Friday, October 30, 2009

Burning A Hole In Her Pocket

A reader sends in the following link and info:
"I don't think UU has covered this yet, but the alderman blew $500,000 of the Ward's $1,300,000 aldermanic "menu" money for Wilson Yard in 2008. Found that figure in the BGA report, linked to below for 2008. It appears there is no municipal pocket they aren't turning inside out for that development."

Read the story here courtesy of CBS2 and Pam Zekman

Read the entire 2008 report by scrolling to the 46th Ward


  1. Don't overlook 2007 when she dropped $424,000 on Clarendon Park:

    Clarenson Park 124,050
    Carendon Park 300,000

    And then a dash for WY:
    Wilson Yard Development 6,009

    Here's the line item for 2008:

    Wilson Yard Development 500,117

    So many questions:

    - Why using the aldermanic menu for WY?

    - Why state that she needs more TIF$ to pay for improvements when she's obviously using the menu$ for those things?

    - How much, really, is WY going to cost?

    - Is WY running over budget, hence the need for menu$ and the WYTIF amendment?

    - How much is Clarendon Park costing? Is that menu money over/above the $300k+ the state ponied up (hence Cullerton's appearance, tomorrow)?

    - And, what in Clarendon park is generating such a need for cash?

    - $424k for Clarendon. $500; for WY from menu$ - is there a connection?

    Or - to be blunt: how many more of her lies are we going to catch?

    So far, I'm counting at least 10, just this week alone.

  2. How does Stone spend his $$?

    Every year, 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone spends all of his menu money, mostly on streetlights to help deter crime.

  3. In the great Wilson Yard tradition, there is no explanation of how the money was spent. Simply one line reflecting that half a million dollars went into the project somehow. The public doesn't need to know the details.

  4. Wow. I didn't believe it until I read it with my own eyes.

  5. It's time to send all aldermen a message. Some police officers are starting a petition drive for a referendum to reduce the number of aldermen from 50 down to 25. They are trying to get it on the Feb 2010 ballot. You can go to my blog or for more info and printable forms.

    Remind them the work for us.

  6. Shiller has been diverting the so-called "menu" money to the WY project since at least 2006

    Shiller earmarks $350K "Aldermanic menu" to WY

  7. "Every year, 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone spends all of his menu money, mostly on streetlights to help deter crime."

    this is really, really sloppy reporting

    Stone has been in office 36 f***ing years, I wrote to CBS & confirmed they checked just the last 2

    Year Committed Allocated Percent
    2003 $1,200,000.00 $996,370.00 83.0%
    2004 $1,200,000.00 $1,200,000.00 100.0%
    2005 $1,200,000.00 $1,163,282.00 96.9%
    2006 $1,303,000.00 $16,982.00 1.3%

    According to a FOIA response, Stone spent less than his full menu amount in 3 out of the 4 years 2003-2006.

  8. I was glad that Zekman at least mentioned the little known factoid that the menu funds roll over, that is, it's not use it or lose it. As far as I know this little tidbit has never appeared in the mainstream media. It's not even included in the CBS text report, it came out in the witty repartee between Zekman and the host after her tape.

    On his cable access show (not recommended for general viewership) Stone has spoken openly about "3 year" menu projects.

    So an alderman who squirrelled away just a few hundred thou a year could be sitting on millions after a few terms. The total across all alderman could be tens of millions.

    But our policemen & firemen need to work a month w/o pay.

  9. "...Stone spends all of his menu money, mostly on streetlights to help deter crime."

    We had this bizarre caper where Stone (50th) spent $1.4M of "his" menu money on a new park (now known as Willie White Park) North of Howard - in the 49th!

    This was more than an entire year's worth.

    Stone pitched in more than Moore (49th) did ($1,082,000)!

    We still don't understand what happened here.

    THANK YOU, Berny Stone!


  10. Hugh,

    do you have a link where I could search the voting history of an individual?

    I'm doing some research on the announced and unannounced candidates for the next election.

    I've found some interesting and amusing stuff already.

    The Chicago Elections website only seems to allow searches with a last name and address. I'm looking to delve deeper into the voting records.

  11. As for menu money I was down on Kenmore yesterday for the trick or treating. Took one of my nephews and two nieces. My nephew of course was a pirate. My nieces were just annoying.

    Anyway, I noticed there are new streetlamps on Kenmore, the double kind where one lamp hangs over da street and another toward da sidewalk.

    I'm sure those of us in the ward not lucky enough to have such lighting would like to see menu money used on those type of improvements.

    Thank you Helen.

    My only consolation is that in less than two years you will be an Uptown trivia question and out of office.

  12. What's sort of giggle-inducing, is that on the 46th Ward site, under the 'About' category, is that the 'In the Press' coverage of our Alderman stops in 2006.
    Come on, there's a lot more press since then!

    Though in fairness, listing the 'press' since 2006 might very well crash a typical server.

  13. i don't know how to research the voting record of an individual citizen

    I assume the votes themselves are private, but whether or not they are registered or whether or not they voted at all might be public record

    I seem to recall reading news articles that include "so-and-so not registered to vote in home district" or "has not voted in the last 2 elections" so maybe a genuine member of the 4th estate would know more

    state FOIA law mandates that if a unit of govt has a website they have to post contact information for a FOIA officer and a description of the types of records that are available - the Chicago Board of Elections has a website but does neither

  14. Thanks Hugh.

    I do know that how someone voted is private, but whether they voted and what ballot they pulled in a primary is public information.

    I was told the other day that one of the potential opponents to Shiller has been pulling Republican ballots and that another one has never bothered to register to vote.

    I also remember seeing a story where Shiller's son had been registered at a variety of addresses.

    I just wanted to confirm it, link to it, and then mock them if necessary.

    It seems to me voting consistently should be the first informal requirement of running for office.

    As for pulling a Republican primary ballot that's ok, but don't expect to get elected in this ward after doing so.

  15. Thank you, Eric.

    According to that I may need to become a political organization to get that info.

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm, gotta come up with a name.

    Buccaneers for Change.

    Pirates for Chicago.

    Sea Rovers for 2011.

    Lake Maurauders for the Future.

    Swashbucklers for Da 46th.

    So much to mull over.

  16. Dear Mr. Pirate:

    You have a blog where you publish "information" and write "editorials".

    Hence, you are a "journalist".

    For a fee, government or political groups, journalists, and educators may receive printed copies of voter records that contain address and voter history information.

    Go forth and investigate!

  17. Good point UR.

    The problem with that is I would have to reveal my true enigmatic identity to the world.

    It's bad enough fighting off Supermodels on a daily basis.

    I don't really want to have to fend off hordes of Shillerista commandoes with potential reinforcements from the half dozen other potential 46th Ward campaigns.

    Why the juggernaut that is the Gerald Farinas campaign might even send Alan Keyes against me. Listening to that nutjob speak might drive me to surrender. Keyes would be droning on and on about "natural law" and I might just choke to death on a twinkie or a Hostess cupcake ....ack........goodbye cruel world.........

    Sure, I have a well defended lair hidden in Graceland Cemetery. It is well stocked with alcohol,condoms, ammo, claymore mines, antibiotics and twinkies. I could hold off the hordes for months.

    However, I would invariably slip up and be cornered in the hooker aisle at the Jewel and that could lead to unfortunate collateral damage.

    Seriously, half the fun of being the "IrishPirate" is keeping the bastards guessing as to who I am. The other half is being so damn sexy. It's truly unfair to all you ugly folks out there.

  18. Dear Mr. Pirate:

    While I understand your need for anonymity, it is not uncommon for journalists to work under cover, using aliases.

    Also, you can get the voter rolls in paper format for FREE at the little hole in the wall office on Washington.

    That won't give you all the information you seek, but it will at least tell you who is registered and at what address.

    Also, I am quite sure there are some people out there that are sympathetic to your causes who have access to some more in-depth data.

    Perhaps one of those people will try to contact you.