While most eyes—and TV cameras—are focused on the president-elect and inauguration prep …

  • It’s always a good time to leverage the feds for some money. A week ago I heard Mayor Daley tell people at a ribbon cutting in Rogers Park that the economy stinks, Chicago’s out of money, and we need the Obama administration to send us some cash right away. WBBM radio reports that he gave a slightly different version of the speech again yesterday to other mayors gathered in Washington for the big event.
  • From Crain’s: Developers are expressing interest in Daley’s plan to build a huge housing complex on the mid-south side. The City Council recently authorized the Daley administration to use taxpayer money to buy the property; the plan calls for contracting with a private developer to put housing on it, turn it into an Olympic village if Chicago hosts the 2016 games, and sell it off on the private market to middle- and upper-income buyers.
  • In the It Seems Like I’ve Heard Something Like That Before department, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has floated the idea of privatizing the city’s public parking spaces and garages, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, meanwhile, is pushing for reduced services, unpaid employee furloughs, payroll cuts, and possibly tax hikes to cope with budget problems, notes the Philly Inquirer—sort of like Daley a few months ago, and probably a few months from now.
  • The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is trying to figure out how to handle its own spike in graffiti. Business owners would be responsible for dealing with it under AA’s plan, unlike in Chicago, where the city takes responsibility at a cost of $6 million taxpayer bucks a year. But it doesn’t sound like they’re having any more discussion than we are about whether there might be grades of graffiti between “vandalism” and “street art.”
  • From the Chi-Town Daily News (and this morning’s Sun-Times): Rod Blagojevich may not be done making appointments—there’s an opening on the board of the Water Reclamation District, which oversees the region’s wastewater management. The gig is as environmentally and economically critical as it is unsexy, and it pays between $50k and $80k a year for part-time work. Plus a car.