Aldermen cost taxpayers by sending letter, not text, to Mayor Emanuel

November 2, 2011

Today at the meeting of the Chicago City Council, there will be a public hearing for the Emanuel budget proposal. This is where Mayor Emanuel's budget gets the ol' eagle eye from the aldermen. And they are ready to fight. I mean, c'mon! They wrote a letter! I can just imagine 28 of the alderman all surrounding one old Gateway computer, hunting and pecking. "What's another word for disservice?? Irresponsible?" 

Also on the agenda today: Tickets for pot and outlawing plastic bags in big stores. But the really big  item that surfaced last week with very little coverage was news that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is slashing the bouncy house budget from $400k to $200k. Wha??! Apparently, there will now be fewer bouncy houses available for neighborhood events and also a different check-out system, according to department commissioner Michelle Boone. I don't know. I called Alderman Ed Bus (D-53rd) for comment. He has been alderman for 40-45 years and ran on the platform of "Bouncy houses at every block party" for last year's election. After his son answered and yelled "Dad" a few times, Bus picked up:

Bus: What'ya want?

Me: Did you hear that the DCASE is cutting the bouncy house budget?

Bus: What's DCASE?

Me: Oh, it's a fancy way for us to say Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Bus: Lois cut my bouncy houses?

Me: Lois Weisberg retired.

Bus: I'm not listening to anyone but Daley, Lois or my wife Dorse. Rahm doesn't even technically live here.

Me: They want to change the way you check out bouncy houses.

Bus: Listen, I don't care about no budget. I don't care about no DCASELENO. I got my own bouncy house stash. I never return the ones I used from last time. In the 53rd, we just keep em up all year around. We drain the water and leaves and homeless dudes in the spring and the kids love it. If they break, Dale duct-tapes 'em.

Me: Are you worried you might have to change your ways?

Bus: I never worry. And I never change. The only change I care about is in the couch cushions. Heh, heh. Now if you don't mind, me and a few of my alderman buddies are downstairs on the HP composing a letter. Do you know another word for "disappointed?"

Me: Disheartened?

Bus: Stupid. Nobody says that. Wait. Who is this?

B story: I got an idea. If you want more cash for the budget, how 'bout charging Lollapalooza rent for the three months of Grant Park closings? Is that still happening? Paging Mr. DeRogatis.

C story: There's been a lot of talk in the rags this week about WBEZ. First, Crains Chicago Business and today, Robert Feder. But if you want the real story about the inner workings of WBEZ, let me give you a tip. We have a milk-stealer. Hey, I don't mind you taking a few hits off the old skim milk in the public fridge. I aim to make people happy. But to actually use the last of it and throw it away? That's just indecent. Right? Also, I think there is a pen thief too. I had 10 pens, now I have one. I'm willing to break that news to whoever wants it.

D story: Gotta love John R. Schmidt today about Dewey vs. Truman. It was November 2, 1948. I didn't know there was a newspaper printing strike at the time. Interesting.

E story: Quote of the day yesterday goes to Chuck Sudo at Chicagoist (although I shouldn't be linking anything after the Chicagoist smear job on WBEZ this morning). This is about the CTA getting on Twitter

If the front page to their feed means anything, CTA will probably tweet in groups of 3-5 tweets over a 20-minute period, then you won't see anything for another hour.

That's like a good, local Conan joke. Kudos Mr. Sudo!

F story: Time Out Chicago profiles the Chicago Reader's Straight Dope. What's next? Cats and Dogs, living in harmony? I don't like this new media world. 

Weather: Nice day. My friend told me it was snowing in Denver. Something tells me that will hit here by weekend (probably rain).

Sports: Matt Forte believes the Bears are disloyal. What's missing from this story is that Forte and his agents turned down the Bears offer at the beginning of the season, which would have paid him in the ballpark of Frank Gore. That's where the Bears put him. The Forte camp wants top RB money. The Bears will have to pay it, but they don't want to pay it over a long contract. I think the media likes to beat up on the Bears for being disloyal (although those are Forte's words). But the Bears (nor the Bears fan) would have thought that Forte would be the #1 back in the NFL by mid-year. So good for Forte. He is proving it and the Bears will franchise tag him, which means he is guaranteed top five RB money for the new couple years.  Tell me again how this is disloyal?

Kicker: Hey, reminder! Mark Bazer put out an EVITE and still needs your response. He's doing nothing. Yep, nothing, but he wanted you to be invited.

Also, this week is the 3rd anniversary of the death of Studs Terkel. I saw this on Facebook today, an animated short based on a piece Studs did for StoryCorps. This is great: