Teamsters vote no: Teamsters rejected Mayor Jerry Abramson’s proposal to forgo their annual 2 percent raise for the remainder of the fiscal year. It’s the third union to vote against the mayor’s proposal to fill the $20 million hole in the city’s budget. Both the police and corrections unions unanimously rejected the mayor’s offer a few weeks ago. Instead, they held a press conference last week asking the mayor’s office for a 30-day moratorium on budget cuts in order to review the city’s financial books. Abramson says there’s no time. With state budget cuts still pending, everyone is waiting on the mayor’s announcement of more cuts later this week. The worst-case scenario of 150-200 employee layoffs seems unavoidable.
School’s out: JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman gave the school board a sobering list of cuts to balance the school system’s $45 million shortfall. Among the list of ideas for major cutbacks — eliminate 264 jobs, reduce bus routes and end year-round school.
Blackwater busted: Yesterday, the Justice Department indicted five Blackwater Worldwide operatives, holding the private mercenaries responsible for one of the worst massacres of Iraqi civilians during the war. A sixth operative has already pleaded guilty.
Gov. Corrupt: The Associated Press reports: “Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.”
Lost dollar: Speaking of corruption, another special election was held Saturday, this time for the 2nd congressional seat in Louisiana. In an upset victory, Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao beat “Dollar” Bill Jefferson, a Democrat. If you remember, the FBI raided Jefferson’s home and found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers. In a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-1, forget the punditry for a moment. In this case, democracy prevailed.