By Harold Henderson

Press releases we were afraid to finish: “Maine Lobster Enters Cyberspace.”

“Obtaining entry into high-rise buildings or [gated] residential compounds to canvass will be difficult,” writes UIC political scientist, former alderman, and former congressional candidate Dick Simpson in his new book Winning Elections: A Handbook of Modern Participatory Politics. “Four practical methods of gaining entrance are: 1) to have a contact who lives in the building let the canvasser in, 2) to walk in at the same time as someone who lives in the building, 3) to call people listed on the precinct poll list over the speaker system until someone willing to talk about the election lets the canvasser in, and 4) to walk up to the doorman, say hello and act as if he is expected to open the door, and often he will. If none of these techniques work, ask the building manager for admittance or at least permission to place campaign literature in the mailboxes.” In the worst case, “A canvasser may obtain entry in the building or gated community only to find irate residents calling the manager to have her thrown out.” Then the public interest may be served by a strategy: “Five or more workers can enter the building or community to canvass different floors or sections simultaneously. By the time the management throws them all out, the bulk of the building or community will have been canvassed.”

Air pollution still kills. According to a recent American Lung Association press release, estimates by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, and various scientists, current levels of the tiny particulates known as PM-10 in the city’s air cause the premature deaths of more than 3,600 people per year in the Chicago metro area, more than three times the number killed in auto accidents. “These deaths are occurring at pollution levels considered safe by the federal government and Illinois,” says former Illinois Pollution Control Board chair Jake Dumelle. “It’s clear that air quality standards for particulate air pollution are dangerously weak, especially for the elderly and persons with lung and heart diseases.”

O.W.’s secret is safe with us. From a tourism brochure for northwest Indiana’s LaPorte County: “Rolling Prairie is also home to a famous Chicago-based talk show host that lives directly east of here.”

In other words, revolutionaries don’t sell StreetWise. “Far more than successful black people, and far more than either rich or poor white people, poor black people still express strong faith in the American Dream and their capacity to realize it,” writes David Chappell in In These Times (May 13), reviewing Jennifer Hochschild’s new book Facing Up to the American Dream. “One result of this faith–and of the disproportionate number of poor people in the black population–is that ‘more blacks than whites (89 to 70 percent) deem it crucial for public schools to teach “the common heritage and values that we share as Americans.”‘…Most poor black people accept the American Dream down to its most austere tenet, that success is a mark of virtue. That makes them look down on other poor black people: ‘Those just above the poverty line condemn welfare recipients; welfare recipients condemn long-term recipients; long-term recipients condemn those who have abandoned their children and thus cannot claim AFDC, and so on.’…Perhaps it is a good thing for the welfare state that poor black people don’t vote much.”

“When the Romans did rebuild or restore old buildings, they usually just followed the original plan but adorned it with whatever was fashionable at the time,” writes Theodore Hild of the state Historic Preservation Agency in Historic Illinois (April). “I imagine the effect was something like those 1960’s storefronts stuck on 1880s buildings. I suppose we can forgive the Romans, but I don’t know about those people from the ’60s.”

Things a guy probably would have put differently. Geri Shapiro of Evanston, who organizes singles events: “I have been match-making for nine-and-a-half years and I have been responsible for at least 27 marriages and five children.”

“Lottery states spend less of their budgets on education than do states that go without lotteries, on average,” reports Peter Keating in Money (May). The average percentage of the state budget spent on education in 1994 for states with lotteries: 49. For states without lotteries: 59. For Illinois: 47.

Hard times? From the Illinois secretary of state’s booklet An Illinois Consumers Guide to Investments: “In 1980, one out of 16 American families owned mutual funds; today it’s one out of four households.”

If that’s how they treated the president of their union local, we can guess how they treated their women coworkers. “I went to the [factory] floor and talked to the fellows” about incidents of sexual harassment in the early 1990s, recalls David Bevans, then president of UAW Local 2488 at the Mitsubishi plant in downstate Normal (Washington Post National Weekly, May 6-12). “They became hostile to me and they stayed that way for three years…[and] made it very difficult for me to come into the plant.”

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Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.