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The [Thursday] Papers

Jesus, a few aldermen just unload on the mayor and it's the Sun-Times that puts it on front page and writes the best account while the Tribune lays back. Does that mean it didn't really happen?

The unbelievably great highlights:

* Ald. Ed Smith: "There is no headline in this budget that reads 'The Department of Criminal Affairs' . . . there is no line item for a $40 million Hired Truck scandal . . . for buddies swiping in buddies . . . for phony sick pay."

* Ald. Toni Preckwinkle: "It's not so much the number of people being arrested, it's that they are connected. They're part of the political operation, frankly, of the administration, and that's what's so problematic."

* Ald. Arenda Troutman: "The Duffs stole $100 million earmarked for blacks and other minorities . . . White men [used] their mothers, sisters and daughters to steal $40 million. They abused the Hired Truck Program designed to help blacks and other minorities pull themselves up by their bootstraps. These people were getting contracts because they lived in a white city. They were greedy and wanted the minority share."

Ed, Toni, Arenda - where have you been all my life?

Now let's look at the mayor's reaction and consider once again to what degree he is a child.

* To Smith: "Very good. Make sure you meet the inspector general. He'll be in your office tomorrow morning . . . We'll make sure. He'll be in your office. Thank you."

* To Troutman: "It doesn't bother me." And then he "mockingly applauded." (The Tribune account, once it got around to the kerfluffle, put it this way: "Ald. Arenda Troutman (20th) won mock applause from Daley after delivering a speech in which she criticized inequities between African-Americans and whites as well as city jobs given to members of the pro-Daley Hispanic Democratic Organization." Nice. Way to be sincere about all those moves to win back black support in an election year.)

* To Preckwinkle: Well, neither account has the mayor responding to Preckwinkle, perhaps because she is one of the few council members with half a brain. And she was blistering.

"Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) blasted the 9 percent share of city contracting awarded to black companies.

"'It seems problematic at best and damning at worst we haven't done better for African-Americans,' Preckwinkle said. 'Since I believe this is a can-do administration and that things are accomplished when there is a will behind it and a commitment to it, I can only conclude that both are absent in this instance. And that is very disturbing to me.'"

* To reporters after the meeting: "Everybody's against corruption - whether it's an employee, the president of a company, the chairman of the board - anyone. Everybody's against any type of corruption. Of course, I am too."

Mayoral Myths
And now, the lowlights. The Sun-Times continued to propagate some of its favorite myths.

* Fran Spielman refers to "the corruption scandals that have made Daley's life miserable for nearly three years."

Spielman has an incredibly short memory. Significant scandal has been with this mayor since he's had the job - for 17 years. You can look it up.

Not only that, why is the focus on Daley's life being made miserable, as if he's the victim?

* Daley's budget "includes no new or increased taxes."

The council approved the LaSalle Street TIF district at the meeting. If Spielman would take the time to read Ben Joravsky, she would learn how Daley's use of TIF districts does in fact raise your taxes.

* What does it mean for a budget to be "a perfect blueprint for re-election?" That it's a political document, and not a financially responsible one?

* The budget "freezes the property tax levy for a third year." True, but it doesn't freeze skyrocketing property taxes. Daley has the luxury of not having to raise the levy, while gentrification squeezes long-time middle-class homeowners out of their neighborhoods and fills his coffers.

* The budget "holds the line on all other taxes and fees." I'm pretty sure a close read of the budget would yield a different verdict if you include things like increased parking ticket enforcement, just for starters, not to mention increased fees at the park district and the CTA, whose budgets don't leave City Hall without mayoral approval.

Despite their outbursts, Smith, Preckwinkle and Troutman voted for the mayor's budget, which passed unanimously. My question: How many reporters in town do you think have actually read the budget? The Over/Under is 2.

Double-dealing Dems
How does Nancy Pelosi ride into the Speaker's office on her high ethical horse and drag Jack Murtha and Alcee Hastings with her, not to mention business-as-usual armtwister money-man extraordinaire Rahm Emanuel? Does the incoming Dem leadership look like a change to you?

Then again, Trent Lott is back in the Republican leadership, so the two-party system is working.

Everything she has written this week is incredibly old or just rehashed from other publications. I'd go item-by-item, but it just makes me tired.

Kool-Aid Nation
Presenting the Bears-Haters Guide To Watching The Bears With Bears Fans.

From the same folks who brought you How To Make Angry Sports Radio Calls and The Bears Bandwagon Starter Kit,

And don't miss The Sporting Life, our guide to your week in leisure. Loosely defined.

Daley Double
The City Council on Wednesday approved the creation of $300 annual parking permits for real estate agents, social workers and home health care providers which will allow them to park in neighborhoods with residential stickers.

"The 44-4 vote came only after Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) informed aldermen they had no choice," the Sun-Times reports. "If they failed to approve the permit, it would blow a $2.4 million hole in Daley's 2007 budget."

A) So why not just eliminate the City Council if the way they must vote is pre-determined?
B) And the problem is . . . what?
C) Remember all those complaints about the lack of congressional oversight?
D) I thought there weren't any new fees. I guess $2.4 million doesn't count. But wait - is the administration saying they will take in more in new permit fees than they were getting in neighborhood sticker violations from these people?

The Buck Stops There
"Residential permit parking came in through the aldermen - not through the executive branch," Daley said. "We had nothing to do with this."

And he's powerless to do anything about it now.

General Assemblage
Illinois legislators took measures on Wednesday to raise the state's minimum wage by a dollar an hour and earmark the resulting increase in workers' earnings to ComEd.

"Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) has expressed opposition to the [rate-freeze] bill, while a bloc of black Democratic House lawmakers have remained neutral toward it."

ComEd's racially-based lobbying strategy pays off.

False Start
"Only 14 people have enrolled in a new Illinois veterans health care program that Gov. Blagojevich billed as vital to helping thousands of people who don't qualify for federal aid," an AP report says.

"Aides to the governor called it 'a very good start' Wednesday, although some lawmakers criticized administration of the program."

Some lawmakers didn't?

But more importantly: 14 people!

House of Rahm
"Schumer said he and Rep. Rahm Emanuel - the boss of the House Democratic campaign committee, who is expected to be elected to a leadership spot today - made a list of what they consider abusive campaign practices," Lynn Sweet reports.

The ones that worked they put in safekeeping for the next election. The ones that didn't they called for eliminating.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Join the B-team.


Posted on November 16, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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