• Sun-Times Media
  • Rahm Emanuel doesn’t need a business degree—or a bidding process—to know when he’s cut a good deal.

This is one of three posts to win a Peter Lisagor Award for Blog, Individual Blog Post, Affiliated.

One hundred and fifty-five million bucks is a lot of money. Or maybe it isn’t.

It’s more than most of us have to spend on holiday gifts this year. But is it the right price for letting a private company put up dozens of billboards on public land around the city for at least 20 years?

I don’t have any idea. You probably don’t either. And the people getting ready to authorize the deal certainly don’t have a clue.

That would be the aldermen in the Chicago City Council, whose budget and zoning committees are scheduled to weigh in on the billboard agreement Monday morning.

“Is it a good deal at $155 million? I don’t know,” says Joe Moreno, alderman of the First Ward. “Could we get $300 million? I don’t know. We’ve never leveraged these assets before.”