My sister Kelly is a dangerous lunatic

She prefers democracy to hereditary rule, even in Chicago. What a concept!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

7 thoughts on “My sister Kelly is a dangerous lunatic”

  1. The outrage! Next thing we know, she'll advocate for having an administration lacking a Clinton or a Bush. (Guess I'm giving away my age here, but it occurred to me a while back that this has been the case since I was 7.)

  2. "We've become accustomed to the mayor's taking over parts of government that are supposed to be independent, like the School Board and the Housing Authority and the Park District, and then running them according to his idiosyncratic lights, which notably feature a disdain for public schooling and housing and for the legal covenant keeping the lakefront "forever open, clear and free.""

    Oh sweet Lord this is wrong. So utterly, completely wrong. Look, say what you want about Chicago politics. It ain't exactly a textbook model of democracy.

    But to suggest that Mayor Daley disdains public schooling, housing and the role of the parks is delusional.

    On schooling, he is the first elected official in the city in decades to suggest that the education of children – especially children from low income communities – ought to perhaps, maybe, kind-of, just a little bit, take precedence over maintaining the cozy political balance between the city council, the teachers unions, the "independent" school board and various "community non profit" agencies that lived in the nooks and crannies of the old system. And of course it bears pointing out that the President that the founder of this blog seems to have such a man crush on plucked Daley's schools chief to bring the same reform agenda to the entire nation.

    On housing, Daley is perhaps "guilty" of thinking that its better for people who can't afford decent housing to get a voucher to get an apartment in a mixed income community than to be warehoused in "public" housing projects so utterly ridden with crime, disease, insect and rat infestation and fire risk as to horrify passers by. Oh the tragedy! Will a once-great city ever recover from the loss of the Robert Taylor Homes!

    And the parks? Are you freaking kidding me? Any human being who hopped in a time machine today, went back to 1985, and compared the parks in place then to the parks in place in Chicago today would be stunned. First there's the obvious fact that total park capacity has increased dramatically during the Daley years, as the city has bought up countless vacant lots and abandoned buildings to create playlots that give parents of young children a safe, human scale place to take their kids within walking distance of their homes. On top of that, the infrastructure in the large existing parks has been upgraded countless times. Hell, the single biggest "dictatorial" thing that Daley ever did was to unilaterally carve up Meigs Field to create the only expansion of the lakefront park system in decades. You can criticize that move on all sorts of levels, but suggesting that Daley doesn't care about the parks is so far from reality as to make me wonder if perhaps you've been receiving for the past 20 years a daily copy of The Detroit Free Press rather than the Chicago Tribune as a result of some sort of postal system mishaps.

  3. Next she'll be complaining about the tyranny of the majority in a democracy and ask for a constitutional republic with a separation of powers, limits on what government can do and a bill of rights.

  4. Democracy and hereditary rule aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

    Kelly claims we fought the misbegotten war of independence in order to get rid of monarchy. I had heard that Washington almost became king, but declined the position. Is that apocryphal?

  5. Dangerous Lunatic here. @sd: Daley's destruction of high-rise public housing would have been a great idea had he used any of his considerable political capital to replace it with low-rise scattered-site public housing. But that would have required permitting black people to live in white neighborhoods, and no Daley could ever permit that. As for the schools, you're correct that Chicago exported its schools chief to the Obama administration; this strikes me as one of the President's worse decisions (even worse than Larry Summers, and that's saying something). Arne Duncan's romance with charter schools, which is so little supported by the facts that even a long-time critic of current educational practice like Diane Ravitch has abandoned the concept, is in the process of destroying public education nationwide, having pretty well accomplished that goal in Chicago already. And whatever the Mayor's contribution to the total volume of park land in Chicago, he's felt free to pave acres and acres of the said land for vanity projects like Millennium Park (which I like but which represented a complete disdain for settled law) and the music venue which now sits where Meigs Field used to. I hold no brief for Meigs, but to suggest that its illegal demolition created more actual park land–even if that were a justification for illegality–is simply false.

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