The [Tuesday] Papers
"The City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve a groundbreaking change in the way Chicago funds public works, paving the way for five financing giants to spend $1.7 billion on 'transformative' projects in the city," the Sun-Times reports.
This despite the fact that hardly anybody other than Rahm Emanuel and the cowards on the city council thinks the plan - in its current form - is a good idea.
Opposed: The editorial boards of Crain's, the Tribune, and the Sun-Times as well as the Better Government Association, the Grassroots Collaborative and the city's own inspector general.
Don't say you weren't warned.
"What happens if these projects go bust? Where is the funding gonna come from to cover the losses? Every taxpayer ought to be concerned. The city will ultimately be on the hook for all the shortfalls," said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).
Clowns to the left of them, jokers to the right.
But at the meeting, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) opened the debate by talking about the reason why a public-private partnership is so essential.
Debatable, but that's not the choice. Making the ordinance better is.
Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) predicted that Chicago would blaze a trail that would be followed by other major cities.
That's what they said about the parking meters.
"We're not gonna depend on Springfield and Washington to solve our problems. They're not gonna be able to do it. We're not gonna be spoon-fed by Washington. We're not gonna be spoon-fed by Springfield. It's not available."
If I hear one more alderman recite a talking point from Rahm's media manipulators, I'm going to FOIA their talking points memo.
Ald. Will Burns (4th) noted that the states of California, Washington and Oregon are considering joining forces on an infrastructure trust.
If California, Washington and Oregon jumped off a cliff . . . I bet they'd make sure taxpayers were better protected than they are under Rahm's plan.
Debate on Tuesday's high-stakes vote was preceded by dueling news conferences in the hallway outside the City Council chambers featuring supporters and opponents of the mayor's plan.
Did all these people major in Missing The Point?
Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), the mayor's City Council floor leader, sounded like he was reading a script written by the mayor's office when he told the crowd of the 16 changes proposed by aldermen and adopted by Emanuel to strengthen oversight over the Trust.
That's classic Rahm. Make the choice between a crappy bill and the abstract notion of perfection that no one is demanding - unless you think subjecting public infrastructure projects to the Freedom of Information Act is some airy concept instead of the law of the land.
In the past, O'Connor has acknowledged that user fees would be needed to repay private investors with interest.
First, those tolls were supposed to be temporary. Second, under Rahm's trust user fees would go to private investors, not the city. Taxpayers will no longer be - in effect - paying themselves for public goods, but paying unelected and unaccountable bankers, hedge funds and Wall Street sharpies.
O'Connor noted that it will take three years to complete the $225 million energy retrofit of government buildings that will launch the Trust, giving aldermen plenty of time to "work through the Trust to determine whether [other] projects will work, how they will be paid for and be very selective."
Please. Rahm isn't going to sit around for three years while the city council works "through the Trust."
If they're not being straight with you now - and if they won't answer the simplest questions from aldermen and the press in advance of a vote - what makes anyone think we'll get it straight once the trust starts operating (in secret)?
The Goalie & The Enforcer
The Illinois State Fair Wants You To Want Them
Pretty Pennies & Coin Nuts
The Beachwood Tip Line: Trustworthy.
Posted on April 24, 2012
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