The [Monday] Papers
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday will appoint an outspoken former alderman to represent Chicago on Metra's board of directors as the commuter rail agency tries to bounce back from a summer mired in controversy," the Tribune reports.
"During his time as 43rd Ward alderman from 1975-87, Oberman openly sparred with powerful mayors and became known as the council's dean of independents. He advocated for ethical reform and sued to get basic budget information from the city."
Yeah, but that was a long time ago. Oberman is hardly considered a reformer these days, though the Trib only hints at his assimilation into the Machine.
"Along with serving as first general counsel for the Illinois Racing Board, Oberman has chaired the city's Committee on Public Records and Information and recently sat on Emanuel's Midway Airport Advisory Panel. He also helped file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Emanuel's campaign during the controversy over whether Emanuel met Chicago's residency requirements to run for mayor."
How reformist of him. (See Rahm's Rules.)
But that's not all.
"Last year, [Oberman] wrote an opinion piece in the Tribune supporting what he said was transparency in Emanuel's administration. Despite that piece, Oberman said he's not in Emanuel's camp but feels the mayor has done a good job cleaning up City Hall."
Gack! (See Rahm's Fake Transparency. And that was in 2011.)
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revolutionized disclosure in city government, and he should be applauded," Oberman wrote in that Op-Ed.
That's so laughable I'd be embarrassed for Oberman if I thought he was sincere. (See also Chicago Journalists Report Dismal Information Access.)
There was another Op-Ed the Trib didn't mention that he wrote for them: The one in which he and his son advised abolishing the RTA, which seems relevant because the RTA oversees Metra
"Ever wonder why traffic keeps getting worse?" the Obermans wrote.
"Even with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's aggressive leadership to bring new companies, jobs and workers to Chicago, you might think that the economy's overall weakness and rising gas prices would keep many of us out of our cars."
You might think - I mean, given Rahm Emanuel's aggressive leadership. He's awesome.
"Former independent alderman and longtime reformer Martin Oberman is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pick to replace Larry Huggins as a Metra Board member, even though Oberman concedes he is an infrequent Metra rider," the Sun-Times reports.
"I'm not there as a person who rides Metra every day,'' Oberman, 68, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday. "I'm a bicylist.''
"As someone who lives in Lincoln Park and works downtown, Oberman said he uses Metra mostly to get to Ravinia in Highland Park."
"Asked when he last rode a Metra train," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's, "Mr. Oberman said in 'July, to go to a Ravinia concert.' Asked when he had ridden a Metra train anywhere else, Mr. Oberman said he could not recall."
Finally, let's not forget:
"As thousands of Illinois social service agencies, hospitals, schools and vendors were waiting months for overdue payments from the state, Gov. Pat Quinn's office pushed out a $285,000 payment to a prominent Chicago Democrat last month, just two weeks after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit, state records show," AP reported in 2011.
"Former Chicago alderman Martin Oberman and four other lawyers were the winners in a lawsuit that forced a special election last fall to fill the last 60 days of President Barack Obama's term in the U.S. Senate. As governor, Quinn was named as a defendant, and therefore the state was required to pay legal fees after a federal appeals court ordered the special vote.
"Quinn's office agreed to a settlement on the fee with Oberman on Aug. 29, but the invoice to pay the bill was dated June 30, and the state cut the check Sept. 15, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and other state records.
"In one email about the bill, a staffer in the governor's office writes to another that the attorney general, who defended Quinn in court, was pressing 'to get it paid quickly, I'm not sure why.' The governor's budget office then sent the bill to the comptroller, who paid it two days later.
"Both state officials and Oberman dismissed questions about whether political connections or clout had anything to do with the expedited payment. Like Oberman, Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are Chicago Democrats. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, whose office ultimately pays the bills, is a Republican, but a spokesman said her staff relies on the governor's priorities in making those calls.
"'Why it was paid when it was paid? I'm not privy to how those things are figured out,' said Oberman, an alderman from 1975 to 1987 and a three-time candidate for state attorney general."
He just took the money and ran.
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Posted on September 9, 2013
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