Amidst dire budget talk of a leaner police force and fewer health inspectors, one relatively inexpensive city program is emerging as a symbol of frustration among aldermen who don't want the mayor to take their jumping jacks away.
"People expect this. They expect these jumping jacks!" Ald. Walter Burnett (27th)said. "For $700,000 to take this away from these kids - that's like the one day of the year they can really enjoy themselves on these streets."
What in the world are jumping jacks?
Those inflatable, bouncy things.
"They've been called Bounce Houses, Moonwalks, Moon Jumps, Kids Jumpers, Spacewalks, Jumping Jacks, Castle Jumpy Things," thefunones.com says. "No matter what you call them, kids love to jump in them!"
Apparently the city has been supplying them for free to neighborhood events for years, though it's costing us $700,000 a year to do so. The Tribune refered Tuesday to the Jumping Jack "program," so maybe it's not just the inflatables but administrators and inspectors, though all the city's website has is this forlorn photo.
In the big scheme of things, this isn't exactly a crucial budget item - for either side. But in the neighborhoods where the aldermen's voters live, you shouldn't mess with the children or their parents will seek revenge.