>> DRIVING COARSE AT CITY COLLEGES
Maybe City Colleges of Chicago should start offering drivers education courses…for its own employees.
Since 2008 the college system’s fleet of around 80 vehicles have wracked up about two dozen tickets.
The most common violation: running red lights — there were 16 citations for that.
The rest were an assortment of parking-type offenses. (One citation was for failing to have or properly display a city sticker, although it ultimately was dismissed. Two other tickets likewise were tossed, records show.)
At least 10 of the violations traced back to the system’s inspector general’s office.
So who coughed up cash for the tickets? We the taxpayers?
Perhaps in one instance, a City Colleges spokeswoman acknowledged.
But in most of the cases, the responsible employees had to pony up, she said.
>> QUID PRO…FORE?
In Illinois, the line between government and politics is routinely blurred.
Sometimes the blurring is obvious, like when city hiring is rigged to reward campaign workers — just ask Robert Sorich.
Sometimes it just seems stupid.
Until recently at the 19th Ward’s “online service office,” www.the19thward.com, you could, on the same landing page: “request a service,” and learn about Matt O’Shea’s Sept. 30 golf outing/political fund-raiser in Lemont, Ill.
Should we infer there’s a connection between donations and city services on the Far Southwest Side?
“Not at all,” says O’Shea, the 19th Ward Democratic committeeman running to replace the retiring Ginger Rugai in the City Council. “Anybody calls for a city service, we drop everything here and try to get it done as fast as possible.”
There have been a few complaints about the website, although O’Shea suggests a political rival might be the one stirring up the trouble. (Either way, the Chicago Board of Ethics is looking into this.)
O’Shea points out that no tax dollars are used to support the website — which, by the way, includes a downloadable sign that constituents can post in the entryways of their homes. It’s message: “No Soliciting!”
>>A CIVICS LESSON IN THE ‘BURBS?
Racial dynamics in politics certainly aren’t exclusive to the city of Chicago.
Consider a lawsuit heading toward trial in federal court that claims a now-former security official with Proviso Township high school district in the west suburbs was demoted because he’s white – and because he stopped providing political help to the school board president, who’s black.
This is the fifth lawsuit in the past eight years or so alleging reverse discrimination, political shenanigans or both at Proviso, records show.
School board president Chris Welch called the suits “baseless,” and said the district is taking “a stand” on this latest one (filed in 2008, with a trial date likely to be scheduled in a few weeks.)
Among other things, the former security official, Michael Klean, claims that he was pressured to sell political fundraising tickets to keep his job.
This all presumably will be sorted out at trial, unless it’s settled beforehand.
Either way, Proviso East and West students looking for a real-life civics lesson might want to follow this case.
This blog entry was reported and written by Robert Herguth, Pat Rehkamp and Joel Ebert. Contact us with tips, suggestions and complaints at (312) 821-9030, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.