The Mayor and Mr. Claypool: Chicago Citizens Suffer Under an Arrogant City Regime

THE MAYOR AND MR. CLAYPOOL: OUT OF TOUCH WITH CHICAGO’S CITIZEN MILLIONS

In the news what do we have? Here is just a brief list:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services……………………..

And what are our officials talking about? Here is just a sampling:

Property tax increases;
Garbage fees (we already pay for utility and garbage fees at many apartment complexes);
School property tax increases;
Congestion tax for people who drive in from the suburbs;
Taxes on sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit punches;
Cutting public school personnel and jeopardizing teachers and students;
Selling expensive parking lots and earning millions of $$ from those sales in downtown;
Closing schools and establishing charter schools that do not use union personnel;

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What are our officials NOT talking about? Cutting their own perks and salaries and timing themselves on a time clock like many citizens do, and being accountable to the people who elect them instead of to the mayor who hand-picks many of those ‘trusted’ officials. These narcissistic people are so worried, so paranoid and obsessive-compulsive about giving up or sharing their power that they will do just about anything… but that is going to ruin not only their reputations but our city as well.

Who is going to want to have a business or a home in the city limits? Who will want to drive in and be sacked with a ‘congestion tax’? And by the way, some Chicago apartment managers charge for garbage collection and sewer services and a resident told me that doing so is illegal because the city already pays those companies so we are being charged twice for garbage collection. They head everything under the name of “utility fees”.

We certainly need people in our city department offices who are not accountable to the mayor, who are not hand-picked by the mayor, who have to answer to their employees and not their boss the mayor, and who must answer to a citizen’s board made up of people from all the neighborhoods and who have a bone to pick with the mayor and his arrogant ivory-tower inner circle.

No doubt they have their hands in every department and every office. I suspect that if you turned upside down and shook the boards of METRA, the RTA, Chicago Parks, the CTA, and the Streets & Sanitation, you would find some mayoral crony in the official circle. The Chicago City Council and the Chicago Public Schools already have that deep trouble, and they will push taxes through in a hurry without any consideration of the millions who will suffer.

We are in the grips of a high-money mayor who has his head in the clouds of big money and corporate favoritism and Washington politics. Yet he was booed out of a public meeting recently and there are many people who hope that happens at every public meeting he has until the problems we have are resolved completely to citizens’ satisfaction.

Those few tyrannizing over the many? Uh, folks, we need to get on the officials and in a hurry. We need to ask them what is going on, we need to ask to whom they are answering. If they say, “I answer to the mayor” then those who work for them have choices – they can strike, they can reply, “Oh, then if you cannot help me then why am I working for you?” They can leave the city and go elsewhere, to jobs where they will be appreciated and leave the officials hanging and wondering and having to search their own consciences and finally cooperate with their constituents.

Just look around – there are already people leaving for other cities and suburbs. There are plenty of ‘for sale’ and ‘for lease’ signs in downtown, and there are plenty of homeless and beggars and families suffering on our streets. There are vacant lots full of trash and there are abandoned buildings that attract drugs and crime and vermin. What is the mayor and his inner circle going to do – drive out so many people that only the rich will be left and those who are left will be ‘taxed to the max’ and then want to leave? What will Chicago be left with – no residents, no small businesses, and no workforce.

Get the officials to answer to you or band together and find ways to fire them for not doing their jobs. After all, if the average citizen did not do their job they would be severely reprimanded or fired or demoted, so considering that we let those officials keep their jobs and their money and perks and cushy seats, we should stay on top of them like our employers sandwich us in and hold them accountable for every little thing – yes, every pothole, every power outage, every flooded home, every rat and mouse in the alleys, every tax increase, every investigation that shows government waste, every closed school, every murder using a gun, every homeless veteran, and everything else we know can be corrected. We just have to do this ourselves.

If the officials are too prim and lazy to get out there then grass-roots efforts are the answer. We need to show them how it is done and organize cleanup days and go through this city from south to north and from east to west till we like the way it looks. Then we can work on deciding where our taxes should be spent and how they should be spent and who should control that money. We need to send the officials home for a few weeks, rather like a time-out for a fussy child, until they can cooperate and politely ask to come out of the corner and then assure us, their bosses, those who elected them (and what is the mayor but an elected official so where does he come off being so arrogant and stuck-up), that they can and will behave properly and do their jobs correctly and for the benefit of those who put them in office.

Meanwhile we have the:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood and who are now going to rally for an elected school board;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services
Kids dying on our streets due to drugs and guns and gangs……………………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

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Veterans Need the Best We Can Offer: Chicago HAVE For All Military Personnel

Chicago Needs to HAVE Veterans In Our Hearts All the Time

There are many men and women who have served our nation in uniforms of the military branches of our great United States. They have enlisted and signed the papers, put on the faces and marched through the mud. They have seen international tours of duty and they have seen service right here at home.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

Remembering America’s veterans.

Home… a word that does not ring with many of those proud people, since they do not have a home to go to. Yes, there are homeless veterans… HOMELESS… the very people who have given so much, who have sacrificed and labored and been through obstacle after obstacle, to protect the homes we go to every day, do not have a home of their own to step into.

That is disgraceful.

Yes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) system is seeing its share of dishonorable behavior and wasteful disgraces, but to think that a veteran or any military member is homeless is a major stain on our nation and a pustule on our society. These are people with medical problems due to their tours of duty, and that to which they have been exposed, such as gunfire, diseases, shelling, shell shock, PTSD, and loss of limbs. They have been sick for us, been maimed for us, and been tossed aside by us.

Something has to change, and such changes cannot wait for politics or elections. Those in office, those who command and lead and order around those veterans must step up, just like those folks did in lines of rank or to police an area of their base. They wanted things to look better, they wanted freedom, they wanted health and well being, and they were willing to sign on and give their lives and legs and hands and arms for those privileges.

Do we arrogantly stand by and wait for a new mayor or new senators or a new president to be elected before we bother to look at the endurances these proud people have made for the rest of our nation and around the world? They cannot wait for the influential, the rich, the government that hired and ordered them about, to step up.

Every veteran and their families should have a home and work that is fitting to their talents and needs. Every man and woman should have a house they can call their own, a space that suits them. If the vet has lost a limb, build them a home that will accommodate their special needs. If they are sick, give them the best care a reformed VA system can provide.

HAVE is an idea I thought of while listening to excerpts of Mayor Emanuel’s inauguration speech recently, and the acronym means Home All Veterans Everywhere.

After all, we have homes; we have spaces all our own we can go to after work and play and worship and trips to the grocery and the mechanic, so why don’t these veterans have a home?

It is going to take a lot more than dropping a buck or two in the shaking cup of a homeless vet crouched at the side of a street under a light post, or holding a sign as he strains to sit up in his wheelchair; it is going to take elbow grease action, grassroots efforts, caring and tender and loving people who deeply understand that these are their fellow citizens and neighbors.

Treat them with respect. They deserve it.

America's flag flies proudly.America's flag flies proudly.

Bless our veterans, love our veterans, take care of our veterans, home our veterans.

Divi Logan. Chicago, on this Memorial Day 2015.

Race Relations? Are We Making Progress… or Making Problems?

Race relations is a very complicated issue… and we have made it even more so by allowing our government to put into our culture and our more vulnerable trains of thought and action and working the idea of demographics being so important. Well, perhaps “demographics” are important but only if the methods lead to actual, real, and tangible actions being done for those who are really in need of certain things being funded or built or done for a community.

But what is “good” and who is doing the “good”? Truly it should not even matter, but these days when Americans are so rude and crude in their manners that they are coming out and DEMANDING things, and DEMANDING this or that, and thinking that they are the only important factor because of their skin color or their ethnicity that they can push others out of the way and get in the front of the line, we need to be more on our guard than ever.

Race relations will not make progress until we lessen the role of the Census Bureau and wake up to the fact that it does not matter what you look like, “where you are from”, what your ethnic background is, or what you do for a living. People need to realize that the government is not really doing the average citizen any good at all.

Witness the recent talk of school segregation. Who really is at fault? Everyone or no one or the government or school officials? Is it the false idea of the “neighborhood” school that prevents  people from growing up and out and expanding their trains of thought and branching out? Is it the fear among these “neighborhood” people that if “someone does not look like me that they will have a bad influence on my family”? What kind of silly thinking is THAT?

Who cares about what the person looks like that is teaching your kids or treating your for a disease or selling you that house? And anyway, NO ONE looks like anyone else, so get that into your unique heads right now! NO ONE looks like anyone else, and we all think about things in different ways and see things in unique and variable ways. Someone can say there are “identical” siblings, but that’s not the real issue here. People vary in their coloring, in their hairstyles and hair coloring, in eye color, in a thousand different physical variables that push the idea of “looking like” another person completely out the window with the rest of the demographic garbage.

Think about this, a thought inspired by something I heard on the radio this morning, to wit that there are not enough “African – American” doctors in the “underserved” areas of Chicago, and no doubt other major cities. And then someone thinks the resources are not there to train and get these doctors -to -be, those “black” and “brown” children mentioned in the report on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago, out to those areas where the need appears greatest. Bologna.

Have you ever heard of a medical school, Mr. WBBM Reporter? Yes, there is actually something called a MEDICAL SCHOOL, folks. Just in case you in those communities are not aware, there have been doctors of every “race” and background for decades in America. Anyone, yes anyone, can go to a medical school, get the proper training, get incentive, and get to the business and the study of becoming a physician. Then they can choose where they want to go, and the choice is based on those variables such as where they will feel comfortable or needed or what kind of money they will make.

Well if the money is all that matters the doctor will not be a good doctor to the point of seeing the patients as people instead of as payments. If the doctor wants to get out there and serve the populace that is the target of the policies that have cause that population to be inadequately served and thus in need of care and comfort, then they will do so. An episode of the popular television show EMERGENCY! had a physician who put his private practice way out in an area of desert and scrub and no one around for miles, at least not another doctor who could provide his skills. The small office had a nurse, a couple of nice clean patient rooms, and a surgical suite.

Now in early parts of the episode there is a bad accident that the main EMERGENCY! characters come upon as they return from a vacation. They must get help for the victims since they cannot practice their paramedic skills in another state, so they eventually get help and race the mother and boy to that small clinic in that small town area. The nurse is the only person on staff there and so they must wait for the doctor, who eventually arrives and sees that there is need for his services. The paramedics are expecting to see an old man, the proverbial lovable old country doctor but instead a younger man with a thick mustache and in very casual clothes, comes in and assesses the scene. After the victims are treated the paramedics and the doctor talk about why he has put his practice in that part of the state. He says something to the effect of, “Well I just wanted to practice where I am most needed. That’s why I stayed here.” Marvelous. EMERGENCY! as a 1970’s television show had a cast that was wonderful in its professional presentation and diverse nature, and this one episode is only one demonstration of what happens when need and service and consideration outweigh “government” policies and separatist attitudes and action takes over and someone has the courage to establish that practice where they really are most needed.

Now think about this: when it comes to “race”, what someone looks like on the outside, what would you do if your house caught fire and you were trapped on a higher floor with no way out? The only “race” you should then be concerned about is the dash of the fire department to your home to save your life. Would it really matter to you who was first up that 100 foot Pierce Aerial in that basket to rescue you from the burning bedroom? I think not. If you looked out that window at the firefighter who came up in his or her heavy gear to get you out, what would you see – someone with a face that “does not look like yours”, or someone who is there to save your life, with arms at the ready to carry you down and get you some help? If you took one look at that firefighter and back at the flames coming through the bedroom door, I suspect you would reach out and let the firefighter carry you down that latter, with his or her words of reassurance as you go down to the ground, safely away from the flames and smoke.

There is next the issue of this stuff about “neighborhood” schools, especially in Chicago. A neighborhood is made up of people who can be of the same background or can be made up of a lot of different kinds of people. So what does it matter what the teachers or the officials “look like”? Goodness gracious, what digression… what aggression… what stupid trains of thought! “I won’t let you teach my kids because you don’t look like them!” Come on, folks. If the teacher is qualified, if the school system is providing qualified personnel and proper facilities, then there is nothing to worry about. People are letting words and concepts such as “charter” and “selective” and “magnet” and “private” and “public” get in the way of seeing that the students are provided a good and proper and higher education. We are being taken away from the real issue: EDUCATION.

My teachers were very diverse when I was growing up and attending public schools in Nashville. I didn’t care a bit what these ladies and gentlemen looked like: I respected them each and every one, I sat and listened in class, and I was respectful of the principals and other school officials and bus drivers. Had I thought, “I’m not taking math from him because he’s not from my neighborhood” or “I won’t listen to her because she has a different skin color from me” would have gone against the very principles of what education is meant to do and what its purpose is. Education is meant to challenge us to grow and expand our horizons, to get us to put different skill sets together and continue to learn and work with others, to make out the map of our lives and careers and our plans for the future. If we do not draw out the talents we have or that others have; if we do not march out and away from the ideas and thoughts that impede progress in the sense of us working together with others for success; if we do not lead others out of the mental captivity our government officials have chained many of us with, then our education system has failed.

We have failed, we have then wasted money and energy and resources, and we have not done our best.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

 

Boston Action: For the Good People of Boston, Chicago Keeps You in Mind

BOSTON SUFFERS ON A FESTIVE DAY

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline (Photo credit: brentdanley)

At once, from a resident of the City of Chicago, where we also have a huge annual 26.2 mile marathon, our thoughts, prayers, condolences and hearts are with everybody in Boston. On this day when it was supposed to be a big day, festive, fun, full of baseball, runners, shopping, eating, being with family and friends and seeing people striving to be their best in a major runner’s event such as the grand Boston Marathon, chaos erupts near the finish line and then about a block away.

Immediately there is trouble, there is noise and smoke and flame; there is disorder and destruction, flying glass, metal atop of wood, barriers piled atop people or parts of people, and it becomes clear that there are gravely injured and, in short order, confirmation of two dead.

Now the Boston subway system is enduring shutdowns, Logan International Airport is on ground stop, the perimeter around the Copley and side streets is widened and close off, and there are more suspicious packages located and worked on. In this day when the world comes together, now someone has tried to split it apart with two bombs. But did they do that job?English: John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massach...

Those responsible might have split bodies and lives but watch in those tapes people running toward the scene to assist the injured, people preparing the medical tent in the very area of the first explosion, where more devices might have been and might have gone off in short order. There were people risking their lives in that scene minutes after and seconds after the explosions occurred, to rescue the trapped and injured under the wood and metal piles. Reporters have given horror stories of what they saw, the Governor and the President have been informed, and believe it, we in Chicago are on alert as well.

This is a festive day turned difficult in a matter of seconds, and now there are people, who came from all over the planet to watch this great race, who are in surgery, who have amputated limbs, who are gravely injured or critical or serious. There might be people who have lost family or friends.

Accidental as some have speculated- gas or other rupture? Wonder, but consider that the FBI is now officially treating this as a terrorism investigation case.

Those responsible need to come forward and see the chaos they have caused, see the blood they have shed, the damage done. The cowards, the cruel and destructive people who have shredded this beautiful Boston day and indeed the day for this country, should be forced to go and see the people they have injured and shocked and destroyed today. You dish it out, then you can take the aftermath, you nasty ugly cowards. That is all you are, not strong men for some religion or brave and buff and chest -forward roosters crowing their deeds of the day. You are nothing but cowards and you will most likely die by the way in which you inflicted death today. Because if our forces find you, and I hope they do find you, and if you are to be found they WILL find you… believe it they will shut you down in a Boston minute.

Northwest corner of Copley Square in Boston, M...

Northwest corner of Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, showing the Boston Public Library at left, and Trinity Church at right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, condolences and prayers for the people of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

NRA is Not Right All the Time: Gun Control Must Take Hold

NRA: Not Right At All: Sandy Hook and Gun Control

Now it is obvious that the arguments of the NRA (National Rifle Association) regarding the Second Amendment and gun control and all the rest of the concerns revolving (excuse the word choice there) around “gun violence” are not complete nor are they accurate. Below is the Second Amendment.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

First of all, banning certain types of weapons DOES NOT take away anything of the privileges we have in the Second Amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. “Arms” can mean anything that is used to commit violence against someone using deadly force, strength meant to kill surely and not necessarily cleanly. It is DEADLY FORCE that is meant when someone takes a gun out and fires that weapon at a person with premeditated intent – they MEAN to KILL that person at whom the gun is pointed. It is ready for discharging and if the situation is upset enough the weapon will be used, and someone WILL DIE.

Sandy Hook, Connecticut

Sandy Hook, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The banning of certain weapons is not going to infringe on the Second Amendment, not at all. All the people of Sandy Hook want, and all that many Americans want, is to see the BANNING of certain types of guns and armaments accessories and an increase in background checks and details of said checks. The views of Chicago Police Department Superintendent McCarthy are correct in his five points, discussed some months ago in one of my previous blog entries. Now the police of communities across America cannot do all the work, the SWAT teams and the FBI cannot do all the work.

People must step up and write their representatives to the point of stuffing their mailboxes with letters insisting on these bans of assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and also of the increase in background checks for gun shows and all types of sales that are made anywhere, when guns are sold or transferred in ownership, and especially to keep track of where a gun might end up when it is stolen. There are GPS methods to track down stolen cars… there should perhaps be a way to insert GPS into guns to track them when the chip is activated. Privacy issues will come up no doubt but for now the issue is what to do about the “military style” guns that are being made and put on our streets every day.

On our streets we DO NOT NEED these assault weapons (though any type of weapon is really an “assault” weapon seeing that any sort of violence against another person is assault). We do not need in our communities the presence of the AR-15, the M-16, the Uzi, anything at all that is meant to take out many people as happened at Sandy Hook, as happened in Aurora, Colorado, and as happens every day in America as citizens allow gangs and corrupt people to take control of streets and communities for their drugs and their disgusting presence.

You can certainly have a firearm in your home or business for protection, and in most states you can carry a gun under the concealed carry law. But you certainly do not need one of those machine guns for daily protection unless you are in a war zone. There are some parts of America that might be called “war zones” because those communities have endured neglect and are run -down enough for gangs and drugs to take hold. Good people will leave and the bad elements will take over and the citizens who are stuck there will be in deep trouble. Points aside, you can have firearms and you can certainly uphold the Second Amendment. You do not have to listen to the NRA when deciding on gun control, plainly and simply.

The children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook will not be forgotten as long as parents are around, as long as caring citizens are here, as long as first responders have to pay visits to those types of scenes and make their reports. The record is there and the people of Connecticut have stepped up to tell America and Congress they are going to get tough for the gun control issue.

Those members of Congress and those other representatives who get good grades from the NRA need to remember the children who are struggling to get good grades in school every day in areas plagued by violence and racial gerrymandering and government neglect. Those senators who are going to filibuster and not vote on issues to regulate the gun industry and ban the assault weapons are going to have to answer their constituents if something happens in their state on the order of Sandy Hook or Aurora or Virginia Tech’s university campus massacre.

Those members of Congress will have to go before America and say that because they get an A rating from the NRA that they cannot support deeper gun control legislation that might save lives, that might keep our cities safer, that might take these guns out of the hands of gang bangers and criminals and violent people. They will have to answer the next time something like that happens if there is a next time.

The Second Amendment must be carefully considered away from what the NRA says will happen if we get tougher gun control. Such controls will not take away our right to have guns if we want them. We can certainly go out and get a gun, take courses on how to properly use a gun, and register it properly and learn to clean and care for it. We can teach the kids about gun safety if we have them around the house, so that nothing happens in the way of the unfortunate incidents that have popped up on the news lately, with younger kids shooting friends or siblings or family members.

Our esteemed wimpy idiotic foolish members of Congress need to get a backbone and act and pass tougher gun control laws immediately, no arguing, no filibustering, no posturing and no party politics. PLEASE people PLEASE do not do this to the good people of this country just because you are getting money and favoritism and perks from the NRA. They have their freedom of speech, they have their say, and you can listen to them with a grain of salt and then go on and pass the tougher laws. They have been heard and most people are tired of hearing them and their calling like telemarketers bugging people in Connecticut and with their daily comments on putting armed officers or teachers in schools.

WE DON’T NEED THAT, NRA! So QUIT SHOOTING OFF YOUR MOUTHS!

In memory of the children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook, Connecticut; in memory of the people killed at Virginia Tech; in memory of the people killed in Chicago especially the youth; in memory of the victims at Littleton, Colorado; in memory of the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, theater massacre; in memory of the people killed and wounded at the gathering of Gabby Giffords in Arizona… the hearts of the good people of America are with you every day.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Chicago Corruption Deepens Distrust

TROUBLE REIGNS IN THE HALLS OF CHICAGO’S OFFICIALS… WHAT NEXT?

On News Radio 780 WBBM this morning came the article reporting that the red -light camera company, Red Flex, which has had the contract for Chicago’s red -light cameras for years now, is now in a bribery scheme worth millions of dollars… to somebody.

Not to the Chicago taxpayer, obviously, who time after time is getting the stiff short end of the stick we are constantly hit with by our elected or appointed officials. Our City Council is probably as trustworthy as our U.S. Congress, which, is in a simple phrase, NOT AT ALL. Congress has a very low, almost negative approval rating, and our City Countil seems headed that way. Apparently former Mayor Daley was warned about the policies of Red Flex but went ahead with the contract. Alderman Burke wrote letters and all regarding that deal but that did no good. Corruption station, corruption country anybody?

We have had to put up with all these deals someone in the mayor’s radar thought was so great, and we are feeling the effects right now of the parking meter deal. Mayor Daley thought getting that billion dollars was fine but now we are paying for it every time something happens where LAZ and anyone affiliated with them does not get proper payment for unused spaces and their reasons are about as lame as the “dog ate my homework” excuse. They claim pay is needed when spaces are closed off for festivals, but doesn’t the city have a plan for such things in place? What else are we paying for regarding this parking meter deal?

And what else are those council people doing to perk themselves up and waste our money? They are getting those expensive automobiles to tool around in, they are getting drivers, they are arrogant and foolish when handling campaign funds and they are getting booted out of office for such poor judgment. How many of them are dealing the demographic card and thus impeding real progress in their communities?

What needs to be done? Do we get rid of the demographic dribbling chatter, do we stop giving power to the Census people and the cable news talking heads who are driving that demographic trash into our minds and trying to make people vulnerable and worried and upset and competitive? Time to dump the demographers, what say? And along with putting the race -color -creed -economics -gender -ethnicity junk to rest permanently, get rid of these idiotic “neighborhood” divisions.

Neighborhood is a real boor, can you dig that? Where does one start or stop? What determines what makes a neighborhood… what the buildings look like, who lives where, what someone thinks those people want or enjoy or do? SO WHAT? Someone lives someplace, and they have responsibilities to everyone else around them, no matter who those other people are. You have the duty to keep your home and yard neat, clean, free of odors and trash, and your pets properly cared for and secured. You have the duty to watch out for and respect others in your area, to keep up with what is going on so you can be alert to problems of any kind and report them to the right people.

Updated article coming soon. Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013

There goes the Neighborhood? Maybe that would be a great thing!

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD? MAYBE THAT WOULD BE A GOOD THING!

Chicago is known for its neighborhoods, and to some, that is fine. The city is divided on racial, ethnic, and income standards, and all that is (no) thanks to the demographers who just love to separate people for their own ends and means and make our nation a “dis” united states.

Well, far as I am concerned, this neighborhood stuff can go to blazes in a handbasket and quickly too. I’m sick and tired of the “neighborhoods” making the news for gang and gun violence and drug markets and being known as “violent” or as “white” or as one factor or another that serves only to divide us even more so that the news people can have something to talk about.

Neighborhoods be darned, that’s all there is to it. Stop the bordering of the streets and the houses, head the divisiveness off at the pass and be done with this juvenile this is mine or that is mine and I’m not going to share kind of mentality. Ridiculous and delinquent and stupid, all of it. What are we, a civilization or a nation of immature people who have to be told how to do everything, have an app for everything, have an electronic reminder for everything and get someone else to do everything for us because there is too much convenience?

The idea of the neighborhood as being drawn along such lines has always been anathema to me, nothing but hateful and reeking of exclusivity and divisiveness. Time to grow up, folks. Time to give these people less to worry about and take down the historical neighborhood districts, tear down fences and improve streets. Just because some “neighborhood” cuts off at one or another street, the pothole repairs and the plowing and the planting have to stop at one corner and leave another looking unkempt?

PUH-LEEEAAASSSEEE.

Grow up, people. Get out, branch out; you are not hermits and no one should make you feel like a prisoner in your own home because of some “neighborhood” issue that turns into nothign but negatives for your area, in the way of turf wars, territorial battles for gangs and drug markets, and whether or not some income group or racial group lives there. Of course the latter is total bunk. “Whites” and “blacks” live together and with each other; ethinic groups can live together and in the same building. People marry outside of their nationalities and racial lines. In other words, who cares who lives where, except the demographers and the politicians who listen to them and think they are doing some good for this country.

Also total bunkum- these people do no one any good at all. They are demons of dividing and separating for the sake of having something to report on or talk about in the cable news or insert as being supposedly of some importance to the business world and the education community. The news on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago is more and more littered with the reporters thinking they have to say what neighborhood something happened in. Well I could care less whether a shooting happened in Wicker Park or Gold Coast; the point is that some act happened and someone thinks it worth talking about. Some one was robbed or shot or carjacked – who but the police and first responders would care where it happened? They will respond to it and help those in need.

Of course the more they talk about the acts the more coverage is given to those who do the acts and they will only do more.

Neighborhoods need to go, no doubt. Once the idea might have been just fine, when Frank Lloyd Wright and his associates made the nice planned communities decades ago. But now the idea of the neighborhood, which is often shortened to “hood” is very negative. You need a library, or need to put up new housing or gardens or a fire station or school… well, build it or improve it for goodness’ sakes and just get it done! So what where it is done – just work on it already!

The neighborhood can be a good thing if we want it to be. The historic districts can be atractive and wonderful and great for tourists to see and worth preserving. But when the sorting by race and income and ethnicity start to filter in then it is time to go away from the idea and turn to something else positive.

Clean up the act- break down this idea of separating by streets and the like.

Be a part of the solution, or else you are part of the problem.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

GUN CONTROL BEGINS WITH SELF CONTROL! Mental Health Crosses the Spectrum.

GUN CONTROL? WEAPONS OF DISTRUCTION? COME ON FOLKS, CONTROL YOURSELF!

Sandy Hook, Connecticut

Sandy Hook, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of the shootings – most recently of a police officer in Houston, Texas, of four firefighters and a wounded police officer in in West Webster, New York, and of the students in Sandy Hook/ Newtown, Connecticut, there have been talks regarding how best to implement and practice gun control.

Gun control? GUN CONTROL? We must begin a way many steps back than that, begin before the surface issues, begin before the copycat schemes and crimes that have riddled our nation with acts of violence in the past years and so many just in 2012.

The officials and legislators talk about mental health as of the utmost importance in working with the issues of gun control. Mental health is so complex an area of study that it, like the brain that works those faculties and processes, must be carefully considered. Everyday citizens have degrees of mental health, some towards mental illness and some towards what we might call sanity, but everyone experiences those degrees of mental health at one time or another ranging from experiences of euphoria and great dreams to depression and seasonal disorders (SAD).

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are others in our nation and around the world because of our policies, that also experience a wide range of mental health issues. Those folks are the personnel of our United States Military branches – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard. Personnel in our first responder branches – firefighters, police officers and SWAT officers, and paramedics no doubt experience the widest range of mental health concerns possible.

The firefighters in West Webster and Rochester, New York, must now begin to pick up the pieces and, if someday possible, fill the holes left by the deaths of their volunteer colleagues. The police chief in those videos announcing the updates on that fire and shooting is visibly shaken when he talks of the friends he lost. We cannot even begin to imagine what the people are feeling in New York, who lost their homes and so much before Christmas, but have their lives to rebuild. Such tragedy… we must wonder what is happening within our nation.

But back to the concerns about our military personnel and the issues of mental health. There are tens of thousands of soldiers who have returned to the United States from violent and hectic tours of overseas duty, and some very young. They will have every range of mental health issues. They have seen people die, have killed people, have used high – powered weapons, grenades, machine guns, and fighter jets. They have seen horrible acts of rape, murder, burning, torture and desecration of bodies.

That would be enough to turn anyone’s gut, who has not had the training those folks have had. But though they are trained to be tough, to carry out those acts of sanctioned violence in the name of “freedom” and democracy, they are affected. They must see blood spilled, hear people screaming, see children scurrying for cover, see homes burning, hear the rocket -propelled grenades and the jets criscrossing the borders, the skies and the mountains and deserts. And they get involved in wrecks where the enemy plants improvised explosive devices that blow up vehicles and cause catastrophic injuries.

NATO personnel are tough, strong, brave, sure – just like military personnel are supposed to be, just like law enforcers are supposed to be. But only the hardest hearted person would not be moved to tears and turn green in the gut at the sight of innocent villagers huddling in bloodstained, burned -out buildings, wondering what the next day will bring. Will the coming hours bring freedom from their oppressors, will the troops harm them, or will they be killed by those who rule their nations, as in Syria?

What happens then when those American personnel come home? Certainly they might look like the same man or woman on the outside, the same Private or Captain who went across the waves on tour. But inside, in the brain and in the faculties, they are not at all the same. They might exhibit many of the habits you as family or friends recalled when they left – eating meals the same way, cooking some things, dressing a certain way, or driving a certain way (provided they have their limbs, their eyes, and their appetites). But their minds are not the same because of the very nature of what they have had to do during deployment.

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These personnel must be watched carefully for signs of PTSD (Post -traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, suppressed anger, and other signs that their minds/brains are in real trouble. They must be encouraged to talk about what they have seen and done, reminding them that it is strength to seek help, not weakness to ask for assistance. It is necessary that they talk about what is bothering them, that they not hide their feelings, and that they shed their toughened boot camp mentality so they can heal.

Another issue to think about would be whether or not the personnel had an honorable or a dishonorable discharge. An honorable discharge might not be so much a concern but someone who is booted out for dishonorable actions needs to be followed in case there were issues that caused their instructors or officers to doubt their effectiveness to serve and thus made the dishonorable discharge necessary. When it comes to background checks, every factor must be considered before a weapon is sold.

Background checks need to be extremely comprehensive, detailed, drawn out to the point of dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. The potential seller must ask every relevant question and take down the information and share it with law enforcers in the area and at every level of government. If there is even any doubt about selling a weapon the sale must not go through. Weapons also need to be carefully traced from the moment they are sold, or when they turn up missing or stolen. The idea of another “Fast and Furious” must never cross our headlines again.

Collectors also need to be very careful of their possessions. Wherever they keep their guns they need to have detailed records close by, copies kept in case of disaster as well. They must note every possible relevant detail of each firearm/ weapon in their collections, from serial numbers to where they were bought to who sold it to them, if they bought it at a gun show, at a small shop, no matter. If possible, collectors should also have records of people in their area who are felons or who might not be allowed to possess weapons. Lists of national troublemakers should also be kept up with in case someone escapes and might be in the area of the collector, especially if they know the person who might have the guns and thus make them targets of robbery.

Mental health, as said, is a complex concern that runs the gauntlet of everything we do and say. It is not as easy as “self control” or as difficult as diagnosing eating disorders or criminal instincts. It is easy and it is difficult – we can say someone seems depressed or upset or sick, but to what degree? How can we… how can anyone judge the mental health of someone else, considering we all have those degrees of brain health and physical health that make us different? Is there a rule which we can call “normal”? Is there a person that you or I could say is deranged, when we might just be so? For what reasons do we judge others when we do not like to be judged?

We must be very careful, extremely careful, when we discuss mental health. Everyone needs to be heard, to take part in discussions and if possible the studies offered by counselors or hospitals. We are a nation at war within and without ourselves; we are at war around the world and deep within our brains and spirits and souls. For there to be proper discussion there must be a sense of a stable environment from which to begin those discussions, a place of peace and quiet and harmony where we can sit down like civilized people and talk about the issues in an atmosphere of parliamentary procedure and/ or military courtesy.

The more civil and properly prepared the atmosphere of education and discussion is, the better facilitated we will be to hear and be heard, to write the necessary letters, to talk about what bothers us, to confess if we must to our leaders of worship, to talk with our families and kids, with teachers and students, with our beloved and brave first responders, with everyone, with all our fellow citizens.

We are supposed to be a UNITED nation. Let’s start to act that way, and we will all be better for doing so.

Houston Police Department
Houston Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

**************************************

Condolences to the Houston Police Department, the people of the City of Houston and of Harris County, Texas; the people of West Webster and Rochester and the citizens of New York, and the people of Newtown and Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Flag of Rochester, New York. Image created by ...

Flag of Rochester, New York. Image created by uploader based on previous SVG image (an auto-traced bitmap) on the English Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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Chicago Drug War? Call Out the Guards!

Well, all right… OK, it’s in the news every day and every week, this gang turf and drug war of ours. When it is in the mass media it is not just in the neighborhoods that are affected; it becomes OUR issue and OUR concern and OUR problem, everywhere in Chicago. Because such events as gang shootings, retaliation shootings, drug corner selling and open-air drug markets, and turf wars (really now, whose turf is it but the good citizens of this city), could happen anywhere in Chicago, anywhere in Cook County, anywhere in this country.

SWAT Truck

SWAT Truck (Photo credit: Just Us 3)

So, what is the first solution? Our police force is all ready taxed to the max with this city to take care of. They cannot devote half their force to taking care of a couple of problem areas, Englewood and West Harrison districts that are so full of crime and traumatic happenings and “high crime areas”. They have others to see to as well, other things to do.

These kids, as one of my colleagues said, NEED TO BE IN THE HOUSE. Between the ages of 10 and 19? BE IN THE HOUSE when you are supposed to be. What do we need to do- impose curfews on you every day and all the time until you get the drift of how important and essential discipline is and when you are ready to go to college? You darned well need to learn that before you consider college, kiddo. BE IN THE HOUSE, be doing your homework, be cleaning up your streets and parks and schoolyards and community centers, and be in the habit of doing good and right things. SIMPLE.

Meanwhile, what do we need to do with you? Need we call out the Illinois Guard? Need we put SWAT on your streets to make sure you don’t go out and cause trouble for yourself or someone else? Do you want tanks and armored personnel carriers on your streets 24/7 until the problems are solved? Want the National Guard to solve them for you? You can make it difficult or easy; and the National Guard and SWAT can make it difficult for you if you want them to. And I don’t think you want them to. Don’t test the concept- trust me on that one; you don’t want to make it complicated.

Of course there is another positive and better solution, and that is to catch the kids early on, those first days that they are capable of learning right and wrong, good and bad, what is harmful and what is good and decent to do and try. We have to get the concepts into them very early, making those concepts basically a part of pre-school learning and drilling in the principles throughout school.

Very young children can make amazing contributions to society. They can perform work in community gardens, sweep and rake, and help in planting trees and shrubs. They can learn about participating as good citizens as they get older and stronger. We can teach them that just because they see it or hear it does not make it right. Just because “someone else” is doing it or because they “saw it on TV” or “it was done by a celebrity in a movie”, that does not mean it is right, proper, decent, honorable or good to do or say.

Now you can make it easier on the children so they can talk to you about anything. If they have something to ask, let them ask it. What they have to say might include a “bad word” or two, but be patient. If you know they cannot have learned it and must have picked it up somewhere else do not be angry with them for saying it but sit them down and explain it. Ask where they heard it, who said it, when and in what situation it was said. Ask if anything was done when the word was said. Did the person show them a picture or make a gesture or touch the child in any way whatsoever? Take what the child says seriously- they should have no reason to lie to you and should feel comfortable being completely open and honest about such things that can be very troublesome. Once they tell you what happened, then act appropriately. If something bad did happen, the child should not be around the person or place until you see to the happening.

Do everything possible to protect the children but not to shelter them; in other words, be careful of extremes. We must use every positive initiative, be it faith-based, be it corporate, we must put it together before one more pre-teen is gunned down or otherwise traumatized in their yard or on their porch or in their bedroom. It is one too many that has been shot and killed in Chicago this year, one too many kids that have seen a friend or relative shot, heard of the funerals, been to a funeral perhaps, seen the gore on the sidewalk, seen the police presence, heard the gunfire, seen the bullets on the pavement.

Surely they wonder when their family can move. Surely they wonder, “Why can’t I go out and sit on the porch with a lemonade in the evening?” “When is this going to end so I can go out and play again?” “Why isn’t my brother coming back?”

What can we say to them?

In the meantime, we are all ready in some areas at the level of going to extremes- calling out the police, calling out SWAT, maybe calling out the Illinois Guard to clear the streets.

We can continue to make it difficult and complicated. Or we can make it easy.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

Mayor To Be? What Would You Want Me to do for You?

For years I thought about running for Mayor of Chicago. I have learned more about the election process, watched the process, watched candidates come and go, seen the parties and the media coverage, the talks and the conferences, the photo-ops and the celebrities surrounding such elections.

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/links/pages/CitySeal1.gif This image is a copy of the official seal of the City of Chicago, Illinois, as designed and adopted by the City in 1905. As such, it is a work authored before 1922, and is therefore in the public domain. A 1895 edition of the seal can be seen here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there is another side to the hoopla and the parties, the photographs, the lights and the glory of the position. And that side is WHY someone really would run for such a position, being Mayor of America‘s third largest city and of the city that contains what many people call the most beautiful lakefront in America.

That side – the important side of why someone ideally runs for office – is helping the people who really need necessary, urgent, and life -saving help. It is lowering tax rates, keeping communities safe, lowering the crime rate, improving the job market and “the economy” for more than just the big businesses/ corporations who plaster their names all over the parks, hospitals, donations rolls, educational institutions and street signs. It is doing all in one’s power to extend a hand to the single parent, the child who wonders why their school is not as safe as another school, who wonders how the environment can be made better so everyone can learn, the laid-off folks who wonder why their jobs are being taken to other states or countries.

I have asked people what they would want to see from a mayor. Some have said getting rid of the gangs is priority, and the gangs and their turf wars certainly are a big problem. The murder rate rises, evidence of drug use is all over those areas where gangs have their presence, and the use of guns is blatant. Innocent people suffer where gangs thrive, children are gunned down in parks- and all they are doing is playing or just hanging out with friends. Some idiot comes out with an assault rifle and, through a case of mistaken identity, guns someone down and sprays the area with bullets, not caring who is in the way, not caring whether young families are out trying to enjoy bonding time, not caring about the kids.  They do their thing no matter what, and that has to stop.

And then there is the issue of what to do about the teachers, the “neighborhood” schools, the education budget, the school board, the longer school day, demolition or refurbishing of other buildings, charter schools, library hours…. EDUCATION! What are the real budgetary needs, who deserves the big pay, what should be done about the school board? What would YOU as a non-board citizen like to see from the next mayor?

Then there is the issue of businesses, small family-0wned and -run businesses, local specialty businesses tired of government red tape, talk of health insurance, talk of this and that regulation, talk of corporations outsourcing jobs to China and Mexico and India. As a small business owner, what have you asked mayors and aldermen to do that they seem not to hear or want to hear? What would YOU want a listening, duty-bound and honorable person to as your next mayor?

What would you like to see done about dilapidated buildings, run-down houses, trashy and vacant lots, run-down playgrounds, schools without air conditioning? What do you want done about potholes on your neighborhood streets, lighting on your streets, flood zones in your community, building code enforcement, adding more fire departments or police protection? What would you want done about dogfighting or cockfighting, stray or hazardous animals? Do you want chemical contamination cleaned up? Have you tried and failed with the present old-school, old-boy network, are you tired of the rubber-stamp city council?

What about transportation, the bunched busses, the CTA stations? What do you want- lower fares, better services; are there regularity issues in your neighborhood? Maybe you need more service? Maybe you need a safer area for the busses to have stops and so the organizations will build nice stations and so that the appearance of your area will improve and then jobs, businesses and other services will come in.

Maybe a lower tax rate is in your radar, and so it should be. Too much money in the coffers seems to give the present officials the mind to think they have it to waste. WASTE? It is not their money to waste. It is the money THEY have taxed out of YOU and with the claims that they need that money for services and other projects. But what happens? They give themselves hefty pay raises, fine office perks, travel, rented luxury vehicles. They tell YOU to tighten YOUR belt while they do the opposite!

As mayor I will NOT do that. If anyone need to tighten their belt, it is the city council, the boards of the city, and the leadership. If I ask for something such as reduction of a budget I will adhere to those cuts and would not ask anyone to do what I would not do. Reduce pay for the boards, sure! AND hold them accountable for every action. Hold the power board accountable for every outage, every transformer blowout, every street light, every time a crew comes out to repair after a storm. Hold those people accountable to give reports of what is going on and see the evidence. I want to know the people who work for me REALLY ARE WORKING, and not sloughing off in their desk chairs or having some expensive lunch on the clock.

Citizens, I WANT YOU to talk to me. I want to know what is going on, to see what is happening, to see if the officials who say they will do something really follow up on it for your community, school, church, streets, etc. I want you to write, to respond, to call, to come by my office (I think I will call it the “Duty Hut”), and sit and chat. No big fat parties for THIS Mayor, no way, not until my constituents, the “regular”, “everyday”, all-around working taxpaying citizen is satisfied with the services, the officials under my command, the appearance of their streets, and the safety of their schools. No celebrities in my office during working hours, no corporate lunches, no luxury vehicles in my city fleet, no way- not until everyone else is satisfied, as happy as people can be, as well-fed, as well-educated, and as well-housed as Americans should be.

My slogan: NO SIDES CHICAGO! My vision: A United Chicago for a Stronger Nation! My “STEM”- satisfied and loyal constituents, and my roots, a fertile area for people to prosper, for families to safely live, work, play and have fun together; a safer place for businesses to prosper and grow, a safer place to learn for our students at all levels, and fairness for everyone. I will be a listening mayor. One cannot learn anything unless one listens to others. I will be an acting mayor and hopefully those who work with me will be of the same set of mind.

Everyone is on my team- that is my “sub-slogan”. You can be… YOU CAN BE on my team too. The Mission Control Mayor… think of that.

The essential question is this: What do you want your mayor to do for you?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

It is a lot to think about, isn’t it? Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012. Writer, designer, and web developer for ®EDUSHIRTS.