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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday portrayed a memorandum of agreement to have an independent monitor oversee Chicago Police reform as the next best thing to court oversight opposed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions," Fran Spielman writes for the Sun-Times.

"Emanuel said he's not backing away from his January commitment to negotiate a court-enforced consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

"He's simply recognizing the political reality that Sessions' decision to review and retreat from police reform agreements nationwide has left the Chicago Police Department on the dance floor without a partner."

We know that virtually no one connected to the police reform process agrees with Rahm, but nary is heard a dissenting word in Spielman's account.

Not only that, but two "top" mayoral aides are granted anonymity to do their boss's bidding.

Why? The aides haven't been authorized to speak publicly about how great Rahm is?

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The Tribune's account is quite different - which demonstrates for the billionth time why a city needs multiple independent news outlets that provide a variety of approaches on even the most seemingly straightforward, "objective" reporting tasks:

But the top Obama Justice official who oversaw the federal investigation has called Emanuel's tentative deal with the Trump administration "woefully inadequate," the Chicago Tribune reported Friday. Vanita Gupta, the former head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, said Chicago's police problems were "deep and long-standing," and she predicted the out-of-court agreement would not have any teeth.

The mayor made his brief comments about the new agreement with Trump officials at the ribbon-cutting of a new cybersecurity firm in the Loop. Emanuel, who declined a Tribune interview request, walked away from reporters without addressing Gupta's criticisms and ignored questions about why he would not still seek court oversight. Reporters waited outside to ask further questions, and Emanuel's police detail found an alternative exit for the mayor.

Puts a different cast on the mayor's remarks, doesn't it?

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And then there's this:

Gupta pointed out it was less than six months ago that Emanuel and the city agreed to carry the police reform process into federal court. She said neither the Justice Department nor the city has formally disavowed that pledge.

"When I went to Chicago with the attorney general (Loretta Lynch) and announced the findings, we announced an agreement in principle . . . to negotiate a consent decree to be filed in federal court," Gupta said. "We reached those agreements because those parties understood the gravity and scope (of the problem)."

Experts and reform advocates have noted that even in the absence of federal pressure, Emanuel still could partner with community groups and seek judicial oversight of reform efforts. The mayor did not respond to a question on whether he had considered that option.

Lori Lightfoot, whom Emanuel appointed as president of the city's Police Board and as chairwoman of a police reform task force, said the community must be engaged in the process or the "final product will have zero legitimacy."

Finally, the tack WBEZ took:

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday that allowing an independent federal monitor to oversee the Chicago Police Department is 'exactly the right way' to achieve reform, but some experts said that route will not be enough on its own."

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Back to our lesson: "Competition" in media isn't about faux scoops or posting a story minutes before others or any of the ways it is commonly thought of, it's about raising the standards for everyone so the public is better informed. In other words, it's about which outlets do a better job. It's about quality.

That, too is why "cooperation" among media outlets can be - not always, but often - dangerous. We don't need a singular viewpoint, mindset and approach to swamp all others. Even an "objective" news story is produced in significantly different ways by different outlets. Covering the news, it turns out, isn't that different than reviewing movies. We can agree on the facts, but everything else is up for grabs.

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Being Bruce
Via WBEZ:

"When we're on a good path - a good path - to change the system, there's no need for different answers," Rauner said when asked why he's stuck with the same talking points as the budget crisis has dragged on. "Democrats come up to me and say, 'Governor, stay strong. You're on the right track.'"

Those must be the same people from the Bears' parking lot who told George McCaskey last season to "hang in there" because they really like the direction the team is going.

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Reminder: Rauner has a history of inventing Democrats, including legislators, who personally tell him they support his approach and agenda. He's never named names or introduced one, and none have ever stepped forward to verify their existence.

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Also, here's Rauner showing courage and leadership in the face of a racist president who is a pathological liar with no grip on reality. Lives, and posterity, hang in the balance. (Props to interviewer Amanda Vinicky.)

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Zip Line
"Growing in. With growing pains. That summarizes the state of The 606, Chicago's signature rails-to-trails project, two years after its much-ballyhooed opening," Blair Kamin writes for the Tribune.

The "growing in" involves The 606's nicely maturing, but not yet magical, landscape of 224 species of trees, shrubs, grasses, vines, bulbs and forbs (a forb, for you nonbotanists out there, is a herbaceous flowering plant other than a grass).

The "growing pains" are The 606's unintended consequences: Rising rents and a wave of development threaten to force out some of the very middle- and working-class people to whom the elevated park was supposed to deliver much-needed open space.

First, it's a little late to express concern about this now. Residents have been talking about this from day one - and virtually no one in a position of power has been listening.

Second, the gentrification spurred by the 606 is hardly an unintended consequence - it's exactly what the mayor and his cronies wanted.

Similarly, the 606 wasn't developed - at least not once it became the 606 and not the Bloomingdale Trail - to serve the middle- and working-class who already lived in some of the neighborhoods it runs through; it was built to serve the new residents it would attract.

"In the past, parks were perceived exclusively as a net good," said Adrian Benepe, director of city park development at the Trust for Public Land, the San Francisco-based nonprofit that joined with the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to bring The 606 into being. "Now you do have some pushback. You have people saying: 'It's a net good until it displaces me.' And then it's a net bad."

You could say the same about every gentrifying amenity. But the truth is the city wants to displace you. You are displaceable.

The 606 also has become a flashpoint for controversy as developers tear down modest homes and apartment buildings alongside it and replace them with luxury apartments and expensive single-family homes.

Who could have foreseen such a thing?!

Benepe, of the Trust for Public Land, said it's unfair to single out parks as the lone cause of displacement. For The 606, he said, the nonprofit convened a "working group in the neighborhood anticipating this exact issue," but it was powerless to build affordable housing in tandem with the trail.

Why was it powerless? The only reason I can think of is that city leaders had no interest in it.

The big question is whether park advocates and public officials should intervene - beforehand - on behalf of those who are likely to be displaced.

How is that a question? Why wouldn't public officials intervene - beforehand - on behalf of those likely to be displaced? You're fucking with their lives! The least you can do is intervene!

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From the Trib's editorial page:

"According to a report by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, housing prices along the trail west of Western Avenue rose 48 percent from 2013, when construction on the trail began, to 2016. In neighborhoods just east of the trail, housing prices have gone up nearly 14 percent in that time."

Which is just fine with the Trib.

Gentrification has posed a dilemma for American cities for as long as there have been cities. Indeed, there's something unsettling about seeing a neighborhood with an enduring identity and feel gradually morph into something tonier and shinier, a transformation that changes the neighborhood's character. But cities aren't static entities, frozen in time. They evolve, principally because their neighborhoods evolve. People move in and out, businesses and shops come and go. It's a process as natural as evolution itself.

Gentrification isn't "natural." It's not simply people moving in and out of a neighborhood. It's borne of intentional public policy decisions designed to incentivize developers (and others) to ease the way for higher-income individuals and families to displace lower-income individuals and families in order to "improve" a neighborhood. Urban amenities, increased police protection and better city services are part of the package.

Should mayors and city councils ensure that affordable housing doesn't get lost in these neighborhood transformations? Of course. The trick is to craft the right solution. For example, we like the idea of tying affordable housing into "transit-oriented development" - projects that encourage use of mass transit by situating near train stations buildings with retail space, high-density housing and limited parking. A portion of the apartments can be set aside as affordable housing.

LOL.

We just went through this in Logan Square, where the latest TOD projects are luxury units whose affordable set-asides are unaffordable (besides being ugly, outsized and out of character for the neighborhood).

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See also: "It may be a lot fancier than its predecessor, but it's still a neighborhood bar at heart."

If the neighborhood is Streeterville.

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I would take the Two Way over the 606 in a heartbeat. Cheap neighborhood bars are amenities too.

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See also: Losing Logan Square.

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Then They Came For Me
"What is every American's duty in the face of racist government action?"

(Ask Bruce Rauner!)

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BeachBook

In Trump's White House, Everything Is Coming In 'Two Weeks.'

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It Turns Out There Is No Saudi Arms Deal.

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Crews Recover 3rd Body From Wisconsin Mill Blast.

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San Francisco Investigating Whether Uber And Lyft Are Public Nuisances.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Straight to hell.



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Posted on June 6, 2017


MUSIC - PJ Harvey Wins Pitchfork.
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POLITICS - Reminder: U.S. Health Care Sucks.
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BOOKS - Trump's True Believers.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Land After Frac Sand.


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