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75 CITY & SUBURBS $2 ELSEWHERE | LATE SPORTS FINAL | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011 | SUNTIMES.COM | SOGGY 480 270 Page 40

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KOSCHMAN CASE FAR FROM CLOSED
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CAROL MARIN

85 BEAR TESTIFIES ABOUT ACCUSED KILLER:

, WE YES HADSEX
Shaun Gayle enters the Lake County Courthouse Tuesday to testify against Marni Yang.
| AL PODGORSKI~SUN-TIMES

JERRYREINSDORF TELLS THE SUN-TIMES:

WHITEHOUSE LOBBIED FOR THIBS


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Shaun Gayle says he was with Marni Yang (left) the night before she allegedly killed his pregnant girlfriend | PAGE 2

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26 | CHICAGO SUN-TIMES | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011

CHICAGO

JACK HIGGINS OPINION

WE THINK
John Barron Publisher Tom McNamee Editorial Page Editor

A N I N D E P E N D E N T N E W S PA P E R

Don Hayner Editor in Chief Andrew Herrmann Managing Editor

Tax increase, reform must go hand in hand


n the rush to pass a badly needed income tax increase this year, state legislators had to dispense with fairness. And by fairness we dont mean skipping an income tax hike altogether. Were talking about reforming Illinois overly regressive tax structure a system that places a greater burden on the poor than on the wealthy. Illinois has long had one of the countrys most regressive tax systems. The income tax rate, for example, is the same whether you make $1 million a year or $50,000. Democratic state leaders have long bemoaned this regressive system but have never succeeded in changing it. In an effort to restart the reform conversation, Senate President John Cullerton on Monday floated taxing retirement income in Illinois for the first time, but only for high-earning seniors. Lower-income retirees would be exempt, and Cullerton recommended using the new revenue to lower overall rates. Illinois is one of the few states with an income tax that doesnt tax retiree income at all. The idea didnt go over well, with the state Republican Party

launching an online petition to oppose it. Any talk of a new tax even if it would result in lower tax rates is a hard sell on the heels of a major income tax increase. But the noise should not drown out an important conversation about tax reform. Illinois desperately needs to update its tax system so it is based on ability to pay and targets taxes where the economy is expanding among the wealthiest, not the poorest. Illinois current tax system, anchored by a flat income tax and a narrow sales tax base, disproportionately hits our poorest residents. Gov. Quinn wants to create a commission to look at ways to update the tax system. Were all for it, though several good proposals are already well-known. These include changing the state Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax, expanding the sales tax base to reflect our modern service economy (an idea Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel supports) and, potentially, taxing some retirement income. These ideas will not pull Illinois out of its current fiscal hole, but long term theyll make for a more fair and equitable Illinois.

Koschman case far from closed


CAROL MARIN
cmarin@suntimes.com

o much for sticker shock. Recent efforts to make fast-food restaurants post calorie counts have been based on the assumption that people would make healthier choices if they had better information. A recent study of dining habits among low-income families in New York City, though, suggests that mandatory calorie labeling isnt as effective as you might think. While most parents and teens noticed the calorie counts, only 9 percent of teens and 16 percent of

Knowledge isnt willpower


adults said it mattered to them, New York University researchers reported in the International Journal of Obesity. And there was little difference in the amount of calories consumed before New York mandated fast-food labeling in 2008 and after. That would seem to make a case against having calorie counts. But we still support giving consumers the information as part of a larger effort to help Americans make healthier choices. In our overweight world, it sure cant hurt.

ome things cry out for answers. As Mayor Daley prepares his valedictory to the people of a great city, he leaves questions behind, including a litany that arises from our recent Sun-Times series Who Killed David Koschman? The Koschman case dates back to 2004. By any standard, it had to have been a terrible year for the Daley family. January brought the Hired Truck scandal exposing phony minority- and women-owned, mobbed-up trucking companies getting $40 million in city business while doing little or no work. Who ran City Halls Hired Truck program? Angelo Torres. Who hired him? We still dont know. And Mayor Daley has never told us. That same year, Daleys son Patrick and nephew Robert Vanecko quietly bailed out of their secret 5 percent ownership stake in Municipal Sewer Services, a sewer cleaning company with no-bid city contracts a fact neither the public nor the press knew at the time.

Municipal used a Hired Truck company as its major subcontractor. Within months, Patrick Daley, a 29-year-old University of Chicago MBA, enlisted and left for military service. Somewhere, in the midst of everything else, came David Koschman. He and four buddies from Mount Prospect, all of them 21 years old, went bar-hopping one April night on Division Street. In the wee hours of the next morning, their group collided with another group three men and a woman in their late 20s and early 30s. Words were exchanged. A single punch was thrown. The back of Koschmans head hit the pavement. He would die 12 days later. As our mothers always told us, nothing good happens after midnight. But this case became automatically more complicated because every member of the older group had deep and abiding ties to the Daley family. None more so than Richard J. Vanecko, the nephew of the mayor, grandson of the late mayor, brother of Robert and cousin of Patrick. R.J., as he is known, fled the scene that night, according to what we have been able to read in recently released, heavily redacted Chicago Police reports. In May 2004, almost a month after it happened, the story broke in the news. But details were few and far between. At the time, police told

reporters that Koschmans death was the result of self-defense. That Koschman, a small, slight man, was the aggressor while the person who hit him, at 6 feet 3 inches and 230 pounds, acted in self-defense. What no one knew until the SunTimes Tim Novak filed a Freedom of Information Act request in January was that the case had never been closed. Koschmans grieving mother, Nanci, said she certainly had no idea. If the investigation was done right the first time, why did Novaks FOIA trigger a furious CPD reinvestigation? Why didnt police or Cook County prosecutors know in 2004, as Novak learned, that one of their independent witnesses was a former classmate of Vanecko? Why, according to police reports, did it take police a full 25 days before they even physically saw Vanecko? Police and prosecutors abhor suggestions that there is an Upstairs, Downstairs quality to this case. Or that blue-collar kids from the suburbs didnt merit the same treatment as a royal Irish clan from Chicago. But until the Cook County States Attorneys Office finds its missing advice file on this case, and until police release the street files and lineup photos that are part of the record, they can call this case closed if they want. Its not.

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