CHICAGO — A West Side church is calling for compassion in the state budget for young members like 11-year-old Nathaniel Fuquay. Cerebral palsy has confined Fuquay to a wheel chair, and the many needs associated with his condition makes him entirely dependent on his mom, Nicole.
Nicole, a single mother of three, is dependent on a monthly state check for just more than $700. It’s a disability payment that may go away if Governor Rauner’s proposed budget becomes a reality.
“I’m a stay at home mom,” Nicole said. “I need the extra funds to help get him back and forth to school and for the necessities we need.”
With Illinois facing a $1.7 billion budget shortfall this year, Governor Rauner is pushing for cuts that would make it harder for the elderly and the disabled to qualify for home care.
$1.5 billion could be slashed from Medicaid. Department of Human Services spending could be reduced by more than $500 million. Because those big numbers may seem hard to grasp, Nicole is asking the governor to consider individual lives
“I want him to know that my son does need help,” Nicole said. “Think about the little ones.”
Resurrected Life Church Center is one of several African-American congregations passing a petition to urger Governor Rauner to reconsider.
“There was a poet who was a member of our church who wrote a poem that said somebody better say something before it’s too late,” said pastor Ray Berryhill.
Berryhill and other clergy have requested meetings with the governor, requests that they say are ignored.
“It’s going to be tragic for our people,” Berryhill said. “Who wants to see mentally ill people walking down anybody’s street. It’s unnecessary. It’s unsafe. It’s unconscionable.”
Meanwhile, Nicole is trying to devise a plan B to get by. Because she says working outside the home is not feasible, her 15-year-old son, Davion, is attempting to instead.
“Lately, I’ve been trying to get a job in case something like that does happen for extra support,” Davion said.
The office of Governor Rauner sent this statement to WGN in response to today’s church gathering:
“Difficult decisions have to be made because Mike Madigan and the legislators he controls passed a budget with a $4 billion hole while refusing any real reforms to increase jobs or make government more effective for the people it serves. Sadly, Mike Madigan and the legislators he controls are more interested in protecting the political class than the middle class and those who need our help.”
The Reality Of People’s Needs
Regardless of your political views one thing is clear. We are not able to find money to solve all of life’s problems for all of our citizens. And I would add that what little money we do have should be well spent.
The 606 was a boondoggle if ever that word had any meaning. It was a gift to a segment of society who both are unappreciative of it and at the same time correct in saying it was the ‘wrong gift‘.
It is hard to imagine a worse expenditure of monies for the Urban Cycling Community when you get right down to it. They were under the impression that it was being built for cyclists. And to the Urban Cycling Mind that means you really do not have to share.
In fact the Chicago Lakefront Trail is a perfect example of something that is fun to ride until the waddle gobblers descend. Just the other day there was a furiously related story by one of the participants in the Chicago ‘Whine and Jeez Club’ Cycling Forum who came up behind a group of high school runners and shouted ‘On Yer Left‘.
Cyclists And Pedestrians Don’t Speak The Same Language
When the students reacted they moved to their left. And of course the cyclist did as well. Suddenly the cyclist had to veer to the right and lost control of their bike and went down hard.
I have had cyclists just signal ‘Left‘. But the worst part of it is that they wait until the very final moment in the execution of a pass and shout this. Because they have not slowed down the margin for error is very slim indeed.
Now what a pedestrian hears when we shout ‘On Yer Left‘ is what a cyclist hears when a motorist honks their horn when passing. It rankles many cyclists who retaliate by claiming that they need more space and thus the 3-Feet Rule was born. But of course every pedestrian knows that cyclists are notorious for never thinking about giving them 3-Feet when they are illegally entering the crosswalk while the pedestrians are still there!
My Vision Of America Is A Bit More Startling
It is high time that we stop treating our Urban Cycling Community as if it were ‘trust fund babies‘ who need coddling or else their stomachs get upset and they start crying for their nannies. They hate what they are given and see very little of value in it when it means ‘sharing with others‘.
Add to their list of whines:
- they hate surreys
- they hate segways
- they hate parents pushing strollers
- they hate people walking dogs
- they hate walkers who straddle their side of the lane ‘3 abreast‘
- they hate recumbent trikes that are too wide for their own good
- they hate rollerbladers who should ever a time warp and head back to the 90s
- they had skateboarders
- but somehow they manage to leave their drinking buddies who ply the pedicabs out of their book of villains
This is a group that needs to have to live up to its claim that all it really wants is to be taken as a ‘user of the road‘. Some have even decried being equals to automobiles, preferring instead to be a class above everyone else. But they hastily add (out of shame and a sense of staying on point) that pedestrians should be included in this rarified air but we already know that the reason they hate the 606 is because of, pedestrians.
I rode the Cal-Sag Trail twice the past two weekends. This was $20 million well spent. But I am wondering why then the 606 which is 1/5 its length came in at more than 5x its cost? And add to that the clamoring for funding by the poor, who seem not to realize that we cyclists deserve everything we get and then some and you have a ‘ripe mess‘ of contrasts.
Frankly we will never be like Holland because we have a disposition more like Marie Antoinette than anybody Dutch. Wanting to ‘be like Holland‘ has about as much chance of occurring as finding that Urban Cyclists have finally agreed to share MUPs.
The reality is that we are far more like the drivers of European automobiles than we are Dutch Cyclists. If ever there were enough cyclists in America to cause bicycle parking congestion similar to that in Amsterdam, fist fights and stabbings would not surprise me. We are far too self-absorbed as a class of transportation users to ever learn to ‘roll with the punches‘.
The very fact that our Ride of Silence seems reserved as a cudgel to be wielded in the act of shaming motorists, but has no place in shaming ourselves as killers of pedestrians is proof enough that we are beyond redemption.
We probably should be forced to ride through alleyways and along 6-inch shoulders for a year or two until such time as we get our heads on straight. And then for the next decade we should be forced to ride at a snails pace behind parents pushing strollers with screaming children aboard who themselves are following on the heels of people struggling to push their wheelchairs forward while sightless.
The Bike Lane Should Undergo A Transformation
To my mind the ‘bike lane‘ should be re-cast as the People’s Lane. Tables and chairs should be set out at 100 yard intervals and retirees should be playing checkers and chess while sipping coffee served to them by vendors who cargo bikes clog up the lane as well.
Kids on tiny pink and blue trikes should be undergoing training as to how to ride their bikes behind their slightly older siblings who are learning to pilot two-wheelers. And every LAB member who has passed the League Certified Trainer status should have to hold bike rodeos in this lane every Saturday of the month during the summer.
Skateboarders should be out processing their jumps at the intersections and rollerbladers should be holding sessions there as well. Let’s get the Urban Cycling Community to the point that they are willing to admit that their lane has to be shared.
In fact pedestrians who want to use the lane should be welcomed with open arms. I should be able to walk my dogs and cats there as well (provided I pick up after them). But in place of valets perhaps cyclists who want to use these lanes (without having to be licensed) should be asked to do some poop cleanup every month during the summer.
Yeah! Let’s call out these bastards who are too impatient and too unwilling to share.