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The Mechanics
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Chicago Fri Jan 29 2010

No Shit

This just in from the always breaking, always facetious No Shit News Desk at Gaper's Block: "constant danger of illegal hiring at City Hall." Ah-chhhem: No shit.

So the IG, Joe Ferguson, filed a report Friday concluding that "the dangers of political hiring remain real and constant." Late last year the Mayor made mention of his plans to end the independent oversight installed in the wake of the 2006 trial of Robert Sorich , the mayor's former patronage chief who in that trial was found guilty of rigging city hiring for political concerns.

Weeks after the Sorich verdict the city found itself again in the grips of a campaign season. Two years later, as a journalism student at Columbia College, I wrote a retrospective, quasi-investigative story looking at one election that year that involved the real dangers in how political hiring effects city government (which I have since submitted to my esteemed and estimable editors for publication here--if you'd like to see it, let 'em know in the comments section).

The election I looked at was in the 32nd ward--encompassing parts of Bucktown, Roscoe Village, Wicker Park and Lakeview--where aldermanic incumbent Ted Matlak had, according to many ward residents, employed a patronage army of city workers to campaign for him and to intimidate, in ways uncomfortably personal, his opponent Scott Waguespack. Amazingly, and in what was a decidedly un-Chicago moment, Waguespack pulled a win in the end.

Matt Taibi has cleverly pointed out in the past that many mainstream journalists, in reverence to that cherished standard of objectivity, have reported on outrages without the requisite outrage. The Tribune transcription--err, I mean, report--falls prey to such a critique. Todd Lighty is no rookie, so I'm sure that when he says Ferguson said "his investigations into hiring abuses have been hampered because Daley's top lawyer routinely invokes attorney-client privilege to stop him from obtaining crucial documents; the mayor's compliance office does not share key information; and the city has failed to discipline employees involved in illegal hiring practices," and, when saying Noelle Brennan wrote that the mayor's office "violated hiring regulations and misled her about efforts to deal with hiring abuses," I'm sure he knows those claims are true.

So when, on February 2, a big, barrel-chested guy that looks like he knows how to drive a snow plow and fell a tree shoves a machine-candidate flier in your face, saying "aye, vote fa' 'dis guy", know who's payroll he's on: da mayor's.

 
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Mike / January 30, 2010 10:41 AM

I always tell those goons, "thanks, now I know who not to vote for."

Joe Lake / January 30, 2010 5:35 PM

The Power of 121 Votes-32nd Ward 2007 Aldermatic Election at 32ndNLA http://groups.yahoo.com/group/32ndNLA

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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