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Want to live in the country? Pay for it. In a new report on "scatter development" near three Chicago suburbs, A. Ann Sorensen and J. Dixon Esseks find that "the annual per home costs of busing, street maintenance and new infrastructure facilities not financed by existing taxes are relatively modest. These deficits could be covered by increases in tax rates or in special development impact fees that would not drive out the middle-to-upscale families locating in the sites we studied."

History just isn't what it used to be. According to Carmen Pate, the new president of Concerned Women for America, "The public education system that was established by our founding fathers as a means for teaching every child the word of God became a vehicle for the federal government to turn our children from God and from his law" ("Right Wing Watch Online," March 11). Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the rest would be interested to learn this, since the federal government has never established any public schools, and the states didn't start establishing them until well into the 19th century, after the founders were all dead. Perhaps Pate has us mixed up with Iran.

"Most CUB members I've talked to are skeptical of whether competition in the utility industry will really benefit customers," writes Citizens Utility Board executive director Martin Cohen in "CUB News" (Winter). "That is why CUB fought to make sure that guaranteed rate reductions for consumers were the foundation of any restructuring of the electric industry. This will ensure that if the 'experts' are wrong and competition for residential customers doesn't emerge, consumers won't be left behind."

We told you so. One year after the Greater North-Pulaski Development Corporation decried the condominium conversion of a multitenant industrial building at 2300 W. Wabansia, an article in the organization's newsletter, "Business Times" (Winter), notes that the predicted bad results have come to pass. "In addition to the eleven tenant businesses forced from the 2300 Wabansia building, another thirteen companies vacated the Wabansia/St. Paul corridor when their buildings converted to residential developments." Remaining companies that own their own buildings "find they are increasingly incompatible with their new residential neighbors who complain about the lack of parking, increased congestion, and noise." According to "Business Times," smaller tenants are renting more expensive space elsewhere in the city; larger tenants have headed east to Gary and south to Tijuana.

Organic oppressors? "Anti-union feeling is deeply ingrained at Whole Foods," reports Jim Motavalli in In These Times (April 5). "CEO [John] Mackey is the author of an anti-labor pamphlet called Beyond Unions, which exalts the company's team-centered management (along the lines of Japanese auto factories) as a superior form of worker organization. Most recently, Whole Foods has refused to sign a non-binding United Farm Workers petition in support of California's low-paid strawberry pickers, who work under a toxic cloud of pesticides, including the acute toxin methyl bromide."

Why postal employees go berserk. The University of Chicago will offer a course entitled "Cuneiform by Mail" from April 6 through May 30.

Doesn't really matter what we want though, does it? James Flammang in the Chicago-based "Tirekicking Today" (February): "Despite all the adverse publicity, 63 percent of vehicle buyers want dual airbags, according to the latest survey by the Dohring Company. That's down from 82 percent in a 1996 survey, but 5 percent greater than in 1997."

Why aren't controversies over feminism tearing the Catholic church apart? Bob Zyskowski in the Chicago-based U.S. Catholic (March): "In one survey of 1,000 Catholics, 73 percent said they were unfamiliar with the term inclusive language."

"The architects hate us," says Chicago Public Schools operations chief Tim Martin of the system's plans for new school buildings, quoted in Catalyst (October). "We're not going to get many AIA awards here. We tend to be a little bland. We'll have some nice details here and there, but we are not building grand structures. The architects say we constrain them with our prototype. They want to put their style on it, which is fine, and we give them a little room to do that. But how many James Thompson Centers can you build?"

Is the son mightier than the father? In Illinois Issues (March), James Merriner Jr. compares the Daley mayors: "Richard M. Daley certainly surpasses his father in running the city's schools and probably in controlling the City Council, the County Board and the state's attorney's office. The senior Daley had more power in patronage, the Democratic organization and state government. The junior Daley at least approaches his father's influence in the White House."

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