"I actually have more problems with police officers than I do with kids," assistant youth pastor Dana Stevens of the Rogers Park Baptist Church Shelter of Hope tells "Neighborhoods" (February), newsletter of the Chicago Alliance for Neighborhood Safety. "One time I was pulled over on the side of the road listening to one of the kids share with me how his girlfriend had just had a baby. By the time the night was over, there were five police cars surrounding me. They made me get out and handcuffed me. And the only excuse they gave is that they did not recognize my car in the neighborhood. I have lived in this neighborhood for two and a half years....I can handle it if they pull me over, or if they stop me to find out what's going on. But when they find out who we are and that we are legit and not causing problems, if they would just say 'Hey I'm sorry and I made a mistake,' which would allow my kids to respect the officer. But it's like they know they made a mistake and still keep digging deeper and deeper."
Your nutrition-deficiency joke here. New Scientist (March 4) reports on the possibility that iodine deficiency may stunt brain development and boost sperm counts.
A long time coming? In a postmortem on onetime University of Chicago professor Edward Banfield, James Krohe Jr. notes that the maverick urbanologist, usually reviled for his pessimism, may have been unduly optimistic in his belief that it could take only two or three generations for a culture to adapt to new circumstances (Illinois Issues, January). "Illinois' first underclass, the Chicago Irish--like many blacks essentially serfs for much of their history--took 150 years to get out of the ghetto."
Not Saint George yet. "Does it take an act of courage to insist that the judicial system be fair?" asks Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (March 6), referring to Governor Ryan's moratorium on the death penalty. "Is it heroic to ensure that the state not commit premeditated murder? Isn't that the very least of what we expect of public officials?"
Suburbanites for low-income housing--that's what it will take if the campaign against sprawl is not to make life worse for the urban poor, writes Anthony Downs in Housing Policy Debate (volume ten, issue four, 1999). "If more growth were shifted into in-fill and inner-core areas, land and housing prices there would rise," he explains. "But the resulting gentrification would compel many low-income households now living there (and future poor immigrants) to live elsewhere. If no provisions were made to create subsidized housing for them in the suburbs, they would start overcrowding existing units in older areas or older suburbs and generate large-scale slums there. This is already happening in California because housing costs are so high and many immigrants from abroad are very poor. Both the advocates and opponents of suburban sprawl are unwilling to face this huge need for low-cost housing, which has traditionally been met in part by inner-core slums."
"People used to think, how could parents who hadn't graduated elementary school read a budget?" Pamela Price--Piccolo Elementary's first local school council chair, in 1990--tells Catalyst (February). "We fooled 'em. We can read a budget better than some folks down at the board. Parents have branched out, to become precinct captains or candidates for aldermen. Reform has given parents the push to do something with their lives." If only it worked as quickly for kids.
Who dares drive a stake through the heart of this vampire? Mike Moore, editor of the Hyde-Park-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March/April), has a few questions about the undead "Star Wars" missile defense system: "Even if we accept the notion that North Korea, Iraq, and Iran pose a future ICBM threat to the United States, why is the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization developing a kinetic hit-to-kill system that is virtually certain...not to work under real-world conditions?...And if North Korea, Iraq, and Iran are the threats, why is America's most sophisticated national missile defense-capable radar being installed in Vardo, Norway, some 300 miles above the Arctic Circle?"