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The [Wednesday] Papers

"City officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel insisted Monday that taxpayers will not be on the hook for a single dime of the $55 million cost of the [NATO] summit," the Sun-Times reported in April.

"Taxpayers will not pay anything for the summit," Emanuel said then.

At the time, I wrote this:

"First, federal money is taxpayer money too! Second, taxpayers have already been on the hook unless those private funds are flowing into budget lines at City Hall and the police department for the day-to-day activities consuming staff. There's also the lost opportunity cost of where the city's time and energy could have otherwise been spent instead of preparing for and hosting the summit."

Now comes police chief Garry McCarthy in today's Tribune:

"McCarthy said the department would stay fully staffed by moving from three eight-hour shifts to two 12-hour shifts, allowing the department to fully cover whole days with a third fewer officers. That third of the force will be shifted downtown for summit duty.

"'It's going to cost us a little bit of money, but at the end of the day, we anticipate that we're going to be able to maintain our enforcement efforts in the neighborhood while maintaining safety downtown,' McCarthy said."

Of course it's going to cost us a "little" bit of money. And you know what? I don't even care that much about the local incidental costs. It's a NATO summit. It's a big deal.

Just like the focus on traffic or workday disruptions kind of drives me crazy. Issues of life and death - war and peace - are on the table at NATO summits. You're worried about a weekend of alternate transit plans?

What does bother me - about the money - is the rank dishonesty from Emanuel administration about the costs, coupled with bogus claims of the economic benefits that will fall from the sky like lollipops; claims that were more plausible - but still fuzzy - when the G8 was heading here too but now are beyond silly.

And what bothers me is the sense that Emanuel brought the summit here to further his own political ambitions - easily dismissible pledges notwithstanding. (A pledge worth the price of the paper it was printed on.)

At the same time, the real argument for some sort of economic benefit has been lost a bit; it was first based more around the G8, and it's not so much about immediate impact and tourists but connections with global elites.

Take, for example, Joe Cahill's column in Crain's this week. (Warning: There must be a prize awaiting the millionth Chicago journalist to trot out the same tired, stupid Al Capone reference because they just can't resist, can they?):

Quick: What city hosted the last summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

If your answer was "I don't know," you're like most people. I didn't know the answer until I looked it up for this column. (For those of you keeping score, it was Lisbon, Portugal.)

But I'll bet you know that the last city to host the Summer Olympics was Beijing.

The purpose of this pop quiz is to reveal the fallacy of one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's main rationales for subjecting Chicagoans to the cost and inconvenience of hosting the gathering of heads of state from North America and Europe next week: enhancing Chicago's image as a world-class, 21st-century city and helping erase lingering associations with Al Capone in the minds of people around the world.

That doesn't quite get it right. First, it was the G8 meeting that Rahm really wanted. The NATO summit was just an add-on because foreign dignitaries would have already been in town.

Second, it's not that G8 and NATO summits have historically been events that draw tourists or showcase cities in economically beneficial ways. They haven't. But Rahm saw an opportunity to make them so - that was his idea.

And the basis of that idea had nothing to do with tourists or regular, everyday folk, but in positioning Chicago as a future host of international meetings (probably not likely given basic geography but who knows) and exposing the city at least a little bit to the world's economic and trade ministers. The PR from visiting journalists would be a nice bonus, though most visiting journalists write about global economics and national security, not for their Travel sections.

Perhaps even more than that, though, it was about Rahm Emanuel forging connections and relationships - whether for the good of the city, himself or both is impossible to discern.

I'm not a fan of the whole thing, but I think it's important to understand in order to properly critique. Then you don't have to invoke Al Capone.

Command Decisions
"Chicago will also get some help from Illinois State Police, Cook County sheriff's police and several downstate departments, as well as members of the Milwaukee and Philadelphia police departments, and officers from Charlotte, N.C., which is tuning up to host the Democratic National Convention this summer," the Tribune notes. "These officers will be under Chicago command and typically will be used in secondary roles protecting venues and helping with transportation issues."

My understanding is that some departments asked to supply manpower to help out CPD asked for indemnification from lawsuits. I don't believe they got it. But the question remains: If an officer from another department is included in or targeted in a future lawsuit, whose department/city would be held responsible for a payout?

Now, my understanding is also that supplemental forces will be kept at the periphery, but still.


The Tribune quotes an expert who says that Chicago has an advantage over the disastrous way Seattle police handled the 1999 WTO meeting, because "having a large police department helps avoid chaos on the street because authorities don't have to use officers from other cities - who may have different methods and training - in primary crowd-control roles."

How will out-of-town police be used, then? Traffic control? I don't mean that in a smart-ass way, I'm actually asking!


And has the CPD learned from its own mistakes? The Tribune notes "A 2003 anti-Iraq war march ended badly when police cornered protesters and wouldn't let them leave for hours. Court rulings resulting from that episode led the city to agree to a costly settlement of some $10 million."


Layers of irony alert:

"In recent years, NATO has become a force projection arm of liberal Western states that share common values. For all the differences that exist between the 28 NATO allies, they share common views about the importance of democracy, the sanctity of the individual and the need to subsume military to civilian rule," Rachel Bronson, a vice president at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, writes in the Tribune today.


Here's another view from Achy Obejas on her WBEZ blog.

CPS Rat Bastard?
"Chicago Teachers Union officials are calling Marc Wigler 'a spy,' a 'stool pigeon' and a 'rat'' following his April 24 ouster for life from the union for allegedly feeding a top Chicago Public Schools labor official information about an internal union meeting," the Sun-Times reports.

"Wigler was accused of sending CPS labor relations chief Rachel Resnick a 50-bullet-point e-mail at 11:51 p.m., Aug. 24, detailing what CTU officials told union delegates during a special meeting the evening before, CTU officials say."

Yeah, that wasn't such a great thing to do.

"The e-mail allegedly began, 'Here are my notes from yesterday's [House of Delegates] meeting. If you have any questions, please ask. Wigler.'

"Wigler, who earned $85,000 last year as a resource teacher working in multiple schools, declined to comment Tuesday when reached in the CPS PreK for All office."


In April 2009, Substance reported that Wigler voluntarily testified on CPS management's behalf when the board of education tried to fire four tenured teachers.

"The astonishing and unprecedented fact of this hearing is that a union official - Marc Wigler - testified under oath for the Board of Education of the City of Chicago. Sources close to the matter told Substance that Wigler spoke voluntarily and without subpoena.

"Marc Wigler, who has been identified as 'Fresh Start Program Manager,' is paid a full salary by union dues. According to the CTU Web site ( Wigler is the 'Assistant Coordinator, Fresh Start Program' at the Quest Center. According to informed sources, Wigler did not directly testify for terminating Harriet Walczak, but he did not protect her from the Board's position that she was an unsatisfactory teacher. Mr. Wigler did admit under oath that his present position was as a union official not a Board of Education employee.

"Mr. Wigler went against his own union member in supporting a process that is illegal and works to terminate a fellow union member. In speaking with union activists and long-time members of the Chicago Teachers Union, specifically for this report, this action is unprecedented: that a paid union official would voluntarily testify to support the termination of another union member.

"It should be noted here that Mr. Wigler was contacted on numerous occasions by phone and e-mail to comment on his participation in the termination of Ms. Walczak. Mr. Wigler never responded."


And last week, Substance reported:

"Less than one month after he was convicted in a union court of spying for the boss, former Chicago Teachers Union member Marc Wigler attempted to enter the union's May 9, 2012 House of Delegates meeting at the Operating Engineers Union hall and had to be escorted out of the building by building security."


Back to today's Sun-Times:

"The e-mail provided a 'detailed listing' of union discussions about strategy, as well as CTU officials' comments about Mayor Emanuel, Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and CPS negotiators, [CTU vice president Jesse] Sharkey said . . .

"Wigler's e-mail was uncovered accidentally, Sharkey said, after the CTU received 15,000 e-mails from CPS in response to a subpoena involving a court case."


"According to a website for Ithaca College, Wigler's alma mater, he is scheduled to speak at a June 25 Chicago event called 'Roundtables in Media Innovation.' Although Wigler hasn't worked for the CTU for two years, Sharkey noted that the website calls Wigler a 'partnership initiative coordinator with the Chicago Teachers Union' and says he will speak on 'new models for collaboration between employees and management.'"

(Link mine.)

Poll Position
"Rahm Emanuel's push to extend the school day is overwhelmingly backed by Chicago voters, but far more of them side with the teachers union than the mayor on overall efforts to improve education, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.

"The survey results could serve as a warning sign to the mayor not to engage in a full-throated contract battle with the Chicago Teachers Union, which has already begun polling its members and galvanizing its allies in preparation for a possible strike next fall."

Frankly this result surprises me. I didn't think the CTU had as much public support as it appears to.

"If teachers are going to teach longer hours, they should be paid more for it, the poll found. Sizable majorities of Chicago residents as a whole (86 percent) and public school parents (92 percent) agreed with that concept."

And get this:

"On the question of who voters sided with in the more comprehensive debate over improving the city's public school system, the union scored a better than 2-1 ratio over the mayor, who has had a testy relationship with the union's leadership.

"Among all respondents, 40 percent sided with the union, compared to 17 percent who backed Emanuel."

Rip Van Zorn
He just figured it out?

My God. And you know what? What we've learned since Richard M. Daley has been out of office doesn't begin to compare to what we knew when he was in.

That's Bill!
"I've never seen a CEO or a politician to be so out front in front of a crisis, take blame, say that they are going to change," Bill Daley told CNBC on Tuesday about the way his good friend Jamie Dimon has handled a $2 billion trading snafu.

Never? Ever?

"It's not often that Jamie Dimon publicly says he is dead wrong," the Wall Street Journal reports. But that is exactly what he did this morning on Meet The Press.

"Last month J.P. Morgan's first quarter earnings call, Dimon had called the London Whale's massive CDS bet a 'tempest in a teapot.' When David Gregory asked him about that comment Sunday morning in light of J.P. Morgan's $2 billion loss, Dimon responded:

"'I was dead wrong when I said that. I obviously didn't know because I would never have said that. And one of the reasons it became public was because we wanted to say, 'You know what, we told you something that was completely wrong a mere four weeks ago.'"


Daley: "And you have to remember, this was not customer's money. This was not client's money. This was the bank's money."

Um, I'm not a banker but . . . where does the bank get its money from? Customers? Clients?

I mean, I understand Daley is saying that the money gambled away didn't come directly from customer or client accounts, but ultimately money is fungible. Funny, also, that he didn't mention shareholders.

The Death of American Community?
A blow to the census solar plexus.

Make Beer, Not War
Tastes great, less dangerous.

Former Cubs Reporter Now Works For Outfit
Jordana Spiro is back.

Punkfork Takes Humboldt
Imperial Riot Fest.

WHIP It Good
Set-up men can help.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Whip smart.


Posted on May 16, 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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