Friday, May 26, 2017

Ex-Ald. Sandi Jackson says she’s borrowing from friends, selling belongings – Chicago Tribune

Former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, who is seeking a divorce from ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., said in court filings this week that he has income of at least $10,250 a month while she is out of work and has been borrowing from friends and selling her belongings to stay afloat.

Illinois Towns Face Tale of Two Minimum Wages – Fox Business

Several towns in Cook County, Illinois are balking at a minimum wage hike that will require local businesses to nearly double baseline salaries and provide paid sick leave for workers. Comment: Three minimum wage laws, actually. The real one is zero.  

Chicago Review of Books Among the Hysterical Opponents of Publishing a Right Winger’s Book – The Daily Caller

The Chicago Review of Books announced that it will not review a single Simon & Schuster title in 2017 in protest of a Milo Yiannopoulos book deal. Comment: Widespread, open contempt for freedom of expression is the modern left's most dangerous trait.

’60 Minutes’ Report: Chicago Crime Up, Police Response Down – CBS Chicago

"Once again, Chicago is making national headlines for all the wrong reasons. New York Times readers woke up Thursday morning to see a crime-related story about Chicago. Meanwhile, CBS news show '60 Minutes' is set to air a comprehensive look at crime here on Sunday."

Nobody Traded When JPMorgan Put Chicago School Debt Up for Sale – Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. offered a crucial lifeline to the ailing Chicago Public Schools by purchasing almost $1 billion of short-term notes from the junk-rated system in the last four months. When the New York-based bank put some of its holdings up for sale, nobody made the trade.

Uber, food trucks and Airbnb: Chicago’s 3 biggest over-regulation stories from 2016 | Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

It’s no secret Chicago aldermen aren’t friendly to outsider businesses and innovative industries. Here’s a look at some of the most egregious examples from 2016.

Sun-Times editorial board: Make colleges a sanctuary from deportation threat

Comment: In other words, responsibility of the federal government to control immigration should be ignored and spread, instead, among the hodgepodge of different views taken by universities and colleges (as well as towns and cities, for which they also support sanctuary status). That's madness, even if you support normalization for non-criminal Dreamers and certain others (as I happen to). This is really just a reminder that the Sun-Times editorial writers are wackjobs.

Chicago Stock Exchange awaits SEC, Trump decision on sale to Chinese buyer – Crain’s

The Chicago Stock Exchange moved closer this month to approval for its sale to a Chinese buyer, but a decision by the Securities & Exchange Commission remains, and that could trip up the deal in President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Study Compares Property Tax Burden In Northeast Illinois – The Civic Federation

Comment: For many of these communities effective rates remain suicidally high. Keep in mind as you read them that the average effective rate nationally in urban areas is just 1.5%. We've written extensively about this and will again shortly.

Surge in Chicago rents may be starting to ease – Chicago Tribune

Rents have dropped in areas of downtown where there has been massive new construction of luxury high-rise apartment buildings, and rents are rising only modestly throughout the metropolitan area, according to Axiometrics, a Dallas firm that tracks rental data throughout the country.  

Cook County sheriff’s deputies investigated for allegedly lying on time cards – Chicago Sun-Times

Cara Smith, chief policy officer for Sheriff Tom Dart, divulged few details of the ongoing probe but confirmed 60 sheriff’s deputies are the target of an “alleged attendance fraud” investigation.

All Chicago police officers to wear body cameras by end of 2017 – abc7chicago

Comment: A 20-year veteran Chicago cop told me this will mean "the end of policing as we know it" and violent crime will probably increase 30%.

Progressives Have Let Inner Cities Fail for Decades. President Trump Could Change That. – The Daily Beast

Increasingly, at least in the centers of the greatest hipster infestation, minorities and working class families are being driven into less desirable areas, often further from work locations. This helps create new social tensions and, in many places, notably Chicago, more social unrest, and now the most murders in more than two decades. Overall, the rate of violent crime in urban cores remains almost four times higher than the national average, according to FBI data.

2016 was Rahm Emanuel’s comeback year – Sun-Times

Comment: WTF? This may be the dumbest opinion piece of the year, though we still have a few days left. Most perplexing, it's not labeled as an opinion piece, which author Fran Spielman usually does when she occasionally steps aside from reporting (and she's a great reporter). In terms of the substance of this opinion, good grief. Rahm is toast.

CPD’s Johnson decries ‘alarming’ rise in cops shot on the job – Sun-Times

This year, according to Guglielmi, officers have come under fire 31 times in Chicago, compared with 18 times in 2015 and 15 times in 2014. No Chicago Police officers have been killed this year.

Analyst: Chicago can take lead nationally in pension reform, even with a bankruptcy – Chicago City Wire

"Chicago is going to be ground zero for the rest of the nation for how it deals with its pension stress," Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former Federal Reserve of Dallas. said. "All eyes are on the Windy City right now."  DiMartino Booth said she sees no option other than bankruptcy for Chicago.

Luis Gutierrez Paid Wife $100,000 From Campaign Funds in 2016 Cycle

Congressional members have been allowed to place family members on their campaign payrolls since 2001. The allowance stems from an opinion issued by the Federal Election Commission after a request from former Rep. Jesse Jackson (D., Ill).

Real estate forecast for Chicagoland home prices, sales worst out of 100 metro areas – North Cook News

This sluggish growth is a response to high property prices, according to Mark Glennon, who runs Wirepoints, an Illinois-based business information service. “I would say this largely reflects the exodus of taxpayers, employers and the tax base out of the state,” Glennon told Illinois Business Daily.

Analysis: Emails show Emanuel’s obsessions: crime and media image – Sun-Times

Comment One alderman wondered aloud why the mayor fought so long and hard to keep them secret since there's no smoking gun and nothing new. That's because Rahm selected which ones to release! See the story immediately below this. Sheesh.

Release of emails by Chicago mayor doesn’t end dispute – A.P.

Rahm's agreement allows him and his personal lawyer to decide which emails are public records and which are not. It's not clear what emails were withheld, and the Emanuel administration said it still disputes whether the private emails were actually public documents.

Realtor says Chicago losing larger percentage of residents than any other big city – Illinois News Network

A report by apartment-finding marketplace found that of the 50 largest metropolitan areas’ in and out-migrations, a bigger percentage of Chicago’s residents left the area than any other big city. In a 12-month period ending in July of 2015, the Chicagoland area lost .84 percent or nearly 7,900 people.

Chicago to sell $1.14 billion general obligation bond in January – Fidelity Investments

Chicago returns to the market in January with a general obligation deal that should benefit from the stabilization of three of its bond ratings. Those ratings solidified because of the city's progress in developing a funding plan for its pensions, but Chicago's name remains tainted by a junk rating from Moody's Investors Service (MCO) and warnings that its pension ills are far from cured.

Ken Griffin plays Santa, gives $12 million lakefront gift to city – Chicago Tribune

Illinois' richest man might as well have been wearing a Santa costume instead of his trademark somber business suit Wednesday morning when he announced a whopping $12 million present to Rahm and the city of Chicago. Griffin agreed over a recent lunch with Emanuel to fork over the cash to fund the creation of two separate bike and pedestrian paths along the 18-mile Lakefront Trail.

Buffalo Grove man awarded medal for heroism after rescuing drowning teen – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Having been swept out and nearly died the same way, I can tell you it would not be a good way to die. Thank goodness for guys like this.

BGA Forces Release Of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Private Emails, Garners Landmark Policy Shift – Better Government Association

Comment: This should be fun, unless Rahm redacts large parts, as he will probably try. And I hope they are delivered with a trigger warning about his language.

Emanuel proposes higher fines for environmental violations – Sun-Times

At last week’s City Council meeting, Emanuel quietly introduced an ordinance that would overhaul Chicago’s environmental code to include sharply higher fines for the most egregious violations.

Chicago suburb, Dolton, defaults on bond payments -Truth in Accounting

And note the comparisons to Chicago.

First elephant tranquilizer charges brought in federal court here – Sun-Times

Used along with heroin to provide extra kick.

Election hacking shouldn’t surprise you, says Chicagoan who was Obama’s former tech chief – Chicago Tribune

Political campaigns could be as vulnerable as businesses when it comes to hacking, says Harper Reed. In a February 2013 TED talk released online for the first time on Friday, Reed said both 2008 presidential campaigns were hacked by unknown foreign entities.

Illinois Considers P3 for $2.7 Billion Freeway Expansion – The Bond Buyer

The expansion proposal outlined late last week by the Illinois Department of Transportation would add high-occupancy tolled express lanes to relieve congestion and speed up traffic on Interstate 290, known locally as the Eisenhower Expressway. ("P3" is muniwonk for public private partnership.)

Are time limits the answer to Chicago’s housing voucher waitlist? – CTBA

A quick look at who Chicago voucher holders actually are suggests the answer, in most cases, is no.

Aldermen Propose Plan to Divest From Fossil Fuel Companies – WTTW

Thirty-nine aldermen have signed a resolution calling for Chicago pension funds to cut off any new investment in fossil fuel companies. Comment: These virtue signalling morons won't stop. Divestments like this accomplish nothing except lower returns on taxpayer money.

Evanston/Skokie schools, facing budget deficit, may seek April property tax referendum – Evanston Review

According to district officials, the average Evanston taxpayer shelled out roughly $8,000 in property taxes this year. If the proposed referendum is approved, voters paying the average tax amount would likely see their property tax bill increase by $438 annually.

Midyear School Cuts Loom As Rauner’s Veto Of $215M For CPS Stands – DNAinfo

Chicago schools are a step closer to suffering midyear cuts for the second year in a row as the deadline for the Illinois House to override Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of $215 million for the Chicago Public Schools passed Friday.

What does Chicago’s “menu money” get spent on? – CTBA

Every year, Chicago divvies up $65 million among its 50 aldermen — or about $1.3 million per ward — as “menu money,” which each alderman gets to spend however they choose.

Farrakhan sees a new opening for black separatist message – Associated Press

Some watchdogs who monitor Farrakhan say his latest appeal is a desperate grasp at significance for a group far from its heyday. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism, has found black separatism growing alongside white supremacy, creating a more favorable environment for the Nation's teachings.

New AG Can ‘Flip the Switch’ To Stop Funding Sanctuary Cities, Says Texas Congressman. Cook County on the Hit List – Breitbart

U.S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX) said existing law allows the Trump Administration to not only stop future funding to these jurisdictions, but actually take back past funding. Cook County is among the jurisdictions already certified as noncompliant.

NWI luring Illinois companies, but why so few? – NWITimes

Northwest Indiana has had some success luring companies from Illinois, but it's hardly a stampede and nothing like one would expect given the government dysfunction and fiscal problems in the Land of Lincoln.

Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations – Chicago Tribune

Location didn't matter: Failures occurred in poor neighborhoods on the South Side as well as in affluent suburbs and the Gold Coast. Even the Walgreens at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago failed its test.

More tax money for Chicago’s booming TV, movie studio – Sun-Times

Chicago’s busiest TV and film studio is getting another hand from the government: a property-tax cut that will shift an estimated $4 million burden onto other taxpayers over the next dozen years, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis.

Chicago Teachers Pensions: Questioning Assumptions – Stump

Comment: We've hesitated before to publish some of these technical pieces by actuary Mary Pat Campbell, but our readers love them and they get lots of pageviews. Nice to have readers who aren't afraid of a little math.

Chicago retains role as capital of derivatives industry – Financial Times

Open-outcry pits are becoming a thing of the past, but the expertise has stayed.

Chicago — the rise and revolt of the city state – Financial Times

Chicago and cities like it represent hope against the populist surge shown by the elections and Brexit, thinks the Financial Times. Comment: What the FT doesn't get is that Chicago is broke and so is its model of government. It's not generating the growth and revenue needed to pay the bills it incurs. Same for many of the other big blue cities the FT thinks have it right.

How Chicago’s Fight To Ban Pay Toilets Relates To Today’s City Protests – DNAinfo Chicago

An old lesson about how to get stuff done in Chicago from the Committee to End Pay Toilets in America (CEPTIA), which started in 1969: Talk to the aldermen.

Politics and temptation: The Willie Cochran indictment – Chicago Tribune

The indictment grew from an investigation begun by Faisal Khan, the Chicago City Council's former watchdog. Remember him? Aldermen undermined Khan at every turn. They limited his investigative powers, openly mocked him and eventually squeezed him out of the job What do you suppose aldermen think now? Comment: There's more to come from Khan's work.

Report: Illinois home prices expected to continue rising in 2017 – Curbed Chicago

Comment: Be very suspicious of any data that Realtors had a hand in producing. A different recent study ranked prospects for Chicagoland home values last among 100 metro areas.

Rauner tax freeze scares North Shore officials – Daily North Shore

North Shore governmental entities from Wilmette and Glenview on the south through Lake Bluff on the north rely on property tax revenue to balance their own budgets. Comment: Oh, for Christ's sake, if they can't get by on property taxes around 2% on mostly very expensive homes they should all be summarily fired.

Trump’s attempt to out climate scientists rattles Argonne, Fermilab – Crain’s

The Trump transition team sent a list of 74 questions to the department seeking, among other answers, names of the 20 highest-paid employees at each lab and an accounting of scientific publications by lab staff over the last three years, plus memberships and other professional affiliations.

IDOT wants to put toll lanes on Eisenhower Expressway – Oak Leaves

A plan to add one car pool and express toll lanes to Interstate 290 has been identified as the Illinois Department of Transportation's preferred option for the roadway, officials announced.

Chicago shows how to kill the food truck industry – The Huffington Post

In Chicago, if you don’t like your competition you work with the city to regulate it into extinction.

After Trump Won, Progressive Chicago Women Started Group To Find More Female Candidates – DNAinfo Chicago

It's called Rodham Consulting because, they say, the "Rodham" name has become an "inspiration to multiple generations of women to step up and get into the political arena and say 'I can do this.'" Comment: No, I better not.

CPS borrows $729M for capital projects; $215M pension fix expires – Sun-Times

The bonds can be used to fund only capital spending. They can’t be applied to day-to-day district operations or teacher pensions.

New Chicago Schools Credit Draws Strong Demand – The Bond Buyer

The Chicago Board of Education deal – led by Barclays and JPMorgan with Barclays running the books – was raised to $730 million from $500 million in the preliminary pricing circulated Thursday, indicating its strong reception. The district has board-approved authority to sell up to $840 million under the credit.

Breitbart on Evanston’s new sanctuary city ordinance

Evanston police will be banned from giving federal immigration officials access to anyone in police custody and they cannot allow ICE officials into their police headquarters. Evanston made exemptions to all of these rules when an individual in police custody is a felon, has an existing criminal background or is a gang member. The Evanston sanctuary city ordinance is even more restrictive than Chicago’s, Evanston Now notes, citing that under this ordinance, no city official will be allowed to obtain access...

How much tax revenue is subsidizing park district programs? – Daily Herald

In many suburban park districts where, on average, taxpayers kick in about 30 percent of the money for recreation and activities.

Oak Forest won’t go along with Cook County minimum wage hike, sick leave plans – Daily Southtown

The City Council voted 7-0 to approve an ordinance that says Oak Forest will opt out of the measures that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $13 and also require companies to provide up to five days of sick leave per year to their employees.

Emanuel opens the door to relaxing police hiring standards – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday opened the door to allowing candidates with minor drug and criminal offenses to become Chicago Police officers to attract minorities at a time of high crime and deep distrust.

Chicago and cities in the age of Trump: Bruce Katz – Opinion – Crain’s

Comment: Good luck with this if the message from Chicago continues to be that Trumpism is racist, illegitimate, xenophobic, science-hating, etc.

Facing threat of lawsuit, Elk Grove will rescind support for Rauner agenda – Daily Herald

Elk Grove Village's mayor and board of trustees will rescind their support for Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda" amid the threat of a lawsuit from a suburban-based labor union.

Chicago levies higher fees to register vacant buildings, sock lenders, loan servicers – Cook County Record

The city of Chicago has amended a city code to reduce the number of vacant buildings throughout Chicago, socking lenders and mortgage servicers with higher fees in the process, even as those lenders navigate the slow county judicial foreclosure process.

Chicago OKs over $5M to families of police shooting victims – WFLD

The city of Chicago has amended a city code to reduce the number of vacant buildings throughout Chicago, socking lenders and mortgage servicers with higher fees in the process, even as those lenders navigate the slow county judicial foreclosure process.

John Kass: Is Chicago really that corrupt? Yes – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Two quotes summarize the problem: "Most aldermen, most politicians are hos," Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman said on federal tape. And, as Kass points out: "Illinois' top employer isn't manufacturing. It's government, layers and layers of it, and that means many political mouths to fill."

Chicago Public Pensions: Diversity Day! – Stump

Stump (Mary Pat Campbell) is an honest actuary who writes about pensions.

Ald. Cochran charged with looting fund meant for kids, seniors, says he will stay in City Council – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Naturally. And expect further campaign finance charges against other aldermen.

Ald. Willie Cochran Indicted, Second Straight 20th Ward Alderman Charged – DNAinfo Chicago

Yawn. Full text of indictment on bottom of this Sun-Times piece.

CPS Watchdog Says School Fudged Dropout Numbers – WBEZ

Officials at one Chicago public school falsified records to boost graduation rates over a seven year period, the school system’s inspector general confirmed in a report released Wednesday.

Report questions security of Chicago surveillance camera network – Sun-Times

An audit released Tuesday concluded that the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications had no “reasonable assurance that only approved personnel had accessed the surveillance system and used it appropriately.”

Chicago-Area Doctors Recognized for Humanitarian Work in Aleppo – WTTW

The city of Aleppo, Syria, has been called the most dangerous place on Earth. Last summer, three Chicago-area doctors, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Dr. John Kahler and Dr. Samer Attar, traveled to the city to offer much-needed medical aid.

Illinois RTA Moves Capital Plans Despite State Budget Quagmire – The Bond Buyer

The Illinois Regional Transportation Authority Thursday will consider a $3 billion operating budget and $5.1 billion five-year capital plan that boosts spending next year but still falls far short of its needs as a new state capital program languishes amid the ongoing budget impasse.

Emanuel’s $1.3M Legal Defense Funds for illegal immigrant sails through—with a caveat – Sun-Times

"Not before African-American aldermen demanded a piece of the pie."  

Chicago treasurer’s speech doesn’t live up to aides’ hype – Chicago Tribune

On Monday morning, aides to Kurt Summers called around to reporters trying to drum up interest in the city treasurer’s speech to the City Club of Chicago. The address was pitched as a moment in which Summers would step out of the usual political comfort zone and call Chicago’s current state as he sees it, including bold talk on violence and the city’s finances. Comment: This guy is politically ambitious, and awkwardly obvious about it.

2017 may be huge year for Chicago-area corporate mergers – Chicago Tribune

If this year's corporate mergers and acquisitions activity is an indication, look for local companies and investors to pounce on new deals of all sizes and types, with some well-known hometown names involved too.

Is UChicago a ‘Sanctuary Campus’? Spokesperson Steps Around Phrase – Chicago Maroon

When asked if the University of Chicago is a “sanctuary campus,” a University spokesperson avoided the phrase but said several administrative offices are examining how a change in national immigration policies could affect the University and the community.

Chicago Retiree Healthcare: Some Are Out of Luck (for now) – Stump

"Some people are definitely getting a huge $$ hit. Retiree health benefits have often been overlooked in the pension squeeze, as it had always been assumed that the local governments, at a pinch, could dump their retirees onto Obamacare or Medicare or whatever. It’s been a mixed bag in the courts so far, but it looks like Chicago may be making this one stick."

Chicago Public Schools: Bonds, Budgets, and Tax Bites – Stump

"This has been the way — twiddle their thumbs, don’t do anything about the pensions, til.. OH NO IT’S AN EMERGENCY WE GOTSA PASS THIS — and then back to twiddling.... Squeezy lives on."

Chicago Schools Deal Highlights Special Revenue Status – The Bond Buyer

Chicago Public Schools is readying its inaugural sale under a new dedicated capital improvement tax crafted to provide a borrowing outlet it can present as insulated from both the district's operating struggles and the threat of Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Chicago School Deal s Single-A Rating Buoys Market Access – The Bond Buyer

With legal opinions endorsing the bankruptcy-remote structure of its next deal, and an A rating in hand, Chicago Public Schools' new tax-revenue backed credit has a clear path to market access, though yield penalties will remain, market participants say.

Emanuel rules out DNC chair run, flips off guy in bar – Chicago Tribune

He allegedly flipped the bird at a consultant who asked him if he would run for president in 2020. When somebody at the bar pointed out that The Hill reporter Megan R. Wilson was watching, Wilson wrote, Emanuel responded, "I don't give a f--- who she is." Comment: Sheesh. What an arrogant little asshole he is.

Chicago-Area Colleges Create “Safe Spaces” To Help Students De-stress – ChicagoNow

Roosevelt University called it Stress Fest. Students could take a break from studying for final exams to sculpt Play-Doh, color, or decorate cookies. The school even brought in miniature horses to help students decompress. The University of Illinois at Chicago provided a bubble-wrapped room where students could chill out. Kids today. Whatever happened to just getting drunk?

Ex-water rec. dist. cop taped using slurs sues to overturn firing – Sun-Times

Comment: This is the guy who gave us that priceless open mic recording in which he says, about the water district, “Nobody here really gives a fuck. Everybody here is sleeping. The engineers, everyone that’s here on midnights. They are all fucking sleeping somewhere.” If you haven't listened to the tape, it's linked in our earlier article and illustrates the mentality that reformers are up against. The real question is why he and those he describes haven't been criminally prosecuted.

Rahm’s police hiring will barely make up for drop – Sun-Times

Even if Mayor Rahm Emanuel manages to add nearly 1,000 cops in the next couple years, his promised surge of new hires would barely make up for the decline in the Chicago Police Department’s ranks on his watch.

$3.8M in back pension payments for female black firefighters | Chicago Sun-Times

The city insisted on using a controversial and now-abolished test of upper-body strength that was being challenged in federal court for discriminating against women. Now, Chicago taxpayers are paying a $3.8 million price for that decision in the form of back pension payments for 13 of them.

Desperate Chicago School System Looks to Shield Debt from Potential Bankruptcy – The American Interest

"If pension debt keeps accumulating unchecked, the next wave of bankruptcy might extend beyond post-industrial regions in persistent decline and sweep up our mightiest urban centers as well."

Chicago could lose billions in sanctuary city fight with Trump – Crain’s

Comment: $3.6 billion, that's what's at risk. Trump has made clear that his sole focus initially will be on illegals who commit dangerous crimes. So, we'll trade $3.6B to save them from deportation? It's that simple.

Chicago tops list of cities with biggest population loss – Chicago Business Journal

In Chicago, the numbers and supporting information all suggest that people have begun to leave the city for good. And far fewer are deciding to relocate and replace the departing residents.

Wall Street’s Old, Unwanted Bond Salesmen Find a Home in Chicago – Bloomberg

In the new Wall Street, there are simply fewer jobs. Post-crisis rules to curb risk-taking and shrinking bond-trading revenues have compelled banks to cut costs. Electronic trading platforms have let clients bypass salespeople. In the past five years alone, the biggest global firms have cut almost 10,000 trading and investment banking jobs.

City Of Chicago Working Around Clock To Clear 18 Inches Of Bullet Casings From Streets – The Onion

"With cartridge accumulations reaching two feet or more in some areas, experts say Chicago is on track for the highest annual ammunition-depth total on record."

Chicago Housing Authority Gets New Affordable Housing Tool – Next City

Comment: Haven't had a chance to look closely at the program, but somehow I'd bet the ranch that it will be yet another one that raises housing costs, hurts developers and has little impact on affordability.

Home Rules: Cook County awaits challenges to authority to mandate paid sick leave, boost min wage – Cook County Record

Former Cook County States Attorney Alvarez stated, “Our legal conclusion is that Cook County lacks the home rule authority to enact a paid leave mandate for employers whether countywide or within unincorporated Cook County.”

Trump called ‘risk factor’ in Chicago company’s SEC filing – Chicago Tribune

Methode Electronics, a Chicago-based designer and maker of parts for automotive, appliance and other industries, on Thursday added the president-elect to its list of potential "risk factors." Comment: C'mon, Tribune. It's time to strive for a little balance in your Trump coverage. Start by looking at what the markets are saying. This one is about risk of Trump's approach to NAFTA. Maybe you could point out that Trump's aides are now already saying he won't just rip it up, and...

New type of Chicago school debt gets investment-grade rating – Reuters

Fitch attributed the difference to its assessment "that the pledged revenues meet the definition of 'special revenues' under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and therefore, bondholders are legally insulated from any operating risk of the board." Comment: What many don't understand is that CPS, like so many other Illinois municipalities, is mortgaging every last conceivable asset. In this case, it's a particular stream of tax revenue. That makes the bonds secured, which are safe even in bankruptcy. But the problem is...

Shots Fired At Chicago Police Again – CBS Chicago

For the seventh time in the past two weeks, police came under fire in Chicago, when someone fired shots at officers near the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Chicago school board approves revised budget with $215 million hole – Reuters

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved a revised fiscal 2017 budget that accommodates a new teachers' contract, but contains a $215 million funding gap for pensions.

Chcagoan Valerie Jarrett says Trump election felt ‘like a punch in the stomach’ – Chicago Tribune

And here's one for the rest of us: She's reportedly returning to Chicago.

Junk-rated Chicago schools plan new kind of bond issue – Reuters

The preliminary prospectus for the debt indicates the Chicago Board of Education will issue $500 million of bonds secured solely by a capital improvement property tax and not by the district's general obligation pledge.

Inspector general blasts CPS for impeding investigation – Sun-Times

In an unusually public and blunt airing of a grievance, the Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general blasted CPS officials for impeding his investigation into “possible ethics violations” by the school system’s top lawyer.

Analysis: What are CPS’ emptiest high schools? – Chicago City Wire

A Chicago City Wire analysis of enrollments at 59 public high schools shows the essentially bankrupt Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district continues to operate dozens of facilities that are closer to empty than full.

Emanuel has ‘very good’ meeting with Trump in New York – Chicago Tribune

Comment: This is mostly just Rahm's description of the meeting, mostly chest-pounding about immigration. The real story there is Trump's earlier comments: “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Abbott wants to get out of $5.8 billion Alere deal – Chicago Tribune

Since Abbott Park-based Abbott agreed to acquire Alere earlier this year for $5.8 billion, Alere has "suffered a series of damaging business developments" including the government eliminating the billing privileges of an Alere division; the recall of a product platform; and government investigations, among other things, Abbott said in a news release Wednesday.

DePaul lines up alongside Mayor Emanuel to provide sanctuary for immigrant students – Illinois Review

Just don't expect freedom to express a conservative view.

Have Chicago politicians gone ‘fetal’? John Kass – Chicago Tribune

"Their greatest fear is that they'll be caught on the street without a gun," Dart said. "They're not worried about being caught with a gun, but without a gun. There is a certain logic to it. They know the system, but that's not what they're afraid of."

Emanuel takes yet another step to reassure anxious immigrants – Sun-Times

A 23-member immigrant task force will “collaborate on mental health, legal services, diversity training for employers and education” to make certain the city is delivering “comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities,” officials said. forecast for Chicagoland home prices, sales worst out of 100 metro areas – Illinois Business Daily

“ rates, indeed, have surpassed what any rational person could defend,” Glennon said. “The numbers provide a stark warning to all communities that are heavily taxed.

City workers take down honorary Trump street signs – Chicago Sun-Times

Take all that stinkin' federal money we need and shove it, Chicago's City Council effectively tells Trump.

Northwest Indiana luring Illinois companies, but why so few? – Nwitimes

Florida is getting the most fleeing Chicago companies.

Chicago Faces Political Power Outage as Trump Succeeds Obama – Bloomberg Politics

Nowhere will political power evaporate more dramatically at noon on Jan. 20 than in the third-largest U.S. city, a bastion of Democratic power that’s enjoyed special access to Washington during President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House. Comment: It sure doesn't help that so many Chicago Democrats have been screaming "racist," "hater," "homophobe" and all the rest at Trump and his supporters.

Emanuel, Trump talked immigration during recent phone call – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Emanuel said. "And as you know, he's an investor in this city." Rahm, I thought it was important to keep Trump's investments out of policy making."

Property taxes mount on ‘Home Alone’ house – Illinois Policy

In 2015, the owners of the “Home Alone” house paid over $35,700 in property taxes, and by 2016, the property taxes on the home had climbed to more than $36,500. And this was with a homeowners’ exemption.

The reason behind pension woes – Crain’s

"An aging workforce.... 30 of the county's 549 taxing districts—schools, villages, cities and the like—have more retirees drawing benefits than current workers putting money in." Comment: Lots of other reasons, of course, including underfunding, phony accounting, ZIRP, spiking and benefits that are simply too lavish.

Chicago City Council might ban autonomous cars – Roadshow

Leave it to Chicago to do the exact opposite of every other city in the US. Just when other cities are voting to embrace autonomous car development with open arms, Chicago's City Council could very well ban the things.

Chicago Suburbs Feel Strain Of New Cook County Ordinances – Forbes

At a time when many Cook County employers are already feeling their purse strings tightening, two recent actions from the Cook County Board, mirroring similar actions taken by the city of Chicago, have prompted many to worry over their impact on businesses – and particularly in suburban corners of the county, far from Chicago’s city limits.

Chicago Fed president: Economy doesn’t need Trump’s infrastructure plan – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said Monday that conditions seem right for a rise in interest rates, but he cautioned that with an improving economy, a major infrastructure-building program implemented purely to stimulate the economy could be ill-timed.

Tyson launches $150M food venture fund in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Tyson Foods has launched a Chicago-based venture capital fund with an ambitious mission: develop new technologies to feed the world, perhaps with something beyond its core meat products.

Northwestern, U. of C. presidents among highest-paid in the country – Chicago Tribune

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, who made $2.35 million in 2014, ranked No. 6 for total compensation that year, the latest for which figures were available. U. of C. President Robert J. Zimmer had the eighth-highest compensation at $2.05 million.

Pension pain not limited to Chicago – Sun-Times

"Chicago isn’t the only government with a looming pension crisis. Numbers compiled by the Cook County Treasurer’s office and secreted my way show about a quarter of the government entities under the county umbrella have more retirees than they do employees." Comment: The author, Shia Kapos, evidently isn't a Wirepoints reader if she finds this to be news.

Witching hour fast approaching for 10,000 city retirees – Sun-Times

The controversial move is aimed at saving Chicago taxpayers $107 million in annual costs that would have ballooned to $307 million by 2018 and $541 million by 2023 if left unchecked, a mayoral commission had warned. But it means that roughly 10,000 city employees who started working for the city before April 1, 1986, and do not qualify for Medicare will be on their own to search for coverage that will be difficult or too expensive to find.

Taxpayers paying for UNO schools — again – Sun-Times

The bitter divorce between the once-powerful United Neighborhood Organization and the vast, government-funded charter-school network it created has been settled — at a cost to taxpayers of $4.5 million, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Northerly Island Is Now A Bird Paradise With 250 Species And Counting – DNAinfo

Comment: Glad to know that, since I'm personally a big bird fan, but I haven't talked to a single person who has been to Northerly Island since Mayor Daley's 2003 predawn, sneak attack bulldozing Meigs Field there.

Chicago Police Preparing New Policy on Use of Force – WSJ

Comment: A 20-year Chicago police sergeant told me he thinks the new bodycam requirement for new cops will mean "the end of policing as we know it," and that Chicago will see a 30% increase in violent crime next year.

Illinois House lacks votes to override Chicago school veto – Associated Press

A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says Democrats did not have enough votes to override a veto from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner that eliminates $215 million in aid for Chicago Public Schools' pension payments. Senate Democrats used their supermajority Thursday to override the governor shortly after the veto but the House did not vote on the matter before adjourning for the year. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the assessment was they "would not be able to override."

Food truck ruling to decide mobile food’s fate in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Food truck owners and supporters are awaiting a ruling Monday that could vastly improve their ability to do business in Chicago, and permanently alter the culinary scene as a result.

CTU Prez plans to “occupy” Dept. of Education over Trump pick – Illinois Review

When asked about Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Lewis said: "Don't ask me why he picked her. I don't know who put her name on the list, but she's a nightmare. I mean, it's OK, we can occupy the (Department of Education). We've done it before, and I believe in direct action and mass movement. So, it'll happen."

CPS Adding $600 Million in Supplemental Capital Plans – WTTW

The district on Friday released its supplemental capital plan for 2017, using bonds the city’s Capital Improvement Tax to increase its maximum possible FY17 capital budget up to nearly $940 million.

O’Hare Airport Bond Deals Highlight November Yield Spike – Fidelity Investments

Chicago wrapped up its second billion-dollar airport deal within a month at a price that displays how much the market has changed in that short time.

Rahm Emanuel creates $1 million legal fund to assist immigrants – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday created a $1 million Legal Protection Fund to assist immigrants who are living in “anxiety and uncertainty” and threatened with deportation after the election of Donald Trump as president.

Comey’s FBI Needs to Investigate Violent Democratic Tantrums – Observer

"Let me introduce you to two vicious Democratic Party operatives FBI agents should have quizzed and collared two months ago: Robert Creamer and The Hideous Scott Foval. These two creeps starred in Project Veritas’ video investigation of violent incitement during the political campaign."

Chicago Schools: Cuts Possible Due to Pension Aid Veto – ABC News

Using its Democratic supermajority, the Senate quickly voted to overturn Gov. Bruce Rauner's move, but the House adjourned for the year Thursday evening without bringing the override question for a vote. Although the House has 15 days to try again, it's unclear if there is enough support in the chamber.

Chicago Laborers and Municipal pension bill passes Illinois House, stalls in Senate – Reuters

Comment: So many late minute changes to these pension bills it will take a while to digest and report properly.

Obamacare customers lose coverage for top Chicago children’s hospital – Washington Examiner

Lurie Children's Hospital is the latest in a growing list of top Illinois hospitals that will now cost Obamacare customers much more to access, now that all four marketplace insurers covering the hospital in-network for 2016 are dropping it from their provider networks next year.

UIUC Tech Program: Alumni Are Building Chicago Startup Networks – Chicago Inno

Although it's 135 miles away, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is responsible for developing the most entrepreneur alumni in the greater Chicago area. LinkedIn data showed as much earlier this year, putting UIUC ahead of DePaul and Northwestern. Meanwhile, a recent report by venture capital database Pitchbook affirmed that the school produces the most undergraduate venture-backed startups out of any Illinois university.

Wheeling High graduate behind conservative ‘Professor Watchlist”

A Wheeling native is the driving force behind a new website that identifies professors from Illinois and around the country and claims they "discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom." He'll be mighty busy.

Red Line transit TIF sets off debate on transportation funding – Sun-Times

Did the City Council set a go-it-alone precedent that lets the state off the hook with Wednesday’s unanimous vote to authorize a tax-increment financing district in hopes of nailing down $1.1 billion in federal funds to modernize the CTA’s Red Line before President Barack Obama leaves office? Biggest TIF ever.

Emanuel aides try to round up pension bill votes at Capitol – Chicago Tribune

The goal is to avert a financial meltdown of retirement plans for municipal workers and laborers. The funds are a combined $21 billion short of what's needed to pay out future benefits and could go broke in a decade or so without a fix.

City Council unanimously approves transit TIF – Sun-Times

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously authorized a transit tax-increment financing district in hopes of nailing down $1.1 billion in federal grants to modernize the CTA’s Red Line before President Barack Obama leaves office.

Chicago PMI soars to highest level in almost two years – MarketWatch

A measure of Chicago-area economic activity surged in November to its highest level in almost two years, another sign the manufacturing sector is starting to strengthen.

Chicago restaurants not getting inspected enough, new report says – Sun-Times

Less than 44 percent of Chicago restaurants and 24.8 percent of bars are being inspected as often as state law requires — undermining public trust and jeopardizing state funding — because the city’s Department of Public Health is “seriously understaffed,” Inspector General Joe Ferguson has concluded.

Local reps split on new term for Nancy Pelosi – Crain’s

Definitely with Pelosi, according to the following legislators or their offices, are Chicagoans Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley; Evanston's Jan Schakowsky; and Rep.-elect Brad Schneider from the north suburbs. What a crew.

Obama’s political godfather sends papers to UIC, not ‘Emil Jones U’ – Chicago Tribune

Former Illinois Senate leader Emil Jones Jr. directed so much taxpayer money to Chicago State University that the struggling school was given the sardonic nickname, "Emil Jones U."

More Than 4,000 Vacant Lots on Sale for $1 in Chicago – NBC Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the Large Lots land sale program will grow to more than 30 communities across the city, with more than 4,000 lots available on the South and West sides.

Chicago tops chart of fun world cities – TimeOut

Based on a survey of 20.000.

Case Shiller: Chicago Home Prices Post Largest Gain In 27 Months – ChicagoNow

The Case Shiller Chicago home price index for single family homes in the area recorded the highest year over year gain in 27 months - up 4.3% from last September. As has been the case for quite a while now Chicago area home price gains are still lagging most of the rest of the country. Out of 20 metro areas we are tied with Boston for 5th from last place.

Chicago to tax businesses who use satellite TV – Illinois Policy

Chicago City Council expanded its 9 percent amusement tax to include businesses subscribing to satellite television – another way to nickel and dime the most taxed residents in the state.

Evanston Strengthens Sanctuary City Status – WBEZ

Comment: Living in a suburb next to Evanston, I've been hoping for a wall. A big wall.... People in Evanston are genuinely nuts. The joke here is to look for an Evanston registration sticker on the window whenever you see a driver who is clueless about how how how things work.

Emanuel extends the deadline to apply for property tax rebate – Sun-Times

Laurence Msall: "The reality is this exemption adds to the opaqueness and confusion regarding the Cook County property tax system and will not avert the need for Chicago property owners having to pay significant increased property taxes in order to meet the large unfunded pension obligations and other debt of the city.”

City offers partial amnesty to businesses with satellite TV feeds – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is offering a partial amusement tax amnesty to restaurants, bars and hotels with satellite television feeds, but the carrot-and stick approach is not sitting well with the restaurant industry.

Workers to strike Tuesday at O’Hare and other Chicago sites – Chicago Tribune

Travelers through O'Hare International Airport can expect a scene Tuesday as airport workers walk off the job and rally for a $15 minimum wage alongside fast-food workers, graduate assistants, child and health care workers and Uber drivers.

Village of Barrington to resist Cook County minimum wage hike – Illinois Policy

The northwest suburb of Barrington passed an ordinance to allow local businesses to forgo Cook County’s minimum wage hike, which has the potential to be devastating for jobs in the county.

A detailed interview with Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers – South Side Weekly

Covering the new Community Catalyst Fund, his view that Chicago has an economic problem not a violence problem, and more.

Fitch downgraded DuPage bond rating over home rule policy, county board member says – Dupage Policy Journal

"The only reason Fitch changed the rating was they decided to include in their formula whether an entity is Home Rule," James Healy, the DuPage County Board District 5 representative from Naperville, told DuPage Policy Journal. "If the entity is not home rule — and the county is not — then the highest Fitch will give us is AA+. All the other rating agencies still have DuPage at AAA."

With O’Hare Strike Set, Roots Of Dispute Lie In Rahm’s 2011 Janitor Deal – DNAinfo

As hundreds of workers prepare to strike Tuesday at O’Hare Airport as their fight over pay and benefits escalates, the dispute has its roots in a 2011 move by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give an airport maintenance contract to a non-union firm.

BGA: Charter schools fined $1.8M for late pension contributions – Sun-Times

Though privately run, charters receive taxpayer money and are considered part of the Chicago Public School system. As such, charter employees with teaching certificates are members of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund and are required by law, like other CPS teachers, to contribute a portion of their salaries to fund future retirement benefits.

Political insiders cashed in on failed O’Hare project – Sun-Times

Sethi has leveled an explosive accusation — that officials at the Illinois Finance Authority demanded $1 million when he sought funding through the state agency. Authority officials told investigators the money was to cover administrative costs.

Chicago is hopeless for Republicans in future – Nadig

On the trajectory it's on, by 2028 or soon thereafter, the Republican vote may fall under 5 percent countywide and Republicans would lose their ballot line. Maybe should have cut that headline off after the first three words.

US Pension Crisis: This is How Families Get Squeezed to Bail Out Pension Funds in Chicago – naked capitalism

"Bankruptcy may still be the route to go. But until then, homeowners, renters, drivers, users of phones, etc. – in other words regular families who’re just sitting ducks – are going to get squeezed dry, in order to slow the momentum of the public-employee pension crisis eating up the city’s and the school district’s finances."

Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel Makes Strides After Shooting Protests – WSJ

"In recent months, Mr. Emanuel has zigzagged across the city with a series of moves that are beginning to reverse his political fortunes." Comment: We'll see.

Chicago extends amusement tax to satellite TV in restaurants and bars – Crain’s

Last year, the Emanuel administration slipped through a tax on streaming video and cloud computing. Now, again without public hearings, City Hall is targeting bars and restaurants with a surcharge on satellite TV feeds. Earlier this month, the city served notice that its 9 percent amusement tax applies to businesses that subscribe to satellite TV services. The impact likely will be felt most by public spaces that buy premium subscriptions for NFL and college games that can easily run $5,000...

Watch: ‘Jingle Johns’ singing toilets take on ‘Go Cubs Go’ – UPI

An Indiana company's "Jingle Johns" sing "Go Cubs Go" in Chicago.

Protesters disrupt Black Friday in Chicago over police conduct – WFLD

Speakers criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President-elect Donald Trump in the same breath before marching and chanting down Michigan Avenue.

Chicago Crime Rate Clouding Nation’s View of Safety, Reports Say – DNAinfo Chicago

Violent crime numbers and media coverage in Chicago and other major cities might be affecting the nation's understanding of how safe the nation is.

Chicago making moves to implement ‘super TIFs’ – Illinois Policy

Chicago would create new transit-based super TIFs before the close of the year in order to secure federal funding, while adding more opportunities for city-run slush funds to hoard tax dollars.

Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts likely deputy Commerce secretary – POLITICO

President-elect Donald Trump is likely to tap Todd Ricketts, the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and a member of the powerful conservative Ricketts family, to be deputy secretary of commerce, POLITICO has confirmed. Wilbur Ross remains the likely choice to lead the Commerce Department.

Chicago employers in limbo after court blocks Obama’s overtime pay rule – Chicago Tribune

Employers that have been preparing for months to comply with a major change to overtime regulations — raising salaries, implementing time-tracking tools, restructuring promotion ladders — find themselves in an awkward limbo after a federal judge on Tuesday blocked the change a week before it was to take effect.

Muslim volunteers give 5,000 turkeys to Chicago families – A.P.

A group of Muslim volunteers in Chicago has expanded a 16-year-old program in which it gives free turkeys to underprivileged families on the city's South Side.

Judge Rules Against Fenwick’s Bid To Overturn Playoff Loss – CBS Chicago

Was hoping for a federal civil rights class action suit based on ball-strike calls during the playoffs.

Emanuel rushes to secure federal grant for CTA revamp before Obama leaves office – Chicago Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is racing the clock in President Barack Obama's final days in office to secure $1.1 billion in federal grants to revamp the CTA's Red and Purple lines, an effort that involves creating a special taxing district that straddles the "L" tracks between North and Devon avenues.

What will ‘Trumpsportation’ mean for Chicago? – Chicago Reader

A progressive's assessment (including the obligatory claim that Trump's advisors and cabinet will be "white supremacists").

S&P Calls New Chicago City Budget ‘Structurally Imbalanced’ – NBC Chicago

According to the report, Emanuel’s budget "remains structurally imbalanced due to its reliance of debt and other one-time actions to cover the budget gaps.” The S&P report also noted that the “sustainability of the pension plan for municipal employees may be short lived.” But Rahm said problems solved, so don't worry your pretty little heads off.

Shocking Footage Shows Inside Abandoned Lincoln Mall – NBC Chicago

Comment: A visual reminder of the death spiral in Chicago's south suburbs, which we wrote about earlier -- a major story being ignored that should be a warning to all of Illinois.

Pension bear comes back to bite Chicago Park District – Crain’s

Three years ago, the Chicago Park District reached a precedent-setting deal with its unions that called for both workers and taxpayers to pay more, and for the district's retirement plan to be fully funded by 2049. But then the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in cases dealing with the state and city that benefits could not be reduced for those already on the payroll, and SEIU sued to overturn the park district deal. In the short run, that means extra money...

DuPage County voters overwhelmingly demand smaller government in referendums – Illinois News Network

A number of advisory questions asking whether certain services should be consolidated all passed with percentages as high as 91 percent in favor. The questions ranged from consolidating more than 40 mosquito-abatement districts down to nine, to allowing the City of Naperville to take over the local township’s road duties. They were all non-binding referendums, meaning the results do not require any action, but merely gauge voter opinion.

Test of Metal

Otto Wiegel founded Wiegel Tool Works the day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. This year, his three grandchildren mark the manufacturing company’s 75th anniversary. The Wood Dale IL family business has survived succession issues and dislocations in the global economy to become somewhat of a rare species: A midwestern American manufacturer in growth mode. Another story of persistence and survival from The Distance.

Chief of staff for powerful Chicago alderman makes lobbying dough on the side – ChicagoNow

Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, is one of Chicago’s most influential City Council members. His territory includes the city’s commercial center: River North and the Loop. As is the case throughout Chicago, local aldermen have tremendous sway over what gets built, how and when – perhaps none more so than Reilly. His chief of staff, Madeline Hill, is making money by lobbying city government on behalf of property developers.

Protesters Plan To Shut Down Mag Mile On Black Friday, Again – Downtown – DNAinfo

"Black Friday's protest will aim to disrupt Chicago's busiest shopping day and draw attention to the problem of gun-violence, segregation, racism, and police brutality in Chicago," the coalition said in a statement Monday.

Fenwick H.S. sues IHSA over blown call in state semifinals football playoff – Cook County Record

An Oak Park Catholic high school whose football team was robbed of a trip to the state championship game by an obviously blown call from officials overseeing the game has asked a Cook County judge to step in an overturn the game result.

Kamikaze squirrel gets revenge on Chicago Alderman Brookins – Chicago Tribune

Just weeks after he gave a fiery City Council speech decrying the menace of "aggressive squirrels, " Brookins was jumped by a kamikaze squirrel that leapt into the front wheel of his bike and lodged himself in the spokes, sending the alderman flying over the handlebars. The squirrel made the ultimate sacrifice. Comment: Ald. Brookins was in fact badly hurt so, more seriously, wishing him a fast recovery.

Chicago Democrats Cry over Trump, Bannon; Vow ‘Resistance’ – Breitbart

Over 400 Chicago Democrats gathered Sunday in a collective “shiva” — a Jewish term for mourning.

Chicago Bag Tax Is About Green, But Which Kind? – Better Government Association

Critics contend it is designed more to fill a budget hole than unburden landfills of material that won’t easily decompose.

Jitters about Trump tower property values – Sun-Times

Condo owners in Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower are fretting about property values in a Donald Trump America, and at least two sellers dropped their asking price after the election.

Combined mixed-income housing and libraries coming to Chicago – Archpaper

“Chicago will be one of the first cities using this type of partnership between housing and libraries to benefit and beautify our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This model will create spaces everyone can enjoy, and I hope will be the next great civic projects here in Chicago.”

Chicago firm plans to launch an open-outcry trading floor – Crain’s

Box Options Exchange is building the first new trading floor in Chicago in decades, bucking a trend of shrinking and shuttering pits nationwide.

Socialists Protest Trump, Capitalism In Chicago – The Daily Caller

The rally, which started at noon in Federal Plaza downtown and proceeded in front of the Trump Tower, was organized by the Chicago branch of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a radical leftist group which supports socialism, open borders, and a single Palestinian state.

How to raise house prices and inequality – The Grumpy Economist

Comment: Chicago has an affordable housing ordinance similar to the one criticized in this article, which we've written about earlier.

Cubs’ Ricketts up for top spot in Trump administration – Sun-Times

Cubs board member Todd Ricketts is up for a top spot in the Trump administration, meeting Saturday with president-elect Donald Trump and vice-president-elect Mike Pence.

Illinois Congressman’s Grandson Fatally Shot In Dispute Over Shoes – A.P.

A dispute over shoes led to the fatal shooting of the grandson of Illinois U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, Chicago police said Saturday.

Illinois employers could be fined for asking employee to like or retweet employer social media posts – Cook County Record

Illinois employers who try to boost their social media presence by having employees participate in their Facebook, Twitter and other online activities should reconsider that practice, a labor and employment attorney said during a recent interview.

Provost Signals Continued Support for Immigrants on Campus in Wake of Trump Election – Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago enrolls undocumented students and gives them access to private financial aid through the University. In his e-mail, Diermeier said the University would continue to do so and is “committed to raising more private funds for financial aid to assist international and undocumented students.”

Who’s with Emanuel in Rome? Some of his top campaign contributors – Chicago Tribune

Also on the trip to Rome: The leaders of four unions that have given Emanuel's campaign funds more than $1.3 million.

Wife dies, but man goes ahead with adoption they’d planned – Sun-Times

It had been Annette Steele’s dying wish that her husband follow through on the process they started together nearly four years earlier when they agreed to take Daniel into their home for foster care.

President-elect Trump to meet with Cubs’ Todd Ricketts | Chicago Sun-Times

It was unclear what Trump wanted to talk to Ricketts about.

Residential tax cheats cost Cook County millions – Sun-Times

A suspended Harvey police officer is among at least 8,171 Cook County property owners who wrongly received tax breaks over the past decade on homes they didn’t live in — costing more than $24 million, a burden other taxpayers had to make up.

Donald Trump’s misguided assault on sanctuary cities — Chicago included – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Wrong. Trump has said he is going after criminals only, who are among those protected by sanctuary city rules. The Tribune did not sort that out. Otherwise law abiding immigrants who are established here should not be deported, whether in a sanctuary city or not.

Emanuel’s infomercial won’t fix Chicago’s problems – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Dozens of Chicago radio stations suspended their programming on Nov. 14 to broadcast what sounded like a half-hour "infomercial" for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The free air time, spearheaded by the Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland, was framed as a substantive interview exploring critical issues facing our city. Instead, we were treated to a smorgasbord of Emanuel's campaign talking points.

US Pension Crisis: This is How Families Get Squeezed to Bail Out Pension Funds in Chicago – Wolf Street

Bankruptcy may still be the route to go. But until then, homeowners, renters, drivers, users of phones, etc. – in other words regular families who’re just sitting ducks – are going to get squeezed dry, in order to slow the momentum of the public-employee pension crisis eating up the city’s and the school district’s finances.

How DePaul students missed out on a timely lesson about Trump – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Tough talk, ugly speech — you've heard it all year from Donald Trump. His politically incorrect style of communication is everywhere, but it's harder to find on the campus of DePaul University, where the administration blocked another appearance by a controversial conservative speaker.

Trump could threaten Chicago city budget over “sanctuary city” status – Illinois News Network

Trump’s “First 100 Days” statement released in late October vowed to strip any sanctuary city of federal funding. Chicago relied on $1 billion in federal dollars in its 2016 budget and looks to seek $1.3 billion in the budget passed Wednesday.

O’Hare Airport low-wage workers threaten holiday-season strike – Sun-Times

Labor leaders Thursday said “hundreds” of low-wage workers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport have voted to strike, and warned that those employees may not show up during the busy holiday travel season.

Clock ticking for Rauner to sign $215M CPS teacher pension bill – Sun-Times

When the governor signed off on the deal giving Chicago $215 million for teacher pensions, it was with the unwritten understanding that CPS would get the money — but only if there was an elusive deal to save state pensions. And that’s unlikely to happen until Illinois has a permanent budget.

CTA approves $400M in borrowing for Red and Purple Lines – Sun-Times

The Chicago Transit Authority on Wednesday approved borrowing $400 million toward a $2.1 billion-dollar series of projects to revamp the Red and Purple L lines, hoping to secure federal matching funds before the end of President Barack Obama’s term.

Can Emanuel deliver on his promise to hire more police? – Sun-Times

Now comes the hard part: Delivering on the mayor’s $60 million first-year promise to fill 471 police vacancies, keep pace with rising retirements and still hire enough police officers in 2017 to add 250 patrol officers, 37 sergeants, 50 lieutenants, 92 field-training officers and 100 detectives. Comment: Remember that one of the most successful lies Rahm manufactured while in the Clinton Administration was "putting 100,000 new cops on the street." That never happened but he got away with the claim,...

$80M Seized By Chicago Police Ripped By ACLU, Conservative Group – DNAinfo

According to the ACLU report "Protected: Asset Forfeiture in Illinois," issued jointly with the Illinois Policy Institute, Chicago Police led all Illinois law enforcement agencies by seizing $80 million from 2005 to 2015. Even the State Police came in second at $58 million.

In Immigration Fight, Trump Could Yank City Funds — But Rahm Hopes He Won’t – Humboldt Park – DNAinfo Chicago

Comment: You gotta love this statement about what comprises the "fabric of our community: Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said Trump's vow to "immediately" deport up to 3 million immigrants who are "criminal and have criminal records," citing "gang members, drug dealers" would tear a hole in the "fabric of our community."

The tab on Emanuel’s series of tax hikes: $1,700 a year for average family – Chicago Tribune

Even with all of that, taxpayers may be asked for more money in the coming years.

Chicago to require pharmaceutical rep licenses despite industry objections – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday, over industry objections, requiring pharmaceutical sales representatives to carry a special license. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the ordinance is aimed at curbing opioid abuse by preventing "aggressive and deceptive marketing" by pharmaceutical representatives.

Another company moves HQ out of Illinois – Health Care News – Crain’s Chicago Business

Adello Biologics, formerly known as Therapeutic Proteins International, will keep its existing manufacturing facility at the Illinois Institute of Technology's tech park on the South Side and roughly 100 employees who work there. But about 15 executives and support staff are relocating the company headquarters to Piscataway, New Jersey, with plans to hire up to 70 scientists there. No layoffs are planned.

Taxing soda drinkers will produce new revenue, but may not produce hoped-for results – Cook County Record

The tax may not necessarily produce the kinds of results sought by supporters, including reduced obesity rates and enhanced revenues, according to an analysis from The Tax Foundation.

Grand jury impaneled in possible cover-up in Laquan McDonald case – Sun-Times

There’s no set amount of time for the grand jury, once impaneled, to reach a decision in the case. Comment: How high up did the obstruction go?

City Council approves Emanuel’s $8.2 billion budget – Sun-Times

Emanuel and select aldermen had a plane to Rome to catch to attend Archbishop Blase Cupich’s elevation to cardinal. They acted like it. The budget debate was the shortest in recent memory, and it was no debate at all.

Prairie State Problems Create Windy City Storms – Forbes

If you’re a taxpayer who lives in those overlapping districts, watch out for what could be a quadruple whammy: tax increases from all four governments, largely to deal with mounting retirement debt. Taxpayers are already on the hook for rising interest rates in the municipal market for the governments’ bond debt. Comment: It's on that consolidated basis that the number are so clearly insurmountable.

Killings up because mayor let CPD wither: police union official – Sun-Times

“When the mayor wants to look at who should ultimately bear the brunt of the blame for things that have gone wrong with public safety in Chicago, the first place he should look is in the mirror,” said Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police.

Chicago’s Navy Pier undergoing Internal Revenue Service audit – Crain’s

The IRS is auditing the nonprofit that runs Navy Pier to determine whether it properly reported income that isn't related to the primary purpose of the state's most-visited tourist attraction. The audit for 2013 is disclosed in Navy Pier Inc.'s 2015 tax form, which also reveals pay raises for several of its top executives and a 9 percent year-over-year increase in operating revenue to $45.2 million.

Evanston to Remain a ‘Sanctuary City,’ Mayor Proclaims – Evanston Patch

A totally wrong description in this article about what sanctuary city status means. BTW, I live in the suburb adjacent to Evanston. I've been hoping for a wall. A big wall....

Emanuel proposes changes to aldermanic pension plan – Sun-Times

Newly elected Chicago aldermen and citywide elected officials will have to serve longer to achieve the maximum 80 percent city pension under a surprise change tied to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to save the city’s largest pension fund.

Former Redflex CEO get 30 months for bribery in red light camera scheme – Illinois Review

The former chief executive of Chicago’s first red-light camera vendor was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in federal prison and over $2 million in restitution for paying bribes to a city official to help procure the contracts.

Chicago’s Airbnb Rules Are Unconstitutional Many Times Over, Lawsuit Argues – Reason

The city of Chicago is violating constitutional rights, hurting communities, and punishing responsible home owners with its new rules for Airbnb and other short term rental services. Those are just a few of the arguments made in a sweeping lawsuit filed Tuesday.

As crime surges, more neighborhoods are caught in its grip – Chicago Tribune

Over the past two years, violence in developing and more affluent areas close to the Loop has also spiked, giving more well-heeled Chicagoans a taste of the danger and fear that people in the city's poor neighborhoods have experienced for decades.

Will a lower credit rating raise interest costs for the Chicago Public Schools? Truth in Accounting

Our media slavishly continues to bow to credit rating companies as authorities. This despite their miserable failures leading to the financial crisis of 2007-2009, and significant financial research suggesting that credit ratings follow, rather than lead, changes in credit quality reflected in market prices (and interest rates). One could have relied on accounting results alone to gauge the deterioration in CPS’ financial condition.

Cook County beverage tax spells end to soft-drink bargains – Chicago Tribune

Starting next July, the four-for-$10 deal will cost you $15.76 in Cook County. That's the price after applying Board President Toni Preckwinkle's new penny-an-ounce beverage tax. It doesn't include sales taxes.

Vrdolyak indicted on income tax evasion, impeding IRS – Sun-Times

Onetime powerhouse Chicago alderman Edward R. Vrdolyak, who went to prison after pleading guilty to a high-profile financial scam in 2008, has been indicted on charges of impeding the IRS and income tax evasion.

Stocks outperformed real estate in Chicago the past 6 years – Crain’s

Chicagoans who bought a home in 2010 have reaped less than one-third the financial reward that putting the same money into the stock market would have given them, according to a new Redfin report, linked here.

Editorial: No way all those absent Chicago teachers are ill – Sun-Times

About one of every four Chicago Public Schools teachers misses more than 10 days of school a year. Similar rates of absenteeism occur at schools elsewhere in the state.

Chicago School District Shelves Bond Sale – The Bond Buyer

The junk-rated district, which would have headed into the market with another downgrade fresh on investor minds, struggled with lackluster interest in its last public market bond sale in February.

Downtown Chicago rents may start to ease, while condo prices rise, report says – Chicago Tribune

The surge in new construction has left more units available than at any time since 2009 and the number occupied by renters has dipped to 92.2 percent.

The Election and Your Startup – Points and Figures

Great advice from an angel investor, Jeff Carter: Stay out of politics and let your employees do as they choose. The election doesn't matter to young companies.

Why GrubHub CEO Is Still in Deep You Know What – Fox Business

"There is something truly ironic about the way some executives say they support diversity and inclusion, unless of course you happen to disagree with their narrow point of view on the topic. In that case, tolerance be damned, don’t let the door hit you on your way out."

Chicago Housing Authority tests time limits for vouchers – Crain’s

The Chicago Housing Authority is preparing to roll out a pilot program that would cut off housing vouchers for some people after eight years, an attempt to nudge more recipients into the workforce and shrink the long waiting list for rental assistance.

Chicago sees a surge of data center construction to support the cloud – Crain’s

Like the rest of the country, Chicago is enjoying a wave of construction of data centers, the big, nondescript industrial buildings that house the servers that deliver Facebook posts to smartphones, Netflix to TVs and business software to laptops.

Chicago To Remain A Sanctuary City, Despite Trump’s Election: Rahm – DNAinfo

Trump vowed to impose financial penalties on sanctuary cities that shelter undocumented immigrants. There are 37 sanctuary cities in the United States.

In case you need some humor now – Power Line

Great cartoons and pictures.

Court’s injunction of Advocate, NorthShore merger could have future ramifications for health care industry – Cook County Record

“I do think you’ll continue to see mergers that are supported at the state and local levels which the federal government, specifically the FTC, may not support.”

Chicago Man Describes Attack; Crowd Yelled ‘That’s A White Boy Trump Supporter’ – CBS Chicago

This attack has gotten national media attention.

Oak Park seeks tax increase of nearly 9 percent – Oak Leaves

Comment: Oak Park is a very interesting case. Already highly taxed, they are one of the few making an honest effort to measure their true pension liability. And, so far, they seem willing to raise taxes to try to address it. We'll continue to watch it.

Rauner urged to take a stand against Trump sanctuary city threat – Sun-Times

A pair of influential aldermen demanded Friday that Gov. Bruce Rauner “stand up for Chicago” and against President-elect Donald Trump’s first 100 days promise to cut off federal funding to so-called “sanctuary” cities. Prediction: Rauner will stay out of it but this will be a big issue and Chicago will lose.

Traders Plan Supercharged Chicago-to-Tokyo Network – Bloomberg

Some of the world’s top trading firms have agreed to build a faster data transmission network between Chicago and Tokyo, according to a person familiar with the matter, a move that would accelerate trading between two of the major centers of finance.

‘Steve Harvey Show’ to leave Chicago in May – Feder

In a blow to Chicago’s television production community, Steve Harvey is moving his nationally syndicated daytime talk show to Los Angeles at the end of the current season, sources said Friday. More than 100 jobs are expected to be lost when the show ceases production in May at NBC Tower, where it has been based since 2012. Official announcement of the move is expected soon.

Marist High School cancels classes amid threats of protests – Daily Southtown

Marist High School in Mount Greenwood canceled classes Friday for safety concerns after reports that Black Lives Matter Youth would protest at the school, officials said.

City races to nab $1.1 billion for CTA before Obama departs – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will ask the City Council to meet in special session on Nov. 30 to authorize a transit tax-increment financing district in the race to nail down $1.1 billion in federal grants to modernize the CTA Red Line before President Barack Obama leaves office.

Rahm pitches teacher contract after bond rating drop – Sun-Times

One day after the Chicago Public Schools’ bond rating dropped even deeper into junk status, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday tried to sell the new teachers contract partially responsible for the latest reduction.

Video shows mob brutally beating Chicago man who voted Trump

Video footage shows a mob of young black men in Chicago punching, stomping and kicking a middle-age white man whom they say voted for President-elect Donald Trump. While the mob is beating the man, bystanders are cheering on the violence and screaming, “You voted Trump” and “don’t vote Trump.” Where are Obama and Hillary to denounce mounting violence like this?

Cook County Board OKs penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages – Sun-Times

The tax — which the beverage industry strongly opposes — will go into effect on July 1, 2017. It means the cost of a 99-cent can of soda would increase to $1.11; a 20-ounce bottle, from $2.19 to $2.39.

Some Trump detractors struggling with feelings of despair; comfort hugs at DePaul – Chicago Tribune

For a rather different reaction, the video linked here was huge on social media last night. Crass but hilarious, and probably in sync with half the country.

Foul-mouthed cop dumped from Metropolitan Sanitary District job – Sun-Times

Comment: This is the guy we wrote about who was caught on open mic saying, "Nobody around here really gives a fuck." He should have been criminally prosecuted long ago -- theft of wages and other charges.

Jake Arrieta’s political tweet gets Theo Epstein’s attention at GM meetings – Chicago Tribune

Jake's tweet: "Time for Hollywood to pony up and head for the border."

DuPage voters send ‘overwhelming mandate’ for government consolidation – Daily Herald

In seven DuPage County townships and one city on Election Day, voters sent a signal that they favor government consolidation. Their answers to ballot questions about road services, mosquito abatement and township government transmitted the message, which leaders say they got from "overwhelming" voter support of governments combining when appropriate.

Protesters block entrance to Trump Tower – Chicago Tribune

"No Trump, No KKK, No Fascists USA" and "Not my president!" were among chants shouted by the crowd. Comment: If the colors, font and layout of those signs look familiar, maybe that's because of the one linked here, bearing the name at the bottom of Americans United for Change, which was central to the Project Veritas videos.

Chicago on Our Minds – Observer

There is something fundamentally wrong here. Chicago used to be known as the city that worked. Whether it was the Daley machine or Midwestern values, it was a solid, friendly place. Now, fear and a palpable lack of optimism pervade too many neighborhoods.

Clashes as Brother of Man Shot by Chicago Officer Is Charged – ABC News

A predominantly white neighborhood on Chicago's southwest side has been rocked by confrontations between protesters and police supporters for the second time since the weekend's fatal shooting of a black man by police. Joshua Beal, 25, of Indianapolis, was fatally shot Saturday during a confrontation over whether a funeral caravan was blocking a fire lane.

What Now For Progressives? – Robert Creamer – Huffington Post

"We cannot allow the other side to frame who is and who is not the 'political establishment' that the public rejected last night, " says Creamer, the Chicago thug at the center of the DNC's violence incitement scandal. Yes, actually, we can frame it, and Creamer is the most nauseating blot on the picture.

Emanuel gives City Council a pep talk on morning after earthquake – Sun-Times

What Rahm really wanted to say: "You think you're pissed?  I fed the public that 'mission accomplished' crap and would have had an excuse to split town by taking an appointment from Hillary. Now I'm stuck here in this sinkhole with you slugs."

Emanuel’s $8.2B budget, $50M revenue package clear first hurdles – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $8.2 billion 2017 budget sailed through a City Council committee on Monday along with the $50 million revenue package needed to help pay for it and the mayor’s promised police hiring surge.

Trump’s Chicago skyscraper poses challenge for city’s tour guides – Sun-Times

If you need tips to keep this year’s holidays civil, look no further than Chicago’s tour guides, who have become masters at easing political tension.

Number of cranes at work in Chicago hits 8-year high – Chicago Tribune

Among 48 downtown Chicago projects this year, 31 have been residential and there have been six office and six hotel towers. Comment: But the Tale of Two Cities continues -- it's almost all in the central business district.

Rahm To Take To The Airwaves To Discuss Issues Facing Chicago – DNAinfo

On Monday, more than 40 radio stations are set to broadcast the commercial-free 30-minute event, where Emanuel — and other guests from the mayor's office — will field questions from Bill Kurtis as well as those submitted by residents. Prediction: Bill Kurtis will have no idea what the right questions are.

Critics say teacher pension pickups oppress taxpayers – Chicago City Wire

The deal will cost Chicago Public Schools (CPS) close to $9.5 billion over the life of the deal, and a large chunk of the cost will be pension pickups, in which the district “picks up” the bulk of teacher pensions after a small contribution from teachers' salaries.

Chicagoans Cast Nearly 400,000 Votes Before Election Day, Officials Say – DNAinfo

Chicagoans determined to cast their votes in the presidential election endured long lines throughout the city and shattered the early voting record set in 2008 by 25 percent, officials said.

A Chicago faceoff: Black vs. blue protests in Mount Greenwood – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Black protesters chant, "CPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today?" A white man with a megaphone demands, "What are you gonna do now, Buckwheat?"

Chicago School District Readies New Offering – The Bond Buyer

The junk-rated Chicago Public Schools returns to the market next week with a $426 million sale, tapping a portion of its more than $1 billion of new money and refunding authority approved by the board in 2015 and 2016.

Strings attached to retailers’ share of Rahm’s 7-cents-a-bag tax – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making it somewhat difficult for retailers to take their cut of a proposed 7-cents-a-bag tax on paper and plastic bags. A revenue ordinance introduced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting attaches strings before retailers can claim their two-cents-a-bag share.

Cook County Board To Vote On Sugary Drink Tax – CBS Chicago

Opponents call it a hardship on families and the businesses that sell soda pop, but County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she needs the $223.8 million a year the penny-an-ounce tax would raise. The board could vote on it in the coming week. If implemented, it would take effect July 1.

Cook County voters to decide fate of recorder of deeds office – Chicago Tribune- Chicago Tribune

It comes in the form of a referendum question on Tuesday's ballot that lets them have the final say on whether the duties of the recorder of deeds should be transferred to the county clerk. If approved, the merger would happen in 2020.

Black Caucus draws line in sand over O’Hare wage theft claims – Sun-Times

The City Council’s Black Caucus is declaring its opposition to giving United Airlines control over concessions and contracts at its O’Hare Airport terminal in retaliation for what aldermen call the airline’s indifference to allegations of wage theft at O’Hare.

As killings surge, Chicago police solve fewer homicides – The Washington Post

The department has gone from having one of the best clearance rates nationwide to one of the worst.

What plagues Clinton in the final days: The Chicago Way – John Kass – Chicago Tribune

"It's a ripe mess and voters know it. It's right there in front of them. And this has outraged many liberal pundits, who perpetuate the myth that they speak truth to power even as they rally around the desperate establishment queen. The wits of our modern Versailles continue to ridicule voters who dare think the system is rigged, and call them foolish, deplorable hicks or mentally ill." John Kass at his best in this article.

Airbnb hosts: City home-sharing regulations unconstitutional, trample property owners’ rights – Cook County Record

Saying the city’s new regulations on online home-sharing services subject Chicago homeowners to a “literally incomprehensible” and “dizzying” array of rules - with severe potential penalties for breaking those rules – a group claiming to represent a number of Chicago property owners who list their properties on Airbnb and similar home-sharing sites has sued Chicago City Hall, calling on a federal judge to declare the city’s new ordinance unconstitutional.

‘Rahmemail’: Wikileaks shows Emanuel’s use of personal domain – Chicago Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has used personal email accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom email domain that's similar to the one Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used on a private email server as secretary of state.

Moody’s: Unfunded pension liabilities now exceed debt for many large US local governments – Moody’s

The local governments with the highest adjusted net pension liability as a percentage of operating revenue for FY 2015 are Chicago (Ba1 negative) at 719%, Dallas (Aa3 negative) at 549%, Phoenix (Aa1 negative) at 434%, Houston (Aa3 negative) at 414%, and Los Angeles (Aa2 stable) at 407%. Comment: It's true for the state, too, where pension liability vastly exceeds other debt.

Emanuel to try again to refinance $91M Michael Reese loan – Sun-Times

For the second time in five years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will try and lighten the load of a $91 million financial albatross: the Michael Reese Hospital site purchased for an Olympic Village before Chicago’s Olympic-hosting dream turned into a nightmare.

Public Finance: Raining on Chicago’s Parade – Stump

Mary Pat Campbell, an actuary, looks at the the numbers: "I come here to bury Chicago, not to join in the party."  

Preckwinkle says soft drink tax needed, in part, to help overweight Blacks – Chicago Defender

Coca-Colas, Pepsi and Sprite are all soft drink brands that for decades have been popular among Black consumers in Chicago and America for generations. Preckwinkle has proposed a penny-an-ounce sweetened beverage tax for consumers in Cook County. She said the plan could help Cook County and thousands of Blacks who struggled to stay healthy and in shape. “I don’t want to mislead you. This is a revenue-generating idea, but this also benefits the consumer health,” Preckwinkle said.

Digital billboard extension ‘makes a bad deal worse,’ critics say – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was accused Thursday of “making a bad deal worse” by extending for four more years a 20-year digital billboard agreement that left Chicago taxpayers on the short end of the stick.

CPS principals in line for about $3 million in raises – Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools announced $3 million in raises to school leaders the same week that its teachers ratified their new $9.4 billion contract.

Clinton Thug Robert Creamer, Schakowsky Husband, Planned Obamacare in Jail – The American Thinker

Robert Creamer, founder and partner of Democracy Partners, the group behind the organized violence at Trump rallies, as shown in the video by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas, is no ordinary agitator. Creamer, a convicted felon, is arguably the spiritual godfather of ObamaCare and much of the current progressive left agenda. Schakowsky's camaign is a client of Democracy Partners.

Here Are All the Midwest Startups Backed By the CIA (That We Know Of) – Chicago Inno

Chicago's Geofeedia, Narrative Science, Cleversafe and Initiate Systems among the companies funded by IQT.

Trading Giants Clash Over Chicago Exchange’s Speed-Bump Proposal – WSJ

The Chicago exchange, which handles a sliver of U.S. stock-trading volume, says it wants to reduce costs for investors and thwart aggressive high-frequency-trading strategies by slowing down trading for some orders but not others.

Red-light and speed cam ticket suit could cost city $200 million – Sun-Times

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jacie Zolna said Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy’s ruling could ultimately force Chicago taxpayers to refund $200 million in fines and late fees for tickets issued in error since the 2003 inception of a red-light camera program built on a $2 million bribery scandal.

Praise for Chicago Budget, With Caveats – The Bond Buyer

Chicago's proposed $8.2 billion 2017 budget won the Civic Federation of Chicago's endorsement in recognition of the city's progress in tackling pension funding shortfalls and shedding poor financial practices.

Democracy in action — Chicago-style -Truth in Accounting

Truth in Accounting goes to a Chicago City Council budget hearing: "Budgets are not results.  Budgets are prospective planning documents.  Results arrive, albeit imperfectly, in the audited annual financial statements.  Looking at those statements, it is very difficult to conclude that Chicago is in better shape today than it was five years ago."

Chicago employers relax office schedules, offer incentives to get people to vote – Chicago Tribune

To help get voters to the polls, some employers are relaxing workers' schedules, shutting down outright or dangling rewards to encourage voter turnout.

Wisconsin, Illinois Taking Input On Amtrak Expansion Between Milwaukee, Chicago – Wisconsin Public Radio

The two states are taking public comment on an environmental assessment for adding three round trips per day on Amtrak's Hiawatha Line, for a new total of 10 round trips each day. Comment: Environmental assessment needed for this? Any wonder why it's so hard to get anything done?

Calls for Investigations Heat Up in Rep. Janice Schakowsky’s District – Observer

Concerned Illinois citizens join Trump supporter in peaceful protest, demand end to political violence.

Civic Federation endorses Emanuel’s $8.2B budget, but . . . – Sun-Times

Comment: Hogwash. As we've written before, the Civic Federation went soft and fled the battlefield a few years ago. We repeat out position that bankruptcy is unavoidable, eventually, for Chicago.

Palatine School Referendum Stirs Anger – CBS Chicago

Voters in Palatine are being asked to approve a plan to borrow $130 million for two new schools, including one that would be built on a park.

GOP super PAC video highlights allegations Creamer, Schakowsky, Dems incited violence at Trump rallies – The Hill

The nearly minutelong spot also takes aim at Creamer’s wife, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and points to a story that mentions that on the night Trump canceled his rally in Chicago, Schakowsky was photographed at a protest holding a sign that calls Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) the “gang of hate.” The super PAC’s video calls on viewers to urge Congress to investigate Schakowsky.

Civic Federation Supports Cook County’s FY2017 Budget – The Civic Federation

Their full analysis is linked here. Comment: This report is as garbled and obfuscated as the county's own budget documents. For example, try to answer these basic questions: What is the total pension contribution budgeted for 2017 (not just the supplement contribution)? How does that compare to the ARC or ADC for the pension for 2017 -- what are those numbers? Good luck finding them. You need those numbers to see how badly the pension will continue to be underfunded. There's...

17 killed as Chicago sees deadliest weekend of the year – USA Today

At least 17 people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in shootings since Friday in the nation’s third-largest city, marking the deadliest weekend in what has been the city’s most violent year in more than a decade.

Campaign 2016 Was Born and Bred in Obama’s Hometown – Observer

America may soon be subject to the same single-party rule Chicago enjoys—complete with corruption and bankruptcy.

New CTU contract could make pension hole even bigger – Reboot

By Sheila Weinberg, Truth in Accounting Executive Director.

Some Cities Want Their Noncitizen Immigrants to Vote – Bloomberg Politics

Chicago already allows them to take part in elected parent advisory councils but not to vote in school board elections.

Clinton Manager Mook Lied About Creamer [Husband of Jan Schakowsky] Relationship, Podesta Emails Reveal – Zero Hedge

Comment: You don't need the emails to prove Mook lied about this, Creamer brags on the most recent video that he is on the phone every morning with the campaign! Comment: You don't need the emails to prove Mook lied about this, Creamer brags on the most recent video that he is on the phone every morning with the campaign!

World Series spending not big boon to local economy, experts say – Sun-Times

Because most fans attending this weekend’s games are from Chicago, the money they spend would have been spent elsewhere in the city even if the World Series wasn’t happening. “You really need to look at who came to Chicago and spent money they wouldn’t have otherwise spent there,” said an economist.

Surviving A Shot To The Throat, Iconic Chicago Anthem Singer Returns To World Series – NPR

Read this incredible story about Wayne Messmer.

Schakowsky’s headaches continue over husband’s dirty campaign tricks – Illinois Review

A woman in Schakowsky's district has organized a large protest demanding criminal enforcement of the conduct shown in the Project Veritas videos. Details linked here. We'll be writing about that shortly.

Big Soda digs in for a fight over proposed Cook County beverage tax – Chicago Tribune

As it has in other locales, the soda industry is digging in to fight a proposed sweetened beverage tax, which would add a penny-per-ounce to the cost of sugar- and artificially sweetened drinks if approved by Cook County commissioners next month.

Brazen lies by Clinton campaign about connection to Chicagoan Robert Creamer’s violence program – Washington Times

“These individuals no longer have a relationship with the DNC. They have never had a relationship with the Clinton campaign,” said Mr. Mook, referring to Mr. Creamer and Mr. Foval. But subsequently released video shows Creamer (husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky) saying he's on the phone with the campaign every morning and that he implemented Hillary's personal request to unleash "Donald's Ducks."

Civic Federation report on Chicago Public Schools transparency issues

An Issue Brief on the Chicago Public Schools transparency -- or lack thereof.

Blackstone boss Jonathan Gray likes Chicago’s ‘powerful urbanization story’ – Crain’s

Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone Group, is bullish on the city for the same reason many investors are: Big companies like McDonald's, ConAgra and Kraft Heinz are moving their headquarters here, along with thousands of jobs.

Chicago’s Public Good Launches Nationally – Tech.Co

The company was founded in 2013 and until recently served local Chicago non-profits. They now have over 1 million charities on their site for which they can help raise awareness and funding. They have created, in a sense, a different category of social network.

Chicago aldermen want guarantee new loan fund will boost needy areas – Chicago Tribune

The mayor included the Catalyst Investment Fund, which is the brainchild of city Treasurer Kurt Summers, in his 2017 budget. Summers likes to call it Fund 77 — a reference to the number of official city neighborhoods. Comment: This is a big mistake. The money will be politicized and much of it lost. Summers said he expects a good return on the investments.  Summers said, "It's not there's additional real risk. It's that there's additional perceived risk." Nonsense. There are...

Chicago politicians angry over losing World Series ticket perk – Illinois Policy

Alderman Milly Santiago, 31st Ward, said, “I’m a poor alderman, I cannot even afford to buy a $1,000 ticket. I cannot afford that.” Santiago earns $116,208 a year.

40 Chicago aldermen blow off annual ethics board hearing – City Limits

For reform-minded aldermen, annual budget hearings are an opportune time to address this problem. But at the Chicago Board of Ethics budget hearing Oct. 21, a mere 10 of 50 city aldermen bothered to show up. The hearing lasted less than five minutes.

Brown: County’s $13 minimum wage puts $15 in sight – Sun-Times

Comment: No, it puts the real minimum wage in sight -- zero. This will be a disaster but, then again, disaster is inevitable for other reasons.

Chicago Board of Education approves $1 billion in more borrowing – Sun-Times

Comment: Hey, why not? Nobody will be here to pay it back anyway. This has gone beyond laughable.

Alinskyite Tactics, Robert Creamer [Jan Schakowsky’s Husband], and Us: Project Veritas – National Review

Comment: Chicago is its birthplace and, as this article says, "The deeper problem is the ideology behind all of this, which goes far beyond the few operatives featured in the videos. Alinskyite leftists quite simply do not believe in liberal democracy, which is why they’re so willing to violate its norms."

Cook County approves $13 minimum wage; some suburbs consider opting out – Daily Herald

Several Northwest suburbs said they'll consider opting out of a gradual increase in the minimum wage approved by the Cook County Board Wednesday despite the opinion of the state's attorney's office that the measure was beyond the county's legal authority to enact.

Aldermen unleash their anger about Cubs yanking ticket offer – Sun-Times

"Insulting, humiliating," says one alderwoman. Comment: Unbelieveable.

Clout vs. kids: How CPS and CTU crush students’ charter school chances – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"We think Chicagoans will remember — and regret — this contract for another reason: It imperils the education of untold thousands of schoolchildren who have yet to step foot in a CPS classroom."

Hotwire,, other online travel sites to pay Lombard $459K to settle hotel taxes lawsuit – Cook County Record

The village of Lombard will reap a $459,000 payday from the operators of six of the biggest online travel websites – the only Illinois municipality allowed to do so - after a federal judge signed off on a deal to end a years-long court fight over claims the travel sites had stiffed Lombard and other suburban Chicago communities of hotel taxes.

Case Shiller: Chicago Home Prices Record Another Record Gain

The good news is that low home inventories are finally starting to have a significant impact on Chicago area home prices as we would expect. The sad news is still the fact that we are in 4th place from the bottom of 20 metro areas in terms of year over year gains.

Free-tuition activists stoked over arrests for blocking Michigan Ave – CampusReform

Even though the students expressed disgust with the budget crisis in May, they still demonstrated vehemently in favor of free tuition, claiming students only have to pay for school because billionaires are not paying their “fair share.”

Robyn Gabel: Meet Illinois’ Maoist State Representative – New Zeal

Comment: No surprise to those of us who have to live under her, but holy crap -- read it. Not familiar with the author but the assertions check out as far as I can tell. And I asked Gabel to comment or refute anything that's inaccurate -- got no response. She's a Schakowsky protege, which is also no surprise.

Cubs Won’t Offer Aldermen World Series Tickets … And They’re Furious – DNAinfo

City officials ruled that accepting the tickets would violate ethics rules — and aldermen are mad.

The Democrats’ dirty tricks against Donald Trump – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Robert Creamer, an Alinskyite from Evanston, admits to being the brains behind hiring and paying for Trump disruptors. He was also sentenced to five months in prison for bank fraud and a tax violations. Neither the mainstream media nor Republicans have sufficiently exposed these dirty tricks and their intent to swing elections toward the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Federal authorities — from the compromised FBI to higher ups in the Justice Department — won’t do anything about it either,...

Lincolnwood officials could explore ways to control police pension costs – Lincolnwood Review

An increase in police pension fund contributions this year could take away more than $200,000 Lincolnwood would use for general fund operations, prompting village officials to figure out how to control mounting pension costs going forward. Just another of similar stories happening across the state with no end in sight.

Chicago to propose restrictive licensing for pharmaceutical reps – Illinois Policy

A proposal to license pharmaceutical reps amounts to costly fees and red tape that will do little to promote public health and safety.

DePaul University forbids College Republicans’ posting of ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ poster – The Washington Post

Comment: Even the Washington Post got this right: "DePaul is a private university, so the First Amendment doesn’t restrict its ability to block such speech. But we have a First Amendment right to criticize DePaul (especially when it claims to be “committed to fostering a community that welcomes open discourse”), and I think we should." Shame on DePaul.

Chicago School Board to Weigh $840 Million of New Bonds – The Bond Buyer

Junk-rated Chicago Public Schools will ask its Board of Education for authority to sell up to $840 million of bonds backed by a new citywide capital improvement tax levy and to refund up to $160 million more.

Teacher deal makes CPS reauthorize $5.4 billion operating budget – Sun-Times

The district also has yet to release cost details of the agreement it reached with the Chicago Teachers Union just in time to avoid a strike. Bittner said all those details will be released once the CTU’s 25,000 members ratify the agreement into a contract.

Area officials look to address municipal pension funds – Vernon Hills Review

Merge the funds, they say. Comment: Won't do anything to reduce the unfunded liability. Just more fiddling around the edges.

Video Part III – Chicago’s Robert Creamer Confirms Hillary Involvement in Illegal Coordination – Project Veritas

Comment: Chicago is the epicenter of what's turning into the next Watergate. This video is a smoking gun. Creamer is husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky. And to all you who rant and rave about Clinton and Schakowsky as champions of the effort to overturn the Citizens United case and control dark money in politics, I ask, "Where are your Messiahs now?"

New CTA budget shows ridership decline, but no fare hikes -Crain’s

The budget assumes no increase in wage rates for unionized bus drivers and train personnel, even though the current contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union expired at the end of 2015. Negotiations for a new pact continue. At least equally important, the CTA projects that the number of paying riders will decline in 2017 for the fifth year in a row.

Wrigleyville becoming refined, redefined – Chicago Tribune

Tom Ricketts, chief architect of the massive overhaul that is underway, envisions the day when Wrigley and its surrounding neighborhood will hold the appeal of a European plaza — one where tourists are drawn to the mere dramatic presence of a landmark. Only in this case, it's not the ancient St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, it's Wrigley.

Longtime state Democratic political operative ensnarled in video controversy – Chicago Tribune

Robert Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, has worked for a long list of dirtballs.

Chicago Update: Is It Rauner’s Fault? – Stump

A thorough look by actuary Mary Pat Campbell.

Top judges resign at troubled Social Security Chicago headquarters –

Two key resignations follow another management reassignment this week amid multiple federal investigations into corruption and cover-up at the region’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

Clinton Thug Robert Creamer, of Chicago, Planned Obamacare in Jail – American Thinker

Robert Creamer, founder and partner of Democracy Partners, the group behind the organized violence at Trump rallies, as shown in the video by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas, is no ordinary agitator. Creamer, a convicted felon, is arguably the spiritual godfather of ObamaCare and much of the current progressive left agenda.

Chicago Public Schools enrollment 11,000 less than prior year – Chicago Tribune

The district said 381,349 students were in class on the 20th day of the school year. That number includes all schools that operate under the CPS umbrella, including privately run charter schools and alternative learning programs.

How Madigan left the Cubs in the dark – Illinois Policy

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s grip on the state’s legislative process once delayed the Cubs’ quest for lights at Wrigley Field – and 30 years later, the Cubs are still feuding with politicians.

Long-simmering food truck fight heats up on Chicago streets, in court – Chicago Tribune

"The city just hasn't given us more food truck zones, so we're all as food truck operators forced to do these crazy things, like using spot cars and getting there at 5 a.m."

Awkward Cubs tickets ethics issue leads to short budget hearing – Chicago Tribune

Given Chicago's political history, it probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that the annual Board of Ethics budget hearing lasted all of five minutes.

Health Care Council of Chicago is created – Crain’s

The Health Care Council of Chicago, a nonprofit, has 15 founding members so far. They include Walgreens, Aon, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Oak Street Health, UnitedHealthcare and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. The group hopes to get to 50 members by the end of the year.

Chicago building inspector pleads guilty to asking for bribe – Sun-Times

Comment: There's no way anybody should believe this. Not in Chicago.

Video Puts Democrats on Defensive About Dirty Tricks – The New York Times

Comment: The national media is finally waking up to the gravity of the scandal, which is centered on violence at a cancelled Trump rally in Chicago and the husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

How Emanuel’s police lawsuit budget puts more burden on taxpayers – Chicago Reporter

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget continues a long history in Chicago of questionable fiscal management of misconduct lawsuits. From 2012 to 2015, the city spent more than $263 million on settlements, judgments and outside legal counsel for police misconduct. But only $70 million was budgeted for those costs, and the city issued bonds to cover them. At the high interest rate Chicago paid, that borrowing will cost taxpayers more than double over the life of the 30-year bonds.

Human Service Backlog Leaves Mentally Ill Sitting in Jail – WTTW

On any given day in Cook County courts, there are between 20 and 40 defendants who have been deemed unfit to stand trial because of mental illness and are remanded to a mental health facility.

Chicago Readies $1.1 Billion O Hare Refunding – The Bond Buyer

The airport paper is one of the city's more digestible revenue-backed credits because it is generally insulated from the city's pension and budget ills.

Actuarial Report on Police and Firefighter Pensions Accepted – Evanston RoundTable

Council voted to accept a police and fire actuarial pension report that calls for a 2.1% increase in Evanston property taxes in order to fill an $800,000 gap caused by a change in life expectancy actuarial assumptions. No changes were made to the assumed rate of return on pension fund investments, currently 6.5%, even though both funds returned less than that – 3.87% for fire and 5.26% for police.

Lasonde: Schakowsky should resign over video – Chicago Daily Herald

At a news conference Wednesday in front of Schakowsky's Evanston office, Lasonde accused the longtime Democratic congresswoman of being a party to activities shown on the video, which included discussions on how to win elections and orchestrate mayhem at a March rally for Donald Trump in Chicago.

CTU House of Delegates recommends new contract – Sun-Times

Meeting Wednesday night, hundreds of delegates discussed the tentative agreement that will net them at least $100 million more in total benefits than a January deal that got shot down. Just one little problem: not enough money to pay for it.

Jan Schakowsky Accused of ‘Orchestrated Political Violence’ – Observer

Joan McCarthy Lasonde calls for resignation in light of tactics that don't sit well with good-government types

Nearly half of city 911 call takers on leave, sparking OT problem – Sun-Times

Chicago’s 911 emergency center is still struggling to get a handle on runaway overtime because 49 percent of call takers are on “some type of” absence tied to the Family and Medical Leave Act, aldermen were told Wednesday.

Woman Beat Rapist With Crowbar, Knocked Him Out, Prosecutors Say – DNAinfo Chicago

See, we do publish good news when we see it.

Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud – Chicago Tribune

Creamer is the husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. In 2006, he was sentenced to five months in federal prison for bank fraud and a tax violation. Comment: Jan Schakowsky is up to her eyeballs in this.

Chicago pot calls Chicago kettle black again – Truth in Accounting

Rahm claims a balanced budge, but in each of the Emanuel years, the city has spent at least a billion dollars more than it took in.

Ald. Willie Cochran under federal investigation: sources – Sun-Times

The Sun-Times reported Oct. 8 that records show Cochran paid himself more than $115,000 from his campaign fund over a three-year span.

How Chicago’s Rivers Will Unite the City – CityLab

As the Riverwalk enters its final stage, its success has spurred a citywide push to reinvest not only in the Chicago River, but the Des Plains and Calumet rivers as well. Ross Barney consulted with the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council on the plan for Great Rivers Chicago, which lays of a vision for transforming all three bodies of water by 2040.

GE opening microfactory in Chicago to build industrial prototypes – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago manufacturing facility, set to open in December, will be the first for Fuse, a new GE crowdsourcing initiative to create and build innovative industrial products. One of the first challenges on the Fuse drawing board, for example, is finding a new way to quickly inspect a hot jet engine between flights.

Schakowsky’s husband is second head to fall after video suggests group incited violence at Trump rallies – CNN

Robert Creamer -- husband of Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky -- announced his resignation in a statement after conservative activist James O'Keefe released a video under his organization Project Veritas Action, which showed Creamer and other operatives purportedly discussing methods for inciting violence at rallies for the Republican nominee.  

Voter Fraud: The Second Video With Chicagoan Robert Creamer – YouTube

Husband of Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Preckwinkle wants to give commissioners $500K each for projects – Chicago Tribune

As she tries to persuade commissioners to vote for a beverage tax, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to give each board member control over a pot of money for local projects.

Chicago could become first city to bargain cap on charter schools – Sun-Times

Contained in the deal to be considered this week by Chicago Teachers Union delegates is a provision to impose limits on both the number of charter schools in Chicago Public Schools as well as those schools’ total enrollment over the duration of the four-year agreement. Comment: Rahm must have forgotten to mention that earlier.

Brown: Clerk Brown offers generous amnesty—right before election – Sun-Times

It’s probably just a coincidence that Brown is making this generous offer three weeks before an election in which her name appears on the ballot. It might even be a coincidence that news of the amnesty program was disseminated via fliers, posters and emails bearing Brown’s smiling photo. I’m only surprised she didn’t air television commercials.

Water reclamation district salaries average nearly $100,000 – Daily Herald

At nearly $100,000 a year, the average salary for employees of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District ranks near the top of public agencies in the state, higher than Cook County, Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Juggling Books in Chicago – Barron’s

"It’s perfect for politicians who think only in the short term. Neither the school district nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel could provide a cost estimate for the new contract."

CPS may pay $50M to entice older teachers to retire in June – Sun-Times

Comment: This deal stinks to high heaven -- based on what we know and much more we haven't been told (which it's safe to assume is ugly). The cost of the bribes to get teachers to retire early is can-kicked to next year -- we know that. Among other things that we haven't been told is the effect on the CPS pension. It appears that further costs of the deal are also being buried in future pension costs. It's...

Where Republicans Live in Chicago – Chicago Magazine

Chicago may be synonymous with the Dems, but there are exceptions. You just need to know where to look.

Orland Park mayor’s pay raise would spike pension – Daily Southtown

If Orland Park trustees vote yes on a plan more than tripling the mayor's salary to $150,000 a year, it will lead to a big spike in Mayor Dan McLaughlin's future pension, a Daily Southtown analysis found.

Legally Blind Couple Robbed at Gunpoint of Cash, Cane and Walker – NBC Chicago

Once a month Joyce and Roger Alexander walk from their South Side home to their local bank to cash their social security check and pay bills—but this time they were robbed of their checks, walker and cane.

Chicago and Illinois Update: Strike Averted, but At What Cost? – Stump

Actuary and numbers wonk Mary Pat Campbell takes a comprehensive look. "It’s not at all clear that Chicago can pay for this contract for more than a year, if that," she says.

Chicago Schools Labor Deal Boosted by TIF Infusion -The Bond Buyer

A reliable source of revenue or a one-time shot? The city is now claiming it's a sustainable, recurring source.

Business moves in and out of Chicago area are overrated – Blogs On Politics – Crain’s Chicago Business

Though corporate relocations in and out of town grab the headlines, the number of businesses being formed and dying here is a much bigger factor in driving the local economy, a new report suggests.

Chicago’s condo market: Ten years lost—and counting – Crain’s

When the housing market crashed in 2006, Chicago was awash in unsold condominiums—and the wave tripled in size as the crisis deepened. The meter is still running. Today, condos are worth about 7 percent less than they were 10 years ago.

Charter school teachers remain in contract battle, could strike next week – Chicago Tribune

Three days after the Chicago Teachers Union called off its threat of a strike after reaching a tentative agreement with Chicago Public Schools, the charter teachers remain in a contract fight with operators of one the city's biggest independently run charter school networks.

Emanuel gives pay raises to mayor’s office staff – Sun-Times

45 members of Emanuel’s staff are in line for pay raises, some of them sizeable increases. Comment: Pay cuts and layoffs should have happened a decade ago, as any private company would have done.

Chicago police used Geofeedia, the TweetDeck for cops under fire from ACLU – Chicago Tribune

A Chicago startup backed by the CIA and used by the Chicago Police Department has landed at the center of a battle over privacy and social media after reports that its platform was being used for government surveillance.

Emanuel’s amusement tax change could cost high rollers – Sun-Times

High rollers willing to cough up big bucks for tickets to sporting events and hit shows like “Hamilton” could find themselves paying higher prices, thanks to a subtle change tied to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2017 budget.

Preckwinkle’s 2017 county budget includes tax on sweetened drinks – Sun-Times

Comment: Sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks also would be taxed, but 100-percent fruit juice is exempt. Lemonade, too!

Rahm’s budget address: Chicago pot calls Chicago kettle black again – Truth in Accounting

It can be a little tiring trying to respond to public statements about city finances by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In a way, he’s like the Energizer Bunny, who just keeps going, and going, and going. Trying to read his communications and point out miscommunication, well, it sometimes feels like trying to roll a boulder uphill, again and again and again, only to see it roll back downhill near the top every time.

Evanston delays getting real about pension earning rates – Evanston Now

Evanston aldermen Monday approved an actuarial report for its public safety pension funds that adopts more realistic mortality tables. But they held off on adopting more realistic investment earnings assumptions. Comment: In other words, "We can't afford to be honest about pension numbers." At least they're being honest about it.

How to deal with creepy clowns, Chicago style – Video

Guy in car points gun at clown and says, “Get your ass out of there, motherf–ker … leave these kids alone, b–ch.”

Teachers union’s House of Delegates will review contract Oct. 19 – Sun-Times

If the delegates like the agreement, they would recommend it to the full membership for a vote, according to the union. Delegates also are tasked with setting a referendum in which the full voting membership of about 25,000 would ratify the agreement as their contract for the next three years. Only the members can vote the agreement down.

Uber, Lyft Face New 50-Cent Tax Proposal From Cook County – DNAinfo

Cook County Commissioners Richard Boykin (D-Chicago) and Robert Steele (D-Chicago) have submitted a proposed ordinance calling for a 50-cent tax on "ride-sharing services" for trips that begin or end in the county. They're insatiable. This will never end.

Has Chicago rent relief already begun? – Chicago Tribune

Rents in the Chicago Loop have begun to fall, suggesting relief may be at hand as a record number of new apartments continue to come on the market.

New ordinance would make it harder for Chicago City Council to tax and spend – City Limits

Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th Ward, introduced an ordinance Oct. 5 that would require a two-thirds vote from City Council to pass any tax hike. All city appropriations would have to meet an equally high threshold.

City delays getting real about pension earning rates – Evanston Now

Evanston aldermen Monday approved an actuarial report for its public safety pension funds that adopts more realistic mortality tables. But they held off on adopting more realistic investment earnings assumptions.

3 reasons why Chicagoans can’t afford the latest CTU contract – Illinois Policy

The bottom line is this new contract piles hundreds of millions of additional costs onto an already junk-rated, insolvent school system. The only way CPS is likely to pay for this is through more borrowing, more deficits, and more taxes on Chicagoans.

Tax protests come to Chicago – Illinois Policy

Grassroots activists seeking tax reform are set to stage a protest at the James R. Thompson center in downtown Chicago Oct. 12.

Costs of city’s deal with teachers not yet clear – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Actually, most of it is quite clear. They've relied on a nonrecurring source -- TIF raiding -- and still haven't covered the cost. And, as is becoming routine, they stiffed new teachers on the pension cost while protecting the senior ones.

Chicago Mayor Says City Back On Solid Ground – The Bond Buyer

"It's an assessment that some analysts and buyside representatives share – to some extent – but it ignores the concerns many retain over the fragility of some of the city's gains and worries that Chicago has a long way to go to clear the woods." Comment: I'd respectfully reword that to say, "It's an assessment the whores in the muni industry peddle, but nobody really believes his crap."

CPS, CTU and taxpayers: What happened to Mayor Emanuel’s ‘shared sacrifice’? – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

As often is the case with public sector workers, the threat of a disruptive strike was enough to dissolve whatever gumption Emanuel and district officials had stockpiled. By keeping the pension pickup in place for current teachers, taxpayers lose out on desperately needed short-term savings of roughly $127 million annually.

Officials, parents worry Chicago schools deal won’t stick – Associated Press

"It still isn't clear how the financially strapped city will pay for the four-year deal."

Emanuel budget address offers spending plan with plastic bag fee, money to hire more cops – Chicago Tribune

"Today, I am presenting you a budget unlike any we have seen in recent memory." It is a budget free of an immediate pension crisis, free of the black cloud of insolvency threatening the retirements of city employees and the financial future of Chicago." The city's budget overview is linked here and the text of Rahm's speech is linked here. Comment: We'll review, and write it up as soon as I can regain composure.

Palatine school referendum spotlights immigration, segregation, busing issues – Chicago Tribune

Since 1996, the northwest suburban district has changed from 25 to 60 percent minority, with nearly half of all students low-income. The percentage of students learning English has doubled, to 22 percent.

How Detroit’s turnaround really began long before bankruptcy – Detroit Free Press

"Choosing the bankruptcy as the turnaround point underestimates groundwork laid earlier, in some cases many years before."

Editorial: How insiders work toxic deals for taxpayers – Sun-Times

Pension payouts are guaranteed. Clout-heavy insiders get money from pensions. "Combine those two realities of life in Chicago...and you have the story of 3348 S. Pulaski Rd."

CTU, CPS reach tentative deal, avert strike; classes on Tuesday – Sun-Times

“The 7% pension pickup remains intact,” the union tweeted out — but Lewis clarified that only existing teachers would keep that much-discussed benefit that CPS decades ago had agreed to pay for them. New hires will assume that cost themselves, she said. Full text of tentative agreement linked here.

Theo Epstein for mayor, to fix Chicago’s mess – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Maybe baseball isn't exactly the same as running a major city or school district. But the traits that lead to success aren't that different either. Comment: Oh, hell. I say make him President.  

Chicago Cubs turn ‘W’ into lifestyle clothing brand – Crain’s

A blue "W" on a white flag is one of the oldest symbols of Chicago Cubs pride. Now it's starting to become a commercial boon at Wrigley Field.

How Chicago’s industrial past may fuel a high-tech future and real estate boom – Curbed

Comment: An great, detailed look at the potential. Just one problem -- no mention of the problems. The fact is that Chicago has all the assets to become a powerhouse again, if only it would get its fiscal and political house in order.

Home prices in only a few Chicago neighborhoods, suburbs have recovered from crash – Crain’s

"And our recovery has been remarkably slow compared to the rest of the nation." Lots of details including break down by zip code.

Pension terminations related to felony convictions rare – Better Government Association

Narrow criteria required to terminate public pensions have led to just eight such forfeitures for corrupt former city workers since 2006 at the city’s largest pension fund for municipal workers.

Brown: Ald. Willie Cochran’s campaign cash dance – Sun-Times

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) paid himself more than $115,000 from his campaign fund over a three-year span, most of it disclosed belatedly.

Taxis reversed: Appeals court rules in favor of Uber – Sun-Times

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that Uber drivers and traditional taxis can continue to operate under different sets of rules in Chicago, throwing out a lawsuit by cab companies who say ride-hailing services are driving them out of business.

40 suburbs see spike in violent crimes in 2015 – Daily Herald

Violent crimes increased last year in half of 80 suburbs, says a new report by the FBI says. Property crimes increased in more than 40 percent of the suburbs.

Strike deadline near, dire finances complicate Chicago school talks – Reuters

Chicago's public schools and its teachers' union make the final push to avert a looming strike on Tuesday with its success hanging on each side's willingness to accept unappetizing concessions.

What Chicagoans Will Be Voting For This November – DNAinfo

The vote for president won't be the only thing on ballots in Chicago on Nov. 8.

Chicago teachers, school officials look to avert strike – A.P.

Contract negotiations between Chicago teachers and officials in the nation's third-largest school district will happen throughout the weekend in hopes of reaching a deal to avert a strike.

SEC, CFTC create $700 million fund to lure financial industry whistleblowers – Crain’s

Anyone brooding about illegal practices in the financial markets now has a $700 million incentive from the federal government to speak up. And Chicagoans are responding to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission call for whistleblowers, say lawyers who work with them.

Chicago pensioners will appeal to IL Supreme Court, demand city pay health benefits for life – Cook County Record

Comment: The Illinois Supreme Court has created an exceptionally difficult mess about who gets what constitutional protection. All benefits "attendant" to a pension cannot be taken away once granted, the court has ruled. But figuring out who had what promised on healthcare is the problem, especially for Chicago.

Taxpayers may be out $8M on site tied to Daley nephews – Sun-Times

Over the past nine years, two nephews of former Mayor Richard M. Daley have been involved in separate plans to redevelop a rundown warehouse on 15 acres of polluted land in Little Village just north of the Stevenson Expressway. It hasn’t turned out well for Chicago taxpayers.

Emanuel on police, Karen Lewis, CTU talks and more – Sun-Times

Comment: Hey, he actually said something true about the pension crisis: "Elected labor leaders weren’t gonna tell their members what they had to pay for in benefits. People in the civic watchdog groups were asleep. They were like trained seals applauding because stardust got thrown in their eyes and they weren’t asking the questions that needed to be asked. Collectively, people in leadership took their eye off the ball."

Emanuel eyeing 7-cent bag tax to promote reusable bags – Sun-Times

Comment: "To promote reusable bags"?  Please. Only two cents would go to the merchants to compensate them, but cents would go to the city.

Chicago Will Soon Have Only 1 Of Top 100 Largest Black-Owned Businesses – DNAinf

Chicago now has only two businesses on the list, down from four in 2014, and likely will be down to just one next year with the move of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo to West Hollywood in California.

Chicago gets brighter credit rating outlook from S&P – Reuters

Comment: "Stable," says S&P. Hee hee. Must be some new bond issues coming up S&P will be bidding on.

Mars and Wrigley to combine in 2017, call Chicago home – Illinois Policy

Mars Chocolate will be taking control of Wrigley and forming one entity known as Mars Wrigley Confectionery, with a corporate headquarters in Chicago.

Rahm’s Choices Have Given Teachers No Choice But to Make the Strike a Necessity – Huffington Post

The author, a teacher, writes: "even though I am legally striking over salary and benefits here is a list of the many other reasons that all impact our students of why I will be striking...."

Chicago cop is the face of the Ferguson Effect – Kass – Chicago Tribune

The face of the Ferguson Effect now belongs to a longtime Chicago police officer. She didn't want to use her gun in a physical confrontation with a violent man, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. So she's in the hospital, in serious condition, her face repeatedly pounded into the concrete of the West Side in a beating that lasted several minutes as she fought with an assailant suspected by police of being high on PCP.

UNO Charter School Network teachers authorize strike – Sun-Times

Teachers from the UNO Charter School Network, one of Chicago’s largest charter school systems, voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of a strike if workers and management don’t reach an agreement before Oct. 19.

Pols who buy Cubs tickets must attend game and be introduced – Sun-Times

Aldermen and city officials who take advantage of the Cubs’ lucrative offer to purchase playoff tickets at face value must accompany their guests to all games at Wrigley Field and be publicly announced to the crowd — and face the boos that may come with it — or risk violating the city’s ethics ordinance.

As deaths soar, Emanuel to boost spending on heroin treatment – Sun-Times

Fentanyl manufactured in China is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. This year, more than 270 people died of fentanyl through mid-September in Cook County compared with 102 such deaths in 2015, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Chicago State struggles under questions of enrollment, finance, leadership – Inside Higher Ed

Any university would be challenged by such collapsing enrollment coupled with rapid leadership turnover. For Chicago State, however, the developments raise the question of how long a university beset by turmoil in recent years can continue to operate.

Welcoming City Protections Bolstered For Undocumented Immigrants – DNAinfo

The new law bans "police officers and other city employees" from making threats to reveal illegal status to federal immigration officials, and also outlaws verbal abuse aimed at undocumented immigrants based on their race, citizenship or country of origin.

Chicago is a global “knowledge capital,” says Brookings – Crain’s

A new study from the Brookings Institution classifies Chicago as one of 19 global “knowledge capitals.” Cool, right? Well, yes and no.

The costs of teacher unions – American Enterprise Inst.

Chicago is a case study in how teacher unions have siphoned vast sums out of classrooms and into retirement and health benefits that do nothing for students — and that frequently, I’m afraid, aren’t configured to help attract or keep terrific teachers.

Council OKs new police review agency: ‘An important step forward’ – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had made several changes and concessions in crafting the compromise ordinance creating the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which replaces the widely discredited Independent Police Review Authority.

Chicago Ends Business With Wells Fargo as Fallout Grows – Bloomberg

Comment: More populist grandstanding. See our article about Illinois Treasurer's ban.

Father Of 3 Shot Dead In His Home Was About To Be A Chicago Police Officer – DNAinfo

Arian J. Smith was a truck driver and prospective police officer who worked hard and sacrificed to make a better life for his three children, his family said. A GoFundMe has been launched by Smith's friends to help provide financial security for the kids.

Study Lists 25 Most Dangerous Cities In America — And Chicago’s Not On it – Downtown – DNAinfo Chicago

Chicago may earn a consistent reputation as the murder capital of the United States, but its huge population pushes its per-capita crime rates well below those of cities like St. Louis and Baltimore. One major caveat: the 24/7 Wall St. ranking doesn't include crime data from 2016, which is shaping up to be Chicago's most violent year since the mid-1990s. Next year's list may well reflect that.

Students Lose, Wall Street Wins in Blue Model Merry-Go-Round – The American Interest

"If it doesn’t find a way to plug the holes in its fiscal ship, Chicago could well face the same fate as Puerto Rico and Detroit the next time a recession causes its tax base to contract." Comment: Too late for that, and a recession would only accelerate it.

Suburban Cook workers next in line for paid sick leave – Sun-Times

The Cook County ordinance will apply to private sector employees throughout the county except where a home rule municipality has enacted its own law, which so far is only Chicago. The Cook County ordinance will apply to private sector employees throughout the county except where a home rule municipality has enacted its own law, which so far is only Chicago. Just what employers want -- another unfunded mandate.

Nursing home operator from Chicago jailed as feds allege $1 billion scheme – Chicago Tribune

"This is the largest single criminal health care fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice."

Why So Many Puerto Rican Addicts Wind Up in Chicago – VICE

"Many said that Puerto Rican government officials had encouraged them to buy one-way tickets to Chicago, promising drug treatment, housing, and jobs when they arrived. But when they landed at the airport, no one was waiting for them. Many ended up living on the streets."

CPS says schools will remain open if teachers strike – Chicago Sun-Times

If teachers walk off the job next week, Chicago Public Schools will leave all its buildings open for students and has promised breakfast and lunch for anyone who shows up. That’s what the district shared in contingency plans preparing for a possible teachers strike on Tuesday.

Negative Equity In The Chicago Area Real Estate Market – ChicagoNow

A close look at the negative equity problem. Chicago area has a far higher portion of homes underwater than the rest of the nation. The problem is concentrated in less affluent zip codes with some as high as 50%.

McDonald’s new Chicago headquarters just got bigger – News – Crain’s Chicago Business

McDonald's is super-sizing its future Chicago headquarters, where it now plans to occupy almost 500,000 square feet when it moves from Oak Brook in 2018.

Judge: Chicago affordable housing rules constitutional; developers’ rights not violated, can’t sue City Hall – Cook County Record

The city of Chicago has the constitutional authority to require developers of new condo and apartment buildings to designate a portion of the project as “affordable housing,” a federal judge has said - and developers should enter into a new project understanding the rule could apply to them, despite efforts to avoid it. Comment: Bummer. The affordable housing ordinance is a huge burden on developers and gets almost zero results in affordability.

Fatal shooting shatters myth about city’s gun violence – Sun-Times

"For those white Chicagoans who still believe the unspeakable gun violence does not concern them, Zuber’s murder is a wake-up call."

Residents Worry Over Recent Violent Crime in North Side Neighborhood – NBC Chicago

Neighbors in a southern portion of Chicago's Lake View neighborhood are concerned about a spike in violent crime and say they want to see something done about it. Police confirm the crimes, from gunpoint muggings to break-ins. “You expect a little crime in the city,” a resident said. “But the fact that it’s happening in the middle of the day, and so often, with no real police response, it’s very alarming.”

CPS pink slips another 249 staffers, citing enrollment losses – Sun-Times

Some 140 teachers and 109 more school-based staffers, such as classroom aides, were told Monday they weren’t needed at their schools, which saw enrollment declines. It’s not yet clear how charter school staffing has been affected.

Chamber blasts aldermen in rare public rebuke – Crain’s

In an action unlike any I've seen in decades, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to nearly 2,000 businesses in the Northwest Side's 1st and 35th Wards asking them to contact their aldermen and "unite against these harmful policies."

VIDEO: Runaway lamb escapes Chicago slaughterhouse, dodges traffic – 6abc

The lamb was on the lam for about 10 minutes, chased by a bearded man, presumably from the slaughterhouse, through the afternoon rain drizzle. Live free or die.

Navy Pier makeover shrouded in secrecy – ChicagoNow

Officials at Illinois’ most popular tourist attraction are pushing the site’s largest renovation in decades. But are they taking taxpayers for a ride? It’s nearly impossible to find out, thanks to efforts by Navy Pier, Inc., or NPI, to prevent transparency at every turn.

In swift push for body cameras, Chicago cut contracting corners – Chicago Reporter

The contract locks Chicago into using Taser International’s cloud storage software,, for at least five years. By then, CPD could be storing hundreds of thousands of hours of video, making it difficult to switch if the company were to raise the price or the department were to find cost savings in storing the videos on local servers. “What this means is you will forever be required to pay them for their service, from now till the end of time,”...

Falling prices for ride-share services provide competition for CTA – Chicago Tribune

"These services are going to do to urban transit what UberX did to the taxi market — it's going to overturn the apple cart," said Ian Savage, a transportation expert at Northwestern University. UberX, which offers cheaper rides than cabs for individual passengers, helped cause a sharp decline in the taxi business. Comment: Make no mistake. Sharing services like Uber and Lyft are monumentally disruptive and are likely to change transportation radically all around the world.

Chicago’s Troubled Schools Made Wall Street $110 Million –

The Chicago Board of Education was desperate for cash. Two Wall Street players were willing to lend it -- at a price. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Chicago-based Nuveen Asset Management have made realized and paper profits exceeding $ 110 million on purchases this year of $763 million in Chicago Public Schools bonds.

Banks curb downtown Chicago apartment construction loans – Crain’s

They're tightening lending guidelines for new developments and being more selective when picking projects to finance.

Chicago Schools Plunge Further into the Abyss – The American Interest

While blue model decay is more advanced in Chicago than any other American city, the problems underlying the crisis in the school district are weighing on municipal governments from coast to coast. In the long run, this dynamic has the potential to create tectonic political shifts. Comment: Think what you want about the blue/red thing, but nobody should deny the obvious, which is that our model of government is fundamentally broken. We are not generating the growth, jobs and revenue...

Chicago police numbers show shootings, murders down in September – ABC7

There were 59 murders last month, down from 63 in 2015, police said. There were 358 total victims of gun violence in September.

Chicago seeks to redevelop what would have been its Olympic Village – Chicago Tribune

Emanuel's office said Friday it will begin accepting proposals in October for a mixed-use development for commercial, institutional, residential and recreational uses.

Illinois and Chicago eye Wells Fargo business bans – Reuters

Comment: An utterly unfair, stupid populist stunt. Punish the individuals who did it, not the shareholders and the employees who are innocent. Most importantly, don't punish Illinois taxpayers. Our money should go where it gets the highest return.

The Dichotomy That Is Chicago Today – Points and Figures

Soon, Chicago is going to be at a tipping point.  Either the politicians take a cue from the startup community and start goring their sacred cows, or the city will fail.

Chicago PMI, September 2016 – Business Insider

Business activity in Chicago accelerated in September after a slowdown in August, according to the Institute of Supply Management and MNI Indicators.

Public Pensions Primer: Intergenerational Equity – Stump

"Crying “BUT YOU PROMISED!” is not going to help when the people you’re yelling at weren’t the ones who did the promising." A detailed look by an actuary, using Chicago as an illustration.

Cab Rides Down 23 Percent In Chicago This Year As Uber And Lyft Take Bite – DNAinfo

And as the number of people hailing cabs plunges, so does the value of a taxi medallion, the once-coveted license allowing cabs to legally operate.

970 new Chicago Police officers will need 600 new squad cars – Sun-Times

Emanuel wants to borrow $25 million to pay for new squad cars for the 970 new officers he plans to hire in the next two years, but how he will pay for the additional cops remains under wraps.

The Reality of Chicago’s Murder Rate – American Thinker

"Stop treating them as victims, and let the rest of humanity scorn their subculture as uncool. Of course it is taboo for whites to scorn anything associated with any blacks. But is this taboo worth preserving when it is killing thousands of young African American males?" Comment: And scorn the women who have babies without a committed partner and the financial means to raise a child.

Undocumented students benefit most from free City Colleges program – Chicago Reporter

Emanuel opened the Star Scholarship to undocumented students, who get 56% of the awards. The high numbers of undocumented and more middle-class students helps explain why the first year’s price tag was 50 percent more than expected. “I think it’s a feat. This is one of the biggest benefits of doing universal-style programs that don’t only focus on ,” said Goldrick-Rab, whose research influenced the Obama administration’s free community college proposal. “I have been saying for a while, I think...

A vulture is circling Chicago – Sun-Times

"A New York-based hedge fund manager who focuses on distressed government debt is telling the world that Chicago’s efforts to shore up its pension plans are far short of what’s needed." (This is about the Bond Buyer article we linked to yesterday.)

Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget – Chicago Reader

The Reader has documented for the first time the full size and scope of CPD's civil forfeiture program—how much money it brings in and how it spends its take. Comment: How forfeiture laws were upheld by American courts has always been a mystery to me. They violate the most basic notions of due process. This article adds a further dimension -- how the proceeds of the forfeitures get spent.

Chicago police banned from threatening immigrants under Emanuel-backed measure – Chicago Tribune

Chicago police officers and other city employees would be explicitly prohibited from using immigrants' background or immigration status to threaten or abuse them under a proposal Mayor Rahm Emanuel backs that is headed for a City Council vote.

Trump, Clinton and that murder at Millennium Park – John Kass – Chicago Tribune

"Just like that you could feel the wind getting knocked out of the city."

Food Trucks Reach a Boiling Point in Chicago – Zagat

City Hall is yanking the dusty rug from beneath urban vendors.

In wake of latest credit downgrade, Chicago school district has a few options – Illinois News Network

"Glennon suggested that CPS has a few options. One is to declare bankruptcy (which may not be feasible), and the other is to commit to a wholesale reconstitution."

Are property taxes on office towers rising less than on homes? – Crain’s

A study from the Building Owners and Managers Association, suggests that while commercial properties still are assessed at two and a half times the rate of single-family-home owners, their tax bill is rising no faster than anyone else's and, in fact, may be rising a little slower, depending on how you count new construction.

Dallas Police See Exodus as Doubts Rise on Pension Promises – Bloomberg

Comment: It's in far better shape than Chicago's police pension, having a funded ratio of 45% versus Chicago's 26%.

2015 Chicago Marathon’s Economic Impact Jumped to $277M: Study – NBC Chicago

Comment: Sounds crazy but it's probably true. Money that comes in from outside is pure gold, not cannibalizing other internal spending.

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro embarrasses himself and his university with insulting rant – Opinion – The Washington Post

"At the very least, Schapiro should publicly apologize. A resignation would not be disproportionate." Our article about this is on the right.

Chicago loses major trade show as FMI Connect cancels – Crain’s

The Food Marketing Institute today announced it has pulled the plug on its FMI Connect show scheduled for June after a significant drop-off in attendance by its retail and wholesale members in recent years. It was one of Chicago's long-running, big trade shows.

Cook County board president proposes tax on sugary drinks – Illinois Policy

The proposed sugary drink tax would be intended to plug a $174 million hole in the county’s budget.

If the City of Chicago were a bank – Truth in Accounting

"OK, are you ready?  A shot of whiskey or two nearby?"  Let’s look at net revenue for Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago.

How the Cubs, a 140-Year Old Baseball Team, Operate Like a Startup – Inc.

"The best team in the majors offers lessons that any young company would be wise to follow."

Get Ready for the Next Chicago Teachers Strike! – Stump

A detailed look at lots of number by an actuary, Mary Pat Campbell.

Chicago s Pension Funds Need More Support – Commentary – The Bond Buyer

Mayor Emanuel's statement might be read to suggest that the city has finally overcome the challenges of funding its pension commitments. The reality is far worse, as the [above] graph shows. Comment: "Might be read" that way? He said flatly this week, "I have all four pensions paid for." He's a brazen liar.  That's Rahm's Ramp shown above. Good luck with that.

More cutbacks at Moto phone unit – Crain’s

Motorola Mobility began another big round of layoffs yesterday. Parent company Lenovo said it's cutting "less than 2 percent" of the computer and phone maker's 55,000 workers worldwide, which works out to about 1,000 people. The company declined to say how many jobs are being eliminated in Chicago. "We will still maintain a substantial employee base there as well as our design facilities," the company said. "Chicago will also continue to serve as a hub of innovation for Lenovo Moto as well as our Motorola headquarters."

Judge’s ruling reduces Election Day registration in Illinois – Sun-Times

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Illinois State Board of Elections to stop enacting Election Day voter registration, starting with this November’s contested election. Comment: Thank goodness for federal courts, where the rule of law still lives in Illinois.

The House that Russell Built – The Distance

The housing crisis wiped out half of the homebuilders in the U.S. This is the story of one that survived, charting a course in a housing market that’s still chastened from the recession. Comment: You may remember a very talented, young tech writer for the Tribune, Wailin Wong. She now writes this wonderful blog profiling small business owners who have survived. Perseverance. Resilience. Isn't that what most everything comes down to?

Case Shiller Index: Chicago Home Prices Best Gain In Two Years Still Weak – ChicagoNow

45 months in a row of year over year price gains. The bad news is that the Chicago area is still in 4th from last place in terms of the annual home price gains of 20 metro areas tracked by Case Shiller.

Teachers who oppose CTU strike can opt out of union – Illinois Policy

Resigning from the union before the potential upcoming strike can protect teachers from union discipline.

CPS Schools Enrollment Drops, Teacher Layoffs Possible As Budgets Cut – DNAinfo

CPS student enrollment dropped by 3.5 percent this year compared with last, according to information provided by the district. During the last 10 years, enrollment has fallen 6.8 percent at public schools in Chicago, with half of that drop coming since September 2015, according to district enrollment data.

Chicago Schools Cut Deeper Into Junk by Moody’s on Fiscal Crisis – Bloomberg

The Chicago Board of Education, already junk-rated, was cut to six levels below investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service as the nation’s third-largest school district faces “acute” borrowing needs amid a financial crisis.

Chicago teachers give go-ahead for strike – Chicago Tribune

The union announced Monday that about 90.6% of its members voted and that about 95 percent of those voters supported a strike.

Chicago considers competing plans to save city pension system – Illinois News Network

A Chicago pension fund is hurting, and there are competing proposals that city officials and fund managers hope state lawmakers will take up to stem the hemorrhaging. Jim Mohler, director of the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, said things are so out of balance that for every three dollars the fund pays out in benefits, it only gets one dollar in contributions.

Chicago Teachers Union authorizes strike – Sun-Times

The Chicago Teachers Union said Monday that 95 percent of members who participated in a poll last week have agreed to authorize a strike this fall.

How Chicago’s neighborhood employers can make their voices heard – Opinion – Crain’s

"Today, we are announcing the formation of the Neighborhood Small Business Committee. The new group will provide unfiltered input and policy recommendations from employers to aldermen and the mayor's office on a routine basis in an effort to have more collaboration with City Hall fostering a better understanding of challenges employers are facing."

Suburban school districts offer cash bonus to some retired educators – Chicago Tribune

From Deerfield to Arlington Heights to Berwyn, school districts are providing the post-retirement payouts at taxpayer expense, sort of a public version of golden parachutes that highly paid private sector employees might receive.

2 of the biggest exchange groups in the US have agreed to merge – Business Insider

The Chicago Board of Options (CBOE) has agreed to buy Bats Global Markets in a $3.2 billion deal, the companies announced on Monday.

Gentrification along Chicago River worries longtime industrial businesses – Chicago Tribune

"I'm not going to wait till I have residential next to me and it makes it too hard to stay in business," said one business owner. "It's the frivolous lawsuits that anyone can file for any particular reason, it's the constant complaints that you have to deal with. It's all the little things that can make it really difficult to do business in the city."

New flap arises in CTA’s $1.3 billion L rail car deal – Crain’s

Bombardier, which is the CTA's current car supplier, has charged that the bid was "rigged," suggesting that Mayor Rahm Emanuel favored the company, perhaps in hopes of luring more Chinese investment in Chicago like the $1 billion Wanda tower and other projects. And now the Canadian company has a new argument: It had a better score, and therefore should have won the deal.

A Shooting By My Apartment – Points and Figures

"If you lose the lakefront and the Loop, you will lose Chicago." Comment: This line is pretty good, too: "Read Wirepoints daily and you will see the plain unvarnished truth."

Transit-oriented housing in Chicago is back on track – Chicago Tribune

Real estate developers and urban planners increasingly are casting their glances backward to create communities for tomorrow.

New exhibit on American workers makes us think: Why do we work? – Chicago Tribune

"Work means truth. Work means to me, today: I'm a positive, productive, functional member of society."

Beyond The Bloodshed: Chicago’s Startup Boom – Forbes

"If you actually talk to the people who run some of the city’s most interesting companies...their confidence is incandescent, enough so that Chicago can rightly claim to be one of our most vibrant startup corridors."

European finance giant Rothschild arrives in Chicago – Crain’s

The firm, which has dual headquarters in London and Paris, will enter the city with its mergers and acquisitions advisory business, the biggest of its three global business arms.

Chicago-based HCSC — Blue Cross parent — shifting IT jobs overseas – Crain’s

Over the past five and a half years, companies either offshored or planned to relocate 5,587 positions from Illinois to foreign locales, according to a Crain's analysis in May of U.S. Labor Department data.

Read Rahm Emanuel’s Speech On Chicago Violence Here (TRANSCRIPT) – DNAinfo

And an outline of his Comprehensive Public Safety Plan is linked here.

Taxing Human Waste Won’t Get Chicago’s Pension Fund Out of Deep Doo-Doo – Reason

"If you enjoy gallows humor, you might get a laugh out of the MEABF's 50-year projection." Comment: But Rahm just this week said, "I have all four pensions paid for." Mission Accomplished. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Chicago: Love it or leave it? Readers answer – Chicago Tribune

Reader responses to the Tribune's question.

Northwestern prez: only ‘idiots,’ ‘lunatics’ oppose safe spaces – CampusReform

In his convocation speech to new students Monday, the president of Northwestern University promised to provide “safe spaces” while snidely criticizing anyone who disagrees.Morton Schapiro told students that those who deny the existence of microaggressions are "idiots," while those who dismiss the importance of trigger warnings are "lunatics." Comment: As an alum, I, for one, have already cut whatever ties I have there and emailed three trustees I know that they should fire this asshole summarily.

Rahm Emanuel Proposes More Police and Mentors to Stop Chicago’s Cascading Violence – The New York Times

"Rarely in Mr. Emanuel’s more than five years as mayor has he given a speech with stakes as high or circumstances as tense."

Emanuel: Chicago Gun Violence is ‘Not Beyond Our Ability to Solve’ – WTTW

Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered one of the most anticipated speeches of his tenure Thursday evening at Malcolm X College on the city's Near West Side.

Chicago schools – The Economist

Amid growing violence, Chicago now escorts one in five students to school.

Orland Township to vote on seceding from Cook County – Daily Southtown

Comment: Just an advisory referendum and it will never happen, but still.... Dozens of other suburbs would love to do it.

Chicago to consider tax rebate for veterans, social-service volunteers – Illinois News Network

Nine aldermen from Chicago have proposed a property tax rebate for military veterans, Peace Corps volunteers and AmeriCorps volunteers.

Emanuel says he’ll find the money to hire 970 cops, won’t say how – Sun-Times

“I’m not gonna propose something that is not paid for. … I have all four pensions paid for. … We are gonna do the tough and necessary things to go line-by-line and find the resources,” Emanuel said. Comment: "I have all four pensions paid for." He's pathological.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s vote charade – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"We'll save you the suspense: CTU members will authorize the strike." Here's why the strike approval is a foregone conclusion: Instead of secret ballots — which would permit dissent — teachers and other CTU members are being asked to authorize a strike via "petitions" circulated at schools. Dissent and you'll pay.

Retailers Warn Against Possible Cook County Soda Tax – CBS Chicago

Retailers were speaking out Wednesday amid published reports Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering a new tax on sugary soft drinks, up to a penny an ounce.

Chicago Threatens To Remove Homeless Tents From Viaducts – CBS Chicago

In other news, President Obama is pushing for admission of another 10,000 Syrian immigrants, while Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky wants "at least" ten times that -- 100,000. We have our priorities straight, right?

Chicago’s Bill Murray launches golf wear line – Golf Digest

Includes a shirt to honor the Cubs.

Why Chicago Is Shaping Up to Be One of the Hottest Tech Startup Scenes – Inc.

For the second year in a row, Chicago trails only New York City as the No. 1 hub for fast-growing private companies on the Inc. 5000. Here's a quick look at why.

Former Chicago Schools chief: McHenry taxpayers should pay more for Chicago schools – McHenry Times

But Chicago's Public Schools already spend more per-pupil than 17 of McHenry County’s 18 public school districts.more money to Chicago and less to suburban and downstate districts. 82 percent of McHenry County school funding comes from local property taxes ut only 49 percent of CPS funding comes from Chicago property taxpayers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of School Systems, average per-pupil public school spending in Illinois is $13,077, ranking 14th out of 50 states. Illinois public schools have...

Ban driverless cars in Chicago? What an utterly dumb idea – Joe Cahill – Crain’s

The ban is being promoted by Eddie Burke, the alderman who chairs the City Council Finance Committee (which should say it all).

CPD to hire nearly 1,000 cops to combat surge in Chicago violence – Chicago Sun-Times

The 970 additional officers will carry a price tag of almost $134 million. Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said he has no idea how Emanuel plans to pay for the extra cops.

As other cities dig up pipes made of toxic lead, Chicago resists – Chicago Tribune

"Residents are paying a horrible price for Chicago ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence of health concerns," said Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher who played a major role in uncovering lead hazards in Flint, Mich., last year and Washington, D.C., in 2003. "If they were honest about the dangers ... it is at least possible the money could be found to do the job right."

Wilson Sporting Goods moving headquarters downtown to Prudential Plaza – Crain’s

The company announced today that it will move its global headquarters and roughly 400 employees next year to Prudential Plaza overlooking Millennium Park. Wilson is moving the employees and the headquarters from its current spot next to the Kennedy Expressway near O'Hare International Airport, where it has been since 1992.

Preckwinkle mulling tax on sugary soft drinks – Sun-Times

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is “looking hard” at a new tax on sugary soft drinks — anywhere from half a penny to a full penny an ounce — to close a $174.3 million budget shortfall without employee layoffs, sources said Tuesday. Comment: Another regressive tax. There will be no end to this. It's a bottomless pit.

Emanuel delays major police speech in search of right message – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Suspect that the real reason is that he has no money to pay for the army of new cops obviously needed. All sucked up by pensions.

Rental houses proliferate in cool Chicago for-sale market – Crain’s

Chicago has had one of the biggest increases in single-family home rentals of any of the nation's 20 largest cities, according to Zillow data, another effect of Chicago's relatively slow home-price recovery since the housing crash a decade ago. Home values in the Chicago area are still down nearly 20 percent from their September 2006 peak, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price indices.

Chicago Schools Make First Fiscal-2017 Credit Draws – The Bond Buyer

Chicago Public Schools closed on $325 million of short-term borrowing earlier this month and plans a $150 million draw next month from new credit lines to bolster its liquidity. However, little information was published.

Chicago taxi group asks appellate court to even playing field with Uber – USA Today

An attorney for Chicago’s taxi industry on Monday argued to a federal appeals court panel that the city of Chicago has unconstitutionally enforced two sets of rules for the taxi and ridesharing industries, making it impossible for cabbies to compete with Uber and Lyft drivers.

Debt and Death Bind Chicago as Emanuel Seeks to Bolster Police – Bloomberg

Chicago will shell out about $1 billion from the 2017 budget for pensions. That’s enough to cover more than 7,000 police officers, based on an estimated cost of $138,000 a head in the first year for salary, supervision and other benefits. The average cost of a police officer is $180,000.

Consolidation efforts enable DuPage County to trim budget by $10 million – Illinois News Network

Going against the trend of higher taxes and fees, one suburban Chicago county plans to cut $10 million from its budget without raising property taxes.

Killing Rats With Dry Ice Is Chicago’s New Way To Fight The Growing Scourge – DNAInfo

Crews with the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation started putting dry ice — frozen carbon dioxide — into rat burrows and sealing up the holes with dirt and newspaper.

Construction industry in Chicago area goes from good to great – Crain’s

Still, the market is a bit lopsided, with the residential boom making up for a sluggish commercial sector.  Hiring by construction firms has picked up, but employment in the industry here is still well below precrash levels.

Judge: ‘Not a close case,’ Chicago GOP has right to exclude Dem voters from committeeman ranks – Cook County Record

A federal judge has ruled Cook County Republicans have the constitutional right to attempt to weed out potential Democratic party operatives, who local Republicans worry have infiltrated their committeemen ranks.

Chicago and Illinois Credits are Diverging, Nuveen Says – SourceMedia

Nuveen says, "We think the current administration's transparency about the real cost of pensions and efforts to increase annual contributions should be viewed positively." The city's efforts, while not solving the problem, are "a big step forward." Comment: Transparency, a big step forward? My respect for the muni bond world is asymptotically approaching zero.

CME Group’s Kim Taylor and the futures industry’s gender diversity record – Crain’s

At a time when many corners of finance have been criticized for lack of progress in recruiting and promoting women, the futures industry has been a surprising bright spot. Today, six of CME's 16 senior leaders are women—a bigger share than the quarter at most Fortune 500 companies.

Every Chicago patrol officer to wear a body camera by 2018 – Chicago Sun-Times

“It’s not a bad idea,” a source familiar with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to expand the use of the cameras said but added that, without adequate training and “buy-in” from officers and the Fraternal Order of Police, the technology upgrade will be “gimmicky.”

AFSCME to Illinois: Raise taxes to pay government workers more – Illinois Policy

How can cash-strapped Illinois pay for $3 billion in extra salary and benefit demands? AFSCME leadership has an answer: Raise taxes.

A Chicago Shooting Survivor, but in Need of a Miracle – The New York Times

Above the fold in Sunday NYT.

Another Chicago Pension Fund Reduces its Assumed Rate of Return on Investment – Civic Federation

"After the end of the ramp the City will be required to fund the Police and Fire Funds at an annually calculated amount that will produce a funded ratio of 90% by 2055. Therefore, it is likely that the City will face significantly increased contributions in FY2021, the first year after the ramp." Translation: The can-kick is bigger than initially apparent.

Chicago on the Brink – City Journal

A retreat from proactive policing has unleashed mayhem in the city.

The candidate vs. the machine, a Chicago story – Chicago Tribune

"Score one for democracy."

Chicago Trend encourages retail to open on South and West sides – Crain’s

The CEO of Chicago Trend, or Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development, says his new for-profit social enterprise company has three advantages that will help it build top-tier retail developments in Bronzeville, Chatham, Pullman and other neighborhoods on the South and West sides: data, development contacts and dollars.

Chicago is trying to bail itself out – Business Insider

"Have the city’s efforts to reduce the amount of its underfunding been enough? Despite significant progress, we don’t think so."

CHA sends rents to landlord jailed in heroin ring – Sun-Times

The Chicago Housing Authority has been paying more than $34,000 a year in rent for three Section 8 voucher-holders to lease apartments from an alleged gang leader who’s been in jail the past two years awaiting trial on charges he ran a heroin-trafficking ring in West Garfield Park, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association show.

Rauner hints at vetoing Emanuel’s latest pension funding plan – Sun-Times

Although the City Council easily approved the mayor’s plan to slap a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund, the Illinois General Assembly still needs to sign off on employee concessions tied to the deal as well as the funding schedule. Same goes for the mayor’s plan to save the Laborers pension fund.

Indiana officials beckon Chicago commuters – Chicago City Wire

Indiana officials are working hard to get Chicago workers to consider that move to the so-called "affordable shore."

Mother, daughter shot as attackers try to force their way into home – Chicago Tribune

A woman and her daughter were shot as more than a dozen young men threw bricks through the windows of their Far South Side home and tried to force their way in Thursday night, Chicago police said.

In addressing violence, mayor plans to confront absentee fathers – Sun-Times

Comment: Hey, maybe this is a step towards a serious discussion about the real solution, which is not to have a child unless you're in a committed relationship and have the needed financial means.

Chicago aldermen propose ban on driverless cars – Illinois Policy

A new ordinance would ban all cars with autonomous technology from Chicago, preventing Uber from expanding the fleet of self-driving vehicles it recently introduced in Pittsburgh.

Good news for some in Chicago’s new income numbers – WBEZ

In 2015 the median income went up in Chicago... The percentage of people in poverty was the lowest it’s been in 7 years in Chicago. But the black median income was more stagnant. That’s created a widening gap between the median incomes of white and black Chicagoans, even as the gap remained steady nationally. Median income for black Chicagoans now equals about 39 cents on the dollar compared to white Chicagoans. Comment: Not so fast on the celebration. Turns out...

Proposed 2016-17 DuPage budget calls for $10M spending drop – Naperville Sun

Board Chairman Dan Cronin outlined his plan for 2016-17 for the county board Tuesday morning.

University of Chicago Professors Urge Students to ‘Speak Up Loudly’ for Trigger Warnings – Time

More than 150 faculty members at the University of Chicago are pushing back on a controversial letter from the school’s dean of students that told incoming freshmen not to expect trigger warnings or intellectual safe spaces on campus.

What’s All This About ‘Trigger Warnings’?

Based on the definition, I guess we should have one, so here you go: If material on this site causes distress or discomfort, or triggers a panic attack in readers with post-traumatic stress disorder, tough shit. Deal with it.

O’Hare bonds squeak by; mayor offers to share wealth on contracts – Sun-Times

The City Council on Wednesday came within one vote of blocking a $3.5 billion O’Hare Airport bond issue, delivering another powerful message about the lack of minority participation on city contracts and the gravy train of pinstripe patronage tied to city borrowings.

City Council approves water-sewer tax to save pension fund – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: "Save." Yeah, right. More money down a bottomless pit. Keep in mind that the new contribution schedule for the pension funded by this tax still needs authorizing legislation from Springfield. It's a huge can-kick, as we detailed here.

New minor league baseball stadium, team set for Rosemont – Crain’s

The village will pay for the stadium through the sale of bonds that will be retired with tax-increment financing revenue from the development.

Million-dollar homes selling slow in Chicago, suburbs – Crain’s

Homes priced at $1 million and up are selling slower on average this year in 18 of 22 expensive Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs, according to Midwest Real Estate Data.

This is why I stayed in Chicago – Letter – Chicago Tribune

"In response to 'We left Chicago, just in time,' in the Monday Perspective, I have little doubt that the author feels his family is much safer in the southern suburb where he has chosen to live."

Unfunded pension liabilities a factor in lower bond rating for Evanston – Evanston Review

The city of Evanston maintained its AA plus bond rating with one major investment service but saw it slip a notch with another, largely over unfunded pension liabilities, officials announced last week.

Frustrated CPS Parents Ushered Out Of Council As TIF Ordinance Stalls – DNAinfo

Chicago Public Schools parents and City Council reformers were thwarted Monday as an attempt to grant schools relief with economic-development funds stalled in committee.

Chicago Homeless Count At Ten-year Low – WBEZ

Chicago officials are touting numbers that indicate that homelessness in the city has hit its lowest point in more than a decade.

Foreclosures in Chicago suburbs nearly double in past year – Illinois News Network

The county with the highest foreclosure rate in the region is McHenry, which is seeing protests against its exorbitant property taxes, including residents paying their property tax bills in $1 bills. The northern Illinois county has one foreclosure for every 642 properties. Comment: Certain Chicago suburbs appear to be leading the meltdown. No surprise that McHenry County suburbs are on that list. Property taxes there average over 4%.

Iraq v Chiraq: How Chicago violence feels like a war – BBC News

"In Syria, there are a lot of young, under-employed or unemployed men who became part of rebel groups not just because they believed in the struggle, but it gave them status. It gave them a weapon. It gave them a role. It gave them meaning. "It's the same thing in Chicago - it's the same thing with the gangs."

Strangers Raise $165,000 In 3 Days To Help Chicago Popsicle Vendor, 89 – NPR

The elderly man's daughter recently died. He and his wife recently to go back to work so they could care for their two grandsons.

Black, Hispanic aldermen block $3.5B O’Hare bond issue – Chicago Sun-Times

In a rare show of force, the City Council’s Black, Hispanic and Progressive caucuses joined forces Friday to block Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to issue $3.5 billion in bonds to bankroll O’Hare Airport projects amid concerns about minority participation.

Report: Chicago’s West Side is ‘Epicenter’ of Heroin Crisis in Illinois – WTTW

“The drug crisis in the suburbs ends when we help the West Side of Chicago and end the flow of drugs on the streets. "To continue to ignore the West Side of Chicago is like a firefighter putting out a fire in part of the house, and then leaving the house burning.”

The Black Body Count Rises as Chicago Police Step Back – Wall Street Journal

“There is no way out of this shooting spree,” said the president of the Chicago police union. His despair is understandable, because Chicago is the country’s most-glaring example of what I have called the “Ferguson effect.” Chicago officers have cut back drastically on proactive policing under the onslaught of criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement and its political and media enablers.

DuPage debt downgrade by Fitch signals demographic distress – Crain’s

Behind the small story of a one-notch downgrade in DuPage County's credit rating is a bigger story of demographic and economic change.

Stretch of Chicago River to Get $1.5 Billion Makeover – Wall Street Journal

High-rises, townhomes planned for undeveloped area south of downtown Loop with Riverline project, adding to a frenzy of construction along the waterway.

CHA danger zones — a Sun-Times / BGA Watchdogs special report – Chicago Sun-Times

When the CHA began tearing down crime-ridden high-rise public housing projects like Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes under its massive “Plan for Transformation,” residents were promised a better life. But 20 years later, many of the people receiving housing vouchers from the CHA are living in privately owned homes and apartments on blocks plagued by violence, drug dealing and gangs..

New Water Tax Could Cost Laundromat Users 30 Cents to 40 Cents More A Load – Downtown – DNAinfo

The tax hike would increase the cost of washing a load by 30 to 40 cents, and said that would have to be passed on to customers.

Chicago trails only Detroit in number of empty bank-owned homes – Chicago Tribune

The number of these ill-kept structures brought on by the housing crisis has spiked more than 90 percent over a year ago, according to a new report from Attom Data Solutions.

DCFS wards languish in psych hospitals, shelters, detention: audit – Chicago Tribune

Children in the state's welfare system are being warehoused in psychiatric hospitals and emergency shelters hundreds of days longer than they should be in many cases because the agency does not have a place for them, a new report found.

Markham mayor’s campaign donors net millions in city projects, records show – Daily Southtown

Longtime mayor David Webb Jr. has never needed more than 1,700 votes to win election in Markham, a south suburb of less than 13,000 people. Nevertheless, Webb Jr., who was elected mayor in 2001, has been one of the more prolific local political fundraisers in the state, taking in more than $1 million in contributions since 2000, campaign finance records show.

$500 Rent In Logan Won’t Work, Says Landlord As Tenants Fight Eviction – DNAinfo

The outgoing landlord, said high property taxes and low rents that he has been charging tenants since he bought the property seven years ago have made maintaining it impossible.

Commentary: We left Chicago, just in time – Chicago Tribune

"This is why we left Chicago. This is why we call our move to the suburbs one of the smartest decisions we've made. This is why we're encouraging all of our friends to do the same."

Chicago leads nation in catalytic converter theft – Chicago Tribune

Thefts of the pollution control devices, which are constructed of precious metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium, have increased 23 percent nationwide between 2008 and 2015, according to a new report by the Des Plaines-based National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Chicago Pension Fund Clears First Council Hurdle – The Bond Buyer

Great summary of the key numbers in the proposal.

Finance Committee approves Emanuel’s utility tax – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to slap a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the largest of Chicago’s four city employee pension funds survived an early test vote Thursday, but it wasn’t easy or pretty. Comment: Down the bottomless pit. The crisis will worsen nevertheless.

Poll: Chicago Voters Sour on Rahm, Tax Hikes – Huffington Post

32% approval rating for Rahm. On the new water and sewer tax,he poll says 17.2% approve and 74.7% disapprove and 8.1% are dizzy with indecision.

Bribe taker in Chicago parking meter deal gets 6 months in jail | Chicago Sun-Times

A former parking executive’s “bonehead decision” to sell a $22 million Chicago parking meter contract for a $90,000 bribe has landed him a six-month prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A Fix for the Culture Wars – Bloomberg View

Last month, the University of Chicago appeared to pick sides in the latest iteration of America's culture wars. But it was really announcing just how silly those culture wars are -- and how to get past them. Aspirations matter -- and the University of Chicago has the right aspiration Comment: This is the best article yet on that U of C welcoming letter for students.

Homicides In Chicago Eclipse U.S. Death Toll In Afghanistan And Iraq [Infographic] – Forbes

Since 2001, Chicago has experienced 7,916 murders (as of September 06, 2016). The number of Americans killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was 2,384 and 4,504 respectively since 2001. going public – Crain’s, which provides reviews of new vehicles and comparisons of competing models, was part of Classified Ventures, a joint venture of Gannett, Tribune and three other newspaper publishers, until two years ago when Gannett bought out its partners for $1.8 billion.

Taxpayers Shell Out Millions Every Year for Dozens of Abandoned School Buildings – NBC Chicago

In a continuing investigation, NBC Investigates reveals that Chicago’s vacant school buildings remain unsold and unused – and now often vandalized as well.

Murder numbers don’t tell the story in Chicago. Shootings do. – John Kass – Chicago Tribune

Chicago's expertise treating gunshot victims masks the real numbers.

Progressive Aldermen Press For Info On Water Tax 48 Hours Before Committee Vote – Progress Illinois

"The Emanuel administration's failure to provide basic actuarial information to ensure that their estimates are accurate makes it much more difficult for us to cast this vote, particularly when other analysts and experts have called these figures into question." Comment: They are stonewalling basic actuarial info on all city pensions, as we've been showing repeatedly.

Analysis: Water Tax Hike Won’t Fix Pensions – WTTW

New numbers from the city show that it will put a dent in the massively underfunded Municipal Employees Pension Fund, the largest of the four city pension funds, but it’s only enough to cover increased costs for the next five years. After that, the city by law will have to make what’s called the “actuarial required contribution.” Starting in five years, that’ll be nearly a billion dollars a year, and the city will need to find other sources to fund that and in the years going forward, where the payments could be near $2 billion. Comment: Bingo. Paris Shultz, the author, nailed this one. And it's a similar story for Chicago's other three pensions.

A federal solution to Chicago’s public pension mess – Chicago Tribune

Comment: We'll look forward to more discussion on the constitutionality of this, and the devil would be in the details of how it would be finalized. The author of this article, Ed Bachrach, is a smart guy who has put lots of personal effort into addressing our pension crisis.

Ex-Harvey comptroller linked to failed hotel deal found dead – Chicago Tribune

Joseph Letke, 57, a longtime bookkeeper for several south suburbs, became a central figure in a deal that sent millions of taxpayer dollars to a developer to supposedly turn a dilapidated truckers motel beside a strip club into a Holiday Inn with a regional conference center.

Aldermen demand at least 500 — and as many as 1,000 — more cops – Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Police Department needs at least 500 and as many as 1,000 additional officers — over and above attrition — to confront an alarming spike in homicides and shootings that has the city on pace to top 750 murders in 2016, influential aldermen said Wednesday.

From the streets to tweets: The dangerous rise of ‘internet banging’ – Salon

If you want to get a real first-hand look at gang culture in Chicago’s South Side, all you need to do is scroll through the Twitter feed of Gahrika Barnes. Barnes tweeted over 27,000 times to her 2,700 followers: boasting about her gang affiliation, posting messages of grief over friends who had been shot by rival gangs and threatening retaliation, and taunting the police. She describes herself in her bio as a “PAID SHOOTA.” She was murdered on Eberhart Street,...

Vista Tower Construction Begins Wednesday – CBS Chicago

Vista Tower is set to be the third tallest building in Chicago, standing 95 stories tall and reaching 1,200 feet once complete.

DePaul launches free speech lecture series after banning conservatives – Illinois Review

Comment: It's really not that hard, DePaul. Just let all sides speak, and skip the silly lecture series.

Privately sold junk-rated Chicago school bonds could go public – Reuters

Municipal bond investors may get a shot at $150 million of junk-rated bonds issued by the Chicago Board of Education if the bank that purchased the bonds in July decides to launch a public offering amid financial uncertainties for the school district.

Chicagoans Are Torn Whether Or Not They Should Leave Their Beloved City – DNAinfo

When asked if they would leave Chicago dozens provided feedback.

Fitch Downgrades DuPage County – WLS

Fitch Ratings has downgraded DuPage County from AAA to AA+ based on a review of the county’s credit. The Rating Outlook is stable with Fitch saying that the county is very well positioned to address downturns while maintaining a high level of fundamental financial flexibility.

Civic Federation questions Emanuel’s utility tax plan – Chicago Sun-Times

“The Civic Federation will not be convinced until we see the full actuarial analysis that proves it will be enough to stabilize this fund going forward. The city should get that analysis and share it publicly." Comment: Hello, reporters, why don't you demand they be published, too? Instead, we're routinely asked simply to believe what Rahm and others claim. As we wrote recently, "just publish the damn actuary reports."

SEIU Local 1 beefs about ‘rampant wage theft’ at O’Hare – Chicago Sun-Times

Union spokesperson Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich said the “theft” by private contractors includes everything from failing to make up the difference for tipped employees whose gratuities leave them short of the city’s minimum wage to failing to pay employees who work through their lunch breaks and before and after their regular shifts.

CTU chief Lewis balks at CPS’ request to stop pension benefits – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Tuesday she opposes Chicago Public Schools’ proposal to stop paying a 7 percent pension benefit but did not rule out taking the offer to her members, despite CPS doing a poor job of explaining why it’s necessary.

Anita Alvarez op-ed: Stop the revolving prison door for gun offenders – Chicago Tribune

Studies show that 63 percent of these gun offenders will reoffend within 12 months of release, and they are four times as likely to commit a homicide. Comment: Seems like this is something both parties should be agreeing on.

University of Chicago weighs free speech vs. crackdown on hecklers – Reuters

Disruption of a local prosecutor's speech at the University of Chicago by hecklers unhappy with her handling of a police shooting may have been the last straw for administrators at one of the country's most prestigious schools.

Elite Payton College Prep H.S. shows off new $20 million annex – Chicago Sun-Times

When students report for the first day of class Tuesday, they’ll find a spacious cafe, third-floor gym, black box theater, mirrored dance studio and more than a dozen additional classrooms in a bright new space at 1034 N. Wells St. “We have to guarantee one thing to parents: quality,” said Emanuel, who’s determined to keep white middle-class families from fleeing to the suburbs as their children approach high school age.

Chicago’s ‘tax tsunami’ builds as waves of new taxes hit – Loop North News

The “tax tsunami” that is hitting Chicago property owners and renters is not only about the rising real estate taxes and new utility tax on water, sewer, and garbage collection. It really is about the massive, newly approved $5.4 billion Chicago Board of Education budget that relies on a trio of new real estate tax hikes that will come like waves of a tsunami.

CPS begins new school year with same old problems – Chicago Tribune

A list of familiar pressures confront Chicago Public Schools as more than 300,000 students return to classrooms Tuesday.

IMRF investigation into McHenry County Board pensions ‘inconclusive’ – Northwest Herald

An Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund investigation could not conclude one way or the other whether McHenry County Board members worked enough hours to be eligible for pensions.

Chicago tackles youth unemployment as it wrestles with its consequences – Chicago Tribune

The article contains all the usual tripe about failure to invest in communities, but this comment under the article nails it: "How to greatly reduce your chances of living in poverty: 1) Stay in school and get at least a high school diploma. The dropout rate in some inner cities is about 50%. The lack of a high school diploma virtually ensures a life of poverty; 2) Avoid drugs and alcohol; 3) Avoid gangs and criminal activity; 4) Don't have a child until you...

Their property-tax bills? Zero – Sun-Times

4,188 senior citizens across Chicago didn’t have to pay property taxes on their homes this year, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of more than 880,000 tax bills and property assessments in the city has found.

It’s not all bad in Chicago – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Unquestionably true.

S&P warns Chicago schools’ B+ credit rating could fall – Reuters

S&P Global Ratings warned on Thursday that the Chicago public school system's B-plus credit rating could fall deeper into the junk level due to its "extremely weak" cash position.

Reports find Highland Park needs $6.4 million for police, fire pensions next year – Highland Park News

That's nearly $1.3 million more than was recommended for 2016. But the new contributions won't reduce the city's pension debt, now pegged at a combined $86 million by the city's actuary. That .would take another $950,000. The recommended contributions don't fully cover the interest on the city's unfunded liability, the actuary said. Comment: Same story is happening routinely in cities and towns across Illinois.

Emanuel to hire ‘hundreds’ of police officers, Council ally says – Chicago Sun-Times

Emanuel campaigned for a first term on a promise to hire 1,000 additional police officers, then revised the pledge after taking office by adding 1,000 more “cops on the beat,” more than half of them by disbanding special units. The other half were primarily officers working desk jobs reassigned to street duty.

Ford Heights residents may have water shut off – abc7chicago

Ford Heights reportedly does not have the cash or credit available to pay its debt to Chicago Heights, which provides the water. Chicago Heights needs the money to resolve its own fiscal issues. Prediction: Severe financial distress like this will start becoming apparent in many Illinois towns, concentrated initially in Chicago's south suburbs.

Detroit and Chicago: Real Property Value Comparisons – Chicago Fed

Comment: This is the report on which the Greg Hinz article below is based. It's interesting -- showing the higher property values in Chicago compared to Detroit -- but you'll see that Hinz grossly exaggerated its significance.

Why Chicago is not Detroit – Greg Hinz – Crain’s

Comment: Poor Greg Hinz. He's back to his "sky isn't falling" routine. Of course Chicago is not Detroit. So what? That doesn't mean it won't go bankrupt. There's a whole lot more to it than property values. Here's the all-important challenge that neither Mr. Hinz nor anybody else will take up: Describe the tax increases that would be necessary to put Chicago AND its overlapping municipal layers of government (that's key because they are all bleeding red) on a...

Could Chicago Save Millions By Slashing Boards Of “Sister Agencies?” – Better Government Association

Who needs a park board when the biggest decisions are made by City Hall?

Number of six-figure Chicago pensioners has tripled in last 4 years – Illinois Policy

Former labor leader and Streets and Sanitation Department employee Dennis Gannon takes home the largest pension in the group at nearly $190,000 year. Gannon retired from the city in 2004 at age 50. While the city credited him with 33 years of service, Gannon spent more than a third of that time working for private labor unions, not city government.

Chicago Apartments Are Now Nearly As Expensive As Honolulu’s – DNAinfo

Apartment prices are on the rise again in Chicago, making it the 10th most expensive American city to rent in.

Kane County looks at pension obligation bonds – Elgin Courier

Comment: One credit card to another. Here's a gem from the underwriter talking it up: "We are not deficit borrowing, we are borrowing to extinguish a current debt."

Chicago heroin overdose epidemic worsens on West Side – Opinion – Crain’s

Nearly 1 in 4 hospitalizations for heroin occurred on the West Side. West Side hospitalizations make up 35 percent of Chicago's total, compared to 7 percent for the North Side. The rate of heroin overdose deaths in Chicago is much higher than in any other part of the region, including the suburbs. African-Americans die at higher rates from heroin overdose than whites do across the state.

CTU posts ‘What’s at stake’ primer on contract talks, strike – Chicago Sun-Times

"The mayor and his CPS CEO should go after the big banks that ripped off the city and the schools,” they wrote. Comment: Never mind if they would have a case for doing that or if the numbers would make much of a difference.

“Array Of Things” Launched – Enables Chicago To Spy On Entire City – Zero Hedge

"Chicago is launching a creepy new campaign to blanket the mega-city in more surveillance through its Array of Things, creating a network of (at least) 500 sensors devices that will be shared in a growing Big Data cloud." "But in reality, Chicago is a failing, gang-infested and corrupt city that epitomizes the collapse of America. These sensors, and the thousands of other surveillance cameras and input devices are erecting an electronic concentration camp inside the nation’s most chaotic and unruly...

Mike Ditka isn’t PC, in case you didn’t know – Chicago Magazine

"Go ahead and ask your questions. But you might not like my answers. I’m not politically correct, and I’m not liberal."

Chicago PMI falls more than expected – Business Insider

The Chicago PMI reflects the health of the manufacturing sector in the Chicago area.

Rauner rejects National Guard as way to quell Chicago violence – Chicago Tribune

If that means bringing in the National Guard — some people have said, 'Bring in the National Guard.' We've discussed that. We've analyzed it," Rauner said. "In fact, it may exacerbate the other problems. So, nobody thinks that's a good idea."

Uptick Seen In City of Chicago Pensioners Drawing Big Payouts – Better Government Association

The number of retirees drawing six-figure pensions from the city of Chicago’s largest public retirement fund is rising fast, a Better Government Association analysis finds. As of March, there are 222 retirees collecting pensions of at least $100,000 a year from the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF), a 61 percent increase from just a year earlier. The group of six-figure pensioners is three times as large as the number four years ago.

Chicago Man Breaks Up With Illinois, Moves To Indiana – CBS Chicago

An individual story. In just a couple of days, he will be making the one-way drive from Chicago to Indiana. Comment: I don't get what Rob Paral is talking about when he says the population loss is nothing new. He says Illinois has been losing population since 1950. Not true, as linked here. It's recent. It is true for Chicago, though the shrinkage has worsened recently.

Why does Chicago Public Schools need to borrow $945 million? – Chicago City Wire

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is once again relying on borrowed money to help pay its bill for this year.

Chicago Mayor Releases Plan to Overhaul Police Oversight – WSJ

The changes will include the creation of a new deputy inspector general responsible for auditing the entire police accountability system and identifying bad practices by the police. The proposal also recommends that the current agency responsible for investigating police misconduct be replaced by a new agency that will have civilian input in the selection of its head.

Chicago Stock Exchange Targets Rapid-Fire Traders With Speed Bump, Echoing IEX – WSJ

Another stock exchange wants to slow down trading, saying some rapid-fire firms have found a way to exploit slower orders, scaring investors away from its market.

Cook County Board spent $7.6M to run separate offices for commissioners – Sun-Times

Taxpayers spent $7.6 million last year to cover the costs of separate office staffs for each of the 17 Cook County commissioners and President Toni Preckwinkle.

Chicago laundromat customers to get soaked by Emanuel water tax – Chicago Sun-Times

Paul Hansen, president of the Illinois Coin Laundry Association, branded the new tax designated by the mayor to shore up the Municipal Employees pension fund “immoral” because of the disparate impact it would have on low-income residents who can least afford it.

As condo market recovers, “For Sale” sign replaces “For Rent” sign – Crain’s

With the downtown condominium market picking up, some developers are finishing a job that was abruptly halted by the bust. They're taking buildings that were clobbered after the crash and restarting sales of condos that have been rented out ever since.

Case-Shiller Index: Chicago area remains a laggard in home price recovery – Chicago Tribune

Chicago-area home prices were 3.3 percent higher in June than a year earlier but trailed the 5.1 percent gain of a composite of 20 major cities tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index. June's gain positioned Chicago-area prices at the highest level since December 2008. Yet the Chicago area has been a laggard in the housing recovery, with prices still down 19.2 percent from September 2006.

Chicago Outlook Lifted to Stable by Fitch on Pension Improvement – Bloomberg

Translation: Chicago won't actually default on bonds for a few years, by which time we expect to be in a different job, so we really don't care. Plus, we'd like to continue to get hired by troubled cities. That's how this industry thinks.

Ex-Blaine principal, a fierce Rahm critic, resigns – Sun-Times

The outspoken principal wrote that he ended his legal case to let his former school move on and hire a permanent principal, and to avoid the bother of “a kangaroo court that ends with a determination by your appointed school board; the very school board that voted to censure me in the first place.

Why Companies Are Moving Back Downtown – Governing

The flight from suburban office sites can be overstated. When companies move downtown, they get press. When they change locations within the suburbs, they don’t draw the same attention. Right now in the Chicago area, about two-thirds of total regional employment is in the suburbs, where rent is about half of what it is in the city. Downtown vacancy rates are trending downward, but that’s true in the suburbs as well. The rate of employment growth is expected to...

CHA joins critics of HUD housing voucher plan – Crain’s

The debate over the proposed rule underscores the predicament facing government officials as they try to end the cycle of poverty in urban areas: Do they address the problem by increasing investment in poor, high-crime neighborhoods? Or do they just help poor people escape to greener pastures? Comment: Plenty of people think the CHA's unstated policy is has been to push the poor to the suburbs through Section 8.

Is Chicago Really Broke? – Chicago Magazine

Comment: We're giving equal time to the innumerates here. The book discussed, "Chicago is Not Broke," should actually be titled, "How to Empty Chicago Fast." It proposes every tax conceivable, including a head tax and financial transactions tax. And there's this idea for a taxpayer funded bank run by Chicago politicians. Sheesh.

How Violence in Chicago Compares to Other Cities – ABC News

The recent Aldridge shooting is "noteworthy because these two offenders are the prime example of the challenge we face here in Chicago with repeat gun offenders that don’t care who they shoot, don’t care whose life they take and clearly, clearly, don’t fear the consequences of their actions."

Traders Discuss Data Superhighway From Chicago to Japan – Bloomberg

The project, dubbed “Go West,” would install a line of microwave towers from the Chicago area to the U.S. west coast, possibly ending near Seattle, and then connect to an undersea cable that stretches to Asia.

What the Chicago Letter Won’t Fix – The American Interest

"There is no sustained, cross-campus effort by small-l liberal students to push back against the decay of democratic norms that is evident in American academia."

Chicago boat tour company asks court to rule Cook County can’t tax its river, lake tours – Cook County Record

The Cook County Department of Revenue tried to impose an amusement tax on Mercury in September 2014, but Mercury protested the tax violated the equal protection guarantees of the Illinois and United States’ constitutions, because the county did not tax walking tours of city landmarks. Mercury also claimed their boat tours should be considered “live entertainment” and thus be exempt from the tax.

Former City Hall insider gets 10 years in red-light camera scam – Chicago Sun-Times

John Bills, a former political operative for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, admitted to U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall that he took bribes, dodged income taxes and has a broken moral compass. The man raised on Chicago’s Southwest Side also said he “destroyed a career and reputation that spanned 32 years.”

Chicago begins building ‘fitness tracker’ to check its vitals – USA Today

Chicago, which partnered on the project with researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and several corporations, last week installed the first two of 500 modular sensor boxes. The devices will eventually allow the city and public to instantly get block-by-block data on air quality, noise levels, as well as vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Port of Chicago Privatization Plan Draws Critics – WTTW

The Southeast Side maritime and industrial site has put out a request for proposal to manage and oversee the port. But officials say they have learned their lessons from the parking meter deal and any agreement will be much different.

Chicago’s Morningstar to compete with Moody’s, Fitch, Standard & Poor’s in rating corporate debt – Crain’s

Comment: Let's hope they go further and into the municipal bond market. Mornistar people are honest, and that business could use a new competitor.