Sneed: Aldermen urge airlines flying out of O’Hare to curb service to Russia

Written By By MICHAEL SNEED Posted: 04/06/2014, 06:41am
Array Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Howlett | Sun-Times files

The Ukraine crisis . . .

Is a Chicago air war on the wing?

Sneed is told Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), who represents the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, is proposing a resolution Wednesday urging airlines operating at O’Hare International Airport to terminate service to Russia as a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, whose country has been invaded by Russia.

“As a city, we must do everything in our power to support the Ukrainian people and to demonstrate to Russia that their actions have severe consequences,” said Moreno.

◆ The hammer: Ald. Ed Burke (14th), the City Council’s Finance Committee chairman who is co-sponsoring the resolution, tells Sneed: “The airlines have agreements with the city requiring them to get landing and terminal facility permits. Could the airlines face a question of suitability for tenancy at the airport if they didn’t comply?”

◆ The sickle: “What’s happening in Ukraine is outrageous and akin to what Hitler did in the 1930s before World War II,” added Burke, who also wants to terminate Chicago’s sister city relationship with Moscow.

Is this a shot in the dark?

Is this just a brick tossed in a dark room to see what moves?

“It seems rather foolish to proclaim solidarity with any city in a country clearly under the leadership of a despot invading [a] sovereign nation,” said Moreno.

“Perhaps if the City Council of Chicago takes the first step urging an airline embargo, municipalities like New York and Los Angeles will follow suit,” said Burke.

“To make a gesture like this in the heartland of America might wake up a sleeping giant to begin a national debate,” added Moreno.

A Rauner report . . .

Check, please! Sneed hears wealthy GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner not only got a “go get ’em” high-five from cops at the Daley Center during jury selection Tuesday, but returned the $17.50 per diem check he got for his service after being dismissed.

Rahm & Toni . . .

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle may be denying a report she plans to run for Chicago mayor.

◆ The flipside: “She definitely is not planning to run,” said a top Sneed source. “But if the black community in Chicago ever got organized and created a movement to draft Preckwinkle, she’d be hard-pressed not to,” said a top Dem source. “She’s Rahm’s only major competition.”

Papal patter . . .

Posey power: Pope Francis, who is now known as the people’s pontiff, has decreed that the gardens of the Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence outside Rome, will be open to the public.

Oscar stuff . . .

A case of art imitating life? Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the bad boy billionaire, is an owner of the film company that produced Italy’s first Academy Award in 15 years: “The Great Beauty,” picked as best foreign language film.

◆ It’s about decadent high society in Rome, natch.

Bench press . . .

A special tribute honoring Circuit Court Judge Michael Howlett, 64, son of legendary Illinois Secretary of State Mike Howlett, was held at the Skokie courthouse Tuesday by the Illinois Judges Association. Judge Howlett, who is suffering from brain cancer, arrived in a wheelchair. Among the notables honoring Howlett for outstanding service: former Gov. Jim Thompson, Federal Appeals Court Judge William Bauer; and former Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine.

I spy . . .

Blackhawk Corey Crawford at Centro Friday for lunch . . . Saturday night at Centro, Dylan “The Good Wife” Baker was sending drinks to tables . . . And dining Friday at Chicago Cut, hockey stars Jeremy Roenick, Brendan Shanahan and Mario Lemieux.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Eva Mendes, 40; Kevin Connolly, 40, and Talia Balsam, 55.

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