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My competitor is an alien. From a recent press release: “As companies have been forced to reduce their overhead and operating expenses to meet the demands of interglobal competition…”

“Harold Washington was hurt more by the Black middle class than he was by whites,” writes William J. Leahy in Leahy’s Corner (January 1989). “It was marvelous to see Black people feeling so uplifted by living under a Black mayor. But what could the people of the projects feel when the Black head of the CHA pulled up in a limo wearing pinky rings? Dozens and dozens of times these most exploited of Chicagoans were quoted as saying that they didn’t care what the race of the CHA head was; they just wanted better housing. What did they get? Political watchdogs put into their buildings and attention only during elections. What did they get when they tried to put their children into public schools in the Black middle-class South Loop area? They got stiff-armed. Did children get a daddy who got a job? Well, not really; they got Brenda Gaines. She gains a lot: $80,000, then off into the world of finance….What was Chicago becoming? A plantation? No, not at all. It was becoming a Central African republic–a place where a tiny, corrupt middle class runs everything while being well protected by the police, a typical third-world model.”

Block that acronym! A program giving extra activities and counseling to 20 kindergartners with limited English is called “Feel Success”–which, a Chicago Public Schools release informs us, stands for “Families Effectively Engaged in Learning–Supported by University, Community Center and Elementary School Services.”

“He was better than we deserved,” reflects the 48th Ward Progressive Network News (December 1988). “Although people usually get the government they deserve, Harold Washington was an exception. A city which treats public corruption as another tourist attraction got an honest mayor who asked (& surprisingly often got) honesty from his subordinates….The worst scandal featured bribery FAILING to gain a contract. Other mayors submitted their budgets to the Council a few days before the vote. Harold Washington submitted his to the citizens months before…. Other politicians leave shoeboxes full of cash behind. Washington left a movement….When he died, millions walked through City Hall. When he was betrayed, hundreds protested there all night. He didn’t leave us the Hall, because it was always ours…. And if it isn’t our government, it is our vote which can take it back.”

“In the frenzy and hysteria to stop drugs we seem to be willing to tolerate any law no matter how unjust,” writes the ACLU’s Jay Miller in the Illinois Brief (December 1988). “We have recently seen the customs people, the Coast Guard, local U.S. Attorneys, and even local police engage in incredibly unjust programs under the rubric of ‘Zero Tolerance.’ Innocent people can lose cars, trucks, and boats without being convicted of, or even charged with anything, or for acts over which they have no control. It is an Alice-in-Wonderland nightmare situation of punishment first and trial afterward, with the punishment far exceeding the crime, if any. The loss to a 20-year-old receptionist of a month-old automobile by customs agents because they found a marijuana pipe left by her brother in the glove compartment seems typical.”

“In 2 to 3 years, Amtrak’s Chicago Union Station may be almost as beautiful as Washington [D.C.] Union Station is today,” reports the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) News (December 1988). The renovation is to include wider corridors, improved lighting, better segregation of long-haul and commuter riders, and a larger and more convenient waiting area. “Although the Chicago station will remain open during its impending redevelopment, some passenger inconvenience will be unavoidable. If all goes as planned, however, the ultimate product will be worth the trouble.”

Why the bartender is always half a mile away when you want him. From a recent local press release: “The 3600-foot sports bar will feature…”

“Honesty is a quality much over-valued in a politician,” says James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (January 26-February 1). “Cowardice, both moral and political, is a more pernicious and a more common trait than crookedness.”

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