Convicted Ex-Comm. Slams Lake Shore Drive Response

CHICAGO (CBS) — As he came into court to be sentenced to prison for political hiring abuses, former Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez ripped the city’s response on Lake Shore Drive during the blizzard this week.

Sanchez slammed the city’s decision to close Lake Shore Drive Tuesday evening, and the city’s response to people being trapped in their cars for 12 hours or more.

“You never lose Lake Shore Drive. You never want to close Lake Shore Drive. You don’t skimp on salt or crews,” Sanchez said. “If you are going to close Lake Shore Drive, you make sure it’s (melted) down to water.”

Raymond Orozco, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s chief of staff, made the decision to close Lake Shore Drive at 7:58 p.m. Tuesday, after keeping it open for most of the evening rush as the blizzard blew in. Orozco has defended the decision, saying the Drive was moving – albeit slowly – until a series of accidents between Belmont and North avenues brought traffic to a standstill.

Between 700 and 1,000 cars ended up abandoned on Lake Shore Drive, which didn’t reopen until around 5 a.m. Thursday.

After going on to a courtroom at the Dirksen Federal Building, Sanchez was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in a federal prison. He was convicted last year of being part of a city hall hiring fraud scheme that prosecutors say cost Chicago taxpayers more than $1 million.

CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

  • Derick

    To say you never close Lake Shore Drive is totally unrealistic. Sanchez making that statement relates directly to political clout not his qualifications as the reason for his appointment as commissioner. It is a shame he was only sentenced to 21/2 yrs.

  • pop847

    Who gives a rat’s ass what this corrupt little turd thinks? And the fact that CBS thinks whatever he’s spouting is newsworthy doesn’t say much for them, either.

  • malgosia

    I only hae one quesion to all the drivers ,who toook a chance when they enter lsd ,were you warn of the blizzard, if yes than blame your self

  • greg

    Sanchez, was only put in place to benifit established corrupt political insiders like Rahm, Chico, CMB and the Dayley’s

  • Centurion

    Al Sanchez is an idiot. I am surprised he didn’t say…I COULD HAVE HIRED AT LEAST 40 EXTRA TRUCKS who would have been sitting around doing nothing and getting paid for it. Those 40 extra trucks could have benefitted Daleys nephew, and some of Bernie Stones friends too. Er, I mean, I could have hired 40 extra trucks!

  • Smooth

    Sanchez has no credability and to second guess his successor after the fact shows he is a perosn of no class at all. No doubt there was mistakes made, however we don’t need the opinion of a disgraced former commisioner to make this even more sour. Channel 2 needs to be more selective in its guests to give an opinion. Sanchez could have put all his “friends & relatives” on call (paid) waiting and milking the overtime for this catasrophe. Enjoy prison Al !!!

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