News & Politics » City File

The City File



Supreme of Pigeon, Squid Creole, and Salmon and Crabmeat Strudel are among the dishes that won the Drake Hotel a gold medal in the "Grand Buffet" category at the National Restaurant Association's recent 17th Annual Culinary Salon Competition.

"'Cool' is a fortress that black males have built against white American society," writes University of Illinois PhD Richard Majors in American Visions (April 1987), the magazine of Afro-American culture. "But cool is not without its price. . . . Conditioned to keep up their guard, black men often won't allow themselves to express or show weakness or fear in any form. . . . This facade of strength helps keep racial barriers in place. And, equally important, it often prevents the forming of lasting attachments in their personal lives."

Bureaucrat as entrepreneur. Jay R. Hedges--former assistant city manager in Hoffman Estates, Skokie, and Mount Prospect; former gubernatorial liaison for economic development; and current director of the state Department of Commerce and Community Affairs--has been cited by Venture magazine and Arthur Young as an "Entrepreneur of the Year."

Portrait of an architect in search of an outrageously rich client: "I think there will be a 200-story skyscraper someday," Chicago's Helmut Jahn tells Fortune (June 22, 1987). "However, it will require a developer who will not think in conventional terms and for whom economic restraints won't apply."

"City Hall pays better, and for some living in Springfield is not a slice of heaven," says state house speaker Michael Madigan's press secretary, trying to explain to the Chicago Reporter (June 1987) his boss's and the state legislature's less than brilliant record of hiring minorities. Of 255 General Assembly employees, 235 are white. The lawmakers have taken care to exempt themselves from the state Human Rights Act.

Are these the five best public schools In Chicago? We don't know for sure, but they did win the UIC-sponsored "1987 For Character School Recognition Program": LaSalle Language Academy (1743 N. Orleans), Paul Revere Elementary (1010 E. 72nd), Schiller Elementary (640 W. Scott), Hubbard High (6200 S. Hamlin), and Morgan Park High (1744 W. Pryor).

The Legislative Committee of 50 to Promote Open and Responsible Debate on the Question of Whether to Convene a Constitutional Convention for Illinois has a membership every bit as exciting as its name. "The appointees tend to be white middle-aged men," writes Michael D. Klemens in Illinois Issues (June 1987). "Half are lawyers. There is one journalist and two academics. Almost half hold or held elective office. Twenty-three are from Chicago, 11 from the suburbs and 16 from downstate. Three appointees are black. Six are women."

Who needs parents when you have Hammacher Schlemmer's $155 voice-activated cradle? It "automatically begins to rock and play music ['It's a Small World'] at the sound of your infant's cry," according to HS's summer supplement. "Adjustable controls let you set the elapsed rocking time, the speed and arc of the swing, and song volume."

Why did the Jesus People USA swing the 46th Ward from Orbach to Shiller? Because they're more concerned about poor people than about following a conservative line. According to Ben Joravsky, writing in Chicago Enterprise (June 1987), the 500-member Uptown commune/business/charity normally votes Republican in national elections. But spokesman Dennis Cadieux explains, "We think Jerry Orbach is a lovely man, but he doesn't have what it takes to stand up to the development"--gentrification. "If things keep going there will be massive displacement. People will be thrown out of their homes. We decided that Helen Shiller would do the most to prevent displacement."

"All work must be original and not made from a prepackaged kit," admonish the Illinois Arts Council and the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, cosponsors of "Mineworks to Artworks: Illinois Coal in Art." In the contest's sculpture category, entrants "are invited to submit works of art rendered in coal." Those who neglect to do so may find their entries replaced by, er, carbon copies: "Winning sculptures that are not rendered in coal will be reproduced in coal by professional artisans."

Put them in someone else's neighborhood. "In some parts of the country, local authorities actually block federal tax dollars--or charitable donations, for that matter--from being used on 'a bed for the night,'" writes Martin Morse Wooster in a skeptical account of the homeless hype for Reason (July 1987). "Dave DeCoursey, United Way of Chicago's vice-president for research and development, says that he would be unable to use extra federal funds on shelters because zoning restrictions have barred new shelters from being built in Chicago since 1984. 'It's extremely difficult to get a shelter zoned,' DeCoursey says."

Forget the Big Mac--I'll eat the wrapper. Harper's "Index" (July 1987) reports that estimated farm income for 1986 was $27 billion, while during that same year consumers paid $28 billion for food packaging.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

Add a comment