Chicago, IL: The Armpit of American Politics

The Federal Court Doesn’t Trust Daley. Why Should You?

In 2005 Federal Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen assigned attorney Noelle Brennan to monitor the City of Chicago’s personnel practices for the court. The federal court monitor is like a recess or lunch monitor who watches school children to make sure they behave properly. Instead of monitoring children’s behavior, the federal court monitor makes sure the Daley administration obeys the law and the court’s orders.

Judge Andersen determined a monitor for the City of Chicago was necessary because the Daley administration repeatedly and deliberately violated the Shakman Consent Decree, which prohibits patronage hiring. Furthermore, as members of the Daley administration willfully violated the court’s decree, they also broke other laws that led to their arrests and convictions.

The federal court monitor has watched over Chicago personnel decisions for five years. Each time the Daley administration asks Judge Andersen to remove the monitor, the judge says, “No.” The reason why Judge Andersen keeps the Chicago monitor in place is because the Daley administration has yet to comply with what the court ordered.

Though Mayor Daley and his minions know that a federal court monitor is watching, they have been caught numerous times violating the court’s orders. Lunch or recess monitors would not tolerate repeated bad behavior by their students for five years. A time limit on bad behavior should also apply to the City of Chicago. Don’t you think five years is more than enough time for the Daley administration to comply with a federal court judge’s orders?  If the federal court can’t trust Daley to make lawful personnel decisions, why should you?

After Mayor Daley declared in Dec., 2009, that Chicago had “cleaned up city hiring,” in Dec. 2009, Stone wrote Judge Andersen to point out two important facts. First, at the same time lawyers for Daley were going to court to try to reverse the Shakman Decree, Daley’s administration was secretly carrying out it’s unlawful job-rigging scheme in violation of that same court order.

Second, in 1988 when Richard M. Daley was the State’s Attorney and Cook County’s chief legal officer, he plotted with members of the Hispanic Democratic Organization to violate the Shakman Federal Court Decree. The fact that Daley was elected to Cook County’s highest legal office when he first established his unlawful hiring scheme in violation of the Shakman Decree makes his conduct all the more egregious.

Mayor Daley’s patronage army has made him the boss of the Chicago machine that has maintained its political dominance over the entire state. When Barrack Obama decided to run for president, he didn’t go to the governor first. Obama initially sought Daley’s endorsement. President Obama has surrounded himself with Daley people. Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and two senior White House advisors, David Axelrod and Valeire Jarrett, were previously influential members of Daley’s inner circle. When a presidential candidate seeks Daley’s endorsement and later surrounds himself with Daley’s people, it proves how much power Daley has gained by violating the Shakman Decree and the civil rights of voters.

Civil Rights Violations in Cook County and the State of Illinois

The patronage abuses that began with Daley have spread to other branches of government. Cook County has a population of 5.3 million people and is the second largest county in the country. In 2006 Judge Andersen assigned Julia M. Nowicki as Compliance Administrator to oversee the county’s personnel practices. When Nowicki resigned, Judge Anderson replaced Nowicki with Mary Robinson. In 2008 Judge Andersen appointed The Honorable Clifford L. Meacham Compliance Administrator to monitor the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Also, in 2008 Judge Andersen appointed Mr. Jan Carlson as Compliance Administrator for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. In 2010 the Cook County Department of Corrections agreed to have four people monitor its compliance with federal court orders.

In all, Judge Andersen has appointed either a monitor or compliance administrator to watch over the personnel decisions of four different Chicago and Cook County elected offices. It just so happens that all four offices are held by Democrats who are loyal to Daley.

In Jan., 2010, attorney Michael Shakman filed a lawsuit against the State of Illinois. Mr. Shakman’s lawsuit will most likely lead to a federal court monitor or compliance administrator assigned to watch over the state government too. The fifth largest state in the country needs a judge to appoint someone to oversee its personnel decisions because our leaders cannot be trusted to adhere to the Shakman Decree and honor the civil rights of our citizens.

University of Illinois and Chicago Public Schools Corruption

Where there is politics in Chicago and Illinois, there is corruption, including Chicago and Illinois’ education systems. In 2009 the University of Illinois clout scandal lead to seven of nine university trustees resigning. The trustees’ resignations stemmed from the admission of lesser-qualified students at the behest of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Michael Madigan, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and other notable politicians.

In another academic scandal, Chicago Public Schools administrators kept a clout list submitted by politicians such as Mayor Richard Daley, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and many other elected officials who sought and received special enrollment privileges for children of their political allies. Political connections allowed students entrance into highly sought after magnet schools whose students were supposed to be chosen by a lottery.

The trustees and employees involved in the admission scandals received their University of Illinois and Chicago Public Schools jobs through politicians that they were beholden to. To keep their positions, trustees and CPS employees have to follow the will of their political sponsors. Politicians who requested preferred admissions to the University of Illinois and the CPS magnet schools used a form of political currency. Politicians used their influence with the University of Illinois and CPS to help campaign contributors and constituents. Ultimately the influential politicians’ purpose of using their clout to enroll University of Illinois and CPS students was to get more votes on election day.

The Chicago Way of politicians awarding patronage jobs to their cronies caused the two academic admission scandals. These cronies do what their political sponsors ask, regardless of the hurt inflicted on innocent people like qualified students who don’t get admitted to a school or university because their slots were taken by people who had political connections.

Three Police Department Abuse and Civil Rights Scandals

In 2010 up to 500,000 people became eligible to collect a portion of a $16.5 million class action civll rights settlement. The reason: the Chicago Police Department employed an “institutionalized system of police torture.” Suspects were denied food, water, beds, and bathrooms. The police tactics were a form of “soft torture” that Chicago police often used to get confessions.

The 2010 civil rights settlement followed two other notorious police scandals. While Mayor Daley was the Cook County State’s Attorney (1980 to 1989), a police unit led by Jon Burge tortured criminal suspects. Most of the tortured suspects were African Americans, and some of the tortured suspects spent years on death row after being coerced into confessions. So far 13 men who spent years on death row have been exonerated.

Police beat, suffocated, and shocked suspects until the suspects admitted to crimes. Richard M. Daley was notified of the police torture multiple times. The Illinois General Assembly accused State’s Attorney Daley of failing to act on information he possessed about the conduct of Burge and others. During Daley’s 2007 mayoral campaign, he pledged to testify at the tortured suspects’ civil trials. After his election Daley reneged on his promise to tell a judge and a jury what he knew about the torture.

While Daley was still in the State’s Attorney’s office, Daley employed unlawful patronage workers to help him get elected mayor in 1989. Shortly thereafter, Daley established another aggressive police unit called the Special Operations Section, or SOS. The SOS unit received numerous complaints of police abuse. A more honorable Cook County State’s Attorney, Dick Devine, exposed the SOS police misconduct in 2006.

Let’s Review Our Local Government and Richard M. Daley’s Record:

The City of Chicago (as well as the Cook County government, the Cook County Sheriff’s office, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and the Cook County Department of Corrections) requires a federal court monitor to watch over its hiring practices because for 16 years more qualified candidates had their civil rights violated when Daley gave political hacks jobs for campaigning for him and his favored candidates. There is also a good chance the entire State of Illinois bureaucracy may soon have a federal court monitor or compliance administrator overseeing its personnel decisions.

Costly, demoralizing scandals involving powerful politicians occurred in the Chicago Public Schools system and at the University of Illinois.

Since the 1990s there have been three separate police abuse and torture scandals in Chicago. The stench from all of these scandals is the reason why Chicago, IL, has the reputation of being the armpit of American politics. So remember, every time Daley raises his arm or opens his mouth, hold your nose.