See here -- http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-clout08.html -- for the ever-reliable Fran Spielman's (Sun-Times, 8/8) account of City Hall insider with "fat" no-bid consulting contract. He is Steve Schlickman "a former CTA and RTA official who ran the now-defunct downtown circulator project that spent $59 million of taxpayers funds, but never laid a rail or turned a single shovel of dirt."

What's noteworthy about this story, besides its political significance, is how it supplies pertinent background details, telling us why the story is important without editorializing. It helps, of course, to be familiar with Spielman's reporting and writing, which is never ironic or cute and thus does not trivialize its subject matter. She does, therefore, trade on her (good) reputation, which is true of any writer.

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