Tag Archives: Rahm Emanuel

State of Discontent

INFECTED!!! The holier-than-thou Pacific Northwest is battling a measles outbreak that has triggered a state of emergency declaration in Washington (State, not cesspool).

All of the 35 confirmed patients suffering from the rarely fatal virus (which according to the CDC was eradicated from America in 2000) were either unvaccinated or have not had their vaccination status verified. We need to investigate that latter group so Twitter can attack the appropriate side.

NPR reports:
Before the vaccine was introduced in 1963 measles was the single leading killer of children in the world. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five.

Popular locations to pick up this outbreak: if you picked someone up at
Portland International Airport in neighboring Oregon; attended a pick up NBA game featuring the Portland Trailblazers; picked up groceries at Wal-Mart in Vancouver; patronized the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry; or stumbled upon any of the other “four dozen locations” teased by Associated Press.

*

It’s still a terrible time to live in Chicago. Although thug mayor Rahm Emanuel (below, duck face) mercifully realized last month he would be the city’s first mayor in generations unable to buy his reelection if he didn’t step aside, the “Windy City” will still be frozen in hardship, namely due to dangerous winds this week from the polar vortex.

Specifically, the high temperature Wednesday of -13 degrees F will drop to a “feels like” of -50 when wind is factored in.

ABC7 of Chicago spotlighted our next online outrage mob victim, Jane Bozym, who whined from O’Hare airport:
“I am going to Phoenix [AZ], where I live now, I moved there a year ago. I am a little bit sad that I am actually going to miss the cold, just to say that I lived it.”

The Metra train service has deploy[ed] crews to set fires on switchers to keep the tracks from contracting.

Related: https://www.techspot.com/news/73061-all-20000-boring-company-flamethrowers-have-sold-out.html

Reportedly, “several inches” of snow fell on the city Monday.

But the race to replace burned-out ballerina Rahm won’t be smooth sledding. USA Today noted the four top-funded candidates, including reported frontrunner and current Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza (above, gesturing), have all been forced to explain away associations with city council member/ “alderman” (since 1969) Edward “Ed” Burke (below, mafia costume).

The wizened former police officer and attorney, accused of extortion (maximum penalty: 20 years of prison or 5 months of forced residence in Chicago) earlier this month, allegedly [tried] to steer business to his private law firm [Klafter & Burke] from a company seeking to renovate a fast food restaurant[Burger King] in his ward. Burke denies trying so brazenly trying to have it his way.

[T]he FBI found 23 guns in raids on Burke’s City Hall and ward offices. As a condition of his bond, [he] was ordered to surrender the firearms and any others he may own within 48 hours of his release.

Mendoza was married by Burke’s wife Anne, a judge on the state Supreme Court (who was quietly sworn in to a second 10-year term on Nov. 29, the same day her husband’s offices were raided), in the Burke house. She is donating to the Montford Point Marines veterans group $141,550 in campaign contributions banked from alderman Danny Solis, and organizations run by him and his family (including, ironically, this being Chicago–see below–a debt collection firm). Why should we take solace in her dissociation from a different career criminal?

The Sun-Times noted Mendoza’s decision came one day after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Solis, retiring chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, has spent the last two years wired up to help federal investigators build their corruption case against Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th). Normally, elected officials agree to go undercover only after they themselves have been caught in corruption scandals.

The suddenly-virtuous comptroller blasted rival mayoral candidate,
Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle, demanding she likewise relinquish $116,000 Preckwinkle bagged from a 2018 fundraiser with Establishment Ed:

“By waiting until the end of March to return this tainted money, [Preckwinkle] is choosing to use dirty money to get her through this mayoral election. That’s shameful.”

Preckwinkle (above) has called on Burke to resign from the City Council [and] proposed prohibiting council members from holding outside employment.

Preckwinkle said later in the month she would return the money, and characterized Burke as “Susana Mendoza’s mentor.” More problematic may be her advocacy for Ed Burke, Jr.’s (below, mugshot) most recent employment.

[D]espite the fact that Burke Jr. was under investigation on allegations he made inappropriate sexual comments to co-workers at his prior job *in* the Cook County sheriff’s office, Preckwinkle forwarded his resume to the Department of Homeland Security for a promotion to their Cook County Emergency Management Department. Sun-Times reported Preckwinkle admits the recommendation came after she personally met with Burke Sr.

[our emphasis]

A Preckwinkle official said her office was not aware of the investigation when Burke was hired for the homeland security job.

Sun-Times notes a $10,000 contribution from Burke Sr. to Preckwinkle is mentioned in the extortion charges. Burke Jr. retired from the $110,000/year gig last year prior to a June domestic battery arrest in which all charges were “swiftly” dropped (sort of like his pants, as the arresting officers found him “extremely intoxicated, naked, acting violently, and destroying furniture inside [his] residence” not three hours after police originally escorted him there earlier in the evening), according to Chicago Tribune.

For his part, Burke Sr. has endorsed former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico to succeed Emanuel.

Klafter & Burke reportedly helped Trump do his taxes until last year.

*

Last November, Chicago caught up with Sony to enforce a new 9% cloud tax. PlayStation streaming services just became more costly. The 2015 job-discouraging measure was already kowtowed to by other gaming platform streamers like Xbox. (This is in addition to special Chicago taxes on movies, bottled water and cell phones, according to Fee.) Apparently,

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department, Bill McCaffrey, recently said,”If a business is not collecting the tax where we believe it applies, the city takes the necessary steps and works with the company to ensure compliance with the law.”

[…]

When Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel approved the additional tax on streaming services, it was done so with the explicit purpose of helping to fund the $530 million increase given to Chicago’s police force

[our emphasis]

Homicides? No, we need more resources to harass people binging Storage Wars.

But wait. Illinois Policy reported:

The city’s amusement tax used to mostly apply to purchases of concert and sporting event tickets. However, the Chicago Department of Finance ruled in 2015 that the tax covered streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify. This expansion of the amusement tax is commonly dubbed the “Netflix tax” or the “cloud tax.” In addition to being regressive, it is also likely illegal.

Liberty Justice Center has sued the city, but lost the first round. They are currently appealing to First District Court of Appeals. Labell v. City of Chicago argues the city is violating the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which
prohibits states, counties and municipalities from levying taxes that discriminate against electronic commerce.

LJC notes the mendacious metropolis takes the tax from everyone with a Chicago billing address, not necessarily only from those watching Netflix in Chicago.

Apple (who have reportedly refused to confiscate the tax from users) sued with a similar suit.

*

The best reason to steer clear of the Midway surfaced earlier this month, when the city was (again) exposed for confiscating and selling for scrap the vehicles of unfortunate denizens violating the city parking sticker system.

The eventual sale of scofflaw-related cars — 8,000 cars in 2017 alone — doesn’t wipe out any tickets, towing costs, or storage fees. […]

Here’s what the city’s own website says regarding the seizure of cars for ticket debts: “The signing over or involuntary surrender of your vehicle to the City does not waive or decrease any outstanding debt you owe the City.”

The city tickets aggressively for sticker noncompliance […], and at rates far higher in low-income neighborhoods, a WBEZ/ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

[…]

The city faces a class-action lawsuit over fine increases; plaintiffs accuse the city of exceeding legal caps on parking and compliance tickets.

Interestingly,

After Mendoza’s candidacy became official, [fellow candidate,
former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul] Vallas issued a statement slamming her for presiding over increases in vehicle sticker fees and penalties as clerk during Emanuel’s administration.

*

No word yet if the sinking ship SS Chi-town will try to pull what California did in the news-ignorant haze of the holidays. Their Public Utilities Commission briefly tried to tax text messages after voice call revenue plummeted 33% since 2011. They circulated some sob story that “Public Purpose Programs” now have less confiscated wealth to subsidize low-income residents.

But the Federal Communications Commission forced the state to abandon their latest shakedown, ruling that text messages are an “information service” (like internet and phone) that cannot be discouraged by additional grabbing from a revenue-drunk government. Probably because poor people relying on government subsidies for their phones would be regressively raped by a text tax.

Also (duh):


The wireless phone industry argue[d] added fees would put carriers at a higher disadvantage since messaging services like Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger would not be charged under the proposed legislation.



Thanks to our sources:

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/28/689549375/washington-state-officials-declare-state-of-emergency-as-measles-outbreak-contin

https://apnews.com/88fde6e095424d348d1321cf41a6d9b0

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/04/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-wont-seek-re-election/1191517002/

https://abc7chicago.com/weather/live-temps-chicago-weather-wind-chill-advisory-in-effect-tuesday/5110996/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/23/chicago-federal-political-corruption-scandal-mayor-election-alderman-ed-burke/2581411002/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-alderman-ed-burke-charges-20190103-story.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/state-comptrollers-susana-mendozas-announcement-of-chicago-mayoral-run-leads-to-barrage-of-political-attacks/ar-BBPK11A

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/mendoza-contributions-solis-doyle-burke-investigation-montford-point-marines-preckwinkle-chicago-mayor-election-2019/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-ed-burke-jr-domestic-battery-charge-20190125-story.html

https://fee.org/articles/chicago-s-new-playstation-tax-shows-how-greedy-politicians-can-be/?fbclid=IwAR0Xed22MouRFRqFqQ6GkalQGh_WBicreIiqqLMkBa_7eGabolCZoT2q7xQ

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicago-slaps-playstation-users-with-expansion-of-9-percent-amusement-tax/

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-seized-and-sold-nearly-50000-cars-over-tickets-since-2011-sticking-owners-with-debt/1d73d0c1-0ed2-4939-a5b2-1431c4cbf1dd

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-considers-charging-residents-tax-190318852.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/16/tech/california-text-tax-vote-canceled/index.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 13: Rahm Jahm and Tax Turmoil

Sam Fullwood III over at ThinkProgress condemned Chicago thug mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s ill-advised withholding of public high school graduates’ diplomas.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 28, 31 and April 5–“Higher Education”

Mr. Fullwood’s article can be read here.

Additionally, back on July 7, the Illinois House and Senate voted to override a Governor Bruce Rauner (R) (below) veto of the financially-strapped state’s first budget in just over two years.

Bruce Rauner 2016 cropped.jpg

[According to Chicago Tribune, Rauner had planned to milk the financial crisis from the moment in early 2015 the nation’s least-solvent state descended into “budget impasse”:

“Crisis creates opportunity,” Rauner told the Chicago Tribune editorial board. “Crisis creates leverage to change … and we’ve got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change.”]

House Speaker Michael Madigan

House Speaker Michael Madigan, Democrat of Chicago, rammed through the income tax hike to dent the massive financial hole that is Springfield’s future.

A “bare minimum” 71 state House members voted to override Rauner, including just 10 of the governor’s party. Four Democrats opposed to the budget fix had to change their minds and vote with Madigan.

Similar to the 2016 plan of the state’s preeminent failure, Chicago, the band-aid on Illinois’ busted budget will involve some tax increases.

Taxing Times in Chicago

Some details:

[T]he plan includes $2.5 billion in spending cuts, including 5 percent across-the-board reductions to most state agencies and a 10 percent cut to higher education.

The personal income tax rate goes from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, which is expected to generate roughly $4.3 billion. A rise in the corporate income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent would bring in another $460 million. 

State priorities resumed:

[T]he Illinois Department of Transportation announced that road contractors can resume working on projects that were suspended days earlier. And the Illinois Lottery announced Mega Millions ticket sales had resumed and the agency has requested that it be allowed to resume sales of Powerball tickets.

[our emphasis]

And,

Also buried in the budget plan is a measure pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to shore up two [Chicago] worker pension funds, which the governor had vetoed when lawmakers passed it as a stand alone bill earlier this year.

Interestingly, Illinois will spend $36,100,000,000 in the upcoming year, down from $39,000,000,000 currently.

*

Of note, Rauner quietly vetoed some bills on August 18 that would reportedly “provide transparency” of state-run agencies, as well as let Lake County voters decide if the county board chairman should be elected at-large, establish a state-run workers’ compensation insurance company, and allow those who care for the disabled to work overtime. 

Disallowing the final point, Rauner, whose health care experience includes funding the Chicago Red Cross headquarters, noted, safeguards individual providers from being unnecessarily overworked and ensures that residents requiring long hours of care will have more than one person who understands their needs and who is capable of caring for them.”

[our emphasis]

Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D), who passed the bill, was allegedly attempting to “micromanage executive agencies,” per Rauner.

Mendoza assumed office in December following a special election victory.

The micromanaging would have required agencies to report monthly on their non-submitted bills and estimate the resulting interest payments with which they would drag down the state.

Rauner approved a bill that reportedly requires free feminine hygiene products in public school bathrooms.

*

Chicago Tribune reports the city has a net loss of residents in both 2015 and 2016–nearly 20,000 last year alone–the only top-ten U.S. metropolitan statistical area to actually decline in population over that period.

The murder rate probably isn’t helping. Chicago registered the year’s 400th homicide on July 31, for a rate of about two murders per day.

For example, during 12 hours over August 19 and 20, thirty-three Chicago residents were shot, according to Chicago Tribune. Six died.

Over the Independence Day weekend, over 100 were shot, and 15 died.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-madigan-rauner-illinois-house-tax-increase-override-met-0707-20170706-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-vetoes-met-0819-20170818-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-census-population-loss-met-20170322-story.html

http://www.newsweek.com/chicago-homicide-shooting-crime-rate-644460

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-shootings-violence-20170819-story.html

http://abc7chicago.com/news/102-shot-15-fatally-in-chicago-over-july-4-holiday-weekend/2184156/

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 28, 31 and April 5–“Higher Education”

March 31:  Washington D.C. continued to pound lower-socioeconomic Americans by adding an additional employment barrier. Specifically, childcare workers are required to have a college associate degree by 2020 according to new regulations levied last December. Childcare center directors reportedly must earn a four-year bachelor degree by December 2017.

Washington Post had more on the ill-advised program:

More than a decade after Washington, D.C., set out to create the most comprehensive public preschool system in the country, the city is directing its attention to overhauling the patchwork of programs that serve infants and toddlers. 

The new regulations put the District at the forefront of a national effort to improve the quality of care and education for the youngest learners. City officials want to address an academic achievement gap between children from poor and middle-class families that research shows is already evident by the age of 18 months.

A central part of that mission is educating a workforce that historically has been paid and treated like babysitters. What the job demands is closer to the work of elementary school teachers, scientists say. “This is a real opportunity to build the profession and set our young children on a positive trajectory for learning and development,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, assistant superintendent of early learning in the District. 

[…]

[U]nlike in most professional fields, prospects are slim that a degree will bring a significantly higher income — a bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education yields the lowest lifetime earnings of any major.

[…]

Valora Washington, chief executive at the Council for Professional Recognition, which oversees the Child Development Associate (CDA) program, an entry-level credential for child-care providers, said a similar education requirement would “shut down” the child-care system in many states.

D.C. is different. D.C. is ahead of the curve,” she said. “It’s more possible here than it would be anywhere else.”

The new credential requirements in the District follow a 2015 report by the National Academies that says the child-care workforce has not kept pace with the science of child development and early learning.

[…]

[T]he report says […] teachers of infants and toddlers require the same level of sophisticated knowledge and skills expected of elementary educators and they should likewise be expected to have bachelor’s degrees.

[our emphasis]

Currently, the Dirty District is demanding just a two-year associate degree for the toddler teachers. The Post notes the above report at least recognizes stringent worker requirements may “reduce diversity in the profession” and increase financial pressure on families straining to carve out a career in the financial candy land of Federal Government bullies.

If the taxable income is: The tax is:
Not over $10,000 4% of the taxable income
Over $10,000 but not over $40,000 $400, plus 6% of the excess over $10,000.
Over $40,000 but not over $60,000 $2,200, plus 6.5% of the excess over $40,000.
Over $60,000 but not over $350,000 $3,500, plus 8.5% of the excess over $60,000.
Over $350,000 but not over $1,000,000 $28,150, plus 8.75% of the excess above $350,000.
Over $1,000,000 $82,025, plus 8.95% of the excess above $1,000,000.

 

Above: the individual government confiscation income tax rates on D.C. workers, which appear to kick in with the first dollar of income earned. Source: https://cfo.dc.gov/page/district-columbia-tax-rates-individual-income-and-business-franchise-taxes

The ever-balanced Post highlights rosy scholarship options available to assist lower-income preschool teachers with conquering the newest government-implemented impediment to success:

The Teacher Education and Compensation Helps, or T.E.A.C.H., scholarship is funded mainly through local and federal funds but also requires the employee and child-care center to pay a small share.

It was started in North Carolina in 1990 after a workforce survey showed that less than 10 percent of child-care workers had any kind of college degree. Since then, the portion with degrees has increased to nearly 65 percent, thanks to the scholarships, and also because the state instituted a quality rating system that rewards centers based on the education levels of its staff members.

Nationally, the program has expanded to about two dozen states and the District and has awarded scholarships to 136,000 people.

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood National Center estimates that participants earn on average 8 percent more each year they participate, as they receive bonuses or are promoted at work. And the scholarship reduces turnover, a serious challenge for the field. For every year that an employer supports an employee’s education, the employee must commit to another year of work.

[our emphasis]

 Unfortunately,
 

Most college campuses or classes are across town, and so many have chosen to pursue online programs and pay for them out of pocket […] One employee said she already owes back tuition and could not log on to her courses until she finished paying down her bill.

The “for-profit colleges are evil” social justice warriors should get their pitchforks ready.

*

If childcare is the new “higher education” battlefield, what should we call the struggles of graduate students trying to unionize? “Higher higher education?” (Hopefully if you pay enough dues, you’ll get “hired” at completion of your degree.)

In early April, we learned about the late March movement to unionize some students in another government-afflicted sector of the economy.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten threw a tantrum when her union failed to lock down representation rights for Cornell University graduate students, according to Washington Free Beacon.

http://s4.freebeacon.com/up/2017/04/weingarten.jpg

Graduate students at Cornell University voted 919-856 against organizing a union with the AFT on March 28. Eighty-one ballots remain uncounted as they are subject to challenge. Those ballots could shift the final tally, leading the union to cry foul.

Free Beacon notes the development is particularly humiliating because Weingarten graduated from Cornell’s  School of Industrial and Labor Relations (yes, this is actually a thing) in 1980 and drummed up dissent for professors opposed to unionizing in the days preceding the election.

Weingarten said the university could reduce admissions and cut health care costs in the event of a union victory.

“The university sent communications on the eve of and during the election with the intention of chilling and intimidating voters,” she said in a release. “Cornell flagrantly violated the spirit of both the code of conduct we negotiated and federal labor law.

[…]

I am really offended that somebody who has a lot of power, and who has tenure and who has voice would actually say in a university that has an ILR school here, that having real labor relations is an existential threat,” Weingarten said at a March 25 rally. “Don’t tell me that they’re an existential threat when we have on this campus, and what makes this campus a great campus, what makes it a land-grant university is having an ILR school.”

[our emphasis]

Some history of which we were ignorant:

In 2000, the National Labor Relations Board—the nation’s top federal labor arbiter—ruled that graduate students’ work as teachers and researchers established them as workers. George W. Bush’s board overturned that decision in 2004. In August 2016, Barack Obama’s NLRB—led by Cornell graduate Mark Gaston Pearce—ruled once again that students had the right to organize.

[…]

The Cornell election was administered privately based upon a 2016 agreement between the school and union, rather than by the NLRB, which oversees union elections.

[The Cornell student] group pointed to the vote as a dramatic swing from a 2002 election in which only 30 percent of voters approved unionization.

Perhaps the NLRB overseeing an election to add more political pawns to its competition-crushing, government-propping ranks would indeed have raised conflicts of interest.

Scouring the “union representation” page of Cornell University Grad School did not illuminate the final election results.

Related:

Charter Schools

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And what formative years between pre-school and graduate school can the government systematically undermine to better control their subjects? How about high school?

Crown prince of Chicago Rahm Emanuel proposed additional requirements for his little people to fulfill in order to graduate from high school. Namely, starting with the class of 2020, unfortunate Chi-town residents must pick themselves out of the bodies lining their streets and show proof of acceptance to college, the military, trade school, or a “gap year program” to get their diploma.

Perhaps the ever-ambitious, eventual Harvard University matriculant Malia Obama can advise on the latter option.

Rahm’s rahmbling is not quite as elitist as it sounds: according to Chicago Tribune, [t]he requirement would also be satisfied if the student has a job or a job offer.

Quoth the Mayor:

“Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what’s expected,” Emanuel said at a Wednesday morning news conference. “If you change expectations, it’s not hard for kids to adapt.”

Emanuel and his office said the “groundbreaking” effort would make CPS the nation’s first large urban school district to require students to develop a plan for their lives after high school. He outlined the plan as CPS continues to struggle with financial problems that has led officials to warn the current school year could end three weeks early.

[our emphasis]

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never heard of anything like [the statist coercion to detail one’s future plans to obtain their high school diploma],” said Maria Ferguson, executive director of the Washington D.C.- based Center on Education Policy. “The question I would have for Mayor Emanuel is: ‘Where did this come from? What informed your thinking to lead you to believe that this was a good plan of action for CPS?‘”

[our emphasis]

CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson fielded some questions at the news conference. It seems she will be Emanuel’s unfortunate point woman on the new requirement, if enacted.

We all need to change how we think about what it means to be a high school graduate — a diploma alone isn’t enough anymore,” Jackson said in a statement.

[…]

Emanuel’s initiative would allow the mayor to continue promoting the City Colleges of Chicago and push a potential flood of new applicants to schools that must already accept most students. Emanuel recently installed a longtime ally, Latino activist Juan Salgado, as chancellor of the system.State law already requires Illinois community college districts to admit students qualified to complete any of the schools’ programs, as long as space is available. That could provide an out for a student who isn’t quite sure what to do after high school, officials said.

[our emphasis]

Unaware of your options after twelve years of government-mandated education? How about more government-run education that you will now pay for directly via predatory loans instead of the horribly regressive local taxes confiscated from your parents? It’s an “out!” You’re welcome.

Asked whether a student who doesn’t get one of these letters of acceptance would be prohibited from graduating from high school Jackson said in part:

“If a student graduates from a Chicago public school, they are automatically accepted into one of our City Colleges. And if a student is at a point where they’re undecided … we do have that option there for them.”

As long as you “work” for CPS, a gravy-train union racket that largely exists to disperse cushy benefits to administrators and hold children as political pawns to bully the Illinois state governor for a bailout of their chronically-unfunded pension system every few years, you

[P]rocessing a possible surge of college applicants would likely require CPS to hire more counselors and could also have implications for the city’s community colleges[.]

Job creation!!!

The City Colleges system has continued to struggle with “softened” enrollment numbers, as the system also looks at burning cash reserves and making cuts because of the state’s protracted budget impasse.

At the same time, the system has said it has seen larger numbers of incoming students “without the required academic preparation,” which has led to higher demand for remedial courses and support services.

One thing the mayor definitely does not want to do is push down CPS’ high school graduation rate. The district’s five-year high school graduation rate last year hovered at around 73 percent[.]

[…]

[To achieve] former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett[‘s] goal of increasing the college graduation rate of CPS students to 60 percent by 2025[,] […] CPS embarked on what it described as a comprehensive, eight-day training program for school advisers. The district said it understood that the quality of college counseling that students received marked “one of the greatest drivers of whether a student enrolls and persists in college.”

But by Wednesday, the district said, only about 40 percent of CPS school counselors had completed the training.

The district said it would ensure all counselors obtained the training as part of Emanuel’s latest initiative, noting that CPS and the mayor’s office were working to raise roughly $1 million from donors to accelerate the process.

UPDATE: On April 28, Byrd-Bennett was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for pocketing $2.3 million in kickbacks in exchange for dealing $23 million in no-bid contracts to “Chicago education firms,” according to Detroit Free Press. Prior to profiting handsomely from CPS, the 66-year-old “educator”‘s self-enrichment train made stops in Cleveland and Detroit. The latter position–IRONY ALERTchief academic and accountability officer–reportedly involved a shady $40 million book deal with publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who for some reason dropped $25,000 into Byrd-Bennett’s bank account. As that federal investigation heated up, she moved on to Chicago in 2012.

Photo from CPS website.

DFP:

A tearful Byrd-Bennett apologized in court before learning her punishment, saying: “What I did was terribly wrong. … I’m ashamed and I’m sorry.”

Related:

Minimal Malice in Chicago Re: Teacher Layoffs

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/district-among-the-first-in-nation-to-require-child-care-workers-to-get-college-degrees/2017/03/30/d7d59e18-0fe9-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_daycare-730am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ebc74b57972e

http://freebeacon.com/politics/aft-leader-unable-win-outright-turf/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-high-school-requirement-met-20170405-story.html

http://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2017/04/30/ex-dps-school-official-barbara-byrd-bennett-gets-prison-chicago/101138184/

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 10–Dylan Roof; Naya Rivera; Rahm Emanuel Loses Revenue

Updated! This post has been edited to correct the embarrassing error in which Ms. Rivera was referred to as Mr. Rivera’s brother.

January 10

Mass murderer of nine Emanuel AME Church members Dylan Roof was sentenced to death in Federal court.

In the above image courtesy of Vice News, Roof is arrested and put in a bulletproof vest for transport the day after his June 2015 massacre. The death penalty is much more satisfying for society when the criminal can be killed publicly, expensively and with a long, drawn-out appeals process instead of just popped en route to jail like Lee Harvey Oswald.

*

Naya Rivera (sister of Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera) wore a dress that showed her underwear in a premier for her movie Mad Families.

naya rivera

Naya Rivera spied at Catch restaurant. (Photo: Splash)

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Los Angeles was chosen as the site of the George Lucas-helmed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a billion-dollar project that was almost squandered on Chicago.

Lucas Museum will be situated in Los Angeles' Exposition Park, adjacent to Coliseum and across from Lucas's alma mater, USC (Courtesy of Lucas Museum)

Related:

Chicago Blues

Head Chi-town thug Rahm Emanuel is not having a good year. Murder rates continue to surge.

UPDATE:

February 24–Seven people were fatally shot in Chicago. Three of them were apparently a family: Wilteeah Jones, her unborn baby and her boyfriend, according to CNN.

Malik Bingham and Wilteeah Jones were honored at a baby shower last week. The couple, and the unborn child, died in a shooting Wednesday night in Chatham. | photo provided

Jones and boyfriend Malik Bingham at their baby shower one week before their murders. Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times.

Thanks to our sources:

Dylann Roof sentenced to death

https://www.yahoo.com/style/did-naya-rivera-forget-her-skirt-no-its-just-invisible-170045320.html

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/george-lucas-selects-los-angeles-for-1-billion-museum-234525592.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/24/us/chicago-shooting-deaths-wednesday/

http://homicides.suntimes.com/2017/02/25/wilteeah-jones-malik-bingham-and-their-unborn-child-shot-to-death-in-parked-car-in-chatham/

Taxing Times in Chicago

Chicago Hikes Property Taxes to Pay for Pensions; Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Overpays $2,800,000

Emanuel to CPS teachers: 'Be part of the solution'

Former Sarah Lawrence ballerina Rahm Emanuel hiked property taxes last month to plug a $318,000,000 hole in Chicago finances, including police and fire pensions.

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios speaks during the Cook County Democratic Party meeting to reconsider making an endorsement in the race at the party's headquarters downtown, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Apparently, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios (above) raised some property values this year, increasing the amount Windy City residents must pay in tribute to their thug government. For the children.

Of note, the Chicago Sun-Times found via a watchdog on July 30 that several of the city’s “aldermen” (representatives) got property tax discounts, even as 75% of property owners paid more:

Eighteen of the city’s 50 aldermen — including Ald. Patrick O’Connor, the mayor’s City Council floor leader who rounded up the votes to pass the tax increase last fall — staved off the hefty tax hikes, shifting a total of $19,484 in taxes to other property owners. Those aldermen, including several whose wards have seen real estate prices skyrocket, did that by convincing Berrios or the Cook County Board of Review to lower the estimated value of their homes or apartments.

Five of those aldermen — including four who voted against the tax hike — owe less than they did last year, even as most of their constituents pay more, the Sun-Times found in an analysis of the 882,965 tax bills sent to Chicago landowners.

Nicholas Sposato, alderman of 38th ward (here the constituent “wards of the state” pay for their overlord politicians, in a counter-intuitive bit of vernacular) was set to endure a $1,371 tax hike this year. However, he appealed to assessor Berrios, and will pay $377 less than last year instead.

Sun-Times notes: more than 70 percent of taxpayers in [Sposato’s] ward saw [property tax] increases averaging $211.

Sposato is a Chicago firefighter and beneficiary of the very pension the property tax hike is set to replenish. He reportedly told Sun-Times:

“I didn’t vote for [the tax increase] just so my constituents could pay more taxes. We have an obligation to pay these pensions.”

Aldeman Proco Joe Moreno of the 1st ward must have slept with Berrios’ sister or something, because his “booming, hipster neighborhood,” according to the Sun-Times analysis, saw an average hike of $1,233 per property.

The tax on Moreno’s own two-story Wicker Park pad more than doubled to $19,833, an increase of $10,680. Berrios had deemed the property worth $518,980 in 2013, but this year it’s a cool $1.1 million.

“While I was anticipating an increase in my property taxes this year, I was not expecting that the county assessor’s decision would be to more than double the assessed value of my home and, more importantly, the homes of many others in my ward,” Moreno says. “I think it may be time to revisit the fairness of the appraisal system.”

Berrios evaluates Cook County, IL properties once every three years.

Some winners in the whole situation were identified by Sun-Times:

Eighteen other aldermen — including 11 who voted against Emanuel’s tax increase — successfully appealed assessments on their homes or other property, winning reductions that kept their taxes from rising a collective $25,750, the Sun-Times found. The savings ranged from $448 on the Lake View condo owned by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) to $3,952 on the Kenwood home of Ald. Sophia King (4th). Tunney voted for the mayor’s tax hike. King wasn’t appointed by Emanuel to fill a City Council vacancy until after the tax hike passed.

(We are again assuming deduction or some other Government trickery that moved $19,484 to other, less-connected Chicagoans but ended up saving the opportunistic aldermen and women $25,750. It’s like the Federal Government multiplier in economics over here!)

O’Connor, who rammed through the tax increase last fall, has a story worth examining as well. He challenged the $645,680 assessment Berrios handed down on O’Connor’s home–an increase of 14.3% from 2013. The Board of Review lowered the home value to %596,360, and O’Connor saved $904 in taxes. It’s only money.

Without the assessment cuts, O’Connor’s tax bill would have been $11,356 — about $1,359 more than last year. Instead, it ended up being $10,447 — up about $450 over last year, while 69 percent of the taxpayers in his ward were hit with tax increases averaging $719.

Alderman Brian Hopkins cashed out on a condo in June, selling after saving $475 in a Berrios-authorized reduction.

“Sooner or later, the perception is going to be that the property taxes are too high, and people may leave,” Hopkins says. “But where are you going to go? Taxes are even higher in the suburbs.”

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Meanwhile Juan Perez, Jr. has a nice little nugget out today at Sun-Times on President Obama’s crooked adopted hometown:

Chicago Teachers Pension Fund overpaid retirees nearly $2.8 million in recent years because of a misinterpretation of state law, fund officials said.

Over 25% of the money has reportedly been returned. Progress!

A “2012 policy change” led the Teachers Pension Fund to pay out to 234 retirees before they actually retired. Sun-Times credits Better Government Association with noticing.

(The “spend what you don’t have and bill the taxpayers” government practice is hardly new. As we have previously reported, head thug in Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney, “garnered criticism from local and national economic commentators when he proposed bonus pension payments, distributing funds when pension plans exceed target returns in any given year even though solvency depends on the excess funds to balance underperforming years,” according to Wikipedia.

Mr. Kenney is currently overseeing six months of spending his new sugared-beverage tax…before the tax begins to be confiscated from beverage distributors January 1.)

Philly Me Up…Philadelphia Beverage Distributors to be Taxed by the Ounce “For the Children”

The Chicago pension fund in question, meanwhile, overpaid around $12,000 per retiree. 20 of the 234 got between $32,000 and $217,000 more than owed. Bill the taxpayers.

Jay Rehak

“As fiduciaries of the Fund, the Board cannot ignore its larger responsibilities and we will work to recover all monies as quickly as possible,” said pension fund board President Jay Rehak (above, left) who was the fund’s interim executive director when the error was discovered.

For more information, contact:

jjperez@tribpub.com

This article was updated 5:30 PM on 8/16 for proofreading and clarification.

[All emphasis is ours.]

Thanks to our sources:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs-18-aldermen-avoid-hefty-property-tax-hikes-5-pay-less/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-teacher-pension-payment-error-met-20160815-story.html

Chicago Fire

40 Shot, 4 Dead So Far in Chicago This Weekend

Saturday - 1600 block West 47th Street

President Obama may want to pivot from his recent restroom campaign to re-addressing gun confiscation in his hometown of Chicago.

About on pace with Memorial Day weekend 2015, in which 56  Chicagoans were shot and 12 died, grim figures are trickling in from Chicago Tribune this morning like blood in the street.

Veronica Lopez, 15, was shot to death in a Jeep and appears to be the youngest of the four fatalities, according to the Tribune.

A man in his 20s, unnamed, was slain in front of his mother’s house. His mother-in-law, according to the Tribune, is pictured below.

Saturday - 200 block West Root Street

The Tribune notes many of the shootings involved leg wounds and occurred in the Harrison district of the city. Several of the wounded were noted to be “uncooperative” with police.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who, according to “My Chicago” by Mark Konkol (via a transcript) plans out who he looks at when spewing propaganda at his pressers, did not appear to have commented. He may have skipped town for the holiday weekend.

36 hours to go.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chicago-shootings-memorial-day-20160528-story.html

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160527/loop/this-email-shows-just-how-scripted-rahm-emanuels-press-conferences-are

Chicago Blues

City Priorities: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Determined to “Invest in the Future” via Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Lakefront

Lucas museum, original site plan

(The Lucas Museum, when finished.)

For the fearless leader of a hopelessly corrupt city drowning in school pension debt and unsolved homicides, Mayor Emanuel remains unfettered in ramming through the extended tax hikes necessary to construct the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art near the NFL’s Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field on Lake Michigan.

The visual art museum (previewed at http://lucasmuseum.org/) claims it will emerge like a blistering whitehead from the current Parks Department-owned parking lot to provide 1,500 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs, with a “$1 billion+ investment” from Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson.

That’s some serious number spinning. George Lucas will indeed write a $743,000,000 check to “pay debt on the borrowing for the first 16 years of the 40-year loan.”

The loan for the remaining $420 million in construction will come from Exposition Authority (“McPier”). To pay back those banana bonds, Rahmbo will extend taxes (see below).

The brilliant Lucasfilm director and screenwriter sold the rights to destroy his Star Wars franchise to Disney for $4 billion, donating the money to charity. Lucas, like President Obama, has chosen the Windy City instead of his home state of California (or Hawaii, in the case of Obama) to plant his legacy building.

(According to Wikipedia, Lucas first proposed a museum in San Francisco, but the deal fell through. Interestingly, Wikipedia reveals that last month Lucas donated between $500,001 and $1,000,000 to the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, located, like the proposed museum, on Chicago’s South Side.)

“Parking lot” already has the word “park” in it, but the Park Department is backing this investment in Chicago because of “800+ newly-planted trees” and “12 acres of new open, accessible green space.” Also, think of the children.

Whether the city will miss Bears fans tailgating in the parking lot that will be eliminated is debatable. But the “0 cost to taxpayers” line surely makes Emanuel relieved he already bought his re-election last year (though he was forced to a runoff.)

**Speaking of runoff, 93% of the site’s storm water will be filtered onsite and into the lake, spewing less than 5% into the Chicago sewers (Wiki).**

Instead of introducing new taxes to the city, Emanuel is merely looking to extend the expiration dates of five existing city taxes. The Chicago Tribune reports that the first extension is the 2% hotel tax that is paying off the home of the White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field, would be extended from its 2032 expiration to 2066.

The four other taxes up for early renewal also pay back McPier bonds, and will now expire in 2066 instead of 2060: 1% sales tax on downtown restaurants, 2.5% on hotels (in addition to the 2% above), 6% on rental cars and a $4 fee on taxis going to and from the airport. That’s a lot of pizza and prostitutes!

As of May 1, the total tax on Chicago hotels was 17.4%, eighth-highest in the the country. Vegas, Orlando and New York all have lower hotel tax rates, which the Tribune notes amid Rahm’s call to action to compete for the dollars of high-rolling tourists:

“Neither Vegas, Orlando, New York are resting on their laurels,” Emanuel insisted, using some of his Sarah Lawrence vocabulary. “They are investing in their future to compete for the same business we’re competing for. And the question is: Are we going to have the confidence in Chicago, and the confidence in Chicago’s future, and be willing to invest in the future to compete against Orlando and Vegas?”

The museum will draw about 1,000,000 visitors a year, and features 100 indoor bicycle parking spaces, in case anyone feels safe enough to ride a bike in Chicago without getting popped.

Although the museum is currently not slated to receive Parks Department subsidies like rival museums, it must adhere to Parks standards, like offering free admission to the general public and school groups 52 days out of the year.

The dire state of the Chicago Public Schools’ bloated administrative budgets, lavish per-student spending and underwater retirement benefits, which have the union talking of walkouts (for the children), need no further mention.

Today, the Tribune quoted CPS teachers union president Karen Lewis on her sentiments if Springfield doesn’t give in to teacher demands:

“[Illinois Governor Bruce] Rauner is the new ISIS recruit. Yes, I said it, and I’ll say it again. Bruce Rauner is a liar. And, you know, I’ve been reading in the news lately all about these ISIS recruits popping up all over the place — has Homeland Security checked this man out yet? Because the things he’s doing look like acts of terror on poor and working-class people.

The architect of this project is Ma Yansong of MAD Architects.

The mayor recently proclaimed, “I would say the right thing to do is invest in the future. While [Illinois capital] Springfield has its challenges, those challenges do not inhibit the ability to grow the cultural, educational and business and economic future of the city in Chicago. One of the largest employers in the city is the convention and hospitality industry.”

In addition to the city taxes on hotels, the state of Illinois levies 6.2% in taxes on Illinois locations.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-george-lucas-museum-met-0420-20160419-story.html

http://chicago.curbed.com/2015/10/16/9995476/lucas-museum

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-teachers-union-springfield-met-20160421-story.html