Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Downstate spread proves fertile ground for political pandering ]]> Lead story image

BLOOMINGTON —The state’s top farm groups gathered here Wednesday on Tim Bittner’s 3,000-acre spread to give the four major candidates for U.S. Senate and governor a workout on the issues of interest to the agriculture community. And guess what? Nobody asked them about releasing their tax returns or a patronage scandal in the Illinois Department of Transportation, except for the pesky reporters who were given their turns later under a walnut tree. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin asked Bittner if his family had owned the farm before the booming new Bloomington airport was built nearby, and the fourth-generation farmer told him … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:28:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Judge’s brutal questions suggest Indiana, Wisconsin may soon have same-sex marriage ]]> Lead story image

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer was a scant 35 seconds into his defense of his state’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday when Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner let him know where he stood. By the time Posner got to his key point he had made plain his hostility to the positions being advanced by Indiana — and Wisconsin — in support of their desire to continue to discriminate against gay couples. ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:16:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ridesharing? OK. But how about regulationsharing? ]]> Lead story image

I’m all in favor of anyone who can figure out how to build a better mousetrap. That’s the American way. Where I would have a problem is if they were to call the mousetrap a rodent restriction device in an effort to avoid government regulations on mousetrap safety. Maybe that’s not the best example, as I’m not certain the government regulates mousetrap manufacturers. Something I’m absolutely certain the government regulates is the taxicab industry. Why, then, do all these requirements go out the window when the taxi company chooses to call itself a ridesharing service or a transportation network provider? ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:20:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Future of affordable housing unclear after SRO tenant deals ]]> Lead story image

In a bid to preserve his home in Logan Square’s bug-infested Milshire Hotel, Fred Bartels testified before the City Council just last month in favor of a city moratorium on converting or demolishing single-room occupancy and residential hotels. On Friday, Bartels was making plans for what he could do with the $4,000 he will receive in exchange for moving out of the Milshire by Sept. 2 as part of a settlement between tenants and the building owner. ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:32:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Teachers could help Karen Lewis teach Rahm a lesson ]]> Lead story image

The adoring crowd that welcomed Karen Lewis to the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall on Tuesday gave the first of her public “Conversations with Karen” the feel of a Chicago Teachers Union rally. That’s probably because it was a CTU production start to finish — arranged and publicized by the union’s organizing staff in support of rank-and-file members from the neighborhood. The union even rented out the hall and paid former television anchor Walter Jacobson to moderate, though nobody needed to offer any incentives to the teachers who brought family and friends to encourage Lewis to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 02:21:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Northwest Side’s Our Lady of Victory lives up to its name ]]> Lead story image

Tuesday marked the first day of school at Our Lady of Victory in Portage Park, the annual ritual taking on added significance this year. Not a tear was observed to fall from a child’s eye, but I can’t vouch for some of the parents who hurried away. Mostly there were smiles all around, which wasn’t the case just eight months ago when this Catholic elementary school was slated for closing by the Archdiocese of Chicago because of shaky finances ]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:19:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gov. Rauner and Mayor Lewis — a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man ]]> Lead story image

Cue your best Rod Serling imitation. “Imagine, if you will, a world in which Republican plutocrat Bruce Rauner is governor of Illinois and lefty teachers union President Karen Lewis is mayor of Chicago. “Have have just entered the Twilight Zone or what?” What might have seemed completely far-fetched a year ago is now a more than possible outcome, if you believe the latest public opinion polling from both major newspapers. ]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:17:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Unions no longer booing Quinn now that Rauner is on the stage ]]> Lead story image

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan stood with Gov. Pat Quinn at the State Fair on Wednesday to try to send a clear message that all of organized labor stands behind the Democrat’s re-election. Given that just two years ago union members booed Quinn off this very same stage over pension reform, you get a measure of labor’s fear and loathing of Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, who in his primary campaign railed against “union bosses.” While Rauner has since toned down that rhetoric and tried to emphasize that his fight is only with public employee unions, Carrigan said the … ]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:20:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Simple, kind people’ who saved her family in a world gone mad ]]> Lead story image

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 were sitting in the living room of Sella’s lakefront high-rise overlooking Lake Michigan, a lifetime away from the Marconi house in the medieval Tuscan town of Anghiari, where Sella’s family arrived quite by chance in a desperate flight to escape the Nazis. This was around 1942, which would make Sella six years old. For two … ]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 02:19:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Quinn losing reform mantle not as shocking as Rauner winning it ]]> Lead story image

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 on the receiving end of millions of dollars of negative advertising attacks, Quinn could obviously expect to see his reputation take a hit. Given the low esteem in which all politicians are held these days, maybe it’s even a plus that there are still 21 percent of voters who consider Quinn a reformer, as reported … ]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 02:17:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Nothing seems to stick to Bruce Rauner: Brown ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 12:39:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ducking out early one day landed police trainee on city’s ‘do-not-hire list’ ]]> Lead story image

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 of 492 crooked aldermen, bribe-taking bureaucrats and other public servants whose misdeeds cost them their jobs.” Birt, though, regards himself as none of those and wants his name removed. After hearing his story, I have to agree he doesn’t deserve to be permanently blacklisted with the rest of this rogues gallery. The 31-year-old Jefferson Park … ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 02:20:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Homeless in Uptown stay put for now ]]> Lead story image

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 remove them again, so many had split to parts unknown to avoid the hassle, but a couple of groups decided to stick it out. At Lawrence Avenue, Mike and Jeff, who prefer to keep things on a first name basis, had gathered their belongings neatly in bags to be ready to move in a hurry … ]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 02:19:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ B-Boy is up in air, but K-Fest still gets E for effort, A for honesty ]]> Lead story image

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 of the online magazine Ascene Chicago. It’s not often that a notice seeking visitors for one of Chicago’s many neighborhood ethnic festivals tells it like it is, warts and all. But this decidedly downbeat press release goes on to note that the festival is “working with a negative bank account in the tens of thousands” … ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 02:17:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cop quietly runs free summer day camp to keep kids off streets — and on path to success ]]> Lead story image

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 her own pocket. One of Maddox’s fellow police officers thought the rest of Chicago should know about her, too, and I agree. Jennifer Maddox, 43, has been a member of the Chicago Police Department for 18 years and is assigned to the 5th District. She works in the community policing program as part of a … ]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 02:28:41 -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