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The [Thursday] Papers

"Two years ago, Roy McCampbell said in a Tribune investigative story that he earned every penny of his $472,000 salary by holding 10 different village positions," the paper reports.

"Today he faces indictment.

"The former Bellwood village administrator, McCampbell, 57, of Schiller Park, faces eight felony counts of theft and four felony counts of official misconduct, according to court records.

"The grand jury indictment accuses him of stealing more than $500,000 from the west suburban village, in part by manipulating his employment contracts and deceiving the Village Board about them."

I don't know if it should be easier or harder to get away with this kind of thing - presuming he's guilty - in such a small town. (See also: Dixon.)

*

Bellwood - about 10 miles west of Chicago - has a population of about 20,000. Its most famous citizen is an astronaut.

"In the 1960s, Bellwood took great pride in the race to the moon by watching native son and astronaut Eugene Cernan travel to space several times before his spectacular landing on the moon in the early '70s," the village web site says.

"His footprints are the last ones left on the lunar surface. Cernan was raised on the 900 block of Marshall Avenue. In his autobiography, Last Man on the Moon, he described his affection for Bellwood and noted that the small size of his family home provided excellent training for the cramped quarters of a lunar module."

Oy.

"Today, Bellwood, with its many brick bungalows and ranch and Georgian homes, has matured. But in many respects it remains the largely residential suburb that it has been for the last 50 years."

Also: Plenty of good job opportunities for village officials willing to work multiple jobs for outrageous pay.

Not Worst Ever
"For the first time in more than a century, House lawmakers on Friday will try to expel one of their own," the Tribune reports.

Well that doesn't seem right. Is Derrick Smith really the worst Illinois House member of all time - the first one in a hundred-and-some years worthy of being kicked out of the chamber?

*

This explusion is kinda weird. He hasn't been found guilty in a court of law yet and says he's fighting the charges. It might seem obvious that he did the dirty deed, but what if a trial shows otherwise? If he's found not guilty, does he get his seat back?

Perhaps explusion should come after a member is found guilty of a felony, or of some other standard of conduct unbecoming.

*

That seems to be thinking of Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields). He looks to be the only member to vote against expulsion.

"[Riley] said clarity is needed on when a lawmaker should be reprimanded, censured or expelled to help legislators determine the best course of action.

"'It's great to have wide latitude,' Riley, D-Olympia Fields, said in an interview, 'but wide latitude does not mean that the process should be devoid of meaningful guidelines.'

"Riley maintained that the more appropriate punishment for Smith may be censure, noting he has not been convicted of any crime and that the House vote on expulsion is coming only weeks before the election."

The Tribune editorial board disagrees:

"The House has a system in place to deal with allegations of serious misconduct by its members, and expulsion is a remedy it has considered only twice in more than a century."

And that's a sign the system works?

Beyond that, how would you like to lose your job based on allegations still unproven, no matter how persuasive the evidence?

Now is yet another time to reaffirm our most vital national principles. Like the recent Chick-fil-A brouhaha, this is a teaching moment.

*

There are times when a legal remedy is more important than a political remedy. This is one of those times.

*

Smith, of course, won the Democratic nomination despite the charges against him. With the help of the Democratic Party, which did not abandon him until after he had knocked off his opponent, who was a Republican plant. Those facts are already proven. Censures all the way around.

Park Shark
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has awarded $203 million in contracts to manage parking and ground transportation at O'Hare and Midway Airports to a clout-heavy company that's had a lock on the business for nearly two decades," the Sun-Times reports.

Like a United States congressman, once they get in it's hard to kick them out.

"Standard Parking was one of four companies vying for the five-year, $145 million O'Hare contract in a field that included LAZ Parking, the operator hired by the consortium that paid $1.15 billion to lease Chicago's 36,000 parking meters for 75 years.

"In the competition for the five-year, $58 million Midway parking contract, Standard beat out a four-member field of competitors that included LAZ, Imperial Parking and CPS Chicago Parking LLC."

*

"The 20-year gravy train of city parking contracts has been worth at least $306.9 million to Standard Parking, records show."

Hey, maybe they do a good job. Maybe they're worthy of retaining their contracts.

"Standard Parking has made $190,718 in campaign contributions to local politicians in recent years. The company has also been an insurance client of Cook County Commissioner and Finance Committee Chairman John Daley, the former mayor's brother."

Oh.

What interest does a parking company have in making campaign contributions? Parking knows no ideology! We're left with only one conclusion - the obvious one.

"Mike Wolf, executive vice-president of Standard Parking, refused to say what service improvements, if any, the company expects to implement at O'Hare and Midway over the next five years."

Wow. That's harsh, dude. And hard-core. You are Standard Parking, in all its glory.

*

Parking is big business in Chicago. Just ask Marty Nesbitt, the president's best friend.

"A businessman by trade, Nesbitt started The Parking Spot, a lucrative airport satellite-parking company that is recognizable from its large yellow buses covered with black spots. Nesbitt started the company with financial backing from Penny Pritzker, the CEO of Pritzker Realty Group. Nesbitt later introduced Pritzker to Obama, and she became Obama's 2008 national fundraising chair."

Daily Splashdown
Marilu Henner has advice for how to have a wonderful summer. Can we vote to expel the Sun-Times for conduct unbecoming?

For the 20 years I've lived in Chicago I've yearned for the Sun-Times to grow up. It's still a child, despite having many different parents.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: For whom the bell tolls.




Permalink

Posted on August 16, 2012


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Wrong Foot Louie vs. The Fireball Kid!

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Meet Limo Bob.


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