“If a mother’s physical presence makes children happy, then the most contented people in the world should be 50-year-olds,” writes Marcia Loy in Today’s Chicago Woman (September). “Their mothers were home. That’s my generation and I don’t believe we’re particularly happy or well-adjusted. My daughter’s generation grew up with many working mothers and an absurdly high divorce rate. I believe she’s been consistently happier at each stage of her life than I was….Children may want their mothers at home but I don’t believe they need us there. They may think they’d be happier if we were there but I doubt it. Children are less fragile than we sometimes give them credit for.”

Percentage of Republicans in the six-county metropolitan area who say they would pay more state or local taxes to increase teacher salaries, in low-income areas: 59 (Metropolitan Chicago Information Center).

“The cutting edge of television and well ahead of its time” is how WTTW president William McCarter describes Delmarie Cobb’s Chicago-produced, black-oriented TV newsmagazine Street Life, which may founder after two episodes for lack of funding. McCarter, according to Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (September 16-29), “has been one of Cobb’s biggest boosters. By contrast, her requests for support from those few blacks with media influence were met with stony silence.”

“The trick [in reclaiming poor neighborhoods] is to sort out the good people from the hopelessly adrift,” writes Ed Zotti in Chicago Enterprise (September). “In some cases, this happens naturally. It is surely no accident that most of the stable or improving black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago consist predominantly of owner-occupied buildings–two-flats and bungalows and such….To live in such neighborhoods, one must either qualify for a mortgage or pass the scrutiny of a landlord who lives downstairs. This generally filters out the worst element.”

“One of my first impressions…of the Chicago video art community was the artists’ desire for control of the tools as well as the concepts of their medium,” writes Jeanine Mellinger in Video (September-October), published by the Center for New Television on North Dayton. “They tend to try to be competent at all aspects of installation from concept to technical realization. There is a certain desire to control the elements of the art work in order to truly ‘own’ the work. It may come from the work ethic of the farm communities that surround artists who work in the midwest or the visual stimulation of the urban, industrial environment. Or it may be derived from the rejection of the east coast and west coast art world’s attempt to influence and validate artists’ work and working conditions.”

Calm down, kids, we’re virtually there. Now that North Pier Chicago hosts both the BattleTech Center and the Virtuality Center, its promoters claim that it is “the largest virtual reality destination in the world.”

“Before reform, we were actively excluded from working with schools by the central office,” a local university curriculum expert tells Closer Look (June), a schoolreform newsletter published by Designs for Change. “Reform has opened up the city.” Estimates are that more than one-quarter of Chicago public schools are now getting–and paying for–outside assistance in teaching methods, school restructuring, and parentcommunity linkage. Says Harvey Daniels of the Illinois Writing Project, “Our experience in well-run suburban districts shows that it takes five to seven years to make a deep and thorough change in a school. If Chicago is serious, that’s the kind of commitment we need.”

The Contra line. U.S. Representative William Lipinski, as quoted in Illinois Issues (AugustSeptember): ‘There was a proposal for military aid for the Nicaraguan contras in 1983, and I voted for it. About a week later I got a telephone call. President Reagan called me to thank me for my vote. He asked, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ I answered, There’s nothing you can do for me personally, but there’s something you can do for my constituents'”–the southwest-side CTA line from the Loop to Midway Airport.

Have a nice day anyhow. James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (September 10-16): “There is much evidence, from starving children and wars in the Third World to class hatred, that God is indeed a Republican.”

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