The Best Kind of Friend
Re: "RIP Jim Sulski, My Friend and Mentor," posted by Mick Dumke, January 11
I grew up with Jim in South Chicago and was also with him for a while the day before he died. Laid-back badass, perfect description. Loved his family, friends, SOUTH CHICAGO. In that order. One of the most intelligent persons I ever met. But also one of the funniest. I miss him already.
How Vocalo Serves the Underserved
Re: "Meet the New Vocalo Bloggers," posted by Michael Miner, January 6
As Miner indicates, Vocalo's mission was explicity about giving voice to previously underserved communities—both tacitly and openly defined in terms of race, age and economic class—and a radical experiment in listener-generated content.
The purity of the mission was a major—if transparently bogus—excuse for not telling WBEZ pledge drive donors their money was also going to Vocalo. The project's connection to public radio had to be obscured, lest the attempt to reach the voiceless urbanites be tainted by the usual crowd.
Now they've got Amy Krouse Rosenthal—a good writer, but a white, middle-class New York Times bestseller who is in no way hurting for a public platform. She doesn't even live within Vocalo's over-the-air broadcast range. Her only qualification is being a longtime CPR insider. It's almost insulting. How does gathering the usual suspects do anything but foster the same incestuous public media circle?
The Year in Media
Re: "When Half Empty Is Too Much to Hope For," by Michael Miner, January 7
Mike, you missed a key aspect about the events surrounding Chi-Town Daily News. Two months after the shutdown, the editorial team at Chi-Town launched Chicago Current, a newspaper and Web site devoted to local public affairs and political coverage. Over the past couple of months we've developed an enormously engaged audience and are a hair's breadth from breaking even on ad sales.
I'd say that's a positive development.
Michael Miner replies:
I overlooked Chicago Current and apologize to Geoff Dougherty for that. I suggest that if chitowndailynews.org is going to sit there fossilized on the 'net forever he add some sort of notice directing anyone who might drop by to the new venture. Which I wish well.
The Other Party
Re: "Independent of What?," by Ben Joravsky, January 7
Great article, overall. However, I'm a Republican candidate in this race, and I'm the only candidate talking seriously about cutting wasteful state spending.
The problem? My candidacy is never mentioned in this article. I don't think this omission helps readers/voters to understand that they have real choices for this office; real choices that can lead to real reform.
GOP candidate for Illinois' 11th State House
If Schulter and other ward organizations tolerated independents with as much conscientiousness as IVI-IPO tolerates Schulter, I'd be a lot more confident about the democratic enterprise. Most ward organizations are invitation-only. Schulter's no exception. He operates his organization like an old Southie thug; he'll run through and over other people's gardens to get what he wants—even if that's a candidate who has a touch-and-go relationship with the truth.
That's not all on him. Voters in 47 keep putting Schulter back in office just like the city keeps putting Daley back in office year after screwed-up, privatized, sold-off-for-crony-love year. Say what you will about IVI-IPO but at least they do more than post derisive comments. They actually try. They work. Every year, every election cycle for as long as I can remember. Do they get it right all of the time? Oh hell no, but they have a far better record than Schulter or Daley and that's saying something.
IVI-IPO sells good housing seals of independence in return for "membership dues." IVI-IPO actively aids & abets the grossly hypocritical faux progressivism that is the heart of the problem of establishing representative democracy in Chicago. At this point IVI-IPO is solidly part of the problem. Chicago would be much better off if IVI-IPO would just go away or at least stop selling their brand for a few sheckles. This article is important because sadly most Chicagoans do not understand what an IVI-IPO endorsement means and give it more credit than it is due which is none.
Re: "Why are people still so upset about Marshall Field's?," by Cecil Adams, January 7
People have already seen pretty much for themselves how things are at the Field's-turned-Macy's store, and possibly spend more time seeing for themselves than the writer of the article might have done. It seems obvious to this commenter that there was much MORE than a name change from Field's to Macy's. Most noticeable from the beginning is that the merchandise, atmosphere and attitude have changed toward a predominantly younger, trendy-trash target. To many, the store has become no more than an adolescent boutique. A person looking for more professional attire or quality is better off going someplace else. But guess what, everybody doesn't want that—including younger female shoppers.
Also, sales associates often don't know and/or aren't trained to keep up with constant changes in discounts and coupons. Repairs are not made promptly—the broken escalators, doors and cracked flooring are really unsightly.
Lastly, Macy's marketing style resembles proselytizing more than customer service. Macy's did barge uninvited into Chicago, yet expects to be loved like it did Chicago some kind of favor. Sorry, but Chicago isn't ashamed of itself. It doesn't feel obligated to love Macy's. I go with those who think Field's was better.
Longtime Chicago shopper
Cecil Adams replies:
I don't profess to be an expert in retailing. I merely note that I heard similar complaints about the merchandise mix during the long period when Field's was owned by Dayton Hudson, now Target.