The Chicago Housing Authority no longer considers itself the housing provider of last resort, but someone has to be. Mary Nelson of Bethel New Life tells Angela Caputo of the Chicago Reporter (March) that her organization is seeing “an influx from CHA, [and] people are just desperate.”

Let the states try toll roads, argues the Democratic Leadership Council’s “New Dem Daily” (April 1): “Between 1987 and 1998, while vehicle miles traveled on freeways or principal arterial roads in urban areas increased 42 percent, lane miles increased just 9 percent….There is one source of relief that’s on the table in Congress right now: relaxing the rules that now virtually prohibit states from using federal funds to build toll lanes and toll roads to reduce the really terrible traffic bottlenecks.” Such a provision appears in the Senate bill but not the House. “Some Democrats reflexively oppose even toll lanes accompanying free lanes in high congestion areas, arguing that they will create a two-tier highway system based on ability to pay. They often forget that everybody benefits from reducing congestion in the ‘free’ lanes, and that dollars collected from toll lanes can be (and in some places, already have been) used for public transportation and carpool subsidies, as well as ‘free’ lane construction.”

News you never hear on all those business shows. The Economic Policy Institute notes in the April 28 “Economic Snapshot”: “In fact, 28 months into the economic recovery, and a full three years since the start of the recession, 57 of the largest 100 metropolitan areas are not back to their pre-recession job levels.” Chicago still has 4 percent fewer payroll jobs than it did three

years ago.

“At the beat level, attendance [at community policing meetings] is generally highest where it is needed the most,” according to “CAPS at Ten: Community Policing in Chicago,” a report released by the Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium in January. “Attendance rates are especially high in poor areas with bad housing, high levels of crime, and poor schools”–though those who attend tend to be more educated, older, non-Latino, and more likely to own their homes. “The meetings have improved on a number of important dimensions….In 2002 we observed noticeably fewer very poorly run meetings. But at the same time, beat meetings have gotten dramatically shorter, fewer police officers are attending, and their effectiveness at mobilizing residents for action appears to be declining.”

The (un)ethical two-step. George Enderle, a professor of business ethics at Notre Dame, writes in the May issue of U.S. Catholic: “When I started talking about poor people in Switzerland, some people said, ‘Well, Switzerland doesn’t have poverty. If you want to see real poverty, look at India.’ And then if I would respond, ‘Well, I was in India, so let’s talk about poverty in India,’ their reaction would be, ‘Well, India is far away, we have to care about our own people first.’ The reality is: People who really care about poverty at home also care about poverty in other countries and vice versa. That kind of response is just a psychological mechanism people employ to avoid having to deal with either reality.”

Number of different rationales offered for the Iraq war by the Bush administration, according to a senior honors thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: 23.

“Kayaking at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, traveling north against the [Chicago] river’s mellow current, it’s just me and a few mallards,” writes Lynn Schnaiberg in the newly released book Urban Adventure Chicago. “Traffic is at a standstill on the Wilson Ave. Bridge, but I’m gliding on through, garnering a few excited shouts from bridge-bound kids on their bikes. At River Park, where the stick-straight North Shore Channel carries on due north, a fisherman is thigh-deep casting for bass. Chris Parson of Friends of the Chicago River likes paddling at night along the fairly deep man-made channel in spring or fall when roosting waterfowl are in abundance. It’s like paddling through a tunnel.”