The CHA’s new plan to demolish public housing “is a plan for wreaking havoc on the residents of the Taylor Homes, and destroying communities like Jeffery Manor,” according to Marian Byrnes, community coordinator for Jeffery Manor Crime Watch in a November 4 open letter. “The Taylor high rises were built in haste, with no reasonable or even humane plan. They were City Hall’s only answer to the housing problem of the thousands of people pouring in from the South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

The goal was obviously to concentrate the people in the smallest possible area of the city, and to avoid affronting our large segregated White areas. The goal remains essentially similar today. The Taylor Homes are to be torn down, the people are to be dispersed, but their movement will be limited primarily to the African-American South Side and south suburbs. There is no plan to open up Bridgeport, the Southwest Side, the Northwest Side, the East Side, or any other areas of the city that have resisted invasion by African-Americans.”

The riskiest campus neighborhoods have been ranked in a national study by (Nov. 10), using an index of crime risk based on “household income, family structure, migration patterns, housing values, and average level of education” devised by CAP Index of Exton, Pennsylvania. Three Chicago-area schools are in the 25 highest-risk areas according to this index: VanderCook College of Music on South Federal (number 6), IIT (number 10), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (number 24). Trinity Christian College in suburban Palos Heights is alleged to be the 14th least risky.

Just what I wanted–an electric-powered SUV! now offers a gigantic Humvee-style electric “cart” that seats six, goes up to 25 mph, and offers a “clean, inexpensive alternative to gas-eating cars for zipping around the neighborhood.” Price tag: $21,499.99, ameliorated by the possibility of tax credits of “up to $10,000” under laws encouraging use of alternative-fuel vehicles.

“School choice fits the right’s market ideology,” writes John Gardner in In These Times (November 14). “But it also endows the right with the same personal experience that elite liberals found in civil rights and labor movements generations ago: the partnership of intensely held, commonly exercised bonds with oppressed people with whom they previously had little to share and virtually no personal acquaintance.”

I like the part about groundhogs accumulating several layers of insulating fat. “Have you started preparing for the blustery winter months ahead?” asks a recent Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore press release. “Getting nervous about Y2K? Find out what woodland animals are currently doing to prepare for the future. They may have just the answers we need!”

If an obesity tax made everyone good-looking, would it be a good idea? Probably not, conclude University of Chicago economist Tomas Philipson and Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner in a Harris School working paper, “The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change,” issued May 17. “Although most people would derive benefits from increased ‘beauty’ of strangers encountered in the streets and other public places…personal beauty is a positional good: one is beautiful in comparison with other people who are less good looking. An increase in the number of beautiful people harms the people who are already beautiful and so may not increase aggregate social welfare.”

News you won’t hear from advocates on either side of the global-warming issue. “The University of Illinois’s [Michael] Schlesinger, who conducts climate research and also writes policy analysis in conjunction with the RAND Corporation, has for years been advocating an ‘adaptive’ greenhouse response–enact mild restrictions [on greenhouse-gas emissions], watch to determine whether they inspire innovation, track the science to see if it gets stronger, and then adjust future policies based on whatever is learned,” writes Gregg Easterbrook in the New Republic (November 8). “This thinking is right for global warming because, Schlesinger says, ‘we don’t know what energy innovations are practical, and we don’t know how much harm global warming will do. It’s a policy area where we have no idea what either the costs or the benefits will be.'”