The [Tuesday] Papers
"What seems like a good idea at the start can quickly go sour, as anyone who's ever offered to pick up the tab in a crowded bar can attest," Crain's says in an editorial. "Still mildly hung over from the NATO experience, we now await a full accounting of the weekend's total cost.
"Our guess is that the Blues Brothers-scale army of security personnel so visible throughout the NATO conference will be pricey, though presumably the feds will chip in something to defray that particular expense. Just how much we won't know for a while.
"The city's restaurants, retailers, cabbies and museums - idled as Chicagoans avoided the Loop the way a preschooler avoids a salad bar - won't be so lucky. Could these businesses apply for federal disaster relief?"
Quibble: Who even thought it was a good idea at the start?
"Their short-term pain would be eased somewhat if we could believe that Chicago stands to reap a longer-term gain in the form of increased tourism and trading opportunities following the city's star turn. We still have our doubts. And as the motorcades, the protesters, the banners and the columns of uniformed police fade from our screens, only one thing is truly clear to us: Until the very end, City Hall oversold the benefits and undersold the traffic and business disruption that the NATO weekend likely would bring."
To be fair, the NATO summit was originally paired with the G8 meeting. Which made it a doubly dumb idea - though it created a huge opportunity for the Occupy movement that was dramatically deflated when the G8 summit was moved to Camp David.
"NATO boosters say one upside was that Chicago proved it could pull off an event of this magnitude with a relative minimum of fuss and disorder. We agree, but who, aside from Chicagoans with a severe case of Second City Syndrome, believed this point really needed to be reiterated? We thought Chicago successfully had erased the memory of 1968 by hosting a drama-free Democratic National Convention in 1996."
Here's an idea: Memories cannot be erased. Nor should they. Al Capone and the '68 convention are part of our history. No one is going to forget. Nor should they. Own 'em.
"And oddly, in its zeal to train the locals to duck and cover, Chicago may have inadvertently reinforced the cow-town image we seem so eager to shake: Out-of-town media reports, while highlighting the city's charms, also noted the overwhelming police presence and the almost otherworldly emptiness of the downtown area."
Meanwhile, the city has fallen all over itself to congratulate our police force for not embarrassing us, which apparently is the new standard for excellence. Way to fight off those 20 unarmed dead-enders trying to symbolically push through a six-deep militarized force backed by horses, street sweepers, tear gas, a sound cannon, helicopters and the Secret Service!
"At a moment when it could have shrugged and gotten on with life as big cities do - think New York when the United Nations General Assembly is in session or Washington almost anytime of the year - Chicago instead appeared to gasp and clutch its pearls."
So funny that the Democrats always market themselves to the American people as the party that acts just like Republicans. "Democrats: The stupid, heartless bastards you can feel good about!"
Indeed, it's so handsome that it's bound to spark debate about whether the money spent on it would have been put to better use fixing the CTA's creaking rails and maddening "slow zones." The construction was paid for by state and federal grants, as well tax increment financing funds meant to spur investment on the Near West Side. Yet as Tribune transportation writer Jon Hilkevitch noted in Friday's paper, the station followed, rather than fostered, the area's resurgence."
This whole city is so backwards they ought to run the trains in reverse.
In the Tribune's version of the story, they linked to a bio of Hilkevitch but not his article. I fixed that.
The System Works
"Now - just four months after his withdrawal allowed the son of a top aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley to run for judge unopposed - Carroll has landed on his feet, too."
Wait for it.
"The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Carroll to fill a countywide seat."
"Carroll, a former private attorney and defense attorney, was one of four candidates who in January dropped out of the race to fill a judicial vacancy he had already been temporarily appointed to fill.
"The withdrawals left Dan Degnan, the son of former mayoral adviser Tim Degnan, to run uncontested in a March primary, even though Dan Degnan had been rated 'not qualified' or 'not recommended' by more than a dozen bar associations."
Carroll? Well, he earned it the old-fashioned way: He shut up and took his medicine.
And now they are administering justice.
"House Speaker Michael Madigan in January refused to answer questions about whether he played any role in the decision of Carroll and the other candidates to drop out of the race. Reached Sunday, his spokesman Steve Brown again declined to comment, saying 'I don't know what this has to do with Mr. Madigan.'"
Justice Delayed . . .
"Hugh Donlan, the $77,280-a-year personnel chief for the Transportation Department's Bureau of Electricity, has been slapped with a 90-day suspension and started serving his time earlier this month."
He rigged hiring and his punishment is a summer vacation.
"Transportation Department spokesman Peter Scales said the disciplinary process was actually initiated in 2008 when aides to then-Mayor Richard M. Daley informed Donlan of the city's intention to suspend him for 90 days.
"'The disciplinary process was put on hold, and the suspension was not served due to his ongoing role as a witness in two criminal cases. Those two cases extended over a period of several years,' Scales said, referring to the trials of Daley's former patronage chief Robert Sorich and ex-Streets and Sanitation commissioner Al Sanchez.
"'When the new commissioner of CDOT became aware that the 2008 disciplinary process had not yet concluded, we re-initiated the disciplinary process again, serving Donlan with charges and again seeking a 90-day suspension.'"
"Under questioning, Scales acknowledged that it was Inspector General Joe Ferguson who kept the heat on Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein to punish Donlan."
"Sources said the inspector general also is pressuring Mayor Rahm Emanuel to take action against 'a couple dozen' other city employees who have yet to pay any price for roles they admittedly played in the hiring scandal."
To be fair, though, Rahm has been awfully busy giving speeches about accountability.
Oh, and those illegal HDO armies helped get him elected to Congress, so . . . awkward!
"City officials also have come under pressure to punish other city officials from Noelle Brennan, who was appointed by a federal judge to monitor city hiring shortly after the hiring scandal in the Daley administration erupted in 2005. Brennan has asked the city to investigate and possibly discipline more than 20 officials who were identified as participants in the hiring fraud during the Sorich and Sanchez trials, court records show."
Two parking tickets and you get the boot in Chicago. Just sayin'.
"Weeks before Daley left office last year, and over the objections of city lawyers, Brennan won the right to investigate and recommend discipline against administration officials who were involved in the hiring scam that fueled Daley's political machine.
"'Since the Sorich trial, city employees have frequently called the monitor's office to voice frustration and incredulity that employees who were directly implicated in the unlawful patronage practices were never reprimanded by the city,' Brennan wrote in court filings. 'Some of the complainants continue to be supervised by the same supervisors who passed them over for promotions in favor of politically clouted and less qualified candidates.'"
Some of them may even become judges!
"Six years ago, Donlan testified under oath that he rigged city hiring to make certain that job openings in the Department of Streets and Sanitation went only to clout-heavy candidates whose names Donlan received from Jack Drumgould, then personnel director for the department.
"His testimony came during the federal corruption trial that culminated in the convictions of Sorich, who came from the Daley family's 11th Ward power base, and three other city officials.
"Testifying under a grant of immunity, Donlan acknowledged that the names passed on by Drumgould originated in the mayor's office."
"In fact, when jobs for general foreman were filled in 2004, Donlan said he made certain the highest ratings went to six people whose names originated in the mayor's office, even though three of them were not qualified and one had been suspended twice for disciplinary problems.
"Three years later, Donlan was back on the stand offering similar testimony - this time during the first trial of Sanchez, the Streets and San boss who also was a longtime leader of HDO's branch on the Southeast Side.
"Donlan said bright-eyed applicants who thought they stood a chance of getting hired by the Bureau of Electricity - which at the time was in the Streets and Sanitation Department - had false hope.
"Interviewers were told not to even bother filling out rating forms, he said. If a rating form was filled out by mistake, 'I'd put it in the garbage,' Donlan said then."
Let me tell you something, folks: Even bottom-notch tech talent is really hard to find.
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Posted on May 29, 2012
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