The Trib, Burke, & Me

I would like to thank the Chicago Tribune for keeping me informed and letting me know what's going on in our great city, especially reporting on Ald. Ed Burke's costly '$600K a year' security detail. But, I'm asking for more information.

See, I'm a 'regular' citizen and I'm not an 'entitled' alderman. I have to pay for anything the city council decides I have to and I have to pay for my own vehicle, city and state sticker, gas, upkeep on my vehicle, vehicle insurance, tickets, and I have to drive my own vehicle. And, I believe the Tribune needs to include more about Burke's security detail to help make things more transparent for me, including:

- What is the total cost of each vehicle given to Burke to the taxpayers? Are these vehicles new, used, or leased? And, who leases these vehicles to the city for Burke to use? Or, does Burke lease the vehicles and make the city pay for them?

- What are the other costs of Burke's security detail to the city, including health pension benefits, overtime pay, and their meals and lodging? How is security detail picked?

- Why can't Burke be made to pay for his security detail out of multi-million dollar war chest?

- What will the total cost of the two retired Chicago police officers be to the city on Burke's security detail?

- Who pays for Burke's '24/7, 365 day' sun tan?

Burke continues to defend his '$600K a year' security detail' by saying the security detail has been given to Chicago's Finance Committee Chairman since the 1940's. And, Mayor Emanuel continues to talk about changes in our city, how everyone has to make sacrifices, and making everything more transparent in Chicago. But, why can't we know everything in terms of economics and how Burke's security detail is chosen from the police department? And, why do taxpayers have to continue to pay the bill?

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    Walter "Butch/Bearstradamus" Brzeski

    Life story in 50 words or so: Born in Bucktown to a middle-class family and has lived in Chicago his entire life, now residing on the far Northwest Side. Attended St. Hedwig, Lane Tech, Triton College and Eastern Illinois University. Has worked myriad jobs in the city, including many years as a bartender; is now a substitute teacher. Currently, is working on finishing his Masters in Education along with studying for his National Strength and Conditoning Association (NCSA) certification test ..................................................................................... Self-description: An avid sports fan, he describes himself as an average, "300-level guy." "I've never been a rich man, I've never been a poor man; I've been in-between." He is as much of a through-and-through Chicagoan as one will meet. He is proud of his Chicago accent and works to give back to the community. A humble man, he values a strong work ethic, which his dad instilled in him............ Writing experiences: Describes himself as the "most opinionated person in Chicago." He tries to get the average guy's voice out there, modeling his writing after the conversations he had with patrons when he was a Wrigleyville bartender. "I'm trying to let people know what is going on. Most of the things I write about, people are thinking about." He considers himself the voice for the working Chicagoan who doesn't think his opinion can be heard. His favorite topics to write about are sports and observations about what's happening in Chicago, and the two often mesh................................................................................... Unique traits: He attended EIU on a football scholarship as an offensive lineman and has been an athlete and sports fan all his life. A favorite childhood memory is racing home from school to catch Cubs games. His house is decorated with Chicago sports memorabilia; his favorite item is a letter written to him by former Bear Dan Hampton. He hopes to one day open an upscale sports bar (in Chicago, of course) and put his collection on display. — By Dan Waters, Tribune reporter

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