Letters & Comments: December 9, 2010 

"What exactly does 'purge' mean?"

Raising More Questions About Rahm's Residency

Re: "When Corrections Don't Count: In a time-honored but sorely outdated tradition, the Tribune buries a couple of real boners about Rahm and Ron Huberman" by Michael Miner in Hot Type, December 2

I don't buy the idea that "'purge' is no longer used by Chicago election officials." It may not be a legal term, but I believe that various Chicago election officials still use the term, and many of them have said Emanuel was purged. The very fact that it's not a term contained in the statutes makes it ridiculous to retract. What exactly does "purge" mean? It means he was removed from the list of people who are eligible to vote without some new affirmative action on their part. That is true of Emanuel.

You can reinstate yourself, and loads of people do—for instance, people who need to claim "residency" in a suburban town they no longer live in, because their municipal job requires it. An affidavit would not in itself be proof that the purge was incorrect, though in truth, no one follows up on affidavits after the fact to make sure they reflect the reality.

But I find it interesting that no one seems to have produced an actual affidavit. The jurisdiction whose procedures I know most about would keep affidavits for more than a year after the election. Was there really an affidavit? Or was there a phone call? What did happen? We don't know at this point.

Just to get back to the purge issue, the best practices procedure for the purge is that you test your list against the National Change of Address file well before an election. Temporary forwarding orders would not be used to purge anyone. Permanent orders would. At that point, a forwardable notice is sent informing you you've been purged. Did Rahm respond to that notice? Or was he reinstated much later?

This "correction" strikes me as a political balancing act someone at the Trib dreamed up to mollify/coddle Emanuel. Maybe a cowardly lawyer (or one sympathetic to Rahm) told an editor that it was necessary. If I were Kass, I would have balked at issuing a mea culpa too. I can't believe Rich Miller was taken in by this.

I have two big bottom lines in all of this. First, yes, it's a personal injustice to Emanuel if he's knocked off the ballot. Second, there are all sorts of injustices in "ballot access"—people who are knocked off the ballot for technical deficiencies in their petitions; the amount of lawyerly time small campaigns have to spend defending perfectly valid petitions. After two months of defending himself from this charge, neither Emanuel nor his many high-priced advisers have yet thought to attach the very personal injustice to the broader injustice. That's a measure of his character. —ryanwc

The editors note:

For Cecil Adams's evaluation of Rahm's residency problem, see last week's Straight Dope Chicago at chicago.straightdope.com.

The "Pinhead" Clarifies

Re: "No Confidence at NEIU: At Northeastern Illinois University, the faculty's losing faith in the administration" by Deanna Isaacs in The Business, December 2

Nowhere in Deanna Isaacs' article about NEIU does Zachary Schiffman, nor any other university employee or official she quotes—directly or otherwise—make any reference to or connection between the recent no confidence votes for Haas and Frank and Professor T.Y. Okosun's tenure. So why was it necessary to mention Professor Okosun at all, except as a feeble, hackneyed way to begin the article? Professor Okosun is held in high esteem by his colleagues in the Justice Studies Department, the administration of that department, and the many students who have had the privilege of taking his courses. Ms. Isaacs has thus revealed herself to be more of a sensationalist pinhead than a legitimate journalist. —Ryan Johnson

Deanna Isaacs replies:

The diploma mill PhD tenure decision turned up in the formal statements made by faculty to the senate as it considered whether to take a vote on confidence and in nearly every interview I had with NEIU faculty members.

Too Eager With the Cleaver

Re: "Eager Cleaver: Mado chef Rob Levitt trades his toque for a butcher's apron" by Mike Sula in Omnivorous, December 2

Its great that the whole animal, humanely raised thing is so trendy right now. However, lest anyone be fooled, even the most sustainably raised animals for food are less sustainable than just eating vegetarian. The whole farm-to-table trend frustrates me because it is so focused on pork and various other animal options as opposed to vegetable options, which are honestly just as available (with a little planning). Honestly, last time I was at Mado and asked for a non-meat option, the waiter looked at me like I had four heads. Moreover, even though the style of butchery in fashion was around 100 years ago, people then simply did not eat as much meat as is offered in farm-to-table places today.

Anyhoo, don't want to be soapboxy. What one eats is super personal, and I am all for super meaty farm-to-table restaurants. But let's not pretend that these places offer an option that is truly that sustainable. And for that matter, can restaurants that serve super hearty vegetarian options become trendy soon? —5 lb warrior

Hope Nobody Steals It

Re: "Kluwak Kupas: We asked Grant Achatz: what can you do with deez nuts?" by Julia Thiel in Key Ingredient, December 2

This is a fantastic idea for a column!

—beth.somers

The Money Pit

Re: "The Merc Manual: The Cubs could take a lesson from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on how to make off with the public's money" by Ben Joravsky in The Works, December 2

You missed the most ridiculous part: Today almost all trading is electronic and pit trading will likely be phased out over the ten years in which the restriction is in place. It's literally and metaphorically throwing money into a pit! —samsa

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