Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ISBA and Civil Unions

The Illinois State Bar Association, in yet another sign of increasing irrelevance, has become distracted by the issue of "civil unions."

The ISBA's Assembly (meeting in Wisconsin for reasons that remain unclear) has voted to support legislation allowing civil unions.

According to Findlaw, Joseph G. Bisceglia, the incoming ISBA President, stated "Supporting civil unions is not only a vote for civil rights and human rights, but also economic rights. With this action, the ISBA has agreed to provide guidance and support for legislative proposals regarding civil unions."

I actually also favor civil unions. The legislation seems very reasonable.

The problem that I have is with the ISBA. The ISBA should be a non-partisan legal organization and not an advocate for or against heated social issues. The ISBA should be taking strong stands on matters like Civil Procedure and should stay out of matters like civil unions.

Tru Chef To Drop By Every Two Weeks

Tru used to be one of the greatest restaurants anywhere. The food was creative and interesting and only the best seasonal ingredients were used and the food tasted great. Dinner for two would run $600.00, but it was money well spent. My wife and I often debated whether Tru was the best restaurant anywhere (until Alinea came along, I argued for Charlie Trotter's, and my wife and I both thought that our best meal ever was at the late Lucas Carton).
That was a long time ago.
Unfortunately, Chef Tramonto has other projects going on and it really shows. Walking by Tru recently, I looked over the menu. Very nice, but nearly identical to a meal I had there about three years ago. In "The Stew", the reason was revealed. Despite charging nearly $200 per person for a meal, Chef Tramonto simply has better things to do than to cook at his own restaurant. According to The Stew, Chef Tramonto stated:
"I am still going to be at Tru every other week. That has never really changed."
$200 per person and he's there every other week?
It is a shame. I remember what Chef Tramonto could do when he cared. That was a long time ago though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good News On The Culinary Front

There have been rumors that Chef Mantuano of Spiaggia intended to leave Spiaggia for another project. However, Skeeter has learned that although Chef Mantuano will be opening up a location in South Beach called Enoteca Spiaggia, but he will still be based in Chicago.
Spiaggia is an incredible experience. Chef Mantuano takes Italian ingredients and techniques and turns out cuisine that is fresh and innovative. Spiaggia itself is an incredible space and the service is first class. It also has an amazing wine list. The Italian sparkling wines are a revelation -- until I dined at Spiaggia I was a Champagne snob. The wine program at Spiaggia really turned me on to great stuff.
A meal at Spiaggia is three to four hours well spent and it is great to know that the place will remain under Chef Mantuano's leadership.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

City Failing Our Chicago Police

Recent news reports have gleefully covered a few isolated instances of Chicago Police Officers engaging in outrageous activity. The people of Chicago should realize that the instances are isolated and in fact, most Chicago POs are honest and hard working and put their lives on the line every day to protect us.
Skeeter has learned, however, that the City of Chicago is failing to provide injured POs with proper and adequate medical care. With payments for basic services taking more than three months, many doctors, including at least one highly qualified orthopedic surgeon, have refused to treat the officers.
The City needs to get behind its POs and make sure that they get the best medical care possible. A Chicago PO on the job should be worried about catching bad guys, and not worried about what will happen to him or her if the PO breaks an arm while trying to make an arrest.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sen. Durbin Champions Fair Campaign Funding

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin has proposed an interesting new campaign funding bill. Too often recently, we have seen self-funded candidates simply outspend opponents. At other times, we have seen campaigns taken over by rich developers and other special interests (as we saw in Chicago). Senator Durbin's bill would give all candidates a fair chance.

According to Senator Durbin, his "Fair Elections Now Act" would have four major components:

  1. Seed Money: Allow candidates to raise a limited amount of seed money, capped at $100 per contributor, to get their campaigns up and running
  2. Qualifying for Public Funds: Candidates must raise a specified number (based on the size of the state) of $5 contributions from residents of their state in order to demonstrate that they are serious, viable candidates
  3. Allocation of Public Funds: Once a candidate qualifies for public funding, he or she is eligible to receive a minimum of $750,000, plus an additional $150,000 for every Congressional District in the state minus one
  4. "Fair Fight" Funds: If a candidate is being outspent by independent expenditures or an opponent who has refused public financing, the law would match that spending dollar-for-dollar up to 200 percent of the base allocation.

Overall, it appears to be a great approach to a very real problem. It is the kind of reasonable solution that we have come to expect from Senator Durbin.

Dogs in Cafes Ordinance Moves Forward

Coming through on a campaign promise, Alderman Reilly has co-sponsored the ordinance allowing cafes to allow dogs (which would have the impact of giving official sanction to the current widely ignored ban). The State Legislature must act first though, to allow Chicago to pass the ordinance. Sens. Fritchey and Cullerton have introduced the allowing ordinance in Springfield. The City tabled Reilly's ordinance pending the State approval.

In the meantime, I note that the food at a certain dog friendly local cafe seems to have improved greatly this year. It is a great spot to wave to some friends while enjoying a meal. We had a nice meal this weekend (complete with a neighboring dog spending part of the meal on my lap -- the staff as usual was very nice to the dog). It was always a nice spot to have a drink, and now it seems that the food is living up to the views.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Deb Shore To Host Summer Solstice Celebration

Commissioner Debra Shore will be hosting a celebration of the summer solstice Stay, a new dog hotel along the Chicago River. Shore is an outstanding public servant and one of the most qualified people in our local goverment. She also has been helpful to some of us in Streeterville with questions about park issues.

According to Shore, it will be an opportunity to speak with her about District issues (or generally about making Chicago more of a green city), drink cool drinks, nibble on kibble, and tour the new dog hotel.

The event will take place on Thursday, June 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at Stay, a dog hotel located at 4130 N. Rockwell (just north of Irving Park). Free street parking is available.

The suggested donation (to debrashore.org) is a minimum of $50.00.

You may contribute online at debrashore.org/contribute. Contributions will help Shore sponsor several water conservation events in the coming year and build a campaign fund.