Chicago's Fake Outrage Meter

Too little, too late

You would think it would be good news that the city council passed a TIF sunshine ordinance.

And that the city council now wants to require a 30-day review before city assets - think Midway Airport - are sold off.

Or that there is a growing awareness of the barrelful of problems with the city's Olympic bid.

And that the council is calling for hearings on the mayor's disastrous parking meter deal.

There's only one problem: In every case it's too little, too late. You might as well hold a rally against bulldozing Meigs Field.

For how many years have TIFs bled us dry while providing the mayor with a secret slush fund?

Ben Joravsky's considerable archive tracking just that dates back to December 2004, when in "The Government Is Lying To You" Joravksy noted that "Even city and county officials admit it: if you live in a TIF district, your property tax bill is misreporting where your money goes."

And how bold to call for a 30-day review before city assets are sold off now that the Midway Airport deal is off the table and no large-scale privatization plans are on the horizon. Bravo!

Meanwhile, aldermen tired of constituent complaints call for hearings on the parking meter deal that they didn't bother to read in the first place. Only in Chicago do hearings take place after voting. The deal is signed, folks.

And it's too late to complain about the Olympic bid - it's in!

What, did y'all just hear about it?

Chicago is a town full of faux outrage and critics-come-lately. And that's just fine with City Hall. The appearance of democracy after-the-fact is even better than the appearance of democracy while doing the deed.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of the award-winning The Beachwood Reporter and a 20-year veteran of newspaper, magazine and now online journalism.

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