The City File 

And if all else fails, you can get a good used one from Florida, without any rust. "I often use a car analogy when talking with couples about their marriage," says Loyola University nursing professor Donna J. Rankin in a university press release. "When it's new, an automobile runs like a dream. But without proper care and regular maintenance, you'll be left with a rusting hulk that just doesn't go anymore."

News you can use, from Investing for a Better World (December 15): "In its 1988 annual report, Bausch & Lomb discusses one of its new products: OncoMice--a strain of mice guaranteed to develop malignant tumors."

"There are an estimated 38,000 working artists in Chicago," writes James Peters in the Friends of Downtown Newsletter (November 1989), "along with 12,000 students in arts-related programs. Accordi-ng to the arts district plan [produced by the Chicago Central Area Committee]--and as various arts groups will attest--there is a need for permanent, affordable space for working artists," possibly between 16th, 21st, State, and the IC tracks on the near south side. The plan proposes regulations and incentives to prevent the gentrification that has priced many artists out of River North.

"The restaurant and retailing boom of the last several years bypassed Wells Street in favor of Halsted, Clybourn, River North and other locations," according to Joe Zekas in Real Estate Profile (December 1-14). "Wells Street and North Avenue are now dotted with vacant lots, vacant storefronts and marginal businesses....The one form of small business that is booming on Wells Street is panhandling."

Where did you say the third world was? From Harper's "Index" (December 1989): "Number of U.S. companies financed with junk bonds that have failed to meet loan obligations this year: 20. Number of developing countries that have failed to meet loan obligations to the World Bank this year: 9."

Alton Miller watches journalists take a leak. "Routine political reporting in Chicago...translates into a formula," writes Miller in Chicago Times (January/February 1990). "Using the Sun-Times as an arbitrary example, it means giving gossip columnist Mike Sneed a self-flattering item a week in advance, then giving political editor Steve Neal an 'exclusive' for Sunday. That day, or the next, you'll get another shot from Sneed's well-read column, as she congratulates herself on the earlier 'scoop.' And assuming your issue has found favor with Neal, the skids are greased four ways"--he writes straight news and a column, makes editorial decisions, and gets on talk shows. "To watch this at work, note how Sneed and Neal are double-teamed on Alderman Edwin Eisendrath, and track their clear slant against his candidacy in the Ninth Congressional District race, in which he's challenging incumbent Rep. Sidney R. Yates. It's annoying even to a person who has been included among the signatories of a pro-Yates ad (as I have)."

Press releases we didn't feel like reading any more of: "Daley eliminates dead-tree removal backlog."

"News coverage about lesbians is slightly better in these papers"--the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and others--"than their coverage of the Yugo automobile or compact disk players, but not nearly as good as the coverage on the card game of bridge," reports the Philadelphia Gay News (November 10-16). The Tribune published 72,562 stories between January 1 and September 30, 1989, of which just 278 (0.38 percent) dealt with gay issues other than AIDS. The Tribune ranked tenth of 13 national newspapers surveyed. "Only a few newspapers," writes Keith Clark--"and again it's the Chicago Tribune and USA Today--seem to have a strong attachment to the word 'homosexual' in their copy."

"It's as if people around here think they can live in a bubble with only well-to-do folks," says a resident of one of Du Page County's few subsidized housing complexes (in Addison), known as "the island" because it lacks public transportation. "They ease their consciences by sending foodbaskets to Chicago while they ignore that we're here" (Chicago Reporter, December 1989).

The kids are all right. From the state ACLU newspaper Illinois Brief (Fall 1989): "Despite attempts by candidates in the 1988 elections to portray the ACLU in a negative light, students from high schools, colleges and law schools from across the country sought out internships with the organization," writes Rachel Gordon. "'We actually had more young people working for us this summer than ever before in our history,' said [executive director Jay] Miller."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

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