Saturday, May 23, 2015

Weed to be (Nearly) Penalty Free

  • Police won’t be able to arrest Illinoisans for having small amounts of marijuana if a bill passed by lawmakers gets Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.

    On Thursday, the Illinois Senate joined the House in passing a bill that makes possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana a noncriminal offense. Instead, police would issue a ticket and a fine of no more than $125.

    The Senate also sent Rauner a bill that would extend the state’s delayed medical marijuana program, which has an imminent expiration date.

    But it’s unclear whether Rauner will sign the pot bills.
Anyone else suspect this has a lot to do with the profit numbers coming out of Seattle and Denver? The politicians smell money.

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40 Winks Catches 40 hours

Well, 42.5 under the 4-and-2.

Is he eligible for an appeal?

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More Millions

  • The 606, a 2.7-mile-long park on the former train tracks, is set to open June 6, and Paige and others believe it could have a dramatic effect on the surrounding communities. While buzz and excitement build up to the long-anticipated opening, so does trepidation from some who wonder if they will be able to enjoy its benefits.

    Unlike at train-to-park conversions in New York and Paris, Chicago's 606 will allow pets and bikes, Paige, a docent at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, points out proudly.

    "They're going to have festivities, and police are going to patrol it, and it's going to be lighted at night, and they're going to sweep the snow off in the wintertime," Paige said. "What they're doing there is a wonderful thing. It's going to be a great resource for the neighborhoods."
  • The first two blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk's $100 million extension are set to open Saturday, raising the curtain on an urban playground of kayaks, Tiki bar cocktails and floating concert stages.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to announce Friday the western expansion of the Riverwalk from State to Clark streets, as well as a one-block addition to LaSalle Street that will open in early June.
But he wants "reform." Remember, Chicago doesn't have a revenue issue - Chicago has a spending problem.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Municipal Bankruptcies

  • If you're short on money and can't pay your bills, you can go to court and declare bankruptcy. But that legal tool is not available to cities and school districts in Illinois.

    Now, some politicians, including Governor Bruce Rauner, are looking to change that. They are pushing for a new law that would give government bodies the ability to declare bankruptcy in the face of crushing pension debt.

    The numbers are staggering.

    Let's start with the state: Illinois has 111-billion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities, while the city of Chicago has 20-billion dollars and another nine and a half billion for Chicago Public Schools.

    Plus, billions more are owed by suburban villages and school districts, which is why some believe part of the solution to Illinois' pension crisis is bankruptcy.
That's not a solution - that's an invitation to continue to spend recklessly and trust a bankruptcy court to rescue the legislature from those unchecked bad decisions.

You know what might work? Pension funds are essentially creditors - how about surrendering assets to the funds and allowing them to run the money-generating aspect of things for a while? The Chicago Police Department's O'Hare International Airport sounds catchy. Maybe the Chicago Fire Department's Navy Pier or the Chicago Teacher's Union McCormick Place Convention Center and Casino. They certainly couldn't do much worse than the city does at running the places and at least the massive amounts of revenue would be directed exactly where they should be in the first place instead of connected pockets.

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Chicago Growing Again?

  • The city of Chicago gained just under 6,000 residents in the year that ended July 1 — better than the decline of the previous decade, but well below the growth in most other big American cities.

    And the figures weren't much better in the suburbs, as once high-flying edge cities such as Joliet, Naperville and Aurora saw their population growth slow to a crawl or even decline.

    According to new estimates released overnight by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Chicago proper grew to 2,718,782 on July 1, up 5,862 since July 1, 2012, or about 0.2 percent. The city's population has increased by about 23,000 since the 2010 census, or just under 1 percent.
The Crain's article notes this isn't scientific by any means, relying mostly on tax filings and such, which might not take into account things like kids moving back in (or out) of mom's and dad's place or illegal immigrant populations. We don't see any survey of moving companies which might have a better feel for ingress and egress of the city population, but we know one thing that will drive city growth steadily backwards in short order - the coming tax burden to be forced on the population by pension obligations and possible municipal bankruptcies.

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There Goes the Neighborhood

  • Whites are moving back to the American city that came to epitomize white flight, even as blacks continue to leave for the suburbs and the city's overall population shrinks.

    Detroit is the latest major city to see an influx of whites who may not find the suburbs as alluring as their parents and grandparents did in the last half of the 20th century. Unlike New York, San Francisco and many other cities that have seen the demographic shift, though, it's cheap housing and incentive programs that are partly fueling the regrowth of the Motor City's white population.
A social scientist might observe that these things run in cycles. If so, might we be seeing similar changes in Englewood, North Lawndale and other locations that have a recent history of pale populations?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

FOP Meeting Fail

Tuesday there was an FOP meeting. During it, Dean Angelo pretty much failed to answer a single question honestly or competently. From the comment section, we got this:
  • Highlights from FOP meeting yesterday:
    Mr. Angelo speech:
    -says he was misquoted in the paper but admitted everyone needs to "share" (pension debt). Never explained how non-property owners will "share".
    -avoided question and never gave a definition of "non-discressionary personnel" in the comp time agreement. (Doesnt everyone "share" already with taxes?)
    -says the "15%" elective time off (Dean's agreement) has problems. Never addressed why he signed off on it.
    -Sabich from 009 knew more about this agreement than dean.
    -refused to identify the person in HR/MLAS by name.
    -denied negotiating pension with Emanuel but when asked if Emanuel is lying, "No".
    -Admitted he hasn't submitted any new legislation, even though he campaigned on it.
    -said if you want a by-law change, you have to see him and he will help write it.
    -cameras coming to 015 next.
    -admitted to being a witness to part of Shields lawsuit.
    -was told not to mediate and to sue Shields for lossed overtime. (Everyone agreed).
An e-mailer related that Dean made four proposals for pension relief, but the media only quoted the one regarding raising property taxes. Um, duh. The media does Rahm's bidding Dean, not the FOP's. And now Rahm has you known as the guy proposing raising property taxes. Nice job there.

As to the HR/MLAS person being unidentified, we still haven't seen an answer to the question posed in our comment section asking if you do/did in fact live in the same neighborhood and attend the same school as Don O'Neill, head of MLAS. That might be the answer everyone is looking for.

If the Department is misinterpreting and misapplying the 15% time due memorandum of understanding, why isn't it being grieved? We do have lawyers on staff, right?

Most amusing was the 10-hour day survey. This little handout wasn't helpful:


Keep in mind - this was the survey conducted by the CITY, not the FOP. We have no idea what the questions were, but from various reports from 005, they were loaded so that the city got the responses they wanted, not the responses that would reflect an honest assessment of the program. There was no word from Dean if the FOP planned to consider their own survey - he kept referring to the survey as if he was accepting the findings without rebuttal or exploration. 58% isn't a very good indicator of anything. Addressing the survey itself, we got these points from various e-mailers:
  • As we've stated here many times, the start times suck. 
  • The time between the end-of-tour and court is going to result in more deviations and more unsuccessful prosecutions.
  • Of course, tact and saturation units prefer the schedule - they aren't tied to the radio and they're ducking early.
With this type of leadership, Dean might be the last president the FOP ever has in Chicago.

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This was Prophetic

  • City Treasurer Miriam Santos made a last-ditch attempt Tuesday to stave off a move by her former political patron, Mayor Richard Daley, to cut her power and remove her from overseeing more than $8 billion in politically sensitive city pension fund investments.

    At a news conference in Chicago, Santos said the city`s four pension funds were being mismanaged, and she issued a list of proposed reforms.

    ``The pension funds will be Chicago`s S&L crisis 20 years from now if we continue down the road of mismanagement,`` she said. ``There is a lack of accountability that must be addressed.``

    Standing beside former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson, who supported her efforts, she said most pension funds are underfunded, and she warned that property tax payers could be asked to make up the difference in the future.

    Santos, who also said she wanted to stay on the boards that oversee the pensions so she can be an independent voice, then left the city for more lobbying in Springfield, where the General Assembly is holding its fall veto session.

    But her tactic may fall short, because Daley operatives in the Illinois Senate said they were set to push a bill Wednesday that would, among other things, give Daley the option of removing Santos from the pension boards and replacing her with someone who will follow instructions.
And everyone remembers what happened to Miriam Santos, right? Daley got his "... someone who will follow instructions" and we've been paying the price ever since. Everything Santos predicted would happen...has happened...with astonishingly exactitude, so any claims that this was "unforeseen" or "circumstances beyond control" are pretty much lying to us all.

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Ex-Commander Trial Delayed

Prosecutors move to delay - something came up?
  • An unexpected move in court Wednesday by prosecutors in the case against Chicago police commander Glenn Evans as they requested and received a delay in the start of the trial.

    It was scheduled to begin June 22.

    Prosecutors said, “something has come up,” but did not give specific details.

    Apparently, the Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs division is conducting an investigation that may have some bearing on the case.
McJersey was not seen nearby supporting his brass.

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Pay-to-Play

  • One month after receiving a $20,000 contribution from one of the world’s largest producers of ethanol, Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Wednesday breathed new life into his plan to require Chicago gas stations to offer motorists a higher ethanol blend of fuel known as E-15.

    At the start of every new term of the City Council, aldermen approve a resolution that kills all pending legislation from the old Council. It’s a way to clean the slate and start again.

    That’s what happened Wednesday at the second official meeting of the new term. Monday’s inauguration was technically the first.

    But the “kill resolution” that Ald. Edward M. Burke co-sponsored keeps alive the E-15 ordinance by excluding “any matter ordered to be deferred and published on or after Dec. 10, 2014.”
Which just happens to be a major issue to the ethanol producer.

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Yeah, we saw it.

Sure, you all did, too.

If you didn't, you can find it.

Shit happens - we aren't going to defend it.

He'll take his hit like anyone else.

Unless he's connected.

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Shots Fired At/By the Police

  • Chicago police officers exchanged gunfire with suspects on the city’s South Side. The officers reportedly heard gun shots fired at about 9:15 p.m. Monday and saw two people running down the street near 61st and Laflin in Englewood.

    The officers chased the suspects and took them into custody.

    No one was hit by the gunfire; however an officer was slightly injured during the chase.
Speedy recovery wished to the injured. Be careful Officers.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Remember - Chicago is Broke

But someone coming home from court to day saw this going up on Roosevelt Road:


Those were being placed on light poles up and down Roosevelt, dozens upon dozens. This, in a neighborhood that if we aren't too far off the mark, has accounted for nearly 2,500 homicides and tens-of-thousands of maimings during our careers.

No money for pensions, but Rahm can decorate one of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago, in Illinois and in the United States.

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40 Years Ago

  • Much of what Carolyn Cali-Brick knows about her father comes from faded memorabilia and the brittle, yellowed pages of newspaper clippings.

    Once every 10 years, that picture expands when the “brotherhood” gathers, as it did Tuesday in a Park Ridge church — men with silver or thinning hair, bum knees, and shuffling gaits — to remember Chicago Police Officer Joseph P. Cali.

    “We’re often the ones who receive the brunt of the protesters and the violence, and people seem to forget that police officers are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children,” said retired Chicago policeman Walter Dudycz, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Cali’s death from a sniper’s bullet. “And this is just a reminder that we are part of the community.”
Dudycz drove Cali to the hospital where he died, sniped while he was writing a parking ticket. His killer walked out of prison in 1986 - a mere 11 years after the killing. That is a crying shame.

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Cop Cleared in Lawsuit

  • A civil trial jury ruled on Tuesday that a Chicago police officer did not use unjustified force in the 2011 fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black man.

    Plaintiff Wanda Edwards was seeking unspecified damages for the death of her son, Parise Mercer, in a trial that began last week against a backdrop of rising scrutiny over police conduct toward African Americans.

    Officer [...], the defendant, who also is black, was trying to arrest Mercer after a July shooting outside a restaurant. Authorities said Mercer ran and pointed a gun at [the officers]. Both officers fired and Mercer was struck by one bullet in the back and died.
What did we predict not even three weeks ago? That news reports will start pointing out the race of the officers involved because of all the riots, looting, burning, etc., and here it is, not even a month later.

The usual accusations were made of planted guns, altar boys and excessive force - the jury voted 8-0 in favor of the police defendants, so evidently there are some sane people serving on civil juries and some lawyers who can field a decent case.

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Here's an Idea!

  • Chicago Park District officials said Tuesday they are asking Riot Fest organizers to look at moving the lively three-day festival to another park, such as Douglas Park on the Near West Side.

    Last month, Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) pushed for the eviction of the festival from Humboldt Park after alleging $150,000 in promised park repairs tied to last year’s festival hadn’t been completed.

    “The Chicago Park District has urged Riot Fest organizers to consider alternate locations to Humboldt Park. Douglas Park is among them,” said Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, a spokeswoman for the park district.
They must really want to kill this festival if they're sending it to the west side.

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Completely Expected

  • City crime spike. A dramatic increase in violence in Baltimore. Dozens of shooting and murders in the last few weeks following the riots last month.

    [CBS Balitomore] reports some are concerned police are hesitant to crack down after six officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

    [...] ....one of 96 homicides in Baltimore this year–an undercurrent of violence that’s up almost one-third from this time last year.
37 homicides in 30 days - those are big city numbers there.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

RIP Emily

  • Emily Beazley, the 12-year-old girl who talked to Taylor Swift and got to serve as a Chicago cop during a public battle with cancer died Tuesday morning.

    Emily’s mother, Nadia Beasley, posted a message about the Mount Greenwood girl’s passing on her Facebook page: “My beautiful Emily got to use her angel wings. She fought hard to the end. Her last gift to me was passing peacefully.”
There is no greater tragedy than a parent having to bury their child.

Condolences to the Beazley family.

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There's No Money! ::bullshit::

This comment appeared earlier today:
  • "...it's State Law, backed by the Illinois Constitution..."

    How does this argument hold up when there simply is no more money left in the coffers? Conjure it up out of thin air?

    Better wake up...
Chicago is a $7.3 BILLION dollar entity. It jumps to 8.9 billion when grant funds are included from various sources. Illinois is a $70+ billion boondoggle when everything is figured in.

The trouble isn't that there isn't any money - there is plenty of money.  The trouble is that no one is spending it responsibly. We've outlined it here plenty of times and sometimes a reporter strays off the reservation and actually points out some fiscal malfeasance, but that's rare.
  • construction hasn't slowed and Rahm is proposing more - why is that?
  • we explained the crooked contracts where taxpayers are getting fleeced to the tune of tens of millions a year, hundreds of millions over the years by paying someone an extra 10-to-30% just because they are approved minority vendors;
  • ridiculous taxes that drive shoppers away from Chicago - water tax, soda tax. etc;
  • more taxes, not to mention the labor, that cost Chicago millions in convention business;
  • golden pensions that people got solely by birthright, fortuitous marriage, payoffs or as hush-money;
  • payouts to middle men for losing pension money
Need we go on? We still haven't seen an enterprising reporter or an enterprising FOP member with a lot of time on their hands dissect the city budget. We've seen isolated sections of the budget at various times - do you know how many people in there are listed as "assistants" or "deputy director" or "assistant to an assistant"? We've seen dozens in all sorts of departments. That screams "padded payroll" to us and many others. Where are the efficiency experts taking apart those budgets?

Then let's get into the fraud aspect. Whoa Nelly.

Then let's hit the "assistance" sections of the budget:
  • housing assitance
  • gas/electric/water/sewer/phone bill assistance
  • job training
  • back-to-school expenditures - without any sort of means testing
There's always plenty of money for that for some reason. It's high time government was forced to re-prioritize its spending habits.

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Meanwhile, in Chicago....

All the national headlines were about the biker shootout in Texas. Nine dead, eighteen wounded, over 150 arrested and it's a giant deal because, "BIKERS!"

Not covered by the national networks though...:
  • Two men were killed and at least 47 other people — including an 81-year-old woman — were wounded in shootings across Chicago between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
But hey, you know, that's just a typical weekend in Chicago - forty-nine shot, two of them dead. Nothing to see here, move along, Rahm has money to spend.

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No More "Intimidating" Equipment

  • In a surprise announcement coming nine months after police in riot gear dispelled racially charged protests, President Barack Obama is banning the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to local departments and putting stricter controls on other weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement.

    The announcement comes after the White House suggested last year that Obama would maintain programs that provide the type of military-style equipment used to respond to demonstrators last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, because of their broader contribution to public safety. But an interagency group found "substantial risk of misusing or overusing" items like tracked armored vehicles, high-powered firearms and camouflage could undermine trust in police.
On one hand, there are entire production lines of "civilian" equivalents for most of the equipment used in a riot situation. On the other, the material available is outdated or redundant for the military and ends up sitting in warehouses collecting dust. Taxpayers ought to be happy it can be "re-purposed" instead of shipped of to some fith-rate third-world military at a later date.

Maybe a happier paint scheme would quiet the critics who view police as "too threatening." Something in pink and yellow we suppose. It would also make the "tactical gear queers" stop thinking that they're like Delta Force and remembering that they're police officers first.

But the fact remains that policing has changed as the threats internally have evolved. ISIS threats are a regular thing now. The Boston bombings were most likely a harbinger of things to come. Lone wolf attacks involving foreign-trained individuals in military-style camps are possible, to say nothing of the intentionally created racial-strife in democrat-controlled urban environments. A "disproportionate response" to these types of threats isn't intimidating - it's obligated to demonstrate an ability to restore order to the rule of law when disorder is the aim of the lawless.

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Rahm Sworn At

  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be sworn into his second term in office Monday at the Chicago Theatre. His wife and children attended, as did former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

    Clinton and Emanuel have a long history together. In 1992, Emanuel moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, to work for then-governor Clinton. The mayor later served in senior positions in the Clinton White House during the former president's two terms.
Well, that should be the next-to-final nail in Chicago's coffin. Perhaps Rahm is hoping Hillary will give him some good tips on cattle futures to invest pension money in.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Rahm's Plan for Chicago - SPEND!!!

  • He has big plans for the second term he fought so hard and spent so much to win.

    Get high-speed rail from downtown to O’Hare Airport started.

    Bring top chefs’ restaurants to O’Hare’s domestic terminals.

    Build a shared police and fire training academy.

    Possibly clean house at the Chicago Board of Education in the face of an ongoing federal investigation.
Usually when you're out of money, you stop spending it. At least until you know the next check is on the way...or cleared. Not this money manager though! He knows best!

His Sun Times Q and A is an eye-roller:
  • Q: The wording of the Supreme Court ruling was so strong. Haven’t you lost your leverage with police and fire unions?
    A: I’ve said since Day 1 . . . that this day of reckoning was gonna come. We can’t put it off. Which is why I went so hard on getting both Laborer and Muncipal [pension fund reforms] done. And we are having right now healthy discussions with police and fire on how to resolve their pension security needs in a way that does not unfairly burden taxpayers.
Dean, you reading? Even the media acknowledges Rahm lost leverage. You damn well better be bending him over a barrel and hold him to the law passed in Springfield. Rahm has no power to adjust the pension - it's State Law, backed by the Illinois Constitution. We certainly hope that retirees don't have to sue the FOP for negotiating something that is supposed to be legislated.
  • Q: If you’re wrong, what happens?
    A: I’m not gonna go in to court tactically with a public position, “The mayor says, ‘If we’re wrong here . . .’ ” But more importantly, we don’t believe we’re wrong.

    Q. You must have a Plan B.
    A: We believe we’re right. . . . I don’t think it’s the appropriate thing to discuss a Plan B while you’re going to court on Plan A.
Wow, no Plan B. That is a forward thinker boys and girls. You just can't get that type of leadership anywhere...it's a special kind of Chicago-stupid, like what's in the White House right now.

Here's a revelation:
  • Q: Is [McCarthy] staying for the four years?
    A: Yeah.
Damn. That throws off the over/under betting across the board. In any event, go read it all. Like we said, brilliant leadership here - damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Rahm doesn't care if he's headed for the cliff, he just wants to get there as quick as possible.

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No Shortages! Trust Us!

  • After a series of attacks and anti-Semitic threats, Jewish families in West Rogers Park have lined up their own security force of off-duty Chicago police officers to patrol the neighborhood.

    But the neighborhood's top police officers are unhappy about the move, saying they don't want residents to get a false sense of security.
Newsflash "top" police officers - they are less secure, and they can prove it. The uptick in hate crimes, the graffiti, robbery, thefts, etc. Crime is about perception. The community perceives that they are unsafe and are moving to take steps.

Wait until you see what some are saying:
  • "It was brought to our attention there was a group of citizens in the area that don't feel the police are serving the community the best we can," said Sgt. Shawn Sisk, who leads the district's community policing office. "We can't stop that from happening; however, we're not going to support it. We don’t want that to send a false sense of security to the neighborhood."
Um, a highly visible number of officer on patrol is a deterrent in itself there Sherlock. And the community isn't feeling it. So they reach outside the Department hierarchy to remedy the situation, by hiring members of the Department that they obviously know and trust and ...get this...pay them out of their own pockets to make them feel safer!

And what about the manpower issues?
  • But resident Andrew Glatz said the private patrols were not meant as an affront to the police department, but rather a complement. He said the trained officers know what to look for when out on patrol.

    "Given the cutbacks ... we just felt it was imperative to us to give extra eyes and ears to the police," Glatz said, comparing the move to patients at "wonderful hospitals" who might hire private nurses.
Cutbacks? There were cutbacks? Oh wait, that's just a direct way of saying what the city calls "reduction by attrition" where they don't open bids so people might be able to bid to a relatively nice assignment in a quieter district. We heard that the manpower numbers in the entire 024 District are well under 200 cops. For comparison purposes, a busy District like 007 will field more officers on any given day (even with one-third of officers RDO and another 7% on furlough) that 024 has on an entire watch.
  • But the police — in one of the safest districts in the city — implored residents to stop the patrols.

    Richard Concaildi, the CAPS beat facilitator for the area, encouraged residents to rely on 911 when they feel unsafe or witness suspicious behavior.
Didn't a few south side aldercreatures start up neighborhood patrols made up of off-duty cops to patrol business areas and politically sensitive blocks? And weren't these officers paid from a special fund collected from businesses, churches and interested citizens? And weren't the officers from the nearby district and therefore have a pretty good working knowledge of exactly what was going on?

But here's a CAPS weasel saying "rely on 911!" The community isn't stupid, they've seen the reductions in manpower, they feel the violence/intimidation getting worse, their still willing to put out a little extra money for protecting their families, but this moron wants them to rely on a system and an organization that they feel has already failed them. That is some dumb shit.

And stop fucking with coppers' side-jobs.

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Time to Fence Off Englewood

  • A bullet shattered the window of an ambulance as paramedics were working on a patient Sunday evening in the West Englewood neighborhood.

    The ambulance, operated by the Chicago Fire Department, was shot about 5:40 p.m. in the 5600 block of South Bishop, according to fire department spokesman Will Knight.

    The bullet shattered the driver’s-side window, and a large caliber slug was found in the cab portion of the ambulance, the statement said. Two paramedics were treating a patient in the back at the time of the shooting, the statement said. No one was shot.
So if the paramedics feel unsafe (provably unsafe), and refuse to go into what is essentially a combat zone, we imagine the outcry would be rather large. But really, can you blame them? We expect this sort of thing and train for it, but paramedics and firefighters? They're there to attempt to save lives.

Screw it - they want a ride to the hospital, find a jitney cab.

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Biker Lives Matter!

  • A shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at a popular Central Texas restaurant left nine bikers dead and 18 injured, and it sent panicked patrons and bystanders fleeing for safety, a police spokesman said Sunday.

    The violence erupted shortly after noon at a busy Waco shopping center along Interstate 35 that draws a large lunchtime crowd. Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said eight people died at the scene of the shooting at Twin Peaks restaurant and another person died at a hospital.
Thanks to CompStat-Waco, these will all be listed as self-defense, death investigations or mutual combatants. Waco crime will not rise and crime is down! Police may have killed one or more of the gang members and the investigation continues.

Amazingly, according to the article, not a single innocent was so much as winged during the entire episode.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another Reason Illinois is Broke

Along the lines of the below Navy Pier article, they're paying for poor performance:
  • The only thing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to say about his state’s pension system is that he thinks the required payouts are so burdensome, there should be a constitutional amendment that would allow him to cut them.

    Rauner himself is a former private equity executive who managed hundreds of millions of dollars from public pension funds (including some in Illinois). As the pension funding crisis has become increasingly acute, he has avoided talking about how his own industry may have contributed to the crisis: specifically, through high fees and underperformance -- and, according to a new report, influence peddling.


  • This new study suggests the involvement of placement agents in pension investments may have significantly worsened pension liabilities in states that were already facing substantial gaps between what they’ve saved for workers’ retirement and what they are contractually obligated to pay out in benefits.

    In Illinois, where Rauner is pushing retirement benefit cuts, the trend is illustrative. There, the $18.9 billion Illinois State Universities Retirement System (SURS) used placement agents for 15.6 percent of its private equity investments -- which then underperformed the pension fund’s other private equity investments by -9.2 percent. The underperformance may have cost the system hundreds of millions of dollars, money could have been used to shore up the plan’s funding.
The middle men get rich, while public employees get fleeced - twice. Read it all - the article ties in California, New York and Virginia under-performing funds along with Illinois.

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In Any Other Business...

Under-performance is usually grounds for change, but only in the private sector:
  • Navy Pier’s big makeover is more than a year behind schedule. Attendance has fallen. But top executives still took home big bonuses, newly released records show.

    Nine Navy Pier Inc. executives were given bonuses totaling nearly $350,000 in 2013, according to the latest report to the Internal Revenue Service filed by Navy Pier Inc., the private organization that runs the government-owned tourist attraction.
You want a look at clout-on-steroids, check out this article. Millions in revenue benefiting a very small, select group of connected individuals, and don't even get us started on the untraceable cash running through there.

NOTE: We're going to see a bunch of comments ripping cops for getting "generous" salaries and under-performing. You can measure how many garbage cans get picked up, or how many service requests get filled, how many yards of concrete get poured or trees cut down or potholes filled. You can't have it both ways - either cops are lazy and getting paid way too much or we're doing a great job according to CompStat and getting paid way too little. Police work isn't measurable like that, though everyone is trying.

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Mope-Rah at it Again

She is so close to actually breaking through on something. You can see it, but she just can't make the last connection:
  • There is much praise for good Samaritans.

    These strangers often put their own lives at risk trying to save others from peril.

    Sometimes, the news media or the police recognize these heroic efforts, but quite often good Samaritans disappear without anyone ever knowing their names.

    In 2013, two unidentified good Samaritans foiled a rape attempt near a CTA Orange Line station by coming to the aid of an 18-year-old woman who was thrown to the ground in the attack.

    Last week, we saw a very different response to a situation in which it was clear someone was in desperate need of help. A young woman riding a CTA Red Line train alone in the early hours of the morning was trying to fight off a rapist when the train pulled into the North/Clybourn stop, and a man got on.

    According to the woman, he attacked her, pulling down her pants and underwear. She was screaming for help when the stranger stumbled onto the scene.

    But instead of trying to make the attacker stop, or pushing the emergency call button, or even dialing 911, the man turned around and left the train.
Mope-rah heaps scorn on the witness. Rightfully? Who knows. Most people aren't that good in a one-on-one encounter. We certainly aren't as good as we used to be so many years ago...time robs us of vision, reflexes, recovery time, etc. It happens to all of us. Mope-rah doesn't describe the age or condition of the "failed" hero.

Would we have intervened? Most certainly. But we would have had something that the good Samaritan probably didn't have, something that would equalize the odds, especially if he was frail, untested, hesitant about his odds taking on an assailant in an empty train car with no one else around to help, something that he was banned from carrying on a CTA train. Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away - more so in the Mass Transit Unit.

But Mope-rah doesn't make that leap, probably for the same reason the stranger turned away from a criminal act in his presence. You can almost feel the inner-conservative begging to come out of Mope-rah's shadow. Maybe one day....

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Highway Shooting Epidemic!

We mentioned this as a semi-regular occurrence a week or so ago and suddenly, Channel 7 has an investigative report on the front burner:
  • An ABC7 I-Team investigation has found that local highway shootings have more than tripled in recent years, and state police officials say that road rage isn't to blame.

    Gunfire on Chicago-area highways is now happening, on average, several times a month.

    [...] The I-Team reviewed shooting logs maintained by Illinois State Police obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

    They revel [sic] that in 2010, there were six shootings on Chicago-area expressways. By last year, that number had jumped to 18.

    The number increases even more - to 28 - when you include "reported shootings." That's when someone calls 911 to say they saw gunfire but state police couldn't find evidence that bullets hit "anything" or "anyone."
It's a good thing that McCompStat isn't keeping track of these events. Otherwise it might look like Chicago shootings are up in Chicago 31% instead of just a measly 30%.

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Somehing Matters Again....

  • Two people, including an 81-year-old woman, were shot in the city's Gresham neighborhood in what police say was a drive-by shooting.

    The victims were outside when a white SUV approached them around 5 p.m. Friday in the 7800-block of South Carpenter, police said, when someone inside the vehicle allegedly started shooting

    The woman, Iola Burress, suffered a gunshot wound to the wrist and stomach. Her 34-year-old grandson, Sylvester Burress, suffered a gunshot wound to the hip, police said. Both were hospitalized and are in stable condition.
This was at a wake for grandma's middle-aged daughter. We're betting she probably wasn't the target. But hey, let's go light up a wake...just in case.

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Bomber Gets Death

  • A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a "kid" who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

    Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded, his head slightly bowed, upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days. It was the most closely watched terrorism trial in the U.S. since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

    The decision sets the stage for what could be the nation's first execution of a terrorist in the post-9/11 era, though the case is likely to go through years of appeals. The execution would be carried out by lethal injection.
Good riddance, hopefully in under a few decades.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Heads Up - Feebs are Digging

The FOP newsletter hinted at this (May 2015, page 9):
  • Earlier this month we were made aware that the FBI was conducting an investigation into past police involved shootings. The investigation came to light after reports that FBI agents were approaching Officers at their homes unannounced. The Officers properly declined to answer any questions without an attorney present, and contacted the Lodge immediately.
  • The FBI is investigating a police shooting of two teenage boys during a 2013 stop of a car on the South Side, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

    The teens were wounded on Dec. 22 near 95th and La Salle after Chicago Police officers curbed a stolen car packed with joyriders, the department said in a statement after the incident.
The FBI is not your friend. Ever. Especially in the current political climate. They are tools...well, they're always tools, but they are tools of a political administration that hates you, your uniform, your very existence. Do not, under any circumstances, short circuit your Rights as guaranteed under the Contract, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution.

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What are the Numbers?

A question for a Friday.

We're now a few years along from combining six Districts down to three. At the time, Rahm and McCarthy made numerous empty promises that the number of officers covering the combined geographic area would not change a single iota.

Of course, we knew this was a lie for many reasons. First, you didn't need double the desk officers, nor lock-up, or even administrative staff. We were amazed to see the combo-districts keep six tact teams for a while, but the certainly didn't keep double the tactical lieutenants.

Now we're curious two and three years later, how much manpower is actually down. The combined 012/013 experiment was listed as down nearly 120 officers from combined strength. How about the others? CrimeInBoystown has been keeping an informal count of 019/023 beat meetings and isn't happy with the numbers.

And a question for the media talking heads - if the Police Department is expected to operate down 20-to-30% from historical manpower and produce the same results in terms of crime and disorder issues, why aren't the City Council aldercreatures...a part-time job paying $100,000 with an attached $1,200,000 slush fund...expected to endure the same cuts and produce the same results?

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Pooooor Herbie

The Tribune headline is priceless:
What's the old saying?
  • Life is hard - it's harder if you're stupid
Herbie has definitely been stupid:
  • Trouble has followed 18-year-old Herbert Pulgar since 2012, his mother said, when his winning design for a new city sticker drew controversy for images of what some termed as gang symbols.
Pretty much everyone agreed that the "heart" symbol Herbie used figures prominently in the "maniac latin disciple" lore. Then there's the fact that Herbie admitted to Channel 2 News he had gang colors, symbols and hand signs on his social media page (this link is still active almost 2.5 years later):
  • Pulgar did acknowledge that his Facebook page, which has since been made private, had pictures of him flashing gang signs, but he said that was a “stupid” mistake from his past. He admitted he’s been in trouble before, but claimed working to win the contest was his way of trying to turn his life around.
Then there's the numerous times we covered Herbie's brushes with the law. Numerous hot cars, a UUW if we aren't mistaken, assorted public peace violations and a few charges related to his chosen nickname of "Herb Dilla".... you know - weed dealer.

Hey, here's an idea for momma - how about releasing Herbie juvenile record to the public? Show how he was on the straight and narrow all the way up until those nasty police pointed out what everyone else seemed to willingly ignore? That'd be fair, right?

If anyone wants to see how this all played out over the years, head over to our archives in February 2012 and scroll through. We must have written half-a-dozen articles about this nonsense and the media-types picking Herbie up off the ground and brushing off his poor little gang-banging knees while patting him on the head and telling him what a good boy he was. They had to...since his dad was (and most likely still is) a drug dealing fugitive in South America with an outstanding Interpol warrant.

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Brilliant Observation

  • A non-resident fee would allow Chicago to generate income without repeatedly adding to the tax burden of Chicago residents. It is time to ask suburban residents who are vested in Chicago by means of their employment to invest in the future of the city.
Someone pointed out this interpretation that slipped by us:
  • "The citizens of Chicago cannot and should not continue to subsidize non-resident workers through tax increases, resident fee increases and higher utilization fees."

    Wait a second, just wait a fucking second... WHY NOT?!?

    We've been doing it for Illegal Aliens all day long who enter into this Country, but if it's done on a City Level, now it's somehow wrong?
A legit question. Suburbanites would have less rights that illegal aliens under this proposal...and that's just fine according to Cardenas.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

More Downgrades - Rahm is Angry

  • Moody’s Investor Service dropped the bond ratings of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk a day after it did the same for the city of Chicago.

    For CPS, the downgrade doesn’t trigger any new payments to financial institutions, but the worsening of CPS’ ratings could potentially affect negotiations the district has entered into with several banks over those “swap” termination fees.

    Moody’s dropped CPS’ rating three notches to Ba3 from Baa3, with a continuing negative outlook. The Chicago Park District saw the same three-notch slide to Ba1 with a negative outlook.
Rahm is not happy at all:
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel ripped Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday for dropping the bond rating of the city, the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk status and denied that his negotiating position with police and fire unions has been undercut by an Illlinois Supreme Court ruling overturning state pension reform.

    Emanuel portrayed Chicago’s economy as “strong and getting stronger” and said City Hall is making good progress in pension reform talks with police and fire unions. That includes the possibility of lifting the hammer hanging over the heads of Chicago taxpayers: a state-mandated, $550 million payment due in December to shore up police and fire pensions.
Someone correct us if we're wrong, but didn't Ramh make his millions in the world of high finance? He's at least passingly familiar with inflow and outflow as it pertains to money? No? Well then how did he make $11 million in such a short amount of time? Oh...right...the same way Hillary turned cattle futures into a pile of cash.

Side note - Dean, you've got Rahm over a barrel. Literally. You've got four aces. Any "progress" Rahm says he's making with the police and fire pensions is contingent entirely on the goodwill of the membership....and guess what? We don't have much. He's been fucking us since day one. Time to fuck him back. Here's a suggestion or three:
  • Miss a few meetings. Daley and Rahm's negotiators were famous for that. Schedule a meeting, then call it off the day before without giving a reason.
  • Demand the moon, stars and the sun. What have you got to lose? Time? Time is his enemy, not ours. Talk to the CFD guys and get those casino suggestions we made a few days ago written in blood, preferably his. Demons don't like contracts written in blood.
  • Show up, order coffee, a lunch or two, dinner if you drag things out, stiff Rahm and his negotiators with the bill. This opportunity may never present itself again. Drag it out all summer and all fall. Who cares? Then when December rolls around, walk away. He wanted to make firefighters bleed? He wanted to "stick it in the cops' ears?" Fuck this jagoff. You'll get our $550 million with or without him. He's up against a state law to pay.
Don't fuck it up Dean. Do not fuck it up.

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More Reasons Chicago is Broke (UPDATE)

You have the crooked contracts we've described on numerous occasions:
  • Chicago needs widgets. The city can't just but them off the shelf at Home Depot or Wal*Mart. They have to go through a vendor. A percentage of the vendors have to meet certain requirements in terms of ownership (minority-owned, woman-owned, mob-controlled) along with the run-of-the-mill white guys. The city accepts "bids" via a easily corruptible process and chooses the vendor according to the whims of the aldercreature, the "reverends" or the voters the mayor needs. The vendor then goes and picks out the widgets at Home Depot or Wal*Mart and marks up the price by a skim-able percentage, contributes to the approved re-election fund, and pockets the rest.
We had a list of "vendors" at one point years ago. One was a storefront in Aldercreature Ed Smith's part of town, never open, but with a working phone that probably got forwarded somewhere else. The address handled all sorts of contracts for the city, including dog food for the Canine Unit - dog food that could have been purchased for 30% less than the vendor charged the city (and probably was purchased for  30% less). No one was much interested then, but maybe now?

Another place the city bleeds money - the schools. Back when the blog started, we had e-mails from old-time school officers who would relate tales of locked storerooms with unused textbooks still wrapped in shipping cellophane, supplies in original packaging, skids full of computers, monitors and printers. The officers have long since retired, and maybe the schools have gotten better at hiding things. But you still have the outright theft:
  • Four people this week were named in arrest warrants tied to the theft of more than $876,000 from two Chicago Public Schools.

    Officials with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office would not comment on the case Wednesday, but according to court records, Judge Nicholas Ford ordered the arrest warrants.

    Ford on Tuesday issued a $400,000 arrest warrant for Jermaine Robinson, 36, of Chicago. Sidney Bradley, 46, of Chicago; Albert Bennett, 49, of Carpentersville; and Paul Simmons, 55, of Calumet City, were named in $200,000 arrest warrants, court records show.

    All four were charged with theft of government property.
That's just one school. Then there's the crooked janitorial contract of recent days. The Byrd-Bennett swindle accounting for millions. Has anyone ever done an accounting on the food for the "healthy breakfast" every kid us supposed to get? When our kids were going to school, the teachers were nearly weeping with rage at the amount of perfectly good food they were throwing out on a daily basis because the kids weren't hungry or didn't like the fruit and milk provided for every student regardless of desire.

How about the 650 miles of bike lanes Rahm and his people were praising just two years ago? As we recall, the cost was calculated out at $140,000 PER MILE for paint, rubber lane dividers and labor. $91 million. We also recall posting pictures of some of the bile lanes with potholes and actual weeds growing in the lanes. Some of the longer stretches cut down perfectly serviceable four-lane thoroughfares to two-lane congested messes for maybe a dozen bikers a day through neighborhoods we wouldn't go near without a pistol.

And then there's this from the Channel 2 troll:
  • They retire as Chicago police officers and get rehired by the city, doubling up on two taxpayer subsidized paychecks, one for a civilian job and the other for a police pension.

    The Better Government Association and CBS 2 Investigators found that some even get hired back in a day to jobs at the top of the police department, all at a time when the police pension fund is only about 30 percent funded.
We've been pointing this out for years. They tag the usual suspects: O'Neill, Roussell, Shear, Hickey who retired from the department and got rehired immediately back as civilians, collecting not only their pension, but their previous salaries, sometimes with a raise. This isn't uncommon and they leave out quite a few bosses who landed other cushy government spots either in the city or at the state level: Townsend, Maurer, Keating, Grau, Schmitz. Hell, Bill Nolan got a 6-figure chief's gig at the Cook County Jail for his efforts on a number of issues. At least Ramsey left town, Kirby left the country and Cline created his own gig.

What about fire chiefs? Do they have these issues? Maybe a nice fire "inspector" slot somewhere? This double and triple dipping at the government trough has to stop. Cap pensions at the earned career rank - no more "merit" pensions. You get a "merit" bump, you get a patrolman's salary - you didn't earn shit. You come back as a civilian, you defer your pension until you actually retire for good. Government isn't supposed to make people rich, and it has made too many of the wrong people rich at the expense of the regular working cop, firefighter, teacher and retiree.

UPDATE: Someone complained in the comment section that if you earned your pension at 29-and-a-day, you ought to be able to collect it on your terms. We agree, but with the following stipulation - if you come back as a civilian, you haven't actually "retired." You are still working for the city. You are double-dipping, getting paid for the job you used to do for 29-and-a-day AND getting paid again for the job you used to do. Pension is for your non-working years, not as a 75% increase in pay for the job you're still doing for the same employer you used to (and still) have. Hope that clears up the reasoning.

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Charge Suburbanites!

This has got to be one of the dumber ideas coming out of Chicago government. It's from an aldercreature, so it's really not surprising:
  • Chicago flourishes upon an invisible bridge that connects the city with all who enter.

    The bridge is a “right of way” that requires, among other expenses, the maintenance of Chicago’s streets, emergency services, traffic controls and sanitation. But the bridge is breaking under the weight of more than 600,000 employees who enter the city daily from the suburbs. Non-residents do not invest in the city’s services.

    The citizens of Chicago cannot and should not continue to subsidize non-resident workers through tax increases, resident fee increases and higher utilization fees.

    A better way would be a Non-Resident Employee Fee, which could generate up to $200 million a year, finally asking those that use this city to help support its maintenance. Non-resident employees would be charged a $200 annual fee. This is a nominal sum compared to what residents must pay in fees and taxes.
Um...isn't this what the Shortshank's old "head tax" used to cover? And wasn't that rescinded a few years back as more and more employers resented the overreach and relocated numerous retail establishments out of the city limits? We'd bet if you looked at a map of "big box" stores, most are located just outside of the city in suburban malls where many city residents do their shopping. This is a dumb idea and will only further drive small businesses and factories out of the city.

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Herbie Links

Here's the Tribune story.

Here's the Sun Times.

We can't find the YouTube video of Herbie mix music either...if anyone does, let us know.

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Followup for Chicago Magazine

Someone posted this in the comment section. We thought we'd ask the readers to see if they knew the answer, especially in light of the numerous instances of crime on the expressways not appearing in CPD stats:
  • What about crimes occurring on university campuses within Chicago? Are those like crimes on the expressways, not counted? Uic,northwestern,Loyola,northeastern,Chicago state, and univ of Chicago all have their own police depts.how about sanitary district property or railroad property. Lots of crimes handled by other police agencies in Chicago.
 No victim, no crime...how about "no notification to Chicago, no crime."

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