The original IAC | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Father Pfleger, top cop Johnson, and a tinge of hope for the city’s future


Here is the most relevant part of your earlier post that I was responding to:

"I support community controlled policing as well. Modern policing needs to be abolished. If I was not clear, I did not mean that the community will purge its own. I see a time coming when the community will purge the bad officers. People are no longer support them coming into the community, shooting to kill, and going home in comfort. People know the system will contort itself into knots to protect these bad officers. The community will find them and inflict their own forms of justice. Not because they want to do it but because they will have to do it. Too bad it will come to that."

In a post even before that you talked about cops engaging in "extrajudicial justice" and said that "modern policing is nothing more than militaristic thuggery". You have been acting as if the entire nature of the police department is evil and that the routine actions they engage in every day are horrible. You are not simply talking about the fact that there have been a few bad apples or even that the system allows some small, but still destructive, amount of bad behavior to go on. So I was responding to what you were talking about and not what your weren't talking about. So please do not suggest that I was saying that poor police behavior was OK and that it was excusable just because the type of actions you are talking and that generate a lot of media attention are only a tiny portion of the work they do every day. Of course even one unjustified shooting or racist police action is too many and obviously there should be reforms that do as much as possible to stop this behavior. I've said that many times here in the comments over the years. But you were acting as if unjustified police killing is the norm, which the statistics show clearly is not the case. And when people get distracted by the wrong issues or overstate problems it means they are less likely to focus on the real problems with the system, such as the failed aspects of the war on drugs and over-incarceration in many instances of people who live in poverty.

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Posted by The original IAC on 07/18/2018 at 5:47 PM

Re: “Father Pfleger, top cop Johnson, and a tinge of hope for the city’s future

"I think the evidence clearly shows that the system you outlined above does not work."

Why? Because things don't always work perfectly and bad things happen? Nothing works perfectly. In order to try to make the case that the structure of the system needs to be completely changed to something else you have to provide strong evidence that this alternative system would work better than the current system. It's not enough just to point to problems that exist now. I don't think you believe the logic you are using should apply to the school system. There have been for decades many CPS students who have not succeeded at anything close to their potential when they went through their education at CPS. For a while, roughly half of all students didn't even graduate. Now I think it's about one-third, which still is much too high. If someone suggested that because of this it would make sense to push forward policies that completely gut or at least majorly weaken the CTU and that replaced all schools that exist now with new schools and new staff I don't think that you believe the fact that there are problems at CPS should mean that this would be a good idea. So the fact that the police department has also had problems shouldn't mean that everything should be radically changed to the degree you are suggesting with rather than simply major improvements being made within the system that exists. And as far as I'm concerned, the system did work after the McDonald shooting video was released. There was massive public pressure for things to change. As a result, the superintendent was fired and the state's attorney was not reelected. The new superintendent came largely from the recommendation from the public who live in areas with high crime. The public pressure also caused a federal investigation that made several recommendations for changes, many of which are being supported by the mayor and have been or are being implemented. Others are tough to change because of the power of collective bargaining contracts and the political forces that cause an incentive for city leaders to give employees (in this case, police officers) strong protections that make it difficult to hold them to account for bad behavior. But that dynamic largely comes from the side of the political spectrum that most wants significant police reform.

"This is false."

What's false? Are you referring to my second or third sentence? Are you saying it's false that the Chicago Reporter piece suggests eliminating the police or that this suggestion isn't worth paying attention to? It explicitly argues that there should be an "overthrow" of the police. That's the word it uses. The authors of the piece are part of the "abolition" movement. If you google their names you will see that they are extremely radical.


You seem extremely convinced that many police shootings are unjustified. What evidence do you have about that? And do you have a general idea of how many people are shot by CPD officers each year? I'd really like to hear your answer to that since you seem to think it's a lot higher than it is based on your focus on this. How many people do you think are killed each year by Chicago police? Is it around 1,000? 100? 10,000? 100,000? Less than any of these? More? Since I can't be sure you aren't going to google this before answering, I'll tell you. From 2010 to 2015, there was an average of 15 people killed by police each year in Chicago. An average of another 29 people were shot and struck but not killed:… This is in a city with a population of 2.7 million. There are major reforms needed to the criminal justice system, including at times less punitive tactics, laws, and punishments, but the people who focus on police shootings are missing the point. That doesn't take away from the fact that there obviously have been inexcusable police shootings and that major efforts should be make to prevent these from occurring. But this is not the major problem that exists. The number of shootings are a drop in the bucket and, even though there's been a major problem with the police covering up unjustified police shootings, no doubt a significant majority of those shootings are justified.

Posted by The original IAC on 07/16/2018 at 10:10 PM

Re: “Father Pfleger, top cop Johnson, and a tinge of hope for the city’s future

As usual, Joravsky is giving incomplete information about the TIF program. It does in the short run take away some property tax revenue for city services, such as schools, in order to pay for some economic development costs. But the purpose of the program is to allow for economic development that wouldn't otherwise occur to generate additional tax revenue that THEN is spent throughout the city on such things as schools, parks, libraries, and police. The idea is for this additional money to be much higher than the TIF costs. This additional money comes not just from property tax revenue (in surrounding areas to the TIF district as well as within the TIF district once the TIF expires) but also from other tax revenue that comes about as a result of the development. In order to make a convincing case that TIF districts cause a transfer of revenue in the long term from poor areas to affluent areas, Joravsky needs to show that the particular TIF districts he is talking about would have had the same level of development without the TIF being created. Generally, he doesn't even try to do this.


There already is complete civilian control of the police department. The citizens elect the mayor and the city council. The mayor appoints the police superintendent and the city council provides oversight of the police. In fact, the appointment of this particular police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, came about as a result of recommendations from some of the aldermen in the communities that are the most problems with crime and who are most interested in how the police would function. The politicians are accountable. That's the way the system should work. The suggestion of having a completely elected police board would be a tragic mistake that would have horrendous consequences. There would be multiple people elected to the board with no one having enough power make decisions. As a result, nobody will be accountable to the people. The board would just be held up in indecision on anything of significance at all times so it would give control to those underneath the structure. It may sound good to think "elected police board" but in reality the results would be the exact opposite of what the advocates for it are thinking. The Chicago Reporter piece you linked to, by the way, is even more radical than that. It wants to destroy the police department. Obviously, a suggestion like that is not worth paying attention to.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by The original IAC on 07/16/2018 at 1:59 AM

Re: “So long Ofo: Bike-share company is leaving Chicago because of lock requirements

"As I wrote this afternoon, Divvy could deter theft by better publicizing the D4E program and making it possible to enroll on the phone and online, or at least expanding the number of sign-up locations and enrollment hours. After all, why risk arrest by stealing a bike to ride (and it doesn't seem like anyone is re-selling stolen Divvys) when you can rent one almost for free?"

I suppose we can also, in theory, deter shoplifting of televisions by simply giving everyone a TV away for free, or almost for free (such as for $5 for the first year). But I doubt television manufacturers would be excited about that, despite the reduction in shoplifting of their product. Whether or not the promotion you are referring to is a good idea for the city and for the vendor to offer and whether or not it may deter some thefts, the reality is that nobody believes that the amount saved from deterring thefts would come remotely close to approaching the cost of the promotion. And that's especially true if they do as you suggest and spend more money to administer the the promotion and make it even easier to get. So trying to make a "more revenue" argument for this in the context you are doing just doesn't work.

"But it's still not particularly convenient to enroll: You have to show up in person at one of five centers, none of them north of Armitage, and you can only do it Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between noon and 5 p.m. -- not easy for 9-to-5-ers. As I wrote this afternoon, Divvy could deter theft by better publicizing the D4E program and making it possible to enroll on the phone and online, or at least expanding the number of sign-up locations and enrollment hours."

You are not seeming to understand what the purpose of these types of promotions are. They are supposed to require some work to take advantage of them. They want to attract new riders with the promotion (and probably also there was political pressure from people who think that an increase of white people riding bikes without a corresponding increase of people from other races significantly adds to the problem of racial inequality) but they don't want to attract so many new riders that they end up losing huge money as a result. You just mentioned that there was a $1.7 million loss in 2016. It's not a good idea for that to rise, which would likely make the entire Divvy program unsustainable. So you can't make it extremely user friendly to enroll in D4E program. That would result in a significant loss of revenue from people who otherwise would have paid regular price. And it would not be cost efficient for them to purchase and maintain the extra bikes needed when so many people are only paying $5 a year. It's similar to why the suggestion you have made about "fare capping" CTA rides on fare cards so that the amount paid with regular fares is never higher than the cost of a pass for the particular period of time is such a bad idea. If people are going to save money because a pass may cost less for them than a one way fare they should at least figure that out for themselves. It's not in the CTA's (or the taxpayer's) interest to take less money from them even when they aren't price sensitive enough to notice or think it's worth the time changing their fare method. That's especially absurd, and contrary to the goals of what you are trying to do, because lower income people are going to be the people who are most likely to pay attention to how much they are paying. Fare capping would give the advantage to higher income individuals where the amount saved by a are capping structure would hardly be noticeable to them. And with the D4E situation, this phenomena isn't eliminated even though its severely tempered by the income cap of $35,310. There still are more advantaged, and thus less price conscious, and less advantaged people within that income group.

"[lesser use on the south and west side's is] partly due to the fact that the stations are spaced about a half mile from each other in these areas, compared to a quarter mile in many denser, more affluent, majority-white parts of town. Lower station density makes the system much less convenient to use because you've got a longer walk between stations and destinations. "

I just don't agree with that at all. That certainly is not a significant factor. We've discussed this before. First of all, I have to assume that the Divvy station on the south and west sides that are there are strategically placed near the more high trafficked destinations. You act as if these are just random "half miles". There is a slight greater chance for those travelling in the south and west sides that there won't be a Divvy station near where they are going but it's not anywhere close to equivalent to the difference between the amount of stations there and in very dense north side neighborhoods. More importantly, the reality is that bike riding for transportation purposes is just not nearly as attractive an option in non-dense areas as it is in dense areas. It's not simply that there is less people. It's the further effect that the fewer people makes driving the most attractive option in the vast majority of cases for a variety of reasons (less traffic congestion, much greater ability for free very convenient parking, etc.). That's true across all demographics. In rural and most suburban areas, for example, it is almost unheard of for anyone to travel by any means other than driving cars. I really don't think I'm overstating it when I say that the complaints we have seen over the past few years about the lower level of use of bike share on the south and west sides (and the suggestion that this comes about in large part due to racial inequality) is one of the most absurd things I have ever seen in my life. I mean that sincerely. Bike share works in dense neighborhoods. It was meant for dense neighborhoods. The fact that people see the fact it is being used far less frequently in other areas and at are at all surprised by this and begin to start looking at the racial and income demographics of the population in these neighborhoods as if that was at all related is beyond belief. And like I said before, this just discourages governments and others from starting new programs like this in the future. If there's a chance someone is going to make a "social justice" argument against the way a program is being implemented they're likely just not to take the risk at all.

Posted by The original IAC on 07/15/2018 at 11:26 PM

Re: “Rahm and Rauner's phony Ryan feud: Don’t be fooled by the Twitter barbs

"Or when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law--Democrats are pro big business."

God Forbid politicians want businesses in the U.S. that employ a lot of people to succeed. Not sure why you are against that.

" The Guardian just ran a series of articles that persuasively dispute your idea of what will happen with what actually happens when Big Tech comes to town."

None of those articles have any relevance to the question of whether an Amazon tax credit is a good idea. Again, this is not a handout. It's a discount to the taxes that Amazon would pay when it's here. I don't know the specifics about the Foxconn deal to know whether that's different and, if so, if it's a meaningful difference. I suspect not and most likely The Guardian is just as confused as you are. So the premise that these jobs "cost" the government that provide the incentive in the amount of the incentive is false. One can only believe that if they think that Amazon (or some other employer) would be paying the full price of these taxes in the event that the subsidy isn't offered. Nobody believes that would be the case. As we've discussed before, it's simply the same thing as if a business gives a discount to customers who it believes wouldn't otherwise be purchasing the particular product. When the business attracts new customers with this discount and this customer doesn't replace another one who would pay full price (for example, in a full restaurant) then it gains revenue rather than loses revenue with the offer. The same thing is true with the city, county, and state with an incentive for Amazon to open a headquarters.

"Let me see. I've diagnosed a problem, and I've proposed a solution, but my solution hasn't worked for decades and decades. Do I think, "Hey, my solution is not really a solution, so I should try something else." Or do I think, "I know it's been decades and decades, but it's gonna happen!"

I'm not sure what you are referring to. The reality has been it's been extremely tough for the government to do anything significant to move the ball forward with solutions that could deal with problems that are caused by poverty, such as lack of educational advancement, because there are several gravitational forces that lead politicians to advocate more of a status quo approach. One of these factors is the lack of willingness of the citizens to pay more in taxes. Another is the institutional interests, such as (but not exclusively) unions, that tend to be against change. A third is the risk aversion nature of politicians and bureaucrats. We need to find a way to cut through all of this.

"But the more money part of your argument didn't happen!"

Again, the phrase was "than otherwise would be the case". The district was, and continues to be, in horrible financial shape due to, among other things, high collective bargaining contracts. So the choice wasn't whether there would be more money than there had been previously that made it to the classroom. It was whether there was less money than previously or even less money than that. There would have been even more cuts than there had been if the 50 or so schools hadn't been closed and district was still spending the duplicate utility, maintenance, and other overhead costs in these under-enrolled buildings. In addition, schools that are not under-enrolled have greater economies of scale that allow the district to more efficiently allocate personnel. In an under-enrolled school, it's less likely that you'd be able to have both a music and an art teacher or full time social workers or school nurses or librarian. These individuals at a school of only, say, 60 students would be spending a lot of time not working. There's obviously not enough work to go around in the day for these staff members at a school that size. So the district either wouldn't have anyone in those positions, which likely hurts the students, or they'll be wasting money that can't be used elsewhere in the system. So that's another reason to make sure as few schools are under-enrolled as possible.

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Posted by The original IAC on 07/11/2018 at 2:09 AM

Re: “Rahm and Rauner's phony Ryan feud: Don’t be fooled by the Twitter barbs

" I will say that your framing of the school closures is pretty much off base, with all due respect."

How so?

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Posted by The original IAC on 07/09/2018 at 8:41 PM

Re: “Rahm and Rauner's phony Ryan feud: Don’t be fooled by the Twitter barbs

"In case you've forgotten, let me remind you that Rahm and Rauner are more than good pals who once shared expensive bottles of wine while vacationing at Rauner's Montana ranch.
They were also business partners, each helping the other make millions on a 2001 deal back in 2001, when Rahm was an investment banker and Rauner ran a private equity company."

I hope people realize how utterly stupid Joravsky's conspiracy theory is. Basically, he appears to be unaware that sometimes people who are business partners on something or who have been friends with one another could possibly end up disagreeing with each other later on. Is he that sheltered from what goes on in the world? I'm sure anybody can find dozens of examples within minutes of people who did business together who later were opposed to each other on something else.

"I'm still not sure whether Rahm is similarly ideological, but no matter what motivated him, he bought in to the privatization schemes Rauner was selling. Perhaps he bought in hoping it would earn him a national reputation as the kind of Democrat who tells teachers and teachers' union leaders to shut the eff up and do as he commands"

That's bs. Emanuel simply wanted to make sure the district was spending its money as wisely as possible so that it had as many resources as possible to educate students. And he wanted to make some changes so that it would be easier to provide innovative programs that provide a stronger education to the city's children and to retain the best teachers in the system. The Teachers' union had a hissy-fit about any reforms at all and when they weren't being offered huge raises, despite their already high average compensation of roughly $70,000 plus strong benefits, and after they used their political power to trick much of the public that Emanuel wasn't on the side of the kids he eventually largely gave in to them on almost everything.

"Rauner cheered Rahm on, urging him to close more union schools, cut taxes on the rich, and do other diabolical things near and dear to the governor's gumball-size heart."

In case you haven't noticed, many charters are now unionized also. So your theory isn't born out by the evidence.

"Voters, let me remind you there are more than two billion reasons not to believe this feud is real. I'm alluding to the $2.25 billion (and counting) in public money that Rahm and Rauner have teamed up to offer Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, to bring an Amazon headquarters to Chicago. That's money that won't be available for programs that would help ease the crime and violence that led Pfleger to march on the Dan Ryan. "

That's a total and complete lie. You are using propaganda to try to mislead readers in a similar manner to what Breitbart does every day. Repeat after me. Not a cent of that money will be available if Amazon does not choose to locate its headquarters in the city. You are trying to imply otherwise and you know very will that you are being disingenuous. This will simply be a discount of Amazon's taxes to encourage them to locate their headquarters in the city. They have numerous cities that are offering them incentives. They are not going to locate anywhere without some. So there is NO SCENARIO where the city could possibly have the ability to keep that exact $2.25 billion. But if Amazon comes to the city, it will cause a variety of other tax revenue to come in that otherwise wouldn't. And some of this tax revenue can go to things that Pfleger would advocate for them to go. An Amazon headquarters move would increase the amount of taxes that are paid to the city. This is not in dispute. And it would be a lot of new taxes. I find it utterly disgusting and inexcusable that you are misleading your readers to think the reverse when there is absolutely no basis for thinking this at all. Go write for Alex Jones if you want to do that type of journalism


You are trying to make a complicated situation look simple. In the parts of this country where poverty is a major problem, people have been trying to improve education for decades and decades. It's not easy and takes time to fix. And when politicians try to do some things that have the potential to move the ball forward significantly (though nothing can fix it completely overnight, like you are implying) much of the same people who complain about the state of the ecucational system are the first people who complain about these changes. For example, decisions that consolidate underutilized schools so that more money than otherwise would be the case can be spent on teaching rather than for duplicate utility, maintenance, and administrative costs. When Emanuel consolidated several dozen schools a few years ago for this purpose there was huge opposition from many of the people acting as if he can just choose to improve the educational system overnight and just has chosen not to.

6 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by The original IAC on 07/09/2018 at 4:08 PM

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