Tiny Dancer gave up on Chicago after eight years. He just doesn't know what to do anymore with us idiots, so we're on our own. He's done. But before his exit is official, at the last minute he's going to try to get us a casino and a change to the Illinois Constitution--which he says will kill the debilitating debt that he never reduced.
Tiny always manages to save face after his failures, which he manipulates everyone into thinking are great successes (or at least not his fault) and then he goes on to something better.
His would-be successors--the Chicago 21--are promising tax freezes! And stopping killings in the street! And secret plans for education so everyone will have a Harvard graduate in the house! (More on all this to come in future posts.)
Maybe these promises will stop the net-156 of us who leave Chicago for somewhere else every day.
But, Chicago 21, I have an idea. Instead of feeding us a bunch of hooey about the wonderful life we'll have in Chicago if we elect you, give us some ideas on how you will handle basic housekeeping. It's really bad.
Starting with the CTA: the stations, the trains, the buses. Ick! How come if you get on a PACE bus, it's clean and comfortable? The filth that the CTA is wallowing in is despicable. I don't know how to do it, I have no advice, I don't know how keeping it all clean can be done. But I'm not running for mayor.
What about all that dead weight up in the CTA office? Give them an assignment: figure out how to keep everything clean. And if they can't, hand them some rags, brooms and detergent, and let them get out and do it themselves. 24/7.
If a bum sleeps on four seats in a train for a few hours, make sure they make everything spic and span when he gets up. Same goes for excreting things on CTA property. From food and drink before it goes in, till after it comes out. Clean it up immediately. And stop the smoking on the trains. It's unbearable. And stop the irritating noises emanating from all the smart phones.
And while you're at it, tell the bus drivers to quit speeding up before they stop. I can't stand up on a moving bus any longer to get to a door to make an exit. But if I wait until the bus stops, by the time I get to the door to get off, the doors close and we're moving again. I'm always asking if it's the driver, the bus or me? I don't think it's me.
Another thing you can figure out is how to stop smokers from smoking outside on the streets? Why should we walkers walk through outdoor smoking lounge after outdoor smoking lounge when we're out for a walk? Yes, smoke gets in your hair and clothes and lungs wherever you are exposed to it--even if you are outdoors.
And how about not incessantly power washing the downtown streets? Can any of you make that a priority? For the sake of quality of life? You'd save a lot of money on water.
Exactly where does all that filth-filled spray end up after it goes up in the air and blows in the faces of people walking down State Street after dinner, a concert or a play? We have to breathe that in. And our clothes get soft-pelted, too. And the dirt just goes back down on the street anyway, albeit pulverized, so why not leave the dirt there from the start?
And how come street signs are missing everywhere? All over the city. You visit someone in an unfamiliar neighborhood and you can go for blocks not knowing what street you are on or what street you are crossing. How about bringing back the era of two signs going in two directions on every corner?
Yes, as Tiny passes out the last of the TIF money on his watch to developers who love to spend taxpayer cash on their real estate and not their own, there's a lot of cranes and a lot of scaffolding. But the sidewalks in the city are broken, buckled and otherwise worn out. How about spending some TIF money on that? You can't even look up while walking to see what's going on--because you'll get seriously injured in a fall from not looking down.
Walking on a street in Chicago is like walking in a field of land mines.
And the lack of lighting on said streets? Whether it's piercing white, yellowish LED, or incandescent globes--there's no light if there's no bulbs in the fixtures.
It's not like the old days. There was a time when they'd change them before I called. But if I did have to call 311, they'd come immediately, even if it was just for one. Now they wait for a whole block to go out--and tons of calls--before they change them, if they do. And it can take years.
Without light, you can't see the cracked sidewalks, or the crooks plying their trade. Two things that keep people leaving this toddlin' town. Even Tiny Dancer.
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