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The [Thursday] Papers

John Kass calls him Richard Shortshanks today, but I think I'll start calling him Mayor Hee-Haw. To wit (via video from Chicago Tonight last night):

"That wasn't the vote count we had coming in today," Ald. Brendan Reilly said. "There was a lot of deal-making and arm-twisting going on."

REPORTER: Was there a lot of horse-trading?

DALEY: "Reilly did a good job, he did a lot of horse-trading . . . No horse-trading, no hee-haw. Heh heh heh. This is bigger than you and I. This is about your children."

UNASKED: Do you deny, then, that you offered any benefits to aldermen in exchange for their vote?

UNASKED: If the museum would locate somewhere else, would that somehow not be about the children?

UNASKED: Please answer the question.

UNASKED: Are you a bald-faced liar?

LEAD I DIDN'T SEE IN THE PAPER TODAY: "Mayor Richard M. Daley refused to acknowledge Wednesday that he traded future ward projects in exchange for votes in favor of the Children's Museum's proposed move to Grant Park. Nor would the mayor say how much those favors will cost taxpayers."

BECAUSE: "Three aldermen told the Tribune on the condition of anonymity that top administration officials had promised amenities for their wards ranging from schools and parks to taxpayer subsidies for development projects."

Change Barack Obama believes in.

"One of the aldermen said administration officials lobbied council members as late as Tuesday to ensure as big a margin of victory as possible."

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Put every alderman on record and make them confirm or deny that they were offered benefits in exchange for their vote, and then ask what those benefits were.

BECAUSE: Daley's promises just tacked another few million dollars onto the cost of this boondoggle.

Worst Mom In Chicago
Actually, I don't know if Jennifer Farrington is a mother, but she certainly isn't fit to lead a children's museum.

Design Deceit
Asked when construction of the new museum would begin - barring a court injunction - Farrington said: "There's still many steps of the design . . . I really can't comment on the timeline right now."


Um, if the design isn't finished, what the hell did we just vote on?

"One of the legitimate concerns is that nobody trusts the mayor to stick with the design plans because he has proved himself unreliable on such matters in the past," Mark Brown writes. "If he really prefers some sort of above-ground component to the museum, he'll just change the plans later. The museum opponents are convinced of that, and seeing how the mayor handled Millennium Park, you can understand why."

Farrington said the museum still has to develop exhibits for the new museum. And, um, raise more money.

"[Farrington] said the museum has raised $40 million and needs an additional $60 million."

After all, it will be expensive coming up with the real design.

Walter's World
"A lot of us feel like, 'Why in the hell are we in the middle of this argument?" said Walter Burnett (27th).

Um, because you're on the city council?

Ed's World
"There's violence all over this city, and we're fighting over a children's museum," said Ald. Ed Smith (28th).

It's funny how aldermen always make a comparison like this when something controversial comes before the council, but not when they go about the kind of business that takes up most of their time.

Smith also said: "If you don't have children, you don't need a museum."

Um . . . and if you don't have children, you don't need schools?

No, wait, I've got it: And if you don't live in the 28th Ward, you don't need Ed Smith!

The Tribune editorial page has a nice roundup of other aldermanic inanities uttered yesterday.

Connect The Dots, People
A lot of folks have invoked the memory of Meigs Field when it comes to the Children's Museum - that one morning we'll wake up and Grant Park will have been bulldozed without prior notice.

But this fight is more reminiscent of Soldier Field - a monstrous mistake that nearly everybody seems to recognize except the mayor, in league with private interests.

The truth about our "can-do" mayor (please!) is that one thing he most definitely cannot do is big projects; they always end in disaster, from those that get built (Soldier Field, O'Hare expansion, and, in my book, CHA transformation and Millennium Park . . . not to mention heat waves, recycling and community policing) to those that don't (the Lake Calumet airport, the Circulator, the downtown casino).

Now comes yet another preview of what we're in for: "CTA Hub In Block 37 Hits Skids."

"Faced with runaway costs, the CTA and City Hall slammed the emergency brakes Wednesday on ambitious plans to build a "super station" in downtown's Block 37 to speed express trains to both Chicago's airports.

"A combined $213 million has been spent on the project, yet there is not much more than a massive hole in the ground to show for it.

"At least an additional $100 million would be needed to complete the subterranean station, the CTA estimated."

This is a boondoggle of the first magnitude.

"CTA President Ron Huberman disclosed Wednesday that the agency was looking at cost overruns well in excess of $100 million to complete the station and a connector tunnel linking the State Street and Dearborn Street subways."

$100 million!

I'll take a closer look at this over at Division Street today.

But before you go over there . . .

Today's Beachwood
. . . is chock full of goodies. So take a look around. Really!

The Beachwood Tip Line: For the children.


Posted on June 12, 2008

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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