Friday, September 30, 2011

Mullen Shooter Dies

  • The elderly man who shot and paralyzed Chicago Police Officer Jim Mullen 15 years ago died in prison Thursday.

    George Guirsch had no criminal record when he fired a .357 Magnum at Mullen and three other officers as they knocked on his door while investigating reports of gunfire in Rogers Park in 1996.

  • “I have a lot of mixed emotions,” Mullen said about Guirsch’s death.

    “I really hold no malice toward George. I never really have. He was someone who was disturbed, and you know, there are a lot of officers out there that risk their lives every day. It was just my turn, I guess.”

  • “I really mostly feel bad for my family because they’re the ones that really have to live with this every day,” Mullen said.

    The more important news of the day, Mullen said Thursday, was that his 15-year-old daughter came home from school with straight A’s.

Mixed emotions indeed. God bless you and yours Sir.


Still Having Fun

The economy sucks, the housing market continues to tank, the mayor is presiding over what might be the second coming of the Titanic, and our supervisory ranks leave much to be desired. But some people still know how to find a laugh when they need it:

The e-mail from one of our west side fans labeled this "Crate-Henge." We assume that there are Packer fans among them seeing as how it went up before the Bears game this past Sunday and Chicago got pasted shortly thereafter. This is definitely the product of some twisted minds though - and it's hilarious. How many milk crates did they have to take from the corner dope boys to build this thing?


Still Obliterating

  • With their weapons drawn, Chicago Police officers launched a new assault on the Maniac Latin Disciples on Thursday.

    Supt. Garry McCarthy declared war on the gang in June after a member allegedly shot and wounded two young girls on the Northwest Side. Since then, patrol officers have made more than 500 arrests of gang members.

    On Thursday, it was the narcotics division’s turn. Narcotics officers have spent months building drug cases against gang members.

One thing disturbed us though:
  • Some of the officers wore bandanas to hide their faces because they work undercover.
Seriously? Why are we using UCO's to do busts? And the bandanas? Call us crazy, but that seems very....Third World-ish? Aren't those what the "death squads" wear in Brazil, Mexico or some other backwater shithole? We're so shorthanded, we're risking exposing the UCO's who do a lot of the necessary footwork to make cases that will stick in court. That's just silly in our opinion.

In the end, eight of the twenty-plus targets were arrested.


Circumventing Rahm

  • Chicago Teachers Union officials want to make their case directly to aldermen to counter the blitz Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has undertaken to institute a longer school day.

    Union president Karen Lewis sent out letters to aldermen Wednesday, inviting them to attend one of three private meetings at a Loop hotel Monday to “share our vision for Chicago’s public school educators and students.”

And they've got a few takers already:
  • Ald. Nicholas Sposato, 36th, said it will be helpful for the teachers union to explain their position directly to him and his colleagues at the Monday meetings.

    “I think teachers have gotten vilified lately,” said Sposato, a Chicago firefighter who supports a longer school day. “Somehow or another, things got twisted around about this.”

    Ald. Timothy Cullerton, 38th, said a longer day is a good idea, but trying to implement it school-by-school is not the right way to go about it. “It’s just how we implement it and what we do with these extra minutes. . . .I don’t agree we should entice one school against another school,” Cullerton said.

We'll have to see how this plays out.


One Bullet?

  • Administrators were searching lockers and X-raying backpacks at a west suburban high school this evening after a live round of ammunition was found in the school this morning.

    A staff member at St. Charles North High School found the bullet in a common area of the school, 255 Red Gate Road, at about 9:30 a.m., but officials would not disclose any additional details about its size or exact location. The school’s roughly 2,000 students were placed on lockdown at noon, then sent home about 15 minutes later. All after-school activities also were canceled.

    “Obviously we take those things very seriously and worry about the safety of our students,” School District 303 Supt. Don Schlomann said.

We'd say the kids there learned a very important lesson today - if you're missing a homework assignment or maybe you have a test you didn't study for or you just aren't feeling up for another dreary day of school, drop a live round or two where a teacher will find it and then let the insanity begin.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guilty as Charged

  • A Cook County jury tonight convicted a reputed gang member charged in the 2009 murder of a Chicago police officer.

    After deliberating for nearly 2 1/2 hours, the jury found Shawn Gaston, 22, guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, 27.

    The verdict was read about 9:06 p.m. in a courtroom packed with Valadez's family, friends and fellow officers.

    Gaston, wearing a black button-down shirt and with his dreadlocks in a ponytail, watched without expression as the jurors filed into the courtroom before delivering the verdict. He looked at his family after the verdict was read, his expression unchanged.

    Many of Valadez's relatives were crying softly throughout Wednesday's closing arguments. Their sobbing became louder after the verdict was read, and they hugged and cried in the hallway as people filed out of the courtroom.

    A short time later, Valadez's sister Brenda, who is also a Chicago police officer, told a group of reporters that her family is happy Gaston was convicted but is still devastated by her brother's killing. The pain is worst, she said, when she thinks about her brother's son.

    “My nephew, who was born three months after my brother was murdered, will never know what his daddy's hugs and kisses feel like,” Brenda Valadez said, surrounded by her parents, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, and dozens of other relatives and police officers.

    “His daddy will not be there on his first day of school. His daddy will not be there to cheer him at T-ball or guide him through life and share all those wonderful memories that wonderful and loving fathers share with their sons.”

Sentencing should be held on 28 October, and we're sure a good showing on that day would be appreciated by the family also.

UPDATE: Post moved from 2300 hours last night to current top spot.


Rahm's War Continues

Rahm opens a third front in his war (teachers and public safety being the first two):
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he will no longer tolerate “cannibalizing” rodent control, tree-trimming and other housekeeping services because of a pattern of absenteeism on Mondays and Fridays in the city’s third-largest department.

    One day after releasing attendance records he claims show a pattern of abuse by Streets and Sanitation employees seeking to extend their weekends, Emanuel explained why he shined the light on garbage collection crews and plans to do the same “department by department.”

    “Information, in the past, was held among the few and this was accepted practice. Go ahead. You can be sick on a regular basis on Monday and Friday. You can also play the game, look at the contract, figure out how to game the system,” the mayor said.

And once again, the few are going to ruin it for the many:
  • He told them that abuse by a “few bad apples” had forced an unacceptable level of cutbacks in rodent control and tree-trimming services. And he warned the ward superintendents who supervise garbage collection crews that, if they fail to “manage it tightly” and come down hard on chronic abusers, they will be “held accountable.”

    Earlier this week, the city released 13-months of attendance records that, Emanuel claims, show a pattern of abuse. The stats show roughly 6.6 percent of the workforce has unscheduled absences on Mondays, compared to 4.5 percent on Thursdays and 5 percent on Fridays.

    Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Union Local 1001, countered that those same records underscore his argument that Emanuel’s earlier claim of a 33 percent daily absenteeism rate was exaggerated by lumping together employees who call in sick with those on duty disability and restricted duty.

Again, if there are abuses, address them. But what this "scorched earth" policy of Rahm's is going to lead to, no one has any idea.


Useless Study

  • A trial program to analyze and hopefully reduce youth shootings in two of the city’s most violent neighborhoods was endorsed today by a City Council committee.

    The Chicago Youth Shooting Review would look at all shootings, fatal or otherwise, involving people under 21 in the 11th District on the city’s West Side and the 4th District on the Southeast Side, said Commissioner Evelyn Diaz, who runs the city’s Family and Support Services Department.

    The effort “could make our neighborhoods safer and improve the quality of life for all Chicagoans, especially for Chicago’s school-age young people,” Diaz said.

How about crippling poverty, combined with a broken family structure, nurtured by a thriving drug trade and abetted by a complete lack of personal responsibility to anything resembling a civil society = rampant crime.

How many millions did we just save? Give us 10% and we'll call it even.


A Boatload of Bad Ideas

  • With the mayor and City Council preparing to begin the annual budget process next month, city Inspector General Joe Ferguson has suggested a host of revenue-generating and cost-saving ideas, including a city income tax and toll booths on Lake Shore Drive.

    But Mayor Rahm Emanuel said higher taxes and charging tolls on Lake Shore Drive are non-starters, although some of Ferguson’s dozens of other ideas are worth a closer look.

Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. So what are they looking at?
  • In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Emanuel – who must present his budget plan next month – said several of Ferguson’s ideas are “promising” and will be given serious consideration. But the mayor said “raising property taxes, income taxes or the sales taxes is off the table. And asking drivers on Lake Shore Drive to pay a toll is also a non-starter.”
A good start.
  • Ferguson’s report also suggests imposing a $5 London-style congestion fee on for driving in the downtown area during rush hours. The fee would be collected in an area bounded roughly from North Avenue south to the Stevenson Expressway, and from Halsted Street east to Lake Michigan, although it extends as far west as Ashland Avenue between Lake Street and the Eisenhower Expressway.
We would definitely start looking into buying parking garages just outside those borders then.
  • In addition, Ferguson also suggests creating a 1 percent Chicago city income tax, much as New York City imposes, for new revenues of $500 million per year. In suggesting the tax, Ferguson’s report points out that the State of Illinois increased its income tax to 5 percent last year, but froze the amount distributed to municipal governments, thus effectively reducing the percentage of the tax that cities receive.

    But such a tax might also prompt people to move away. The report conceded that it might lead city residents to move to the suburbs to avoid the tax.

Gee, you think? People are already fleeing the city in droves. You think they need another reason to go?
  • Ferguson also suggested an income tax for non-Chicago residents who work in the city, which he said is done in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit.

    Oak Lawn resident Jack Cummings said “I don’t think that’s right. … We need to work somewhere. We’re coming here to work. I don’t think you should tax us. We’re already paying to come down here. We’re paying to eat. We’re paying to do our jobs. I don’t think that’s right.”

    Taxing suburbanites is the goal of several options presented by Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

    “Folks from the suburbs come in and work in the city, take their money back home, come back into the city so they can enjoy high cultural events or otherwise,” Ferguson said. “So who bears the burden for the cost of the roads and the lights and the police protection and all that sort of stuff?”

Wow. Maybe no one has told Ferguson, but the suburbs are developing or have developed "high culture" events for the past twenty years or so. And have you noticed the newest multiplex theaters? Mostly in the suburbs. Big name music acts? Excluding the giant "stadium acts" like U2, they've been hitting the suburban venues for years to avoid Chicago's onerous labor rules and excessive tax rate. And as Illinois is shedding jobs and has an unemployment rate among the highest in the nation, any additional tax burden will cause employers to shut down operations here.

Democrats - always with the "higher taxes will solve everything" mantra.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Closing Arguments Today - Maybe

Trials are iffy things, but this is the latest:
  • UPDATE! The state rested today after showing the video tape confession. The defense had 5 of his possible 15 witnesses on the stand today so we are hoping that closing arguments will be tomorrow! Court will resume at 0930 hrs in room 400. The judge DID address the courtroom today and stated that any officers attending tomorrow please cover up their uniform. Nobody will be allowed to stand and seats are on a first come first serve basis. Once again, thanks to all who have been attending, and hope you can make it tomorrow. Please keep those prayers coming!! Thank you. Brenda-
Bright and early to get seats. Bring a cover shirt. Yesterday's testimony went very well for the State:
  • Shawn Gaston was under arrest in the drive-by shooting of a Chicago police officer two years ago when he repeatedly denied he had been in the alleged getaway car — a vehicle owned by his mother.

    But Detective John Foster said he knew that was a lie.

    Testifying Tuesday at Gaston's murder trial, Foster said he confronted the suspect at Wentworth Area headquarters with a key piece of evidence: a traffic citation with Gaston's name on it.

    The ticket, left on the front seat of his mother's Pontiac, showed Gaston had been behind the wheel when he was pulled over just hours before Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez was fatally shot.

    "And that's when he changed his story," Foster testified.

    Prosecutors said Gaston, now 22, eventually admitted in a videotaped statement that he was out for revenge after he and other reputed gang members had been fired on early on June 1, 2009.
That one is going to be hard to refute.


Back on Google?

Lots of advice and explanations and even a visit from Google themselves checking out what may have gone on a week or two ago.

If you search for "second city cop" on Google now, we appear in the top spot once again. We have no idea what happened. One day, we were on their results pages, the next day we had disappeared. We checked the various settings and altered a few as people advised and we'll see what appears and doesn't over the next few days.

Here's the thing - we never changed those settings in the first place. We've spent six years doing this, built up a decent following and created a fan base. This isn't some "flash in the pan" endeavor - our numbers have steadily risen every year and we've relied on word of mouth and other websites to grow, not gimmicks or plants or "google-bombing." We, with the help of each of our readers and commentators, built this place. Why would anyone, cop, citizen, media member or Google employee think we'd change a thing? That would be stupid to mess with what's worked for us here for six years. Maybe a glitch of some sort, but a deliberate action on our part? That would be beyond stupid.

We've taken a few other precautions as well. But thanks to everyone who e-mailed links, suggestions, hints, clues, and wrote to the media and Google themselves. We'll see how this shakes out.


NYPD Can Shoot Down Aircraft?

That is like totally awesome!
  • The New York City Police Department possesses the capability to shoot down any type of aircraft if the city experiences a 9/11-type of attack in which commercial airliners or other aircraft are used as Kamikazes.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS TV news program 60 Minutes that the force had the “device and training” for such an attack and “would have some means to take down a plane in an extreme situation."

    Police sources later admitted the NYPD owns a Barrett .50 caliber machine gun, which is fitted to a police helicopter for extra security such as when a U.S. president visits the city. The .50 caliber is used in Iraq and Afghanistan mounted on U.S. military Humvees and helicopters.

So while Chicago prepares to de-fund and mothball its helicopter Unit, New York is mounting .50 caliber machine guns to theirs. If they ever made this into a TV show, we imagine it be exactly like this:

And Chicago? Probably similar to this one:


Quick Action Saves a Life

  • Two Chicago Police officers are being considered for life-saving awards after they pulled a man out of a burning van early Saturday on the Near West Side, officials said.

    “They were in the right place at the right time,” said their supervisor, Monroe District Capt. Hootan Bahmandeji. “If they weren’t there, this guy probably would have died.”

    Monroe District officers Ken Carlyon and Monica Perez saw the flames, rushed over, and pulled a 31-year-old South Side man early Saturday out of a burning Chevrolet Express van that crashed into a median at Morgan and Harrison. The man suffered smoke inhalation but declined to be taken to a hospital, Bahmandeji said.

Nice job officers. On a related note, what ever happened to that "fire extinguisher pilot program"? Doesn't that seem like something that ought to be standard issue in squad cars?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where Did We Go?

You can find almost anything you want on the internet via search engines. We don't understand all the dynamics behind it, but the big companies have specially designed "web crawlers" that scan billions of pages and categorize them according to popularity, providing users with wanted information.

Google is the biggest of these search engines, generating some $10 billion in revenue annually. The company and its founders are very liberal in their politics and donations. They've also run into criticisms, mostly from conservative sites, that they manipulate and hide data and have a decidedly anti-American bent to their main search page. Witness earlier this month on Labor Day where they placed a tiny American flag at the bottom of their site. All well and good except that they have huge interactive banners for all sorts of nonsense anniversaries (you can see them at this link here). They also caved into Chinese demands concerning their programming (The Great Firewall of China) and may have assisted in identifying "subversives" that Chinese authorities subsequently jailed.

Why do we bring this up?

Well, for some reason, if you type "Second City Cop" or "Second City Cop Blog" in a Google search box, guess what you don't get? If you said, "A link to this site," you'd be completely correct. In fact, we googled both phrases and couldn't find a direct link to this site in the first 50 results at all. Yes, there were mentions of the blog, but they were secondary links from other sites, like The Chicagoist, HillBuzz, Crimefile, Shaved, assorted news sites and pretty much anyone who has linked back to us over the past 6 years. Just last week, those first few pages were filled with direct links to SecondCityCop.

So what gives? This appears to be a concerted effort by someone to minimize the significance of the blog. We have no idea why a $10 billion-a-year company that purports to deliver information to the masses would take it upon themselves to blacklist a site that pulls in maybe 15,000 hits a day on a good day, but we can only assume that they have. Are we pissing off Rahm that much? Is Garry calling in favors? Has the wrath of J-Fled finally reached a peak that he can control the internet?

Backtracking a bit, it may have started around the time we supported Georgia's execution of a convicted cop killer - is this an example of Google's chilling effect on those of a more conservative bent? We support Second Amendment Rights and are avid fans of the NRA and like minded organizations. Could this have something to do with our political views?

We have no answers at this point, and no easy way to gather any. Maybe some of our readers want to poke around. We aren't going to hold our breath that the media might make something of this - they'd never lift a finger to help a blogger, let alone a conservative one. And Google is a private company that has caved in to Communist China. We don't particularly care as this doesn't affect us financially and our readers are smart enough to find us using competing search engines like Yahoo or Bing or something else. We still appear there in the top spots.


Hiring Sheriffs

  • For the first time in three years, a new class of Cook County sheriff's police recruits will start training for open slots in a move that top officials hope will fill the department's depleted ranks.

    The new class of 25 officers, which includes existing courtroom deputies and jail guards, is part of a plan by Sheriff Tom Dart to fill a hole of about 50 police officers. They begin their training today on the campus of Triton College in River Grove, sheriff's officials announced.

    Dart's plan to allow his deputies and jail guards the chance to shift jobs arose from his inability to secure funding to hire.

So Dart is pulling a Rahm here - he's calling them "recruits" when in fact, they are existing courtroom deputies and jail guards being retreaded as street officers.

In other news, Rahm is counting these as "50 more officers on the street," bringing him within striking distance of his campaign promise of 1,000.


What the Bears Saw

After watching the Bears game, we suspected that Death was a Packer fan:

This is actually a billboard outside of Lambeau Field touting the dangers of cheese. You can read the story here if you're interested, but we suspect this might be a harbinger of the NFC Central Division this year. A lot depends on Detroit - and we can't believe we just typed that....Detroit?


Shooting Monday Morning

  • Chicago police were involved in a shooting this morning on the West Side, but no one was hurt, police said.

    The incident happened at about 4:15 a.m. near the intersection of Polk Street and Cicero Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood, police said.

    Prior to the shooting there had been an armed robbery about a block south of the intersection in which money was taken from a woman on the street at gunpoint....

    An officer spotted a car that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the robbery and did a traffic stop. As the officer approached the car, the driver drew a handgun and pointed it at the officer.
Once again, it seems like we see these stories in the media two and three times a week lately. Does anyone have comparisons to last years stats of shootings and aggravated assaults on the police?


Ozzie Done

  • Beginning this morning, the silence on the South Side will be more deafening than golden, as an organization that worked so long to become relevant is once again faceless.

    Monday night ended the eight-year run of Ozzie Guillen managing the White Sox after the say-anything skipper met with board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf at the United Center earlier in the day. The meeting lasted about a half hour and ended with the two men who have enjoyed a father-and-son relationship saying a tearful goodbye. The Sun-Times learned before the game against the Blue Jays that Guillen and Reinsdorf agreed to part ways, with a trade to the Florida Marlins still in the works.

    The Sox confirmed the news after the Sox’ 4-3 victory. Guillen leaves behind 678 wins, as well as delivering the franchise’s first World Series title after an 88-year dry spell.

Loud, brash, obnoxious, arrogant, foul-mouthed. He steered the team to just about the only World Series title in living memory and Chicago loves a winner. He won more than he lost, but just barely. He was also a very visible supporter of the Police Memorial. We follow the fall sports more than the boys of summer so we aren't really a good judge of Ozzie as a baseball manager.

Good luck where ever you land Ozzie.


Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Bankrupt a Fund

  • As Chicago's 1991 municipal elections approached, Mayor Richard M. Daley was consolidating power for his first re-election campaign. In Springfield, two state senators — Daley's brother John and his political ally Jeremiah Joyce — introduced a "shell bill," an empty vessel into which lawmakers later would stuff an astonishing public pension giveaway to Chicago union officials.

    That pension giveaway was among more than 100 provisions eventually added to the shell bill, but never debated by either chamber of the General Assembly. Instead, 10 members of a bicameral "conference committee" that evidently never held a meeting shaped the legislation to achieve their political goals. By the time the heavily larded bill was ready for passage by the two chambers, another Chicago Democrat, state Sen. Emil Jones, assured his colleagues that the bill wasn't controversial. "These provisions incorporated within this bill have been agreed to by the (city) administration and the pension system and the laborers," Jones told his Senate colleagues the day the bill passed in January 1991. "The people in the city of Chicago came together and agreed."

You want to know the who, how and why that Illinois is on the verge of fiscal collapse, it isn't the unions doing it. It's the union leadership.
  • Twenty years later, as the Tribune and WGN-TV reported last week, 23 retired union officials from Chicago stand to collect about $56 million from two ailing city pension funds, thanks to the 1991 law. More union officials evidently are in the pipeline to receive the lavish benefits included in that legislation.

    Sure enough, two days after the pension changes passed the Legislature — departing Gov. James Thompson signed it into law — the city's unions lined up to endorse Mayor Daley's re-election campaign. He would serve another 20 years with organized labor's support and acquiescence.

Go read the entire thing. It'll answer a lot of questions and open a lot of eyes.


Valadez Trial Moved

The latest from Brenda Valadez:
  • First of all, SCC, thank you for all of your posts regarding the trial and for keeping everyone up to date. Secondly, I did hear from an officer that a Sgt informed him that he had to cover up before walking into the court room. That was the first I heard of it and I never heard it come directly from the judge and nobody from the states attorney's office that is working with my family ever mentioned anything like that to us. So I honestly do not know where it came from. After seeing the "tactics" of the defense attorney, I am just going to assume that the reason is so that in the future, this defense attorney doesn't play dirty and want a mistrial stating that the jury were "intimidated" by the officers (as ridiculous as that may sound to us). Even my family and I have to be careful while we are in there. Of course, nobody can tell us NOT to cry or have any emotion, but if we feel that we are going to break down, we are asked to leave the court room and that is also so that the defense doesn't say that we "tainted" the jury or distracted the jury, etc.

    At this time, we just want everything to go smoothly and not give the defense any opportunity to declare a mistrial or use anything against us. I do feel horrible because I was the one that asked if all officers could please show up in their uniforms! I hope you now understand! And I don't believe that any officer was not allowed inside the court room.

    On the first day, once all the benches were taken up, people were allowed to stand against the wall. That was the only day people were allowed to stand. If an officer or any person is not allowed in it's because there are no seats available. As soon as somebody walks out, the next person waiting in the hallway is allowed to come into the court room. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused but I am grateful for all who wait patiently in the hallway. Last but certainty not least, I want to thank everyone who has been attending. I know that with work, school, children, etc it is difficult but thanks to the ones that show up, even if for a couple of minutes.

    Mr Wortham has attended every single day and he is there first thing in the morning and walks out in the evening with us! It truly means the world to us considering we know what this man has gone through! Mrs. Flisk and her daughter have also attended. Unfortunately, I cannot mention every single name as there have been so many people there from the Superintendent, FOP members and countless officers, but please know that we are so grateful for each and every one of you and your support. YOU truly give us the strength to walk into that court room every day and be in the same room as the defendant! And for those who cannot attend, please do not worry about it, as all we ask for are prayers! THANK YOU!!

    Brenda Valadez-

    Please note that there has been a court room change. Beginning tomorrow we will be in court room 400. We were asked to be there at 1030 so I'd say it will start at 1100. If all goes as planned, the state will rest on Tuesday.
UPDATE: Post corrected for spelling


Welcome Back Anthony!

We heard they held a "Welcome Back" party over in the County Jail for this idiot when he came back:
  • A former death row inmate who was exonerated days before execution was arrested Friday, accused of stealing deodorant from a South Side Walgreens.

    Anthony Porter's 1999 release from prison was key to Illinois ending the death penalty this year.

    The Chicago Tribune reports the 56-year-old was arrested and charged with retail theft. He's been ordered held on $10,000 bail.

    Porter served 17 years for a 1982 double murder before evidence surfaced he was innocent, thanks to the work of a Northwestern University professor and his students. At one point in 1998, he was just 48 hours shy of execution when attorneys won a stay by raising concerns about his mental competence at trial.
A professor who has since been fired and whose e-mails have been subpoenaed by the State in regard to how "evidence" was obtained we might point out.

We also recall that one of the alleged "confessions" given to the Northwestern U people has itself been recanted, even as it was used to free a death row inmate. Does anyone know if it was the Porter-related "confession"?


Rahm's Bike Insanity

Now wonder Rahm wants to bust up all the unions. This guy has plans:
  • In 1897, mayoral candidate Carter H. Harrison II successfully campaigned as "the cyclists' champion." Bike-riding mayor Richard M. Daley expanded on-street marked bike lanes to 115 miles in his 22 years in office.

    Emanuel plans to outdo both Daley and other bike-friendly U.S. cities.

    In four years, he wants to create 100 miles of protected bike paths -- not just painted lines on the street but paths separated from car traffic by posts or other dividers. By next summer, he wants the city's first large-scale bike-sharing program, starting with 3,000 bikes.

And the cost? Mere pennies:
  • The full 100 miles of bike paths could come in at around $28 million, with a half mile already done and getting heavy use. The city has applied for federal clean air funding, and is combining bike path construction with other projects, like resurfacing.
Hundreds of miles of bike paths....but no yuppies sticking around to use them.


Cell Phones Are Dangerous

  • Talking on a cell phone turned out to be the first of many charges lodged against an Englewood motorist who rammed a squad car — injuring a police officer — and fled the scene on the Near North Side early Sunday.

    During a hearing Sunday, Judge Adam Bourgeois ordered Don Shedrick held on $30,000 bond, according to a Cook County Criminal Court clerk. Shedrick is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, according to the clerk.

    Shedrick, 44, was behind the wheel of a 1999 Mercury Marquis at 3:15 a.m a. when police spotted him talking on a cell phone while driving near Oak and Clark streets, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

Then the electromagnetic waves emanating from the phone drove him nuts!
  • “He rammed the Mercury into the squad car, causing the squad car to hit a parked vehicle at 300 W. Institute Pl.,’’ said Mirabelli. One officer in the squad car he rammed was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.

    But Shedrick continued to flee while other assisting officers gave chase. While in the 800 block of North Sedgwick Avenue, he exited the car and began running away on foot, but officers caught him, said Mirabelli.

    Shedrick, of the 7700 block of South Laflin Street, was charged with aggravated fleeing while causing injury and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, the officer said. Both charges are felonies. He was also cited with driving while using a cell phone, damage to public property, driving on a revoked license and driving without insurance.

Or he was just a Grade-A asshole. Cops are OK though.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Underdogs Again

Packers favored by 3.5 to 4 points.

Division games are often tight, but all bets are off with the Pack in town.

We don't have a good feeling about this one.


Trigger Happy Cops

  • Gunshots were fired in the direction of Chicago police officers late this afternoon as they were breaking a up a fight in the South Side's Auburn Gresham neighborhood, police said.

    No officers were hurt, and none of them returned fire.

None? Not one? Where's all the praise for the restraint? The discipline? The conscientious effort on the part of the officers?
  • The officers responded to a call of a "battery in progress" about 5:20 p.m. near West 78th and South Ada Streets, about a block west of Saint Sabina Catholic Church, to break up a scuffle between a group of girls, police said.
Oh, it was by Pfather Pfleger's Pflock. No wonder no one is singing the praises of the police.

We'll just have to do it for them. Nice job officers.


Suburban Rumor

Anyone want to confirm this one?
  • FYI for PO's living around Norridge
    ODPO has a M/1 threaten him, PO identifies himself and POS threatens again.... PO places offender into custody, calls 911.
    Norridge PD arrive, PO asks if they could transport to a CPD facility, they call for a sgt. Sgt arrives, talks to offender and then tells the PO if ODPO arrests him, he will also be arrested because now the offender said the ODPO 'assaulted' him. Norridge Sgt then releases offender before he could even get a CPD supervisor there.....
    Nicely done Norridge....
Seems out there, but still....?

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Money Not Collected

  • The City Council’s most powerful alderman suggested Friday that Chicago privatize the collection of city ambulance fees to raise a dismal 37.5 percent collection rate that has created a $50 million-a-year debt.

    Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) described the ambulance fee debt as “low-hanging fruit” that would go a long way toward maintaining Chicago Fire Department operations at a time when Mayor Rahm Emanuel has demanded a 20 percent cut.

    “If private ambulance operators in Illinois can collect their fees, the Fire Department needs to investigate whether or not privatizing that function would be helpful. I’m not talking about a collection agency. That’s after-the-fact a year down the line. I’m talking about current collections,” Burke said.

But guess what Burke doesn't think is worth collecting?
  • As for Emanuel’s vow to wring $15 million in unpaid water bills from four impoverished suburbs — Harvey, Robbins, Dolton and Maywood — Burke essentially said, good luck.

    “How do you enforce collection? We can’t very well turn off their water so that the poor citizens out there can’t exist,” he said.

Um.....why not?

ComEd cuts off electric if you don't pay for it.

Peoples Gas (or whatever they call themselves nowadays) shuts off your gas if you don't pay them for it. In fact, they'll send out a crew to dig up the city street and shut off the gas at the curb if you circumvent their meters.

We noticed the other day that Shell, Mobil, BP and Citgo have stopped giving away free gasoline - you have to pay them for it or you don't get it.

We even read a story last year about a Fire Protection District that refused (that's right, REFUSED) to put out a fire in a private dwelling that wasn't part of their coverage area. They only showed up to make sure the fire didn't spread to neighbors who actually paid for the Fire Protection.

Shut off the water and make a judge enforce payment. The leeches are cheating Chicago taxpayers out of infrastructure we paid to create and maintain. What are Harvey, Robbins, Dolton and Maywood going to do? Invade?


Surprise! Money Wasted

This is ridiculous and rife with the potential to cost firefighters their lives:
  • The city has spent nearly $23 million on a new digital communications system that still doesn’t work after more than five years — a shortcoming back in the spotlight following a federal report that criticizes the Chicago Fire Department for not having enough radios during a December fire that killed two firefighters.

    Yet as costs mount and test after test fails, there is still no firm timeline on when the system will be up and running.

    “Sometime in 2012,” said Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, when asked Friday how soon the 3,000 new radios would come online.
Ten years since 9/11 and we still can't talk to firefighters in the event of a disaster. Firefighters can't even talk to each other in many cases in the same building for pete's sake.


This is News?

Must have been a slow day:
  • An off-duty Chicago police officer shot and wounded a pit bull after it and another dog growled and advanced on him as he was getting out of his car Thursday night on the Near West Side, police said.

    The dogs' owner and his family said the dog that was shot about 8:20 p.m. and its sire were able to get out of the yard by pushing on the gate of the family yard in 700 block of South Claremont by the owner's grandson. The officer is a longtime neighbor of the owner's family.

    The officer told investigators he was getting out of his car when the two dogs came up and growled at him, said [...] a police spokesman. The officer retreated, but the growling continued and the dogs advanced on him...

Seriously? "Dog Bites Man" isn't a story, but "Cop Shoots Attacking Dog" is? We're sure the animal rights people are all up in arms over this - there are already about 100 comments at the Tribune sight, far more than we see when we end up shooting a two-legged dog with a pistol in his hand.


Blago Sentencing

  • Rod Blagojevich's lawyer, Sheldon Sorosky, said this afternoon that he's "quite certain" the ex-governor's sentencing will be delayed.

    "Our sentencing date is going to be continued," Sorosky said, when told of the news that U.S. District Judge James Zagel kept Cellini's Oct. 3 trial date intact and asked that prosecutors have witnesses ready for Oct. 5. Blagojevich's sentencing right now is scheduled for Oct. 6. "It's not going to happen, I'm telling you. It would taint the Cellini jury. I'm quite certain it will be continued."

When we read the first line, we thought for sure we were having some sort of "Sopranos" flashback and someone was going to whack Rod on the way to court.

Actually, that might not be too far fetched.


Friday, September 23, 2011

No Cops Allowed

At least that's the message we're getting at the Valadez Trial:
  • At today's Trial which sarted at 11am in room 606. There was a Cook County Sgt telling everyone they had to cover up and could not show their blue shirts because the judge ordered it. There were many who despite what she had to say entered the court room and sat with blue shirts showing anyway..Ans the ones who had covered up, immediately took off their covers to show their Blues. Good for you guys!!
We're pretty sure officers are still citizens, afforded the Rights enshrined in the Constitution to observe legal proceedings in an open and free judicial system. But we suppose that dozens of gang bangers hanging out in the courtroom and intimidating jurors is more acceptable to Cook County judges as was evidenced last month where the result at a sparsely attended trial ended up acquitting a scumbag of attempting to murder two Chicago Police Officers - a trial marked by dozens of gang bangers sitting in the audience.

Judges have quite a bit of leeway in running their courtrooms, setting the rules of decorum and such, but we're pretty sure they don't get to pick their audience.


Helicopter Unit Toast?

According to a number of comments, the Helicopter Unit has fallen to the budget ax:
  • chicago and cook county have been sharing the helicopters in an agreement to split the bill. Now, cpd is pulling out 01 jan 2012 due to the high cost of maintenance and fuel to keep the helicopter up. Interesting to see if the county will keep it now. what a joke this city is... every major city in this country has helicopters but the incompetents in chicago cant keep them. this city is a joke. by the way, this hasn't been made public yet but will next month when the budget comes out... we at the county here already got the call that its happening so we can figure out what to do with them now.
We remember a comment a while back that said for every hour in the air, the helicopter needed something like 4 or more hours of maintenance? Is that possible? Even in the military, does that sound plausible? We knew choppers were somewhat economically inefficient, but the benefits for a military operation as opposed to urban patrol would be justified from a national defense viewpoint. Having a Chicago Police helicopter just because it's "cool" doesn't seem to justify it's existence when Rahm and Mc(insert name here) are looking to cut $190 million or more from the budget.


Cut Numbers Down to Size

When the government starts tossing numbers around like "trillions," everyone's eyes glaze over. A trillion is, unfortunately, beyond the comprehension of most people. By that we mean, you can hear the word "trillion," but compared to the hundreds of millions and hundreds of billions tossed around on a regular basis, it just loses all meaning. Example: The sun is 93 million miles away from Earth. If it were a trillion miles away, that's five orders of magnitude, meaning it's a big fucking deal.

So what if we shrink Obama's budget numbers down a bit. Take away some zeros. And then apply it to a household budget. That's exactly what some people did in Florida. National Review picks up the story:
  • The Gainesville Tea Party seems to have the right idea: They take some of our key economic numbers — how much money the U.S. government brings in, how much it spends, and how much brave politicians are “cutting” to bring those numbers into balance — and simply lop off eight zeros (i.e., divide by 100 million) to make those numbers something that American families can relate to:

    Why S&P Downgraded the US:
    U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
    Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
    New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
    National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
    Recent [April] budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000

    Let’s remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
    Annual family income: $21,700
    Money the family spent: $38,200
    New debt on the credit card: $16,500
    Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
    Budget cuts: $385

Oh no! It was a Tea Party organization calling attention to the out-of-control spending of the Obama Administration. That must mean the entire premise is illegitimate and we must be racists for pointing it out.

By the way, the stock market dropped 400 points, Europe is on the verge of ruin and that double -dip recession Obama's people said wasn't on the horizon? It passed us a few weeks ago. Watch for the "unexpected drops" in various categories to be announced quietly on Friday afternoons in the coming months.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

This is Rich

  • Details. Details.

    It’s all a matter of details.

    Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy are being very judicious about personal use of hizzoner’s bodyguard detail . . . unlike former Mayor Richard M. Daley and wife Maggie, who reportedly used them ad nauseam.

    “The Daleys’ son, Patrick, rarely used the detail, but it was a different story with the Daley daughters, Nora and Lally,” said a source.

    >Factoids: “The detail was used to take one or the other from work/shopping/running errands/and transporting baby-sitters/ and on and on and on,” said a Sneed source. “At times, they were even used to pick up and transport Nora’s husband, Sean Conroy.”

    >Hemorrhoids: “Somebody should check out the bodyguard bills chalked up at the Holiday Inn Express in New Buffalo, Mich., located at least three miles from the Daleys’ summer compound where the detail stayed on weekends — and were used at the Daleys’ beck and call,” the source said. “The bodyguards would sit and watch TV waiting for a call . . . and all that on the city’s dime.”

    >A Daley detail: Sneed is told former Mayor Daley no longer uses his scaled-down detail. “He doesn’t have to,” said a source. “He works and lives and works out at his pal Judd Malkin’s 900 N. Michigan Avenue building, where the Four Seasons is located.”

    >A detail detail: The Daleys’ three-man detail, which is now assigned to a “foot post” walking the beat at Michigan Avenue and Pearson Street, work 12-hour shifts and await word when Mrs. Daley needs hospital transport.

    >Gulp! Sneed hears bodyguards from the late Mayor Richard J. Daley’s detail were used to clean up/dig trenches for the alewives that used to litter the beach at their Michigan compound and transport his weekend beer supply.
Well, at least they still have their dignity.


MORE Mold?

  • Philadelphia police officers complained to city officials Tuesday that their stations are plagued with faulty heating and leaking up sewers insect infestations.

    "You name it, we got it," said John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, which filed a grievance with the city hoping to put the issue in the hands of an independent arbitrator who could order that repairs be done.

    The police group, which acts as the contract-bargaining unit for the city's 6,600 officers, has paid for some repairs itself, he said.

    Police stations suffer from heating and cooling problems, sewers that backup and roofs that leak, he said.

    Some are so infested with bugs that the police organization has sent exterminators to the homes of officers because of fleas and bed bugs they took home with them, he said.
Why hasn't Chicago had the national coverage that this is getting?


Benefit for Eric Miranda

Tomorrow night:
  • Benefit for P.O. Eric Miranda 23Sept11 1900-2300Hrs. FOP hall 1412 W. Washington Blvd. Tickets are $30.00 P.O. Eric Miranda a 14year veteran of the Chicago Police Department 011 District, Area 4 Saturation, Area 4 Gun Team. Eric was injured in the line of duty while executing a search warrant, and has undergone two unsuccessful surgeries. Eric has exhausted all IOD time and is now forced into permanent disability. Eric is currently in a no pay status while his case is before the pension review board which is a process that can take three months for a decision. All your help is greatly appreciated.
Good luck officer.


Mo Money - But not for Hiring

Supposedly, some federal money is involved, which just means that any shortfall or revocation of funding means Chicago is on the hook for millions:
  • Transferring from a train to a bus stuck in traffic is often the most frustrating and slowest way to finish a commute, prompting Chicago officials on Wednesday to start the wheels rolling on a new transit option.

    The city and a company to be chosen will launch a bicycle-sharing rental program next summer, working toward a goal of providing 3,000 bikes for short-term use between 300 pickup and drop-off stations, officials said. The program will be expanded in 2013 and 2014 to include an additional 2,000 bicycles and 200 more docking stations.

    It would operate like car-sharing programs such as I-Go, officials said.
3,000 bikes? 300 "docking stations"? Plus expansion within two years? We just don't see this turning a profit within two years meaning more "subsidies" to make it profitable to some connected individual. Anyone who wants to bike to work is already doing it and using the CTA to transport their bikes already.


Georgia Executes Cop Killer

  • Georgia inmate Troy Davis has been executed for the killing of an off-duty police officer in a case that has drawn worldwide support over his claims of innocence.

    Courts consistently ruled against him, however, and the officer’s family says they finally have justice after 22 years.

    Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. He was put to death for the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail. The officer was shot to death while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked by Davis and others.

This one was a long time coming. Now if only they'd off that Mumia jagoff.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fumes Killed Officer

  • Harmful fumes caused the death of a Chicago police officer in April after he was exposed weeks earlier to a cleaning substance at a far Southwest Side station where he worked, according to autopsy results released recently by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

    Kevin Robinson, 42, a tactical officer with 15 years with the department, died of a lung illness from inhaling the noxious fumes, the autopsy report said. His death was ruled an accident.

    Robinson, assigned to the Morgan Park police district, was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital in early March. He told another officer he was coughing and having trouble breathing after inhaling a cleaning substance that a maintenance worker sprayed from an aerosol can on a desk at the district station, according to a police report.
You don't go to work and expect to be felled by an aerosol cleaning substance. We can only imagine the questions and such going through the officer's family's minds. To be 42 years old and a cop for 15 of them and suddenly, Dad isn't there because of an undiscovered chemical sensitivity?

Hopefully, the Department does right by his children, though we honestly don't know. This is tragic.

UPDATE: We are told that OSHA will not review cases like these as they don't investigate government agencies (like the mold problems.) In instances like these, you have to contact the Illinois Department of Labor website and click on the "Health and Safety" link for complaints and forms. The doubter in us says that this is kind of like the fox guarding the hen house as it's a state agency in a state known for political corruption and cronyism.


Gut Wrenching Testimony

  • Choking back sobs Tuesday, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Vargas told a jury how he shone his flashlight on his bleeding, fallen partner after a hail of bullets showered across a vacant Englewood lot.

    “I could feel the rounds over my head as I tried to reach for my weapon,” Vargas said, his voice faltering as he testified against Shawn Gaston, a reputed gang member charged with Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez’s murder.

    Vargas never got a chance to aim at his partner’s assailants as the blinding muzzle flashes whizzed past him in the 6000 block of South Hermitage. But as soon as the shooting stopped, Vargas rushed to the dying Valadez, 27."

    He was lying on the ground face up with his eyes opened. . . . I continued to talk to him but he never responded,” Vargas said as Valadez’s relatives quietly sobbed in Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso’s courtroom.
A good showing of blue at the early portion of the trial while afternoon attendance was slimmer, but still good. A couple of comments say Anita Alvarez's opening statement was quite a piece of work. The trial continues today.


Tollway Assailant Convicted

  • A Kane County jury convicted an Elk Grove Village man Tuesday on charges he hit a police officer with his car after a chase ending at the Elgin Toll Plaza.

    Andrzej Wojtkielewicz, 23, was found guilty on one count of aggravated battery of a police officer – a Class 2 felony.
    Around 9 p.m. July 14, 2009, Chicago police, acting on a tip that Wojtkielewicz had a large amount of cocaine and a gun, tried to stop Wojtkielewicz’s car at West Diversey and North Central avenues, according to Kane County prosecutors. Wojtkielewicz then led police on a chase westbound on Interstate 90.

    [...] Wojtkielewicz stopped his vehicle at the Elgin Toll Plaza and officers approached the car and tried to get him out. Wojtkielewicz put the car in reverse and knocked an officer down, injuring him. He then put the car in drive and drove toward another officer, who shot at the car. Pieces of the bullet struck Wojtkielewicz in the chest, prosecutors said.
Of course, this was a Kane County jury that convicted him of Aggravated Battery of a Chicago Police Officer. A tip of the hat to the States Attorneys out there.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shooting in 007

  • Chicago police shot and wounded a man following what began as a traffic stop and ended with the man pointing a handgun at officers, police and union officials said this morning.

    No officers were injured in the shooting that occurred at about 12:20 a.m. in the 1200 block of West 58th Street, police said.

  • As police were removing the four men from the vehicle in order to search them, one of the men bolted and ran east, said police and Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the city's rank-and-file officers.

    After the officers broadcast the man's description over police radio, two responding officers spotted a man fitting the description a short time later near 58th Street and Racine Avenue, officials said.

    When those officers got out of their vehicle and approached, the man turned away with a handgun in his hand, Camden said. When the 33-year-old man pointed the gun in the officers' direction, one of the officers fired, striking the man in his left side, police said.

Weapon recovered. Camden on scene. Good job all around.


That Time of Year

  • The Toews brothers and the battle between Ray Emery and Alexander Salak for the backup goalie spot will take center stage for the Blackhawks during their exhibition opener Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers in Saskatoon, Sask.

    "I'm excited about the start of the camp," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Now that we're playing games, all of a sudden training camp has been flying up to this pace. Once you start playing exhibition games it seems the pace gets even faster. We've got a lot of young guys playing in the first couple games. We'll get a look at most of these guys. We've got a young lineup tomorrow so it will be nice to see these guys play in an NHL game."

The Blackhawks never really gelled last season, coming off the Cup win but losing almost a third of the team to salary cap considerations and the nagging injuries that always seem to follow the quick turn around after an extended playoff season. This year may be a "rebuilding year," but we'd hope to see them as contenders all year with a good playoff run.


Wait....Cameras DON'T Work?

  • Chicago’s blue-light cameras have become a fixture in high-crime neighborhoods since they were first installed in 2001, but do they really deter crime and help prosecutors convict criminals?

    A study being released Monday gives the surveillance cameras a mixed review, saying they appear to have prevented crime in one neighborhood but not in another — and that the video quality is usually poor and rarely leads to a conviction on its own.

    The Urban Institute focused on Chicago Police Department cameras in sections of Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park. Crime there was compared with crime in similar areas without the cameras.

    The study found crime decreased more than 12 percent — or 38 fewer crimes per month — in the Humboldt Park study area from 2001 to 2006. The researchers found crime didn’t appear to migrate from the study area into the surrounding neighborhood.

    Over the same period, though, crime didn’t fall at all in the West Garfield Park area.

Gee, it couldn't have been that the area surrounding Humboldt Park is heavily gentrified and reasonably stable while West Garfield Park seems to produce nothing but abandoned buildings, declining property values and the misery mostly associated with a third world standard of living?

Nah, it has to be the cameras.

And how about this glorious bullshit?
  • Still, researchers said the cameras were worth their cost. The city spent $6.8 million to install and operate them. But for every dollar spent, the societal benefit was $4, according to the Washington-based Urban Institute, whose study also looked at cameras in Washington and Baltimore.
No information on how they came up with that "societal benefit." It's like they pulled the number out of someone's ass - probably J-Fled's. We're surprised no one has come up with a cost analysis on how much "societal benefit" is realized every time a dope dealer is killed or a junkie overdoses on fentanyl-laced heroin.

And here's an interesting tidbit:
  • Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said footage from the surveillance cameras is regularly reviewed in criminal investigations. “When it comes to blue light cams, they almost never capture the crimes that we review,” Daly said. “No one I spoke to here can recall a case where we utilized these cameras to gain a conviction.”
So much for a "societal benefit." Without even reading the by-line, we can guess who wrote this tripe - Main or Spielman. Let's check.....yup, it was Frank.

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Valadez Trial

Word from Brenda that the trial has been assigned to Room 606. She is asking that attendees arrive prior to 1030 to ensure seating. Anyone with updates, e-mail as you can and we'll try to get the info up during our evening posting schedule.


Street Sign Memorial

From the comments:
  • ...they are doing a street dedication for P.O. Ben Perez, who was killed in the line of duty, this Tuesday Sept 20th at 53rd and Nashville (at 1000 hours). [It] would be nice to see some support for his wife and kids. Thanks


Ramn Dances

Oh yeah, something big is in the works. Look at this guy twist, turn and weave:
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday danced around the politically volatile subject of closing district police stations, maintaining that his singular focus is to get more police officers on the street.

    “Everything I’m thinking about is how to strengthen the beat officer to fight crime — not the bureaucracy. ... It’s not a budgetary question. It’s a crime-fighting strategy,” the mayor said.

    “Over the years, the beat officer and community policing have been hollowed out. The bureaucracy got fat. The whole strategy here is to ... strengthen the beat officer and make sure the bureaucracy doesn’t become the focus of fighting crime.”

    Does that mean Chicago has too many district stations and could get along without a few to free dozens of officers for street duty?

That's exactly what Rahm means. He's just too crafty to get nailed down saying it out loud.


Look! Money!

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a plan to improve access to the Chicago River by building four boathouses on stretches of the waterway that already draw scores of kayakers and other paddlers.

    The city will spend equal shares of public funds and private donations to build the structures, estimated to cost $4 million each.
It sure seems that as fast as Rahm is making cuts in one area, he's spending the "savings" even quicker instead of paying off debt and long term liabilities.


Monday, September 19, 2011

013 and 021 Finished

You know it's only a matter of time now. Once it hits the papers, it's moved beyond a "trial balloon" type of idea:
  • Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is exploring the politically volatile idea of closing district police stations to save millions and free scores of officers for street duty.

    McCarthy is under the gun to cut at least $190 million from the police department’s $1.3 billion-a-year budget. He is under further pressure to put more police officers on beat patrol at a time when the city can’t afford to hire more officers.

  • Sources familiar with the current deliberations refused to identify the stations that could be closed or pinpoint the precise number being talked about. The oldest stations are: Monroe (012), Prairie(021), Wood (013), Belmont (019), Wentworth (002), Harrison (011), Rogers Park (024), Calumet(005) and Grand Crossing (003).
They've already broken ground on a new 012, while 019, 002, 011 and 005 are all Areas. That leaves 021, 013, 024, and 003. Prairie is the most obvious closure and Wood is the next. That evens out the political fallout north side versus south side.

Speculation time! Then Rahm announces a new construction project or two, combines 020 and 024 with some minor adjustments, and builds a new Wenworth Area that combines part of 002, 003 and the left overs from 021. Geographically, it makes sense. Demographically, it might need some work. But we are definitely on the road to 23 or fewer districts. There are even quotes from supportive aldercreatures.


New Light Duty Order

This came out Friday, but we didn't want to cover it as we don't do heavy traffic on the weekends. From the comment sections:
  • New order is out today. The department isued new rules for light and limited duty status. Officers will have to actually apply and submit documents to the medical section to prove why they deserve light duty status. About time that standards are set to eliminate the fakers on this job. If a officer is legitimately recovering or has a actual injury then let him/her recover. But to be on light duty for years is bullshit. This will force more old timers to retire and the fakers will be exposed. It is too easy to obtain a light duty status for the CPD.
This was a losing proposition from the word go. Any employer (municipality) that has gone to court to contest "light duty" status has won. And in most cases, won big. We recall that the previous FOP administration was in negotiations with the city to come up with a solid number of light duty spots that would be filled "as needed." This would have guaranteed "x" number of spots to be held for cardiac cases, cancer patients, long term medical issue officers who could provide proof of illness. It would also prevent a knowledge drain from officers having to leave the Department due to medical conditions that are, in many cases, curable or solvable.

Does anyone know if FOP negotiated a final number? We don't doubt for a minute there are abuses out there. But there's no reason we can't find a spot for a copper serving out his/her term while fighting a long term illness.


No More Tahoes

Anyone not see this coming? Yeah yeah, put your hand down J-Fled. Go stand in the corner again, we're done with you:
  • The Chevrolet Tahoe was to have been Chicago’s police car of the future, but the city appears to be putting the brakes on plans to replace the aging fleet of Ford Crown Victoria squads with the bulky sport-utility vehicle.

    In 2008, the Daley administration inked a three-year contract with a Hodgkins auto dealer to provide the Chicago Police Department with up to 2,000 of the SUVs, with a goal of supplanting its existing fleet of aging “Crown Vics,” a popular — and less expensive — sedan that is stopping production this month.

    But as of August, the city had just 611 Tahoes in its patrol armada and appears to be rethinking a strategy that was backed by former police Supt. Jody Weis, the Better Government Association has learned.

Back when the Department bought Tahoes, they said gas mileage was comparable to a Crown Vic. They seem to have backed off that contention. The two-wheel drive package sucked in the winter. The city is supposed to be looking at Chargers or Impalas.

Here's a funny thought though - unless the city buys another 10 to 15 cars per district, this manpower shift everyone is talking about where the bulk of officers are on the streets from 2000 hours until 0400, isn't going to happen since we don't have the equipment available to field the bodies currently on the watches. Days will get their pick of the cars, but afternoons and midnights? Either foot posts, bike posts or phantom assignments because we run out of cars constantly and riding 3 deep in a cage car isn't happening.


Get Well Officers

  • An Illinois State Police officer suffered minor injuries Sunday evening when the car he was driving crashed on the Tri-State Tollway in north suburban Deerfield.

    At 3:55 p.m., the officer was driving a marked state police squad car in the northbound lanes of the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) when he was cut off by another vehicle, Illinois State Police District 15 Sgt. Julio Serrano said.

    The officer then lost control of his squad car, hit a guardrail and struck a wall on the left shoulder underneath the overpass of the Deerfield Road exit, Serrano said.

  • A Chicago Police Officer suffered minor smoke inhalation responding to a fire on the 2100 block of North Clark Street in the city's Lincoln Park neighorhood at 12:45 a.m. this morning, police said.
Get well soon officers, we need the help.


Welcome to HQ CFD

The Chicago Fire Department is in the process of moving bodies and equipment into the new "Public Safety Building" at 3510 S. Michigan. Rumor has it that CFD operations are going to take up an entire floor, maybe two. We can hardly wait to see the new floor assignments. And rumor has it, the pinewood derby that will be held in the 5th floor hallway will be spectacular!

Oh, didn't anyone tell the CFD that the entire building is collapsing from the middle outward? You can actually see gaps between the floor and the walls measuring around an inch in some places on the fifth floor. Desk drawers have to be propped shut. Doors cannot be closed. We think there's some fiendish plot afoot to use the incoming CFD personnel as some sort of cushion for the rest of the building population for that unhappy day that the structural support gives way.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Da Bears

The Saints are favored, but the Bears surprised a lot of critics (including us here) with last week's win. You don't want to make something this early a "statement" game, but if they win today, they are going to generate a whole lot of interest across the league.


Get Healthy - But Not Here

Quick questions for Rahm and his minions:
  • You say you want city workers healthy in order to save hundreds of millions in costs over the next few years. If that's so, why did the Police Department cancel the "CrossFit" classes that were so popular at the Academy? Wouldn't this program dovetail nicely with your expressed desire to see a healthier workforce?
  • And why is it so hard to get anything at the Academy workout center repaired? You have this supposed "state-of-the-art" gym and we receive e-mails regularly about machinery and equipment being broken and repairs being non-existent.
And wouldn't a healthier workforce benefit from a facility that isn't growing it's own mold? Just wondering.


Media in the Bag

In our travels, we manage to talk to a lot of people. We end up talking to city workers in different unions. More than a few of them tell us the same story.

Their business agents and leadership are contacting City Hall to set up meetings with Rahm (or Rahm's people) with ideas for saving money and preserving jobs. And guess who won't give them the time of day, refusing to meet with the unions to discuss anything?

And adding insult to injury, Rahm's people tell the media that the unions are the ones not returning his calls, that the unions are the ones not coming up with any ideas, that the unions are the unreasonable ones.

So it seems that Rahm is determined to destroy any and all public sector unions and he's using a compliant media again who publish his every word, but won't call up the unions to verify that what they're printing is anything at all like what is happening.


More Homeless Headed Your Way

  • The line now forms before 4 p.m. to get into REST Shelter — a respite from Chicago’s streets for those with no place else to go.

    Once a 24-hour homeless shelter for more than 100 people, the facility in a dingy old church has had to lay off workers and close during the day as legislators chopped the Department of Human Services budget by hundreds of millions of dollars, including $4.7 million for homeless services.

    The result is that many of the state’s poorest and most vulnerable — REST residents include recovering addicts and the disabled — are left with fewer options and more uncertainty even as census data shows Illinois grappling with its highest poverty rate in nearly two decades as the jobless rate rises.

And all with democrats in charge, locally, statewide and nationally. One has to wonder how the democrats can be the solution and the cause of all our problems.

Meanwhile, we're sure the lobbies of all police stations are going to be crowded starting with the first cold snap.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Get Healthy Or Else!

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a “wellness plan” today aimed at keeping city employees healthier by charging them an extra $50 per month for insurance if they don't participate.

    Workers and their spouses can participate for free and the only requirements are annual health screenings and follow-up phone calls from medical providers to point them to areas of concern, Emanuel said at a news conference with Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez, whose group represents major unions representing city workers.

  • Workers will not have to meet health benchmarks to stay in the program, but have to listen to recommendations about improving their health. Federation officials estimated up to 30,000 union members and spouses would participate.

    “You have to try, is what this wellness plan is about. You have to make the attempt to do it,” Ramirez said. “It doesn't mean you absolutely, positively have to succeed. It means you need to try.”
So you have to sit and listen to Doctor Feelgood, promise to do better, and you're golden? What's the point?

Evidently, the FOP sees problems here, too:
  • But Bill Dougherty, first vice president for the Fraternal Order of Police, said the FOP won't participate in the health care agreement because the wellness plan isn't a good deal for union members.

    “Employees shouldn't be penalized $50 (per month) for them and $50 for their spouse, just because they don't want to participate in this program,” Dougherty said.
Once you give the City an inch, they'll take a yard, then a mile if they can. Our objection would arise from having to go to city doctors for this stuff. We're already happy with our health care professionals. We don't see the need to expand that circle of people into our personal business. We know we're going to be getting a whole bunch of comments about how cops are all fatasses, SCC is a bunch of overweight do-nothings, and all sorts of other nonsense (save your typing). We don't object to wellness plans and a healthy lifestyle - we object to the city nosing into our personal business and our health care decisions.

As one commentator said earlier:
  • Not a bad idea for us public employees. This should also be used for the link card crowd.


More Mold

These are pictures from 012:

The scene has since been bleached, but our readers stored the pictures. So we have the following:
  • Locker rooms in 011 that we posted photos of from over a year ago
  • Academy mold
  • 024 hallway mold
  • 012 locker room greenery
  • Elevators at Homan Square that look and smell like a Louisiana swamp
  • Memories of the Area 5 mold disaster
Any more?


Crazy North Side (UPDATED)

  • A Northwest Side man is accused of beating his neighbor to death, injuring himself and then assaulting a police officer and a nurse following his arrest.

  • After police arrested Tyler, officers took him to Illinois Masonic Medical Center to be treated for self-inflicted injuries, authorities said.

    While at the hospital, Tyler hit a female nurse with a glass shelf, leaving a wound that required 38 stitches, police said. Tyler allegedly punched one of the arresting officers in the face and tried to disarm him.

    Tyler was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery to a police officer, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and attempting to disarm a police officer, police said.

Thank goodness it didn't. Was this a one-man-detail on a suspected murderer?

UPDATE: We completely missed this part of the article:
  • While at the hospital, Tyler hit a female nurse with a glass shelf, leaving a wound that required 38 stitches
Reported as FACT. Then this:
  • Tyler allegedly punched one of the arresting officers in the face and tried to disarm him
Really? He cut up a nurse, but "allegedly" punched and tried to disarm an officer? Anyone who thinks these isn't a built in bias against anything involving Chicago cops, then this article ought to be Exhibit A in any rebuttal.


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