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City File



I can't heeear you! I'm looking the other waaay! Christopher Chandler in In These Times (December 9): "In an agreement it signed with tenant leaders at Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project in May 1995, the CHA promised to tear down three high- rises and replace them with new housing in the immediate area. But last spring, without consulting tenants, Daley announced plans to instead tear down eight of Cabrini's 23 high-rises, resulting in a net loss of more than 1,000 of the project's units....The largest single budget item in the $50 million grant that HUD gave the CHA for Cabrini's redevelopment was $17 million for the acquisition of adjoining property, which is to be turned over free of charge to developers."

Let's make a deal. "Small business owners tend to think of waste hauling as another regulated utility, like their electric bill," says Chicago Recycling Coalition director Anne Irving in a recent press release. "They are unaware that waste hauling [including recycling] is highly competitive, and that contracts are completely negotiable." And pretty soon that may be true for electricity too.

Guilty until proven innocent. From the annual report of the University of Chicago's committee on university security (University of Chicago Record, November 21): "The complainant was at the hospital for a project dealing with campus policies toward rape; she alleged that a University police officer said to her, 'I raped a couple of women, you can interview me.' The accused officer denied making the remark, and the only other witness to the incident, another University police officer, stated that he did not hear the accused officer make such a statement. Accordingly the complaint was classified as not sustained. Nonetheless, the [university police] department included a record of the complaint in the officer's permanent personnel record, and he was counseled regarding the seriousness of the alleged incident....The committee thanked the department for the care with which this complaint was handled and the fact that the officer was counseled about the incident even though the record did not permit a definitive resolution of the factual issues."

While you were sleeping. Number of temporary jobs in the country in 1983: 619,000. In 1994: 2,250,000 (U.S. Department of Labor, quoted in Drake Beam Morin's Trend Tracker).

Nonfood for nonthought. From the Washington Post National Weekly (November 25-December 1): "After hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending, countless news stories, three nationally televised debates and hours of advertising on television and radio, Americans knew no more about how the two major presidential candidates stood on key issues when they voted than they did when the fall campaign began in September."

"Airports become more like downtowns every year," writes Robert Bruegmann of the University of Illinois at Chicago in his contribution to the new Art Institute book Building for Air Travel, "boasting new or expanded security forces, fire stations, central heating and cooling plants, hotels, medical centers, welfare organizations, restaurants, retail outlets, miniature department stores, chapels, banks, museums and other exhibition spaces, bowling alleys, sex cinemas, antique stores, and, at Milwaukee, a used book store."

Rites of passage. James Ylisela Jr. in Illinois Issues (November): "My first newspaper editor, who found everything about Chicago funny, told me once that the city's political bosses like to send their firstborn sons downstate to be representatives and senators. After the kids reach political puberty, they're allowed to come home to take on more mature responsibility as aldermen. That's what Richard J. Daley did with his kid. State Sen. Richard M. Daley served several years in state government, developed a reputation as a spoiled prince and then surprised everyone by turning into a pretty good legislator."

"Today it is easier for an Xer living in an urban area to say he or she is a Buddhist than to admit to being a Catholic," contends singer-songwriter Andrew Cash, quoted in Martin Marty's Chicago-based newsletter Context (December 1). "If the religion being discussed is, let's say, native spirituality, or an African creation myth, it will be treated with respect, or at least politeness. None will object if you are looking there for clues to your deeper identity, or hints about the meaning of creation and of the human presence within it. . . . But if a mainline Christian religion is mentioned (the kind identified with your local church, a television evangelist, or worst of all the pope), you can expect a hard time if you admit that you're taking it seriously."

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