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The [Sunday] Papers

Sifting through the aftermath of the City Hall hiring fraud verdict is a bit like traversing California in the 1840s - you can't help but stumble upon some golden nuggets. (See also The [Patronage] Papers.)

For example, how deliciously telling is it that jurors found Mara Georges to be the least credible witness put on the stand? Not the old-school machine hacks that the defense tried to dirty up by suggesting their testimony was skewed by their immunity deals, but the corporation counsel - the city's lawyer-in-chief (though she's shown that her chief loyalty is to the mayor, not the city).

U.S. District Court judge David Coar also found Georges performance on the stand wanting, and another regrets taking her representations at face value of the city's compliance with a federal hiring decree.

Three strikes and you're out?

Also on the trail of the trial:

* Carol Marin continues to have misgivings about the prosecution, perhaps because she's mistaking Robert Sorich for a mid-level mope instead of the Director of the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs that he was.

* John Kass says the prosecution is a sea-change for just that reason - the feds are going after the string-pullers, not the puppets.

* Mary Mitchell shows how the scandal reveals a lack of black clout at City Hall.

* Norman Chad reveals a lack of black clout on the nation's sports pages.

Treasure Trove
The Tribune's "Shaking A Tradition At City Hall" is chock-full of goodies.

* "We had a lot of 11th Warders up here," Ald. Brian Doherty (41st) said of recent elections. "They had South Side guys with Irish brogues trying to cut into my base.

* "James Sprandel, a truck driver who retired from the city's Streets and Sanitation Department in 2004, joined one of the pro-Daley groups to ensure he would not get 'bumped' from his job, he said Friday.

"Sprandel said he worked in a handful of campaigns for Daley and for candidates supported by the mayor, in the city and suburbs. He said he could not remember the names of the candidates he helped by knocking on doors and passing out campaign literature.

"'The names are vague because they put us in there for a three- or four-week shot,' he said."

* "David Axelrod, a Daley political consultant, downplayed Daley's role in assigning the groups to work in campaigns. 'I am not going to ascribe to him any decision about how political workers were deployed,' he said."

I guess Axelrod handled that himself.

* "But Ald. Willam Beavers (7th) said city workers will not stop seeking political benefactors because 'it's always good to have political clout.' He said aldermen would continue lobbying to lessen the discipline meted out to supporters who foul up.

"'Everybody who works for the city for 20 years eventually will get into some kind of trouble."

That's because they're mopes!

"That's where we come in," Beavers said.

That's because you're mopes!

Prosecutors would not comment on whether Beavers' recent intemperate comments all but invite an investigation into his own exercise of political patronage, but to some observers it's a no-brainer.

City Sunscreen
Mary Schmich ventures into the deep end.

"We've lived by the tacit principle that the highest civic good is a city that works, even it it takes a little wrongdoing to get the work done," she writes.

Who says the city works? Are your property taxes working? Are the contract scandals they fund working? Is the gridlock in the streets and skies working? Are $100 million contracts to Mob families pretending to be minorities working? Is there some sort of Chicago exceptionalism that demands wrongdoing for the city to work, as opposed to other cities that don't?

"Precisely because it is so well-run," Schmich continues, "[Chicago] is a model for other cities."

A model for corruption, yes. Anyone who thinks this city is well-run is someone who, like the president, doesn't read the newspapers.

Daley Doggerel
A Tribune editorial reminds us of this Daley quote from March: "John Stroger is alive and well. I'm supporting him and voting for him. Let's be realistic - he's coming back."

Maybe Daley was advocating magic realism.

Best Phone Call Ever
It's coming from inside the building. Watch the whole report, you will be rewarded.

Opus Die
Opus in the editor's office at The Bloom Picayune this weekend.

"Sir, the shareholders are demanding way, way bigger profits.

"Again?! What do they want me to cut now?"

"The front page."

Billy Goat Brooks
On the same day a federal jury convicted four Daley aides for operating a massively fraudulent job-rigging operation in service of the mayor's political operation, New York Times columnist David Brooks informed the world (of TimesSelect subscribes) last week that in Chicago, "a Daley is still mayor, but the machine is gone."

Perhaps the only newspaper stories Brooks read while in town we're the ones on the walls of the Billy Goat, where he felt obliged to report from.

"Twenty-five years ago when I was in Chicago beginning my career, I used to go to the Billy Goat Tavern to drink like a reporter," Brooks said in the opening to his column.

And 25 years later, he returns to do the same. He never learned that going to the Billy Goat to drink "like a reporter" is no substitute for actually being one.

Presidential Seal
Judy Baar Topinka couldn't have been happy to hear President Bush's statement last week that "Illinois created more jobs than any other state in the month of April," but she can always claim that he's said misleading things before.

Fitz Fizz
Various news organizations reported that President Bush, on his visit here, said he was undecided about re-appointing Patrick Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney here.

Looking at the transcript, it seems as if the president was confused about whether the question was about Fitzgerald's status as U.S. attorney or as special prosecutor in Plamegate.

Q: Mr. President, the work of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in prosecuting alleged corruption is well-known here in Chicago as well as nationally. It's my understanding that, technically, he hasn't been reappointed to his position and serves at your pleasure.

Do you have any plans to formally reappoint him to the post or any other position in the Department of Justice? And . . .

BUSH: As a special prosecutor.

Q: And would you give us your assessment of the job that he's doing?

BUSH: You know, I don't have any plans to reappoint him because I haven't thought about it. I will now think about it now that you brought it up.

The only - I can give you an assessment of what - how I thought he handled the case in Washington. I haven't been following the cases here. I thought, in Washington, he handled the case with professionalism. He was very professional about it. You didn't see a lot of leaks. You didn't see a lot of speculation. You didn't see a lot of people, kind of, dropping a little crumb here for the press to chew on. And I really thought he handled himself well.

But as far as reappointing him as the special prosecutor, I don't know whether the attorney general's going to do that or not. That's his choice to make.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Reappointed.


Posted on July 10, 2006

MUSIC - Pandemophenia.
TV - NBC's Bicentennial Special.
POLITICS - Defund Private Schools.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio & A Blackhawks Proposal.

BOOKS - The Slave Who Escaped George And Martha Washington.


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