Monthly Archives: May 2014

Rep. Ford’s half loaf is halfway there

Rep. LaShawn Ford (Dem, IL-8) wanted Cicero Ave. to be renamed for Nelson Mandela from one end to the other. But the IL House cut the renamed portion to Roosevelt on one end, Grand Ave. on the other.

It’s going to cost $20,000, which Ford agreed “might seem like a really high price for new street signs.” But these signs will be special.

He wants “to make sure everyone who drives down that road knows it’s Mandela Road.  . . .  There will be a big sign or plaque at every stop light,” paying tribute to Mandela.

Ford, who the Trib noted “faces a federal bank fraud charge,” praised Mandela as “a great man who believed in forgiveness and coming together,” adding, “The district that I represent” — Western Springs, La Grange, La Grange Park, Brookfield, Forest Park, Proviso Township, Riverside, North Riverside, Berwyn, Oak Park, and Austin — “needs to see more hope.”

He envisioned the new Mandela Road as “as a symbol to my people that there is hope, and hope for change. That’s what Mandela stands for.”

The motion passed on a 103-0 vote and now heads to the Senate.

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Judge Brim shown the door. Harmon, Lilly, Ford get it done. NOT.

Ill. Courts Commission finally had a Brim-full and gave Judge Cynthia Brim the boot long after she set records for incompetence and erratic, in one case criminal, behavior. Read all about it in today’s Chi Trib.  Story per Chi Trib

Congrats to the commission, doing its duty per the state constitution:

The Illinois Courts Commission, composed of one Supreme Court Justice, two Appellate Court Judges, two Circuit Judges and two citizens, has the authority . . . (1) to remove from office, . . . any member of the judiciary for willful misconduct in office, persistent failure to perform his or her duties or other conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice or that brings the judicial office into disrepute; or (2) to . . . retire any member of the judiciary who is physically or mentally unable to perform his or her duties

AND congrats to Oak Park’s stalwarts, elected senator and representatives Harmon, Lilly, and Ford for their valliant behind-scenes efforts to send Brim to the showers, no matter how much the Dem Party supported her and 56 other retention-ballot candidates, appearing “way down at the end of the ballot,” who had got thumbs-down assessments by the various bar associations.

Don’t ask how this blogger knows Harmon, Lilly, and Ford fought tooth and nail for withholding or at least softening the Toni Preckwinkle-led full-throated endorsements of these incompetents, robo-calls and all. He just knows. They are Oak Park’s finest, after all, upholding the village’s reputation for all that is noble and forthright and good-government-ish. Yay.

A tale of two municipal executives, Rahm and Anan

Last night at the library, Oak Park village president Anan Abu-Taleb said he sees “no light at the end of the [fiscal] tunnel” for Oak Park, except for the lights of an oncoming train. He had told of the 2012 audit of village finances that showed a miserable $145,000 cash balance, which he called the key signal to credit agencies of Oak Park’s dangerous situation.

A man in the audience of about 40 people gave chapter and verse on how a proposed zoning change would cut in half the value of a building which he intends to buy. Anan, supporting the change as putting unused land into play as revenue-generator, responded with reference to the not-in-my-back-yard syndrome as thwarting what’s best for the village.

He spoke at one of his patented town meetings, his fourth in a year, accompanied by a newly appointed trustee and the recently appointed executive pro-tem of the village’s recently created economic development mechanism — the man who a year ago opposed him in the electoral race for village board president.

Anan’s mark is on everything. He praised the former opponent, a longtime villager with decades of public service, as effective in this new role. With him to field questions was the young professional mother of two pre-schoolers whom he had picked to replace a longtime much-admired trustee who had moved for business reasons.

A woman warned of coming economic hard times for the village and country, sounding a fiscally accountable note that mirrored Anan’s. A man warned of coming hundred-degree days and asked what plans the village had if generators go down, interjecting high praise for Anan’s town meetings, in which the constant has been the fiscal issue.

Contrast this with Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel as depicted in a stunning signed column by a member of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board — “an arrogant person . . . an ass-kicker” whom we would celebrate if he got results.

“The strutting. The finger-pointing. The swearing. Come on. We loved it,” writes Kristen McQueary. But Rahm “his arrogance is oversized for the record he has amassed. He’s beyond bossy. He’s a walking personality disorder. . . . his audacity exceeds his accomplishments.”

His main failure is his continuance of Chicago mayors’ excessive borrowing to make ends meet. In his three years, “the city has only nipped and tucked at its debt and deficit spending.” In February, for instance, after nearly three years in office, he “pushed a $900 million borrowing plan through the Chicago City Council.”

It was a pattern for his predecessors. It’s a pattern for him, a reliance on “expensive taxable bonds with high interest rates.” The Trib’s 2013 series “Broken Bonds” spelled this out, McQueary wrote, “including an unexpected $12 million cost” to cover “the disastrous parking meter debacle,” a deal “that will end up costing taxpayers at least $30 million.”

He promised to fix the problem, and unions opposed him accordingly. But he’s become a problem. Which is a major difference between him and the Oak Park president, who made fiscal responsibility the foundation of his campaign and has followed through, doubling down on what he said then, as he did last night at the library.

Tuesday 8:45 a.m., Randolph east of East, young women on move, Oak Park IL

Bicycle: First out of the blocks, leaving alley east of East, turning west toward East, backpacked

Inline skates: Crossing East heading east, in rhythm smooth as glass, facing ahead serenely

Feet to the ground: Running north on East across Randolph, up and down, eyes ahead, lithely

All at same time, seen by stroller heading west toward East

Timing? perfect.

Travels with Jim, Act Two: Cockroach hunt

Hunt for the daytime cockroach, Chicago suburban Northeastern Illinois, a few days past the middle of April:

The older brother, a four-footer, spotted the black insect hustling along the locker room floor, hugging the base, passing the row of lockers, heading for the pool area.

“It’s a cockroach,” he yelled, causing the elderly man (Jim, freshly arrived from Pennsylvania, preparing for a short dip in yonder pool) to leap into action, ripping paper towels from the wall dispenser and bending down to the scampering insect.

A man half Jim’s age stood and watched, declaring that he was not in the cockroach-hunting business at the moment.

A third boy rounded out the crowd, a three-footer or so. He was not attached to the taller pair, the alarm-sounding four-footer and his three-and-a-half-foot brother. This third boy figures in this account, but later. Now it was all Jim and the roach.

Pow! One swat with his fistful of paper. The roach kept scampering. Pow! Pow! Two more swipes. Ah! He’s wounded, Jim realized, pouncing a fourth time on the now struggling creature, pow! He raised a hand, paper surrounding the captured roach, much like the Iroquois chief in “The Last of the Mohicans,” holding aloft the still beating heart of the white general which he had just extracted with a cut of his knife. (We saw the white man’s lower body lurch while his heart was scooped out.)

Jim gave a punching movement to his prize. The four-footer, startled, flinched, then returned Jim’s triumphant smile. It had been no time for the faint of heart, and Jim had not failed, even bending down with no apparent slippage of disc or wrenching of knee.

Into the nearby waste basket went the roach, by now scrunched beyond recognition within the ball of paper in Jim’s hand. Later the four-footer, arriving in the pool area, was heard announcing to his adult minder and all others the news: “We saw a cockroach!”

Meanwhile, Jim had gone back to his locker to finish changing into his Speedos, and the boys had gone back to theirs. The three-footer had for some reason chosen a locker next to Jim’s and could be seen now closely examining the lock assembly on the inside of the locker door, as if to verify a hunch. He had a comment at this time, addressed to no one, about cockroaches: “They are usually active at night.”

This kid knew cockroaches, Jim decided, ignoring him as both went about their business. But the three-footer’s business caught Jim’s eye. Having checked out the lock assembly, he entered the locker itself. Kids like to try things out, Jim told himself. But then the boy stepped out briefly to pick up his swim suit and then returned and closed the locker door. Not all the way, but almost. Seeking privacy, he had chosen the inside of his locker.

Jim’s day was complete. He was off to the pool, his mind replenished with marvelous experience. He would be dining out on this story, he was convinced.