Chicago says "No Games!"
No Games Chicago Update
5 Days To Decision
Daily News

September 26, 2009
The People Speak

Olympics or Human Life?

Corey McClaurin and Corey Harris have been gunned down, but the Olympics still gets the top story. Human life is just a sidebar and 2016 is more important than the senior classes of Simeon Career Academy and Dyett High School. No Games Chicago may be upset that taxpayers may be on the hook for huge costs, but I'm more concerned with Chicagoans staying alive.

The mayor wants this more than your first kiss from your high school crush. He salivates for the 5 rings that would blanket the city. He lusts after Olympic villages and Stadiums - while not giving a hoot about a safe city. Is it because the ones getting shot aren't well-to-do? Wrong side of town? Does Daley think that this is natural selection? I'm for the Olympics - in a safe city with jobs, and thriving south and west sides. But why should we put all of the energy into the Olympics? Where are the additional officers on the streets?
Where are the high quality teachers throughout CPS?
When was the last time Mayor Daley focused on the worse parts of the city? 

City Hall has placed more importance on games than lives. Jane Byrne spent a day in Cabrini Green. I can't roll with an Olympics if Daley won't spend a day in the "Wild Hunnids."

We're just a few days from a decision. I'm praying fo Chicago, but I want high school students to live.

Television commentator Garrard McClendonCommentary for September 22, 2009

Daley approval rating at 35%

Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:

We expect you've been hearing about how diverse our city is and what a boon the games would be for the various neighborhoods who have suffered from lack of investment and few opportunities.

Several prominent African-American journalists are troubled by the zeal and immense concentration of public and private resources marshaled on behalf of the bid. Mary Mitchell, a member of the Editorial Board at the Chicago Sun-Times, writes "To those of us who live in the real world, the push for the Olympics has been a bit hard to swallow.
Just about every day, another child gets wounded or is murdered in our city."

City's troubles take back seat to Games bid
If only our have-nots drew same level of attention . . .

Mary Mitchell - Sun-Times Columnist- September 24, 2009

Only eight days left, and Mayor Daley will know whether or not he will get his way.

Forget Rio.

My money is on Daley.

When Daley decides to do something, it gets done: Millennium Park, Meigs Field, O'Hare expansion, the takeover of the Chicago Public Schools, and the dismantling of the CHA.

Daley's quest for the 2016 Olympics has been a demonstration of his great ability.

At a time when the lines stretch around the block at places that take care of the out-of-work and indigent, aldermen voted 49-0 to give Daley a blank check putting taxpayers on the hook for any uninsured losses.

At a time when a lot of Chicagoans are facing homelessness because of foreclosures, Daley is assuring taxpayers that only an "earthquake or a tornado" would put them on the hook for any losses.

And at a time when the cries of frustrated community activists are falling on deaf ears at the White House, Daley and his Olympic team have the star-power of first lady Michelle Obama, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Oprah Winfrey.

Indeed, the "We Back the Bid" campaign is a reminder of why we need muckety-mucks.

Only the well-heeled business owners who live in a different Chicago could pull something like this off.

They are the only folks who still can afford to hop a flight and pay thousands of dollars for Chicago 2016 land packages just so they can witness the yea or nay.
As they say, money attracts money.

Bid backers are going to Copenhagen waving that big ol' blank check and parading some of the city's most prominent citizens before an international committee of snobs with the hope of scoring a world-class party.
I'm not hating. I am just saying.

Olympic bid vs. dying kids

To those of us who live in the real world, the push for the Olympics has been a bit hard to swallow.

Just about every day, another child gets wounded or is murdered in our city.

Last Saturday, it was Corey McClaurin, a 17-year-old senior who was shot as he sat in his car parked around the corner from his home.

Usually, you hear about something like this happening well after the witching hour.

But it was 7 p.m. -- still daylight -- when McClaurin was killed. The shooter pulled up in a "dark blue or black minivan," fired a round of shots, and hopped back in the van.

Family and friends of the victim can think of no motive for the shooting.

"It's not gang-related. It's not drug-related. This was a great kid," a neighbor said.

During the 2008-2009 school year, 34 Chicago Public Schools students were killed, and 290 were shot. Another 108 students were wounded over the summer. So far this school year, seven students have been shot, and two have been fatally wounded.

Corey Harris, a 17-year-old junior at Dyett High School, was killed by a Chicago Police officer who claimed the teen aimed a gun at the officer.

Help for youth better late than never

I'm cynical enough to think that an anti-violence plan recently launched by schools chief Ron Huberman was done, in part, to mute criticism the mayor has faced for not putting the same effort into saving the city's children as he has put into securing the Olympics.

Even so, I'm still grateful.

Huberman has identified 38 schools that have the most youth who could be exposed to gang violence. About 200 students are targeted for intervention that includes intensive counseling and a job.

The Youth Advocacy Program will cost about $5 million.
"We are trying to find out why this violence is happening," said Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Schools.

"We can't prevent every student from becoming a victim, but we can certainly try to start somewhere. We can't ignore it" she said.

There is no question that the root of the violence that takes place routinely in Chicago's neighborhoods is complex. But we know a great deal of the violence is gang- and drug-related or associated with the breakdown of family structures.

I wish the Olympics 2016 Committee a victory in Copenhagen.

I only wish the mayor and his team had the same level of commitment to stop the city's bloodshed as they do for bringing home the Games.