Monday, August 12, 2013

Fake Passage

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Thursday echoed Byrd-Bennett’s sentiments that officials aren’t starting from scratch, saying: “It’s not a new concept in the city of Chicago for school kids to cross gang lines on their way to school. Kids have been doing it for quite some time even when the schools were open. -- Sun-Times

With 2 weeks to go before another chaotic school opening, the Mayor's so-called Safe Passage plan is blowing up (literally) right before our eyes. Two of the 23 shootings (4 dead) over another bloody Chicago weekend happened right below newly-installed Safe Passage signs.

Chief McCarthy and BBB are already spinning for the worst.  Yes, "this is nothing new", they tell media (notice they've both got the line down pat). Students on the south and west side have always crossed gang lines to get to school. As if this offers some comfort to terrified parents. And all the Safe Passage signs in the world, along with community volunteers (not a bad idea) and some yellow-vested, minimum-wage temps on street corners aren't going to change that.

So long as you have a city of blighted, racially-isolated neighborhoods, awash in drugs and guns, with the highest unemployment rate of any major city in the country, young lives are going to be particularly at risk. The mass school closings, teacher and counselor firings, along with a horribly-organized safe passage plan will only make things worse.

Chaos and neighborhood instability still rule the neighborhoods as Rahm continues to divert money and desperately-needed resources from increasingly blighted neighborhoods and schools, towards privately-run charters and huge downtown and lakefront development projects like the DePaul basketball arena.

This is a recipe for chaos and violence. Carolyn Lang, a West Pullman resident tells what the closing of her neighborhood school means for her:
"I used to come home late from prayer meetings at my church, and just seeing the light on and knowing the engineers and the janitors were working, I felt safe because they were there. Now it won't be a safe haven anymore."  
 "It is a signal that resources are leaving the community," said Deborah Moore, director of neighborhood strategy at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, a not-for-profit organization that helps people buy homes and keep them out of foreclosure.
"There is no way I can market the community to young families. They aren't going to move into a community with a closing school."
Over by Chopin in Humboldt Park, it's the same story. This, from DNA Info 
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy asked residents near the routes to "come out on their porch or sidewalk" to ensure that there is a "positive adult presence on these streets, on these routes before and after school.” 
“That’d be great if I didn’t have to be at work at 6 a.m.,” Kurek said. “The kids aren’t here until 9.”
Residents near Chopin said on Friday they haven’t received information from police, CPS or the local alderman. “They don’t get the word out until it’s too late,” said Anthony Noe, 51. “You hear about things like this after the fact.”

Shuttered schools, loss of thousands of middle-class jobs, chaos and instability for thousands, and pandemic gun violence -- this is Rahm Emanuel's gift to the city that works.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike. I live by Chopin, and I'm surprised that there is such concern about safety here. This is a pretty quiet division of Ukieville / Humboldt -- and for a few blocks in all directions. Any idea what closed schools are going to feed into Chopin? I hope all's well.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.