The [Thursday] Papers
"A storefront on Chicago Avenue that once housed an office for a Ukrainian-language newspaper could become the new home for Beer Run Chicago, a liquor store specializing in delivery," DNAinfo Chicago reports.
"The first step in seeking the green light from the community for Beer Run Chicago is a bright orange public notice for a packaged goods liquor license, which is posted in the window of 2216 W. Chicago Ave., about two blocks west of Damen Avenue.
"Beer Run is for people that are already drinking and want to have a good time. This will bring it to them," owner Tony Wojewocki said.
"Wojewocki, a 34-year-old entrepreneur who has a professional background in transportation logistics, said he tried to open Beer Run in Wrigleyville about a year ago, but it 'didn't work out with the zoning' in Ald. Tom Tunney's (44th) Ward."
Maybe he should've started BroPAC.
"Wojewocki said he 'wants to be like the Google of liquor delivery in Chicago,' meaning when people think search engine they think Google, and when they think 'liquor delivery' he'd like them to 'think Beer Run.'"
The Plague Of The E-Mailed Statement
If you don't consent to be interviewed, you are refusing to comment.
And - with few exceptions - if you publish statements in lieu of interviews, you aren't performing journalism or even stenography; you are simply enabling flackery at its most childish level.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
"So says Chicago's Civic Federation in an absolutely scathing review of CPS' proposed $6.6 billion fiscal 2014 budget - a review that asserts that the system's financial woes start with, but by no means are limited to, underfunding of its employee pension plan."
Yada, yada, yada.
The buried treasure is in the 12th paragraph:
"[Civic Federation President Laurence] Msall says he doesn't know how much the recent school closures and layoffs saved, because CPS won't say."
They won't or they can't?
Hinz, too, lets CPS respond with a written statement that can't be cross-examined and is allowed to stand as fact.
For example, the statement says "The district faces a historic $1 billion financial crisis due to a lack of pension reform in Springfield, which has forced us to make difficult decisions such as scraping the bottom of our reserve funds in order to keep cuts as far away from our classrooms as possible in addition to making $112 million in reductions to central office, admin and operations spending."
Let's break that down.
1. "The district faces a historic $1 billion financial crisis due to a lack of pension reform in Springfield . . ."
But Hinz reported in June that "Despite the lack of pension relief in Springfield, Chicago Public Schools has developed the outline of a plan to completely eliminate a projected $1 billion deficit for the school year that begins July 1. CPS officials are confirming that the plan."
(Now, perhaps CPS is talking about next year's deficit, but if so, they are conflating it with this year's cuts.)
And this latest CPS statement attributes the entire $1 billion deficit to the pension problem, despite earlier statements by the infamous Becky Carroll that "[W]e're facing a historic deficit of $1 billion that is driven primarily by a $400 million increase in our annual teacher pension payments."
(How a $1 billion deficit could be primarily caused by something driving 40% of the cost is another question for another day; what's driving the majority of the deficit?)
2. ". . . which has forced us to make difficult decisions such as scraping the bottom of our reserve funds in order to keep cuts as far away from our classrooms as possible . . . "
CPS has used its "reserve funds" nine times since 2003 so there's nothing new about that.
As far as keeping cuts as far away from classrooms as possible, that's a nice thing to say, but cuts have reached deeply into classrooms, so that's just empty and misleading rhetoric.
3. " . . . In addition to making $112 million in reductions to central office, admin and operations spending."
Well, at least they aren't just using the term "Central Office" anymore, though, like with the savings CPS claims from school closings, it refuses to show its math.
Part 2 of CPS's statement:
"We will continue to rigorously push for pension reform as we did last session and hope that union leadership will come to the table willing to support the kinds of reforms necessary to provide significant financial relief for our schools while keeping the pension system viable and sustainable for current and future retirees."
4. "We will continue to rigorously push for pension reform as we did last session . . . "
Msall's report, though, says CPS hardly pushed at all, much less rigorously, for pension reform last session. CPS ought to respond by describing its efforts in detail to test that claim.
5. " . . . and hope that union leadership will come to the table willing to support the kinds of reforms necessary to provide significant financial relief for our schools while keeping the pension system viable and sustainable for current and future retirees."
And unicorns for everyone. But really, if only unions could come together and support a plan that would be perfect for everyone!
Show us that plan, CPS.
Finally, my understanding is that city and CPS pension funds haven't even been part of the discussions in Springfield, which is trying to craft a bill to alter the structure of state pension funds. So this is a total misdirection play.
And even if city pension plans somehow snuck into the current negotiations (reportedly close to compromise three weeks ago) - unlikely - any budget impact wouldn't be felt until next year at the soonest. So the whole thing's a wank.
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Posted on August 22, 2013
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