Marriages made in (yuppie) heaven. “Big weddings are back,” writes Jenifer Blackman in Today’s Chicago Woman (January 1988). “Even couples where one or both partners were previously married are opting for the two to three hundred person guest list,” and a reception costing as much as $15,000. Many dual-career couples have more money than time and so hire wedding consultants. “Even engagements have become longer in order to accommodate the long-range planning, a reasonable decision considering Chicago’s luxury hotels, churches and temples can be booked solid years in advance.” Don’t you just love those traditional values?
“We may have to dynamite people out of their cars” to solve the city-suburban traffic crunch, says Dennis McKinney, van-pool coordinator at Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook. “But if the public sector will take the lead, the private sector will fall in line.” The public sector is trying: according to Patrick Barry in Chicago Enterprise (January 1988), Metra will spend $9.4 million this year “just to get people to like shorter drives.” But the region’s mass transit agencies have yet to recover fully from the early-1980s fare increases.
Amnesia? The expanding central bureaucracy of the Chicago Public Schools is “a symbol for black people in this city,” Coretta McFerren of the Peoples Coalition for Educational Reform tells Thom Clark in The Neighborhood Works (January/February 1988). “This is the first time we have had as many black professional administrators in the history of this city. It offered a forum for the black middle class. I do not blame them for the problems with education instituted while we were still being a maid in Miss Ann’s house. But we do blame them for perpetuating the problem. As black administrators in this city at this time, how can they so soon forget where they came from? We expect more of them, because we suffered to allow them to be where they are.”
The suburban avant-garde: According to “Schaumburg,” a special section in Chicago magazine (January 1988), that suburb’s nightclub offerings include “dance clubs playing music even the radio stations haven’t heard yet.”
“There are those who believe victory is achieved by the candidate who distributes the greatest number of match books, rain hats, ball-point pens, pot holders, or emery boards,” complains the Elgin-based Midwest Political Consultant (December 1987). “Their argument is that the usefulness of the item will assure its retention. It is difficult to imagine a person whose vote is influenced by what he reads on the cover of a book of matches.” Maybe so, but after 1984, not much would surprise us.
Black NBA players are underpaid compared to their white counterparts, according to a study by the University of Illinois Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations–apparently not because of prejudiced owners, or coaches, but because, other things being equal, fans (regardless of their racial mix) prefer to watch white players. Researchers Lawrence Kahn and Peter Sherer found that “replacing a black player with an identical white player could raise home attendance by 8,000 to 13,000 fans per season.”
Did Jim Thompson violate the Sherman Antitrust Act by participating in an auction of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture and drawings in which some bidders agreed to hold the price down by not bidding? (Using privately raised funds on behalf of the state-owned Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Thompson picked up a table lamp, music cabinet, and three drawings for only $330,000 instead of the expected $500,000 or more.) Chicago Lawyer (January 1988) quotes one antitrust expert: “The state is a person within the meaning of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and can be sued for treble damages. There is no sovereign immunity. The owner of those artifacts can bring an antitrust action for triple the amount of the purchase price differential between what Thompson paid and what the artifacts would have sold for if the governor had not persuaded collector Tom Monaghan to refrain from bidding. If you want to get really dicey about it, violating the Sherman Act happens to be a felony.” Thompson denies any wrongdoing.
“Chicago was a pioneer in private bar support of legal help for the poor,” writes Robert N. Grant of Sonnenschein, Carlin, Nath & Rosenthal in Legal Aid Notes (Winter 1987-88). “Chicago is also in the forefront of direct law firm participation in financial support for Legal Aid. . . . Altogether, 80 firms of all sizes and types of practice accounted for $325,000 in operating support in the last fiscal year, or 20% of the Legal Aid Bureau’s total operating support.” Only 80 percent to go.
And does Professor Dunne give good lectures? Complete text of a recent self-congratulatory press release: “On December 1, 1987, [Cook County] Commissioner Bobbie Steele completed her first year in office with a 100% attendance record. A former public school teacher, Commissioner Steele says that ‘good attendance enhances academic growth.'”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.