State Senator Hendon Bashes CTA Over Free Seniors Repeal

Offers to die before CTA cancels free rides to seniors

Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon -  the most entertainingly infuriating state legislator we have - is at it again.

This time the spectacularly wrongheaded state senator from the West Side of Chicago is leading the charge to preserve free CTA rides for seniors, an enormously expensive and unnecessary outlay borne of the political cynicism of the indicted Rod Blagojevich.

But then, Hendon's well-practiced at raiding the taxpayer till for narrow (and dirty) political interests. How's that wholly theoretical West Side campus of Chicago State coming along?

Let's just say Hendon is one of the state's prime practitioners of what passes for "constituent service" in Illinois.

Now Hendon is going to town on the CTA, who really isn't to blame for giving free rides to seniors nor for the way that ill-advised program has helped blow a hole in the CTA's budget.

"When I was growing up, CTA stood for Crooks Taking Advantage!" Hendon said in a delicious sound bite captured by WBEZ. "I will die and go meet Jesus before I allow them to take away free rides for seniors!"

At least now we know which issue Hendon would put his life on the line for as he seeks the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

Hendon isn't the only pol who continues to use our older citizens as political props, but he might be the only one using the unique economic argument that without the free rides, seniors won't travel downtown to shop, which will hurt the economy.

It's one thing to be sympathetic to impoverished seniors or seniors on fixed incomes, but to argue that seniors need free rides to go on shopping trips in which they'll spend enough money to goose the gross national product is a stretch that the fictional economics department at the fictional West Side campus of Chicago State University wouldn't even teach.

But here's something for Hendon to think about: The dollars appropriated to his hypothetical campus would go a long way toward paying for all those rides he wants to give away for free.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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