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.

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.

Chicago Neighborhoods: Constructive, Corrosive, Communicative?

I. INTRODUCTION

Election Day in Chicago, and the candidates are out there. What are some of the topics on which they speak and on which they attempt to cater to the voters? There are the usual issues of taxes, TIFF’s, having an elected school board, transportation, the roads and bridges, and business. There is another issue that crops up in their ads: the neighborhoods.

It seems that the word “diversity” is a new concept to people of modern America, but it was not news to me when growing up in Nashville. There was not even a need to mention the word, as some kind of cajoling to get me to think of others who were different, to think of others in terms of some kind of census related terminology, or to see others for what I could get out of them for statistics, tax dollars, business funding, etc.

II. NASHVILLE NO – BOUNDARIES

The area of town I grew up in was about as low – crime as a part of a major city can be. There was no need to even think of anything dangerous happening. Police patrols were regular and it was good to see them, but they were just doing their jobs, that I knew. I just watched and went on with activities. Everyone kept their homes maintained and their yards neat, their lawns mowed, their mailboxes painted, and their noise levels down. There were no shootings, none of the “if it bleeds it leads” junk on the news networks that plagues us these days, and no talk of drugs around the area that would cause us to be on the watch for dealers/ pushers, and certainly no mention of gangs such as make parts of Chicago notable in the national scene for violence.

Not at all; our part of town was quiet, comfortable, and about as “diverse” as can be. I went to school with children who, thank goodness, did not all look like me or speak as I did, or dress as I did. They were interesting and different and my classmates and my teachers, pure and simple. We were there to learn, to play together, to interact on projects and to come and to go every week. We had no need for uniforms; we were there to do what students do – no metal detectors or security guards or metal bars needed, thank you. They might have been around but I had no need to take such heavy notice of them. I felt safe and that is what mattered to me and my parents.

The same applied to the churches I attended: it was a church, and everyone was welcome. Everyone sang, participated in Sunday School, baptisms, christenings, parties, etc. We came and went, one and all worshippers of the same God. The message was the same and we understood it.

People were people in my eyes and for my folks, who worked around the doctors and nurses and staffs of at least three major local hospitals as their careers progressed. They saw every patient, everyone who needed help, no matter who they were. I was fortunate to interact with the brilliant people who were friends of my parents, who came to our home and to whose homes we went. Compared to how people think today, my folks were ahead of the time in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and thank goodness I was not subjected to the terrible talk of what separates whom from whom and what this means to “the government statisticians” and the Census Bureau.

I traveled after high school for international vacations and the world broadened. Because I had not been so mentally restricted early in life, I had an open mind to these exotic cultures and languages, foods and attire and jewelry and histories that greeted me like the pages of an open book coming to life. I was not worried about it at all, the influence of these diverse and amazing cultures on my mind and spirit. Gone were thoughts of being separated by some imaginary line that ended at a certain street or city limit or ethnic boundary. Travel and the benefits that came with doing that made my world a better place. It was grand – the world became my neighborhood

It was marvelous.

Then I moved to Chicago…

III. CHICAGO: SIDES, DISTRICTS, and… NEIGHBORHOODS

Those candidates we will consider in this election today have spoken to and berated each other on their work with and in and their experiences with and funding of Chicago neighborhoods. They talk about how safe or unsafe “their neighborhoods” are; they talk about the closings of schools, the disrepair of roads, the lack of or the concentration of development for residences and businesses. They talk about diversity… not about unity.

We need a mayor who will break down those barriers and remove the roadblocks to progress, a friendly and open –  minded mayor and the aldermen who will work with him. As Shakespeare might put it, we need someone who will “dispel these inconveniences”, which is part of a speech from the play Henry V, when, towards the end, King Henry and Princess Katharine are listening to the Duke of Burgundy speak on restoring peace.

Our mayoral candidates might have a lot of money and influence and power when the cameras are around for campaign photo opps, but they seem to forget something, that Chicago is and always has been a diverse city, and always will be.

From its inception to right now, Chicago is made up of people who interact every day with others who do not look or talk or speak as they do, people who need help and who give help and who are glad to help in their lines of work, every day. These are the retailers, the first responders, the doctors and nurses and administrators, the airport ticket agents, the airline crews, the television studio camera operators, the bus drivers, and the furniture salespeople.

Diversity is nothing new, and we just need to leave off this census -oriented thinking and make progress. Interaction is easier when we just simply treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Represent yourself as a person, a special human being, an American citizen, plain and simple; represent yourself as someone who is one of those people out there to help and to work with everyone. Close down the prejudices, and bless yourself with the qualities of peace.

We just need to do that.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

School and Students:: How to Be and Remain a Good Student

Are you a good student? Do you want to be a good or a better student? Here is an article about how to accomplish that goal… or some good pointers at least.

1. The Phrase “dress for success” Really Does Have Meaning… and here is how it does.

What influences the manner in which you dress, in which you get ready for each day in choosing what to wear? Naturally the seasons of the year have bearing on what you wear; if it is warm you might wear shorts, lighter -colored socks and pants, and light -material and lighter -colored shirts and blouses. If the conditions are cold, you go for thicker socks, heavier pants, and coats, mittens, and thick hats and earmuffs.

What else has to do with what you wear? One factor is what you have that is clean and pressed. If you need to do laundry then do it; if the codes of your school require that your clothes are properly pressed and your shoes polished then do that or have someone teach you how to iron and how to keep your shoes clean and neat. Clothing also must be appropriate for the situations you are going into. Many schools have dress codes and uniforms, and it is suggested that no fuss is made when you encounter those rules. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. If you are not sure of something, please ask a trusted teacher or other authority figure and listen to them carefully.

If your school does not have a dress code and what to wear is under your discretion, play it safe. If you put something on and you have ANY doubts at all about how you look in it or whether or not the clothes will cause trouble or attract undesirable attention or makes you look funny, then take it off and save it for the weekend or the beach or vacation. Refuse to follow trends if they do not make you feel comfortable; after all you are the one who for hours a day will wear that shirt, those pants or shorts, those shoes and socks and belts and jewels. Opt for simple clothes without a lot of graphics or loud colors that will definitely attract attention and distract you from your studies or will distract others from their studies.

Remember that there are other people around; the school is not just you alone.

2. Be Respectful and Punctual as Possible

Respect is not only a manner of behavior, it is essentially a duty of every citizen one towards the other. To “respect” simply means to look at again. You can certainly respect yourself in a healthy way and thus you are able to respect others as easily as you breathe and walk and eat. In any public setting, respect of others is just essential and vital to remember, simple as that. How do you respect others, or how can you learn the ways to do that?

One way is to wait your turn to speak, especially if those who are talking are older than you. It is just proper to respect your elders, including teachers, professors, and all school personnel, no matter what position they hold. They are your elders and experienced in what they do, and can provide you with direction and knowledge, so listen carefully to what they say.

Never shout down a hallway or on a street corner or in a quiet room or library or other places where people are reading and studying. Shouting and screaming in public is a vulgar habit and is not necessary. If you cannot reach someone right away, you can call them or text them or send electronic mail any time. If you contact someone electronically, remember to use the rules of proper electronic etiquette. There are plenty of resources that teach those habits.

Endeavor to be as on time as possible. Get up earlier for the bus if you have to, so you have time to dress, have breakfast and not rush through it, gather your supplies and head off to school. Do not keep the bus driver waiting, and do not keep the class waiting. Being on time is a life skill that you will always have and need to work on, no matter if you are going to school, going on a vacation, going out to dinner, or meeting someone. Punctuality is a good quality.

3. When You Have a Problem, Ask Questions.

Every once in a while we run into situations we do not understand, something about which we need clarification. At that point we need help… we need to ask questions. We need to gain understanding and problem solving.  This is where teachers and other trusted people enter the picture. These are folks who have the experience you need to get to the root of the problem and find out the answers. If there is a problem with the mathematics homework, ask your parents, or get onto a homework hotline, or ask your professor. Do not be afraid to ask for help; that is what these people are there to help with, solving problems. Be patient and learn the steps that will help in the future when you encounter other odd situations. Problem -solving is a life skill as well; you will need to learn to do this as you go through school, no matter what subjects you study. You will problem -solve in the workplace as well, so learn that skill and polish it every chance you have. Helping others to solve problems or get through concerns is a fine way to polish your own skills and such leadership is desirable. When you teach others you should get a good feeling and want to do more teaching.

4. Branch Out: Grow Out of Your Neighborhood and Into the Global Setting

Many people think that sticking to being in “the neighborhood” is a good thing. It is to a point, that point being that once you have seen everything, know everyone, know the habits and sights and sounds, you are probably ready to go to other places and see new things.

Branching out is a good thing and a vital element of growing up. Being social is just a part of what we do; it is why we are a “society”. You have to have the courage to say, “There are others out there who are different, and I want to get to know them. Sure others say to stick with people who look like me or talk like I do… but no one does that.”

Which is why you must take the lead and talk to others at your school. Is there someone who does not make friends easily? Talk with them. Is there someone who seems alone? Talk with them. Invite them to your lunch table or to sit outside on the school grounds and have a bag lunch out there and just talk about things. You will feel good, someone else will feel better, and both of you might become fast friends for life. Everyone is unique and individual and special, and because of that we must respect everyone.

You are the one who must take the first step away from the streets you find familiar, to reach towards that part of town you have not explored before but have heard about. Go there and look around, ask about what interests you and learn from the people in that area.

And when you have the chance, travel. When I had the chance for international travel I took the opportunity. Because I had the courage, the world was as an open book, but instead of looking at someone else’s photos, the pictures became living and colorful and alive and vibrant. In China there were people doing Tai Chi in the morning. In Japan there were people exercising and walking about and doing business. In Europe people went about their daily lives, playing and working and maintaining the home life. Some were there to take care of the tourists, and thanks to them my times in these areas was made pleasant and comfortable. Travel is essential in the growth process, even if it is just to another part of your city, and favorably if to another part of America and the world.

5. Growing Up, Have Fun!

No matter what you do, be your real self, learn what that means, and have fun exploring what that means. When you are sitting at the desk at home, burning the studying oil after dinner or late into the night to get that term paper ready, you are preparing for a lifetime of work and fun. You are the one who will grow out, make the changes, and learn to help others while helping yourself as well.

Enjoy your life!

Downtown Chicago

Photos taken with a Leica V -LUX -4 “bridge” style camera.

Communication is the Answer

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

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.

Ice Cream Parties and the ISAT: What is Our Education System Really Feeding the Kids?

NEWS STORY ON WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 PROMPTS THIS RESPONSE

After a week of hearing about the controversy surrounding the giving of the soon-to-be outdated ISAT, or Illinois Standard Achievement Test in this case (ISAT is an acronym for other tests and names- see Resources list at the end of this article), I am inspired to write this article.

First of all, according to parents and teachers this test is going to be done away with and so is obsolete. It is also wasteful, taking up classroom instructional time, and not to mention the amount of testing material which would be needed. Standardized testing has long been under fire for being discriminatory, wasteful, outdated and just a way to categorize and organize by a mere set of numbers (test scores).

What else are these statistics used for but to find a way into the clutches of the Census Bureau in some way or other regarding education funding, gerrymandering, and goodness knows what other unhealthy ways the government has found to divide and sort us out and bring on inferiority or superiority complexes.

And now what is evidence of this? Well, on the news report to night came word that some kids who took the test (or “opted in”) were treated to an ice cream party in their classroom while the students who “opted out” were made to sit and do work while the others enjoyed the party.

Well I would say to that, “How crass and materialistic can they get?” What message is that sending the students? I can think of a few, one being that “if you don’t do what the authority figures want to force you to do, you won’t get in on the sweets and the party. You have to sit aside and watch the others have fun!”

Well, so be it, take your lousy and rotten party. I’d rather sit far away from you as possible and do something productive that will further my education, away from the useless test and the ones who want the attention and the sweets. Let them have them. “Let them eat cake!”

Another message the students might get: “Food and attention mean more than getting a good education.” If I just give in and do what they want I can get a free meal or dig in to the ice cream and cake and oh… it must be good for me to have because that’s what the reward is!”

It’s not good for you, my young friend. It is sugar, sweet, playing for your attention. It will give you a sugar whiz and bang so tall you’ll climb the walls filled with excess energy and inattention. That sugar jump will quickly disappear and then you will feel tired and worn out and jittery. So your little friends who eat the huge amounts of ice cream and cake and maybe a few cups of those artificially sweetened fruit cocktail drinks with which the grocery stores are loaded, and which contain only about five or ten percent real juice, will soon get a big let down.

Meanwhile you who were made to do the quiet work, eating probably a healthier selection of a sandwich, vegetable sticks, milk, an apple, some nuts if you can safely have them for the energy they provide, peanut butter maybe, some fiber bars or other selection of fiber and vitamins, sitting there silently doing your reading, writing an essay, or practicing your mathematics or spelling, will have an overall better day. You have the productive use of time, the better and more balanced diet, the quiet time that is necessary for study and concentration, and no pressure about looking for some silly test score.

I side with the teachers who boycotted giving the test or having any part of it. They know that the best use of classroom time is truly more than some set of standardized test scores. Teaching to the test is not a true measure of academic achievement, so the entire testing system needs to be questioned and reformed. These tests are indeed tied to school funding- so where your tax dollars go and how important your neighborhood is to some ivory -tower government official who has no idea about your school or the students and is too far removed in the halls of Washington to give a flip about what your opinion is about some state -mandated test procedure.

Boycott all these tests, brave teachers and parents and students! Opt out of the stupidity and the uselessness and the waste of money and time and other resources that the government pushes in your face and braces with intimidation!

Intimidation? That’s grounds enough for a strike if ever one came up! Stop the importance of the tests until the system is completely burned away and reformed. The test serves no purpose, does not affect anything but census gibberish and school funding and is not relevant to the reception of a good education.

But as you will see by reading the article and the commentary so far given at the end of the news article in the resource list at the end of this article, the issue is up and down, with every side and every kind of person chiming in on the issue. What a situation…

Our students are treated as pawns in the hands of those who want them to turn to this or that side… what do they want then but to believe that these young citizens can be taken in by the appearance of the passing ice cream and cake? There will be time enough for parties and leisure, young learners, when you have earned the enjoyment. Now the time to take the leisure will not come by shirking your job or just “getting by” with your lessons and by breaking the rules that are there for your safety and health.

You must make the effort, take the time, be patient in your enjoyment of learning, gain wisdom and observe and most importantly listen.

In the meanwhile, good bye and good riddance, ISAT!

RESOURCES

1. ISAT Acronyms. http://www.acronymattic.com/ISAT.html. 4 March 2014

2. On the ISAT Controversy. http://www.suntimes.com/news/25979696-418/teachers-who-boycotted-isat-allowed-to-remain-in-classrooms.html. 4 March 2014

A Conversation Leads to Deep Thought… But Will it Lead to Action?

LET THE CHILDREN COME HOME: A POEM

O let us weep and let us mourn
For the student killed for his cell phone;
O pity the youth who cannot step
Onto their home porch for a breath of air.

Let us cry for the kids who play
In plain sight of pimps and gang-bangers
Who want that “turf” for their own selfish ends
Who care not for the kids that just want to play?

Then let us rise against these demons
Who terrorize, yes terrorize, our communities
And break those “ties” in communities that want no part of those foolish ones…
So that they feel no warm welcome.

Strike against the trouble, be not afraid!
These are cowards and they have no sway
Over you or anyone else who pays their fair share and way
So that the kids can come out… and play.

Original poem by Divi Logan, author and writer, TEXTTiles Business Web, Chicago, 2014.

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SOCIAL MEDIA: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL?

When people are robbed and killed and lose their lives over some lousy little replaceable thing such as a cell phone, we know we are in very deep and heavy trouble as a society, as a nation.

When do the “social media” become very unsociable? Just ask the families of anyone killed for a cell phone or other portable electronic device. They will tell you that they are devastated that someone would shoot their loved one for that little inanimate object. And worse, in recent incidents in Illinois, despite that the victim gives up the item the assailants still shoot them. And the young men and women die… for that little thing they held onto like it was the end of the world, like they could not live without it, as though they were glued to it and could not be away from it even for one second. And someone is mean-spirited enough to injure them even though they hand over the device. What a pity.

The cell phone is meant to be a means of convenient communication for people in a world environment that has become full of static, too busy and way too cluttered. We would think that having information stored in these little devices keeps things neat and reduces clutter and paper, but in the sense of this article, “clutter” means that which we store in our brains or minds, the excess information we think we need to have upstairs, where things are, what files they are in, why we need to “stay on top” of issues and situations every second… mental schmutz. Phones are only means of communication and storage of information and nothing else. And companies now aware of the potency of the cell phone as attracting the wrong kind of attention, people being killed or robbed for them, can now shut down the device and render it useless so that the assailants cannot use the information on the phone. So what’s the use of robbing someone over some lousy phone?

This, like many crimes of opportunity, are done by people who are really nothing but armed and vulnerable cowards- it is that they are bitter towards society, bitter towards those who have what they want, eager to cause harm or get revenge for “something” that is eating them. They are armed which is another problem, they are angry, they might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and as such are very dangerous to be around. They could be participating in gang initiations, in which case all of the above might be involved (drugs, guns, alcohol, anger, bitterness, the need to belong, the notion of the secret society, bitterness, isolation). Crime is a huge problem, but it happens in so many ways. That we do things to others is bad enough… but when a “crime” is done against our own self, that is worse.

CRIMES AGAINST SELF

Crimes against the self mean going against that which we truly believe and want to do. When we know our essence, the “real self” people say we should be, and we do not help it or practice it or expound its principles, that is when we are not true to ourselves. It is then that we go outside of our self, turning to others in the way that people insecure and uncertain turn to certain organizations for answers (churches, school groups, clubs, gangs). The suffering self feels a need to belong outside of self since they cannot seem to glean the meaning of what their essence is saying or what to work with. They deem their true self “too deep” to understand and so seek escape into a world that will only give compromise and not genuine, sincere answers to working with the true self. The sufferer often turns to escaping into food, drugs, alcohol, abuse of others, and get into real trouble. Then the crimes against self become hazardous to health- there can be obesity, abuse of drugs or of people, alcoholism, entry into occult and initiative societies, psychiatric difficulties. Then the sufferer can get into any number of bad habits or perform any number of terrible actions, ranging from road rage to murder, from terrorism to suicide. That they are being so mean to themselves is one thing; when they turn against others or harm life is when the criminal mind and intent becomes criminal action worthy of intervention by law enforcement, detoxing programs, the corrections system, first responders and people who will then have charge of making decisions for that person who has seen fit to take their misunderstandings out on society.

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE SELF? WHAT DO YOU WITH IT?

If you are as I am, your true self is of a person of peace, joy, contentment, happiness, humility, and active goodwill. You have aspects of what in the facets of the chakras are known as elements of the Crown Chakra, the highest level of human energy and where the best instincts find their most perfect bloom and frequency and practice. You are learning to work with others in the light of those elements, as essential to life as breathing and the heartbeat. You might see yourself as an individual nation-state or galaxy interacting with other nation-states or galaxies out there, tens of thousands of them in the form of human beings. Each of these people is a being unique, special, wonderful and marvelously made, with potential, chances, opportunities, gifts, talents, and a personality unlike any other. Just as nations are different, and galaxies are different- and there are millions of the latter- we are different but we do not have to let those differences get in the way.

We let the differences get in the way when we go in for that “diversity” talk the government spits out so that someone can get a fast buck and get some kind of recognition they think they deserve or can demand over the rights or privileges of others. We let diversity get in the way of unity, and that is not a good thing. We are blocked from seeing others as they are, human beings that deserve respect and that’s the right of it. Because we hear this junk about “diversity” and “people of this or that” persuasion, we are brought under the idea of pre-judging others (prejudice) and profiling others, and that puts a wedge between us and the other person. Communication is not pure and true at that point- it is clouded, it is corrupted because we decided to listen to what some arrogant, foolish, sick person who deems themselves an expert in behavior or in some social group and go with what they said because “it sounded good and it was on TV or it was on some social media site”.  That is what people who are in positions of power and influence want the vulnerable and the young to believe because they have the money and resources to put their ideas and views on the mass media. Those that are young and vulnerable and looking for an “out” or an escape from understanding their real self turn to these other people for answers… and then it is back to what was talked of above: the means of escape can turn into real trouble for the person running away from their true self.

What are you- peaceful with your real self… trying to escape the true self… afraid to understand the true self…

Seek, listen, go deep, get out of the old social rut and rat race of the modern mind. What will you (no, not the westernized, drill and forced, taught and punished and conditioned and abused self) find? What will YOU find?

Divi Logan for TEXTTiles, Chicago, 2014.

UNO Group to Receive State Funding AGAIN?:: NO WAY!

UNO CHARTER SCHOOL ORGANIZATION TO RECEIVE FUNDING FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS????????????????????????????

Now, talk about corruption, but…. WHOSE HAND IS FEEDING THE PEOPLE IN SPRINGFIELD, FROM THE UNO CHARTER SCHOOL COALITION?

Funding was cut off from UNO, being an Hispanic – sounding -based acronym for United Neighborhood Organization, because of shady dealings and pouring out lots of money for the building of charter schools at a time when the hot issues in Cook County and Chicago are about school closings in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. People are suspicious because they hear about the closing of the public schools and the building of these so -called “charter” schools.

It does not matter what the school is called; if the quality of the education and the teachers and the overall appearance and atmosphere of the school is not up to the highest standards, then what is the point? What is the need of all the specialization and the bickering and the nepotism and the diversity/ethnicity angles?

Family ties strike again in the Chicago area as millions of dollars are wasted and spent lavishly and crookedly to boost just this one section of our population!

This new funding push of $100 million could have been used to keep some of the public schools open or boost the material resources available to more students in the CPS system than in just this one part of the city for the UNO group.

I don’t blame parents in the CPS system for wondering now what is happening with this early enrollment deal, with people going ahead and putting on a school’s roll students whose parents have not given permission for that to happen. Perhaps these parents wised up and sent their children elsewhere, to better schools in other parts of the city, away from the stigma of going to schools in the south and west of the city.

They can talk all they want regarding the closing of some and the opening of other schools, but if these areas are still plagued by gangs, drugs, cartels like Sinaloa, turf wars, unsafe roads and the like, then who cares what the schools are like. The improvements need to happen on the community level, the proverbial “grass roots” level we hear of when issues become so complicated that we must return to the basics in order to understand what happened, what is going on, how to solve the problems, and how to ensure that, hopefully, the problems will not happen any more.

Here is a quote from the following resource that sheds light on the UNO situation:

UNO CEO Juan Rangel, a key supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the funding suspension could affect completion of the UNO Soccer Academy High School, but he hoped the issues would be resolved in time to open the school as planned in the fall.

“We are working collaboratively with the state of Illinois to address the concerns they have, and we’re hopeful we will get past that shortly,” Rangel said. “We can do a better job. Part of that requires that we make structural changes within the organization.”

Those changes will include new procedures “to ensure that we are doing things with complete transparency” and an expanded UNO board of directors that will take a more active role in running the organization, Rangel said.

A source inside the organization said the board is being reconstituted because some believe Rangel had gained too much control over the current board, which is when the problems started to flourish. A new board, which will be announced early next week and includes members not affiliated with UNO, would diminish Rangel’s influence over contract decisions, the source said.

Group co-founder Ald. Daniel Solis also indicated that changes are coming but declined to criticize Rangel, who has become the organization’s public face. “I personally believe Juan still has a role to play within UNO, and I think the board will recognize that,” said Solis, 25th.

RESOURCES

1. http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/20027789-452/where-uno-charter-schools-money-comes-from.html

2. http://www.unocharterschools.org/

3. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/19711841-418/state-cuts-off-money-to-embattled-uno-charter-schools-over-insider-deals.html

Divi Logan, Chicago, ©2013

North and South: Does the Civil War (!) Exist in Chicago-area Education System?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

PARENTS WHOSE KIDS ARE SLATED TO GO TO OTHER SCHOOLS GO TO THE “NORTH SIDE” TO MAKE A POINT. WHAT HAPPENED?

This morning on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came the story of parents from the “south side” Englewood neighborhood and the Kenwood School, one of the schools on the chopping block for closing in the coming academic year, who united to board a bus and travel to a “north side” school, Pritzker, to make a point about enrollment and the disparity between schools in the city of Chicago and the CPS system.

The Pritzker school in question is located at 2009 W. Schiller St in ZIP code 60622. According to the overview of school page (see resources link at the end of this article), the school is known as a “regional gifted center” and serves grades K to 8.

Answer the question of qualification: Are your children qualified to be in a certain type of school? Well if it is in the CPS system, any student who has gone through the basics of the enrollment process should be qualified to enter any school they wish to enter.

Actually I side with the parents in going against putting their kids in one of the new “welcoming” schools and going to the north side school to make a point and get their kids in the place they believe will provide the quality education they desire for their child. With the corruption going on in the CPS system, the hot issues and topics and concerns behind the school closings and the talk of the “charter” schools and the funding going for UNO and the chitter chatter about “neighborhoods” and the negatives around that kind of talk, those parents had the right to go see another school and see about enrollment.

So is there a waiting list at Pritzker or is that a demographics -related ploy to drive the Englewood parents away and keep those children out of the Pritzker school?

Why all schools in Chicago are not equally provided for is anyone’s guess but surely racism and where the schools are located play a major role. But getting a quality, good education is the right of EVERY CITIZEN of this nation. No matter where the school is, no matter the demographics of your family or community, you have the right to enter your child wherever you please. There should be no boundaries for where a child should be able to go to school, and I think that any school that “bounds out” kids from other areas is not playing a straight game or throwing a fair ball. If you can get your child to the school where you want them enrolled, the school should accept the child, qualifications being met and any needed tests being passed and all judged and recorded fairly and properly and in due course.

Are gangs and the drug cartels your problem? Citizens, parents, elders, families, take your streets back now! TAKE YOUR STREETS BACK! Fight for what is yours, for what you work hard to keep clean and safe and free from harm and good for your kids! Fight back against the pimps, the pushers, the Sinaloa cartel, the addicts, the gang -bangers, the troublemakers who do not an honest day’s work but instead are around to make trouble, to cause harm, to be homegrown terrorists and engage in terrorism, to ruin your community and to make you afraid (or think they are making you scared). But YOU ARE NOT MADE AFRAID save by the reasoning of wanting to keep your kids in your own area and not wanting to branch out and grow. That is what the gangs want, for you to be scared, to cower and to hide and to not grow and prosper and be happy and content.

DO NOT GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION! Tell them right up front, you won’t get any satisfaction here! Use clubs, broomsticks, mace, bricks and stones, whatever you have to, and drive those people away from your children, your homes, your streets, your schools and workplaces, your transit lines and your parks! DRIVE THEM OUT, hit and hurt them, do not give in and do not give up. If the politicians and the police cannot do it, YOU CAN! YOU ARE GOVERNMENT and YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK! Then send Washington and Chicago City Hall the bill for your “community cleanup” efforts.

Send them the bill for the yardwork you do, send them the bill for park maintenance you do with your own rakes, shovels, gloves, bags, trash cans, bleach or other cleaning supplies you gather in to clear your areas of graffiti, of any signs of gangs or drugs or prostitution. Send them the bill for the work you do on your houses and your streets.

PERSEVERE, parents and teachers! Your families, your children, your schools and communities, your future… our nation’s future.

RESOURCES

1. http://cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610229

2. http://www.pritzkerschool.org/

DEA:: Get Rid of Sinaloa Once and For All!

OK, CHICAGO! OK, USA! HAD ENOUGH OF DRUGS AND GANGS AND SMUGGLING AND DRUG LORDS? Had enough of their presence on your streets and in your news every single doggone day?

Drug Enforcement Administration special agents

Drug Enforcement Administration special agents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AMERICA! AND DO IT NOW!

Repeat after this phrase, repeat it long and hard and loud: I DO NOT NEED DRUGS! YOU DO NOT NEED DRUGS! AMERICA DOES NOT NEED DRUGS!

So the DEA knows about the Sinaloa cartel and the people involved and what they are doing in cities such as Chicago, eh? They KNOW about it, they have counted or estimated the number of gangs and members and rival gangs involved in the heroin and other substances smuggling and running rings! WELL GO AFTER THEM FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! YOU KNOW, WELL TAKE THEM OUT!

What is the delay that you cannot go in and flush them with all the resources we have at hand, SWAT, the National Guard, the Army, the Marines, everybody! Go in there with the drones and bomb robots and dogs! Harass and worry and torture and flush these criminals and no -goods STRAIGHT AWAY! No more kid gloves here, folks. Now is not the time for being gentle. These people are up to no good and care only about themselves.

The gang members do nothing but hurt and harass and terrorize everyone they are around. They are about as uncaring and crude and rude and inhuman as anyone can get. They will shoot to kill and will shoot anywhere and everywhere if they sense trouble on their turf.

THEIR TURF? Whose city is this anyway? It is not theirs if that is what they are using it for.

Just in this past few hours, in less than ONE DAY, there are three dead and nearly a dozen wounded in “weekend gun violence” in Chicago area. Chicago is making national news headlines because of the gangs, drugs, and the killing of innocent people. We are talking BABIES here, folks; we are talking KIDS, folks, we are talking about OUR FUTURE!

Is that what you want to wake up and hear and see every morning, gunshots and shells and police presence in your community, the presence and evidence of drugs and pushers and users and gangs smuggling that crap, that trash, that deadly demonic junk into your streets every day? Is that what you want, the possibility that your child, your parents, your elderly neighbor, your dog, your relatives and schoolmates, could be gunned down just because they happen to be in the wrong place when some gang nut decides to open fire on someone they think is a rival?

IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? Ask the question, ask it loud and long and hard! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? IS THAT WHAT WE WANT? Get your family together and proclaim it loud and long and strong! WE DO NOT WANT THAT!

Say it in church- NO MORE SINALOA! GANGS GO AWAY! WE DO NOT WANT YOU and WE WILL BE RID OF YOU! Say it in the synagogues, say it in the mosques, say it in the towers and turrets and proclaim it from the rooftops. Say it on campus, say it in the car, call the radio stations and speak it loud and hard! NO GANGS, NO DRUGS, NO GUNS HERE!

Take back your streets and your communities! Tell Sinaloa they are not welcome, and run the gangs out of the area for good.

If this is what we get from Mexico then I want nothing to do with that nation until this problem is solved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinaloa_Cartel

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Logo of the DEA Aviation Division / Office of ...

Logo of the DEA Aviation Division / Office of Aviation Operations (Drug Enforcement Administration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)