1998 | Chicago Reader at Forty | Chicago Reader

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1998

The year in Chicago history via the pages of the Reader

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There is a machine in this town. It's a new type of machine, and the mayor is the chairman. And it's very different in some respects but it still does what the old machine was capable of doing, and I think this was a good example.

—State senator Jesus Garcia, on his defeat in the Democratic primary by an obscure candidate backed by the Hispanic Democratic Organization. Linda Lutton's "War on Independents" put the HDO on the media map.

The most petulantly received article the Reader ever published

On Monday Stephanie went to court. She says it was over so fast she didn't see the judge's face. The case was dismissed.

"Just imagine, the judge tells you you're free—and then you sit around for hours," she says. "You better not say nothing. Don't ask for any water. Don't ask for food and say you're hungry. When they say, 'Come on, let's go,' you think you're leaving. But no." She says she was never offered a form to sign. "'Get over there and take your clothes off.' There were maybe about 30 women. You got women who are on their period. It don't matter. You lay your sanitary napkin down on the floor. You got women who've been in the streets for over a month. I mean it's just disgusting. Whoever was more physically attractive, like a younger girl, they'd be like, 'Step up, I can't see you.' When the guard tells you to bend over, someone's crack is right there in your face.

"I felt like I was a dirty dog. Like I was an animal. Like all my privacy, any kind of right as a woman, as a person, had been violated. I felt angry. I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed for the older women. I felt really uncomfortable too because there were people sitting outside the glass. It was like a freak show. Everybody wants to see titties. Then you're smiled at a little bit, like, 'I like what I saw.' No one told you you had a right not to be strip-searched. They never tell you that you have a choice. If a judge ruled that that was not supposed to happen, it was not supposed to happen—whether I knew it or not."

"Strip Search," by Tori Marlan, revealed that women being released from Cook County Jail were being gratuitously strip-searched despite a federal judge's order to stop. Sheriff Michael Sheahan was so annoyed by Marlan's exposé (which won awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Bar Association) that he barred her from the jail and the Reader took him to court. Sheahan lost the Reader suit, and he lost a suit brought on behalf of the women prisoners. In 2010 Cook County would agree to pay out $55 million in compensation for illegal strip searches of men and women prisoners.

The last dance

His ability is clearly beginning to flicker, especially at the free-throw line, where he has been quite shaky of late. Whether it's the finger injury, end-of-the-season weariness, or sheer age that is slowing him down is irrelevant. Jordan has never seemed so fallible—so mortal. And this is what makes Jordan and the Bulls more compelling than ever. Out of weakness Jordan again summoned a moment of strength at the end of that first game. Can he summon enough of those moments to win another championship? Can Jackson marshal his team's dwindling resources? Can the team retain its focus in the midst of "the last dance"? Those questions, my friends, are the heart of the drama.

—Ted Cox, Sports Section

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