Snow I can handle; gov’t., bad drivers, no way

Snow I can handle; gov’t., bad drivers, no way

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Snow I can handle; gov’t., bad drivers, no way

By Ray Hanania

Southwest News-Herald Friday Jan. 31, 2014
Chicago Skyline 2008

Chicago Skyline 2008 (Photo credit: TomC)

It’s pretty obvious that the weather patterns are changing dramatically.

I don’t know if it is because of global warming (no, the world doesn’t get warmer, it gets colder in global warming), or that dramatic weather shifts are cyclical.

Either way, it’s a hassle.

This has probably been the worst winter I’ve seen in during my entire life. Not only has there been record snow but the sub-zero temperatures have been too common.

On the other hand, I live in Chicagoland and the Midwest where snow and bad weather are a part of life.

Shouldn’t we just get used to it?

The biggest hassle isn’t the snow or arctic temperatures. It’s the people who don’t know how to drive when some snow gets on the pavement. Seriously folks. Some people don’t deserve a driver’s license. You know driving slow doesn’t make the thoroughfares safer. It makes them more dangerous by not staying pace with traffic.

Snow Cat

Snow Cat (Photo credit: clickclique)

But we have so many more worse problems to deal with.

For example, every time I drive to a client office, I see someone staring into the bright lights of a cell phone while they are driving.

That’s worse than anything the snow might bring.

And people are just rude and obnoxious. They drive like animals. The speed up and then pull in front of you just to be in front of you. And then they slow down. What’s that about?

I’m torn between the idea of having cameras in Chicago and the suburbs to catch speeders. I don’t believe the purpose of the cameras is to make the streets safer. They are just installing the cameras to take more money from the taxpayers.

The fact that the City of Chicago reduces the time the yellow light is on at a stoplight intersection from 3 and four seconds to two seconds is proof they are trying to make money. A two second yellow light is a public danger.

But no one in Chicago government cares. The cameras that catch people speeding in concept are good in theory. But again, the priority is to issue citations to raise money.

That’s why they are ticketing cars going over six miles above the speed limit, and hammering them with heavy fines if they are going 11 miles over the speed limit. Worse is the fact that most of the streets where these cameras are posted don’t have speed limit signs to tell you what the legal speed limit really is.

The city doesn’t want you to know. They want to give you a citation so Mayor Rahm Emanuel can cover his bloated government budget.

Texting while Driving

Texting while Driving (Photo credit: IntelFreePress)

Meanwhile, many suburban communities are not salting their streets during the winter to save money. That’s upsetting. And worse, the State of Illinois doesn’t even do a good job plowing the roads it is responsible for.

LaGrange Road between the Stevenson Expressway and 127th Street is a death trap!

I can deal with whatever Mother Nature wants to throw at me. But what I can’t deal with is a Chicago mayor or an Illinois governor who just can’t seem to wrap their arms around the real public priorities. Prove to us you are doing your jobs and not just trying to cover your budget or get re-elected.

The real snow job is in at Chicago City Hall and down in Springfield. And I personally don’t believe anyone can change that one bit.

Ray Hanania covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 until 1992. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @RayHanania. — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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