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The [Thursday] Papers

Wow, what a day for Mayor Daley.

First - at least I think this happened first, I can't be sure of the chronology - former aldermonsters Arenda Troutman and Shirley Coleman crashed the ribbon-cutting the mayor was presiding over for the new, $254 million Kennedy-King College.

And Troutman and Coleman managed to come out of it as the sympathetic characters.

By all accounts, Troutman and Coleman worked their tails off for the college. "It was their unyielding demands of Daley that produced record levels of minority participation on the project," Fran Spielman reports in the Sun-Times.

Yet, there was Daley taking the credit.

"'It can be done,' Daley said of the minority participation in remarks delivered before Coleman and Troutman invaded the stage," the Tribune account says. "'Remember that. It can be done on every project, public or private.'

"Daley did not mention either of the former aldermen in his speech."

But he insisted he invited them.

"I would never, never ever slight any elected official or former elected official," Daley said, according to the Sun-Times.

Never? Never ever?

"They were invited."

"That's a lie!" Coleman said. "Neither of us got invitations. I found out about this 10 minutes prior to me getting here. This college would not hav been here if not for us. We stopped the project, made the mayor mad at us to get minority participation . . . "

Still, the mayor did get some favorable press out of the event.

"The party-crashing at 63rd and Halsted overshadowed an otherwise triumphant moment for Daley," Spielman wrote. "After $62 million in cost overruns and years of construction delays caused, in part, by community demands for a piece of the action, the showcase campus that the mayor envisioned is finally open."

Funny how $62 million in cost overruns and years of construction delays caused in part by demands for community participation - sound familiar? - can be recast in the mayor's favor.

The Mayor and the Mob
I'm just getting warmed up here.

"A furious Mayor Daley on Wednesday denounced as guilt by association attempts to link him to a Bridgeport trucker implicated in the bombing of a suburban restaurant," the Sun-Times reports.

Let's put it another way: "A petulant Mayor Daley on Wednesday refused to acknowledge his friendship with a longtime reputed mob member and recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in city contracts implicated in federal court this week for his alleged role in an Oufit bombing of a suburban restaurant."

"What enraged Daley was a front-page headline in the Sun-Times that read, 'Hit Man: Daley Pal In On Mob Bombing,'" Spielman reports.

Let's pick up the exchange with reporters from John Kass:

Daley: I think it's ridiculous.

Fran Spielman: It doesn't jibe with the Freddie Barbara, you know?

Daley: I said it's ridiculous. Just another headline you provide. Any other questions?

Gary Washburn: Mayor, this came out in federal court, though, in testimony, do you discount the possibility that it is true?

Daley: But I said, it's ridiculous to basicky [sic] place me in that position. That's how you do it, so I understand that. Any other questions?

Fran: Isn't he a friend of yours?

Daley: Any other questions?

Radio reporter in the back of the room: Is Barbara a mobster?

Daley: Any other questions?

Fran: But what is your relationship?

Daley: I said [voice raising] any other questions?

Yes. Why won't you answer the question?

"That's typical of the way the mayor deals with questions he doesn't want to answer," Rich Samuels said last night on Chicago Tonight.

The video was priceless. Daley was squirming so much I almost expected him to ask if he could say a prayer.

But this is not entertainment.

"Daley isn't the first mayor to know guys who know guys," Kass writes. "What Calabrese's testimony shows - except to those who have eyes but don't wish to see - is that the connections between organized crime and their servants in the police and politics is a Chicago thing."

Freddie Barbara told Carol Marin last year that he is "definitely a friend" of the mayor's.

"City Hall sources confirmed that view Wednesday," Spielman reports. "They describe Daley and Barbara as longitme friends who have golfed together.

One Daley confidante described them to Spielman as childhood friends.

"In 2004, shortly after the Sun-Times broke the Hired Truck scandal, Daley told reporters, Sure I know Fred Barbara.' The mayor said their families don't vacation together, but he acknowledged he had seen them at a few 'banquets,'" Spielman writes.

But don't let that or the "childhood friends" bit fool you.

"Daley is the green mayor, growing grass on rooftops, adding bike lanes, praised by artists and designers," Kass writes. "But when he needed political cash for a last-minute election push for his aldermanic candidates a few months ago, who came running? Al Gore? Michael Moore? Lord Wedgwood?

"No, it was Fred Barbara and Tommy DiPiazza and Tim Degnan who forked over the emergency cash. Barbara sent in almost $30,000."

Jackie Oh!
"Mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard explained Daley's outrage:

"'Just that you were able to put 'Daley' and 'mob' in a headline on the front page simply because he knows the guy? . . . Would you like to see your name just placed in the front-page headline which millions of people read so somehow, by association, it looks like he has involvement?'"

Jackie, just tell us why the sputtering mayor is so unable to describe his relationship with Barbara, then.

Daley Deflection
The mayor parted with one of his favorite shots: defending corruption in his administration by pointing to corruption in the media, particularly using Conrad Black as his shield in shining armor.

News flash for the mayor: Cackling at Fran Spielman because the owner of her paper was a crook is like cackling at the poor saps who made an honest effort to get a city job without going through the massively illegal Daley patronage machine. The mayor's analogy doesn't hold up because he fails to see that he's playing Black's role, not that of the reporters who were his victims.

One-Two Punch
The Sun-Times comes right back today: "Man Named In Trial 'A Very Good Banker': Implicated in Outfit bombing, Daley friend now sits on local boards."

Richie Wiggum
Oh, I'm not done yet.

"Mayor Richard Daley defended the Chicago Police Department and its troubled Special Operations Section after revelations that officers in the unit have been the subject of hundreds of citizen complaints," the Tribune reports.

"'We have a very good police department,' Daley declared. 'You cannot say there are a few bad apples and write them off just like the media does. You have a few bad apples as well.'"

Well, yes. But our bad apples aren't beating the crap out of people.

But Daley isn't entirely wrong. By my reading, the vast majority of citizen complaints accrue to a handful of cops. Often cops on elite units, which, as any student of policing knows, are recipes for rogue behavior. The Shield, anyone?

"More than 1,200 complaints have dogged 57 officers in the Chicago Police Department's elite Special Operations Section over the past five years," the Sun-Times reports.

"But only four of those complaints have led to discipline: a 15-day suspension and three reprimands."

Read that again. More than 1,200 complaints. Only four disciplinary actions. A 15-day suspension and three reprimands.

Boy, we do have a great police department!

"Daley said it stands to reason that [front-line cops] would draw the majority of complaints.

"'People do complain about that. [But] we have seized more guns - 12,000 to 15,000 guns. If you want them to stop seizing guns, then write an editorial.'"

Okay. So if you had any doubt up until now, I think we've just confirmed that we have a police department out of control.

"But on the eve of a City Council vote today on his plan to sever the Office of Professional Standards from the Police Department, the mayor made it a point to say, 'We're very concerned about professional conduct of any police officer," the Sun-Times reports.

Veteran police officers are whispering to reporters that gangbangers often file complaints as part of their defense. But as the Sun-Times editorial page says today, "It's simply not believable that 998 of 1,000 complaints are false or unsustainable."

Besides that, it's up to the public to be the judge. By opening up complaints to the public, we'll see which ones are bogus, too. If what the police and the mayor say is true, the department's reputation will only be enhanced by showing us how few complaints turn out to be valid. Somehow, though, I don't think that's what we would see - and the mayor knows it.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Complaints mostly sustained.



Permalink

Posted on July 19, 2007


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