After half a dozen campus tours, you’ll be left with a heavy pile of information packets, an empty stomach and the desire to put your mind on something else. Lucky for you, just a short walk off campus you can find good eats and neat sites. Mark these spots down: You’ll be going there every time your friends and family visit you for the next four (or five…) years.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Photo by flickr user Monster Pete
Tour: Madonna della Strada Chapel, 6525 N. Sheridan Road
What did you expect? You’re at a Catholic University, so you should see the pièce de résistance even if you aren’t a regular church-goer. Built in 1938, this concrete masterpiece rises from the ground in all its art deco glory. The architecture carries inside with bright and airy modernism. Recently renovated, it features a 70-rank pipe organ.
For more information: Loyola University Chapel
Photo by flickr user Zol87
It was named one of Time Out Chicago’s “Essential Restaurants in Chicago,” but what exactly is “good wholesome food for the mind and body”? It’s a cafe that hosts political events, jazz concerts and even a radio show. In Rogers Park, the cafe is also connected to the Red Line Tap, which has an open mic night every Thursday and was named one of the Top 100 bars by Chicago magazine. Try a buffalo burger and don’t forget to stop in the general store on the way out.
For more information: http://www.heartlandcafe.com/
Photo by flickr user renee_mcgurk
Eat: Thai Grill,1040 W. Granville Avenue
For a cheap Thai fix, this is the place. Just a short walk to the south of campus (or a one-stop ride on the red line to Granville), Thai Grill is exactly what it says: Pad Thai and noodles. Nothing fancy, just the staples. They also have a full vegetarian menu to offer.
For more information: http://www.thaigrillchicago.com/
Photo courtesy of Thai Grill
633 Clark Street, Evanston
Photo by flickr user Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
Tour: Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
The Block features fine art exhibitions, an outdoor sculpture gallery, even a cinema. Tours are available and there are frequently lectures and workshops to better make sense of the art world. Summer exhibitions include “I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith,” with more than 200 photographs used by Smith as the foundation for her contemporary works, and “Social Mobility,” an interactive installation by Chicago artists’ collaborative Temporary Services.
For more information: Block Museum
Photo courtesy of the Block Museum
Sometimes you’re not looking for something special – you just want a quick sandwich next to your L stop. Welcome to this sandwich joint under the tracks, where the food is cheap and delicious. Try the Verde, on fresh tomato focaccia bread. This is the place where actual Northwestern students go for lunch, so get in the habit now. It’s an especially good location if you’re majoring in engineering, whose classrooms are just down the street.
For more information: http://rollin2go.com/
Photo by Tricia L. on Yelp
Eat: Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop, 825 Church Street, Evanston
Cajun and creole … even at breakfast. If you like a little kick to jumpstart your day – morning, noon or night – this is the place. Crawdads, peel-and-eat BBQ shrimp and catfish might have you stuffed to the gills (cheesy pun intended), but leave room for warm peach cobbler. President Obama even gave his vote to Dixie Kitchen on WTTW’s “Check, Please!” (“The prices are right and the portions are good,” he said.) When the Dixie Kitchen in Obama’s home neighborhood, Hyde Park, marks its last day this weekend, the Evanston location becomes the last bastion for Chicagoans lookin’ for a fixin’.
For more information: http://www.dixiekitchenchicago.com/
Photo by flickr user Eric Guo
1 E. Jackson, Chicago
Photo by flickr user Tony.L.Wong
Tour: Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park
So you think you’re too old for zoos? What if we told you that this zoo was 1) walking distance from campus and 2) free? Lions, ZEBRAS and bears, oh my!
For more information: www.lpzoo.org
Photo by flickr user cortneymartin82
Eat: Bacino’s of Lincoln Park, 2204 N. Lincoln Avenue
This place may look like your straightforward pizza shop, but the food is far from usual. Aside from the pizza (Chicago-style stuffed and thin crust), they have Italian food you’d find at a restaurant with white table cloths. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, try the poached pear and gorgonzola salad or the homemade lasagna.
For more information: Bacino’s Website
Photo courtesy of Bacino’s
This place’s mission is to “overwhelm your senses” and it succeeds. It looks like a mix between a coffee shop, book store and your grandmother’s kitchen. Known for its literary themed sandwiches – The Hobbit (a triple-decker BLT) and The Old Man and the Sea (tuna dill), for example – they also have second-to-none salads like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese. Rachel Ray once visited. ‘Nuff said.
For more information: http://www.bpigcafe.com/
Photo by flickr user _nickd
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago
Photo by flickr user Androfire
Tour: Museum of Science and Industry, South Lake Shore Drive
You’re going to college, so we know you love learning. This museum has something for everyone – anatomy (the “Body Worlds” exhibit displaying cadavers-turned-art), aviation (full size airplanes) and meteorology (the tornado alley may be particularly relevant to provide some insight into what happened in Joplin, Mo. this spring). With a student ID you can become a member for $55 and visit as many times as you want.
For more information: Museum of Science and Industry
Photo by flickr user hibino
Eat: Medici on 57th, 1327 E. 57th St.
Voted one of Chicago’s best burgers, this place has the look of a classy restaurant but with reasonable prices. With one-of-a-kind pizzas (apples on top!) and hearty weekend brunches, you won’t leave hungry. They’re also known for their bakery and unusual assortment of breads and rolls, so get some to go, too. According to Fodor’s “Chicago Travel Guide,” though, the allure is to become part of history as one of the “generations of University of Chicago students who’ve carved their names into the tables.”
For more information: http://www.medici57.com/
Photo courtesy of Medici on 57th
Any restaurant review would be remiss to avoid getting into the fray: Who has the best pizza in Chicago? If you ask the students, Edwardo’s, which has several locations, will make the list. That’s partly because the price is a little lower than its counterparts, and we can all agree college students are stingy by necessity. Known for their deep dish spinach pizza, you won’t go wrong with any of their pies.
For more information: http://www.edwardos.com/
Photo by Greg D. of Yelp
COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Photo by flickr user John Picken
Tour: Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park
At Grant Park, this is the iconic symbol of Chicago, seen in TV and movies and a definite must-visit for anyone new to the city. According to Chicago Traveler, it uses 1.5 million gallons, with 14,000 gallons circulating through each minute, pushed by 134 jets. It’s no wonder that Rahm Emanuel chose this to be the backdrop of his inauguration.
For more information: Chicago Traveler
Photo by flickr user David Paul Ohmer
One of the many firsts to come out of the World’s Columbian Exposition, this restaurant is a keeper, and a staple among the downtown professional crowd (in other words: the people you hope to be someday). While it offers a lunch buffet of fresh carved meats, the dinner menu filled with German staples and inventive takes on classics (try mascarpone mac and cheese) is the true treat. Dinner can get a little steep, so save this trip for when you have Mom and Dad to foot the bill.
For more information: http://www.theberghoff.com/
Photo by flickr user Señor Codo
Once you’ve made your college decision, the hard part is done.
But that doesn’t mean you can slack off.
You’re coming to the third-largest city in the country, a place where the people are loud but friendly, the food is plentiful but pricey and the weather is … well, we’ll get to that. Before you talk to your roommate and decide who’s bringing the TV and who’s bringing the microfridge (and definitely before you send your teary-eyed mother on her way), read this list to prepare for the adventure of your life.
This isn’t a test. It’s just planning to make the fun part even more fun.
Eat out once a week.
Chicago has this little thing called Grubhub.com, where you can order just about any food at just about any time of day for a reasonable fee. Check this out at 2 a.m. after a hard night of studying (or “studying”) and you’re bound to find hundreds of joints willing to deliver you a “hangover burrito” (this exists and is amazing) or the greasiest not-Chicago-style pizza (because sometimes you just want it like they make it at home). Furthermore, each campus in this city has its share of little coffee shops, brewpubs and sandwich makers where the in-the-know students hang out. You’ve got to eat, so why not eat well? That said, your meal plan is a much better deal (especially if it’s on Mom and Dad’s tab), and the Freshman 15 is not an urban myth, so make sure you do your splurging in moderation.
Dress for the weather.
Chicago has a unique style: Weather appropriate. The people who live here know how to let their winter-musts make the fashion statement for them. David Murphy, a graduate of Northwestern University who has since moved to the warmer climate of San Francisco, says it comes down to two words: “Thick coats.” Chicagoans learned this the hard way during a record-breaking blizzard in February. A zero-rated parka (check out these coats from L.L. Bean) might make you look like little Randy lumbering around in his snowsuit in “A Christmas Story,” but when you have a mile to walk between the dorm and class, you won’t be sorry.
Chicagoans will tell you that there are only two seasons here: winter and summer. That was true this year, but usually there is that period in March and April where the average high temperatures are in the 40s and 50s (and NOAA knows better than anyone). Spring here is rainy, and nowhere in the world will you see a better assortment of galoshes. Check out the selection of rain boots on Zappos.com for a style that suits you.
Then there’s the hot weather, a three-month anomaly that just this week led Chicago Police to shut down North Avenue Beach when four people suffered from heat exhaustion. That’s when it helps to get some sweat-wicking clothing (Moosejaw in Lincoln Park has a great selection) and constant hydration.
Learn the CTA.
This was our top tip from Chicagoans themselves. Annie Koval, who did her undergrad at the University of Illinois before moving to the big city to pursue her graduate studies at Northwestern, says it best: “Figure out the L, and figure it out fast.”
Many universities give students a U-Pass, which let’s you ride as much as you want. Your student fees pay for it, so use it. Within the city, a CTA bus or train can get you anywhere you need to go, and if you’re a future Wildcat headed to Northwestern’s Evanston campus, you can use the Pace bus, which directly connects to the CTA.
Remember the buddy system.
As soon as you told people you were moving to Chicago, you probably heard lots about being safe. In the end, your safety is largely a result of your common sense and intuition. According to the Chicago Police’s Personal Safety Tips Checklist, you should be alert and be prepared, carrying your money in places that aren’t easy for pick-pockets to get to and walking on well-lit streets. Women are always recommended to leave the clutch (which can just as easily become an un-clutch) at home and carry all that stuff in a sling bag or cross body purse.
Most importantly, travel in pairs or in groups at night and, if you must go out alone, tell a roommate or resident assistant where you’re going and when you should be back.
Leave campus whenever possible. (Be a tourist!)
This city has so much to offer, from parks to museums, theaters and clubs. If you stay in your dorm and never venture past the cafeteria or classroom, the world that is at your fingertips might as well be a world away. Instead, check out the list of events at Metromix and plan a hall night out on the town. Or choose one of the many plays or shows in Chicago – this summer, we have the Broadway touring casts of West Side Story and Beauty and the Beast. After a quick read of Chicago’s official tourism site, you will find something for everyone.
Buy a map. (But leave the car at home.)
The cost to park here is astronomical, and public transit is reliable and cheap. So catch a ride to Chicago with your parents (they’ll feel better if they see you settled into your new home anyway) and leave your car at home.
That doesn’t mean you won’t need a map, though. The last thing you want is to get turned around in a neighborhood you don’t know well and not know how to get back from whence you came. Yes, there’s an app for that, but what if you don’t have 3G/4G? What if you’ve dropped your phone? A good carry-around pocket-sized map is the Randy McNally Chicago Pop-up Map. Bonus: It has the Blues Brothers on the cover for maximum hipness.
As Christopher Rios, a student at Dominican University, explained on Ask Metafilter: “Learn the grid system of Chicago. You’ll never get lost if you know it.”
Become a fan (or at least give it the ol’ college try).
Chicago lives and dies by its teams, especially the Bears and the Blackhawks, which have a regional following and rabid fans who want to talk shop year-round. It helps that these teams are good – though not the best this season, sadly – so even if you aren’t a walking sports encyclopedia, you can check the headlines every now and again just to have the talking points. To get you started: Cutler’s knee. Canucks’ hair-pulling.
Talk to strangers.
This isn’t advice you’re going to get from the grandparents, but if you want to know Chicago like Chicagoans do, you need to talk to Chicagoans. As we journalists like to say, go to the source. This city has all the charm the Midwest is known for, just in a larger package. As long as you’re not chasing the strangers into dark alleyways, striking up a friendly conversation with the person you’re skin-to-skin with on a packed train or sitting next to at the bar, it’s a great way to become acquainted with the city fast.
Wanna see the whole timeline — YouTube clips and all? Click the link above to go to Dipity.
From big festivals to small club shows, summer is the time for music in Chicago. We preview 18 of these must-see events.
The fictional McKinley High School glee club may not have placed at nationals in New York City this year, but they got a pretty good summer gig: a multi-city tour. This brand extension of the hit TV show features live performances by favorite faux-teens Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) and more. With all the outrageous costuming (remember those Lady Gaga get-ups?), intense dancing and big voices of the TV show accented by thousands of screaming fans, this fills the void until new episodes resume in the fall. Tickets from $40.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: http://www.gleetour.com/
The indie/folk jam band shocked fans when it announced with much fanfare on Jan. 1 that it would be putting out a new album and touring again after breaking up in 2004. Although there had been a couple reunion gigs, none were as extensive as this 10-city tour featuring new material from their Dispatch EP released May 17. The band performed their first new single “Melon Bend” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last month. Although tickets to their June 8 show at Millennium Park are sold out, tickets are still available to their show at the UIC Pavilion June 7 for $50.
Location: UIC Pavilion, 525 South Racine Avenue, Chicago
For more information: http://www.dispatchmusic.com/
With the go-to country music show of every summer, this road warrior’s live chops aren’t just fan voted: He won the Billboard Touring Award for top package event for four consecutive years. This year’s Goin’ Coastal Tour will undoubtedly feature breezy favorites like “Beer in Mexico,” “When the Sun Goes Down” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.” Chesney is also supporting his latest album Hemingway’s Whiskey, released in September — and if fans are lucky, maybe he’ll preview some new material from the yet-unnamed album he’s reportedly recording. If you think his tractor’s sexy, tickets are available from $46.
Location: Toyota Park, 7000 S. Harlem, Bridgeview
For more information: http://www.kennychesney.com/
Chicago Blues Fest
The largest free blues festival in the world is right in your backyard. Across three days and five stages, Chicagoans can see the best of the genre, including Eddie Cotton, Carl Weathersby, Billy Branch, Dave Specter Band and Shemekia Copeland (daughter of Grammy winner Johnny Copeland). The final show of the festival is a 40th anniversary tribute to Alligator Records, the Chicago label that produced such greats as Copeland and fellow Grammy winner Clifton Chenier. Admission is free.
Location: Multiple locations, Chicago
For more information: Explore Chicago
Her music has become decidedly more, erm, mature since her 2010 album Loud (though songs “What’s My Name” and the coyly titled “S&M” have achieved peak saturation on Top 40 radio) but her shows attract young and old alike to the mix of sing-along-worthy hits and highly choreographed dance numbers. B.o.B. and J.Cole open, making this the R&B tour of the summer. Tickets from $30.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison Street, Chicago
For more information: http://rihannanow.com/
Florence + The Machine
British phenom Florence Welch and her band are taking the nation by storm after she performed at the Oscars, Grammys and MTV’s Video Music Awards. Music from her debut album Lungs has appeared on Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl. Doors open at 7 p.m. for opener Hanni El Khatib. Tickets are $36.
Location: Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://florenceandthemachine.net/
You may not have heard of Beady Eye, but you’ve probably heard of Oasis. And that’s basically who this band is. Formed in 2009 when Noel Gallagher left Oasis, this group still has guitarist Andy Bell and “the voice,” Liam Gallagher. Their first album Different gear, still speeding came out this spring, produced by the iconic Steve Lillywhite, the man behind much of the Dave Matthews Band’s and Peter Gabriel’s work. An added bonus of seeing this band would be their haunting rendition of The Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” Tickets are sold out, but StubHub has them available for $65 and up.
Location: Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.beadyeyemusic.com/
Matt & Kim
If you don’t think that a band can include just a drummer and a keyboardist, then you haven’t seen Matt & Kim. The Brooklyn duo produces music that is easy for dancing, driving, singing and just plain having a good time. They were at Lollapalooza last summer, but this visit to Chicago will provide a much more intimate setting at The Vic. They’ll likely play hits “Daylight” and “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” (both of which have appeared on several TV shows, including Entourage and Community) but they’re touring in support of their latest record Sidewalks. Instant classics “AM/FM Sound” and “Cameras” will have you bopping your head in no time. Although tickets are sold out to Saturday’s show, Sunday’s show has tickets available for $24.
Location: The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://mattandkimmusic.com/
Dave Matthews Band Caravan
This three-day festival is only hitting a handful of U.S. cities, and Chicago is one of the lucky few. The Top 40 jam band will headline each day with other headline-worthy artists including O.A.R., Ray LaMontagne, Kid Cudi, Ben Folds, The Flaming Lips and Chicago native Liz Phair. Tickets are $85 a day or $195 for all three days.
Location: Lakeside, 8555 S. Green Bay Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://www.dmbcaravan.com
Britney Spears with Nicki Minaj
Say what you will about the aging pop star and her train wreck turn detailed ad nauseum in the gossip mags, Ms. Spears can still put on a helluva show. Her 2009 Circus tour sold out, and new album Femme Fatale released in March spawned the Billboard chart-topping auto-tuned sensation “Hold It Against Me.” This tour will be a little a different, or at least the music will. As Spears told People, “We’ve remixed each number.” She also added a girl-power vibe by adding crazy-haired rapper Minaj. Tickets from $40.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.britneyspears.com/
Vans Warped Tour
Approaching its 20th year, the punk extravaganza features five dozen bands, including Unwritten Law, The Devil Wears Prada, Simple Plan, Relient K, August Burns Red and local alt-electronica rockers Madina Lake, performing on 10 stages. Tickets from $45.
Location: Tinley Park
For more information: http://vanswarpedtour.com/
If you’re one of the thousands who took advantage of the iTunes and Facebook free download of his song “Hidden Away” last fall, you probably couldn’t stop listening to the man who single-handedly made opera both trendy and sexy. Groban’s Straight to You Tour will play up his album Illuminations, released in November. He’s one of Oprah’s favorite things (he appeared at her farewell show), and if he’s also one of yours, you won’t want to miss this show. Tickets from $65.50.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.joshgroban.com/
Pitchfork Music Festival
This Chicago summer classic returns for its sixth year with major acts like Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Chicago is the only city to host these three days of up-and-coming and established alternative acts. Tickets are $45 per day. While three-day passes are sold out, StubHub has them starting at $140.
Location: Union Park ,1501 W. Randolph, Chicago
For more information: http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/
American Idols Live!
Long before Glee thought to go live, there was American Idol Live! taking no-name kids with big voices and putting them in front of a ravenous reality TV-addicted audience to turn their newfound star power into profits. Season 10’s top 11 contestants will appear at this show, which usually sells out. Now that the votes are all in, this live event will let fans decide for themselves if winner Scotty McCreery and runner up Lauren Alaina are truly an item (maybe they’ll recreate that was it/wasn’t it kiss moment from the finale!), and if Pia Toscano really is the one who should have won it all. Also featured is hometown girl Haley Reinhart. Tickets from $57.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: American Idol Season 10 Tour
Billed as Lolla’s 20th anniversary (though it ceased to exist for about six years in there), Chicago becomes a tourism hot-spot for this three day festival packed with super-sized artists. Headliners include Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse and My Morning Jacket. Other major names include Sleigh Bells and Flogging Molly. Swedish darling Lykke Li will also make a return to the city after her sold-out show at Metro in May. Three-day passes are $215.
Location: Grant Park, Chicago
For more information: http://www.lollapalooza.com/
Admit it: You can’t turn off this golden-locked angel of pop country when she comes on the radio again and again and again. The 21-year-old’s voice may sound like that of an underaged novice, but her original music (most of it is self-written) and her message of empowerment resonate with fans of all ages. The Speak Now World Tour, in support of the album of the same name, will stop in Chicago for two days. The tour is sold out, but tickets are available on StubHub starting at $50.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: http://www.taylorswift.com/
The Hold Steady
These indie rockers may be from New York, but they do have a Chicago connection: their song “Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night.” Although they’ve recently become a quartet after the exit of their keyboardist, their music hasn’t changed much. While they don’t have a large mainstream following, they have appeared on The Colbert Report. Doors open at 8 p.m. for opener The Donkeys. Tickets $25.
Location: Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago
For more information: http://theholdsteady.net/
Chicago Jazz Festival
For 33 years, this event has marked the end of summer festival season in Chicago, with four days of the nation’s best jazz artists at three different locations. This year’s weekend closing acts are singer-songwriter Cassandra Wilson on Saturday ,and Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove on Sunday. Also playing are sax players Ravi Coltrane (son of John Coltrane) and Joe Lovano. Admission is free.
Location: Multiple locations, Chicago
For more information: Chicago Jazz Festival on Explore Chicago
A fresh era of Chicago politics dawned this week with new city council members, new department heads and a new mayor.
But this is the City of Big Shoulders and bigger scandals. Changing careers or moving to Chicago from places afar doesn’t mean the past has passed. Just ask these five officials.
Click each photo to view YouTube interviews with the official. Click the red text to read related news articles.
Rahm Emanuel — Mayor
Chicago’s 55th mayor may have rock star celebrity and a winning mix of national credentials and local connections, but he also has his share of noteworthy scandals in the past.
Emanuel served from 2000-2001 on the board of Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage firm embroiled in the housing meltdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission later said the firm misreported profits during that period, according to ABC News. Emanuel was not named in the SEC investigation. Emanuel made more than $300,000 on the job, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Emanuel’s sometimes abrasive personality and his encyclopedic knowledge of four-letter words have not always earned him fans. After calling a group of liberal Democrats “retarded” (in conjunction with one of his signature f-bombs) in 2010, he later apologized to the head of the Special Olympics.
But perhaps it is what Emanuel won’t say that has driven the most speculation. His relationship with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the scandal to sell Obama’s senate seat remains unknown.
Garry McCarthy — Superintendent of Police
The former NYPD cop reportedly came highly recommended to Emanuel, although McCarthy’s troubles were no secret. In fact, some of them were laid out in reality TV docudrama Brick City, which aired on the Sundance Channel.
Recently it has been reported in the Chicago press that the Newark (N.J.) Police Department, where McCarthy was formerly director, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for civil rights violations that allegedly occurred over several years. According to the Chicago Tribune, most of the incidents predate McCarthy’s tenure, which began in 2006. The allegations, which include use of excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure, led the American Civil Liberties Union to file a complaint and request for federal oversight of the department.
This year the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition led dozens of civil disobedience protests to point out violence among minorities and to call for the firing of McCarthy. At the same time, Newark’s police union voted “no confidence” in McCarthy’s leadership over disagreements about officer layoffs and demotions. He did, however, retain the support of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said McCarthy had the “ability to excel and succeed in very difficult times.” Booker credited his former police director with “bringing down crime” in the city.
It was a rocky year for the veteran officer. In January 2010, McCarthy publicly admitted errors on the part of his department when the body of a bystander killed in a shooting was not discovered until a day into the investigation. McCarthy said policies were not followed and vowed to discipline those responsible.
Off the job, McCarthy hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2005, he and his wife were arrested after a confrontation with officers issuing a parking ticket to his daughters at a New Jersey rest stop. He was charged with illegally obstructing traffic and fined. McCarthy maintained that the other officers involved lied.
Perhaps his biggest challenge is that McCarthy joins the Chicago Police Department as an outsider after several high-ranking officials had speculated that Emanuel would choose from within the force. The insider-outsider debate rankled officers during former Superintendent Jody Weis’ tenure. Weis took the job after leaving the FBI.
Jean-Claude Brizard — Incoming CEO of Chicago Public Schools
Although he hasn’t been sworn into office yet – that could come at the May 25 school board meeting – he’s already on the job and his infamy precedes him.
As superintendent of the Rochester, N.Y. schools, Brizard had a contentious relationship with those around him. The Rochester Teachers Association collected grievances based on increased staff layoffs, decreased student suspensions and Brizard’s push for a longer school year. Eventually the union voted “no confidence” in his leadership.
Parents joined teachers in their complaints that Brizard left them in the dark in deciding to close schools in the district. They also accused him of favoring privatization. Although he had no control over charter schools in his position, his wife was a charter school administrator.
Brizard was also involved in two federal lawsuits, one of them regarding the firing of an elderly teacher who claimed age discrimination and the other for questionable punitive tactics. That case regarded the use of “rubber rooms” (immortalized in a “Law & Order” episode) for staff facing disciplinary action. They were placed on paid administrative leave and reported to what were essentially off-campus study halls until their cases were heard. After multiple union grievances, the practice has subsided, a union rep told the Tribune.
Chicago teachers union members complained that Emanuel did not examine the lawsuits closely enough in considering Brizard for the CPS position.
In April, with rumors swirling he was leaving Rochester, Brizard was out of touch with his school board, according to Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle, leaving some members to say they felt “betrayed” and accuse him of bailing. He left the Rochester schools nearly $80 million in debt and with half of the schools failing, the Tribune reported.
Matthew O’Shea — 19th Ward Alderman
Although a newcomer to City Council, O’Shea is no stranger to Chicago politics. Formerly a Democratic Ward Committeeman and administrator at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, O’Shea has seen the seamier side of the electoral process.
In 2010, the Tribune’s Clout Street blog pointed out O’Shea drew a $29,000 salary in the first half of 2009 from then Ald. Virginia Rugai for his role as committeeman, circumventing the city’s political hiring ban. Typically a committeeman who is not an elected official is an unpaid political advocate, although O’Shea listed his job title as aide to the alderman.
In adding to Chicago’s storied rough-and-tumble campaign history, O’Shea was accused of playing dirty politics for allegedly masterminding a mailer from the Democratic committee that accused a fellow Democratic candidate of not voting for Obama. The opponent said the mailing targeted black voters. O’Shea’s rep denied that in an interview with The SouthtownStar, but did not deny sending the item.
And in the kind of squabbles that embroil local candidates, O’Shea was targeted on election night for hosting a celebratory party outside city limits. His reps called the complaints “silly,” though they irked several other candidates.
Debra Silverstein — 50th Ward Alderman
The councilwoman is coming straight from the private sector, where she is an accountant, but she has the backing of a close political ally: her husband, state Sen. Ira Silverstein. According to WBEZ, that had some residents wondering: How much power is too much in one household?
Unseating long-time Ald. Bernie Stone was no easy feat, and the battle put Silverstein in the trenches. Silverstein accused Stone of running a shadow campaign committee (it’s against election rules to have more than one committee) to smear her and Stone countered that Silverstein was an ageist “housewife” whose campaign was masterminded by her husband.
After Jewish Chicago, a local publication, attacked the Silverstein family realty business and Silverstein’s appearance, the couple threatened legal action against the publisher for defamation, the Chicago News-Star reported.