Mark Brown biography

Mark Brown is a local news columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times who writes about everything from political corruption to family life. Roger Ebert once called …Read More

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‘Simple, kind people’ who saved her family in a world gone mad

Adina Sella readily admits she doesn’t remember much about Giocondo and Annina Marconi, the Italian couple that sheltered her Jewish family during the Holocaust. “They were very, very simple, kind people. He was a woodworker. She was at home,” Sella, 78, told me Tuesday. We …

Quinn losing reform mantle not as shocking as Rauner winning it

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Gov. Pat Quinn is no longer viewed by Illinois voters as a reformer. After a lifetime in politics and nearly six years as governor of this seemingly ungovernable state, the last year of it spent …

Nothing seems to stick to Bruce Rauner: Brown

The indictment this week of two high-level employees of one of the many companies that form the basis for Bruce Rauner’s wealth drew renewed attention to a central conundrum of the governor’s race.

Ducking out early one day landed police trainee on city’s ‘do-not-hire list’

Christopher Birt was stunned this week to find his name among the individuals blacklisted for life from getting a job with the city of Chicago or its sister agencies. As the Chicago Sun-Times Watchdogs explained this week, the city’s so-called “do-not-hire list” is a “roster …

Homeless in Uptown stay put for now

With the rain falling Monday night, the homeless people who stay along Lake Shore Drive in Uptown were easy to spot, gathered under the viaducts to stay dry instead of sleeping in the park. Word was the city was planning to show up late to …

B-Boy is up in air, but K-Fest still gets E for effort, A for honesty

The press release touting this weekend’s forthcoming Chicago Korean Festival may have set a new standard for candor. “Chicago’s Korean Fest Strives to Survive Another Year; Going on Not-So-Strong for the 19th Annual,” declared the headline on the announcement written by Lily Kim, managing partner …

Cop quietly runs free summer day camp to keep kids off streets — and on path to success

In Parkway Gardens, a sprawling low-income housing development in Woodlawn, everybody from the itty-bitties to the gang leaders knows Officer Maddox. She’s the Chicago police officer who in her off hours runs a free summer day camp for the children there, funded in part from …

  • Ex-Ald. Shiller as council's new budget analyst bad idea that won't die

    The notion of installing former Ald. Helen Shiller as the City Council’s new independent budget analyst is one of those bad ideas you hope will go away on its own before it gets personal.  No such luck.

  • Dem ballot questions a waste of voters’ time

    I’d like to think I have always taken seriously the responsibility and opportunity of having an election ballot in front of me, making sure to cast a vote on each and every office and referendum.That even goes for the painful judicial retention ballot, where by the way, “NO” is an underused and always valid choice, contrary to what the judges and precinct captains would tell you.This year, however, I’ve decided to cut short my work in the voting booth. I’ve got better things to do than to waste time answering all the useless ballot questions Illinois Democrats have decided should

  • Extra alarm over CPS preference in firefighter hiring

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel barely caused a ripple of reaction two years ago when he announced Chicago Public School graduates would be given a leg up when applying for city jobs. But now that the city is preparing to take applications for firefighters for the first time in a decade, Emanuel’s “CPS preference” policy is sparking an outcry from some city residents who say it discriminates against graduates of Catholic and other private schools.

  • Rauner choosy about what corporate loopholes to close

    To show that a guy with nine homes can be a man of the people and not just another corporate frontman, Republican Bruce Rauner last month offered up his ideas for closing special interest tax loopholes. Topping Rauner’s list, which was indeed somewhat unusual for …Read More

  • Ald. Cappleman figures he has license to act this way

    This has been quite a week for Ald. James Cappleman (46th) LCSW. If you don’t know, LCSW stands for licensed clinical social worker, which is Cappleman’s profession by training, as he always makes sure to remind everyone. Cappleman brought it up again Wednesday while explaining …

    City calls mixed signals on ‘homeless outreach’ a ‘little kink’ — homeless call it ‘lying’

    It was sometime after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when Chicago police swept the homeless people out of the park along Lake Shore Drive in Uptown, ordering them to pack up and move along or face arrest. The homeless people did as they were told, and nobody …

  • Calling delayed tent removal op ‘homeless outreach’ a bit of a reach

    City officials postponed a “homeless outreach” effort planned for Monday night in which Chicago Police and Park District security personnel were scheduled to root out individuals sleeping in tents along the north lakefront. It may be coincidental, but the change of plans didn’t come until …Read More

  • Rauner will need to be a miracle worker to make financial plan work

    Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has a scary talent for telling people what they want to hear, but what’s most frightening is that voters will keep believing him. Rauner finally offered some specifics this week on how he plans to pull Illinois out of …Read More

  • Dems, GOPers find way to agree on probe delay — without reaching agreement

    After seven and half hours of partisan bickering, posturing and grandstanding, a theoretically “bipartisan” panel of state legislators recessed for the evening Wednesday without reaching agreement on the main order of business they had met to decide. That being: how to respond to a federal …Read More

  • Preckwinkle’s decision good for Emanuel and Lewis

    By finally taking herself out of the 2015 mayoral discussion Tuesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle took some of the pressure off Mayor Rahm Emanuel but also paved the way for Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to take center stage as the most …