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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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 …

    Brown: State panel should ignore feds’ request to delay funding probe

    When federal prosecutors make a request, it’s not a good idea to ignore them. After all, they indict people for a living. But in the case of the U.S. Department of Justice asking state legislators to temporarily stand down in their investigation of Gov. Pat …

    Brown: From Irish dairy farm to immigration reform to U.S. citizenship

    It’s been 16 years since Billy Lawless came to Chicago from Ireland to build his fortune in the tavern business and nine years since he began sticking his broad neck out to put an Irish face on the need for immigration reform in the U.S. …

    More memory lapses from a Park Grill witness

    Laura Foxgrover, cast as the femme fatale in a titillating sweetheart contract scandal at former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Park District, reluctantly took the stage Wednesday. Testifying as a “hostile witness” in the Emanuel Administration’s lawsuit against the owners of the Park Grill restaurant, the …

    Gutierrez nudges Obama to ease up on deportations, but president isn’t moving

    On Tuesday, Gutierrez and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights stuck to their earlier game plan, demanding Obama take action now to slow the deportations. But Obama didn’t address their concerns.

    Supreme Court throws wet rag on pension plan

    That pre-holiday firecracker lobbed under the Statehouse dome by the Illinois Supreme Court has the potential to reverberate through the state for years to come. By ruling that the subsidized health care benefits of retired state employees are protected by the Illinois Constitution, the court …

    End of an era for Southwest Side variety store

    It should really come as no surprise that J&R Variety Store, regarded by its owner as the last of the old “five and dimes” in Chicago, is going out of business after 58 years at 63rd and Pulaski. The surprise is that J&R has survived this long, outlasting all the Woolworths, Kresges and Ben Franklins — the other neighborhood-based, little-box stores that long ago made way for the big ones.

    At Soldier Field, soccer a good reason for a really good party

    It’s hard to say how many of the 28,000 fans who showed up Tuesday afternoon at Soldier Field to watch Belgium beat the U.S. 2-1 in World Cup soccer understood that this was always the most likely outcome. Maybe half the crowd was comprised of …

    Time will tell whether unions recover from the Supreme Court’s decision

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a punch to the solar plexus of what’s left of the American labor movement, although happily not the knockout blow conservatives were seeking. Only time will tell whether labor unions will recover from the blow or whether the high court will follow up with another more crippling shot as soon as it gets the right case.

    Is ‘sovereign’ group a cover for real estate rip-offs?

    Earlier this year, someone identifying himself as a representative of the Moorish Science Temple of America sent Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough and City Treasurer Stephanie Neely an “affidavit” informing them they were each being fined $1 million for slander. Their alleged offense? …

    SRO tenants get an assist from mayor

    In a case of better late than never, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration on Tuesday called for a six-month moratorium on the conversion or demolition of Single Room Occupancy housing and residential hotels. The moratorium comes more than a year after low-income housing advocates began raising …

    Dems can’t bury issues of Quinn’s anti-violence program

    Illinois Democrats would like to put the whole mess of Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program behind them as quickly as possible, so much so that they have forgotten one of Yogi Berra’s greatest maxims: It ain’t over ’til it’s over. I hate to break it to Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, and Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, and whoever’s water they were carrying Monday with a determined attempt to “bring closure” to a legislative investigation of Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.