« Watch this video by Frank Avila Jr. Learn about Bridgeport Village in Chicago's 11th Ward | Main | Chicago O'Hare Spending out of control »

This is a copy of a real Shakman Settlement check signed by Mayor Daley

Shakman Settlement Check 1.jpg This is a check signed by Mayor Daley for $20,000.00 to a person that had their Shakman rights violated. Make sure you have yours by now. Lots of my friends took what the City offered, I think they deserved much more. Thank you for signing the check Mayor Daley! It should have come out of your own personal pocket. In Chicago, we pay for the Mayor's sins. Patrick McDonough.


When will these taxpayer checks which have funded mayor Daleys political army become part of a fedaeral indictment of this mayor and his organization?
We Chicagoans just keep getting piled on, nickel and dimed till we are broke and made to leave the city we love. A 3 year old child at the Cabrini Green housing project loses his precious life when a heavy crumbling metal gate falls on his head as he and his little friends are swinging and playing on it. Taxpayer money that should be going for the upkeep of that gate, upkeep of our crumbling schools, upkeep of our crumbling mass transit system is instead diverted to TIFS which support private development, beautification of our city, half billion dollar parks, and other pet projects of Chicago's mayor Daley which are all designed to enhance his legacy as fast as he can siphon our tax dollars away. When the economy slows as it is now due to the artificial realestate bubble of the last 7 years, instead of cutting back on all these projects being constructed in the city, mayor Daley instead chooses to grab money from anywhere and everywhere he can. That means taking it from us taxpayers who are heavily depleated of our money already due to $5.00 per gallon gasoline, food prices that have gone up by over 30% in the last two years alone and depleated by a national inflation rate that is just eating away at what little money we have left. Red light camaras are springing up everywhere with the goal of taking taxpayers hard earned money. I know several small business owners who were warned or fined by the city for distributing flyers and handbills to local residents advertising their businesses. I personally am party to a class action lawsuit against the city of Chicago because my vehicle was booted, towed and re-sold without my getting any compensation whatsoever from the city. Mayor Daley has a constant policy of harrassing the the little guy for everything he can take from him/her. This mayor shrugs off his brash style by saying that everyone in power is either liked or hated. He just says that it goes with the territory. Mayor Daley is sadly mistaken. He is very much disliked for his stripping the little guy of his money and something will come to a head. When he was first elected mayor he started a policy of grabbing all the vacant lots he could get hold of. He explained that the city was amassing these lots with the goal of building low income housing on them. This was such a blatant lie. His real reason was to sell them to his rich developer friends so that they could build expensive mansions on them, mansions that often are grossly huge and out of character with the local neighborhoods and building codes. What a blatant liar this mayor turned out to be. I don't mean to use harsh terms but how else can I describe the calculated raping of the average working man and the middle class city dweller of their hard earned money? The powerful black political leaders in this city have been completely nuetered and bought off to a point that they no longer represent the citizens they are supposed to protect. Shameful and selfish are what describes most political leaders in Chicago. Something has to give somewhere, the little guy has nothing left to take. And factor in the growing economic storm that appears to be on the horizon, it will be interesting to see what else this mayor will do to completely rob us of what money and dignity we have left. We need a major change now, we need leaders to protect us and our families, instead of having to pay for more structures like the block 37 project which is headed nowhere but has taken all of our hard earned money just to finance a big city mayors selfish need for a historic legacy. A legacy that will leave the poor, underprivlidged, working man and middle class without any sort of dignity to feed clothe and house their struggling family. We desperately need someone to stand up for us and take control of this situation for the good of our souls and the preservation of our pocketbooks.

"We desperately need someone to stand up for us and take control of this situation for the good of our souls and the preservation of our pocketbooks."

It's called 'the people'.

And the people have had their heads buried in the sand, asses pointed up towards the sky and cheeks spread, for the past 20+ years.

In a democracy, the people have only themselves to blame.

While it is true that:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people, all of the time.

it is MORE true that:

You don't have to fool all of the people, all of the time; just enough of the people, at just the right time.

What's the phenomenon, with the frog and boiling water?

Drop a frog into a pot of boiling water and it will, quite predictably, jump out as fast as it can.

Place that same frog into a pot of cool water, then slowly heat the pot until the water's boiling and what do you get?

Poached frog.


Chicago, city of broad strictures
By Radley Balko

June 28, 2008

Chicago's grit is the stuff of legend. The city's hard-scrabble history conjures images of wind-beaten dock hands; rugged immigrants working punishing factory jobs; and 500 acres of slaughterhouses and their hard-time killing floors.

At the same time, Chicago has always adopted a work-hard/play-hard mentality.

The city drank its way through Prohibition; its brothels became legendary, as author Karen Abbott detailed in a great new book, "Sin in the Second City"; and though Chicago today has a well-earned reputation for fine dining and cutting-edge cuisine, it is more known for sating its hunger with a greasy kielbasa, a thick steak, or an inch-deep slice from Gino's East.

But Chicago seems to have lost a bit of its hard edge. The town that poet Carl Sandburg called "a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities" has itself gone soft, thanks to meddlesome politicians and public health officials who think Chicagoans aren't capable of making their own decisions about health, risk and vice.

The blues bars of "Sweet Home Chicago" are smoky no more, thanks to one of the most restrictive city smoking bans in the country. Chicago is one of just a few cities in the world to limit the use of trans fats in its restaurants. Even a place once christened Hog Butcher for the World engaged in an embarrassing public debate over the discomfort of fatted geese.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of an aggressively anti-alcohol mayor, the tipsy town that used to boast more than 7,000 taverns in the postwar 1940s now sips its suds in barely 1,300 bars. And you can forget about owning a gun in this town. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in America.

The fact is, a lot of "little soft cities" have become brassier and freer and, well, funner than Chicago.

At Reason Magazine, we recently took a look at how the 35 most-populous cities in the United States balance individual freedom with government paternalism. We ranked the cities on how much freedom they afford their residents to indulge in alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, gambling and food. And, for good measure, we also looked at the cities' gun laws, use of traffic and surveillance cameras, and tossed in an "other" category to catch weird laws such as New York's ban on unlicensed dancing, or Chicago's tax on bottled water.

The sad news, Chicagoans, is that your town came in dead last. And it wasn't even close.

Chicago reigns supreme when it comes to treating its citizens like children (Las Vegas topped our rankings as America's freest city). Chicagoans pay the second-highest cigarette tax in the country, and the sixth-highest tax on alcohol. Chicago has more traffic-light cameras than any city in America (despite studies questioning their effectiveness), restricts cell phone use while driving, and it's quickly moving toward a creepy public surveillance system similar to London's.

Chicago isn't alone, of course. Many of America's big cities are moving toward a suffocating sort of paternalism. Chicago's just the worst.

Fifteen years of a booming economy and encouraging drops in violent crime have given America's city councils a proverbial case of idle hands. Without more urgent matters to worry about, city politicians can spend time and political capital on alleged "quality of life" issues, such as how much space there ought to be between strippers and strip-club patrons (good work, Seattle!); monitoring the blood sugar levels of their residents (snoop on, New York!); or drawing up building codes for doghouses (I'm looking at you, San Francisco!).

In cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore., this embrace of "for your own good" paternalism has at least been offset by a more tolerant attitude on issues such as gay rights, or taking an approach to drug use that's more oriented toward treatment than punishment. In many cities, it may soon be easier to smoke a joint than a cigarette.

Chicagoans, however, get hit from both sides: A City Council oriented toward the blue state public health fanaticism of cities such as New York or San Francisco, and a more reddish state legislature still prone to occasional bouts of moral prudery.

Still, Chicago need not cry in its beer too much. Even a last-place finish does not mean the fun's over.

Today's cities are large enough to afford most residents the anonymity to indulge forbidden pleasures in black and gray markets without much fear of getting caught. The information revolution has provided myriad ways for us to transcend old boundaries of home, family and neighborhood. The short-lived foie gras prohibition may not have given rise to an Al Capone of fatted goose liver, for example, but Chicagoans with an affinity for the dish knew what restaurants would serve it up with a wink and a secret handshake.

So, let's turn our backs on a Windy City Nanny State. Chicagoans didn't need sage aldermen to tell them how to live their lives when the city was populated by farmers and meatpackers. There's no reason to go wimpy now that the city is home to traders and tech geeks, either.

The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit naming the City of Chicago and Mayor Richard Daley as defendants. At issue is the city's handgun ban, who's legality was thrown into quesiton yesterday - when the Supreme Court overturned a similar ban in Washington, D.C. The NRA says it's also targeting handgun laws in Evanston, Morton Grove, and Oak Park.

Cabrini-Green complex run by son of Daley ally

June 29, 2008Recommend

The Chicago Housing Authority complex where toddler Curtis Cooper was killed Friday is managed by a firm run by the son of a Mayor Daley ally.

Cullen Davis, president of Urban Property Advisors, is the son of Allison S. Davis, a top city developer who served for years on the city's Plan Commission after being appointed by Daley.

The firm manages other low-income properties around town โ€” including the New Evergreen/Sedgwick Apartments at 1300 N. Sedgwick, not far from the complex where Curtis was killed.

That complex made news last year when raw sewage bubbled up to the electrical outlets in apartments. The city sued the firm, which was found liable for building code violations and fined $2,500.

Allison Davis and his partners โ€” including sons Jared and Cullen โ€” have gotten more than $100 million in taxpayer subsidies to build and rehabilitate more than 1,500 apartments and homes, primarily for the poor.

Curtis, 3, was killed on Friday in the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue outside a Cabrini-Green row house. He was playing with a couple other young children around or on an iron fence when the fence fell and crushed him, according to police. He died when he arrived at the hospital.

Did the monitor both to check anyof the claims of any of the indivuals who filed claims such as seeing if such claims were already rejected by Federal Courts, or the same claim failed as gender or race discrimination at the EEOC and also failed. Did the monitor ask the city for one file on any of these employees. The answer is no. Several of these employees owe legal fees to the city for previous suits that they lost and owe legal fees to the city. With no judge or jury but someone who can give $12 million away and did,

Daley's former patronage denied hearing bid

July 1, 2008Recommend (1)

Mayor Richard M. Daley's former patronage chief and two other former city officials lost their bid Tuesday for an unusual hearing by all of Chicago's actively sitting federal appeals judges.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a majority of the judges voting on whether to hold a so-called en banc hearing had been against the idea. It would have involved all the court's judges except those on senior status.

Robert Sorich, 43, once known as the mayor's patronage chief, was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted in July 2006 of using fraud to cover up the role of political patronage in city hiring.

Three other former city aides were convicted along with him.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court denied their request for a new trial on April 15, saying they had been ''key players in a corrupt and far reaching scheme ... that doled out thousands of city civil service jobs based on political patronage and nepotism.''

The patronage system has been entrenched in Chicago for decades, reserving jobs on the city payroll for the precinct captains who get out the vote for the mayor and the candidates he supports on Election Day.

Hearings by all of the court's actively sitting judges are unusual but far from unheard of. The court held such a hearing for former Gov. George Ryan after a three-judge panel upheld his racketeering conviction.

The appeals court did not give a reason for turning down the en banc hearing. It merely said the majority didn't want one.

Two appeals judges, Michael S. Kanne and Richard A. Posner, dissented.

In his five-page dissent, Kanne said the appeals court needed to explore further its decision that Sorich had deprived the city of his ''honest services'' and thus was guilty of fraud. The question of what constitutes honest services fraud has been a hot issue in recent years.

Kanne also said it was unclear that violating a series of 30-year-old court decrees banning patronage could serve as the basis for a crime.

This is to "monitor is nuts". Stop crying about everyone else and put the blame where it belongs, thats with Daley and his crooked rigged system. He got caught now we have to pay to build his massive political army. Why does Daley not pay this out of his pocket. Thats why Sorich is fighting all the way to the supreme court because Daley is going down fighting tooth and nail. Daley is the key target here. He may be able to delay all of this for a long time but he can't stop the fact that the feds already got his son who will soon be indicted for income tax evasion and fraud. The local media is also to blame for not hounding Daley the way they hound the Republicans. Justice comes to everyone at some point. He can't steal our money forever.

Poltics still continues in Streets and Sanitation, someone should check why laborers are working inside jobs in the office at 23rd and Ashland.

Then the question goes why is their a shortage of manpower in refuse collection.

HDO is dead, but members still call shots
At its peak, the group held sway over hundreds of jobs

July 3, 2008Recommend (5)

BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist
The Hispanic Democratic Organization is officially dead. The group that became known, feared and loathed by its initials -- HDO -- filed its Final Report this week with the Illinois State Board of Elections, legally terminating its activities as a political committee.

Some would say HDO has been effectively deceased since the federal Hired Truck investigation of City Hall began focusing attention on its activities in 2004.

ยป Click to enlarge image Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown

But they would also tell you the group's individual members continue to carry on pretty much as before Hired Truck, just not as effectively since the federal heat made the organization and its leaders too hot to handle, shutting off its patronage and fund-raising pipeline.

At the peak of its power, HDO controlled hundreds of jobs and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations -- all with the de facto if not explicit blessing of Mayor Daley.

Before closing the books, the organization doled out its last $32,575.

Roosevelt Media, a company affiliated with HDO founder and chairman Victor Reyes, got the biggest check, $10,411, while his sister Virginia, a lawyer, was paid $4,772 for unspecified services. Another $7,000 went to Alberto Guevara in connection with his brother Carlos Guevara's losing campaign this year against state Sen. Iris Martinez, one of several recent political rebukes to HDO.

The job holders, though, are still out there, still serving as loyal political armies in support of pretty much the same regional coordinators who controlled them during HDO's heyday. These HDO "cells" remain a potent political force, especially in legislative and aldermanic races.

In fact, for all the hoopla surrounding the federal investigation, it's notable how few of HDO's leaders were actually charged in connection with it.

The highest-ranking HDO leader indicted was former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, who ran a political street army of perhaps 100 patronage workers for HDO. A couple of his top lieutenants also got nailed.

Sanchez is scheduled to go on trial next March, and until his case is completed, nobody is ready to say for certain that the Hired Truck probe -- and its sister investigation of city hiring fraud -- are at an end. But many believe all signs point that way.

In case you've forgotten, Reyes has never been charged, even though he was named by the U.S. attorney's office as an unindicted "co-schemer" in the fraud trial of former City Hall patronage chief Robert Sorich and three associates.

Defense lawyer Tom Breen, who represents both Reyes and Sanchez but represented Reyes first, says he would not have taken Sanchez as a client if he "thought there was any chance of any charges being brought against Victor Reyes."

Others came to a similar conclusion when federal prosecutors raised no objection to Breen taking Sanchez's case. Often under those circumstances, they will complain about a conflict of interest.

Reyes left city employment in 2002, and it's possible the statute of limitations has run out on any potential case against him, although Breen won't make that assertion.

Instead, he says: "Quite frankly, I don't know what he would have done wrong."

Some of us assumed Reyes did everything Sorich did and more, but obviously, the U.S. attorney's office felt the evidence against him was weaker. The hiring fraud case stalled when Sorich declined to cooperate against higher-ups. Sorich is now serving a 43-month prison sentence.

A federal appeals court recently upheld the Sorich verdict -- and the legal theory under which the case was brought. Some speculate that will breathe new life into the city investigations, and as much as I'd like to think that, I've seen no signs of it.

There haven't been any indications Sanchez is inclined to turn "flipper" on his old associates either.

As one of its last acts when it still had some real money, HDO paid $140,000 to Breen's law firm in late 2006, partly as a retainer for future services. Breen declined to say whether the money was to be applied to representing Reyes or Sanchez or both.

In the meantime, there aren't a lot of outward signs Reyes' career was thrown off kilter by the federal attention. His political consulting firm continues to report an extensive list of lobbying clients in Springfield and City Hall, and he's still listed as a director of Park Bancorp.

The political officeholders most closely connected to HDO have continued to get re-elected, although they have been unable to extend their reach in efforts to pick off those deemed disloyal. A reminder: HDO was never as much about Hispanic political empowerment as about which Hispanics would have the power.

So, HDO is dead. Ding-dong?

Hiring shenanigans sure to outlive HDO

July 6, 2008Recommend (1)

The Hispanic Democratic Organization, known as HDO, is dead.

Which is sort of like saying Frankenstein's monster is dead, but forgetting that the evil scientist and his henchmen who created the monster are alive and scheming.

HDO was a political army whose foot soldiers -- hundreds of city workers -- got city jobs or promotions based on the number of doors they knocked on, phone calls they made and votes they turned out for political candidates backed by City Hall.

Last week, HDO filed its final official report. That was the same week Mayor Daley's former patronage chief, Robert Sorich, lost his latest bid to get an appellate court to overturn his prison sentence. Sorich was found guilty in 2006 of gaming the city hiring system to reward political workers with city posts. The convictions of Sorich and three of his colleagues sent a strong message to political hacks and their higher-ups in the city that gaming the hiring system is criminal.

With both of those pieces of good news, it might be tempting to believe the hiring monster is dead.

Tempting -- but wrong.

Doling out city jobs for political work has been the lifeblood of Chicago's political body for longer than anybody reading this paper has been alive.

So which do you think is the more likely outcome?

A) Chicago's political power brokers, realizing the error of their ways, will stop using city jobs and promotions as rewards to get people to do their political bidding.

B) The powers that be hatch will new ways to game the city's hiring system -- something more clever, something harder to prove in court, if caught -- and keep on with business as usual.

Call us cynics, but we'll put our money -- and our investigative reporters -- on Option B.

The federal prosecution of Sorich and various HDO figures is drawing to a close, but they never nabbed more than lieutenants in this scheme. The generals remain unscathed. Prosecutors can do only so much when faced with an extraordinary tight-lipped loyalty among political operatives, a kind of loyalty the Chicago Outfit could learn from.

We urge U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and city Inspector General David Hoffman to remain vigilant. The monster isn't dead. He's back in the lab, getting upgraded.

Hey Monitor is Nuts:

Did the City provide information during the court cases and cases in front of the EEOC and other forums you listed about the existance of a clout list, fixed promotions, preferential treatment, differential discipline, favoritism, or relationships between interested parties?

The answer is no, they purposely hid the information and failed to disclose it.

My union sponsored my supervisor on the clout list. They provided an unfavorable affidavit in a court action, without fully disclosing thier surreptitious relationship.

My union lied on an affidavit and had my case dismissed to protect their clout list cronie and back room shenanigans.

How was I suppose to know that it was about politics rather than gender? They didn't give me a copy of the clout list.

Both reasons were applicable in my case. More educated female passed over by clout heavy men in a male dominated environment.

Hand in hand, the City and union's skipped along merrily with the malfeasance to the detriment of a significant portion of the workforce, mostly blacks and women.

I deserved every penny that I won after losing in court. The supervisor and union had no sympathy for me whatsoever after costing me $ 30,000.00.

Emboldened by the decision, they continued to harass me. The supervisor went overboard and was disciplined for retaliation. Even the best attorneys in the Corporations Counsel's office couldn't have defended what he did.

Through the EEOC, I forced them to put me back on the day shift.

The union created, along with the city, a "cross-training" program to circumvent seniority protections in the contract. Nothing is contained in the contract about "cross-training."

I wonder when the guy who was placed in (undisclosed location), who donated over $13,000.00 to the (big kahuna politician) will complete his cross training.

He's been over there for eight years. If he hasn't figured the building out by now, he must be pretty stupid. You don't think that he was clouted on the day shift, in a very desirable location, over more senior employees, do you?

So "Monitor is Nuts" feel free to post again about your sanctimonious self serving concerns.