Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I never grow tired of being right, as much as it may disappoint me

I said it, so it must be true: "Two fire stations are on the chopping block, but my guess is that they will remain staffed in the end, but only after the union bends to Larry's will."

Nearly a month later, I stand erect by that prediction, and Daddy's ready to empty his balls. Grab some paper towels or the nearest dirty t-shirt.

In response to speculation and rumors advanced on Facebook by the shadow known as "Spade," I flatly deny the suggestion that my pharmaceutical-oriented vacations landed me in some sort of third-world cage. Your intel is faulty and you don't give me enough credit. I always carry plenty of cash to resolve such misunderstandings. More importantly, I carry enough armaments to ensure good-faith negotiations with strange governments in these situations. I left happy and they were relieved to see me go. I won't reveal where I was, but suffice it to say I won't need to make another trip until at least next spring, provided that I don't have too many unexpected visitors.

Before I get back into this fire station situation, let me take a moment to plug a fellow blogger known as "Unmanager." If you're not already a fan of Larryboy's Empire, I encourage you to check it out. He's been at this longer than I have and I tip my hat to this Patriot.

Unmanager confronted me about my kind words for Venita Hervey, but I actually think we're on the same page about her, more or less. We just see things slightly differently. Maybe that's attributable to my perpetual scotch-goggles, but I think he and I would make tremendous running mates some day. Perhaps we could even share a federal prison cell after our Great Experiment in Democracy, Illinois-style.

You are correct, Unmanager, that Hervey is putting the Morgan Bridge project ahead of the fire station issue. However, the bigger picture is that this will impact neighboring wards at least as much as her own. What do you suppose happens when fire fighters have to respond to the 5th ward? That's right. Neighboring areas are left with nothing but their dicks in their hands. At that point, it's not just Venita's problem. Therein lies her wisdom.

At least Hervey made no bones about her position tonight. Either way, under the current proposals, the west side (a/k/a the black side) loses. She's right to be pissed. And yes, Unmanager, she backed Larry up, but I don't consider her a "puppet" by any means. She just wants to see the long-shit-on west side get its due, and staying in the mayor's good graces is essential to that end. She understands the unfortunate reality other minority aldermen don't. The others just pander to constituents for the illusion of doing the job they were elected to do. The downside is, their approach tends to work when it comes to re-election, while good men and women "die like dogs," as an old friend would say.

It's quite possible that, until a humiliating public crucifixion became clear during tonight's council meeting, Morrissey had no intention of backing down. If he had, his office probably would have prepared a statement in advance, right? Ho, ho, Bubba, (as the same old friend would say), Larry seems to have flown this shit-plane by the seat of his soiled tweed slacks, but is that really the case? Remember, he's a lawyer, so don't put anything past him. I've depended on one or two shysters in my day, but I'd never put my trust in Larry when it really counts.

Earlier tonight, Chuck Sweeny accurately observed that Larry avoided political suicide by changing his mind about closing a fire station July 1. It is true that he would not be able to share the blame with aldermen on this one. But I don't think Larry's biggest cheerleader (a/k/a Sweeny and the Register Star) gave the mayor enough credit this time. This has always been about booting one fire fighter from each fire truck. One need only rewind one week to when Ted Ross, a big-time Morrissey contributor, foreshadowed that this warranted reconsideration.

If the fire union can be made to swallow the deal, the city would knock a good chunk out of what could be an $8,000,000 deficit for 2011, and the mayor might be persuaded to make other cuts elsewhere if fire fighters agree to be his fluffers. Larry just needs to allow them to save face, perhaps by boasting what they're giving up for the sake of Rockford citizens, like raises and agreeing to furlough days.

Regardless of Sweeny's opinion, Larry has the leverage here. Let's not forget that this proposal was part of his re-election campaign. That means public opposition to the idea is not as great as the union would have you believe. They played right into the mayor's hands tonight.

It pains me to think that I could quit my shithole municipal job if only I could become a coveted "consultant" for those who can afford me. On the other hand, I'm a better public servant by telling you like it is at no cost and without a spin.

Grudgingly yours,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mayor vs. fire union continues

Today, Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten will be in the hot seat, but he's not the one who belongs there. His only crime is being the strapping young lad who naively accepted the chiefdom from the sitting mayor, lawyer Larry Morrissey.

Who could blame a young guy offered an administrative position to represent the men and women he loves? The answer has been obvious from the moment of his appointment: He'll be made to earn his paycheck by the Morrissey administration.

Today, the Fire Department will be made to explain why 30 fire fighters are no longer needed, when it's really a proposal coming from the mayor's office, which manages to find dollars for a plethora of sweetheart deals for Morrissey's developer buddies (and family). Meanwhile, basic city services are being being cut by Larry.

According to the the Register Star, it's a discussion about the department's "Integrated Risk Management Plan: Standards of Cover," but it's really about dropping Local 413 to its knees before Morrissey's shriveled Irish-Italian member.

The department is being held at gunpoint to choose which citizens are the most expendable. Two fire stations are on the chopping block, but my guess is that they will remain staffed in the end, but only after the union bends to Larry's will.

You see, Larry is simply forcing the union into concessions, and they're gonna have to accept them, at least for now.

Larry's real enemy is the public safety pensions. Instead of exercising his non-clout in Springfield, you and me are being put at risk. Meanwhile, folks like Joe Morrissey and Chandler Anderson are laughing all the way to the bank while our burning homes take a little longer to be extinguished by the brave women and men not motivated by political aspirations, who only want to help us. Poor bastards. They became fire fighters to help people, not for political gain.

Monday, vote-driven aldermen will pretend they're doing due-diligence by demanding numbers they could never understand by staff. What a fucking joke. The only ones among them who deserve re-election are free-thinking newcomers Venita Hervey and Bill Robertson. The rest NEED TO GO.

Whether aldermen will actually stand up to Larry on June 7 remains to be seen. That ball is in the hands of the union's PR resources. What say you, EJ Dilonardo?