Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Inspector Booty

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Inspector Booty
Inspector Booty

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Billboard Inspector. It sounds like a patronage job invented back in the heyday of the Kelly-Nash Machine. Yet our very 21st Century Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has declared a crackdown on illegal billboards, figuring the city can pull in an extra $2.5 million a year by writing tickets for those giant ads reminding us to eat shrimp tacos, or listen to Eric and Kathy on 101.9.

“The proliferation of illegal and unregistered signs throughout Chicago has been keeping the City from utilizing potential revenue needed to deliver quality services to the taxpayers,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. (He didn’t actually say that. No one talks like that. A staffer wrote it for him.) “With an expanded approach to identifying illegal billboards and a more effective way of enforcing the City’s regulations, we’ll not only recover funds owed but ensure those who erect signs without proper permits and approvals are held accountable.”

Ordinarily, billboard are examined every other year by electrical inspectors from the Department of Buildings. This is not enough inspection for the mayor. Revenue from billboard tickets has dropped from $2.6 million in 2010 to $734,000 so far this year. So Emanuel is introducing an ordinance to collect some of that billboard violation money we’re leaving on the table. The ordinance would allow the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protections’ Revenue and Consumer investigators to start investigating billboards, too.

Here are some other things that need closer inspection here in Chicago:

DOG INSPECTOR: In Chicago, a license for a neutered dog costs $5. A license for an unneutered dog costs $10. Dog Inspectors will look under dogs to ensure their equipment matches the fee. They will also enforce the ordinance that allows the city to write tickets of up to $500 to owners who don’t clean up after their dogs. They will do so by requiring DNA samples from every dog living in Chicago, then matching those samples with random turds collected in the parks. To enforce the $75-a-ticket leash law, Dog Inspectors will smuggle Italian beef sandwiches into parks, and cite the owner of every dog who comes running.

INSPECTOR INSPECTOR: In a recent study on absenteeism, Mayor Emanuel found that 5 to 7 percent of city inspectors call in sick every day. To cut back on lost work hours, Inspector Inspectors would inspect inspectors who call in sick, to determine whether they’re faking.

SPIT INSPECTOR: Until 1997, spitting in public was subject to a $5 fine. The ordinance was repealed on the grounds that it’s “like blowing your nose at the dinner table,” according to Ald. Berny Stone. The anti-spit ordinance should be restored, with $100. Spit Inspectors would then be assigned to Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park, where they could catch plenty of wealthy malefactors.

G-STRING INSPECTOR: It is illegal for women to dance completely nude at bars that serve liquor. G-string Inspectors would work late nights to ensure they remain covered up. The civil service exam for this job will be held at the United Center.

By increasing the inspection of every aspect of Chicago life, we may bring in enough inspector booty to balance the budget.

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

Related Topics Rahm Emanuel
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