Updated: August 3, 2013 6:39AM
Like the majority of Chicago residents, I’m thrilled the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.
But it makes no sense that the city, which is closing schools and can’t pave streets because of budget shortfalls, picked up the cost for the Blackhawks parade and rally.
In 2010, the parade cost the city about $200,000. It’s expected to cost more this year. Sponsors will offset some of the costs, but not all of them.
Can’t the Blackhawks, who have an estimated value of $350 million according to Forbes magazine, pick up the tab?
RICO not the best approach
Contrary to the views of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, cracking down wholesale on the worst of gangs and using Illinois’ new racketeering law is not an “excellent part of the solution” to a low-crime, gang-free city.
These strategies will continue to fail just as her efforts to fight drug abuse and drug trafficking failed as the former head of the state’s attorney’s office’s Narcotics Prosecution Bureau. No personal criticism of Alvarez is intended — it’s just that fighting gangs, violence and drugs with these strategies is like fighting a virus with an antibiotic when the virus is immune to antibiotics.
Racketeering and drug prosecutions can cause gangs and persons pain, individually and as a group, but cannot stop the systemic virus fed by drug prohibition.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law (RICO) is not a new idea or crime-fighting tool. Federal prosecutors have had use of the powerful law since 1970. But RICO laws and targeting the “worst gangs” are not the answer.
The answer to gangs, violence and drugs is unchanged — ending drug prohibition. Taking the huge profits out of the drug business by legalizing substances remains the essential tool in the fight to dismantle gangs, reduce gun violence, reclaim youth and control dangerous drugs.
Lastly, the state’s attorney needs to realize that we need fewer Cook County drug indictments and felony convictions and more misdemeanor charges, convictions and jail time, thereby re-prioritizing violent crime rather than “drug crimes,” which are often business transactions between willing adults.
James E. Gierach