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


Monday, August 10, 2009


photo by Johnye West

As long as this Chicago Olympic nonsense is going on, there will be great(!) news coming out of City Hall.

First, as expected we have TIFs for the Olympics! City Creating TIF to Draw $100 Million to Transform Hospital into Olympic Village:

Chicago taxpayers must spend $100 million to transform the old Michael Reese Hospital site on the Near South Side into an Olympic Village.

On Wednesday, Mayor Daley's Olympic bid team confirmed the $100 million price tag to install roads, sewers and utilities, raising questions about how the Chicago 2016 committee and Daley can continually say the Games won't cost taxpayers a dime -- especially when the city is dealing with a fiscal crisis.

While Chicago won't know until October if it will win the 2016 Summer Games, the city has agreed to create a TIF district surrounding Michael Reese to generate the $100 million.

Ben Joravsky has some words about TIFs for the Olympic Village at Michael Reese Hospital. Check out his post More Magic Beans:
Look, people, if you truly believe these games are worth the fortune they will obviously cost us, or if you don't care about the public cost but think your business might somehow or other get a crumb or two from the Olympic pie, than go ahead, join the mayor's parade.

But for your own self respect, please don't be dumb enough to believe the bull.

Also in the news lately is a Daley ally - Olympic supporter, real estate developer, and Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott. He has been subpoenaed in the ongoing federal grand jury investigation of the admissions process at elite Chicago public schools. Scott has also been exposed for his part in a deal to develop land near proposed Olympic venues:
A member of Mayor Richard Daley's team working to bring the Olympics to Chicago has quietly arranged to develop city-owned land near a park that would be transformed for the 2016 Summer Games, potentially positioning himself to cash in if the Games come here, a Tribune investigation has found.

Developer Michael Scott Sr., an early member of the mayor's Olympic committee, leads a group planning a residential and commercial project on lots kitty-corner from the proposed Douglas Park sporting venues, a location where land values could jump if the city gets the Olympics.

Scott owns Michael Scott & Associates, a real estate development and investment firm. He also serves as president of the Chicago Board of Education, and was in the news earlier this week when he said he was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury looking into admissions to the city's elite public schools.

Scott's designs on the public land are sure to reinforce concerns of residents that it's the mayor's friends who would benefit from Daley bringing the 2016 Olympics to the city. The story is a familiar one in Daley's administration, where City Hall insiders have personally profited from even the most civic-minded of projects, from recycling garbage to building Millennium Park.
Of course, Daley initially refused to answer questions about another one of his friends caught with his hand in the city cookie jar:

I'm sorry I can't answer questions every day. Every day, I do it enough," Daley said.

Asked by a Tribune reporter when he would be available to talk about Scott's project, Daley said the question insulted him.

"Oh, I do it everyday, you've been with me every day. Never insult me with that question," Daley said. "You're insulting me because every day I'm here, you're never here. And don't print that, so I know you'll print it."

But later, Daley gave in and offered up this wonderful explanation:

Mayor Daley denied Saturday that Michael Scott, a member of the Chicago 2016 committee, would financially benefit from a proposed West Side development near the site of a potential Olympic venue.

"He's not involved," Daley said after the Bud Billiken Parade, where he spent the morning riding a float blasting out the music of Beyonce. "He's supporting the Olympics. Everybody is supporting the Olympics."


"The facts are wrong. The conclusions are wrong," Daley said, later adding, "He never had any interest -- none whatsoever."
However, the Tribune's Clout Street blog calls Daley's claims into question: listed as the project's developer. Letters of support from Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th) refer to the project as Scott's development and made no mention of the ministers. Scott said she was mistaken in both letters, though he never asked her to change the wording. Also, in state incorporation papers, only Scott is listed as the only officer of the firm, WMC-I.

Daley attempted to dismiss that. "It doesn't matter, he had no interest," he said.

The mayor also accused reporters of trying to hurt Scott and the city's bid for the 2016 Games.

Naturally, John Kass was there to comment on our beloved Mayor Chucky - Queries Unleash a Terrifying Alter Ego:
Many of you probably don't know this, but the mayor's office insists that reporters stay "on topic" at most of his public events.

"On topic" means that he'll talk about the stunt of the moment, so reporters can give oodles of coverage to the news managed out of the mayor's press office. Many days, the mayor's schedulers inform reporters he'll only accept questions "on topic." And then you see the stunt on TV, the ribbon cutting or the meet-and-greet with the children or the seniors, and you think you're actually watching the news.

But a few local reporters on Friday, including a young Tribune reporter named Dan Blake, figured they should act like reporters, not press agents. So they dared ask "off topic" questions about Michael Scott. That's when the Mayor Chucky came out.

"No," he said. "this is just gonna be on this."

Translation: Shut up and stay on topic.

"When do you think you'll be available next to talk about the deal reported about Michael Scott?"

"Oh, I do it every day," Mayor Chucky insisted. "You've been with me every day. NEVER insult me with that question! You're insulting me because every day I'm here, you're never here. And don't print that! So I know, you'll print it."

Huh? What? All Blake asked was a legitimate question about when the mayor would answer a legitimate question.

On Saturday, the mayor finally talked about Scott, but only long enough to deny, deny, deny and say reporters were making it all up just to hurt his feelings and ruin everything. "You come to conclusions, you're trying to hurt 2016. I don't know why. ...You come to conclusions!"
Oh what would we do in Chicago without a mayor who breaks into a sweaty, angry, "I'm the victim" persona whenever we dare to question his crooked ways?


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