Chicago Mayor Richard Daley likes to point out that he has reduced the number of non-public safety city workers by more than 6,600 since he took office in 1989; his 2011 budget proposes eliminating another 277 positions next year. But what are the consequences?
Consider, for example, the lights that line city streets. In swaths of Chicago, and in particular on the South Side, the city can't replace broken lights fast enough, leaving residents fearful and quite literally in the dark. That's the conclusion reached in a joint investigation produced by the Better Government Association and CBS-2. "[N]early 30,000 people complained about complete blocks of broken street lights from January 2009 through May 2010," the BGA/CBS team found. The city says it takes 2.8 days on average to repair streetlights but the investigation found 17 percent of streetlights took five days longer or more to fix. One women said it took 18 days before the city came out to make repairs. Here's a clip from the segment, which aired last night:
Budget cutting seems to be the political flavor of the month right now. No one should pretend it doesn't come without a cost. Just ask South Side residents who can't walk outside at night because there's no light.