Bylaw number one: This union will enthusiastically support the immediate firing of all members who hide or burn mail. “Of course, lighting a load of mail on fire is hardly the best solution to the problem,” opines David Futrelle in In These Times (April 18). “What we need is not sabotage, but stronger and more creative unions.”

Please tell me he wasn’t a student. UIC News (April 6) tells a work tale from routing coordinator Shirley Girardi: “A guy said he was stuck in an elevator….We sent a repairman over there, and he called back saying he couldn’t find the guy….Finally, he found the guy in the lobby with his finger on the button, in front of the elevator, pushing buttons. He thought the lobby was going to go up.”

Not so scattered. Number of scattered-site housing units built in majority-Latino census tracts since 1987: 357, with another 652 planned. In majority-white census tracts: 89, with another 24 planned (Scott Burnham in the April Chicago Reporter).

Tell me there’s no generation gap. The Census Bureau reports the percentage of people without health insurance for at least one month during the 1980s: of those age 18-24, 50 percent; of those 25-44, 27 percent; 45-64, 18 percent; and 65 and older, 1 percent.

“Developing open space is exactly what many members of the sustainability movement are looking to do,” complains Kim Nauer in the Chicago-based The Neighborhood Works (April/May). “A number of the movement’s leading thinkers are promoting communities that must be built from scratch–ignoring the possibilities that sit, unused, in the inner city. This is unfortunate, considering that many city neighborhoods have an infrastructure that is a sustainable planner’s dream. Life’s necessities are within walking distance, or reachable with easy access to public transportation. Mixed-use zoning is prevalent, providing job opportunities, shopping and social activity within a neighborhood’s boundaries. Housing is high density, but human scale. And the existing buildings are frequently solid, architecturally interesting and even historically significant.”

“I am just sick to death of what is now advertised with such smug pride as avant garde,” writes Chicago Dramatists Workshop resident playwright James Serpento in New Plays! (Spring). “Most of the time, the ‘rebellion,’ the ‘experiment,’ the ‘avant garde’ is just a polite way of saying that the playwright is too lazy or self-absorbed to think of a way to delight the audience. The play is more about the writer than the story (if we’re lucky enough to get a story at all). It’s time playwrights faced up to it: there’s a reason why masturbation is best left a private affair.”

And we all know what happened to him. The Almanac of Illinois Politics–1994 reminds us that since 1976 (1956 for Republicans), no candidate except Michael Dukakis has won his or her party’s presidential nomination without first winning the Illinois primary.

“If you want to figure out who lives where, you don’t need the census report,” writes Kevin Lamm in the Action Bulletin (April) of the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization. “Just look at precinct by precinct results for the Democratic Primary for Governor. More interesting is that Latinos and African Americans will not support each other. Check out the results for Frost and Berrios…and they’re running together and unopposed.”

Not keeping up. The Regional Organ Bank of Illinois reports that it procured 15 percent more organs in 1993 (680) than in 1992 (589). Unfortunately the year-end waiting list of would-be recipients went up 18 percent–from 1,359 on January 1, 1993, to 1,600 on January 1, 1994.

“No one I heard or read suggested that maybe killing himself was a sensible act,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (April 14-20), “that by shooting himself in the head [Kurt] Cobain might have resembled those stout heroes who show up at hospitals having sawn their own mangled arms free of grain augers with penknives to save themselves from bleeding to death….There is no obvious reason why we should assume that a depressed person does not see the truth of his or her situation clearly. Indeed, one of the reasons so many depressives are also creative is that they see more than the rest of us, not less. That is why they are important to us, why we expect them to bear that burden of seeing for us and why we mourn them when they are gone.”

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