Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tax the Air You Breathe

  • The past five years have seen a huge shift in the way we consume media, as brick-and-mortar stores shift to digital subscriptions. It's been a valuable tradeoff for some, building billion-dollar companies and unlocking huge libraries of music and video for relatively paltry subscription fees, but it's also been a challenge for cities that rely on those businesses for revenue. Now, Chicago wants to take back those missing taxes, and the way it's retaking them has some lawyers up in arms.

    Today, a new "cloud tax" takes effect in the city of Chicago, targeting online databases and streaming entertainment services. It's a puzzling tax, cutting against many of the basic assumptions of the web, but the broader implications could be even more unsettling. Cloud services are built to be universal: Netflix works the same anywhere in the US, and except for rights constraints, you could extend that to the entire world. But many taxes are local — and as streaming services swallow up more and more of the world's entertainment, that could be a serious problem.

    Chicago's new tax is actually composed of two recent rulings made by the city's Department of Finance: one covering "electronically delivered amusements" and another covering "nonpossessory computer leases." Each one takes an existing tax law and extends it to levy an extra 9 percent tax on certain types of online services. The first ruling presumably covers streaming media services like Netflix and Spotify, while the second would cover remote database or computing platforms like Amazon Web Services or Lexis Nexis. Under the new law, what passes as $100 of server time in Springfield would cost $109 if you're conducting it from an office in Chicago.
So, the city puts nothing into the effort - no wiring, no towers, no inspections, no infrastructure of any sort - but by golly, they want a slice of the pie, just because you live here. We shop for the best deals whenever possible, but now, for transmitting electrons from a satellite through the air, we're shafted with another 9% tax to support an overgrown, ravenous behemoth of government that we despise.

Retirement can't come soon enough.

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More "Fire Garry" Calls

  • The calls to relieve Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy of his duties, including from Crain's editorial board, are right on time. His tactics haven't been the miracle cure for the city's violence we all desperately wished them to be. So our response is to fire the superintendent so we can live in denial for another four years about the possible impact any policing tactics will have on Chicago's endemic problems with violence.

    We are stuck in a cycle in which we love the new superintendent until we realize that his new idea is not really new, nor effective, at stemming the social ills that cause the violence in Chicago. It is not surprising, because the idea is designed only to lower violence numbers just enough that everyone is happy with the results.

    I am far from a McCarthy supporter. I do think we need to replace him. But my assessment is based on real-world expectations. I understand that the real impact of policing tactics on the violence in Chicago is small. Chicago's police are an important part of the solution, but our continued practice of throwing all of our eggs in that basket always will end in failure.
Crain's is really getting into this push. Perhaps the long weekend is going to be the make-or-break of McCompStat's tenure? He's a convenient lightning rod for Rahm - as long as everyone is blaming Garry's efforts, they aren't blaming Rahm's gutting of the Department and the wholesale efforts to drive morale into the gutter.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Officer in Trouble?

This appeared in the comment section yesterday. We've combined the separate comments into a single post from Densey Cole's mother:
  • SCC: [...] I am the proud mother of P.O. Densey J.Cole II who was responding to a call in the 022 Dist. on May27,2009 which resulted in him becoming a quadrapalegic. He owned his own home in Bevelry. In the 1st three years after his accident and living in an apartment, the city was having contractors look over his home in order to make it a home to accomadate his needs. During all that time he was making the monthly payment on the home. The city then tells him they won't put the money into the home, that he needs to sell it. As we all know the year that P.O.Cole bought his home the market was at an all time high. When it came time to sell it, the home got sold for exactly what was owned and real estate fee to the agent and broker. He also then had to put all of his furniture into storage where it still remains for nearly 3 years at the rate of $200.00 per month.

    Never was the home being forclosed on nor was it a short sale. For as long as I live I will never forget Chairman Edward Burke coming to Christ Hospital the day of the accident. After discussing Densey's condition he told me that he built Jim Mullen's house and would do the same for Densey so I should not worry. The city takes care of their own. Well heres the bomb shell. My son is being evicted July 8th,2015 Wed because the city has not paid the utilities and the apt. complex has been fighting with them for the past 2 years. The city was signing 6 month leases, but apparently not reading them. Densey since this past May 20, 2015 has had 2 surgeries and now has 8 days to pack, find a place to live. I retired from this job with 22 years, his Dad retired with 29 years. My son went to work just like you guys and gals do, God forbid if it happens to you. I have contacted the FOP,

    The Committee of Finance, The Police Memorial Foundation, Alderman Burke to no avail.I am begging each and every one of you for help for my son. He unfortunately will not be the only officer that this will happen to because of the type of job we did/do. He nor his family are not asking for anything more than what anyone should get in this situation and that is a right to live his life with dignity. The clock is ticking. I am asking you all to step forward and do the right thing and be a strong voice for my son and any future officers who may need this help. This is a disgrace that we cannot allow to happen, a 44 quadrapalegic CPD officer who had 17 years on the job. He woke up, got dressed, went to roll call, took a job and has never know a day of peace yet. My e-mail is Respond to this call, blessings to all of you. Louise
Has anyone been in recent contact with Officer Cole? It certainly sounds like he's been getting the short end of the stick from the city. Dignity shouldn't have this high a price.


Magic Money Appears!

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel directed Chicago Public Schools to meet Tuesday's deadline for a $634 million contribution to Chicago's teachers retirement fund but warned making the state-mandated payment would lead the cash-strapped district to make classroom cuts ahead of the new school year.

    In the days leading up to Tuesday's deadline, Emanuel had sought to delay the payment until August while calling for broader changes to how Chicago teacher pensions are funded. But with Springfield mired in a wide-ranging struggle between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and ruling Democratic lawmakers, there was little momentum to grant Chicago relief.

    That left Emanuel with a choice: Skip the required pension payment and risk being sued by teachers and having the school district's woeful credit rating sink further or make the payment and face a cash crunch that could lead to deep classroom cuts.
Or maybe some management cuts? Maybe evaluate requisition procedures? Standardize purchasing, look at connected contracts? Maybe cut out the ever increasing food bill for breakfast and lunches that end up thrown away - feeding kids is a PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, not the schools.

Remember, it's a spending problem, not a revenue problem. How come no one in an position of responsibility (and time on their hands) ever goes through the budgets with a fine-toothed comb and points out the tremendous waste, layers of bureaucracy and redundant management positions that might save countless tens of millions?


Hater of a Judge

Anyone from the media actually go sit in a courtroom any more?
  • Today in the courtroom of judge Clarence Burch, room 303, branch 46, the police lost a case where the defendant battered and resisted officers and lied repeatedly, under oath, was impeached, and found not guilty.

    The defendant arrived 45 minutes late to court and had a 'witness' with him that was not even on the scene and also lied, in fact, according to the state, the lies didn't even match up. The entire story told by both was false. The judge conducted a bench trial that lasted for over an hour and then immediately came to the shocking conclusion of NOT guilty. The judge would not answer any questions and immediately left the court room.

    Officers were told by States Attorneys that the judge, due to the current political climate, referencing Ferguson and Baltimore, will NOT find in favor of the police in assault, battery or resisting cases. Good luck out there, as if the deck wasn't already stacked against us...
Makes you just want to go out and fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way, doesn't it?

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More Clues

Still no word on weekend deployment from downtown. You'd think that they didn't want coppers to know what their schedule is going to be, nor what equipment they should have on hand, nor what the potential threats might be. Good thing we have the media to keep us informed!
  • Federal authorities have warned local law enforcement officials across the country about an increased concern involving possible terror attacks targeting the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend.

    Kristin Fisher reported that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued an intelligence bulletin warning of a chance that an ISIS-inspired terror attack could occur in the U.S.

    She said no specific or credible threat has been confirmed by officials.

    However, a former Pentagon official told Fox News that ISIS views Independence Day as a key target, Fisher stated.
So at least we know we're looking for the Religion of Pieces to pull some headline grabbing event, probably involving actual heads.

The whole plan will probably be released on the morning of third at this rate.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Time to Move This Parade, Too

  • Two people were stabbed and at least two others were robbed during post-Pride Parade mayhem in the Boystown area Sunday night and early Monday morning.
    CWB estimates that 17 people were arrested while the parade was in progress and at least 20 more were arrested in the hours following the event. (Late Monday,  Chicago police announced that they made 52 arrests in connection with the Pride Parade,  a 20‰ increase over last year,  according to the Windy City Times. )
So now, Crime is Down!

Except murders, which are in fact up.

And shootings, which are up.

And parade violence, which is up....mostly on the northside it seems.

The CrimeInBoystown blog has a play-by-play of the mayhem, running well into Monday morning. Time to move it downtown, put it on the clock, and start charging the parade organizers for security, police, TMA's and clean-up...if they aren't already.


Shots Fired at Police

  • A 16-year-old boy was charged with trying to kill a cop after the teen allegedly fired at a police officer in the Uptown neighborhood Sunday afternoon, officials said Monday.

    The boy, who is from Chicago but whose name was not available, was charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of possessing a gun with a defaced serial number, said [...] a Chicago Police Department spokesman.

    The charges stem from an incident that happened about 3 p.m. Sunday on the 4600 block of North Kenmore Avenue, police said.

    According to police, the teen was running away from police when the boy turned and fired his weapon at the officer.
Amazing how the assailant got a hold of a gun, what with all the laws and rules against it. Good thing no one was injured.


Tourist Stabbed

  • Chicago police are holding a man for stabbing a tourist outside a downtown hotel.

    Police say the victim got into an altercation with a man who’d been drinking, early Monday morning outside the Wyndham Grand Hotel, 71 E. Upper Wacker Drive.

    His arm was cut with a glass bottle. He needed stitches at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Any bets as to how this tourist is going to rate his visit to town?

"Hey, that Emergency Room was fantastic! 5-Stars!!!"


Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Piece of the Puzzle

It seems the Department has re-opened the TO-SPOT overtime initiative, in both 4 and 8 hour increments.

The program only seems to re-open when Federal money becomes available, usually when a specific threat or threat profile is detected.

Expect some announcements shortly.


Fight This Pardon Application

This isn't a Parole Hearing, but an application for a pardon. And it's right here in town, so a decent showing shouldn't be difficult:
  • I have written to you about this before and I hate to have to do so again. As you may recall, Pat Quinn commuted the sentence of Howard Morgan. A jury convicted Morgan of four counts of Attempt Murder of four uniformed police officers. After exhausting his appeals, he engineered the commutation of his sentence. He is now seeking a full pardon based on innocence. This will allow him to get a FOID card and try to revive his now dismissed civil suit against the officers. [...] I am asking for your help in one of several ways. You can send a letter of protest to the board at:

    Illinois Prisoner Review Board
    Craig Findley, Chairman
    319 East Madison Street, Suite A
    Springfield, Illinois 62701
    Phone (217) 782-7273
    Fax (217) 524-0012

    Another way to help would be to show up in support of the victims at the State of Illinois Building 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, Illinois on July 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., or send representatives from your departments. The petitioner usually has several uninformed supporters at all of his court dates. It would be helpful to have officers and civilians who are familiar with all the facts to support the officers.

    The final way would be to let other people know about this.
Quinn commuted this jagoff's sentence on the way out the door, ignoring facts in evidence and testimony elicited at court - it was pretty much a "fuck you" to law enforcement as Quinn had just lost reelection. Morgan was a piece of shit years ago that never seemed to get flushed and nearly cost four officers their lives. A full pardon would be another bad joke in this crooked state.


Slow Weekend (UPDATE - Not So Slow?)

  • Three people have been killed and at least 13 others injured in shootings across Chicago since Friday evening.
We happened to be relaxing in the pool with a frosty beverage (root beer floats if you must ask) and we plan on more of the same shortly.

UPDATE: The Tribune has updated its shot-o-meter:
  • Three people were killed and at least 21 were wounded in shootings across the city over the weekend.

    That pushed the city homicide total for 2015 to at least 213 and the shooting total to at least 1,255, according to a Chicago Tribune database of city shootings. Both of those surpass yearly totals for similar timespans in 2013 and 2014, according to an analysis of that database.
And wait until this weekend.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Life Sentence

  • Timothy Herring, a man found guilty of the 2010 murders of Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk and former Chicago Housing Authority Officer Stephen Peters, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Herring listened to his sentence without emotion inside a packed Cook County courtroom Friday.

    "There are some cases that stand out among the rest, this is one of those cases. You have earned each and every day of this sentence," Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan said.
God bless the family and the families of all the fallen.


This Explains Part of It

  • The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were warning law enforcement Friday about the possibility of terrorist threats around the Fourth of July, unnamed authorities told CNN Friday. Officials circulated a joint intelligence bulletin that does not discuss "any known active threats," but does sound the alert about the potential for "heightened threats," CNN reported.
It's okay now Garry - you can release "the plan." We've had a copy for days, but kept it under wraps.


Untouchable Government

  • Choose Chicago, the city’s taxpayer-subsidized tourism bureau, secretly gave its chief marketing officer a six-figure payout when he left after just two and a half years on the job, newly released records show.

    Warren R. Wilkinson abruptly left the organization in July 2013. That was less than two months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed President Barack Obama’s former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers as chairman of the Choose Chicago board, replacing Bruce Rauner, who stepped down to run for governor.
"Taxpayer funded?" That means it has to answer questions brought by the taxpayers, right? Or at least, their elected representatives, right?
  • Choose Chicago officials won’t disclose the amount of Wilkinson’s severance. They say that as a private, not-for-profit organization, Choose Chicago doesn’t have to explain how it spends its $32 million budget, even though 87 percent of its money comes from taxpayers.
Oh, well pardon us for asking then. At least there is some oversight? Someone watching how the money is spent?
  • Like some other not-for-profit Chicago agencies funded by taxpayers, Choose Chicago won’t divulge how it spends its money — a position that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has upheld.
Oh really?
  • Choose Chicago is overseen by an unpaid board that includes  Desiree Rogers, chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Co; Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts; Gibson’s restaurants partner John Colletti; Teamsters Local 727 boss John T. Coli; Chicago Federation of Labor president Jorge Ramirez, and former Emanuel chief of staff Theresa Mintle, a cousin of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Mintle is president and chief executive officer of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

    The Chicago Sun-Times reported last fall that Choose Chicago’s contractors included a consultant who’s a friend of Emanuel, as well as lobbying firms with ties to Daley and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
And suddenly, all becomes clear. Now we just need a list the political contributions made by individuals connected to this "tourism bureau" and to whom the contributions landed and we'll all have a much clearer picture of what's going on here.

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Again With the Prison Mel?

  • Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds stood in front of the cameras three years ago with signs that read “redemption.”

    “It’s what you do after the mistakes,” Reynolds said in 2012 while announcing a run for a congressional vacancy left by U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    But redemption appears to be elusive for Reynolds.

    Some 20 years after his first criminal conviction, Reynolds was just named in a federal indictment alleging he failed to file federal tax returns for four consecutive years, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Not just, "I forgot one year." No, Mel has failed to file for four years. That doesn't qualify as an accident. And remember, this guy was a Rhodes Scholar, which means he's supposed to be intelligent...or connected.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

More Excuses for Cop Killer

  • Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin understands why police officers are angry the Illinois Prisoner Review Board has ordered the release of the killer of a Chicago cop.

    The board voted 8-6 Thursday to free Joseph Bigsby, who was serving a sentence of 100 to 200 years in prison for the 1973 murder of Chicago Police Officer Edward L. Barron.

    Police Supt. Garry McCarthy called the decision a “travesty.” The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation said the decision was “disappointing.”

    “I appreciate their strong feelings,” Suffredin said Friday. “But he served 42-plus years. That’s not a slap on the hand.”
You know what Officer Edward L. Barron is missing right now Larry? His retirement. His golden years. Bouncing his grandchildren on his knee and regaling them with humorous or heroic stories about when he was a young man growing up in Chicago. Looking over the holiday decorations and a family table laden with good food and better company, marveling at how a copper ever had it so good after 30 or 35 years of a job like his. He missed a Superbowl, a World Series, six basketball championships, three Stanley Cups and forty-two more years of futility on the north side. All of that taken away by a shithead, high on dope, sticking up people for his next fix that netted a whopping $2.05.

And that's not all:
  • Suffredin has a personal stake in Bigsby’s case: He was the lead public defender at his trial in 1975. The other public defender was John Cullerton, now the president of the Illinois Senate.
Really? This was news to us. Can someone tell us how many FOP endorsements or campaign contributions went to Cullerton, dating back to 1973? We're curious.

And another stomach turner:
  • Illinois Prisoner Review Board member Edith Crigler, herself the widow of a police officer, was among those voting Thursday to release Bigsby.

    “We, as a society, must show compassion,” Crigler said.
Only when compassion is warranted you dumb fuck. Bigsby attacked the very foundations of society, the most approachable and visible arm of government (and therefore the most vulnerable). By negating Officer Barron's sacrifice for a $2.05 robbery, you diminish the legitimacy of the police to enforce the laws of a supposedly civilized society, the legal and rightfully just verdict rendered by jury, and the appropriate sentence enacted by the legislature and handed down by a judge.

Society has an obligation to remove from its midst, animals that conscientiously disregard the rule of law. Bigsby should have died in the electric chair, age restrictions not withstanding. Failing that, he should have died on a prison hospital gurney, old, alone, and still restricted by the bars he earned of his own actions.

Officer Barron died on a Chicago sidewalk for daring to live up to the ideals of society, and today, society spit upon him.

This is, quite simply, a perversion of justice.


Who Wants $250K?

  • Looking for some (semi) easy cash?

    Greek billionaire bsp;Alki David might have a job for you — but there’s some risk involved.

    According to TimeOut Chicago, David told the audience listening in to the Mancow Morning Show that he is willing to shell out a whopping $250,000 to anyone that is willing to streak in front of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    That’s a lot of cheddar, but there’s the price you might pay for doing such a thing. In Chicago, indecent exposure is a Class A misdemeanor, and comes with up to one year in the slammer and a possible $2,500 fine.
We give this thing 48 hours before at least one attempt is made.

Maybe the FOP could arrange for the Board to parade naked in exchange for fully funding the pension?


Lost in the Shuffle

All of today's headlines were about some Supreme Court decision, relegating to the lower reaches of the media websites was this:
  • A suspected Islamist pinned the severed head of his boss to the gates of a US-owned gas factory in France Friday in what President Francois Hollande called a "terrorist" attack.

    The alleged assailant, identified as 35-year-old married father-of-three Yassin Salhi, also smashed his vehicle into the Air Products factory, causing an explosion.

    The grisly attack near France's second city of Lyon came on an especially bloody day worldwide, with at least 37 gunned down at a beach resort in Tunisia and 25 killed in a suicide bombing in Kuwait claimed by Islamic State extremists.
Just asking, but might this be a prelude to something brewing over the Fourth of July weekend? Something that might explain the palpable panic down at HQ lately? There is a rumor of a "redeployment" of certain personnel, but that is standard for big holiday weekends and has been for over ten years now.


Again, Never Ever Chase

  • A Cook County jury has awarded $2.1 million in damages to the family of a 78-year-old woman killed when her vehicle was struck by a sport-utility vehicle the family's attorneys said was fleeing Chicago police in 2008, according to a news release and court records.

    Tommye Ruth Freeman was driving east at the 7600 block of South State Street on July 3, 2008, when her vehicle was struck by a white SUV that ran a red light, according to a statement from attorneys representing Freeman’s family. She died of injuries suffered during the crash hours later. On Thursday, a jury awarded her family $2.1 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in 2009.

    Freeman’s family’s attorneys said police investigating a nonviolent residential burglary in the 7700 block of South Langley Avenue were chasing the SUV when it collided with Freeman’s vehicle.
The driver was another one of those altar boys we hear so much about:
  • Byron Brown, 30, who was driving the SUV, was convicted of murder in Freeman’s death in 2012, and is serving a 25-year prison sentence in that case, according to court and state records. He also pleaded guilty in 2014 in a separate federal murder-conspiracy case, admitting that he committed three murders and was present at two others while a member of the Hobo street gang.
But the police are to blame, regardless:
  • Attorneys representing Freeman’s family argued they were “willful and wanton” and violated police procedures in speeding behind the SUV against the flow of traffic on a one-way street in a residential area.
So, let us get this straight:
  • The deceased was struck by the offender's car, which blew a red light;
  • the plaintiff's attorney claims police were "willful and wanton" speeding behind the SUV against the flow of traffic on a one-way street - which means the officers were following a law breaker;
  • again, the striking SUV "blew a red light." Most intersections with a one way street don't have a red light facing the on-coming traffic because...get's the WRONG WAY;
  • again, the police vehicle never touched the deceased's vehicle. All of the lawbreaking was done by the now guilty offender - guilty of murder....and a number of other murders besides.
So when burglary offenders decide to burgle, and then break all sorts of traffic laws and endanger the public in their efforts to continue their badly chosen lives of crime, will cost the city over $2 million at a time.

We hear you loud and clear Cook County Juries.


    Friday, June 26, 2015


    • Eighteen uniformed Chicago police officers were headed to Springfield on Thursday to attend parole hearings for three convicted cop killers.

      WBBM Newsradio [...] reports the officers planned to present a silent but visible opposition to early release for three men serving lengthy prison terms for killing police officers in the 1970s.

      In 1973, 36-year-old tactical officer Edward Barron was trying to stop a man who matched the description of a suspect from a recent robbery, when Joseph Bigsby shot Barron in the head, killing him.

      [Bigsby], now 57, was sentenced to 200 years in prison, and has previously been denied parole.
    • Earlier today, a major slap to the face of the entire Law Enforcement community quietly occurred when the Illinois Parole Board voted 8 to 7 to parole convicted cop killer, Joseph Bigsby.

      It was after committing a set of robberies, which netted less than $5, in September of 1973 that Chicago Patrol Officer Edward Barron was shot and killed by Bigsby. Originally convicted and sentenced to over 270 years in prison, this cop killer will now be released.
    And according to a few e-mails, some Northwestern people made the case for this piece of filth - the same university types who got a few murderers released and railroaded an innocent man.

    UPDATE: The name error was Channel 2's, not SCC.  We've bracketed the error by the always brilliant "fact checking" media.


    Channel 32 Trolling

    • There are a lot of reasons why police officers miss court dates. Often, it's an innocent explanation.

      But as Dane Placko investigates, a review of records by FOX 32 and the Better Government Association suggests that sometimes cops miss court dates because they want the case to disappear.
    Sure, because we don't get paid overtime to appear in court. And we don't get deviated and suspended when we fail to appear without a valid excuse signed off on by a sergeant and a lieutenant.

    But then Dane ruins the whole effect of the piece with this blatant lie:
    • The couple was charged with obstructing traffic, resisting arrest and Garrett was charged with assaulting an officer.

      They both spent the night in the 12th District lockup.
    Really? The 012 District has a lockup? And not just any lockup - but a male AND female lockup?

    Who knew???

    Remember, this is the fact-checking media at work here.


    More Circus Act

    • A Cook County judge Thursday raised the possibility of allowing only audio coverage at the upcoming trial of a Chicago police commander on charges he shoved a gun into a suspect's throat and threatened to kill him.

      Judge Diane Cannon tentatively set trial for Cmdr. Glenn Evans on Aug. 5.

      The news media had asked to allow TV cameras and still photographers at Evans' trial as part of a test that is now in its sixth month at the Leighton Criminal Court Building at 26th Street and California Avenue.
    The usual objections:
    • At a hearing Thursday, Cannon said 14 possible witnesses objected to the in-court coverage, many of them because they said they worked undercover at times and didn't want their identities revealed.

      The judge suggested that audio-only coverage may be a workable alternative but said she was not at this point ruling out allowing cameras at the trial.
    And of course...:
    • ....a Tribune analysis of internal Police Department records showed dozens of citizen complaints had been filed against Evans over a recent 8 1/2-year period. From January 2006 to July 2014 — a period in which Evans was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant and then commander — he amassed 36 complaints in all, far more than anyone else of his rank and exceeded by only 34 officers in the entire 12,000-strong department. He was never disciplined for any complaints, the records show.
    Imagine that.


    Thursday, June 25, 2015

    So...12 Hour Days, Eh?

    Let's just take a moment to note everything we know about the upcoming debacle:
    Now that we got that out of the way, some observations and maybe a few questions:
    • Did everyone notice that 005 is specifically left out of the order? That's because they only have two watches, meaning they contribute nothing to the Third Watch reaction force. Yet they could draw officers if the situation calls for it. This might just be the death knell of the10-hour/2-shift program.
    • Does anyone else think this is an argument for a citywide deploy-able Unit?
    • 12.5 hours - does that translate into an extra personal? An extended lunch? We imagine the backlog is going to translate into not just hours, but multiple hours, maybe a day. Are ET jobs going to be suspended?  Detective hand-outs held over? Selling Dope calls coded without a response as Tact is otherwise occupied? We'll bet the Inspection Division is out in force at the Branch Courts - nothing like kicking Patrol while they're down.
    • District bid officers and District bid sergeants - if deployed outside their contractual boundaries, premium pay on top of holiday pay? Dean and Ade should be alerting their members now, not in a grievance next year. Reverse Seniority might apply somehow? It'll be funny as hell to sort this one out.
    • Who really thinks the Deadheads are going to do anything but eat Twinkies, munch Doritos and exchange bootleg tapes?
    • Are the HQ mice deployed?
     So much entertainment for a summer weekend. Pray for rain.


    Nice Bust

    We confess, we like seeing sweeps like these. Federal time is usually hard time, away from Illinois, and almost always 85% or better:
    • At least 42 people were charged for their alleged roles in a $3 million-a-year narcotics operation on the city's West Side, according to authorities.

      According to federal complaints, James Triplett, 33, ran a heroin operation near Grenshaw Street and Independence Boulevard in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood.
    This is one of those highway-loops you hear about once in a while - hop off the highway, loop through the hood to buy your dope and hop back on the highway to the western burbs. Of course, the spot is probably up and running tonight with the usual "under new management" signs and if past history is any indication, North Lawndale should be bracing for an uptick in shootings as the young and restless attempt to seize a business opportunity - openings are so hard to come by in the dope trade.

    Nice operation though. Good job.

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    No FEMA Money for You!

    • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a state request for disaster aid to cover the costs associated with the rioting and unrest that broke out in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

      W. Craig Fugate, FEMA’s administrator, wrote in a June 12 letter to Gov. Larry Hogan that federal disaster aid was “not appropriate” for such an event.

      “Therefore, I must inform you that your request for a major disaster declaration is denied,” Fugate wrote.

      Spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said Friday that the Hogan administration “is reviewing FEMA’s response and will make a determination about the appropriate next steps, including a possible appeal.”
    An actual intelligent decision from Washington DC - color us surprised. Enjoy the bed you shit in Baltimore.


    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    Not a Good Headline

    You hate to see this:
    • A man was killed in the Grand Crossing neighborhood and four people were shot in an attack in Bronzeville, a block from Chicago police headquarters.

      The four were shot on 35th Street, in the block east of Indiana Avenue, about 8:20 p.m.
    Won't somebody think of the bosses??!?!??


    Baltimore Case Evaporates

    That autopsy report the DA wanted to keep quiet? And keep away from the officers' attorneys? No wonder - it just destroyed major elements of the prosecution:
    • Freddie Gray suffered a single "high-energy injury" to his neck and spine — most likely caused when the police van in which he was riding suddenly decelerated, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by The Baltimore Sun.The state medical examiner's office concluded that

      Gray's death could not be ruled an accident, and was instead a homicide, because officers failed to follow safety procedures "through acts of omission."

      Though Gray was loaded into the van on his belly, the medical examiner surmised that he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction. He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, putting him "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van."
    What we would call First Degree Murder, Maryland calls "depraved heart" or something similar. That charge would appear shot to hell. The elements of what we would call Second Degree Murder also seem to be lacking. Negligent Homicide? It's a stretch.

    So pretty much 61 buildings were burned, 350 businesses damaged, and 113 Officers injured over an accidental death in custody - possibly as little as braking to avoid a collision. And guess which officers were the transport officers? All for the bullshit "racist police" narrative.


    How Navy Pier Spends Money

    From our comment section:
    • Jon Markel said...Back in 2010 the IL General Assembly privatized Navy Pier so they don't have to share any financial info or respond to any FOIA request. A bunch of connecteds who used to manage the publicly run Navy Pier got big pay raises to do the same job for the private Navy Pier. Mike Madigan rammed the whole deal through in a day with no debate. And as the screw-the-citizens cherry on top of this mess the company selected to run the private Navy Pier was formed one day before the contract was awarded and is owned by John Schmidt, Daley's former chief of staff. 
    • After reading the Sun-Times piece on Navy Pier that was the subject of last Monday's Papers column, I was curious to see who in our esteemed General Assembly voted for this massive change in how the largest tourist attraction in Illinois and our massive convention center is managed. It took a while to find it because I was looking for something with a title referencing Navy Pier, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, McCormick Place or similar. Turns out the title I should have been looking for is "SB0028 QUICK-TAKE-COUNTRY CLUB HILLS."

      What the what?!

      In the end I found out much more than just who voted for the bill. I'm willing to put this forward as Exhibit 1 in how the Illinois General Assembly is subverting democracy and failing the citizens of Illinois.

      The original bill when introduced was a run-of-the-mill eminent domain tax district change for Country Club Hills. You can read the entire text in less than two minutes as it was about half a page long when introduced in the Senate in January 2009.

      It bounced around there for a while in committee with a few revisions and then, in April 2009, passed overwhelming in the Senate. Once in the House nothing really happened for over a year, and then this lowly one-page bill passed out of committee and went to the full House on May 5, 2010. The very next day Mike Madigan introduced a floor amendment to the bill.
    Then the fun really begins with Madigan deleting the entire text of the SB0028 Bill and inserting 187 pages to hide exactly how McCormick Place, Navy Pier and the entire Metropolitan and Pier Exposition Authority were removed from any sort of public oversight, solely to enrich the connected few.

    Go read it all. Markel pulls a "Joravsky" with his research.


    Kick That Can Rahm!! (UPDATE)

    • Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seeking to put off a massive teacher pension payment that’s due at the end of the month until Aug. 10 under a measure that surfaced Tuesday in the Illinois House.

      The request for a delay comes after a series of internal Chicago Public Schools reports indicated that even if the school district drained its checking account, maxed out its credit card and burned cash set aside for other debts, it still would not be able to make the pension payment of more than $600 million, cover payroll and pay all the other due bills.
    Like magic, these bills appear in Springfield. Isn't the legislature on summer break?

    UPDATE: The measure lost in Springfield - by seven votes. So now what? Is their pension technically bankrupt?


    Bill Crawford Radio Appearance

    This is the gentleman who just had a book published outlining exactly how the Northwestern University  professor, his students, and the media sprang a guilty Anthony Porter from under a death sentence and railroaded an innocent man into 17-years in prison:
    • Tune in tomorrow (Wednesday) to WIND-AM 560 after 8:35 AM. Talk show hosts Amy Jacobson and Dan Proft will be interviewing former Chicago Tribune investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner BILL CRAWFORD, the author of the just published "JUSTICE PERVERTED: How the Innocence Project at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism Sent an Innocent Man to Prison".
    Disclosure - we got the book and it is very well researched. An easy read and also easy to follow throughout. Order a copy here - Kindle available for all you modern types.


    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Short? We're not Short

    For what we think is the first time in history the Chicago Police Department is going to 12-hour days in response to a regularly scheduled holiday.

    Days and Midnights will be holding down the Districts while Third Watch is still awaiting assignments from Special Events. No word on mobility options, gear to be carried, etc. The order specifically states all afternoon start times are to be "plus or minus two (2) hours of the official third watch start time of 1530 hours," so someone actually read the Contract this time, unlike NATO where the City had to pay out hundreds of thousands to the Second Watch for switching hours outside of the allowable boundaries. They haven't cancelled cays off yet - but we imagine that 15% thing is out the window.

    Anyone from the media want to guess why the Department decided to go with 12-hour days? The Fourth of July hasn't been an "emergency situation," in our collective memories and some of our contributors go back six decades of living in Chicago. Why don't you spend some time tracking down the real story?


    New Ferris Wheel?

    This just seems like a bunch of nonsense - tear down a perfectly good attraction to build one 50 feet higher?
    • Navy Pier's Ferris wheel, an icon of the Chicago lakefront, will be dismantled this fall and replaced by a taller ride featuring temperature-controlled gondolas that will be ready in time for the pier's 2016 centennial.

      Pier officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were set to announce Tuesday that the new wheel will rise to a height of 196 feet, almost 50 feet taller than the current wheel. Still, the new wheel will be 68 feet shorter than the original Ferris wheel, which was built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

      The pier's new Ferris wheel also will not compete height-wise with others that have sprung up worldwide in recent years — such as the 550-foot-tall High Roller that opened last year in Las Vegas.

      The Ferris wheel will cost $26.5 million, which includes construction and landscaping, said Nick Shields, a spokesman for Navy Pier Inc. Pier officials said public funds were not used to purchase the Ferris wheel, which has been privately financed by a loan from Fifth Third Bank to Navy Pier Inc. Shields declined to specify the terms of the loan.
    Won't specify terms? Isn't this a public official speaking in a public capacity? That means that somewhere, somehow, someone is getting their palms greased and taxpayers are backstopping the terms down the line.


    Prickwrinkle to Raise Taxes

    • When it was a bad thing, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle referred to it as the “Stroger sales tax.”

      Now, Preckwinkle is considering bringing back a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase that helped her defeat her predecessor, Todd Stroger.
    So she runs on the promise of repealing the tax, wins, repeals the tax, fails to cut any spending and in fact increases the County debt load, so has to resort to ....raising taxes! It's fucking brilliant!


    Look Who's Out of Prison

    • Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. began three months of home detention Monday and proclaimed it a "great day" to be with family and friends.

      Jackson waved to onlookers Monday morning as he left the Volunteers of America Chesapeake Residential Re-entry Center, a halfway house in Baltimore. He wore a white T-shirt and khaki suit and carried sunglasses as he got into one of two black SUVs that were there for him, The Associated Press reported.

      After 17 months in prison and just less than three months in the halfway house, Jackson is now confined to his Victorian-style townhouse near Washington's Dupont Circle until September.
    We're sure he'll be out there peddling influence in short order.


    Another Bloody Weekend

    • Three men were killed — including a man who died shielding his mother from gunfire — and at least 32 others were wounded in weekend shootings as summer started in Chicago.

      James Jones, 21, tried to protect his 46-year-old mother Alicia Jones on the front porch of their home when a gunman opened fire from a gangway about noon Saturday in the 8400 block of South Colfax, according to their family and authorities.
    Of course, unmentioned in the article is that three (of four total) of Alicia's children have died in violence over the years, so either she has the worst luck imaginable, or there's something lacking in her child rearing skills.

    In the meantime, post a new nickname for Rahm. Murder Mayor is way too tame.

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