Just try driving on a expired license for five years. Forty-five, or 17 percent, of Illinois’ 268 major Clean Water Act permits have expired, and 6 of them have been expired for more than five years, according to a report by Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Working Group. (Five permits belonging to the Chicago Water Reclamation District have expired.) The permits state the amount and type of pollution that factories and sewage treatment plants are allowed to discharge, and when they’re renewed, the amount of discharge allowed is decreased. Illinois’ record happens to be well above the national average of 25 percent expired permits. Indiana, for instance, has allowed a startling 46 percent of its major permits to expire.

This may hurt a bit. From a recent American Bar Association press release: “Leading judges and practitioners to dissect jury selection process.”

“Pilsen area businesses complain of 20-30% declines in weekend sales” since the CTA closed the Douglas el line on weekends in 1997 and ’98, according to “Is There Equal Access for All to Public Transportation in Metropolitan Chicago?” a report written by Jacqueline Leavy of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group for the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago (June). “At least one business on 18th Street in Pilsen closed after the CTA service cutbacks, due to loss of weekend customers. The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, an important and nationally acclaimed cultural institution near the Douglas L, reports that its weekend attendance declined by 25% after the service cuts. Community operated health care facilities report major problems for staff and patients in traveling to and from medical clinics and the local hospital.”

You don’t need that test–I need the money. In a case that may make headlines once the state supreme court rules on it, a Chicago-area widow sued her husband’s doctor for not telling the couple that his medical group (of which he was president) received 60 percent of any funds not used on referrals to specialists (American Medical News, March 20). The doctor refused to approve an angiogram for the husband, who died of a heart attack two months later. The issue: do doctors have a legal, as well as an ethical, obligation to reveal a conflict of interest?

This bus pollutes your lungs with diesel. The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago states in a recent report, “Missing the Bus to Cleaner Air,” that San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, Portland, and Denver all have more buses operating on alternative fuels than the CTA. Eighty percent of San Francisco’s buses use alternative fuels.

Martin Luther King “committed class suicide,” writes Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of religious studies at DePaul and author of I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. (StreetWise February 29). “He gave up most of the money he made per year. King made something like $200,000 back in 1962-63. That’s serious money. And he gave every dime except $4,000 to the movement. And we have to be honest that the black middle class is not following suit with King’s radical commitment to those who are poor and his extraordinarily selfless commitment of making sure that their voices were heard–not in a stereotypical fashion–in the larger American society.”

It’s the Republican way. In StreetWise (March 14), Doug Dobmeyer reminds us that the Illinois state budget has more than tripled since 1980, from $13.6 billion to $43.6 billion.

Can people afford to pay more for a house if they live where they don’t need a car? That’s the assumption of the “location efficient mortgage” program, a pilot project in Chicago and other cities, but the assumption appears to be false, according to Resources for the Future analysts Allen Blackman and Alan Krupnick (rff.org/disc_papers/PDF_files/9949rev.pdf). They examined 8,000 loans made by the Federal Home Administration in greater Chicago between 1988 and 1992 and found that “people in the areas targeted by the loan program”–areas with greater housing density, more access to mass transit, and greater pedestrian friendliness–“are every bit as likely to default as those in other areas, all other things being equal….The findings do not mean that there is not a transportation savings in these areas, the authors say; rather, they simply show that the savings is not sufficiently large to affect the probability of default.”