The [Monday] Papers
1. Devin Hester is . . . oh, you already know by now.
2. Even though he "was so lost in the two-minute drill that Muhsin Muhammad had to line him up, physically moving him around by the shoulders a couple of times," the Sun-Times's Mike Mulligan writes in his look at the Bears' game-winning driving.
3. "In an interview with Bears play-by-play man Jeff Joniak on WBBM-AM's pregame show, Lance Briggs talked about how surviving his one-car crash on the Edens Expressway gave his life renewed purpose," Vaughn McClure writes in the Tribune's Bears Bits.
"I think about [the crash] more in the light that I'm alive and in a crash that for whatever reason God wanted me to walk away from without a scratch," Briggs said.
Oh, so it was God who wanted him to walk away from that accident. Then, later, God changed His mind and told him to report it.
4. Are you as psyched about the World Boxing Tournament as the local media? Me neither. It's boxing, people. Borrring!
5. Apparently Sydney did wonders with the Olympics in 2000, and the Olympics did wonders for Sydney, according to the Tribune this morning. But this interesting tidbit deep in the story sort of caught my eye:
"That doesn't mean the Olympics were entirely good for Sydney. The state government, which funded the biggest share of the Games' costs, is still losing $10.8 million a year on the cost of running Olympic Park, though that figure is being reduced by about $1.6 million each year as the site redevelopment effort progresses, [Olympic Park Authority CEO Brian] Newman said."
$10.8 million a year!
"And while the money for infrastructure improvements for the Games was built into the state's regular budget and private companies picked up a third of the stadium-building costs, state taxpayers ended up footing more than $1.2 billion of the cost of building sports venues . . . "
". . . money spent on a new international equestrian center, rowing center and shooting center was money not spent on other budget priorities, critics argue."
Time out: Isn't that simply a fact and not just what "critics argue"? An undeniable fact, no? But attributing it to "critics" is a way to devalue it.
Why does the official feel-good narrative spun by authorities get a free pass when the "success" they speak of is about "branding" the city in the eyes of, oh, international businesspeople and maybe some tourists? And it sounds like whatever money those folks are spending now in Sydney that they wouldn't have before isn't going to, um, taxpayers or those in need. Because it never does.
"Nobody says there will be a slowdown in school maintenance," said Matthew Moore, who was the Sydney Morning Herald's Olympics editor in 2000. "But the reality is, there are a stack of schools [in Sydney] with temporary classrooms."
But that equestrian center sure looks great!
When officials define success, they will always succeed.
6. I sat on a panel recently about Millennium Park in which it was seriously suggested - and believed - that the building of the park couldn't have happened in any other city. They had that right; in other cities the mayor would have been kicked out of office after so many delays, scandals and cost overruns!
But these folks - Official Chicago - truly believe there is something special in the water here that makes our city work in ways other cities around the nation - and the globe, I suppose - don't. Paging school spirit!
One of my arguments against Millennium Park is directly contrary to that - that other cities have in fact done it better. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, I often suggest, is easily superior. The Historic Mill District along the Mississippi at the other edge of Minneapolis's downtown is another example.
That district includes the new Guthrie Theater, which got a big write-up from the Tribune's Chris Jones on Sunday.
"The overall ambience is akin to the South Bank of London's River Thames, or the area around the Tate Modern art museum. But nowhere in London can you see the grand old warehouses that line an old industrial riverfront that's bursting with new creative energy."
And on-time and on-budget.
Millennium Park will make you gawk, but it will not stand the test of time.
7. "The city's government corruption watchdog agency has received more than 1,500 allegations of wrongdoing this year, but has had the staff to investigate only 18 percent of them, Inspector General David Hoffman said Friday," the Tribune reported on Sunday.
The mayor, of course, turned down Hoffman's request for more investigators, saying the city couldn't afford them. And then he created an entirely new department to undermine Hoffman's. Let's see that discussed at budget hearings.
8. "The local Olympic organizers are paying for much of the [World Boxing] championships, though Chicago Police are being enlisted to help with security and traffic control," the Sun-Times's Andrew Herrmann notes deep in his latest "Bringing the Olympics To Chicago" press release. "In keeping with Chicago 2016's practice of closely guarding costs, [World Sport Chicago Chairman Bill] Scherr would not reveal the tab for the privately financed championships, but estimates have ranged from $3 million to $5 million."
9. Oh my Lord. Neil Steinberg's "Daily Chuckle" is now on video. What's next, video of Michael Sneed stealing from the New York Post as she writes her column?
The Beachwood Tip Line: Punchin' cows.
Posted on October 22, 2007
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