Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Dennis Byrne: Bankruptcy for Chicago a smart move?

Chicago in winter
Because Detroit took this route first, the stigma of municipal bankruptcy isn't quite as toxic--in fact, it may not even be toxic anymore.

The two candidates for mayor of Chicago, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and to a lesser degree, incumbent Rahm Emanuel are not seriously addressing Chicago's deep financial crisis. The city faces a runaway pension debt and Chicago's bond rating are just two levels about junk status.

Maybe nothing can be done, Chicago Tribune blogger Dennis Byrne muses.
Chicago is too far in over its head to dig itself out. The only solution is the one whose name may not be spoken: bankruptcy.

It worked in Detroit. Last December, it emerged from what was the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy after about 17 months of court supervision. Ironically, under bankruptcy, the city's homicide rate, the highest in its history, dropped 18 percent, The New York Times reported. Police average response time dropped to less than 18 minutes, from 58 minutes. Replacement of the city's streetlights — of which 40 percent failed to work — is in the offing. Detroit isn't out of the woods yet, but it's in a better place now than when there appeared to be no hope, none at all.

Rip Chicago's finances out of the hands of the connivers, special interests and political opportunists and give them to a court-appointed manager to oversee the necessary reorganization. Start with Chicago Public Schools and, if necessary, throw in the entire stinking mess, called city of Chicago.

Might as well include the state of Illinois, too.

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