Possley reports.

"The motion, citing previous federal court rulings, said that the court did not have the authority to proceed 'unnecessarily with the deposition of a busy public official.'"

See, the mayor's too busy to keep his word and testify about the torture of an innocent man - and just one among many from the not-so-distant and still unresolved past.

And it's not just this case. In another torture lawsuit, "the city has informed lawyers that Daley would not answer questions under oath," Possley writes.

This on the heels of the city enraging a federal judge by reneging on a settlements in three cases.

Says Flint Taylor, the lawyer for the victims: "First, the city refuses to honor its agreement to settle with Orange, Howard, and Hobley, and now, after the election, they quietly move to retract Daley's promise to voluntarily testify. When can the city's word be trusted?"

How is there a more important story in the city today than the mayor's refusal to testify in torture cases?

Promise Rings
Speaking of promises broken, does anyone but the local press corps believe the spin that, as the Tribune headline says, "Olympics Won't Cost Taxpayers, City Says"?

More in The [Olympic Tax] Papers.

Power Preservation
"In a a dazzling display of raw political power and overwhelming self-deception, The Society for the Protection of Wealthy Developers, formerly known as the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, voted this morning to demolish the landmark Farwell Building on North Michigan and remount the surviving elements of its facade on a new structure," Lynn Becker writes on ArchitectureChicago Plus.

The title of Becker's post is "Natural Order Restored."

You might recall a few weeks ago when the media lauded the landmarks commission for actually voting to protect a landmark.

Remarkably, neither paper names the commissioners and their votes today.

Instead, it's up to Becker to do the honors: "Voting in favor the motion were Chairman David Mosena, John Baird, Lori Healey, Lisa Willis, Ernest C. Wong, Phyllis Ellin, Christopher R. Reed and Ben Weese. The sole commissioner not to drink the Kool-Aid and voting no was Edward I. Torrez."

You might recognize past and present Daley officials on that list. That's because the mayor appoints the commission's members. That's also consistently missing from the reporting - just like we're rarely reminded that the majority of the CTA board is appointed by the mayor. Funny how he's insulated by criticism that way.

Becker continues, "The other commissioners kept repeating the mantra of 'This is not a precedent. This is not a precedent' as if trying to convince themselves that it could actually be true."

That's where Becker is wrong. It's not a precedent - because it's nothing new. The precedent was set long ago, and it was set by the mayor.

Patti's Pal
Of course I have something to say about Anita Mahajan, just the latest miscreant in the governor's (and the mayor's) orbit to be accused of being a rip-off artist. But I'm busy, so for now I'll just let John Kass say it.

Madame Curie
Shouldn't the only person able to hire and fire principals be the superintendent (sorry, CEO) of schools?

Trust Fund
The most interesting part of the Tribune's "analysis" today about Barack Obama's sloppy stock fund came at the very end of the story, where a lot of the best stuff tends to end up in our local papers:

"The purchase of the stocks, in February 2005, also came months before the establishment of the trust, on May 31, 2005.

"Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said Obama was 'in the process' of establishing the trust when he instructed a broker to begin purchasing stocks with the money he had set aside.

"That explanation raises questions about why Obama rushed ahead with stock purchases rather than waiting to establish the trust, since the trust's purpose was to remove the potential for an appearance of a conflict of interest in choosing investments."

The story also raises questions about Obama's relationships with his big money donors. When he needed advice about buying a $1.65 million house, he called Tony Rezko. When he needed advice about investing in the stock market, he called wealthy benefactor George W. Haywood.

(And in both stories, we still haven't heard from those who actually made the deals - the real estate agent or the stockbroker.)

Lynn Sweet points out today that the Obama campaign doesn't want the public to know about its elite fundraising events.

Obama's high-dollar funders are also in marked contrast to the rhetoric he's using in an e-mail fundraising appeal the campaign has been sending out that includes a letter from Obama that says "The special-interest industry in Washington has only grown since the last election, and it will spend more money than ever this time to try to own our political process and dictate our policies in Washington.

"We're not going to play that game. We're not taking any contributions from Washington lobbyists or political action committees.

"We're going to transform the political process by bringing together hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to build a campaign responsible to no one but the people - people like you."

The Beachwood Tip Line: An unfunded mandate.


Posted on March 9, 2007

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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