Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Police Department Manpower Shortage Continues

It’s nice and quiet around the house this Sunday morning. Why’s that? My girlfriend is downtown this weekend, hitting the scene with friends from her college days.

So with Chicago’s violent crime making headlines worldwide these days, am I worried about her safety?

Not really. First off, she’s “street smart,” having grown up in the city and lived there prior to meeting me and after we started dating years until we moved to the suburbs in 2013. Second, to quote that 1952 film classic The Quiet Man:

Oh, that red head of hers is no lie.

She’ll beat on you if it comes to that…

Girls Soccer

Third, as I responded to a comment on the blog recently:

The city of Chicago is still generally safe. A healthy dose of “street smarts” and situational awareness goes a long way though when living there on a daily basis (i.e., don’t stare at gangbangers, like one of my vehicle’s passengers was doing while I was driving on a local expressway some years back)…

The majority of the shootings/murders are still confined to the “seedier” areas of Chicago. But criminal activity seems like it’s picking up in a lot of other neighborhoods- including the “safe” ones- though “official” crime stats don’t support this. I, for one, stopped trusting the government numbers a long time ago.

Still, I’d feel better knowing there were more police officers around. The manpower shortage in the Chicago Police Department is well-documented (hat tips Second City Cop and the Chicago Reader), and regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know it’s something I’ve been blogging about for a couple of years now. In fact, Mick Dumke wrote the following over on the Reader website just yesterday:

As a mayoral candidate, Emanuel promised to add as many as 1,000 police officers to the ranks. Once he had the job and was in charge of the budget, he switched to saying that he was moving more cops to the street. Then, after shuffling hundreds of officers around, he announced that he’d successfully added more than 1,000 “to the beat.”

What Emanuel hasn’t mentioned is that the number of police officers on Chicago’s force has dropped since he’s been mayor. In June 2011, shortly after he was sworn in, there were about 10,900 officers on the city payroll, records show. Now there are about 10,600.

That’s potentially 100 fewer cops working around the city at any given time

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m pretty confident my girlfriend and her buddies will be safe. Still, the CPD manpower shortage really needs to be addressed- in addition to other crime prevention/reduction initiatives- for the sake of residents, commuters, and visitors.

Otherwise, Chicagoans will just have to get used to their city being called the “Murder Capital” of the United States. And Rahm Emanuel, “Mayor Murder.”

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

Source:

Dumke, Mick. “Beneath the doublespeak, do we need more police in Chicago or not?” Chicago Reader. 9 Aug. 2014. (http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2014/08/09/beneath-the-doublespeak-do-we-need-more-police-in-chicago-or-not). 10 Aug. 2014.

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Sunday, August 10th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Illinois State Troopers To Join Chicago Police In Patrolling Four City Neighborhoods

From a State of Illinois press release yesterday:

Governor Quinn Announces State Police to Assist Chicago Police Department
Forty State Police Troopers Will Join CPD Officers Following Mayor Emanuel’s Request for Assistance

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today directed the Illinois State Police to deploy 40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods. The action follows the city’s request for assistance and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.

“The state of Illinois will do whatever is necessary to protect public safety – in Chicago and every community across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city. When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help.”

At the Governor’s direction, the State Police will deploy troopers to areas coordinated with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The State Police and CPD will set up 20 to 25 “surge” teams with five Chicago Police officers and two State Troopers on each team. The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement. The troopers will come from State Police districts across the state. The assistance will be accommodated with current State Police resources…

“40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods”

Here’s what I think about this announcement:

1. Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn can tell their constituents they’re doing something about violent crime with this action. Personally, I think that’s the real motivation behind this announcement as both are running into some campaign headwinds.
2. It’s worded at one point- “apprehending those with known violent criminal histories”- so as to not make Emanuel look as if he requires outside assistance. The state troopers are just providing a helping hand. Yeah, that’s it.
3. The actual impact on violent crime by this action is questionable. “The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories.” How about those without known violent criminal histories? I’m guessing a number of these individuals are contributing to the headline-making carnage as well. I won’t be surprised to hear the shootings and homicides are continuing at the same pace as they have been this year.
4. If you ask me, this announcement demonstrates above all else the Chicago Police Department needs a lot more bodies. And not the perforated ones. Remember, the press release specifically calls for state troopers to join the CPD in patrolling city neighborhoods. Not enough personnel to effectively carry out patrols? Time to hire more cops.

Having problems finding the money to pay for these additional police officers? Slash the number of aldermen in the city by half… to start.

That’s my two cents. You can read the entire press release on the Illinois Government News Network website here.

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

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Thursday, August 7th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

Flee Chicago By The End Of 2015?

April 7, 2015.

That’s the date of the next Municipal Runoff and Supplementary Aldermanic Election in the wake of the February 24, 2015, Municipal General Election in the city of Chicago, Illinois.

And that would be the ideal deadline for moving out of the “Windy City” if I still lived there due to the likelihood of fees, fines, and taxes being hiked (even more than they already have) shortly thereafter, along with additional government “belt-tightening.”

If not April 7, definitely by the end of the year. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website right before the weekend:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen won’t grapple this fall with the financial reckoning the city faces over its underfunded police and fire pension systems, budget officials acknowledged Thursday.

Instead, the Emanuel administration plans to take advantage of a state law that gives it until December 2015 to decide to make changes to its property tax levy. For years, both the current and former mayor have been saying property taxes would have to be hiked or services drastically cut to come up with the extra $550 million.

By the end of next year, the February city elections and any potential April runoffs will be history. Delaying a decision also will buy the city more time to get the General Assembly to enact pension changes that could significantly reduce the required payments to the two retirement funds..

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Fine. So the Illinois General Assembly votes to allow the City of Chicago to “kick the can down the road” on its pension fund payments. The well-publicized crisis isn’t going anywhere, as the public sector retirees are still owed their money.

(Editor’s note: Check out this graphic on the Tribune website showing Chicago’s pension debt rank compared to the 25 largest U.S. cities and Puerto Rico. It’s disturbing.)

And how about that “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the city’s head in the form of long-term debt it’s on the hook for? Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on July 26, 2013:

The new round of borrowing brings Chicago’s total long-term debt to nearly $29 billion. That’s $10,780 for every one of the city’s nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember- those figures were from a year ago. Updated numbers should be out shortly.

Yep. If I hadn’t departed the city like I did last year, I’d be making plans to leave Chicago by the end of 2015 at the latest.

But that’s me. I understand individual circumstances vary, and there are residents who can’t leave or choose not to.

Despite what others may think, I have an idea this group can still weather the coming storm if they’re really up to the task. I’m guessing it will be somewhat harder though residing in a city already burdened with significant financial problems when challenging times arrive.

More about this in future posts…

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

Sources:

Dardick, Hal. “Chicago’s day of reckoning over pensions delayed.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-rahm-emanuel-budget-hole-met-0801-20140801-story.html). 5 Aug. 2014.

Spielman, Fran. “City of Chicago’s cash cushion plummets, debt triples, arrests drop, water use rises.” Chicago Sun-Times. 26 July 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/21552920-761/city-by-the-numbers-cash-cushion-plummets-debt-triples-arrests-drop-water-use-rises.html). 5 Aug. 2014.

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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 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 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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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 Launching ‘Summer Surge’ Initiative To Combat Violence

Those who live and frequent Chicago may be happy to know another “surge” is being launched by the City of Chicago to fight the violence that’s making national and international headlines (again) these days. Frank Main reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

The Chicago Police Department is getting ready to combat violence this summer with special overtime patrols in parks and public housing and on public transit, officials said Tuesday.

The partnership between police, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Housing Authority and the park district is part of what the city is calling the Summer Surge initiative.

Each agency will contribute to pay the overtime of 100 additional officers on weekdays, 200 on weekends and 300 on holiday weekends, a police spokesman said. Those agencies will help the police department determine where to deploy those officers, said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

He said the program is being launched in stages and should be “fully operational” on June 1…

These “surges” are nothing new for the city. Hal Dardick and Jeremy Gorner reported on the Chicago Tribune website back on February 24, 2013:

Chicago police plan to double the number of officers working overtime on their days off beginning Friday in an effort to tamp down the number of homicides plaguing the city, the Tribune has learned.

Police brass have told subordinates that 400 rank-and-file officers and 40 sergeants will be needed every day of the week as part of the department’s overtime violence-reduction initiative to supplement the thousands of officers working their usual shifts, according to sources. Since the initiative began last summer, an average of 200 officers and about 20 sergeants were needed for overtime shifts five days out of the week…

The violence appears to be on the upswing again. I can’t help but wonder if 2014 isn’t going to be a lot like 2012 despite these “surges.” I hope not.

But I know one thing for sure. The City’s relentless blaming of “lax” gun “control” laws for their predicament has become as ridiculous as that war cry they often trot out (“it’s for the children!”) to “justify” some potential controversial initiative on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s agenda.

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

Sources:

Main, Frank. “More cops will patrol parks, transit system to curb summer violence.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 Apr. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/27138224-761/more-cops-will-patrol-parks-transit-system-to-curb-summer-violence.html#.U2D-S1eq_R5). 30 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Gorner, Jeremy. “Overtime surge for Chicago police.” Chicago Tribune. 24 Feb. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-24/news/ct-met-chicago-police-overtime-20130224_1_overtime-initiative-police-officers-chicago-police). 30 Apr. 2014.

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Chicago Gangs Completely Out Of Control?

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel today decried the weekend violence that left at least nine people dead and at least 36 wounded in Chicago, calling for adults around the city to instill the right values in their children and to stand up for the safety of their neighborhoods…”

-Chicago Tribune website, April 21, 2014

This past weekend, I read some interesting takes on the Chicago-area violence from individuals much closer to it than most. Billy Briggs of the The Daily Telegraph (UK) wrote Saturday:

It’s an opinion I hear later from another gangbanger with the Black P Stones. The Stones are one of the Latin Kings’ rivals and have about 30,000 members.

In the suburb of Maywood on the city’s west side, I interviewed an ex-con called Anthony, better known on the streets by his nickname, Chopper, an allusion to his role in cutting illegal drugs before distribution…

He says Chicago’s latest problems are a result of gang discipline breaking down and the rise of a new generation of gangbangers who are completely out of control.

All the structure in the gangs is gone, so there is no leadership. There is so much shooting going on, nobody knows where to turn. It ain’t the older guys, it’s the young guys, as young as 13. It wasn’t like that in the 80s or 90s. This is new. Some of these guys just shoot for fun.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This perceived lack of structure and leadership was also highlighted in a different Chicago gang piece that appeared on The Guardian (UK) website this weekend. John Swaine discussed the recent shooting death of area rapper Mario Hess aka “Blood Money” and “Big Glo,” and reported Saturday:

In the 1990s, the aggressive jailing of gang leaders left behind a more fractured setup that is even more difficult to control.

“Back then, two of the heads could stand up and say ‘OK: enough, we gonna have a peace treaty,’” said Renaldo Hess, 43, who managed Blood Money before his murder last week.

“Now, it’s much more chaotic.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Chicago news crew catches shooting on tape”
YouTube Video

So the jailing of gang leaders created an environment today in the Chicago-area gangs where structure and discipline is severely lacking. Toss in some feral urban youth into the mix- and the rampant gang-related violence that’s constantly in the local news these days makes a lot more sense.

Kind of messed up we have to hear that from individuals on/around the inside and from overseas publications.

Whereas here in the Chicago area, all we ever get from the politicians, their disciples, and their presstitutes is that a lot of the violence comes from not enough gun “control.”

Yet, I’d be surprised to find out if even one FOID card holder was involved in any of that carnage over the past weekend.

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

Sources:

Briggs, Billy. “Armed and ready in Murder City, USA.” The Daily Telegraph. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11240669). 20 Apr. 2014.

Swaine, John. “Chicago gang shootings go on as Mayor Emanuel boasts crime at ‘record low’” The Guardian. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/19/chicago-deadly-shooting-guns-rahm-emanuel-2014). 21 Apr. 2014.

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Chicago Public Pension Crisis Latest

Last Tuesday, I blogged about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to address some of the City’s public pension woes via larger contributions by City employees and $50 million tax increases for five straight years- beginning next year and continuing through 2019- for Chicago property owners.

There’s been a lot of chatter regarding this proposal and other pension “reform” activity today. Karen Pierog reported on the Reuters website:

Legislation to ease funding shortfalls in two of Chicago’s four retirement systems is a modestly positive credit step but not a permanent fix, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday

Moody’s said that if enacted into law, the measure would immediately reduce the unfunded liabilities in the two funds.

“However, we expect that the (liability) would then escalate for a number of years before declining. Accrued liabilities would exceed plan assets for years to come, and if annual investment returns fall short of the assumed 7.5 percent, the risk of plan insolvency may well reappear,” the credit rating agency said in a report…

After breezing through an Illinois House committee on April 2, the bill has stalled. Moody’s said that even if the bill makes it out of the legislature, Governor Pat Quinn must sign it. The law would then face potential challenges to its legality under the Illinois constitution, which prohibits the impairment of retirement benefits for public sector workers…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So will the Illinois Governor and fellow Chicago Democrat sign off on Mayor Emanuel’s proposed legislation?

John Byrne and Monique Garcia reported on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

Gov. Pat Quinn today came out against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to raise Chicago property taxes and cut retirement benefits as a way to shore up some of Chicago’s government worker pension systems.

The re-election seeking Democratic governor called the bill floating around Springfield “a sketch” that “kept changing by the hour” and blasted the property tax as a “lousy tax” because it is not based on the ability to pay…

“I don’t think that’s a good way to go,” Quinn said of hiking property taxes. “And I say it today and I’ll say it tomorrow, they’ve got to come up with a much better comprehensive approach to deal with this issue. But if they just think they are going to gouge property tax owners, no can do. We’re not going to go that way.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now, as I pointed out in last week’s post about Chicago’s public pension crisis:

There’s still a state-required $600 million contribution due next year from the City to stabilize police and fire pension funds that this proposed property tax hike doesn’t address and has to be dealt with…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Plus, I read the following this morning by Chacour Koop on the website of The State Journal-Register (Springfield):

After addressing Illinois’ own employee pension crisis, lawmakers now face an equally challenging task with the state’s cities, as mayors demand help with underfunded police and firefighter pensions before the growing cost “chokes” budgets and forces local tax increases.

The nine largest cities in Illinois after Chicago have a combined $1.5 billion in unfunded debt to public safety workers’ pension systems. Police and fire retirement funds for cities statewide have an average of just 55 percent of the money needed to meet current obligations to workers and retirees…

The problems — a history of underfunding, the expansion of job benefits and the prospect of crushing future payments — mirror those that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned about when he asked the legislature for relief last week.

In 2016, state law requires cities to make required contribution increases — in some cases, more than an additional $1 million annually — so they’ll reach 90 percent funding by 2040. If they don’t, the state will begin doing it for them, diverting grant money now used by cities elsewhere directly into the pension funds…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just like the Illinois General Assembly- dominated by Democrats- barely passed legislation on December 3, 2013, that was touted as a “fix” for the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis (it isn’t), something tells me an accommodation may be reached with fellow Democrats running the City of Chicago so they don’t have to pay the full amount of the state-required $600 million contribution due next year to stabilize police and fire pension funds.

That goes for those large Illinois communities as well.

Watch all the back-patting go on should that “fix” materialize as well.

And the inevitable “blowback” down the road.

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

UPDATE: From Fran Spielman over on the Chicago Sun-Times website early Tuesday morning:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday stripped out controversial language from city pension legislation that had authorized the City Council to impose a property-tax hike, putting the stalled measure back on the fast-track at the state Capitol.

Madigan, D-Chicago, filed an amendment to Senate Bill 1922 after the House adjourned Monday without taking any action on the stalled legislation. Sources now expect the legislation to be voted upon as early as Tuesday.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sources:

Pierog, Karen. “UPDATE 1-Proposed Chicago pension changes positive step but no fix -Moody’s.” Reuters. 7 Apr. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/usa-chicago-moodys-idUSL2N0MZ1AP20140407). 7 Apr. 2014.

Byrne, John and Garcia, Monique. “Quinn blasts Emanuel’s property tax hike for pensions.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-quinn-blasts-emanuels-property-tax-hike-for-pensions-20140407,0,5432729.story). 7 Apr. 2014.

Koop, Chacour. “Illinois’ next pension issue: Police, firefighter funds.” Associated Press. 6 Apr. 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140406/NEWS/140409562/-1/json/?tag=1). 7 Apr. 2014.

Spielman, Fran. “Analysis: Rahm’s pension bill revisions solve—and create—problems.” Chicago Sun-Times. 8 Apr. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/analysis-rahm%E2%80%99s-pension-bill-revisions-solve%E2%80%94and-create%E2%80%94problems/mon-04072014-728pm). 8 Apr. 2014.

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Chicago Wakes To Proposed Property Tax Hike On April Fool’s Day

Many Chicagoans probably wish what’s being widely-reported in the local news this morning about a proposed property tax hike is just a silly April Fool’s joke.

It’s not.

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

Chicago property owners will face $250 million in property tax increases over five years while city employees make increased pension contributions that will cost them at least $300 more a year, under landmark reforms unveiled Monday…

The new revenue the mayor had promised only after pension reform will come in the form of $50 million property tax increases for five straight years, beginning next year and continuing through 2019.

Top mayoral aides estimate that would cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 with an annual property tax bill of $4,000 roughly $58 more or $290 over the five-year period. That’s on top of expected increases for the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Park District…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A couple of thoughts here:

First off, is anyone really surprised this is happening?

Regular readers of this blog shouldn’t be.

Higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

I’ve been squawking this for quite some time now.


“Black Dynamite- Who saw that coming?”
YouTube Video

Second, a $250,000 home? When discussing a Chicago Board of Education property tax hike last August, I blogged:

$230,000? You’d be hard-pressed to find a home for that little money in my former stomping grounds on the Northwest Side.

The same holds true for a $250,000 one (especially if it’s a property big enough for a family and doesn’t require a ton of work).

Which means many of my old neighbors will be coughing up significantly more than just $58 annually/$290 over five years as a result of this proposed hike.

And they already pay a big chunk of change to the City’s coffers.

Third, Spielman added last night:

The bottom line, according to Emanuel, is a plan that spreads the burden between employees, retirees and homeowners without raising property taxes so high that it triggers a mass exodus to the suburbs…

“Mass” being the key word here, because an exodus has already started. Former Chicago residents who have awakened to the “writing on the wall” are moving to the suburbs (yours truly included), leaving Cook County, and departing the state.

The push to make “temporary” personal and corporate income tax hikes permanent and the pursuit of class warfare in the form of a proposed millionaire tax hike by the ruling political party in the city, county, and state certainly don’t help the situation either.

Fourth, I can’t stand when tax hikes are proposed despite the lack of significant belt-tightening. Think the City of Chicago is as lean-and-mean as it possibly can be with its operations and set-up?

As long as 50 aldermanic wards exist, I’d argue no.

Fifth, as it stands right now, there’s still a state-required $600 million contribution due next year from the City to stabilize police and fire pension funds that this proposed property tax hike doesn’t address and has to be dealt with. Hal Dardick an Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

But the proposal the mayor and his top aides outlined late Monday would not address huge pension shortfalls for Chicago police, firefighters and teachers. Nor would it deal with the city’s most immediate, pressing financial problem: a state requirement to pay a whopping $600 million more toward police and fire pensions next year, a provision that could lead to a combination of tax increases, service cuts and borrowing

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You read right. Possibly more “tax increases, service cuts and borrowing” coming down the line shortly for Chicago residents.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Pension deal pinches city workers and taxpayers.” Chicago Sun-Times. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/exclusive-pension-deal-pinches-city-workers-and-taxpayers/mon-03312014-821pm). 1 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Ruthhart, Bill. “Emanuel’s pension fix: Shrink benefits, raise taxes.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-rahm-emanuel-pension-property-tax-increase-met–20140401,0,1662095,full.story). 1 Apr. 2014.

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