CHICAGO (CBS) — A close call on the busy LaSalle Street Bridge for a Chicago bicyclist.
He shared his story in the hopes that it will prevent someone else from getting hurt or even killed.
The man was riding his bicycle on the LaSalle Street Bridge when the front tire of his bike became wedged in a gap between two grate panels. The man said he was thrown from the bike and injured, but he’s grateful it wasn’t worse.
“I think it was a miracle,” said injured bicyclist Andreja Djokovic who added that it was a miracle that he wasn’t killed Wednesday just before noon after his bicycle got stuck in a gap between grates in the middle of the LaSalle Street Bridge.
He said it happened in the turn lane as he was about to make a left on Wacker.
“It stopped cold. I flew over it, fell in my right shoulder. I thought I broke my shoulder. I was in that much pain,” Djokovic said and that he was grateful traffic was unusually light at the time. Had the traffic been heavier, he said the outcome could’ve been different.
“I think it would’ve been fatal,” Djokovic said.
The bike was wedged so deeply it didn’t fall over. The damage can clearly be seen on the front wheel.
“The bike pretty much went between the grills and was buried to the middle of it,” Djokovic said. “(In the) middle of the front wheel. I tried to pull it out. Kind strangers came by and try to help me lift it. They couldn’t. Then a very strong gentlemen came and pulled it out.”
Djokovic said he spent six hours in the ER, but luckily nothing was broken. He did suffer a shoulder sprain and lots of scrapes and bruises. Ron Burke with the Active Transportation Alliance said accidents on bridges are not uncommon and more needs to be done to prevent them.
“It’s really important the city install plates or mats across these middle grates to really more safely to accommodate cyclists,” Burke said. “People who are riding bikes cross these metal grates need to know they can be slippery and that there can sometimes be gaps that can catch the wheels so try to keep an eye out or that.”
Djokovic said he learned his lesson and said he will no longer use the LaSalle Street Bridge.
“I’m going to find alternate routes,” he said.
Djokovic said he reported the accident and the gap on the bridge to the city of Chicago, but so far they have not responded to his email. A CDOT spokesperson said it was the first it had heard of the incident but would look into it.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Some of the nation’s governors-elect gathered in the White House Thursday for a formal sit-down with President Trump.
Among them was Illinois’ next Democratic governor. Introducing himself as the founder of a successful business incubator, governor-elect Pritzker seemed to hold the president’s attention for a bit. Pritzker also emphasized how he’s advocated for early childhood education.
President Trump’s response: “very good, good to see you.”
Mr. Priztker said he asked the president to get a bill going, to bring Illinois federal money for infrastructure.
“I specifically advocated for a better federal match. Seemed like he was receptive to that,” said Pritzker who added that both he and Michigan’s governor-elect brought up the need for help to deal with the invasive species of Asian carp.
CHICAGO (CBS) — His insults were aimed at black women.
And he questions the intelligence of those who believe in God.
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker reports there’s an online petition to ban the visiting professor from the university. Thousands have already signed it. Northwestern University would not make him available, but there was a lot of information online.
“You can often tell who are criminals and who are law abiding citizens just by looking at them,” said Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, an associate psychology professor on leave from the London School of Economics, who asked Northwestern University’s psychology department to do research on campus this winter.
In a 2012 YouTube talk, Kanazawa said as part of his research he examined the biographies of nearly 280 scientists.
“Most intelligent people are likely to be atheist,” said Kanazawa, who has a reputation for controversial work that focuses on race, gender and religion.
In 2013 he authored a study on “Why Most Suicide Bombers Are Muslim.” In 2011 he wrote an article in Psychology Today titled “Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?”
But it was one on “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women” that prompted an online petition to ban Kanazawa from campus
Deborah Shoola started the petition. Nearly 4,000 people have signed it. She’s a neuroscience major.
“It’s a form of scientific racism,” said Shoola. “The only purpose of the research is to prove is that a racial minority is inferior to another. If you actually read it, it says black women have higher levels of testosterone than other women and that’s just untrue.”
Northwestern officials won’t reveal the details of Kanazawa’s research at NU but sources said it’s scheduled to begin in January.
CBS 2 called and emailed the professor, and he has not responded.
Northwestern responded with a lengthy statement which said in part that the university was unaware of the controversial research and will improve its vetting procedures but it will not get rid of the professor. The university said the professor will not teach, he will not collect data for research and he will not be paid. Northwestern would not say what the professor would be doing.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois budget is in chronic crisis with red ink, debt and gridlock being the norm for years now.
But a headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune paints a very different picture from the Prairie State – ”Budget Surplus Swells To $1.5 Billion.”
How did a nearby state turn around its financial mess?
“We took over in beginning of 2011 and we had an almost seven percent unemployment rate. We had a 6.2 billion dollar deficit,” said Minnesota Budget Commissioner Myron Frans.
That’s the bleak economic landscape faced by Frans and his boss, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, when they entered office.
Eight years later, a huge turnaround.
“Minnesota created over 318,000 jobs in the last eight years. Our unemployment down to 2.8 percent, the lowest in about 20 years,” said Frans.
That’s the kind of fiscal stability and economic growth llinois can only envy. But it’s how they did it in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” that’s surprising.
“We realized the first thing we had to do was to stabilize revenue. And in order to stabilize revenue and fund government that means we needed to increase taxes,” Frans said.
Especially on the wealthy. While Illinois has a 4.95 percent flat tax for everyone, Minnesota raised its tax on couples earning over $250,000 from 7.85 percent, to 9.85 percent.
“We’re continuing to see income growth, wage growth and we now actually have more jobs available than we job seekers,” according to Frans.
Incoming governor J.B. Pritzker is also pushing to raise taxes on Illinois’ wealthy and the Minnesota blueprint thrills his supporters.
“I’d love to be more like Minnesota,” said Bob Reiter of the Chicago Federation of Labor. And while Illinois is drowning in pension debt, Minnesota reformed its failing pensions. Employers and workers pay more while retirees get less.
“They wanted to make sure those pension funds were available continuing in the future,” said Frans.
But Illinois’ unions reject pension reductions.
“We’ve been fighting this for as long as I’ve been at the Chicago Federation Of Labor. And that hasn’t changed,” noted Reiter.
Problem is, many analysts believe raising taxes alone won’t fix Illinois budget problems, unless pension spending is also addressed. And Myron Frans said Minnesota has carefully watched its spending.
Something Springfield has never been known for.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Smaller budgets, no programs and no control.
It doesn’t exactly sound like a day at the park. But one advocacy group said it’s the new reality in some Chicago parks, while others get a lot more. The details are in a critical new study.
Friends of the Parks said kids and families on the South Side who want to ice skate or take advantage of other programs often have to go to the North Side. And that, they said, isn’t playing fair.
“The (Chicago) Park District is investing the least in the communities that need it the most,” said Juanita Irizarry of Friends of the Parks. It’s a bleak takeaway from a new report on city parks that revealed South Side parks have smaller budgets and fewer programs than those on the North Side.
For example Hermitage in Englewood has a play ground, modest field house and one early childhood program.
But Independence Park in the Irving Park neighborhood has 94 early childhood programs. And the extra budget and staff that go with them.
“My children did all kinds of things,” remembered Jeanette Foreman of the Chicago Parks Consortium who said South Side parks were once robust, but said she made a startling discovery.
“That there were virtually no programs in the black and brown communities in Chicago for teens,” noted Foreman.
The study also found higher income communities like Lincoln Park are almost twice as likely to have capital improvement requests approved. If things don’t change, Friends of the Parks said it is prepared to play hardball.
“It would probably be better for all of us if we could collaborate and put strategies in place to do this without a lawsuit. But we always have that strategy in our back pocket,” Irizarry said.
Other key findings include that Latino communities in the city have the least amount of programs of any racial group in Chicago. And the city overall needs more parkland, lagging behind other high density cities.
Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly said the study was inherently flawed in its methodology and data.
CHICAGO (CBS) — In the next few years, Chicago will need almost a billion dollars more to pay for city pensions and one plan involves changing the state constitution.
In a major speech before the Chicago City Council, Mayor Emanuel said it was time to pay up.
“Leaders in the past made commitments without the resources to back them up. And now, inevitably, the bill has come due,” Emanuel said.
The mayor touched the third rail of Democratic politics in Illinois: pensions.
“You are not going to solve this problem just with more money from taxpayers,” Emanuel said. He proposed changing the Illinois Constitution, which guarantees three per cent cost of living raises to government retirees. A change pro-business groups said is needed.
“If you don’t figure out a way to stabilize our government so we can rise in terms of our credit rating, you’re not going to have money for other things. It’s all going to go into our pension system going forward,” said Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation.
In 2020, Chicago needs 276 million for police and fire pensions. And in 2022, another 310 million for municipal pensions. But the reaction from big labor is no.
“I will fight to protect the Illinois Constitution and not amend it,” said Bob Reiter of the Chicago Federation of Labor. He blames politicians, not workers, for underfunding pensions in first place.
“Don’t point fingers at everybody else. This is government’s responsibility. The workers paid their amount,” Reiter said.
And Emanuel may have a tough time with political support. The Chicago City Council Progressive Caucus opposes it. So do most mayoral candidates looking to succeed him. And incoming Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is against it.
Emanuel insisted he’s being miscast.
“I’m trying to save the pension and every labor leader, privately, who deals with the private sector known that this is the only way to keep a pension system vibrant and vital,” Emanuel said.
Mayor candidate Bill Daley does support changing the state constitution on pensions. Emanuel also proposed borrowing 10 billion dollars to infuse into pension funds hoping to save Chicago taxpayers millions by lowering the interest rate on pension debt.
Some call that risky, but it’s the new mayor who will decide whether to embrace that strategy.
CHICAGO (CBS) — More on the election hijinks in the 13th Ward aldermanic race.
There are accusations that thousands of voters unwittingly signed false affidavits to kick a candidate off the ballot who is challenging the Madigan machine. Some voters said they were misled to do just that.
It’s standard operating procedure to pass petitions to get a candidate on the ballot. However it’s highly unusual to petition to get a candidate removed. That’s what Mike Madigan’s organization is doing in the 13th Ward.
But apparently they led hundreds of voters to file false statements to do it. When asked if they’re upset about it, one person said yes.
“I am. I am because I was deceived. This is not what I was signing,” said one Southwest Side voter, who didn’t want her face shown on TV.
She is one of almost 2,800 voters who signed petitions to kick 13th Ward aldermanic candidate David Krupa off the ballot, and she said she was misled into doing so.
“I’m gonna think twice about voting for Madigan in the office now, because this is not right,” she said.
Krupa is challenging 13th Ward alderman Marty Quinn. It’s Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s ward, and Quinn is his alderman. But Madigan’s operatives presented almost a thousand more signatures from people revoking their backing for Krupa than had signed to support Krupa in the first place.
“If you didn’t sign my petition, why would you go out of the way to sign something that revokes your signature?” Krupa said.
CBS 2 filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all 2,800 revocation affidavits, and then went door-to-door in the 13th Ward, looking for voters who’d signed them.
Voters like 83-year-old Beverly Zumerling. When asked if she had signed a petition to support David Krupa…
“Probably not. I don’t think I did,” Zumering said. But her revocation document said she did just that.
Just like the one signed by Brian Palmsone. Asked if he thought David Krupa should be kicked off the ballot, Palmsone said no, even though he signed a petition doing just that.
“Well, I suppose I made a mistake in signing it then,” Palmsone said.
Many voters said they were falsely told the revocation petitions aimed at Krupa were simply signature verifications. A hearing on this is scheduled for Saturday at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Usually crosswalks are at intersections. But what happens when it’s in the middle of a busy road?
After a woman was hit Tuesday morning, a closer look at just how dangerous one walkway on Washington Street really is.
It’s a crosswalk in the middle of the block along side City Hall and the Cook County Building, an area with lots of foot traffic.
Jennifer Finn makes an appeal to drivers on the south side of City Hall.
“Everyday I come out this way, you have to hold your hand out and tell them to stop because otherwise they will not stop,” Finn said.
Drivers on Washington Street not yielding for pedestrians, despite signs telling them to do just that. When asked if drivers get upset with her…
“Oh yeah. They start talking back to you,” Finn said.
A cabbie didn’t even stop for a man walking with a cane. The driver disputed it. “I didn’t do that,” insisted the cab driver until he saw video of himself in the incident.
“The guy was far away from the intersection,” said the cab driver.
Another driver said his view was blocked. He asked “how can I see the lady cross with that big a**truck?”
The question for pedestrians: do you walk or just wait?
“It’s sort of like a guessing a game when you cross the street,” said one pedestrian.
Perhaps Chicago drivers are not used to yielding in the middle of the block. But spokesperson for the city of Chicago Michael Claffey said drivers do have an obligation to stop for pedestrians.
Until that happens routinely, Jennifer Finn will worry.
“It’s very frustrating because I’m waiting for a handicapped person or someone who’s visually impaired to get hurt, you know, and I don’t want that to happen,” Finn said.
But Claffey said a full stop sign would not be warranted at City Hall location.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Powerful alderman Ed Burke was confronted by reporters Monday at City Hall, ten days after the bombshell federal raid on his offices.
“Good morning gentlemen. How are you? And ladies,” Burke said.
Business as usual for Burke is to say nothing. He’s been investigated for corruption numerous times, but never charged. He is the longest-serving Chicago alderman ever at 49 years in office.
Burke succeeded his father back in 1969 and has headed the 14th Ward ever since.
CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s being called a new low in Chicago election politics.
Forces allied with 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn not only scheming to get an opponent off the ballot, but also encouraging voters to commit perjury to do it.
Even longtime political pros said they’ve never seen anything like this. They said Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s ward organization crossed the line and perhaps broke the law, to eliminate a challenger.
DePaul student David Krupa wants to be alderman of the 13th Ward. Problem is, that offends powerful Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan who runs the 13th Ward.
“He feels threatened,” Krupta said. “So he’s doing everything he can to take me off the ballot.”
Everything, according to the lawyer for 19-year-old Krupa, including breaking the law.
“It’s almost embarrassing how stupid this type of fraud was,” said attorney Michael Dorf.
To explain, it requires a bit of math. Krupa filed 1,703 signatures to get on the ballot. But Madigan’s operatives collected 2,796 affidavits from voters revoking their signatures supporting Krupa.
That’s 1,093 more voters asking to reverse their support than ever backed Krupa in the first place. Something doesn’t add up.
“At least 1,000 false affidavits. And then we started looking and we found more,” Dorf said.
Marty Quinn is Madigan’s 13th Ward alderman and Krupa’s opponent. Quinn was not available at Chicago City Council. He wasn’t available at his ward office either. Madigan’s election attorney Michael Kasper, who filed the revocations, isn’t talking either.
A 13th ward voter backs Quinn and questions Krupa’s youth.
“Voters should have a choice,” said Joe Cubas. “But I would prefer a choice with someone with experience.”
But Krupa said he wants to provide that choice.
“I certainly think that people could be looking at criminal charges,” Krupa said.
The two sides will trade legal briefs ahead of a Saturday hearing before the Chicago Election Board. But if Krupa is removed from the ballot, he’s promising to take his case to the Illinois State’s Attorney, the Illinois Attorney General or federal court.