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The [Wednesday] Papers

"U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez personally lobbied Mayor Richard Daley to back a controversial multimillion-dollar development for a campaign contributor who had just lent the congressman $200,000 in a real estate deal," the Tribune reports this morning.

"Now the congressman's unusual gesture of support is under federal scrutiny as authorities investigate how developers overcame city planners' objections to convert the West Side industrial site into a more profitable residential and commercial development."

It just never ends, does it?

"Gutierrez said there is no connection between the loan and his letter of support for the Galewood Yards project, which is not in his district."

It's just another one of those Chicago Coincidences.

"Gutierrez sent the letter of support after buying a vacant lot from Boender at 1007 W. Fulton St. with the help of a $200,000 loan from him. The congressman provided the Tribune with bank documents stating he repaid the loan at an above-market interest rate."

So . . . he did Boender a favor? I mean, why didn't he get a market-rate loan?

Gutierrez and his wife have a history of investing in local real estate; as the Tribune notes, he "has enjoyed a close relationship with several developers. He has entered into real estate deals with them, and they have helped finance his re-elections."

Gutierrez told the Tribune that "I don't have anything to do with zoning changes. I don't write letters of recommendation; I don't have a vote on the zoning committee. . . . I've done nothing using my official capacity as a [congressman]."

But you just did! You wrote a letter of recommendation in your official capacity - it was on U.S. House stationery.

The Tribune reports that federal authorities are examining the deal as part of an investigation into how zoning decisions are made in City Hall.

Of course, Gutierrez is one just one end of the deal; Daley is on the other end. City planners told Daley they opposed the Boender project. Yet, a compromise favorable to Boender passed the mayor's Chicago Plan Commission; naturally, Boender was represented by zoning lawyer James Banks, the nephew of Big Bad Bill Banks, who conveniently enough is the chairman of the city council's zoning committee.

Alds. Ike Carothers and Emma Mitts also deserve special mention. As reported by the Trib, Carothers compared the development, which would include a 14-screen movie theater and 187 homes, condos and townhouses, to the proposed Calatrava Spire. Mitts, meanwhile, put a down payment on one of Boender's homes, though she ultimately couldn't follow through.

I wonder if she had planned to pay an above-market rate.

Mystery Man of Roselle
Who is Shi Sheng Hao, and why has he given so much money to John McCain?

Magic Mette
"Freed cop Mette back at it in academy training: Officer recently freed in Iowa finds home on SOS replacement."

That makes sense; he already has experience lying to the authorities.

The Daley Show
I'm sure the mayor is broken up about the Jennifer Hudson tragedy, but I'm also sure he's more worried about himself than the Hudson family. How else to explain his latest mumbo-jumbo?

"Mayor Daley said today he's 'not proud' of the fact that Chicago is the homicide capital of the nation, but he said the slayings of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew could not have been prevented," the Sun-Times reports.

"'We're not proud of it. But, you don't hide it. You don't take the statistics, all the facts and say it didn't happen. It happens,' Daley said, apparently referring to past attempts to re-classify homicides to hold down the murder rate."

Today's print edition leaves out that last clause; either way we're left to wonder just what in the hell the mayor is talking about.

"We'll get it down next year. We'll get it down. We'll do things differently. But, this [Hudson family] crime could never have been prevented, unfortunately."

We'll do things differently to bring down the murder rate by preventing more murders, even though there's nothing we can do to prevent murder.


It's not that I think the Hudson case could have been prevented; I have no idea. But it's not acceptable for a flummoxed mayor worried about his Olympic bid to talk so nonsensically in the aftermath of such a brutal crime - especially when all the facts aren't in.

"15-Year-Old Shot To Death In Backyard."

Daley says it couldn't have been prevented, unfortunately. To be very frank.

Now, about those cop jobs we're eliminating . . .

Cop Shop
"Nearly $900 million in property tax money was siphoned off into Cook County tax increment finance districts in 2007 - 11.5 percent more revenue than the previous year, according to a report produced by Cook County Clerk David Orr," the Sun-Times reports.

Have I suggested a TIF district around police headquarters yet?

Lincoln Log
Seinfeld. House. Macy's.

At least Rick Beard had good taste.


Sorry, I'd been trying to come up with a good line for this story for days and this was the best I could do. Send me yours.

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Fear(s) of the Dark: Fear(s) of the Dark, an animated horror anthology from France that shows off six of today's outstanding animators, was a great Halloween warm-up. Lorenzo Mattotti's short creates a wonderfully eerie atmosphere right from the start, as a dark figure opens a door and walks in just far enough for a light to strike one wide and sinister eye. The last film, by Richard McGuire, was my favorite by far. This short shows all the crazy details that a man in a strange, unlit house might imagine or encounter. This was the third animated offering at the CIFF I viewed, and it served to reinforce my feeling throughout the festival that I've been missing a great deal by not seeing more animated films."

The trailer:


The Beachwood Tip Line: Above-market.


Posted on October 29, 2008

MUSIC - A Plan To Pay Musicians.
TV - Jonathan Pie: Back To School.
POLITICS - 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.
SPORTS - Triple Crown Tomato.

BOOKS - How The Post Office United America.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Premature Ejaculation Market Exploding Quickly.

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