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The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hosting an international gathering of mayors and ministers Thursday and Friday at Chicago's Cultural Center," the Sun-Times reports. "The meeting is a 'roundtable' sponsored by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), founded in 1961 with 34 member nations.

"This meeting - which was not flagged by the Emanuel administration since a press release January 24 - was highlighted Wednesday by the OECD in a release."

Give Chicago some global press, stat!

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"No aldermen or Cook County Board members are participating."

They failed the entrance exam, which was to find each of the 34 participating nations on a map.

*

Sources inside City Hall say a crazed Emanuel is insisting everyone call the event the G8ish.

Today In G8
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel today wouldn't get into the particulars of why Chicago lost the G-8 summit in May," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel did not say when he first learned the president was considering moving the G-8 meeting to Camp David. White House officials said Obama had been pondering the idea for several weeks. And Emanuel spent consecutive Fridays in Washington meeting with top administration officials.

"[Wednesday's] luncheon in Peoria is Emanuel's first public appearance since the news broke. Emanuel said he has not been avoiding reporters in Chicago, rather that he was attempting to keep scheduling commitments."

And then he avoided reporters' questions.

*

Rosa Trakhtensky and Nick Burt writing for the Occupied Tribune:

It's not you, it's me, said the White House in announcing their plan to move May's G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David. They needed their space, they explained, "to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners."

But in reality, we all knew: It was us.

Nice.

"Groups from Chicago and around the country have been organizing for months to respond to the twin G8 and NATO summits - closed-door meetings of the global 1% to collaborate on economic and military policy - and both sides recognized the likelihood that this rare meeting of guns and cash would be confronted by the roar of an angry citizenry.

"The prospect of such a response, and the political context in which it will take place, was enough to force the Obama administration to reconsider bringing the G8 summit to the president's hometown and the site of his re-election campaign headquarters.

"For undemocratic institutions such as NATO and G8, there is no place for public input - either in the conference rooms or in the streets - in which the interests of the 99 percent would be considered above the groups' agendas of austerity and militarism. The G8's retreat to the hills of rural Maryland dovetails with the stated solution of Emanuel and the City Council: the best way to keep you safe is to keep you out of the equation altogether.

"Snipers and deputized police will still be flooding into Chicago for the NATO summit, not only to protect the delegates, but as much if not more to keep the nurses, school teachers and students from coming out into the streets against the financial crisis being paid for out of their paychecks."

*

The "real" Tribune reports:

"The other large planned demonstration, which was scheduled for the Friday before the G-8 summit began, will remain on that day but will now include a mock 'Camp David' somewhere in River North, said Chuck Idelson, a spokesman for the California Nurses Association, which is planning the event.

"Activists 'will reconstruct Camp David in Chicago and conduct a search for the absent G-8 leaders,' the group said in a release Tuesday afternoon."

*

"Sneed is also told the official speculation of 8,000 to 10,000 protesters expected at the NATO/G-8 summits this spring were off big-time: It was somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000, according to Sneed's sources."

Great for the economy!

*

Seriously, the city could have encouraged its hospitality industry to market to the protesters as well as the dignitaries. Tents, supplies for signs, protest apps . . . a whole market to exploit.

And even more seriously, welcoming protesters as participants to the weekend would have been much smarter than treating them like the enemy and turning the whole thing into an impending crisis. Our cultural, civic and political institutions could have scheduled workshops, debates, art exhibits - the whole works. We could have shown the world how to bridge the gap and connect the 1% to the 99% and showcased democracy at its best.

Security would still have been an issue and incidents no doubt would have occurred - and likely still will when NATO gets here. But that's part of the price we pay for living in a free society.

Stun Gunned
"The Illinois House on Wednesday resoundingly defeated a measure that would have required police officers to report more details about cases when they use stun guns," the Tribune reports.

Hey fellas, G8's not coming! No longer necessary!

*

We can all imagine the position of those opposing this measure - my guess would be cloaking the desire to chum it up with law enforcement by keeping accountability freaks off their backs with cries of burying cops in paperwork - but it would have been nice for the Tribune to actually tell us instead of muddling their account with cries of "gun enthusiasts" rallying for a concealed carry bill.

*

From my friend Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project:

"Your Illinois House of Representatives just killed the Taser Use by Law Enforcement Act. This bill would have mandated that the following be reported: all demographic data on the individuals that were tased, how times they were tased, for what duration, and why. The data would have then been analyzed for disparities. I guess the police in Illinois are just not in to outsiders validating their use of such a serious weapon. The CPD now averages about 2600 taser discharges a year according IPRA. Wonder if there are any disparities to be found in that data set?"

Burke's Law
"Former Cicero Police Supt. Thomas Rowan took the Fifth 29 times when questioned under oath about whether he took part in setting up a Cook County commissioner for a bogus arrest - once the focus of an FBI investigation," the Sun-Times reports.

"Rowan has been accused of threatening an officer with the loss of his job for cooperating with that FBI investigation.

"In another matter, Rowan allegedly retaliated against a different cop by pulling back-up officers from her after she was sent out on a potentially violent call.

"For another Cicero cop, though, Rowan was quite helpful.

Rowan wrote a letter to a federal judge on behalf of a violent Cicero officer, allegedly on the mob's payroll, who is now in federal prison.

"None of that stopped Rowan, 68, from getting a new job in recent months - with the Chicago City Council, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned."

And you wanna be a global city?

*

"Rowan was hired as chief investigator with the Council's Finance Committee, whose chairman is Ald. Edward Burke (14th)."

Bet you saw that coming.

"In his new city job, Rowan, who began his career as a Chicago cop, is making nearly $70,000 a year. That's on top of the nearly $60,000 a year he gets from his government pensions."

That too.

"Burke's spokesman declined to answer a list of questions regarding Rowan's employment with Burke's committee, other than to say that Rowan does live in Chicago, as required by the city."

That too.

"Indeed, Rowan's Illinois driver's license does list a Chicago address.

"But where Rowan actually lives is unclear. Just last year, Rowan wrote a letter to the Chicago police pension board, saying: 'Please accept this letter as official notification that I have run away from home, and have a new address.'

"Rowan lists the address for a home in Elgin, which he owns with another individual, property records show."

You know what's next; wait for it . . .

"Rowan did not return a phone message for comment."

Job Snob
"About 150 workers at Chicago-based Appetizers And Inc., which manufacturers frozen appetizers, will lose their jobs next month because of the sale of the company," the Tribune reports.

Rahm Emanuel did not hold a press conference to announce the job loss, but was standing by to claim credit for an unpaid intern about to be brought on by a local firm.

Life Lessons
Sports build character.

*

Dear Matt: Why shouldn't that apply to all walks of life? If it makes you money, you do it. If it gets you elected, you do it. If it gets you a newspaper job, you do it.

Health Audit
"The Illinois state auditor has issued a scathing critique of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the state's Executive Ethics Commission, taking the two organizations to task for how $7 billion in contracts were awarded to BlueCross BlueShield and two other providers," the Tribune reports.

"In its report, the auditor cited 'serious deficiencies' in the awards process and questioned whether the state's best interests were served.

"The report, released by the Office of the Auditor General, said that, among numerous other issues, a 12-member evaluation committee charged with awarding the contracts did not meet once during the review process, a violation of state policy."

Name those members!

"Further, the report said, the department's director, Julie Hamos, signed two different recommendations between March and April 2011 on the contracts."

Well, she's a former state legislator so she's used to speaking out of both sides of her mouth. She also voted "present."

*

Here's the full report.

*

And while we're here . . .

"The parent of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois booked more than $1 billion in net income in 2011, the second straight year that the Chicago-based company has crossed that milestone," Crain's reported earlier this week.

Lawyer Lament
"Attorney General Lisa Madigan is pushing back against the governor's call for deeper budget cuts, saying her office's ability to generate money for taxpayers is already being threatened by low pay and low morale that make it hard to retain her top lawyers," AP reports.

"Madigan said her office is losing experienced lawyers, leaving behind mostly young attorneys straight out of law school. The starting salary for a lawyer at the attorney general's office is $50,500, which is lower than starting salaries with the Cook County state's attorney, the city of Chicago and the DuPage County state's attorney, Madigan's aides said."

I sympathize, but the per capita income in Illinois is $28,782 and median household income in Illinois is $52,811.

*

OTOH, why does the governor see it fit to provide private companies with subsides to create or retain jobs but doesn't see fit to create or retain jobs in the "company" he leads?

*

"[J]ust one statewide officer proposed a 9.4 percent cut in line with the governor's wishes, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon," Rich Miller notes on is Capitol Fax Blog.

Well, her entire budget should be zeroed out. Give her an office and an aide and let that be that.

Right Down Broadway
"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has filed a $104 million lawsuit in connection with the April 2010 failure of Chicago-based Broadway Bank," the Tribune reports.

"Among the defendants are former President Demetris Giannoulias. His brother Alexi, whose lost a U.S. Senate race amid questions about his role in the bank's troubles, wasn't named as a defendant."

Well, we can't win 'em all.

*

"'Broadway Bank was driven by a disregard for risk and a willingness to lend millions of dollars to un-creditworthy borrowers for speculative commercial building projects not only in Illinois, where the bank was located, but in New York, Florida, California and other locales,' the suit said. From 2000 to 2009, Broadway's assets, consisting mostly of loans, grew more than 500 percent.

"'The bank didn't have sufficient staff to monitor these out-of-state projects adequately,' the suit said. When the bank was seized, more than half of its loan portfolio was secured by out-of-state projects. And the bank made an 'excessive' number of loans for condominium and hotel projects despite those markets being "saturated," the suit said.

"Outside board members 'were grossly inattentive to the affairs off the bank, deferring excessively to the whims of the Giannoulias family,' the lawsuit said."

*

Other defendants include another Giannoulias brother and seven directors and executives.

*

From Crain's:

"From 2000 to 2009, Broadway's assets grew by more than 500 percent," the complaint said. "This explosive growth was fueled by unsustainable expansion of the bank's (commercial real estate) and (construction) loans. These types of loans, which are highly sensitive to market fluctuations, require close monitoring, lending expertise and respect for lending risk. None of these were present at Broadway Bank."

Alexi was the bank's senior loan officer from 2002 to 2006, when he was elected state treasurer with the help of Barack Obama's backing. The two reportedly met at the East Bank Club and Giannoulias's deep pockets outweighed his reputed mob connections when it came to campaign cash for the aspiring president. Broadway's questionable loan recipients included Obama's self-described political godfather and now convicted felon Tony Rezko.

Inside Berto
Derrick Rose takes us on a guided tour of the Bulls' practice facility.

Inside Beer
Drinking Illinois with The Beer Beer Beer Show.

Memory Lane
With Chicago doo-wopsters The Flamingos.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The price of freedom.



Permalink

Posted on March 8, 2012


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - 24 Hours With WYCC.
POLITICS - Wolfpack vs. Obama.
SPORTS - Joe Maddon's Magical Mystery Tour.

BOOKS - Why Al-Qaeda Is Still Strong.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mural Man.


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