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The [Wednesday] Papers

"As a parent who cares about speeders near schools, I'd like to let the governor and the mayor in on a secret," John Kass writes this morning. "If they truly want to stop speeders, they don't need expensive high-tech speed cameras.

"They need low-tech speed bumps. They're cheaper than cameras. And here's how they work: A couple guys get off the back of an asphalt truck. They pour out a few extra shovelfuls of asphalt. Presto - a speed bump."

Imagine that - saving children's lives by preventing accidents instead of collecting money weeks later!

"They're guaranteed to slow traffic. If you speed over them, you won't get a ticket, but you could break an axle. You might pay your mechanic. But you won't end up paying City Hall.

"That's what truly bothers the politicians. It's not about the children or the speed. It's about the lost revenue."

That much has become painfully obvious. Worse is what the whole episode has revealed about the way Rahm Emanuel governs. Hint: Badly.

See Rahm Caught Lying About Speed Cameras.

TIF Spliff
"An elaborate wheelchair-accessible ramp to the City Council chambers bankrolled by $485,000 in tax-increment-financing funds has gotten even more costly - thanks to a string of contractor mistakes," the Sun-Times reports.

Wait - bankrolled by TIF funds? What, is that part of the chambers economically disadvantaged?

"Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has complained that the ramp money was taken from his LaSalle-Central TIF without his approval by city officials who contend TIF money can be used to renovate government buildings without aldermanic consent."

Turns out they're right - here's the part of the TIF statute that makes it possible.

ALTERNATE: And this is the guy who got arrested on Tuesday?

He's Got Next
"Just one week before Election Day, State Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested by federal agents Tuesday and charged with bribery for allegedly accepting $7,000 in cash for supporting a $50,000 state grant he believed a day care center was seeking," the Sun-Times reports.

"Smith is a protege and former precinct captain of Secretary of State Jesse White and childhood friend of Ald. Walter Burnett. The 27th Ward alderman once described Smith as 'like a brother to me.'

"Smith was appointed to the House seat last year after Annazette Collins was appointed to the state Senate. He is now locked in a primary battle with Tom Swiss, a former director of the Cook County Republican Party who is running as a Democrat in the overwhelmingly Democratic and majority African American district."

That would be this Annazette Collins.

And that would be this Tom Swiss.


"In his re-election bid, Smith has the strong backing of Democratic party officials, including Burnett and White, the Democratic ward committeeman, who helped get him appointed to the state House.

"[Burnett] handpicked him to be 27th Ward Superintendent. But Smith was fired from the $72,528-a-year job in 2005 amid allegations he used city equipment and personnel to do private landscaping work and improperly used state-financed Earnfare workers to lighten the load of city employees.

"At the time, Streets and Sanitation officials refused to explain why Smith had been fired. Smith served as a precinct captain in the 27th Ward Regular Democratic Organization run by Burnett and Committeeman White.

"Smith was employed in the secretary of state's office under White from December 2006 until March 2011, when White helped engineer his appointment to the House to replace Collins, who had moved to the Senate.

"Smith worked in the secretary of state's accounting and revenue division. State payroll records show he was paid $88,152 annually in White's office, more than $20,000 more than the $67,836 salary he receives as a state representative."


Smith, indeed, was blessed by the Democratic Establishment at the highest levels.

"The charge represents a blow for House Speaker Michael Madigan's efforts to help Smith's election to the district on Chicago's Near West and Near Northwest sides," the Tribune reports.

"The Democratic Majority fund, headed by Madigan and Tim Mapes, his chief of staff, has poured more in-kind contributions - $63,323 - into Smith's campaign than any other candidate so far this election season, according to campaign records. In addition to paying for polling and mailings, some of Madigan's top staffers also personally worked for Smith's campaign, campaign records show."

Couldn't they have just given him a legislative scholarship instead?

Teachable Moment
Sports builds character.

Politics, House & Gangs
The History of Hip Hop in Chicago.

Nick's Picks
Prepare For An NCAA Championship That Will Be Vacated.

Lizzie's Picks
Six Degrees of Recommendation.

Dan's Picks
Avoid Chicago pitchers.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Teachable.


Posted on March 14, 2012

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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