City of Chicago

Detroit Police Chief: ‘Good Detroiters Are Armed And Will Use That Weapon’

“Detroit’s police chief has a solution to help drive down crime in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities: arm more citizens.

James Craig made the comments at a police press conference Thursday, when he announced a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013, The Detroit News reported. Although urban police typically favor gun control, Craig said his views evolved after working in Los Angeles and Maine, where concealed weapons permits are more easily obtained.

‘I changed my orientation real quick,’ Craig said. ‘Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.’

-FOX News website, January 3, 2014

Detroit Police Chief James Craig grabbed national headlines back in July with that comment in support of armed city residents to fight crime. And he’s in the news again today regarding that same topic. George Hunter reported on The Detroit News website:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Too bad the merits of an armed citizenry in the face of significant criminal activity are being recognized after Detroit had already imploded.

Seeing that there’s no shortage of talk about Chicago becoming the next Detroit, perhaps Mayor Emanuel and his City Council are taking note of the “Motor City’s” experiences?

Doubtful.

Detroit West he we come?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Hunter, George. “Detroit police chief gives credit to armed citizens for drop in crime.” The Detroit News. 16 July 2014. (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140716/METRO01/307160034/Detroit-police-chief-gives-credit-armed-citizens-drop-crime). 16 July 2014.

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Chicago’s Gun ‘Control’ Fetish Costing City Big Bucks

If I still lived in Chicago, I’d be livid at City Hall the way those guys keep pissing away hard-earned taxpayer dollars challenging litigation in defense of gun rights.

How many dollars? Recently, over $1.5 million.

From the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action website on July 11:

Check, Please! Chicago Once Again Learns an Expensive Lesson About the Second Amendment

While litigants generally bear their own costs in the American legal system, certain provisions of federal law allow parties who prevail in “proceedings in vindication of civil rights” to be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees. NRA has once again used these provisions to recoup attorney’s fees from the City of Chicago. You would think that Chicago’s disarmament-focused politicians would have learned their lesson after being court ordered to pay NRA over $600,000 in legal fees for work done by NRA attorneys on McDonald v. City of Chicago. Nevertheless, Chicago has once again been court ordered to pay NRA’s legal fees, this time $940,000 for work on Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers v. City of Chicago (formerly Benson v. City of Chicago). That case challenged the prohibition on lawful gun sales within the city. As noted earlier this week, this brings Chicago’s recent total for NRA legal fees to over $1.5 million.

That’s a lot of cash, even to politicians who are spending their constituents’ money. Still, the city’s new push to keep gun dealers away through over-regulation may well indicate that its aldermen and its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, remain willing to spend even more taxpayer funds to support even more symbolic and ineffective gun control.

“May well indicate?” Try “indicate.” Here’s what Mayor Emanuel had to say after the Chicago City Council passed what critics says is a de factor ban on gun stores in the city (special-use zoning would keep gun stores out of 99.5 percent of Chicago) late last month. Don Babwin of the Associated Press wrote June 25:

Emanuel, while not welcoming a lawsuit, suggested it was important to pass the toughest ordinance possible whether or not it prompted a legal challenge.

“You have to do what you think is right,” he said.

Easy to say- and do- such things when it’s other people’s money on the line.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Permission granted to reproduce NRA-ILA article)

Source:

Babwin, Don. “Chicago City Council passes strict gun store law.” Associated Press. 25 June 2014. (http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3271400.shtml#.U8VYyJVOXIU). 15 July 2014.

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Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Legal No Comments

Illinois Governor Offers To Deploy State Police To Chicago

“State lawmakers, Rep. John Fritchey, 11th, and Rep. LaShawn Ford, 8th, are calling for Governor Quinn to deploy the Illinois National Guard to Chicago’s violent areas… 113 people have died in Chicago so far this year.”

-NBC Chicago website, April 26, 2010

“Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Rainbow PUSH Coalition call for immediate Federal Intervention and Homeland Security in Chicago as January homicide totals exceeded 45.”

-Rainbow PUSH Coalition press release, February 1, 2013

“To reduce the homicides and shootings plaguing Chicago streets, elected officials should consider calling on the state and federal governments for help, even the National Guard if necessary, said a retired Army lieutenant general who spearheaded the military response after Hurricane Katrina.

‘Just like we do with any disaster. When the tornado comes, or the floods come, the federal government comes in to help,’ Russel L. Honore said Thursday at a news conference in Chicago.”

-Chicago Tribune website, February 21, 2013

“Something tells me it may just be a matter of time before certain individuals start calling again for the Illinois National Guard and/or U.S. Department of Homeland Security to patrol the streets of the ‘Windy City.’”

-Survival And Prosperity, May 27, 2014

In the wake of an incredibly bloody holiday weekend in the city of Chicago, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) has offered to deploy the Illinois State Police to the area. From The State Journal-Register (Springfield) website yesterday:

Gov. Pat Quinn says he would be prepared to deploy state police to help address Chicago violence if Mayor Rahm Emanuel requests it.

Over the years Illinois State Police have assisted authorities in Chicago and East St. Louis fight street violence.

Quinn told reporters Tuesday after an unrelated event that he’ll only do so if Emanuel asks and won’t “impose anything” on any municipality…

No word yet from City Hall regarding Governor Quinn’s offer. As I doubt there will be, as even giving it the slightest bit of consideration might give off the impression Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in over his head with this violence.

Not good if you’ve got higher political aspirations, which I think he does.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Quinn: ISP could deploy in Chicago if mayor asks.” Associated Press. 8 July 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140708/NEWS/140709484). 9 July 2014.

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Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 Crime, Government, Military, Public Safety No Comments

82 Shot, 14 Killed In Chicago Over Long July 4 Weekend

“I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was, glory be…”

As the local news talked about the high number of shootings that occurred over the long holiday weekend in Chicago, I couldn’t help but think of the song lyrics of “The Nght Chicago Died” by Paper Lace. Peter Nickeas reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

In all, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally, since Thursday afternoon…

Five of the people were shot by police over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, including two boys 14 and 16 who were killed when they allegedly refused to drop their guns.

Many of the long weekend’s shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.

As expected, Mayor Rahm Emanuel used the occasion to push for more gun “control.” From the Tribune piece:

Asked why police, even with extra patrols, couldn’t tamp down the violence, Emanuel said: “It’s a fair question, where were the police? What were they doing? I would also say, where are the gun laws?”

Nickeas added:

He called for “better policing, better prevention” as well as better parenting and tougher gun laws…

Meanwhile, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy called attention to one of the real reasons why the “Windy City” is experiencing the type of violence seen this past weekend. Stefano Esposito, Frank Main, and Brian Slodysko wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday morning:

McCarthy, standing beside a cache of recently seized guns and rifles, touched on one of his favorite themes — the lack of punishment in Illinois for people who illegally own guns…

He repeated his frustration that many of the people who threaten his cops with firearms have been previously convicted of gun crimes. He frequently points out that people arrested for gun crimes are often released on bond. And if they’re convicted, they don’t serve serious prison time, he says…

“They don’t serve serious prison time.”

Why is that?

Consider what Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said back in the fall. The Chicago Tribune’s Hal Dardick reported on October 2, 2013:

“I’ve been quite clear that I don’t believe in mandatory minimums,” said Preckwinkle, who also made it clear she was referring to both drug and gun crimes. “I think that they’re one of the reasons that our jails and our prisons are overcrowded, and they basically tie the judges’ hands and eliminate judicial discretion, and the reason we have judges on the bench is to exercise discretion.”

Dardick later added:

Preckwinkle is trying to lower the costs of detaining people who are awaiting trial at the overcrowded county jail.

Preckwinkle also has noted the costs to society of get-tough-on-crime mandatory minimum sentences that often put nonviolent offenders — or people capable of rehabilitation — behind bars for long periods, making it less likely they can later launch a productive life.

“All of these people, you know, unless we send them to jail for life, they eventually return to our communities,” Preckwinkle said, speaking to reporters after a County Board meeting. “And the longer they stay in prison, the less employable and the more problematic their future outcome.”

In the meantime, the carnage continues…


Paper Lace, “The Night Chicago Died” (1974)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Nickeas, Peter. “Fourth of July weekend toll: 82 shot, 14 of them fatally, in Chicago.” Chicago Tribune. 7 July 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-fourth-of-july-toll-82-shot-14-of-them-fatally-in-chicago-20140707,0,5439185.story). 8 July 2014.

Esposito, Stefano, Main, Frank, and Slodysko, Brian. “McCarthy: Hundreds of extra cops not enough to quell weekend of violence.” Chicago Sun-Times. 7 July 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/28524972-761/mccarthy-hundreds-of-extra-cops-not-enough-to-quell-weekend-of-violence.html#.U7vrD5VOXIV). 8 July 2014.

Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle opposes Emanuel on gun crime mandatory sentences.” Chicago Tribune. 2 Oct. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-02/news/chi-preckwinkle-opposes-emanuel-on-gun-crime-mandatory-sentences-20131002_1_preckwinkle-gun-violence-gun-crime). 8 July 2014.

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Chicago-Commissioned Study Confirms Crime Increases With Streetlight Outages

One of the things I noticed right away about this subdivision in the Chicago suburbs that I now live in is that it is incredibly dark at night.

I’m guessing that has to do with the fact that there aren’t any streetlights here.

While the area is safe, such minimal nighttime visibility is a concern for me should crime ever pick up or TSHTF.

I was reminded of this situation when I came across the following on the website of NBC Chicago affiliate Channel 5 this afternoon. Chris Coffey reported this morning:

A new study commissioned by Chicago’s Department of Transportation confirms what many people have feared: crime goes up when the lights go out.

The study, which was conducted by data experts and Ph.D. students from Northwestern University, found on average crime went up 7 percent across the city when entire blocks of streetlights were not working

The city-commissioned study compared crime report data with streetlight repair service requests submitted to “311″ over the period from April 2012 to July 2013. Researchers found an increase in theft, narcotics, battery and criminal damage associated with streetlight outages that impacted entire blocks…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yeah, my entire street gets pretty dark at night out here in the ‘burbs.

But at least my girlfriend and I have been purchasing and installing some security lighting around our property to combat the darkness. This includes:

• Outdoor motion-sensing wall lanterns- really light up the front and back when triggered
• Outdoor motion-sensing solar 300 lumen LED post lamps- With one in operation since spring (another on the way), it actually works pretty good so far considering the Chicago metro area is not exactly optimal for powering solar devices
• Outdoor motion-activated solar 600 lumen LED security light- on its way as I type this

All this is in addition to existing lighting that came with the house. With more coming (night vision is on the want list).

But more about security lighting in a upcoming “Project Prepper” post.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Coffey, Chris. “Report Links Chicago Crime to Streetlight Outages.” NBC 5. 3 July 2014. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Report-Links-Chicago-Crime-to-Streetlight-Outages-265639931.html). 3 July 2014.

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Chicago To Be Sued For De Facto Gun Store Ban?

Survival And Prosperity readers outside the Chicagoland area may have heard that the City of Chicago just recently approved commercial gun sales within its city limits.

Mind you, this wasn’t done willingly.

From a June 25 press release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office:

Due to the fact that a federal court has ordered the City of Chicago to allow commercial gun sales, the City drafted one of the toughest, smartest licensing laws in the country.

In order to operate with a city license, gun stores will be required to take a number of steps that are proven to minimize gun trafficking, illegal gun sales and theft including:

• Employee background checks and state-of-the-art training
• Anti-theft safety plans and quarterly inventory audits
• Video cameras to record the point of sale
• Maintain a log of all guns sales where the gun was later recovered in a crime and traced back to the store
• Sell only one handgun per month per buyer
• Make store records available to police for inspection at all reasonable times
• 72-hour waiting period to purchase handguns, and a 24-hour waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns…

Of course, left out of the press release is any prospective gun shops would only be permitted to operate in less than one-half percent of the city. Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last Wednesday:

Special-use zoning would keep gun stores out of 99.5 percent of Chicago and at least 500 feet away from all schools and parks…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Critics are adamant that when all of the above is taken into consideration, a de factor ban on gun shops in Chicago exists. Spielman added:

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, has accused Emanuel of making the ordinance so restrictive, it will “make sure there are no gun shops” in Chicago.

“The license is $3,800. Your business transactions are videotaped. The costs are so high, nobody can possibly make a living doing that, so no one is going to do it,” Pearson said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So should Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago expect to be slapped with yet another lawsuit related to gun rights?

The Associated Press reported last Friday:

Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association says the ordinance is so restrictive it amounts to a ban, and will likely be challenged in court.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Chicagoans, get ready to bust out your wallets yet again.

And in case anyone’s interested, that press release (pdf format) is located here on the City website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Facing court order, City Council votes to allow gun shops.” Chicago Sun-Times. 25 June 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/facing-court-order-city-council-votes-allow-gun-shops/wed-06252014-929am). 30 June 2014.

“Chicago City Council passes strict gun store law.” Associated Press. 27 June 2014. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/25870759/chicago-city-council-passes-strict-gun-store-law?clienttype=mobile). 20 June 2014.

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Monday, June 30th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Legal No Comments

Chicago’s Coming Data-Collection Sensors Ripe For Abuse?

Something I read in the Sunday paper yesterday is making me even more glad I moved out of Chicago when I did. David Heinzmann reported in the Chicago Tribune:

The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate pieces of sculpture, but researchers say they’ll provide a big step forward in the way Chicago understands itself by observing the city’s people and surroundings.

The smooth, perforated sheaths of metal are decorative, but their job is to protect and conceal a system of data-collection sensors that will measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation and wind. The sensors will also count people by measuring wireless signals on mobile devices.

Some experts caution that efforts like the one launching here to collect data from people and their surroundings pose concerns of a Big Brother intrusion into personal privacy.

In particular, sensors collecting cellphone data make privacy proponents nervous. But computer scientist Charlie Catlett said the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of each device…

Hill’s Law. If something has the potential to be abused, it probably will be.

That also applies to this so-called “Array of Things” project. Heinzmann noted:

[Gary] King, the Harvard sociologist and data expert, agreed that the Chicago scientists will inevitably scoop up personally identifiable data.

“If they do a good job they’ll collect identifiable data. You can (gather) identifiable data with remarkably little information,” King said. “You have to be careful. Good things can produce bad things.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A must-read for this blog’s Chicago readers, which is located here on the Tribune website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, June 23rd, 2014 Communications, Privacy, Technology No Comments

Chicago Weekend: 5 Killed, 21 Others Wounded By Gunfire

I’m back from my “summer vacation.”

And it’s nice to see the latest gun “control” measures really making an impact on the violence in Chicago.

Michael Lansu, the Homicide Watch Chicago Editor (yes, that is indeed his title) for the Chicago Sun-Times, reported the following on the paper’s website this morning:

At least seven people were shot to death last week throughout Chicago.

Five of the murders happened over the weekend, when 21 other people were shot and wounded. All the weekend slayings happened on the South Side…

It’s not only the bloody weekends that have continued since I took a break, but the wildings as well. Carol Marin reported on the Sun-Times website last Friday (hat tip Second City Cop blog):

I called 911.

It was rush hour on Tuesday on Lake Shore Drive.

I’d just rounded the curve, northbound, by Oak Street Beach and noticed a heavy presence of Chicago Police officers on bikes and in cars. And, if I’m not mistaken, on ATVs.

The beach was throbbing with people on this warm summer day.

Then, all of a sudden, I saw a pack of young people racing into traffic.

Against the backdrop of flashing CPD blue lights by the North Avenue Beach house, I’d estimate 20 to 30 young men and women were running through the North Avenue/La Salle exit.

Remember, this was rush hour.

Traffic was slower than normal but moving. Motorists on the Drive are not prepared for a wilding of young people weaving on foot in between their vehicles.

But there they were…

Yes, there they were. As I suspected they might be while I was away.

Seeing that the first day of summer was this past Saturday, Chicagoans might want to brace themselves for a long one when it comes to criminal activity.

You can read Marin’s entire piece on the Sun-Times website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Lansu, Michael. “WEEK IN REVIEW: Seven shot death throughout Chicago.” Chicago Sun-Times. 23 June 2014. (http://homicides.suntimes.com/2014/06/23/week-in-review-seven-shot-death-throughout-chicago/). 23 June 2014.

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Monday, June 23rd, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights No Comments

Wildings Return To Downtown Chicago

I’ve been following and blogging about flash mobs/mob attacks/wildings in the downtown Chicago area since January 2011. And here are two things I’ve noticed:

1. The Chicago mainstream media generally seems to ignore these incidents.

2. The growing number of trolls on the comment area of the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop keep asking for video evidence of the criminal activity.

Now I can’t speak for others, but if I find myself in a situation where feral kids are acting up nearby, I’ll be too busy watching after myself/loved ones to worry about shooting some stupid video.

Besides, I own a simple flip phone.

But getting back on track, after a long day my I turned on the 9 o’clock news on FOX 32 and caught a segment about the City of Chicago preparing for summertime wilding. In the piece, the Chicago Police Department acknowledged the wilding from last weekend that Second City Cop/commenters have been talking about (suck it, trolls). Craig Wall reported on the FOX 32 website tonight:

Summer has come to mean more than just scores of shoppers and visitors on Michigan Avenue. It now also brings plenty of extra police officers to discourage would be troublemakers.

Friday night police arrested one man for unknown reasons, but the bigger concern is the mobs of young people who have been terrorizing visitors on warm summer weekends, and giving this vital tourist destination a bad reputation for safety…

Last weekend police sources said there were problems in and around Michigan Avenue, a mob of young people overran the McDonalds at State and Chicago, stealing food orders from patrons and running out.

And in an unrelated incident, a woman who confronted a thug got her car window smashed out. Police hope a very visible police presence will discourage any problems and make visitors feel secure…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

FOX 32 News Chicago
“CPD Out In Full Force To Deter Crime, Violence”
FOX 32 Video

Planning to visit downtown Chicago soon? It’s still generally safe, I hear. Just be careful and aware of one’s surroundings at all time while in the area, particularly on nice weekend nights.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Wall, Craig. “CPD Out In Full Force To Deter Crime, Violence.” FOX 32. 6 Jun . 2014. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/25716966/cpd-out-in-full-force-to-deter-crime-violence). 6 Jun. 2014.

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Chicago Reader: Chicago Aldermen Silent On Violence

“Fellow west-side Alderman Michael Chandler (24th) also believes the police could be doing more with the officers they already have. ‘They get paid for eight hours of work, but if they just did six hours of work, that would be an improvement,’ he said. ‘You see them sitting on the side of the road.’”

-Chicago Reader website, June 3, 2014

This morning I spotted an article on the Chicago Reader website that focused on the violence in the “Windy City.” Particularly, the response of elected officials- Chicago’s aldermen- to the shootings and murders in their wards. Mike Dumke wrote this morning:

But with few exceptions, the elected officials who represent these areas haven’t been nearly as vocal as the mayor. This has been especially noticeable in the City Council, where most black aldermen have been quiet, loyal mayoral backers even as their constituents grow increasingly distressed and discontented.

It turns out there’s a good reason for the silence: many aldermen aren’t exactly sure what to do about the violence, politically or otherwise. That’s what I heard repeatedly when I surveyed them on the same day Emanuel made his latest gun control proposal…

Like that introductory quote suggests, Dumke’s piece is interesting, insightful, and somewhat controversial (“The police ranks have even shrunk under Emanuel- a point that doesn’t sit well with many aldermen, though they’ve been reluctant to bring it up publicly”), which you can read in its entirety on the Chicago Reader website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

Chicago’s Monthly Phone Tax To Rise 56 Percent?

New and higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

That’s what Chicagoans should expect going forward considering the city’s fiscal health and who’s running the show.

Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday: Chicago wants to raise the monthly fee tacked on to hardline telephone and cell phone bills by 56 percent — to $3.90…

(Editor’s note: “After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday…” Beautifully worded; bold added for emphasis.)

Spielman continued:

Instead of simply asking the General Assembly to renew a $2.50-a-month surcharge due to expire July 1, cash-strapped Chicago is seizing the opportunity to get more money — by asking state lawmakers to raise the cap to “the highest monthly wireline surcharge imposed by any county or municipality” in Illinois.

The highest monthly telephone tax around the state is the $3.90 imposed in Putnam County. Under the bill Emanuel is hoping to push through in the waning days of the Legislature’s spring session, Chicago would be empowered to match that $3.90 — and go higher if any other city or town goes first.

The new and higher tax would apply to both cell phone bills and wireline phones, according to a summary sheet of the legislation distributed by City Hall. The bill would also empower the city raise the fee imposed on prepaid cell phones from the current “seven percent of the transaction amount” to nine percent…

According to Spielman, a 56 percent increase in the monthly phone tax would generate an additional $50.4 million for the City’s coffers.

John Byrne, Monique Garcia, and Ray Long added on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Emanuel’s late push for a measure that would allow the City Council to raise 911 fees by as much as $1.40, which could bring the monthly charge on landline and cell phone bills to $3.90 a month, cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the increase was needed because the current $2.50 fee isn’t raising enough money to pay for operating the city’s emergency response center, forcing the Emanuel administration to dip into other pots of money to keep it running. How much more the fee hike would bring in depends on whether aldermen vote to increase the fee and to what level.

The city collected about $90 million last year through the current $2.50-per-month phone fee, Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. This year’s budget for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications is $123 million. Quinn did not directly answer whether the mayor wants to raise the 911 fee to an amount that will bring in more revenue than the city needs to cover the OEMC budget or how the city would use any extra revenue

Let’s see. Assuming the City of Chicago collects the same amount ($90 million) as last year from their monthly phone tax, adding the projected $50.4 million from a 56 percent hike totals just over $140 million. That’s enough to pay for OEMC operations plus tax- although something tells me that’s probably not where all the money would be steered to.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Emanuel seeks 56 percent hike in telephone tax.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 May 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/emanuel-seeks-56-percent-hike-telephone-tax/thu-05292014-434pm). 30 May 2014.

Byrne, John, Garcia, Monique and Long, Ray. “Emanuel makes late push to raise 911 fees paid by those own landlines, cell phones.” Chicago Tribune. 29 May 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-makes-late-push-to-raise-911-fees-paid-by-those-own-landlines-cell-phones-20140529,0,6958184.story). 30 May 2014.

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Study: Chicago Worst U.S. City For Total Travel Tax Burden

“It’s no secret that the city of Chicago is looking anywhere for new revenue sources to plug its $63.2 billion shortfall in government-pension funding, health insurance and other debt.

But city leaders should be careful not to squeeze travelers too hard.”

-Hilary Gowins Yelvington, Editor at the Illinois Policy Institute, in a May 29, 2014, blog post on IllinoisPolicy.org

There’s no question Chicago is a favorite destination for business and pleasure travel.

However, the findings of a recently-released study of travel-related taxes for major U.S. cities makes me wonder how many prospective visitors are steering clear of the “Windy City” due to the high level of such expenses.

Shane Downey wrote on The Business of Travel- the official blog of the Alexandria, Virginia-based nonprofit Global Business Travel Association- back on April 15:

The GBTA Foundation – the education and research arm of GBTA – annually tracks the tax burden imposed on business travel throughout the country. The study examines hotel lodging, car rentals and restaurant meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. destination cities, which are regularly used to fund local projects unrelated to tourism and business travel…

In the travel tax study, the top 50 U.S. markets are ranked by overall travel tax burden, including general sales tax and discriminatory travel taxes…

And where did travelers incur the highest total tax burden, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes?

From the FOX News website Tuesday:

1. Chicago- $41.04/day

• The Windy City could just as easily be called the Spendy City; it’s at the top of the GBTA study for the third year in a row. Travelers will dish out 16 percent ($16.85) per day in hotel tax, along with $14.16 for a rental car (its overall 24.82 percent rate, the highest in the ranking, includes a $2.75 flat tax). Another study put Chicago’s 10.75 percent downtown restaurant tax at the top of all major U.S. cities…

Over 41 bucks a day. Wow. And top of the GBTA study for three years in a row now. Not something the City of Chicago should be proud of.

A part of me says, “Reign in these taxes, and business travel and tourism would really be booming in Chicago.”

But only after violent crime and the “city leaders” who sanctioned such high levels of taxation are dealt with first, of course.

Probably won’t see that happening anytime soon, however.

You can read the rest of that GBTA post on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Bachelor, Blane. “10 worst cities for travel taxes.” FOX News. 27 May 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2014/05/27/10-worst-cities-for-travel-taxes/?intcmp=obnetwork). 29 May 2014.

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Chicago Single-Family Home Owners To Pay More For Electricity Than Apartment, Condo Dwellers?

I like Crain’s Chicago Business. I’ve been reading the relatively no-nonsense publication since I picked up a copy in the conference/break room of my old place of employment on the 38th floor of the Kluczysnki Federal Building in downtown Chicago. And back on May 7, I blogged about a Steve Daniels piece that said Chicago and Northern Illinois area residents should prepare for a ComEd rate hike next month.

Daniels followed this up with another article last Friday that warned of potentially higher electric bills for a particular group of Chicago homeowners. From the Crain’s website:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised in March that a repriced electricity deal he negotiated on behalf of Chicago residents and small businesses would be cheaper than Commonwealth Edison Co.’s rates.

But for a sizable slice of Chicago’s population — people living in single-family homes rather than apartments or condos — that won’t be true, a Crain’s analysis shows.

They are likely to pay significantly higher rates than ComEd customers over the coming year, under the city’s contract with Chicago-based Integrys Energy Services, which runs through May 2015. That includes the summer months, when electric bills typically are highest…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Hope this won’t apply to any Survival And Prosperity readers out there.

You can read the rest of the piece on the Crain’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 Energy, Government, Utilities No Comments

Chicago Magazine Releases Second Part Of Special Report On City Manipulating Crime Statistics

Back on April 8, I blogged about claims the City of Chicago is manipulating crime statistics. At one point in that post I wrote:

David Bernstein and Noah Isackson wrote on Chicago magazine’s website yesterday:

Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.

This troubling practice goes far beyond murders, documents and interviews reveal. Chicago found dozens of other crimes, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether. (We’ll examine those next month in part 2 of this special report.)

Many officers of different ranks and from different parts of the city recounted instances in which they were asked or pressured by their superiors to reclassify their incident reports or in which their reports were changed by some invisible hand. One detective refers to the “magic ink”: the power to make a case disappear. Says another: “The rank and file don’t agree with what’s going on. The powers that be are making the changes.”

Granted, a few dozen crimes constitute a tiny percentage of the more than 300,000 reported in Chicago last year. But sources describe a practice that has become widespread at the same time that top police brass have become fixated on demonstrating improvement in Chicago’s woeful crime statistics

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Two words come to mind here about these claims:

Truly disturbing.

I noted later:

Remember, Chicago isn’t due to release the second part of its special report until next month.

Well, next month has arrived, and part two has just been released on the Chicago magazine website here (hat tip Second City Cop).

I won’t get the chance to read the piece until this evening, but from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty damning.

(Editor’s note: Read it. It’s damning.)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Are Expandable Batons Legal In Cook County, Illinois?

As the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop noted early this morning, it was “Pick on Rahm Week” in some of the local mainstream media outlets last week.

I can’t help but wonder if the Chicago press isn’t realizing that being thought of as Rahm’s personal Pravda might possibly be tied to declining audiences and revenue.

A left-leaning, pro-Democratic Party agenda slant in a lot of the reporting I see/read probably doesn’t help either.

Anyway, we’re going to move in a different direction today. Last year, I published a number of posts concerning Chicago-area laws and various self-defense tools. This included:

Chicago-Area Laws Concerning Self-Defense Tools
Is Pepper Spray Legal in Chicago, Illinois?
Are Expandable Batons Legal In Chicago, Illinois?
Updated: Chicago Laws Concerning Self-Defense Tools
What Are The Knife Laws In Chicago, Illinois?
Is Pepper Spray Legal In Cook County, Illinois?

Today, I’m going to look at whether or not expandable batons are legal in Cook County, Illinois.

While Chicago has already been covered, what about the rest of the county?

I couldn’t find anything in the Cook County Code of Ordinances that specifically designates expandable batons as illegal.

However, there’s this in Part I, “General Ordinances,” under Chapter 58, “Offenses And Miscellaneous Provisions,” Article VI, “Offenses Against The Public Peace”:

Sec. 58-172. Disorderly conduct.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly…
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis, except for section info)

Keep in mind something I mentioned in that post about retractable batons in Chicago:

While the Municipal Code makes no specific mention of the term “expandable baton,” that’s not to say some prosecutor pushing that “intent to use unlawfully against another” bit will try to equate such a device to a “bludgeon” or “billy.” My research turned up instances in which an expandable baton was referred to as a “bludgeoning device.”

And here’s what the State of Illinois says about a “bludgeon.” From the Illinois Compiled Statutes, 720 ILCS 5 Criminal Code of 2012:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So are expandable batons legal in Cook County? Once again, while not being specifically named in the Cook County Code of Ordinances or Illinois Criminal Code, if the authorities classify the tool as a “bludgeon,” the individual who “purchases, possesses, or carries” one may very well be in big trouble.

You can read those parts about bludgeons in the Cook County Code of Ordinances here and in the Illinois Criminal Code here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

(Editor’s notes: Information added to “Resources” page)

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Monday, May 12th, 2014 Government, Legal, Self-Defense No Comments


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