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In Suburbs vs Chicago, the city needs to improve
By Ray Hanania
I don’t hate the people of Chicago, but I do worry about the city where they live.
The fact that everyday at least one or two people are murdered on the streets of the city is enough to cause worry.
You can’t blame the Chicago Police. They’re not all like Jason Van Dyke. Most want to do their job, but they just don’t have enough men or support.
Right across Chicago’s borders in Suburbia, people have a better chance of staying alive.
It’s not just crime that concerns me. It’s the city government’s focus on money.
Chicago constantly complains to Springfield it doesn’t have enough to pay for it’s failed schools.
I survived that system for 15 years. But it wasn’t until my family moved to the suburbs that my education improved. The change came at Reavis High school in Burbank, after we fled the violence, racial conflicts and excessive taxes.
It feels as if Chicago is trying to “shoplift the pootie.” The CTA is always trying to dip their hand into suburban wallets. And the Red Light Camera system needs to be fixed.
I support red light cameras, when set up properly to target drivers who shoot through red lights. But that’s not what Chicago does. Their system is designed to squeeze the money from good drivers.
Chicago reduced the time between the changing lights to make it easier to ticket you, cutting it from 3 and 4 seconds to 2 seconds. Drivers approaching a changing light are forced to slam their brakes and get hit from behind, or rush through the light.
If this were about bad drivers, they would increase the time between lights, and place a “count down” light box displaying the seconds before the Green light changes to Amber. You go through that light then you deserve to pay a fine. Most people fined don’t deserve it.
There are a few attractions in Chicago I’ll visit. When I do, I plan the trips like a post-apocalypse survivor venturing into Zombie Land.
I carefully plan my route. Car doors locked tight. My kid has his cell ready to dial 911. We apprehensively make our way through Chicago’s circus of the macabre.
We stopped visiting the museums. Honestly, most are a big disappointment because they really haven’t changed that much since the 1960s when I was a kid. They can be so unimpressive. The Museum of Science & Industry is the best, although how many times can you stand and watch hoping to see little chickens hatch, only to be turned into sandwiches at McDonalds?
The other museum’s don’t do enough. The Lucas Museum would have given the city’s attractions a needed uplift. But then we have privileged people like “Friends of the Parks” telling everyone else what’s best.
Downtown parking costs make you feel like you’ve been hijacked. And although the White Sox and Cubs are doing great, someone needs to impose some rules, the way they did to fix up the South Side Irish Parade.
The ball parks are drenched in booze and the crowds too often spend all nine innings screaming obscenities. The “winning ugly” culture needs to go.
The suburbs should come together and develop a shared strategy to promote themselves. They could be an example to help Chicago improve, and be safer.
Because enjoying a public attraction is one thing. Living to write about it is another.
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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