The [Wednesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
"More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers," the Tribune reports.
"Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers."
Beachwood readers - through ProPublica reporting posted on our Politics page - already know that the stimulus numbers touted by the Obama administration are bunk.
"Landrum & Brown has dominated the O'Hare planning landscape for decades, raking in nearly $80 million worth of no-bid business during Mayor Daley's 20-year administration. Now the Ohio company will plan for a range of possibilities for the new western terminal that nobody but the city seems to want."
Let's take a brief look at Landrum & Brown's history with O'Hare, shall we?
Tribune, June 14, 1989: "Mayor Richard Daley continued his assault on what he termed 'ridiculous' O'Hare International Airport consultant contracts Tuesday, and said the top executives of the city's major airlines must share in the blame for allowing the waste to happen.
"Daley told the Civic Federation that he is canceling an additional $285,000 in consultant contracts, including $200,000 for 'media support' and $85,000 for advice on internal publications.
"In all, the Aviation Department's official consultant, Landrum & Brown, handles $11.9 million worth of subcontracts," he said. "While some are necessary, many seem to be boondoggles for well-connected consulting firms."
"Daley said he has ordered Landrum & Brown to cut $3 million from its budget. When he said the list of contracts to be dumped included $16,000 earmarked to review the department's employee newsletter, many members of the audience at the Palmer House luncheon laughed."
Tribune, June 25, 1989: "Mayor Richard Daley blasted Chicago's aviation consultant Friday and said the firm, along with the city and the airlines, shares the blame for a $32 million shortfall that has been mounting in the O'Hare International Airport operating budget over the last 18 months.
"You could blame the city, Landrum & Brown (the Cincinnati-based consultant) and the CEOs of the airlines," Daley said at a meeting Friday with The Tribune's editorial board. "They're all in cahoots out there."
Tribune, June 8, 2000: "[T]he records show that since 1987 Chicago's own consultants have privately insisted that O'Hare needs new runways to handle passenger demand at the same time city officials have publicly sought to discredit that notion. The only alternative, the consultants say, is a third airport.
"The documents also provide a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the way city officials try to sway public opinion and minimize political fallout. One memo by a city consultant states that the city has engaged in a 'protracted guerrilla war' to thwart attempts to build the Peotone airport.
"Another memo by a city consultant warns that the city has made `disingenuous' claims to hide plans to expand O'Hare's capacity. Other documents suggest the city and its consultants fudged projected growth numbers at O'Hare to mask the need for new runways.
"For example, the city's longtime aviation planning consultant, Cincinnati-based Landrum & Brown, predicted in internal documents in 1995 that by 2020, 69 million passengers a year would want to board planes at O'Hare. But in 1998, in forecasts that formed the basis for the publicly released World Gateway Program, the consultant revised the figure to 49 million. Last year, 36.3 million passengers boarded flights at O'Hare."
Tribune, Jan. 13, 2002: "A city investigation last year found evidence that a longtime friend of Mayor Richard Daley's improperly lobbied Chicago officials on behalf of an airport contractor and was paid a contingency fee, a practice prohibited by city ethics law, according to a confidential report obtained by the Tribune.
"Under a compensation agreement with the contractor, Taylor Street activist and businessman Oscar D'Angelo could have received more than $1 million for his efforts, which included pushing for a contract extension for the client, airport planning consultant Landrum & Brown."
And so on. Get it?
"I got phone polled for the comptroller's race tonight. Really. The comptroller's race. Anyway, it was obviously being paid for by . . . Miller, a state rep . . . forgot his first name already.
"The main thing, though, is that the guy conducting poll, who was nice but clearly not the best reader or student of Illinois politics, not only couldn't pronounce Blagojevich (expected), but also committed the following pair of awesome malapropistic misreadings of his script:
"1. 'He'll fight to stop those corruptions that lobby for tax breaks then ship jobs overseas' rather than 'corporations'
"2. 'He's supported by a group of unscrumptious lawyers' rather than 'unscrupulous'
"It was kind of awesome; made the twenty minutes of my life that it burned up well worth it."
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