Sun-Times Column a Gambling Nightmare

Mayor Daley Interview.jpg
Please read a editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times allowing gambling in Chicago. I cannot believe the Sun-Times could even fathom this. The suckers and the poor pour millions into the Illinois Lotto with lousy returns. The Illinois Lotto is a chump bet to clean out the poor. People get wealthy on the lotto by providing “Legal and sub-contracting” services to the Lotto. Does Mayor Daley’s cousin still have access to the 68 million dollars. Wake up Chicago, you are being fleeced alive. Chicago Taxpayers should demand a full scale investigation into Daley now. Daley is refusing to give David Hoffman enough power to combat corruption, so why give Daley and his mafia friends the Gambling? Photo by Patrick McDonough.

]]>City needs gambling — and rules to keep out organized crime

October 21, 2007
We’ve always thought Chicago deserves a casino — why should the city miss out on all that revenue from riverboats that surround us? But if Chicago wins a betting palace, it should get one the right way. And there’s plenty wrong with the bill now pending in Springfield, mainly because it doesn’t do enough to keep out the mob or beef up state regulators.

The Chicago Crime Commission opposes any new gambling in the city. On that point, we disagree. But James W. Wagner, the commission president, wages several good arguments about weaknesses in the gaming proposal, which cleared the Senate last month and is now pending in the House. Wagner, a former FBI agent and former investigator for the Illinois Gaming Board, is most concerned about the bill allowing the city to own a mega-casino, the location of which hasn’t been decided — that we know of. With 4,000 stations, the proposed Chicago gambling arena would be nearly four times that of Elgin. Not only would a Chicago casino be one of the largest in the country, it also would be the first city-owned casino in the United States.

Wagner thinks it’s inevitable that organized crime will be drawn to the casino, making offers that can’t be refused. “Organized crime still exists in Chicago. It was intricately involved in building casinos in Las Vegas,” he said during a meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board. He points to our mobbed up history, the recent “Family Secrets” trial of Chicago organized crime figures, mob influence in the city’s Hired Truck scandal, and the police department’s scaled-down Organized Crime unit as evidence that the mob is still healthy and that the city is ill-equipped to combat it.

“How in the world can you even talk about the city owning something like this?” he asked. “They don’t have a track record to trust them.”

The other problem, argues the crime commission, is that the pending bill would award an irrevocable gambling license to Chicago. The state’s other gaming licenses, awarded to the companies that run the nine riverboats, can be yanked in the event of management problems and corruption. Wagner thinks that’s an essential tool to keep casino operators in line, and regulators should be allowed to wield that against Chicago, too.

And speaking of regulators. The casino bill calls for a massive expansion of gambling in Illinois in order to fund a public works program and other state needs. In addition to the Chicago complex, two smaller casinos would be authorized somewhere in the state. And the existing boats would be allowed to get bigger. The Illinois Gaming Board estimates it would need to expand its staff to police the casino operations. But the legislation is silent on the matter.

Wagner also complains that the gaming board should have the power to regulate non-gambling operations of the city casino. Without it, the board can’t review contracts such as supplies and garbage pickup, which are vulnerable to mob influence.

Gambling is all about risk. But if the Legislature is going to approve a casino in Chicago, it needs to do more to make sure the casino is as safe a bet as possible.

Chicago can’t risk mobbed-up casino

10 Replies to “Sun-Times Column a Gambling Nightmare”

  1. Higher taxes won’t buy class

    October 17, 2007
    CAROL MARIN [email protected]
    I’m a little worried about Chicago being a world-class city. Rome is a world-class city, plagued by world-class congestion.

    Rio’s world-class, and according to the Guardian newspaper, it has about 6,000 murders a year, and in the last six months, 50 cops have been killed.

    London is both a world-class and Olympic city, set to host the 2012 games. But just this Sunday, the Times of London reported, “Senior executives responsible for building London’s 2012 Olympic venues have accepted junkets and expensive hospitality from companies to whom they have awarded contracts worth millions of pounds.” Oh, and their Olympic stadium is already $440 million over budget.

    See what fun it is being a world-class city?

    Plenty of people already think we are a world-class city. We have the Chicago Symphony, the Civic Opera, the Art Institute and the Billy Goat.

    I include Billy Goat because it’s key to who we are. The mayor can revel in a bike ride in Paris, but what real Chicagoans want is less exotic:

    • • A city where the cops are straight and the aldermen only slightly crooked.

    • • A city where the trains and buses not only run, but also run on time, and the garbage is picked up.

    • • Where kids can get a good education, find a job and root for their local team.

    • • Where working families can still afford to live in the city.

    Chicago has always had its wine set, but in its heart, it’s a beer town. We put mustard on our hot dogs, and when a cold wind blows in off the lake, we keep our head down and forge ahead.

    We can take a lot until we are pushed too far. A lot of folks this week have hit their limit.

    That’s because Mayor Daley insists that to be a world-class city means paying more in taxes to fund the things he is convinced will keep us globally in the front row, not to mention a contender for our own Olympic bid. That means an additional $196 million in taxes on everything from sewers to 911 surcharges, from wine to bottled water.

    Oddly, the mayor has wrapped his pitch in the mantle of more libraries. But we already are a world-class library city. The 2006 edition of Governing Magazine hails Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey and the system she has built as “unparalleled . . . a national model . . . a magnet for development.”

    Greg Hinz of Crain’s this week did a fine job of outing the mayor on that bit of nonsense. Out of the taxes Daley is proposing, libraries will get only a small share. Libraries are just a warm and fuzzy way of deflecting the public’s outrage at the increases in question while downtown developers, according to Jackie Leavy, the former head of the Neighborhood Capital Development Group, keep getting corporate welfare in the form of city TIF-provided tax breaks.

    World-class cities don’t neglect people on the bottom and middle rungs of the social ladder. That means that Chicago, out of 11 major cities, shouldn’t be eighth, behind Charlotte, Boston and Houston, when it comes to how well low-income fourth-graders can read, according to Linda Lenz, publisher of Catalyst, a respected education publication.

    And finally, and most urgently, world-class cities have solid, stable, modern, efficient transit systems that carry their citizens to work and school, with all the economic and environmental benefits that accrue.

    Being an Olympic city may be a fine goal. But being a world-class city means delivering basic services with or without the Olympics.

    Farewell, Florence
    Florence Scala, the world-class Chicago activist who lived and died in Chicago’s Little Italy, will be remembered at a memorial mass at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt.

    The legendary Studs Terkel will say a few words.

  2. Don’t accept Daley’s taxes
    Rooting out waste and corruption better than hitting citizens for $293 million tab
    By Jesse L. Jackson Jr
    October 17, 2007 Attention taxpayers: Chicago isn’t broke. City officials simply refuse to cut waste, fraud and corruption. Instead, they want to forward the inflated bills to you.

    Mayor Richard Daley’s proposed 2008 budget includes many unsavory morsels. Rather than comply with a federal court decree prohibiting patronage, the city budgets half a million to defend its inevitable violations. Rather than fund the independent inspector general’s office to root out corruption, the mayor seeks $2.5 million to create his own internal “Office of Compliance,” which predictably will expose about as much corruption in City Hall as the notoriously inept Office of Professional Standards uncovers in the Chicago Police Department.

    Rather than close the gap that allows insurance companies to avoid paying a business “head tax,” the city continues the special exemption.

    Rather than leveling the taxes paid by utility companies, the city extends a policy that allows one company to pay a fraction of what another pays.

    It’s just $293 million, Daley is telling taxpayers about his proposed new taxes and fees.

    The city’s latest tax push, called by some a “Corruption, Waste and Mismanagement Tax” or a “Lazy Bureaucracy Tax,” is compounded because it coincides with similarly huge tax hikes proposed by Cook County and state government.

    It seems as if Daley, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Gov. Rod Blagojevich are in a race to see who can raise your taxes the highest.

    The city’s “corruption tax” is something I tried to calculate when I was exploring a run for mayor in 2006. While an exact figure is impossible to pinpoint, I conservatively estimated that the tax exceeded $1.5 billion in recent years — including $300 million for the do-nothing hired truckers; $500 million for illegal hiring under the Shakman decree; well over $100 million in fraudulent “minority” contracts to white-owned businessmen; and at least $25 million in legal fees and settlements for police torture cases. And that’s just scratching the surface.

    I oppose new city taxes, and I urge the City Council to do so as well.

    When Chicagoans went to the polls in February, they voted for change — unseating many incumbent aldermen. Taxpayers said enough to the waste, fraud and abuse. They wanted new aldermen with new ideas — and less corruption with lower tax bills.

    There are several ways that the city can reduce spending.

    First, purge the dead weight, the do-nothing patronage workers and the “protected” distant cousins of committeemen who populate the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Water Department, etc.

    Get rid of corrupt cops who not only give a bad name to their honest, hardworking brethren, but cost the taxpayers dearly in legal fees and court settlements.

    End pay-to-play by banning campaign contributions from individuals and companies doing business with the city. This would reduce “pinstripe patronage” and stop those who consistently “game” the system Chicago-style.

    Beef up the office of inspector general — and reject funding for the easily corruptible Office of Compliance.

    Comply with — in short, stop fighting — the federal Shakman decree. That alone will save taxpayers an estimated $36 million a year.

    Make all supervisors sign sworn statements that they will not “clout” anyone a job. Any supervisor caught violating that pledge would lose his or her job, benefits and pensions.

    Provide real whistle-blower protection so that rank-and-file employees can report corruption when they see it, without fear of retribution.

    On the other side of the equation, city officials should look at revenue enhancements that do not impose regressive new taxes on residents. Here are just a few ideas:

    The city could reform tax increment financing district rules so TIF funds can be used for a broader array of infrastructure projects that meet a neighborhood’s specific needs.

    It could impose a graduated solid-waste collection fee that’s based on the size of one’s property. Larger properties are usually owned by wealthier residents who can afford to pay more for garbage pickup.

    Revisit the head tax. One possibility is eliminating the exemption for insurance companies. Another might be making the head tax more graduated for larger businesses.

    The city could consider a “planning fee” for large commercial development.

    In short, be creative, be fair, be progressive.

    Middle-class city taxpayers are already weary from carrying the heavy cost of waste, fraud and abuse. They deserve better government. Now.

    When I was exploring a possible run for mayor, many people defended Mayor Daley. Almost universally, residents expressed to me how beautiful the flowers were downtown.

    At the same time, local newspapers reported more corruption and scandal.

    The flower boxes are nice. But now the mayor wants you to ante up for all the dirt.
    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. represents the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois.

  3. The Sun-Times acts like the “Little Girl” of days gone by; when it is good, the Sun-Times is very, very good… but when it is bad, it is rotten!

    In that regard, did you see Mary Mitchell pathetic apology piece for Toddler Stroger in Sunday’s paper? Us she trying to get one of those six-figure jobs as a press aide to Toddler that doesn’t talk or deal with the press?

  4. He’s also taking our guns away, like that guy.

    Here’s an old poem which I’ll nickname here “Hey Tough Grabowskis, hey tough Chicagoans, w a k e – u p . — PLEASE”

    We made an embarassing mistake. We are not strong blue-collar workers; it was a dream. We are liberal dumb-downed sissies, trying to be San Francisco…and constantly falling painfully into the hands of the media and liberal democrat party mafia run by John, Rich and Bill.

    Original
    Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Kommunist.

    Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

    Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
    habe ich nicht protestiert;
    ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

    Als sie die Juden holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Jude.

    Als sie mich holten,
    gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
    Translation
    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    P.S. Hey liberals, are you still for gun control?
    do you still think of folks such as the Daleys as public servants, looking out for your family?

    Carl Segvich, 11th ward

  5. So, Carl, are you in favor of the following:

    Rise and Shine, all ye faithful:

    HAVE NO DOUBT, VOTE INCUMBENTS OUT

    Here is how to get it done:

    1) REGISTER TO VOTE

    2) Make a list of every INCUMBENT, (leaving those few incumbents who you are CERTAIN deserve to be reelected off of your list)

    3) BRING this list with you when you go to vote

    4) DO NOT vote for ANYONE on your list

    5) If the INCUMBENT has only one CHALLENGER, vote for that CHALLENGER, no matter who it may be

    6) If the INCUMBENT has 2 or more challengers, then:

    If the INCUMBENT’S name is listed FIRST, then vote for the CHALLENGER who’s name is LISTED LAST

    or

    If the INCUMBENT’S name is NOT LISTED FIRST, then vote for the CHALLENGER who’s name IS LISTED FIRST

    (This will concentrate the most votes for a SINGLE CHALLENGER, thus providing the greatest possibility of the incumbent losing)

    7) whenever you have the choice to RETAIN or NOT RETAIN an elected official, vote to NOT RETAIN

    8) Vote for whomever you choose, for whatever your reasons, it’s your vote and you can cast it for whomever you please, but, remember, the INCUMBENTS are the people who have been, are, and will continue to be, the one’s responsible for all of our current troubles.

    Cast your votes with the sole purpose in mind of ousting practically all those currently holding, and abusing, the power and authority they’ve been entrusted with.

    This strategy, if applied, will guarantee that the incumbents will lose, every time.

    Primaries are the perfect opportunity for honest individuals, of either major party, to challenge the corrupt, old-school hacks infesting their parties.

    Whether one considers oneself essentially a ‘liberal’, ‘conservative’, a Democrat or Republican, or a mixture of both, one must acknowledge that the entrenched members of BOTH parties have been, and currently are, responsible for fucking up the lives of the ‘common citizens’.

    Independent-minded Democrats AND Republicans should flood their respective primaries with challengers and vote according to the HAVE NO DOUBT, VOTE INCUMBENTS OUT protocols, which will replace each party’s respective incumbent hacks with anyone BUT the incumbent hack.

    In the general election, both Democrats and Republicans can have the opportunity to elect a candidate who is not a hack, not a part of the old-school hack machine, and may well be a person more authentically committed to the ideals of true democracy.

    Those citizens who are sick and tired of the ways in which BOTH Democrats and Republicans have fucked up our city, county, state and country, can also apply this voting strategy in the general election, (should any incumbent hacks survive their respective primaries), to ensure that practically ALL incumbents are ousted.

    In addition, this will also open up the general election for any and all independent candidates to have a chance of successfully challenging the major party candidates.

    GET REGISTERED TO VOTE

    VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION, (be it a Primary or a General Election.)

    USE THE POWER OF YOUR VOTE TO COMPEL CHANGE

    It’s Simple, Effective & Easy.

    S.E.E.?

    Try it, you’ll like it.

  6. Generally speaking, YES, I am in favor of this thoughtful and noble voting strategy to free US PEOPLE from these political slobs. YES.
    Thanks for putting forth a plan to vote incumbents out of OUR offices.
    MANY many more citizens need to reclaim their civic responsibility.

    Carl Segvich

  7. Thanks, Carl, for having the imagination to see the possibilities in my humble concept.

    The prerequisite to honest, honorable citizens having authentic access to the ballot is to first clean house of the vermin that infest it.

    With all their tricks and schemes, the entrenched, corrupt and arrogant have little defense against a concerted effort such as described above.

    Even the possibility of those responsible for ensuring the random selection of ballot listing of candidate names daring to violate their trust, by engaging in the criminal act of ballot order rigging, can be neutralized by an abundance of challengers filing for every public office, in every Primary and General Election.

    The goal that is meant to be achieved by this strategy is to eliminate the possibility of splitting the votes of the dissatisfied.

    With voters casting their votes, not for a specific candidate, but for whichever candidate is NOT the incumbent, AND for a single challenger candidate, being the CHALLENGER listed FIRST, if the incumbent is NOT listed first, or, being the CHALLENGER listed LAST, if the incumbent IS listed first, IF enough citizens apply this strategy, there will be NO INCUMBENTS surviving their respective Primaries.

    Now, THAT would be sweet.

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