I was born and raised in Chicago. I dutifully learned all the relevant facts about the city while sitting in my Chicago Public school classroom - The Fort Dearborn massacre, the green onions which grew along the river were called 'shikago' by the Illinois Indians, the meaning of urbs in horto, up through the famous Lincoln-Douglass debates, the railroads and the influx of cattle through the Stockyards (Hog-butcher to the World), Sandburg's poem "The City of Big Shoulders", Great Lakes naval base during WWII, the steel mills, the social upheavals of the 1960's, the malaise of the "Me generation" during the 70's and up to the building of the tallest skyscraper in the world.
Even knowing as much as I do about this city, I never cared for it.
I don't know if it is the segregated ethnic enclaves, the apathetic staff and students of the public schools, the phony, uncaring politicians, a major league baseball team that hasn't won a world series in over a century, the history of corruption and nepotism, or the fact that we're doomed to be forever The Second City (eventhough we're probably a close Third city behind Los Angeles), or the constant penumbra of crime that permeates every community.
How many politicians have been convicted in this county? Operation Graylord, and Operation Silver Shovel are two that come to mind. Disgraced former governors George Ryan, Dan Walker, and Otto Kerner all went to jail for corruption. Indicted former governor Blagovich continues to embarrass the state with his public denials and circus-like antics. Richard J. Daley used his office to get jobs for people who "took care of the machine" and his son is proudly carrying on the tradition. Those who are "wired to the Magic Kingdom" are taken care of. Case in point: Chicago fireman Scott Holland attacked two Chicago police officers after the September 21 Bears game. Holland has three arrests on his background - going back 10 years. Why is he still employed by the city as a firefighter? I can only guess because I don't know Holland, but I would guess that it is because someone downtown is taking care of him by sweeping the dirt under the carpet.
MSNBC did a nice synopsis of Chicago's legacy of crime. You can see pretty much the whole picture on the torpitude this city wallows in.
There has always been some niggling doubts prickling me about this city. It seems to me that other cities do things better: we stole New York's famous COMSTAT system to fight crime, we borrowed many of their street names as well - Broadway, State, Houston, Douglass blvd....et cetera. The plays that originate here rarely go national but, plenty start in New York or LA and come here. You can name famous actors from Chicago on one hand. Even our museums and zoos aren't world-class.
We even have someone who rose, seemingly out of nowhere, from the Swamps of Illinois politics and became president. To our shame and regret, he's turning out to be one of the worst presidents in our 233 year history. Obama learned his lessons on totalitarianism very well while growing up on the south side of Chicago. He learned the immutable laws of Give and Take. You give something, you get something. You want votes? Then go around with your Community Organizers and raise some money for some unnamed local politician, then that local politician will talk to a local trucking firm and give out 15 jobs to the Community Organizer's retinue. This smooth-talkin' shuck and jive specialist is fooling only the mindless drones whose brains are mush from watching too much Oprah Live! and Bill Cosby. Even the world is now catching up to BHO - the real alpha-males on the world stage are sensing that a hare occupies the White House. The American Thinker pegs it right by asking "Did We Elect a beta male?" BHO won't come out and be his real self because his real self is anathema to America. This unqualified Marxist puppet is exquisite at one thing: Grabbing and holding power. That's why DHS just announced that it is hiring 1,000 internet spies. Can you imagine if a white male conservative president announced such a plan? Fire and brimstone would erupt! But hiring such types, bringing the Census bureau under the auspices of the the Chief of Staff, pushing for more and more goodies for the unproductive loser segment of our population in order to BUY THEIR VOTES, is straight out of the Chicago Machine's playbook.
This harangue leads me to one more piece of the puzzle as to why I don't like Chicago. It is the court system.
Police officers know first-hand how abysmally appalling the Cook County court system is. Sit in any city court and you'll see nothing but a parade of ne'er-do-wells strolling through the little swinging doors, wearing their best FUBU or Al Capone shirt, standing before the judge and having their case dismissed by the liberal activist in black robes who doesn't assign the officers with any credibility or honesty.
When people complain to me about the criminals in this city, my response is usually that it's the courts. The courts are where the "teeth" of the law are supposed to be felt - viscerally.
Unfortunately in this city, that is not the case. The courts are a dumping ground where criminals get treated with kid gloves. I sat in court last month and watched as an officer testified that he and partner watched the offender make 2 hand-to-hand transactions with a third officer. When they broke surveillance and arrested the man, they found 30 grams of marijuana on him. The judge sat there and dismissed all charges - not because "he didn't believe the officers' testimony" but, as he stated directly to the offender: "You're a 19 year old and I don't want to jeopardize your future by finding you guilty." The man was out on the corner the very next day selling weed, and bragging to his boys that the courts in this city ain't shit. Nice message to send to the police, the community and the felons.
One other time I was waiting for my case to get called for a jury trial down at 26th & California. The case before mine was the sentencing phase of a case where two tac officers saw a 15-year old west side youth standing on the street with a Tec-9 extended magazine sticking out of his pants pocket. When they exited their vehicle, the youth took off and ran into his home. With officers in hot pursuit, they saw him throw the gun under the family Christmas tree and flee into his bedroom. The gun was fully loaded and ready to fire. The kid already had a few arrests in his background and was probably acting as security for a local drug dealer.
The defense attorney pleaded the case down to an unloaded weapon, which carries a lower charge, and I sat there as the judge said,"Before I pass judgment, does counsel have any mitigating circumstances?"
The defense attorey said,"Your honor, my client has been accepted into the engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I would ask the court for leniency based on the fact that this young man is going to an ivy league school."
The judge then raised his hands into the air and intoned solemnly,"Young man, I cannot let your educational future be jeopardized by a guilty conviction. 12 months supervision." And the gavel fell.
Where is the humanity and justice in decisions like these? Does the rule of law truly warrant so little consideration? Does this serve the citizenry? Can communities rest easy at night knowing that the worst people in the city are out running around free based on a liberal judge's whim and fantasy? Don't the citizens of this city and county have a reasonable expectation of due diligence from their judges, ASAs and states attorneys???
While not all judges are such incompetent dolts with a brick of guilt on their shoulder, 75% of them are.
That brings me to the culmination of this long post. Your intrepid reporter has acquired some information on some of the judges in the Cook County court. This time it is from the Traffic Section of the First Municipal District. When our officers arrest someone on for driving while intoxicated, or for a drug charge, then they'll go through the social services section of the Cook County court. It is the case worker's job to interview the subject and follow his rehabilitation. Any deviations of the subject's behavior are reported to the judge and added to the subjects' court folder.
As police officers, sometimes you wonder what happened to a case that you initiated. Well some of your offenders wind up getting NOTHING done about their habitual drug use from the judges in the court section. Worst yet, there used to be a court reporter in these sessions, but they were yanked out 2 years ago. The next to go were the microphones that recorded the audio portion of the proceedings. Now, the only evidence of what's going on in these Violation Hearings is what's written on the manila folders, and of those who sit in the hearings.
My investigation has revealed that that all but two of these judges are terrible: they routinely pass offender's violations off to the next judge - refusing to take action against the offenders.
Judge Rating Remarks
Gomolinski 5 Sometimes enforces court sentencing.
Collins-Dole 2 Almost never enforces court sentences - lenient with violators.
Ryan, Krystyna 1 Very liberal, panders to offenders.
Malone 7 Decent.
Scully, George 8 Good judge, fair and strict with offenders
O'Hara, James 3 Bad, rarely enforces court orders. Panders - lenient.
Bender 3 Bad, rarely enforces court orders. Panders - lenient.
Burke, Kathleen 8 Good but puts too much emphasis AA and recovery.
Flannigan 7 Decent.
Wolfson 7 Decent.
Kull 1 Terrible - routinely passes on enforcing orders.
The rating is out of 10 - ten being a top notch judge who enforces court orders on offenders. 1 means that the judge won't enforce the terms of the violator's sentencing.
As an example of what's going on here....
An offender named Derrick Flex was found to have violated his probation 9 times - that means he tested positive for drugs 9 times. He was arrested for DUI and is a habitual marijuana user. Part of the judge's original sentencing was that Flex would be put back in jail if he violated the terms of his sentence. To date that order has been violated 9 times but Flex has not seen one day in jail.
Offender David Fuller won't go to treatment - in violation of the original court ordered pronouncement almost 4 years ago. He is more than 2 years past the terms of the court order. He keeps getting judges who won't enforce the original court order, so he keeps wasting the time and efforts of the court and their staff. Judge Rivkin-Carothers had his hands in this case as well and is part of the problem.
People need to know that these judges are not doing what they were elected to do. Who do we turn to to get help on this? Hopefully the media in Chicago will step up and do a thorough investigation as to what's happening in the court section.
We deserve better, and I should move to a different city.