Homeland Security? Orange Line Incident Prompts Questions About Security and Funding.

Well now it’s come to this: think about what we are doing regarding “homeland security”.

We want to talk up this business about securing our borders and our nation from outside threats such as from Yemen, Iraq and other terrorist nations and organizations… but when it comes to the thought of protecting against threats that happen right here within our own states, we seem to have a major problem supplying personnel and equipment to do that.

The incident yesterday along the CTA Orange Line prompts me, a regular rider, to question what is going on.  For those who read this article and who are not familiar with it, let me enlighten you: the Orange Line is part of the Chicago Transit Authority’s system of elevated trains that goes through the famous Loop district. On this train patrons can ride all the way to Midway Airport; from the Roosevelt Stop the trip is about thirty minutes. You can get straight on it from the Red Line by accessing a tunnel and escalators to go up to the Orange Line stop.

Yesterday the peace of patrons on the Orange Line was shattered when armed assailants burst into the cars, announced a robbery and took things from riders. Apparently they got on at the Halsted stop and got off at the Roosevelt stop and took off. Now with the number of people at the Roosevelt stop and the amount of activity there it is hard to believe that someone did not yell out that there was a problem and that the personnel downstairs could not catch up with those people or call for backup and clear the area.

So where is all this “security” we are supposed to see since 9/11/01? Where are the vested officers, the dogs, the extra cruisers and personnel? WHERE ARE THEY? Every so often in the Red Line I see a dog with an officer, and the occasional extra officers in the gate area, but this should not be “occasionally”.

And if there is any denial that we have terrorists right here in our nation, that incident should push the denial right out of the minds of the law personnel and clear the rust out of our brains and the dust from our eyes and make us question even more, “WHERE ARE THOSE EXTRA SECURITY PERSONNEL?”

Also what happened to the idea of acting so quickly on the sentence we hear every time now that we are on a Chicago train: “If you see something, say something!” Perhaps the riders between those Orange Line stops were so in shock that they could not react quickly enough to inform 9-1-1 or the conductor that something was wrong. Perhaps also, there being more than one assailant, the means of contacting help were denied to the riders until the robbers jumped off the train.

What happens now that the security video has been released?

People sure are brazen these days, but desperation can breed such unusual behavior, such risky behavior as that which happened in broad daylight along that CTA train. It is a mean -spirited and desperate person indeed that brandishes a firearm among a crowd of peaceful travelers and shakes their minds up and demands their belongings. Just terrible…

… but what are we as ordinary citizens going to do about it? Carry more weapons? Have officers in every train car? Have cameras on every seat? Perform more citizens’ patrols? We sure are beyond just talking about the problems and the issues about “gun violence”. We are tired of hearing about it every day, seeing the evidence and the remains of it, and dealing with it. We don’t want to “deal with it”. We want it to end, be over, enough already.

What are we to do?

Divi Logan. Chicago, 2014.

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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.

Peregrines Answer to Pigeon Problem?

This bird lover and nature-watcher certainly think so, and in light of news about pigeons around transit stations and other places in the Chicagoarea lately, let’s look at how to safely keep the pigeons in check.

A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) at the b...

A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) at the bird show at New York State Fair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First thing we must remember is that this present crop of pigeons, if the information is correct, is an introduced and invasive and pestilent species from Europe. Thus their regular name of the European Rock Dove. Only a few were brought to this country but now do we have a problem, and a big and messy one at that.

Now pigeons are life, and many deem them beautiful to watch and to feed, but you should never feed the pigeons in the parks or other public places. Disease can spread and cause trouble for both the birds and people exposed to excessive bird poop and the presence of nests. The pigeons will congregate wherever there is food available and good nesting sites. Of course many building owners and transit agencies try the spiky additions to eaves, roofs and ledges but the pigeons seem only to find other places to hang out.

Also as pigeons are life, they should not be poisoned. Besides poisons spread out with intent to kill one species can only harm other species, so poisons are out as methods of keeping pests in check in public areas and around parks. And of course birds, insects, and small animals are part of the natural food chain- something eats them and they eat other things. It is not safe to use potent poisons and herbicides around areas where the larger animals and birds feed – larger ones such as the Peregrine Falcon.

It so happens that we in Chicago are fortunate to have Peregrines in presence, and one pair atop The Clare near Loyola apparently has young ones within. These magnificent birds are more than just stunning to look at, more than majestic in flight and fast on the wing; they eat pigeons and abundantly, too.

It would certainly be fine if we would share our Peregrines with Oak Park, and bring them around areas of Chicago overrun with pigeons especially around transit stations. In additon to the Peregrine Falcon, great use could be made of bringing in hungry Cooper’s Hawks, which are members of the Accipiter class of predatory birds that includes the Goshawk and the Sharp-shinned Hawk. I think staff at the Field Museum and/ or the Museum of Science and Industry could find ways to bring the Peregrines to those infested areas and let them have at those pigeons.

As the Peregrine is an endangered species, we should do this basic step to bring their population back. After all, the use of chemicals on our part caused many of the birds to die. We did not eliminate the Bald Eagle, and thank goodness, and now we are helping to bring their population back as well. Certainly it would be spectacular to see the Peregrines and their companions wheeling magnificently above more of our region, gracing the skies over Oak Park, relaxing in the trees of the parks or atop the buildings. You can even see them with their stunning wings in the windows of the John Hancock Center and the famous Signature Room restaurant.

Are there Peregrines nesting around you? Contact your local museum or nature society or ornithological organization to find out how to work with them to preserve them. Perhaps you can designate a protected site for them, or if they are in a potentially dangerous area arrange to have them taken to a safer place.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

The Peregrine Falcon is a major predator of ra...

The Peregrine Falcon is a major predator of racing pigeons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

METRA Links to the West: Positives for the Economy

BUSINESS SIGNALS FOR A HEALTHY ECONOMY

METRA Expands the West Suburban Rail Links from Aurora

Jobs no doubt will come to the cities and towns and good people west of Chicago now that the nearly $2 million has been allocated for pre-engineering studies for expanding out of the present Aurora terminus of the BNSF commuter line into the cities of Montgomery and of Oswego, Illinois.

Imagine the boost to the local economy that will come just from having the engineers do the infrastructure studies and pre-engineering alone! Having seen Aurora I know too many a sight of shuttered stores, abandoned homes, dilapidated and vacant structures and lots, and streets void of life and people of morale. Certainly that fine city, called in history the City of Lights, will enjoy a share of the government funds.

Naturally those engineers will need food, clothing, lodging, and places to hold their meetings. They might need cameras, tripods, surveying gear, notebooks and writing instruments. And knowing the people of Aurora as I do, the visitors would be certain to receive the finest in hospitality and everything else from quality food to customer service.

Others await the arrival of those visitors. There are fine mechanics to service automobiles and provide cleaning, gas, and a welcome smile. And just in case – and surely there will be talk of them- safety procedures and precautions arise, there are also some of the finest firefighters in the world in Aurora, and a large station is located conveniently to the tracks.

Speaking of getting on track, here is my idea for a logo and slogan for the expanding rail system. This version presents a simple design of a gold oval, symbolic of a train or car beam, the letters AMO for the three cities which will link on the new line, a lightning or electric bolt for starting up and powering progress, and two lines symbolic of a track into the distance. The slogan is “Positive A-track-tion for Businesses”, and it seems the concept cannot get any easier than that. Of course customizing possibilities range as far as the business owner‘s imagination can go!

Think also of other visitors our area will soon attract. COming this spring will be dozens of delegates from NATO and the G-8 summits. The project might not be completed by the time they arrive, but it would be a great thing to give them a visit to the west of Chicago to see how progress is going?

After all, something should be positive about their visit, and seeing progress and revival and giving the people of those areas a chance to really shine for the world. I can see it now- the flowers in the fine parks in Aurora, Lombard, and surrounding areas will be in fantastic bloom, people will be out and about, and surely the shopkeepers would roll out the welcome mat for our distinguished visitors. Ah, wouldn’t it be lovely?

By the way, if any of you soon-to-be visiting surveyors, engineers, and government officials are reading this, take it from me and give these fine local businesses a try – for good, casual, hefty food, visit the Colonial Cafe or Pat’s Pub. Delicious!

Look for our small business link through YAHOO and our newsletter, TORQUE.

Divi Logan and EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2004 -2012.

NATO G8 Chicago: Welcome to the Delegates and Their Retinues

Chicago is Privileged to Welcome Delegates of the World and Their Retinues

It is an honor to welcome these fortunate people to our fair city; fortunate because they have the opportunity to come here. We citizens of Chicago are also beneficiaries of these meetings and can really show off.

We can turn this town… rather, the third largest city in America… upside down and shine every light on the truly world-class atmosphere offered. Forget the negative press going on, forget the security and police talk. Forget about “what could happen” or what you are “in fear” of. What good does that kind of chatter do? No good at all.

Instead, put all that clutter aside and turn out the Olympic-class party atmosphere . The old song lyric, “accentuate the positive” means the world here, literally. So much is available to show the plus side of this city that there is no need for any further discussion of that police-oriented detail.

The whole thing got off to a bad start by so much focus on “occupy”, on other summits and the events that happened due to other NATO and G-series meetings. It is awful to think that such things could happen in Chicago. But they do not have to happen here, and we can be sure that they do not.

We must do our best to abide by the law, and take the First Amendment seriously. Who is there to say that Chicago will become a violent place? That is like judging someone before you even see or meet them, just because such an event has happened elsewhere. Very unfair, very “government” of those who do so, and very unpleasant, at that.

Let us come together, not become divded by such silly things as race (well, ther is only one, the human race anyway, so banish the thought), color, where you live, what you do, or the way you dress. Come together and show the world what Chicago is about, what the UNITED States are about. So gather your resources, put on your best.

Clean your streets, prepare your shops and dress your windows. Put out that special merchandise on nicely dusted, level shelves with clean glass or metal sections. Clean your places as though you were going to be inspected by a team of fire inspectors or Marine Corps drill instructors. Train your staff to meet and greet a variety of worldly visitors who might very well take an interest in what you offer. Restaurants, prepare menus in languages, managers show your staff the basics of diplomacy, and officials bone up on your best behavior.

What better inspiration can you think of, also, to get our infrastructure in really good shape? After all, some of the most important and powerful people in the world will travel our roads, cross our bridges, take our trains and taxis and limousines and maybe even some bicycle tours as they enjoy the warm spring days. They will use our airports, take river tours, use our interstates and take rides on the dinner cruises on the lake. I would suggest that we in Illinois get our structures in shape quickly- wouldn’t want a 1,600 pound block of granite falling off a METRA track support or overpass support onto one of their cars, after all.

Talk about an international incident! I think it is high time we focused inwards so that in a few months we can welcome the world and be proud of what we do, have done and will do. Again, hearty welcome to your excellencies, and may you have a pleasant stay in our fair city.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2004 – 2012.

America First: Ask What is YOUR Constitution?

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage - Nashville, Tennessee
Image by StuSeeger via Flickr

What’s Your Calling? What’s Your Constitution? What is the story of our Constitution?

Chicago prepares to welcome thousands of delegates and their retinues for the NATO and G8 Summits this spring. What atmosphere will these world representatives be received in? Look for this and other relevant issues and commentary as the meetings approach.

Divi and EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2004 – 2012. Please e-mail the author at d308gtb289@aol.com for permission to use content. Courtesy counts as always. Thanks for your cooperation!