Kass: Mayor's shell game should have taxpayers clutching their wallets

Question No. 2. With all of Chicago's other problems, is it smart to spend money on more hotels and casinos?

How about spending money on much-needed police?

When people are beaten by thug mobs downtown or killed in the neighborhoods, the last thing the victims think about are fancy hotel developments and basketball arenas. They're probably thinking: Where are the cops?

"We need more police in our streets," Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, said Thursday. "We're closing Chicago Public Schools, and we're now cutting adrift our retirees' health care programs. I think people ought to look at how we're spending public money and for what purpose. This (proposed development) must produce an overwhelming benefit to the citizens of Chicago, and I don't see that with the money being spent here."


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And question No. 3: Why push for a DePaul basketball arena at McCormick Place?

That's nowhere near the DePaul campus. Students would have to take public transportation or drive, and then shell out cash to park.

United Center owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz offered to let DePaul play on the West Side for free. DePaul turned them down.

I don't think this has anything to do with basketball. Rahm needs that basketball arena as a music venue to make the casino work. And who'll pull in the cash promoting concerts there? The mayor's enemies, or his friends?

There is an alternative. Last year, DePaul was looking at the roughly 22-acre Finkl & Sons Co. site in Lincoln Park. DePaul students wouldn't have to drive. They could walk. The rest of us could take the "L."

But Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, doesn't like my idea.

"If you were to say, 'Let's put a stadium over here on Finkl Steel,' and you create some enormous 3,000-place parking lot, I mean, really? Is that the best way to use space?" said Smith. "Having it here in Lincoln Park is probably not the right match. We certainly don't want it in the heart of Lincoln Park. It's just too darn crowded here."

The Rahmfather vows that if he gets his Chicago casino, he'll put the extra cash toward school modernization and infrastructure. Didn't politicians sell the state lottery years ago to us chumbolones by saying it would pay for education?

When politicians make bold "vows" in Illinois, taxpayers just might want to forget the peas.

And grab their wallets instead.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

 

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