What people tend to forget about government services is that they are not supposed to be just provided but also be accessible to the populace. It's understandable that Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauds himself for only cutting half of the mental health clinics in Chicago instead of all of them. "Hey, people can still get free mental health services in Chicago. I did my job," he must have thought to himself.
Let's use that mode of thinking for another service provided to the public, transportation. Chicago has eight rail lines. What if as a city, we streamlined services to the only top two used rail lines, blue and red? The measure would save money and people would still have access to rail service. Chicago provides a bus line to every major street every four blocks or so. What if they provided service every eight blocks? How about 12 blocks? What about access only being provided during normal work hours? From 7 a.m. rush hour to 7 p.m. rush hour? That saves money and people still have access to buses. Why haven't we done that? We would be saving so much money as a city and possibly make the fare prices go way down. Double win! Yet, we clearly can't do that. Chicago and its people needs a good transportation system.
No one is suggesting that things shouldn't be cut from the budget. The problem is what the mayor finds worthy of spending money on. Cities can't cut items from the budget that are essential to the public's well being. Transportation is essential to making Chicago run. So, is accessible free mental health care.
Remember NATO? The city's private NATO welcoming committee raised $30+ million to bring NATO here. Putting international politics aside, with just 10% of that money the city's 12 mental health clinics could have been kept open for an extra year. Using all of that money could have kept them open 10+ years.
Maybe that can be part of the solution. The Mayor can create a fundraising committee for each essential service he wants to cut from the budget. He gets the pleasure of cutting services and the city still gets them. Better yet, he could just not remove essential services and cut from other parts of the budget that don't help like bringing in international organizations that feign humanitarian interests or creating another Olympic bid for Chicago.
Read more about Chicago politics: