The [Monday] Papers
The joint investigation of the Sun-Times and Better Government Association into the Chicago Public Schools' kinky milk contract is too chock full of great reporting that will turn your stomach to give full treatment here without reproducing so much of it that I'd feel guilty of theft. Yes, there are limits!
So let me just summarize a few of the major takeaways and then encourage you to click through and read the whole thing in wide wonder. It is yet another quintessential Chicago tale of how insiders rig the game at the expense of taxpayers and (gasp!) even our children, who have to face the consequences of tight budgets when others are making out like bandits with their money.
* A joint venture controlled by the McMahon family, described as longtime friends of Ald. Ed Burke, subcontracts CPS' milk business to - among others - three businesses involved in milk-contracting scandals over the last two decades.
* The McMahon family has given more than $1 million in campaign contributions to dozens of pols since 1995. Burke has received the most: $164,100.
* The McMahons hired Burke's law firm to (successfully) get the property-tax bill on their warehouse reduced.
* Gery Chico - former school board chairman and before that a member of Burke's city council staff - helped the McMahons land their last two milk contracts.
* The McMahon's food company has already been involved in a minority-contracting scandal, yet has continued to supply CPS with milk.
* The joint venture formed by the McMahons from the merging of former competitors hs held the current contract for nine years. The McMahon's lawyers say that CPS encouraged the joint venture, thinking they could get a better price dealing with one vendor. Because a monopoly always delivers a better price!
* McMahon Food is also supplying milk to the Cook County Jail for $2.5 million annually. The family also has electrical and plumbing companies doing business with the city and other governmental units.
* CPS pays more for its milk than many other school districts.
Today's Worst Person In Chicago
A) Name that search firm! They deserve a public shaming.
"The message accompanied a promise, issued during an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday - the same day the mayor announced he was doubling the size of an International Baccalaureate diploma program in the Chicago Public Schools."
First, how is any interview with the mayor an "exclusive?" He's the mayor.
Second, it's an "exclusive" because Rahm knew he wouldn't get such a free ride from the Tribune, which is pressing several FOIA requests with Mayor Transparency, who seems to think he can only "govern" effectively by governing in secret and controlling the media.
Third, Rahm had a pretty good idea - or maybe even made it a precondition of the "exclusive" - that Sun-Times "reporter" and former flack Maudlyne Ihejirika would be so daft as to not ask about the blindingly obvious hypocrisy voiced by the mayor, who put his own kids in the private University of Chicago Lab School instead of the CPS system he's begging other Chicago parents to choose.
Back to the story:
"'Don't head for the doors when your kid's in fifth grade or sixth grade - for the suburbs - because the city of Chicago is going to give you a high-quality life with a high-quality education for your children,' said Emanuel, speaking in his office and flanked by Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard."
So Ihejirika was summoned to Rahm's office. Best guess: Rahm wanted to get another day of good publicity out of last week's findings about the IB program, which isn't good enough for his own kids but is good enough for yours! (See the item "Good School News!")
Meanwhile, Crain's reports:
"The recession dramatically slowed the number of people making the trek to the suburbs for bigger houses, safer neighborhoods and better schools. Unable or unwilling to leave the city, a small but growing group of middle-class families are turning to Chicago's public and private schools, a development that holds both potential and peril for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his efforts to improve the school system."
And guess what?
"Mr. Emanuel declined to be interviewed about how the changes in mobility are affecting city schools. Chicago schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, after initially agreeing to talk, turned down multiple attempts to speak with him over two weeks."
The Weekend in Chicago Rock
The Beachwood Tip Line: Inclusive.
Posted on March 26, 2012
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company