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Ben Joravsky Interviews by Dave Glowacz: 2011

12/29/11 “And the Award for Achievement in Local Politics Goes to . . .” (AKA “Our First-Ever Awards for 'Achievement' in Local Politics”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The awards that didn't make the cut; how politics differs from government; and the benefits of having a backbone vis a vis Ald. Sposato's approval of a zoning change for a planned charter school. Length 9.9 minutes.

12/15/11 “All I Want for Christmas Is a City Council with a Backbone”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Veteran aldermen who might not have voted for the mayor's budget proposal; what influenced the "turned" aldermen; and whether term limits' time has come. Length 9.6 minutes.

12/8/11 “How Clout Raised an Uptown TIF Deal From the Dead” (AKA “Dawn of the Deal”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: A list of "blighted" suburbs that have TIF districts; defining the model TIF subsidy; and when letting property run down has more value than keeping it up. Length 10.6 minutes. • To see a map of the Montrose/Clarendon TIF District click here • To see the Montrose/Clarendon TIF District redevelopment plan click here

12/1/11 “The Politics of Pot”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Comparing Mayor Emanuel's control of the marijuana issue with Mayor Daley's control of a smoking ban; Ben predicts the future of marijuana laws; and problems with the Sun-Times' recent series on marijuana. Length 8.3 minutes.

11/24/11 “As Mayor Emanuel Cuts, His Hometown Shows How to Invest in a Library” (AKA “Library Envy”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: How Ben justifies a comparison of Wilmette and Rogers Park; how Chicago could invest more in libraries, rather than cut their budget; and a redundant grocery store in Greektown. Length 9 minutes.

11/17/11 “Senator Kirk Claims That Chicago's Top High Schools Are Charters, but That Doesn't Mean It's True” (AKA “An Analysis of Senator Kirk's Charter School 'Analysis'”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Deficiencies of Chicago Public Schools' new report card on school performance; when Ben acted a cheerleader for charter schools; and panicked parents gaming the selective enrollment process. Length 9.5 minutes.

11/10/11 “Water + Sewers = Slush Fund”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: A beginner's guide to the city's budget document; the myth that city government can continue without raising fees and taxes; and the king of deceptive budgeting. Length 8.5 minutes. • To see the mayor's 2012 budget recommendations click here

10/27/11 “What to Tell an Alderman Who Fibs to You About TIFs” (AKA “Chicago Property Tax 101”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The first step for true reform of the city's budget process; the bait-and-switch game of raiding TIF reserves; and why TIF works well as a subject for an Occupy Chicago speech. Length 6.5 minutes.

10/27/11 “The Mayor's Millionaire Club”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: How this article differs from much of what Ben writes; how Mayor Emanuel deals with reporters; and contrasting Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. daley. Length 6.3 minutes.

10/6/11 “The Price of Pot in Cook County: $78 Million a Year” (AKA “The $78 Million Bag”) • [Not yet available] • Read the articleDescription: [To come]

9/29/11 “Wake Up, Chicago Teachers Union”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Origins of black patronage at Chicago Public Schools HQ; when new clout replaces old clout; and what causes the electorate to rise up. Length 8.2 minutes.

9/22/11 “Mayor Emanuel's Guide to Union Busting: Just Do it for the Kids” (AKA “Mayor Union-Buster”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: What Mayor Emanuel's decision to send his kids to a private school says; recognizing students' developmental disparities as "making excuses" for public schools; and what makes a great Chicago public school. Length 10.2 minutes.

9/8/11 “Mayor Emanuel May Be Breaking Budget Promises, but at Least He's Not Mayor What's-His-Name” (AKA “Mayor Emanuel's Budget Show”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Why Mayor Emanuel's tax-increment financing reform doesn't constitute reform; Congressman Quigley's disappointing support of Emanuel's reform; and why former Mayor Daley had a more democratic approach to public input. Length 8.9 minutes.

9/1/11 “Wrigley Funding Scheme Is Another Cub Loser” (AKA “Unlovable Losers”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: A review of government subsidies to Chicago's major-league sports teams; the contradiction inherent in removing, then replacing, property-tax revenues for public schools; and how the proposed longer school day results in a teacher pay cut. Length 6.3 minutes.

8/18/11 “The Teacher Who Was Punished Indefinitely for Being Laid Off Once” (AKA “Laid Off from Teaching—Forever”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Whether Chicago Public Schools' do-not-hire practices have changed under Supt. Brizard; how to change CPS's illogical policies; and how do-not-hire resembles tax-increment financing. Length 5.1 minutes.

8/4/11 “Mayor Emanuel Does the TIF Reform Dance”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Removing services for the poor as a gentrifying force; why TIF district creators exclude gentrifying areas; and getting beyond the fiction that TIF doesn't divert revenues from Chicagoland's taxing bodies. Length 10 minutes. • To see a map of the Near West TIF District click here

7/28/11 “Blogger Crusades Against Education 'Reform'” (AKA “Blogger Fred Klonsky's Cusade Against Public Education Reform”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Whether teachers' 75 percent minimum membership requirement for a strike vote hobbles their union; holding students accountable for their poor performance; and teacher accountability as a bandage on society's economic disparities. Length 8.5 minutes.

7/21/11 “Public Schools, Private Budgets ” • [Not yet available] • Read the articleDescription: [To come]

7/14/11 “Mayoral Progress Report: There's Room for Improvement” (AKA “Rahm Emanuel's Report Card So Far: There's Room for Improvement”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Whether voters want a strong mayor--for other people; summer as a voter aphrodisiac; and the mayor as an expert in spectacle. Length 6.7 minutes.

7/7/11 “The Grass Gap”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The double standard that marijuana laws reinforce; making the police superintendent sound smart; and the clever composition ability of police officers. Length 5.5 minutes.

6/30/11 “How a CPS Teacher Went from 'Excellent' to 'Do-Not-Hire' in One Year”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: What lies behind the motive to get rid of teachers; how Chicago can recruit better teachers in the face of "do not hire" designations and pay cuts; and how the free market encourages teachers to leave Chicago. Length 9.5 minutes.

6/16/11 “Uptown Turns Down a TIF Deal—For the Moment”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The difference between a tax-increment financing district's budget and the amount of tax dollars it diverts; whether the park district could more easily implement a capital project via regular budgeting or tax-increment financing; and the last major elected official to call a corporation's relocation bluff. Length 9.3 minutes.

6/9/11 “As Mayor Daley Cashes In, Ousted Teacher Gets Cut Off”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: How Chicago Public Schools handle the re-applications of teachers in turnaround schools; the link between turnaround schools and cutting well-paid teachers; and expulsion: a teaching tool, or a convenient way to boost performance scores? Length 9.7 minutes.

6/2/11 “The Publicly Funded Charter School That Says It's Not Really Public” (AKA “Charter School Fights Teacher Organizing—and 'Public School' Label”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: How public school students get into particular high schools; why the state's board didn't enforce the law; and the effect on union organizing of federal versus state jurisdiction. Length 6.5 minutes.

5/26/11 “The Making of Mayor Emanuel” (AKA “The 20 Months That Made Mayor Emanuel”)Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: What didn't make it into the timeline; the evidence for the manipulation of Carol Moseley Braun; and the list of candidates who might've beat Mayor Daley. Length 6.7 minutes.

5/12/11 “Twilight Zoning in the 43rd Ward”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The 43rd-27th ward boundary gerrymandered for racial purity; how the city changes property zoning; and why Mayor Emanuel apparently has immediate control of the City Council. Length 10.5 minutes. • To see a map of the 43rd Ward click here

5/5/11 “An Open Letter to Our Next Schools Chief” (AKA “An Open Letter to Chicago Public Schools' New CEO”)Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Why using tax-increment financing to build new schools works against the school system's interests; whether tax-increment financing affects where and when to build new schools; and imagining an elected school board. Length 8.3 minutes.

4/28/11 “TIF Gifts Just Keep on Giving” (AKA “A TIF Gift for Rahm”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Alternatives to tax-increment financing of well-endowed institutions; whether the city should spend TIF money on both the relocation of Finkl Steel and the redevelopment of its old site; and digging into increased funding of the Garfield Park TIF district. Length 9.3 minutes. • To see a map of the Garfield Park (Chicago Central Park) TIF district click here

4/14/11 “Stacking the Odds in Favor of Charter Schools”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Why charter schools' ability to get rid of troublesome kids invalidates comparisons with non-charters; whether non-charters should have this same ability; and what level of unionization signals the demise of charters in Chicago. Length 8.5 minutes.

4/7/11 “Racial Migration in the Strangest Locations”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The different dynamics of black and Hispanic migration into wards; how moderating a candidate debate differs from interviewing candidates; and Ald. Stone's persistent denial of ward gerrymandering. Length 8.4 minutes.

3/31/11 “Ben Joravsky's Guide to the Aldermanic Runoffs” (AKA “Ben Joravsky's Guide to the Final Round for Alderman”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Why Ben moderates aldermanic candidate debates; how ranked-choice voting (RCV) works; and whether Chicago could use RCV in municipal elections. Length 7.9 minutes.

3/17/11 “Getting Along Without Him Now” (AKA “What's Next for Chicago Public Schools?”) • Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: The difference between magnet, charter, and selective-enrollment schools; how state senator Steans' bill essentially deregulates charter schools; and Rahm Emanuel's crush on New York City's education model. Length 8.8 minutes.

3/10/11 “Rickey Hendon: A Loud Act to Follow”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Why people outside the 5th Illinois senate district should care about Rickey Hendon; the argument for office-holders like Hendon staying in office; and who really will decide on Hendon's successor. Length 9.9 minutes. • For a map of the Illinois Fifth Senate District click here

3/3/11 “From the Alley to the Council”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: What inspires Chicagoans to want to learn about their government; whether the mayoral voting habits of white people jibe with the Chicago Reporter's report; and the subconscious guilt of white voters. Length 8.9 minutes.

2/24/11 “Carving Time Approaches”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: A look into the back rooms where aldermen negotiate the remaps of wards; Mayor Emanuel's participation in ward remapping; and the history of and need for supermajority wards. Length 10 minutes.

2/17/11 “Aldermania!”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: A short history of near-West-Side ward remapping; what Ben would have written about Rahm Emanuel before the election; and why Ben wants voters to stop whining. Length 8.1 minutes.

2/3/11 “Sic ’Em”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Which takes more effort: informing candidates about outstanding debts, or contesting their eligibility; whether we should let deadbeats and scofflaws run for public office; and whether overdue library books can keep you off the ballot. Length 7.8 minutes. • To see a map of the 12th Ward click here

1/27/11 “Mr. Nice Guy”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Who Rahm Emanuel talked out of running for mayor; the relationship between Miguel del Valle and Luis Gutierrez; and how del Valle has responded to Daley administration corruption. Length 10 minutes.

1/20/11 “Chico and the Man”Click here to listen • Read the articleDescription: Gery Chico's single greatest success with public schools; how Chicago's elimination of social promotion came back to haunt Chico; and whether the Reader's coverage of mayoral campaigns has changed. Length 8.8 minutes.