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Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* Downtown office vacancy rate drops, suggests tide is turning

The overall vacancy rate fell to 17.0% from 17.3% in the second quarter, which was the highest in more than four years, according to data from CB Richard Ellis Inc.

The rate could edge higher again, but is expected to slowly start moving landlords’ way after a staggering upward run when rates climbed more than 5 percentage points in a two-year window after hitting 11.9% in the third quarter of 2008. New construction has since halted, easing supply concerns, and many companies have already made their big recession headcount cuts and are no longer shedding office space.

* BARTON LORIMOR: Carbondale unemployment at 7.4%; JaCo now 8.3%

* Harvest time for area farmers

* ‘Burnham Plan II’ up for final vote — and may be just as big as original

At its core, the plan represents one gigantic bet that a region often fractured with rivalries has grown up, that it is willing to put aside internal wars and unite behind some sensible goals to help metropolitan Chicago compete against other global centers that lately have been literally eating our lunch.

In that vein, it calls for keeping zoning power local but consolidating local governments and government functions to keep costs down. It urges fewer big-lot homes but more public park space — “People are willing to give up part of their backyard, but only in exchange for parks,” CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn says — and less raiding of jobs and tax revenue by town against town.

* Daley: Chicago needs high-speed train from downtown to O’Hare

* Daley hopes Asian investors will bet on high-speed rail to downtown

“I think they are very interested — China, Korea, Japan, the Middle East — yes,” Daley said today when asked if business people he met in China and South Korea might fund the effort. “There are many, many interests. You have to have a high-speed train from the international airport downtown. What that would do is that would rebuild our commercial market and our hospitality industry.”

* Daley discusses high-speed rail after Asia trip

* Local educators, Obama agree: kids need more time in class

With the release of a new film called “Waiting for Superman,” an extended school year with more core instruction for students has jumped to the forefront for many educators, reformers and policymakers. The documentary on the state of America’s public schools was done by Davis Guggenheim, who also directed “An Inconvenient Truth.”

America’s top policymaker, President Barack Obama, addressed the issue in an interview broadcast nationally Monday, during discussion of America’s decreasing educational competitiveness around the world.

In Illinois, and even locally, there are those who would agree with Obama’s assessment that the idea of a longer school year “makes sense.”

* Colchester lawmaker continues cancer treatment

State Rep. Rich Myers, R-Colchester, announced Monday he is beginning the next phase of his treatment for prostate cancer.

He said he will continue to provide constituent services, as well as attend meetings and events within the district. His treatment schedule may interfere with these activities from time to time, but he is “confident his constituents will understand.”

* Ward Quaal, 1919-2010: Executive shaped Tribune Co.’s WGN-AM and WGN-TV

As news broke of Quaal’s death, it also was learned that 1970s and ’80s overnight WGN-AM host Jay Andres had died Monday morning of heart failure, surrounded by his wife, Virginia, and other family at his home in Sebastopol, Calif. Andres (born Joseph Hilbert Andres) was 86, just weeks shy of his next birthday.

* Tribune hires firm to explore suit against Morgan Stanley over buyout

* Paddock Publications to debut suburban business magazine

* No change in ride costs next year, Metra says

* Cook County Board to clash over Twitter ban

* Peraica, Schneider blow whistle with tweets

* District 300 OKs $6.3 million budget deficit

* Dist. 59 may investigate residency

* Schillerstrom highlights DuPage County’s success

For example, Schillerstrom said the board has approved a $70 million long-term infrastructure program that will create thousands of jobs, ease traffic congestion, reduce flooding and improve services to county residents.

Meanwhile, the county has unveiled a proposed spending plan for next year “that continues our commitment to sound long-term financial planning,” Schillerstrom said. The nearly $460 million budget is $5.4 million below last year’s spending plan.

“Unlike the state, our fiscal year 2011 budget reflects the belt-tightening but maintains established programs and services,” Schillerstrom said. “It is balanced and it does not ask the taxpayers for more money.”

* Kane rethinking red-light cameras

* Kadner: Are 4 elected offices too many for 1 man?

Cook County Circuit Judge Mark Ballard on Monday issued an order stating that each time Price accepted a new position he “ipso facto” resigned from the previously held post.

That means Price, who was sworn in as a member of the Harvey School District 152 Board on May 9, 2007, vacated that position when he assumed the post of Harvey alderman on May 14, 2007.

* Harvey politician gets to keep 4 elected posts

* Sitting pretty in Schaumburg

The Village Board will consider Tuesday a 4.4 percent reduction to the 2010 property tax levy. In a double dip of potentially good news, residents could also see their garbage fees and vehicle stickers eliminated if the proposal is approved.

Village officials are following through on promises made to residents when they established a property tax last year for the first time in the village’s history. Because sales and hotel taxes are higher than expected, officials said Monday that they believe they can make ends meet with less revenue.

* Sgt. becomes Hebron chief

* AFSCME offer will keep 8 East Moline staff employed

* Questioning school salaries

Information in the ITEF press release included a “Top 50” list of public school salaries and pensions. The top salary listed is Dr. Peter Flynn, the Freeport School District 145 superintendent, who is paid an annual salary of $187,973. The top annual pension was another District 145 administrator, totaling $115,508.76.

* Aventine to move corporate office to Texas

* Council approves loan to Quincy Transit Lines to help with delay in receiving state funding

* Interim supt: Jacksonville state schools too much like state agencies

* St. Louis Downtown Airport projects to create 178 jobs

* Mourners remember Staff Sgt. Powell at visitation

Powell, 25, a 2003 graduate of Pleasant Plains High School, was among nine service members who died Sept. 21 in a helicopter crash during combat operations in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        

6 Comments
  1. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 8:49 am:

    How long does it take the current Blue line to get downtown? I didn’t think it was that long.

    Kids need more time in class? How about not having an in service day every other week, teachers!


  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 9:24 am:

    These Afghanistan deaths are incredibly frustrating and unbearably sad. The young man in Springfield was 25; I’ve had two in my neck of the woods in recent months, one 19 and one 21.

    Yet nine years in, two presidents, different parties, and no can figure out the mission. At the cost of $6.7 billion a month.

    Where’s your endless supply of outrage, Tea Partiers? Or does it not matter, since so few are effected and it’s paid with borrowed money.

    Did everyone sign up for a never-ending war to make Afghanistan safe for Karzai and the world’s largest heroin cartel?

    Forget about it. Just don’t raise my taxes.


  3. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 10:07 am:

    Not sure if your readers will get this far into the story about the company that is heaping praise on StateWideTom and other GOP candidates.

    “…..Tribune, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other papers plus 23 local TV stations and WGN radio, says it started working with Novack & Macey on Aug. 26.

    That was a few weeks after the court made public a report by a special examiner that suggested the 2007 buyout might be vulnerable to claims that it was a fraudulent transfer of assets because the sale left the company insolvent…..”

    Here is a good future QOTD….if being around a bankrupt bank is bad can being endorsed by a bankrupt company cited for fraud be a good thing?


  4. - Northsider - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    From downtown to O’Hare on the current Blue Line, it’s about 45 minutes to an hour, give or take. Which is about the same trip, or perhaps shorter, than driving up the Kennedy, depending on traffic.

    We should have some sort of Loop-O’Hare express service. A better option than CTA trying to wedge express trains into the existing Blue Line right-of-way would be inter-agency cooperation and coordination: CTA should operate the Blue Line as it is while Metra operates express trains from Union Station to O’Hare Transfer station every 20 minutes or so.

    We have world class aspirations (or delusions, if you prefer), so let’s look at a world capital, London, and its Heathrow Airport, which offers a more extensive layered service:

    From central London, you can take the Tube’s Picadilly Line (its Blue Line!) to/from Heathrow for the cheapest fare, but longest trip — about an hour or so. You can also take Heathrow Connect, a limited stop train for a higher fare and a 25-minute trip, or you can also take the Heathrow Express train for the highest fare, but a 20-minute trip, leaving every 15 minutes from Paddington Station.

    We shouldn’t duplicate that here because we don’t need to do so. But the lack of a Loop-O’Hare express service is a glaring omission in Chicago’s ability to compete economically against other regions and cities. The solution, however, is easier than Mayor Daley can apparently see.


  5. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    RE: Schillerstrom highlights DuPage County’s success

    Anyone who has looked in detail at Schillerstom’s Shenanigans ($125M “infrastructure” plan whose single largest expenditure is for aux generators at the county campus) would realize that the only reason they balanced the budget is they are using balloon payments on the bond. In five years, the county had better have a huge revenue increase (the county has for the third consecutive year underestimated revenues) to cover those payments. Schillerstrom and his county board cronies are leaving behind a potential nightmare to the incoming county board chairman.


  6. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Sep 28, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    I’m not sure what Daley is smoking? Most people who use the Blue Line to O’Hare get off or on at other stops than Downtown. He should refrain from wating our money until he leaves office.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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