I’ve read in the last few days I’ve read two thoughts on fixing Chicago’s violence, one including having former President Barack Obama “come home” and save us.
The other was to create checkpoints and block off areas like a communist country.
I understand people want to fix this problem but it was decades in the making and might take that long to fix.
The surge in violence is frustrating, sad and putting people (and children), in harm’s way and it’s not getting any better, in fact its getting worse.
This is not when you “call in the feds”, this is when we rebuild the infrastructure from the bottom up.
Follow me on this, so there are areas of the west side that have not been rebuilt since the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King’s death on April 4, 1968.
Think about that, it predates my birth by EIGHT years.
The Chicago public school system is a financial and educational mess and closing dozens of schools a few years ago and children cross gang lines and having few other options for children doesn’t help.
First things first, those areas (namely south & west sides), need jobs, not big box retail, not minimum wage or even $ 12-$ 13 hour, real livable wages and honest work.
Take for instance Gotham Greens in Pullman, that’s a success story, a real working indoor urban farm providing jobs.
Someone like Bolingbrook based Weather Tech would have to open a plant and have people work there.
Once we have that, then we have income, tax structure and enough with all this TIF money and fly by night developments.
We need real investment in the community (legit banks and venture capital), housing comes next, nice affordable housing (not gentrified housing no one can afford without a lottery ticket), a place you’d be proud to come home to after your hard day at work.
After that good schools (not charter), public schools that work, like we have in the suburbs, no it’s not cheap, we’ll need increased property taxes, more outside investments and real leadership to give our children the education they need to succeed.
Then we need infrastructure, streets that are lit and not just with police cameras that are nothing more than a glorified night light, trust me I used to live near one, it didn’t deter anything.
We need paved streets not littered with potholes and garbage, sidewalks that are even and won’t trip you with broken slabs everywhere. And aren’t conducive to people hanging out on the corner and tear down all these abandoned houses that are havens for crime.
Then people need to be able to buy groceries and everything they need and not from a corner “food & liquor” store, real stores, not just big box stores but specialty stores too that have real deal health food, so people can eat right.
Restaurants come next, not just burgers, fried chicken and other fast food. Places you can take your family or a date and won’t give you heartburn and doesn’t comes in greasy bag or on a lunch tray.
Am I talking pie in the sky?
Yes I am, those of us who have lived in the hood (and out), know the difference it makes to have a safe home to come to.
I’ve lived in an area that had gunfire on a regular basis and now I don’t.
But I know no one needs to live under military rule either.
If you concentrate on one area (i.e., block it off and have “checkpoints”), the problems and violence will move, we’ve seen that with public high rise housing (and its demise), and then the rest of us on the south and west sides then had to deal with that problem.
This is more than squashing a few bugs, this is called investing in people and neighborhoods.
Because this problem didn’t happen overnight and it won’t go away that way either.
You want to make America great again? Then we need to fix somethings from the ground up.
Filed under: Chicago