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The Week That Was: Take The [Public's] Money And Run

By Staff in News on Nov 2, 2014 10:00PM

You didn’t think you were going to get that $7.7 million in ill-gotten red-light camera revenue back, now did you? Oh for those of you who did, you are sweet and adorable in your naivete. Did you recently move here from Ann Arbor, or are you just simple?

The powers that be in Chicago don’t give money back, even if it is the forbidden fruit of bribery, public deception, or—worst of all—privatization. No, money in the city coffers remains in the city coffers until it can be used to give a large corporate tax break or be spent on a project meant to embiggen our mayor or one of his loyal lieutenants. And, in case you don’t know one when you see one, a loyal lieutenant, when faced with oneof the city’s most unpopular programs based on deception and greed, says things such as: “I love the red light cameras.’’

No equivocation, no contemplation, no weight to the underlying concerns of privacy, transparency and even democracy.

On the subject of all things simple, the lover of red light cameras is none other than anointed and unelected Ald. Deb Mell (33rd). She proved once again it might be a good idea for her to wear a hockey helmet and water wings all waking hours of the day.

Hey, it’s windy here and there are a lot of hard surfaces and deep puddles.

In addition to telling her constituents she loved one of the city’s most unpopular programs, Mell taunted Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), on Halloween, beginning a Twitter battle from a house made not just of glass, but of fine crystal held together with store brand cellophane tape.

It seems she was attempting to lampoon his underdog status, given that he’s running alongside another progressive and attempting to unseat a nationally known incumbent who already has nearly $10 million to spend on the race, despite deep distrust from the voters. Or, maybe she was just wondering why Fioretti, a man twice elected to the City Council, didn’t just have a connected daddy to appoint him, too. “Duh, my election thingy was like totally easy.’’

But it’s okay, and all is forgotten. Mell issued a cut-and-paste apology in the “sorry IF’’ structure that all of us find so genuine and love so much. Okay, we don’t LOVE the sorry IF structure, but we’re used to it, much in the same way we are accustomed to a Derrick Rose injury. So it’s a good thing Rose’s ankle sprain didn’t happen Sunday during Nik Wallenda’s for-profit risking of his life for people with no conscience nor soul.

Despite Wallenda’s efforts to train in winds up to 55 mph, the collective sigh of relief gasped by Bulls fans would have swept him off his precarious high wire and well into Lake Michigan.

Speaking of Nik Wallenda, do you think any firemen will try to kill him in much the way they tried to kill Spider Dan Goodwin 33 years ago? No, because Goodwin didn’t have a fat TV contract and a TV deal to promote our city and its tourism.

(And by the way don’t die, Nik. Seriously. If it’s windy or anything, call it off and send a round of beers to the crowd below. We’ll understand. I won’t be watching because I still am haunted by the images of your great grandfather. Oh, that link leads to a frightening video, by the way.)

It wasn’t all bad news, of course. The month of October recorded only 33 murders, as counted by our police department, the lowest for the month since 1965. But here is the puzzler: Murders are down to 331 for the year thus far, compared to 352 in the same period last year. But shootings are up more than 8.6 percent in terms of the number of people shot, and more than 9 percent in terms of the number of shooting incidents.

This supports a theory I’ve been working on. We don’t need to hire more police or take more measures to provide education, mental health services or take any of those other do-gooder, anti-crime measures. Evolution is making Chicagoans immune to bullets. Keep evolving, inner-city kids. It might be your only chance.

And that was the week that was.

—Tony Boylan

'The Week That Was'' is a satirical, yet informative, look back at recent news. We consider it to be mostly accurate