Say No to Chicago — city brings down Illinois

The City of Chicago acts as if it is the only thing important in the State of Illinois and that needs to stop. The Chicago Public Schools are a good example of this epic failure by Chicago’s leaders. Chicago is a systematic failure that is demanding money from taxpayers in the rest of the state to cover their failures

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

In 1980, then Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Mike Royko and I got into a public battle. Royko was the giant of Op-Ed journalism and I was just a community columnist covering the Southwest Suburbs.

Royko wrote extensively about how the State of Illinois should financial bail out the CHicago public schools, the Chicago transit Authority and Chicago’s economic depression, which we continue to feel today.

I responded in my column that Chicago only represents a small segment of this state and urged the legislature to stop pandering to the Machine. I criticized the mainstream downtown Chicago news media for focusing all their efforts on CHicago while ignoring the needs of suburbanites like myself.

Royko was a behemoth when it came to journalism, but he was petty when it came to criticism. He couldn’t handle it if it didn’t bring him a benefit, like when he quit the Sun-Times to work at the Chicago Tribune for double the money claiming he wouldn’t work for “the Alien,” Rupert Murdoch who bought the financial strapped Sun-Times.

English: Downtown Chicago, Illinois at night. ...

Downtown Chicago (Chicago). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So instead of attacking me directly, he ordered one of his minions in the media, the editor of a community newspaper in Elgin to do his dirty work attacking me, and then having the column run in the Sun-Times to give it more exposure.

But instead of arguing the issues, the idiot and Royko pawn at the Elgin newspaper attacked me personally saying I “should get a brain.” That’s the way people like Royko dealt with criticism, especially when their arguments were weak. Royko did it cowardly and hypocritically, and instead of addressing the real issues, he attacked his critics with personal and vicious invective.

Of course, I was a new breed of journalists. I thrived on criticism and attacks. I have been attacked by adversaries who were far more influential and talented than Mike Royko or the fool at the suburban Elgin newspaper.

But my point is solid. Why should residents in the suburbs of Chicago or even downstate bail out Chicago?

Why should we take our hard-earned money and tax dollars and give it to Chicago simply because Chicago doesn’t want to carry its own weight. If Chicago needs to improve its schools, tax the people who live in Chicago, not in Orland Park or Springfield or McComb.

If Chicago’s transportation system is a disaster collection of broken down buses and trains plagued by street gang crime, make the people who live in Chicago pay more each year for their services.

If you want something to be better, pay for it. And if you don’t have enough money, work harder to get it.

English: Chicago Military Academy, Bronzeville

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In what other scenario do people in the suburbs urge that Chicago taxpayers pay our bills and shortcomings in education and transportation? When have the suburbanites EVER asked Chicago to do something for them?

Part of the problem is that Illinois is held hostage to Chicago by the downtown CHicago news media. It’s our fault but we can correct it. It is our fault that we turn to the downtown TV and print media for information. We live int he suburbs we should support the suburban news media. We should support the community news media.

Royko didn’t bail out on the Sun-Times because an Australian purchased his newspaper. He bailed out because he wanted ore money. Murdoch was just a convenient excuse.

Why should suburbanites listen to those in Chicago who benefit from Chicago tell us how we should live?

It’s time to Say No to Chicago.

This morning, I listened as WMAQ TV gave Forrest Claypool, the lifelong bureaucrat and Machine functionary who now heads the Chicago Public Schools. He was CHicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s over-paid chief of staff. Claypool headed the CTA. He headed the useless Forest Preserve District and he did nothing except collect a pay check.

Claypool, a Machine minion, claims the Chicago Public Schools need more than $500 million.

Say NO to Chicago

Say NO to Chicago

Does that number “$500 million dollars” sound familiar? It should.  Mayor Emanuel also said Chicago needed $500 million. The CTA claims it is $500 million short. The Chicago Police claim they can’t stop the street gangs — even though nearby suburbs like Cicero, Berwyn, Lyons and many others have been able to stop street gangs without increasing taxes!

Chicago uses the “$500 million” budget hole as an excuse to grab more and more money from suburban and downstate Illinois taxpayers.

They do that because they don’t want their residents to be angry if they had to raise taxes to cover their excessive expenses.

The problems Chicago has are problems they should deal with. We deal with our problems in the suburbs and in downstate Illinois, and when problems are statewide, we deal with them in a way that is fair.

It’s time for taxpayers in the suburbs and downstate Illinois to stand up to the addiction we have been forced to accept in Chicago and start focusing on our own needs in the suburbs. It’s time that our money is used to address our needs, not Chicago’s needs.

We need to change the mindset and not be afraid to stand up for our rights. Not to be discouraged when the biased downtown Chicago news media beats you up and bashes you or tries to ignore you in order to shut you up. We don’t need them. The Chicago media is collapsing. The Sun-Times is on the verge of bankruptcy. The mainstream news media is shrinking.

We have independence in the community news media which is bolstered by the Internet and better writing and better stories.

We don’t need Chicago.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

Hanania Chicago political beats and Chicago City Hall at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published the The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star of Lebanon, the News of the World in London, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, The Saudi Gazette, the Arab News in Jeddah, and Aramco Magazine.

Hanania's Chicagoland columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.

He is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]
Ray Hanania

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