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The [Wednesday] Papers

Here's what I wrote in an e-mail to a friend this morning:

"Coverage of the Smollett case has been disgraceful from the beginning, and on all sides of it. I'm trying to think of one person who's acted honorably . . . not Smollett, but also not the CPD, City Hall or the CCSAO. None of them! Not those who jumped on the story because of the alleged MAGA stuff, which the CPD says was never reported to them, nor those who seemed to particularly revel in the exposure of a hoax and took extra glee in it in a way I suspect wouldn't have occurred had the subject been a straight white man, and are particularly butt-hurt today, as if the system is otherwise straight. Nor the journos crying about how Smollett 'gave the city a black eye,' as if a hate crime could never happen here! They want our reputation back! Kim Foxx stuck her paws in it in a completely untoward way, the CPD lied and leaked all the way through, Smollett is an ass, those brothers were complicit, and the mayor is the biggest hypocrite of them all. There is no hero here, only a cast of villains. That's my take so far, anyway."

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Toni Teach-In
"Before I was an alderman, I was a history teacher in Chicago Public Schools and now my grandchildren are Chicago Public School students," Toni Preckwinkle says on her campaign website - and as often as she can in forums, debates and on the trail.

In fact, hardly a day goes by that Preckwinkle doesn't remind voters (and the media) that "by profession, I'm a teacher."

One problem: It's not really true.

Oh, she was a teacher alright. Forty years ago.

And her CPS bona fides?

From Chalkbeat:

"She taught history during the 1970-71 school year at Calumet High School, in the Auburn Gresham community on the South Side. That brief stint was the only time she spent in public schools. She later taught at private and parochial schools on the South Side, and at a Montessori school, finishing her teaching career at Aquinas High School, a Catholic school in South Shore, for the 1980-81 school year."

Oh, but it's even more disingenuous than that. The year she spent at Calumet High was as a student teacher.

"A student-teaching position with the Chicago Public Schools at a 'pretty troubled' Calumet High School was a rude welcome to her new profession. She never taught again in the city's public schools," the Sun-Times reports.

"Preckwinkle went on to teach at two Catholic girls high schools, spending four years each at Visitation and Aquinas, with a two-year hiatus in between to work for the Illinois Capital Development Board during Gov. Dan Walker's administration.

"She wrapped up her teaching career with a year at the private Harvard School in Kenwood."

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Preckwinkle wants to convey that she's a public school kind of pol - even her grandchildren go to CPS schools! - but she was never actually a bona fide CPS teacher.

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Finally, on the teacher front, I'll just let this bit of weirdness sit here: "Preckwinkle said she never found a way to teach without devoting too much time to it."

Toni's Charter Barter
Also from Chalkbeat:

"She also supported the opening of several charters in her ward during the district's Renaissance 2010 plan, which aimed to close dozens of underperforming schools and replace them with new ones and quickened the proliferation of charter schools."

Toni & Tony
Also from that Sun-Times article:

"In her own telling of what finally made her a 109-vote winner in that 1991 race [on her third try, this time with "budding political boss" John Stroger's blessing], Preckwinkle keeps it simple.

Over time, I got to know more people and knew more about raising money," she said.

Among the people Preckwinkle got to know was businessman Tony Rezko, who later was a key figure in the corruption probe of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and ended up serving eight years in prison.

In 1991, Rezko and his partner Daniel Mahru were little-known developers breaking in to the affordable-housing business.

"Tony Rezko and I helped her win her first election," Mahru said in an interview.

He teamed with Rezko to rehabilitate hundreds of apartments across the South Side for low-income tenants, starting with a 44-unit building they bought in Evans' ward in 1989.

"Everyone at City Hall liked the project," Mahru said. "We couldn't get Evans to return a phone call. We just needed his aldermanic approval. I made it my business to meet Toni because she was running against Tim Evans."

Rezko, Mahru and their business associates gave $4,500 to Preckwinkle's campaign in 1991 - which was good money for a ward race back then. Altogether, Rezko and his associates contributed $43,375 to Preckwinkle between 1991 and 2000 and helped raise more.

"I don't know if they were having trouble with [Evans], but they helped me," Preckwinkle said, acknowledging that she, in turn, supported them.

With a new ally as alderman, Rezko landed millions of dollars in government subsidies to rehab 292 apartments for low-income residents in Preckwinkle's ward.

Within a few years, though, city inspectors filed lawsuits over a lack of heat and other code violations, and lenders foreclosed on the properties.

So, to recap, by Preckwinkle's own account:

Rezko and Mahru were not getting any help from Ald. Tim Evans (once Harold Washington's floor leader and now the chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court), so they contributed money to Preckwinkle's campaign in the hopes of helping elect her and get their "favor' returned.

Preckwinkle acknowledges that, indeed, she returned the favor by approving their affordable housing scheme. Rezko and Mahru were then able to score millions of dollars in federal grants while the housing they built fell apart within a few years, leaving those poor residents out of luck.

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I wonder if Preckwinkle includes those units when she claims to have built 1,500 units in her ward during her 19 years as alderman. As I've said before, that doesn't actually sound like a lot over such a long period of time.

But it's even worse than that:

From Curtis Black, reporting from a housing forum in December:

"In the back of the room where the forum took place, a couple of South Side community organizers were grumbling as Preckwinkle touted her record on housing during her two decades as Fourth Ward alderman. I spoke later with Jawanza Malone, executive director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, who worked with low-income and public housing residents of the ward during Preckwinkle's tenure.

"He recalls an alderman who backed development policies that led to the displacement of thousands of low-income working families from her ward. While Preckwinkle says she brought in [1,500] units of affordable housing, he says the actual cost of so-called affordable units was often out of reach for existing residents.

"While Preckwinkle says she worked with public housing residents, Malone points to a KOCO study finding that over 2,500 public housing units in North Kenwood and Oakland were lost while she was alderman.

"And while now, when the CHA's Plan For Transformation is near completion, she backs one-for-one replacement, he says that when it mattered, she was a major supporter of the mixed-income formula for redevelopment that excluded many displaced public housing residents."

Toni's Patronage Army
"Over the last eight years, she's reduced the size of the county workforce by 12 percent and convinced a federal judge that anti-patronage hiring oversight was no longer needed. But she's still found ways to hire and promote political workers, relatives of fellow politicians and former government officials tossed out by the voters, a Tribune examination of county payroll records showed," the paper reports today.

"They include a son of a judge who is also the nephew of a former City Council zoning czar, two former aldermen who served with Preckwinkle, a former county commissioner who lost a re-election bid, the daughters of two county commissioners and two former temporary state representatives who voted for a state income tax increase.

"Dozens more people with links to powerful Democratic politicians - including House Speaker Michael Madigan, former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White - remain on the county payroll, the examination found.

"The Tribune requested an interview with Preckwinkle and sent the administration a detailed list of questions related to its findings. Preckwinkle declined the interview and did not answer specific questions, instead issuing a statement defending her hiring practices."

Remember that every time Preckwinkle bristles at being called an insider.

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ChicagoGram

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George Conway On Trump's (Un)Fitness For Office.

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A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Smash it.



Permalink

Posted on March 27, 2019


MUSIC - How Africa Adopted Jimmie Rodgers.
TV - Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire.
POLITICS - SCOTUS's Border Wall Fiasco.
SPORTS - Black Athletes' Underused Trump Card.

BOOKS - The Hidden Places Of World War 2.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Wisconsin Is America's Goatland.


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