Sunday, March 25, 2007

2016 Olympics and other Ancient International Chicago Events

A few Chicagoans are so willing to forget our "We Will for Chicago" mentality. Even our Aldermen, like British Counterparts, think that compensation, nepotism, and patronage is the way to bring our natives up to political par. Many of our immigrants and Jewish Natives can stake a claim to reparations, as well, for the bigotry experienced from shortsighted nativists. Jews were barred from U.S. hotels and also had their businesses forfeited on account of their faith. Compensation for wrongs committed over a century ago is a vicious circle with no end; a pessimists' paradise. It is a "look back," not look forward philosophy to grab guilt when you can find it and twist it dry until he or she bleeds gelt. What Chicago needs is an attention span, education, jobs, and optimism.

Chicago has quite a bit of this, but sometimes it gets challenged on both the north and south sides. European pessimism, East Coast anxiety, and 'Rap-o-rea' can make for quite a bit of stagnation. Rap often, not always, has more to do with pessimism, then optimism. I know that money is made screaching at 'young folks' who look for any excuse not to do their homework. Those of us who have roots in Rogers Park have families with memories of the "1933 Century of Progress" or "1896 Colombian Exposition." Many of us think that an Olympics can economically and physically revitalize our city that once had a bigger place on the world stage.

In an era where Chicagoans want trade jobs, certain unprecedented and historic events make a difference. It is a 'what can we do if we work together' mentality that can bring years of growth. It is true that big ticket events often focus upon a particular group, like atheletes, for a limited time. Yet, Chicago has 'never' seen an Olympics in its backyard. The event has been around for over a hundred years and no one until now has remembered the positive impact both the Colombian and Century had on our Recreation areas, let alone the Chicago psyche.
There is this sense, among some, that African Americans will be plowed down, among others, by the Olympic experience. Frankly, Jewish runners were pulled out of the Olympics for political reasons in Nazi Germany, not Jesse Owens. Americans, like Avery Brundage, did not want to embarrass Hitler. Perhaps, Chicago can also take the lead and twin the quintuple rings with some sortof exposition for all the non-jocks, among others in need. Yet, I think that some fear costs and security risks over progress.

If the South side is ever going to integrate, then making Douglas and Washington Parks the jewels that they once were will make a difference. Chicago needs a coordinated effort to attract the Olympics or a Fair. In our era, World Fairs are becoming less than economically feasible; many of us wonder why? Perhaps, there is justification or just the desire to spend without accountability. We are repeatedly overwhelmed and challenged by Atlanta, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
There is no doubt that Los Angeles has 'la la la-ed' all the way to the bank at Chicago's expense. It managed to suck up our Chicago movie industry with its then cheaper production costs and arguable year round production options. It repeatedly beats out Chicago and other International Cities for the Olympics numerous times. Even Atlanta beat out Chicago with the help of the influx that came in following the Ted Turner innundation. Strangely, even Mexico City and Sidney had more interest and secured the Games.

For those of us who are fearful of deficits, some believe that there is more that we stand to benefit from. When the White Sox won, some made significant money in this metropolitan area and it also made us proud, as well. Yet, Chicago has a formidable competition for the five brass rings from abroad. Chicago has those who have a vision. Chicago has a tremendous lake front. Yes, the Games costs and there are other significant priorities, but the optimism that goes into such a conquest can be turned around and placed into other City needs, as well. Perhaps, the Olympic bid is a start. If it happens, some will think that with a little push, they can get other things done, as well.
There is a lot of underdevelopment on Chicago's South side and Lakefront, among other places. The 2016 Olympics are worth going after, even if some will claim that we should have loftier goals. Homes are rented and neighborhoods cleaned up. The challenge is that we need to get attention on Chicago. However, the same efforts in securing an Olympic berth should also be undertaken to get educational needs fufilled for our residents, with a better return on investment. Where is Oprah when we need her to persist in her push for education. I feel that we have 'forgotten education,' but fixate on "The Secret."

This is not meant to be a cheerleading gimic for the Games. It is meant to demonstrate that if we want opportunities, Chicagoans cannot do it from a seated position unless they are producing a plan on their computers or in negotiations. Events attract investment, development, opportunity, and most of all optimism.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Immigrants, the Pathway, and Rogers Park

Our community is diverse, in part, because it remains tolerant. It is also affordable and relatively safe in an era when more and more are getting pressured to move. The diversity in Rogers Park is both a strength and a weakness. We need to give those who entered without inspection and those who overstayed a chance to finally live a normal life. This means that we need to join them in letting Congress in D.C. know what it means to live without legal status.

Most earn more than the wages in their nation. Yet, their employers are often a curse and a cure. The employers need employees. Many local unskilled Citizens and permanent residents do not have the persistence to see a job through to the point that training is accomplished. Who do these 'so-called' unscrupulous employers turn to? They turn to the people in the community, many of whom need a job to support their family and sustain themselves. Papers be damned, these folks take risks and our Government seems to have trouble consistently enforcing the law. Inconsistent is what puts these folks in fear and often foreigners and employers simply forget that what they are doing may be criminal. Yet, somehow they don't seem to appreciate the power that the Government has post 1986 to close their operations.

For those who recall the Simpson Mazzola Act, those who lived here since 1981 were given a chance to prove it, among other qualifications. These unlawfuls, some who also overstayed visas, were allowed to file for relief with a series of disqualifications. This meant that those who were convicted of three misdemeanors need not apply. Those who were J-1 visa holders subject to a two year residence bar did not qualify for legalization. Those who committed fraud were subject to provisions that allowed them to petition for an exception; this does not mean that these candidates received a greencard (permanent resident status). What these folks received, if denied, was a sealed file. That is, if they tried to apply for legalization and failed, they could not be deported for their efforts to come out from the woodwork.

The Act which became known to the Immigration Bar as "IRCA" also contained a rather lame series of enforcement provisions. I say lame, not because they could be enforced, but lame because no enforcement agency or Congress in its right mind would be willing to become the Elliot Ness of deporting aliens and thwarting economic growth. IRCA came without a reasonable means to secure affordable workers. This meant that the economy would continue to rely on unlawful workers, even if employers had to fill out forms to confirm that employees were eligible to work. These 1986 laws were unfunded mandates.

The funds needed to adjudicate all of the legalization applications took a heavy toll on the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The application backlogs from this process made routine marriage petitions and adjustments an ordeal that could last well over a year, often two. Although, the fall out really took place in the nineties, many applicants later used a penalty clause that allowed them to pay a $500 to $1000 penalty, so that their spouses and parents could remain in the U.S. to process.

The backlogs, combined with the loss of many service and unskilled positions to other nations led to economic turmoil. Many Americans who relied upon long term unskilled positions or overseers of the unskilled watched as those assembly positions left the U.S. and Chicago for that matter. The workers were not their. The concern over labor and immigration laws made it easier to send those jobs overseas to India, Malaysia and other nations. The professional and skilled postions remained to some extent. The era of the multinational has created the sucking sound out of the U.S. heard all over the world. Such a vacuum has meant that the technical support haven is becoming more and more part of the fabric of India. If we cannot bring in talented workers quick enough, the jobs go out. Multi-national corporations have that option.

Those affected sometimes blamed those Mexicans who entered without visas. Often, those people were simply reacting to the challenges facing the unskilled, as well. These foreign workers had no means of securing unskilled work visas, because the red tape involved for an employer to secure the visas made it too costly. Often, those who secured visas went to non-attorneys, who may have misrepresented the actual intentions of the employers. The so-called consultants were given free reign to work, because the Department of Homeland Security did not have the funds to verify fraud, nor the resources to close down these operations. Often, where there are false promises, there is victimization, as well. Once the operation appeared questionable, visas were denied, and applicants not only lose their money, but their means to a visa.

In the end, we have an immigration and visa system on the verge of complete meltdown. A system that wants to create more oppressive laws, rather than create a manageable skill set for law enforcement to impose upon the community. The need for repeal, not enactment is just as important as a legalization.
There are many millions who live in our neighborhoods and in the suburbs, who have yet to secure permanent resident status. The Government has a system that cannot meaningfully enforce, because too much is needed to make the system work. Such costs would eliminate our nations true needs (as if, we already struggle with that concept). It is not that Government gives up; it is that there is a need for the community to appreciate priorities.

Advocates for deporting all unlawful immigrants cannot justify the enormous cost to do so. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has too big a job simply removing all of those foreigners who perpetually return after they have been deported. The repeated work on the same subjects is mentally debilitating. Most have U.S. Families and simply want to remain unified. The desire to move forward and deal with the most severe offenders cannot be undertaken if we try to deport every civil immigration offender in our communities. Something has to give.

Last years "Pathway" to Citizenship was a lame Bipartisan attempt to apease the anti-immigration lobby. It creates a ten year near indentured servitude on those who want permanent resident status. We need more like a "highway" to Citizenship! That is, one that works like Legalization, but has the funds to disqualify those who must be disqualified as matter of law. Unlike its twin sister of the 80's, this highway needs a staff willing to say no, when the evidence just 'does not cut the mustard.'

Dedicated Immigration Attorneys and community immigration advocates simply want a program. Anti-Immigration advocates who want zero immigration are simply ignoring what is happening in spite of the insufficient money being poured into border fencing and space age technology. No amount of innovation will beat down the human spirit. Many of us don't want a hypocritical system is significant inconsistency. We want to represent that our laws are fair, yet realistic to be meaningfully enforced. We cannot afford to continue to deport the spouses of Citizens for the sake of "I told you so" mentalities. A better way to deal with our moral frustration with the violators of civil immigration laws is to consider our options, as well.

If some truly think that it is not worth living in this nation of immigrants, then we have the right to consider residence in Geneva, Germany, Guayana, or any other place willing to ignore our presence. Most nations will accept Americans with open arms. Our dollars keep their economies going. Also, some Americans have made a go in Mexico, among other places. However, if we expect other nations to change their immigration laws and improve their economies that discourages emigration, then we need to put pressure upon them from within.

The emigration of some American Farmers to South and Central America makes quite a bit of sense. Yet, the concern that de-forestation can impact the vast potential of the natural beauty of those nations is of equal concern. I wish that more Americans will use the values learned and try to preserve all that which is good in other nations, where they no longer feel comfortable in our nation of immigrants.
It is written "You shall not wrong a stranger (ger) or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:20). In addition, it is also written "You know the mind of a stranger [for you were strangers in the land of Egypt], " which is added (23:9). Most U.S. Citizens are the benefactors of our immigrant ancestors, many of whom first tolled as strangers in America. A vicious circle can end simply be recognizing the limitations our nation and the reasonable needs of others, many of whom did not have a choice when they entered as children.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Earth to Joe Mo[o]re's Intern - Learn to Spell!

For all of those, who appreciate employees who can spell, Alderman Joseph Mo[o]re has demonstrated that spelling is no pre-requesite, even when you cannot spell the bosses name. Check this blog out and I quote:

Aldermans Intern
Simple thoughts from a simple girl. This is an election year in Chicago and I am going to help re-elect my own neighborhood Hero - Joe More.

I cannot make up this material, but competence need not be an objective, when you have someone working for you for free. Of course, Joe, you get, what you paid for or did not pay for, perhaps!
I hope that this simple girl watches her t's and a's. The letters of course. Perhaps, Joe can subsidize better spelling courses at Gale and Jordan, among other local educational haunts. Boo!
Nevertheless, I am going to guess that this website is a spoof, so now that we have had our fun with Bufalo-ed Joe, and his dedicated staff, it is best to move on. For those of us who know, some of the staffers have a mind of their own, thank the L*rd, but Joe is da boss.

U.S. Postal Service Corrects Oversight - Same Day!

Some of us are more challenged then others, but today the U.S. Postal Service in Rogers Park delivered! For those who know, this is the week when you learn whether your child will be accepted to Decatur Classical or any other Magnet School in the Chicago Public School System. We received no mail for the first time in a year. This means when no mail comes in for the first time in a year during CPS selection time, we surf the net for local USPS phone numbers at and dial.
We depend upon the U.S. Postal Service for the thrill of victory or the agony of test and lottery registration next December. Our undelivered mail was faithfully delivered at 9:30 p.m. by a dedicated Rogers Park postal worker on his way home from work.
Folks you may want to try this at home, when you don't get your mail!
For us, on Saturday the USPS brought in the news that our daughter will be at a good magnet school. A school that tests better than most suburban schools. Yet, we are still missing the lottery results for three other magnet schools. CPS has great schools; it is the best kept secret; check the ISATs! When we 'politely inquired,' we got service. If you ever don't get your mail in 60645, then call 773-463-1211, even at night! The post office might listen!
For all of those who condemn Rogers Park as limbo looking for Lincolnwood, don't give up on the neighborhood that quickly.