Alex Clifford was plucked from sunny California and plunked down here in the Land of Lincoln where the weather and the politics shifts with the prevailing winds.
The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board would tell Newton that apples grow up from the rich and fertile soil, where toothsome maids gather up the fruity orbs with their delicate alabaster fingers and swaddle them in winsome aprons. Like the BGA, the Chicago Editorial Boards, are where clueless go to strangle common sense and abort the obvious.
The Metra Board, like other Illinois institutions fraught with problems that became editorial grist (CPS FAIL/Cop Bashing/ U of I Pay to Play & etc.) looked to a coast for a Champ. We got a Ruth Love and Jody Weiss and a Michael Hogan - ubi sunt? California Alex is yet with us. What passes for Illinois Intellectual Titans never stop to ask, " Will avocadi grow in Peotone; peanuts in Prospects Heights, or cranberries in Hegewisch?
Yesterday, Alex Clifford unleashed his Shakman Avocadonado on the Tribune Editorial and our Blue Ribbon Illinois Obtuse.
To say that California Al unloaded incontrovertible opinion is to do him damning praise. His opinion was monumental. The breaking of this wind no doubt sailed away the lithe, but singularly unpleasant husk that is Andy Shaw of the BGA clear in a popcorn field in Iroquois County, shook the mighty jowls of Thundering Dick Simpson.
The Tribune Editorial Board, captained by that former Wildcat disc jockey, Bruce Dold, went all Dutton Peabody in response to the Californian's allegations and imprecations of Shakman Sinning!
We've seen little to suggest ( apples growing out of the ground again!) they were unhappy with Clifford's job performance but plenty of evidence that they were aware of the behind-the-scenes acrimony involving O'Halloran and Huggins. One board member gave Clifford a heads-up that there weren't enough votes to renew his contract, then joined in the vote to send him packing.
Four of them have since written letters of recommendation to help him find a new job.
What good are any of them? They're supposed to be keeping the trains running, not taking care of politicians and their pals. But they're patronage employees themselves, handpicked by pols. They do what they're told in return for the paychecks they're clearly not earning. Getting rid of them is a nightmare; we learned that after the last scandal, which seems like yesterday. It takes eight board members to oust one, and it's not even clear whether the pols who appoint them can replace them mid-term. All of this is leading, once again, to talk about a legislative overhaul of the entire four-headed transit system.
Board members, save us all a lot of grief. Resign. Chicago Tribune Editorial
Well they have certainly gotten to bottom of things . . .as always. Mark Brown of the Sun Times and Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star (Liberals unencumbered by limited I.Q.s) ovver thoughtful insights on the Metra testimony of California Al: each linked above.
California Al could not blossom and grow in Illini loam. Andy Shaw of BGA, Mickey Shakman of Shakman Enterprises, and the Tribune Editorial board saw a mountain in this molehill, an opportunity bash somebody and apples growing up betwixt them beans and corn.