The [Tuesday] Papers
Political scandals in Chicago, which in my mind includes state government, come with an unerring ability to add to the already-rich vernacular of fixers and operators scheming in any manner of way to get a little on the side. Who can forget such timeless classics as former Chicago treasurer Miriam Santos's FBI-recorded squeeze on a contractor/contributor, "Now it's time for people to belly up," followed by "I am human and probably the first woman to go to jail for PMS-ing"? And sometimes the phrase-making comes from prosecutors, as in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's description of Tony Rezko's dealings as pay-to-play on steroids.
We can now add Ald. Arenda Troutman's instant classic, recorded by the FBI, "Well, the thing is, most politicians are hos."
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Let's take a look at some of the other highlights from the Troutman follies.
"The agents also asked a nanny, who spoke through another window, to let them inside and called the home several times with no response," the AP reported. After 20 to 30 minutes, the agents broke a window to open a door and enter."
By the way, that AP story, sent 'round the globe, started this way:
"CHICAGO - FBI agents had to break a window at a city alderman's home to get inside Monday to arrest her on a federal bribery charge, authorities said."
Which would explain the 20- to 30-minute delay. She had a lot of shredding to do. But shouldn't agents have gone in right away?
A) As opposed to today, when they wear faux-fur.
Yes, women are vulnerable like that.
* In 1990, Daley appointed her alderman.
* In 2004, the FBI questioned Troutman about her relationship with Jehan.
* In 2004, she also had police officers assigned to guard her home 24/7. "Deserve it? Damn right," she said. "I should receive the protection I am receiving. I am an elected official."
* In 2004, the Sun-Times editorial page said that Troutman had "accepted $4,800 from an Englewood church even though churches aren't allowed to make political donations. And she managed to get the property tax reduced on her home when her neighbors were hit with higher bills."
* In 2005, a Sun-Times investigation found that "Ald. Arenda Troutman's family created and ran a trucking company that took in more than $1.1 million from the city's scandalous Hired Truck Program."
* Spielman reports "that Troutman's sister and mother serve on her aldermanic staff. Another sister who has since died was the 20th Ward sanitation superintendent. Other family members hold other government jobs."
Tale of Two Trucks
"The Duffs stole $100 million earmarked for blacks and other minorities. . . . White men [used] their mothers, sisters and daughters to steal $40 million. They abused the Hired Truck Program designed to help blacks and other minorities pull themselves up by their bootstraps. These people were getting contracts because they lived in a white city. They were greedy and wanted the minority share," she said. "My constituents want a fair shot at jobs and contracts."
From Spielman's account at the time: "When Troutman said she was 'speaking truth to power,' Daley replied, 'It doesn't bother me.' When she ended her speech, he mockingly applauded."
From Spielman today: "Daley blamed Troutman's tale of two cities remark on a 'complex' ward with Hispanics on one end and blacks on the other that pulls the alderman in opposite directions."
Daley, in Springfield for Gov. Rod Blagojevich's inauguration, had no comment on Troutman's arrest. He was seen mockingly applauding, though.
More Efficient Bribery
She also complained that the press didn't treat her fairly in the Jehan and Hired Truck matters.
Cynicism Writ Large
The Sun-Times editorial page also says "Since her appointment to the City Council in 1990, troutman has distinguished herself mostly for her lack of good judgement."
Gee, is that why the paper has endorsed her in each of her four campaigns? Let's review.
* In 1991, the Sun-Times endorsed Troutman despite board member Vernon Jarrett writing this: "And in the all-black 20th Ward, a scurrilous, sick campaign is in high gear against Dino McNeal, 32, an independent who is challenging Daley appointee Ald. Arenda Troutman. McNeal is a native of this troubled ward who stayed and earned a college degree in psychology and is employed by the Salvation Army. He came back home to work the streets against crime and voter apathy. Yet, he is being smeared as a 'dope pusher with a long criminal record.'
"His police record shows nothing but one traffic violation. Such sick tactics will continue into the next century unless decent people decide to reject them and make a determined effort to deny office to all who rely on public gullibility."
* In 1995, the Sun-Times endorsed Troutman saying this: "Arenda Troutman is an outstanding public official."
* In 1999, the Sun-Times endorsed Troutman saying this: "Ald. Arenda Troutman managed to bring significant economic development projects to her ward."
* And in 2003, the Sun-Times endorsed Troutman in an editorial titled "8 Great Choices for City Council."
So I'm guessing she still has a chance to get the paper's endorsement this year.
* In 1991, the Trib edit page said this: "The death of Ald. Ernest Jones has led to the largest field in any ward: 20 candidates. They include his widow, Georgia Jones; his former chief of staff, John Lewis; and Ald. Arenda Troutman, picked by the Democratic organization to succeed Jones. A better choice than all of them is Mary Ann Broy, a city Department of Human Services supervisor."
The paper then skeptically endorsed Troutman in a runoff against Dino McNeal.
* In 1995, the Trib edit page said this: "Ald. Arenda Troutman has made some headway on housing, but her tenure has generally been a disappointment. She would merit re-election against lackluster opponents. But this field includes an excellent challenger: Dino McNeal, founder and director of a successful social service agency. He would bring a sharper focus to servicing the ward."
* In 1999, the Trib edit page said this: "Ald. Arenda Troutman has had a go-along, get-along four years, and her ward has precious little to show for her mediocre performance. The ward would see more effective leadership from Julius Polk, a national account executive with a shipping firm and president of the Woodlawn Development Association. A lifelong resident of the area, Polk would bring a more professional approach to managing the ward."
* In 2003, the Trib edit page said this: "Ald. Arenda Troutman has been an engaged and vocal advocate for her ward."
She had four opponents that year, including a former state representative and an Operation Push executive.
The True Story . . .
The Beachwood Tip Line: It's time to belly up, hos!
Posted on January 9, 2007
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