Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel watches Game 5 of a first-round NBA playoffs basketball series between the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Here’s a difference between North Siders and South Siders. South Siders love to declare, “I never go to the North Side,” but they know exactly what they’re missing: Wrigley Field, Rush Street, the Lincoln Park Zoo.
North Siders, on the other hand, love to say things like, “111th Street? Is that in Indiana?”
It’s the difference between hostility borne of a sense of inferiority and indifference borne of a conviction that there’s nothing worthwhile south of Roosevelt Road.
North Side mayors are as rare as White Sox pennants. Rahm Emanuel is the first since Sauganash girl Jane Byrne served from 1979 to 1983. No one should be surprised, then, that Emanuel is ignoring the South Side, even though its African-American voters handed him his first-round victory by voting for him over favorite daughter Carol Moseley Braun. According to WBEZ, the “Day of Service” scheduled for Emanuel’s inaugural weekend includes only two South Side events, even though every South Sider will tell you that their part of town contains two-thirds of Chicago’s land area:
Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has organized a community service day during his inauguration weekend in mid-May. But large chunks of the city are left out of the plan.
The community service events include trash removal from the banks of the Chicago River and planting at some community gardens. The Emanuel inauguration website invites Chicagoans to “learn which service activities are going on in your neighborhood.”
Trouble is, large areas of the city are not represented. Just two of the community service events - out of 30 - are south of 32nd Street. None are on the far South Side, or the Southwest Side past Bridgeport.
Asked to explain how the Emanuel team picked the locations and whether they attempted to include all corners of the city, a spokesperson said the projects were identified with help from organizations including the Friends of the Chicago River and One Good Deed Chicago. In a statement, she said they’re also encouraging people “to create their own service projects.”
Hear that, South Siders? Create your own darn service projects. Don’t expect a North Sider to organize a clean-up of the Calumet River. He doesn’t even know Chicago has another river.
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