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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A 15 MEMBER TASK FORCE TO INVESTIGATE CTA,METRA AND PACE

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today dismissed a state task force report that called for one mega mass transit agency combining the CTA, Metra and PACE as written by "propeller heads."
The characterization came today when the mayor was asked if the single transit agency is a good idea.
“No, and in capital letters. Let me just be really clear: This is what happens when you lock up a lot of propeller heads in a room for a short period of time. First they say we have an unaccountable, nameless, faceless bureaucracy. Hold on, we’d like to replace it with the new version of a unaccountable, nameless, faceless bureaucracy," Emanuel said after today's City Council meeting.
“I’ve had my views on the importance of being a propeller head. I think I’ve given you my views of that. It is a non starter with this," the mayor added.
The report from a 15-member task force that was created in the aftermath of last summer's Metra scandal proposed numerous changes to address the chronic governance, funding and rivalry problems that have beset the area's transit agencies.
The panel's most far-reaching recommendation is creation of a new superagency to oversee the entire six-county area and replace the existing Regional Transportation Authority, along with the boards of the CTA, Metra and Pace.
Under this plan, those agencies would be reduced to "operating units" under an integrated agency with a single board. It would amount to the biggest change in the Chicago area's bus and train system in 30 years, when the current governance structure was created.
Steve Schlickman, a former RTA executive director, said it was unlikely that the General Assembly would act on such a controversial change anytime soon. Only when the legislature has been in "crisis mode" regarding transit funding have lawmakers addressed structural problems and representation, said Schlickman, head of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"That's the nature of the beast in Springfield," he said.

STUDENTS GET TAKEN FOR A RIDE ON ICC CLASSES


John Ambrose hoped to be among the first people in Illinois licensed to carry a concealed gun when the state’s new law took effect this year.
Instead, Ambrose, 38, of Joliet said he learned Monday that his application had been denied because he took a class in Bolingbrook that didn’t meet state requirements from an instructor who’s had his right to teach revoked. Ambrose said although some students had voiced concerns about the part of the class to be taught online, the teacher told them the training met state standards.
“I kind of feel like a fool,” he said.Illinois State Police announced Tuesday that the agency denied concealed carry licenses to 327 applicants who received inadequate training from a firearms instructor in Bolingbrook. Though state police spokeswoman Monique Bond declined to give the instructor’s name, she said the class didn’t meet state criteria because it didn’t involve 16 hours of in-person training, instead including an online component.
The Bolingbrook instructor is responsible for the wide majority of the 425 applicants denied permits because of improper training, state police said. The department has posted a list online of 13 instructors barred from teaching. The list can be viewed by logging ontohttps://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/Public/FindInstructor.aspx, then clicking on “View Revoked Instructors.”
State police are notifying the students that their training is inadequate and their permits are being denied. The applicants will be allowed to get retrained and appeal their denials, Bond said. The $150 application fee will be waived, Bond said.
State police have received “numerous” complaints that some instructors have given certificates to students who didn’t train the full 16 hours, police said in a news release.
Authorities have referred the matter to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, Bond said.
Ambrose said he enrolled in the class last year after meeting the instructor as he recruited potential students at Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook. Ambrose had hoped to get a concealed carry permit to protect himself, and early enrollees in the class were promised a discount.
Ambrose said he asked the instructor if the class complied with state law, even with the online training, and the teacher said it would. Ambrose signed up after seeing the teacher on the state police list of approved instructors, Ambrose said. The class cost about $125, he said.
“You know what they say — if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is,” he said.
After finishing training, Ambrose applied for a permit as early as possible in January, he said. He grew nervous, however, in March when friends who took other classes started getting licenses. He took it as a bad sign when he got a call from a state police official who asked him questions about the class he took, he said.
Ambrose said he’s been in touch with the company that offered the class and he’s waiting to hear about getting a refund. Ambrose identified the instructor as one of the teachers the state police have listed as revoked.
The trainer and the company were not affiliated with Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook, said assistant manager Bryan Lemer. The store allows concealed carry training by licensed teachers on its grounds, Lemer said, but the teacher in question won’t be allowed to teach there anymore because he’s no longer licensed.