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The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk.

"Our analysis of premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri shows that some major insurers charge minority neighborhoods as much as 30 percent more than other areas with similar accident costs," ProPublica reports, in conjunction with Consumer Reports.

The investigation opens with the story of Chicagoan Otis Nash:

Otis Nash works six days a week at two jobs, as a security guard and a pest control technician, but still struggles to make the $190.69 monthly Geico car insurance payment for his 2012 Honda Civic LX.

"I'm on the edge of homelessness," said Nash, a 26-year-old Chicagoan who supports his wife and 7-year-old daughter. But "without a car, I can't get to work, and then I can't pay my rent."

Across town, Ryan Hedges has a similar insurance policy with Geico. Both drivers receive a good driver discount from the company.

Yet Hedges, who is a 34-year-old advertising executive, pays only $54.67 a month to insure his 2015 Audi Q5 Quattro sports utility vehicle. Nash pays almost four times as much as Hedges even though his run-down neighborhood, East Garfield Park, with its vacant lots and high crime rate, is actually safer from an auto insurance perspective than Hedges' fancier Lake View neighborhood near Wrigley Field.

On average, from 2012 through 2014, Illinois insurers paid out 20 percent less for bodily injury and property damage claims in Nash's predominantly minority zip code than in Hedges' largely white one, according to data collected by the state's insurance commission. But Nash pays 51 percent more for that portion of his coverage than Hedges does.

Let us consider, once again, how race intersects with everything. It's embedded in society's structures, many times in surprising and subtle, largely unknown ways.


Perhaps my favorite piece of journalism illustrating this concept is this 1997 examination by the Chicago Reporter:

More listeners tune in to WGCI-FM than any other radio station in Chicago. But the station, which has ranked number one for the past four years, has never reached the top of the chart in another important category: advertising revenue.

Click through to learn why, if you haven't guessed it by now.

2. When Does Rauner Get The Trump Treatment?

"[Rauner] didn't propose a balanced budget. That's just objectively false," Rich Miller reiterates at Capitol Fax. Yet, the sitting governor keeps saying he did.

It's hard to imagine a bigger whopper than claiming you proposed a balanced budget when we can all look at the proposal and see that it's not even close, no matter how hard you squint or stretch the assumptions or wishcast.

Of course, Rauner's most infamous lie is the one he could never keep straight about how he clouted his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep. And at some point, even if you never come clean, the media just gives up and moves on. Rauner outlasted everyone (but me!) on that one.

While the cynics bat each of those away as "just politics," which is the arena where truth should most apply, those are but two examples of a longstanding pattern that led me to write many times that I had never seen a campaign - this was before Trump - as disingenuous as his. That's a mighty big statement for me to make - and I stand by it. Perhaps my favorites were all the times he claimed he had been meeting with people - like Dems unhappy with Michael Madigan, as well as Dem leaders themselves - whom he had actually never met with. I won't recount the list of lies here, but it's helpful to remember, no matter how repulsive Madigan is, who our governor is and that the buck (literally, quite sadly) stops with him.

3. DePaul Arena - Beautiful 'Game-Changer' Or 'Foolhardy Project'?

Let the reader decide, between (unbalanced) claims on each side! You figure it out, we're just here to mediate the debate in a simple frame that favors what officials say despite decades of officials lying!

Sun-Times vet Fran Spielman spends the article's first 11 paragraphs channeling the mysterious bookings the assistant general manager for the new arena has lined up for its first year without even asking such obvious questions as "These are folks who were coming to Chicago anyway, right?" or pointing out that the city already has similar sized venues for the musical acts the official is talking about. It's important to understand if any economic development that occurs at the new facility is new to the city or simply displaced, besides the larger question of whether taxpayers will get their money's worth when all the bills are in.


Finally, relief in the 12th paragraph:

Even if the 50-booking benchmark is reached, Chicago-based sports business consultant Marc Ganis predicted that most of the events would be "economically meaningless, both to the facility and to Chicago taxpayers."

"I fully expect they will do whatever they can in the first few years to try and gin up a positive spin because this was such a foolhardy project in the first place," said Ganis, who has opposed the project from the get-go.

"It was a ridiculous use of limited public money at a time when we're raising taxes to unprecedented levels and still see no light at the end of the tunnel. Every now and then, governments decide to build vanity projects. That's what this is."

Of course, its not just about competing claims - there are numbers to be had. While a full analysis is missing, at least near the end of the piece Spielman flicks at this:

McPier officials claimed to have commissioned consulting studies that concluded the arena would "break even" the year it opens and make $1 million by year five.

The studies assumed that attendance for DePaul basketball games that drew roughly 3,200 fans to Allstate Arena would triple at the new venue.

That's one mighty big assumption. Did the consultants also assume DePaul would triple its annual win totals, accompanied by a tripling of DePaul students' desire to attend games, and at a facility that is closer than Rosemont but still off-campus?


The story does end with a good reminder, but one whose import seems to slip by the reporter and her editors:

"Emanuel first proposed using $55 million in tax-increment-financing funds to help finance the 10,000 seat arena.

"The project promptly became a symbol of what critics called the mayor's misplaced priorities.

"The drumbeat got so loud in the wake of the mayor's decision to close a record 50 public schools, Emanuel rearranged the financing so the TIF subsidy would be used to acquire land for the project and surrounding hotels, instead of to build the stadium."

That "rearrangement" could be fairly described as a shell game. The project and the public dollars used for it didn't change one iota.


Remembering Lonnie Brooks
Mr. Somebody, Born With The Blues.


OSHA Orders Wells Fargo To Reinstate Whistleblower
"In addition to reinstating the employee and clearing his personnel file, Wells Fargo has been ordered to fully compensate him for lost earnings during his time out of the banking industry. Back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees were together calculated at about $5.4 million. Wells Fargo also must post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under Sarbanes-Oxley, widely known as 'SOX.'"



As St. Louis Votes On MLS, Reasonable People Disagree If "No Economic Benefits" Is A Bad Thing.

Post updated to show voters said no.


The Media Need To Respond More Responsibly To Terrorist Attacks - Here's How.


How The New York Times' Mobile-First Strategy Has Turned Millennials Into Its Biggest Audience.

I'd love to have a mobile strategy - or, really, just a bona fide mobile version of the site - but I can't afford it. Volunteers?


A sampling.

JFC, people, get it together.





Amusing ourselves to death.


The Beachwood Tronc Line: Not amused.


Posted on April 5, 2017

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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