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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Illinois lawmakers returned to the State Capitol today to consider Gov. Pat Quinn's changes to a bill authorizing the concealed carrying of firearms in the state," the Tribune reports.

"Sponsoring Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat, has accused Quinn of using the governor's amendatory veto powers to tighten the restrictions as a move aimed at bolstering political support for re-election among city and suburban voters who support gun-control."

Phelps is right - and so is Quinn.

The basic media narrative has Quinn's concealed carry rewrite as just the latest of his ham-handed moves, but even if the General Assembly rejects his changes wholesale, he'll have put himself on the righteous side of the issue and his legislative opponents (of both parties) on the side of endangering your safety.

"I fought for tougher, more sensible restrictions and if you re-elect me I'll continue that fight!" he can say.

After all, is it really unreasonable to require bars to post signs stating they allow concealed guns instead of requiring bars to post signs only if they don't? Why not make the presumption go the other way?

Rahm's Trust Is A Bust
"When Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, he billed it as 'the breakout strategy for the city of Chicago,' a nonprofit agency that's supposed to lure private investment for public projects the city could not afford," the Tribune reports.

"More than a year later, however, the organization has yet to break ground on any ventures. Its first initiative, to make city buildings and schools more energy-efficient, is behind schedule."

And to think that establishing the Trust was a matter of such urgency that there was no time to think through and establish reasonable transparency and accountability measures, much less actually understand how it would work.

*

"In response to questions about delays tied to the trust's energy-efficiency project, dubbed Retrofit Chicago, Emanuel spokesman Tom Alexander said it was important the trust move forward cautiously so it 'does things right.'"

Maybe if the administration saw it important to movie cautiously to do things right in establishing the Trust, instead of crashing ahead recklessly in order to make a PR splash, the Trust wouldn't be having the problems getting even the basics down.

*

"One aspect of that initiative has raised questions about the agency's role because it is seeking private financing for construction projects that have already been completed and paid for by Chicago Public Schools. The agency's delay in obtaining that financing has prompted finger-pointing between the trust and CPS, which by now had expected to receive nearly $40 million from the trust that has yet to materialize."

I'm not sure I understand this - is the Tribune saying that CPS went ahead with projects that the Trust promised to fund without the financing actually being in place?

*

"CPS spokesman David Miranda said the district expects to recoup its lighting investment in six years through electricity savings."

That's in CPS years. In human years, that means about 10 years - if at all.

*

"The slow start has not stopped the hype surrounding Emanuel's push. Former President Bill Clinton regularly lauds the Infrastructure Trust as a trailblazing detour for American cities looking to get around a gridlocked Congress and depleted state treasuries to pay for important construction work.

"Mayor Emanuel has worked tirelessly to make investments in infrastructure, and he put together a very unique coalition here creating America's first urban infrastructure bank," Clinton said last month as he introduced the mayor before a Clinton Global Initiative speech in Chicago. "Instead of waiting - Rahm's not very good at waiting - he brought together people from all sectors of the economy in Chicago and started to work."

Maybe that's the point - that the rest of America thinks Rahm has an innovative infrastructure bank here that is signature Rahm, the result if his impatience at waiting for action and results.

Except that saying you've done something is not the same as actually doing it.

*

"Even as Clinton sat by Emanuel's side for a national cable television interview last month to say the trust had made the mayor a pioneer on infrastructure funding, the nonprofit remained a one-man operation in search of permanent office space.

"[Stephen] Beitler is the trust's lone full-time employee, and he has leaned on the pro bono services of Chicago financial, legal and public relations firms to get the organization up and running. In between consulting with potential investors and poring over potential bid documents, Beitler said he has juggled everything from installing computer software to replacing the trust's hacked website."

That's the vaunted Trust? Hard to square that with this:

"The mayor's office continues to provide the trust the support it needs to do its work. The Retrofit Chicago project is moving forward and will be implemented soon, saving tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and providing a great example of the potential the trust has to offer," Alexander said in an email. "Throughout the process of implementing the trust, we received feedback that we should be careful and deliberate as we implement the projects, which is exactly what is happening."

It doesn't sound like that's what is exactly happening at all. (But as long as the Tribune allows public officials to send in manufactured quotes over e-mail, they can't question them on their bullshit.)

*

"Proclaiming that 'our needs are bigger than what Washington and Springfield can do anymore,' Emanuel created the trust with a mission to secure upfront cash the city didn't have to do public works projects."

But, as the Trib points out, CPS had no problem doing the lighting work without private cash upfront. And that makes it unlikely it will get reimbursed.

"Trust board member David Hoffman, a former city inspector general, said he was 'somewhat dubious' about the wisdom of seeking investors to pay for completed projects, saying it was 'very different from getting private funding to help you do something you otherwise couldn't do.'"

*

"Trust chairman James Bell, a retired Boeing executive, did not return calls seeking comment. Neither did two other board members, Ald. John Pope, 10th, and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. Trust member Diana Ferguson could not be reached."

Transparency and accountability. Just saying the words doesn't make them so.

*

"A mayoral aide said there are plenty of city initiatives where the directive out of Emanuel's fifth-floor office is, 'Get it done now.' But the aide said the mayor has allowed for the trust's projects to develop 'organically.'"

Like I said, the urgency was getting a talking point passed, not actually doing the work.

*

"But another source familiar with the trust's work said Emanuel and his top lieutenants also did not grasp how complex putting together the first project would be, and thus, thought private investment would have been secured sooner than what was realistic."

And yet, those who did realize how complicated Trust deals would be were derided when it was before the council.

"This might be the greatest idea on earth," Ald. Brendan Reilly said before voting against the plan at a finance committee meeting. "I just have so many questions, I haven't been able to figure out if it is."

Rahm reportedly read Reilly the riot act after that.

And yet . . .

"Complicating matters, the source said, was that the Emanuel administration often has been uncertain and changed course on what the terms of an investment deal should look like, contributing to delays in releasing a bid proposal."

Rahm never measures twice to saw once; he just saws and saws and saws and makes up the measurements as he goes.

-

Previously:
* The [Infrastructure Bank] Papers (Or Smells Like Teen Parking Meters)

* Infrastructure Bank Cirtics Have A new Villain And His Name Is Joe "Proco" Moreno

* 11 More Things About Rahm's Bank

-

The Political Odds
Governor Daley? Governor Madigan? Governor Rauner?

We've got the odds.

-

Chimps, Footlongs & China
Plus: Interstellar Pizza Overdrive and Subway Sandwich Science.

In a very special Random Food Report.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Bustin' makes you feel good.



Permalink

Posted on July 9, 2013


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Obscene Healthcare CEOs.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Lazy Hazy Crazy Dog Days.

BOOKS - The Origins Of Environmental Bullshit.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Daisies.


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