Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why Bother With The Trib - The Real Reporting Can Be Found at Chicago News Co-Op

I read quite a bit. Even at this hoary-age of the dark-side of 58, I tend to remember what I read. Reading like plumbing, carpentry, and painting is an art. I do not plumb, carpent or paint, unless there is a very good reason to do so, like black water gushing up out of every household orifice, timbers a'cracking and chips of paint getting mixed in with the Lime and Salt flavored tortilla chips.

I read because I must. I have taught generations of high school kids not only to engage in reading, but introduced them to the very best in writing, in order to become discerning readers.

While a student at Loyola, I worked with a Stationary Engineer who was a 'big reader' - Mack Bolan, Nick Carter, Mickey Spillane, various and sundry crotch novels with titles like "Trailer Park Pam and the Big-Top Snake Wranglers at Play." While appreciative of the cover art that packages such tomes, I, none the less, found the lurid prose to be just that and came away from their sentences with the feelings of shame that must accompany young Ezra when Mom comes down into the basement with basketful of the twenty-something's laundry and catches Young E with his mitts around more than a pretzel stick, while watching the Kardasian hi-jinks on the wide-screen Hi Def.

Chicago's two remaining big newspapers and their web-sites have become little more than Condensed Lite Nick Carter dailies.

The Chicago Tribune, to be fair, has made some modest gains toward substance in recent months, but any paper with a disc jockey as managing editor and editorial board propagandist is rather sad. The Sun Times, likewise has improved from its laughable days when Cheryl Redd called the shots, and has excellent journalistic foot-soldiers like Mark Konkol, Natasha Korecki, Maureen O'Donnell, Tim Novack and Abdon Pallasch and Southtown's Star's Steve Metsch.

However, you can not find a better source for reporting, opinion and insight than the Medill Castaways of the Chicago News Cooperative ( New York Times).

One of my favorite, Metro and City Hall beat journalists is Dan Mihalopoulos. Today, this gritty and exacting reporter cuts through fatuous opinions of the Aldermen and City Hall flacks and presents the realities of Chicago Police Manpower shortages.

The ACLU and the usual suspects of political loudmouths and phonies are providing cover form Rahm Emanuel's dodgy deployments. Dan Mihalopoulos offers the facts - reminding readers of what newspapers used to do. While the Emanuel 'Smart Sizing" of the Chicago Police Department might provide cover for aldermen and the Administration, saturating high crime areas with Officers will not necessarily solve the problem.

Only Dan Mihalopulos cuts to the chase -

The Chicago News Cooperative recently obtained a list of the unit assignments for the 10,300 sworn Chicago police department employees from a police source who requested anonymity because the department leaders have declined to release it.

The records described the unit assignments as of early October and appeared to reflect the vast majority of the recent personnel moves ordered by the Emanuel administration.

Most of the detectives were assigned to one of the department’s five area headquarters, while about 2,400 of the police officers were either assigned directly or detailed to specialized units, including the narcotics section and the internal affairs division.

It was impossible to deduce from the data exactly where the officers in specialized units were working. The list also did not include supervisors.

The other 7,000 police officers, representing a majority of the department’s sworn members, were each assigned to patrol beats in one of the 25 districts. The number of officers in each district ranged from a low of 191 in the 23rd district to 386 in the 7th district.

A comparison of the beat deployment figures with department statistics for property crimes and violent crimes in each district this year shows:

¶Four districts — the 25th, 8th, 6th and 4th — had higher ratios of both property crimes and violent crimes per officer than the citywide average.

¶The highest ratios of property crimes to beat officer counts were in the 14th, 8th and 25th districts, each of which reported at least 15 property crimes per patrol officer in the year’s first eight months.

¶The lowest proportion of violent crimes to officers was in the 1st district, which covers downtown Chicago, followed by the 19th district on the North Side.

¶The 4th district, in the city’s southeast corner, had the largest gap between staffing level and violence, with 4.05 violent crimes per officer.

The 4th district covers most of the 7th Ward, whose alderman, Sandi Jackson, praised Emanuel for adding officers to areas of greater need, despite tight budget constraints. But asked about the Chicago News Cooperative findings, Jackson replied: “There is absolutely a disparity. We are not where we would want to be ideally.”

Some experts say the reaction of aldermen in apparently underserved districts, though politically astute, would not lead to the wisest policies for fighting crime.

“It is reasonable and rational to expect that there should be more officers in areas with more crime,” said Arthur Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminology at Loyola University. “But there is no evidence that would necessarily be the case.”

Lurigio said saturating areas with officers often merely pushed criminals to other places that then witnessed a spike in violence.

Imagine if high crime areas were saturated with beat officers, prowler cars and paddy wagons?

Imagine what Harvey Grossman and the ACLU say and how quickly they would shop for Federal Judges to sue over racist invasions and forces of occupation in Englewood, or Roseland?

Fourteen people were wounded and one killed last night, blares the Tribune in anticipation of a full explanation to people by Eric "The Water Boy" Zorn, or a thunderingly hilarious cop-slamming J'accuse from Bruce Dold.

Read The Tribune for laughs, read the Chicago Sun Times for the great reporters and skip the columnists, and read the Chicago News Cooperative in order to be fully informed.

To Well-Heeled Chicagoans

It is a shame that Chicago's 1%ers can meet at Smith and Wolinsky's and pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars and invest in a bar or a restaurant, but take a pass on helping to fund the only real news source in Chicago - The Chicago News Cooperative. I mean aside from a guy who moved to Chicago and already pumps millions into schools, the great John Canning, where are all of the Oxen Gore-ing PlumpCats and Kittens? Support Chicago News Cooperative. Us Helots are already pumped dry, by Rahm, Boss Preckwinkle, Governor Easter Bunny, and Boss Claypool -not to mention Boss Shakman.

This great source of news should be supported by the people who have the most treasure in their kicks. If you have a couple of hundred thousand dollars laying around your Gold Coast condo, Lakeview gray stone, or Hyde Park mansion, give Jim Warren a call, or write a huge check to

Chicago News Cooperative Contact Info:
70 East Lake Street, #810
Chicago, IL 60601

Chicago needs real news and good writing.

The two journalistic and editorial equivalents of "Trailer Park Pam and the Big-Top Snake Wranglers at Play" just aren't cutting it. Buck up, Buckaneers!

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