I no longer believe people when they use that famous quote of Fannie Lou Hamer. You know, the one where she states, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!” If people were truly that sick and tired, they would have done something by now.

Every year I write and remind people that the mayor of the city of Chicago must, by law, attend the three budget hearings. At those meetings, people can sign up and give the mayor a piece of their mind regarding any issue under the sun. Yet year after year, those hearings held in the neighborhoods are some of the least attended events by residents of this city.

As an individual who doesn’t believe in giving up, I am still going to tell people to come out to one of those hearings.

What can you discuss at the budget hearings? Anything and everything. But to help you out, here are a few things that have been going on in Chicago that you might want to voice your opinion on: Track ‘E’ schools holding classes in August with no air conditioning and children falling ill in the heat; the parking meter fiasco and just how will those pieces of paper work in the winter with snow on the windshields; the recent flooding of basements; garbage pickup or lack thereof; the shootings by young people, killing other young people; the CTA; unemployment; nickel tax on a bottle of water; firing of Chicago public school teachers; CAPs meetings; taxes on utility bills; response time when calling 911; library hour cutbacks; Wal-Mart; foreclosures; city colleges now being told not to offer remedial classes after students have spent years in CPS not getting a basic education; red light cameras; TIF (tax increment financing) money and why we have yet to see a successful TIF district and just how that money is being spent; the neighborhood stabilization money and what is going on with it; open air and open market drug dealing, why after all these years it is still permitted; ex-offender issues and what to do about them; the Chicago Housing Authority; why Chicago is so filthy outside of the downtown areas; storefront churches and how they prevent economic development of business areas; new curbs and sidewalks; street lighting; potholes here … potholes there … potholes everywhere with another winter looming; loud music from cars; whether traffic circles are the biggest waste of money yet; why so many white street carts are allowed to operate on corners without any sanitation provisions; city services like street cleaning, sewer cleaning, tree trimming; cars being booted when people don’t have jobs; the price of the city sticker and what is done with all that money; parking tickets being the city’s main method of revenue generation; what plans the mayor has to bring more businesses back to Chicago; the former Meigs Field and why taxpayers should have to pay for his personal decision; McCormick Place and the cancelling of conventions; illegal immigration and Chicago as a sanctuary city; how come there are so many temporary plate stickers on junk trucks; what about residents who don’t buy a city sticker; whether Ron Huberman who doesn’t have any formal training in education is the right person to be at the helm of the Chicago Public Schools; whether Jody Weis is a misfit as head of the Chicago Police Department; why we are still paying the pension of Jon Burge and how come the mayor, who was the state’s attorney at the time, hasn’t been indicted yet; should we have a moratorium on People’s Gas and Com Ed turning off the utilities as people are struggling in this economy; what activities are being planned to keep our young people safe as they prepare to go back to school; what plans does the city have to bring grocery stores to the food-desert areas of the city.

And on and on.

This year, two of the budget hearings have been moved to brand new, state-of-the-art high schools where you can see your tax dollars at work. Come early and register to speak between 6 and 7 p.m. The hearing starts promptly at 7 p.m.


If you go

Budget hearing dates and locations:

  • Aug. 24: Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin
  • Aug. 25: South Shore Cultural Center 7059 S. South Shore Drive
  • Aug. 26: North-Grand High School, 4338 W. Wabansia