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The [Tuesday] Papers

I'm going to catch up today with the final Tribune editorial board session from last week, but first, a few other items from the campaign trail.

1. Paulmentum!™

Paul Vallas had a good week last week with his profusion of ideas to shore up the city's finances in conjunction with policy initiatives that made the rest of the candidates look like pikers. But he has yet to be challenged (to my knowledge) on his charterization of New Orleans' schools and I still don't see where his votes come from. Still, an up arrow.

2. Falling Frontrunners.

Toni Preckwinkle and Susana Mendoza continue to not impress - though we ought judge them on their long records as well as their campaign prowess (or lack thereof). Still, down arrows.

3. God No.

4. Garry McCarthy Is The Least Likely Candidate To Unite The City.

"Former Chicago police superintendent and mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy compared the city's police union to segregation-era policing in Alabama during a South Side mayoral forum celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing accusations of over-the-top pandering from some of his opponents," the Tribune reports.

"During the event Sunday at Chicago State University in Roseland, McCarthy was asked to react to a Cook County judge's sentencing of former officer Jason Van Dyke to a little under seven years in prison for the police murder of Laquan McDonald and to offer what changes to improve policing he would make in an upcoming new contract for the Fraternal Order of Police. McCarthy did not offer specific changes to the contract, but did compare the union to an era of policing in the Jim Crow South that frequently saw officers unjustly beat and jail African-Americans.

"The FOP has to come into the 21st century. They can't be operating like it's 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama," McCarthy told the audience of about 100 people, nearly all of whom were black. "They have to understand that the world has changed. They have to recognize it and move forward."

Okay, I'm not sure McCarthy is wrong, but he's definitely the wrong messenger. While I remember McCarthy talking more about root causes of crime than his critics ever seemed to listened to or will give him credit for, I don't remember him trying to reform the CPD's culture in any way. (And don't get me started on the CPD's black hole of transparency; only CPS rivals it in terms of dodging FOIAs. Someone should ask Garry about that.)

It's also a bizarre thing to say given what came next:

As for the Van Dyke sentence, McCarthy told the audience, "The bottom line is the system right now is what it is, and we have to accept the decisions that we've gotten, whether it's good, bad or indifferent."

If he's saying we have to respect the rule of law, well, maybe - maybe not! But sheesh. That is brutal.

And then McCarthy dissembled.

Asked after the event whether he was suggesting the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police was racist by comparing the organization to Birmingham cops during segregation, McCarthy replied, "No, I was not."

How could that not have been what McCarthy was saying?

"I was saying they have to modernize what they're doing. I was talking about old school police union stuff," McCarthy explained. "I said they have to come into the 21st century. It means old school police union politics."

What, Birmingham is known for its . . . police union politics?

When you invoke 1950s Birmingham on MLK Day, you are invoking one thing.

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"It pains my heart to think about the polarization that still exists in this country and is getting worse," McCarthy said. "Unless we have these difficult conversations, we're not going to address the problems that all stem from race and the social economic divide and the policies that created that on purpose, whether it's slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, black codes, red lining, mass incarceration, you name it. And we have to stop hollering at each other, because what makes us the same is more important than what makes us different."

McCarthy keeps calling for "difficult conversations" but we've been having those conversations forever. Now is the time for difficult actions.

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"Those remarks and McCarthy's Birmingham comment drew a rebuke on stage from former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, who alluded to the fact that the U.S. Justice Department found the police under McCarthy's direction in both Chicago and Newark mistreated African-American residents, resulting in two federal consent decrees to force policing reforms.

"After two consent decrees, you don't get to lecture us on how you're going to become Abraham Lincoln," Vallas said.

Paul Vallas, everyone!

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"Afterward, Vallas said he could no longer bite his tongue after repeatedly hearing McCarthy's comments about race at various forums.

"I rarely, if ever, respond to what someone has said at these forums, but I just had to respond to that. There have been two consent decrees in two cities," he said. "He's pandering. That's why he goes to these events and says we don't need more cops, we don't need a police academy. He's pandering that's what he's doing."

Call 911, because Paul Vallas is on fire.

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"He says what he says in these kind of audiences to talk about race, and people often don't know the history of the candidates sitting up there," Lightfoot said of McCarthy. "He is trying to have it both ways, because what he says now - and maybe he's had an epiphany and has been converted - is certainly different than his track record here and in Newark. Black folks in Chicago and Newark suffered, suffered at the hands of police departments run by Garry McCarthy. That's just a fact."

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So the last session of the Trib's editorial board debates featured Lightfoot, McCarthy, Jerry Joyce and Amara Enyia. I tweeted my running commentary at #TribEndorse and #ChiMayor19 from @BeachwoodReport. It was a bit of a dud, honestly. But here are some extra notes I made:

-> Joyce said he got into the race because of rising crime, even though I don't think it's rising anymore. He cited a CNN piece about or by a person from Chicago moving to Nashville to get away from the crime here. I couldn't find that piece, but I know that in September it was reported that "Tennessee's violent crime rate continues to rise and is outpacing the national rate according to the newest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation . . . In Nashville, the numbers of violent crimes reported to the FBI by Nashville Metro Police also saw an uptick compared to recent years. According to the report, Metro PD reported 6,661 violent crimes in 2017, an increase of 180 compared to 2016. The totals were the highest since 2011's 6,672 reported to the FBI. "

And like Chicago, Nashville tends to fall in the top 25 in murder rates. I'd drill down further, but what's the use.

-> Lightfoot said she pushed Rahm Emanuel to speak about the policing issues she learned about while chairing his task force on police reform, but "that was for naught."

-> McCarthy said he got into the race because more and more people kept asking him to do so. Also: "I wasn't getting any juice out of what I was doing [in private industry]."

-> Amara said she had worked at the top levels of government. Well, she was the interim village manager for University Park once, but other than that, not so sure.

-> On the clearance rate . . .

McCarthy: Two chief of detectives with 60 years of experience were fired.

Lightfoot: Because they covered up a murder!

McCarthy: No they didn't!

Lightfoot: Come on!

-> Amara notes the city's longstanding trickle-down economic development philosophy: Directing resources downtown and somehow some crumbs (my word) will find their way to the neighborhoods. Agree, and yet another case where local Democrats behave like national Republicans.

-> Joyce's theory is that massive foreclosures caused black residents to flee; then we had fewer perps and crime went down. As a result, the detective division was decimated, and then crime went back up. The only part of this that seems true is that no one seems to talk about the foreclosure crisis as a reason why the city has lost so many African Americans.

-> McCarthy says 80 percent of the ideas contained in President Obama's task force report on 21st century policing came from Chicago's own plan.

-> Joyce to McCarthy: You're going to take credit for what's going on in New York City today but not take credit for what's going on here today? (McCarthy takes credit for declining New York City crime rates because he "ran" the city's crime strategy for seven years, but refuses to take the blame for anything crime-related in Chicago since he was fired as police chief.)

-> McCarthy doesn't like how the consent decree/DOJ report "castigated our training," saying it exceeded state standards. Lightfoot: "Gary, that's just not true."

-> On retaining current police chief Eddie Johnson, Lightfoot demurs, saying she knows firsthand how few strong candidates are out there. (She led the search that returned three candidates to Rahm; he dismissed them all and promoted Johnson instead. Johnson had not applied for the job.) Joyce disagrees, saying he thinks "there are dozens" who could do the job - just from inside the CPD alone! He thinks the police chief should be someone who has patrolled Chicago.

Capsules . . .

Lightfoot: Lightfoot won me over with her work on the task force and what she's been talking about since, and I was rooting for her in the early-going when just a few folks dared challenge Rahm. I've found her campaign disappointing, though. She certainly has a lot to offer the city in some capacity, but she hasn't shown broad appeal on an array of issues that shows she's ready to step up to the big chair.

McCarthy: Gawd.

Joyce: See McCarthy.

Amara: Amara is certainly talented and smart, by some definitions, but I'm still waiting for a fuller vetting to answer a whole host of questions I have about her, because some things don't add up. Let's face it, without Chance the Rapper, she'd be dead in the water by now. Her rhetoric is full of pleasing activist lingo, but she sort of glides above it all without revealing any of the knowledge or experience she's gained from all of her international municipal consulting. Demand the receipts, kids.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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How Central American Migrants Helped Revive The U.S. Labor Movement
"For one, Guatemalan and Salvadoran immigrants have helped expand the U.S. labor movement, organizing far-reaching workers rights' campaigns in migrant-dominated industries that mainstream unions had thought to be untouchable."

This is really interesting, people.

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RCA Drops R. Kelly
About two decades too late, but whatevs.

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AOC vs. Sorkin
West Wing writer advises hopeful youth to behave like heartless adults.

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Illinois Could Recover $1.3 Billion Lost To Corporate Tax Loopholes
Federal reforms have failed to address tax dodging, but Illinois can take action on its own.

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Recall! Chicken Skewers
Red Chili Orange, to be exact.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: Bears, Cubs Hangovers
Both teams and their fans suffering, but in very different ways.

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Old Town School Teachers Win Union Election
Will join Illinois Federation of Teachers.

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Slow TV: Chicago
Scandinavian style.

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TrackNotes: Here We Go Again
God Almighty, and I'm not a religious person in the base human organizational sense, a horse will tell you how difficult it is to carry a person two miles at top speed. But he'll do it again any time you ask him!

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Chicagoetry: The Umpteenth Ward
Whole precincts of voters write in the same hand!

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SportsMonday: The Nuclear (Non-) Call
And helmet first, for goodness sake!

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ChicagoReddit

Nice person(s) left hats, scarves, and gloves around Grant park for people in need from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

CHECA QUIEN VA A LOS TORNEOS NACIONALES!! eliminatorias en chicago solo 5 pudieron

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BeachBook
A sampling.

The Civil Rights Movement Photographer Who Was Also An FBI Informant.

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The NFL's Obesity Scourge.

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Can This Man Identify Fake Jackson Pollocks'?

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An SIU Physicist's Theory Is Confirmed.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: For the win.



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Posted on January 22, 2019


MUSIC - DeRo, Hero.
TV - John Oliver Robocalls The FCC.
POLITICS - Fact-Checking Kessler.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - The Bias Hiding In Your Library.

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