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The [Tuesday] Papers

"While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced Chicago's use of borrowed money to plug budget holes, records show he continues to rely heavily on the practice, devoting nearly half of the $300 million in long-term bond funds spent over the past two years to short-lived expenditures," the Tribune reports.

"As the City Council prepares to vote Wednesday on a 2016 budget, the newly released bond spending data underline the difficulty of cleaning up the city's financial mess. It shows that even after dramatically shrinking the budget deficit he inherited, Emanuel lacked the operating cash to cover numerous routine expenditures, including items as minor as decorative flower planters."

But everyone loved those decorative planters! They were world-class.

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"Of about $300 million in new bond money spent in 2013, 2014 and early 2015 - debt on which the city will pay interest until 2044 - nearly half paid for short-lived items. Borrowing for operating costs sticks future generations with the tab, plus interest, for spending that will not benefit them.

"A total of $136 million in borrowed money went to court judgments and settlements against the city, records show. Emanuel also spent $5.3 million in borrowed money on landscaping of street medians and boulevards, $3 million on boarding up hazardous buildings, and $4.2 million on maintenance of city fountains, trees, roadway guardrails and other property and equipment."

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"Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday that cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools is likely to borrow against a $45 million property tax increase he's proposed in his budget for school construction," the Tribune also reports.

"The CPS tax hike is part of the record $588 million property tax increase aldermen are expected to approve Wednesday. The mayor pitched the CPS tax in his budget address more than a month ago, but his comments Monday mark the first time he's indicated CPS would borrow against the new revenue stream to embark on a building program that would be more expansive than just $45 million per year."

Now, I know what you must be thinking: Didn't Emanuel just close 50 schools? Why, yes, he did. So now he's going to build new ones? Apparently. Why? My guess is that there are still parts of the city where school overcrowding is a major problem, so maybe new schools for those neighborhoods? Let's read on . . .

"The mayor and his administration have declined to say which schools would benefit or which projects would be tackled first once the new CPS 'capital improvement tax levy' is enacted. Emanuel has offered generalities about the money being spent on overcrowding and air conditioning. The Emanuel administration also has declined to provide a list of what it considers to be the city's overcrowded schools."

Oh, that's right, it's a state secret. You need to have national security clearance to know which schools the city considers to be overcrowded. You do not, however, need clearance of any kind to be billed for the mayor's secret overcrowding relief plan.

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"As Emanuel tries to collect enough votes to approve a budget laden with tax and fee hikes, a school construction program would give him a potential avenue to bring aldermen into his camp by giving them new projects to take credit for in their ward. The mayor was asked Monday whether he had discussed specific school projects with aldermen in the run-up to the budget vote, but he did not answer."

Loose lips sink political ships.

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"Emanuel added another new wrinkle to the CPS tax issue Monday. He said some of the proceeds from the tax increase would go toward expanding high-speed broadband access."

Including at overcrowded schools?

"Yes."

And which schools are those again?

[Walks away.]

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That last part was just in my head.

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The Cubs' Season In Limerick
This is really good, IMHO.

Keywords: Duran Duran, Ronnie James Dio, Pam Dawber, Luis Tiant, Michael Ferro, Scrubs, Starlin Castro

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Kay Kay & Von Von
A Chicago mockumentary.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

NOTE: Embeds not showing up properly; trying to resolve.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bondo.



Permalink

Posted on October 27, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Can Anyone Stop Sinclair?
POLITICS - Grade Inflation For The Rich.
SPORTS - Chicago's Table Tennis Festival.

BOOKS - How Subversive Artists Made Thrifting Cool.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - How To Raise A Pizza.


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