Whenever you have censorship, whether by government or the media, democracy suffers. In his article “Running Against Rosty” [October 28], Adam Langer mentions only in passing that I am running as an Independent in this race. As a community psychiatrist and 4th-generation Chicagoan, I entered the race against Rostenkowski to fight crime on our streets and in Washington and break the cycles of gangs, drugs, abuse and welfare in America while saving tax dollars in the process. All of Chicago’s media, including Adam, have known about Safe Haven and my candidacy for at least the past several months. But when you, the readers, never hear the details of my work until it is too late to matter, both you, myself and the democratic process are all ill-served indeed.
Much as with the original CCC and WPA, my Safe Haven’s Community Service Corps (CSC) would replace present welfare subsidies with JOBS in the public and private sector from day one. Such CSC jobs would include resident patrols, day-care and teacher’s aides, after-school assistants, community cleanup, meals-on-wheels and home health care aides to name but a few. A motto of Safe Haven is that A PENNY OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A DOLLAR OF CURE. If we could reduce gangs, drugs and teen pregnancies by even 10% we would be saving over $400 million annually in Illinois alone. By reinvesting some of these savings into even further expanding prevention-oriented programs such as high-quality, affordable day care and after-school programs, we could have a multiplier effect with even greater savings (both human and financial) in future years.
The first step towards such CSC programs in Illinois was taken with the passage of the Earnfare-I bill in 1992 on a vote of 114-0 in the House. An Earnfare-II/Safe Haven (E-II/SH) bill could be passed as early as this November in Springfield and soon thereafter on a national level if we hold all politicians accountable for pledging their support for such legislation now.
In spite of Safe Haven having received support from everyone from Governor Edgar to Vince Lane, chances are you have never heard of it any more than my race against Rostenkowski. Rosty needed only 600 signatures to be on the ballot. As an Independent I needed 13,000 and actually got over 17,000. This is over four times as many signatures as the Republican, Flanagan, got in total votes! In this context it is worth noting that Illinois is 49th in the country (second only to Georgia) in laws allowing Independents to get on the ballot. But when the Reader does not even cover my candidacy or these Safe Haven programs, they too become “part of the problem.”
Whether it is coverage of my candidacy, Safe Haven or even the cover-up of the death of a DCFS ward of the state by official misconduct at UIC and DMH (University-Gate), we all are harmed when the media fail in their basic duty to inform the public. I spent everything I ever had, including second mortgaging my home, to give people a true option in this race. But because of a lack of coverage and funds to fight legal challenges, I was forced to withdraw my petitions and run as a write-in instead.
If you were thinking of voting for Mike Flanagan, then please do so. But if you were simply going to not vote at all or vote for Rosty, then I would ask you to consider a write-in for myself instead. If even 5% of you choose this option, I will at least be in a position to come back in 1996 to fight Rostenkowski on an even playing field if he, God forbid, runs again. In the meantime I would ask the Reader to run a more detailed article on Safe Haven and University-Gate in the near future. We truly can have “A Gang-Free, Drug-Free, Full-Employment Economy in America by the Year 2000” and save literally billions of tax dollars in the process. You can have genuine choices against Rosty. But only if you insist on accountability from the press as well as from government. Please call or write the Reader and voice your opinion or myself at 312/248-6808 if you want to help.
Kimball Ladien, MD
Fifth Congressional District