Chicago Sun-Times
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June 2010 Archives

When it comes to politics and real estate, some stories never seem to go away.

In the June 21 Chicago Sun-Times, Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney reported on problems at the DuPage National Technology Park, which is in West Chicago, south of DuPage Airport and north of Fermilab.

Spread over 800 acres, the tech park was dedicated in 2005 and is billed as "North America's most advanced business park." But today, just two buildings have gone up there in roughly a decade, and only one is occupied.

Also, the $151,857-a-year executive director of the park came under investigation earlier this year after people complained that he rarely showed up for work.

But controversy over the property dates all the way back to the 1980s. That's when the DuPage Airport Authority went on a land-buying spree, funded by a special new tax on property owners in DuPage and three Kane County townships. Somehow, firms and individuals tied to top local and state Republicans profited from the expansion by the GOP-controlled airport authority. Many of the deals were done without bidding. Kane County officials objected, but couldn't stop it.

Officials then said they needed the land as a buffer area for the airport. That land now is the site of the tech park.

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As Illinois' network of regional library systems collapses without much apparent concern on the part of Illinois political leaders, it's worth reflecting on what author Christine Taylor-Butler said last month when she came to Chicago to accept an award from the Society of Midland Authors for her 2009 book Sacred Mountain: Everest.

" When I was growing up ... nobody in my neighborhood had ever seen a real writer," said.Taylor-Butler, who now lives in Kansas City. "So when I talked about writing, that wasn't a real career . . . because when you grow up an urban child you have no exposure to the world in the way it exists outside of your city or your neighborhood and no one tells you you have potential for that, or that the world can be open.

"So I lived in the Cleveland Public Library ...I was there until closing every day until they kicked me out. I was there every single weekend."

Concentration camps for sex offenders?

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A Chicago lawyer has facetiously suggested in private conversations that the government should build concentration camps to house sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences.

His thinking: As more and more residential locations are ruled off limits to sex offenders, concentration camps would at least provide them with housing. In some areas, sex offenders - homeless because they can't find a legal place to live - already gather in unofficial (and unauthorized) camps.

Governments at various levels have gradually been narrowing the areas where sex offenders may live. Now, Congress is poised to further complicate housing for sex offenders.

On June 10, the U.S. House voted 420 to 10 in favor of an amendment sponsored by Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) that would bar those guilty of sex of a sex offense against a minor from obtaining mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration. (A similar ban already is in effect for Section 8 subsidized housing.)

The argument in favor: Why should taxpayers help subsidize sex offenders?.

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Readers are losers in Illinois' budget crunch

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The well-regarded North Suburban Library System, which links local libraries into a large group, pretty much shut down at the end of May because the state didn't make its payments. Now, another of Illinois' multi-library systems has reached its last chapter.

The Metropolitan Library System, which links libraries in Chicago and suburban Cook, DuPage and Will counties, is suspending many services effective June 30. Plans call for ending consulting and continuing education and maintaining only a skeleton staff for back office operations.

The state's regional library networks are going out of business not because the Legislature voted in favor of that but because the state just isn't sending along the money it has appropriated. Numerous other state services and programs, including Illinois' public universities, are in the same boat -- waiting months for money that has been promised but never shows up.

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We're not thrilled about Illinois universities having to take out short-term loans to cover expenses while they wait for the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to them by the state.

But we've run out of other options.

Illinois Sen. Roland Burris has been out of the limelight for a while, which probably is OK with him, as much of the attention after his senatorial appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't all that favorable.

But Environment Illinois volunteers and staff members didn't want him off the radar completely, which is one reason why they were standing out in the rain and waving placards Tuesday morning at a South Loop BP gasoline station.

Environment Illinois, along with some other green groups around the nation, is worried about a pending amendment introduced by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block new rules requiring cars and light trucks to use less oil. The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on the amendment, which would reject the EPA's ruling that greenhouse gases are hazardous to the public. That ruling is the basis for the EPA's authority to control the gases.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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