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The [Thursday] Papers

On behalf of the orphans and widows: The [Jacksons Are Going To Jail] Papers.

More Metra Board Games
"Metra board member Stanley Rakestraw has been asked to resign, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office said late Wednesday, following inquiries by the Tribune about Rakestraw's eligibility and residency," the paper reports.

"State law requires that Preckwinkle's appointee to Metra live in suburban Cook County, but Tribune reporting determined that Rakestraw lives in a luxury condo in Chicago."

Of course he does.

"It was not known late Wednesday whether Rakestraw, a longtime supporter and campaign contributor to Preckwinkle, had resigned. But when the newspaper made inquiries to Metra and Preckwinkle regarding his residency, Preckwinkle confirmed that he is not eligible to be on the board because he does not live in suburban Cook County.

"In a statement Wednesday, Preckwinkle said that when Rakestraw applied for the Metra post, he listed a Flossmoor address."

Was it 1060 West Addison?

"After [a fire destroyed his home], Rakestraw moved to a million-dollar condominium in a high-rise across from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. But Rakestraw continued to list the posh suburb as his residence, including on the ethics statement he filed earlier this year with the Cook County clerk's office.

"Records show that Preckwinkle appointed Rakestraw to the $15,000-a-year post on Jan. 18, 2012, five months after he left his damaged home in Flossmoor.

"Reached Wednesday by the Tribune, Rakestraw confirmed he lived in Chicago but said he did not believe his move to the city precluded him from being on Metra's board. He said he requested an opinion from Metra's board counsel, the law firm Johnston Greene LLC, and was told that he was permitted to live anywhere in Cook County.

"My information was that my position covered all of Cook County," Rakestraw said. "It didn't have to (represent) a specific area. That was my understanding."

Then why did he continue to list his Flossmoor address as his residence, including on his ethics statement?

Also, wassup Johnston Greene?!

*

"Rakestraw is co-founder, vice president and chief operating officer of SCR Medical Transportation. The Tribune also determined Wednesday that Rakestraw's company provides paratransit services for Pace and a shuttle service that transports disabled Metra patrons from nonaccessible stations. The shuttle service, and Rakestraw's company's name, is listed on Metra's website."

And you wanna be on our audit and capital oversight committees?

*

"If Rakestraw resigns from Metra's board, it means there will only be six remaining members - the minimum number required for a quorum - out of 11."

One more and the Metra board will be immobilized.

*

"This is the second time in recent weeks that a Preckwinkle transit board appointee has run into trouble.

"The Rev. Tyrone Crider Sr., a Morgan Park pastor Preckwinkle reappointed to the Regional Transportation Authority board in February, resigned July 31 after it was disclosed that he had failed to repay a $91,000 state social services grant, as ordered by a Circuit Court judge."

That's not all.

"Metra, Pace and the CTA have paid a total of more than $60,000 to a monthly newspaper run by a member of the RTA board, which funds and helps regulate the public transit agencies, records and interviews show," the Better Government Association reported in 2010.

"Beside being on the RTA board, the Rev. Tyrone Crider also publishes the Christian-oriented newspaper the Gospel Tribune, which is distributed to black churches in the Chicago area and claims a readership of 50,000 people.

"Most of the money that the transit agencies under the RTA's purview have paid to the Gospel Tribune has been for advertising. Metra also has paid the Gospel Tribune to hold conferences to help minority contractors learn 'how to do business with Metra.'

"Crider acknowledges that he's making money off the agencies he helps regulate."

Apparently it's what Jesus would do.

"I would have never taken any money from any agency if it was perceived as a conflict of interest, which is exactly why we ran it by the [now] former legal counsel," Crider told the BGA.

Let me guess: Johnston Greene?

Rahm's Fare Hike Fiasco
"Just months after assuring riders that the CTA had financially steadied the ship for years to come, the transit agency reported Wednesday that it is sailing into a $10.1 million deficit for 2013 that could grow even larger by year's end," the Tribune reports.

"The budget hole, which by law must be filled by Dec. 31, is mainly a result of revenue forecasts that grossly overstated the amount of money that will be collected from CTA fares and passes, officials said."

They must share a back office with CPS.

*

"The CTA increased the prices of single- and multiday unlimited-ride passes by 16 to 74 percent this year, contributing to a ridership decline of almost 3 percent and commuters abandoning some of the passes and migrating to pay-as-you-go riding patterns."

Well, Rahm did say we had a choice.

"The biggest miscalculation by CTA budget analysts involved a nose dive in the use of the seven-day pass since pass prices were increased in mid-January. Seven-day pass sales were below budget projections by $7.5 million in the first six months of 2013, the CTA reported.

"Sales of all other passes except the five-day and 30-day passes were also below budget projections."

Huh. I wonder why. To the Beachwood vault, Batman!

Remember that press conference when Rahm scolded a Tribune reporter for asking if CTA fare increases would disproportionately hurt the poor? (See the item Mayor Rahmney.) If only the reporter would have attended Forrest Claypool's briefing, he wouldn't be asking such a stupid question.

Well, guess what?

*

Then again, Rahm reserves the right to deny he ever said whatever it is we've all seen him say.

I mean, you'd think with a record number of tourists around here that CTA revenues would be piled up higher than the new Cubs Jumbotron. After all, Rahm insisted that the changes in the fare structure were designed to hit tourists the hardest, not us regular folk. Oops.

*

"There are multiple options we are looking at,'' Claypool said. "Obviously we will continue to tighten administrative expenses towards the end of the year.''

In other words, you'll be making cuts to the Central Office?

*

"Asked how the CTA revenue analysis could have been off the mark by $39 million, Claypool wouldn't say."

Maybe the analysis was done by Johnston Greene?

*

"But he added, 'We have decided to be purposely more pessimistic in the second half of the year to avoid any additional surprises.'"

So now we'll just forecast lower revenue than expected and when it comes in higher, we can tell everyone what a great job we did.

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent events.

The Presidential Power Holder Didn't Mention
Obama has granted clemency at a rate lower than any president in modern history.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: In transit.



Permalink

Posted on August 15, 2013


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BOOKS - Windy City Blues.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Fish Unboxing.


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