City File | City File | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » City File

City File

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

And when we run out of landfill space here on Earth, this may be your new home. In Adler Planetarium's new "Space Transporters" exhibit, the visitor is "transported" to another planet, sees a three-dimensional view of its surface, and learns about its atmosphere and how much he or she would weigh there. The exhibit is funded by Waste Management, Inc.--whose vice chairman says, "It's a great way to demonstrate that Waste Management, Inc. is concerned not only with the environment here on Earth, but on other planets as well."

It couldn't happen in Chicago: The Washington Monthly (March 1988) reports that Barrie Thorne has been named the first Barbra Streisand Professor of Intimacy and Sexuality at the University of Southern California.

"The city of Chicago can't plead that they've lacked money. In truth they don't have concerned public officials or specific plans that they can carry out" to deal with AIDS, Randy (And the Band Played On) Shilts tells the Chicago Reporter's Jennifer Juarez Robles (March 1988). Until mid-1987 the city's AIDS office had only one staffer; it still has no permanent full-time director. More than $250,000 in state, city, and federal funds has been returned unspent, while community groups contracted to do education and prevention work have had to seek bank loans because city payments were so slow. Chicago is not close to having a strategic plan for combating AIDS, although health commissioner Lonnie Edwards called for one as long ago as May 1986. Ironically, these failures will hurt minorities most. "The ascendancy of black, political power in Chicago came at the same time of this disease," adds Shilts, "but that same establishment is going to send thousands of black people to early graves."

"A decline in frog populations is a first-line warning of environmental degradation," warns the state Department of Conservation in a recent appeal for volunteers to help systematically survey the state for the sounds of frogs and toads. You can now leave home with a cheery, "Bye, I'm going toading!"

Message from Montgomery. "Of all America's cities, the best is not San Francisco, for obvious wacko reasons; nor New Orleans, where everyone feels the necessity to strike a pose for tourists; nor hustling Atlanta nor New York City, which a friend at the New York Times describes as a Yuppie Calcutta. The best of the bunch," says an editorial in Alabama's Montgomery Independent (December 10, 1987), "is grimy, gritty Chicago. . . . It is a point of pride, then, that the new mayor of Chicago . . . an Alabama-born black named Eugene Sawyer . . . holds the highest elective office achieved by any other Alabama black. . . . Sawyer was not the typical Black Belt youngster whose mama took in washing and whose daddy followed a plow. His father was an undertaker and an interior decorator. In the South, if Sawyer's Chicago charges don't know it, the two vocations that automatically confer autocratic standing are burying and preaching."

Be All That You Can Buy. The Army Recruiting Command has recommended that 31 recruiters in Chicago be dismissed, according to an Army Times report passed on in CCCO News Notes (Winter 1988). "Investigators alleged that the recruiters helped forty-one high school dropouts to buy high school diplomas"--for up to $200 apiece--"from Roseland High School, a non-accredited adult education program."

Waukegan may not become the "French Riviera of the midwest" anytime soon, because the city can't get the $6.5 million Urban Development Action Grant it needs, according to Chicago Enterprise (March 1988). Says the town's community development director: "We're having a hard time convincing [HUD] that we're poor enough." Try sleeping under the Picasso, folks.

Sorry, the Gold Coast is too dangerous. Chicago police will use a car rather than a building as a command post in Mariano Park, reports the North Loop News (February 25,1988). "No permanent structure is needed there," said commander Fred O'Reilly. "It would just fall prey to vandalism and street people."

Vice president in charge of multiplicative obfuscations. According to a survey recently published in Personnel Journal, only 55 percent of the personnel executives responding said their work forces had grown over the last five years--but 70 percent said they have more job titles in their organizations than they did five years ago.

Maybe it won't snow next winter. According to U.S. Representative Charles Hayes, a report of the Northeast-Midwest Institute concludes: "In fiscal 1980, federal low income energy assistance covered 40 percent of the total heating needs of the poor and elderly. Last year's deep cut in the program means that only 16 percent of such costs will be covered this year." Hayes adds that the Reagan administration has proposed further cuts for next year, which would slice Illinois' share by $20 million and reduce that percentage to 13.

And not yet, we hope. From the newsletter of the Mayor's Commission on Women's Affairs (December 1987): "Never before in history has the total destruction of mankind been a reality."

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

Add a comment