One citizen's take on the Dick that makes Chicago tick.


Friday, July 31, 2009



OH BOY! Did you hear how the city of Chicago's budget sounds for next year? $520 Million in the hole. And you thought this year's $300 million budget gap was bad. Yikes. From the Sun-Times:

Even after wringing concessions from organized labor and drying up a "rainy day" fund created by privatizing parking meters, Chicago has a $519.7 million budget shortfall in 2010 that can only be filled with tax increases and spending cuts.

"There are no obvious sources of revenue that have not already been tapped," said Civic Federation President Laurence Msall.

"You have to make very severe and structural cuts in the city's operating budget. City government is going to be forced to re-invent itself in the way it delivers services and eliminates services not critical."
Msall was also quoted as saying:
"You have to look at personnel and personnel reductions because they represent 80 to 85 percent of the operating costs," said Laurence Msall, executive director of the Civic Federation.

Significant new taxes are unlikely, Msall added. "There is little that comes to mind that the city isn't already taxing or would be a new revenue source," he said.
Will Daley hold the line on taxes and fees? Are more layoffs coming? I'm not holding my breath. Daley cutting the fat from the city payroll is something I have to see to believe. I really won't be surprised to see Daley raising our taxes and fees. AGAIN. Seems pretty inevitable, right?

Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold said nothing is ruled out. But, the mayor has instructed his staff to avoid a property tax increase at all costs.

"We understand people are hurting out there. ... The last thing we want to do ... is to further burden the citizens of Chicago. That's why that is a last resort -- the last thing that we'll turn to," he said.

Last resort? Do you believe him? I don't. Is he really going to cut $520 million from city employees alone? There is just no way that happens. He can call a tax increase a last resort if he wants. I'll just call it another day in Daleyland. After all, we've heard this before: Only One Choice - Raise Taxes.

photo by Johnye West

Some people think there's nothing left for Daley to tax. But not me. King Daley always finds a way to get more money out of his lowly subjects. So prepare your bank accounts for further assault in 2010.

I'm definitely on the look out for the city to step up its creative revenue game. Like parking tickets, towing, and red light cameras. Check out this great rant:
So beyond this, we got to talking about other ridiculous revenue streams in her area. She said she was always curious about why they did so much street sweeping in her area. One would think it would be expensive to always have the street sweeper out there, right? Nope. They tried to cut back on street sweeping, but it didn't work; THEY NEEDED THE REVENUE they get from giving out parking tickets.

Look, I never took an economics class in my life, but even I know that if your budget relies on FUCKING YOUR TAX-PAYING CITIZENS WITH BULLSHIT TICKETS to survive, something is FUCKING WRONG WITH YOUR BUDGET. No matter what social programs and bullshit spending you WANT the government to do, the money for it HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE. If that somewhere is "cops give out more tickets for people who commit non-dangerous and piddly offenses", like parking in a street sweeping area or jaywalking or all this other bullshit that people insist is for "safety" but is really just a revenue stream, something has to change. I can't believe people don't see this. Especially the people in positions of power, people who get paid a significant amount to come up with a budget that makes sense and is feasible. When that budget includes something like "have a street sweeper out there (which, for what it's worth, is probably burning more fuel per mile than a Hummer does in a month, considering how slow they go) twice a week so we can ticket people who park on the street", no one looks at it and says "hey, maybe that's not the best way to get revenue?" NO ONE?!

Fuck is the system broken.


I came across this video via the blog Drunk Bears Fans.

If I didn't know any better, I would say this is video depicts a drunk and shirtless Mayor Daley yelling some nonsense at a Bears game.


You may have read a previous History Lesson about Mayor Daley's connection to the mobbed-up Duff Family. Now, it's time to learn about former Chicago Alderman Fred Roti and his ties to The Outfit.

Alderman Fred Roti

Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob:
Yes, there have been many corrupt Aldermen in Chicago. But, one man stands above all other in terms of institutionalizing corruption in Chicago: Alderman Fred Roti. Unless we understand the prolific criminal legacy of Alderman Roti,we can't understand how today, in 2008, Alderman Roti along with his friends, relatives, and associates have turned Chicago's city government into a racketeering enterprise...The Chicago Mob ran a "made-member" for political office to take control of a city. This is why the Chicago Mob went on to become the most powerful organized crime family in all of U.S. history...In 1999, the Justice Department announced to America what many had long suspected: Alderman Roti was a "high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob.
Upon Roti's death, Mayor Daley resorted to his usual praise for his crooked friends:
Mayor Daley remembered the Alderman as a true Chicagoan who served his constituents without regard to wealth or status, as a public official who refused to permit the intensity of the political debate to impinge upon the civility of personal relationships. Fred Roti loved politics and loved government because he loved people, Mayor Daley declared, and he leaves his family a legacy of public service.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


What's so funny Mayor Daley?

Oh, right. You're having your way with the citizens of Chicago. And the gettin's good. You raised our taxes and fees. You laid off city workers and forced countless others to take unpaid days off. Your police department is insanely understaffed. You claim the city of Chicago has no money. But you're still tenaciously pursuing the Olympics. And somewhere, someplace sits a whole lot of money - OUR money, NOT yours - from the leases of the Skyway, the parking garages under Grant/Millennium Park, and the parking meters. You claim you're saving this money for a rainy day. I'm not sure how much more stormy it can get. Didn't you hear?...This is the worst economy since the Great Depression.

And now, comes word of the 2008 TIF report. No Games Chicago reports you are sitting on $1.4 billion dollars:

TIFs have sucked $3.1 billion out of the city’s budget from 1986 through 2007. They have been used, abused and mis-construed. The Mayor demands them from Aldermen in order to get any improvements in the communities. They are like money-draining zombies that can’t be killed and continue draining property taxes out of a neighborhood for decades, no mater why they were started and regardless if they help or hurt local improvements.

So. Mayor Daley and your assorted minions, can you please stop threatening us with your lack of alternate plans for economic development. Stop telling us “It’s the Olympics or nothing.” Release the $1.4 billion from your TIF slush fund and fix our schools, expand CTA service, re-open the shuttered public health clinics and create real, sustainable and equitable community economic development!

So forgive me, Mayor Daley, while I continue not to believe you when you speak about the financial state of this city and say that the Olympics are our only hope.

Thanks to your parking meter debacle and your Olympic nonsense, people are finally catching on. They don't trust you and your henchmen. They are fed up with your corruption and greed. And they can't wait to see your house of cards tumble to the ground.

But don't take my word for it.

The Provocateur: Mayor Daley + Olympics = Gasoline + Fire
The 2016 Olympics will guarantee billions, if not, tens of billions in contracts that the city will have to dole out for construction, security, street cleaning, etc. There is already a standard operating procedure for how these sorts of contracts get doled out now. They go to Daley's friends, admirers, and allies. Only now the budget is infinitesimal compared to what it will be if the Olympics comes here.

Bringing the Olympics to Chicago will allow a corrupt mayor to run the city in the same corrupt manner only with an exponential new sets of resources, responsibilities, and powers. Is that really what the city wants? That seems to me to be pouring gasoline on top of a fire.
Mayor Daley AKA Little Lord Fauntleroy, brought to you by my favorite YouTuber.

I hope Richie Daley is realizing that he could get hauled away in handcuffs too. You know, this guy's got a thick skull. And I don't know if anything can penetrate this guy's thick skull. But I hope for his sake he's realizing it. Judging by his actions, I don't think he is.

photo by Johnye West

Little Daley Fauntleroy. What an accurate description. Just in case you don't know, Wikipedia says:
Little Lord Fauntleroy is most often used as a term of derision. It describes a pompous spoiled brat, usually a young male, who takes his wealth and privilege for granted.


According to a report by the government watchdog group Good Jobs First, Illinois ranks last (with a score of ZERO) among all states when it comes to transparency in implementing the Federal Government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA").
The Good Jobs First study examines the quality and quantity of disclosure by official state websites on the many ways ARRA funding is flowing through state governments to communities, organizations and individuals. Looking at both spending programs and individual projects, it evaluates the general ARRA websites that all states have created as well as their website reporting specifically on ARRA highway projects. Based on ten different criteria, each state (and the District of Columbia) is graded twice on a scale of 0 to 100.
Another fine moment for the fine state of Illinois.


Are Mayor Daley and Pat Ryan lying to you about the Olympics?
Fox News Chicago asked [deceit specialist] Perry Myers of MSI Detective Services to review footage of 2016 Committee chair Pat Ryan and Mayor Daley claiming that taxpayers would not have to pay for the 2016 Olympics. After analyzing tells of deception, evasion and untruthfullness, Perry concludes "I would be highly skeptical and would look into this much further."

Daley's gestures are equally revealing. Watch him in this press conference in 2007.

DALEY: "The Olympics must not be a burden to taxpayers of Chicago, Illinois."

Did you notice any unusual movement? "He touched the side of his face one time. It's an unusual gesture. When you bring your hand up to your face, normal would be two, three, four times scratching...He may have been holding something inside or not telling the truth or not telling all the truth.

Perry is also intrigued by Daley's actions when our crew caught him at the airport after promising in Switzerland he would sign the IOC contract.

DALEY: "All the cities that were represented and the Japanese, Spain, and Brazil, they spent all their taxpayers' money. We don't spend any taxpayer money."

"He's blinking a lot. Again there are a few words that were jumbled up. We're not getting 100% disclosure...I would be highly skeptical and look into this further and want to examine things."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Mayor Daley is apparently aware that we all know how cushy those government jobs are. From the Sun-Times:
Referring to the furlough frenzy sweeping the public and private sectors, he said, “Everybody should do it. It’s incumbent on government because taxpayers pay for your salary, pension and health care. They pay a lot. ... They’re saying, ‘You don’t pay anything for your health care? I have to pay for your pension?’ People are really focussing on this — more so in government than anything else.”
And so, Daley is ordering all sorts of city employees to take unpaid days off. Just look at that bloated city payroll:

*1,440 CPS employees in the administrative and central office group will be required to take six unpaid holidays.

*312 CTA employees who are managers or above, and other employees who earn more than $90,000, will be required to take three unpaid holidays. Twenty-six vice presidents also will take three additional furlough days.

*14 top officials at City Colleges of Chicago will take three unpaid holidays and three furlough days and 369 City Colleges employees will forego raises.

*46 Chicago Park District managers making $90,000 or more will be required to take five unpaid holidays and three days when city government shuts down.

*84 CHA directors and above earning more than $90,000 will take six unpaid holidays.

*10 Public Building Commission senior staff members will take five unpaid holidays.


Another good post at Progress Illinois starring 1st Ward Alderman Manny Flores on WTTW's Chicago Tonight - Ald. Flores: Olympics Transparency "Has a Long Ways to Go":

FLORES: I'm not going to wait, I'll tell you that Carol. I'm not going to wait until the end of a fiscal year or a calendar year before I get information so I can distribute it to the citizens of the city of Chicago. And so I will say this -- I don't know why we have to make this harder than it really is. Given the way technology is, you see the federal government they have a mandate right now with the way that they use the money from the Recovery Act. Why not adopt the same principles? Why not adopt the same principles of the Asset Disclosure Act? Now we require that assets be posted online with the revenue that we generate through asset lease and to provide a line-by-line itemization of how that money's being used. Why not require that we put other information, perhaps statements of ethics, online?
Yo Daley and Chicago ever heard of the Internets? Rumor has it, you can post all kinds of information on the Internets. And then millions and millions of people can access that information. And oh my god, wouldn't you know it, you can even do it for free.

Wait, you wouldn't want to keep people from knowing all about your Olympic shenanigans, would you? Oh right, that would be "inappropriate to talk about."

Come on Mayor Daley, it's 2009! The Internets. Learn it. Use it. Love it.


So, last week, it began. The city officially awarded contracts to winning bidders for the demolition of the Michael Reese Hospital campus to make way for the Olympic Village. This being Chicago, it is important to take a look at who these winning bidders are, and also, whose campaign war chests these bidders have contributed to. And Reform Cook County has done just that: Follow the Money of Olympic Demolition Crew. Check it out.

And, if you are ever interested in learning a little bit more about who is donating money to Mayor Daley or who is getting city contracts, check out these websites:
A database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago to the Vendor, Contract, and Payment Search lookup tool maintained by the Department of Procurement Services.
Crain's Mayor Daley's Contributions Database (browse by Employer, Occupation, Contribution, Type, Date, State, Zip Code)
Using data filed by Mr. Daley's campaign committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections, Crain's created a searchable database of the Mayor's contributions going back to 1999.


A great post over at the blog In the Loop. For anyone that thinks Mayor Daley has made Chicago all flowery beautiful, please put down the kool-aid, leave your pretty little neighborhood, and go see the rest of the city for yourself. Or, check out the video Mayor Daley's Chicago for a glimpse.

Mayor Daley's Chicago

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Did you see the New York Times piece on Mayor Daley and his Olympic dreams? It seems the national media has caught wind of the local opposition that has taken hold with Daley's promise to sign Chicago taxpayers up for an unlimited monetary guarantee for the Olympics. Recession Shadowing Chicago Bid for Games:
To hear Ms. Healey and other bid leaders tell it, there is no downside...Organizers say private financial support is mounting, with $60 million raised so far for the bid, and no city dollars are expected to be needed for either the bid or the Games.

On that last point, however, residents of Chicago seem skeptical. They have heard promises before.

This spring, a $1.15 billion deal to privatize the city’s parking meter system turned into a fiasco after City Hall’s inspector general called it a dubious financial deal and after motorists said they poured money into fancy new meters that, in turn, spat out error messages. A few years ago, Millennium Park, a downtown centerpiece, opened behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.

“You all are projecting we’re going to make a lot of money,” a resident, Robin Kaufman, told Olympics planners at a neighborhood meeting, one in a series intended to shore up support. “But the bankers were projecting they were going to make a lot of money. Bernie Madoff was predicting he was going to make a lot of money.”

Ms. Kaufman lifted a sign that read, “No Blank Checks.”

At a high school auditorium on the West Side, where the bid leaders showed glossy Olympics schematics and stood beside toned former Olympians, Stephanie Patton asked, “Why should we trust you?”
A big thank you to the New York Times for their attention to this matter. (And thanks also for mentioning the parking meter mess and Millennium Park.) Hopefully the IOC is paying attention as well.


You may remember, Alderman Billy Ocasio wanted his wife to fill his seat. But Mayor Daley had other ideas. So he broke the Aldermanic Succession Tradition. Why? Well, I think Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times has nailed the answer - Daley appoints Maldonado as 26th Ward Alderman:
Thirty-two times in the last 20 years, Mayor Daley has appointed aldermen to fill City Council vacancies.

Unless the outgoing alderman was convicted and headed off to prison, the mayor followed the departing alderman’s recommendation on a successor.

Today, Daley broke the mold — by appointing 57-year-old Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado to replace Billy Ocasio as 26th Ward alderman.


Sources said Daley was not about to wear the jacket for continuing the Chicago tradition of hand-me-down politics — especially not for Billy Ocasio, who emerged as the mayor’s most outspoken City Council critic.

Billy Ocasio cast the lone vote against Daley’s 2009 budget while ranting against a mayor he claimed, “believes everything and everyone is expendable.” He also emptied a piggybank full of quarters onto his desk to protest a 75-year, $1.2 billion parking meter lease tied to steep increases in meter rates.

Veronica Ocasio “probably would have followed in her husband’s —and [former Ald.] Luis [Gutierrez] footsteps and beat the crap out of the mayor,” said a source who asked to remain anonymous.

Little Richie Daley doesn't like it when his aldermen disagree with him, so he took this opportunity to get rid of one independent minded voice on the City Council. Good for Daley. Awful for us. Thanks Dick!

And how the hell does Daley get to appoint aldermen anyway? What kind of democracy is this? Oh right. This is Chicago. We do things our own way - King Daley's way.


You may remember that earlier this month the aldermen were questioning the costs the city pays to transport dead bodies. Well, the city has now negotiated with their contractor to pay $200 less per dead body. Even with the discount, Chicago is getting the shaft on this deal:

Outgoing Chief Procurement Officer Montel Gayles announced the price cut — from $915-a-body to $690 — at a Finance Committee meeting today during which Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) demanded to know why Chicago was paying more for the grisly service than any other government agency in the nation.

Dallas pays $94-a-body. San Antonio pays $125-per-cadaver. The Cook County Sheriff’s Police pays $250-per-body.

Something is not right here.

Speaking of things that aren't right, did you hear about the suburban teacher who is snatching up affordable condos subsidized by your taxes? 1 Man, 2 Affordable Homes:

The City of Chicago spends millions of dollars to create "affordable'' homes for working families.

The program has worked out really well for Rob M. Twardy, who bought one taxpayer-subsidized condo in March 2003 — and a second one just six months later.

And Twardy — who's 34 and teaches chemistry at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park — doesn't appear to live in either affordable home.

If the southwest suburban teacher could afford to buy two condos in one year, how did City Hall find that he qualified to buy any condo subsidized by Chicago taxpayers?

Your tax dollars at work ladies and gentlemen. Overpaying to transport the dead. Helping that poor teacher buy three condos. They're just giving it away! And here I thought we had a budget crisis. If that's not the case, I'm gonna have to ask: WHERE'S MINE?!


Confirming what many of us already know, Chicago takes the cake when it comes to political corruption. But the Sun-Times had to go ahead and ask: Is Illinois the Most Corrupt State?

With 42 agents, the Windy City outpaces New York and Los Angeles and is second in the nation only to Washington, D.C., in the number of FBI agents investigating public corruption...

Why are there so many corruption agents in Chicago?

"We have a lot of work," Chicago's FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We've made it a priority to try and have an impact on what has been a historical problem in this state and this city. We're trying to have a significant impact on the way things are done."

Grant is the special agent who, in announcing the corruption charges against since-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich last December, told the world that if Illinois "isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it is one hell of a competitor."

So far, the impact of his office's work has been slow in coming, he said.

"I keep seeing the same kind of crime," Grant said. "There's a casual acceptance of corruption in Chicago. It's significant here, it has always been significant here. I don't just mean politicians. I mean business people. There's a culture in this state that believes the only way to do business is to delve into the corrupt areas."

And, with that ringing endorsement, all Chicago citizens can hold their heads high. We finally found a way to beat New York and Los Angeles at something. When it comes to corruption, we are are no Second City. We are #1, grade A, gold medal, first place C-O-R-R-U-P-T.

a: morally degenerate and perverted : depraved
b: characterized by improper conduct (as bribery or the selling of favors)
And really, that is nothing to be proud of.

Monday, July 27, 2009


photo by Johnye West, resident photoshop genius

I always knew there was something familiar about Mayor Daley.
I don't know how I missed it before.
The cat.
The claw.
That sinister stare.
But it wasn't till he said this that I made the connection:
"I'll get you next time, Gadget. Next time!"


As usual, I urge you to read everything Ben Joravsky writes. Wondering how those Olympic community meetings are going? Check it out - Wanna Buy an Olympics?:

In a more perfect democracy, the campaign to host the 2016 Olympic Games would have been the subject of intense public scrutiny from the moment Mayor Daley proposed it three years ago.

The financial projections would've been scrutinized by independent-minded aldermen and their whiz-kid staffers. There would've been public hearings where ordinary citizens would get to question Daley's Olympics planners. There might even have been a referendum, carefully worded to let people know exactly what they were getting into—something along the lines of "This could cost us all a ton of money. Do you still want it?"

And if the answer were yes, we'd have moved on to try to win the International Olympic Committee's approval.

But what Chicago has is not an ideal democracy. So here we are three years later, heatedly pursuing Mayor Daley's Olympics dream whether we want to or not.


That said, the two hearings I sat through were fairly impressive dog and pony shows.


You can always count on Mayor Daley to say something great.

Back in 2001, the Chicago Reader recapped some of Daley's finer verbal moments - The Illustrated Mayor Daley:

"Scrutiny? What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Go scrutinize yourself. I get scrutined every day." --on whether his brother Bill's potential run for governor would bring added scrutiny to the Daley clan

"We know every one of those children have a lot of ability. They can sing rap better than us." --on public school improvements

"Everybody would like to have a weapon in America....I've got people at City Hall who would like to be armed." --on rejecting a request to arm Aviation Department security officers

"I humble myself every day. I've a very humble person." --on declining to apologize to James Newsome, who was framed for a 1979 murder, then convicted by Daley as state's attorney

"You cannot be closing everything down because you see white powder. More white powder is sold to people in cocaine. When a powder is found on the steps of a CTA platform, if you start closing all the CTA platforms you'll start closing the highways down. You can't do that." --on the anthrax scare

Then, there are some recent Daley gems.

Like when Daley discussed watching Mark Buerhle's recent perfect game:
''I shut it off because I thought it'd be bad luck for him,'' the mayor said.
If Mayor Daley causes bad luck by just watching baseball on the television, what do you think he is doing to Chicago by actually running the city? This can't be good.

Of course, his bad-luck-bringing didn't stop him from showing up at some little league baseball games. The poor little leaguers, I wonder how much bad luck they experienced that day. And - more importantly - what could this mean for the Olympics? [Gasp!] All these sporting events in Chicago...and the mayor will be watching! We can kiss our gold medals goodbye.

Also, Daley finally explained why he can always claim not to know anything about city hall scandals...he just doesn't have all the "facts" figured out. Yeah, facts. That's it. Gotta have the facts:
“You always have to have the facts. Always have the facts," Daley said. "You ask me questions everyday. You ask me questions about anything. If you want to respond to it, you better have the facts. You've got to realize that."
And, the Mayor responded to questions about how violence in Chicago may affect his precious Olympic bid:
"It has no effect because, first of all, if you look at all the victims, they know each other and their offenders," Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley said.
Oh, I get it. It's OK for people to get shot and killed because they know each other. Of course. Everyone's just going around shooting people they know. That explains it!

So, just to recap: the Mayor's got bad luck (avoid his gaze), always have the facts (unless you're Daley, then claim to know nothing), and dont' shoot people you know (shoot people you don't know!). Problems solved. Daleytopia here we come!


And he was still hungry...

Friday, July 24, 2009


A recent article in The Economist cites Chicago as an example of Tax Increment Financing run amok:
The bravura of this last vision suggests how TIFs can get out of hand. Chicago now has 158 such zones, covering 29% of its land and 13% of its property by value. Mike Jasso of the city’s community-development department says that businesses were leaving Chicago’s Loop before it became a TIF district in the 1980s; now the zone is thriving. Others are much more sceptical, contending that many successful TIF schemes are in areas that would have attracted investment anyway. Rachel Weber, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, thinks TIFs make Chicago’s “dysfunctional system of quid-pro-quo politics more dysfunctional”. Every local politician wants a TIF in his district, and developers are eager to contribute to campaigns in the hope of securing support for their projects. In April the city council passed a measure that will, at the very least, increase transparency.
It's always good to get mentioned in a prominent international publication, right Mayor Daley?

comic via Married to the Sea


Another Mayor Daley song, this time, it's just the words. Sing it to yourself now:
When Dick Daley was a little baby
Sittin on his mammies knee,
He took some land in his grubby little hand
Said Chicago will belong to me, lord lord,
Chicago will belong to me.

When Dick Daley was in the first grade,
His future was realized,
Cuz before he got into the Second Grade,
He had the whole damn school organized, lord lord,
He had the whole damn school organized...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


So Mayor Daley used to be opposed to Wal-Mart opening in the city, but now he loves the idea. What changed his mind? I'm thinking the $700,000 Wal-Mart gave the city for a jobs program didn't hurt. Daley: Get Over Wal-Mart Gripes, Allow Jobs in Chicago.

Last year, Daley rejected a developer’s request to build a 150,000 sq.ft. super-center on the site of the old Ryerson Steel plant at 83rd and Stewart — even though the City Council had already granted zoning approval for a big-box store at the Chatham site.

The mayor was so concerned about maintaining the delicate labor peace he brokered to bolster Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid, he was apparently willing to single out Wal-Mart for special treatment.


If he feels so strongly about the need for jobs and shopping choices, Daley was asked why he refused to give Wal-Mart administrative approval to build a second store in Chatham.

“If I start doing that, you would write a headline, ‘Mayor is arrogant. He’s usurping his power. Mayor starts changing the law for his own benefit because, one day he likes Wal-Mart. The next day he’s liking something else.’... I’m not gonna fall into that trap,” Daley said.

Haha. I still wrote a headline that says that. So there.

I'm glad to see Mayor Daley is playing the victim card again. He can't do what he wants to do because then the media would call him arrogant. Boohoohoo. You are arrogant, Dick. Deal with it. We have to.

Speaking of Daley changing his mind, he's also pulled a 180 on pot decriminalization: Daley Rips County Board for Marijuana Stance

Five years after embracing the idea of issuing tickets for minor pot violations, Mayor Daley today ridiculed the Cook County Board for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“People say you cannot smoke. ... They said, ‘Please don’t smoke.’ Now, everybody’s saying, ‘Let’s all smoke marijuana.’ After a while, you wonder where America is going,” the mayor said.

“Pretty soon, the headline [will be], ‘Let’s bring cigarettes back. It makes people feel calmer, quieter, relaxing.’… We said you cannot smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is bad for you. Now all the sudden, marijuana smoking is good for you. Can we take Lucky Strikes, mix ‘em together and say, ‘Smoking is coming back in the United States?’”

He sure likes to predict the headlines. Me thinks someone is a little obsessed with the media. Maybe he should sit down, have a cigarette, and feel calmer, quieter and relaxed. Didn't he read the news? Smoking is back!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It is so refreshing to see that the Chicago 2016 community meetings are not going according to Mayor Daley's plan. Bid for Olympics on the Hot Seat:
But unlike a string of recent meetings, after the bid team put its best foot forward, it was immediately hit with counter-presentations from critics who fear that the Summer Games could gravely damage the city.

While bid officials hoped to allay fears particular to Lakeview residents, such as the impact of venue construction to a lakefront bird sanctuary and further congestion to a crowded neighborhood, they had to defend the bid from attacks on multiple fronts.

"We're broke. We have no money. We're incompetent and corrupt, and we'll bungle it."
And, as people learn more about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid, their skepticism grows - Learn About Impact of Games:

-The impact that hosting the Games will have on the public's use of the parks as construction takes place over the next nine years. Parks from Waveland to the harbors to Grant Park to Meigs Field/Northerly Island to Washington Park to Douglas Park will be construction zones. Where are the citizens/residents of Chicago supposed to go for recreation during the construction phase and during the 2016 Games?

-The "security" plan for the Games in the bid book, which is pretty vague, but would allow for the creation of a police state.

-Last April, I paid $300 to have two color copies of the bid printed. While it is online, the large files made it functionally impossible to read online. Lots of color pictures and teeny-tiny print. When I checked in April, the only public library that had a printed copy was the Harold Washington main branch. Chicago 2016, Pat Ryan, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Mayor Daley and the well-heeled supporters of the 2016 bid should fund the printing to make copies available at all branch libraries. That way the public can ask informed questions about the Games at the Chicago 2016 community meetings.

Daley of course, was ready to respond today. Daley Answers Critics of Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid:
Mayor Daley today accused unidentified media naysayers of trying to sandbag Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid by reporting testimony from people at neighborhood hearings who don’t want the Olympics.

“You’re against it. You were against Millennium Park. You were against 911. You were against Soldiers Field. You were against Meigs Field. What else were you against? You’re against a lot. But, that’s freedom of speech,” Daley said.

“Some people don’t want this. … That’s part of American democracy. They can stand up and say anything they want. … But, in the next five years, six years, tell me one [other] thing that can bring jobs and economic opportunities and, besides that, guarantee an investment by the federal government [of] billions of dollars in infrastructure. If you have something better, I’d love to see it.”


Today, the mayor warned media dart throwers to back off or risk killing an event that could be the salvation of their struggling industry.

“Why is Tokyo for it? Why is Rio de Janeiro for it? Why is Madrid? They’re all in recession. Why are they seeking it? Every other city prior to the announcement by the U.S. Olympic Committee that we were winners — everybody else wanted it,” Daley said.

“They realize it’s economic opportunity. Besides that, it will help your industry tremendously. Once you’re selected, immediately it becomes a destination for people. It’ll help tremendously in your [media] industry as well.”

Ah, the Olympics. The answer to all of Chicago's problems. The Olympics will create jobs (temporary ones). They'll bring tourists (for a few weeks). They'll come with federal infrastructure money (who said?). They'll save the Chicago media (huh?).

They'll balance our budget. And improve our public schools. And fill our potholes. And fix the CTA. And solve our crime problem. And no one will be homeless. And everyone will have healthcare. And a job. And a puppy. And free ice cream. With a cherries on top. And we will all be one big happy family living in Daleytopia (still with parking tickets).

And it won't cost us a thing (except we already bought the Michael Reese Hospital campus and are using TIF money to fix it up)!



Check out this great post at Progress Illinois about Mayor Daley's favorite thing in the whole world - Tax Increment Financing:

Unfortunately, corporations and their politically-connected executives, such as Willis Vice Chair Bill Bartholomay, appear to view these tax breaks as part of doing business in Chicago. Meanwhile, Mayor Daley controls the purse strings and can curry favor with these CEOs by doling out the subsidies himself.

To understand why this is so ridiculous, it's important to remember that TIF originated as a redevelopment tool for the city's blighted areas -- stretches of land that entrepreneurs and developers would surely avoid without some sore of financial incentive. Under Mayor Daley, the system has been so perverted that it is now using taxpayer dollars to build executive suites in the middle of downtown. The TIF network has also expanded so rapidly that it now siphons hundreds of millions of dollars each from the cash-starved taxing bodies, such as the city, county, park district, and board of education.

TIFS! What a scam. If you don't know by now, please educate yourself. Go to Ben Joravsky's TIF Archive.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This guy again! He heard about the drama at Mayor Daley's summer home and now he's got something to say. Listen to his take on the mayor's extra special police protection:

If you wanna talk about tough guys...the mayor's son Patrick, when he was a kid, probably in his late teens, he had a beer party at his dad's house in Michigan. And it got out of control. And fights ensued. And he hit somebody over the head with a baseball bat. Mayor Daley's son. So Mayor Daley, instead of costing the taxpayers a fortune to have people guard you 24/7, while you're sitting on your butt having a good old time in Michigan, just bring Patrick over. Give him his baseball bat back and pay him to watch you. Any intruders, he can hit them over the head with a baseball bat. He's good at that...You go to Michigan, you're on your own. Alright. You get Patrick, give him his baseball bat. Let him watch you.
I really love this guy.


Mayor Daley the Surveillance Creep is creeping further into your lives: Camera Surveillance Plan Rouses Privacy Concerns
A $23 million proposal to place more than 3,000 cameras around public-housing developments has alarmed privacy advocates and raised questions over the effectiveness of surveillance systems.

"There isn't really any sort of public dialogue, ever, about how much is enough or what's effective," says Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "There's no real, definitive evidence that any of this is effective. There are just pronouncements that it is."

Yohnka and other civil-liberties advocates have acknowledged that people should not expect privacy in public places, but he questioned the extent of formal talks between officials and residents, and called the number of cameras in the authority's plan "extraordinary."

"You could literally have police staring into people's homes, and places of work, and into their cars," he says. "These systems are, sort of, fraught with that possibility given their power and their reach."

Existing cameras in Chicago can tilt, zoom and alert dispatchers of suspicious activity.

No more cops, just more cameras. Next, Daley will start ticketing people for everything he sees with the cameras: littering, jaywalking, speeding, loitering, leaving your dog's shit on the sidewalk, etc. If you fail to pay these tickets, Daley will place some sort of Denver Boot-like device on your body, leaving you immobile until you pay your fines. He is commissioning scientists as we speak to develop the technology. He wants to be first in line for the name - The Daley Boot.

Monday, July 20, 2009


photo by Johnye West

Over the hills and far away,
Mayor Daleys come to play...
Time for Mayor Daleys,
time for Mayor Daleys,
time for Mayor Daleys...
Mayor Mumbles. "Mayor Mumbles!"
Daley. "Daley!"
Shortshanks. "Shortshanks!"
Dick. "Dick!"
Mayor Daleys. "Mayor Daleys!"
Say, Heeeeee-lo! "Eh-oh!"
Mayor Mumbles. Daley. Shortshanks. Dick.
Mayor Daleys. "Mayor Daleys!"


Former Alderman, Current Inmate Arenda "All Aldermen are Hos" Troutman

Since Chicago citizens are not allowed to vote on a replacement when their city council members resign (to take a new job, go to jail, etc.), Ex-Alderman Billy Ocasio thinks he has found his perfect replacement. First it was a homophobic minister that doesn't even live in the ward, and now it's his wife: Ex-Alderman Touts Wife for His Old Seat.

Ocasio himself was appointed by Daley to replace [Luis] Gutierrez when Gutierrez was elected to Congress.

Ocasio stepped down earlier this month to take a $125,000-a-year job as a senior adviser to Gov. Quinn.

Traditionally, when it comes to a replacement, Daley has gone along with the wishes of outgoing aldermen. But after De Jesus drew the ire of the gay community, Daley said he was interviewing other candidates. He has until Aug. 1 to make a decision.

Of course, no one is shocked by this news. Alderman Ocasio is simply following the wonderful tradition of nepotism in Illinois.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Is this what Mayor Daley meant when he asked everyone else to clean up his budget mess? No funding for public transportation for the disabled:
A meeting of the Regional Transportation Authority board ended in a vote to give no additional money to paratransit service for the disabled — which will run out of funds this fall.

Pace Board Chairman Richard Kwasneski attributed the vote to pressure from the CTA and Metra, which didn’t want to give up the money in a tough budget time.

RTA Chair Jim Reilly agreed that board members were influenced by Metra and CTA not wanting to give up any money.

“Perhaps what we need to do is get Mayor Daley on our side,” said Kwasneski, noting that 80 percent of the users of paratransit vans live in Chicago.

Or maybe Mayor Daley meant this. No funding for porch inspections:

Six years after a catastrophic porch collapse in Lincoln Park killed 13 people and forced a Chicago-wide crackdown on dangerous porches, the city has returned to a more passive vigilance of the hazards. While city officials say their hard work has reduced the potential threats, a shortage of inspection manpower and a continuing stream of newly reported cases mean that bad porches often are discovered only haphazardly -- and sometimes too late.


"If I lived in the city of Chicago and I had a wooden porch, regardless of age ... on a yearly basis I'd call up the city and say, 'Come out and inspect my porch,' " said attorney Patrick Murphy, who has been suing building owners and the city on behalf of porch-collapse victims in Chicago for 35 years.

"It's continually a problem that owners of the building and property managers are not properly maintaining their porches and, therefore, the tenants -- who are the users -- are at risk," said Murphy

Or maybe it was this. Cost overruns and missing records for construction at a Chicago City College:

Construction of the new Kennedy-King College campus is more than $110 million over its original budget, and officials can't explain why or locate key documents that could shed light on the spiraling costs.


In early 2005, the Public Building Commission, which oversaw the project, estimated it would cost $93 million.

But by the end of 2006, with construction barely started, the price tag had soared to $202 million. And at a recent City Colleges board meeting, vice chancellor Diane Minor said the total cost would climb higher once the bills for months of repairs to get the campus’ heating and ventilation systems working correctly are tallied.

The City Colleges referred questions about the project's cost to the PBC, a city agency that coordinates and manages construction projects such as schools, libraries and fire stations. The chairman of its board is Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Wait. That doesn't help.

And, where's the rest of the media on this one? Cough Olympics Cough Cough. I'm gonna go ahead and add Kennedy-King College to the list of projects Daley can't finish on budget (O'Hare, Millennium Park, Block 37, etc.). And, if we are chosen for the games, I bet Olympics gets added to the list as well.

Glad to see the CTA, Building Department and City Colleges doing their part to close our $300+ million budget gap. Thanks!

Also, inquiring minds want to know: Would you vote for Mayor Daley?

And, check out the Reader for another great Joravsky tale. This time, he discusses the Chicago Park District and their wacky ways:

I don't know who's putting these things together, but, please, for sake of this city, keep them far, far away from the Olympics.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So, King Richard delivered his annual State of the City Address. As if we needed the mayor to tell us that Chicago's got issues. From the Sun-Times:
The mayor used his annual State of the City address to tackle the issues that have touched a nerve with Chicagoans. They range from higher taxes, youth violence and government corruption to video poker, the Olympics and Chicago parking meters.
Wow. Thanks Captain Obvious. But, you know, we shouldn't be so hard on the poor mayor. Acknowledging all these things is a big step for Mayor Daley.

So let's all give Dick a big ol' pat on the back.

Careful!...not too much praise. Because, now we gotta ask, just what is Daley gonna do about all these problems? Oh right - ask other people to take care of the mess:

To keep his hand out of taxpayer pockets, Daley urged the Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges, the CTA, CHA and Park District to hold the line on taxes, fees and fare hikes this year and to order their top level executives to join the furlough frenzy.

In other words, while Daley sits on a $1 billion TIF surplus, he's asking the very entities whose property tax dollars all the TIFs are bleeding dry to do his dirty work. I always thought it was funny that CPS, Park District, et al didn't raise more of a stink about all the money they are missing out on because of TIF. I'm sure they're getting theirs. Wink. Nod.

There's some other gems in the Sun-Times article, so check it out. I won't go into more detail because I think it's all lip service and I don't believe a word that comes out of Mayor Daley's mouth. But if you do, then you'll be happy to know Daley is fixing it all - violence, parking meters, taxes, the economy, corruption, video poker, patronage, the Olympics.

Don't forget. He's the Reformer Man. He'll make it better, with the push of a button! It's all in his very capable hands. SO DON'T WORRY! Reformer Man is on the job...To the rescue!


daley + tristan = tru luv 4 eva

Check out this great post at Gapers Block - Homero Tristan and Scandal Fatigue:
But, as always, it's important to know exactly what happened, before a scandal turns into A Scandal, where everybody knows the personalities but not the facts. Tristan's resignation and reporters' questions about it caused much Mayoral huffing and puffing, with the Mayor claiming Tristan had done nothing seriously wrong, and insinuating that the IG was running wild


It is important not to play into that interpretation of reform by unreasonably blowing ethical lapses and transgressions into world-shattering "scandals". This isn't a scandal on par with Hired Truck or dozens of yet-unreported scandals we may soon learn about O'Hare contracting or in the Water Department. We joke about "scandal fatigue" but it is a real problem, and one that has probably unnaturally elongated the life of a political establishment that should have collapsed years ago.

True, Homero Tristan shouldn't be burned in effigy as a machine hack out to clout jobs for the connected--at least, that's not what he was accused of and there's no evidence that that's what he was doing. At the same time, we shouldn't go ahead and start attacking the motives and character of an Inspector General just doing his job, and trying to make sure that the letter of the federal order is followed exactly. There's a reason the order errs on the side of less discretion for the city in these kinds of situations; it was that very discretion that allowed for shenanigans. Accusing the IG of hating democracy and holding bizarre potlucks in support of Tristan sends the message that "community groups" supposedly in the business of advocating for the people are opposed to independent oversight of government affairs.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I don't suffer from Scandal Fatigue. But I know many Chicagoans do. It's a big reason Daley is still the mayor of Chicago after 20 years of corruption, waste, clout, crimes, tyranny, and greed. Mayor Daley can count on people getting sick of hearing all about his corrupt bullshit. "Oh well, big surprise, it's just the Chicago Way." And they just forget, stop paying attention, or don't care.

photo credit


OhMyGawd the Chicago City Council might be getting the hang of this legislative branch, checks and balances thing. Crain's reports that aldermen are moving forward with an actual independent audit of the projected Olympic costs and revenues:
L.E.K. Consulting, whose media and entertainment practice includes sports projects, was hired by the Civic Federation, a local tax policy watchdog group in Chicago. The firm "will help us conduct an independent review of expenditures and revenues" for the proposed Chicago games, according to federation President Laurence Msall.

Mr. Msall said he believes the firm has been involved in helping other cities prepare Olympics bids, but stressed that it has played no role in Chicago's effort to win the games.

I will be very interested to see the results of this audit and what the aldermen will do if they are not favorable for Chicago taxpayers.

In the meantime, clap hands for the City Council. Good City Council.