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John Kass is a Chicago Tribune columnist.

The son of a Greek immigrant grocer, Kass was born June 25, 1956, on the South Side of Chicago and grew up there and in Oak Lawn, IL. He held many jobs - retailer, ditch digger, waiter - before becoming a student of film at Columbia College in Chicago. There, he worked in the student newspaper and gained the attention of Daryle Feldmeir, president of the media department and previous editor of the Chicago Daily News. Feldmeir and media professor Les Brownlee helped Kass to obtain an internship at the Daily Calumet in 1980, where Kass worked as a reporter until he left for the Tribune.

Kass lives in the southern suburbs of Chicago with his wife and twin children.

Style of Writing

Kass uses his editorial space to rail against corruption in government and highlight the impact of corruption on taxpayers. In September 2003, he wrote about federal indictments handed down in a scandal involving city contracts. Kass wrote, "what drives the criticism is the obscene amounts of taxpayer dollars that go to [Mayor Daley's] pals. In deal after deal after deal, the attitude is that his guys can take what they want and the people in the neighborhoods better shut up about it, while higher taxes put more and more pressure on families to pay for the deals."[1]

Kass often writes nostalgically about Chicago's bygone days. He describes one of Chicago's famous steakhouses by writing, "Gene and Georgetti's is a hangout where information is traded, among politicians, insiders, reporters, wise-guys, salesmen, consultants, from the buttoned down to the gold chains crowd. And what makes it work is that they serve the best steak in the city, period. The service is impeccable without being showy and the drinks are honest. Gene's is a part of the old Chicago, the city as it was before so much of the downtown was turned into a theme park."[2]

A frequent target for Kass is Richard M. Daley, the long-time Mayor of Chicago. Kass once wrote, "Investigations into massive affirmative-action contract fraud and the Hired Truck scandals, and a series of convictions have pressured the mayor and his inner-circle, who, when it came to cronyism and contracts, once behaved as if they were untouchable. Now, the mayor has jumped on the reform bandwagon, at least publicly, frantically offering good-government initiatives, even as the feds bore in on the source of his absolute power: His patronage armies that dictate politics and policy on the local, state and federal levels, electing his favored candidates, but also crushing those he doesn't like, getting rid of them in party primaries."[3]

In his columns Kass is a frequent critic of what he terms as the "combine" of Illinois politics, wherein powerful elements of the Illinois Republican and Democratic parties unite for the purposes of political corruption.

Kass also writes about lighter topics, particularly beer can chicken.

Kass's column appears on page 2 of the Tribune's news section.


  1. ^ "Duff Indictments a Story You Can Sink Teeth Into" John Kass, Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2003.
  2. ^ "Duff Indictments a Story You Can Sink Teeth Into" John Kass, Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2003.
  3. ^ "Snicker if You Like, But it Won't Stop Feds" John Kass, Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2006.


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