Chicago: 1 Night, 8 Shot, 2 Dead

A 22-year-old man was fatally shot in a Far South Side liquor store Saturday evening, police said, and a 46-year-old man was killed about 45 minutes later.

At least six others were shot on the South and West sides overnight.

via Chicago Tribune.

While notable, not a record.

At the time of the story, 36 hours ago, there was no word from the mayor about how he was going to stop the carnage.  Today there was news on that:

One week after dozens of people were shot in a deadly outburst of street violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy sought Monday to assure the public they are focused on combating gang crime.

The announcement of a gang crackdown on the West Side was the first joint appearance by Emanuel and McCarthy since news broke that 10 people were fatally shot over the March 17-18 weekend, including a 6-year-old girl. Police say gangs are largely responsible for the violent start to 2012 in Chicago, which has seen fatal and nonfatal shootings on the rise.

via Chicago Tribune.

Good luck.  My guess is that you’re going to have to get about 1,500 new kids into the police academy.  That would really put more cops on the street.  All the cops I know can’t get too wrapped-up in gang matters because they spend every shift running from call to call to call to call.  Cops on the street need to have a little down time to work the issue on the streets, cultivate contacts, bring in informants, and keep the little kids out of trouble.  Right now there’s just no time for any of that.

And then we have to look at Anita Alvarez, and the elected judges of Cook County.  The message needs to be sent that if you’re a gang-banger and get caught you’re going to do serious time.  Every weapons possession by a felon needs to be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office for federal prosecution.

Eventually the gang will get the message… but you can’t send this message when you’re short 1,500 people.

Mayor’s Friend Brings You the Speed Cameras

When Rahm Emanuel was a first-time candidate for Congress, Greg Goldner was behind him, quietly marshaling the patronage troops that helped get him elected. When Emanuel ran for mayor, Goldner was there again, doling out campaign cash to elect Emanuel-friendly aldermen to City Council.

And when the rookie mayor was looking for community support for his school reform agenda, there was Goldner, working behind the scenes with the ministers who backed Emanuel’s plan.

Now, it turns out the longtime allies share another interest — the installation of automated speed cameras in Chicago.

As consultant to the firm that already supplies Chicago its red-light cameras, Goldner is the architect of a nationwide campaign to promote his client’s expansion prospects. That client, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., is well-positioned to make tens of millions of dollars from Emanuel’s controversial plan to convert many of the red-light cameras into automated speed cameras.

via Chicago Tribune.

The rest of the article is the standard, ‘A has nothing to do with B.’

Uh huh.  This is still Chicago after all.

Downstate and Chicago, Brothers in Arms?

It’s an Op-Ed, but it’s also propaganda:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in Peoria earlier this week talking about how Chicago and Downstate politicians need to stop fighting so much.

“The politics of the past where we used to play Chicago versus downstate is over. It doesn’t serve the people of Illinois,” Emanuel said, adding, “It’s not working anymore.”

Note to Rahm: It never worked.

One of the biggest issues in downstate politics is guns. …

The basic caricature is that Downstate politicians love guns and want one in every citizen’s hands, while Chicago politicians are afraid of guns and want to ban them entirely. …

Emanuel got along great with Downstate legislators last year. … But then a few weeks ago the mayor announced that he wanted a new law to register all the handguns in Illinois. The mayor scored some routine political points with his gun-hating Chicago constituents, but he infuriated Downstaters, and the resulting explosion was cataclysmic.

Downstaters who had worked with Emanuel just days before began publicly ripping into him as if he were some sort of evil dictator bent on grabbing all their guns. Most are now using their opposition to Emanuel in their campaigns. Ironically enough, Emanuel helped boost Downstate legislators politically while simultaneously alienating them from his legislative agenda.

On the other side of the equation, though, is the Downstate ignorance about how deeply so many Chicagoans hate guns. Many Chicagoans are as insulted and infuriated by Downstate demands that people be able to legally carry loaded handguns on the city’s streets as downstaters are that they’ll have to pay $20 to register every handgun they own.

So, if the mayor really wants to work toward peace, he’ll first have to find a way to get past these gun issues. And if he can do that, he’s a better man than most.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

Kudos to Rich Miller for pointing out how Rahm is causing the divide he claims he wants to repair.  Oh, wait… Miller didn’t do that, I just did.

The bigger issue with Miller’s piece is his create choice of language; he choose his word carefully.  By saying, “the Downstate ignorance about how deeply so many Chicagoans hate guns” he doesn’t have to claim that a majority of people (or voters) hate guns but he can create the inference as such.

The truth is that so many Chicagoans really really really want the right to own (most of those want to be able to carry) a handgun.  Perhaps if Mr. Miller would get outside of the liberal cocktail party set he would realize that many residents feel terrorized in their own homes.  A black minister once told me, “Many in my congregation don’t want to police harassing the folks in their neighborhood.  But they also want to keep a .38 under the pillow.”

Most logical open minded people know that when seconds count the police are just minutes away.  A firearm is used in defense far more often than in offense.  Mr. Miller and his anti-gun friends just can’t get their heads around the facts.  They really should read John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime.

Concealed Carry works.  Illinois is now the only state in the union without any sort of CCW.  I’m not a believer in the “if everyone jumped off a bridge logic” but it appears that our foot dragging is making us look foolish, childish.  States like Alaska and Vermont have no laws restricting carrying a concealed firearm at all.  Florida has a very open CCW policy (they even gave me a permit;) and yet Miami doesn’t have near the gun violence of Chicago.  Compare Dallas or Houston as well.

The bottom line is that the Downstaters have it right and the political elites in Chicago have it wrong.

Protesters Crash Chicago’s 175th Birthday

Chicago celebrated its 175th birthday Sunday to the tune of protest rants.

A small group shouted during part of the ceremony about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close six mental health clinics in the city.

As the mayor stood beside a colorful birthday cake and the Chicago Children’s Choir, protesters yelled that the closings make it harder for people to get help and ultimately cost lives.

Emanuel quickly left the room looking mildly insulted and without responding to anyone in the group. A voice directed partygoers to the next room. “Please join us in the next room for birthday cake,” the voice said.

via NBC Chicago.

So Rahm cannot keep protesters out of a small birthday celebration.  How’s he ever going to keep protesters in line during the G-8/NATO summits?

Just say’n.

Emanuel vs. Lewis

Karen Lewis, the Chicago Teacher’s Union President, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have a testy relationship at best.  …

The two leaders met privately last year ahead of Emanuel’s inauguration.  They went for dinner and to attend a dance — both are fans of the art form — and to develop a working relationship.   …

“In that conversation he did say to me that 25 percent of the students in this city are never going to be anything, never going to amount to anything and he was never going to throw money at them.”

via NBC Chicago.

But naturally Emanuel’s people respond:

The Mayor’s Office said Lewis made up the anecdote.

“That’s simply false,” said Emanuel Press Secretary Sarah Hamilton. “The Mayor is committed to making sure that every single child in Chicago has access to an excellent education, which is why he is fighting so hard to transform the Chicago public schools that have failed our children year after year.”

No one knows what was true except those who there.  But that’s not really the point is it?

The real issue is that CTU President Karen Lewis believes that the way to improve education is to throw money at it.  And doesn’t that just about say about everything that needs to be said?

We have been throwing more and more money at CPS for years.  The results have not trended with the spending.  Check this out:

Educational Spending Over the Years

I wonder how much more money Ms. Lewis want to spend?

Businesses Get the Old Yes No on the G-8/NATO Summits

Well which is it?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked Thursday whether businesses located within the inner-most security perimeter will have a process to recover lost profits incurred during the May 19-21 events at McCormick Place.

“The [NATO and G-8] Host Committee is working on it. They’ll have a process for that,” he answered.   …

Later, after some reflection:

His answers to the questions, once reported online Thursday, set off a flurry of denials. A spokeswoman issued a statement saying: “We have no plans to reimburse businesses – the city is open for business.”

When Jennifer Martinez, a spokeswoman for the NATO and G-8 Host Committee, was asked about compensation, she said: “The plan is for all businesses to be open. We do not anticipate businesses being closed. We will not reimburse businesses that decide to close on their own.”

via Chicago Sun-Times.

Oh, I see.  I guess they didn’t want businesses closing to protect themselves and their employees from what might be 50,000 nutty protesters.  I mean, other businesses are going to be doing just that:

Already, DePaul University has decided to close its Loop campus on the day before and the day after the summits and deny access to classrooms, labs, the cafeteria and offices in the Loop campus over a four-day period.

That seems a bit extreme for a private university.  If there’s one thing the protesters understand it’s education.  They want more of it for free.  So why bother a university?  Maybe DePaul knows something they’re not telling.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has said it has “extensive contingency plans” that would allow its employees to “work from home” or from an “off-site location” in the event that demonstrations turn ugly during the summits.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is an old building that has few doors and no windows.  It has it’s own very intense security barriers between the street and the building itself and 24 hour armed guards in the adjacent alley.  It is a fortress.  And yet this place is making plans for employees to work from home or from an off-site location. If this place ain’t safe what chance does the rest of the city have?

And the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that the civil courtrooms at the Daley Center … could be closed down for security reasons in the days surrounding the unprecedented gathering of world leaders.

Earlier this month, United Airlines employees worried about how they will get to Willis Tower during the summits questioned Emanuel during a roundtable about the potentially $65 million event expected to turn the world spotlight on Chicago.

So it’s safe to say that a lot of people appear to have some very reasonable concerns.  It’s not a much ado about nothing situation.

The mayor played down the inconvenience by describing the summits as a “weekend” event, conveniently ignoring the fact that protesters and world leaders are likely to arrive days before the meetings begin.

But, what was it that the protesters were saying again?  Oh ya…

On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month.

via AdBusters.

Note to Rahm:  It’s not the Heads of State breaking windows, blocking traffic, and starting squad cars on fire that people worry about.  It the protesters.  And they plan to be here for a month.


No Tax Refund if You Owe Parking Tickets


Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday referred to people and businesses with unpaid city debts as “the deadbeats and the delinquents” after winning City Council approval to intercept their state income tax refunds to collect millions of dollars.  …

At every level we have protected the taxpayers of the city of Chicago by not raising property taxes, not raising or creating an income tax, not raising a sales taxes, not raising a gas tax,” Emanuel said. …

Under the diversion measure approved Wednesday, Illinois income tax refunds of those who owe will be redirected to the city, possibly as soon as this spring. …

The citys measure, made possible by a state law that took effect in December, will affect individuals and businesses that received final notices for debt owed on parking tickets, red-light citations and administrative hearing judgments.  More than 100,000 people and businesses owe the city about $80 million, but refunds wont cover all of that, officials said.  About 51 percent of the debt can be traced to addresses outside the city, the administration said.

Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, one of the aldermen to vote against, described the citys administrative hearing system as “a kangaroo court” that needs to be fixed before income tax refunds are diverted to the city.

via Chicago Tribune.

As someone who does a little bit of legal practice over at 400 E. Superior I can attest to what a kangaroo court it is.  The process dealing with building violations is so bad that I truly believe they simply make it up as they go along.  It’s not quite as bad with parking tickets but it’s still a case of any given Sunday as to whether the judge will follow the law or not.

New Ward Map Confusing? Try Getting a Garbage Can

Excellent points raised by Greg Hinz over at Crain’s.

Ask folks at City Hall whether new or old wards apply for purposes of voting, zoning and distribution of services and the like and, after a couple of shrugs, you’ll get a multipart answer fit for an SAT test.  …

“We’re dealing with the old aldermen,” another official says.  But, just to be safe, the city also is consulting with the new aldermen, too, in the many cases in which blocks or whole neighborhoods are being moved around.  Suffice it to say “there’s at least two aldermen involved in every issue,” that source adds.  “It’s a fairly complicated issue.”  …
Officially, the new map goes into effect upon publication and approval of the official Journal of City Council proceedings….  But the lines on the new map are so contorted to protect incumbents and racial and ethnic minorities that doing so immediately is all but impossible.  For instance, the council majority and Mayor Rahm Emanuel pretty much hate Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd, a rabble-rousing independent sort with a bit of hot dog in him.  So they carved up and parceled out his current ward on the Near South and Near West sides and created a brand-new ward two miles north—not a square inch of which is in Mr. Fioretti’s current ward.  As a result, a 3½-mile stretch of Roosevelt Road that’s now pretty much within the old 2nd Ward has been divided among the new 3rd, 4th, 11th, 25th, 27th and 28th wards.  Man, I’m glad I’m not the executive director of the Roosevelt Road Improvement Association.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

I have no idea how this can be permitted to stand.

Rahm Wants Handgun Registry

Stupidity in human form.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today said he wants state lawmakers to approve a statewide handgun registry.  …

Rep. Brandon Phelps, who has championed efforts to pass a concealed weapons bill in Illinois, said the mayor’s office called him Thursday morning to let him know the registration proposal would be introduced.

“Number 1,  my first response was I don’t know why you’re trying to do this statewide because we don’t want your policies on us downstate,” said Phelps, a Southern Illinois Democrat from Harrisburg. “Number. 2, it’s never going to work. They’re trying to go after criminals. They’re never going to register their guns. They won’t pay the fee. “

Phelps called Emanuel’s initiative a “slap in the face of every law-abiding gun owner.”

via Chicago

It’s been shown time and time again that gun registries simply do not work.  The greatest national experience was Canada’s long gun registry.

Department of Justice reported to Parliament that the system would cost $119 million to implement, and that the income generated fromlicensingfees would be $117 million. This gives a net cost of $2 million. At the time of the 2002 audit, the revised estimates from the Department of Justice were that the cost of the program would be more than $1 billion by 2004/05 and that the income from licence fees in the same period would be $140 million.[6]

In February 2004, documents obtained by Zone Libre of Télévision de Radio-Canada suggest that the gun registry has cost around $2 billion so far.

So we know that a registry is crazy expensive and becomes another government boondoggle.

Well, maybe it’s still worthwhile because it really reduces crime.

Former Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino (who was opposed to the gun registry) stated in a press release in 2003:

We have an ongoing gun crisis including firearms-related homicides lately in Toronto, and a law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of them. None of the guns we know to have been used were registered, although we believe that more than half of them were smuggled into Canada from the United States. The firearms registry is long on philosophy and short on practical results considering the money could be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public safety initiatives.”

Well ok, maybe he was really really biased.  Perhaps other police really thought the registry was a great idea?

In April 2011, a survey was conducted by the Edmonton Police Association. Its members voted 81 percent in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry.

Well, at least law abiding citizens who do register their guns will know that their data is safe right?

John Hicks, an Orillia-area computer consultant, and webmaster for the Canada Firearms Centre, has said that anyone with a home computer could have easily accessed names, addresses and detailed shopping lists (including make, model and serial number) of registered guns belonging to licenced firearms owners. Hicks told the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) that “During my tenure as the CFC webmaster I duly informed management that the website that interfaced to the firearms registry was flawed. It took some $15 million to develop and I broke inside into it within 30 minutes.”

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters questioned the security of the gun registry after a home invasion that seemed to target a licenced gun collector. The OFAH argues that, in the wrong hands, a database detailing the whereabouts of every legally-owned firearm in Canada is a potential shopping list for criminals.

Given that any handgun registry would likely include all of the guns owned by police officers (& county sheriffs, state troopers, etc.) means that a whole big batch of government bureaucrats and anyone who wants to hack into the database would have the name, address, and list of owned handguns of everyone law enforcement officer in the state.

This could be the dumbest idea from the Rahmfather yet.

Your Water Bill Doubles For What?

God bless Ben Joravsky.

All summer long, in press conferences and at public hearings, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget refrain remained the same: no more accounting gimmicks and no new taxes.

“We have been doing smoke and mirrors on the budget and avoided taking control of our own future as a city,” he said at a public budget hearing in Englewood in August. “That moment of reckoning is here.”

But the mayor who vowed to bring honesty to the budgeting process continues to rely on one of the oldest tricks of them all: the water/sewer fund sleight of hand.

That’s the one where the mayor says he’s jacking up your water and sewer bill to pay for infrastructure and environmental protection—but then diverts millions of dollars a year to finance other city operations that have little direct connection to water, sewers, or protecting the lake.

In this case, Emanuel is proposing to double water and sewer fees over the next decade, an eventual increase of about $500 a year for the average household. Yet how much of that money will actually make it to the water and sewer system is hard to determine, since, despite Emanuel’s promises of transparency, his first budget obscures what’s being diverted.

A conservative estimate is that the mayor’s 2012 budget will siphon off at least $70 million in water and sewer fees to cover other city spending, according to our analysis of budget documents and interviews with current and former city officials.

via Chicago Reader.

Another amazing piece from the Reader.  A must read.