"On Monday, that new era of independence was on full display", writes Fran Spielman in the Sun-Times,
I don't buy Spielman's new era hyperbole, There are some small spine signs. But not many. At least some questions are now being asked before the pups sit up and beg for cookies.
Some are even asking for a little time to consider things before dancing to the mayor's tune like they did on the parking meters, red-light cameras, $5M cover-up payment to Laquan McDonald's family, killer property-tax hike, etc... Amazing!
Eg. they put Rahm's $2M TIF plan to build a park near the new Marriott Hotel on hold. OMG!
Originally, that money was part of $55M that was going to build DePaul's (mea culpa St. Vincent) shiny new (but I predict, largely empty) basketball arena. Now the money has been shifted to the hotel after protests against the building of the stadium caused the pols political embarrassment. Not enough to stop it, however. This was millions that should have been spent in classrooms.
2) How real is Rauner's fallout with Rahm?
My friend, Benny J. says it's completely phony. I say, it's real and phony at the same time. Rauner knows that Rahm agrees with him on neutering the CTU and on much of his austerity reform. But the gov thinks that Rahm and Sen. Cullerton are too cowardly to stand up to machine boss, Mike Madigan.
It's not just them. Many more Dems are with Rauner on the QT, says the gov. I believe him.
3) Will Rahm's hiring of his friend, Dan Webb, save him?
It's a desperate move and could be his last. The Law Dept. is just a floor away from the mayor's office. Webb was brought in to circumvent the Justice Dept.'s planned investigation. The Pinex killing cover-up is hotter than even the McDonald murder. Jordan Marsh, Rahm's lead attorney who withheld evidence in the Pinex family's suit, has taken the fall and resigned. But was Marsh operating independently of the mayor and his law chief ? A rogue city attorney? No way.
Rahm's claims that it's 'not possible' that the Law Dept.was part of the cover-up. Well, it's not only possible, it's likely. If an investigation leads beyond March and connects to Rahm's top attorney, Stephen Patton, there's no way the mayor isn't culpable.
Bringing Webb in, smells to high heaven. The deal has even got Rahm's pals at the Sun-Times board nervous.
Webb's a partner in the clout-heavey firm of Winston & Strawn which has lots of City Hall contracts. Both the firm and Webb himself have given big bucks to Rahm's election campaigns.
Webb is also representing the city of Ferguson, Mo. in its civil rights case with the U.S. Department of Justice. He charging the impoverished St. Louis suburb his full hourly rate at $1,335. But he working for Rahm for a measly $295/hr. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. If W&S is not in it for legal fees, what then?
He also worked as special prosecutor in 2012 to investigate the death of David Koschman. In 2004, Koschman was punched by Richard Vanecko — a nephew of then-Mayor Richard Daley — and died days later. Vanecko eventually pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2014. But Webb never revealed the depths of the police cover-up in the case or Daley's testimony.
|Webb is defending Ferguson, MO in Justice Dept. civil rights suit.|
Even though Webb has agreed to report his findings only to the city's IG Joe Ferguson, the attempt to undercut the federal investigation is sure to bring down even more scrutiny on Webb and his law firm. Plus you can count on continuing street protests to apply added pressure.
In other words, Rahm's gambit just won't work.
Remember, Hillary Clinton is coming to town. The IL primary is in March. I'm trying to imagine her posing with Rahm in the middle of a smelly cover-up investigation of his own Law Dept. with black community protesters and allies demanding that Mayor 1% resign.
Not many of my more political junkie friends agree with me on this, but I still think he will. Of course, I've been wrong once or twice before. I had my money on Clemson last night, for example.