CHICAGO NEEDS MONEY SPEED CAMERAS UPPED

CHICAGO NEEDS MONEY SPEED CAMERAS UPPED

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to start issuing speed camera tickets for cars going 6 mph over the limit

CHICAGO NEEDS MONEY SPEED CAMERAS UPPED

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who campaigned on a pledge to end Chicago’s “addiction” to fines and fees, is counting on a big increase in city collections from speeding tickets and other violations to balance her 2021 budget.

And she wants part of the boost to the bottom line to come from speed cameras across Chicago issuing speeding tickets to drivers caught going as little as 6 miles per hour over the posted limit.

Under the mayor’s proposal, as part of her 2021 budget package, anyone caught by a camera driving from 6 to 9 mph above the limit would get a warning. Getting caught on camera a second time would prompt a $35 ticket in the mail.

Currently, only those caught driving 10 mph above the limit get the $35 tickets. Tickets of $100 are issued to drivers caught speeding by 11 mph or more above the posted limit. The city has the authority to issue the tickets at lower speeds, but has never used it.

Mari Castaldi, director of policy and advocacy at the Chicago Jobs Council, which has helped push fines and fees reform, blasted Lightfoot’s proposal.

HAS CRITICISED TICKET REVENUE IN THE PAST

“Mayor Lightfoot has repeatedly cited the urgent need for our city to break what she has called its ‘addiction’ to relying on revenue from regressive fines and fees, and stop balancing the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. This proposal does the opposite,” she said. “This proposal is likely to send economically struggling Chicagoans further into debt while offering questionable benefits to public safety.”

According to budget documents released this week as the mayor unveiled her spending proposal for next year, the city expects to bring in $381.5 million in 2021 from fines, forfeitures and penalties. That’s about $38 million more than Lightfoot’s administration projected for 2020.

This year’s actual take from fines, forfeitures and penalties is likely to come in around $230 million, according to budget documents. The $110 million shortfall compared with earlier city projections is due to lower ticket revenue because of the pandemic, according to Budget Office spokeswoman Kristen Cabanban.

MAYOR HAS TOLD THE PUBLIC PREVIOUSLY THEY WILL GET A BREAK

That’s in spite of the fact the city issued more than 35,000 parking tickets during a period this year when Lightfoot told the public they’d be getting a break on ticket enforcement because of the COVID-19 outbreak, as the Tribune has reported.

The big hike in 2021 will come thanks to speed enforcement and the city ticketing more for “safety-related issues” such as cars double parking and blocking loading zones, along with better collection of outstanding fines, Cabanban said

Lightfoot campaigned against the city’s system of fines and fees, frequently criticizing the city for balancing its budget on the backs of taxpayers using regressive penalties on tickets.

Within months of taking office in 2019, the mayor shepherded through the City Council a series of reforms to the city’s fines-and-fees system that ended the practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who haven’t paid parking tickets, reduced vehicle sticker penalties and created a six-month payment plan to give those with ticket debt more time to pay.

CHICAGO NEEDS MONEY SPEED CAMERAS UPPED

Now, Lightfoot wants to start ticketing drivers going just a few miles over the limit at a time many Chicagoans are struggling to make ends meet thanks to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Asked how the mayor’s proposal squares with her promise to fight regressive fines, Cabanban made a distinction between “fines related to safety and fines related to compliance.”

“We continue to focus on reducing reliance on fines related to compliance, like not having a city sticker, or not returning a library book on time,” Cabanban said. “But as we’ve seen some increased risk to public safety, as speeding has increased for example, fines are an important and necessary tool to help improve safety.”

And Cabanban noted the city speed camera statute has allowed for the $35 tickets for cars going 6 to 9 mph over the limit since former Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the system near parks and schools in 2013. The city has never enforced it, however. “Now, given the data, we need to follow through on enforcing it,” she said.

Kyle Whitehead, a spokesman for the Active Transportation Alliance, said the group favors efforts such as speed cameras to slow traffic. “Even an incremental reduction in the speed of cars lessens the likelihood of a fatal crash, especially when a car strikes someone who’s walking or biking,” Whitehead said.

OTHER GOUPS FEEL THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES

But he also said the organization would prefer a sliding ticket scale based on ability to pay so struggling Chicagoans don’t get “buried in fines.”

Lightfoot also wants to add 750 parking meters to spaces around the city as part of her 2021 budget. While a private company controls the meters through a much-reviled 75-year lease, Cabanban said the new meters will help reduce by about $2 million the annual “true-up” payment the city must make to the company each year for the cost of spaces taken out of commission for things such as roadwork and street festivals.

The speed camera program has been controversial from the moment Emanuel introduced it. He pitched the network of cameras to catch speeders around parks and schools as a way to keep children safe, but critics painted it as a cash grab, pointing out many of the cameras were only tenuously connected to Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools properties.

There are currently a total of 88 speed cameras operating in Chicago, 72 in the vicinity of parks and another 16 near schools. Many school cameras were deactivated when CPS opted to go with an all-remote school day in the spring because of the pandemic, according to CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey.



COCA COLA CUTTING BACK PRODUCTS

COCA COLA CUTTING BACK PRODUCTS

Coca-Cola will discontinue half of its beverage brands

Coca-Cola is getting rid of 200 of its beverage brands.

Last week, the Coca-Cola Company announced that it would discontinue drinks like Tab and Odwalla, but announced on Thursday that it would retire half of its portfolio by the end of the year.

“The company expects to offer a portfolio of approximately 200 master brands, an approximate 50% reduction from the current number, and phase out some products, such as ZICO and Tab,” Coca-Cola said in a press release.

Tab was Coke’s first diet soda when it was released in 1963. The brand was popular for decades, but declined amid competition from other diet sodas, including others made by Coca-Cola, such as Diet Coke, according to FOX Business.

COCA COLA HAS BEEN SLOWLY PULLING BACK SOME PRODUCTS LIKE TAB

The company has been slowly pulling back on Tab’s production for years, and in 2017, Tab accounted for less than 0.03% of Coca-Cola’s sales.

“Tab did its job,” Kopp said in a written statement. “In order to continue to innovate and give consumers the choices they want today, we have to make decisions like this one as part of our portfolio rationalization work.”

According to FOX Business, other national brands getting the boot include ZICO coconut water, Odwalla, Coca-Cola Life, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Sprite Lymonade.

There’s a shortage of Dr. Pepper amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The iconic soda brand comforted fans with hopeful words, saying it is doing everything they can to get the beverage back into their hands.

REVENUES HAVE DECLINED

According to Coca-Cola, the company saw gradual improvement in the third quarter, but net revenues declined 9% to $8.7 billion.

“Throughout this year’s crisis, our system has remained focused on its beverages for life strategy. We are accelerating our transformation that was already underway, shaping our company to recover faster than the broader economic recovery,” said James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “While many challenges still lie ahead, our progress in the quarter gives me confidence we are on the right path.”

Quincey said the company’s reorganization will put more emphasis on its most profitable brands, while retiring underperforming products by the end of the year.

One of its more profitable and trendy brands includes Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, the company’s first alcoholic beverage in the United States.

The beverage is slated to hit key markets in the U.S. starting early next year, the company announced last month.

“Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is inspired by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, a 125-year-old Mexican brand popular with consumers across the United States, including many mixologists,” the company wrote.

“This is another significant step in growing our above-premium portfolio and becoming a major competitor in the rapidly growing hard seltzer segment, both key components of our revitalization plan,” Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors, said.

 Coca-Cola will launch its first alcoholic beverage in 2021

WILL CONCENTRATE ON MORE PROFITABLE PRODUCTS

This move will allow Coke to focus on its most profitable products so it can “emerge stronger from the pandemic,” the company said.

Quincey, speaking at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference last month, called it “a golden opportunity for us to accelerate the curation of the portfolio that was an ongoing need.”

“We believe it will set ups up with more momentum behind stronger brands as we come out of this crisis,” Quincy said.


A HUG THAT MADE DEMOCRATS CRAZY

A HUG THAT MADE DEMOCRATS CRAZY


A hug that divided the Democratic Party: Feinstein could pay a price for Supreme Court hearings

A HUG THAT MADE DEMOCRATS CRAZY AFTER SENATE HEARING

It was a hug and a sound bite that prompted groans among Democrats around the country, with even moderates complaining that Sen. Dianne Feinstein undercut her party’s argument against Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Feinstein’s political blunder? She embraced Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and commended the hearings he led over Barrett’s nomination, undermining a Democratic contention that the appointment had to wait until the next president’s inauguration.

Progressives say the time to work with Republicans is over, because Republicans don’t fight fairly.


“Republicans play by their own rules, and if you play by their rules, they will then change them when they want to,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León, a former leader of California’s state senate and Feinstein’s progressive primary challenger in 2018.

But Democratic moderates are hoping the anger over this particular fight — which they say is justified — will die down and allow Democrats and Republicans to work together.

“I think we’ll put this particular Supreme Court confirmation aside, but we’ll go forward hoping we can work with Republicans … ” said Rep. Ami Bera, D-Sacramento, who acknowledged the poor “optics” of Feinstein’s embrace. “I hope they’re willing to work with us.”

The disagreement is emblematic of the two forces pulling at the Democratic Party today — moderates who want to work with Republicans and progressives who would rather throw out the filibuster and push through their agenda than find ways to compromise with a group they don’t believe shares their values.

Democrats at Barrett’s hearings had been trying to hammer home that they believed the process lacked legitimacy.

They argued Republicans were rushing through a Supreme Court nominee a month before an election when they had refused to even meet with former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that year held the seat open until Trump could fill it.

Feinstein’s comments before she hugged Graham made many cringe, feeling she gave Republicans a sound byte they could use to trumpet the process as legitimate.


DAWG SAYS: RESPECT IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED AN ASSET, YOUR ENEMIES MUST BE HATED AND DESPISED

DIPSHIDIOT PLOT TO KILL BIDEN DISCOVERED (VIDEO)

DIPSHIDIOT PLOT TO KILL BIDEN DISCOVERED

A 19-year-old with a van full of guns and explosives plotted to assassinate Biden, federal officials say

As it was becoming clear in March that Joe Biden would be the Democratic presidential nominee, Alexander Hillel Treisman started to map out his plot to assassinate the former vice president, federal authorities say.

PLOT TO KILL BIDEN DISCOVERED IN NORTH CAROLINA

“Should I kill Joe Biden?” Treisman wrote in a caption to a meme he posted in April.

It didn’t appear to be an idle threat, the feds say.

The 19-year-old searched online for Biden’s home address and for night-vision goggles, and purchased an AR-15 in New Hampshire, according to federal court documents first reported Thursday by WBTV. At one point in May, Treisman ended up at a Wendy’s within four miles of Biden’s home in Delaware. And when he was arrested later that month in North Carolina, police searching his van found four rifles, a 9mm handgun, explosive materials, books on bomb making, and $509,000 in cash that’s believed to be his inheritance.

Those revelations all come in an order that a federal magistrate judge filed earlier this month outlining why Treisman, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in September on child pornography charges, should remain in custody.

It’s unclear whether Treisman will face additional charges related to the alleged plot.

PLOT TO KILL BIDEN DISCOVERED IN NORTH CAROLINA

News of the arrest is the latest violent threat against the former vice president to be broken up by authorities. A 42-year-old Maryland man was charged Wednesday for allegedly writing a letter in which he threatened to kill Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

Md. man accused of threatening to kill Biden and Harris faces federal charge

Originally from Seattle, Treisman, who also went by the alias Alexander S. Theiss, was arrested May 28 after tellers at the Fifth Third Bank in Kannapolis, N.C., reported a white Ford van abandoned in the parking lot. When the police in the town about 30 miles northeast of Charlotte arrived, they said they could see numerous guns and boxes of ammo in the windows.

“Further investigation uncovered several indicators that criminal activity was afoot,” Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry said in a statement to WBTV. “Federal agents were contacted and while awaiting their arrival the suspect returned to the business.”

Police initially arrested Treisman, who was carrying identification cards for Washington state, California and Florida, for carrying a concealed weapon, discovering that he had purchased weapons in at least four states. Federal officials then allegedly found 6,721 images and 1,248 videos of child pornography on eight different digital devices, according to the eight-page detention order.

A LARGE AMOUT OF CHILD PORN ALSO FOUND

Treisman pleaded not guilty to the three counts of child pornography earlier this month. He has not been charged with any crime related to gun possession. According to court documents, Treisman’s attorney noted he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

The judge’s order first reported this week, though, reveals that federal agents also found a wealth of threats and alarming Internet postings by the suspect.

In October 2019, the agents say, Treisman created a note on his phone that outlined “a plan to perform a mass shooting at a mall food court on Christmas or Black Friday.” Posting on Reddit under the name AlextheBodacious, he referenced executing those he hated. In another Internet post under the same name, he stated that he was “going to do a columbine for a while, [but] I think it would better to put it towards something more memorable.”

A video taken from Treisman’s cellphone in April showed the teen driving by the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas and praising the 2017 massacre that killed 58 and injured more than 500 in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “That’s the one, that’s where they did it … nice,” he said, according to the order. Another cellphone video taken in April at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago featured a male voice suggesting that it would be “awesome” to hijack a plane and crash it into a building.

The 19-year-old’s focus on Biden started in the spring, according to the order. Between March and May, Treisman ran a number of Google searches linked to his plot against Biden, including queries on state gun laws and rifle parts. Days after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suspended his presidential campaign, Treisman, who had suggested in a Reddit post that he had to “save bernie,” posted a meme with the caption questioning whether he should kill Biden.

He did so from the meme-sharing platform iFunny, which has become a popular hub for white nationalists and far-right propaganda. Last year, another 19-year-old was arrested for posting a meme in which he threatened to “slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor” at an abortion clinic.

‘Stop me if you can’: Teen arrested for allegedly threatening ‘slaughter’ at abortion clinic

BEEN PLANNING FOR SOME TIME AND WAS CLOSE TO THE FORMER VP A FEW TIMES

Judging by cellphone records and financial transactions, federal officials say Treisman made his way to within a few miles of the former vice president’s home in Delaware on May 3, the Daily Beast reported. Biden campaign spokesman Michael Gwin declined to comment to The Washington Post and referred questions on the matter to the Secret Service, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

In an interview with a Joint Terrorism Task Forces official, Treisman acknowledged having “an interest in terrorist incidents and mass shootings,” and said he consumed YouTube videos and Wikipedia articles about the tragedies. He described how he had “lost friends because of jokes he has made about mass shootings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” according to the order.

A cellphone photo of a doctored Polish passport and a rental agreement for an apartment in Canada suggested that Treisman had made tentative plans to leave the country, according to officials. The day after he was arrested, his mother told him in a jail call to “jump bail,” the order said.

Treisman is being held without bail. Judge Joe L. Webster, a federal magistrate in Durham, N.C., noted that while the teen did not have any prior criminal history, the court concluded that “the record establishes by clear and convincing evidence that no combination of available release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community.”

Neither federal prosecutors nor Treisman’s attorney immediately returned a request for comment early Friday.

DAWG SAYS: ANOTHER DUMASS THAT NEEDS TO BE LOCKED UP