On Chicagosphere I asked whether the Chicago Sun-Times union truly understands the endgame faced by their paper and journalism in general, calling out the Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner along the way for suggesting that columnists be forced to ditch commentary in favor of strict news analysis. There’s nothing I find more tiresome than yet another reporter throwing the rest of the world under the bus for the failings of their own field.
Yesterday’s post on alleged gang violence during Chicago’s Independence Eve fireworks generated a lot of local attention and concern. That post compared official reports of a relatively ‘peaceful’ July 3rd fireworks display with reports from the blog, Second City Cop, and several Twitter members indicating a sizable gang presence, multiple gang-related fights, numerous guns recovered, and a potential shooting in the vicinity of Buckingham Fountain. Here’s how you can help get to the bottom of things.
For the second time in two years, Chicago’s Independence Eve fireworks started early. Last year’s reason? Gang violence, including four shootings–one fatal–after the display, that marred the evening and marked a controversial start for then-new Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis. This year, Chicago police brass reported gang activity yet again, in and adjacent to the Taste of Chicago grounds both before and after the show. Trouble is, the blogosphere is reporting a lot more violence–including potentially another shooting–than can be found in the city’s official version of events.
On the very snowy evening of Tuesday, December 9th, the Chicago Coalition for the Coalition invited me to tag along on a field-monitoring mission to see whether and how the CTA’s new homeless-ejection policy was being put into practice at rail terminals throughout the system.
CTA President Ron Huberman calls new signage barring ‘continuous riding’ through ‘L’ terminals part of an overall ‘sign upgrade’ at stations. But what about the health and safety of homeless people ejected from the rail system into frigid Chicago winters?
Homeless advocates believe CTA’s ‘no continuous riding’ signs are aimed directly at homeless riders, who take to the ‘L’ in droves during frigid Chicago winters in order find overnight warmth. However, today a CTA spokesperson labeled all rush-hour riders who take ‘L’ trains back to terminals in order to find seats for their morning trips downtown are violating the rule. Seriously?
‘They should take those signs down and find a way to take care of people, not punish people. These are people who are cold, these are people who are poor, these are people who are suffering already. Why slap them in the face?’
Today, interested readers can listen to my interview about the Chicago Transit Authority’s ill-considered holiday crackdown on homeless ‘L’ riders on WLUW 88.7-FM’s independent weekly news and features show, Outside the Loop RADIO.
Yesterday, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless announced on its blog that the organization will ‘track any efforts to crack down on homeless people riding the CTA.’ The statement highlighted and was in direct response to my recent opinion pieces here and on Huffington Post Chicago decrying recently installed Chicago Transit Authority signage barring ‘continuous riding’ that the agency appears intent on applying only to homeless riders.
No, the Chicago Transit Authority has not yet budged from its thinly veiled discriminatory policy of throwing homeless people out of the ‘L’ system at terminals. Over the weekend in these pages and on my Huffington Post Chicago byline I posted a series of questions about the policy that I had submitted to CTA’s media relations department along with the seriously spin-meistered answers that I received back. Yesterday, those posts unexpectedly made waves locally and nationally.