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Morning shorts

Thursday, Jan 28, 2010

* Furloughed Ford workers get dibs on 1,200 new Torrence Ave. jobs

Half of 1,200 spots may be taken; new hires get $14/hr

* Collins’ Law Creates “No Wrong Door” Policy For Those Seeking Aid

* Blago the only Illinois governor without an official portrait

* Revised Blagojevich indictment expected next week

The new indictment is expected to be essentially a revision of the corruption charges the ousted former governor is facing, alleging the same misconduct.

It is being prepared in case the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a federal law Blagojevich is accused of violating - depriving Illinois taxpayers of their right to his honest services.

* Feds: Grand jury close to voting on Blagojevich reindictment

* Blagojevich lawyers return to court with complaint list

* City snuffs out 4th of July Grant Park fireworks to save money

nstead, the city will count on three simultaneous July 4 lakefront fireworks displays to satisfy spectators’ desire for a light show. One will be held at Navy Pier, another at a yet-to-be-disclosed South Side lakefront spot and the third along the north lakefront.

* City Replaces July 3 Fireworks With Smaller Shows

* Chicago canceling July 3 fireworks at Taste

The Navy Pier show will be paid for by the McPier Authority. The city will bankroll the north and south lakefront shows, tentatively planned for Montrose and 63rd Street beaches.

* July 3rd fireworks fizzle for 2010

The fireworks show, which ends a three-decades-plus run, joins the South Side Irish Parade, Venetian Night and the Outdoor Film Festival as major community events that have gone by the wayside in the last year, victims of budget woes or public safety concerns.

* Dumping Fourth of July fireworks makes no sense

Yes, it costs some money to do this stuff — reportedly up to $1 million for the fireworks. But those fireworks draw at least a million people downtown, and they spend far more than that on food, transportation, parking and the like

* Daley says CTA service cuts preferable to fare increases

The mayor said he doesn’t believe anything can be done to stop 1,100 layoffs and less frequent buses on 119 routes and trains on seven lines.

“No, because you have — they’ve done everything possible to go to Springfield and tell them the importance,” Daley said.

* No stopping CTA cuts, Daley says

If unions don’t OK deal, service cuts will start Feb. 7

* Daley claims strides in cleaning up hiring, but critics voice doubts

Since FBI agents raided City Hall in April 2005 and uncovered a massive hiring-fraud scheme anchored in the mayor’s office, Daley has promised reform. The city since August 2005 has paid more than $6.2 million to lawyers and consultants, including $4.2 million to the court monitor, to clean up its hiring….

The court monitor and investigators have alleged in a string of reports since last summer that a handful of politically connected truck drivers received “disproportionate amounts” of overtime, that the city has been reluctant to discipline workers who violate hiring rules, and that more than one top Daley aide has deliberately misled investigators looking into hiring abuses.

* Daley ethics aide accuses Chicago’s inspector general of unfairly attacking him

Anthony Boswell, head of the mayor’s Office of Compliance, hired a private lawyer to challenge an inspector general report urging Daley to suspend Boswell and a top deputy for allegedly mishandling a sexual harassment complaint.

* More Homeowners Not Paying Fair Share Of Taxes

* Unfiltered: Chicago Board of Education Monthly Meeting, January 27, 2010

* Walgreen wants to sell beer, wine at some Chicago stores

* Durbin Asks Congress for $20 Million to Fight Asian Carp

* Biggert hopeful after carp summit in D.C.

* Deadly VHS fish virus found in Lake Superior

* Northwestern campus search fails to turn up reported gunman

* U. of I. faces 2nd Tribune lawsuit

Newspaper seeks information that it believes could explain why U. of I. applicants were placed on admissions clout lists, the federal suit says

* State financial irresponsibility forcing UI’s hand on tuition

* Fatal accident prompts ISU to inspect 16 buildings

Illinois State University is inspecting 16 buildings for problems after part of a column on one campus structure collapsed and killed a man on Christmas.

* Illinois Wind Power Kept Blowing In 2009

Illinois Wind Energy Association (IWEA) director Kevin Borgia tells us that AWEA may have low-balled the numbers in estimating that the Prairie State is now churning out 1,547 megawatts of wind power. By his count, Illinois produces roughly 1,800 megawatts, which would bump the Prairie State’s production ranking up two spots in the AWEA ranking.

* Keller Gifted Magnet parents object to moving school out of Mount Greenwood

Parents of Keller Gifted Magnet students Wednesday blasted a proposal to kick the second-highest-scoring elementary school in the state out of its Mount Greenwood home to solve overcrowding at a neighborhood school.
…Huberman insisted Keller would not be relocated this fall, and its parents would be included in discussions on overcrowding solutions.

* Betty in Chicago Scoopsville . . .

Sneed hears former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese, who has been living in a Las Vegas, Nev., halfway house since being released from federal prison last August, is now being transferred back to Chicago.

* Some Midlothian residents still on fence about home rule

* Lisle HR director charged with retail theft

* Deerfield moving ahead with ComEd outages lawsuit

* Boone County [Courthouse] renovation expected to end under budget

* Police civilians, public works employees make up most [Springfield] layoffs

* Our Opinion: [Springfield] should avoid ‘easiest fix’ for budget

* Union County, Anna seeking more tax money

* Wood River Democrat leaving IDOT job to be Madison County recorder

* Cahokia mayor insists he didn’t shove village employee

* O’Fallon struggling with dwindling revenue, rising costs

* Knox County ready to tap landfill funds

County officials are worried that the state will not be able to meet funding commitments and asked that the plan be put in place to make sure the county can cover its expenses.

* Carbondale Pig Out canceled after 13 years

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        

  1. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 8:58 am:

    Blagojevich has an official portrait that was taken immediately after his arrest. Let’s just use that one!

    Put it next to Ryan’s, Kerner’s and Walker’s!

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:02 am:

    The 4th of July is my favorite holiday, along with Thanksgiving, but I’m not sad to see the big show on the third go.

    It was too big. I went twice. Both shows were spectacular, but the crowds in the park were unbearable, getting out took hours and it must have been a nightmare for public safety officials.

    Three smaller, simultaneous shows seems like a good idea.

  3. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:09 am:

    VanillaMan - This might be the first time I’ve agreed with you.

  4. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:11 am:

    I’m not sure what Daley is thinking with regard to the fireworks. When I initially heard it, I thought it was great. Then the full story came out, including the July 4 Navy Pier show. I’m pretty sure that the 7/4 show will become “the big show” instead of 7/3, and most of the 7/3 problems (traffic, drunks, etc.) will just shift one day.

  5. - Really Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:19 am:

    Great idea, VanillaMan. I bet even Speaker Madigan would agree with you.

  6. - Richard Afflis - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:21 am:

    Chicago at least has a good problem of having a festival that has essentially gotten too big. When a festival gets too big, adjustments need to be made because problems like the violence we have seen the last two years happen. I was through with taste of Chicago eight years ago. Too much of a hassle to go to.
    Other towns have had to cancel festivities throughout the year due to not having the money. Some of these we enjoyed like Evanston’s “first night,” or Arlington Heights’ “ChristKindlemarkdt.” Nice festivals that were not that big of a hassle to get to or get around once you got there and did not try to milk you too bad. Just a good time. Can’t wait until they come back or others come up with enjoyable celebrations.

  7. - TitforTat - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    Someone should look into how much money the FBI has spent chasing Rod Blagojevich? They have done such a poor job thaT NOW they have to redo all the work they did. This is getting out of control. Talk about CRIMINALIZING politics!

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:50 am:

    I feel that a portrait of Blag should have his portrait displayed. After all he was the Governor of Illinois. We need this visible, public reminder that the voters of Illinois elected him governor - TWICE.

  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:51 am:

    Grrr Correct it to say “I feel that Blago should have….”

  10. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 9:59 am:

    of course Blago deserves to have a portrait on display with the other governors. he was elected by the people twice. i don’t understand why he did not get a portrait during or after his first term.

  11. - Fed up - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:02 am:

    I’m not sure this is really about saving money. I think Daley was getting tired of all the negative press that the crime and out of control crowds caused. Not sure of the real numbers but it seems the city is anywhere from several hundred to over a1000 police officers short and Daley probably doesn’t want to risk any more high profile video of gamgbangers out wilding in the loop and scaring his yuppy condo owners.

  12. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:06 am:

    I’m glad that we have the opportunity to address the most pressing of all issues facing the State if Illinois today.

    News flash! Just recently (in 1865) James Maxwell discovered a way to take color photographs.

    Choose a picture by popular vote, preferably in a running suit and print it out at a Kinko’s (or your favorite copy shop)on canvas paper. Mission accomplished for less than $200.00

    This can be funded by reprints being sold with a variety of graphic symbols. Circle with slash, dartboard grid….. insert favorite graphic here

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:15 am:

    Why no Blago portrait yet? He doesn’t have any friends in Springfield.

    Ryan was in trouble when he got his portrait, but he still had a lot of friends (although the crystal cookie jar Capitol Dome prop was quite subversive).

    Kerner and Walker were out of office when they got in trouble.

    Blago may never get a portrait. Who wants to head up that project?

  14. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:15 am:

    How about a shout out to Ford, who despite taking no Federal $$ has not only started to hire back workers and has just announced something odd for a US auto maker 2.7 billion profit in 2009.

    Way to go Ford!

  15. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:21 am:

    Put up Rod’s portrait.

    I would add a special frame with bars to cover a portrait of a gov. while he is in jail. When he gets out, the bars come off.

  16. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:22 am:

    Hey isn’t the McPier Authority unable to service it’s debts? How does it make sense for them to fund the fireworks.

    Smoke and mirrors, mirrors and smoke…..

  17. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:28 am:

    DownStateBill sez….
    Though he said House Speaker Michael Madigan is a product of a corrupt system that happens when legislative leaders are not term-limited, Brady says if he became governor he could work with the speaker…..”

    First thought…Huh…corrupt system, but I can work with him

    Second thought….most governors want weak legislative caucuses….Blagoof tried…had he succeeded there would have been no $1 billion electric rate relief and a new pile of casino with licenses bought a below market rate.

    No thanks…Strong caucuses make for some check and balance on the special interests.

  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    There are specific taxes — restaurant, taxi, hotel — that are pledged to McPiers bonds. When they’re short, the state sales tax kicks in.

    It’s all outside their operating funds.

  19. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:34 am:

    Blago doesn’t have a portrait because he never stopped brushing his hair long enough for the portraitist to paint him.

  20. - Secret Square - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    TFT, I’m guessing what the feds are doing is simply to issue most of the same charges under other fraud statutes.

    While “honest services” may have been the easiest statute to get a conviction on, I’m sure there are others that can be applied, and that will work just as well with sufficient documentation (combined with sufficient stupidity or venality on the part of the defendant).

  21. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:51 am:

    The portrait of Blago is easy…the hard part is figuring out how to keep it secure from damage. If someone can put their elbow through a Picasso, think what the masses of state workers will do to Blago’s portrait!!!

  22. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    And McPier’s operating funds come from…..? There is always a taxpayer at the end off the chute feeding the trough. Does it matter which taxpayer? It’s a city event, city funds should pay for it.

    How many time has the State had to feed the diminishing tax collection kitty? 2 -3

    Another bad idea brought to you by the Illinois leadership. Did anyone bother to vote for this new expenditure, or is it enough to have a proclamation by hizzzzoner?

  23. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 1:49 pm:

    The only time I ever watched the 7/3 fireworks show was when I had an apartment with giant windows overlooking Grant Park. It was always too hot, muggy and overcrowded for me on the ground. I can’t handle crowds like that. Yeesh.

    The shows were fun, and I often had a party at the apt. (Tom Dart even came one year), but I truly pitied the people on the ground. Not for me. After I left downtown, I sought out smaller venues. Much more fun.

  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    Pluto, as you know, McPier’s operating funds come through taxpayers as well. Operating funds are very small, but you have to have them to open the doors in the morning.

    For many years, McCormick Place paid back to the state in spades. All those Chicago taxes funded every tourism and convention effort in the state.

    In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of a business slump going on, all across this great big world.

    In spite of that, I think we can come up with a few bucks to celebrate American independence. It’s been awfully good to all of us.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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