Da Mare’s Private Road to McCormick Place

July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

A $43 million busway built to whisk conventioneers between downtown hotels and McCormick Place has turned into “the mayor’s road” and should be opened to taxicabs in exchange for a surcharge, Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd said Monday.

Fioretti suggested turning the 2.5-mile busway into a money-maker after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg lifted the veil on a shortcut politicians and contractors enjoy, but everyday Chicagoans know little or nothing about.  …

“I was told by some of the people in Planning that it was a good idea. But then, they came back and said, `No. It’s the mayor’s road.’ That’s what I was hit with,” [Fioretti] said without identifying the city planners by name.

Fioretti said when he argued that Chicago could not afford to maintain a “clout road” for VIP politicians, he was told there were “security reasons” for keeping the road closed to other vehicles. But he was never told precisely what those “security reasons” were.

In Monday’s column, [Chicago Sun-Times columists] Steinberg talked about his ride with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the road Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls the “Bat Cave” and Preckwinkle calls the “Magic Road.”

It is accessed only by those fortunate enough to be issued a plastic card that opens a steel gate to the busway that runs along Illinois Central right of way parallel to Michigan Avenue.

Built in 2002 by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the 2.5-mile roadway was billed as a speedy shortcut for conventioneers staying in downtown hotels and attending McCormick Place conventions.

As Steinberg noted, a trip that takes 25 minutes in traffic up Lake Shore Drive can be completed in just eight minutes.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

I’ve known about this “road” since forever as I used to walk by the entrance regularly.  There are a few “secret” entrances in the South Loop where the gates are almost always up.  I’m surprised folks on bikes are not on this thing all the time.

Regardless, nice to see the mayor serving no one but himself.

Widespread Violence on the CTA

February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

With almost 20,000 CTA bus trips a day, tempers sometimes flare on a few of them. Regular users of the CTA know what an obstacle course it can be.

On the CTA’s 1,200 rail cars, riders are often met with a variety of frightening encounters- from armed robbers and cell phone thieves to fist fights and shoving.

Sometimes, shots are fired and people end up wounded or dead.

via abc7chicago.com.

Safe to say Chuck Goudie is not going to be invited to Rahm’s next party.

Then again… come-on Chuck, tell us something we don’t already know.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Writes a Letter

February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Letter from Senator Ted Cruz to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Bank of America, TD Bank Group

Putting folks in their place.

Chicago’s Pension Time-Bomb

October 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

While Emanuel can coast for two more years, the city in 2015 is required by law to set aside an additional $700 million a year for two of its four pension funds, all of which are woefully underfunded: That year’s budget will include a total of $1.2 billion for the retirement accounts of teachers, police, fire and municipal workers. Such a steep ramp-up threatens to gobble city resources for everything from parks to schools to transportation.

via Chicago Tribune.

The total budget for this year is $8.35 billion.  In two years the city has to find nearly another 10% more money… out of thin air.

This is naturally in addition to the $86 billion (laughable that anyone still believes this number; it’s easily twice that) hole is the state pension funds.

Get ready… something’s going to go BOOM pretty soon.

Aldermen Briefed on Pension Time-Bomb

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

[Chicago's] Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott reminded council members that absent significant changes to pension plans, the city will be forced to drastically cut services, raise taxes or do both to close a funding gap that could reach $700 million in just a few years, aldermen said.  …

…  Lawmakers are looking to fix the state’s woefully underfunded pension system, but the city also needs changes from Springfield to repair its retirement funds.

… Absent a city pension overhaul, the fund for retired city firefighters would become insolvent in nine years, according to a city report issued two years ago.  The police pension would go broke four years later.  Funds for city laborers and municipal workers would be broke by 2030via Chicago Tribune.

These numbers are all wrong.  These pension claim they’re going to earn 8% on their money year after year.  That simply has not happened in a decade and they are tens-of-millions of dollars behind where they claimed they would be be even two years ago.

Kudos to my friend Anthony Curran who suggested we start a Pension Death Watch.  I think it’s a great idea.

More Bad News on the Pension Crisis

June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

If I was Rahm I would so totally throw Daley under the bus on this issue.

The debt from 10 Chicago-area pension plans swelled more than 600 percent to $27.4 billion between 2001 and 2010, according to a study released Monday by the nonpartisan Civic Federation. That’s $8,993 for each man, woman and child in Chicago, according to the report.

The shortfall comes on top of more than $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities at the state level, driving the cost up to nearly $15,000 per Chicagoan, the report shows.

via chicagotribune.com.

Shear insanity.

 

Robber Armed with 2-by-4 on West Side (Rahm demands lumber registry)

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

A police alert warns Lawndale residents about a robber who threatens and beats his victims with a 2-by-4.  …

The robber was described as a black man with a dark complexion, between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, weighing 150 to 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored baseball hat and a dark top, police said.via chicagotribune.com.

Rahm immediately called for a lumber registry.  “What we need are common sense lumber laws to make sure these sorts of crimes don’t happen again.” the Mayor said at an unrelated press conference.  He followed-up saying, “No one is trying to ban lumber. That’s extremist language by the extremist National Lumber Association.”

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