by Ben Joravsky
With one foot out the door on his way to retirement, the governor—as lame a duck as you'll ever see—pulled a fast one on the mayor by appointing some 30-year-old kid named Lou Bertuca to run the IFSA.
I'll get to the acronym—so just be patient.
Man, Mayor Rahm got so mad he had steam streaming from his ears.
And why is that good for Chicago?
Because it leaves us with exactly one board or agency that doesn't roll over at Boss Rahm's command.
And one thing we've learned about our mayor is that the more power he has, the more money's he's likely to waste.
And there's boatloads of money for him to waste with the ISFA.
OK, now for that acronym: it stands for Illinois Sports Facilities Authority—a twisted title to write, trust me.
It has the ability to raise and waste hundreds of millions of tax dollars for stupid projects of benefit to no one. Except the sports-team moguls, who are so rich they don't need the handout to begin with.
Just to remind you . . .
The last time the Bears played the Packers, they lost 55-14.
So you can see, building new ballparks has worked about as well as Mayor Rahm's street-paving operation.
In any event, the ISFA board consists of seven members, three appointed by the mayor, four by the governor.
Governor Quinn set off this hullabaloo when he got his four appointees to give the aforementioned Bertuca a two-year contract as executive director.
That set off a mayoral hissy fit of monumental proportions.
Leading me to conclude that the mayor has some as-of-yet unannounced wasteful scheme he wants the ISFA to finance.
I supposed we'll eventually discover what that project is—since it's only matter of time before Governor Rauner, the mayor's lovable sidekick, replaces Quinn's appointees on the board with the usual brand of rubber stamps.
Unless, of course, Chicago's voters come to their sense and elect someone—anyone—else as our mayor.
A fellow can dream, can't he?
On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm explained to reporters why the Bertuca appointment outraged him so much.
Nothing against Bertuca—whose claim to fame is that he was Quinn's campaign manager—but . . .
"I don't think it should be played for politics," he said.
Isn't it funny how the mayor's against politics when someone else is doing the playing and he's the chump getting played?
Yet he's all for politics when the roles are reversed—like when he snuck in Kurt Summers as treasurer before anyone knew that the previous treasurer had quit.
Back to the mayoral explanation . . .
"If you look at the appointments I've made, they have a financial background that I think is essential because they are thin line protecting Chicago taxpayers."
Hey, Mr. Mayor: Where was that line—thick or thin—to protect us against that $17 million dollar early Christmas present you recently gave Goldman Sachs and other rich bankers?
In the name of helping impoverished pre-K students.
Or the untold hundreds of millions you're giving to Marriott and DePaul for that South Loop deal?
Look, I realize Bertuca has no experience that indicates he could handle the job he's been given. But then given the experience we've had with the mayor's appointees, that's probably a blessing
The problem with the mayor's appointees is not that they don't understand finances. Oh, they all know how a sharp operator can suck a few million from the government teat.
What they apparently don't know is that they're supposed to be protecting the henhouse against raids, not raiding the henhouse.
Guess I got farm animals on my mind today, Mr. Mayor.
I realize Governor Quinn has his ulterior motives with this appointment that are not exactly saintly.
My guess is that he sees this as his last chance to raise a middle finger to a mayor he obviously can't stand.
As a fellow who's gone through life waving his middle finger at everyone else, Mayor Rahm should be the first to understand.