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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 | CHICAGO SUN-TIMES | 29A

CHICAGO

ANOTHER VIEW | JOHN BRANCH

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

t happened again on Thursday. For the third time, the most memorable moment in a Republican presidential debate was an ugly response from the audience. And, for the third time, every candidate on stage stayed mum. That sort of thing may thrill the partys more reactionary wing, but it does nothing to win the allegiance of more civil and tolerant members of the GOP and independents. This time, at the debate in Orland, Fla., members of the audience booed a gay soldier, Stephen Hill, when he asked the candidates if they planned to reinstate the military policy of dont ask, dont tell. Since when do Americans boo a young man who has volunteered to take a bullet, if necessary, for his country? At a debate two weeks ago, the audience whooped it up when the moderator pointed out that Texas Gov. Rick Perry had signed off on a record 234 executions. At a debate last week, when the moderator asked whether an uninsured young man who badly needed medical care should be allowed to die, somebody in the audience shouted, Yeah! President Barack Obama is on the ropes with the bad economy.

Does the real GOP boo gay soldiers? I

The Republicans stand a real chance of defeating him in 2012. But to do so, their candidate will need money and votes not just from the party base, but from moderate Republicans and independents. Two things, then, need to happen: Organizers of the next debates should do a better job of seating an audience more representative of the entire Republican Party. We like to believe theyve failed at this so far. And the candidates should show a little spine and speak up when the audience gets crude. To our mind, the high point of the debate came when Perry showed just this kind of class refusing to pander to base sentiments by unapologetically defending his states decision to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend state universities at in-state tuition rates. We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society, he said. To his fellow candidates, he said, I dont think you have a heart. Some folks in the audience cheered, which was nice, but our money says they werent the same folks who booed an American soldier.

No clout, Vanecko lawyer says


CAROL MARIN
erry Gillespie doesnt call often. When he does, I know its not to catch up with an old Our Lady of Mercy second-grade classmate. The prominent Chicago criminal defense attorney picked up the phone last week because he had something to say. I drove R.J. Vanecko to the police station that day, Gillespie told me from his office in the vintage Monadnock Building across from the federal courthouse. The I was said emphatically. He had heard that the Chicago Sun-Times is continuing to ask questions, seven months after our first story, about whether political clout played a role in a case involving his client, the nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley and White House chief of staff Bill Daley. And whether clout affected the way Chicago Police and the Cook County states attorneys office handled it in spring of 2004. On April 25 of that year, R.J. Vanecko, who was then 29, and a group of young Daley family friends had a run-in with 21-year-old David Koschman and four of his Mount

cmarin@suntimes.com

lu shots date back to the end of World War II, but most Americans still dont get one. This year, though, public health officials are hoping theyll manage to get more than half of the nation immunized, up from 43 percent. What theyd really like to see is every American over the age of six months rolling up their sleeves for a shot or opting for one of three alternatives as the annual influenza season rolls around. For the first time, there are four ways to get vaccinated: a regular shot; a nasal mist with a weakened virus; a tiny ouchless needle, or

Everyone needs a flu shot


a high-potency shot for people 65 and older. Illinois officials are urging seniors to get vaccinated now. As memories of the 2009 flu pandemic are fading, officials worry that any sense of urgency is fading, too. But theres no reason not to take advantage of the 90 million doses available now and 80 million on the way. Last flu season, 114 children died. And a survey released Wednesday by Walgreens said the most recent flu season cost 100 million lost work days, $7 billion in lost wages and 32 million missed school days. Get your shot.

Prospect pals outside the bars on Division Street. Everyone had been drinking, words were exchanged and a single punch was thrown. Koschmans skull cracked when he hit the ground. He died 11 days later. It has taken seven years and a Sun-Times investigation that started in January for Chicago Police to finally conclude that Vanecko threw the fatal punch. The reason veteran Sun-Times investigative reporters Tim Novak and Chris Fusco continue to work this story is that gaping holes still exist in the narrative of how cops and prosecutors treated this case. Gillespies call was to declare that, from his vantage point, there was no clout at all. In fact, he argued, there was outright hostility when he and his client arrived at Area 3 Police Headquarters at Belmont

He says there was outright hostility when he and Vanecko arrived at Area 3 Police Headquarters.
and Western in May of 2004. I was personally there for [the] lineups, Gillespie said. There was no favoritism, no glad-handing. I have a distinct memory of the police commander there being unfriendly. . . . I remember Darren OBrien (the head of felony review for the Cook County states attorney) being visibly angry [when] I told him my client did not wish to make a statement. I have no information or belief,

said Gillespie, that anybody interceded . . . on my clients behalf. R.J. Vanecko ran away the night he hit David Koschman. Daley family friends initially lied to cops and didnt give them Vaneckos name. Police did nothing for 15 days until Koschman was dead. And when the Daley friends finally told cops the truth, police still didnt pick up Vanecko for questioning, giving Gillespie a full week to bring him into the station instead. Moreover, the Sun-Times discovered some records in this case had gone missing; a police account describing Vanecko as the aggressor was scribbled out on one investigators handwritten notes and never referenced in later reports, and the Cook County states attorneys office still cannot find a single document relating to its own involvement. I couldnt opine on that, Gillespie said. I dont know what paperwork exists or dead spaces exist. In the end, Koschmans friends could not identify Vanecko in a lineup. The police concluded Koschman was the aggressor. No charges were brought. What, I asked Gillespie, does R.J. Vanecko say? Aspects of the case or my clients personal life, Im not in a position to discuss, said Gillespie, adding, I feel very strongly if the guys name wasnt Vanecko or related to the mayor, this would be an absolutely routine investigation. On that, my second-grade Our Lady of Mercy classmate and I may have to disagree.