Re: Bell System and GTE Telephone Operator?

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In Chicago, in addition to the CTA or

> Chicago Transit Authority (thus situated), there is also the CHA (or > Chicago Housing Authorty) which is a _true_ atrocity if there ever was > one. CHA has been in 'federal receivership' now for a few years due > to the unbelievably awful living conditions in the 'homes' and the > amount of crime on its property. Originally very nice _but plain_ living > accomodations, the CHA was started in 1941 and its first commissioner > was a woman who was a protege of Jane Addams of Hull House fame. CHA > was intended to be _temporary, transitional_ housing for needy people; > then after the second war ended, the idea was to provide _temporary, > transitional_ housing for military veterans returnin from military > duty. Since about 1960 or so, these high-rise (fifteen or twenty story > buildings; a cluster of a dozen or so in each location) have been > almost exclusively for black people;

Exactly how has this racial exclusivity been enforced ?

many of whom of course

"of course" ???? Do explain further, please.

have extensive criminal histories and their families; quite often > the only person in the 'home' (all seven or eight thousand of them > in an aggregate total) is the Mother. Nearly every one of them has > one or more sons or fathers currently in prison or recently > released. The little kids run around wild and rather delinquent as > one would expect.

All of which is somehow the fault of the CHA ? You've lost me here.

The television series of the 1970's, _Happy Times_ (written by Norman > Lear) is now in endless re-runs on TV-Land .

"Good Times". I remember watching it as a lad, along with "All in the Family" and other Lear shows. :-)

The former commissioner of the mess, a man named Charles Swibel, a > rich, white older man

How is his financial status, race, and age relevant ? Why did you mention them ? Aren't you a white older man too (so that can't be the problem) ? Maybe your real problem is that he is rich and you are not. Or are you implying that he & the CHA oppressed black people on behalf of rich white people. Say what you mean ! Don't keep us guessing.

from the northern suburbs had some problems of his own in keeping > the CHA money accounts in order, barely escaped going to prison > himself, but did get CHA tossed into federal recivership (a sort of > bankruptcy chapter used for governments) when the feds 'evicted' him > from office.

Not all that unusual, or unique to Chicago or even Illinois, unfortunately.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Racial exclusivity in Chicago means that when black people move into a neighborhood, the white people generally move out. Blame it on whomever you wish; that is a fact of life in Chicago (another reason, among several, why I was happy to get away from Chicago). I like Independence, because it is an integrated, inclusive community. There are many 'integrated' couples and families here. Blacks and whites are not at each other's throats as happens so often in a place like Chicago. Gay and straight people are not always hassling each other here either. We are simply too 'laid back' to bother with that sort of thing. There was a discussion here in town once of having a 'gay pride' parade. Some gay people said 'why should we do anything like that; who needs such a garish display?' I did not completely agree with that assessment (having lived so long in Chicago) but I can see where the local guys were coming from.

Our public schools here are totally integrated; in Chicago the public schools are almost entirely black (by default, since the white people send their kids to private schools often times.) Here the white people do not run and hide when blacks are around. The 'racial exclusivity' of the CHA 'housing projects' came about by this default; blacks moved in, whites moved out. It was not entirely the CHA's 'fault' except that as the conditions of the housing got worse and worse over the years, many less ecomically privileged blacks found it was all they could afford, and the white people figured out somewhere else to live. Yes, I am a white man, and no I am not rich; even when I lived around Chicago I could not afford to live in an enclave like Wilmette or Glencoe or Winnetka. Many of CHA's problems came from Charles Swibel and his immediate sucessors, men who were demonstrated thieves, men who ripped off the housing authority for most of its money, it was nothing to do with 'rich oppressing poor' or 'white oppressing black'.

I mentioned those items about his race, wealth and living accomoda- tions to show the difference between the person who ran the system versus those who lived and still live under the system. In recent years, some thought has been given to having a board of directors of CHA who are _actually residents_ in large part of the housing project. Just like the Chicago Police Department; isn't it sad there has to be a law requiring officers to live in the city; in other words they have to live where they shit and the other way around. For many years there was no such law; cops tended to live where they wanted, usually the white cops lived around other white guys (much nicer white suburbs) and the black cops lived in at least the better class black neighborhoods in the suburbs. Ditto with school teachers in Chicago. You want to work here, then _live_ here as well. City of Chicago had to force that rule, even with the unions fighting them. We just do not have to do that sort of thing here; people in town by and large are proud to be part of Independence. Once on a local area BBS in Chicago, I got into a discussion with a guy who said "prostitution and 'drug use' should be legal in a 'red light district'. " I asked him where would you put the 'red light district'? He said "oh I guess we would locate it somewhere in _Chicago_." I asked him why not locate it in _Lake Forest where you live_ or maybe in _Winnetka?_ Needless to say he was highly indignant at my suggestion.

Oh, by the way, even our local 'housing project' here in town; it is called 'Garden Walk Apartments' on North 10th Street near the high school (rents subsidized by City of Independence and State of Kansas) does not come close to the hassles that were so prevalent with the CHA. And our housing 'project' is truely integrated, not just all black people who cannot manage to do any better. PAT]

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Justa Lurker
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