There were many serious errors in Mike Miner's [February 17] article "The Anti-Cult Candidate" on my campaign against abuses of power of all forms and for the job of mayor of Chicago. One point on which Mike is utterly correct, however, is the manipulation of "news" in Chicago by power groups who rarely, if at all, have the best interests of the people in mind. Unfortunately, rather than truly explaining my Safe Haven programs to your readers, Mike too had his own agenda as he freely admits.
I am a 4th-generation Chicagoan and grew up with the Reader through the tumultuous days of the 60s and 70s when many of us truly believed in the fight to build a better world for all. Some of us have continued these fights up to the present day. I have always admired the Reader's role as an "alternative press" willing to take on important issues and champion "just causes." For this reason, I would greatly appreciate this opportunity to reach out to those young enough to not yet be entirely cynical about the concept of democracy or the notion that, by working together, we truly can make a better city and, ultimately, a better nation for all.
As important an issue as ritualistic abuse is, the abuses of power and heart-wrenching tragedies we see around us day by day are more than enough as a place for us to begin our fight to improve the system. Whether it is Robert Sandifer, Dantrell Davis, Eric Morse or the Keystone 19, the daily tragedies of a "system" gone amuck can and must be the beginning points in the fight we have before us.
I have spent my entire professional life trying to fight abuses of power, be they directed towards children or adults. My Safe Haven programs are designed explicitly to break the all-too-viscious cycles of gangs, drugs, abuse and joblessness ONCE AND FOR ALL in ways that benefit everyone and save literally hundreds of millions of tax dollars in the process.
Much as with the original CCC and WPA during the Depression, my Community Service Corps (CSC) programs would replace traditional welfare with JOBS in the public and private sector. Such CSC jobs would range from community policing/resident patrols, day care, teacher's aides, tutoring and after-school programs to recycling/clean-up crews and home health-care aides for the elderly and disabled to name but a few.
A motto of Safe Haven is that A PENNY OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A DOLLAR OF CURE. If we can reduce gang crime, drugs and teen pregnancy by even 10% in Illinois, we will be saving over $400 million annually. By reinvesting even some of these savings into further expanding prevention-oriented programs such as high-quality, affordadle day-care and after-school programs for all of our children, we can have a multiplier effect with even greater savings (both financial and human) in future years. Thus some of the minimum goals of Safe Haven include a 40% reduction in gang crime, a 30% improvement in academic outcomes and a 30% reduction in property taxes over the next fours years even while improving overall services and paying off our present school debts in the process. Such results would be a win-win for all.
Since my medical student days working with Dr. Bennett Braun including the time spent treating "Anne Stone" I have devoted myself to the cause of prevention. It is worth noting that all of my work with "Anne Stone" as well as my later work for Safe Haven was done pro bono. Fighting for these causes has cost me greatly both personally and professionally. For me to have done anything less, however, would be simply to be putting bandages on cancers which I refuse to do.
There are many stories in this ongoing fight that could be told from "University-Gate" (malpractice, suicide and cover-up) to the alleged backroom deals of Daley to sell out Dawn Clark Netsch and Patrick Quinn in return for Republican "leaders" mounting a weak candidate for mayor. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that supporting a pro-life candidate will only help to guarantee Daley's reelection. I am the only Pro-Choice Independent Republican running in this race. But the media are unlikely to tell you this, let alone the details of my Safe Haven programs, until it is too late to make a difference. Simply put, the process is rigged. Welcome to Chicago politics.
If the Reader allows this letter to be printed, then there is still a chance to win this fight. I often say that penicillin isn't a Republican or Democratic "issue." It is simply good medicine. So, too, Safe Haven is simply meant to be GOOD GOVERNMENT. If enough independent-minded voters, so often turned off by politics as usual, simply help by voting for me in the Republican primary, then we have a fighting chance to get Safe Haven implemented for the benefit of all. If she lives in Chicago I would be honored and appreciative if "Anne" were among those helping in this fight. Alone, we can accomplish little. Working together, we can literally change the world.
Kimball Ladien, MD