“There is never a need for a woodcarver to buy wood and thus pay someone to kill trees,” writes David Stein in Things Green (Winter ’89), the newsletter of the Chicago Green Alliance on West Maxwell. “In the city you can find a great deal of discarded furniture in the alleys and dumpsters.” There are limitations, of course. “I carve a lot of spoons, and one reason for this is that the size and shape of most of the discarded wood I find lends itself to such a use. A chair arm, for example, cannot be made into Michelangelo’s Pieta, but it does have a good cooking spoon inside.”

Good news if you’re married to an alderman’s brother. In a case decided last October, the city Board of Ethics answered an alderman’s question about whether he could hire his sister-in-law without violating the Chicago Ethics Ordinance. The answer was yes: “Section 26.2-1(s) states that ‘relatives’ are parents, children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents and grandchildren, fathers-in-law and mothers-in-law, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, stepfathers and stepmothers, stepsons and stepdaughters, stepbrothers and stepsisters, half-brothers and half-sisters. Accordingly, the Board informed the alderman that the Ethics Ordinance provisions regarding the employment of relatives did not place any restrictions upon the hiring of sisters-in-law” (Annual Report 1987-88, Board of Ethics). See, Chicago really is ready for reform.

Dept. of We Don’t Know Much About Art but We Know What–aw, heck. From a recent gallery announcement of George Horner’s one-man show: “Since 1973 Horner’s main medium has been Silly Putty.”

Mayor Daley II “is a man of creative intellect, original thoughts and superior mental endowment,” according to the International Institute of Handwriting Analysis on West Irving Park, which analyzed his signature before the election. “He is deeply influenced by his early life experiences…. [He] does not like to jump to conclusions…[but] once his mind is made up he rarely gets side tracked from [the] intended goal.” In addition, “The disconnected ‘D’ in Daley indicates that the writer is very logical, yet relies on his hunches and finds difficulty backing his decisions with logic now and then.” Make your plans accordingly.

Shopping mall to the world… “Chicago is probably the largest shopping center construction growth area in the United States today,” says David P. Bossy of the Mid-America Real Estate Corpor-ation in a recent release. MARC’s industry survey reveals a projected 17.6 million square feet of new or expanded shopping-center space in 1989-90 in the eight-county metropolitan Chicago area. In the previous five years, the total was 18.3 million.

“It is my hope that Professor Farber will carry on the pursuit which he has begun,” writes former governor Dan Walker, reviewing David Farber’s Chicago ’68 in Illinois Issues (April 1989) from his federal prison cell in Duluth. “I would be glad to ruminate with him on this fascinating historical subject from where I am. I have plenty of time on my hands.”

The new White Sox stadium will cost more than $2,000 per seat, “the highest per seat cost of any stadium ever built,” reports Pat Wright in the Neighborhood Works (April-May 1989). And that’s not counting all the costs to the city. “According to research done by the Center for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA), the White Sox were paying approximately $488,000 a year in property taxes for Comiskey Park and surrounding parking lots. The land south of 35th Street which was privately owned was paying around $328,000 in property taxes. All of these taxes will be lost,” since the Illinois Sports Facility Authority pays no taxes. “Secondly, a City of Chicago Fleet Maintenance Facility was located on the new stadium site. ISFA paid the city $3 million for the building, but the city had to pay $19.6 million to lease-purchase a replacement facility.” All this, plus the basic $150-million-or-more price tag, is money that cannot go to education, affordable housing, or job training. “Replacing bootstrap economic development with jockstrap economic development seems to be the sign of the times. It is time to question and change these policies.”

“The book and the man may be the best antidote for insomnia devised, but Paul Simon is a shrewd country slicker in the great American tradition of effective legislative yahoos from Congressman Davy Crockett to Sen. Sam Ervin,” writes Thomas Roeser about Simon’s new book, Winners and Losers, in Chicago Enterprise (April 1989)–but Roeser would like him better if he preached less and did more dealing. “It’s the moralism that sickens. God! I long for grit in this oyster.”

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