The [Friday] Papers
"The head of Chicago's NATO host committee says the city lost the prestigious G8 conference, because 'there are some very critical and serious issues in the world going on in foreign policy right now," NBC Chicago reports.
Unlike that day in June 2011 when Chicago was announced as host of the G8 amidst headlines such as "Iran: Government Says It Rounded Up U.S. Spies," "Congo: Cholera Spreads To A Crowded Capital," "Russia: A Liberal Party Is Rebuffed," "Beijing Warns U.S. About South China Seas Disputes," and "Drawing Down, With A Vigilant Eye On Pakistan."
There are always serious foreign policy issues afoot. That's why nations have summits.
Further, foreign policy issues will be discussed at the NATO summit, which is still being held here. The G8 summit is for economic issues. Intertwined, no doubt, but separated by the very parties summitting.
Healey's "explanation" also calls out President Obama as a liar. And he may well be, but his explanation was that "someone" - bubbled up from staff, according to David Axelrod - mentioned to him that he hadn't hosted his peers at Camp David and it would provide an "intimate" setting for chatting. As if the same couldn't be accomplished here.
Why don't they just tell us the truth? We can handle it.
"Lori Healey was head of Chicago's NATO/G8 Host Committee until Monday, when the organization's title was shortened after the Group of Eight meeting was pulled from the city for the more serene setting of Camp David, Maryland.
"After that sudden development Monday, Healey refused all interviews, and finally broke her silence Thursday night, accompanied by a live marching band on stage at the Chicago Live show, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune at The Second City theatre."
If the reason the G8 was pulled was simply because of tricky foreign policy issues that somehow couldn't be discussed in Chicago - because we don't have the same kind of, what, bunk beds they do at Camp David? - then why did she refuse interviews until now? How hard would that have been to tell reporters?
It's ugly watching public officials settle on spin.
More truthful: "Bloomberg pretended on Thursday he was having a hard time understanding the controversy."
I mean, a city prepares for almost a year and raises $60 million from its private sector and pushes through draconian protest ordinances and national conventions get rescheduled and universities and cultural institutions cancel programs and events and the mayor starts spending money out of unlimited emergency funding and police get the authority to deputize law enforcement personnel from anywhere on the planet and civic leaders never stop telling us how great this is going to be for Chicago and all of the sudden it gets cancelled and, well, what's the big deal?
"'Let me just say something. The G-8 is going to Camp David and NATO is coming here?' Bloomberg said Thursday, stepping in front of the microphone to intercept a question to Emanuel."
Just like he did in rehearsal.
"Neither are coming to New York. What's wrong here?"
You have the United Nations! That's like having G8 on steroids every day!
"We should have both."
And you could have if you had been Obama's chief of staff.
"And you're being criticized for getting 50 [percent]? You're batting .500. You get in the Hall of Fame. I don't know what the problem is."
Nobody's criticizing anyone for "getting 50 percent." We're just wondering why the G8 was suddenly pulled after nine months of intensive planning that sucked up the city's energies and resources and we can't get a straight answer about why.
"Protesters were quick to claim victory and suggest that the mayor had prevailed upon the White House to take the more controversial of the two summits off his hands. But City Hall sources insisted there was 'no way in the world' Emanuel begged off.
"'It's not in his DNA to do that. He was looking forward to it,' said a mayoral confidante, who asked to remain anonymous."
Because there was no way a "mayoral confidante" would be caught dead on the record defending his boss.
"On Thursday, the mayor said it's too soon to say whether the NATO summit alone would reduce the cost, previously pegged at between $40 million and $65 million."
Well, let's see: One less summit. I mean, it's not like we bought everything at a 2-for-1 sale. And if it's all the same after the first one, why not a third summit?
A Matter Of Trust
"Top administration officials dispatched Thursday to explain the Chicago Infrastructure Trust insisted they don't know what public works improvements would be included and can't guarantee that public disclosure laws would apply."
So just like the current system.
"I'm not smart enough to know all the ways it could potentially be used," said the city's chief financial officer, Lois Scott.
At least we have the right person in charge.
"Emanuel wants to establish a nonprofit to oversee the trust, governed by five mayoral appointees approved by the council."
So city government is going to create a nonprofit to oversee the privatization of building public infrastructure.
I need a drink.
"Having apparently learned from Richard M. Daley's mistakes, the Emanuel administration is pledging both total transparency and limited city financial risk in its much ballyhooed new infrastructure bank."
"In a background briefing late Thursday, city officials said the new Chicago Infrastructure Trust will operate under strict rules designed to protect taxpayers, attracting the kind of private financing the city needs without burdening its own balance sheet."
ALTERNATE: "Officials from the mayor's office trying to generate positive publicity for their boss's "infrastructure bank" pledged total transparency and accountability in a background briefing in which they wouldn't allow their names to be used and couldn't provide even the most basic details about how the bank would work. By holding the 'background briefing' late Thursday for journalists from several competing news organizations, officials used a timeworn strategy for stoking reporters into writing stories lacking sources other than the briefers due to lack of time to flesh out critical voices and views while feeding the impulse to not be 'scooped.' In at least one case, it worked."
"It's also the address that five college students listed to qualify for coveted legislative scholarships, worth tens of thousands of dollars, that Collins has handed out during her 11 years in the Statehouse."
"Between 2003 and 2009, the five students listed the West Side residence as their home address to qualify for a series of the tuition waivers, which, under Illinois law, can be given only to students who live within a legislator's district.
"Three of those students had other addresses - outside of Collins' legislative district, which would have disqualified them for getting the tuition waivers from her - listed on their driver's licenses, state records show.
"In all, a dozen college students to whom Collins has given legislative scholarships gave addresses within a two-square-block radius in her old neighborhood. Four other nearby homes had multiple legislative scholarship occupants who appear to have rotated in after getting the scholarships from Collins despite listing out-of-district residences on other forms of state identification."
See, you can't measure smarts by SAT scores alone.
"Collins says the scholarships were all awarded properly.
"'There is no rule that says you can't give everyone on Walnut Street a scholarship,' she said in an interview."
No matter how many towns Walnut Street runs through!
"While serving in the Illinois House, Collins also awarded a four-year tuition waiver to Torrance Giles, the son of former Ald. Percy Z. Giles, to attend Northern Illinois University, state records show. The first of Torrance Giles' waivers came in 2001 shortly after the former alderman's 1999 bribery and extortion convictions in Operation Silver Shovel, the federal investigation of city contracting fraud, drug trafficking, illegal dumping and organized crime.
"The former alderman couldn't be reached, and his son didn't respond to a request for comment.
"Collins also gave a scholarship to current Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) before his 2011 election to the Chicago City Council. Ervin said he got his legislative scholarship from Collins in 2004 to finish his master's degree at Governors State University. Ervin said he previously had done campaign work for Collins."
So he was qualified.
"He is the treasurer of Collins' campaign fund and has endorsed her in her Senate primary against former mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins."
Here's the best part:
"Collins said she couldn't recall giving Ervin a tuition waiver."
He's your campaign treasurer!
"I didn't know I gave a scholarship out to Jason, and I'm stunned," she said. "If we gave it to Jason, he must've needed it."
"Collins gave [Dannie] Bell a tuition waiver in 2007 to attend Northern Illinois University. State records show Dannie Bell has gotten legislative scholarships from three different legislators since 2002 using four different addresses on the West Side and the South Side."
"In 2009, two Southern Illinois University students gave Collins' old house as their primary address to qualify for legislative scholarships she gave them, though each lived in River Forest, according to their driver's licenses."
Annazette Collins, if it wasn't for Lori Healey, Rahm Emanuel, unnamed top administration officials, mayoral confidantes and Michael Bloomberg, you'd be Today's Worst Person In Chicago.
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Posted on March 9, 2012
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