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The City File



Wonders of bureaucracy. Would-be prison guards, says the state Department of Corrections, "should bring with them a copy of their birth certificate or other proof of birth."

Look out, Joe, it's another one of those exploding dogs! Item 91033 on a recent list of city of Chicago job opportunities: "Canine Explosive Detection Trainer."

Du Page County "is one of the most meticulously planned places in the country," writes James Krohe Jr. in Chicago Enterprise (January 1989), but "the lesser attractions of life in DuPage County today--the traffic jams, the flooding, the vanishing green space, the growing visual blight--may result from too much planning. Consider zoning. Embraced by American communities in the 1920s, the 'clean' zoning evident in many post-war suburbs has isolated the day-to-day activities that once were crammed into a single neighborhood, a single street or even a single building.... By separating urban functions physically, zoning also required a commute, not only between job and home, but between anywhere and everywhere."

"You can't lump all Asians together," complains Senn High School counselor Alice Esaki to the Chicago Reporter (January 1989), yet the school system uses just one category--"Asian/Pacific Islander"--to cover Chinesory--"Asian/Pacific Islander"--to cover Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Hmong, Iranian, Assyrian, and other students. But recent arrivals from Southeast Asia in particular may start out with more academic problems than other Asian immigrants. "No one has a real handle on what's going on with these kids, yet over and over again we hear about how well the Asians are doing and how hard they study. We're missing more than half the population."

The rate of increase of AIDS cases is leveling off, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health: "The number of AIDS cases is now doubling every 16 to 18 months, compared to 14 months in October 1987," and every 10 months in 1985. This means that the number of AIDS cases projected for 1991 has dropped from 20,000 to under 7,000. The current count is 2,417.

"One of the time-honored tasks of legal scholarship is to find unconstitutionality where it is generally not seen," said University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein in the U. of C. Chronicle last fall (October 27). "It is crystal clear to me that in the year 2010, people will look back at the 1980s and say, 'There was unconstitutionality everywhere--why didn't they see it?' The three areas I am most hopeful about are issues regarding sexual orientation, the current treatment of the disabled and the treatment of issues of reproduction as privacy issues."

"The [Lincoln Park Gun] Club should not be allowed to continue polluting while it tries to find a way to stop," according to the Lake Michigan Federation's Cameron Davis. In 75 years, the gun club has deposited about 400 tons of lead shot on the bottom of Lake Michigan; it continues to add to that pile while it and the state EPA conduct what appear to be oh-so-leisurely discussions about how to address the situation.

Forget those "ideal weight" charts, advises registered dietitian Shirley Suter of Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Wellington Avenue. "A person's body composition is far more important than actual weight," she says. "The scale cannot tell the difference between fat and muscle, and so two women of the same height can weigh the same, but one could be lean and healthy, while the other one could be fat and out of shape." Now my stomach--that's all muscle.

"No one seriously considers returning to prohibition even though alcohol is responsible for at least 10 times more deaths per year than drugs," writes Illinois ACLU executive director Jay s that society tolerates 300,000 deaths a year attributable to Miller in the Illinois Brief (December 1988). "When one considers that society tolerates 300,000 deaths a year attributable to tobacco, and over 60,000 to alcohol, not to mention the mayhem from traffic accidents, the less than 6,000 deaths attributable to illicit narcotics--and none to marijuana even though we continue to arrest approximately 400,000 people a year for marijuana offenses--our laws seem irrational."

Never tell a banker that lending to your business would entail little risk," counsels Jerry DeMuth in the Chicago Industrial Bulletin (January/February 1989). That's too much, according to consulting accountant Gene Leeb: "If you say he [sic] would only be taking a small risk, you will not get the loan because his intent is to take no risk at all."

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

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