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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.
This post has already been read 213 times!
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 www.ArabNews.com. 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 TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
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, YNetNews.com, 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.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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