Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Team’s success is a good example of adults investing in kids ]]> Lead story image

Thursday night, a group of 11- and 12-year-old boys will take what could turn out to be a historic road trip. These are no ordinary boys. These boys are members of the Jackie Robinson West Little League team, an elite sports team that draws players from across the South Side. Last weekend, the team won the Illinois State title and advanced to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Indianapolis. If the players emerge victorious, they will go on to Williamsport, Pa., and play in the Little League World Series. If that happens, Jackie Robinson West would become the first all-black … ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:17:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ex-Ald. Shiller as council's new budget analyst bad idea that won't die ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:18:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Dem ballot questions a waste of voters’ time ]]> Lead story image

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 clutter up the November voting. ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:19:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Extra alarm over CPS preference in firefighter hiring ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 02:15:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rauner choosy about what corporate loopholes to close ]]> Lead story image

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 a GOP candidate for governor, were two tax loopholes Gov. Pat Quinn had previously advocated closing. Noticeably missing from Rauner’s proposal, however, was a loophole Quinn and other Democrats have argued would sensibly save the state $100 million a year — as much money as the other two combined. As it happens, that’s a loophole … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:29:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ald. Cappleman figures he has license to act this way ]]> Lead story image

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 why he opposes Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed moratorium on redeveloping or demolishing the city’s dwindling supply of single-room occupancy and residential hotels. Cappleman also brought up his bipolar father’s suicide, his fear of a bipolar roommate that caused him to sleep in his clothes to allow for a quick escape, his experiences of working with … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:17:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ City calls mixed signals on ‘homeless outreach’ a ‘little kink’ — homeless call it ‘lying’ ]]> Lead story image

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 was arrested or had their belongings confiscated, not even the tents that seemed the main object of concern. Neither was anything accomplished, except for costing 15-20 homeless people a few hours sleep. If you read Tuesday’s column, then you’re thinking to yourself: But Brown, you said they called off the homeless sweep after you started … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:02:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Calling delayed tent removal op ‘homeless outreach’ a bit of a reach ]]> Lead story image

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 late Monday afternoon after I’d made a few calls to learn more about the “outreach,” which sounded a lot like a sweep or crackdown to me. John Pfeiffer, first deputy commissioner in the Department of Family and Support Services, said officials decided they should give homeless individuals some warning before conducting an enforcement action. The … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:04:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rauner will need to be a miracle worker to make financial plan work ]]> Lead story image

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 its financial problems, and I don’t doubt that his blatant pandering was well received by many. In addition to rolling back the state’s income tax increase, Rauner now says he will freeze property taxes, too, while still delivering more money to schools—which would be a mean trick even for the great Bruce Almighty. Some would … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:29:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Dems, GOPers find way to agree on probe delay — without reaching agreement ]]> Lead story image

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 prosecutor’s request that they delay calling witnesses in their investigation of Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program. Actually, they did pretty much agree but were either too pig-headed or too determined to keep the other side from gaining a political advantage to actually strike the bargain. Both sides now say they want to defer their … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:21:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Preckwinkle’s decision good for Emanuel and Lewis ]]> Lead story image

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 viable alternative to his re-election. With all signs now pointing toward Lewis entering the race, it only made sense for Preckwinkle to end the speculation about her own plans, which had been re-fueled by two new polls showing she could defeat Emanuel. The results of an Early & Often poll released Sunday suggest Lewis could … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:16:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Brown: State panel should ignore feds’ request to delay funding probe ]]> Lead story image

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 Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program, I think this is one instance where the proper response is to respectfully decline. Despite the feds’ protestations, the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission should proceed Wednesday with its planned questioning of former members of Quinn’s administration who were involved with running his $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. The program also is … ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 02:19:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Brown: From Irish dairy farm to immigration reform to U.S. citizenship ]]> Lead story image

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. On Thursday, a very successful and prosperous Lawless and his wife Anne were sworn in as U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony here along with 137 other new Americans. I’d like to think there’s a connection there —between Lawless’ tireless advocacy for immigrants of all persuasions and the success he’s had in the hospitality industry, … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 02:25:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ More memory lapses from a Park Grill witness ]]> Lead story image

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 45-year-old Foxgrover proved nearly as memory-challenged as the 72-year-old Daley about the events surrounding the Millennium Park deal. “I don’t recall,” the dark-haired Beverly native told Cook County Circuit Court Judge Moshe Jacobius time after time in response to questions from city lawyers inquiring into what they allege was her role in steering the 30-year … ]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:57:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gutierrez nudges Obama to ease up on deportations, but president isn’t moving ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:19:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Supreme Court throws wet rag on pension plan ]]> Lead story image

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 raised the unpleasant specter that there may be only one way out of the pension mess facing the state as well as local governments. That is: come up with the money, no matter how painful. Once the noise dies down and the shock wears off, we could even see public officials here start to seriously … ]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 02:30:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ End of an era for Southwest Side variety store ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:44:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ At Soldier Field, soccer a good reason for a really good party ]]> Lead story image

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 actual soccer fans. The rest were folks who hate to a miss a free party, especially if they can wrap themselves in red, white and blue and maybe get a cameo on national television. When the match was over, I didn’t spot any of those devastated faces in the crowd that you see on television … ]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 22:56:00 -0500