The [Monday] Papers
"'I simply cannot understand how a person can have such a total disregard of life and for those who keep order on our streets,' [police Supt. Jody] Weis said Friday in announcing charges against Bryant Brewer, accused of shooting Officer Thor Soderberg with Soderberg's gun and then firing into the police station at 61st and Racine," the Sun-Times reports.
Really? You simply cannot understand? Then you have no business being our police chief.
It's your job to understand.
In fact, this one may be one of the easiest cases ever to understand; early reports indicate that Brewer was mentally ill.
"His appointed public defender, William Wolf, unsuccessfully argued against holding Brewer without bail, pointing to media reports that he appeared to be mentally ill."
So by all means let him out! On the other hand, pull any files yourself? Where did those media reports come from? Talk to family?
"Wolf told the judge he has not spoken to Brewer, but he planned to visit him in the hospital."
Maybe even before the next court date.
So maybe funding the public defender's office properly would also be a good idea.
COMMENT: A faithful Beachwood reader writes:
I can tell you, from my exposure to the judges and public defenders at 26th/Cal, that your prescription in today's column - while good for many ills - won't help solve the particular problem of mentally ill inmates. Put simply, the PD's job is not to divert their clients into a mental health correctional setting, but to negotiate the lightest possible sentence (or win an acquittal, if there's a trial). There is no advocate in the system for moving mentally ill defendants into treatment, although the judges have been making efforts to do so. The fundamental problem is an insufficient budget. Neither the county nor the state are willing to fund such programs.
In other news, Daley's son's Little League coach will soon be announced as the next manager of the Cubs and we'll all have to go to Daley's barber for our haircuts.
"Although she worked briefly in CPS as special assistant to then-schools CEO Arne Duncan, one CPS source said 'the ideal candidate'' for chief ed officer under schools CEO Ron Huberman would be 'a highly respected minority educator from within.'"
You mean the CEO shouldn't be an educator but his chief deputy ought to be? That's odd.
(And isn't Ron Huberman a minority? Oh, not that kind of a minority!)
Speaking of Daley's hiring hall . . .
"Later Thursday, Jack Drumgould, [Al] Sanchez's personnel director from the late 1990s to 2004 testified how he'd hand Sanchez a list of folks who'd applied for Street and Sanitation jobs, and how his boss would highlight those people he wanted hired," the Sun-Times reports.
"Testifying under a grant of immunity, Drumgould said he would take the list to Mayor Daley's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which essentially controlled city hiring despite strict rules against hiring based on political clout. Drumgould said Sanchez showed no interest in interviews conducted with candidates he hadn't personally recommended."
Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto is an assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University and a faculty fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. She is also the co-chair of the Alliance for Digital Equality's Digital Empowerment Council in Chicago.
What is the Alliance For Digital Equality?
I'm not entirely sure - and neither is the Sun-Times nor its readers.
But it's comprised of - among others - AT&T, the Bank of America, Northrop Grumman and Qualcomm.
"The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) is a non-profit front group established to foment opposition to network neutrality by African Americans in key cities nationwide. With the backing of one or more unidentified funding sources, ADE emerged in 2007 under the auspices of helping 'consumers to develop local broadband policies.' More recently, ADE has taken up the mantle in the fight against the Digital Divide and promotes digital literacy programs in under-served communities."
And who is on Chicago's Digital Empowerment Council? Ald. Sandi Jackson, for one.
The Sun-Times identified the author of another Op-Ed ("Disarming Law-Abiding Chicagoans Is Not A Good Thing") on Saturday this way:
Mike Billy is a media associate with the Sam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based nonprofit supporting free-market principles and policies.
What is a media associate? I'm not sure, but I think it's a flak.
And what is the Sam Adams Alliance?
"[A]nonprofit conservative organization [that] has started an ambitious project this year to encourage right-leaning activists and bloggers to get online and focus on local and state issues," the New York Times reported in 2008.
(The Times also reported that "A check of the filings with the Illinois attorney general's office finds no record that the organization has registered its finances, which nonprofit groups are required to do if receipts total more than $150,000.")
First, that's not necessarily what the research shows.
While that may seem counter-intuitive, the Federal Reserve of Chicago, for example, found that more money in the pockets of low-wage workers helped spur the economy.
And when businesses need to add personnel, it's because demand is sufficient to remain profitable despite adding labor costs; productivity goes up and so do sales.
Does the minimum wage make no difference in this decision? Of course it does. But the additional cost can almost always be absorbed - unless you are a Tribune executive.
And in a world of raises going to the governor's staff and university presidents raising tuition while basking in obscene compensations packages, well, something tells me we not only can afford to raise the minimum wage but that we'd be a more equitable society and a better people for it.
On Tuesday, the FCC will hold a hearing on the proposed merger at Northwestern University.
The Political Odds . . .
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The Beachwood Tip Line: Terribly ridiculous.
Posted on July 12, 2010
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