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The [Wednesday] Papers

"It is 4 o'clock on a Wednesday, and the wide halls of Lafayette Elementary echo with competing melodies from cellos, violas and violins engaged in orchestra practice," writes Catalyst's Dominique Baser.

"Lafayette's sprawling campus is home to one of the largest elementary school orchestras in the city, but its students only fill a third of the building. That's about to change, when 300 students from the Chicago High School for the Arts move in and begin sharing the campus in September.

"The School Board has approved the move of ChiArts, a Renaissance 2010 school and the city's only public high school for the arts. In fall 2009, the school opened at a temporary location on the South Side, but officials say Lafayette, in East Humboldt Park, will be its permanent home.

"Staff members from both of the schools say they are excited about the merger. But some activists in the surrounding neighborhood are not. Their complaint is familiar among grassroots groups that question the impact of the district's Renaissance 2010 plan: Another new school moves in, but is not designed to serve neighborhood children first."

Daley's Watching
"Chicago's new emergency management chief, Jose Santiago, is starting a major push to convince the private sector to connect its exterior surveillance cameras to Chicago's 911 emergency center," Progress Illinois notes.

"According to the chief, there are still parts of the city 'where we can't see.'"

A) My basement
B) Storage locker 42B at Grand and Ashland
C) Carlos Zambrano's limbic region
D) The mayor's anteroom


"Chicago already boasts the most extensive and sophisticated video surveillance system in the U.S., according to Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary."

Total control is almost complete.


In other news, Kim Jong-il announced he will undertake an historic fact-finding mission to Chicago this summer.


In other news, the City of Chicago is expected to announce this week that they have finalized a Sister City agreement with Pyongyang.

Claypool of Mud
"Explaining his change of heart in running for countywide office, Claypool said Berrios would pose such 'a clear threat to homeowners and senior citizens throughout the county' if he wins that Claypool felt compelled to run against him," the Tribune reports.

As opposed to the threat that a Todd Stroger, Dorothy Brown or Terry O'Brien Cook County presidency posed?


"He didn't run in the Democratic primary for assessor because he thought former judge Raymond Figueroa would win, he said," the Sun-Times reports.

Claypool thought the longshot reform candidate would beat the Michael Madigan-backed chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party?


"Claypool [said] that he supported Ray Figueroa in the assessor's race against Berrios," the Daily Herald reports.


I checked the records with the Illinois State Board of Elections this morning and found that Figueroa reported just nine individual contributions totalling $7,450. Figueroa's wife, Aracelis, accounted for $2,500 of that.

Additionally, Citizens for Maldonado contributed $10,000 to Figueroa and loaned Figueroa another $10,000.


Well, maybe Claypool didn't mean he supported Figueroa financially. Maybe he just spoke out for him.

If he did, though, it was never reported by the Tribune, Sun-Times or SouthtownStar, according to the ProQuest newspaper database.


Claypool said he was "blowing the whistle on the insider culture" by running against Berrios.

Or, rather, Claypool, the two-time chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, said he was "blowing the whistle on the insider culture" - except when it comes the city's Biggest Insider.

That's when his whistle gets caught in his throat.


Last June, CBS2Chicago reported that Claypool had told a colleague he wouldn't run for Cook County board president because the job was "not a good fit for me."

Instead, he was reportedly "eyeing" a job in the the health care sector.

Just three months ago, he was sticking to his story.

"Well I certainly expected to be running again and I planned to run again," Claypool told the BGA's Patrick Rehkamp. "But a friend of mine felt like we had developed some ideas and a business model for integrated services and answers about nationalized health care reform, so I had to make a decision between the two and it was the hardest decision of my life."

Rehkamp reported that "Claypool and the friend have already started a health care company called Rise Health, which is aimed at streamlining efficiency for primary care physicians so they'll have more time to see patients because they're spending less time pushing paper."

Rise Health still lists Claypool as the company's president.


Also running for Assessor:
* Republican: Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall
* Green: Robert Grota

Convicted felon Betty Loren-Maltese continues her rehabilitation campaign with the help of media handmaiden Michael Sneed and Sneed's complaint editors, billing today's "interview" as an "exclusive" even though Loren-Maltese has been feeding Sneed feel-good tidbits for months. The Sun-Times even pimps its piece on its front page.

Why not just give Loren-Maltese her own column and cut out the middle(wo)man? She probably comes cheaper than Sneed, who didn't appear to do anything but let her tape recorder run and transfer her pal's sob story to print. Almost every paragraph is Loren-Maltese speaking.

Curiously, Sneed glosses right over the crimes that sent her friend to the federal pen.

Here's a reminder: Loren-Maltese served a nearly seven years in prison for bilking the town over which she presided - Cicero - of $12 million. (And she's still on the town's health insurance plan!)

You can see the indictment here.


Sneed's "interview" isn't entirely worthless, though, in that it exposes one truly incredible claim and another truly incredible piece of media work.

First, this:

"Maltese wants to find 'a juror I'm told called my office looking for me right after I was found guilty to let me know something improper . . . irregularities . . . had happened in the jury room. It was a message never relayed to me, and I hope he reads this and still has the courage to talk to me.'

"The phone call by a man claiming to be a Maltese trial juror was verified by a former assistant for Maltese, who was present during our interview - but asked not to be identified.

"'He gave me his name and phone number and claimed he wanted to tell Betty about jury irregularities,' the former assistant said.

"'I couldn't reach Betty, so I contacted [a third party] to relay the message. It was only since she returned to Chicago that I found out she never got the message. I didn't keep the contact information and have long since forgotten its contents. But I think I remember his first name.'"

So a juror reached out to this "assistant" with information that could potentially free her and, for some, reason, he "couldn't reach" her and then assumed she got the message from some third party, even though nothing came of it. And then he threw away the juror's name and contact info - and forgot the allegation of impropriety!

Is that even remotely believable?

And the names of jurors aren't confidential - though I suppose they could have been in this case because of Betty's alleged mob links. But wouldn't you contact the judge?



"Meanwhile, Maltese is getting ready to address the DePaul University investigative journalism class taught by Fox-TV contributor Anne Kavanaugh on May 3. It's a safe bet Maltese is hoping the students do research to help clear her name."

How many ethical lines does this cross?

For a refresher on Kavanagh's role in this unholy trinity, see:

* Betty Maltese's chauffeur.

* Anne Kavanagh aids and abets.

* Sneedling? There's an app for that.

* Blurred Lines: BLM's double agents are back.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Cross that fine line.


Posted on April 7, 2010

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