News you won’t read in the dailies, which appear to be systematically forgetting about public housing (“The View From the Ground,” March 4): “Soon after the city launched the ‘Plan for Transformation’ [of the Chicago Housing Authority] in 1999, it summarily disbanded the 270- member CHA police force. At that time, city officials reassured CHA residents that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) had adequate resources to provide full police services to public housing communities.” Now Jamie Kalven reports that as of the end of 2002, the cash-strapped CHA had given the police department $36 million; it has authorized another $13.6-million transfer this year.

“Preachers should tell the truth about what happens to soldiers,” says evangelical preacher Tony Campolo, quoted by Martin Marty in “Context” (March 15). “It is too easy for us to forget what happens to young recruits who go into battle, and to ignore the fact that more than half of the listless, disillusioned homeless on our streets are veterans.”

If this is a bad neighbor, what would a good neighbor look like? From the spring issue of Nature Conservancy magazine: “Despite the absence of significant consumer demand, the Home Depot recently threw its support behind a Nature Conservancy project that aims to create a supply of certified wood from Indonesia, where unlawfully harvested wood–including protected species and trees felled in national parks–accounts for two-thirds of the wood cut annually….The Home Depot [annual sales $54 billion]…is giving the Conservancy $1 million to combat illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management over the next five years.”

Chicago has two of the ten “most enlightened” suburbs, if you can believe Peter Katz and Jay Walljasper’s article in Utne (March-April). They put “Hammond/Whiting/Gary” on their list for establishing a regional transit system, and Naperville for enacting “guidelines for maintaining the character of Naperville’s neighborhoods without stifling homeowners’ creativity.”

I’m outta here. According to a paper presented at last fall’s Chicago Federal Reserve Bank conference on the midwest workforce (“Chicago Fed Letter,” February), midwestern states have trouble attracting college graduates from elsewhere: “The percentage of college graduates… gained via in-migration was only 9.8% versus a U.S. average of 23.5%.”

Numerology by the lake. “For the Second City the number ‘Seven’ has always had a magical aura,” according to publicity for Gallery 400’s current exhibit, “Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation.” “Al Capone served only seven years, Mayor Daley the First died two years shy of his seventh term. Speculative Chicago brings together 7×7 designers working on speculative projects in and around Chicago. The exhibition comes some thirty-five (5xSeven) years after the Chicago Seven took on the Chicago Police Department and twenty-eight years (4xSeven) after the anti-Mies polemic, Chicago Architecture.”

The widening gap. According to the Illinois Statistical Abstract, published by the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs (, the gap in per capita personal income is widening between metropolitan areas and rural areas of Illinois. In 1990 metro Illinois averaged $21,833 per person, compared to $15,118 in rural Illinois. In 2000 the figures were $33,497 and $22,616 respectively.