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The [Monday] Papers

"Chicago's Navy Pier - touted as the biggest tourist attraction in Illinois - has long been a patronage haven where political insiders turned for jobs and lucrative deals to sell everything from expensive meals to gumballs," Tim Novak reports for the Sun-Times.

"Who was cashing in used to be a matter of public record. It no longer is, since the state of Illinois and City Hall turned over operation of the government-owned pier to a private, not-for-profit group three years ago for $1-a-year rent.

"Navy Pier Inc. doesn't have to explain how it's spending $115 million in government bonds that were sold to pay for a face-lift for the 98-year-old pier, either."

This, of course, is one of the chief problems with privatization - be it the lottery or charter schools: Public money without public accountability.

The irony in this case is that James Reilly, the major domo in charge of the public agency overseeing Navy Pier, asserts that the move was made to rid the Pier of patronage.

"[D]espite Reilly's assertion, former Mayor Richard M. Daley's handprints are all over Navy Pier Inc. Five months before Daley left office in May 2011, his former chief of staff John Schmidt incorporated Navy Pier Inc. The deal for NPI to take over control and governance of the pier was signed a month before Daley departed City Hall, taking effect in July 2011. Also, NPI's board includes Daley's daughter, his former campaign manager, two of his former chiefs of staff, his one-time top City Hall lawyer and civic leaders who were longtime Daley supporters."

And John Schmidt wanted to be attorney general.

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"Navy Pier Inc. won't say who its employees are or what they're paid, though many previously worked for McPier.

"Documents NPI filed with the Internal Revenue Service show the not-or-profit has four employees making higher pay than Gov. Pat Quinn, who appoints half the members of the McPier board.

"Top employees have gotten big raises - in addition to bonuses as high as $37,500 - since Navy Pier Inc. took over, the records show. Among them is the son of Daley's longtime political adviser Tim Degnan."

As I discuss with J.J. Tindall on The Beachwood Radio Hour #11: Soul Of A New Chicago Machine, the patronage is all pinstripe these days. Put Shakman on that!

Even our corruption is inequitable now.

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"Says William Brodsky, the Chicago Board Options Exchange executive board chairman who also chairs Navy Pier Inc.: 'My goal is to make sure these people are compensated fairly. I have no qualms about the way we're compensating people.'"

So that's where our tax break is going to - making sure rich people are compensated fairly.

Because, first, let's be "fair" to them. If there's not enough left to be fair to everyone else, so be it.

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"Beside a roster of pier employees and salaries, Brodsky also declined to make public contracts that Navy Pier Inc. has signed with restaurants and other vendors - all public information before his group took over in July 2011.

"I don't know if we want to create the precedent in giving these things out," Brodsky says. "I want to operate this as a business."

But you're not a business! Plus, the business you are running is subsidized by taxpayers! Both Ways Brodsky!

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"We are not a public entity in the true sense. We're more like the Museum of Science and Industry or the Lincoln Park Zoo."

Except you're not. Ish.

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Go read the rest of it, if you've got the stomach for it.

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Related:

"State and local governments across America are handing over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper, but too often outsourcing not only fails to keep this promise, it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition - the underpinnings of democracy itself."

That from a state representative in Arkansas.

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Egypt's Shame
From the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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SportsMonday: The Future Is Surprisingly Now
The initial plan for US Soccer went out the window 30 seconds into this tournament.

The White Sox Report: Not Soup Yet
Unwatched pot not boiling anyway.

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The Cub Factor will appear on Tuesday.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Foxy Shazam, Thy Antichrist, Guided by Voices, Bobby Bare Jr., Jonathan Richman, Strand of Oaks, Cheap Trick with Tom Morello and Scott Lucas, the Swans, FM Supreme, Bloodkin, Blood On The Dance Floor, Tedeschi Trucks, Tigers Jaw, F/i, Honky Tonk Parade, Jennifer Hudson, Bad Sports, Mila J, eighth blackbird, Michael Ward-Bergeman, and Ryan Joseph Anderson.

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BeachBook
* Tom Morello: How The Cubs Can Win The World Series.

* Did This Oak Lawn Restaurant Really Say 'Shut Up Fat Girl?'

* Phoenix Museum Moves Bolo Tie Collection; Includes Gift From Chicago Collector.

* The Mystery Of Stoppage Time.

* Chicago Tastee Freez.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tastee.



Permalink

Posted on June 23, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Trump's Farmer Heavily Subsidized.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Maddon's Lousy Playoff Managing Exceeds Playoff Pleasure

BOOKS - Dots & Dashes.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: My Bastard Heart.


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