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The [Monday] Papers

"Xadrian R. McCraven has a criminal history that includes 'at least' 24 arrests on charges including arson, illegal gun possession, attempted robbery, drug possession and aggravated assault, according to federal court records," the Sun-Times reports.

"He's also an Illinois state prison official. On the job since July 1, he makes $110,000 a year as an administrator with the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times."

Seems like he should be running for county board.


"McCraven , 44, who lives in Chicago, pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in 1989 and was found guilty of reckless conduct in 1998 in connection with a domestic-battery arrest, records show.

"He was fired last year from another state job, with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but reached a settlement with the child-welfare agency earlier this year that rescinded his firing, awarded him back pay and called for him to be transferred from DCFS to an administrative job with the state prison system.

"He's now a senior policy adviser to the agency's chief of parole, doing audits "of the implementation of policy, facilities use and management and job performance," Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says.

Many of us believe in second, third and even fourth chances. And the man needs a job. But geez, 25?

"Before working in state government, the 1992 graduate of Northeastern Illinois University wanted to be a police officer. He applied to become a Chicago cop in 1993 but was rejected because of his criminal history, records show . . . the police department background investigation found McCraven was known 'to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members.'

"In 1987, McCraven was convicted of disorderly conduct, and he pleaded guilty in 1989 to illegal possession of a handgun . . . In 1994, McCraven began working as an officer for the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department. Then, in 1998, he was charged with domestic battery, accused of assaulting his former fiancee, and was found guilty of reckless conduct . . .

"McCraven was fired by the CHA in August 1999 for 'violating department general orders forbidding unjustified physical attacks on or off duty' and bringing discredit on the department . . . In 2000, McCraven went to work for DCFS as a child-protection worker."

Okay, a clear pattern exists. What gives?

"In 2003, his name appeared in a once-secret database of thousands of politically connected candidates for jobs, transfers or promotions that was kept by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration, records show."

Aha! Chicago gives. We should have all seen that one coming.

"McCraven has made $1,000 in campaign contributions in the past three years to elected officials including state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago), state Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Cook County Commissioner Edwin Reyes (D-Chicago) and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.).

"McCraven left DCFS in 2003 for a job as executive assistant to the director of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, according to his resume.

"Fernando E. Grillo, that agency's director at the time, was listed as McCraven 's political sponsor for an IDPR job, according to the Blagojevich database, which misspelled McCraven 's last name as 'McGraven.'

"Grillo says he doesn't remember sponsoring McCraven for a job but says he'd met McCraven years before through his involvement in community groups, including a church group in Humboldt Park.

"I knew Xadrian," Grillo says. "He came in and out of my life in different decades. He never had any negative issues at all when he was working with me."

"McCraven left state government in 2004 and started a development company, records show. In June 2007, DCFS rehired him as a public service administrator.

"He made about $103,000 at DCFS in 2011, the last full year he worked for the agency.

"In March 2012, he was fired after DCFS officials investigated allegations of unspecified 'misconduct' against him, according to a wrongful-termination lawsuit McCraven filed. He dropped the suit in April, two months before DCFS agreed to reverse his firing.

"On June 17, McCraven agreed to accept a 10-day suspension, and he got six months of back pay and the transfer to the Department of Corrections."

Wow. You've got to hand it to the guy - he's nothing if not persistent.


While with the CHA police in 1999, McCraven wrote this letter to the Sun-Times:

Mayor Daley's decision to name Philip Jackson as the new CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority is an excellent one. Equally laudable is his decision to name Chicago Police Gang Crimes Cmdr. Harvey Radney as the new head of the CHA Police Department. Both represent what the CHA Police was created for: improving the safety of CHA residents.

What I and many others do not agree with the is the labeling of the CHA Police Department as "notoriously incompetent" (editorial, June 1). CHA police officers are graduates of the Chicago Police Department's training academy. We have an identical training course, and identical police powers. What we have lacked is an identical quality of supervision.

The CHA patrolman does not make long-term strategic planning for the police department, and does not have a say in the allocation of manpower and funding. These decisions are made by the chief of police and supervisors, most of whom are retired police department personnel. Many were never supervisors with the police department, and could care less about the CHA Police Department other than it being a good place for them to pick up an extra paycheck to go along with their pension checks.

Currently, the CHA police operate off a different police band or zone than CPD. This must change. CHA and CPD police routinely show up for the same calls, tying up available units for other emergencies.

Finally, a decision has to be made on whether this department will remain in place. CHA police officers would like to have some indication of what the future may bring. We've put our lives on the line, and we deserve it.

Nicely done. He was fired two months later.

The New Old Blue
"Although CTA is promising faster trains when the latest round of renovations to the Blue Line are complete, they will not be as fast as riders were promised a few years ago" CBS2 Chicago reported over the weekend.

"In July 2007, then-CTA President Ron Huberman promised Blue Line O'Hare branch riders 70 m.p.h. top speeds.

"Fifteen months from now, we should see tracks restored to the 70 m.p.h. standard so that we can make the Blue Line hum as quickly as possible," Huberman said at the time.

"That round of slow zone repairs failed to hold up, and the 70 mph promise went unfulfilled.

"Now, CTA President Forrest Claypool has said, 70 mph is not in the cards for the O'Hare line.

"What we're shooting here for is consistent, reliable 55 m.p.h. trains on our system," he said Thursday.

Oddly, CBS reports that "Although all CTA trains in service today are capable of 70 mph operation, CTA limits them to 55 mph."

Which begs the questions: Were they always capable of going 70? Or did the CTA fulfill its promise after all and then decide not to implement it?


Mmmm, 70 mph . . .


See also the item Blue Line Hooey.

NSA Spied On Gamers
World of Warcraft more real than they knew.

Dizzy Grant Dribbles Chicago
No green screens used.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Charles Bradley, Hotlips Messiah, Vic Mensa, Protest The Hero, Rubblebucket, Pokey LaFarge, Booker T. Jones, Soil, The White Panda, and Reverend Ruin.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Our city of ruins.


Posted on December 9, 2013

MUSIC - They Flirted With Disaster.
TV - A Quincy Top 10.
POLITICS - The Traitor Who Is A Great Patriot.
SPORTS - Gambling At The Grate.

BOOKS - Scientists Gone Rogue.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - A People's History Of Uptown.

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