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...that's the sound of budget information coming from Mayor Daley's 5th floor office these days.

   Hizzoner called another news conference on the 2010 spending plan today and told the assembled reporters that he planned to cut $114 million next year by consolidating some city departments and asking non-union workers to take 24, that's right, 24 furlough days.

  "But Your Honor, last week you told us the budget shortfall was $550 million.   How will you make up the rest of the deficit?  Service cuts?  Layoffs?  Dipping into the "rainy day fund?"   Daley's answer: "You'll have to wait until Wednesday" (when he addresses the city council).

   Last Thursday, Daley scrambled the city hall press corps for an earlier "news conference on the budget" and told us only that no taxes or fees would be raised next year.  I called it "half a news conference" because the mayor said absolutely nothing about other actions he would take to balance it.  He didn't call today's event until a couple of hours before it began.  Then all we got was this latest "drop" of information.

  This must be some new P-R technique being used by Daley's press secretary Jackie Heard.  Like any good flak she's trying to control information so it benefits her boss and to hell with journalists trying to put it in perspective for their viewers, readers and listeners.  There is no "flow" of information from city hall on this budget issue.  

   Just a drip...drip...drip.

   Kinda like water torture.


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