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O'Hare is great, everybody uses it--but it just can't seem to grow without a certain amount of deception. Justice McLaren of the Second District of the Appellate Court of Illinois wrote in an April decision upholding part of a seven-year-old lawsuit filed by Du Page County and some suburbs against the city of Chicago: "Documents support the plaintiffs' allegation that the City devised a four-part master plan that included new runways but announced only part of that plan, calling it the 'World Gateway Project,' without disclosing its intention to reconfigure and construct new runways. It is well established that municipalities cannot evade statutory requirements by segmenting an overall project into smaller pieces." Therefore he ruled that a trial court will have to decide whether additional runways have to be approved by the state Department of Transportation (www.state.il.us/court/Opinions).

Please clean up the environment, but not in my backyard. American Hiker (March/April) reports that the Appalachian Mountain Club opposes the building of wind-power farms if they're within sight of the Appalachian Trail.

Illinois: we're slightly less unequal. According to an April report from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Pulling Apart" (April), the average income of the poorest fifth of the U.S. population rose 7 percent from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, while the average income of the richest fifth rose 44 percent. (All figures are adjusted for inflation.) In Illinois over the same period, the poorest fifth did somewhat better--up 11 percent--while the richest fifth's income rose a mere 38 percent.

Will local advisory councils fall victim to CHA's shuffling tenants around under its Plan for Transformation? They might, writes Cory Oldweiler in the Chicago Reporter (April). Only residents who now live in a public-housing development can vote for local advisory council candidates, and only those who've lived in a development for six consecutive months can run for election. So there could well be a shortage of both voters and candidates. CHA Board of Commissioners chairperson Sharon Gist Gilliam told Oldweiler that the authority hadn't considered the future of the LACs. Why are they low priority? As Oldweiler observes, "While the advisory councils have been criticized in the past for being nothing but rubber stamps for the CHA, they are the only tenant groups the authority is required to consult with on matters ranging from redevelopment to budgets."

Judge for yourself. Sam Smith writes in the on-line "Undernews" (April 25): "One test of the state of an empire is whether a handful of angry young men with box cutters can wreck your major economic and military edifices and throw the country into total panic. One test of the state of your culture is whether you can think of much over the past few years to which you reacted by thinking 'that's the best (whatever) that I've seen-heard-read in a long time.' Another test is when you find yourself saying of some public figure, 'I'm sure glad such people are around at a time like this.'"

Who's my neighbor? "Only 9% of the [Chicago metro] region's residents live in very diverse census tracts in which there is no majority ethnic group," reports Chicago Metropolis 2020 in its 2000 Metropolis Index. "This represents an increase from 5% in 1990."

"Half of the current population of community banks appear to be economically viable," write economists Robert DeYoung, William Hunter, and Gregory Udell in the "Chicago Fed Letter" (June), published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. "Highly profitable community banks used a different business model than large commercial banks, relying more heavily on core deposits than on purchased funds and relying more heavily on interest income than on fee-generating activities."

Does the new federal "Leave No Child Behind" education act interfere with local control of schools? Yes, and maybe that's not such a bad thing, writes former state superintendent of public instruction Glenn W. "Max" McGee in Northern Illinois University's "Policy Profiles" (February). "The record shows that more money left to local control is not solving educational inequities whereas 'Leave No Child Behind' is based on programs proven to work, and the Act targets funding to where it is most needed and can make the most difference."

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