Another year is coming to an end and, like some of you, I must ask, “Where did the time go?” This has been a very interesting year for me in so many ways. I started it without a job and am ending it with a job that I love. Like a lot of people, I have had my ups and downs. But the good far outweighs the bad, and for that I am truly grateful.

My first column of 2013 listed all the names of the people killed in Austin in 2012. In reviewing the columns, I found issues I will continue address: Illegal immigration and what it means as politicians and the news media, for the most part, try to sway and frame the subject in the best light. Very few will address the millions of Americans who are unemployed (and that group includes a substantial number of black people) while continuing to pretend that those here illegally are just picking fruit and vegetables. All one has to do is pay attention to the number of jobs in the food industry to see that they are asking for people who speak some English or are bilingual. Yet if a person being served is allergic to peanuts, for example, do you really want someone who can’t understand English addressing your food preparation concern? 

At the same time, fast food workers are being led to believe that a job that once was the domain of students and first-time employees is going to reap $15 an hour. If their wages double, so do their taxes and their gains are eaten up by Uncle Sam. Yet the same unions aren’t addressing all the jobs moved overseas by U.S. companies which should be the bigger issue.

Crime continues to be a subject that has to be addressed. Criminals are getting younger and younger and more vicious than the last. We are still seeing young people who use shootings and murder to get themselves incarcerated for the rest of their lives. The recent killing of the Cook County sheriff in Bellwood is a classic example. The two alleged killers wore masks, but our young people just have to have that designer jacket, and one of the two showed up to commit their crime wearing it. The police were familiar with the coat and who wore it and, voilà, crime solved! There is a plethora of security cameras recording day and night. Perhaps if every home and business was equipped with surveillance systems, we could eliminate all street crime as there would be a record of all activity on a block from the moment a person entered it.

2013 was phenomenal in that the Trayvon Martin case got the entire country opinionated for the most part on one or the other side of the case. The verdict didn’t cause the riots that some had predicted, but it did bring together generations of black Americans to stand for justice. 

All politics is local, and Chicago politics is always a source for conversation. We are still dealing with the parking debacle and now we have the addition of speed cameras and red light cameras, all designed to ticket us to death. In 2014, those same individuals will come knocking at your door for your vote. Your anger should be reflected at the polls by electing people who have your best interest at heart and not the coffers of city hall, the state treasury or the federal government.

We lost a number of famous and ordinary people in 2014. They are part of our history. Let us each take the time to learn about the past so we can move into the future knowing that we are shaped by it.