Rahm Lights Up Chicago? Be Sure to Clean Up Thoroughly First!

Inspired by a news story heard this morning on Chicago’s CBS affiliate radio station, News Radio 780 WBBM, I present:

CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!

1. To Beautify a Space, First Make a Plan

When someone designs anything –  a garden, a car, a cityscape, a grand hotel or an office building or a home, the process begins with a plan. People sit down and draw a plan that goes from the mind, the workings of the brain, onto paper and also on a computer. A lot goes into making progress: the way the group works together, weather, availability of funds and of the location suited to the project… so many variables.

The important factor is that the planners work together in a civilized atmosphere with all that is needed to make the plan come to life. Whatever is needed: coffee, tea, a new office, travel to other destinations, booking a hotel or a limo to get to where the plans will take shape, a quiet place to sit and draw it up… everyone must agree to what will make the plan a success.

2. To Beautify a City, Talk to Everyone Who Has a Say in How it will Look (or should look)

** And that means EVERYONE, EVERYBODY who is a member of that city and community! **

Start by doing at the very least what will make communities better: THINK UNITY! One reason we are so fragmented is that we are thinking along demographic lines, not person to person and civil lines. We are thinking in ways that box us in (race, income, ethnicity, religious creed) instead of thinking on common ground and thinking towards what will make progress. We will make progress only when we clean up ourselves in all those ways that make humans special: in mental, spiritual, and physical ways.

We need to clean up areas of gang violence. Why, even the very idea, the term “gang violence” is ridiculous. The gangs were not here first and people are sick and tired of hearing about them on the news every day. The more the press gives attention to the gangs and those actions related to them, the more they will do those things that get them press time and air time and talk in the reports. NO MORE GANGS! Folks, get brave and get those gangs out of the area, right now. Stop your need for drugs and guns; YOU DON’T NEED THAT STUFF and you don’t need anyone to help you solve problems, at least not that way.

You can solve your own problems without drugs, illegal guns, and membership of and the presence of gangs. How stupid can we get, tolerating gangs. REALLY. Gangs are nothing and nobodies and mean nothing to us except for the trouble they cause. Well, run those punks off your street corners, clean them out of your area and get involved.

When we get our streets and land cleaned up, we can turn to beautification.

But we must make sure the gangs are out of the picture, the abandoned buildings are either renovated or torn down, the lots are cleaned and free of pests, trash, rats, squatters, etc., and the streets are safe for people to work on, play on, and go to school and work on.

The job does not do itself; we have to use elbow grease, folks. We have to run the gangs out with shouts, voices, prayers, music so loud they can’t transact and will leave the area, stones if necessary, sticks and pelting those punks with bottles and rotten tomatoes until they get the message. GO AWAY AND DON’T COME BACK. These are OUR streets, understand!?

Assess, once the area is safe, what your area looks like. What are the main problems and who will help you solve them? Who will help you break through the red tape and get the funds and the materials necessary to get the community looking better? Are the problems viaducts that flood, then sit on the departments of water and streets and sanitation until they get off their behinds and act to solve the problems.

Is the problem a lot full of trash and debris? Well then, get in there with a group and clean it up. Get the tools of the cleanup trade: tarps, rakes, shovels, sturdy gauntlet gloves, bug spray, insect repellent, trash bags, trash cans, dumpsters to haul the stuff away, and people who will be available to have food and drink ready to serve to volunteers who, literally, work for food in such cases.

3. Beautification Begins With a Thorough Cleanup Campaign

* For a city Chicago’s size, is a month enough? *

For the mayor’s plan to work, Chicago needs a thorough cleanup. There is enough bird poop in the Loop to build a wall, so no matter what we feel towards wildlife, the pigeons must go. After all, pigeons are introduced pests from Europe. The proper name for these birds is the European Rock Dove. They were brought to America and have prospered due to a lack of natural enemies, so they must go. Accumulated droppings can lead to disease, and it looks really gross and smells even worse (like waste will do after a while), and animal waste attracts some of the worst pests of all, the disease -bearing rats we are trying to rid out of our city.

The L stations, the entire L structure, and buildings along that area of the Loop must be power -washed and cleaned down, right to the sidewalks, and then anti -pest programs must be instituted. Putting up anything that will get rid of the pigeons is necessary… either that or bring in a natural solution, the amazing Peregrine Falcon and the super Cooper’s Hawk.

These birds are bird -eaters, and will go after anything when they are hungry, and there is a plentiful supply of pigeons. We could then return these birds to a natural setting or watch them breed and enjoy the balance they will bring to controlling the pest population.

We must also assess the pollution in our city in order to find the right ways to clean up such problems as petroleum coke, or petcoke, which is documented as causing caustic pollution to an area of Chicago near a plant that harbors piles of this black sooty stuff that gets on people’s homes and into their yards and into their lungs. Chemicals pollute our water, trash litters our beaches and litter clogs our streets and alleys. Corporations need to be held seriously accountable for their practices, for no matter whether they say that their studies show they are acting within the law, doing so does not mean that what they produce and how they manufacture is good or right or best or decent. Those who produce and harbor the petcoke say they are acting within the law and are doing nothing wrong, but in using such language they are completely ignoring the residents of that area who suffer from the black dust that floats into their neighborhood.

Also, excess light is a form of pollution. It is now shown that light pollution harms the circadian rhythm and causes stress to the human body and mind. We need our dark spaces and our real night spaces so we can rest, have quiet and transition from work to rest. In those areas where the mayor wants these light displays, people do live, and the mayor wants to attract more tourists to those areas. People need their space… residents need their space away from tourists’ eyes, and people do live downtown.

Do you wonder why our city has that odd dirty -bronze rusty -golden color at night? Light pollution, plain and simple. We are thrown into thinking we have to act and work all day and all year no matter what, because of this overblown presence of artificial light. We need to turn it off, not turn it on, and we need more efficient lighting, using mirrors, reflectors, solar power, whatever it takes to conserve energy and make our use of it more efficient. Besides, as the news story related, Paris, the famous “City of Lights” is trying to cut down on its golden reputation and reduce use of light. This is more energy efficient. Why Chicago wants to use excess light, even more light on buildings and bridges and historic structures, is not logical. We need less light , not more light.

There are times and places for tourists and times and places for residents. Residents’ needs and wishes come first, plain and simple.

Trash along a Chicago street.

So, Your Honor, before you get some high-minded plan to light up the city, be sure that what you want to highlight is what you want the world to see. Be absolutely sure that you want the world to see trash on the riverfront, homeless veterans roaming the lakefront and the riverfront and the Loop digging in trash cans and sleeping on corners. Be sure you want the world to see places where gangs shoot up innocent people and teenagers roam in flash mobs terrorizing law -abiding tourists and citizens shopping and dining along Michigan Avenue and towards the Loop. Be completely sure you want the world to see the petcoke, the trash on the bridges, the dirty buildings, the oil on the lake, the glass fragments and other debris on the beaches, the bird poop in the Loop and the trash along the highways. Do you want the world to see and hear about the gangs, the drugs, the labor disputes and the airport noise?

We could spend months getting the trash picked up from the roadsides and still only begin to make a dent in the pollution that plagues Chicago.

Let’s get up and get to it, folks. The roads and bridges are not going to clean up on their own.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikimedia Commons, searched through GOOGLE images.

2. http://waronfilth.com/tag/broken-glass.

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Chicago Citizens and Concerned Citizens of the USA: Take on the Petcoke People!

PETCOKE POISONS POLLUTE PRECIOUS POPULATIONS and POTENTIAL RESOURCES

What is the term surfacing in the local news this week? What is this word blending in with other stories about hazardous chemicals and materials polluting our nation’s air and water, and why is this going on? It is petcoke. PETCOKE… PET COKE. We aren’t talking a dog trying to take a sip out of your glass of carbonated cola here. We are talking a hazard to the environment and the people of Chicago.

So, folks, in this corner, weighing in with 4-methylcyclohexene, with bisphenol -A, with the chemical Subway uses in their bread, called Azodiacarbonamide, and with the wonderful world of the PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – see definition below) we have a five-story pile of petcoke!

PAH’s are: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also known as poly -aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents.[1] Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass).

The old road – you can see it. PROFIT for the CORPORATIONS, plain and simple, with no regard for the rest of the people of the areas where the industries are placed.

Chicago now has to take on the pet -coke industry. Now, what is “petcoke”? Well now, we can get this part of the story from one of the industry websites, one of the companies involved in what is happening in Chicago. According to Koch KCBX Terminals Company, petcoke is:

“Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is one of many valuable products made during the oil refining process. Similar in appearance to coal, petcoke is used to generate electricity and has a wide range of other industrial applications. Petcoke is used all over the world.” Other information about petcoke can be found by clicking other sections of the website. (See Resources at the end of this article.)

Now do you want this stuff in YOUR back yard? What part of Chicago is this in? It’s DUST, people! It’s black DUST, folks! This stuff is carbon and sulfur. What does such stuff do to areas such as the Calumet River?

Read about the origins of the name and the importance of the Calumet River. The article in Wikipedia opened my eyes! Here is an excerpt from the article, regarding pollutants found around the Calumet waterway system:

Nonpoint sources

  • “Contaminated sediment: The Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor and Canal contain 5 to 10 million cubic yards (3.9 to 7.7 million m³) of contaminated sediment up to 20 feet (6 m) deep. Contaminants include toxic compounds (e.g., PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals) and conventional pollutants (e.g., phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, magnesium, volatile solids, oil and grease).
  • Industrial waste site runoff: Stormwater runoff and leachate from 11 of 38 waste disposal and storage sites in the AoC, located within 0.2 miles (300 m) of the river, are degrading the water quality. Contaminants include oil, heavy metals, arsenic, PCBs, PAHs and lead.
  • Superfund sites: There are 52 sites in the AoC listed in the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) System, more commonly known as Superfund. Five of these sites are on the National Priorities List.
  • Hazardous waste sites under RCRA: There are 423 hazardous waste sites in the AoC regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), such as landfills or surface impoundment, where hazardous waste is disposed. Twenty-two of these sites are treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
  • Underground storage tanks (USTs): There are more than 460 underground storage tanks in the AoC. More than 150 leaking tank reports have been filed for the Lake County section of the AoC since mid-1987.
  • Atmospheric deposition: Atmospheric deposition of toxic substances from fossil fuel burning, waste incineration and evaporation enter the AoC through direct contact with water, surface water runoff and leaching of accumulated materials deposited on land. Toxins from this source include dioxins, PCBs, insecticides and heavy metals.
  • Urban runoff: Rain water passing over paved urban areas washes grease, oil and toxic organics such as PCBs and PAHs into the surface waters.
  • Contaminated groundwater: Groundwater contaminated with organic compounds, heavy metals and petroleum products contaminates surface waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 16.8 million US gallons (64,000 m³) of oil float on top of groundwater beneath the AoC.

Point sources of contaminants

  • Industrial and Municipal Wastewater Discharges: Three steel manufacturers contribute 90 percent of industrial point source discharges to river. One chemical manufacturer also discharges into the river. Permitted discharges include arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, copper, chromium, lead and mercury. Three municipal treatment works (Gary, Hammond and East Chicago Sanitary Districts) discharge treated domestic and industrial wastewater.
  • Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs): Fifteen CSOs contribute untreated municipal waste, including conventional and toxic pollutants, to the river. Annually, CSO outfalls discharge an estimated 11 billion US gallons (42,000,000 m³) of raw wastewater into the harbor and river. Approximately 57% of the annual CSO volume is discharged within eight miles (13 km) of Lake Michigan, resulting in nearshore fecal coliform contamination.”

Think this is why the issue is being stuffed by the companies while the Mayor is trying to help out the people? What is the real business here? Monkey business. Three powerful people in Chicago Government – Alderman Ed Burke, Alderman John Pope, and Mayor Emanuel want to ban the storage of petcoke and expansion of this industry in Chicago, and the people are plainly against the poisons of petcoke further inundating their air and water.

What are the demographics of the area? According to a community post, the area is: Looking just at Southeast Chicago, roughly bounded by 67th Street on the north, Western Avenue on the northwest, the City of Chicago boundary on the south and southeast, and Lake Michigan/State Line on the east, the proportions are quite different, 14% White, 80% Black, and 6% Hispanic. Seems to me that the big business folks are doing the same thing to this community that the Catholic Church did to the area of Chicago’s south side known as Bronzeville, when they blatantly went ahead with demolishing the historic structure of St. James’ Cathedral. Despite offers from people to contribute funds, there is no doubt that the area being predominantly “black” was the real reason the church was not saved. The corporations are showing no regard for the people of the Calumet River and southeast side area of Chicago, none at all.

And the problem is not just in Chicago… it is in many areas of the Midwest. Citizens of Detroit are not very happy right now.

But do the chemical corporations that have been plaguing us with their roundabout regulations and big talk of how “safe” their products are, against which Rachel Carson and others like her wrote in an effort to awaken them to the dangers of what those products are doing to the environment, give a care about the people they hurt or sicken?

Not the time to say, “Have a Koch and a smile.” Rather I would suspect the people of the southeast side will smile once Koch and all signs of petcoke are forever removed from polluting their views and the water of the Calumet River.

RESOURCES

1. http://aboutpetcoke.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=whatis&gclid=CNb-_fvoybwCFYpaMgoduUYAFA

2. http://aboutpetcoke.com/what-is-petcoke/

3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/12/chicago-petcoke-crackdown_n_4775693.html

4. http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/01/14/in-chicago-neighbors-say-petcoke-rules-full-of-loopholes/

5. http://www.lincolnnet.net/reports/calumet/community.html

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycyclic_aromatic_hydrocarbon. Wikipedia contributors. “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calumet_River  Wikipedia contributors. “Calumet River.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

8. http://metrotimes.com/news/news-hits/taking-a-stand-1.1510951

9. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/company-appeals-pet-coke-storage-ban-on-detroit-river-1.2521340