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The [Wednesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on October 22, 2014

Last night the Tribune held another of its "Trib Nation" events with Rahm Emanuel. I hate these things, and here's why: Rahm would never participate if he'd be facing a real reporter ready to grill him on all the questions he's dodged in between appearances. He knows, instead, that he'll get a brand-burnishing schmoozefest with his pal, Bruce Dold, the paper's editorial page editor (and also the person who will write the Tribune's inevitable re-election endorsement in February). Once again, it's the editorial page undermining the reporting staff - as I've talked about in our last two podcasts.

Check out our Twitter TL and/or the hashtag #tribnation to see what questions I submitted as an example of why I concluded this was, indeed, a wank.

(Also included: retweets from the Tribune's top two editors that bolster my case.)

Ferro Follow
Last Friday, Robert Feder reported that "In recent weeks, sources said, Ferro has been exerting pressure on editors regarding coverage of Rauner."

That's a big enchilada to put out there without details and/or a follow-up. How so? Phone calls? E-mails? Directly or through intermediaries? What kind of pressure? Threats to employment? Pleas for fairness? Which editors? The city desk? The top editors? And how did the editors respond? Sure would like to know more. You'd think sources would be able to tell you.

On Monday, Greg Hinz reported that "My colleague Rich Miller has his own thoughts, which will publish later today. Check out his piece about how he was dismissed by the Sun-Times after penning a column critical of Mr. Rauner."

That piece has yet to appear. That's also a big enchilada to leave out there. C'mon, guys! As Hinz also wrote, "a lot of unanswered questions remain here."

Treasurer Turkey Trot
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set Wednesday to appoint an investment executive and former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to be the new city treasurer," the Tribune reports.

"The mayor's move to name Kurt Summers Jr. to replace Stephanie Neely as treasurer comes just four months before Neely was set to stand for re-election. By appointing Summers, the mayor could give him a leg up to win the seat outright in the February city elections, as incumbents are believed to have an advantage."

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Could give him a leg up? That's the point. This is a rich Chicago tradition.

Believed to have an advantage? Love that passive construction. Believed by whom? Just believed. Beyond that, not only believed but proven.

Why so timid? Neely couldn't hang on for four more months and allow a fair election to go forward? That's the question to ask. How long has the mayor known she was leaving? When did he first contact Summers? How was this all arranged? Come on!

"Summers and the Emanuel administration have been tight-lipped about the appointment."

First, "tight-lipped" is journalese. Why not just say they refuse to discuss the appointment - or at least how it came about? There's your story. I'll give it a shot:

"Mayor Emanuel is set to appoint a new city treasurer Wednesday but refuses to explain how he came to choose a longtime Democratic operative four months before an election in a classic Chicago move typically used to blunt competition at the ballot box.

"Similarly, the new treasurer, Kurt Summers, refuses to explain how he got the job and the outgoing treasurer, Stephanie Neely, refuses to discuss the details of when and how she decided to leave office at such a politically opportune time instead of simply not running for re-election."

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The Tribune does sort of flick at the issue at hand later in its article, after reciting Summers' biography from a website, which could have been handled simply by providing a link. Here's what the paper then says:

"Emanuel's appointment of a new treasurer comes after he appointed two members of the City Council in 2013 to replace outgoing aldermen: Natashia Holmes to replace Sandi Jackson in the 7th Ward and Deb Mell to replace her father, Richard Mell, in the 33rd Ward. Prior to that, the mayor appointed a panel to interview applicants and submit a list of finalists from which he selected the new aldermen."

Well, the appointment doesn't really come after those aldermanic appointments, except in the sense that everything that's happened on the planet since then comes after. Maybe the point is this:

"Summers' appointment is just the latest by Emanuel that follows in a long tradition used most prolifically by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, whose old-school machine politics the current mayor often says the city must move beyond. In fact, that's how Neely got the job in the first place . . . "

I think that's the point the Tribune is trying to make, but seems unwilling to make directly.

Another way to go at it: "The job of city treasurer is ostensibly an elected office independent of the mayor, but once again a Chicago mayor has made behind-the-scenes arrangements to do his best to maintain the position as just another appointment under his control."

That's the point. Get to it.

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That could have been a question for Bruce Dold to ask last night too, instead of, you know, asking about Hillary.

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Also wouldn't mind seeing an article about how other cities fill vacancies like this, and even if they elect treasurers in the first place. Ditto for city clerks.

Neely vs. Rauner

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Bruce loves Stephanie but Stephanie loves Rahm. Which is awkward because Bruce and Rahm also love each other.

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Fantasy Fix: All-Futures Team A Mockery
At least Forte is delivering.

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BeachBook
* Kyle Orton Was The Most Pivotal Quarterback Of Week 6.

* Derrick Rose Falls, Entire Bench Runs Over To Make Sure He's Not Broken.

Priceless image.

* Stanley Kubrick's High-Contrast Images Of Chicago In 1949.

* Small Bar On Division Closing.

Soccer hangout and craft beer headquarters falls to douchebags.

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TweetWood

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Then it turned out the numbers didn't add up. Oh, CPS, you are so incompetent and corrupt all at the same time. And you're in charge of educating our children; how stumblebum charming. I feel a rom-com coming on . . .

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Click through for an education.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Appointment tipping.

Permalink


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Paul Lynde vs. Halloween.
POLITICS - Beachwood Radio: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.
SPORTS - Fantasy Fix: All-Futures Mockery.

BOOKS - The Onion vs. Gone Girl.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Millionaires Not So Sweet On Halloween


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