Rodriguez out, Volpe in as CTA chief?

Michael Sneed over at the Sun-Times is reporting today that Paul Volpe, Mayor Daley’s chief of staff, may be replacing Rich Rodriguez as CTA president. Sneed says Rodriguez “may be leaving to return to the private sector.”

Volpe was the city’s finance director and the main man when the parking meter lease deal went down. So that leads me to wonder if Volpe would be looking to sell/lease some CTA assets to get more cash.

Stay tuned. 


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  • If we believe Sneed (and there is often reason not to) more turnover, and more evidence that the Mayor is running out of surrogates and gas.

    Talking about headlines, I thought at first it was the Volpe from Massachusetts who was Secretary of Transportation, but that apparently was John Volpe. Gawd forbid that Daley actually appoint [note, I didn't say the CTA Board] someone with transportation experience, but I guess he got burned too badly with Frank, who ostensibly had such on his resume.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hey, at least it's not Phyllis Volpe, whose transportation link would be her service at George Ryan's driver license facility. She was one of the first to fall in the licenses for bribes case!

  • "So that leads me to wonder if Volpe would be looking to sell/lease some CTA assets to get more cash."

    In that it is reported that CTA has already leased most of its property, and is in trouble because AIG was the guarantor on a couple of leases, I doubt that there is much left to sell.

    Interestingly enough, Business Week mentioned the CTA leases in connection with an article focusing on how Detroit is even more obligated to pay those lease obligations before it has one cent to spend on city services. When people say on Internet bulletin boards that Chicago is turning into Detroit, maybe that isn't as far fetched as one would think.

  • In reply to jack:

    "When people say on Internet bulletin boards that Chicago is turning into Detroit, maybe that isn't as far fetched as one would think."

    Have you seen Detroit lately? They even talk about turning parts of the city back into farmland. They have large portions of their city without grocery stores. We're not anywhere close to that, not by a long shot.

  • In reply to chris:

    "They have large portions of their city without grocery stores. We're not anywhere close to that, not by a long shot."

    Have you seen large tracts of the south and west sides?

  • In reply to BobS:

    Do you really want to compare Detroit to Chicago? Really? Comparing a couple small blighted areas to an entire city (Detroit) is not exactly a real comparison.

  • In reply to chris:

    I only said that going in that direction no longer seems that farfetched.

    The two similarities I note is that there are certain limits to borrowing one's way out of a systemic deficit, and Detroit has certainly reached them, while Illinois is darn close, and yes, there are huge vacant areas on the south side, which supposedly are food deserts and can't generate economic activity other than chicken shacks, liquor stores and gangs selling drugs. It hasn't happened on the north side, yet, but the saving grace may be the influx of entrepreneurial immigrant groups into such areas as Albany Park, North Park, and West Ridge.

  • In reply to chris:

    Hey, Chris, I didn't pick the example. If you're defining Detroit as a city abandoned by basic retail services, it's pretty silly not to talk about its effects here. Especially if you're saying the problem's "small" here.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Channel 2 is reporting that Rodriguez denies any plans to leave.....

  • In reply to Joe001:

    ... until tomorrow's report.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Fricking unbelievable.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Yes, Bob. In fact, I have seen large tracts of the south and west sides.

    I haven't just read reports from food activists. I've traveled most of the south and west side. First off, there is nothing there that looks like the devastation of Detroit.

    Second off, the "food deserts" that the activists talk about are places where there is no Jewel or Dominicks, but there are still groceries within easy distance of almost everywhere. To take the west side, which I know best (and which is widely considered poorer and more underserved) there are several major groceries on North Avenue west of Western, including Cermak Foods near California; Jimenez just west of Pulaski; Food for Less at Cicero; a big produce store near Central;

    On Division, there's a produce market at Grand (near Central Park);

    On Chicago Ave., there's Farmer's Pride at Western;

    On Madison you've got Moo & Oink near Cicero; Leamington Foods west of Laramie;

    So there are major groceries on all the main transit streets, and there's no place further than a mile and a half from a major grocery; there are few places where people actually live that are further than 6 blocks from a grocery. If you leave your block to go anywhere, you pass a major grocery on the west side.

    All that in addition to so many corner stores that if you type "grocery chicago" in google maps, the resulting page looks like a Christmas tree.

  • In reply to ryanwc:

    I forgot Aldi in the shopping center west of Kedzie on Chicago.

    And I should mention to the degree that the Lake St. corridor, which is mostly warehouses anyway, is "underserved" that's primarily because people know they're only 10 minutes from the Dominick's next to the Ridgeland green line station.

  • In reply to ryanwc:

    Maybe RonH might be willing to come back. Riding the Holiday Train once a year has got to be a less depressing public obligation than going to teenagers' funerals. Implementation of Bus Tracker had to have been easier and certainly is more immediately gratifying than trying to raise student achievement. The Red Line is starting to smell like a wet dog again. Come back, Ronnie, please....

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Martha, admit it. You just want Ron and his minions out of CPS before they do irreparable harm there (or order 18,000 fictional police radios or non-existent digital bus signs) ;-)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I'd say the irreparable harm has already been firmly entrenched in 10 short months. Ron et al. don't seem to realize that a student reading below grade level is not the same as a bus run canceled due to mechanical problems.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Not sure what to think at first. So here's a guy (Volpe) who creatively figured out a poltical way to tax and capture new revenues from motorists and the automobile culture by increasing parking meter rates [A Good Thing], but then used the new money to not improve the public transport system but instead just gave the money to the City's general coffers [A Missed Opportunity], then he put together a 2010 Buget for the Mayor that then took the future revenues from that deal and spent it all at once [a really BAD idea, that in a sane democracy probably should be illegal.]

    So.....I'm confused what to think at first. I guess he seems like someone who at least goes out and does things and tries to get things done, warts and all. Much better than the do-nothings the Mayor has in there now.

    When's this going to happen? Get it done, Mr. Mayor, let's move on. Kevin O needs a new CTA President to interview.

  • That's a rumor that has been floating around CTA for more than a month.

    Either is it finally going to be announced - or Sneed is just really late to the rumor party.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Yeah, I heard that rumor at least 5 months ago. In the last couple of months it firmed up enough to actually mention a replacement. Rodriguez has looked happy lately. He sees light at the end of the tunnel and knows it isn't a train.

  • In reply to painhertz:

    Yeah, there are always rumors (or wishful thinking) about the top guy leaving, but this specific rumor about Rodriguez leaving, Volpe moving over to CTA, Andelino replacing Volpe, and Harney moving to Aviation has been making the rounds at CTA and City Hall since at least Halloween. The only thing Sneed didn't have that the month-old rumor mill does is where Rodriguez is going.

    Sneed often has good sources on these moves, so is she breaking the news here -- or repeating old rumors? Or as Jack pointed out, what's denied today could be announced tomorrow (or next week).

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