The [Wednesday] Papers
"Drivers owe the City of Chicago over $1.3 billion in unpaid parking tickets. When you add over $250 million in unpaid red light camera and speed camera tickets the totals top off at over $1.5 billion," the Expired Meter and WGN-TV report.
"The worse news is that debt has been growing on average of $1 million a week since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office."
"San Diego's dominant newspaper yesterday announced the layoffs of nearly a third of its 600 employees after it was acquired last week for $85 million by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing," AP reports.
"The San Diego Union-Tribune said 178 employees - most in its printing and delivery divisions - would be laid off and their jobs done in Los Angeles.
"'When the two companies announced that they were coming together, we said at the time there were going to be some synergies, and unfortunately for a lot of people today we're realizing those synergies,' said Union-Tribune president and CEO Russ Newton."
"For help with multimillion-dollar federal grants, four struggling Chicago Public Schools partnered with an education consulting company tied to the man at the center of a federal criminal investigation of CPS - but the state found the company unqualified for the work," Lauren FitzPatrick reports for the Sun-Times.
The man, Gary Solomon, co-owns SUPES Academy, which received a $20.5 million no-bid contract in 2013. That contract raised questions at the time. It later sparked a federal investigation and prompted CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who pushed the contract despite previously working for SUPES, to take a leave of absence.
Solomon also co-owns Synesi Associates, which sought to be partners in 2013 with four CPS high schools seeking multimillion-dollar federal "transformation" grants. But the Illinois State Board of Education, which administered the grants, did not find Synesi Associates qualified for the work. None of the four schools that used Synesi received the grants, but that failure was due to the overall poor quality of their entire applications and cannot be directly tied to Synesi, state officials said.
Those schools partnered up with Synesi under a CPS department overseen by a top Byrd-Bennett lieutenant, Tracy Martin, who also had previously worked for SUPES. Byrd-Bennett also worked for Synesi before coming to CPS.
One big happy, possibly racketeering, family.
See also: Even Synesi confuses itself with SUPES.
CPS: Consultants' Public Schools
"The federal investigation into SUPES Academy is shining a light on a quiet though influential player in the city's education arena: The Chicago Public Education Fund," Sarah Karp reports for Catalyst.
The Fund's current focus is on principals and educational innovation. In recent years, though, it has paid for consultant work affecting major district leadership and strategies.
In 2011, The Fund paid a consultant $100,000 to search for a chief financial officer; the man hired, Peter Rogers, only stayed for about two years. In 2012, The Fund paid three consulting companies - McKinsey & Company, Parthenon Group and Global Strategy Group - to do planning and marketing work for CPS.
The $1.5 million paid to Parthenon and McKinsey is particularly interesting. Parthenon helped CPS write the 2013 Request for Proposals for new schools.
McKinsey got the largest cut and was paid to provide data analytics and management support for the district's 10-year master facilities plan - which was criticized for lacking detail - and to design the structure and duties for a new Office of Strategic Management, which analyzes trends, establishes school attendance areas and does long-term capital planning.
The Fund points that the consultants were needed because CPS leadership was new and state law called for the master facilities plan to be done on a "short time line," and stresses that McKinsey did not "write" the plan.
CPS hired Todd Babbitz from McKinsey to run the new office, where he spearheaded the mass school closings in 2013.
During this time, thousands of parents and community members were attending numerous public hearings clamoring for to be heard on the closings as well as the facilities plan. It's unclear how much of what parents said was taken into account by the consultants.
But neither the school closings plan nor the master facilities plan changed.
A lot of people making a lot of money off CPS.
Don't Blame Bickell?
Our very own Marty Gangler disagrees - in comments - with our very own Jim Coffman.
The Beachwood Radio Hour #58: The Gunner's Dream
We cannot just write off his final scene. Plus: Scanner Stenography; Twitter Tallies; Big Media's Super PAC Love; CPS Is A Rogue Nation; and American Cannot Stand The Light Of Day.
Charles Ray Is Almost Famous
Chicago-born sculptor is "a disturbing presence in contemporary art."
Horror, Holograms And Heroes
In Local Music Notebook.
* Waffle Iron Argument Gets 30 People Tossed From Motel.
"By the time sheriff's deputies in the coastal town on the shores of Lake Michigan were called to the scene of the breakfast buffet, a large group of guests from Chicago and Canton, Mich., were yelling at each other over who had the rights to the waffle."
* When Kickstarter Projects Don't Materialize.
Let's be clear.
The Beachwood Tip Line: The last refuge of scoundrels.
Posted on May 27, 2015