The Tribune discovers Mayor Rahm's millionaire club | Bleader

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Tribune discovers Mayor Rahm's millionaire club

Posted By on 11.21.12 at 10:00 AM

The mayors millionaire club, over a year ago.
  • Ray Noland
  • The mayor's millionaire club, over a year ago.
A few days ago, I got calls from several readers eager to tell me the Tribune had stolen my story and splashed it on their front page under the headline "Emanuel makes time for corporate execs."

It was what you might call an update of "The mayor's millionaire club," my story from over a year ago, as our on-top-of-it readers reported.

Actually, I should say our story 'cause I wrote it with Mick Dumke. In fact, Mick deserves some kind of medal for dealing with the FOIA hell Mayor Rahm's aides put him through when he tried to get a copy of the mayor's daily appointment calendar for his first few months in office.

Geez, you'd think they were trying to cover something up.

For the record, I am not the least bit upset that the Tribune would run this story without giving me or Mick any credit for the original millionaire's-club story or the follow-up we wrote in June.

OK, just a little upset.

Well, maybe a lot—you story-stealing, corporate-Chicago-bootlicking, wimpy-ass-endorsement-of-Obama-writing, sorry motherfu . . .

Excuse me. That tirade was really uncalled for.

To their credit, the Trib's writers—Jeff Coen and John Chase—put their unique Tribune spin on the issue that makes for interesting reading, especially in contrast with our interpretation.

After reading page after page of backroom mayoral meetings with hedge fund operators, venture capitalists, and other exceedingly rich people, the Tribune concluded that Mayor Rahm's engaged "in his intense search for private solutions to some of Chicago's biggest public problems."

In contrast, Mick and I looked at the same information and concluded that the mayor was engaged in his intense search for more corporate cash and connections.

Or, as we wrote . . .

"Much of his mayoral schedule is taken up by meetings and calls with wealthy out-of-towners, many of whom have donated to his campaign. Indeed, it seems Emanuel has learned from his mentor, President Clinton. Under Clinton, the White House was open to big donors who got to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom. In Emanuel's case, he either invites them into his City Hall office or makes time to hang out at one of his favorite haunts."

Now that's how you write a story, Tribune!

Again, I apologize for that outburst.

In short, the mayor's either looking out for the people (Tribune point of view), or looking out for number one (our version).

You decide, Chicago!

It all reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with Jonathan Fine, the dedicated preservationist, who was explaining the complicated compromises preservationists often must make in negotiating with the city to save valuable buildings that rich developers want to destroy.

"Ben," Jonathan told me. "There's no black or white—only gray."

He's got a point. Though Jonathan may be singing a different tune, having just watched Mayor Rahm tag-team with Northwestern University to green-light the destruction of Prentice Women's Hospital.

Not much gray about that.

Oh, well. I'll give it a rest to go eat some turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

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