SOMETHING NOT BETTER
Seriously, when you think of a neighborhood, do you think about a car lot? Why would you? Are you imagining air power tools to drown out those noisy carillon bells?
“Neighborhood” is an important distinction surrounding MacArthur Blvd. A lot of research and community input led to conceptualizing quality redevelopment. The idea is to create something new where people live, walk, shop, dine and mingle. The idea is a boulevard that’s less a barrier between neighborhoods and more a destination shared by neighborhoods. The idea is to foster development that encourages residential growth and strengthen property values. How does a car lot do that?
I understand why people see empty lots and think we ought to do something, that something is better than nothing. A rush to get something for something’s sake can lead to problems down the road because of the wrong something. If we haven’t got time to do it right, when are we going to find time to do it over? How much will that cost? Let’s get this right the first time.
Stakes are extremely high and so is risk. This isn’t the same as commercializing Dirksen Pkwy. at Sangamon Ave., MacArthur at I 72, or the many properties already zoned for car lots. This is an entire quadrant of a city, a collection of neighborhoods from near downtown to Wabash, from Third Street tracks to Chatham Road, all filled with people struggling to regain what they lost as MacArthur Blvd. spiraled out of control in decay.
I agree with the ruling regarding Catholic Charities’ loss of state funds for their adoption services. Why a religious group was receiving tax money in the first place is beyond me. I’ve heard arguments by supporters of Catholic Charities that their belief is that the only acceptable and healthy family is that which is headed by a heterosexual mother and father.
So by this thinking the two-year-old running loose in the store wearing nothing but a diaper and drinking Mountain Dew from a baby bottle, while his unemployed high school dropout cigarette-smoking mother and father are in the back of the store buying the most violent video game they can find are automatically better parents than the employed, post-graduate-educated, home owning, responsible smoke-free lesbians who’ve already been living together for 10 years?
The majority of child rapists, molesters, murderers, and verbal and physical abusers are heterosexual. And over half the marriages in the country end in divorce. The fact is there are horrible people from all walks of life who will make rotten parents. That’s what the screening process and background checks are supposed to be about.
Catholic Charities’ definition of the ideal family is not only outdated, it is unproductive, unrealistic and unfair.
RED CROSS NEEDS YOU
This spring/summer’s outbreak of devastating tornados, flooding and wildfires generated a tremendous amount of support for the American Red Cross. Public donations helped the Red Cross provide food, clothing, shelter, mental health counseling and medication replacement, to tens of thousands of disaster victims.
Locally, the Illinois Capital Area Chapter responded to tornados in Girard and other communities, flooding in Jacksonville, and house fires. Nearly 50 local individuals have received Red Cross assistance since the beginning of June alone. This assistance is provided to our clients at no cost.
While we don’t know when a disaster might strike or how many it may affect, it is safe to assume that the Red Cross will have to respond to large disasters both nationally and locally in the not too distant future. Please consider making a donation to your local Red Cross by visiting www.il-redcross.org, calling 217-787-7602, or stopping by the office at 1045 Outer Park Drive.
CEO, American Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter