Monday, May 14, 2007

This Was Sure to Happen

A week ago on a Sunday morning, an 18 year old was stabbed repeatedly on the 100 block of West Ohio. Unfortunately, that is not a shock.
Over the past few years, the gang bangers have spent weekend nights going up Ohio Street and hanging out at the Ohio Street pedestrian underpass. Residents wake up to broken bottles littering the streets. At times, we wake to ugly arguments outside our windows. The underpass in particular is often filled with broken glass.
When something like this occurs, it is easy to point fingers and at times, pointing fingers is just what needs to be done.
Let me point the first at the Chicago Police Department. I rarely see POs in the area at night. I don't think I have ever seen one near that tunnel.
Let me point another at the developers of the 600 North Lake Shore Drive project. They have a sales office on the south side of the street at Ohio and Lake Shore Drive. Those people should install a public refrigerator there. Nearly every morning we see the planters littered with Corona bottles and often those same bottles remain for days. When people are repeatedly doing illegal activity right outside your door, you need to do something. In addition, a scaffolding was put covering the entrance to the underpass. That provides the gangbangers with great cover.
We need a new law: If you are going to take over city streets and put up a scaffold, you are responsible for what happens underneath it. Don't want that responsibility? Don't build so close to the street.
Finally, we need to blame Burton Natarus.
All this started on his watch. There are many reasons that the voters tossed him on his fat rear in February, but issues like those above sure played a role.
Let's hope that Brendan Reilly takes a look at these issues when he is sworn in next week. The 42nd needs change and we are counting on him to deliver change.

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