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The [Tuesday] Papers

"At least 37 people were shot, five fatally, throughout Chicago on Memorial Day weekend as severe storms kept people indoors for the holiday and 1,200 officers were added to patrol the streets," the Tribune reports.

In addition to extra patrols, Chicago police leading up to the weekend made numerous narcotic-related arrests in targeted raids in different parts of the city.

Following a Monday ceremony at a Grant Park monument to commemorate the nation's war dead, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that she rode with officers Saturday night and responded with them to a shooting on the South Side. She also spoke of the frequency in which she receives emailed notifications on shootings.

"That is just an unacceptable state of affairs," the new mayor said. "I think there's many causes to it. I certainly knew that before but to see it graphically depicted is quite shocking and says that we've got a long way to go as a city.

"This is not a law enforcement-only challenge. It's a challenge for all of us in city government. It's a challenge for us in communities to dig down deeper and ask ourselves what we can do to step up to stem the violence."

Not to bag on Lightfoot, who just took office last week, but the city - just like the nation and the world - has accepted this "unacceptable" state of affairs forever. That kind of rhetoric may seem politically necessary, but it always bugs me. If this was a truly unacceptable state of affairs, city leaders would have matched their rhetoric of urgency with interventions of urgency a long time ago. One result of not doing so is to make what the newspapers call weekend "mayhem" routine. 'Here comes the holiday weekend, let's track all the shootings!' The word "normalization" comes to mind.

Not that there are easy, urgent answers just sitting out there. But massive neighborhood investment, integrated with essentially turning the city's budget upside down, to balance screaming inequities has never really been tried. Now it's Lightfoot's turn - and time for us to see what she's made of.

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"Arguably the best thing about Chicago's new mayor is that Lori Lightfoot seems to really get the link between gang-fueled street violence and lack of economic opportunity," Greg Hinz writes for Crain's.

"As mayor, her task in large part is to bring relief ('wraparound services and job training') to neighborhoods that 'are under siege and economically distressed,' Lightfoot told CBS This Morning a few days ago - treating 'the root causes of the violence.' In other words, a young adult who has a job and feels good about himself or herself is a lot more likely to succeed in life than someone who has given up and sees gangs as the only out.

"Lightfoot is on to something."

What's amazing - and distressing - about this report is the notion that mayors (and other civic leaders, including journalists) have not previously understood that link. That link is something that's been understood to many experts in the field, as well as experts on the streets, for just about ever. The idea that "Lightfoot is on to something" is sadly laughable; it doesn't take any kind of special insight particular to the new mayor to get it.

My worry is that her vision stops at wraparound services and job training. That's been tried, although perhaps not in a massive way. We need a much larger vision of equitable economic development that includes megaprojects - the Peotone airport, for example - tied to affordable housing and desegregation to really break the pattern. That last one is the one where Lightfoot may have particular insight. Lightfoot has spoken about the visceral lessons she learned about the deep realities of the city's racism, for example, in leading Rahm Emanuel's police reform task force. It all ties together, and that's where the hope in Lori Lightfoot resides, not just the usual bromides and half-hearted, though well-intentioned small-bore prescriptions.

The rest of Hinz's column is a plea for Lightfoot to heed the call of private developers who favor downtown investment. In other words, a plea for status quo, supply-side thinking: Invest more in downtown (and North Side neighborhoods) to attract businesses and then, um, figure out a way to get poor black folk on the South Side to jobs there.

He does flick at the notion of public infrastructure - train stations and the like - in poor neighborhoods that may draw businesses there. That's not gonna work. If the city is going to make economic development in our most distressed neighborhoods come true, it has to sway the next George Lucas to put his or her museum in Bronzeville; the next Lincoln Yards on the U.S. Steel site; the next zillion billion dollar O'Hare expansion to take place in the south suburbs. As much as Rahm Emanuel liked to portray himself as a tough mayor making big moves, his big ideas had nothing to do with economic development - the largest set of school closings in U.S. history, an infrastructure trust, a fantastical tunnel system to O'Hare. When it came to economic development, he played the downtown supply side strategy to a "T" just like nearly every mayor before him (exception: Harold Washington), to the same results. And here we are. Isn't it finally time for something new? Something as big as Chicago's self-identity?

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I mean, the headline on Hinz's piece is "Lightfoot Must Help The Loop To Lift Neighborhoods."

Where do you even start with that? What a bold new strategy! I wonder if it will work?! Let's finally try it!

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If it was just Hinz saying this, I would ignore it. (Well, maybe.) But he's giving voice to forces in the city (like the mega-developer he quotes) who will bring great pressure to bear on Lightfoot to maintain the downtown-first policies of her predecessors under the age-old guise of having the interests of the neighborhoods in first and foremost in mind. This will be Lightfoot's biggest challenge, and the area where we are most likely to see crushing disappointment.

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I wrote during the campaign that the biggest thing missing among all the candidates was anyone expressing an imaginative economic development vision. (Paul Vallas had a lot of seemingly great ideas at the bureaucratic level that could yield significant results, but which need to be paired with the macro to really transform the city.) That is perhaps where Lightfoot is most vulnerable to failure. At least she'd have a lot of company.

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Hoodie Winked
"Students at Uplift Community High School in this city's Uptown neighborhood overturned a hated rule that banned hoodie sweaters on their campus," People's World reports.

"Their victory came as a result of their 'Hoodies, Harmless or Hated' campaign. The campaign was just one of scores of civic activism projects that high schoolers throughout Chicago have been working on all year under the guidance of the Mikva Challenge, a not-for-profit program encouraging youth participation in civic and political life."

For more Mikva problem-solving, see City's Youth Solves Problems.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #253: Memorial Day Weekend State Of The Cubs, White Sox & Bears
Tales of regress, progress and egress. Including: Jim Coffman Not Here For Ben Zobrist's Divorce; Addy Is Baddy; Another Sullivan Special; Old School Cubs Lack Velocity; How Albert Almora Jr. Turned His Season Around; Salt's Sinker; So You're Saying The White Sox Have A Chance; and Bears Carousel.

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The Rebuild Not Taken
Envying the Twins' way. In The White Sox Report.

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Beautiful Bill Buckner
He was a great Cub and had a great, great career in baseball. Full stop.

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ChicagoReddit

Courthouse downtown for marriages from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chinese American Museum of Chicago Annual Gala.

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BeachBook

Abortion Ban Coverage Sows Confusion.

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That Time Trump Sold The Plaza Hotel At An $83 Million Loss.

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Comcast Fights Shareholder Call For Lobbying Transparency, Saying That It Would Be "Burdensome" To Reveal How Much It Spends Lobbying States.

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The Bitter Life Of A Shattered Jockey: The Mostly True Story Of Evanston-Born Mary Bacon.

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High Tolerance: Wisconsin & Alcohol.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I love Steve Kerr and the Warriors. And I was pulling for the Bucks, Milwaukee and stuff. But now I'm also a diehard Raptors fan. I wonder if there's work for me in Toronto . . .

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Bend it back.



Permalink

Posted on May 28, 2019


MUSIC - Brit Buys Rock-Ola.
TV - GOP FCC Weakens Kid TV.
POLITICS - Fact: Corporate Incentives Don't Work.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Cubs Sweep Problems Under Rug.

BOOKS - The Ordeal Of The Jungle.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Wisconsin's Big Marketing Cheese.


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