Monday, August 04, 2008

Cook County, Democratic Corruption, the CTA and Derailment Dangers

I was up in the suburbs last weekend and it appears that the suburban Chicago is attempting to catch up with Chicago corruption wise. The rail crossings for the street level CTA's Skokie Swift line have been getting some much needed rehab work this summer, repeated car and truck crossings eventually undermine the grade causing pressure on the train tracks causing them to sag, thus making the train cars unstable. The contractor who had refurbished many of the grade crossings had just finished on a crossing near the terminal near end of the line last week when the CTA called to complain that he had used substandard materials and that the rails were already sagging, needless to say he hopped into his truck to make an immediate inspection. What he found would lead him to a few days of headaches, he found that a drain pipe was draining water into the crossing's area and that his materials had not fully dried due to the occasional outflows from the drain. Upon calling the CTA and consulting plats of the area he found no marked drainage so his crew corked the drain pipe and rebuilt the grade crossing. Two days later an inspection showed that the drain pipe had been uncorked and was once again ruining the crossing, now the contractor was livid, he traced the drain pipe to a local car wash, it was their discharge.

At that point one would think, "hey this is now easy, here is a business that is illegally dumping polluted water on public property and endangering the lives of transit riders", well this is Cook County, the home of the Daley Democratic Machine and all is often not as it appears. It turns out that the owner of the car wash is politically connected with the village of Skokie and the City of Chicago, so this week the dumping that undermines a CTA railroad crossing continues. Think about that one, here is a situation that involves both the IL. EPA and the US EPA, car wash discharge can include many chemicals that should not go into the sewers. The entire project is under the auspices of the CTA, the RTA, the IL DOT and because the project is being partially paid for using federal funds it involves the US DOT. It is beginning to sound as if this story might also involve the FBI. As of last weekend the CTA stated that they would send a structural engineer out to the site to meet with the contractor next Saturday. Welcome to Cook County where it is alright to pollute if you donate to the correct party and where your pollution will be overlooked even when you endanger a train system with a deadly derailment, as long as your check clears.

This is the story of one guy I know concerning one crossing on one CTA line, multiply that by miles of train track and hundreds of miles of streets and highways in Cook County and you get an idea of the actual dangers of corruption. Our political leaders don't take the CTA so apparently they don't care if cars derail as long as they get theirs.

The obvious advice is stay off of the Skokie Swift but less obvious but more important piece of advice is to not elect Chicago politicians to national office.

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