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Tuesday, March 5

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The Mechanics
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National Politics Wed May 20 2009

Congressman Jackson Can Keep Our Lake Healthy

The "Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives" campaign wants you to call 2nd District Congressman Jesse Jackson, who has decent seniority on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and ask him to support President Obama's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The campaign provides "5 Reasons Why Congressman Jackson should support" the initiative. I don't doubt that our readers will have several reasons why they think he shouldn't; and I think the number one reason will rhyme with "bexploding neficits".

1. Rep. Jackson's Congressional district, the Illinois 2nd, includes the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern (AOC) - a place designated by the EPA as especially toxic and need of cleaning. Factories long closed have left a legacy of disgusting and dangerous pollution in the district and its water, including PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, magnesium, volatile solids, oil and grease. Cleaning these toxins up will benefit the health and quality of life for all families in the area.

2. Full funding of restoration programs can bring those much-vaunted "green collar" jobs to the district. This includes both blue-green collar jobs updating sewer systems and directly cleaning toxic areas, and also white-green collar jobs in the science of restoration and wildlife management.

3. With the area's manufacturing economy all but dead, neighborhoods in the district are placing the lakefront and natural areas at the forefront of long-term economic development plans. Great examples of this are the green initiatives included in South Chicago's Quality of Life Plan and the ongoing recovery of the giant U.S. Steel South Works brownfield. Restoration funding would give these projects a boost and raise their chances for success once completed.

4. It's no secret Rep. Jackson has aspirations for higher office - telling outdoors enthusiasts how he helped save the walleyes they catch on fishing trips might help him win downstate communities in future Senate or statewide campaigns.

5. As a long time ally and fan of Barack Obama, who proposed the $475M Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and a Congressman who likes to fish and hunt with colleagues, Rep. Jackson is well suited to take up the torch in the House and bring his fellow Appropriations Committee members on board with The President's plan.

This initiative sounds like a good idea, but I don't know about number 4. Does Congressman Jackson really want to be seen as supporting this because he can "tell outdoors enthusiasts" how he helped to save some fish? I'm sure he'll make that calculation for himself.

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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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