New York

Signs Of The Time, Part 88

The Financial Times (UK) website reported yesterday that Z/Yen, billed as “the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank,” just published its eighteenth Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI 18, as it’s otherwise known, rated 84 of the world’s financial centers. From a Z/Yen press release Wednesday:

London has moved ahead of New York to reclaim the number one position. London climbed 12 points in the ratings to lead New York by eight points…

London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore remain remain the four leading global financial centres. New York, in second place is now 33 points ahead of Hong Kong in third. Tokyo, in fifth place, is 25 points behind the leaders…

Toronto (8th), San Francisco (9th), and Washington, D.C. (10th) were other North American cities in the “top ten” of this year’s Index.

You can read the entire Z/Yen press release on their website here (.pdf format).

YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Thursday, September 24th, 2015 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Chicago Falling To Fourth-Largest U.S. City?

Really not surprised to read of the following. Jon Herskovitz reported on Sunday:

Within eight to 10 years, Houston is forecast by demographers in the two states to pass Chicago, which has seen its population decline for years, as the third-largest city.

Houston is projected to have population of 2.54 million to 2.7 million by 2025 while Chicago will be at 2.5 million, according to official data from both states provided for their health departments. New York and Los Angeles are safe at one and two respectively…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Herskovitz added Chicago officials weren’t immediately available for comment about the forecast.

Perhaps too busy working out the details for that huge property tax hike that looks to be on its way? According to Greg Hinz over on the Crain’s Chicago Business website earlier today:

City Hall insiders say the goal is to completely exempt the lower half of Chicago homeowners from paying any of the roughly $500 million in higher property taxes the mayor is expected to propose on Sept. 22 in his annual budget speech. The upper half of homeowners would get a partial break, but still pay somewhat more.

If it moves forward in its current form, the plan would whack commercial and industrial property owners with a double shot. They would have to pay their normal share of the $500 million but also pick up what homeowners aren’t paying…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop said yesterday:

Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax tax.

That “tax tax” could soon be arriving at the doorsteps of commercial/ industrial property owners in the “Second City.”

Or soon-to-be “Fourth City” if that prediction pans out.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Herskovitz, Jon. “America’s city rankings set for Texas-sized shake up; Houston to edge past Chicago.” Reuters. 13 Sep. 2015. ( 14 Sep. 2015.

Hinz, Greg. “Who gets socked—and who doesn’t—in Emanuel’s latest tax hike plan?” Crain’s Chicago Business. 14 Sep. 2015. ( 14 Sep. 2015.

SCC. “And Another 9%.” Second City Cop. 13 Sep. 2015. ( 14 Sep. 2015.

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Complacency Over Next Terror Attack By Muslim Extremists

FBI, CIA, NSA all say no 9/11 terror threat

The directors of the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency said Thursday they have seen no specific or credible threat to the American homeland in connection with the 14th anniversary of 9/11 — despite a surge of digital and audio propaganda circulated in recent days from both al Qaeda and its growing rival on the global jihadi stage, the Islamic State…”

The Washington Times, September 10, 2015

On the eve of the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terror attacks, I detect an abundance of complacency in the U.S. concerning the next attack by Muslim extremists. For example:

Since September 11, Threat of Terrorism Has Morphed

Bin Laden’s distant dream of a caliphate in lands cleared of Western influence is being reshaped by the Islamic State, which exercises terror very differently, with less interest in attacking the ‘far enemy’ of the West than in creating a Salafist revolutionary regime…”

-Steven Erlanger, The New York Times, September 10, 2015

Does 9/11 really still have to be a ‘national emergency’?

As memorable and as meaningful as the 9/11 attacks were, they were also 14 years ago… virtually all the al-Qaeda leadership who planned the 9/11 attacks are dead or in custody, and while the long convoluted plotline of post 9/11 war and conflict has created an ongoing mess in the Middle East, any lingering threat to what was billed ‘the homeland’ — and the vigilance needed to stop it — is in a much, much better place than it was in 2001…

So what good comes of declaring a ‘national emergency,’ year after year?”

-Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer website, September 10, 2015

This is the wrong time to cut the city’s anti-terror funding

Alarmingly, funding is slowly decreasing for New York City under the ‘Securing the Cities’ program, which helps first responders detect nuclear materials and prevent attacks. The initiative deploys radiation-detection capabilities to the region’s law-enforcement agencies to identify illicit radiological materials that could be used for an attack.

This type of work requires sophisticated equipment and constant training — both of which are expensive but plainly worth the cost. Yet the Obama administration has proposed repeated cuts to the program, this year requesting only $10 million compared to historic levels of nearly double that amount…”

-U.S. Representative Dan Donovan (NY-11th), New York Post, September 10, 2015

Consider what Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 terror attacks, wrote on The Wall Street Journal website Thursday:

It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that 9/11 is now simply a part of the nation’s history, like Pearl Harbor. Because there is one big difference. The causes and hatreds that created 9/11 are still with us, and the terrorists have enlisted members who are even more diverse, cunning and determined. The Islamist terrorist war against us continues. This is not a matter of history but of current and future threats…

Now, once again, the terrorist attacks under the banner of jihad are increasing and diversifying. With so many such attacks and thwarted attacks over the past five or six years, we must recognize that “they”—those who want to destroy civilization—are continuing the war against us.

Yet those running our government seem to be in an even greater state of denial than the nation was in during the period before Sept. 11. Now, instead of bin Laden, Iran’s supreme ayatollah has declared that he wants to destroy Israel, to continue to kill Americans and to establish an Islamic empire including Iraq, Syria and Yemen—and the terrorist groups Iran supports. At the same time, the group known as Islamic State, or ISIS, has declared a caliphate seeking the destruction of Christianity and other infidels, and now occupies key areas of Iraq and Syria.

As we reflect on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we must remind ourselves that all the wickedness underlying those attacks still exists and has expanded. We may very well be in more jeopardy now than before 9/11. Attacks such as those at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon and similar incidents in Europe and around the world reveal that many enemies, not just one, are united in purpose: the destruction of our way of life. Each of these attacks may be more limited than the coordinated terrorist assault on Sept. 11, but they are frequent and hard to anticipate, causing widespread fear, the ultimate goal of terrorism.

We must acknowledge this war being waged against us, increase the military’s capacity to deal with it and, most important, train police to recognize the precursors of terrorist acts. U.S. military and intelligence capacity must not be drastically cut as proposed by this administration. It should be quantitatively increased and strategically improved…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just as I’m convinced a financial crash is coming to our shores, I’m sure another terror attack will be perpetrated by Muslim extremists.

Concerning both, it’s just a matter of “when.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Taylor, Guy. “FBI, CIA, NSA all say no 9/11 terror threat.” The Washington Times. 10 Sep. 2015. ( 10 Sep. 2015.

Erlanger, Steven. “Since September 11, Threat of Terrorism Has Morphed.” The New York Times. 10 Sep. 2015. ( 10 Sep. 2015.

Bunch, Will. “Does 9/11 really still have to be a ‘national emergency’?” The Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 Sep. 2015. ( 10 Sep. 2015.

Donovan, Dan. “This is the wrong time to cut the city’s anti-terror funding.” New York Post. 10 Sep. 2015. ( 10 Sep. 2015.

Giuliani, Rudolph W. “The Islamist Menace Shadowing This Sept. 11.” The Wall Street Journal. 10 Sep. 2015. ( 10 Sep. 2015.

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September Is National Preparedness Month

I am wholeheartedly behind Survival And Prosperity readers “celebrating” the following. From the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier today:

National Preparedness Month Kicks Off on September 1

Washington – Disasters like floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and earthquakes are a harsh and frequent reality for much of the country. According to a recent survey conducted by FEMA, progress has been made; however, fewer than half of Americans have discussed and developed an emergency plan with their household.

Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ad Council launched a new series of public service announcements (PSAs) to encourage families to develop an emergency communication plan before a disaster occurs. An extension of the national Ready campaign, the new PSAs launch in conjunction with the 12th annual National Preparedness Month, serving as a reminder to take action to prepare for the types of hazards that could impact where you live, work, and vacation.

“The last thing you want to be worried about during a disaster is how to communicate with your family members,” said Administrator Craig Fugate. “Have that conversation today. It doesn’t cost a thing.”

The new campaign includes English and Spanish-language TV, radio, outdoor, print and digital PSAs. Created pro bono by Chicago-based advertising agency Schafer Condon Carter, the PSAs illustrate the importance of having a family plan in the event of an emergency by showing real emergency moments and asking the question, “when is the right time to prepare?” The viewer is encouraged to develop a family emergency communication plan through the clear message, “Don’t wait. Communicate.” The PSAs direct audiences to for tools and resources to help develop and practice a family emergency communication plan.

“Through the Ready campaign, we’ve made a lot of progress educating and empowering Americans to prepare for all types of emergencies but there are still so many families that don’t have a plan, said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “Having these conversations is really important and can have a big impact on our families’ safety in the event of a disaster.”

“SCC is honored to work with the Ad Council and FEMA on the Ready campaign,” said David Selby, President and Managing Partner of SCC. “This new campaign provides powerful imagery and a critically important call-to-action that we hope will cause individuals and families to pay attention, lean in and, ultimately, take action.”

Localized television and radio PSAs were created and will be available for 27 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington D.C., and New York City as part of an ongoing collaboration with state and local emergency management partners. These PSAs drive audiences to their local organization’s website for resources and information pertinent to their area.

As an extension of the national Ready campaign, versions of the PSAs were created for Ready New York, a local initiative that was launched in partnership with the New York City Office of Emergency Management in 2009. Tailoring the message to the unique challenges faced by people living in New York City, audiences are directed to call 311 or visit, where they can find preparedness resources, including 11 Ready New York guides in 13 languages and audio format.

Managed and sponsored by the Ready campaign, National Preparedness Month is designed to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and places of worship. National Preparedness Month is an opportunity to share emergency preparedness information and host activities across the country to help Americans understand what it truly means to be ready.

National Preparedness Month Weekly Themes

Week 1 (September 1–5) Flood
Week 2 (September 6–12) Wildfire
Week 3 (September 13–19) Hurricane
Week 4 (September 20–26) Power Outage
Week 5 (September 27–30) Lead up to National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30

National Preparedness Month culminates with National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30 when cities and counties across the country are planning community-wide events bringing together schools, their business community, government, faith leaders, hospitals, individuals and families, and others to participate in community-wide preparedness drills and activities for hazards that are relevant to their area.

Since the launch in 2003, the Ready Campaign has received nearly $1.2 billion in donated media. The Campaign helps to generate more than 92 million unique visitors to The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs to media outlets nationwide this week, and the PSAs will run in donated time and space.

For more information visit or follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about National PrepareAthon! Day, visit

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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My Thoughts On Chicago’s Financial Crisis

I know I’ve been blogging a lot about Chicago/Cook County/Illinois lately. Which should come as no surprise to regular Survival And Prosperity readers considering I’ve talked about how I was born on the West Side, was raised around that area, and lived on the Northwest Side until I moved to the northwest suburbs two years ago.

Both the Chicagoland area and Illinois have been on my mind a lot recently. I fear we’re on the verge of some major upheaval stemming from decades of fiscal mismanagement by policymakers from both sides of the political aisle (some might think this blog only targets Democrats- over the years I’ve demonstrated everyone’s “fair game”). And by verge, I mean in the coming weeks. Focusing on Chicago today, what might kick it off (regular observers have witnessed the crisis growing for some time now)? I suspect the following. From the Chicago Tribune website back on July 31:

At a news conference this week, the mayor would not rule out a politically unpopular property tax hike, saying he’ll wait to show his hand until September, when he rolls out “a full budget with all parts in there.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A good portion of the coming pain is going to be felt by the Chicago taxpayer. What kind of “pain” am I talking about? That which I’ve been blogging about for a couple of years now- new/higher fees, fines, and taxes, coupled with reduced government services. Last night’s post about potential revenue generators Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council are mulling over (hat tip Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times) should give Chicagoans a better picture of what’s headed their way (a property tax hike and garbage collection fee look likely). Concerning cutbacks in government services, I think that’s already begun. For example, the manpower shortage in the Chicago Police Department (hat tip Second City Cop) that’s existed for some years now. Down the road, I predict the average Chicago taxpayer will find it increasingly difficult to afford living in the city, let alone doing it safely as local government struggles to provide effective, efficient services to constituents.

Now, it’s bad enough Chicago/Cook County/Illinois are in real financial trouble. But then there’s the legitimate concern of a slowing economy/recession being right around the corner, never mind that coming financial crash I started blogging about back on Memorial Day Weekend 2007.

So what’s a Chicago taxpayer to do? This former Chicago resident picked up and left the city limits in 2013. Concerned about future tax and public safety liabilities, my girlfriend and I reluctantly departed our “suburb in the city” and moved into a house in a not-too-far away authentic suburb. Granted, we’ll still be on the hook for county and state problems, but it’s what makes sense for us in the short-term.

As much as I blast Chicago on Survival And Prosperity (“tough love”), I’m not convinced the city’s going to go “belly-up.” I think there’s a good chance it could be run by something similar to the Emergency Financial Control Board in New York City from 1975 until 1986 (talked about here back in April), but even a setback like that won’t be the end of the “City By The Lake,” just like it wasn’t for the “Big Apple.” I do predict city life is going to get real hairy once the “balloon goes up,” but I think that will be the case in a lot of urban areas nationwide.

That’s my two cents on Chicago’s financial crisis- for now. Chicago readers of this blog- what are you planning to do about the crisis? Or, what are you already doing? Maybe you don’t think a crisis exists? Please share your thoughts or experiences in the “Comments” section of this post, as I’d really like to talk more about this going forward.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)


Dardick, Hal. “Emanuel needs $754M more to make ends meet.” Chicago Tribune. 31 July 2015. ( 21 Aug. 2015.

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Survey: Illinois Runner-Up State For ‘Worst Climates For Small Business’

Continuing Tuesday’s discussion about Illinois not being business friendly, I spotted a piece last night on the MarketWatch website entitled, “The best state and city for small business are…” Caitlin Huston reported yesterday afternoon:

The best state for small business owners is Texas and the worst is Rhode Island, according to an annual survey revealed Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by technology marketplace Thumbtack, contends that the friendliest states and towns for small businesses offer easier or non-existent licensing requirements. On a city basis, the report called Manchester, N.H., the best and Hartford, Conn., the worst for small-business climate…

Huston noted that survey responses came from 17,633 small businesses, with most having 5 or fewer employees.

As for Illinois? It’s the state runner-up under the “Worst Climates for Small Business” category, losing out to Rhode Island but ahead of Connecticut, California, and New York, in that order.

From the survey web page:

Small business owners gave California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island an “F,” while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a “D” grade…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Digging deeper into the Small Business Friendliness Survey, the “Land of Lincoln” received an “F” for “ease of starting a business” and “overall friendliness.”

Nice. Real nice. Congratulations Illinois policymakers (not Rauner’s fault)- local and at the state level- on a “job” well done.

Then again, what would one expect from folks (not all of them, to be fair) who have never started/run a business in their lives?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Huston, Caitlin. “The best state and city for small business are…” MarketWatch. 18 Aug. 2015. ( 19 Aug. 2015.

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Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 Business, Government, Main Street No Comments

Exit Of Illinois Businesses Picking Up Steam?

Illinois companies are leaving the state for more business-friendly environments.

A tale I come across on a regular basis these days, despite all the sustained propaganda to the contrary.

Marissa Bailey reported on the CBS 2 (Chicago) website Monday regarding the situation of Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck, which just announced they’re departing for Indiana:

Gov. Rauner ran his campaign on what he could do to keep small businesses in Illinois. On Monday, he was begging small businesses to stay in the state.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey talked with a business owner who is leaving Illinois for a better deal.

Its 300 employees — most in a trade – work hard in a warehouse the size of two city blocks. But it’s the company’s home for only a few more months.

“I think if anyone looks at the numbers, they would make the same decision I did,” President and CEO Marty Flaska says.

He’s moving his company to East Chicago, Ind. early next year. Flaska says being a manufacturer in Illinois just got too hard. His biggest reasons involve the worker’s compensation system here, the cost of property taxes and lastly, he says, “the uncertainty about income tax in the state and where it may go.”

Flaska estimates that by moving he can save $6 million upfront and $2 million each additional year, thanks to property incentives, state grants and tax cuts in Indiana…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Chicago Business Bailing On Illinois”
CBS 2 Video

On the heels of that Hoist Liftruck announcement, Bob Adelmann added over at The New American magazine website:

On Thursday, Hoist Liftruck’s announcement that it was moving more than 500 manufacturing jobs to Indiana was just the latest in a long and almost fevered list of other companies seeking to escape Illinois’ outrageous workers compensation costs and high taxes.

On July 14 machine-maker DE-STA-CO said it was moving 100 jobs to Tennessee. The next day energy processor Bunge North America said it was shutting down its plant in Bradley, Illinois, and laying off 210 workers. The day after that General Mills pulled the plug on its manufacturing plant in West Chicago, terminating 500 workers.

A week later Mitsubishi Motors announced it was closing its production facilities that made its Outlander, ending 918 jobs there, even though there was the threat it would have to return some of the $9 million Illinois paid to get them to move there a few years ago.

Five days after that Mondelez (makers of Oreos and Chips Ahoy) said it was laying off 600 manufacturing jobs at its Chicago South Side facilities.

On August 12 Kraft Heinz, within weeks of their merger, announced its goal of saving $1.5 billion by the end of 2017. First to go were 700 jobs at Kraft’s Northfield facility. The very next day Motorola Mobility announced it was cutting its workforce in Chicago by 25 percent, eliminating another 500 jobs…

Adelmann also noted:

Chief Executive Magazine’s “2014 Best and Worst States for Business” report ranked Illinois 48th out of 50…

I dug up the most recent edition of that same report. The results of Chief Executive’s 11th annual survey have Illinois ranked again as the 48th “worst state for business” in 2015, following New York and absolute “worst state” California.

California, New York, and Illinois. What could those three possibly have in common that might account for such low marks?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Bailey, Marissa. “For One Chicago Business, Illinois Became Too Inhospitable.” CBS 2. 17 Aug. 2015. ( 18 Aug. 2015.

Adelmann, Bob. “Trickle of Companies Leaving Illinois Turning Into a Flood.” The New American. 14 Aug. 2015. ( 18 Aug. 2015.

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Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 Business, Government, Income, Taxes No Comments

Chicago Police ‘Stop-And-Frisks’ To Plummet After ACLU Agreement?

“Pro active policing is now dead in Chicago. Put on the blinders boys and girls and just handle your calls. No more stops on the street or hand wavers. Give Chicago the police department they deserve.”

-Comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop, August 8, 2015

ABC7 News (Chicago) reported on its website Friday night that the Chicago Police Department has reached “an agreement with the ACLU over so-called ‘stop-and-frisks.’” From the piece:

In March, a report from the ACLU of Illinois found Chicago police officers disproportionately targeted blacks and other racial minorities in hundreds of thousands of stop, question and frisk encounters. The ACLU accused the Chicago Police Department’s policy of feeding racial profiling and threatened a lawsuit.

The agreement avoids litigation and will lead to a change in CPD procedures, including more record-keeping, police officer training, and public disclosure on traffic stops…

The city and department have agreed to collect additional data about investigatory stops. That includes officers’ names and badge numbers, the race, ethnicity and gender of the person stopped, the reason for the stop, the location, date and time of the stop and other details.

That information will be given to the ACLU and Former U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, who will oversee the agreement’s implementation and release a public report twice a year. Judge Keys will be able to look at where the stops are occurring and who is making them, down to the individual officer

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Will Chicago be heading down the same path as New York City as a result of this new “stop-and-frisk” agreement with the ACLU? Consider the following from the CBS2 News (New York City) website back on March 4:

New guidelines for the stop, question and frisk policing method were released to NYPD officers this week, and the patrol union said the guidelines will make the officers’ jobs more difficult.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is not happy.

“It’s confusing police officers where it’s coming to a point where we’re going to have to travel with legal counsel to articulate what we’re supposed to do,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

The new policy said in order to conduct a stop, an officer “must have individualized, reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or penal law misdemeanor.”

A “mere suspicion or a hunch” is not enough for a stop, the memo said.

A conclusion that someone is acting suspiciously based on “furtive movements,” or a person’s mere presence in a “high-crime area,” is not enough to warrant a stop by an officer under the new guidelines. Stops and frisks were permitted for such reasons alone in the past, according to published reports.

The guidelines also forbid stops by an officer based on a generalized description of a suspect – such as one that includes only a race and an age range.

“A person may not be stopped merely because he or she matches a generalized description of a crime suspect, such as an 18- to 25-year-old black male; if physical description is the only factor relied on by the officer, it must be more specific than that to form a sufficient basis for a stop,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines further said that a frisk is not always automatically acceptable whenever an officer stops someone.

“The officer must have an independent basis to reasonably suspect that a person who has been stopped is armed and dangerous in order to frisk that person,” the guidelines said.

Officers will also have to write a narrative explaining what justified the stop, question and frisk…

On June 5, Kerry Burke, Larry McShane, and Rocco Parascandola reported on the Daily News (New York) website:

A dramatic drop in stop-and-frisk encounters has emboldened criminals and made cops more reluctant to take proactive police action, even as murders and shootings are on the rise in the city.

The frightening message — echoed by police supervisors and union leaders — comes as stop-and-frisk encounters are on pace to plunge by 42% this year, with 20,000 fewer street stops.

There were 11,652 stops across the city through June 3 — projecting to roughly 28,000 for the year, records obtained by the Daily News show. As the number of stops fell, the number of murders spiked 19.5% during the first five months of the year, the number of people shot is up 9.2% and the number of shooting incidents jumped 9%.

“What you’re seeing now are the perps carrying their guns because they’re not afraid to carry them,” said Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “We’ve created an atmosphere where we’ve handcuffed the police. We are sitting back, taking a less proactive approach.”

Mullins said the city’s criminal element has been operating without fear while cops have been somewhat neutered in the last two years — and he wasn’t the only one to raise the issue…

City cops, citing increased scrutiny from the NYPD’s inspector general, the state attorney general and City Hall, say the cutback on stops is about self-preservation.

“Everyone is afraid to make stops,” said one Brooklyn police supervisor. “No one wants to get jammed up. They’re telling us the stops have to be quality stops. But if you make a stop, and you think it’s a good one, and the guy has nothing on him, is that a good stop?”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Time will tell if the “Windy City” goes the way of the “Big Apple” concerning “stop-and-frisks.”

If it does, Chicago blog readers shouldn’t be surprised if there’s also a corresponding jump in crime.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


“CPD agrees to ‘stop-and-frisk’ reforms, avoids ACLU lawsuit.” ABC7 News. 7 Aug. 2015. ( 8 Aug. 2015.

“PBA: New Stop-And-Frisk Guidelines Will Confuse Officers, Make Jobs Harder.” CBS2 News. 4 Mar. 2015. ( 8 Aug. 2015.

Burke, Kerry, McShane, Larry, and Rocco Parascandola. “EXCLUSIVE: Huge drop in stop-and-frisk as NYC crime increases raises fear that cops are reluctant to confront criminals.” Daily News. 5 June 2015. ( 8 Aug. 2015.

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Sunday, August 9th, 2015 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago To Be Run By Emergency Financial Control Board Within 2 Years?

Last Wednesday, I reminded Survival And Prosperity readers (local ones in particular) that Chicago- upon reelecting Rahm Emanuel as Mayor- remains in serious financial trouble. From that post:

As Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage…

Some readers might feel I was being a little too “sensational” with that statement. Therefore, I’d like to offer up the following for your consideration. Reuters’ Megan Davies and Karen Pierog reported on April 8:

Chicago has not seen the population losses Detroit did and its business and commercial real estate markets remain healthy, but its current circumstances are more dire than any other major American city today, with aggregate debt of $21.4 billion, up 60 percent since 2004.

Although Chicago’s situation isn’t bad enough yet to warrant a bankruptcy filing, that threat is out there if it fails to tackle its problems.

“People say Chicago’s not Detroit,” said Tom Metzold, a senior portfolio advisor at investment manager Eaton Vance. “Not right now. Chicago is Detroit ten years from now. I don’t care how economically strong your economy is. They don’t have a printing press. You can only tax so much.”

Metzold estimated the odds of a Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the next five years are “virtually zero” but said in the next 10 years that could rise to 25 percent if it fails to act

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case readers are wondering, Metzold’s s “Street cred” includes serving as VP and Co-Director of Municipal Investments at Eaton Vance (one of the oldest investment management firms in the U.S.- established 1924), and as its Portfolio Manager since 1991.

Not as “optimistic” about Chicago’s financial future is Joe Mysak, Editor of Bloomberg Brief. He warned in an April 8 commentary:

I’m not a betting man. If I were, I’d bet that Chicago is going to be run by an Emergency Financial Control Board, or something like it, within two years, the same as New York City back in 1975 (and until 1986)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Mysak, who’s been covering the municipal bond market since 1981, pointed out the city’s abysmal Moody’s credit rating (“one step from the basement of investment grade”) and wrote:

So a cut to junk may well be in the cards, and with it diminished and eventually lack of access to capital. Chicago has already creatively used, and some would say abused, the municipal market to subsidize city operations…

When the banks no longer want to lend to Chicago is presumably when the state of Illinois would come in, offering cash, loan guarantees, intercession with the federal government and whatever else the city needs in exchange for external management via an Emergency Financial Control Board…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The author of the Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds signed-off with:

Two years. That’s how long I give the city of Chicago. Good luck, Rahm.

Good luck Chicago…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Davies, Megan and Pierog, Karen. “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel confronts fiscal nightmare as he begins second term.” Reuters. 8 Apr. 2015. ( 12 Apr. 2015.

Mysak, Joe. “Next Stop for Chicago: Emergency Financial Control Board.” Bloomberg Brief. 8 Apr. 2015. ( 12 Apr. 2015.

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Afterthoughts: Chicago’s 2015 Mayoral Election

In case you hadn’t heard, Rahm Emanuel remains Mayor of Chicago after defeating Jesús “Chuy” García yesterday in a run-off election 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent with 98.7% of precincts reporting.

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the 2015 mayoral election in Chicago:

1. The fact that “Chuy,” a Cook County commissioner who was born in Durango, Mexico, forced Mayor Emanuel into a first-ever run-off election for the position signaled two things. One, a number of Chicago voters aren’t too happy with the way the “Rahmfather” is running the city. And two, Chicago’s Hispanics continue to flex their growing political muscle. Natasha Korecki reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website back on March 15:

According to census data from 2010, Hispanics make up just shy of 29 percent of the city’s population- but they account for only 13 to 15 percent of the electorate. (Garcia’s campaign says that number was at about 16 percent on Feb. 24.)

Should trends hold, I envision Latinos making significant gains with that percentage. Korecki added:

“The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing segment of the early-childhood population,” says Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, an Emanuel supporter. “Latinos make up 47 percent of students in CPS,. It’s a very significant population…

Last December, the U.S. Census Bureau forecasted that Hispanics will comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population within the next 30 years- up from approximately 17 percent right now.

At risk of sounding like “Captain Obvious” here, I’m thinking Chicago’s future will be a much more Latino one. Particularly as city government is concerned.

(Editor’s note: Back in the fall of 1988 I told my high school Spanish teacher I wanted to learn the language because I thought it would “come in handy” someday. Has it ever.)

2. After being forced into a run-off, the Rahm camp realized he’s rubbed a number of Chicagoans the wrong way. Which led to commercials like this:

“New Rahm Emanuel Ad: ‘I Can Rub People The Wrong Way’”
YouTube Video

So now that he’s won the run-off, what’s Mayor Emanuel “tune” now? Rick Pearson and Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

After finishing a salad and bowl of matzo ball soup, Emanuel was asked what he learned from the runoff and whether he would, in fact, be a more inclusive mayor in his second term.

Emanuel responded by confidently saying the feedback he’d gotten from voters during the campaign would serve as his “North Star.” Asked by the Tribune if that meant he would take a different approach to running the city, Emanuel instead deflected the question by telling the reporter: “You’ll evaluate that, and my guess is you’ll tell me on a 24-hour basis.”

Pressed again on whether he had heard the voters and would change his often brusque style, Emanuel responded with just one word:


(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yeah. I don’t know about you, but the impression I get from that response is- something tells me old habits might be particularly hard to break with this one.

I can’t help but wonder if dead fish aren’t already on their way…

3. Chicago’s “financial reckoning day” is still fast approaching. And I don’t think it matters who’s in charge, as I believe we’re too far along in the deterioration and the required political will to do something about it just isn’t there. Still. I read a “funny” comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop earlier today. From a Tuesday night post:

Anonymous said…

Blah blah blah. The city will not go.bankrupt. We are third in the country for tourists, we have numerous international and national companies world headquarters plus we have a 100s of millions in tif funds. Commie chuy was a police hater that had no plan for this city. Rahm ain’t no picnic either but next to chuy he was a genius.

Now consider what the National Journal’s John B. Judis reported on March 30:

Chicago is facing a truly grave set of problems– problems that are essentially more extreme versions of the challenges confronting city governments across the country.

The quandaries begin with Chicago’s dramatic social divide. To an even greater extent than is the case in, say, New York or Philadelphia, Chicago has become two entirely separate cities. One is a bustling metropolis that includes the Loop, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, and the Gold Coast, as well as the city’s well-to-do, working-class, and upwardly mobile immigrant neighborhoods. The other Chicago consists of impoverished neighborhoods on the far South and West Sides, primarily populated by African-Americans. These places have remained beyond the reach of the city’s recovery from the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, even as it grapples with this extreme gap, Chicago is suffering from a severe fiscal crisis. Like plenty of other municipalities, Chicago lacks the revenue to pay its bills, particularly its pension obligations to city workers. According to a 2013 Pew report, 61 other U.S. cities face similar difficulties, but Chicago’s situation is one of the worst. “Voters must realize we are facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” says Roosevelt University’s Paul Green, the doyen of Chicago political experts. “If something doesn’t happen, the city is beyond the abyss.”

Those problems aren’t really Emanuel’s fault, but his efforts to fix them over the past four years haven’t yielded especially good results. For his part, Garcia—who has been at the forefront of Latino politics in Chicago for four decades and who has a history of bucking Chicago’s political establishment—has run a campaign long on general populist criticism of the incumbent, but short on credible ideas about what he would do differently.

All of which means that this election won’t yield much of a mandate for dramatic solutions to Chicago’s twin crises

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Translated: Probably doesn’t matter who won the election, because Chicago looks to “lose” with either at the helm.

Once again, the economic situation appears too far gone at this point, and the political will to truly get the city’s finances back on track just isn’t there.

I hope Judis is wrong. And I hope I’m wrong here.

But the numbers are looking pretty atrocious right now.

As much as I’d like to side with “Anonymous,” as Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage.

More on that topic soon.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Korecki, Natasha. “Getting Hispanics to the polls in Chicago mayor’s race no slam dunk for Chuy.” Chicago Sun-Times. 15 Mar. 2015. ( 8 Apr. 2015.

Pearson, Rick and Ruthhart, Bill. “’Second chance.’ Emanuel says he’s ‘humbled’ by victory.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Apr. 2015. ( 8 Apr. 2015.

SCC. “Mixed Bag.” Second City Cop. 7 Apr. 2015. ( 8 Apr. 2015.

Judis, John B. “Broken city: Rahm Emanuel and the unraveling of Chicago.” National Journal. 30 Mar. 2015. ( 8 Apr. 2015.

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East Coast: Last-Minute Snow, Ice Removal Info From Consumer Reports

“The first flakes ahead of a potentially historic blizzard began swirling through New York City on Monday morning, with forecasters predicting up to 3 feet (90cm) of snow in the coming day and millions of people facing snarled transportation.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning 1 p.m. EST on Monday, and warned of two days of winter storms across the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine.

Airlines have canceled more than 2,000 flights so far…”, January 26, 2015

Considering the ongoing warnings of severe winter weather for the East Coast, I thought I’d get the following last-minute information regarding snow and ice removal out to Survival And Prosperity readers in that area of the country. I hope a number of you find it useful. From the Consumer Reports website:

“Find the best snow shovel”
The right model can take some of the work out of winter cleanup

February 14, 2014

“All you need to know about clearing snow”
Get the most from your snow blower by working with the weather

January 21, 2015

“Snow removal shortcuts that save time and energy”
How to get the most out of your snow blower and snow shovel

March 3, 2014

“Best ice melts review: Top products for your driveway, walkways, and steps”
Use Consumer Reports’ five steps for smarter, safer deicing

February 2014

On the topic of ice melts, while I’ve got a bag in my arsenal, lately I’ve been using sand instead so as to minimize damage to the newer concrete driveway and older sidewalks at my house in the Chicago suburbs. QUIKRETE All-Purpose Sand (bought a 50-lb. bag last week for a little under $3 at the nearby Home Depot) is the brand I went with- and it works really good as traction is concerned. Just be sure to keep the stuff away from drains.

Good luck out there in the eastern United States, stay warm, and stay safe.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Monday, January 26th, 2015 Emergencies, Essential Reading, Weather No Comments

Chicago Reader: Did Rahm Emanuel Deliver On Public Safety Campaign Promises?

The Chicago Reader has done a terrific job lately of keeping a tab on public safety in Chicago. And yesterday, the Reader website ran an article entitled “Did Rahm live up to his campaign promises on public safety?” Mick Dumke wrote:

During his first campaign for mayor four years ago, Rahm Emanuel kept talking about police.

He noted as often as he could that his uncle had been a cop on Chicago’s north side. He boasted of his role in crafting the Clinton administration’s 1994 crime bill that funded the hiring of 100,000 police officers nationwide.
And, as the centerpiece of his public safety plan, he vowed to find the money to add 1,000 more officers to Chicago’s force. He said this would prevent crime and improve relationships with the community.

“Police officers will become a presence in the neighborhood rather than only available in response to emergency,” he said.

But within weeks of taking office, Emanuel stopped talking about hiring cops. Instead, over the course of his first term, the number of officers on the force dropped from about 10,900 to 10,600. And the mayor responded to violent crime not by investing in community policing but by calling for stricter gun laws and blaming legislators who balked.

The result after four years: crime totals have fallen, as they have across the country. But Chicago still has more violent crime per capita than New York or Los Angeles, with an average of seven people shot every day…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A real insightful piece, which can be read in its entirety on the Chicago Reader website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 Credit, Government, Gun Rights, Public Safety No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 79

Not really surprised to hear of the following coming out of the “Big Apple.” Larry Celona, Shawn Cohen, and Bruce Golding reported over on the New York Post website last night:

It’s not a slowdown — it’s a virtual work stoppage.

NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety, The Post has learned…

Angry union leaders have ordered drastic measures for their members since the Dec. 20 assassination of two NYPD cops in a patrol car, including that two units respond to every call.

It has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A number of observers claim Bill de Blasio ran his campaign for Mayor of New York City on an anti-police platform.

And he was subsequently elected.

It’s also been pointed out that anti-cop sentiment could be found among/around de Blasio staffers. Chuck Ross reported on the Daily Caller website on December 23:

Kicy Motley, the director of the Brooklyn community affairs unit working for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, has a history of making anti-cop statements, and Rachel Noerdlinger, the former chief of staff to de Blasio’s wife, lived with a convicted killer who has expressed a deep dislike for police officers…

I guess it could be argued that the New York Police Department is merely providing the kind of policing a number of de Blasio supporters and residents have been asking for- in a sense.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure the majority of New Yorkers don’t support the cop haters (it’s one thing to peacefully protest against perceived police brutality- it’s another to foster, promote, and carry out violence against law enforcement officers).

In the case of NYC, I think it’s a matter of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Although New York’s Finest might emphasize a different saying with respect to the ongoing work slowdown:

“Elections have consequences.”

Indeed they do.

Should make for an interesting New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Hope the bad guys/terrorists don’t take advantage of the situation though…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Celona, Larry, Cohen, Shawn, and Golding, Bruce. “Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage.” New York Post. 29 Dec. 2014. ( 30 Dec. 2014.

Ross, Chuck. “FLASHBACK: De Blasio Aide Tweeted ‘F***. The. Police,’ Another Dated Anti-Cop Ex-Con.” The Daily Caller. 23 Dec. 2014. ( 30 Dec. 2014.

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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Blasts Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Bill de Blasio For Anti-Police Sentiment In U.S.

Last night, I happened to catch the Fox News Channel show Justice with Judge Jeanine. The discussion was about the Saturday murders of two New York Police Departments cops- Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos- by career criminal Ismaaiyl Brinsley. African-American law enforcement officer and Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., who first grabbed national headlines with a memorable PSA he recorded for Milwaukee County residents near the beginning of 2013 (blogged about here), appeared on the show and shared his thoughts about the killings. From the exchange between Judge Pirro and Sheriff Clarke:

PIRRO: You’ve got an African-American in the White House. And he wasn’t elected by just blacks. He was elected by whites. And yet he seems to be, along with his attorney general, the men who are creating this perception that cops are your enemy, and that you have to protect your kids from them. Why is that? Why are they doing this?
CLARKE: Because it was politically advantageous for both President Obama and Eric Holder to do that- and for Mayor de Blasio as well. And I found their statements that they came out with after the announcement of the death of these officers- I found them to be hollow, I don’t want anything to do with it. They can have it back. The only reason they’re saying what they’re saying today is because it is politically advantageous for them to say that today. They had a chance, Judge, to extol the virtue of our nation’s law enforcement officers early on in these tragic incidents. And instead, they chose divisive politics. And they benefitted from that divisive politics. But now the law enforcement community, our law enforcement officers, and our neighborhoods are suffering as a result of these divisive politics.

This stuff needs to stop from these individuals.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke On Justice with Judge Jeanine
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Monday, December 22nd, 2014 Civil Strife, Crime, Government, Public Safety 2 Comments

Another Quote For The Week

“We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the President that everybody should hate the police. I don’t care how you want to describe it- that’s what the protests are all about. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence- and a lot of them lead to violence- all lead to a conclusion:

The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.

Actually, the people who do the most for the black community in America are the police- New York City and elsewhere. They are the ones, not the Al Sharptons, they are the ones putting their lives on the line to save black children.”

-Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, on FOX News Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Sunday, December 21st, 2014 Government, Propaganda, Public Safety, Racism No Comments

Survival And Prosperity
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