If we triple up, most of us can squeeze in. “Units of public housing the federal government plans to demolish by the year 2000: 100,920. Units it plans to construct by then: 24,679” (Harper’s “Index,” October).
“We went for decades of no fear, and where was the creativity then?” asks Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in Catalyst (October) when asked about bad side effects of placing schools on probation. “Fear is a consequence of poor performance.”
The silver lining. “The economic conditions that have been weakening the labor movement . . . have also created the possibility for new coalition building,” Jim Benn of the Chicago-based Federation for Industrial Retention and Renewal tells Janet Hotch in The Neighborhood Works (November/December). For instance? “In Chicago,” writes Hotch, “the housing-rights nonprofit ACORN recognized that members working in the home health care industry needed a union. As a community organization, ACORN could not organize workers, so in 1984 it worked with its members to establish an independent union. Eventually that union voted to affiliate with the Service Employees International Union and formed Local 880. Local 880 and ACORN now refer to each other as sister organizations and share the same organizing principles and mission. Today the local represents 12,000 workers statewide, most of whom are home health care workers.”
“More complete and detailed information is required of the person trying to examine a [campaign finance] report than is requested of the candidate filing it,” marvel the authors of The Price of Democracy: Financing Chicago’s 1995 City Elections. “Persons seeking to examine disclosure reports, which are public records, should not be required to provide detailed information about themselves, their employers, or their reason for wanting to examine the records.”
Things gun-controllers don’t want to know, from a recent paper by John Lott and David Mustard of the University of Chicago. Total U.S. firearm deaths from homicides and accidents in 1991: 19,187. Lowest estimate (National Crime Victimization Survey) of defensive uses of guns during assaults, robberies, and household burglaries in a given year: 80,000.
Do women farm? You wouldn’t know it from reading Successful Farming, Farm Journal, or Prairie Farmer, report U. of I. rural sociologists Gerry Walter and Suzanne Wilson in a recent press release. Although 15 percent of farm managers are women, just one of 76 published farming success stories from 1990 to ’91 credited a woman with adding economic value to a farm.
Life in the Little Village Gang Violence Reduction Project, as reported in the Compiler (Fall), published by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: “Roque and Bracho attribute much of their success to their knowledge of the community. They know their ‘cases’ personally–many are friends or even relatives–they know the ins-and-outs of the gangs, and they know what is acceptable and what is crossing the line. Roque replaced a street worker who became infamous for riding around in squad cars with the tactical officers….Roque recalled that this street worker lost his credibility with the Two-Six for, among other offenses, informing police of the locations of weapons caches.”
No we can’t. One hundred twenty-eight Chicago-area nonprofit organizations are considering downsizing or restructuring for lack of funding; 194 say fund-raising has been more difficult this year than it was last year; and 355 are either “very” or “somewhat” apprehensive about the effect of federal budget cutbacks on their organizations, according to a recent Donors Forum of Chicago survey. “Many nonprofits . . . see federal cutbacks as only compounding their problems,” says DFC president Valerie Lies. “They have very serious concerns about those funds being replaced by individual and institutional giving.”
“Unintentional injuries are far more deadly to Chicago’s black children than deliberate violence or disease,” writes Brian J. Rogal in the Chicago Reporter (July/August), and the racial gap is widening. “Between 1982 and 1984, 211 black Chicagoans under the age of 13 died in accidents, an annual average of 23 per 100,000 population. Ten years later, with a smaller city population, 215 black children were killed, or 28.6 per 100,000. Accidental death rates among whites declined from 15 to 12.6 in the same period.”