Monday, January 7, 2019

Ed Burke grew tired of waiting for his next golden egg

     Oh Ed, Ed, Ed, what is it with you rich guys? You're sitting astride a money machine, chugging away, day after day, year after year, pumping cash directly into your fat accounts. But it just doesn't pump fast enough—is that the problem?
     No. That isn't it. What happens is, you get careless as the years roll on. Holding the honking, flapping goose jammed under one arm, waiting for something shiny to crown. You get impatient, standing there, choking on loose feathers, with your cupped hand, poised beneath its struggling bottom. You just want to move the process along. So you start to work your fingers in, try to get a handhold on that slippery sucker and pull the golden egg out.

     Into a federal wiretap. With Burger King. Over a driveway.
     Of course. It's always something trivial. Crystal and chairs and postage stamps in Dan Rostenkowski's basement. Mr. Chairman also went down after huffing power and money for so long it made him lightheaded.
     The charge isn't trivial: attempted extortion. Though to me, the crime is what's legal: the cosiness of our leaders and big money already violates the public interest on a normal day, no chargeable crimes committed. The guys running the city do business with the businesses they're supposed to be monitoring. The standard of excellence being: no quid pro quo. So long as you don't speak the words, "Give me the money and I'll do whatever you want," clearly, into an FBI wiretap.
     You don't have to say it. They know what to do. Manus manum lavat. It should be on the city seal. "One hand washes the other."
     Ed Burke belongs on the seal too, instead of the baby. He is a minor Chicago landmark, and I'd be sorry to see him go, sort of. Not Field's but Carson's. Not the Water Tower but Water Tower Place. You might not ever go there anymore—who does?—but you'd still hate to see the thing torn down.

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  1. Looks like a lot of mayoral candidates are in a real fix. Toni Preckwinkle is returning campaign donations she forgot to declare. Unfortunately there are no Republicans around anymore to take the blame. But wait, Madigan had the foresight to install a ring on a string in the back of Susana Mendoza's neck. Mikey just pulls it zzzziiiipppp, then releases, "Rauner's fault, it's Rauner's fault." I think I'll vote for Enya, her songs have a calming effect.

  2. Good grief. I'm okay with growing soft with age, but in the heart - not in the head. The evidence from the indictment gives a glimpse of what Burke's model was for the circuit courts. Yes, perhaps he grew sloppy – that’s the most common assessment I’ve heard. But it’s just as likely that this has been his modus operandi all along – only there finally came a case where enough people in the right positions were willing and able to upset the status quo. What a disappointing take.

  3. Having worked and lived on the Southwest Side for many years (I was raised as far East as you can go in Chicago without falling into the Lake), I had to have run into Madigan and Burke sooner or later. Madigan I saw about 20 years ago shoveling snow in front of his house on 64th and Keeler, which was endearing. Burke I never spotted until about a year ago when construction on Pulaski Road led to lots of traffic problems and I let his car (not knowing it was his) cross in front of me and he waved thanks from the back seat. Unmistakably him and doubly endearing for some perverse reason. I guess that's why politicians put so much value on "meet and greet."


  4. It's about time that he goes down.

  5. Twenty-seven years, next August, since I left Chicago...and it's mind-boggling how so many of the same players are still playing. I had to look it up...Ed Burke just turned 75 and has been alderman of the 14th Ward since 1969, almost half-a-century! His tenure in City Council is the longest on record, surpassing even that of notorious 1st Ward alderman "Bathhouse John" Coughlin, who served from 1892 to 1938.

    I did not know, until now, that Ed Burke also wrote a book, entitled "End of Watch: Chicago Police Killed in the Line of Duty, 1853-2006"...and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only geezer who'd recall quite a few of the names of the fallen officers he honored, and the circumstances under which their lives were taken.

  6. I'm always amazed at how cheap you can buy an alderman.
    Neil, I hope you get to cover his trial at the Dirksen Courthouse. Please wear that when you're there!


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