Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hmmm, Will All Those South Side Beaches Be Closed This Summer With The Olympic Bid Still On The Table?

Every now and then I feel the need to rant. Just to scream and holler and just get some things that have been bothering me off my chest. And this year as part of my rants, it's the "pay attention" part that I scream the loudest.

One of the things that's been irking me is our mayor's current obsession to get the 2016 Olympics here in Chicago. I was watching the television news the other day and the reports were all about the visit by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC had toured the city via a well-orchestrated plan and the press conference they held at the end seems to give very positive feedback about Chicago. Of course, we were the first city that they visited, so they didn't have anything to compare our plans with.

As I watched the news report that showed a video presentation of what the Olympic Village would look like and also where all the Olympic sites would be positioned, I noticed quite a few of them were on the South Side in predominately African-American communities. Now being a conspiracy theorist, and also being one who tends to be more right than wrong in my conspiracy views, I must ask this question.

Every year for the past few years, the park district would always announce beach closings. Those closings were always because of fecal materials that had the water levels so unsafe, that for the safety of the residents, those beaches were off limits. It was also always interesting that those beaches were usually on the South Side in areas where African-Americans would be the predominate users of the beach.

I mean think about it. They have a dog beach on the North Side just off of Montrose. Now unless those are some very well-trained dogs, you would think that water at the North Side beaches would occasionally suffer a need to be closed as well. I am sure that all those half-naked bodies at North Avenue Beach and Oak Street Beach would have left enough fluids in the water in that area to make them unswimmable as well. But it is rare to hear of them closing those beaches like you hear about the ones on the South Side being closed.

But now that the mayor wants the Olympics and is toting Chicago's lakefront, isn't it interesting that he found all those sites on the South Side and even has a private beach for the Olympic athletes as well? I just wonder if their beach will be subject to the same closings that Chicagoans have experienced. Or were all those beach closings on the South Side really necessary? Because if people are creatures of habit and you constantly do things to break the habit, then closing those beaches means that you can get the population to stop using it because as old folks like to say, "Use it or lose it."

Here's another thing that has irked me. In this week's news, Alderman Tom Allen of the 38th Ward and head of the Transportation Committee is proposing that drivers who drive on suspended or revoked driver's licenses lose their cars as part of a crackdown ordinance. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. Take the cars of drivers who have lost their privilege to drive and charge them a $1,000 fee to get the car back. But at the same time, Chicago has been declared a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. Many of them are driving the junk trucks that all seem to have a temporary plate on them.

So if the alderman and the city want to take the cars of American citizens whose licenses have been suspended, then how come the city and state sells anybody who pays for it plates, stickers and city stickers with no regard for their licensed ability to drive the vehicle?

To me, that sounds like the simpler solution. Present a valid driver's license for all city stickers. Of course that might cut into the revenue the city is getting as it doesn't care when it's time to pay $75 for a city sticker whether or not you are a licensed driver or legal resident. All the city wants is the money. The same can be said for the state. Otherwise, why would we have so many temporary plates driving around? Those plates are no better than the old licensed-applied-for piece of paper that used to be in the back window of every car driven by those of questionable driving privilege.

Pay attention, Chicago. Let's see if we get beach closings this year as we wait to hear about the Olympic bid. Pay attention, Chicago, as the city comes up with another plan to dig into your pockets claiming its concern is over your suspended license. Because, for a lot of people, that suspension could be because of parking tickets, missed child support payments, failure to take an emission test or the myriad of reasons that they use to revoke your driver's license as punishment for something else.

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