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That's strike one, Mr. Mayor. Cecelia Clark reports from Cabrini-Green in the "Residents' Journal" (October): "A reporter asked Daley [at the September 22 opening of the Dominick's at Division and Clybourn] about the problems with President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Daley said, 'You may have a problem in a family and you don't say the entire family is responsible. That's unfair.' He was speaking in reference to the Democratic Party. But for me, it was as though a bright light started shining and fireworks were going off. Recently the One Strike rule was put into place. The rule holds public housing leaseholders responsible for their guests and also the actions of each family member."

Strike two. "In 1998, while grassroots agencies and organizations have gone unfunded," writes Johnnie Cole of the Community Workshop on Economic Development, the Chicago Empowerment Zone's Coordinating Council "has allocated nearly $30 million of Zone funds mostly to city departments or large for-profit businesses without any discernible monitoring or evaluation controls" ("Poverty Issues...Dateline Illinois," November 16).

University of Chicago classics professor Shadi Bartsch on her recent skydiving adventure, during which she neglected to pull the rip cord, forcing her instructor to do it for her: "I was glad to still be three dimensional" ("The University of Chicago Chronicle," November 12).

Downtown is baaaaaaack! In the spring of 1993 Loop office space was 78.3 percent occupied and renting for an average of 55 cents per square foot. This summer, it's 88.1 percent occupied--and renting at an average of $6.10 per square foot. The Loop contains 324 buildings totaling just over 119 million square feet (from the fall issue of the "BOMA/Chicago Office Market Report," prepared by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Urban Real Estate for the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago).

"Although the NBA players are still on strike and there are no 'official' games, the Virtual NBA Season," according to its Web site, "will e-mail you a poll consisting of the games that would have been played that day." Then you can vote for "the teams you think would have won that day's slate of games"; results and standings will be posted at a designated Web site the following day. "While this won't replace the real season and real games, you will join people across the internet to keep alive the spirit of the games you won't be seeing on your home court this season." Hmmm--could we do that with the Bears' next two seasons as well?

Your score is 99.95 percent--you fail. Barbara Hill, president of the Illinois Association of Health Maintenance Organizations, reflects on her group's ongoing public-relations nightmare ("Forum," Fall): "Earlier this summer, one Chicago newspaper focused in on how HMO complaints to the [state] Department of Insurance went from just over 700 to just over 1,100--a 54% jump, they declared. ...What was not made clear by the story was that these complaints represent the lowest complaint ratio of any form of health insurance in the state of Illinois. Eleven-hundred complaints for a serviced population of around 2.3 million is equivalent to under 0.05%. Less than one-half of one-tenth of one percent were so unhappy with their service that they chose to complain to the state."

Thanks, George. Now I'm off to the strip show. "Washington's inaugural suit should remind us that he was a great and principled president," notes a press release from the Chicago Historical Society announcing the publication of What George Wore and Sally Didn't: Surprising Stories From America's Past, based on unlikely "treasures" from the CHS holdings. "Sally Rand provided her own special leadership as well. Her controversial fans helped overturn the Victorian values that had controlled American culture for so many generations."

The continuing crisis. According to Toxics Release Inventory data presented on the Web by the Environmental Defense Fund, factories and other sources in Cook County released almost 41 million pounds of potentially toxic materials into air, water, and land in 1988--and less than 14 million pounds in 1996 (EDF's "Chemical Scorecard," www.scorecard.org/env-releases/county.tcl?fips_county_

code=17031).

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