News & Politics » City File

City File

by

comment

Was discrimination the problem? Percentage of adults with disabilities holding jobs in 1986: 33. Percentage holding jobs in 1998, eight years after passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act: 29 (Washington Post, July 23).

It's official--men are about five times nastier than women. The "Compiler" (summer), published by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, reports that women were charged with 18,128 domestic-violence offenses in Illinois in 1997, nearly 17 percent of the 107,603 domestic offenses reported.

As others see us. Architecture critic Paul Goldberger, writing in the New Yorker (August 10), condemns a proposed New York development as "another example of the North Michigan Avenue school of urbanism--the school that specializes in fifty-story vacuum cleaners that suck the energy off the streets and exhaust it into private atriums."

Average number of Chicago Public Schools students per working computer: 11 (the range is from 4 to 28, depending on the school). Average number of students per working computer that is a 486 or Power Mac or better: 62 (the range is 11 to 313), according to the Chicago Panel on School Policy's recent "Initiative Status Report: School Technology."

Why do students gain weight in college? University of Chicago economics professor Allen Sanderson explains in the "University of Chicago Chronicle" (May 28): "Right away, students say it's because there is so much stress and they don't have time to exercise. But I point out that it is probably because of the way food is priced. Because there is very little marginal cost in getting more to eat in college--in the residence halls here, students can help themselves to as much food as they want--there is little incentive to moderate their intake. As a result, they put on pounds."

It's 6 PM--do you know who grew your lettuce and raspberries? From the General Accounting Office's detailed examination of the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration ("Food Safety: Federal Efforts to Ensure the Safety of Imported Foods Are Inconsistent and Unreliable," April): "Federal agencies cannot ensure that the growing volume of imported foods is safe for consumers."

Warning! Political participation declines! County Clerk David Orr announces in an August 5 press release that lobbyists reported spending $371,456.27 to influence county matters during the first six months of this year, down from $545,931.64 in the last half of 1997.

When Sam Smith's book Shadows of Hope, which is critical of Bill Clinton, was deep-sixed by the establishment but embraced and discussed by "a black radio station in DC, a conservative talk show in Idaho Falls, a populist weekly in Texas and a west coast business column," he began to realize he'd stumbled across the new American political fault line. Smith writes in the June "Progressive Review," "On one side were libertarians, blacks, greens, populists, free thinkers, the alienated apathetic, the rural abandoned, the apolitical young, as well as others convinced America was losing its democracy, its sovereignty and/or its decency. On the other side was a technocratic, media, legal, business and cultural elite centered in New York and Washington."

Same segregation, different day. Brian Rogal writes in the Chicago Reporter (July/August): "Nearly 80 percent of the CHA families relocated [through Section 8 rent subsidies] in the last three years are in Chicago census tracts that are at least 90 percent black....More than 69 percent of the former CHA households are in areas with a per capita income below $10,000."

From another city's file--the tabula rasa across the lake. "Benton Harbor is a proverbial blank canvas for growth and opportunity," according to a recent article in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Scott Elliot, owner of the New Moon Gallery there, "has owned galleries in New York, London and Chicago. He sees as much potential in Benton Harbor as in any of those towns. 'We're coming into an environment where you can be extremely creative,' Elliot said. 'You're not held back. We can make of Benton Harbor what we want to make. It feels like we're pioneers.'"

Add a comment