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The city that (prompts) smirks *** UPDATED x1 ***

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*** UPDATE *** The city council has overturned the foie gras ban…

Over the shouted objections of Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the ban’s sponsor, the council used a parliamentary manuever to put the ordinance on the floor for a vote.

The council voted 37-6 to repeal the two-year-old ban, which critics argued had made Chicago–and the City Council–a national laughingstock. […]

Moore, whose pleas for a debate were ignored by Daley, warned fellow aldermen “tomorrow it could happen to you.”


* One step forward

Aldermen opposed to Chicago’s controversial restaurant ban on foie gras said they will try to force a vote Wednesday to repeal the measure, which gained the City Council widespread notoriety since its approval two years ago. […]

The ban was passed in April 2006 by a 48-1 vote. But Tunney noted Tuesday that there was no discussion of the measure on the council floor before the vote. The ban was passed in an “omnibus” vote at the end of a meeting, packaged together with other ordinances considered to be routine.

I don’t eat veal, unless it’s free range (the conditions for veal calves are truly appalling), but I don’t want to see it banned. I’d like to see some tougher standards for raising the calves and transporting them, but I’m not much into banning things.

* This goofy ordinance has been pulled for now, so call it a quarter step forward

The “Event Promoters” ordinance requires any event promoter to have a license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000, but that’s just the start:

* The definition of “event promoter” is so loosely defined it could apply to a band that books its own shows or a theater company that’s in town for a one-week run.
* “Event Promoter” must be licensed and will pay $500 - $2000 depending on expected audience size.
* To get the license, applicant must be over 21, get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and jump over several other hurdles.
* This ordinance seems targeted towards smaller venues, since those with 500+ permanent seats are exempt.
* Police must be notified at least 7 days in advance of event.

* And two steps back

Two days before a pivotal Plan Commission showdown, Mayor Daley said today he’s not afraid of a protracted court battle over his plan to build a $100 million Children’s Museum in Grant Park. […]

“Everything is gonna be tied up in court. … Meigs Field would have never been changed if you were worried about lawyers. I don’t know why everybody is always worried about lawyers. This is ridiculous. You could never function at all — both in the public and private sector — if you were worried about lawyers. You could never make a decision,” he said. […]

[Daley also rejected] demands that a half-finished soccer field in Lincoln Park built with $2 million in funding from the elite Latin School be restored to a grassy meadow.

“This a recreation field. This is adjacent to all of the baseball and softball diamonds as well as soccer and everything else. You want people to use the park. Parks are for people. You need soccer. You need all of these things. We have enough meadows. We want people to come and use the parks, the mayor said.

“If you were worried about lawyers you could never make a decision.”

- Tell that to Sorich.

“Parks are for people.”

- Yeah, public parks are there to give the scions of rich people exclusive access.

* Then there’s this: City may oppose Iran invasion [Kevin has more on this at Illinoize]

* Yet, they can’t get basic things right

A cable fire near some Loop elevated tracks late Saturday forced the CTA to shut down all elevated train service in the Loop for almost seven hours.

* Why was this totally predictable? Chicago Carless explains

1.) CTA decides to suspend service in the State Street subway and on the Loop ‘L’ along Lake and Wabash most hours outside of business hours for the rest of 2008;

2.) CTA personnel posted at shuttered stops to help riders themselves have no clue how to figure out the diversions; and

3.) In the span of 24 hours, a simple, weekly bridge lift and a small fire force Loop elevated service to be suspended for almost seven and a half hours. […]

Eliminating your back-up plan is a rotten way to try and accelerate capital work. I’d rather have track work take longer than have skeleton ‘L’ service–and the threat of no service if one small thing goes wrong.

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 9:43 am


  1. There is a good joke in here somehwere, Daley, Geese, Soccer fields, Broken Ls and the Olympics….

    Comment by Ghost Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:12 am

  2. I say the Schaumburg, Naperville, etc City/Village Councils should pass a resolution that they don’t support all the corruption and murders in Chicago. Basically they support the great city of Chicago, but cannot stand by as corruption, croneyism and a civil war tears the great city apart.

    Comment by Wumpus Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:21 am

  3. The question that hasn’t been asked is this: once the soccer field has been completed, what’s to prevent Latin from leveraging its clout to use the field whenever it wants, and the people be damned?

    Comment by The Doc Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:27 am

  4. With my tounge firmly planted in cheek:

    Never understood the whole “free range meat” thing. How is it better to kill and eat a cow who is living a happy life and has everything to live for instead of a cow that is living in horrible conditions? Seems to me the one living the bad life would rather die than the happy one….

    Comment by Mountain Man Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:27 am

  5. Mountain Man, you might feel differently if you visited one of those “farms.” It’s disgusting. I was raised on a farm, we took good care of our animals. It’s a responsibility that is all too often shirked.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:31 am

  6. God knows I complain about the CTA virtually every day, but I’m willing to give Huberman the benefit of the doubt. He appears to be a professional manager and not a political hack.

    Political hacks love to announce flashy new programs but are the first to skip on unsexy things like basic maintenance. The previous regime was notorious for that, as we found out during last summer’s Blue Line fire. The El was built in 1892. The State Street subway was completed in 1943. Maintenance needs are enormous and shutdowns for accelerated work seem reasonable to me.

    Huberman has a daunting task to rebuild the system and change the rather somnolent CTA culture. On top of all that, he has to be careful not to get too big in the eyes of the mayor, a la Valas. Just a couple of weeks ago there was an anonymous administration smackdown of Huberman in the ever-accommodating Sneed column.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:34 am

  7. Mayor Daley ripped down Meigs Feild because he said the lake front should be a park and wants to build a children’s museum at the lakefront park. He should build the childrens museum where Meigs was.

    Comment by Garp Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:36 am

  8. first, i think mayor daley has lost his marbles.

    second, its tough for the CTA and other proponents of mass transportation to try to persuade drivers to get out of their cars and take public transit when public transit (particularly in chicago) can’t ensure the timely and safe delivery of their riders.

    people who should be getting out of their cars and using public transport read this stuff about the CTA and have to reconsider taking the bus or train to work when they’re going to get stuck on the tracks for an hour, wait a half hour for a rush hour bus or in apparently in some cases, even get the wrong instructions from a clueless CTA employee about what line to take where when trains are being diverted due to construction.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:42 am

  9. Perhaps Chicago really isn’t the city that works. :-(

    Comment by Levois Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:46 am

  10. Agree with Doc. Latin will control the soccer field. A sports complex was built with public funds at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Now guess who calls all the shots while the Lisle taxpayors are getting hit with new utility taxes and the public school only plays when BU says it can.

    Comment by Mr. Ethics Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 10:51 am

  11. Moreover, if and when the field is completed, it will be done so without funding from Latin. That means the CPD, which partnered with Latin because it didn’t have the funds available to construct the field on its own, will now be picking up the tab for its hubris, whether the field is restored to its previous state or not. Either way, the taxpayer loses. Again.

    Comment by The Doc Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 11:09 am

  12. Perhaps anyone who actually speaks Latin may have free access to the field.

    Comment by Chanson Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 11:49 am

  13. I may be very wrong but I thought I read some time ago that the parking garages at Millenium Park were not bringing in the revenue that was expected and that parking revenue was key to paying down bonds that were issued to build M. Park, its garages etc.

    Is it possible that the real reason the mayor seems desperate to get the Museum built in grant Park is that he needs to boost the use of the parking garages? If so that would be an incredibly short sighted reason to alter the Burnham plan.

    Perhaps I am way off on this though, there is other parking for the Museum etc. It just doesn’t seem to add up though re: the Mayor’s insistence on having the “museum” at Grant.

    Comment by fan of Capitol Fax Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 12:40 pm

  14. The parking garage was supposed to pay off bonds. It isn’t working out as well as planned, as usual.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 12:41 pm

  15. Take that, Alderman Joe Moore!!!

    Comment by Ravenswood Right Winger Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 2:14 pm

  16. Moores goose is now cooked? er I mean its force fed to give it a tasy liver.

    Comment by Ghost Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 2:31 pm

  17. Daley’s got a “dead man’s hand” on the Children’s Museum issue. Public opinion is against the Grant Park location, as are the elite opinion leaders like the Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. Even if Daley attempts to shove the site down the throats of the 42nd Ward residents via the City Council, I honestly can’t see how he can prevail legally. The legal precedents appear to weigh heavily against the Children’s Museum.

    Frankly, I expect the Children’ s Museum to cave at some point so the Mayor can save face.

    Comment by Captain America Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 3:10 pm

  18. Daley: “I don’t know why everybody is always worried about lawyers.”

    Translation: “Who cares if what I’m doing is illegal?”

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 3:38 pm

  19. YDD: Close, but a little more is needed:

    Daley: “I don’t know why everybody is always worried about lawyers.”

    Translation: “Who cares if what I’m doing is illegal? No one in this state who matters has the guts to take me on.”

    Comment by South Side Mike Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 3:56 pm

  20. “Thank you, Joe “Foie Gras” Moore,” Daley said, in front of the Council and press, while chairing the meeting, immediately after the vote. So much for decorum. Whatever you think of Moore or foie gras, today was a VERY bad day if you dare to care about
    democratic processes and minority rights in Chicago. Daley previewed his strategy for handling dissent: increasingly dictatorial processes and outright derision of those who disagree.

    Comment by BannedForLife Wednesday, May 14, 08 @ 3:56 pm

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