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Peter V. Bella Posts

Mayor Brandon Johnson has a lot to learn

“When he becomes challenged about this by other people, his baseline is, ‘I know this stuff better than you do.’… It’s like he’s offended that people are questioning his leadership.” (Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th)/Sun-Times)

It is past time for Mayor Brandon Johnson to demand Dorval Carter resign or he should fire him as president of the CTA. Carter’s replacement should be someone who has experience in running and financing transit systems. We do not need another political hack running one of the gems of this city.

Some of the alders are fed up and making their demands known through a resolution.

Brandon Johnson has little to show for during his first year in office. He bungled too many issues, including the migrants. Chicago is not a safer city under his rule. He went to Springfield to tout the Bears boodle and boondoggle lakefront stadium. He could not convince the smarter people down there this was a good idea.

Rick Tealander wrote this piece on why the new stadium should not be built. A friend of mine posted on social media that the plan would destroy bird habitat and kill birds. Johnson should move on from this fiasco. It will not benefit the city or the taxpayers.

Then Johnson went to Springfield claiming the state “owed” Chicago $1billion dollars for Chicago schools.

“It’s not as if CPS has been suffering a decline — or even a leveling off — of state funds since Pritzker took office in 2019. State contributions to CPS have increased 14% in that time frame to more than $2.1 billion, from less than $1.9 billion. The percentage increase is substantially more when one accounts for the 10.4% decline in students attending Chicago Public Schools over that period. Looked at that way, state contributions per CPS student are up 30%.” (Chicago Tribune)

Maybe Johnson should get his financial facts straight. He should also read “How to Make Friends and Influence People.”

Johnson has thinner skin than Lori Lightfoot. He also has an overblown sense of entitlement. He is the mayor. He forgets we citizens are his employer. Everything is his way or the highway. They name streets after people like Johnson, One Way and Dead End.

Johnson is a narrative of his progressive ideas- whatever progressive means. Ideas, wherever on the political scale they are, do not always make good policy. Worse, when they are enacted and problems or failures arise, politicians do not make the necessary changes to make the policies effective. A perfect example is the Safe-T Act. The no cash bail policy is not working. It would not take much to tweak this. Yet, like little children, our politicians refuse to listen, stamping their little feet and banging their chubby little hands.

“Moving forward, a better, stronger, safer Chicago requires us to collaborate and work together. And that’s what we’re doing,” (Brandon Johnson/Sun-Times)

Chicago is not a stronger or safer city and will not be one under Johnson. Neighborhoods all over the city are experiencing violent robberies, car jackings, and other assaults on a daily basis. His “People’s” plans will take years- if they come to fruition- to work. You cannot solve decades old issues overnight. Johnson talks a good game. He is all talk and no action.

Summer is coming. We will see if Johnson’s pipe dream will make Chicago a “stronger and safer” city. Do not get your hopes up.

“From the very beginning, I hit the ground running,” Johnson said. “If there’s another administration that has accomplished more than what I’ve done in the first year, I would like to see it.” (Brandon Johnson/Block Club Chicago)

Ok, Richard J. Daley, Jane Byrne, Richard M. Daley, and Rham Emanuel. Harold Washington would be on the list if 29 members of the City Council did not stymy him.

The Ken Doll stadium does not belong on the lakefront

Brandon Johnson was giddy as a hormonally charged teen aged groupie at a rock concert over the McCaskey Ken Doll’s proposal for a stadium to ruin the lakefront. At a press conference with Ken Doll officials, he touted the $5-$6 billion dollar project and he will do anything to bring it to fruition.

“This is going to reinvigorate the entire city of Chicago,” Johnson said. “It will be the crown jewel of the city of Chicago.” (Chicago Tribune)

Ken Doll’s president, Kevin Warren, led the mayor by the nose and hawked benefits of the stadium like a cheap con artist, charlatan, and fraud. He is so glib he could sell snake oil to snakes.

The stadium, hotel, and other so-called improvements will not be the “crown jewel” of the city. They will be an ugly eyesore. The lakefront is the crown jewel of Chicago and Brandon Johnson is doing whatever he can to destroy it.

“They described a lush and reimagined Museum Campus with 14 acres of new parkland they claimed would add a worthy new chapter to the Burnham Plan.” (Sun-Times)

 Invoking the name of Daniel Burnham to build a repulsive structure is an insult to the father of the City Beautiful Movement in Chicago.

The McCaskeys are “willing” to put up over 2 billion dollars. The NFL will kick in some money. The McCaskeys want to bilk the taxpayers to finance the rest for their monument to fiasco. As I have written before, they could have had a new stadium over the past five decades. They refused to put up money or take out financing.

Why should the Ken Dolls despoil the lakefront? Why not use the former Michael Reese hospital property or partner with the White Sox and build on the 78? There are other large tracts of land in Chicago that would support a stadium and other amenities. Why the lakefront?

The McCaskeys ran away from Arlington Heights because they did not want to pay millions of dollars in property taxes to support local school districts. So, their scheme is to screw the taxpayers in Chicago. The majority will get no benefit from this monstrous plan.

With Mayor Brandon Johnson and his administration standing with the Bears, it is clear the city is willing to put private interests ahead of public benefit and cheer-on this ill-conceived and expensive effort to build a gargantuan domed stadium on Chicago’s lakefront… The size almost makes the Museum Campus buildings look like neo-classical LEGO blocks in comparison. (Lee Bey/Sun-Times)

Lee Bey is a noted longtime architectural critic in Chicago. While he likes the design rendering, he says the obvious. “It’s the right building but the wrong spot.

The mayor and the Ken Dolls made a major faux pas. They did not invite Governor Pritzker to their medicine show. They need his and legislative approval for this boondoggle to get off the ground. Good luck with that. Pritzker made his thoughts known. He is against the lakefront project. He believes money could be better spent providing critical services to the people. The state legislative leaders are not very warm to the project either. Warren will have to up his sales pitch to sell Springfield.

“How can a mayor — an allegedly progressive one, at that — allow a billion-dollar football franchise to build what it likes on the lakefront, then charge taxpayers for the privilege? It’s outright ridiculous.” (Lee Bey/Sun-Times/Emphasis mine).

Truer words were never spoken.

Mayor Brandon Johnson defends himself with myths

Lakeview resident, Dan Boland wants to establish a mechanism to recall Chicago mayors. He needs to get over 54,000 signatures on a petition to place the recall on the November ballot. Mayor Johnson blasted Boland’s effort. Johnson claimed the effort was from a “dude” in the suburbs. Evidently, Johnson thinks the Lakeview neighborhood is in the burbs. He knows nothing about Chicago neighborhoods.

“Johnson also attacked Boland’s motives, saying, “apparently the extreme right wing in this country, they are not very pleased with the fact that 60 percent of my administration are women, 43 percent of those who make up my administration are Black. (NBC Chicago)

Brandon Johnson’s go-to excuses for criticism or his failures are mythical right-wing, right-wing political rivals, mythical Trump voters, or racists. It is all he has to explain why the citizens of all races of Chicago are angry with his administration. No one cares about the diversity of his staff if the city that used to work is not working. There are no right-wing political rivals against him in Chicago yet. There will not be next time either. It is a myth. The big lie too.

Mr. Boland had help from former governor Pat Quinn, who has been a champion of recalls and term limits. Quinn is the furthest person from the far right-wing as anyone could be.

“So any individual who is somehow insulted by this progressive agenda that is being led by one of the most diverse cabinets in the history of Chicago — I just call into question anyone who would be motivated to see this type of transformation disrupted… “Apparently, they’re intimidated by the crew that’s with me right now. I plan on being here for the next 23 years.” (Sun-Times)

23 years? Brandon Johnson is at the height of hubris. Maybe he should look into the Good Book. Something about pride goeth before the fall. His arrogance and hubris will be his downfall.

People are not insulted by or care about his so-called agenda or the diversity of his administration. They are insulted and angry over his incompetence and refusal to answer questions or deflecting them with rambling bumbling combative nonsense like mythical right-wing or racism. His administration is neither accountable nor transparent. Promise made. Promise broken.

He should be reminded his polling ratings are in the toilet- at 20%. At the rate he is going, he may not be around after his first term, let alone 23 years.

I believe that current CTA leadership is failing Chicago riders, and that we need a new CTA President to lead the CTA to recovery.” (Ald. Matt Martin/47th)

The CTA is woefully mismanaged and the mayor does not care. The president of the CTA should have been fired during the Lightfoot administration. Since then, Dorval Carter got a raise to his already bloated six-figure annual salary. He now makes$376,065 a year. Governor Pritzker weighed in calling for a change in leadership at the  CTA. Johnson responded in his usual combative style justifying failure. “It’s my job to determine the leadership of the CTA, that is my job,” Johnson said when asked about Prizker’s comments. “If people want to be mayor, they should run for it.” (Block Club Chicago)

That statement sums up Johnson’s mayoralty. He is the boss. If he decides failure is an option, so be it. Johnson does not get that the citizens of this city, including those who voted for him, are tired of combative mayors and failure. Johnson is Lghtfoot, Emanuel, and Daley. all rolled into one. There is no difference. The same old same old.

It is time for the news media and citizens to fight back. We need more transparency, accountability, and less blaming the mythological figures for Fifth Floor failures.

Time goes by

Seventeen years ago today I retired from the Chicago Police Department and joined the KMA club after almost 30 years of service. I left the best job in the world. Every day was an adventure, education, and sometimes humor, even dark humor. I was lucky. I was not killed, seriously injured, fired (Came Close), or indicted (Came close).

I worked with and for great people. We took care of and cared for each other. There was camaraderie and esprit de corps. We did the things no one else wanted to do or could do. Some say we did God’s work. That is a lie. We did the work God did not want to do. Were we necessary? You are damn right.

The worst thing you could do was tell a citizen there was nothing you could help them. We were masters of applied psychology, quick thinking, and making people believe we solved their problems. Sometimes it was as easy as giving them the right phone number to call. Other times we relied on our wits.

Occasionally I reminisce and cannot believe some of the hair-raising things I/we did and survived. There were laughs and sorrows. Dealing with the public daily is one of the most difficult things imaginable. It is worse when people are mad at you for the problems they caused and expect you to solve them.

I worked in some of the poorest and wealthiest areas of the city. No matter what their station in life, people have the same problems. They are crime victims, fight with their spouses, and violate various laws. In effect, they are all the same. Working with many types of people, I learned how to converse with anyone. You cannot be shy and be a police officer. The gift of gab is one of the most important tools you have.

Being a Chicago police officer is an all-access pass to all the things you never wanted to see, feel, or experience. I saw and witnessed some horrible things that humans do to one another. Every time you think you saw the worst, human nature says hold my beer. Some of the worst things are either evil or recklessness. The horror inflicted on the most vulnerable among us is the worst..

I am still in contact with some of the people I worked with through social media or run-ins. Sometimes we play remember when. Most times, we are just happy to see each other and talk about our families, hobbies, or activities. Some have left us. I keep track of the police department through the news and a few police officersI know.

Though the job was good to me, the day I retired was joyful. I was ready after all that time to move on. I never looked back. I do get nostalgic occasionally. It does not last long. I look forward to creating fresh memories rather than dwelling on the past.

When I retired, I realized I did not have to be anywhere on time or worry about being late. I only have two speeds now, slow and stop.

Baseball City Hall Football

Thursday was Opening Day for baseball. Opening Day should be a national holiday, right up there with the good old Fourth of Juuuuly. Baseball is still the national pastime and deserves our deepest respect. I will watch any baseball game, regardless of who is playing. I love baseball.

Welcome back to the boys of summer. I only wish it was not so expensive to attend games. The tickets plus taxes, fees, and the cost of food and drink make going to games almost prohibitive. Once again, like all loyal fans, there is hope the Cubs or White Sox will go all the way to a championship.

“…the mayor first pushed back on characterizations of his reaction to the Bring Chicago Home referendum’s loss as “defiant…

…The mayor earlier last month brushed aside a looming defeat of the proposed tax hike to fund homelessness services by blaming its “cowardly” opponents and declaring, “I’m still here, still standing. And I will be punching back…

…If my advocacy is defiant, what does that say about the systems who wish to keep people without dignity and unhoused? I call it wicked,” Johnson said Monday. “And so that’s why we are demonstrating in the first 10 months of my administration that we are committed to ending homelessness. …” (Chicago Tribune)

Mayor Brandon Johnson is a sore loser. He is still carping about losing his Bring Home Chicago tax to raise money that would supposedly end homelessness in Chicago. Johnson does not realize that we cannot tax our way out of problems. Bring Home Chicago was never about ending homelessness. It was about punishing people, especially middle class and upper middle class people who invested in their homes years ago.

The mayor and his minions never explained in detail how that money would be spent, what the plan was, or anything else. Just threw a tax out there and the problem is solved. If handling the migrant/refugee crisis, spending hundreds of millions of dollars without a new punishing tax, is any indication of his solutions, I have my own solution, Go home Brandon Johnson.

The Mcaskeys, owners of the Chicago Ken Dolls want to build a huge domed stadium on the lakefront next to Soldier Field. They are willing to put up $2 billion dollars to build an ugly eyesore on our beautiful lakefront. This should be stopped dead in its tracks. The lakefront should be free from anything that would spoil its beauty. It is hoped the Ken Dolls will be held up in lawsuits into perpetuity.

The Bears had ample opportunities over the past five decades to build a stadium. There was plenty of vacant land throughout the city and on the riverfront. They would not put up the money. Now, they want to vandalize our lakefront for their folly and miserable team.

Maybe the McCaskeys should concentrate on building a winning team instead of a statistical minded team. City Hall should put a stop to this madness and the insanity of the McCaskeys. City Hall, JUST SAY NO to the lakefront.

Shame on you Chicago

Chicago, you should be ashamed of yourself. Just over 20% id registered voters voted on Tuesday. It was the lowest Primary Election turnout in 80 years. You get the poor government you deserve. Like the municipal election that brought the inept Mayor Brandon Johnson to City Hall, you will get more inept people in county and state government.

The most people who did not vote were those between 18-24 years old. Those Gen Z pi$$ers, moaners, whiners, protesters, and all-around crybaby pains in the a$$ about everything. They demand change but refuse to take part. Voting is how you change. There is no excuse or reason not to vote except apathy and laziness. This city proved people do not care. If you did not vote, you have no right to complain about how things are run. You are not a citizen. You do not deserve to live in Chicago. You should be deported to the suburbs.

The Democratic Machine and Machine boss Toni Preckwinkle relies on non-voters to get their corrupt or incompetent candidates to win elections. It was proven in the last mayoral election, and it is proven now.

Mayor Johnson’s fake Bring Chicago Home ordinance to raise taxes on housing sales failed, as it should have. It was not a tax to raise money for the homeless crisis in Chicago. It was intended to gouge the wealthy, upper middle class, middle class, and retiree homeowners. If people bought homes or properties and the value went up over the decades to one million dollars or more, they would have to pay a higher tax to sell them. It was a way to steal money to spend on anything but the homeless.

Bring Chicago Home taxation would be used to plug whatever hole there would be in the city budget. If Johnson were serious about helping the homeless, he would have done the same thing the city did for the migrants. Find buildings to use as shelters and get the homeless off the streets. But he should not use that incompetent medical staffing company that has no experience in sheltering people and is ripping off the taxpayers for millions and millions of dollars. That company and how they got and kept the contract should be investigated for possible civil and criminal charges.

Mayor Brandon Johnson officially appointed Marlene Hopkins, the Buildings Department employee who oversaw a botched implosion of a Little Village coal plant smokestack four years ago, to be the city’s top official responsible for making sure buildings, as well as demolitions, are safe for the public. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Mayor Johnson appointed Marlene Hopkins, the person responsible for the implosion of a smokestack that caused an environmental disaster in the Little Village neighborhood. She must have super clout. She was not fired for screwing up the implosion. Now she is in charge of making sure future demolitions are safe. What a joke. Remember, the only reason Johnson was elected was 65 percent of the voters did not vote in the mayoral election.

When people talk about politics or government to me, I ask them if they voted. If the answer is no, I shut the conversation down. I walk away. Some may say that is rude or inconsiderate. I do not give a rat’s rear end about etiquette or propriety. I will not participate in any discussion with people who refuse to participate in government. There is literally no reason not to vote. If people are not voting, why did they register to vote in the first place? It makes no sense. These non-voters are less-ons- lower than morons.

Goings on

I voted yesterday. Once again, I had to hold my nose on some choices. Voting is one of the most patriotic things you can do as a citizen. If you stay home, like 65% of the voters did in the last municipal election, you get a not-ready-for-prime-time inept person like Mayor Brandon Johnson. It is your patriotic right, duty, and responsibility to vote. So, get out there and do it.

Jim Bachor, known as the “pothole Picasso,” opened his own studio at 1111 W. Lawrence Ave. in the Uptown neighborhood. Once he became known for filling Chicago potholes, he filled potholes in other cities.

“Bachor, 59, opened the space to a large crowd on March 1 and plans to use it as a gallery selling his artwork, along with t-shirts, hats, pins, coffee mugs, and even shoes that have images of his work. He is also considering doing workshops to teach aspiring mosaic artists.” (Chicago Sun-Times) Bachor is displaying his mosaic art for sale at the studio. Bachor will also teach the art form at his studio. He sells merchandise based on his mosaic creations.

The McCaskeys cannot make up their minds what they want with the Chicago Ken Dolls. First, it was Arlington Heights. Now, they are proposing building a new stadium on the Lakefront Museum Campus. They want the land that the Lucas Museum was to be on. The shocking thing is the cheapskates and chiselers found two billion dollars in private financing. The public will own the stadium. Yeah, right. What will they come up with next? Friends of the Parks are looking into opposing the project. They should. We all should. The McCaskeys would be better off partnering with the White Sox at the 78 to have a riverfront stadium. They are not the brightest bulbs.

The Chicago Ken Dolls traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fields put up amazing statistics while in Chicago. Unfortunately, statistics are useless. They do not win games. Chicago is where quarterbacks get ruined or come to die. The McCaskeys ruined Fields, like all the other quarterbacks over the past three or more decades. The next guy will be a victim too.

Feckless Chicago Mayor, Brandon Johnson is evicting migrants from shelters, starting Sunday. At the last minute, he decided not to evict migrants with children. How humane. Migrants will have to make their own way to the city landing zone to reapply. Johnson must be the most incompetent mayor since Big Bill Thompson. Many alderpersons are upset over this and made their opinions known.

Instead of correcting former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s mistakes, Brandon Johnson is not only compounding them but making worse decisions. The city needs an investigation into how that medical staffing company and other vendors got those big fat multi-million contracts without having any experience dealing with refugees. There had to be money passed around and maybe more still. This is Chicago and anyone who thinks this city has an honest government is living in the Twilight Zone.

Last week Texas Fuhrer Greg Abbott inked a trade deal with Great Britain. Abbott rolled his Walmart racing wheelchair into Jolly Olde England to sign the deal with British Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch. I guess the Brits love Nazis and human rights violators. What next? Will Abbott go to Russia and pen a deal with Putin? What exactly does Texas have to trade with the Brits or any other nation besides equine and bovine manure? (L.A. Times)

More nonsense from an aldercritter

The bar was always low for people to run for alderpersons in Chicago. When it comes to rookie alderman and Mayor Brandon Johnson’s floor leader, the bar was the lowest of the low. This aldercritter has the intelligence of a gnat. By the way, how does a rookie alderperson become the floor leader?

Freshman Ald. William Hall (6th), Mayor Brandon Johnson’s hand-picked chair, also warmed to possibly leveling the tax playing field between the haves and have-nots by seeking legislative approval for a city income tax on salaries over $100,000 earned in Chicago or taxing stock holdings and personal liquid assets of wealthy residents.

First, people who make over $100,000 per year are no longer the “haves.” They are barely upper middle class. He will be taxing cops, firefighters, EMTs, other city workers, trade union members, many teachers, and other working-class people. Also, many people who own successful small businesses and some professionals like nurses would pay. Then there are all the suburbanites from all economic backgrounds who work in the city. Oh, and his fellow aldermen and other city hall employees and appointees would be taxed.

Worse, he brings up the usual bugaboo that billionaires like Ken Griffith do/did not pay their fair share of taxes. There is a reason for that. People cannot pay a city income tax that does not exist. His other not-so-bright idea is to tax stocks and liquid assets of wealthy residents- whatever that means. What next? Will he try to tax IRAs and 401Ks that are stock and asset-heavy? Will he tax pensioners? Who will he and his band of merry thieves want to tax/punish next?

Alderperson Hall has other dimwitted ideas. He wants to turn vacant downtown buildings into a neon sign carnival like Times Square in New York. I have been to the neon stupidity in NYC. It is cheap, tawdry, and ugly. He wants Chicago to look cheap, tawdry, and ugly to raise revenues through the Digital Advertising Tax.

Hall wants to turn part of Northerly Island, formerly Meigs Field, into a heliport for people traveling to Ohare. He also wants to use the heliport at the former Cook County Hospital for the same purpose. Maybe someone should tell the aldercritter that there is plenty of vacant land all over this city to put heliports. But he wants to destroy parks and open spaces for his stupidity.

Hall and his fellow aldercritters who believe in this nonsense should make their federal and state income taxes public so we, the citizens, can see how much money they are sheltering to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on their six-figure incomes and their other outside endeavors. The position of alderperson is a part-time job, by definition. What part-time job pays six-figure salaries with expense accounts and Rolls Royce benefits?

We have enough punitive taxes and fees in this city that people from all incomes must pay. Try going to a sports game or a concert. The fees and taxes are ridiculously high, and they affect people from all economic backgrounds. Then there are the hotel taxes and other entertainment fees and taxes.

Aldercritter Hall believes in tax parity and equity- whatever that means. Once again a less-on (Lower than a moron) Chicago politician wants to punish people through taxation, neon blight, and noisy whirly bird ports. As I wrote above, the bar is low to become an alderman. In rookie alderman Hall’s case, the bar is the lowest of the low.

Chicago kvetching

I was safe from the Facebook shutdown the other day. When I realized the glitch, I did what I normally do when there are internet bugaboos. I yawned, stretched, and scratched. When Facebook returned online, one would have thought there was an apocalypse. People were pissing and moaning about the outage. Geez, don’t these people have a life off social media?

God forbid X went down. The whole country, including the lazy news media, would be paralyzed. Politicians and celebrities’ heads would explode- no great loss to humankind. Influencers would lament their loss of influence. Geez people, there is a life beyond social media. Get one.

Staff at the migrant shelters are limiting hygiene products for their charges. Migrants must reuse dirty diapers and women are limited to one pad a day while on their periods. Worse, the staff retaliates against them if they accept donations of hygiene products. They also must ask for toilet paper before using the restroom. This treatment is inhumane.

Once again, the staffing company is failing and showing total incompetence in caring for people. They should have been fired last year. Mayor Brandon Johnson inherited Favorite Healthcare Staffing and he refuses to fire them for their failure. They are costing the city 1.5 million dollars a day for incompetence. And inhumanity Like former mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Johnson believes failure is success. It is past time to put people in charge who have experience in these situations instead of bloodsuckers.

I am voting no on the Bring Home Chicago robbery tax. The money from this tax is supposed to go for assistance to the homeless. This is Chicago. Money earmarked for something is usually used to plug some other budget hole. I do not trust the municipal government in Chicago. Also, it is not what it seems. It is not a tax to help people. It is a tax to punish homeowners and building owners. Progressives have been pushing for this punishment for years and they finally got what they wanted. Taxation is not supposed to punish people.

It will take years before the tax yields enough funding to help the homeless population. City Hall is fooling people again. What else is new? There will not be any assistance for a long time. They could have helped the homeless before the migrant crisis. The city could have set up shelters in unused buildings and staffed them with professionals, unlike the dolts who are running the migrant shelters.

The McCaskey Ken Dolls are pushing for a new stadium on the lakefront. It is estimated that the new stadium will cost about two billion dollars. The NFL could kick in four hundred million dollars if the team can finance the rest. In true McCaskey fashion, those cheapskates and chiselers want public funding to pay the bulk of the cost. They should concentrate on putting a winning team on the field instead of soaking the taxpayers. If they want a stadium, they should pay for it. The city and state should only pay for necessary infrastructure improvements.

Baseball is back

I was in my happy place, watching baseball. I am happy that baseball returned. The Cubs were playing the Padres. I was sipping beer. The saloon was almost empty. There were only three other patrons. No one screamed at the television. No one played the jukebox, cutting off the game sound. It was a pleasant, sunny afternoon to watch my favorite sport. Unfortunately, both the Cubs and White Sox lost.

I am not a fanatic. I do not care about game or player stats. I only care whether the Cubs or Sox win. If the teams do good in the pre-season, I may splurge for tickets on season games. It is a tough proposition since they are so expensive. A day at the ballpark with drinks and food can break the bank. But there is nothing, I mean nothing, like watching a ballgame in the park.

When I was a lad, a neighbor had season White Sox tickets. He would take his kids and their friends to games at Comiskey Park. These were the first of many games I went to. I was an Andy Frain usher in the late 1960s. I worked at many Cubs and Sox games. Sometimes on the same day, the Cub’s day game and the Sox night game. Once the games started, we could watch them.

In college, we ditched classes on opening day and sat in the Wrigley bleachers. It was great. There were many unusual characters in those bleachers. So many that a play, “Bleacher Bums,” was written and a smash hit. There was betting on every aspect of the game. Cash floated throughout the bleachers along with cigar smoke.

Songwriter and singer Steve Goodman loved the Cubs. He wrote two songs about them, “Go Cubs Go” and “A Dying Cubs Fan Last Request.”

My daughter has been an avid Cubs fan since she was young. One year when she was nine years old, her mother and I gave her a Christmas gift of going to spring training. A friend lived in Arizona and set the whole thing up. It was the first time she would fly alone.

A few weeks before her departure, her mother asked me what to tell her to say if some freak talked to her on the plane and made her uncomfortable. I told her to tell my daughter to say her father is a hitman for the Chicago Outfit. If he did not leave her alone, her father would kill everything he loves. His mother, father, wife, children, dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, goats, everything. Then he would kill him. It would take him three days to be killed.

Her mother did not think a daughter should think if her father like that. I agreed. I told her to forget the animals. A daughter should not think her father would kill innocent animals. About a week later, they came up with a solution. I was still a police officer. She would tell the freak, “My father is old, crazy, and carries guns. All his friends are old, crazy, and carry guns. Would you like to meet them?” Fortunately, the flights to and from were uneventful. My friends and I did not have to meet anyone.

Baseball is back. Time to rejoice.