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The [Monday] Papers

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I'm scheduled to appear on the NBC5 morning news at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. We'll be talking about the Kentucky and Oregon primaries, and Hillary Clinton's potential exit strategy. Please tune in!

Beachwood Baseball
The Cubs and White Sox are both in first place this morning. Is it gonna happen?


* There is a streak that has lasted even longer than that championship drought we hear about every once and a while on the North Side, our very own Jim Coffman writes in SportsMonday.

* Someone is missing from the White Sox' All-Star picture, our very own Ricky O'Donnell writes.

* No troughs on the rooftops, our very own Marty Gangler writes in The Cub Factor.

Your City Council Not At Work
An investigation by Chicago Talks and published jointly with The Beachwood Reporter shows that the Chicago City Council's committees frequently meet without quoroms and conduct business anyway, a clear evasion of the law that could make the full council's actions subject to legal challenge.

Similarly, our investigation found that Chicago City Council committees frequently fail to keep minutes of their meetings - and sometimes even basic information such as which members were actually in attendance.


On Sunday, Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times wrote a story about how Mayor Richard M. Daley gets his way time and time again; it was a nice laundry list of Daley the autocrat who doesn't have the patience for democracy, but the real key to Daley's tyrannical success is the way he controls the branches of government designed to be checks and balances on a mayor's power.

Start with the council: as we all know by now, Chicago's City Council fails as an independent legislative body in almost every respect. Instead, the council is essentially another city department run by the mayor.

A real city council would hold real committee meetings and real council meetings and act as the independent arm of government that it is supposed to be. Instead of holding hearings on Iran, it would hold hearings on the mayor's massive hiring fraud. It would hold impeachment hearings after incidents like Meigs Field midnight raid.

A reform agenda would include limiting the mayor's ability to appoint councilmembers to fill openings, instead scheduling special elections. Another might be to create an independent inspector general's office to police the council. Stringent enforcement of open meetings and public records laws would help. And Chicago could, you know, grow a spine.

Then there's outfits like the Chicago Plan Commission, which are handpicked by the mayor. Campaign finance reform could come to Chicago. And maybe Barack Obama's new organization could, you know, transform the local political culture. If they mean what they say. Change is possible, but it takes guts and real leadership. I look around and I don't see much of that in this ugly town.

Cop Shop
It's hard to fire a cop in Chicago; there is a long history of police chiefs being thwarted by the police board in their attempts to rid the department of bad cops. Gerald Callahan appears to be one of those cops. Former police chief Phil Cline tried to fire his ass two years ago. He now stands accused of attacking two people in a Niles lounge while off-duty.

Crane Cub
"The Cubs are inviting season-ticket holders to a series of lunches with team president Crane Kenney to solicit their feedback about issues surrounding the team, the ballpark and the neighborhood," the Sun-Times reports.

First, how can we get rid of all the riffraff who buy tickets one game at a time?

That's Todd!
"Pair With Criminal Backgrounds And Brothers In Politics Now On Stroger's Payroll," the Sun-Times reports.

"Todd's spokesman complains that critics seem to have a problem with 'anybody who we hire.'"

Yes. Ever wonder why that is?

Now, ex-cons shouldn't be shut out of employment. I'm all for second chances and such. But . . .

* "Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins stood by the two hires, saying each man is extremely qualified, though he didn't respond to a request for their resumes."

Hey, the two men didn't respond to a request for their resumes when they were hired.

* "In 1996, [James D'Amico] pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls in the heat of a political race. That came in the midst of a massive federal ghost-payrolling investigation at City Hall that involved his family and saw several convictions."

Maybe someone who should be vetted with extra care before being hired into a patronage job. And someone whose hiring a government entity should be prepared to explain and defend from the get-go, especially considering his new job will pay him $127,000 a year in taxpayer money.

* "[Myron] Colvin, meanwhile, initially said he didn't remember being arrested, despite weapons and assault charges on his record. "

Colvin is the brother of state Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-Chicago), whom the Sun-Times identifies as Todd Stroger's best friend. He will make $56,609 as a grant writer in a "scandal-plagued" job training program.

Iron Man
Max Eddy joins the Beachwood today as our resident comics expert. In his first piece for us, he takes a look at Invincible Iron Man #1 in light of the blockbuster Robert Downey Jr. movie.

Beachwood Ethics
Our new ethics statement is here. The link will permanently reside on our left rail here on the home page and on other "house" pages. (As I write there's a little bit of a technical issue with the page, but we'll get that fixed and in the meantime, the statement is still readable.)

Thanks to Robert Steele at the Poynter Institute for suggesting I address my concerns by posting just such a statement.

Consumer Journalism
Do you think the Sun-Times will include in its "How I'm Saving Money" series someone who canceled their subscription and now reads the paper for free online?

The Beachwood Tip Line: Clip and save.


Posted on May 19, 2008

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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