Showing posts with label KATHY POSNER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KATHY POSNER. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 04, 2012



Story By: Kathy Posner

Kathy Posner

Kathy Posner's View
My friend Linda, whose head spins and she spits green soup when I write a mathematical blog, loves when I post a story about me. This blog is for her. I have lived a very luxurious life in a million dollar plus condominium on Michigan Ave. I recently sold the condo because I did not need such a huge home with four bathrooms! It is just me performing daily ablutions, so why did I need four different spots to squat? I decided that I would now rent. It is incredible how much less expensive renting is than owning, but that story would have to include mathematical equations which would only upset Linda. So just trust me on that statement. After only two days in my new apartment on Wacker Drive, which has a magnificent view of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, I am discovering how ”real people” live. At my old building I think there were more service people than residents! I did not have to do anything from changing a light bulb to putting away my Peapod groceries. There was always someone who would do whatever I needed done. I could pull my car up to the front of the building, get out, go upstairs and all my packages would magically appear at my condo door and my car would be parked for me.

In the real world, one has to pull their car up to the front of the building, get out, get a cart, put items on the cart, take them upstairs, return the cart and park the car. I feel like a horrible elitist snob, but I don’t like doing that! I need others to do that for me. I am spoiled.

At the old place, there were 200 units and many of them were “in town” homes so the owners were rarely around. I never saw anybody. The new place has 500 units and I see people in the hallways, the elevators, the lobby, the mailroom and I don’t like that. One has to smile and be polite to these strangers that I have no desire to make my friends. The 103rd episode of Seinfeld perfectly explains exactly how I feel. Watch this video clip from the show.

I know my lifestyle in a high rise right off Michigan Avenue, with a doorman, a health club, a WiFi salon, an indoor park and other amenities would be considered luxurious. But I don’t have what I need most and that is a personal staff.

I am sure after a few weeks I will ferret out the building’s maintenance people who will assist me for a hefty tip. Until then, I will have to tie my own shoe laces.

Monday, July 16, 2012



Kathy Posner Found Faisal Khan But Can You?

Disgruntled Kathy Posner

I have been writing about Chicago Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan since his office was created last year. In April I decided to try contacting Mr. Khan and could not find him anywhere. No City of Chicago resource that I called or contacted had any idea who he was. I wrote about it on April 4th in a blog called, “What Happened to Chicago’s Legislative Inspector General?”

Mr. Khan read my blog and contacted me. I was very impressed with his credentials and have great hopes that he will do a fantastic job in fulfilling his mission.

The picture on this blog is a copy of a sign a friend recently gave me telling me that she had heard it was supposed to be posted in all Aldermanic offices. My first thought was I wonder if anyone posted the sign and my second thought was does the City of Chicago now know who Faisal Khan is?

Monday, July 02, 2012



Story By: Kathy Posner

 United States Supreme Court Washington

Last week most people were eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacre and totally missed the Court’s 6-3 decision that the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was unconstitutional. That Act made it a federal crime to falsely claim or wear unearned military medals. The wording of the 69 page decision seems to make lying legal!


The case, United States vs. Alvarez, was about Xavier Alvarez, a California Water Board member, who had falsely claimed to have received the Medal of Honor. In 2007 Alvarez pled guilty but reserved the right to appeal. His sentence was three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service.

On appeal, his lawyer argued that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional because it violates a person’s right to lie. "The Stolen Valor Act criminalizes pure speech in the form of bare falsity, a mere telling of a lie," Alvarez's attorney, Jonathan Libby said at the Court’s hearing in February, "It doesn't matter whether the lie was told in a public meeting or in a private conversation with a friend or family member."

ABC News reported that in its argument before the Supreme Court, the government said that such specific lies fall under a special category of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment -- when the speech could do harm.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Story By: Kathy Posner


In November of 2009, I wrote a blog about the financial woes of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) At the time I quoted Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune, who had written, “The average fare collected by the CTA is 98 cents, according to the transit agency. It takes into account full-priced fares, reduced fares, passes and free rides. The cost for the CTA to provide service averages $7 per ride, including some capital costs such as maintenance and some system improvements. The cost per ride jumps to $9.90 if major projects such as the ongoing Brown Line capacity-expansion project or the planned extensions of the Red, Orange and Yellow/Skokie Swift Lines are factored in, CTA officials said.”

Since costs have not gone down for the CTA in the past three years, I feel safe in using those per ride numbers in my upcoming analysis of the CTA’S latest deal with Groupon. Followers of this blog are well aware that for years, since Groupon started doing business, I have mathematically proven how the company’s business model cannot sustain itself and the company will eventually implode. There are too many postings to put the links here. But in the case of the recent CTA deal, Groupon won and the taxpayers who support the CTA got screwed!

The Deal:

(1) CTA sold Groupon 250,000 three-day passes for $7.53 or a total of $1,882,500. The normal price of a three-day pass is $14.

(2) If the CTA had sold those passes for the full price of $14, the agency would have received $3,500,000.

(3) So at first look, the CTA had gross revenues of $1,617,500 LESS than they would have received if the passes had been sold at full price. Is this starting to sound like the debacle of selling off Chicago’s parking meters?

The CTA said they were happy to do the deal because the three day passes don’t sell well. Of course the CTA does not sell a lot of three day passes because CHICAGOANS—the people who support the CTA through their tax money- would buy monthly passes if they were using buses. Three day passes would be used by tourists coming for a short visit. There are fewer tourists than there are locals using the buses, so it makes sense that few three day passes are sold.

It is financially better for the CTA if tourists do not buy three day passes because then the agency would receive full fare for every ride they take instead of a discounted fare.

Saturday, June 16, 2012



 Engineer Kathy Posner

McDonough Associates, Inc. describes itself on its web site as “a full-service engineering/architectural firm with a professional and technical staff of approximately 135 employees.” But on the site’s link to “Latest News” the stories about the company’s recent travails are not included.

Last week, Sun-Times reporters Chris Fusco and Tina Sfondeles, chronicled the story of how McDonough Associates had blatantly over-billed the Illinois Department of Transportation. They pointed out that a July 2011 auditor’s report had “… questioned why McDonough employee bonuses, payments of dividends to the firm’s shareholders and other expenses were recorded as “overhead costs” even though those expenses appeared to have little to do with the work performed. Those expenses included “dinners, golf outings, Christmas luncheons and professional baseball and basketball game excursions involving IDOT employees.”

Bill Grunloh, the state procurement officer who oversees transportation contracts said that, “$46.5 million was improperly included by Contractor in its overhead computation for bonuses and dividends. Grunloh’s report said, “The overbilling took place over the majority of the last decade and ended in a multimillion-dollar overbilling balance . . . . The magnitude of the overbilling and the inability of such a business to prevent this kind of activity is . . . staggering.”

William B. Sullivan, the McDonough attorney, disputed the findings. “My client does not agree that any theft occurred,” Sullivan said. “

The Tribune reported that, “Since 2002, the state, the tollway agency and City of Chicago have paid more than $330 million to McDonough for engineering work, according to online databases maintained by the state and city.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Kathy Posner


As the summer months heat up, so do tempers and the number of violent gun related killings. On Saturday, June23rd, Chicago will hold its annual summer gun turn-in program - "Don't Kill A Dream, Save A Life." The point of the program is for citizens to turn in any illegal weapons they have with no questions asked. Thousands of guns are turned in every year—in exchange for gift cards. Firearms are worth a $100.00 gift card and replica and BB-guns may be turned in for a $10.00 gift card.

Chicago has long believed in the value of Gun Turn-In days, a program run by the Chicago Police Department’s Community Policing Office and faith and community-based organizations, to decrease the number of guns on the streets Without getting into a debate on gun control, which seemingly has no unanimously agreed upon answer, there is still debate as to whether this voluntary program is affordable to the Police Departments hosting these events.

For the most part, at least in the state of Illinois, guns confiscated by police officers, whether taken from an illegal owner or confiscated as evidence in a crime investigation, are ordered by state law to be destroyed. The destruction process, governed by the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) includes breaking down the gun and melting the steel, literally never to be identifiable as a gun again. To do this, however, has a cost.

Police departments and sheriff’s departments across Illinois are tasked with taking these firearms, in many cases thousands of confiscated guns at a time, to a legally licensed destroyer or steel smelter and then cataloging and tracking the official destruction of each and every gun. In many cases, this process costs the departments money to have this process completed, but in the best cases, it costs only hours and hours of officer time. This is time that should be used by officers to tend to other duties, duties that can directly translate into the immediate safety or rescue of a civilian in distress.

So why, when there is a company like Law Weapons &Supply who is willing, able and eager to provide this service for free to any and all police and sheriff’s departments in the state of Illinois, would any department continue to destroy these guns by traditional means? Law Weapons is offering to serve these officers and their departments by providing all transportation, all record keeping, all tracking, all official documentation of destruction and all physical handling of these weapons at absolutely no charge to the departments, saving them countless hours of officer time by relieving them of this long and arduous task.

Not only would these departments be taking advantage of a service offered by a locally owned business, increasing relations along the way, but they would be saving themselves countless hours of work and tremendous headaches in the accounting, disassembly and official destruction of confiscated firearms, not to mention any monetary cost involved whatsoever. Law Weapons & Supply is a small federally licensed gun dealer, started by local police officers and security professionals who literally want nothing more than to serve our local and state police departments wherever they can and help out in whatever way they are able.

It seems to me that if a private, locally owned and operated company, fighting for survival in today’s marketplace is willing and eager to assist our local and state law enforcement at absolutely no charge with any of the many tasks for which they are already understaffed, there should be no question.

Thursday, May 31, 2012



 Kathy Posner

Chicago is known not only for crooked politicians but also for a section on prestigious north Michigan Avenue known as the Magnificent Mile. The 12 block stretch contains the city’s largest shopping district with approximately 3,100,000 sq. ft. of retails shops (460 stores), 275 restaurants, 51 hotels and many cultural attractions. It is estimated that approximately 22,000,000 people visit the area annually. To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, “That’s where the money is.” So besides shoppers and tourists, the area is a Mecca for panhandlers. But are they allowed to beg there? Is it their space also?

First some history. In 1991 the city enacted a panhandling ordinance. In 2001, on behalf of three beggars who had been arrested or ticketed over the years, Mark Weinberg, an attorney who represented the panhandlers, filed a suit in defense of their First Amendment right to beg. He later got the suit certified as a class-action. That ordinance was repealed in 2002.

In 2003, The City of Chicago settled the suit and the $500,000 the city had to pay was divided up with $375,000 going to the attorneys with the meager rest to the panhandlers. The nearly 5,000 members of the class-action were allowed to files claims for $400 if they had been arrested or $50 if they had been ticketed.

In 2004, Chicago passed a new panhandling ordinance. Under this version, panhandlers can be ticketed if they ask for money within 10 feet of bus stops, ATMs, currency exchanges or banks. They are barred from begging for money from people in restaurants, sidewalk cafes and gas stations. They cannot be overly aggressive, rude, use profanity or touch the person from whom they are begging. It also bars two or more panhandlers from soliciting money together.

The law does not place any geographic restriction on begging. So when Chicago police attempted to tell panhandlers that it was illegal to beg on Michigan Avenue the panhandlers did the smart thing. They secretly taped police officers telling them to move on.

That video formed the basis for another federal class-action suit and an emergency injunction was filed this week seeking to defend the beggars’ rights. “The Chicago Police Department is presently engaged in a constitutionally abusive practice of illegally removing panhandlers from select portions of Michigan Avenue by fraudulently telling them that it is illegal to panhandle there and threatening to arrest them if they do not move," reads the complaint.

And who is the civil rights attorney representing the panhandlers? The same Mark Weinberg who collected $375,000 in fees from the panhandling suit he won in 2003.

"People do find panhandlers a nuisance," attorney Mark Weinberg told ABC Chicago. "But, the question is, Do we sacrifice Constitution rights because we find them a nuisance? And my answer is no."

Monday, May 14, 2012



 Zip Car

My condo building owns the garage on which the building sits. Unit owners can not own individual spaces but our monthly parking price is less than what we charge non-resident parkers. Because we allow hourly parking also, the garage is a revenue stream for the building in the same way parking in city-owned lots is revenue for the city. But there are some problems in both cases when outside deals are made.

In my building, if a non-resident wants a reserved space the fee is $389/month. But the Board made a deal with Zip Car that they get two spaces at only $220/month per space. That is a yearly loss of revenue of $4,056 to the buildings coffers. The Board’s explanation for this seemingly “inside deal” was that it made it convenient for residents who don’t have their own personal car to have easy access to the automobile sharing service Zip Car provides. So those people who do own a car and have to pay a higher parking price, gas, repairs, license fees, etc. are subsidizing those who do not. That seems unfair to me.

Last week the Chicago City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate approved the lease of city-owned parking spaces to the car sharing company, I-Go. If the full City Council approves the deal next week, I-Go's agreement will be valid through Dec. 31, 2016. The company will receive 10 parking spaces across five city-owned parking lots. The lots are located at 2418 W. Division St. in the 26th Ward, 740 N. Ashland Ave. and 1311 N. Moorman St. in the 1st Ward, 2019 W. Lawrence Ave. in the 47th Ward, and 5430 W. Gale St. in the 45th Ward. Each lot will supply two parking spaces.

Since during the length of the lease, the city is expected to receive $50,000 in revenue it sounds like a good deal until one hears the monthly per space price of the deal, only $85 per car! I also learned that last year, the city executed the same type of agreement with Zip Car. There is no tax-paying citizen in the City of Chicago who gets to rent a parking space at that low a fee. Because I don’t know the exact price those monthly spaces usually rent for, I cannot estimate the exact loss of revenue if the car companies had to pay the full price like everyone else does. I do know though that the deal is unfair to car-owning tax-payers who can’t get a price like this.

I guess we need to hire our own lobbyists to protect our rights.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012



 Smug Kathy Posner

Sue Kupcinet, president of the Kathy Posner Fan Club and loyal, daily blog reader, asked me to do a follow up on some stories I wrote about. Because she performs many tasks as President of the Club, how could I turn down this simple request? If I did, she might stop answering all the fan mail! So this blog is for Sue.


On Wednesday, March 28th, I wrote about how my friend Lisa was having a problem redeeming a gift certificate at a beauty salon. This seemingly innocent posting had nothing to do with important worldly issues of the day, yet it received 42 comments-- more comments than any other posting in the three year history of the blog.

It was a simple story. Lisa had received a $200 gift certificate as a present but when she tried to make an appointment at the salon, they would not make one without her giving a credit card number over the phone. Lisa did not want to do that and came to me for help. She wanted me to “trash” the salon.

I could not turn Lisa down because she is the friend who has accompanied me to the hospital at check-in every one of the twelve times I have had a surgical procedure. Since I have checked-out all twelve of those times, I feel Lisa is my good luck charm so I could not turn her down.

The posting had very successful results. By the afternoon of March 28th, the salon owner had called Lisa and begged her to “call off the dogs.” So many people had posted complaints on the salon’s web site it had crashed and their Facebook page was littered with nasty remarks. The owner agreed to let Lisa make an appointment without giving her credit card number.

Lisa has not gone to the salon yet because she is worried that they might do the equivalent of “spitting” in her food. She thinks she will spend the gift money on products instead.


On April 18th, I wrote three stories about money.One of them had to do with my being upset that the Sun-Times had raised its home delivery subscription price from $107 to $169 a year or 57%. They also wanted payment a year in advance and who knew if the newspaper would still exist in a year!

I went on-line and discovered I could buy a yearly subscription for only $91 if I were not already a subscriber. The only catch for me was that I would have to cancel my home delivery for three months to be able to take advantage of the offer.

I called the Sun-Times subscription department and gave them two options. They could either give me the $91 price now or I would cancel. They turned me down. This made no sense to me because newspapers are desperate for subscribers and each one is golden. But I was going to stick with what I wrote and cancel the paper when my current subscription expired in May.

Last week I received a call from the Sun-Times subscription department saying they heard I was upset and they were willing to give me a year’s subscription for the $91 price. I accepted the offer.

I was feeling very smug thinking some high executive at the paper had heard about my blog but then I learned the truth.

Loyal blog reader Cheryl Lewin had passed my posting on to an advertising executive at the paper who wrote her. 

“Hi Cheryl, It was good to hear from you, but only until I got to the part where we pissed off a loyal reader; thank you SO MUCH for calling this situation to my attention. “ I am not going to share the name of the ad exec because I don’t think it would be fair for everyone to start bothering him about their subscription pricing. I have to protect my sources!


On March 27th I wrote about my fear that the State of Illinois was looking into legislation that would outlaw plastic bag. I love plastic bags and did not want to see this happen. Instead it looks like Senate Bill 3442 would create a recycling act and the bags will be not be banned.

Synopsis As Introduced:

"Creates the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act. Requires manufacturers of plastic carryout bags to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and pay to the Agency an initial registration fee and annual registration renewal fee. Prohibits a manufacturer from selling or offering to sell plastic carryout bag in the State unless the manufacturer is registered with the Agency and its name is printed on the plastic carryout bags it manufactures. Requires each manufacturer to develop, and submit to the Agency, a plan to support the collection and recycling of plastic carryout bags and plastic film product wrap. Prohibits retailers from purchasing plastic carryout bags from manufacturers under certain circumstances. Sets forth duties of the Agency. Creates penalties for violations of the Act. Encourages manufacturers to include recycled content in the plastic carryout bags that they produce."


Lisa will be able to carry home her salon products in a plastic bag, the Sun-Times will be delivered in a plastic bag and I will have a convenient way to suffocate the next person who makes me mad!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Chicago's Kathy Posner

First some background for those not from Chicago. In 2007, the City of Chicago introduced the Blue Cart Recycling program. This is a program for people who live in a single-family home, 2-flat building or 3 or 4-flat building. According to the web site of the Department of Streets and Sanitation,” Recyclables are picked up and transported in specially designated recycling trucks to avoid contamination with regular garbage. Materials are taken to a city-approved recycling center where they are sorted into separate materials, called commodities, then baled or packaged for delivery to manufacturers who reprocess or reuse the materials to make new products.”

Materials that are accepted by the program are:

•Glass: jars and bottles,•Metal: cans, aluminum foil and pie tins,•Paper and Cardboard (flattened): Cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, cardboard (flatten all boxes), junk mail, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, paper bags, office paper and file folders, newspaper and inserts, paper greeting cards, wrapping paper,•Plastic: bottles and containers (# 1-5, 7 accepted), plastic beverage rings.

Currently there are approximately 600,000 homes that qualify for Blue Cart Recycling, but only 240,000 are part of the program. Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the remaining 340,000 Chicago households that don’t have curbside recycling will get it by the end of 2013. According to the Chicago Tribune,” The administration says it can afford to expand the recycling program because pickup has become more efficient in the six months since two private firms started competing with city crews.”

The Sun-Times reported, “A service that cost the city $4.77 for every blue cart collected before the competition is now being provided by city crews for $3.28 a cart including the sale of recyclables and by private contractors for $2.70 a cart, officials said. That’s a $2.2 million savings over a six-month period.”

IT IS NOT A $2.2 MILLION SAVINGS, IT IS A LOT MORE! Did the city have 4 year-olds with a rudimentary understanding of mathematics calculate the savings? The true savings are astounding and I can’t understand how my figures are so totally different from what the city claims.

Here are the simple statistics:

(A) 240,000 households at $4.77 means that each pick up costs $1,144,800 when it is performed by city workers at the old cost.

(B) The program calls for a pick up once every week, so that means there are 24 pick ups in six months which gives a cost of $27,475,200 at the old rate.

(C) 240,000 at $3.28 which is the more efficient city rate, means each pick up costs $787,200 or $18,892,800 for six months.

(D) 240,000 at $2.70—the private haulers rate-- means each pick up costs $648,000 or $15,552,000 for six months.


(A) The old city six month pick up costs compared to the lower efficient city pick up costs are $27,475,200 vs. $18,892,800. That is a savings of $8,582,400.

(B) The old city six month pick up costs were $27,475,200 and the private haulers rate is $15,552,800. That is a savings of $11,922,400.

I know I am not wrong, so I cannot figure out why the city is saying there is only a savings of $2.2 million!! Even if the pick up is only once every two weeks, the resultant savings are still greater than $2.2 million. Emanuel is gloating about how much money the privatization has saved taxpayers, but his bragging numbers are wrong. How come nobody else has figured this out? Whose calculator is wrong? I don’t think it’s mine.

Thursday, April 05, 2012



Kathy Posner

Last November I wrote a blog about how the Chicago City Council had finally hired a Chicago Legislative Inspector General, 18 months after the ordinance to create the job was passed. Because the current Chicago Inspector General (IG) is banned by ordinance to investigate Aldermen, a new office had to be created just for the purpose of investigating allegations of misconduct by Aldermen, Aldermanic staff or members of the City Council. Selected for the job was Faisal Khan, a former New York City attorney who had been Inspector General at New York City Department of Investigation. I wondered what has happened to him since last November when a friend recently asked me if I knew how to reach Khan.

Remember that the Chicago City Council only appropriated $60,000 to run the office. Alderman Joe Moore (D-49) said at the time that the part-time salary and no staff authorized for the new inspector general in the 2012 budget supports his claim that Khan will “end up being window dressing.” He also said, “I don’t know the man. I will assume he’s a man of utmost integrity. But it doesn’t matter how much integrity and independence you have. If you don’t have the tools to do the job, then you are going to be ineffective. And it does not appear he’s been given the tools to do the job.”

There has not been a single story in the news about Kahn in the last six months. That made me wonder, "Is he doing his job?"

I went to the City of Chicago web site and looked for his office. It does not exist. I went to the city employee directory and he is not listed. I called the city information hot line at 311 and asked how I could reach Faisal Khan. The operator did not know who he was. I told her he was the Legislative Inspector General. She said she did not have any listing for that office.

What if I wanted to report misconduct? I could not find him through official City of Chicago channels, so I went to Google. I found Khan’s LinkedIn listing I know I found the correct Khan because this is what was written:

“Legislative Inspector General"
City of Chicago
Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Government Administration industry
November 2011 – Present (6 months) Chicago

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Creation of the first Office of the Legislative Inspector General for the city of Chicago; Investigating allegations of, but not limited to, fraudulent, corrupt or criminal activity, conflicts of interest, unethical conduct, misconduct, and incompetence of City of Chicago Aldermen and employees of the Chicago city council; Work in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice and other federal and state investigative agencies in furtherance of OLIG investigations and prosecutions; Determine and designate appropriate resources and techniques towards initiation of investigative matters, as well as develop rules, regulations, and guidelines for investigative practices; Formally disclose, report, and issue various extensive reports delineating outcomes of investigations, audits, evaluations and inspections to all relevant parties; Conduct extensive legal research of federal, state, and local criminal, civil, and administrative codes and laws for compliance purposes. “
He certainly has a lot of responsibilities for a part time employee with no staff and no office in City Hall!

I finally found out how to reach Khan from a posting he had put up on in February in response to a comment someone had made about Chicago being such a corrupt city.

“Hello -
I am the Legislative Inspector General for the City of Chicago. The Office of the Legislative Inspector General is charged with investigating allegations of misconduct by Aldermen, Alderman staff, and/or members of City Council.
If you have any complaints or allegations of impropriety against any Alderman and/or their staff, please contact me at my office. Since this Office has only recently been created, we are still in the process of making ourselves readily available to members of the public. However, the complaint process is up and running, and as such, I can be reached at The office hotline number is (312) 744-2312.

If there is anything I can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please also feel free to forward this contact information to anyone. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Since 1972, when there was no Inspector General investigating City Council, 29 current and former Chicago aldermen have been sentenced to jail. No wonder no permanent office has been set up for him and he is not listed in the Chicago employee directory, it is obvious Aldermen don’t want people to be able to easily find him.

But now you know how, just in case.

Read more from Planet Posner HERE.....

Editors Note: We wonder if Kathy Posner called the number she found or does it even work?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Nothing Plastic About Kathy Posner

On May 11th last year, I wrote a blog “Confessions of a Plastic-A-Holic,” where I highlighted my love affair with plastic bags and why I was upset about the potential plastic bag ban in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois. Not that I ever go to Evanston, but since it is so close to my hometown, I was afraid the potential ban could spill over the border.

Some cities currently have plastic bag ban ordinances and I was excited to discover that the measure passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is being challenged in court. An association called, “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition,” filed a motion last week in which, “Petitioner seeks a judgment and writ of mandate to set aside, void, annul, and repeal San Francisco Ordinance No. 33-12 (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance bans plastic carryout bags (“plastic bags”) at retail stores, restaurants, and other food establishments, and requires that consumers pay a 10-cent fee for each paper carryout bag (“paper bag”) and each compostable carryout bag (“compostable bag”).

Steven Joseph of the coalition wrote, “A 10-cent fee is, or may be, far too low to act as an effective incentive to promote the use of reusable bags. No one will carry a reusable bag with them for unplanned impulse buying. Very few people will carry a reusable bag to Macy’s or other department stores to save a dime. Very few people will carry a large reusable bag to purchase one or two small items such as earrings or a watch or a snack from Union Square or Chinatown. Very few tourists will carry reusable bags when they visit Fisherman’s Wharf and tour the city."

I was thinking my love of plastic bags might put me in a unique category until I discovered there were others like me who wanted to protect the plastic bag. I found The facts presented reassured me that plastic bags are good and not the environmental horror that the tree huggers claim.

The site’s fact sheet said:

“Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable.

Across the U.S., millions of people are choosing plastic bags to take their items home from the store. These bags can be a sustainable option for our country when disposed of properly and recycled. Millions of pounds of bags are recycled each year by being brought in to local grocers for collection. Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products, such as backyard decks, playground equipment, and fences.

If consumers lose their choice of plastic bags at checkout or are forced to pay for them, people would purchase thicker garbage bags, introducing even more plastic into the environment.

Facts about Recycling

· Retail plastic bags are only one small fraction of the litter problem. Solving the larger litter problem isn't about banning grocery plastic bags. The solution is to create new opportunities for recycling all plastics.

· Plastic bag recycling has doubled in the past nine years.1 In 2010, more than 900 million pounds of post-consumer plastic bags, sacks and wraps were recycled.

· According to the EPA, the recycling rate of polyethylene bags, sacks and wraps in 2010 was 14.7 percent, a 23.8 percent increase from the rate in 2009. Recycling of polyethylene bags, sacks and wraps has now grown in 9 out of the last 10 years.

· These recycling efforts support thousands of green jobs which will be damaged with plastic bag bans and taxes.

Facts about Plastic Bags

· On a per bag basis, plastic grocery bags are the best checkout option for our environment. Plastic bags are more resource efficient, reduce landfill waste and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

They take up a lot less space in a landfill: 1,000 plastic bags weigh 13 pounds; 1,000 paper bags weigh 114 pounds.

They generate 80 percent less waste than paper bags.

They make up a tiny fraction (less than 0.5 percent) of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.

· American plastic bags are made from natural gas, NOT oil. In the U.S., 85 percent of the raw material used to make plastic bags is produced from natural gas.

· Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products, such as backyard decks, playground equipment, and fences.”

Now I will admit that Bag the Ban is a project of Hilex Poly, an industry-leading manufacturer of recycled content high density polyethylene (HDPE) bags, films and related products—so they might have a vested interested. But I don’t care where I get my supporting facts from, as long as I get to keep using plastic bags. Another use of plastic bags that was not mentioned--they are quite handy for quietly suffocating one’s enemies.

Editors Note: I have mixed feelings about plastic bags. Lets face it, not many are recycled. Most people use them for their garbage and then throw them all away. There is not much recycling going on. On the other hand, they save trees, which I think is more important. They are also good on a drunken night out when you pick up someone and don't want to look at their face. I think the only answer is to educate the public even better on recycling. Sooner than later the plastics are going to catch up with us and we will have a price to pay. We are already seeing this in the Pacific rim where they have 100's of miles of garbage floating around. The plastics take years to dissolve and when they do, they become part of the food chain. These chemicals are ingested by the seafood we eat. Then we are eating these toxic chemicals.

I think a good start would to ban plastic soda and milk bottles. Cans are easy to recycle and dissolve in landfills. Plastics can take thousands of years. There is no one answer here. Would love to hear what the readers think. Comment as you see fit!

You can read more from Planet Posner HERE...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Baby Sitting Kathy Posner

My Mother loved me and my sister very much, but she was not fond of other people’s children. She called young people “fat squabs.” I never had any children. I never wanted to have any children because they would have gotten in the way of my life. I always wished my sister had decided to have children so I could have spoiled them and been the eccentric Aunt Kathy. I find it enjoyable visiting with friend’s offspring, but I am always glad when they go away. I am good for an hour tops with those less than 21 years of age—with a few exceptions. Given my history of not caring about little people, it is obvious that I probably was never hired to baby sit in my younger years.

I wrote about my feelings for children last November so none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.

Up until now, the only time I have been totally in control of a baby is when, years ago, my friend Stephanie Dillard had a doctor’s appointment at Northwestern Hospital, close to my home and could not find a sitter. I forget which of her and Kirk’s babies it was! All she needed me to do was to sit in the waiting room and watch the baby in its carriage. I was petrified that something would happen on my watch. The fact that I was surrounded by hundreds of nurses and doctors did not matter. I figured, with my luck, the baby would cry or spit and I would be as helpless as it was in not knowing what to do. Obviously, the baby survived.

On Tuesday, I received a call from my friend Mancow who asked what I was doing Friday night. He prefaced the conversation by saying that he had already called everybody he knew and he really needed me. I knew what was coming. I was scared in anticipation of the request from someone I love and would do anything for. It was exactly what I feared. He asked me to baby sit his twin six-year old girls. I have been with these children many times and they are the best-behaved adorable young ladies. (I only like pretty children. Ask my friend Linda.) To be alone with them for hours though would be a daunting task.

I asked Mancow not to give them dinner first, so I could waste some time feeding them. I have an indoor pool in my condo building, so that could be fun. But should I wait after eating to let them swim? I better check on that old wives tale that you are not supposed to supervise children up to an hour after dining.

I have no toys to play with, so I hope they bring something with them. I don’t want to go out and buy anything because then I would be known as the person who has toys for children and other people might drop off their kids. Children can smell toys a mile away and might start flocking.

I decided to cheat a bit. I called a friend with a 5 year old son and invited them over Friday night. Now there will be a grown up in the house, I feel much safer.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012



Story By: Kathy Posner

Mancow Muller With Wallace “Gator” Bradley

Wallace "Gator" Bradley growing up in the Racine Courts housing projects in Chicago’s Southside in the 1960’s did not have much of a chance for advancement in life except for what the street gangs could offer. Today is his 60th birthday and I wanted to share his story. Coincidentally it is also the date of my Mother’s birthday. She passed 36 years ago; the two had totally disparate lives. Without her, there would no me. Odd that he and I are friends coming from such different backgrounds.

The young man became a member of Chicago’s largest street gang, the Gangster Disciples (GDs), founded by his childhood friend Larry Hoover. He rose through the ranks, becoming an enforcer, and in 1975 he was convicted of armed robbery. Sentenced to Stateville Penitentiary in Joliet, he was reunited with Hoover, who was serving a 150- to 200-year sentence for the 1973 murder of William Young, who allegedly stole drugs and money from the GDs.

Hoover and his friend realized that they needed to change their lives and decided to transform the GDs into a community service organization. After my friend left prison, he devoted himself to community work with Chicago’s inner-city youth. On January 5, 1980, Illinois Governor James Thompson issued my friend a pardon and this young man committed his life to political activism and community service. In 1981, Hoover changed the name of the GDs from the Gangster Disciples to Growth and Development, with a mission to bring positive change to inner-city youth through education.

My friend became involved in politics through the campaign of Cook County Commissioner Jerry “Iceman” Butler and became the Commissioner’s assistant until 1992. He ran for the seat of Chicago 3rd Ward Alderman in 1991, and while he lost that race to incumbent Dorothy Tillman, the race earned national attention.

One of the highlights of his life happened in 1994, when he was invited to the White House to visit President Bill Clinton to give the president a briefing on violence in the inner city.

He has worked with many politicians and was an early organizer with Barack Obama when the President was a community organizer at a Southside church. He has been recognized for his work and, along with many other awards, in 1989 he was presented with the United Negro College Fund Meritorious Service Award.

Today he consults on political campaigns and I am honored to have met him through our mutual work on Justice Joy Cunningham’s campaign in her race for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court.

When we first met, we had a number of clashes, but we found peace with each other and now share a deep mutual respect. I am saddened at meetings of Editorial Boards and Forums when Justice Cunningham is asked about her involvement with this man and the questions are presented in a contentious light.

He was pardoned 32 years ago and has proved his devotion to enhancing the lives of black youth. When will the unfair questions stop? Happy Birthday, Wallace “Gator” Bradley.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012



Story By: Kathy Posner

Chicago Macy's


Just because one turns the calendar on a page, and the year date advances, does not make one bit of a difference in my life. There is no distinction for me between December 31st and January 1st and I am sick of people saying, “Happy New Year” as if one day will vary from the next having anything to do with the date.

I turned off my cell phone on the evening of December 31st so I would not be awakened by all the stupid, “Happy New Year’s” texts that started coming in right after midnight. When I looked at them the next morning, they were group texts, so they were meaningless and had nothing to do with me personally.

All day on the first, I was forced to respond to people chanting, “Happy New Year’s” until I wanted to start screaming! I was forced to respond with greetings in return rather than seem like Andy Rooney ranting at the end of a “Sixty Minutes” episode. Which, of course, will not happen again, since he died in 2011!


Facebook and Twitter are wonderful ways of disseminating IMPORTANT information to groups of people at one time. Notice the caveat, “important,” because most of the postings have to do with such stupid inane items as visiting a friend's Aunt’s cat and drinking a beer at the Bulls game.

Why are people so egotistical to think that anyone cares about the mundane occurrences in their day to day lives? You got a red sweater for Christmas? Please! Don’t bore me! Win the Nobel Peace Prize, and I would be thrilled to learn the news.


I think giving gift cards is the lazy man’s way to not being creative. Handing over a gift card as a gift shows that the giver does not care at all. It totally sends a message to the recipient that you did not care enough about them to discover what their interests are and what might be a pleasant surprise. A present should come in a beautiful box with wrapping and bows. It should not be in a flat envelope—unless it is a check for $1,000,000! If the person does not like the gift, they can always return it, but they knew that you took the trouble to spend time thinking about them.

I received $500 worth of Macy’s gift cards from a promotion I participated in. I did not want to keep them, because I knew I would lose them and forget about them, as I have with gift cards in the past. So I took them to Macy’s to pay my bill. Macy’s would not accept them. I argued in vain, that gift cards were the same as cash, but the manager would not budge. The store’s theory was that someone had given me the cards to BUY something and not to pay for something I had BOUGHT in the past. I asked, how did the manager know that? She had no response, except to tell me she would not accept the cards.

I wanted to tell her, “Happy New Year” with my finger extended, but I was too much a lady to do that. So, instead, I will ask Illinois State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), who passed gift card usage legislation in Illinois to look into it. When I force Macy’s to accept gift cards as payment for my bill, I will Tweet it. Now that is important news!

You can read more from Planet Posner here....

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Story By: Kathy Posner

Kathy Posner

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word, “school” as a noun is defined as “an organization that provides instruction.” At, the word is defined as “an institution for educating children.” Likely, we all thought we knew what a school was, but a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling has changed the definition of school as we know it.

Illinois statute720 ILCS 570/407(b)(2) has a section that makes Delivery of a Controlled Substance a Class 1 felony if it is committed within 1,000 feet of a school. So exactly what constitutes a “school” is very important for drug dealers to know.

The facts of the case I am writing about are not in dispute. On January 28, 2007, an undercover officer approached Anthony Young where he was standing on the sidewalk at 4958 West Augusta Boulevard in Chicago, and bought some heroin from him. The sale occurred within approximately 443 feet from the High Mountain Church and Preschool.

A jury found Young guilty of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. An Illinois Appellate Court reduced the conviction to delivery of a controlled substance, finding that a preschool is not a “school” within the meaning of section 407(b)(2) of the Act. Did the Supreme Court agree?

According to a Supreme Court opinion last week, “Young was charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2008)) and one count of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(2) (West 2008)). Prior to trial, in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of the location of the preschool, arguing that a preschool is not a ‘school’ within the meaning of section 407(b)(2) of the Act.”

So is a preschool a school? Not in Illinois! The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed a 20-year old Appellate Court ruling (People v. Goldstein, 204 Ill. App.3de 1041 (1990)) that the definition of “school” is unclear in the law and that “school” meant "any public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college or university." No mention of preschool!

The Illinois Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court and said that if the legislature had wanted preschool to be defined as a school, they would have expanded the definition.

Great loophole for Anthony Young -- but not for other, future offenders. I have spoken to State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) about amending the law. He agrees that it needs to be fixed and will create a definition of “school” that is so tight it will include a group of fish.

Read More From Planet Posner Here.....