Most mass transit is privately owned, UIC management professor Anthony Pagano reminded the Transportation Research Forum last fall: “The private [transit] sector [not counting taxis, limos, or medical transport] is estimated to operate 14,715 vehicles in the Chicago area. This is over seven times the number of buses operated by public transit in Chicago.”

Priests used to be some of his best friends. “The quality of the homily is not a subject to which most priests are willing to attend,” writes Father Andrew Greeley in U.S. Catholic (December). “The various priest councils and associations around the country, so eager to assert their own rights and so enthusiastic in their preferential options for the poor, pay little attention to the rights of the poor people who have to sit through their dreadful homilies.”

“New York was always a money town [with] Wall Street booms and crashes. Chicago began as and remains a labor town, rooted in efficiency and product,” reflects Robert Simonson in Stagebill (January/February). In New York “you’d better make money or you’re dead….The lower [midwestern] overhead leaves art room to breathe and artists the space to experiment….Theater in both towns thrives, but under the influence of two very different attitudes.”

“Residents of my building discovered one day this summer that the huge wooden outside door to the building was missing,” writes Drastamat Isaryan from Armenia in the Hyde-Park-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (January/February). “It turned out that a first-floor neighbor had taken the door off its hinges and hidden it in the basement, hoping to use it as firewood this winter. The rest of us regretted that we didn’t think of it first.

Wanted: more immigrants. From Harper’s “Index” (January): “Percentage of all immigrants to the United States during the 1980s who were receiving welfare in 1989: 4.”

“Although it is quite acceptable for people to blindly worship sports figures, marginally talented actors or lunatic Texas billionaires, it’s considered rather perverse to admire and respect political heroes, especially those who work in the mainstream for progressive change,” write the slightly defensive twentysomething editors of Stephanopouletter (Fall), the official newsletter of the George Stephanopoulos Fan Club. “The Republicans stole our youth. Is it any surprise that we feel reborn with the Clinton administration? Now, we want to recreate our childhoods, the ones extinguished by conservatism….With the Clinton administration, our inner child has begun to speak. And its voice is kind of wacky.”

Still a long way to go. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy reports that employee contributions to United Way dropped from $1.919 billion to $1.894 billion between 1989 and 1992, while employee contributions to alternative charities grew from $218 million to $290 million. Chicago-area alternative funds include the Black United Fund of Illinois, Environmental Fund of Illinois, Combined Health Appeal of Illinois, and Illinois Women’s Funding Federation.

“Most Blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried.” When the Northwestern University Survey Laboratory put that statement, by telephone, to 1,053 randomly selected Chicago-area English-speaking adults late last spring, 47 percent of the whites said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with it–and so did 50 percent of the African Americans.

“Citizen participation and government mandates for recycling have kept supply well above demand for recycled raw materials,” reports Bowden Quinn in Conscious Choice (November/December), with predictable results. In 1988 recycled newspapers sold for $50 a ton; now they’re down to $18. Glass: $75 a ton, now $20. Aluminum cans: 60 cents a pound, now 35. What to do? Quinn says buy recycled, encourage your workplace to do likewise, and–you knew this was coming–lobby for laws that would force businesses to do the same.

Figures you won’t hear from the mouths of Edgar, Burris, Netsch, or Phelan. State spending on AFDC, per case, in 1974: $700. In 1991 (in constant dollars): $400 (Tax Facts, November-December).

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