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Claypool endorses Emanuel, and the city sticks its nose too far into business

Thursday, Feb 10, 2011

* Earlier today, I told you that David Hoffman had endorsed Rahm Emanuel. Now comes this e-mail from Forrest Claypool…

Thank you for standing with me this past election in my independent bid for Cook County Assessor. I was humbled to have received such generous support from so many people tired of the status quo.

I want to tell you today about a promising campaign for mayor of Chicago. I’ve known Rahm Emanuel for more than 30 years. We’ve worked together, along with David Axelrod, on campaigns here in Illinois, including Paul Simon and Barack Obama, and I’ve seen first hand his sound judgment, integrity, and commitment to addressing the major challenges of the day. I admire his tenacity and his ability to deliver results to his constituents.

* Meanwhile, if you want to see how Chicago makes it so hard to run a small business, just read this story about a controversial hot dog stand which promotes the fact that it’s staffed by ex-cons. I don’t really care about this particular business. Seems like a bizarre advertising gimmick if you ask me. But, whatever, the case, check this out

So far, [Ald. Robert Fioretti] hasn’t let Andrews have a permit for a sign to hang outside. A sign frame swings empty over the hot dog stand. […]

A spokesman for Fioretti says he is still waiting for three city departments to weigh in regarding the sign.

Think about that for a second. Not only does the alderman have to approve your sign, but so do three city departments (if, I assume, the alderman wants to slow-walk something).

That’s freaking insane.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

57 Comments
  1. - Jasper - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    Fioretti should be ashamed of himself on so many levels. First, his statements have made clear that he does not like the idea of the business (he thinks it glorifies cons). The result is to hold up [ironically] a sign for the place?
    So much for the First Amendment in the Second Ward (how long does it take other places to get a sign approved?).
    Moreover, Fioretti is wrong the merits. Here is a guy who opens a business and puts felons to work. With good reason, many businesses will not hire felons. This place will. Rather than promote the place and keep the employees employed, Fioretti bashes it over the name. What a clown.


  2. - Lakefront Liberal - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    A “promising campaign” — wow, bit of an understatement there. This email is sickening but not unexpected. A friend of mine told me she got a similar letter from Bill Foster of all people. The Rahm bandwagon must be getting pretty crowded.

    Regarding business signs — Miguel del Valle frequently talks in his stump speech about how ridiculous it is that the city council votes on whether on not a business can put up an awning. Why oh why didn’t Miguel raise more money back in October?


  3. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    I thought I saw Claypool in my rear view mirror. He is so 2010.


  4. - mokenavince - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:13 pm:

    I’m a gereral contractor in Chicago I applied for
    a permit in May of 2010 for a basement remodel. The owner hired a Arthitect we had plans prints the whole ball of wax.1st came zoning,then letters to the niegbhors,we submited thru a expitder and finally we got a hearing in December.Which postponed final permit till January of 2011 because of the holidays, when we got a sign off on this job.The permit cost over 700.00 dollars.This story is norm not the exception.


  5. - Matt - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:18 pm:

    I think the spokesman for Fioretti is just giving a lame excuse. If he wanted to allow a sign, it would be up by now.


  6. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    One of the things I’ve been putting off for my consulting business is looking into whether or not I have to register as a business in the City of Chicago if I have clients there (and likely a small virtual office).


  7. - Pat Collins - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    Not only does the alderman have to approve your sign, but so do three city departments

    Does anyone thing Rhambo or Chico, or any other candidate will be able to DO something about this? Reducing alderman’s clout is about as hard as paying bills on time……


  8. - MrJM - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:27 pm:

    I still miss Lounge Ax.

    – MrJM


  9. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:28 pm:

    Legitimate zoning related issues are one thing, but the go slow is just a shakedown. in real like time is money.

    I wonder who the expediter was for the basement renovation….. any relatives in the city’s employ?


  10. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:44 pm:

    The City of Chicago spends way too much time and money on sign approval, especially for traffic signs. It does not work this way in other cities. Yes, it may seem odd that three city departments are in the chain on this business sign approval. that should change. but the aldermanic involvement is also silly. why shouldn’t the decision about a stop sign be a professional traffic management decision? it’s no wonder that we cannot figure out what the Chicago City Council does that is of substance. Virtually anything considered is something that should actually be done by professionals in departments. oh, wait, then it would expose that their work in Council is overpaid.


  11. - Do something about it - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:53 pm:

    When are political operatives in Chicago going to get serious about a citizen ballot initiative to cut the size of The City Council in half?


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 12:55 pm:

    Yeah, because cutting the size of the IL House worked out so well.


  13. - jeff - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:02 pm:

    The problem is not the number of aldermen, it is the fact that they approve everything. Everything becomes political. If there were simple regulations to follow, your sign either complies to the code or not. It should be that simple.

    Of course there would be less for the alderman to do and we would require fewer aldermen


  14. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:03 pm:

    someone smart should put the cost and time of sending all those requests to City Council in a report. Time to take to get it to a meeting, time of staff handling issue, copying ordinances (cause each stop sign is an ordinance), all of it. It’s too much time and money to leave it in the hands of the City Council.


  15. - Living In Oklahoma - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    Thanks for posting this story regarding the sign Rich. It is a microcosm of how government can sometimes get in the way of common sense.


  16. - IrishPirate - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:08 pm:

    Felony Franks should order a sign. Before it’s delivered and installed alert the TV stations to tape the installation.

    Then wait……….

    Silly silly silly


  17. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:08 pm:

    Rich, there was controversy when Felony Franks first opened, but it’s actually a noble idea. The owner had an experience in his family with a convict not being able to find employment and integrate back into society, so he decided to have businesses where he hired convicts.


  18. - mokenavince - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:10 pm:

    Fioretti behaves the way the 49 other Alderman behave.He has no corner on giving business a hard time.The system is broke and nobody wants to fix it.You have to kiss their butts in order to get the smallest of things done.As the Mayor says it’s
    what the people want.Sounds like Egypt.


  19. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    Wow, a year and three departments. The city that works…

    I bet Groupon wouldn’t have that hard of a time getting a sign approved.


  20. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:14 pm:

    so why can’t Chicago be like Egypt? granted, we don’t know what will happen after Mubarak gives up, but the revolution was started by a small group using Facebook and Twitter (for fun, check out their Facebook site, with cool sort of anime types of posters) so why can’t that happen here? Granted every time Del Valle talks I want to yell “Sandinista” so I’m not at his edge of things, but there are a great many legitimate grievances with politics in the Chicago area. are we really in a position where Victor Reyes undermines any movement in the African American community by organizing that mess? where is the real movement for change?


  21. - Jasper - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:16 pm:

    The problem is not the number of alderman or the fact that the alderman’s approval is needed. The problem is that certain wards keep electing clowns.

    This is not the fault of the city or the city counsel is a whole. The problem is that the Second Ward elected a guy who really really really wants to be on the news as often as possible and is willing to do the most insane things to get that valued time.

    The Second Ward has about four candidates (I note that I am not involved in this race at all, but I do admit that I’ve disliked Fioretti for a while). Among them is Genita Robinson who has been endorsed by both the Trib and Sun-Times. I hear good thing about other challengers also. If the Second Ward cares about how thing will be in the ward, the voters can elect a challenger. If it wants a clown, it can vote for Fioretti.

    Either way though, it is a problem for the Second Ward. The city isn’t broken, but certain wards are.


  22. - Jim - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    I would hope that someone would ask Emanuel in tonight’s debate that if according to yesterday’s ST story (Day of Reckoning has arrived)he knows how to save $425M from the city’s budget, does he think that Daley has been asleep at the wheel for a while to allow this much waste to occur?


  23. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:36 pm:

    Regulation, regulation, regulation. Too many regulations. Just remember, it usually starts very innocently. In the beginning, all they want you to do is register. Then comes the license. Naturally follows the regulations. With gov’t you can expect the slippery slope. For small businesses it becomes a nightmare. For home schoolers…..


  24. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:39 pm:

    clearly, if you live on the lakefront, you are wondering if your vote for Miguel del Valle, so called reformer, is in order, or if it should go elsewhere. Rahm’s people are throwing down the reformers card to try and get the votes to push them over the top in the coming vote, no second round, to push the Del Valle votes their way.

    Don’t be fooled, Chicago.


  25. - Angry Chicagoan - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:45 pm:

    More aldermen, with less power. That’s my formula. As it is, you have a city made up of 50 rotten boroughs. Take away the mini city halls and you might actually have a legislature of 100 aldermen who need to get other votes to get stuff done rather than doing things to their residents on their own whim.


  26. - chi - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    There’s obviously something wrong with this situation, whether it’s Fioretti’s spokesperson’s accuracy, or the hoops one must jump through. But zoning regulations serve a purpose. I know I’m paraphrasing someone here, but when it comes to city planning, regulations gave us Paris, building without them gave us Phoenix.


  27. - Just Observing - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    Similar sign bureauracy is prevalent in municipalities all over — long approval processes, design review, etc. In Waukegan, businesses must pay a yearly fee for their sign.


  28. - Jasper - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 1:55 pm:

    Great point, Du Page Dan.
    Because what Chicago wants is ugly streets with huge signs one right after another, just like in Du Page.
    Like things that way? Stay in Du Page, Dan.


  29. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:02 pm:

    Balance, Jasper, balance. Are you saying the process as described is fair and balanced? It looks like the process is being used to control not the size of the signs or ugly streets, it seems there is something personal going on with an alderman exercising his personal prerogatives. You sound like you are in favor of that. On the Alderman’s staff, I can presume?


  30. - under the bus - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    Does a Claypool endorsement help or hurt Rahm? Might have been a bigger help to stay clear of the race. Then again, Claypool needs a job and has been Chief of Staff 2x already.


  31. - Abandon Ship - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    Cutting the Chicago City Council has been tried before.

    Chicago used to have more aldermen and fewer wards. The City Council once had seventy aldermen representing thirty-five wards: two aldermen were elected from each ward for two year terms; the terms alternated, so, apart from a special election situation, the two ward aldermen were not chosen simultaneously. In 1923, the City Council was reduced in size to fifty members, but the number of wards was increased from thirty-five to fifty. Each alderman represented the entire ward.

    My opinion is that where Chicago made its biggest mistake was increasing aldermanic terms from to two to four years. Why should an alderman have a term of office equal to the president, the governor and the mayor? This insulated the politicians from having to face the voters more often and allowed many to obtain career longevity.


  32. - been there - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    Let’s hope Genita Robinson, endorsed by both the Tribune and the Sun-Times over Fioretti, gets a run-off. Then you’re all invited to come to the Second Ward and help us campaign for her. She’ll be a lot better than same-old same-old Fioretti.


  33. - Because I say so - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:24 pm:

    My current alderman has her own design review and zoning committees that you must get approval from BEFORE anything can even go before the City Council.

    The problem is the majority of residents have no clue this stuff goes on. They keep elected the same people or the sons, daughter etc of these people.


  34. - Jasper - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    Du Page Dan,
    You really should read the entire thread before posting.


  35. - Do something about it - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:32 pm:

    Compare Chicago to any large municipality on Earth. We have too many, comparatively. Why? There is no way the council will vote itself a reduction. Can the people do it, or not? Should is an entirely different question.


  36. - Aldyth - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:33 pm:

    A glamorous minimum wage at a hotdog stand is as good as it is going to get for most ex-cons. Does the good alderman prefer that they remain unemployed? You’d think he’d like to see ex-cons have some means of supporting themselves, other than returning to crime.


  37. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:37 pm:

    The city needs to do everything it can to expedite and aid the opening of new businesses, instead of trying to make it harder on them. The City that Works, huh?

    Fioretti should spend more time trying to reduce the red tape for businesses in his ward and around the city and less time trying to force a perfectly good business out of business (not to mention one that tries to give ex-cons a chance to go straight). Bad move by Alderman Bob.


  38. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:49 pm:

    Don’t hold your breadth waiting for that Been There. Fioretti is gonna win big.
    As for the ex-con hot dog store, the people elect aldermen to make these kinds of decisions regarding what kind of business they want to tolerate in their neighborhoods. Too many payday loan stores, hair braiding shops, hot dog stands, tatoo parlors, etc. can decimate a central business district. We count on our alderman to not let that happen. Too many ugly signs can discourage shoppers from patronizing any of the businesses in the vicinity.


  39. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:52 pm:

    Some points I gleaned many years ago from the one of the greatest non-fiction books in recent American history, “Boss.”

    –Chicago has some of the toughest zoning and small business regulations in the country. Many make sense. But many are there just begging for a handout from inspectors and aldermen.

    It worked out well for everyone, except for those who tried to play it straight. Businesses would make some sort of contribution to inspectors or aldermen (less than they’d have to pay to fix the “problem”). Then, every once in a while, an ambitious U.S. Attorney (the Thompson Kiddie Corp string comes to mind) would swoop in and shoot fish in a barrel, and catch some inspector or alderman taking money while talking into a potted plant with a microphone.

    –Believe it or not, Chicago used to have 100 aldermen — two for every ward. The benefit of having 50 aldermen is that no one can really build a powerbase to challenge whoever is holding the brass ring on 5.

    It’s always been a tough town, from the days of the Wolf Point Tavern. But some way, some how, private money keeps pouring in.

    Some investors take comfort when the fix is on the legit. Beats Wall Street, anyway.


  40. - Dick Pol - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:53 pm:

    It does not take 3 departments to approve a sign; it takes one. Fioretti does not like Felony Franks and never has. Limiting the number of aldermen will not improve the quality of aldermen. And finally, when your neighbor hangs a big fat sign next door for her unlicensed daycare center, would you rather deal with your alderman or some anonymous bureaucrat downtown?


  41. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:55 pm:

    I’m sure Claypool will put Emanuel over the top. It’s the nod everyone has been waiting for.


  42. - zatoichi - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Does “I’ve known Rahm Emanuel for more than 30 years…and I’ve seen first hand” mean some people have a very long memory of who was a supporter?


  43. - BigDoggie - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 3:13 pm:

    Having seen the City process on much bigger issues than this recently and the power that Alderpersons wield, I find it extremely laughable that Fioretti is trying to imply that he can’t get a sign approved for a business in his ward.


  44. - Dick Pol - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 3:28 pm:

    Did Forrest clear the endorsement with his campaign manager Carol Marin?


  45. - Been There - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 3:46 pm:

    Not that I am trying to defend the length of time it is taking for this place to get their sign but one thing that should be pointed out is that this appears to be for a sign that hangs over the sidewalk. This means it is over City property and not on their own private property. Obviously there are more legal hurdles that the city has to also abide by in case something happens with the sign and they also get sued. But I also know they charge a pretty hefty fee for this type of sign. Anyway, it looks like this has to do more with the alderman than the usual process.


  46. - Lundstrom - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    LOL Wordslinger.

    I guess the Claypool endorsement means that Rahm doesn’t have Toni Preckwinkle’s vote? If Claypool, Hoffman and Hynes (3 losers) are on Rahm’s side, I’ll happily go with someone else. Hynes just landed a job and the other two still need jobs.


  47. - Lakefront Liberal - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    Just got an email similar to the Claypool one from Quigley. This must be “have your friends send emails” day. Seems like Rahm would not like a run-off.


  48. - Gregor - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 4:18 pm:

    Fourth Estate, I meant. Was busy eating a hot dog while typing.
    (Superdawgs rule)


  49. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 4:28 pm:

    Thank goodness the Gump waited until Rahmabama got ovr 50% before sharing his much awaited thoughts on the mayoral…how about Dave Wilhelm & Rezko? maybe Stu Levine and Rosenburg? Let’s get all the old hands to weigh in.


  50. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 4:52 pm:

    Actually Jasper, I was really adding a comment from yesterday’s post about home schooling and how seemingly innocent legislation to require them to register their children was seen as problematic. I was not posting only about todays’ issue about the sign problems - connecting the 2 as a comparison. Hence my comment at the end. It was really a mildly provocative comment about the previous issue. You made more of it than was called for, really.


  51. - Flop Bob - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 5:12 pm:

    I gotta hand it to Fioretti. What he lacks in representing his constituents and keeping his pledges he makes up for in good spin.

    Fioretti was opposed to the Felony Franks hot dog stand from the beginning. It was widely covered in two local South Loop papers and if I’m not mistaken, made a national publication also.

    Bob didn’t like the name of the place. Wow. So much for private enterprise. In the 2nd Ward, if you want to open a business, you have to clear the name with Fioretti!

    So, yes, while this may be a problem in all 50 wards in Chicago, an Alderman is supposed to help small businesses in his ward get through the bureacracy. He dragged his feet.

    This is a good place. They hire ex cons to get a fresh start in life. And where is Bob? Busy making excuses and posing for the microphones.

    This is just one of his many failures as Alderman. Hopefully this will be his only term.


  52. - SR - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 5:33 pm:

    ===I guess the Claypool endorsement means that Rahm doesn’t have Toni Preckwinkle’s vote? If Claypool, Hoffman and Hynes (3 losers) are on Rahm’s side, I’ll happily go with someone else. Hynes just landed a job and the other two still need jobs.===

    I wouldn’t know, but pretty sure it means Rahm doesn’t have the Berrios vote. I’ll take those “losers” over that “winner.”


  53. - Rudy - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 5:54 pm:

    =The city needs to do everything it can to expedite and aid the opening of new businesses, instead of trying to make it harder on them=

    All the Mayoral candidates mention slow bureaucracy around construction permitting as a problem. The fact that there is a profession called “expediter” is a red flag indicator of the problem.

    How do you solve the problem? Start by streamlining the rules; then demand a sense of urgency in public employees and their managers and be ready to fire them.

    How do you measure progress? Watch for the expediters. As long as they are active and in demand, the problem has not been solved.


  54. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 6:10 pm:

    oh the budget tricks. The Taste of Chicago is now under the control of the Chicago Park District. Does this make sense money wise? Maybe it makes sense wise guys wise, because there is less scrutiny of goings on in another taxing body than over in Rahm land. hide the contracts. Let’s play games and make someone, in this case incoming Mayor Rahm, look like a reformer, fiscally responsible, while we shift things elsewhere. Kind of like when things left the Chicago Park District and got dumped on the City and others had to deal with things reformer Forrest did not want. or people he did not want.

    shell game between taxing bodies. will Rahm keep Tim Mitchell in at the Park District? didn’t Tim and his buddies help Rahm out in 2002? way back when Tim was the General Services chief at the City. shell game.


  55. - irisheyesrsmilin' - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 8:04 pm:

    I wonder how many critics of the Felony Frank/Fioretti story can name off the top of their head right now the cross streets that this place is on? I can because I live a mile away. Its not the hiring of felons, that is a noble thing. Many companies in the city do this, but the point is to integrate people back to society. So you do not see other companies using the word “felony” in its logo. Its the marketing of “felony”. There were 40 kids shot in this area a year ago. There are 2 high schools within blocks. It is along both school routes. Its a neighborhood that is struggling to redefine itself. Fioretti’s objections to this sign are coming not from him alone but from the residents there. Lets not mix the argument for less red tape with the argument for decency and positive images in a troubled neighborhood. Do you think the owner resides in this neighborhood? Have you seen the menu? Its not so funny when you hear the shootings at night.


  56. - amalia - Thursday, Feb 10, 11 @ 9:37 pm:

    live blogging the Fox Chicago Mayoral debates…..first question tossed to anyone in the group of 6 candidates. what is this, political Jeopardy?


  57. - aghast - Friday, Feb 11, 11 @ 12:50 am:

    Wow. Fioretti just lost any semblance of respect in my book (and for every Chicago Facebook friend I can reach). Here’s a guy who’s trying to help ex-felons avoid recidivism by legitimately earning a wage, and his response is to screw them over. What a humorless, unprincipled ass.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Lawmakers back renaming Warrenville post o...
* Teacher raised in Yorkville running agains...
* Tioga State Bank president and CEO address...
* Kane County assessor: No guarantee your ta...
* Suburban Democrats line up to challenge Ro...

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* On “The View,” Sen. Dick Durbin defends hi......

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* Net neutrality allies are ready to fight. ......

* Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, and the question of when we get to say the hell with the rules
* Kalak is a vodka that drinks like whiskey
* City Council Approves Cappleman-Sponsored Program To House Homeless
* Life In Chicago: Grant Fraud, Boot Bribery & Unnecessary OT
* Can The Winter Olympics Save The World?
* Gutierrez offers Kelly an apology, and all it took was the White House chief of staff implying Donald Trump, misspoke
* At The Illinois Holocaust Museum | Speak Truth To Power
* Happy Anniversary, La Patisserie P!
* Watch a BellyQ bartender make a newfangled old-fashioned using dancing fish flakes
* Activists clash with aldermen over community benefits at Obama Presidential Center hearing, and other Chicago news


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* [Deal] Grab the Honor 9 for just £299 in today’s flash sale
* ‘chaiOS’ bug can break your iPhone’s Messages app and freeze your device with a link
* Implausible rumor calls for Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S MWC launch with iPhone X-inspired notch
* Samsung fully details mid-tier Exynos 7872 SoC with hexa-core CPU and iris camera support
* Twitterrific App Updates Add Haptic Feedback Features and Chronological Threads
* Tim Cook says future iOS update will let users turn iPhone performance throttling off
* Winter iPhone 8 and iPhone X demand forecast to be down

* Collins ranked MLB's No. 9 catching prospect
* With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy
* Pirates rebuild not met with enthusiasm
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp
* White Sox announce player development staff
* Robert at ease during Sox hitters mini-camp
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp


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