Friday, February 11, 2011

Fed Up Friday- Chicago

There have been several things on my mind about the city that I live in, that I really need to express. It is true that I choose to live in Chicago (thank you to one of my friends for reminding me, every time I say something negative about the city-- you know who you are!!). I love it here. I moved two states away from my friends and my family to make a life in Chicago and MOST days it seems totally worth it. There is always something to do; the people are welcoming without being super touchy feely (hot, black and bitter does NOT do touchy feely); the people of Chicago WORK-- hard, and party hard, which I can appreciate; and the people who make up Chicago's population are hard core. We survive Chicago winters every year, Chicago crime, and Chicago politics-- it takes a strong group of people to make it through that year after year. Trust me- I am six years in and it is hard! But with everything there is room for improvement, right? Right!

So here is part one of my Fed Up Friday- Chicago edition. I have severe issues with Cook County and taxes. Yep, I said it. Cook County has been the highest taxed county in the United States for two years (at least), yet it is all over the news that Cook County is broke. My taxes keep going up but the cops have to take furlough days? I have to go to Meijer in a neighboring state or county to really afford groceries and we can't pay police officers or city workers? There is a deficit? Um... What? I pay higher taxes than Los Angeles and New York and we are broke? Something. Does. Not. Compute.
Not only is the WHOLE county broke (and the state is financially ill too) but where I live is exceptionally bad. Damn. The south side is the step child in the city. The el doesn't come all the way down here (stops at 95th street, city limit stops at 136th street), and the services we receive are substandard. That is all kinds of messed up. I am a homeowner that pays the same percentage of taxes as some homeowners on the north side and I suffer because I live south of downtown? Huh? Let me give you an example: the closest major intersection in my neighborhood is 115th and Halsted. Halsted is a major street, and has mostly been cleared off from last weeks blizzard, but 115th (also a major street and an exit on the expressway) hasn't. In a majority of places it is down to one and a half lanes. Which doesn't sound awful, until you are stuck behind a bus. You can't go around, it sucks. Or it is Sunday and you have to wait for people to get into House of Hope's parking lot (which makes me curse at the people headed to church). And it has been a week and a half since the blizzard. What? On the north side companies are towing cars, clearing the snow and putting cars back. Um, I just more than one lane shoveled.
Where the hell are all my tax dollars going? I look around- we have a failing school system, public transportation systems that are always asking for money and raising rates, we're losing business because our businesses are getting tax breaks in other states-- which also means we are losing jobs, the south side gets ignored, we don't have enough cops, crime is skyrocketing (despite what the reports say-- it REALLY depends on where you live) and like Eddie Vedder says: "the haves be having more, yet still bored." And that is just the beginning. What the hell am I paying for? I want to see some return on my investment... there are just over 5 million people living in Cook County, paying some ridiculously high taxes and we are broke? Impossible.
So then the question remains- why do I live here? It has been asked often- especially during times of unemployment (or break ins), and honestly- it is the easiest question to answer. I live in Chicago and take all that it offers (or doesn't) because I love this city. I sincerely think that I am where I am, so I can help the people in my neighborhood. Everyone might not like my tactics-- hey, if your kid is acting like an asshole, I'm going to call him an asshole-- but it all comes from a good, less bitter place. I want to help the south side get the recognition that it deserves (we aren't all ghetto fab). I want my senior citizen neighbors to be able to feel safe in our neighborhood. I want the kids on my block to know that they can accomplish something more than knocking up some girl or standing on my corner all day. If I don't call attention to the problems and lay out a plan, how are they going to get fixed? Chicago is like a close family member-- if you live here, you can talk shit about the city (or inhabitants) because you live here and you experience this craziness. But you only get that privilege if you LIVE here. No outsiders can talk shit about your close family member or the City of Big Shoulders... When you do, you get to experience the Chicago Way... and that, my readers, has nothing to do with taxes! Happy Friday!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...