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* Chicago water: In public reports, city silent over sex hormones and painkillers found in treated drinking water

Annual water quality reports mailed to Chicagoans this month didn’t say a word about sex hormones, painkillers or anti-cholesterol drugs, even though city officials found traces of pharmaceuticals and other unregulated substances in treated Lake Michigan water during the past year.

Like other cities, Chicago must notify the public if its drinking water contains certain regulated contaminants, including lead, pesticides and harmful bacteria.

But pharmaceutical chemicals, which have been detected in drinking water across the country, are not on that list. So Mayor Richard Daley is technically correct in stating that the “pure, fresh drinking water” pumped to 7 million people in Chicago and the suburbs “meets or exceeds all regulatory standards.”

* Deadline Looms for Chicago Unions

About 1,500 Chicago city jobs are on the line if a few unions don’t agree to some cost-cutting measures by midnight.

A vast majority of the unions representing many Chicago workers are on board with the budget-saving measures. They include taking several unpaid furlough days to avoid layoffs.

* City union OKs concessions

One of three hold-out unions on Monday agreed to Mayor Daley’s demand for cost-cutting concessions, averting the need for 300 layoffs that could have dramatically impacted the quality of garbage collection in Chicago.

The decision by Laborers Union Local 1001 to sign on to the two-year agreement — with just two days to go until a July 15 deadline for layoffs to begin — leaves Teamsters Union 726 and AFSCME Council 31 as the only unions that have yet to sign on to the deal.

* Attacking unions

First, AFSCME never offered to accept any layoffs now in exchange for a guarantee of no layoffs in the future. In fact our union offered to make economic sacrifices that would impact all union members in exchange for the Daley administration rescinding all layoffs. The administration has so far flatly rejected that offer.

Second, Byrne wrongly reported that union leaders — without any membership input — had made the decision to refuse the administration’s demands. In reality, the entire AFSCME membership voted on the Daley administration’s push for a 10 percent pay cut for all our members. By a 4-1 margin, they said they simply could not accept a cut of that magnitude.

* Laid-off steelworkers picket in Hennepin

* Who’s Responsible for the $2 Million Gaffe in Cook County?

The Clerk’s office says their hands are tied because they can only distribute money according to a formula set out in state law. Suffredin says the clerk never alerted him to such problems and he’s promising to get the money back for the drug, mental health, and youth court services.

* Hilfiger to be lead designer for Chicago fashion incubator

* Back-to-school spending likely to drop

Families are holding back on buying school merchandise, with back-to-school spending forecast to drop 7.7 percent from a year ago, to an average bill of $548.72 according to research to be released today. Total spending on back-to-school is expected to be $17.42 billion.

College kids are the exception to the spending rollback. They and their families will increase their spending by 3 percent, to an average of $618.12, the survey says.

* Low gas prices hurt sales of high-ethanol E85 fuel

Not all major E85 states compile detailed sales numbers, or they compile them differently and on different schedules. But in Illinois, sales of all high-percentage biofuel blends, which are mostly E85 sales, plummeted 89 percent from 1.55 million gallons in May 2008 to 177,000 gallons last December before rising to 239,000 in March, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The sharp but temporary drop in gasoline prices late last year was the major reason for the drop in E85 sales because it reduced E85’s price advantage. A gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline, so a flex-fuel vehicle burning E85 generally gets mileage about 15 percent to 20 percent lower than it would from gas.

* Dad sues Metra in daughter’s stabbing death

* Cubs going for broke

Tribune Co. plans to take the Cubs to bankruptcy to complete its sale to the billionaire Ricketts family, according to a high-level team source. The Cubs were excluded when Tribune, groaning under $13 billion in debt, filed for bankruptcy last December. Taking the Cubs to bankruptcy has been part of the sale plan from the start, according to the source.

In the Cubs’ case, a Chapter 11 filing says nothing about the team’s solvency or its ability to pay player contracts. But it could prevent Tribune creditors from chasing a new Cubs owner for partial satisfaction on Tribune debts.

* Will Obama show some S. Side pride?

Sox want to remind baseball world that president is their guy

* Valparaiso students’ iPhone product is a monster hit

posted by Mike Murray
Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 9:11 am


  1. Here’s what I don’t get about that letter in today’s Trib…

    “By a 4-1 margin, they said they simply could not accept a cut of that magnitude.”

    The other side to that coin is that, by a 4-1 margin, AFSCME members are ok with a 100% cut in pay/benefits if they get laid off.

    Big gamble.

    Comment by Rob_N Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 9:41 am

  2. Hilfiger to be lead designer for Chicago fashion incubator.

    Tommy is so 1990.

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 9:46 am

  3. –”The other side to that coin is that, by a 4-1 margin, AFSCME members are ok with a 100% cut in pay/benefits if they get laid off”–

    If you’re not a member, don’t expect to understand one or where they’re coming from, but some things are worth ‘fighting’ for. It was not a close vote you notice.

    Comment by Cindy Lou (formerly Princess) Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 9:57 am

  4. Will there now be a reconsideration of the push for higher concentrations of ethanol be revised now that the California Air Resources Board has issued a report which states that corn based ethanol as a gasoline substitute is worse for the environment than straight gasoline?

    Financially corn based ethanol production has had many downsides ranging from increasing the cost of a basic foodstuff to fiscally unsustainable costs of production.

    It would be helpful that we think through the entire cycle of new processes before we embark on a national orgy of revision. There is such a thing as the law of unintended consequences after all.

    Comment by Plutocrat03 Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:02 am

  5. Dollars to doughnuts Obama wears his ratty old Sox cap. Good for him. You gotta love a country and people that will elect a brother and Sox fan president.

    The new ballpark in St. Louis is a gem. They really love their baseball down there and it shows (got to get rid of that Mark McGwire Expressway, though).

    I heard over the weekend they’re going to have a ceremony for Stan the Man. Awesome. They should get Gibson on the field, too, just to scare the hitters for a second.

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:19 am

  6. I agree with Cindy Lou. How would unions ever accomplish anything if they weren’t willing to risk being laid off?

    Comment by Small Town Liberal Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:27 am

  7. Cindy and STL
    You are correct to a point;
    Another point is the natural belief that “It won’t happen to me. I am too senior, or too valuablet doesn’t always work out that way.

    There is a real and legitimate concern the cuts in hours, furlough days and unpaid holidays will become permanent. No one in the private sector will care either. Just read the posts here on the Cap Fax. There are some that think all gov’t workers should work six days a week, with no pension, health care or sick days for no more that 30k. (A tad extreme I know)

    Comment by Ill_will Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:43 am

  8. Ill_will, there is also another point to view in your line of thinking that it might not happen to ‘you’ (too senior ect)

    Rules for layoff are clearly stated in contract and supplementals, some people can’t be saved no matter what their options look like at first glance. Even a ‘bumping’ right will get one nowhere if the correction option is not there to utilize. No one is totally ’safe’ and workers know that when voting.

    Comment by Cindy Lou (formerly Princess) Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:15 pm

  9. Cindy Lou:
    I don’t believe we disagree; except in one point, small one perhaps. I agree with your statement that no one is safe; what I don’t believe is that, employees believe/feel that when voting. After all, only 400 to six hundred will be laid off(not counting bumps) and there are some 6000 represented City employees.
    And the contract is different from the State’s.

    I think we can agree the stress/anxiety level for the regular employees must be very high.

    Comment by Ill_will Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 1:08 pm

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