Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parents of Greg Brooks Speak Out

Link to video

So they didn't raise a monster? I suggest they take a few minutes and check out their little darling's MySpace page. After I counted over one hundred photos just on the main page of his gang signs picture, I think they need a reality check! They are in denial - big time. Their son is a thug. A gangsta. A hoodlum!

How can those parents admit their child was involved but didn't do any shooting???? Therein lies the problem. According to the report, they were only able to speak with their son for a few minutes, so how do they know???? The Brooks seem like nice people, but that MySpace page says there a lot of work that they should immediatlely begin putting into their two remaining sons that won't be spending 130 years in jail.

I'm in sync with Theodore McClendon. Greg Brooks had a lot of love, but no upbringing!

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

Greetings Ms. Jones,

In the past 6 months, over 2.5 million African Americans have watched a highly controversial free 15 minute film over the internet.

On 10/14/09 Michael Baisden ( syndicated top radio host) urged his 10 million to watch this " must see film!"

On 5/22/09 the Rev. Marcia Dyson ( wife of noted author Michael Eric Dyson) stated on a CNN interview that this video "must be watched".

On 3/3/09 The Mayor of Birmingham decided to make 500 copies to strategically place throughout the city.

Dr. Calvin Snyder (Editor of the AME Christian Recorder) suggested that all AME churches use the film within their communities to motivate our lost youth.

The film is titled "A War For Your Soul".

**Please note, the film is not for sale and I am not accepting donations for it.

The film is being shown on over 700 African American websites and has now reached Ghana, U.K., Israel and many Caribbean Islands. "A WAR FOR YOUR SOUL" was originally targeted towards at-risk African American youth, but the film has struck a nerve within the African American community, leaving the viewer asking "What can I do to help my community ?".

Please take a few minutes to watch this free life changing film. The film can be seen at the following website:

Peace & Blessings
Reggie Bullock ( producer of "A WAR FOR YOUR SOUL")

Don't Accept Excuses For Bad Parenting

Until we deal with the source of the problem, we will continue to have the problem. And right now, standing front and center and always in our face is the day-after-day news reports about young people being involved in heinous crimes. In Chicago, we are experiencing what is becoming a murder-a-day phenomenon by young black teens. But if you read 20-30 papers like I do every day, the problem is not just among black teenagers, although they represent a disproportionate number.

In Florida, a young 15-year-old white kid stops some boys he knows from stealing his father's custom-designed bicycle. He is lured to a meeting and doused with gasoline and set on fire. He is burned over 65 percent of his body. The situation would have been much worse had the young boy not jumped into a pool of water. His attackers were two blacks, two white brothers and a Hispanic.

In Los Angeles, a young 15-year-old girl leaves a homecoming dance. She is waiting for her father to pick her up from the dance but also goes into an alley with a boy she knows. She is gang raped for at least two hours while others stood around and either participated or just watched. DNA evidence shows there were at least four attackers. So far the police have arrested a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old Hispanic male.

The sickness permeating our society doesn't just stop with teenagers. In Detroit, a 35-year-old "mother" gives her 15-year-old son a gun so he can shoot and kill another boy. Both mother and son are now under arrest and charged with murder. And to learn that the parents of Garrard McClendon were slaughtered by suspects, ages 17 and 18, is appalling.

I won't go on and on, but the new stories I related show that, as a country, we have some serious problems. And the problem is an American problem. That is why I highlighted several different news stories involving a criminal element from various backgrounds.

The problems we're having are now two and three generations deep. As I think back to the foolish girls (now grandmothers) who had children while in their teens, they have raised the idiots (the current parent generation) who are now the parents of the morons (our teen killers and thugs). Given the news report that we have 115 girls at Robeson High School pregnant or with children already, will that next generation become known as the imbecilic one?

Yes, I am taking a tough stand and using some unkind words. This isn't simply about name calling. Rather, it is an attempt to put an easy-to-understand label on a problem that isn't as easy to solve. We cannot put back all the demons this society has let out when we chose to allow the Pandora's Box of bad behaviors, poor judgments, lack of personal responsibility, social acceptance of unacceptable behaviors and constant excuses to escape.

We cannot return what we have allowed out of the box. What we can do is attempt to control, tame and modify those things. And it can start with everyone in this society no longer accepting from parents the excuses they make when they aren't doing their job.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dumb and Dumber In Jail

Yep. They were forced to do the perk walk. I watched and looked for every news film and picture I could find. Why? Because after all their boasts and posts on their MySpace pages, I am sure they would step out of the car looking proud of what they had done. Reo page is full of profanity and laced with commentaries on his pictures about how he doesn't take shit. Well he is soon going to find out that shit may be an everyday common phenomenon when the Big Willie in jail makes him his bitch.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Other Half of Dumb and Dumber - Greg Brooks

Dumb and Dumber

And in his own words from his MySpace page:
check it out my name on the verge of going to college... ima cool dude once you get to know me... i like kickin it with different types of people... i do what ever i like ,when i like ... i took my first breath in the world August 25th,1991... yeah thats right im a nineties baby... the main people i kick it with is verchon, smick, vernon, and my nigga remy these my niggas/family...these my ride or die niggas cuz we do get down out here....i was born and raised in inglewood/southside of the city... im in love with the game basketball this is a big part of my life... i live, eat, sleep, and breath basketball....i rest my head in hammond,indiana.............

Reo Thompson - Accused Murder - The Dumb

Before Myspace takes it down, here's the link to the wayward youth accused of killing the McClendons.

And in his own words:



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Boys, Two Sets of Lost Dreams

This is the tale of two sets of teenage boys. Both sets of boys had dreams. One set of boys dreams never came to fruition. The other set of boys lived their dreams.

The first set of boys starred in the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams. It was screened last Friday night at the Better Boys Foundation in honor of the 15th anniversary of the film's release. If you've forgotten about that documentary, let me refresh your memory. Hoop Dreams followed the high school lives of William Gates and Arthur Agee, from their freshman year at St. Joseph High School in Westchester through the start of their college years. The film covered their matriculation through high school in their quest to one day become NBA superstars.

This was the second time I had seen the film. The documentary is still powerful in how it shows how elusive their dreams were. In retrospect, there were tons of warning signs in their lives. As each boy struggled to navigate between the roughness of their home neighborhoods and the stringent academic environment of their predominately-white, middle class high school, a recipe for failure was brewing. Both boys lacked a strong support system at home to assist them in their academic, emotional and financial needs. Other incidences that played into their inability to break out of their circumstances included William injuring his knee; meanwhile, Arthur's family struggled financially as his father lost a number of jobs. His dad later started using illegal drugs.

So, it was a pleasure and a joy to see that since the film's release in 1994, both Arthur and William were in attendance at the screening to speak to us. Their personal hoop dream was a failure, but they were amongst us, still living and breathing.

That led me to think of the other set of boys who had been living their dreams. Tyrone Williams, 19, and Percy Day, 17, were two cousins whose names don't readily and easily roll off the lips of many people. They weren't famous to anyone outside of their immediate families. Tyrone attended the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Percy was enrolled in a special program that allowed him to get his associate degree through DeVry University while still in high school. They were good kids who respected others. They worked hard and were both happily in pursuit of their educational dreams. But on the evening of Sept. 25, 2009, someone walked up to them as they sat on Percy's grandmother's front porch and sprayed the house with bullets. Both Tyrone and Percy were executed. Their tragic deaths became a side note to that weekend's violence because so much media emphasis was on the taped beating death of Derrion Albert the day before.

Whoever sprayed the 3700 block of West Polk with bullets that Friday night shortly after 9 p.m. didn't care who was hit. Bullets flew so wildly that an elderly woman sitting in an apartment across the street was hit in the shoulder by one. Even worst; another elderly next door neighbor who helped raise the two young men suffered a massive heart attack after learning they had been killed. She died the following morning.

The family of Tyrone and Percy was left to ask the question: why? Why did someone shoot and kill them? Why did the front porch of the family home have to become the blood-stained, eternal memorial to their slaughter? Why can't their murder be solved the same as it has been for Derrion Albert? Why can't they get the same type of press and response from the community as did Natasha Howliet - the young mother shot and killed at a West Side bus stop two weeks ago? Many in the community gave information to the police, helping to identify the two persons charged in her death. Can we get some similar people to come forward and tell the police who's responsible for killing Tyrone and Percy?

If burying a single member of a family is tragic, imagine the pain of having to hold two funerals at the same time and on the same day for the senseless murders.

We as a community, and as a society, need to take a stand against all the negative forces preventing our young people from attaining their dreams. Those forces are the ones that continue to wreck havoc in our neighborhoods. And far too often, they are the criminal members of our own families. We tolerate them, ignore them and, at times, encourage them to continue to do what they do.

So here's the same advice to you that my mother gave to all her children - participate in criminal activity and she would always know where to find us on visiting day.

And we will continue to talk about these murders every Sunday night on WRLL 1450 AM radio from 10 p.m. until midnight on the Garfield Majors Show until their killers are found.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Police on Wednesday arrested 33-year-old twins in the death of a young mother gunned down as she waited for a bus on the Near West Side last week.

Keith and Kelly Pearson, identified as street gang members, each was charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 7 death of Natasha Howliet, a 20-year-old mother of three.

Twin brothers Kelly (left) and Keith Pearson have been charged in the Oct. 7 fatal shooting of Natasha Howliet near a West Side bus stop.

The Pearsons were trying to shoot two members of a rival street gang who had approached Howliet, finding her attractive, police said. None of the men knew Howliet, who was waiting for a CTA bus at a shelter at Madison and Homan about 10 p.m.

The two gangs are fighting over illegal drug sales turf, police said.

The Pearsons are accused of spotting their rivals and approaching the corner in a car. Kelly Pearson, currently on parole, drove, while Keith Pearson allegedly fired off five to seven shots, police said.

Howliet died of a gunshot to the back.

Surveillance tape helped in the investigation, but the bulk of information leading to the arrest of the twins came from eyewitnesses, police said.

The shooting incensed community members.

"She's doing nothing other than waiting for a bus on the street, and is gunned down," said Anthony Riccio, commander of the Area 4 detective division. "This wasn't your typical gang violence."

The round-the-clock investigation involved at least a dozen detectives, police officers and police gang unit members.

"We wanted to bring it to a quick resolution and restore the feeling of safety to the community," Riccio said.

Both Pearsons expressed remorse in confessing to the shooting, he said.

"They apologized and expressed remorse over the fact that they killed an innocent woman," he said.

Keith Pearson, of the 2900 block of West Harrison, is a self-admitted member of the Vice Lords gang, police said. Kelly Pearson lives in the 1400 block of North Ridgeway.

IOC Decision Was Fair!

Two weeks ago when the International Olympic Committee announced that Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting, I’m sure my jumping up and down doing the happy dance must have registered on the Richter scale. Yes, I was one of those people who prayed that Brazil got the games and was elated when my prayers were answered.
And, although I do recognize what getting the games would have done for Chicago, if history is the guide by which we judge the future, the only opportunity I saw for the majority of the black community was for us to reap displacement and all of Chicago to get to pay for the inevitable costly overruns.

Brazil was on its third go around to try to impress the IOC and garner the games. And the IOC in turn did something that shocked only the Chicago 2016 committee. Even after the Chicago 2016 team showed up with their heavy hitting trio of Oprah, Barack and Michelle Obama, the IOC chose Rio over Chicago. The entire IOC took a look at what Chicago claimed to offer and in a stance almost as brazen as when Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie” during President Obama’s speech, the IOC basically did the same thing to Chicago by eliminating us during the first round of voting. The IOC, which has to answer to the entire world, also reintroduced something to the Chicago 2016 committee that many of them have obviously forgotten since early childhood— and that is fairness.

Now most of learned to play fair when we were young children. By the time we were in kindergarten, whether it was under the guidance of an adult or even just amongst ourselves, we learned that in playing we always had to let everyone get their turn. And Rio understood that concept extremely well. When given the chance to make their final plea for the games, they played the “continent card” and used that line to argue that the games had never been held anywhere in South America. How do you argue against that fact when the first word in the Olympic Committee name is “International”? To put it another way, it’s like a huge family where everyone takes turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner at different houses every year. When one of the family members complains that the dinner has never been held at their house, a real family acquiesces and admits that fairness dictates that the dinner should be held at that family member’s home. Even if that home is a shack as compared to the mansions that many others in the family own.

The murder of Derrion Albert also didn’t help to garner Chicago the votes needed to win the Olympic bid. Yes, Rio de Janeiro has crime and a murder rate that is hundreds of times worst than Chicago. But there also wasn’t a current YouTube video circulating to the entire world of any of Rio’s murders. Reading about crime statistics is a whole lot different than turning on your TV or computer and seeing it replayed constantly over and over again. And although the Roseland community wasn’t on the radar for any of the locations where the Olympics games would have been held on the South Side, the sight of angry and brutal young males bashing a 2 x 4 against another boy’s head is not the Olympic sport that anyone wanted to see.

I wonder though, had there been a video showing a similar incident in Brazil, would their mayor have played it off by blaming it on a “culture of violence?” Initially I was insulted when he made that comment because I have watched the Derrion Albert murder tape a number of times and the melee I saw wasn’t just a free for all, but a calculated attack of one group of kids against another. But then I recalled that the mayor’s son Patrick back in 1992 participated in a similar attack at their summer home that left a boy, Andrew Buckman in the hospital with a life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage and the mayor’s father played a role as part of the Hamburg Boys who have been documented as being a part of the race riots in Chicago in 1919. So the mayor speaks from first hand knowledge seeing that in his own family there is a unique history that also includes a “culture of violence.”

Chicago has stagnated for the last three years as the mayor put all of his eggs into the Olympic 2016 basket. Now that the Olympics won’t be here, what are his plans to deal with a budget shortfall of 520 million dollars? Drive through the local business districts here on the West Side and wonder why the mayor always find millions for businesses that move downtown, but our areas are left to fend for themselves. Those TIF dollars are taxpayers monies and not a piggy bank that he can use to fund his whims while our part of town sees only taxes and no a dime in investments. Why are streets that flow from Austin east into the downtown areas full of potholes on our part of town but look like airplane runways as soon as they are out of the black community? Renaissance 2010 is less than three months away and all we are seeing are failures of neighborhood schools while CPS experiments on our children and their education and we sit back and tolerate it. And although I don’t always agree with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., it was an absolute insult that he wasn’t allowed into the meeting that Daley held with the Obama representatives.

We may have lost the international Olympics for the summer of 2016, but we still have the opportunity to participate in our own version of the Olympics come February, 2011. That is on election day when every Chicagoan can sled, ski, shovel, ice skate, slip, slide and even bike ride to the polls and cast our vote for the gold medal winner— a new mayor.

This Sunday, I will be a guest on the Garfield Majors show, “Talking To The People” on WRLL 1450 AM from ten until midnight. I will interview the grandmother/aunt of Percy Day and Tyrone Williams, the two West Side honor students who were killed on the front porch of their home in the 3700 block of west Polk Street.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


There is a rumor going around the westside that gang members are having an initition period that includes them killing 141 or 144 women? People have been getting textes about this and others have just been talking. Respond and let me know what you know.

Boy burned in attack will spend months in Miami hospital, doctor says



Michael Brewer, the 15-year-old Deerfield Beach boy who on Monday was doused in rubbing alcohol and set ablaze, will remain hospitalized for months at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, where doctors said Wednesday that the boy's face and hands were spared serious damage.
Speaking to reporters, Dr. Nicholas Namias, director of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center, said the burns scorched 65 percent of Michael's body and that jumping into the pool following the attack may have helped save his life.

Doctors were hopeful of Michael's recovery, but said the next few days would be critical because of the severity of the burns, Namias said.

``Resuscitation is going as well as can be hoped for, but it would not be fair to say everything is OK,'' Namias said. ``This is a terrible, terrible thing that will change his life forever.''

Namias, who has worked with burn victims at Ryder since 1998, said he had never treated such severe burns on a person so young in age.

He said Michael is heavily bandaged and will stay in the intensive care unit for months.

Charged in the attack are five teens who attend Deerfield Beach Middle School. All lived within a few miles of each other, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Those charged with aggravated battery were Matthew Bent, 15; Denver Colorado Jarvis, 15; his brother Jeremy Jarvis, 13; Steven Shelton, 15; and Jesus Mendez, 15.

The boy accused of lighting the fire -- Mendez -- also is charged with second-degree attempted murder.

All five have been ordered to juvenile detention pending their next court hearing.

The attack happened Monday afternoon outside an apartment building in Deerfield Beach.

The motive for the attack: payback over money Michael owed for a video game and the thwarted theft of Michael's father's bike, according to BSO officials.

``In my 31 years, you always say, `It's the most heinous crime I've seen,' '' Sheriff Al Lamberti said. ``In this case, this one fits in that category.''

Mother, son charged in Detroit rec center slaying



A mother and her 15-year-old son were charged with murder today after prosecutors say the teen shot a bystander at a Detroit recreation center Thursday with a gun he got from his mother.

“I’ve seen situations like this before, but not quite this blatant,” Prosecutor Kym Worthy said today, announcing the charges against Tarranisha Davis, 35, and her son, Tremaine Davis, 15, both of Detroit. “I don’t know how we can expect our youth to stay out of violent crime if we have their parents assisting them in that endeavor.”

Investigators say Tremaine Davis was involved in an argument earlier Thursday at the Considine Little Rock Family Center at 8904 Woodward Ave. Terranisha Davis, who had been at a gas station across the street, drove over to the center and popped the latch on the hood of her van so Tremaine Davis could retrieve a gun hidden inside, Worthy said.

Standing silently in 36th District Court at his arraignment this afternoon, Tremaine Davis was remanded to custody without bail pending a hearing Nov. 6.

“The evidence in this case will show you cannot unlatch the hood unless it is unlatched from the inside" of the van, Worthy said.

The teen then sent four bullets from the .32 revolver flying outside the center at 3:40 p.m. Dmitri Jackson, 19, an innocent bystander there to play basketball, died from a shot to the head.

After the shooting, Tarranisha Davis drove her son from the scene, but both were arrested several blocks away by Detroit police. The weapon has been recovered.

Each has been charged with first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole. Tarranisha Davis’ arraignment did not take place as previously scheduled at 5 p.m. today in 36th District Court.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Black fiction spans entire Diaspora

When a person decides to take pen to paper to write a book, it is a major undertaking. Writing and getting my first book, Billion Dollar Winner, both finished and published was no easy task. Even writing this column is not a simple feat. Fifty-two times a year, I have to write something that people will read and either agree or disagree with me.

I became an avid reader as a young child. I can still remember checking out the maximum number of books from the library and trudging home with them. I read books that took me to places that I had never been to and allowed my imagination to run wild.

I can still remember being in high school and asking a white teacher about finding a black author other than James Baldwin to read, and he told me they didn't exist. I don't think he said it out of malice, but more because he was as ignorant of the subject as I. Thankfully, as I got older, I learned there were other authors, and I still covet books that are written about the black experience.

In the course of writing my own book, I have come across a number of published and aspiring. If you are still one of the people who erroneously believe that black people don't like to read, well the Chicago Read-In held Saturday would have dispelled that notion. There wasn't an empty seat in the auditorium; seeing so many people of all ages come out to enjoy the entire program was fantastic.

I want to share with you two books that I have read this past summer that you might enjoy. The first is The Awakening of Khufu by Les Lester, published by Kanefer Books. The premise of the book is fascinating. Professor James Hannibal III is a research scientist who works with DNA. While many of his peers spent their college years being black activists, he focused on becoming a geneticist.

Years later, he is being feted for his accomplishments in the field of DNA sequencing and memory prints. His accomplishments not only bring him accolades in the scientific community, but attract the attention of the government of Egypt, which approaches him with the most fascinating of all offers. They will provide him with a fully staffed laboratory and a single cell from Pharaoh Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza, in order to bring him back to life in the 21st century.

I found the book fascinating for a variety of reasons. First, I enjoy reading any book where the characters are black, but not stuck in the baby-mama-drama or in-between-the-sheets melodrama. I want to read about black people doing anything other than drugs, gang-banging or any of the other negative stereotypical behavior that has become far too often the basis of black literature.

This book also has a Chicago connection. The main character lives here. It is strangely very satisfying to be able to read books about streets and neighborhoods that I am familiar with and to picture them in my mind as I read.

It makes me want to go to Chicago State University and see if Professor Hannibal is really there, making scientific discoveries. It was also interesting to imagine what today's world would look like to an Egyptian pharaoh brought back to life, seeing all of our modern technology. The pyramids represented the best that society had to offer, so to imagine the main character flying in a plane or talking on a cellphone is mind-boggling.

The second book I enjoyed this summer is of a completely different genre - Whose Man Is This by Pastor Kathy A.E. Jones (no relation) and published by KAJ DJ Publishing. The book is a source of inspiration and includes guidelines to help women find the man of their dreams using biblical scriptures and principals.

As a single woman, I am looking to meet the man God wants me to spend the rest of my life with. Pastor Jones' book gives excellent advice as well as references to scripture to embrace as I continue on that journey.

Finally, my book, Billion Dollar Winner, tells the story of a Chicagoan, West Sider and community activist who was the biggest protestor against the lottery games. The grand prize of a new lottery game, Lotto-50, grows to $1 billion. My main character comes to possess the winning ticket. All of Chicago gets upset when they find out it was she who won, but especially West Siders.

I will be doing another book signing on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Woodson Library, 95th and Halsted from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. I am planning several events on the West Side and will keep you informed via this column. If you want to reach me to get a copy of my book, or have me out to your group event, you reach me at 773-622-3863.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Myths about the Olympic games

Myths About Landing the Olympics

By Stefan Szymanski
Sunday, October 4, 2009

LONDON -- So you didn't get the Games, Chicago. Relax. It's not as tough a break as you think. We Londoners should know. Watching the festivities in Copenhagen on Friday, I couldn't help but recall the International Olympic Committee's announcement in Singapore in 2005 that, to the astonishment of the world, our city had beaten Paris for the 2012 Summer Games prize. Four years later, the Parisians have come to terms with their loss, while U.K. taxpayers have learned to curb their enthusiasm for an event that is currently estimated to cost $15 billion, though many expect that price tag to go even higher. For the triumphant Rio citizens, there are many lessons about the burdens of hosting that you will have to learn for yourselves, but here's a head start.

1. The Olympics will pay for themselves.

Nope, they never do. The Olympics have always needed a public subsidy, but in recent years the cost has ballooned as the number of cities vying for the big prize has grown. This is no coincidence. More competition means brasher promises and bigger purses. Representatives of national Olympic committees, governments and other interest groups are fond of saying that the revenues from ticketing, broadcast rights, sponsorship and merchandising will cover the operating costs. This leaves out the cost of the Olympic infrastructure -- the stadium, velodrome, aquatic center and the rest. London is building a 12,000-seat handball arena. Most Brits don't even know what handball is. Add to that all the transportation that has to be created or enhanced to get an estimated 250,000 fans into and out of the Olympic site quickly and safely. Operating costs are the tip; infrastructure is the iceberg. Moreover, much of this infrastructure has limited value after the Games and will never generate much income. In 2007 the U.K. government announced that the real cost of the Games would be closer to $15 billion than the $4 billion they had initially promised. Olympic accounting is shrouded in mystery, but since Los Angeles in 1984, there have been no cases where the Games can show a net profit.

2. Winning the Games means a gold rush of jobs for the host city.

The truth is that the local economy doesn't get much of a boost while those shiny new athletic venues are being built. Many of the jobs created are filled by specialists who come in from outside -- to construct a BMX bicycle track, it helps to have built one before -- and they take their pay home with them. To the extent that local labor is tapped, suppliers are taken away from other projects in the area, raising costs in the process. It would be nice to think you could create an Olympic city by hiring an army of the unemployed, but mega-projects like this do not work like that.

3. The Olympics will boost local tourism.

For most foreign visitors, attending the Olympics is a proposition that costs thousands of dollars. Demand is just not that great. True, many foreigners and Olympics die-hards will come, but far more of the attendees will be locals taking the chance of a lifetime. And of those who do travel from abroad, many will be what's known as "time-switchers": people who would have come anyway but plan their trip to coincide with the Games. Tourist arrivals usually fall after the Olympic circus leaves town. When Athens hosted in 2004, Greece didn't see visitor numbers recover to their pre-Games level until two years later.

4. Playing host to the Olympics changes the landscape of a city forever.

Maybe, but it's not a legacy worth much. Athens has struggled with unused venues; the Beijing Bird's Nest is mostly empty. London is building an 80,000-capacity Olympic stadium for 2012 only to strip it down to 25,000 seats immediately after the Games. Even Sydney, which staged one of the best Games of recent decades, has torn down a number of venues. In the end, the cost of maintaining unused buildings is so high that demolition is often the only sane option. The Olympic Village does have some value after the fact. London will be selling off around 4,000 Olympic properties at a price that will more or less cover their costs. But for the most part, the athletic venues and the new transportation systems don't reshape a host city for years to come. The infrastructure carries a construction premium -- facilities must be built to time (contractors ruthlessly exploit this) and to the IOC specifications, which many not be what the city needs.

5. The Olympics inspire greater participation in sports.

In recent years concern about the obesity crisis has offered another crutch to bid-city boosters: The Olympics will make us more active and therefore healthier. It's hard not to be skeptical, though, about claims by any organization whose major sponsors are Coca-Cola and McDonald's that what it does is good for your health. We admire Usain Bolt, but we are not likely to go to the track and start sprinting because of the records he's broken. And when did you last watch a bout of Greco-Roman wrestling and say to yourself, "I fancy a go at that"?

It is true that many Olympic athletes were inspired by watching the Games, but most of these people had athletic talent to begin with. For everyone else, the effect is more likely to go in the opposite direction -- the Olympics can reduce participation in sports. Public subsidies that might have gone into boosting local facilities are diverted to the Games. In the U.K., national lottery funds traditionally devoted to local investment in sports facilities have been committed to funding the Olympics over the next 10 years.

Maybe it's for the best, though, that the Games don't actually inspire a generation of Olympic hopefuls and host-city boosters. As public debt continues to mount, the cost-effectiveness of hosting the Games will come under increasing scrutiny, and by 2020 the IOC might be struggling to find credible bidders.

Stefan Szymanski is a professor of economics at the Cass Business School at City University London and the author, most recently, of "Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Feds Talking To The Ten!

City Hall late this afternoon released copies of defense subpoenas seeking the testimony of 10 aldermen in the case involving an indicted developer.

The subpoenas, issued by Calvin Boender's defense lawyer Joe Roddy, seek testimony of nine current aldermen—Ed Smith, 28th, Bernard Stone, 50th, Edward Burke, 14th, Walter Burnett, 27th, Emma Mitts, 37th, Ricardo Munoz, 22nd, Patrick O’Connor, 40th, Helen Shiller, 46th, Eugene Schulter, 47th—and former Ald. William Banks, 36th.
Roddy said the aldermen were subpoenaed because he believed they could provide evidence about the “consistently honorable course of conduct of Cal Boender.”

In May, a federal grand jury indicted Boender and Ald. Isaac Carothers, 29th, on charges stemming from Boender’s efforts to develop a 50-acre industrial site on the West Side. With Carothers’ support, Boender successfully rezoned the site in 2006, allowing construction of a residential and commercial development known as Galewood Yards.

Prosecutors allege that Carothers accepted $40,000 in home improvements and other gifts in support of zoning changes for Boender’s property. Boender was charged with one count of paying a bribe and four counts of wire and mail fraud. Boender and Carothers are scheduled to go on trial in March.

City Hall released copies of the subpoenas to the Tribune in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Karen M. Coppa, chief assistant corporation counsel, wrote: “It is important to note that these subpoenas in no way indicate that any of the recipients did anything improper or illegal in connection” with Boender.

Coppa noted that some aldermen were subpoenaed because they were members of the city’s zoning committee and voted on the Boender project.

“In other circumstances, it is not clear why specific aldermen were subpoenaed for testimony,” Coppa wrote.

The Tribune attempted to contact every alderman named in a subpoena after the city released the documents at the end of business hours on Friday.

Most of those reached said they didn’t know Boender or remember his Galewood project coming before their committee.

“I have no idea of who he is,” Stone said of Boender. “I have no recollection of the (zoning) case. I don’t even know if I was there when the case was heard.”

“I heard the talk about it, but I haven’t received one yet,” said Mitts, who has been a political ally of Carothers. “I’m not sure what’s going on there.”

Mitts noted that the project at the center of Carothers’ indictment also spills into her ward. “I had to approve it for it to go through council,” she said, adding that Boender never made any inappropriate offers to her.

Our Lost Olympic Bid

There are no tears streaming down my face from this. In truth, I woke up this morning feeling like President Obama being summoned to Copenhagen only to find out that his appearance didn't really change the minds of the IOC was just a ploy to embarass him and have him taken down a notch on the world's stage . Yes he was in a catch-22 dilemma. The first American president to appear before the IOC and now the first president to be ignored by the IOC.

For years, the city has ignored the South and West Sides of Chicago with the total emphasis being on downtown and the Near North Side. Even the new children's museum overlooked a site on the south side so as to place it in Grant Park.

Don't forget that this is the same city that refuses to put a damn Wal Mart on the south side. Can you imagine the Olympics in town and they couldn't even find a Wal-Mar south of Division and north of 95th street.

Come February, 2011 I urge all of Chicagoans to have an OLYMPIC EVENT by running, walking, slipping, sliding, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating and whatever else is needed and get to the polls and vote for a new mayor.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

No One To Blame But Ourselves

A while back, I met a young lady who was probably in her early twenties. She told me she enjoyed reading my columns and that she had noticed that the tenor of my columns has been changing. My columns sounded angrier. And guess what? She's right!

I'm 55 years old now. I am no longer living my life to grow up. I am fully grown and now am living my life with the expectation of death as my final frontier. I don't fear death, nor do I live my life scared of it. It is the finale we will all take after, hopefully, living a long, healthy and prosperous life.

Now I also believe that the date of our death has been etched in our soul by God on the day we were born. Some of us will get to live long lives while others will live short ones. The only guarantee that God gives us in living is the last breath we take and not the manner in which we take it.

That is the reason why when people survive events that should have killed them; we quickly acknowledge that it wasn't their time or place.

The recent tragic murder of Derrion Albert, the honor student from Fenger High School has put a worldwide spotlight on his timely death. He died at his appointed hour, but the manner in which it came has been forever etched in our consciousness because of the home video someone took of the incident.

To the mother of Derrion Albert, I say take a page from Mamie Till Mobley and demand that the videotape is shown unedited and un-blurred. Demand as Mrs. Mobley did that the entire world takes a look at what this city and its political, social and parental indifferences have done to your child.

I started with political, because we live in a society where the rules are made by politicians who govern almost every aspect of our lives. From the birth certificate that we are given on the day we are born to the schools we attend to our final mandated-by-politicians death certificate, politics is at the very center of our life.

And if we don't elect and then place demands on those we put into office, then we all suffer the consequences. Derrion's death highlights what an uncaring and unconcerned political environment can allow to happen.

A high school where learning should be the culture is allowed to denigrate into a location best known for massive group fights, and those fights are subsequently tolerated because it is "just them" killing and injuring each other.

A side note, but one that has been nagging at me, is how did we go from the school boycott a year ago to not a peep about anything this year? The answer is politics and politicians playing us for fools.

Next is the social system that we as black people have morphed into. I cannot use the word "evolve," because evolution takes time. What we are experiencing as a black community is a sudden change to our entire way of being since we arrived in this country.

We have bought into the bamboozlement and are quite willing to toss aside a lot of the moral, cultural and time-honored beliefs that allowed us as a people to persevere through slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement. We have arrived near the mountaintop and are confused about what to do now that we are there.

We have raised a generation of children who have listened to adults emphatically always speaking about "getting their gun and doing this or that," and now we are shocked when our young people actually do it.

We have also chosen to not deal with the problem of gun violence in a realistic fashion, bypassing the fix by longing for the days when kids fought with their fists and feet.

Well folks, Derrion didn't die of a gun shot wound. He died because of fists, feet and a 2-by-4. The tape of Derrion's murder is proof positive for the entire world to see that far too many of us have allowed some of our children to become the embodiment of every atrocity that was ever heaped upon us.

Anyone who watches and listens to just the words uttered on the tape of Derrion's murder would be hard pressed not to believe it wasn't a racist lynch mob in the early 1920s.

From the young woman in the car who urges the videotaper to "zoom in" to the constant repetitions of "damn" by the man shooting the tape of the slaughter to finally the voice of some male shouting, "Put that nigger to sleep!" we have become the embodiment of the racist in our treatment towards each other.

Next, we cannot overlook the parental influence or lack thereof in raising young men and women who did what we saw on that videotape. If parents would put as much effort into raising, nurturing, educating and demonstrating proper social behavior to their children as they do in naming them, then we wouldn't have four young males, to date, being charged with murder.

I am sick of relatives who cannot look at the videotape, but proclaim their child's innocence. I am sick of females standing alone defending their sons while the male sperm donors get a pass. We have allowed any female raising a child by themselves to be bestowed with a title of honor of "single mother" while forgetting that it takes more than birthing to be a mother. Rearing a child successfully to adulthood is a job and not something done in between hair and nail appointments. When you fail as a parent, you have failed in life.

Lastly, one of the biggest topics regarding this murder has been the "snitch" debate. Well here's my take: the videotaper was the best snitch in town.