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pol'tiks & ec'nomiks: Up the Creek ...

I could have lit a match and set the Chicago River on fire this past Sunday. Well, not the whole river by the 1800’s standards but it definitely would have affected the Cities Riverwalk construction site, the Veteran’s Memorial, and the fine vessels at Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales, and any M City boat owners.

Whatever do you mean?

One of the contracted barges for the Wabash section of the City Riverwalk project, looked like it had sprung a leak.

To bring Chicago’s fine neighbors up to speed on this project, pretty much a decade back, (when I was like eight,) the City of Chicago decided on connecting land segments that run along the main branch of the Chicago River - a vision of one continuous riverside sidewalk. Today the walkway is still limited by concrete staircases, drawbridges, and busy intersections.

This plan of the 90s started off with meetings, I’m sure, and a couple ad campaigns. Then it progressed into the Millennium as a number of engineering and urban blue prints, to a bunch of various land surveys and tests, and to what it is now, contracted sites of construction.

Today’s production will be tomorrow’s connected walkway decorated with concessions, amenities, and all the pretty little things from our gumdrop filled sweet dreams. Oh goody, just like Navy Pier and Millennium Park! Average Chicagoans and thousands of tourists, heel to toe, shoulder to shoulder in harmony!

Yes, yes I’m being melodramatic. It is a good idea and there’s nothing wrong with beautifying a city, etc … home and property values will … oh wait.

Well, with explanations aside now I can move on to the point – pictures of the leak, contracts and other records, oh my!

Why? Well if you’re a Chicagoan, you probably aren’t asking and just want to see for yourself…

Now let me add my own disclaimer - I’m not making any accusations, pointing fingers, etc … I saw spillage in the river on a work-less Sunday, reported it to 311 and well, out of my insatiable curiosity for Chicago politics, had to dig into the city contracts and campaign funds. The rest is up to you, the reader, the Chicagoan, the river resident, the city visitor, ahem, the I.O.C, to decide for themselves.


















After I called 311 the forces arrived. Oh and before some smart-ass comments about calling and dispatching emergency equipment, I called to *tell* them about it. I had no clue they’d dispatch everyone, especially since there wasn’t much they could do about the leak other than make note of it. Regardless, please be considerate and also think about what week this is before making a “Captain Obvious” statement. Thanks.












Ok, you're right, it's no 'Love Canal' but it is gross, it is pollution and it was completely pooling into the marina below. I'm no boat owner but if I were, I wouldn't be happy to have fuel film all over my hull. Plus taxes go toward water cleaning do they not? But hey, if you're the kind of guy who loves paying taxes and loves sitting at the red light behind "spewing blue smoke car guy," then say no more and come pay my taxes and take a swim in our river! Read The Fine Print: Although I don't condone it.



And for your "enjoyment," further documentation is below...

A Section of the City of Chicago Code of Ethics


2-164-040. Limitation of Contributing to Candidates and Elected
Officials.
(a) No person who has done business with the City, or with the Chicago
Transit Authority, Board of Education, including the Chicago School
Reform Board of Trustees, Chicago Park District, Chicago City Colleges,
or Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority within the preceding four
reporting years or is seeking to do business with the City, or with any of the
other aforementioned entities and no lobbyist registered with the board of
ethics shall make contributions in an aggregate amount exceeding
$1,500.00 (i) to any candidate for City office during a single candidacy; or
(ii) to an elected official of the government of the City during any reporting
year of his term; or (iii) to any official or employee of the City who is
seeking election to any other office. For purposes of this section, (i)
candidacy in primary and general elections shall be considered separate and
distinct candidacies; and (ii) all contributions to a candidate's authorized
political committees shall be considered contributions to the candidate.
The combined effect of these provisions is intended to permit total
contribution up to but not exceeding $3,000.00 in a reporting year in which
a candidacy occurs. A reporting year is from July 1st to June 30th. The
first filing date will be July 30, 1988 and annually thereafter. For purposes
of this subsection only "seeking to do business" means (i) the definition set
forth in Section 2-156-010(x); and (ii) any matter that was pending before
the City Council or any City Council committee in the 6 months prior to
the date of the contribution if that matter involved the award of loan funds,
grant funds or bond proceeds, bond inducement ordinances, leases, land
sales, zoning matters, the creation of tax increment financing districts,
concession agreements or the establishment of a Class 6(b) Cook County
property tax classification.



Documented Contribution

Rausch Construction Co. Inc.
POB 2146
Oak Park, IL 60303

$1,000.00
6/10/2006
Individual Contribution
Friends for Avila

Rausch Construction Co. Inc.
POB 2146
Oak Park, IL 60303

$1,500.00
2/2/2007
Individual Contribution
Friends for Avila


-----------------------------------------------

WALSH CONSTRUCTION
Chicago, IL 60607

$1,500.00
6/30/2008
Individual Contribution
Friends of Bob Fioretti


WALSH CONSTRUCTION
Chicago, IL 60607

$300.00
1/13/2008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Fred Crespo


WALSH CONSTRUCTION
Chicago, IL 60607

$1,500.00
10/28/2008
Individual Contribution
Friends of Edward M Burke


WALSH CONSTRUCTION
CHICAGO, IL 60607

$1,800.00
8/4/2008
Individual Contribution
Bradley A Stephens Committeeman Fund

WALSH CONSTRUCTION
CHICAGO, IL 60607

$200.00
8/18/2008
Individual Contribution
Bradley A Stephens Committeeman Fund


Some of you might find these cute…

Walsh, Daniel
Chicago, IL 60611
Occupation: President
Employer: Walsh Construction

$1,500.00
3/6/2006
Individual Contribution
Stroger for President

Walsh, Daniel & Patricia
Chicago, IL 60611
Occupation: Owner
Employer: Walsh Construction

$5,000.00
11/6/2006
Individual Contribution
Friends of Blagojevich


And the preceding contracts

Contract 1 of 27 (that I’ve counted)
18255
spec # 66234
$9,300,834.50
09/19/2008
RAUSCH CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. INC.
WABASH AVENUE UNDERBRIDGE CONNECTION AND RIVERWALK
CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION


Contract 2 of 27 (that I’ve counted)
17640
spec # 63801
$8,160,578.50
06/30/2008
WALSH CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OF ILL
MICHIGAN AVENUE UNDERBRIDGE CONNECTION AND RIVERWALK
CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION


Lastly -

I spent some time looking further into the Sub-Contractors under these Contractors as well as everyone’s licenses. Some I found in Chicago’s license database, some in the State of Illinois’ Professional License Database. And some I couldn’t find at all.

I could and just might look further into contracts, licensing, associations and projects... I could.

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July 2009

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