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The [Friday] Papers

1. How good is Jessica Hopper? This good.

2. Beachwood reader Mike O'Connor writes:

"I agree with your assessment of the Filter article [see the Neo-Gentrification item here]. Do patrons of Filter lament the loss of the Busy Bee, as many of us with a longer view of the community do? Whether they want to admit it or not, Lincoln Park created the present day Wicker Park. Artists and musician-types fled Bucktown when the economic burn from Lincoln Park spilled over. When I was at DePaul in the early 1980s, going to bars south of Armitage such as the Artful Dodger or the Get Me High Lounge was considered adventurous. Going South of North Avenue wasn't even on the radar.

"Mike Royko was shocked when he first read Algren's Man with the Golden Arm as a young airman in the service. A third person portrayal of the heroin trade put Wicker Park in a gritty,unpleasant light, intended to shock the reader. Royko just thought it was his neighborhood.

"Neo-Bohemians indeed."

3. "Many public housing residents from the Dearborn Homes on the South Side are upset at the Chicago Police Department because they are being forced to give out personal information about themselves and their guests' lives," reports Beauty Turner in Residents' Journal.

Turner says the police are forcing public housing residents - and their friends and family - to fill out "contact cards."

Hmmm, what does that remind me of?

4. What does a movement look like, Barack Obama asks in his latest e-mail solicitation.

A lot like this.

5. "Pilsen residents said they thought they had overcome a developer's ambition to turn their neighborhood garden into parking spaces a decade ago," the Tribune reports.

"But they found out three weeks ago that a company run by the same developer - John Podmajersky III - had bought a large chunk of one of the neighborhood's few green spaces . . . "

I think you know how this story turns out.

6. Legislative leaders and ComEd officials "reported 'substantial progress' on a rate-relief package that could include about $1 billion in concessions to consumers, double what had been on the table," the Sun-Times reports.

Then keep going! Apparently ComEd can afford it.

On the other hand, they'll just recoup those concessions in rate hikes to come. Bob Reed is right.

7. In the same story, the Sun-Times reports that the governor acted "like a child" during a budget meeting.

I have news for you: He wasn't acting.

8. The latest news from our good friends in Pueblo, Colorado:

* Liposuction.

* Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit.

9. From the Windy City Times archive.

WCT: What do you think the alderman's biggest weakness is?

Brendan Reilly: Well, I'm not going to launch into some sort of attack . . .

WCT: Or what do you feel he's not doing right? I'm assuming you're running because you feel he isn't doing something correctly.

Reilly: I would argue that the alderman has lost touch with the real priorities of residents. Voters are concerned that many development decisions are being made in a vacuum; people feel that their opinions are not solicited in a proactive manner.

From developments stem all kinds of issues, like traffic congestion and scarcity of parking. The one criticism I hear on a pretty regularly is that [voters] are not being invited into that process.

I'm absolutely willing to listen to the residents. An alderman's chief responsibility is being accessible and responsive. Every letter or call deserves a response in a timely fashion, and that response should include a clearly-stated next step and regular progress updates. Some constituents have sent letters and left voicemails and have never heard back. An alderman should respond to concerns and proactively share information.


An impeccable Beachwood source says: I have spoken to dozens of people who have contacted Reilly about the Lake Shore Club. They have written, phoned and e-mailed. None of them have heard back from him.

10. Whatever happened to this proposal?

11. Ed Burke's proposed "congestion fee" seems totally unworkable unless a moat is put around downtown.

12. The next idea Burke will steal from New York City.

13. "For the second time this year, the Illinois House has given overwhelming support to legislation aimed at limiting the influence of big campaign contributors, and attention again shifts to the Senate, which has bottled up legislation to discourage 'pay-to-play' contracts in state government," the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says.

"On Thursday, the House voted 99 to 0 in favor of Senate Bill 1305, which would prohibit business owners with more than $25,000 in state contracts from making campaign contributions to officeholders awarding the contracts. Identical language is contained in House Bill 1, which the House sent to the Senate in April.

"'Even though 45 of the 59 Senate members are co-sponsors of HB 1, the Senate leadership has blocked consideration of this important reform measure,' said ICPR director Cynthia Canary. 'The House now has given the Senate yet another opportunity to show taxpayers they are willing to end pay-to-play practices in state government.'

"In letters to Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, and to the 45 Senate sponsors of HB 1, Canary said HB 1, which is being held in the Senate Rules Committee, should be moved to the floor for a final Senate vote.

"'Can anyone seriously argue that the state gets better services because contractors are allowed to make unlimited donations to the statewide official who oversees their contracts,' Canary asked.

"'The public is well aware that large campaign contributors often land large state contracts,' Canary said. 'It happens so often that many taxpayers are convinced that state government is for sale. The pay-to-play defenders have damaged faith in the fairness of government and discouraged businesses without political connections from even bidding on state contracts.'"

It's all up to the audacity of Emil Jones now.

14. "No Girlfriend For 3 Years, Judge Tells Man."

I knew my personal life felt like a sentence.

15. "Dick Durbin, the Senate's majority whip and second-highest ranking Democrat, said in more than 20 years in Illinois politics, he has seen no problems arising from cross-ownership in Chicago, where the Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, WGN radio and TV stations," Crain's reports.

"I don't find any monopoly power being pushed into the market, and I think most people in the market feel . . . that they're really good sources of news," he said.

"The world of media is changing with the Internet, the diminished role of newspapers, with the proliferation of television stations, cable and network," he added. "We have to take care that we don't judge today's market with yesterday's standards."

"Besides, the last thing I want is a lot of reporters snooping around."

16. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is getting into banking. Cutting out the middle man.

Next they'll move into predatory lending, video poker, and currency exchanges.

17. I wonder what kind of health care benefits employers of health care insurers get?

18. Re: the AP memo I cited yesterday [see the Declining Value item] about reporters writing the truth, it is pointed out to me that more often than not the problem is editors who can't handle the truth. And I certainly can't disagree with that.

19. "A federal judge ruled the jury [in the Conrad Black trial] can be given the 'ostrich instruction,'" the Sun-Times reports. "That means the jury will be told a defendant can be held liable if he intentionally avoided knowing what was going on."

In other news, the mayor convened his aides for a legal strategy meeting and said, "Okay, tell me everything!"

20. Confessions of an Ostrich.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Better than sticking your head in the sand.


Posted on June 15, 2007

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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