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The [Wednesday] Papers


* How long until Darcel Beavers shows up on the county payroll?

* Dock Walls' predicted landslide came true - in his mind. Today he is preparing his inauguration speech.

* 38,060 people actually voted for Walls. He's more popular than the Blackhawks!

* Dorothy Brown is eating lunch alone today.

* It's a good thing Arenda Troutman has transferrable skills she can put to use tonight right there in the neighborhood. Pays better, too.

* Daley won with the support of just one in five voters. How? Seventy percent of 30 percent turnout is 20 percent.

* Can we make Santo not getting into the Hall an annual holiday? asks Beachwood reader Mark Bazer.

* Yes, we know the Veterans Committee votes every two years, but we'd like to make Santo Day an annual commemmoration for the sake of the kids.

* The good news: The Detroit Cobras will play an absolutely free show with The Blacks at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday. The Cobras new album, Tied and True, is due out on Bloodshot on April 24.

And now the bad news.

Even on what the Tribune rightly described as "the worst election night for City Council incumbents in more than 15 years," it would be wise to tamp down any latent hopes of democracy coming to Chicago based on evidence of a weakened Daley Machine and a more independent city council to come.

True enough, as the Trib reports, "the results in wards across the city showed that the mayor's popularity - and his once-powerful patronage armies - no longer could be counted on to pull along council allies."

But the incumbents who lost their seats were more the victims of their own special circumstances than hacks punished for doing the Daley Machine's bidding.

Natarus, for example, is a buffoon whose ouster was inevitable if not this time around, in four years. That's not to say that an infusion of union money didn't help challenger Brendan Reilly, but Reilly, after all, is an AT&T lobbyist and former Michael Madigan aide; not exactly reform credentials.

(Daley also outpolled Brown and Walls 8,249 to 880 to 450 in the 42nd Ward, clearly indicating voters aren't at odds with the mayor - and an alderman who is may not survive to see another term.)

Darcel Beavers fell to the resources and relative sophistication of the Jesse Jackson Jr. operation, and disgust with her father's machinations may have led in part to her defeat, but Jackson's only other candidate, Kenny Johnson in the 2nd Ward, finished fifth in a six-candidate race against an extremely vulnerable Madeleine Haithcock. So far, then, Junior is running a two-ward operation - his wife in the 7th and his man Anthony Beale already ensconsed in the 9th.

Arenda Troutman's shaky tenure was over when FBI agents knocked on her door with a warrant and she refused to let them in. Willie Cochran won because he wasn't under indictment.

Meanwhile, George Cardenas, who voted for the big-box ordinance before he voted against it after an arm-twisting by the mayor, won re-election in the 12th despite a union campaign fronted by Carina Sanchez.

And stalwart Virginia Rugai won easily in the 19th despite speculation that she was vulnerable.

As many as a dozen other races may go to run-offs, and a few incumbents are bound to fall, but the prediction that a more activist city council is on the way is a stale favorite of pundits that never comes true.

Theme Park
If there is a connecting issue in this year's council races, it's not Daley or corruption but unbridled development that is remaking Chicago's neighborhoods in ways that has many residents outraged.

According to news reports, for example:

* Natarus was attacked for "being beholden to developers."

* Ted Matlak, apparently headed to a runoff, "faced a pair of opponents who said [he] pandered to developers."

* Vi Daley faced, apparently headed to a runoff, faced a campaign in which "development proved to be a hot-button issue"

* Development was also a major issue in the campaigns against Haithcock, Dorothy Tillman, and Bernie Stone, all apparently headed to runoffs.

Development is the issue that the media understands least and residents care about most.

Pundit Patrol
* John Kass comes up with the day's only must-read, "Day of Reckoning at Shrine of St. Richie."

* Neil Steinberg lives in Northbrook now, but says had he still lived in the city, "I would have voted for Daley, warts and all. I always did. The corruption doesn't bother me - what city doesn't have corruption?"

A) All that fulminating about the Strogers apparently doesn't include Daley pushing John across the finish line while knowing he was too ill to serve and blessing - if not initiating - the scheme that installed Todd as Cook County President.

B) I'm confused. Is Chicago corruption part of the unique local character that we take perverse pride in, or just something that happens everywhere?

C) What city doesn't have systematic corruption emanating from the mayor's office? Start with New York and L.A. and go from there.

* Now that Debra Pickett no longer has a column at the Sun-Times, there's not much rationale for her to be doing commentary on Chicago Tonight. I mean, that credential - not her blazing insight - is what got her on the air. And yet, there she was last night, offering her view of the elections. Which, of course, are all about her.

She opened with a sly reference to her recent parting of the ways with her old print employer: "Let's just say that, for whatever reasons, you haven't felt like reading the local papers lately. I know I haven't."

Because, see, she's not in the papers anymore. So why read them?

I'll spare you the bit about how she's tired of having a "Church Lady-caliber conscience," the real kicker was how much trouble it was to vote. "I barely made it out the door and over the slushy puddle to the polling place . . . Apathetic cynicism seems like only sane response."

Yeah, life's a bitch. Off to Starbucks!

Breaking News!
* "Does Your Washing Machine Have a Dirty Little Problem? Washed Out, a Target 5 Special Report with Lisa Parker."

* "The Telltale Signs of Inhalant Abuse. Find out how 'huffing' can turn common household items into a deadly drug. Cover Story, with Steve Sanders and Allison Payne."

Broadcast News
* Carol Marin on Channel 5 last night went through a host of aldermanic races scoring which ones could be considered wins for Daley and which ones losses. After describing Sandi Jackson's surprisingly easy victory over Darcel Beavers, Allison Rosati said "So does the mayor get that one?"

Marin politely said no.

* As the numbers coming in made clear that Beavers couldn't win, all CLTV's Regina Waldroup could think to ask Darcel was if the race was a clash of political families - a question that has been asked ad inifinitum. Then Waldroup asked Beavers if she thought voters had made the right decision. After Beavers deftly handled that one, Waldroup said "Wait and see, good attitude!"

* Daley told Jay Levine that the corruption endemic to his administration could be blamed on just a few individuals - and Levine let it pass. Apparently Jay was out of town with the Pope or something when that whole Sorich thing came down.

* Daley media manager David Axelrod was interviewed by several reporters but none that I saw asked him why the mayor was afraid to debate - or if he's ever advised a candidate to attack an opponent for refusing to debate.

Time Warp Again
Fran Spielman and her editors at the Sun-Times decided to wait until after the election to tell us the mayor's plans for CTA chief Frank "Brownie" Kruesi, as well as the coming issues that would face any mayor, such as a possible teacher's strike, the coming retirement of the police superintendent, and the fact that Daley "has yet to name a permanent replacement or do anything else to improve the image of the [police department's Office of Professional Standards], which investigates police wrongdoing and has been a lightning rod for criticism in the black community."

You know, campaign issues. Would have been nice to do a compare-and-contrast with all the candidates on the paper's little laundry list of matters facing the city. Maybe that's coming tomorrow.

Our Hero
"Daley, 64, doesn't have time to bask in the glow of Tuesday's landslide victory," Spielman writes. "There's way too much on his plate."

A) After 18 years? Has this guy been slacking?
B) Unlike any other mayor, who would somehow find a light agenda awaiting.
C) Unlike Spielman, who somehow found time to bask.

Crosstown Classic
* David Roeder says the sooner the proposed Crosstown Expressway dies the better. "The mayor's grasp of this business is lacking. Despite his accomplishments as he sails toward his father's record tenure in office, he still has to answer for letting the CTA rot down to its railroad ties."

Um, did the Sun-Times's office calendars show the election happening next month?

* Urban planners John Norquist and Jackie Grimshaw also think the Crosstown is folly.

Third World Class
Daley repeated his recent claim last night that no city does anything better than Chicago. Not everyone agrees. Read it and weep.

Holy Writ
The CTA Bill of Rights.

"Mayor Daley shook off three years of corruption scandals to earn the right to make history," Spielman writes.

For some reason, the lengthy list of scandals that occurred before 2004 - the Duffs, O'Hare contracting, the Pat Huels affair - are off the table.

"Many people do not understand the magnitude of the crime and corruption that has occurred in this administration, " Dorothy Brown said.

Including some who cover it.

Except Nobody Died

- Chicago trader's quote ill-advisedly used as the lead and headline to a Sun-Times story about the Dow's fall Tuesday.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Underground but above-board.


Posted on February 28, 2007

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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