Dear Reader:

Your article in Neighborhood News, July 15, on the lack of care for trees by the city of Chicago, despite Mayor Daley’s highly publicized tree planting program, was right on target. The attitude that you point out of City Hall slamming the door on concerned citizens’ faces is rampant. My brother Bob and I conduct two tree surveys per year and devote countless hours to caring for trees that are planted in our community. We were treated by Suzanne Hoerr in the same manner that Madeline Kanner was when we approached Ms. Hoerr for help.

My letters, like those of Ms. Kanner, to the mayor’s office also go unanswered no matter what the subject. I happen to be on the local school council for the Jacob A. Riis elementary school as a community member. Riis serves the children of the Chicago Housing Authority’s ABLA homes. I am on the council because of my commitment to the belief that education can help open economically disadvantaged children’s eyes to the possibilities in life when most of what they see day to day are drug dealers and violence in the Chicago Housing Authority. Despite Mayor Daley’s commitment to education; and despite the mayor publicly acknowledging the corporate partnership that Rush Medical Center has with Riis; and despite four letters dating back to April 27, written at the request of the District 4 facilities manager, Wayne Marshall, to Mayor Daley requesting that Riis be designated a Public Building Commission school so that the absolutely abhorrent physical conditions of the school could be repaired; and despite the mayor’s office having a budget of nearly $5 million, I have yet to receive a response to my letters. Numerous other letters to various departments at City Hall that I have written remain unanswered.

If Ms. Kanner thinks the mayor’s office and the Bureau of Forestry are bad, she should try the Chicago Department of Transportation. High-property-tax-paying residents, in new town homes on the 800 block of South Racine, signed a petition last August to have Racine temporarily patched so that the bus and truck traffic would not vibrate their new homes due to the condition of the street. After several letters to Commissioner Boyle, and Daley chief of staff Gery Chico, the residents are still waiting for relief.

It is my belief that Mayor Daley and other City Hall officials do not welcome the input of concerned citizens and community groups. Unfortunately, Madeline Kanner will probably never receive a reply from the mayor’s office. Mayor Daley, despite his office’s $5 million budget, has not put people in charge who are capable of responding professionally to concerned citizens. Articles like yours are important to exposing the frustration that hardworking, concerned citizens experience in dealing with Mayor Daley’s City Hall.

Dennis J. O’Neill

S. Laflin