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Mark Brown biography

Mark Brown is a local news columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times who writes about everything from political corruption to family life. Roger Ebert once called …Read More

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Bruce Almighty meets Quinnocchio! Entertaining and informative

If he were running against anybody else, Gov. Pat Quinn might have received a more lukewarm reception from the teachers union delegates who packed a hotel ballroom Friday to see his first campaign confrontation with Republican Bruce Rauner. After all, Quinn only recently approved cuts …

Eviction bill deserves to get kicked to the curb: Brown

Rep. Monique Davis has fought since 2009 to forestall being evicted from a Chicago Board of Education building she has used rent-free as her legislative office for the past 11 years. But when the shoe is on the other foot, the Chicago Democrat takes a …

Protesters want Obama to keep promise, reform immigration law: Brown

During my time as a newspaper columnist, I have found there is nothing that stirs some Americans to anger quite as much as the sight of a person of Latino heritage engaging in political protest. It drives them to distraction, especially if they think the …

History Museum shows lives spent working on the railroad

MARK BROWN: Not too long ago, one of my nephews went to work for the railroad, which brought our family to four generations in railroading. My grandfather was a railroader. So were my father and two uncles. So were my own two brothers, one of whom is still at it. That’s why I didn’t see as I had much choice when I heard about the new “Railroaders” exhibit, which opened this weekend at the Chicago History Museum. I needed to see it.

FBI files expose secret life of ex-Metra boss Pagano: Brown

When Phil Pagano killed himself by stepping in front of a Metra train in May 2010, it already had been more than two years since the commuter rail agency boss last posted on his blog, golfmytimeaway.blogspot.com. But Pagano’s anonymous musings on everything from books to …

  • Time to become the city that works at cleaning things up

    The city of Chicago’s street sweeping program opened for the 2014 season Tuesday, and may I just say, it’s not a moment too soon. Chicago looks like hell right now. Grit, grime and garbage that collected over the long, hard winter have left our beautiful …Read More

  • Minority voter groups not lined up behind redistricting proposal

    MARK BROWN: An effort to take legislative redistricting out of the hands of Illinois lawmakers is gaining steam but has failed so far to attract the support of two key organizations with a history of protecting minority voting rights: the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Chicago Urban League.

  • Quinn’s tax plan may sound familiar, but it isn’t

    For half a century, Illinois politicians have toyed with the idea of reducing property taxes by increasing the income tax to pay for schools. The so-called “tax swap” has been embraced at one time or another by everyone from pro-business Republicans to liberal Democrats — …Read More

  • Brown: Quinn’s ‘guaranteed’ property tax refund costly for some homeowners

    MARK BROWN: Gov. Pat Quinn makes it difficult to be in his corner sometimes. The governor proposed a property tax refund Wednesday as the sweetener to help Illinoisans swallow his decision to make permanent the “temporary” income tax hike he signed into law in 2011.

    Keeping juveniles on sex-offender registry doesn’t make sense

    The Illinois Sex Offender Registry includes the names of more than 2,500 individuals who were found guilty of a sex offense as a juvenile — 70 percent of them required to carry the label for life. Because of the lifetime registration requirement, the list grows …

    Nanci Koschman on lawsuit: ‘At least I’ll know I fought for him’

    MARK BROWN: Nanci Koschman, who still blames herself for not having the strength to look into the circumstances surrounding her son’s death in its immediate aftermath, took responsibility for bringing the strongest accusations yet against those responsible for allowing the crime to go unpunished.

  • You must read the fine print of Rauner’s term limits plan: Brown

    To the many thousands of Illinois residents who have signed petitions for Bruce Rauner’s term limits amendment in expectation of soon being rid of House Speaker Mike Madigan and his cohorts, I’m afraid you should have read the fine print. Even if the proposed constitutional amendment makes it on the November ballot for a referendum, and even if that referendum were to be approved by the voters, it doesn’t get rid of anybody in the Legislature for eight more years.

  • He’s pretty sure the race for governor will get pretty ugly

    It’s going to get ugly, but don’t you dare look away. The upcoming Illinois governor’s race between Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner may go down as the most brutal in the state’s history. And I’m not talking about the campaign ads, which everyone has already …Read More

  • Rauner’s narrow lead leaves little margin for error in fall

    Never take anything for granted in a low-turnout primary election. How many times have we been taught that lesson in Illinois, and there it was, coming at us again in the Republican primary for governor. Bruce Rauner was supposed to run away with the election …Read More

  • TV pitchman finds he can’t talk his way out of prison term

    MARK BROWN: It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is about infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau that makes him so easy to hate on.

    Show of strength no act for Fenger principal: Brown

    Mark Brown: Elizabeth Dozier’s unfamiliar face graces a billboard overlooking River North, sandwiched between the mugs of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy like images on Mount Rushmore. These are the “strong” leaders CNN says a great city needs. But if you’ve watched the network’s new “Chicagoland” series, then you know Dozier, the principal at Fenger High School, also is the strong character a successful television show needs.

    Waste, corruption persist in state grant programs

    State grants are the soft underbelly of Illinois government. This is where the bodies are buried — along with the money to pay them. This is where government waste goes to hide. Everybody knows it, but nobody seems to be able to do much about …