“Whatever its benefits, professional advertising does not seem to have ushered in an age of cheap doctors, cheap lawyers, or even cheap accountants,” writes Michael Davis in “Perspectives on the Professions” (Spring), newsletter of IIT’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. “If the professions used to be conspiracies in restraint of trade”–as stated in key 1975 and 1978 Supreme Court cases–“they do not, on the evidence, seem to have been very effective conspiracies.”
Boss with no Royko. “Daley the Son has once again moved a nearly $5 billion city budget through the Council by a unanimous vote, a feat even his supposedly omnipotent father never accomplished,” writes Robert Davis in Illinois Issues (June). “The Lakefront Liberal bloc has faded, and those wards are now represented by sure-thing [pro-Daley] votes, as are the increasing number of black and Hispanic wards.”
Chicago is (almost) holding its own against the suburbs, according to figures adduced by William Testa of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its periodical Economic Perspectives (Second Quarter). Between 1977 and 1987, the city’s share of employment in the metropolitan statistical area dropped 2.3 percent a year. But in the following ten years, 1987-’97, its share dropped only 0.4 percent a year. Of the other midwestern cities considered, only Columbus, Ohio, did as well.
“In the past, reporting test scores by race–and thus spotlighting the achievement gap–was considered racially polarizing,” reports the Joyce Foundation newsletter “Work in Progress” (May). But now the 15 school districts nationwide that make up the Minority Student Achievement Network will create a database to show just how far minority students lag behind in achievement–as a first step toward improving matters. Allan Alson, Evanston Township High School superintendent and the network’s convener, says, “We want to err on the side of being so stark that nobody can accuse us of hiding.”
The story of Spunky Bottoms. “In October 1997, the Illinois chapter [of the Nature Conservancy] bought 1,157 acres of farmland on the western bank of the [Illinois] river near Meredosia,” writes Paul Clancy in Nature Conservancy (July/August). River water was allowed to gradually rise in the bottomland, and “the long-dormant seeds of buried prairie wetlands burst into life. Wild millet, cattails, water lilies, rushes and sedges appeared. Almost immediately, waterfowl began returning in impressive numbers…. ‘We’ve spent so much time talking about this stuff, to see it recover like that was just wonderful,’ says Michael Reuter, the Conservancy’s state director of conservation programs. ‘It’s given me a sense of the resilience of the land and what it’s capable of doing if given half a chance.'”
Do Americans hate sprawl? Not according to the results of the 2000 census, reports the Brookings Institution (“City Growth and the 2000 Census: Which Places Grew, and Why,” May). “Driving cities have grown. Public transportation cities have not. Cities with less than 65 percent of their commuters driving alone grew by less than 2 percent on average, while other cities grew by an average of more than 12 percent…. This fact survives controlling for regions, as a comparison between non-driving cities (such as San Francisco) and driving cities (such as Los Angeles) within the West emphasizes…. Cities with substantial public transportation systems lost population over the 1990s. The average growth rate for those cities in which more than 10 percent of commuters took public transportation to work in 1990 was nearly zero. The average growth rate for those cities in which less than 3 percent of commuters used public transportation in 1990 was almost 17 percent.” Chicago grew by 4 percent.