The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 6, 2013

Spending in Chicago marked by desperation, political expediency, little oversight


“We felt it was a better outcome for the long-term economic health — not just for today’s taxpayers, but for tomorrow’s taxpayers — to invest in the future by managing through this time and sharing the burden of this difficulty across generations,” Scott said.

Yet the length of time the costs are being pushed off, together with higher interest rates, increased the amount taxpayers owe by about $40 million, after adjusting for the decreased value of future dollars.

It also means taxpayers in 2039 will be paying off bonds from 1993. Some of that original money went into public housing that was torn down more than a decade ago.


During the waning days of his 22 years as mayor, Daley took a victory lap around the city. One stop on his five-week “neighborhood appreciation tour” was a groundbreaking for what would become the Chicago Police Department’s new 12th District station on the Near West Side.

“Chicago is one of the few cities — and I underline very few cities — across the nation that continues to build new police stations, fire stations or even libraries,” Daley said at a news conference on that April afternoon in 2011.

But Daley’s boasts ignored the serious financial troubles facing the city.

Take that new station in the 12th District. When city officials outlined building plans in 2003, they said it would cost $21 million and open by 2005, with a single bond covering the bulk of the costs.

City officials acknowledge that they can’t track bond-funded projects because the computer program used to plan and budget for them doesn’t match up with the software that records actual spending. (The city used millions in bond money to pay for both computer programs.)

The Tribune’s analysis found that the station ultimately soaked up $36 million from six bonds by the time it finally opened last year.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Midwest economic index slumped in July Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped more than 3½ percentage points

    August 1, 2014

  • Minnesota gay marriage law reaches anniversary ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — It's been a year since Minnesota's gay and lesbian couples got the right to legally marry. The anniversary of the state allowing same-sex marriage arrived Friday. It was a quieter scene than last year when couples lined up to

    August 1, 2014

  • 35 killed, soldier missing as Gaza truce unravels GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted.

    August 1, 2014

  • Minimum wage increases to $8 an hour in Minnesota ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minimum-wage earners in Minnesota get a pay raise to $8 an hour. For Minnesota's lowest-paid workers, the most welcome move the Legislature made this year was increasing the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade.

    August 1, 2014

  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014