Chicago Caught In a “Brutal” Reordering Of Global Cities

We’ve heard a lot in the past few weeks about Chicago and its place among global cities. On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel set forth his proposal for a “new Chicago” that involves a wide variety of infrastructure improvements, private funding and more debt.

Photo by Simonds via flickr

All that is supposed to put the city back among the list of the world’s best cities. But there are suggestions that Chicago actually needn’t bother.

Urbanist Richard Florida looks at why some cities lose and others win in a sweeping piece today on The Atlantic Cities. He notes that the world’s biggest cities have been dramatically reordered since 1950, when Chicago was the second biggest in the U.S. and eighth largest in the world.

Now, Chicago ranks third largest among American cities and 25th in the world. Florida suggests it probably doesn’t stand a chance to become more important, because it’s now part of the world’s tier of second and third-level cities.  Continue reading “Chicago Caught In a “Brutal” Reordering Of Global Cities”

Wisconsin Elections Board To Decide Friday on Recall Elections

The petition signatures have all been counted, and now it’s up to Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board to schedule recall elections.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

That is likely to happen on Friday. The board meets at 9 am CT, and you can watch its deliberations live.

The board’s staff released signature tallies on Thursday on recall petitions for Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s lieutenant governor.

There were 931,053 signatures collected for Walker’s recall; 26,114 were discarded by the staff; 4,001 were found to be duplicates and 900,938 were declared valid. That’s far more than required to hold an election. Four state Senators also face recall elections.

If the elections are held, the staff recommended a primary take place on May 8 and the general election, if needed, on June 5.

Read all our coverage of Walker and the Wisconsin elections here.



Have We Reached The Final Countdown For Detroit?

Detroit's financial review team listened to impassioned arguments during public comment at yesterday's meeting. Credit: screen shot of streaming coverage from

We told you yesterday would probably be a historic day for the city of Detroit. Well, not so much.

The state-appointed financial review team for the city did hold a meeting, as expected. It was a pretty raucous meeting, as our partner station Michigan Radio reported. The reviewteam was required by law to make a recommendation to the governor about how to handle Detroit’s “fiscal crisis.”

There were basically two options: Recommend a consent agreement with the city, or recommend appointing an emergency manager who has the power to toss out union contracts, sell assets and balance the books. At the time of the meeting, no consent agreement had been reached with the city, so the emergency manager option – an option no one really wants – was starting to look more likely. But instead of taking option 1 or 2, the review team took option 3: Restate that there is a fiscal crisis in the city, restate that the team prefers a consent agreement and restate the obvious fact that there is currently no consent agreement. Not exactly a historic decree.

Essentially, the team kicked the can.

Continue reading “Have We Reached The Final Countdown For Detroit?”

The $50 Billion Question: When Will The Government Sell Its GM Stock?

Ever since the federal government put General Motors through bankruptcy in 2009, investors, politicians and employees have wondered when the Treasury Department  would sell its GM stake.

Some experts been predicting a final sale would come before the 2012 general election, giving President Obama a political tool. But with GM shares trading below their price when GM went public in 2010, any sale would mean a loss for the government.

GM is once again the world's biggest carmaker. Photo by Chris via Flickr.

The reality, GM said Wednesday, is that nobody knows, not even GM. “The day will eventually come when the Treasury sells its GM stake,” company spokesman Selim Bingol said in a blog post. “When is anybody’s guess (we have no say in the matter).” Continue reading “The $50 Billion Question: When Will The Government Sell Its GM Stock?”

Chicago’s Never-Ending Struggle To Be Seen As A World-Class City

In the past week, Chicago has been awash with members of the national political press corps, who waxed enthusiastically about its lakefront, deep dish pizza and friendliness.

Chicago Skyline/photo by Micki Maynard

Now, with the Illinois primary over (Mitt Romney won, by the way), all those journalists are on planes out of town.

And that might be the last time they think about Chicago until this fall’s general election – unless they’re back to cover the NATO summit in May.

The situation sums up Chicago’s challenge in being considered a world class city, writes Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune.

“We want the world to think well of us all,” he says in his column today. “A greater problem, perhaps, is that too many people don’t think of us, well, at all.” Continue reading “Chicago’s Never-Ending Struggle To Be Seen As A World-Class City”

Road Trip! Michigan’s Governor Goes To Europe

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, is following a well-worn path this week, making a trade mission to Europe.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder with Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne/photo via @onetoughnerd

Snyder’s tweeting photos of his trip via his @onetoughnerd account. Here’s one he sent home from Turin, Italy,  of himself with Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne (we’re pretty sure that’s not a hockey beard).

Snyder is also answering tweets from his followers about the trip, pointing out several times that the trade mission is paid for with private funds and isn’t costing the state’s taxpayers anything.

The governor’s goal is to promote the state to foreign investors as a good place to invest.Thus far, his itinerary has taken him to Turin, where he’s met with Fiat officials and company suppliers, and to Stuttgart, Germany, home base for Daimler. (Remember that Daimler used to own Chrysler, now under the wing of Fiat.)

Snyder is also taking some time out to be, well, nerdy. In a tweet this morning, he wrote, “Whoever is the next person to follow me on Twitter becomes my 8,297th follower, which is exciting because that’s a prime number.”

Romney Aims For A Big Midwest Win In Illinois

Illinoisans are casting their votes today in the state’s Republican primary. If polls are correct, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is heading for his first blow out victory in a Midwestern state. 

He had unexpectedly close contests with former Sen. Rick Santorum in Michigan and Ohio, which made the Illinois primary more important than most political watchers thought it would be.

Illinois has 54 delegates up for grabs, fewer than Ohio, but more than Michigan. Romney has a strong organization in the state, while Santorum failed to file full slates of delegate candidates in four Congressional districts. If he were to upset Romney, he could win no more than 44 delegates, the Chicago Tribune said.  Continue reading “Romney Aims For A Big Midwest Win In Illinois”

In Illinois, Firefighters Counter Romney With Their Own Ad

Republican presidential candidates are making their final push in Illinois before tomorrow’s primary. They’ve flooded the airwaves with advertisements. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney alone has spent nearly $4 million in the state, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Illinois firefighters have countered with their own anti-Romney ad, paid for by their union, the International Association of Firefighters.

The ad focuses in part on SAFER, a government program that provided $10.2 million in grants to Illinois communities last year to hire or retrain firefighters. Continue reading “In Illinois, Firefighters Counter Romney With Their Own Ad”

Illinois, The Center of The Political Universe, Overflows With Candidates

Next Tuesday is the illinois Republican primary. But today, Illinois is the center of the political universe (not that it doesn’t always think it is).

Two Republican presidential candidates and President Obama are all in the state today, looking for votes, and in the case of the president, money.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum makes two stops in Arlington Heights today, with three downstate on Saturday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hit a Rosemont restaurant Friday morning, with more stops planned ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Obama, meanwhile, spoke to a fundraising luncheon in Chicago before heading to Atlanta.

Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich was in Illinois on Thursday. His performance in the state could determine whether the GOP race narrows to Romney and Santorum, or whether it remains a three-way contest.


Now, It’s Illinois’ Turn, With The Gingrich Factor Looming

The political world didn’t think the Republican primary season would last this long. But after Rick Santorum’s victories last night in Mississippi and Alabama, eyes are now turning to Illinois, which holds its primary next Tuesday. 

A big question about Illinois is whether it will be the last stand for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — or whether it keep him in the race longer.

He finished second behind Santorum in both southern primaries, and he is heading straight for Illinois for two days of campaigning. Gingrich told a Chicago radio station that he’s staying in the race until the August convention.

Said Gingrich: “When I was on a roll and Rick wasn’t, I was for Rick getting out of the race, too. And he correctly said no. And I’ve learned from him so I liked his answer.” Continue reading “Now, It’s Illinois’ Turn, With The Gingrich Factor Looming”