Good reasons to speak up at next week's public hearing

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Arlene Jones

Next Tuesday, April 12, the City of Chicago Office of Budget & Management will hold its 2005-2009 Capital Improvement Program Public Hearing at the 10th District Police Station, 3315 W. Ogden. Registration starts at 6:30 p.m. and the session begins at 7. Here are a few reasons why you might want to attend:

1) Renaissance 2010: This is public money being used to fund private schools that you can't guarantee your child can attend. What about the public schools? Why do so many black children today never learn to read while those of us who went through the public schools in the 1960s learned to read and our parents didn't make $3,000 a year or even have an eighth grade education? Why do so few black males graduate from high school? Why do so many black males end up in special education?

2) Eminent domain: Come look at how the city took three city blocks for the 10th District police station. Imagine the businesses that could have been located on that land. What are the city's plans for the West Side and will you have input before it happens?

3) Park district: Is money being spent to keep up your local parks? Did you know summer camp will cost close to $200? Isn't it amazing that the mayor can find 250 donors to give a million dollars each for Millennium Park while neighborhood parks don't even have money for a basket and ball?

4) City streets: Does yours need to be resurfaced? Do we really need planters up and down major streets? How can the city take streets and put in permanent bike lanes with gas at $2.50 a gallon?

5) CTA: Sound off about the proposed cuts in service as well as the proposed fare increase. Why is it when you're downtown, five Brown Lines come before a single Green line?

6) Fire Department: Drive past the station at 16th and Pulaski before coming to the meeting. Look at how the city blocked off access to the residents of the 1600 block of south Harding with both metal guard rails and wrought iron fencing. The seniors who live on that block have no access to the sidewalk to get to 16th street and must walk thru the dangerous ally. Why is your tax dollars being used in that fashion? Are there plans to fence you on your block?

7) Aldermanic Menu: The mayor is putting more projects on the aldermen to pay for out of their ward budget while day after day we see how the mayor misspend money. Come let the mayor know how you feel your tax dollars should be spent.

8) Taxes: Property, Sales, Gasoline, ComEd, Cell Phone, SBC phone, People's Gas, DVD Rental, Concert Ticket, City Sticker, Parking Tickets, Boot Program, just to name a few.

9) Minority Set Aside Programs: Here's your chance to tell the mayor about why you're mad that black people didn't get their full share of the funds that came from the following projects: Hire Truck Program, O'Hare Field, Soldier Field, new Midway terminal, Dan Ryan rebuilding project (Eisenhower will be next), etc.

10) City Jobs Every unemployed, under-employed, jobs-were-privatized person on the West Side should be at that meeting to let the mayor know their feelings. How can the city privatize jobs that then go to people living in the suburbs?

11) Police Department: Was the police shooting of Howard Morgan 25 times a proper use of city property (bullets)? Will 25 bullets into one person now be the standard method of the police department's use of "deadly force?"

Last but not least, come out for the heck of it. Remember, the money they spend is money they get from you. Don't let them spend it without you.

And this too: One of the most dynamic speakers in the tradition of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. will be in Chicago this Saturday, April 9, at Bethel AME Church 4440 S. Michigan Ave at 2 p.m. His name is Thomas Nathaniel Todd (TNT). TNT will address the question that is on many black people's minds, "Where do we go from here?" Admission is free.

Parents are especially encouraged to bring their young people.

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