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.

Wabash Renewal Project? Clean Up Your Spaces First!

It seems that the more we hear about tax increases and paying for the management errors that have resulted in our pension crisis (or is it pension emergency?) here in Illinois, the less enthusiastic we become, the more we tune out any more talk of taxes and politics, and the less happy we become with our officials, from the mayor to the city council to everyone above and below and in between.

Now we have word of this special district around State Street, and the talk of raising taxes and of funding to work on Wabash Avenue and the areas between State Street and Michigan Avenue. Now hold on a moment, folks! Before you waste even one more minute talking about it or one more cent “working on” a plan or “looking into it” or “investigating it”, there are certainly aspects of that area we affectionately call “the Loop” that we can take care of right now.

As my late grandmother would tell you nonsense talkers and big talkers, “DO SOMETHING!” She was not one to take the nonsense stuff politicians and planners throw out these days to woo the taxpayers and to lull the citizens into doing what they want. No way. She would have tackled what can be easily done at the moment the need is seen to take care of a very important facet of revitalizing any area or doing any kind of project of that nature.

Clean up the area first. That’s right, use elbow grease and planning and gather the resources and CLEAN UP THE SPACE FIRST.

Think of a true class act – think Palmer House Hotel. This is a beautiful, classic building inside and out, with a sense of welcome and of luxury and of grace that I think epitomizes what Wabash Avenue should be. Sturdy elegance and gracious service are what make businesses of any kind special and inviting. A bland interior need not be what is all that the business shows, as is seen by the interior of the Palmer House. A plain brick and glass and neutral stone face might conceal a richness of color and pattern and creativity in artwork and displays prepared to welcome customers and visitors, families and colleagues.

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel - Chicago, IL - Mezzanine The Palmer House Hotel

So here is what is needed: Get the pigeons away from the buildings and the “L”, get the trash off the streets, the trash cans cleaned and sanitized, and the sidewalks power blasted. Get the windows washed, the alleys washed, the buildings washed and given a good dusting inside and out. Break out the shovels, the rakes, the bags, and tackle the parks; break out the tool kits and tool belts and work on the doors and windows. Give the store displays a totally fresh look, an appealing look that will invite shoppers to come in… but first go back to step one and get the resources together.

It is very simple, though tackling the bird problem might be somewhat risky and complex, it needs to be done. The health department must get involved, especially in the area that is bordered by State Street, Adams, Jackson, and Wabash. In that area are some of the filthiest L tracks, sidewalks, signs, and stairs. There is a stink in the air in that section that is probably caused by the accumulation of bird waste and trash, and in an area where there are so many restaurants and thousands of people walking it every day, that is a recipe for health problems and the driving away of business. I mean, it is not very pleasant looking around there.

So, for that project there is step one: get the resources together. The needs are easy to figure out: gloves, masks, shovels, hoses, trash bags and trash cans, power washers, boots, sturdy clothing, head protection, bug spray, pest control. Everyone must organize, from first responders to be around in case someone gets into serious trouble, to small business owners giving solid input as to what they want to see and what is best for their customers and capital plans; from volunteers willing to give hours to making their city look better and smell better and be more inviting to people giving supplies to make the project successful.

 Picture taken from a search on GOOGLE images, showing businesses alongside the Loop “L”.

No one person will be able to take on the remodeling, renovation and reworking of the Wabash Avenue Loop area alone. It will take the veritable mission control team to make it happen: people to supervise, people to take over when others are on breaks, people to bring in supplies and people to haul trash away. It will take everyone looking out each for the others to ensure safety and security. The project is huge, but taken step by step, beginning with a good solid cleanup session as detailed above, a lot of problems will be seen and some will be solved. Issues regarding structures will then be noted and repairs or other steps can be taken, such as historical preservation or demolition or repurposing.

It is hoped businesses would open their doors to those working on the project, for restroom use, or for dining in the food courts or just for a place to sit and have a simple lunch if the weather turns wet or stormy. Were I a business owner, that might be on my menu too – wanting to help out the workers who are giving time and energy to make the Loop look better and be welcoming to visitors and to my customers. I might have a place set aside with a sign saying, “Welcome Loop Work Volunteers! Sit here, rest and have something to eat!” Pitch in and do your part, and don’t worry about the money. It will come when things look and feel better.

Get cleaning first, and then take the next steps.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/illinois/palmer-house-a-hilton-hotel-CHIPHHH/index.html?WT.srch=1

Citizens Act Now: Whose Turf is it Anyway?

WHOSE TURF IS IT ANYWAY? CITIZENS NEED TO THINK AND ACT!

OK, who out there is TIRED of hearing the mass spin media and the politicians talk about “gun violence”, “gun control”, gangs and drugs, gang turf, gang territory, and children having to cross gang lines to go to school or to walk to the convenience store every day? Who is sick and tired of having their communities plagued by these people with their strong –arm tactics and guns and powerfully lethal drugs and their exhibitions of greed and materialism and idolizing the worst of what makes us human? Who is tired of the shouting and the graffiti, the danger the kids are in, the talk every day of how many people are dead in “gun violence”, and the sight of the open –air drug markets?

ARE YOU TIRED OF THAT? THEN WHAT DO YOU THINK?

It is safe to venture a guess that it was YOUR hard work and sweat that won you that property on which to have your home, your livelihood and your business, your schools and your churches. Certainly that land belonged to you and other hard –working, diligent citizens who were there long before those “gangs” with their no –good paraphernalia and drugs and guns and terrorist tactics and cowardice showed up and invaded.

Citizens of Chicago and of other towns plagued by these cowardly people, TAKE A STAND AND ACT IMMEDIATELY! Think about it: what would you do if your garden had weeds in it? You would want to know why they are there maybe, or you would just go ahead and see what it is and get rid of it. You already know you don’t want that thing in your garden, so you get out the hoe, rake, and shovel, weed spray, cultivator and then fresh soil and better plants and take the weeds out with some hard work and elbow grease.

That is how you get rid of weeds in a garden, so the same applies to getting rid of gangs and drugs on your streets. YOUR STREETS, folks, NOT the gang’s streets or the drug’s streets or the neighborhoods with “gun violence” – those are YOUR streets, YOUR homes, YOUR schools and YOUR bus stops. The gang members aren’t doing anything to help you out or improve things or make life better.

Gangs are around doing just the opposite: they are invasive and cancerous and pustule and disgusting and dishonorable. They are out to do no good, out to destroy and divide and draw in the vulnerable and take the lives of the innocent and purvey the drugs and the illegal guns. They are out for nothing but power and greed and to sport their stupid signs and their colors and their “pride” in being able to destroy children on front porches and exhibit their cowardice in drive –by shootings. Only cowards act that way, and the citizens of Chicago are NOT cowards.

It was YOUR land before it was the land of the gangs, so TAKE IT BACK. The gangs are on your land, not the reverse. YOU are on your land that you have paid for, that you maintain, that you work for and pay one third of your income in taxes for every year.  You are on land you have from your family, for your children, for your business and for your future; you have built that house and built that church and that community center and community garden. It is YOUR land, not the land of that gang banger!

What is the cause of the reason the gangs are in your community? Find that and you will find out how to get rid of them for good! Is it racial gerrymandering? Is it citizen apathy, political apathy, voter apathy, neglect of the streets and buildings and sidewalks and transit? What is it that is the reason the gangs found the area attractive and came in with their guns and their ways and their signals and set up shop? WHY ARE THEY THERE?

Ask those questions, find out what it is that made the area attractive for the gangs and the drugs and the violence, so you can find out how to turn the gangs in and run them out of your community once and for all. YOU CANNOT BE AFRAID ANY MORE! That is what the gangs and the terrorists want, and gang members ARE terrorists, nothing less and a lot more. They are homegrown terrorists or people affiliated with drug cartels that are out for nothing else other than to sell their drugs, destroys lives and destroy communities and divide families.

Find out how to get rid of them. Tell what you see, save a life, and save the children. Do your conscience a favor, do your city or town or village a favor. Branch out, leave demographics and race and ethnicity behind; get out of the social and economic bubble so you can help those who are in trouble and who need comfort, safety, assurance and love.

GET OUT THERE, FOLKS! Someone needs you.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Take a look at my entries in another of my blogs, ILLUMINATE AND ADVOCATE, the latest is inspired by the events in Boston.

http://intelligentempiricism.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/311/

Fiscal Cliff Talk is Bad Posture

PLAYERS IN THE FISCAL CLIFF SITUATION SHOW BAD POSTURE

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

Too much talk and no action, and according to the article there has been an awful (and I do mean awful) lot of “posturing”.

The problem is, it is bad posturing. What is the meaning of bad posture, and not just in the light of politics?

When someone shows poor or bad posture, they tend to slouch, to be rather the presentation of a “couch potato”, loafing about, eating a lot of the wrong or junky foods, not getting the proper amount of activity and the like. Bad posture is a sign of inactivity of the worst kind, a show that the person is not using their faculties properly, for wisdom and strength and such.

It seems our lawmakers (wrong word considering they do a lot of law breaking and corruptive behavior too) in Washington cannot even agree on what anyone in any of the two major parties has said or what their intentions are or what the results will be. They are no more than aged children gathered together on the same playground and they cannot agree on how to use even the basic equipment available. They cannot cooperate on the jungle gym, the see -saw, the swings or the slide; they quarrel and quibble and filibuster and bicker their way through our tax dollars used to run the Capitol every day while they waste time over their Senate Bean Soup wondering whom to blame and what to say for the news hour sound bytes.

And none of it is good for this country; none of it sounds good, comes off as good, or has any spot of decency that we can say is good or not. One thing is sure, it is trouble if we are pushed over that fiscal cliff, and no good will come of it. No one wants to be taxed, and we all are excessively all ready. No one wants to see their money going for more bombs or war expenditure or planes or rockets or rebuilding another country.

We need to rebuild our own rusting, crumbling, falling infrastructure right now, and have no more time to waste on this pointless bickering over where to get revenue. We need to get with it and cut wasteful spending and high time political perks before we, that is they in Washington, can talk of raising taxes even one red cent or cutting spending where it is most needed, for our elderly especially who have earned their pay and their time and deserve the right to benefit from what they have given their country, being decades of dedicated and good service for business and government in war and in peace. We need to hold our elders in higher regard than we do… we, that is again those in Washington who would see those estemed elders degraded and impoverished by rising taxes and higher medication costs.

In this week of remembering Pearl Harbor, those who fought and died and sacrificed and those hardy survivors who turned out to see the solemnities, we need to focus on what we can do for this country and not for any other right now. We need to repair not only our literal infrastructure but our moral and spiritual and morale inner structures as well. It is plain from many reports that employee morale is down, that corruption at state and local government levels is up, that the people we elected in trust to higher office are misusing public finds (witnes the Illinois official who bilked her charges out of millions of serious bucks), and that business is suffering. Families are hard up for putting food on the table, for heating their homes, for disaster relief and insurance payments, for car payments, for getting their kids the right education, for the basics of life… and what do those people in Washington do?

Those people with the cushy seats in the Senate and House and White House, those people with the pages and the nice offices, heat and hot water, a kitchen, limousine service, access to the most private and exclusive clubs in the world, all the finest and all the best amenities of life… what are they doing? They are wasting the tax dollars those families put into “the system” every day when they buy anything, from groceries to medications to cars and gas to books and paper. Those families wonder where their next meals are coming from; the politicians can have food and drink whenever and wherever they want. They don’t have to worry about a few million dollars here or there; they would not miss that extra money in taxes or investments or in business deals. They make a great deal of money every day on the backs of those families who are down on their luck, trodden over by the same people they elected into office with their precious votes and time needed to make those choices.

They are using resources to excess and living in the luxury those families cannot even imagine having, while they waste away the hours in the marble halls and behind the heavy, gilded doors of their chambers. Those senators and representatives do not care any more; they are so jaded and their minds so clouded with luxurious excess and their eyes glazed over with golden glitter from their expensive jewelry and engine – turned silver belt buckles and the shine from their tailored shoes that they cannot see the right path to take. They are so over the path of obsession with materialism and power that it might take a billion confessions to turn them back to the level of even thinking of the right and proper path for their debates to take in order to put this nation back in good form.

It is time you people in government tightned your belts in the same way you are asking the rest of us to tighten ours. You are not playing fair when you do not do the work we sent you into office to do, when you bicker and rant, rave and play the blame game and the party lines of corrupt and worthless political bantering. You are the ones we will blame when we are futher taxed, when we are unable to support the local businesses or promote our own businesses, when more families go hungry and more people lose jobs.

You believe that with your nice suits and expensive cars and such that you are figures of dignity and diplomacy. You are nothing of the sort. You are undignified, unworthy and blame -worthy people who have used your power for your own selfish ends and means, who have used information to gain to excess millions of dollars, book deals, news spin and photo opportunities. Your halls are filled with scandal and dishonor, and I cannot even begin to think what your consciences would look like if we average citizens could take them out and examine them under an electron microscope. I think we would see such dirt and filth, such grime, grit and muck that we would wonder if any amount of cleansing would make your souls and consciences clear again.

How pitiful it is that we are thinking about going over this fiscal cliff and seeing this nation plunge into a deep recession or even a depression. How sad it will be if small businesses, that do so much hiring and product promotion and advertising will fail or will come so close to failing that their employees will leave, give up, or wear themselves out trying to keep the store afloat. What families will suffer the most? What small towns will be hit hardest, what communities will feel it in the most challenging way, and what children will suffer when their school funding is reduced? Hazards lie ahead for us all if we cannot get our nation in order and our minds properly focused.

Oh, Senator Boehner, by the way, don’t let your friends’ grandchildren play on that bridge – it might crumble under them. What a vicious circle that will begin…

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

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

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.

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!

Chicago: Dark Skies For a Healthier Community

The Healthy Benefits of Dark-sky Programs in the United States: What Astronomy Can do for You.
 

Stellar-class star watching: free of charge in dark-sky America!

 
Wars come in all kinds: there are drug wars, germ and chemical wars, conventional and digital wars fought on physical battlefields and television screens. There are wars against obesity and battles against childhood cancer.
 
And then there are other wars, such as those we wage against the heavy pollutants that cloud our cities and put thousands of tons of metals, chemicals, and dust into our air. There is also another war- against that product of “progress”; we call it LIGHT POLLUTION. In fact light pollution is ranked now among hazards such as tobacco smoke and other carcinogens as being a factor in the poor health we now face.
 
Light pollution disrupts our circadian rhythm, can be a factor in breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and sleep disorders. We think ourselves safer with so much artificial lights around our homes and apartments, lining our streets and shining from office buildings and skyscrpers every night, but we are just the opposite. We are not safe at all, and because of too much artificial light we are putting our health at risk. Not only are we putting human health at risk, but too much light, urban sprawl, and otherconstruction activity disrupts migration patterns for birds and butterflies, and destroys the habitat of animals such as foxes, coyotes, and deer.
 
We need to stop bickering and start acting for the good of our citizens, as our very health and all that is built on it- indeed the strength of this nation, depends on having the most healthy environment possible.
 
Officials of America, we elected you to improve things, not make the situation worse. You can begin by putting party lines and dogma aside, settling down, putting politics aside, and taking a look at the benefits of programs such as the dark -sky observing events offered by many organizations. You can do the best thing for your constituents by seeing what is needed to make us healthier and get the ball rolling for real improvements.
 
Challenge the industries in your state, the schools and technical institutes too, to design and test better light fixtures for streets and buildings. Not only do we need better designs for them but perhaps through better design we can have fewer invasive lights to throw any kind of light pollution into the viewing atmosphere. Shade the beams downward instead of around and up, where the light is no loger used to give safety to the road but is then wasted. Reduce carbon emissions by turning off lights or dimming them where there is little or no use for them.
 
It will not be long before you start to see the healthy benefits of dark -sky programs and the promotion of them. Get outside sometime, to an area of this country… your country… and take a look at what you have been missing. The stars, the moon, the galaxies and the planets are waiting for you!
 

Deep field images- our wonderful night skies full of color and natural light!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Divi Logan and ® EDUSHIRTS, © 2004 – 2011, Nashville and Chicago. Please e-mail the author at d308gtb289@aol.com for permission to use any part of these articles, my blogs, or illustrations contained therein. Courtesy counts. Thank you.