What I would tell Mayor Lightfoot

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

I attended Alderman Emma Mitts' 37th Ward community meeting last Thursday evening, Oct. 24. Mayor Lori Lightfoot was the special invited guest. Of course the place was packed and many of the usual suspects were in attendance.

As an accomplished attorney, Mayor Lightfoot is well aware of what she says and how she says it. So if there's one thing black folks need to learn to do, it's listen to the way the words are phrased. As an example, Lightfoot mentioned not increasing the property taxes to the max like she could have. The audience applauded. Of course many of them didn't realize that she's increased the taxes, just not to the max. That was not a moment for applause, happiness or joy!

Mayor Lightfoot also mentioned the casino for Chicago. If people were paying attention, she also said that the profits from it would be to shore up the pensions. So the very politicians who got us into this mess would have their retirement well-funded. In my humble opinion, what we really need is pension reform, indictments for the criminal behaviors of the past several mayors, reduction of government employees and a complete overhaul and forensic audit of every department within the city to find waste, fraud, and who knows what else.

As usual, there were concerns expressed about crime. Apparently the 1100 block of Springfield has a lot of issues because the police cleaned up the 1000 block of Springfield. Those two blocks have a history of bad behavior going back over 20 years, and maybe the initial emphasis needs to be on the residents who are attracting and allowing the situation to continue along with the police doing their part. 

We have to get out of a vacuum where the community refuses to acknowledge the tolerance of criminal behavior that certain individuals promote — from the mother whose son was killed, and she confessed that she knew her nephews like to steal cars, to the grandfather who couldn't understand about young people committing violence while his own grandson was caught on camera running out of Grandpa's house with a huge automatic weapon. 

The causes and solutions require a mirror, first and foremost. Far too many of us are not addressing the issue of the problems that emanate from within our own houses. Unemployed individuals who have brand new $300 gym shoes? I doubt they fell off a truck. The same can be said for those wearing expensive clothing. Why don't they have a job? Fixing the crime problem in the black community is not rocket science.

Lastly, if I had a chance to speak to the mayor, these would be my suggestions: 

First is to have that city sticker glow in the dark or be reflective to light. I am sick of seeing Oak Park residents park all along Austin Boulevard because they can't park in their village overnight. 

We also have a plethora of Chicagoans who do not buy the city sticker. We should not allow any vehicle to be parked on a city street from 2 to 6 a.m. without a sticker (we can have currency exchanges sell temporary one-night passes). I guarantee if that goes into effect, the city will find an influx of millions of dollars as people who have been getting away with this for years are finally forced to buy a sticker. 

Also if the city is going to impose an increased tax on food, get all those people selling food out of carts and out of coolers. They're making a living, and they're not paying the proper amount of taxes. Plus it looks nasty to have all these people just set up food stands anywhere and everywhere. They cannot wash their hands and I am amazed at the number of people who risk their health to stand in line to buy from them.

I filmed the entire meeting with the mayor. Anybody wanting to see it, can go to my Facebook page: BEAT 2532.

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