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The [Tuesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

Just as news organizations face the question of whether to allow free advertising into their news reports by referring to the U.S. Cellular Fields and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowls of our world, the Chicago media in particular faces a question when referring to the Independent Police Review Authority.

The Independent Police Review Authority used to be called the Office of Professional Standards, until Mayor Richard M. Daley reconstituted the office after complaints about OPS became too much to politically bear.

But there is nothing "independent" about IPRA. The mayor hires its chief administrator.

Rather, the name is a concoction borne of a political strategy; it's a piece of propaganda.

Every time, though, the media refers to the Independent Police Review Authority, readers and viewers get the impression that some sort of outside agency is at work.

The media might be transmitting the fact of the authority's name, but it's also transmitting a falsehood about what it is.

IPRA's own website is straight out of Soviet annals.

"The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is an independent department of the City of Chicago staffed with the civilian investigators."

I understand that this is supposed to mean independent of the police department, but it's not independent of the City of Chicago, i.e., the mayor's office.

"IPRA was created by the Chicago Police Department in 1974 in response to public and internal concerns about the integrity of excessive force investigations."

Is this an admission that IPRA is the same thing as OPS, or an attempt to erase IPRA's previous incarnation?

"In 2007, by ordinance, the City of Chicago re-structured IPRA creating an independent City department."

Okay, maybe I'm nitpicking about the website, but it's all of a piece. So whenever I see Independent Police Review Authority in the press, I bristle.


David Axelrod came up with the "Urban Health Initiative" to help sell the University of Chicago Hospital's patient-dumping. I wonder if he came up with Independent Police Review Authority too.


This isn't to cast aspersions on current IPRA chief Ilana Rosenzweig. It's to once again ask the media to not allow itself to be outmanuevered by the people they cover.

Fool's Game
"Do you think that I'm actually a damned fool?" U.S. Rep. Danny Davis asked a reporter who had asked if his heretofore dual candidacy for re-election to Congress and the Cook County Board presidency was some sort of political gambit.

Why yes, Danny, we do!

You made an ass of yourself hawking polls purportedly showing you leading all candidates in the county board race while simultaneously passing petitions to keep your old job. And then, having supposedly failed in a breakfast meeting to persuade Todd Stroger and his 10 percent approval rating to drop out of the race, you up and quit yourself.

I understand the concern that multiple black candidates could open a path to victory for white sewage district honcho Terry O'Brien in the Democratic primary, but you've already stated very clearly that you don't think Stroger can win.

The reporter asked a reasonable question.

Toni Time?
Dorothy Brown and Todd Stroger have challenged each other's petitions, and both could conceivably be knocked off the ballot. That would give Toni Preckwinkle a one-on-one with O'Brien on the Dem side.

Magnet Madness
Families with one child in a magnet school will get an ever better chance than they already have of getting additional siblings into the same school under a new policy being worked out by Chicago Public Schools.

More nepotism? Isn't this going backwards? It's like instituting legacies.

Imagine if your brainy kid lost one of those hard-to-come-by spots in a magnet school to an inferior student because the numbskull had a really smart older sister. Fair?

I understand the benefits of having kids from the same family attend the same school, but once again we see how magnet schools are solutions that ignore the real problem. Kids should go to neighborhood schools. Brothers and sisters can attend together. Many wouldn't even have to take a bus. Communities would be strengthened. And we could rid ourselves of magnet madness in all its incarnations.

But if we only had neighborhood schools, we'd have a segregation problem - though not necessarily one that much worse than what we already have. And apparently upstanding white families would flee the city. Neither problem is really the fault of the school system, though, so I humbly suggest we stop trying using the school system - children - to solve them.

Poll Dance
"The campaign for Cheryle Jackson released today the results of a poll that shows nearly half of the voters in the Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate are undecided, and Jackson quickly moves from second place to first once voters are introduced to the candidates' messages and qualifications," the campaign says.

I wonder which messages they are using. "Cheryle Jackson rules! Would you vote for her now?"


"In short, polling shows that Cheryle Jackson is a frontrunner in the race for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat."

Isn't everyone "a" frontrunner in a small field - except maybe whoever is running last? And maybe even then?

The State Legislator Who Rocks
Loves Yo La Tengo and KISS.

Parking Meter Politics
"Parking meters have become such a political issue that in St. Petersburg, Fla., mayoral candidates have run on proposals to either eliminate all parking meters downtown or reduce meter enforcement hours," AP reports.

Home Wrecker
State Rep. Deb Mell (yes, that Mell) may lose her House seat because she allegedly used the wrong address on her nominating petitions.

Poverty Elimination Panel
Off to a slow start.

Oprah and L.A.
Why she might go.

Shoes Drop
For entertainment purposes only. Including gambling.

Buckle and Suckle
The pratfalls of desire.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Now with reward points.


Posted on November 10, 2009

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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