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Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009

* Fitzgerald’s investigation of Ald. Carothers is heating up

Now, a 2007 federal subpoena — released in response to a Freedom of Information request — reveals a demand for documents including seven years worth of aldermanic expense records; 29th Ward zoning changes; ordinances introduced by Carothers, and correspondence between Carothers and the mayor’s office regarding zoning changes

The subpoena further demanded information on comments made and votes taken by Carothers since January 2001 before two City Council committees. Carothers could not be reached for comment.

Last year, the Sun-Times reported that Carothers’ New 29th Ward Campaign Committee had accepted, then returned $11,000 in campaign contributions from Morgan Properties, Inc., where FBI mole John Thomas is listed as “manager.” Thomas is a Chicago developer-turned-FBI mole who played a pivotal role in the federal investigation that culminated in the conviction of Tony Rezko, a leading fund-raiser for and adviser to ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

* Former Chicago alderman sentenced to 4 years in prison

Frustrated by Illinois’ long history of public corruption, a federal judge lectured former Ald. Arenda Troutman on Tuesday, telling the longtime politician that she could have been something special.

“Instead you join the Hall of Shame of politicians who sold their offices,” U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said shortly before sentencing Troutman to 4 years in prison. “You become another in their number.”

With her guilty plea last fall to one count each of mail fraud and tax fraud, Troutman became the 27th Chicago alderman to be convicted of wrongdoing since 1972.

* Former Chicago alderman gets 4 years in prison

* Former Ald. Troutman Gets 4 Years For Bribery

* ComEd cuts back on capital spending

Commonwealth Edison Co. is cutting its capital spending budget for 2009 in response to lower demand for electricity.

ComEd is trimming $150 million from its previously set $1-billion capital budget for 2009. The new $850-million budget is down 11% from last year’s $950-million capital spending level.

Additionally, ComEd is trimming $50 million from its nearly $1-billion operating budget in 2009. The utility said it’s working to reassign employees affected by the operational cuts but isn’t expecting to lay off employees. Instead, the utility “will continue to look for organizational efficiencies through an analysis of staffing and managing costs through ordinary attrition.”

* ComEd cutting, postponing expansion projects

* Kane County paper trims size, availability

* Tribune Co. freezes non-union salaries

* OfficeMax posts $395M loss in Q4 on write-downs

* Deere fiscal 1Q profit falls 45 percent

* Swallowing your pride never easy

Acco Brands, an office supply wholesaler in Lincolnshire, is cutting workers’ pay by 47 percent between now and April, when it will rise to 80 percent of its current level.

* Is avoiding layoffs better business strategy?

* Opponents of O’Hare expansion unveil new campaign

* O’Hare opponents launch ad blitz in face of expected cash landing

* Cat, IDOT offer workshop for contractors

* Stimulus plan gets mixed reviews locally

* Local leaders get lowdown on possible boosts from stimulus

* Bean selling stimulus in the suburbs

* Schock has eye on biofuel production

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock may not have voted for the stimulus package signed into law Tuesday, but he hopes to stimulate the central Illinois farm economy.

* Congressman Foster breaks down stimulus package for 14th District

* Stimulus bill brings hope to the jobless

Job opportunities could be on the way for several thousand Fox Valley residents looking for new work, or any work at all, as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law Tuesday by President Barack Obama.

* Weisner, Quinn to meet on funding

Hours after the passage of the huge federal stimulus package Tuesday, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner was headed to Springfield to speak one-on-one with Gov. Pat Quinn about capital projects and the state of Aurora’s schools.

* Area leaders await OK for stimulus bill projects

* Infrastructure work high on priority lists for area small towns

* With eye on stimulus money, B-N and county have green-lit projects

* South Shore resident in Chicago is greening black communities

Naomi Davis was honored by state leader Pat Quinn and Chicago Magazine for her efforts

* Chicago Heights distributes excess TIF money

Chicago Heights aldermen on Tuesday night agreed to redistribute $1.5 million in excess funds from a special taxing district to local taxing bodies such as the city, park district and school districts.

* More MRSA infections found in Illinois hospitals

Drug-resistant staph infections are more common in Illinois hospital patients than previously thought, according to new data from the Illinois Hospital Association.

But medical centers may not be to blame: The overwhelming majority of hospital patients with methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus, or MRSA, were already infected before being admitted, the data suggests.

* Expected closing of 4 mental health centers in Chicago prompts fear, sadness in patients who consider them a lifeline

For as many as 2,000 patients who rely on Chicago’s community mental-health centers to provide stability in their turbulent lives, the reality that change is coming in the next few months is frightening.

Four of the city’s 12 centers are slated to close April 7, necessitated by a $1.2 million cut in state funding, city officials said. All the doomed centers are on the South Side.

* Group calls for delay in plans to close city schools

A group opposed to a Chicago Public Schools plan to close and reorganize schools released two studies Tuesday saying the efforts have not led to improvements and have focused on poor neighborhoods undergoing gentrification.

* Buehrle must be sure he’s ready to walk away

As Phil Rogers of the Tribune reported earlier this week, Buehrle is talking about retiring after the 2011 season, when he would be all of 32.

According to the story, Buehrle already misses his wife and 18-month-old son, even though spring training has just started.

“[I] don’t think you’re going to see me in a baseball uniform for too many more years,” Buehrle says. “I miss my family too much when I’m away. . . . I won’t be around until I’m 40. I can guarantee that.”

- Posted by Mike Murray        

  1. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:38 am:

    Couldn’t the corrupt Alderman stories get it’s own thread?

  2. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:39 am:

    === Buehrle already misses his wife and 18-month-old son===

    I’ll sleep better tonight knowing this.

  3. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:00 am:

    Why do the Feds seem to be the only ones getting involved in Chicago/IL politics? I am tired of seeing local law enforcement do nothing.

  4. - The Doc - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:03 am:

    Wumpus, I think part of the problem is that the Chicago IG doesn’t have authority to investigate the city council members. It’s nonsensical, especially in this environment, as this legislative body needs some serious fumigating and incentive to toe the line.

  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:04 am:

    It’s amazing that Fitz even has time to deal with aldermen considering everything else going on.

  6. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:08 am:

    Carothers is a close ally to Daley in the AA community. I wonder if this is ultimately an attempt to squeeze Daley’s people to rat out da mayor.

  7. - 618er - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:16 am:

    So lets sum this up. Chicago has given us an impeached governor Warring leaders of both legislative houses, who could only come together to get said impeached governor reelected. A mayor that would sell/lease everything he can, possibly even our shamed junior senators’ mausoleum if he could, to fortify a legacy not of the ‘chicago way’ but of the one that brings the Olympics to the city, and an average of 1 city alderman convicted every 16 months.

    How proud the voting population up there must be right now…

  8. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:28 am:

    @ 618er –
    Respectfully, you are part of the problem.

    When you attempt to marginalize the corruption in Illinois, you are failing to appreciate its size and impact. Corruption is not a Chicago issue or a downstate issue — it’s an Illinois issue. Similarly, it’s not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem — it pervades both parties. Let’s stop the petty bickering so we can try to grasp the enormity of the problem.

  9. - Larry Mullholland - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:34 am:

    It is Chicago. It is a culture of corruption of historic proportions. Fizgerald will be there for years to come before he sorts his way through Chicago’s Political structure.

    Ward office after ward office, after county commissioner’s office, after state rep’s office after the mayor’s office, after the State Senators office, after US Senator’s office, after state reps office and on and on and on and on and on ….

    The question is when will voters have enough?

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:52 am:

    What Chicago neighborhoods did Paul Powell and Ken Gray live in? George Ryan? Scott Fawell? Bill Cellini? Stu Levine? Tony Rezko?

    What exactly are the U.S. Attorneys in Central and Sothern Illinois doing these days?

  11. - Bill - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    Buehrle is a gamer, a pitcher you can count on when the chips are down and the pressure is on. No matter what type of season he is having he gives you around 200 quality innings and always comes through when you need him the most. When the whole season rests upon one game, I want Mark as my starter. I hope he stays a long time.

  12. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    It’s amazing that Fitz even has time to deal with aldermen considering everything else going on.

    Yes, but sometimes it is easiest to pick the low-hanging fruit before climbing up the tree with a ladder.

  13. - Mike Murray - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:59 am:


    Couldn’t have said it any better myself

  14. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    To be fair, policital corruption is present throughout our state, same as any other. But what we are talking about here is the rampid organized crimial enterprise that is the Chicago Machine.

    Lisa Madigan pranced around this state in 2002 hammering Jim Ryan for not prosecuting George Ryan and for passing the buck to the feds. She knew the feds asked him to back down, but she said it, not me. Now she has done absolutely nothing.

    You cannot put someone in the AG’s office who probably would not get a job as a junior prosecutor in a rural state’s attorney’s office based on intelligence and qualifications and expect them to do anything about corruption.

    No reasonable person can listen to her speak about any legal topic and come up with a rational argument that I am wrong. She is very well thought of by her subordinates and is apparntly a good manager, but she lacks the intelligence or understanding of the law to do her job.

  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    When he’s on, Buehrle reminds me of Maddux.

    Last year during one of Buerhle’s starts, I snuck down to some South Side Irish politicians seats behind home plate. His fastball wouldn’t break glass, but he hit his spots for seven innings and the hitters couldn’t do anything with him. Worked fast, too.

  16. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:14 am:

    @ Larry - remind me what part of Chicago George Ryan was from. And Paul Powell. And William Stratton. And why stick with just pols? When Bill Cellini says he’s from Springfield, is that anywhere near the Sears Tower?

    Corruption is not limited to the Chicago borders. However, I will agree that there is a lot more of it in the city, which is a function of population density. Petty name-calling (City/downstate, Rep/Dem) is what allows ALL these idiots to maintain the kleptocracy that is the status quo.

  17. - Larry Mullholland - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:19 am:

    What exactly are the U.S. Attorneys in Central and Sothern Illinois doing these days?

    I hear they are short staffed because the chicago office is using all the resources.

    BTW Levine Cellini Fawell Rezko Ryan all have or had residence in Chicago & burbs…I think it called Chicago Metro Area

  18. - Larry Mullholland - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:21 am:

    Petty Name calling? there is nothing petty about the Chicago’s Culture of Corruption.

    Ryan had residence on Upper Wacker

  19. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    ==Ryan had residence on Upper Wacker==

    Is that a street in Kankakee? If its in Chicago, it sure beats Lower Wacker.

    In addition to the others, what Chicago neighborhood was Bob Hickman from?

  20. - Larry Mullholland - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:29 am:

    Hickman, Gray… Never heard of them. What office were they elected to?

    Ryan’s residencece was immediately east of the Hyatt on Wacker. Don’t remember the name

  21. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:38 am:

    What about that hotel in Springfield that never paid its’ own freight? Was there a Chicago angle on that one? George Ryan came from Kankakee which is not a suburb of Chicago. I have heard of some problems with southern US attorneys and the fight over that due to the activities of some downstaters. There is plenty of corruption to go around. It does not help to blame it on party or geography. It is pervasive - deep and wide. We won’t be able to change that if we stick with partisan and geographical scapegoating.

  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:39 am:

    Ryan did, indeed, have a condo in the “New East Side.” It wasn’t far from my former apartment at Michigan & Randolph. I was in his building once, but never ran into him.

  23. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    Rich — if we’re going to count Ryan’s condo in Chicago, does that mean that we get to count all state legislators’ pads in Springpatch as a strike against downstaters? Ryan was never a part of the Chicago machine, but he was a longtime Republican hack.

  24. - JonShibleyFan - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    Yeah, what Cynic said.

    I mean, if we count Ryan’s Chicago Condo, than we have to count the Governor’s Mansion for Ro…oh, wait, never mind.

  25. - Amy - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    do we have any other potential two generations of imprisoned pols? I know we have Quarters and Nickels, but they are brothers. Carrothers’ daddy went away. ah, the generational politics of Illinois.

  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Ryan was never a part of the Chicago machine===

    During the 98 campaign, Mayor Daley often provided Ryan with police protection. Poshard got nothing. He was the preferred candidate in many ways.

  27. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:05 pm:

    Rich — Daley knew who was going to win and wantd to ingratiate himself with Ryan. Doesn’t mean he was an insider by any long stretch of the imagination.

    Moreover, if memory serves, in the 2002 primary Blago got more downstate votes (thank you Jay Hoffman) than the other candidates. Meanwhile Chicago went for Vallas. Guess that means that G-Rod was your mess, not ours.

  28. - fedup dem - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    I have just received a report that legal efforts to keep the name of the Cicero Equality Committee Party candidate for Cicero Town President on the February 24 ballot have been successful. Cicero Police Officer Roberto Garcia, who is challenging Town President Larry Dominick and bring an end to some 85 years of unchecked corruption in that community, had been knocked off the ballot by a group of local officials loyal to Dominick citing a town ordinance that requires police officers to resign their jobs before seeking elected office there. That obkection to Garcia’s candidacy was overturned by a Cook County Judge earlier today.

  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:26 pm:

    Larry, if you want to believe corruption in Illinois is or has been limited to Chicago, enjoy your self-righteousness. But a cursory examination of history would prove you wrong.

  30. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:34 pm:


    Ryan may have been the preferred candidate in many ways but only because he was part of the whole Combine. That’s why I believe this is a state issue, not one of party or geography. The corruption is not about party, it’s about power and those who have it don’t care what party you are in if you are willing to play along. Daley is certainly a big part of this since so much power os concentrated in Chicago. He doesn’t care what party you are from. Just if you will go along.

  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:38 pm:

    DD, combines are for soybeans.

  32. - 618er - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    Guys, geography has a little to do with it. I didn’t say the city of Chicago, I said Chicago…
    Ask 25 up there where downstate begins and I’ll bet even odds it will be close to where 25 people down say Illinois ends and Chicago begins. It has little to do with Administrative boundaries.

    There is very little doubt that corruption is statewide, and I never said it wasn’t. The city of Lincoln seems to be without a City Clerk for some reason.
    Hopefully this won’t break down the Lincoln political machine and keep Bomke from getting reelected.
    Although I haven’t heard anything about it I guess it could be possible that my local units of government have bankrupted themselves through patronage hiring and bloat, or mortgaging future generations with debt, to bring and international event here.

    I was not marginalizing corruption in Illinois or blaming it on any one party. I am quite sure that the republicans in Chicago are just as corrupt as the dems, If I ever find one I will ask them.
    Yet I am also quite sure that Illinois doesn’t get politically corrupt reputation from the Johnson County Board or the Carthage City Council..

  33. - Captain America - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 1:31 pm:

    It’s evident to me that the political-governmental apparatus in Illinois is institutionally corrupt from top to bottom in Illinois. It affects all levels of government - and I think Illinois leads the nation in the number of separate goveernmental entities.

    I still think that the younger generation of Illinois leaders are honest and ethical even though politics and government as practiced in Illinois is an exceptionally dirty game.

  34. - Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 1:34 pm:

    @618er —

    “I didn’t say the city of Chicago, I said Chicago…”

    Come again? It’s one and the same.

    Similarly when I say that “Illinois is corrupt,” it means the same thing as when I say “the state of Illinois is corrupt.”


  35. - Anonymous45 - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    Cynic: please don’t butcher the Italian language in order to make your point…it’s spelled capice (Vowel after c pronounced sh)

  36. - 618er - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 3:12 pm:

    I understand it’s hard to hear, even harder to accept. Lets put it another way. People down here down do not differentiate between Naperville, Waukegan, Lisle, Chicago, West Chicago,etc. It’s just Chicago. Just like people up there don’t differentiate between Shelbyville, Elizabethtown, Nashville, or Lawrenceville,etc.. My aunt and uncle have lived across from the high school in Schaumburg for 30+years. The last time I was up there he told me that “Chicago” is no considered anything east of the Fox river and DeKalb is considered a suburb.
    Once you get over the anger, acceptance comes a little easier.

  37. - Bring Back Phil Rock - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 5:02 pm:

    Carothers is bad news. Driven through the 29th ward lately? Horrible. He also completely controls Oak Park democratic politics. No Oak Park democratic party member dares to contradict anything Carothers says or does, including Don Harmon. It is a shame. Carothers has made a mess of the 29th ward and the political stink created by Carothers and his cronies emanates unstopped throughout Oak Park. Sad but true.

  38. - Indpendent - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 6:05 pm:

    Bad news for Daley. Carothers is Daley’s Guy on the West Side.

  39. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:27 pm:

    DD, combines are for soybeans.

    Good one, Rich! T-shirt material.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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