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Tag: Little Village

There are no leaders in Chicago

Image: PV Bella

The people of Chicago, the county and the country are starving for sensible leadership on the vexing issues of crime and violence that strangles the city. And in Chicago and Cook County, taxpayers aren’t getting any leadership from Evans, Foxx, Preckwinkle and the woefully ineffective Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (JohnKassNews)

Elected officials are supposed to be leaders. Mayors, State’s Attorneys, County Board Presidents, and Chief Judges are supposed to lead and manage their charges. They must also exhibit leadership to the citizens. Appointees like Chicago Police Superintendent Davis “Tex” Brown are supposed to be leaders.

Chicago and Cook County have no leadership and no great leaders. The city is rudderless and heading into a berg or a severe storm to sink this ship of state. The mayor is floundering, and her Superintendent of Police is incompetent. The State’s Attorney cares more about the welfare of criminals and their families than the victims of crime and their families. Kim Foxx is merciless, pitiless, and devoid of humanity.

Chief Judge Tim Evans is following orders. He believes that it is the jurists’ responsibility to rehabilitate criminals. Funny, I thought that was the responsibility of the Correction’s System, which is failing. No one talks about the failure of the corrections system. It is not allowed.

Toni Preckwinkle has a heart as cold as sub-zero temperatures. Her constant silence speaks volumes. She is the puppeteer in chief. Preckwinkle pulls the puppetry strings of Foxx and Evans. They prance and dance to her manipulations.

The whole criminal justice system is broken in Chicago and Cook County. Great and even good leaders know that when their initiatives are not working, they must change course. Our so-called leaders are stuck on stupid.

Kim Foxx refuses to budge off her positions on not prosecuting criminals. She acts like a defense attorney or social justice advocate instead of a prosecutor. Foxx is not a leader. She is a follower of nonsensical “social justice” philosophies. She follows those philosophies religiously even when they are proven failures.

Tim Evans is a follower. He is following Chicago Machine Boss Preckwinkle’s edicts. He knows she can break him, sending Evans into the obscurity of retirement.

Mayor Lightfoot is no leader. She follows her own drumbeat, which is out of tempo with the people. The citizens do not know what she stands for if anything. We do know public safety is not her first and highest priority. The death toll, shootings, carjackings, robberies, and looting- excuse me, smash and grabs (Can’t offend the tender sensitivities of criminals, can we?) prove it.

We are being terrorized in our neighborhoods due to a total lack of leadership. The elected officials do not care. It is more important for them to be right than do the right thing. Lori Lightfoot, Kim Foxx, Toni Preckwinkle, and Tim Evans do not deserve reelection. They did not earn the trust of the people. We need leaders. Leaders who know what their jobs are. Leaders who put public safety first and foremost. Leaders who care and empathize with crime victims and their families. Leaders who can change course when their initiatives are not working. Leaders we can trust to keep us safe.

By the way, Tex Brown blamed the murder of Melissa Ortega on a war between gangs on the west end of Little. Village. That war has been going on for over forty years. I ought to know since I worked there when it erupted. They will keep battling over that turf, and more innocent people will die due to the failures of our “Dear Leaders.”

Why we stay

The fountain at Giddings Plaza/Image: PV Bella

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. There are 77 geographic areas in Chicago. Neighborhoods are made up of communities that may consist of one or more blocks. Each neighborhood is distinct.

My first assignment on the Chicago Police Department was the 010 District, called Marquette. The district spanned part of Lawndale, the Little Village and Heart of Chicago neighborhoods. I spent most of my street training in Lawndale. I spent almost ten years working in those neighborhoods. Even though they overlapped, each was distinct.

Lawndale was one of the most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods in the city. In the early 80s, a national newspaper cited the ten most dangerous neighborhoods in the country. Lawndale came in at number three. Number one and two were in New York City. Number four was Watts, in Los Angeles.

Lawndale was a place where hope died. If there was nothing left to steal, thieves stole your dreams. There were some middle and working-class people living there. One night, we responded to a burglary. The victims were a middle-aged African American couple. The gentleman was a driver for Coca-Cola. His wife was a public-school teacher. Both were well-paying jobs.

My African American partner asked them why they still lived in Lawndale, as they were people of means and could live any place they wanted. They said they were born and raised in the neighborhood. They met, married, and raised their children in the house they owned. Lawndale was home.

There is a big difference between a house and a home. A house is a shelter, the roof over your head. A home is where you make a life. It is your house, block, and neighborhood. A home is your nearby relatives and friends. It is where you worship if you are a person of faith. If you are a lifelong resident, it is where you were born, went to school, played sports, recreated, got married, and buried.

There were other people like that couple who made their lives in Lawndale. They owned homes or small apartment buildings. They stayed, raised their families, and retired, despite all the problems. Lawndale was home.

No matter the conditions, from danger to crippling property taxes, we stubbornly stay because we made the neighborhood our home. Where else are we going to go?
Now that the violence is spreading out to every neighborhood in Chicago, with no end in sight, many people are afraid to walk or drive the streets, especially at night. Many are threatening to leave the city. Frequently,

My neighborhood is my home. It is where I’ve lived for over fourteen years. Everything I need or want is in this neighborhood. I have good neighbors and friends. It is where I socialize. There are two large parks and a plaza to enjoy. It is convenient, as I can get anywhere in the city quickly on public transportation. If I did move, I would stay in the neighborhood. A condo, apartment, or house is only a roof over my head. The neighborhood is home.

This concept of home is what we need to understand. People put down roots in a neighborhood. No matter how bad things get, they stay. It is home. We cannot blame them for staying, even if they are crime victims.

Chicago is going through a rough time with citywide violent crime out of control. It is anarchy. That will not move most of us from our home neighborhoods. No matter what happens, most of us stay put.

My neighbors and I made our lives where we live. We are here for the long haul. We are staying put, no matter what happens. We are a neighborhood, a community. This is our home.