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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Dawn Clark Netsch, an iconic Illinois political presence for more than six decades, died Tuesday morning from complications from ALS. She was 86," Carol Marin reports.

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Two tweets that say a lot:

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See also: Netsch was one of the nation's first female law professors.

The Redflex Way
"Chicago, Illinois is not be the only city where employees of Redflex Traffic Systems have bribed U.S. officials," TheNewspaper reports.

"In a conference call with shareholders on Tuesday, the Australian photo enforcement firm's interim chairman, Michael McConnell, made the admission as he vowed to restore the 'ethical compass' of Redflex.

"It's a fair question to say if this was going on in Chicago, might it have been going on somewhere else," McConnell told investors on Tuesday. "We found two other geographies that raise concern, and those investigations are considerably smaller than the one just completed. We expect that work to be done - with a final report on all their investigative activities - no later than the end of March."

So not sure the reporting supports the lead - yet - but still.

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"In answer to a shareholder question, Redflex declined to identify any ethical lapses at its competitors, American Traffic Solutions or Xerox (formerly Affiliated Computer Services). ACS was caught giving hockey tickets and other services to police officers in Edmonton, Canada, although criminal charges were ultimately dropped.

"American Traffic Solutions (ATS) regularly entertains public officials involved in red light camera business, but the airfare, lodging and wages during the event is paid for by taxpayers, not ATS."

So they let the public officials pay they entertain pick up the tab?

Important to know because:

"Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc. was selected as the preferred bidder for an automated camera system to tag speeders near public schools and parks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration said," the Tribune reported last month.

Also from that report:

"ATS recently agreed to pay up to $4.2 million in partial refunds on a half-million New Jersey tickets that might have been issued in violation of state law.

"While not admitting fault, the company said it wanted to support its client cities in an effort to cut short a series of class-action lawsuits alleging its red-light camera systems weren't properly inspected nor certified by 11 municipalities before citations began hitting mailboxes throughout the state in 2009."

Secret Police State
"The University of Chicago Police Department said Monday it had placed two employees on administrative leave and launched an investigation after university officials acknowledged that an officer posed as a protester during a demonstration over U. of C. hospital trauma care last month," the Tribune reports.

Gee, I wonder where they got that idea?

Surveilling Swartz
"In 2008, Carl Malamud, a freedom-of-information activist, put the word out that the pacer (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database, which normally charged eight cents a page for public documents with no copyright, was offering a free trial of its services at seventeen libraries," the New Yorker reports.

"Malamud called on activists to go to these libraries, download the files, and post them free on the Web. [Aaron] Swartz went to a library in Chicago and downloaded twenty per cent of the database before he was discovered and pacer called off the trial. He was investigated by the F.B.I.: it conducted surveillance on his parents' house, near Chicago, and compiled a detailed dossier on him . . .

"Swartz grew up in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. His father designed computer software and consulted on intellectual-property issues; his mother stayed home. He taught himself to read at three and was reading novels by the time he was in kindergarten, so his parents sent him to an elementary school for gifted children."

Rauner Downer
"Today, Illinois business and civic leader Bruce Rauner officially announced that he is actively considering a run for Governor in 2014," his not-quite-a-campaign says in a press release issued this morning (emphasis mine).

"Rauner, a Republican, filed papers with the Illinois State Board of Elections creating an exploratory campaign committee that will allow him to begin fully exploring a candidacy."

"Rauner's initial effort will not be a formal or traditional campaign. After spending several months talking with local and national leaders in business, education reform, and politics, and crisscrossing the state attending Lincoln Day Dinners and other events, Rauner is now entering a more intense period of consideration of a potential candidacy. For the next 60 days, Rauner will significantly increase his events and meetings, while looking to make a final determination on a candidacy well in advance of the March, 2014 primary election."

So "straight talk" not likely to be a campaign theme.

Alternate: What's next, a task force to study the issue?

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He likes to say he's not a politician but he's already learned how to talk like one.

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And now comes the inevitable "listening tour."

"I want to hear what's on Illinoisans' minds. For the next sixty days I'm going to do something folks in Springfield don't do - listen. I want to listen to how our citizens think we should tackle our state's problems."

Here's a thought: If you haven't listened to Illinoisans yet and don't already know what's on their minds and how they want problems tackled, you aren't qualified to run for governor.

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Of course, "listening tours" are really about listening to the sound of donors opening their checkbooks if enough special interests and demographic niches seem to like what they hear; sorry for being briefly earnest.

Sneednam Style
Sneed, February 27:

"Basketball terror Dennis Rodman, whose past personal and financial decisions appear to be on the same intellectual plane as a house plant, had this to say on Twitter when he landed in leader Kim Jong-un's North Korea this week to participate in a goodwill tour with a gaggle of Harlem Globetrotters: 'Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone . . . Maybe I'll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I'm here.' Uhhhhhh . . . the Gangnam dude lives in South Korea!"

Sneed, March 4:

"It should come as no surprise, basketball bad boy Dennis 'His Airheadness' Rodman, returned from his kiss kiss trip to North Korea and power coupling with leader Kim Jong Un to deliver a message that Kim wants President Barack Obama to call him.

"It should also come as no surprise Obama will do no such 'gangnam' thing."

Did I miss the column in the interim where the Koreas united?

The Political Odds
Even more names added to the lieutenant governor sweepstakes. Plus, the Over/Under on how many CPS schools will be closed.

First Time Ever: U of C Ties Vortex In A Knot
Dolphins and a 3-D printer.

Theo's Thesis Thucks
"Mr. Epstein is still selling a plan that doesn't synch up with basic baseball truths," our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman writes.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: 10-4, we've got our ears on.



Permalink

Posted on March 5, 2013


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Trump's Farmer Heavily Subsidized.
SPORTS - The Cubs' Season In Verse.

BOOKS - Dots & Dashes.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Certified Angus Beef® Honors Chicago Stars.


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