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Priorities, please

Monday, Feb 29, 2016

* Tribune

The number of homicides so far this year in Chicago climbed past 100 over the weekend, the deadliest start to a year in the city in nearly two decades, according to statistics kept by the Police Department and the Tribune. […]

Since [1997], there have been three years that the city saw more than 70 murders over January and February: 1999 (95), 2000 (85) and 2002 (77). In the last decade, there haven’t been more than 66 murders during the first two months.

Murders began rising sharply in Chicago in the mid- to late 1960s, peaking in 1992 with 943 murders before gradually declining. In 1997, the number was 796. Last year, it was 468, by the department’s measurement.

* Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools announced $85 million in cuts on Monday, saying that in all, 62 employees — including 17 teachers — are being laid off.

In a statement, the district said its hand was forced by the lack of a funding solution from state government.

“The reductions will come through layoffs, closing vacant positions, reallocating funds held in reserve, and changing programs,” CPS said in the statement. “Next year, the reductions will amount to $120 million on an annualized basis.”

* Progress Illinois

A lawsuit against the city of Chicago pertaining to red-light cameras will continue following a Cook County judge’s decision to deny the municipality’s request to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit alleges that the city failed to provide motorists with due process in their failure to issue second notices of violation prior to sending out final determinations of liability for red-light camera tickets. A win for the plaintiffs, who have requested that the case be turned into a class-action suit, means the cash-strapped city would be on the hook for refunding millions of dollars to drivers who have been ticketed since 2003. Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffery argues that the plaintiffs are not owed “any recovery, let alone any refunds.”

* And yet he’s wasting a whole lot of political capital on this

Some Chicago aldermen, small business owners and retail lobbyists want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider his tobacco tax proposal, saying the plan would adversely affect local businesses and neighborhoods, including those already impacted by black-market sales of “loosie” cigarettes. […]

Debate rages on over Emanuel’s proposal to increase the smoking age in Chicago from 18 to 21 and impose a $6 million tax on non-cigarette tobacco products, with the revenue going in part toward Chicago Public Schools orientation programs. The plan is aimed at preventing “young people from picking up smoking, while investing in their education,” according to the administration.

The proposed ordinance encountered aldermanic opposition at the monthly city council meeting held on February 10. Some opposing aldermen used a procedural move to delay consideration of the proposal for one month. They did so even after the Emanuel administration made changes to the ordinance to appease aldermanic critics.

Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), David Moore (17th), Jason Ervin (28th) and Nicholas Sposato (38th) joined business owners and representatives from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association during a Tuesday morning press conference at City Hall to speak out against the mayor’s tobacco plan.

After my little health issue last year, I’ve done a big about-face on tobacco. The industry is run by vultures. And I hate the argument that government can’t do more than one thing at a time. It most certainly can.

But Emanuel is so badly damaged right now and his city is in such dire straits that it boggles my mind that he is picking fights with aldermen he’s gonna need if he ever hopes to solve some of these problems.

Enough is enough, already.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    Gravitas!

    – MrJM


  2. - Harry - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    What else is new? The Emanuel Administration has never shown the ability to resist the immediate temptation and think a step or two ahead.


  3. - anon - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    There is nothing sacred about the age of 18. The fact is there is no single age at which young people receive all adult responsibilities and rights. As far as the “if-they’re-old-enough-to-fight” argument, put in a waiver for 18-20 year olds with a military ID.


  4. - Downstate Hack - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    Black lives matter. This is obviously true when shot unfairly by law enforcement, but where is the outrage and protests about 80 black murders in Chicago.


  5. - VanillaMan - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    Smoking is for adults.
    21+


  6. - Really? - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    Wasn’t there that little film by Spike Lee recently? The one where John Cusack played a Father Pfleger-like character?


  7. - Mama - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    If people want to kill themselves by smoking, we should let them. The police have better things to do than arrest underage smokers.


  8. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 2:46 pm:

    Respectfully, @anon, the age of 18 is a legal milestone.

    You can be tried as an adult, get medical treatment without your parents’ consent, marry, divorce, vote in November, apply for credit in your own name, sue in your own name, enter into contracts, serve on a jury and more.


  9. - Somebody - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    The disgrace of the murder/shooting numbers is what is anyone doing in the communities where these murders/shootings are taking place…….waiting…..still waiting…..it’s disgusting, the elected’s who represent these communities should be embarrassed.


  10. - truthteller - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 3:09 pm:

    I was in one of those by invitation and top secret Rahm lunches sponsored by the local alderman. The District Chiefs said shootings and murders are out of control because there isn’t any gang leadership that can control things any more, and that the shooters are often 13, 14 and 15 year old kids that won’t listen to anyone.

    Somehow that was their explanation why their hands were tied in terms of getting the numbers down. pretty discouraging.


  11. - DAN S - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    Correct count is 502 and still counting. What’s the problem Chicago now has the police force it wants. There will be no proactive policing.


  12. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    Rich, I hate cigarette smoke but….. How about that transaction tax, not sure the vultures that run CBOT and NYSE are much better.


  13. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    Chicago coppers, in their own parlance, are “going fetal”, meaning they have given up proactive policing. This is how they’re shielding themselves from hostile scrutiny.

    DOJ rep’s are poking around the station houses, even asking for “ride alongs”. CPD has increased the requirement for documented information about street-level contacts they’ve made, and share it with the ACLU. Street-level coppers fear being made the poster boy for all that is wrong in the CPD.

    Going fetal; long hot summer coming in Chicago unless something changes.


  14. - srboisvert - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 6:20 pm:

    The cops are engaging in an undeclared job action. Stops are down 80%. Paychecks are still 100%. So either 80% of last years stops were racist unconstitutional stops that the new ACLU suit compromise paperwork is preventing or the cops have largely quit doing there jobs.

    Has the mayor lost control of the Chicago police?


  15. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 8:05 pm:

    Oh, and my best guess is that throwing seven thousand Chicago State U students and 900 laid-off CSU workers into the hot summer Chicago streets won’t help crime stat’s either.


  16. - Payback - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 9:54 pm:

    “The lawsuit alleges that the city failed to provide motorists with due process in their failure to issue second notices of violation…”

    Kudos to the judge who allowed the red light camera lawsuit to proceed. When I was booted for three tickets, two were red light camera violations. I never got a single notice in the mail and brought this up to the hack administrative law judge (lawyer who took a course) at the City hearing. He looked at his computer screen and said, “I see that five notices of violation were sent out.” I asked him if any were sent certified, and he replied no.

    The whole process s a shadow system that looks legit but lacks the basic procedural safeguards of due process. I hope every red light camera is dismantled and every motorist get a refund.


  17. - jeffinginChicago - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 9:58 pm:

    Teachers say they go on strike if the pension pickup doesn’t continue so we are all good everywhere.


  18. - The End Is Near - Tuesday, Mar 1, 16 @ 6:53 am:

    Black Lungs Matter?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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