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What I’m Watching—Feb. 8, 2011

Scammon? BGA/CBS 2 investigation of questionable spending practices, including an “in-service” trip to Las Vegas, at a troubled public school on Chicago’s northwest side with a name—Scammon—that might also describe how some of its administrators are treating parents and taxpayers.

“Chicago Code.” The premier episode of FOX’s new cop/corruption show exceeded my expectations by serving up an entertaining and relatively realistic look at the political and law enforcement world we live and work in. Now I’m wondering when the the BGA will pop up in a cameo watchdog role.

Kathy’s kudos. Civic treasure Kathy Posner looks at the BGA’s anti-corruption watchdog activities, which just received a huge financial boost and a critical vote of confidence in the form of a $1 million matching grant.

Mad again. The Trib reports that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing to block pension payments to former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge, who’s been convicted and sentenced to jail for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the torture of homicide suspects. Madigan is challenging a pension board decision to keep paying Burge’s $3,000 a month pension despite the conviction.

Speaking of pensions…the Trib also runs an op-ed by Dana Levenson, Chicago’s former CFO, urging the repeal of a new state law requiring the city to clean up its pension mess by 2015. Levenson says the short time frame puts an unrealistic burden on the city and its taxpayers, urging state lawmakers to repeal the law while the city comes up with a realistic longer-term plan.

Candid camera challenge. The Sun-Times is focusing on Chicago’s 10,000 or so surveillance cameras with a story about an ACLU challenge to the cameras on privacy and efficacy grounds, and an editorial weighing the pros and cons of the cameras.

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