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The [Friday] Papers

The mayor pulled out one of his favorite tropes on Thursday to deflect criticism in a federal report of a CTA crumbling with incompetence, stupidity, and life-threatening shoddy maintenance complete with false and missing inspection reports.

It happened on Richard M. Daley's watch. He's been mayor for 18 years. But, as usual, his reply to questions about the report was to point a finger back at the media.

"When we get one of the newspaper people [who] does something wrong, we don't indict all the media . . . we would not do that to your profession. The same thing here."

Yes, it's the same thing here!

"You have instance after instance in your profession. You close your eyes and look the other way. We don't look the other way."

If the Sun-Times really meant its front-page editorial on Thursday demanding a CTA fix, it would have followed today with a front-page excoriation of the mayor's disingenuous assault on reason.

But ho hum, time to move on.

I have some questions, though.

So, Mr. Mayor, do you bear any responsibility for the shape of the CTA?

Was your oversight lax?

If you are such a demanding boss, how could this occur on your watch?

Were you aware of these problems when you replaced Frank Kruesi with Ron Huberman?

Does the CTA need a complete overhaul? A new vision? How are you going to fix it?

"With CTA President Ron Huberman nodding at his side, Daley insisted that the problems uncovered by the National Transportation Safety Board have been fixed - and that all of the employees responsible have been held accountable."

Really, Mr. Mayor? How have you fixed the problem of 80 percent of the Blue Line's inspection records going missing? And how have you fixed the problem of falsified inspection reports?

"Huberman insisted that the director, manager, supervisor and foreman involved all have been replaced."

Well, that's a start. But what about their bosses? And the underlings who went along? How could this happen?

Mr. Mayor, you insist that these problems were isolated, not systemwide. Just like the rampant corruption in City Hall. But just how could that be? The Blue Line's inspection reports can be either falsified or non-existent and only the four people mentioned by Huberman know about it?

No reasonable person could draw a conclusion that there isn't a systemic problem here.

And while the local press certainly needs remedial journalism education, they certainly don't need the kind coming from the mayor.

Daley's CTA
"Bob Chipkevich, director of the [NTSB's] office of railroad, pipeline and hazardous materials investigations, said the CTA's track inspection and maintenance were the worst he had ever seen at a U.S. transit agency," the Tribune reports.

Free to Ride About the City
"The obvious solution to the CTA debacle is to turn it over to Southwest Airlines," Scott Phillips of Rogers Park writes to the Sun-Times (sixth letter).

In the least, perhaps the city should ask: What Would Herb Do?

Ebert on Dylan
"Let us now praise I'm Not There, a film about a famous man, Bob Dylan. Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) takes an enormous risk and makes a brilliant, if seemingly impossible, film starring six actors as the mysterious cultural icon. Who is Dylan? How many selves does he have? Why are we so fascinated by such questions?"
- Roger Ebert, "Everybody Must Get Cloned"

Seven Up
Breaking news this morning: "Seven Cities Apply For 2016 Olympics."

1. Baku, Azerbaijan
2. Chicago
3. Doha, Qatar
4. Madrid
5. Prague
6. Rio de Janeiro
7. Tokyo

Suicide Suspected
"Orlando Jones, the top aide and godson of former Cook County Board President John Stroger, parlayed his connections into a lucrative career as a behind-the-scenes government consultant with ties stretching from Chicago to Springfield and Las Vegas," the Tribune reports.

"But in the last year, his quiet, insider role had brought him under more scrutiny of law enforcement, and on Tuesday he met with his lawyer to discuss how to refute allegations that he was involved in a contract scheme at a Las Vegas public hospital.

"A day later, Jones, 52, was found dead on a beach in southwest Michigan, and authorities said they believe he shot himself near the vacation property where he had hoped to build a home."


"Jones was the brains of Chicago's 8th Ward political organization, the South Side seat of Stroger's power," the Tribune says in an editorial today.

"He shared Stroger's passion for protecting the poor - and Stroger's use of political muscle to achieve what he wanted. In talking about contracts and jobs, Jones sometimes posed a very good question: If white Chicago pols and their friends could profiteer from clout, why not African-American pols and their friends?"


John Kass on Orlando Jones and Daley's CTA.


In the FCC Loop
Outside the Loop Radio has an interview today with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein today at noon and the audio will hit the WLUW (88.7-FM) airwaves at 6 p.m.

Adelstein will be in Chicago next week for hearings on media consolidation.

In Your Head
Product Placements of the Week.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Inspection records available.


Posted on September 14, 2007

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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