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Morning Shorts

Friday, Jul 31, 2009

* Supreme Court to Consider Chicago’s Drug Seizure Practices

* Woman Gets Car Back From Police After 3 Years

Tyhesha Brunston got her car back this week three years after Chicago Police took it and locked it up. While she finally has her car back, her case isn’t over. Her attorney is filing a brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the way Chicago impounds cars allegedly used in drug crimes.

* Chicago official predicts even worse budget problems in 2010

Mayor Richard Daley’s administration Thursday predicted a gaping hole in next year’s budget that will eclipse the current financial problems — even after the city exhausts its brand-new $320 million rainy day fund.

The anticipated $6.2 billion budget for next year could be more than half a billion dollars in the red because of plummeting tax collections and rising wages that account for more than 80 percent of the city’s day-to-day spending, said Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold. He announced the gloomy prediction as Daley aides began briefing aldermen in anticipation of public hearings next month.

Although higher taxes are “a last resort . . . nothing is ruled out at this point,” Saffold said. “The mayor has instructed us not to look at property taxes as we move forward in 2010.”

Daley has laid off city workers and pressured unions to take unpaid days off to save money this year, and aldermen and outside budget experts predicted that personnel cuts were likely next year. The biggest chunk of increased spending next year will come from $117 million in higher wages, benefits and pension fund payments, Saffold said.

* City Faces “Enormous Challenge” in Balancing 2010 Budget

The head of a local watchdog group says it’ll be an “enormous challenge” for the Chicago to close its half-billion dollar deficit. That’s the 2010 budget shortfall city officials are expecting.[…]

He says it could take a combination of dramatic service cuts and a tax increase to make ends meet in 2010. For it’s part, the Daley administration is leaving both options open.

* Courting stars X men . . .

Hmmmm. The mayor is crying poor because he has discovered a $520 million hole in the 2010 city budget.

• • Hmmmm: Isn’t the approximately $1 billion budget reserve — which is comprised of the Skyway and parking meters sales and the onetime payment of $200 million from the reneged Midway Airport deal — typically kept for economic crisis, rainy day funds and unforeseen circumstances?

• • Conclusion: So how come, in the midst of this economic crisis, Mayor Daley is only dipping into the parking meter part of the rainy day fund? Does holding back the cash have anything to do with Daley’s hope to bring THE OLYMPICS to Chicago in 2016? Nawwww.

Further conclusion: Sneed hears the City Council will ask the mayor to dip into the budget reserve — rather than raise taxes!

* Dear Mr. Mayor: thanks but no thanks on set-asides for gay businesses

* The replacement

Maldonado is one of the committeemen who’ll choose his own replacement. He told us Thursday that he’ll work to make sure the committeemen select someone who will vote as he would have.

That said, Maldonado and the others will be lobbied to do Stroger a fat favor and install a flunky who’ll do whatever machine Democrats tell him or her to do. Other powerful committeemen with a vote on this — their respective clout is weighted by prior Democratic turnout in their wards — include Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) and Ald. Rey Colon (35th).

* Washington Park declares bankruptcy

Facing mounting debts owed to trash collectors, retirement funds and even one of its topless nightclubs, Washington Park has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time this decade.[…]

The community of about 5,450 people along Interstate 64 at the eastern edge of East St. Louis filed papers showing assets of less than $50,000 and debt of more than $1 million.

* Washington Park’s largest creditors: $448,793 — Illinois Department of Employment Security $300,000 — Johnny “Chico” Matt, former public safety director$174,363 — Police Pension Fund$91,04 — Hinshaw and Culbertson, lawyers $80,000 — Fish Inc., nightclub $73,821 — St. Clair County auditor $55,000 — Fraternal Order of Police $53,449 — Aetna Insurance

* Final tally: City [Bloomington] cut $4 million in salaries, 71 jobs

* Palatine implements 50% discount for delinquent tickets

Palatine will attempt to collect on as many of its nearly 24,000 delinquent citations as possible with an amnesty program launched this month that would allow people to pay half their original fine.

Many of the citations have $100-plus price tags and go back as far as 2000, officials said. The value of the collections could be as much as $1.5 million, officials said.

* Union: Caterpillar cutting jobs, idling foundry

PEORIA, Ill. — A union official says Caterpillar is laying off 75 employees at a central Illinois foundry and may close the plant for two months late this year if demand for its engines doesn’t improve.[…]

Doty says the company also has tentative plans to close the foundry and idle its 525 remaining workers in November and December.

* Horace Mann sees 70 percent profit jump

The Springfield insurance and financial services company reported its profits increased more than 70 percent to $32 million for the first six months of this year compared to 2008, primarily as a result of improvement in financial markets.

* Press release: Gov’s Friday schedule

CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn will sign a bill to combat mortgage fraud and protect consumers seeking residential mortgages.

* Hartmarx CEO Patel to retire Friday

* CBOE’s Q2 profit up 11%

The Chicago Board Options Exchange said on Thursday second-quarter net income rose 11 percent as increased trading helped offset higher costs.

The largest U.S. options exchange, which has been operating as a for-profit model since January 2006, said quarterly revenue was up 12 percent to $109.4 million from $97.6 million a year ago as trading volume rose 8 percent.

* Tougher crackdown over dangerous dogs?

Owners of dogs designated as dangerous could be forever prohibited from owning dogs in Chicago if they thumb their noses at city safeguards, under a crackdown proposed by an influential alderman.

* Disagreement brewing over possible new Oak Lawn attorney

Oak Lawn’s mayor and village manager are clashing over who could become the next village attorney.

* Veterans decry disrespect of military graves in Burr Oak

* Charges possible in funeral fund case

If state Comptroller Dan Hynes is right, Illinois Funeral Directors Association officials committed crimes in overseeing a pre-need funeral trust fund that hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars, a former trust administrator said in a sworn deposition.[…]

The comptroller’s office has demanded that IFDA repay nearly $10 million in administrative fees to the trust. Carol Knowles, Hynes’ spokeswoman, said Thursday that criminal charges haven’t been ruled out.

* Producers extend Blago spoof

* Happy Mark Buehrle Day!

- Posted by Mike Murray        


5 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 8:57 am:

    Regarding Washington Park:

    If you can’t pay the money you owe your topless bars, aren’t you asking for the shirts off their backs?


  2. - Anon - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 9:16 am:

    daley may be saying dont look at property taxes now, but wait until he is reelected in feb, 2011. Chicago home owners will be hammered with a massive property tax increase.


  3. - Cindy Lou - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 9:24 am:

    Dangerous Dogs? Liability insurance, fences, signs, confine repeat offenders? Yeah, that will remendy any serious damage these dogs may do to a human–only not.

    –”Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) wants to impose a $300 fine against owners whose dogs create a nuisance by barking excessively, even after a warning.”–

    This makes me kinda want to consider a similiar fine on politicians who excessively makes noise. Think S-I-L , Mell.


  4. - fed up - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 10:07 am:

    Daly has over 1 BILLION dollars of TIF funds in accounts. This is property tax money that has been diverted from the general fund and is being used to make his developer friends rich and is a slush fund for the Olympics. Yeah Daley says no tax money will be used for the Olympics but what does the T in tif stand for.


  5. - Blue State Cowboys - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 10:48 am:

    With Chicago’s precarious financial situation back in the headlines, please take a moment to enjoy our recent musical tribute to Mayor Daley and his bid for the 2016 Olympics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4v5ihLlYKQ

    GOOD KING RICH (Matt Farmer)

    (Spoken Intro)
    This is an open letter to the International Olympic Committee:

    As you travel the world these next few months
    Being wined and dined in five-star restaurants
    In Madrid, Tokyo, and Rio De Janeiro, remember this:

    You’re upholding the proud tradition of your predecessors,
    Many of whom allegedly accepted bribes
    In exchange for awarding the 2002 Winter Games
    To that paragon of urban virtue - Salt Lake City, Utah

    (Chorus)

    Well, you can scrap that bid from old Madrid
    Say adios to Spain
    And just say no to Tokyo
    With its fancy bullet train

    And if you’re ill at ease speakin’ Portugese
    Then Rio ain’t your town
    Oh, but Good King Rich, he’ll scratch your itch
    When he throws that cash around

    (Verse)

    Well, some folks say that it don’t make sense
    To hold the Games in the 312
    They say our city’s broke; schools are a joke
    Well, friends, that just might be true

    Oh, but Good King Rich, he’d rather fight than switch
    You know how the story’s gonna end
    With all the King’s family and all the King’s friends
    Lining their pockets again and again

    (Repeat Chorus)

    (Verse w/ tag)

    From the two-flats and the bungalows
    We applaud his every scheme
    From a tax increase to a parking meter lease
    He’s helping us live the dream

    Now with a wave of his hand and a line in the sand
    He’s gonna bring the Olympics home
    So damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead
    He’s gonna get us a velodrome

    We can’t pay for salt when there’s ice on the streets
    But at least we’ll have a velodrome

    (Repeat Chorus (w/ tag))

    Yeah, Good King Rich, he’s gonna scratch your itch
    When you bring those games to town


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