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Tag: Chicago

Shame on them


The Cook County Board approved a 10% raise for themselves and an annual 3% increase in perpetuity. They already make high salaries for what is legally a part-time job. There are no prohibitions from having other employment, professions, or businesses. Many of them do.

This is a perfect reason to toss out of office anyone who voted for these raises, including Machine Boss Toni Preckwinkle. Over the past decades, most local public employees only received 2.5% to 3% raises. Yet, the greedy members of the board want more—a higher raise than the people who toil under them.

Board members currently make $85,000.00 per year. The 10% hike will raise their salaries to $93,500. This is outrageous. We are coming out of a pandemic that devastated the local economy. We are entering into a recession, with the cost of everyday goods and services rising. Yet, in their smugness, greed, and tone-deafness, the Cook County Board gave themselves a hefty pay raise to enrich themselves.

We, the suffering taxpayers, will foot the bill for this inanity. Many people in this county, especially in Chicago, barely make ends meet. They wonder if they can stretch their dollars to the end of every month.

It is past time for a change. Legislation should make all elected city and county officials full-time positions. They should spend forty hours a week in their respective positions reporting to City Hall or the County Building, like the rest of the employees. They should get the same raises as the employees. They should also get the same benefits with no perks.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners sent a powerful message to the serfs and peons, the voters. Suck it up. We rule. We will take what and how much we want. You will get the peanuts and pay for our salaries with them.

If they passed a 3% annual raise, the same raises employees get, there would be no issue. But ten percent cream on the top is beyond the pale. Unlike Chicago alderpersons, no one knows what Cook County Commissioners do. At least the alderpersons are in the news frequently touting their activities. The Cook County Board rarely is in the news. It is almost like a secret society.

Toni Preckwinkle runs the Cook County Board of Commissioners like another Tony-Tony Accardo, who ran the Chicago Outfit- silently, out of sight. She is rarely in the media and says little to nothing when she is. Yet, the media fawns all over her like hormonal teenagers over a celebrity idol. Preckwinkle is, “She who can do no wrong.” The kindly schoolmarm in sensible shoes.

I waited a few days to see if there would be editorials in the so-called Chicago or suburban news media. Not a peep. Chicago journalism is dead. They are the public relations weasels for the political Machine. They do not care about the taxpayers, municipal, or county employees.

We, the public, are being robbed by slick criminals. To paraphrase the “Godfather,” “Politicians can steal more money with an election than a gun.”

Chicago/Cook County politics is nothing more than a con game, a Ponzi scheme. I have no pity for their ten years with no raise. County Board Commissioners make $85,000.00 a year. How much more do they need? This is not about need. It is about greed, and the ability to get away with it. Citizens are docile and blind to the thievery being committed in their names.

It is the Chicago way. Get as much as you can, as fast as possible, hold on as long as possible, and get more. Obey the Eleventh and Twelfth Commandments, “Thou shalt not get caught” and ”Thou shalt not talk.” Not talking or getting caught is a snap with a docile public and no dedicated journalism in Chicago.

The Week in the rearview mirror

Image: PV Bella

This week Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced what everyone knew. Bally got the nod for Chicago’s first casino. It will be located on the Tribune publishing site. Some alderpersons are going all NIMBY over the selection. Alderpersons and community groups were screaming Not In My Back Yard over the casino proposals during the selection process. They wanted the casino, just not in their communities. There were only a few areas where the casino should be built. They were near downtown and the convention center at McCormick Place.

CWBChicago, the only crime and justice- or lack thereof- reporting worth reading in this city, obtained a video of a vicious robbery in the Lincoln Park/DePaul neighborhood. The video shows the robbery victim being shot while lying on the ground. It is about time people see how vicious some of our pampered criminals are.

 The whiny bike people are once again complaining about the inadequate bike lanes in some parts of the city after a cyclist was killed in an accident. It appears some streets are not suited to the whims of the cyclists. The intelligent thing to do would be to ban cyclists on those streets during certain hours. Also, it is past time for the city to crack down on lawless cyclists who do not obey traffic laws. The city could make a boatload of money ticketing cyclists. Like reckless drivers and motorcyclists, there is one set of laws the most reckless cyclists keep violating to their fatal peril: the laws of physics.

The City of Chicago has a new publishitty (Misspelling intentional) stunt. Free branded canned water. Yep, instead of going to the nearest water tap, you can get Chicagwa. It may be an old Native American word for idiot or stench of leaders. Indicted Aldercreature, Ed Burke promoted bottling the city’s water years ago. People thought he was, ahem, off. It looks like our current leadership is way off.

The oldest operating neon sign in Chicago hit the auction block. The sign outside the Orange Garden restaurant, also the longest operating Chinese restaurant in the city, was bought by Chloe Mendel, wife of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. Her winning bid was $17,000. Corgan is currently touring in Mexico with the band.

There are two things you can count on in Chicago. The politics and the weather suck. “It’s not your imagination: It truly has been more gloomy, rainy and wet than usual in Chicago this spring.” I don’t remember a cold, dreary, and wet spring like this one. Politics and weather, misery loves company.

Nine people were shot this week in the downtown area. It appears “Tex” Brown ran out of plans, strategies, and deployments to keep the public safe. Once the weather gets warm, the spring and summer offensive will be in full force in our neighborhoods. One would hope the City Council would finally do something or say something. Hope dies in City Hall.

Cappleman the Cruel

Cappleman the Cruel/Image 46th Ward/Enhanced by PV Bella

“When well-meaning residents step in to help, it can slow down efforts of the case manager who’s building trust with their client, and that ultimately slows down efforts to get them into permanent housing…

…The best way the public can help is by supporting the case manager’s role of being the lead support for their client. Instead of providing food and other items directly, it’s much better to donate items or money to the person’s assigned social service agency.” (Alderman James Cappleman/Uptown Update)

“Craft legislation that would allow the City to fine those who give out propane tanks to people living under the viaducts.”

“ I support requiring the viaduct encampments to move to the nearby open space where some other tents are already located to reduce the safety risks for those currently living under the viaduct.“

“My ask to have the viaducts cleared to make it safe for everyone has been denied and I fear it’s only a matter of time when an injury will lead to a needless death.” (46th Ward Newsletter)

Alderman James Cappleman, AKA Cappleman the Cruel, has been trying to eliminate the homeless camps from his gentrifying ward since being elected in 2011. There has been an encampment under the viaduct at DuSable Lake Shore Drive for several years. Cappleman wants it gone. He does not care about homelessness. He wants them out of his ward.

Cappleman does not want the current and future over-privileged pampered residents to see the homeless or their encampments in his gentrified ward. He wants them to disappear. Cappleman’s only solution is removal. He is devoid of humanity.

Cappleman the Cruel does not want “well-meaning” people to assist the homeless directly with food, money, or other necessities. He wants them to donate to “assigned” social service agencies. Well-meaning people should ignore Cappleman. Give whatever they want to whoever they want. No one has a right to tell people how to help others or determine what is best for others. None of those agencies have expertise. The homeless camps would not be so large and entrenched if they did.

Cappleman the Cruel wants the city to fine people who give propane tanks to the homeless. Is Cappleman going to have the Propane Police stationed on-site? Guess what? The camp will start open fires to stay warm. That will create a more significant safety issue. Cappleman does not understand the psychology of survival. People will do whatever it takes to survive, even thumb their noses at an alderman.

Cappleman wants the encampments to move to the open areas of the park. Years ago, when there was a large camp in that area, he wanted it removed because people claimed it was an eyesore. The viaduct provides shelter from the sun, rain, and snow. It is an eyesore for pampered people who want to pass under to get to the lake, his real reason for wanting the viaduct encampment removed. It has nothing to do with the safety of the homeless, drivers on DLSD, or pedestrians, runners, and cyclists traversing the viaduct to get to the lake.

Most alderpersons do not care about public safety. Just look at how dangerous the whole city is. Cappleman does not care about public safety. He does care about getting reelected. He cares about the voters who complain about the camps being a blot on their pristine paradise.

Cappleman claims the homeless refuse cots in shelters. He is right. The people must leave most shelters in the morning. They are back on the street again. Due to space restrictions, they cannot bring all their possessions to the shelter. Why would people even consider a system that only provides overnight comfort, especially during inclement weather? Some refused other types of housing due to various restrictions.

Cappleman claims the homeless do not trust the case managers and other city agencies. There is a good reason for the distrust. They do little to transition the homeless into permanent housing, jobs, and medical or mental health treatments. Many homeless have mental issues and suffer from substance abuse or alcoholism. Those require long-range solutions.

Cappleman has been trying to remove the homeless population from the park and lakefront for years. The homeless are winning. They are staying until this city gets smart. That could be a long while.

Cappleman has no solutions to transition the homeless to treatment, jobs, and housing. He never did. Cappleman is the only alderman who publicly shames the homeless and demands their removal. It is almost criminal the way Cappleman frames the growing homeless problem.

The number of homeless people in Chicago is at an all-time high. The situation is complex due to the various reasons people are homeless. Like poverty, homelessness will not be eliminated. It can be mitigated. No one wants to spend the money for the long-term solutions necessary to reduce homelessness. The NIMBYs do not want facilities to assist the homeless in their neighborhoods. NIMBYs do not want anything in their communities that will help others.

Cappleman does not want to mitigate the homeless problem in his gentrified ward. He wants the homeless gone, out of sight, out of mind. Cappleman is a typical creature of municipal government. He does not want to solve problems. He prefers they go away.

“Well-meaning” people should be lauded instead of condemned for trying to do some good in this city of scoundrels, like Cappleman. They are doing more than Cappleman or the city is. They are stepping in due to the failure of the city.

There is no law against compassion. If it were up to Cappleman, there would be.

Memento mori for the children

Image: PV Bella

Tragically, kids are killed all the time in Chicago and elsewhere, most of them innocent victims and most of their names thrown into the wind and forgotten by all but those people who knew and loved the kids. (Rick Kogan/Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Tribune reporter Rick Kogan wrote an article about an outdoor space at the Obama Presidential Center. It is dedicated to Hadiya Pendleton, an innocent teenager shot and murdered as pray and spray bullets flew through a park where she was sitting with friends. You can read his column at the above link.

Over the past few years, numbers of innocent children, including toddlers and infants, were murdered by the pray and spray killers. Their names are now known only to God. The latest was 8-year-old Melissa Ortega, who was murdered while walking with her mother in Little Village, a neighborhood I know well. Her name, like the others, will be “thrown into the wind and forgotten.”

The children’s parents are members of a club no one wants to join, Club Dead. Losing a child must be one of the most horrific things that can happen to parents. Yet, in this merciless and pitiless city, no one cares. Elected officials do not care. Citizens do not care. Only the families care.

Who are these children? What are their names? How many children were murdered over the past few years? How many parents are suffering their loss? Who are the parents? What hopes, dreams and aspirations did they have for their children? Why are their names “thrown into the wind and forgotten?”

Hadiya Pendleton is being memorialized because she performed at former President Obama’s second inauguration. The Obama’s made an empathetic connection with the family. Hadiya Pendleton will be remembered because of their empathetic connection.

Sometimes, when a child is killed, a memento mori is created. There are flowers, inflatables, candles, religious images, handmade signs, and other artifacts to remember the dead. They eventually disappear and are forgotten like the names of the murdered children.

The murder of children should shock the conscience. Our consciousnesses are no longer shocked by the murder of children. We shrug our shoulders and go on with our lives. We are immune from the shock and horror of child murders. The murdered children are just another number, a digit, a piece of data. One of the hundreds of other murder victims in this city of death.

We forget because we do not want to be reminded of the horror inflicted on children and their families. We call it gun violence, blaming inanimate objects. We refuse to call murder what it really is, human violence. We cannot accept the fact that we humans can be so cold and callous.

Parents must bury the dead, their children. Parents must live with the grief and memories forever. There are no memorials or peace parks for their children. There should be a memorial space for all the murdered children, a memento mori, including a wall with their names etched on it. It should stand as a permanent monument to show the world that Chicago is a cold, heartless, merciless, and pitiless city.

A Grand Avenue Christmas

Image: PV Bella

Twas the night before Christmas, and all tru da house

Not a creature was stirring, not even da louse

Da stockins were hung by da chimney wid care

The stink they gave off fouled up da air

Da children was nestled all snug in dere beds

Wid visions of my hand smacking dere heads

The gumad in her thong and me with my bong

Had just took a hit that was way too long

When out on da street dere was such a clatter

I stumbled from bed to see what was da matter

I tripped on da floor while makin a dash

tore open da winder and found my old stash

The moon on da street lit da crappy new snow

It shone so bright on da hookers below

When what to my waterin eyes when I looks

Some sled skidding down wid eight crazy mooks

Some drunken dwarf driver so clumsy and thick

I knew in a moment it was Little Nick

Wid bats and bricks they tripped as they came

Nick whistled and shouted and called them by name

Yo Abie! Yo Joey!

Yo Sal! Yo Cockeye!

Yeah, Screwy! Yo Mooney!

Hey Donnie! Yo Mugsy!

Get up dat porch

To da top a da wall

Dat fat bumb made da freakin call

Like alley rats dat scurry wid daylight

When de meet da wind dey go to flight

So up da fire escape, da cousins dey ran

Wid bats and bricks and gasoline can

And in a twinkle, I hear on da roof

The scraping and pawing of each little goof

As I cleared my head and turned around

Down da chimney, Little Nick did bound

He was dressed in fur from his head to his foot

Da fur was all covered wid cinders and soot

A buncha junk he had on his back

He looked like a teef openin his pack

His eyes bloodshot, his dimples how stubbled

His cheeks were unshaven his nose was all hairy

He smelled like Four Roses 

He had too much merry

The stump of a joint he held tight in his teet

Da smoke of the cheap stuff smelled like dirty feet

He had a face like a toad and a big round belly

Dat shook when he yelled like a bowl full of jelly

He was chubby and plump, an angry old elf

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself

A wink of his eye and twist of his head

Let me know I would soon be dead

He did’n say nuttin. He went to work

Beatin on me like I was a jerk

I laid a fist on da side a his nose

Kicked im in da ass en up da chimney he rose

He sprang to his sled to his team gave a whistle

En da cousins ran so fast dey looked like a missile

I heard him yell as he drove outta sight

Dis ain’t de end

Dere’ll be an udder night

Welcome to the KMA Club

Image: PV Bella

When Chicago Police officers retire, we join the KMA Club. Captain Melvin Roman retired from the Chicago Police Department after over 31 years of service. First, welcome to the best club in the world, boss. 

Roman was a former commander who was shamed, “dumped,” and demoted to captain. He wrote this email to the citywide distribution list before proudly walking out the door. It floated around social media the past few days. I was able to obtain a copy from a website to publish here.

I have no commentary on this except to offer my best wishes to Melvin Roman in his retirement.

“After over 31 years with the Chicago Police Department, my career has come to an end. I find contemplating retirement similar to contemplating life in general.

Thoughts of what has been left undone, thoughts of what I could have been done better come to mind. I’d like to think that I have always tried to do the right thing regardless of what was right.

Anyone who is a true leader will understand what I have said. My resignation as a Commander was done with this in mind. If I cannot have a voice to be heard then I have no business being in the position.

I will always be proud to say that I was a Chicago Police Officer, although I cannot be proud of our current Department. We speak about building trust with the community but do not have a trust within our own department. We speak a lot about Officer wellness and contradict that daily by missing the simplest and most basic opportunities to truly show Officers we care.

In 31 years I have never seen a Department in which the rank and file Officer is at war with the top brass administration of the Department. An administration that listens to no one, allows no one a voice, and tries to lead by the only tools they know: Fear and intimidation. Tactics which will always be doomed to fail.

A plumber on a job knows that his tools are the most important aspect of his job. An electrician knows the right tools for the job are critical. Yet here in the Department we seem to lose track of one plain and simple fact: Officers are the most important aspect of our mission.

They must have trust and faith in us as supervisors to leave the station and fulfill the missions we decide and they do that because they respect and have faith in the MEN AND WOMEN who lead, NOT the rank! This is a fact that some will never understand. Some put on the uniform and rank, and even ribbons, and think they are more important and look down on the Officers they should be holding in high esteem.”

Supervisors who have had the benefit of some of the most prestigious leadership training and still do not know the most fundamental traits of a leader: A leader must genuinely care about the people they lead. Without that you will never accomplish a mission and this Department will not change.

Some will claim they do care and maybe they do, but if your outward demeanor exemplifies disdain and a lack of respect, that is what is received. Rank should be perceived as a level of responsibility. Even though it’s also authority, you should lead by your character and not by what’s on your collar.

I have faith that at some point the Department will build itself back up and will once again be something to be proud of. I hope that many of you who will take over the Department will keep these hard facts in mind. Many will be angry and upset with my words but I promise you I offer them only out of a deep gratitude and respect for the Officers who serve the great city of Chicago and to a beloved Department which I will always love and support.

To the rank and file Officers to whom I undoubtedly owe any and all my success, I can never express my true gratitude so I will simply offer a very sincere appreciation and a huge thank you. (CWB Chicago)

“Just do it”

Image: PV Bella

I talk to a lot of people in my neighborhood, including businesspeople. They all complain about the same things. Sometimes, they complain to or about the alderman. For whatever reason, some of their complaints fall on deaf ears, or they get the usual response, “We’re working on it.” The issues or problems persist. 

I find this phenomenon all over the city. People seem to think they are helpless when issues persist. People should not think. They should act. They should organize their neighbors, create a plan to solve or mitigate the problem. It is called community organizing. Elected officials do not like community organizers. It makes them look like what they are, useless.

Community organizing is merely people deciding, as a group, to solve a common problem(s) in their community. It is not some political- lefty or righty- concept. It is merely people getting together to resolve issues. Many times, their solutions are more effective than those offered up by elected officials.

Some examples of community organizing are school parent groups, area business associations, block clubs, or neighborhood groups for or against specific issues such as housing, traffic concerns, quality of life, etc.

Occasionally community groups work with their elected officials, sometimes against, and many times despite them. People see an issue or problem and decide to resolve it when politicians take too long or do nothing. 

Our city works when ordinary, well-meaning people try to make their communities better every day.  We need to become more aware of issues in our neighborhoods. What is the problem? How many people does it affect? How do we fix it? Find out what works—identifying and attacking issues is not enough. Whatever action is taken must be results-oriented.

I know one thing. If we, as a community, see a problem, we can solve it together. All the political rhetoric aside, we citizens can do it. That is what Chicago is all about. Citizens have been solving problems, big and small since this burg was a swampy trading post.

Most of us want to see some common sense, honesty, and integrity from our elected officials. We get none of that. All we get are excuses and failed policies repeatedly. If Chicago is the city that works, people need to work to help solve our neighborhood problems.

We are the problem solvers. Citizens cannot just argue, complain to each other or the alderman when neighborhood problems persist. We live there. We can find solutions. We can do things. We should do something. It is people helping people.

Activism is not a political ideology- right or left-wing. It is not merely protesting or putting cutesy signs on lawns or in windows to feel good about ourselves. It is taking group action to solve a problem or issue. It is up to us if the politicians or bureaucrats will not do it or take too long.

There are many people in this city doing good work on a small scale. Whether it is dealing with homelessness, lack of food resources, poverty, violence, abuse, beautification projects, or any other myriad issues in our neighborhoods. There are opportunities in every community to volunteer. If you have different talents, you could put them to use, writing or graphic arts, for example.

People can demand better from their alderman by banding together and flooding their office with calls or emails over an issue. Use petitions to get attention. You can organize your neighbors to do things. There are neighborhood organizations you can join.

There are 2.7 million people in Chicago. We have the numbers. There are things, big and small, people can do in their communities.

If nothing else, we can hold the politicians’ feet to the fire by organizing, emailing them, going to their offices, attending community meetings, anything to make our voices heard. If they get defensive or angry, as some ruder ones do, remind them who they work for. Then, organize to get rid of them and elect someone else.

Like the Nike slogan, “Just do it.”

The picture says it all

Image: PV Bella

The adage is a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo above is representative of Chicago politicians and the Chicago news media.

While violent crime is out of control in Chicago, most alderpeople are silent. If asked about violent crime in their wards, they give milquetoast answers, mumbling about working with the police in their areas, blah, blah, blah. Some, if challenged, angrily shout at and shut down their questioners.

Members of the Chicago City Council, like Mayor Lori Lightfoot, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, and Machine Boss Toni Preckwinkle, do not care about the rampant crime in all the neighborhoods. They have no pity, mercy, sympathy, or empathy. Hell, they are not even human as they display no humanity.

There is one thing they all are, depicted in the photo above—my apology to horses. If there are no consequences for criminality, criminals will continue their bloody rampages in neighborhoods. Innocent people, including children, will die. Survivors and families will be traumatized, some for life.

The police cannot do this alone. They need partners. They have no partner in the State’s Attorney’s office or the courts. The police cannot arrest us out of this crime pandemic if prosecutors and the courts refuse to do their jobs. Refusing to charge people with felonies, plea bargaining felonies down to misdemeanors, low or no bail, and the failing electronic monitoring system all contribute to the situation.

Boss Preckwinkle brags about the low jail population in her recently released campaign ad. Preckwinkle and Foxx are also represented in the above photo. Once again, my apologies to those noble animals.

Oh, look, those cops refused to get vaccinated or report their vaccine status—what a nice distraction. Columnists and editorial boards are outraged over the police for their resistance, yet not one word of outrage against the trio responsible for public safety, the Mayor, State’s Attorney, and Machine Boss. You better believe if one of their reporters, columnists, or high-paid news presenters were the victim of violent crime, there would be howls of outrage. If there were no prosecution or the criminal let out due to low or no bail, their hair would be on fire. Everyday people, meh.

The citizens should be outraged. They should not be questioning alderpeople. They should be demanding they do something, like hold the trio of horses’ a**es accountable. The citizens should hold their feet to the proverbial fire. Many alderpeople will be running for reelection to their six-figure part-time positions. If citizens do not get some results, they should elect someone else.

The same holds for the Lightfoot, Foxx, and Boss Preckwinkle. If they cannot curb the mayhem and keep us safe, they do not deserve another term in office. They should be tossed to the curb and swept away.

Public safety is the chief responsibility of elected officials. Our elected officials failed us on an epic scale. Any one of us could be an innocent victim of a violent crime. The politicians and news media keep touting police reform. What we need is political reform. Chicago needs people in office who care about public safety. People who have empathy for victims instead of sympathy for criminals. People who will act instead of tossing out cheap words or meaningless publicity stunt distractions.

We do not need horses a**es holding public office dishing out horse manure. We need people who care about public safety and have empathy for the victims of violent crime. We also need to hold the news media in this city accountable. They should be leading the charge instead of being partners in crime with the politicians. They, too, are horses’ a**es, dishing out horse manure daily.

What does it take to get angry and rise up against these total failures? How many more people, especially children must die? Are we that callous? Or, are we so dumb, that we do not hold the elected horses’ a**es accountable?

Chicago is a city of scoundrels

Image: PV Bella

“When will there be justice in Athens? There will be justice in Athens when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are.” (Thucydides)

When will there be justice in Chicago? When will there be anger over the daily carnage on our streets? Every day the death toll mounts. Every day people are wounded. Where is the outrage that leads to justice?

The criminal justice system in Chicago is dysfunctional. The warfare between the police, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, and the courts is a disgrace.

The politics in this city is the root cause of violent crime. Criminals know there will be few, if any consequences, for their actions. Justice is a revolving door. It is worse now than when corruption and bribery ruled over the system.

Cui bono? Who benefits? Who profits? The answer is the politicians. They get to keep their jobs because the voters in this city refuse to hold their feet to the fire over their epic failure to protect the public. In effect, voters voted against their self-interest, public safety.

They reelected Machine Boss Toni Preckwinkle and her minion, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. They will probably reelect them. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is twisting in the wind, which is where Preckwinkle wants her. It is a good bet Preckwinkle already picked Lightfoot’s replacement. Lightfoot will not win 49 wards next time. She burned too many bridges.

We are witnessing machine politics at its worst. People are dying, including children, and the three frenemies pretend to make nice. This is not and never was about progressive ideas, social justice, or correcting wrongs. This is pure machine politics. And you, the voters, believe the lies. So does the aiding and abetting news media in this city of scoundrels.

So-called reform politicians love the words accountability and transparency. They toss them around like kids pitching pennies. Yet, there is no accountability or transparency. It does not exist. The proof is the dead and wounded. Over 3700 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, 641 fatally. Those figures do not include people shot on the expressways*.

The State’s Attorney’s office refuses to approve felony charges in many cases, blaming the police for shoddy investigations. Worse, they plea bargain too many felonies down to misdemeanors. Toni Preckwinkle’s lenient bail bond initiative allows criminals to return to the streets. The electronic monitoring system is a joke.

Violent crime in Chicago reached pandemic levels over the summer. It is precisely what Preckwinkle and Foxx want. Lightfoot cannot fight back. She always caves into the devilish duo. Lightfoot makes nice while they plot her demise. She, too, bears the blame. She hired an incompetent Superintendent of Police.

If Chicago had a real news media, as we did in the past, Preckwinkle and Foxx would never get reelected. David Brown would be back in Texas. The editorial boards are either cowardly, gullible or willfully blind to the deception.

No one is standing up for the victims. No one is speaking for the dead. No one is speaking for the families in their grief and mourning.

It is not only the injured or their families who must speak out. The vast majority in this city is up to those who are not suffering to express our outrage. We deserve better than this political Ponzi scheme perpetrated on us.

People, you are not helpless. You have voices. Let them be heard.

By the way, where is Superintendent of Police, David “Tex” Brown? Is he on vacation, missing, AWOL? Should we put his picture on milk cartons?

*The Illinois State Police have jurisdiction over the expressways. Their figures are not included in the City of Chicago reporting.

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.