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The [Monday] Papers

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Speaking not as an advocate but as a journalist, it's crucial the media gets this right - particularly as the phrases "abolish the police" and "defund the police" are already shaping up to be used as political weapons against Democrats. (And I'm not here to stand up for Democrats, but I am here as someone quite aware of how well Republicans play this game and how often an easily cowed and manipulated media plays along with it.)

That's not to say that some advocates don't favor actually abolishing the police. Some do! But that's not actually the point of the movement as far as I can tell. (Some folks I know do want to abolish the police, which is why at first I thought the whole thing childish and ridiculous, but then I read this Reader article a few years ago (2016) and I realized that some pretty smart people have some pretty smart ideas about, as they say, transforming the police in the face of failed reform - and in a way that doesn't abandon public safety, but finally places it within the context of root causes and real solutions by redirecting money to starved social services. Integrating policing with social services and community organizations would change the very definition of policing, more in line with a European view of guardianship instead of warriorship, and change the very people who seek and stay in those jobs. The bonus is that such a transformation - if it worked - would likely save money in the long run.

That isn't to say such a move wouldn't have its limits. You'd still want a detective bureau that could solve, say, jewelry rings and murders and help put bankers in jail. But instead of being weighed down by the way things have always been done, a from-the-ground-up revisioning could give us a police department of the sort that stakeholders want. (And then let's do newspapers. Defund the media!)

Can it happen? It already has in some places, including Camden, New Jersey, which the media is discovering (or discovering anew). And of course, this discussion is now driven by what's happening in Minneapolis, where the city council appears to be on the verge of disbanding the police department.

Can it happen here? I don't know, but given the seemingly intractable twins of police corruption and poverty-driven violence in Chicago, it's as good a place as any to at least have an open-minded, good-faith discussion of the possibilities. After all, how much has already been written about a "new normal" given the societal fissures "laid bare" by the coronavirus? Was any of that talk real? If so, this is a time for rethinking everything. It's also a necessity given the extreme budget deficits we now face at every level of government. This is an opportunity.

And the person who needs to keep an open mind most of all is the mayor. She can't be set in her ways on this one; instead, she can lead, whether the end result is "defunding" or something else. Lori Lightfoot should know this more than anything; this is her bailiwick, having worked in police accountability (and reform) for years, from CPD's Office of Professional Standards to president of the Police Board and, most importantly, chair of the post-Laquan McDonald Police Accountability Task Force, which is what really sent her into the mayor's race. This is her moment, if she wants it to be. The federal consent decree is one thing, and should move forward. But so too should this new discussion, which is a chance to reorient city government and the budget as a whole.

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Lightfoot to NPR's Scott Simon on Saturday:

" . . . I also prosecuted corrupt police officers when I was a federal prosecutor . . . "

That's news to me. I checked in with a couple of folks most likely to know, and it was news to them as well. Sources close to Google also could not confirm.

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P.S.: "Free college" for those in the back never meant "free college." It meant - and continues to mean! - that college would be "free" only insofar as elementary school and high school (and parks and roads) are "free;" prepaid for via (progressive) taxes. This is also how universal health care would work, just as it does in a number of other countries.

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Police, Protests & Politics

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Sly Like A Foxx?
"Today people talk about progressive prosecutors and the evolution of criminal justice reform and I think people have to remember that the senator was one of very few people of color leading prosecutor's offices and very, very, very few women of color leading prosecutor's offices when she first assumed office," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx tells Politico. "Things we take for granted now are things she was trying to pioneer back then."

I thought one of the problems Harris had during the Democratic presidential primary was that she was more of a law-and-order prosecutor, not a progressive one. Is my memory faulty?

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Related: Harris endorsed Foxx in her re-election bid earlier this year.

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That's Fran!
"Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been on the defensive against those who contend that she protected downtown against looting and mayhem at the expense of Chicago neighborhoods," Fran Spielman writes for the apparently editorless Sun-Times.

Please identify "those who contend."

"Chicago aldermen have accused the mayor of being caught flat-footed by violent protests she should have anticipated, then belatedly imposing a curfew and sealing off downtown. They say that paved the way for the destruction to spill out into South and West Side neighborhoods."

I'm not saying this isn't true, but I'm saying I have no idea if it's true because by "Chicago aldermen" Spielman seems to mean Rey Lopez and Anthony Beale, two of the lesser lights on a very dim body. But that's Fran's style.

"If the mayor's popularity takes a hit because of the allegations, Lightfoot apparently can afford it."

Okay. And maybe she can afford to "take a hit" because others think she's done a bang-up job! Who knows. (I, for one, am 50-50, as I am overall with Lightfoot's tenure thus far.)

A poll conducted in late May for the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition showed Lightfoot's favorability rating at a sky-high 77%, and her job approval rating at 75%.

"The Chicago sample of the statewide poll by Global Strategy Group, Gov. J.B. Pritzker's pollster, was a relatively small 126 people."

Relatively small? That's disqualifyingly small. This is an article that should have never been written.

"That means the margin for error is plus or minus eight percentage points. But even if Lightfoot loses eight percentage points, she would still be in rare air for a big-city mayor who has endured countless controversies during her first year in office."

Don't even come at me with margins of error on such a small sample. But more importantly, countless controversies? Hardly. Compared to her two most recent predecessors, whom Spielman took a much more charitable view toward, the controversies Lightfoot has faced in her first year have been quite countable.

"If the new poll is right, she has held her ground since then - even after enduring a teachers strike, eliminating an $838 million budget shortfall, firing a police superintendent and leading the city through a pandemic."

Even after all that? Some might say that's a record of achievement, not a record to overcome.

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"Lightfoot's political director Dave Mellett acknowledged that the sample size is small. But, Mellett said Lightfoot's numbers are 'not far from what we saw' during polling done before the March primary.

"Across the country, a lot of leaders demonstrating strong leadership during the COVID crisis have seen even better numbers than they have before everything started. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor [Bill] de Blasio are two examples," he said.

That is just flat-out wrong: Bill de Blasio's favorable rating is between 8 and 13.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #307: Black Lives Finally (Might) Matter
Cancel culture. Plus: Defund Baseball; Bring On The Blackhawks; Bulls Miss Playoffs; Coffman Wish Granted; and Biggs Time.

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone added a motorcyle endorsement to their license post-covid? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Sinbad Blames Rod Blagojevich For Celebrity Apprentice Firing.

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BeachBook

Government's Use Of Algorithm Serves Up False Fraud Charges.

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When The NBA Returns It May Use NBA 2K For Crowd Noise.

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What Do Pets See When They Watch Television?

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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Assignment Desk: America's Top 10 Worst Editorial Page Editors.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: In participating areas only.



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Posted on June 8, 2020


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