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The [Thursday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

It's funny how in a budget crisis the state will both expand and tax "sin."

So a bill legalizing video poker moves through the General Assembly at the same time lawmakers consider boosting liquor taxes.

Please drink and gamble! And park illegally! We need the money!

Lobby Lout
"Joseph Berrios, a member of the Cook County Board of Review and father of state Rep. Maria Antonia Berrios (D-Chicago), was among those lobbying for video poker, on behalf of an industry trade group," the Sun-Times reports.

He's also the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Get it, yet?

Meter Mofos
"Under pressure from aldermen to comply with the city's minority set-aside requirements" - because apparently doing so is optional - "LAZ Parking Chicago LLC has hastily assembled a team of subcontractors that includes former mayoral press secretary Avis LaVelle and Cortez Trotter, who was Chicago's first African-American fire commissioner before being promoted to chief emergency officer," the Sun-Time reports in "Insiders May Cash In On Meter Deal."

Ya think?

"LaVelle said she has been asked to help reverse an avalanche of negative publicity stemming from broken, overstuffed and mismarked meters that have infuriated motorists and triggered a spike in vandalism and a drop-off in on-street parking."

LAZ learned that one from the mayor: Don't fix the problem, fix the PR.

Meanwhile, the infamous Monterrey Security has bellied up to the trough and is about to gorge itself on a $1.2 million contract.

Monterrey was once tapped on the wrist by state regulators for operating for 21 months without a license. The penalty? A $22,000 fine and two years' probation.

They didn't even get their cars booted. They probably got the contract to guard the booted cars.

*

The city once had to cancel a contract with Monterrey to guard salt piles because its two co-owners were city employees, which sort of violated an ethics ordinance, as well as common sense.

They must have gotten a good laugh out of that one. When one door closes on insiders in Chicago, another one always opens.

*

"Monterrey's approach is to strategically select its partners," says Monterrey president and CEO Juan Gaytan Jr. on the firm's website.

*

"Even though it has flouted state regulations and provided misleading information to city officials, a security firm launched by a Chicago police officer with disciplinary problems and a firefighter who is the brother of powerful Ald. Danny Solis (25th) has thrived on city-related contracts," the Tribune reported in 2002.

"Monterrey Security Consultants Inc., a Pilsen-based firm with 130 employees, grew from an initial investment of $1,000 in 1999 to a company with more than $3 million in annual business in just three years. The company has won contracts to guard city-owned salt piles, the Soldier Field construction site and several Chicago Housing Authority buildings.

"A building management firm hired by the CHA said it picked Monterrey for the public-housing contract at the urging of Solis' brother-in-law, a CHA manager.

"A joint investigation by the Chicago Tribune and Exito!, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper published by Chicago Tribune Co., found that Monterrey's fortunes have soared despite a litany of misrepresentations to city officials, regulatory problems, and financial and career woes for the company's president."

Cruel Schools
Meanwhile . . .

"Minority students in Illinois are falling through the cracks because they are more likely to be enrolled in the worst-performing schools, according to a new national study that reinforces what education activists have been saying for years about the state's inequitable school funding system," Catalyst reports.

"The study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education placed Illinois 45th among the 50 states in providing high-quality schooling to low-income and minority students. That finding is no surprise, since Illinois ranks near rock-bottom in state funding for education and black and Latino youngsters are far more likely to live in poorly-funded, low-performing school districts."

Maybe low-income minority students in Illinois should consider careers in video poker. Or security work.

The Big Whale
Isn't this person's name a matter of public record?

The police department is a scofflaw too.

Ready To Lead
Meet your possible new 36th Ward alderman, who by the way is already on the city payroll.

*

"Asked Wednesday at the ward office why he stuck the [FOP] medallion his car's rear license plate, Rice replied, 'How do you know it's my car?' "the Tribune reports.

I wonder if the reporter answered, "Um, because you're getting in it and driving away?"

"The car left minutes later and returned without the medallion," the Trib reports.

"Rice said he thought it was legitimate to display the FOP symbols because his father once was a part-time Cook County sheriff's deputy and his father-in-law was a Chicago police officer."

Gee, my father drove through Cook County once, does that qualify?

Travel Tale
"Bypassing the city budget and soliciting private contributions seems to be inviting Chicago-style pay for play politics to Bowling Green," Shawn Kries writes to the Bowling Green Daily News.

All the Olympic events and Millennium Parks in the world won't change our image. Changing our politics would, though, and it'd be a lot cheaper.

Suburban Bureau
"Second Burger King restaurant could be headed to Tinley Park."
- SouthtownStar

Brick Layer
"Chicago coppers picked up a bloke after he symbolically chucked a brick through the window of the the city's Magnificent Mile Apple Store on Tuesday night," Nick Farrell writes at Fudzilla. "It seemed that that bloke, who had a few, took offence at one of the 'giant iPhone' displays."

Robert Grilly, 61, was charged with felony criminal damage to property. According to WBBM, he also allegedly threw a table through a window at Rosebud.

Radio Ga Ga
WBBM Newsradio 780 has photo galleries of both Lindsay Lohan and Lynyrd Skynyrd on its website.

Kiddieland Closing Time
In action: Little Dipper, the Log Ride, the Miniature Diesel Train, the Droppy Ride, and the Miniature Steam Engine.

Placko Strikes
"You had your hands folded, your head slumped and you were sleeping. Can you tell us what you do for the County Highway Department?"

A Toast To TV
Classic televised drinking.

Manny Cure
Ramirez worth trading for.

Money Leaders
Stop the Four Tops.

The Rod & Patti Show
Could have been like Jon & Kate.

Drew's New Lawyer
Former Chicago homicide cop called "poster boy for abuse" by state Treasurer's office.

Short Skirts Out Of Order?
Illinois judges distracted.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Abandon hope, all ye.



Permalink

Posted on May 21, 2009


MUSIC - Blues Fest 2017.
TV - 'The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'
POLITICS - Minimum Wage Hikes Work.
SPORTS - On Joe Louis, Race And Sports Heroes.

BOOKS - The Blood Of Emmett Till.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Artist As Alchemist.


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