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The [Tuesday] Papers

In the two years that the paper has been investigating the city's Hired Truck program, the Chicago Sun-Times had never requested an interview with Mayor Richard M. Daley until it submitted written questions in advance of an interview that never happened regarding the paper's current series on the Roti family, reporter Tim Novak said last night on Chicago Tonight.

Hello?

Even if the mayor refused to comment for two years, that refusal should have been in every story, and in fact the mayor's refusal should have been a story in itself.

Instead, the mayor didn't even have to refuse, or spin, or otherwise dodge facing serious questions about the paper's findings. (The questions Daley faces at his frequent press conferences don't count; I can hardly think of a less productive environment for reporters to do their jobs in. Those press conferences exist for the convenience and message-massaging value to him and his administration, not for the press or the public.)

At the least, I'd like to see the Sun-Times publish the list of questions they sent to mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard (a former Chicago Tribune reporter), who says she read the list but decided not to present the questions to the mayor.

Why, Jackie? Too tough?

Chicagoans deserve more - from their press and their mayor.

Roti Reading: That said, the Roti series is worth plowing through despite being an organizational mess. Because at its core it's an inside look at how the city's power interests intersect, with city government as the pivot point.

Clout Trial
The Robert Sorich case continues with a former deputy commissioner of the sewers department testifying about "a piece of shit" city worker who often left work early getting promoted because of his political work for the Daley-created Hispanic Democratic Organization, in a prime example of what prosecutors argue has been a "massive fraud" perpetrated on taxpayers by this administration.

Green Scene
Pundit extraordinaire Paul Green has a great line in an otherwise aggravating Op-Ed piece today in the Sun-Times about political favors lists. In describing the way campaign contributors seek access to officeholders in exchange for their cash, Green says: "This is the reality. Of course, Illinois is probably more realistic than any other state in the Union . . . "

The aggravating part is how Green not only continues to see nothing wrong with clout- and cash-based politics, but in fact is convinced that life can't go on without it.

Clean politics, he says, would make governing impossible.

Why? He doesn't say.

Nor does he say where he would draw the line. I mean, why even have elections? Why not just auction public offices to the highest bidders? Why not make policy the same way? I mean, if you don't have the cash, why should you have any say in how a democratic government works? We can't let everyone get in to see their elected representatives.

How such a likable, sharp and witty local observer (who was kind enough to ask me once to contribute to one of his books) can actually believe that the Chicago Way is the best way for the city to do its business is beyond me.

Second That Emo Shun
In a post to his blog responding to the Tribune's recent emo report, and my criticism of it, Lake County Coroner Richard Keller agrees that emo groups on MySpace "aren't necessarily a bad thing" because they can function as support groups; explains why "cutting" is highly unlikely to result in accidental death; and says that while the Tribune describes kids who think mental illness is "ultra-cool," in his experience mental illness is still seen as a stigma.

Offensive Attack
Does Sun-Times letter-writer Sonja Dalton of Barrington have a point?

"[Suburban high school board member] Leslie Pinney is not asking that seven books be 'banned.' ('7 Deadly Books? Talk Of Ban Hits Burbs') She is recommending that books not be placed on a required reading list," Dalton writes today.

"I challenge the Sun-Times: If materials at culturecampaign.com are innocuous, print them in the newspaper for adults to read. I wonder why you wouldn't do that. Oh, it's because newspaper editors don't think profanity and explicit depictions of sex with oneself, sex with the same sex and the opposite sex, forcible sodomy, oral sex and sex with a dog are 'appropriate' for their adult readers."

I think she does have a point. But it's more about newspaper editors than school reading lists.

Sherman's March
Whatever anyone may have thought about him, Sherman Skolnick was a true character. He died in his sleep on Sunday, and Mark Konkol got his obit just right.

Dempster and North
If anyone can sort out who said what and who misquoted whom, let me know. But in the meantime, check out the far more important news from The Score - Mike North's interview with Tribune Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan about team president Andy MacPhail's view of how a sister subsidiary ought to act.

Papers Chase
Catch up with The [Sunday] Papers and The [Monday] Papers.

And don't forget to donate to The Beachwood Reporter. You will be put on our clout list and qualify for fabulous prizes.

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Posted on May 23, 2006


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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