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The [Monday] Papers

It was a wonderful Winter Olympics.

And now Vancouver faces the reckoning.

"Security costs, first estimated at $165 million, are now headed toward $1 billion," the New York Times reported last week.

"Still, organizers insist the operating budget will break even. But that forecast includes $423 million in emergency money from the International Olympic Committee, and detailed financial information will not appear until after the Games are over.

"As for Vancouver's municipal government and the taxpayers, the bad news is already in. The immediate Olympic legacy for this city of 580,000 people is a nearly $1 billion debt from bailing out the Olympic Village development. Beyond that, people in Vancouver and British Columbia have already seen cuts in services like education, health care and arts financing from their provincial government, which is stuck with many other Olympics-related costs. Many people, including Mrs. Lombardi, expect that more will follow."

You'd think a pouting local media that has lamented that "there will be no Chicago Olympics to create jobs" and how we have to adjust now that we'll be missing the "bonanza of federal funding, jobs and contracts that an Olympics would have provided" would be paying attention to the bill coming due in Vancouver, but then again, why should they start caring about facts now?

While the mood in the city has picked up since the start, when many people were suffering a severe case of buyer's remorse, the looming budget realities make it unlikely that all will be forgiven or forgotten," the Times reports.

"The real estate development industry, which is unusually powerful in Vancouver, provided the city with an Olympic Village plan that seemed - and ultimately was - too good to be true. A development firm would finance and build the village on a desirable piece of city-owned land. After the Games, the developer would convert the accommodations into luxury condominiums and pay the city for the property. Vancouver would get its village and turn a profit as well."

Sound familiar?

Folks in Canada aren't getting any clear answers, either. This is how it always is with the Olympics because the elites who get off on hosting them don't want those who pay for them to know the ugly truth.

That influx of tourists? Didn't happen.

It was a wonderful Olympics. I enjoyed it immensely. But don't let anyone tell you that hosting the Games is an economic gain. It's a huge economic drain that shouldn't be wished upon our enemies.


Don't you think the local media owes us an apology for its incredibly horrible reporting about how much largesse the Olympics would have brought to Chicago? Don't you think it's time they fessed up to the fact that they were, um, snowed?

Fast Johnny Cullerton


This is not acceptable. Cullerton refused to answer the Sun-Times's questions, as the paper noted. Why allow written responses by a press secretary - responses you can't challenge or follow-up on? You might as well just publish a press release. Why should any public official talk to a newspaper knowing they can just issue a statement instead?

An alternate way of writing the story:

"State Senate President John Cullerton refuses to answer questions about his lobbying of other government officials, despite the clear appearance of conflicts of interest and an unseemly wielding of clout of the sort that has made Illinois notorious for its corrupt political culture.

"We called Cullerton X times over the past week. Is he embarrassed? Ashamed? We don't know. He won't explain how his lobbying is good for the voters."

Objective? Yes! Show me one thing that isn't factually correct there.

Stop being such a bunch of chumps.


As I heard someone say the other day, the job of a reporter isn't to be the spokesperson for the spokespersons.


From a reader: "Regarding the Cullerton spokeswoman - why in the hell is a State employee answering questions about Cullerton's lobbying business? She should only be answering questions about his Senate position."


Cullerton vs. Daley in The Great Traffic School Bonanza.

Parking Pork
Over the weekend I watched in horror as workers put up parking pay boxes along a stretch of California Avenue in Humboldt Park that is home to a slew of small businesses. Parking along that street had always been free. So it's not just that the rates are going up in metered spaces; our new parking overlords are converting free parking to charged parking all over the city. And who do you appeal to? Your alderman? Good luck. The contract is signed. For 75 years. How is this not the privatization of public property?

The only good news to report about this development is that within 24 hours several of the new pay boxes had been vandalized.

EPA's Secret Chocolate Documents Revealed!
Three years later, our request for records concerning the yuppie who blew the whistle on the Blommer Chocolate Company come through. Sort of.

Die, NBC!
"Just when you thought NBC couldn't screw up its Winter Olympics coverage any more than it already had, the network decided to go for broke Sunday night and sprint across the crash-and-burn finish line," our very own Scott Buckner writes in What I Watched Last Night.

Golden Molson
I confess I was rooting for Canada in the men's hockey final yesterday because I figured a win by them would prove that their way of life was better than ours.

Our very own Jim Coffman found something else, though: The American medal count isn't as impressive as it seems.


Mmm, Molson . . .

Musical Soul Food
Our very own Don Jacobson nominates a new entry in the contest for ultimate cool old record store.

Pundit Patrol
Featuring Eric Zorn, Don Wycliff, and Bonus Steinberg.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Rat Patrol.


Posted on March 1, 2010

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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