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The [Tuesday] Papers

"What's more important for a devout Roman Catholic: a special audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican or preserving your attendance record as the Lou Gehrig of the Chicago City Council?" Fran Spielman writes for the Sun-Times.

"For Ald. Edward Burke (14th), the answer is the iron man record."

Yeah, that would be Cal Ripken, not Lou Gehrig. The Cal Ripken whose nickname was "The Iron Man."


"Burke disclosed Monday that he has decided not to accompany his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, to Wednesday's private papal audience to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics because he doesn't want to miss Wednesday's City Council meeting.

"I'm not going to spoil my perfect attendance record and absent myself from the City Council chamber," Burke said Monday after chairing another Finance Committee meeting.

He also has a perfect record of never voting against Mayors Emanuel and Daley and never voting with Mayor Washington.


Well, I know for sure he's never voted against Emanuel. I'm guessing on Daley and Washington (Assignment Desk, activate!), but you get the point.


The Department Of Pandering
"Under fire to solve Chicago's affordable housing crisis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is bringing back the Department of Housing his predecessor and political mentor disbanded 10 years ago," Spielman reports.

"In a 2008 consolidation aimed at saving millions, former Mayor Richard M. Daley got rid of the Department of Housing and folded its responsibilities into the Department of Planning and Development.

"The merger was supposed to create greater governmental efficiency and capitalize on the fact that many of the development projects that city planners work on include residential units, both affordable and market-rate."

Did that not happen? Why not?

"Every resident of Chicago deserves a great place to call home, and this new department will give the City a specialized resource to ensure housing remains affordable for anyone who wants to live, work and raise a family in Chicago," Emanuel was quoted as saying in a press release. "The Chicago Department of Housing will bring all of our work to make housing more affordable and accessible for all Chicagoans under one roof."

I thought Daley's merger was designed to put everything under one roof. Or is this more like the Department of Affordable Housing? That would be great (theoretically), but check back in a few years when we'll be reading stories about how it's being merged into another department for greater efficiency.


"Mayoral challenger Paul Vallas branded the mayor's plan to bring back the Department of Housing 'election-year pandering on steroids' and too little, too late.

That's a great line. I hope we hear it again.


"'We have a crisis in affordable housing throughout the city. It is not only impacting the working poor, but every middle-class family. The Emanuel administration has been a complete failure in this area,' Vallas wrote in a text message to the Sun-Times.

"'Even more damaging has been their failure to take the type of actions needed to enable homeowners and renters to afford to remain in their own communities,' Vallas wrote. 'No sudden decision to restore the Department of Housing as you enter your eighth year as mayor or token programs that will create a few hundred affordable housing units will correct that.'"

So now we're just publishing text messages instead of picking up the phone and actually asking mayoral candidates questions.


"Mayoral challenger Garry McCarthy was equally unimpressed. 'How come he didn't do that seven years ago?' McCarthy said."

Now I'm starting to side with Rahm. Not that Vallas and McCarthy aren't right, but sheesh, where the hell have they been?


"Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the mayoral ally who serves as chairman of the City Council's Housing Committee, was surprised, and a little miffed that the media was told before he was about the mayor's decision to bring back the Department of Housing."

Moore yearns to be part of Team Rahm, but Team Rahm keeps sending him the same message: Get lost.


"Asked whether he considers the department an election-year ploy, Moore said, 'You can say that with anything that we in elective office do - especially during an election-year. I want to go beyond the politics of it and say it's a good thing for the city. Good politics is good government."

Now one-time reformer Moore is quoting Richard J. Daley!

Also, it's not true.


"Three years ago, the city council approved a new Affordable Housing Ordinance that includes dramatically higher fees and construction mandates that, City Hall predicted, would create 1,200 new units of affordable housing and generate $90 million over five years that could be used to build affordable housing."

Did it? We don't know. That's the end of the story.


I'd sure like to know how the papers reported Daley's merge of departments, but I oddly wasn't able to find anything this morning in the archives of the Sun-Times or the Tribune, which probably means I was using the wrong search terms, as weird as that seems. I mean, why wouldn't "Daley" and "Department of Housing" work?


Meanwhile, the Tribune notes that the move is just the latest by the mayor following its report "Key Component Of Emanuel Affordable Housing Plan Falls Short."

As cranes have risen above Chicago and new development has spread out from the center of the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told working families not to worry, assuring them there would still be a place for them in neighborhoods suddenly filling with young professionals.

A centerpiece of Emanuel's strategy has been the 2015 Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which toughened Daley-era rules requiring that developers include residences that rent for less than the market rate in the area when they put up new buildings, or pay fees in lieu of building those affordable units.

"I am committed to ensuring that working families can afford to live in the City of Chicago and this recommendation will accelerate the development of additional housing options, especially in growing neighborhoods," Emanuel said as the rules were announced.

But the results of the mayor's efforts to back up that promise have fallen short, the Tribune has found.

A Tribune review of city records shows that the number of affordable residences built is running below City Hall projections by some measures, and the fees paid by many developers to fund affordable housing have been mostly steered away from gentrifying neighborhoods.

Most of the units that are being produced are too small for families who find themselves priced out. Housing advocates said that when rents go up and families go looking for a new home in their neighborhoods, they are having difficulty and are facing the possibility of having to move to a more distant, and sometimes more dangerous, neighborhood.


I did find in the archives various past pledges, promises and plans for affordable housing from Daley and Emanuel. Here's one for the Assignment Desk: Catalog all of those against the actual results.


Any mayor who wants to create an adequate level of affordable housing in the city can do so regardless of departmental structure. It's a matter of will, not bureaucratic organization.


Soul Coughing
"It wasn't as severe as the night five years ago when conductor Michael Tilson Thomas lobbed handfuls of cough drops into an audience at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to get his point across," the Sun-Times reports.

"But Riccardo Muti went above and beyond his normal over-the-shoulder glare and fully brought to a halt a CSO performance Saturday night after someone in the audience coughed.

"The orchestra's 76-year-old Italian music director brought his hands down, signaling the orchestra to stop, during a pianissimo - when the musicians are playing especially softly.

"Muti briefly castigated the audience. His exact words - including the use of profanity - were, given his heavy Italian accent, disputed over social media by those in attendance."

Examples, please!


I wasn't able to find any examples this morning, but I hardly conducted a super-thorough search, just a somewhat thorough look through Twitter. I did find these, though:





"Audiences seem to be getting ruder," Edward A. Johnson, who writes for Chicago Classical Review, told the Sun-Times.

I dunno, five years ago the conductor threw cough drops at the audience!


New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Sloan, Criminal Code, Rotten Finko And The Convicts, Mystery Actions, XEUTHANIZEDX, REO Speedwagon, Social Distortion, Atelophobics, Due Lipa, Flint Eastwood, Al Di Meola, Material Reissue, Infekt, Queensryche, Roger Daltrey, Chicago, and Virgil Donati.



Roseanne: White Men Can't Kiss
When the show was good - with a reboot surprise.

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Ralph Nader's Open Letter To Jeff Bezos
"You've come a long way from being a restless electrical engineering and computer science dual major at our alma mater, Princeton University . . . "

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Chicago's Ill Will Brooks Grinds Out PFL 2 Win
'After a night of slick submissions, some brutal knockouts and a bizarre/heated/controversial finish, hometown hero emerges victorious at Chicago Theatre Professional Fighters League event.'

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Naked Lunch, Big Table
From a secret Chicago location.

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Peach Kelli Pop, The Beths, Homesafe, Hot Mulligan, Wand, Blue Steel, The Radiations, Contra, and October Bird of Death.

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"I Hate Chicago"/Laura Jane Grace.



Why Was 'Excited Delirium' The Official Cause Of Death For A West Milwaukee Man?


A sampling





The Beachwood Tronc Line: Slapdick.


Posted on June 26, 2018

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BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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