A guy does a good deed this year. Most major Chicago news media outlets report on said good deed. Except for the Chicago Reader. They wanted the Chicago media to include a totally irrelevant and unrelated issue from last year in their coverage.
Maya Dukmasova, from the Reader, wrote a piece excoriating the Chicago media for failing to mention an unrelated and irrelevant issue involving the guy from last year. The Reader expected Chicago news media to report on the totally unrelated issue while praising the guy for the good deed. How dumb is that? As dumb as the people at the Reader.
John Garrido is that guy.
John Garrido is a Chicago police lieutenant assigned to the 16th District on Chicago's Northwest Side. He is a resident of the area and ran for alderman twice.
John Garrido did a good deed. He helped a homeless Air Force veteran, Anthony Johnson. Johnson had what was described as a dilapidated newsstand where he lived out of and sold newspapers.
Garrido, who has a presence on social media, created an online fundraiser to renovate the shack and gather enough money to find Johnson a place to live. His efforts were widely successful.
Garrido garnered media attention and the attention of others who pitched in to help. A new stand was erected and a neighborhood artist donated time and materials to put a mural on it.
Johnson is living off the streets in an apartment, selling newspapers. Though still facing economic hardship, he is better off than he was. All because a Chicago police officer decided to do a good deed.
All because a public servant went beyond serving and protecting to serving and providing.
John Garrido is also involved in animal welfare, especially the cause of stray or abandoned dogs. In 2016, he received PAWS Animal Welfare Leadership Award "for his efforts on behalf of homeless, abused and neglected animals. He has assisted PAWS in retrieving pets from inhumane conditions, fought animal cruelty and sought tough sentences for abusers.
"For most police officers, helping those who can't help themselves is why we took the job. For me, that desire includes animals. My passion comes from the heart, and I wish I could do more," said Garrido, who along with his wife, Anna, owns three rescue dogs." (Candace Jordan/Chicago Tribune)
Garrido's good deed for Anthony Johnson earned him the Officer of the Month award from the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
"Lieutenant Garrido is another example of the core of the Chicago Police Officers who take seriously the serve part of their oath “to serve and Protect... This morning we honor Lieutenant John Garrido as an example of community service and outreach to make our city just a little bit better, a Chicago Police Officer truly making a difference. It is with great pride that we call Lieutenant John Garrido, our March Officer of the Month." (Chicago Police Memorial Foundation)
The Reader made sure to note that during all of the coverage of Garrido's good deed, not one media outlet mentioned his opposition to a proposed affordable housing development in his neighborhood. The development, pushed by Alderman John Arena, caused consternation and turmoil in the 45th Ward.
Evidently, the Reader believes responsible news media, covering a feel-good story, failed to cast Garrido as a villain. Anyone who opposes Arena's white elephant is evil. They should be pummeled for their good deeds not praised.
Garrido is quoted as favoring affordable housing. His objection to the project has to do with its size and location, not the people who will live there. Lieutenant Garrido made those points clear to me in a message.
Garrido's opposition to the development has nothing to do with the publicity he garnered over doing a good deed. The real and only story was about one man, a public servant, providing for a citizen.
The news media picked up on that. It would be irresponsible, petty, venal, and unethical to include Lieutenant Garrido's year-old opposition to a real estate development. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the story.
In a time when Chicago police officers are under intense scrutiny, one of them stands up for the most vulnerable in society. Instead of being praised as an exemplary public servant, he is supposed to be demeaned for an inapplicable issue.
The Chicago Reader is no longer the feisty, scrappy, paper it was. It is a group of childish schoolyard bullies beating down all the good people do in this city.
The Chicago Reader should do Chicago a big favor. Take Chicago out of its name. It embarrasses, shames, and demeans our city. Actually, they should change the name to the Bleater. It is an apt description for crying whiners.
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