The [Thursday] Papers
I just have to shake my head and mutter. It's comical, but not really funny. What city has everyone been living in for the last 18 years?
"Taxpayers shouldn't be continually surprised and chagrined that the mayor and the [Olympic] organizers have told them one thing and done another," the Tribune editorial page bravely avers this morning. "Just don't hide the facts."
I'm sure the mayor will read that and have an epiphany: "Get Ryan on the phone! I want all the facts out!"
Similarly, the Sun-Times editorial page notes this morning that "two recent developments appear to confirm" that "skepticism" about the city's Olympic financing promises were "well-grounded."
Yes, developments do appear to indicate that.
"The time for secrecy is over," the paper says.
Yes, now that the mayor has pushed his plan through the city council and it's safe to say so.
But I have another idea. Maybe the time for secrecy was over a long time ago! Just musing!
Like back when the Sun-Times decided to label its Olympic stories "Bringing the Olympics to Chicago."
Maybe the paper could have gone with "The Secret Olympic Bid!" and done some reporting.
So when the paper's editorial page says "Let's bring the planning process into the open so we know, to the greatest degree possible, what we're getting into," I have to wonder: are they talking to the mayor's office (which, again, is sure to have that epiphany) or the newsroom (which surely won't)?
No matter. It's too late. We're in it!
Here's the thing: the mayor planned it this way. He chose secrecy. It was a political strategy hammered out behind closed doors. The very purpose was to prevent public discussion from getting in the way of doing things his way. He subverted the process purposely. Have we learned nothing from Meigs Field? Soldier Field? Millennium Park? The mayor honestly believes this is the best way to get things done. And he knows the editorial pages and a few recalcitrant aldermen will whine into the night about "transparency" and "the process" after he's already gotten what he wants. I'm sure he can live with it.
So unless you're new to town, there's no excuse to be surprised. And if you are, you should be ashamed.
Both aldermen voted in favor of the mayor's Olympic financing scheme, but frankly I'm not sure either has a tight grasp on the plan - despite Lyle's assurance that the city council is a legislative oversight body. Really? When does that start?
Lyle must have gotten her talking points mixed up with those from a Los Angeles councilmember when she argued that Chicago's advantage was that our venues were already built.
Ocasio argued that Millennium Park wasn't late and overbudget because the scope of the park kept changing. As I said last night, that's not an encouraging model.
Ocasio also said he thought the council had sent a message to the mayor about including the aldermen in the process going forward. Yes, 45 of 50 said it wasn't necessary!
So that was just a practice vote yesterday?
"Ironically, the same people who didn't want to tell us that this guarantee would be required want us now to trust them that the possibility of having to use these guarantees is very, very, very remote," Preckwinkle said. "The funny thing is I think you could make a case - if people were more honest - you could make a case that even if the city has to make these guarantees to get the Olympics, it's worth it."
Gee, just think what would happen if they took control of the Chicago City Council.
What Cruickshank doesn't do is reveal what he and Editor-in-Chief Michael Cooke did in the Black years to appease their proprietor, and more particularly, former publisher and now star prosecution witness David Radler, who stuck his hand in the newsroom on many occasions. The stories of editorial integrity compromised are legion, but on that score the paper has yet to come clean. The damage Black and Radler wrought wasn't just financial.
It's also fair to ask Cooke and Cruickshank, placed in their jobs by Black and Radler, what they knew and when they knew it.
Maybe they should force feed them until their livers explode and then serve them at Hot Doug's.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Well-grounded.
Posted on March 15, 2007
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