Who created the conditions for the murder of Derrion Albert? Police arrest four in murder of Fenger H.S. student... CPS coverup of 'turnaround' complicity in gang violence continues

Chicago police announced on September 29, 2009, that officers had arrested four individuals and charged them with the murder of Fenger High School junior Derrion Albert. [img=955]In a press release and statement issued at 5:00 p.m. on September 28, Police said: “Chicago Police charged two adults and one juvenile in Thursday's beating death of Fenger High School student, Derrion Albert, 16. Eugene Riley (above) was one of four persons charged on September 28, 2009 with the murder of Fenger High School junior Derrion Albert. Albert was beaten to death during a gang melee a block from Chicago's Christian Fenger Academy public high school on September 24, 2009. Like at least one of the other alleged murderers, Riley lived in the Altgeld Gardens Housing Project on Chicago's far south side. Riley was not allowed to attend Carver High School once former Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan had turned Carver into "Carver Military Academy High School" five years ago. Part of the toxic mix at Fenger was created when the Board of Education closed and radically reorganized Carver High School, Englewood High School, and Calumet High School on the city's South Side. Photo courtesy of Chicago Police Department Office of Media Affairs.

Eugene Riley, 18, of the 13200 block of South Ellis Avenue, Silvonus Shannon, 19, of the 130 block of South Evans Avenue, and a 16-year-old male were each charged early this morning with First Degree Murder. Derrion Albert was fatally beaten on Thursday, September 24 (2009) after he unknowingly walked into the path of a fight involving two large groups of people in the 300 block of West 111th Street. Area 2 Detectives, reviewed video footage obtained from Fox News showing the offenders attacking Albert with wooden planks, and physically punching and kicking him as he lay helpless on the ground. With the help of the video, witnesses and the community, Detectives were able to identify and locate the offenders who were then taken in to custody. Arrestees were scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court, 2600 S. California today at noon.”

In the eyes of a growing number of teachers and community leaders, Derrion Albert's fate was set on February 25, 2009, when Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott (above left) and newly appointed "Chief Executive Officer" Ron Huberman (above right) teamed up to purge the veteran teachers of Fenger "Academy" High School through the Chicago corporate process called "turnaround." On February 25, 2009, despite massive protests and testimony from hundreds of people warning what would happen if Chicago continued "turnaround", Scott led the Board of Education in voting in favor of a plan, signed by Huberman, to continue "turnaround" in Chicago high schools. Fenger High School was the target for 2009. Since February 25, 2009, Huberman and Scott have avoided general media press conferences, such as the one above, instead manipulating media coverage of their work through "editorial board briefings" and exclusive access deals, such as the one that made Huberman the subject of a cover story in Chicago magazine a few months ago. Neither Scott, Huberman, nor any member of the Board of Education had read the transcripts of the hearings at which parents, students, teachers, and others asked that Fenger not be turned around. Scott, Huberman, and the members of the Board of Education were simply following in the traditions established by Huberman's predecessor, Arne Duncan, who had been appointed U.S. Secretary of Education in December 2009 by President Barack Obama. With Scott's backing, Huberman began his term as CEO of CPS by continuing the Duncan and Scott attack on veteran teachers most dramatically illustrated by "turnaround" and the promotion of corporate models that don't apply to the complexity of Chicago's gritty urban realities. Arne Duncan is now promoting "turnaround" -- based on the Chicago model -- for the USA. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt. Later on September 28, a fourth individual, identified as Eugene Bailey, 17, of the 7900 block of South Throop. Like the others, Bailey was charged with Murder. Police said that Bailey was scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court, 2600 S. California on September 29. Two of the four adults charged in the murder have addresses in the Altgeld Gardens public housing project. The fourth lives in the Englewood community. All have been identified by reliable sources as affiliated with the Gangster Disciples street gang. News reports and Board of Education statements have indicated that Derrion Albert was not affiliated with a street gang.

The murder of Derrion Albert, which was caught on video by a person who was at the scene, was committed with the use of fists, feet, and large boards which some witnesses have indicated were taken from nearby railroads. The video was provided to Fox News, which shared it with the police and also aired it during newscasts.

Derrion Albert died of head wounds suffered during the beating. The beating took place, according to police and other reports, when two large groups of people, many of them Fenger High School students, began fighting in the 300 block of 111th St. after school let out on Thursday, September 24, 2009. Fenger High School, located at 11220 S. Wallace Ave. on Chicago's far south side, has been the scene of gang violence since school began in Chicago for students on September 8, 2009, because of "turnaround," according to many sources who asked Substance not to name them because the Chicago Board of Education has terminated a large number of veteran teachers, both from Fenger, and other schools, during the past five years. Fenger in particular was stripped of its veteran teachers this school year under the Chicago Board of Education’s so-called “turnaround” program. CPS officials, including CEO Ron Huberman, Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason Watkins (who heads "turnaround"), "Chief Turnaround Officer" Donald Fraynd, and officials in the large CPS "Office of Communications" have refused to be interviewed by Substance of discuss these issues. Substance will re-instate a request for interviews on September 29, 2009. According to sources at Fenger High School and in the community, only nine of the more than 100 teachers who had taught at Fenger were retained when the school was subjected to “turnaround” (a form of school reconstitution) was begun in June 2009. During previous iterations of "turnaround," CPS has also purged the majority of veteran teachers from the schools, but this year the difference was that at Fenger the "turnaround" team was not allowed to purge the school's most challenging students as well. Chicago Public Schools officials have refused to answer questions regarding the denuding of the Fenger staff by “turnaround”, and CPS has also refused to comply with a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the Board of Education’s current “Position File” which would enable Substance to independently verify the names of the teachers and other staff who are at Fenger this year against the list of staff who were at Fenger last school year.

Fenger erupted from first week of school

Because the Chicago Board of Education was stung in 2008 by press reports and reports from community organizations indicating that previous high school “turnarounds” had scored improvements in test scores by simply getting rid of their most challenging students in the first year of “turnaround,” this year Fenger, the only high school hit by turnaround in 2009, was forced to keep its incumbent 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, as well as admitting eligible 9th grade students. Fenger, called an “Academy” under the unusual naming policies of the Chicago Board of Education, is a general high school.

By the end of the second week of school, Fenger students and teachers began reporting to Substance staff that Fenger was the scene of increasingly violent street gang fights, both inside and outside the building. Community residents noted an increase in police presence at and around the school. One source told Substance that teachers had been injured during some of the altercations, but Substance was unable to confirm the reports, and CPS officials refused to answer any questions regarding the Fenger situation.

By the third week of school, which began September 21, sources at the school reported that school staff had told the gangs to “take it outside” and away from the school. The gangs involved in the fighting at the school were reportedly the Gangster Disciples, the largest gang in the “Folks Nation”, and the Black P. Stones, the largest gang in the “People Nation.” Chicago and Illinois have the largest drug gangs in the United States, and the gangs are divided into two large “nations” which operate both on the streets and within the jails and prisons, according to police sources and the Chicago Crime Commission (“The Gang Book”). Chicago Board of Education spokesperson Monique Bond failed to answer Substance questions, left by voice mail, regarding the “take it outside” order or the escalation of violence at Fenger prior to the murder of Derrion Albert.

Fenger draws some of the most difficult students from the far south side, mainly today as a result of Board of Education polices which have closed three high schools within three miles of Fenger. Beginning in 2004, CPS policies, developed and implemented by former Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan, closed Calumet, Carver, and Englewood high schools. Carver Area High School, at 13100 S. Doty Ave., which had served children from the Altgeld Gardens public housing project on Chicago’s far south side, was closed as a general high school and turned into “Carver Military Academy” three years ago. Carver now rejects students who do not want to take part in its military program. Calumet High School, at 8131 S. May St., was ordered to stop admitting 9th graders in September 2004. Calumet was closed as a general high school by Arne Duncan after graduating its final class in June 2007. The Calumet building, after a $20 million rehab, was given by the Chicago Board of Education to the Perspectives Charter Schools. Perspectives now operates three charter schools within the building, which is called its “Calumet Campus.” Two of the Perspectives charter schools are high schools, and one is a middle school. Perspectives requires students to apply for admission and routinely gets rid of students who fail to follow the rules of Perspectives. Englewood High School, located at 6201 S. Stewart Ave., was closed as a general high school (by stopping taking 9th graders in 2005) and graduated its last general high school class in June 2008. Englewood “campus” now houses the widely publicized “Urban Prep” charter high school and a smaller public high school (‘Team Englewood”) on its so-called “campus.”

Silvenus Shannon (above) was one of four persons charged with the murder of Derrion Albert outside Chicago's Fenger High School on September 24, 2009. Shannon and three others beat Albert to death using railroad ties, fists, and their feet, according to the Chicago Police. Like at least two of the other alleged murderers, Shannon lived in the Altgeld Gardens Housing Project on Chicago's far south side. Shannon was not allowed to attend Carver High School, which is located within the public housing project, once former Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan had turned Carver into "Carver Military Academy High School" five years ago. Part of the toxic mix at Fenger High School as school began in September 2009 was created when the Board of Education closed and radically reorganized Carver High School, Englewood High School, and Calumet High School on the city's South Side. As a result of the radical changes made by Arne Duncan in the name of what Chicago's media refers to as "school reform," Calumet and Englewood high schools have been turned into charter schools which kick out risky students, while Carver only welcomes teenagers who are willing to accept the school's militarized curriculum. The "reform" activities across the south side of Chicago have squeezed the most challenging students into fewer and fewer high schools, despite claims by Chicago's corporate leaders. Photo courtesy of Chicago Police Department Office of Media Affairs. Prior to the radical changes in the high schools of Chicago’s south side, Calumet High School was widely known in the community as a school that had members of the “People”, specifically the Black P. Stones, among its students. Englewood and Carver were known as “Folks” schools. With the closing of Carver, Calumet and Englewood as general high schools, the remaining students from those schools — as well as those who were kicked out of the military high school or the charter schools — went to other south side high schools, with the majority of those from Altgeld Gardens going to Fenger. At public hearings in February 2009, and earlier, teachers, community leaders and others (including this reporter, who served until 2004 as director of security and safety for the Chicago Teachers Union) warned that disrupting the general high schools of Chicago’s South Side would lead to increasing gang violence and destabilization. Most recently, Fenger teachers and their supporters issued the same warning when Arne Duncan announced that he wanted to subject Fenger to “turnaround.” Duncan left Chicago to become U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009. The new Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman, did not attend any of the hearings on the proposed closings and other “turnarounds” in January and February 2009. Nor did he read the dramatic testimony in the transcripts which were available to CPS executives and Board of Education members on February 25, 2009, when the Board voted on Huberman’s recommendation to subject Christian Fenger High School to “turnaround.”

Since he became U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009, Arne Duncan has begun pushing so-called “turnaround” as a model for the USA, based on what is claimed to be the success of the program in Chicago. President Barack Obama has also endorsed “turnaround,” singling out one corporate group in Chicago, the “Academy for Urban School Leadership” (AUSL), as a national model for turnaround and a supposed national source for “turnaround specialists.” At the time of the murder of Derrion Albert on 111th St. in Chicago, Obama had announced that one of the AUSL “turnaround” teachers was going to Copenhagen to help promote the Olympic bid for Chicago.

Substance reported the Fenger hearing extensively in February and March 2009.

The Fenger chaos was predicated by students, teachers and community leaders at that time, and ignored by the Board of Education when it voted at its February 25, 2009 meeting to subject Fenger to "turnaround". At the time, not one member of the school board had read the dramatic transcript of the Fenger hearings. The Board members relied on the recommendation of the "hearing officer," Respicio Vazquez, who was exposed in Substance as having a massive conflict of interest. Despite the fact that he told the hearings he was "independent" of the Board, he is in fact a partner in the Franczek law firm. The Franczek firm received the largest amount of outside legal work from the Chicago Board of Education between 2002 and 2009, amounting to several million dollars. Recently, Arne Duncan hired one of the Franczek partners to work as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education. Despite these conflicts, the Board of Education voted to destroy Fenger High School, the teachers were fired in June and July 2009, and the history since September 8, 2009, is now a matter of record.

Our Fenger reports can be found in "back issues," especially Kristine Mayle's story at http://www.substancenews. net/articles.php?page=636. 

Final edited version of this article posted at September 29, 2009, 7:00 p.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms — or you can take out a subscription to Substance (see red button to the right) and make a donation. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502.


September 29, 2009 at 12:28 PM

By: Susan Ohanian


This is a stunning revelation. Kudos to Substance for once again revealing the underbelly of the corporate concept of school turnaround, which removes veteran teachers, thus erasing any notion or knowledge of community history from a school.

September 29, 2009 at 5:39 PM

By: Rod Estvan

Fenger article

This was really an excellent article. The discussion of the reality of the gang issues at Fenger has been completely avoided by major media outlets. One very major problem around all CPS high schools is providing on going CPD protection at the end of the day. It comes and goes.

I worked at the former Calumet High School and the presence of the Black Stones was very major. At least two of the students I taught in the early 1990s were children of relatives of Jeff Fort, the imprisoned key leader of the Stones. The reality of gang membership in parts of that community extend several generations back.

September 29, 2009 at 11:00 PM

By: Daley-turn about

He MUST be held responsible for Fenger.

There is this scene...the IOC is preparing to amnnounce the 'winner' of the 2016 games and Daley and his minions are sitting, drooling and chomping at the bit... The huge screens surrounding all, throughout the auditorium, suddenly turn on with much fanfare, only to show the video killing of the Fenger HS student over and over, a la Minority Report, for all the hot-n-tots to see, THAT would be STREET JUSTICE.

September 29, 2009 at 11:39 PM

By: ppr


MSNBC reports:

"For Chicago, a sharp rise in violent student deaths during the past three school years — most from shootings off school property — have been a tragedy and an embarrassment.

Before 2006, an average of 10-15 students were fatally shot each year. That climbed to 24 fatal shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths and 211 shootings in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths and 290 shootings last school year."

This is the product of Duncan's turnaround strategy?

September 30, 2009 at 12:05 AM

By: Zeta

In Loving Memory of One of Our Chidren, Derrion Albert

Let us never forget the price that children have paid for school reform. Reformers that have never spent a day teaching, consoling or working with children. Reformers that only care about money.( Many of those dollars are wasted on Cloutjobs for their AIO and Area Friends). Because of the wasted funds to make their friends happy, hard working teachers are fired only to be replaced by novices who don't know or understand children. When Derrion informed the principal at Fenger that he was afraid to go home, it is reported that he was told he had to leave the building. Had there been someone there with a relationship with him, some compassion for him, or even some experience dealing with students like him, he may be alive today. I don't see how Huberman or Daley sleep at night. Make no mistake, they are responsible for creating the circumstances that have caused the death of Derrion Albert.

September 30, 2009 at 12:14 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Blood on their hands... Gang murders, violence increased with destruction of public high schools

To: PPR "administrator"

I assume you are really asking a question and not playing some rhetorical question Blogger game. If you're just some blogging blovator, you won't read all the details here anyway, so this is for everyone else.

The answer is: Yes, and no.

We are talking about different things here.

The MSNBC numbers are unsourced, and laughably wrong. There have been many youth murders in Chicago for generations. The first one I knew of during my 28 year teaching career in Chicago was an eighth grader in my class at DuSable Upper Grade Center in 1969 - 1970. I was teaching there the year Ed Hanrahan's State's Attorney's Police murdered Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Interesting how these histories unfold, and then get re-narrated in Chicago. Always check your sourcing (especially with the likes of MSNBC) and double check with somebody else.

Youth street gang murders may even have peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when a new generation took over the drug trade following the locking up of Chief Maalik, Larry Hooever, and the rest of the founding generation. Then they slowed again a bit (perhaps).

There were huge hot spots by the mid and late 1990s. I was working in one of them: Bowen High School and South Chicago. In the 1997-98 school year, when I was security coordinator at Bowen High School, we buried seven current and former students from Bowen alone between September 1997 and June 1998.

I personally watched one (Antwan Jordan) die at my feet with a bullet through his head outside the Bowen annex building four days before Christmas vacation was supposed to begin in December 2007. We got the four Latin Disciples and Dragons who did it. It was the best we could do that year to give the community a Christmas present. Four convictions for Murder One. I helped. It was a "team" effort, as anyone facing this stuff in the real world (instead of in some fantasy like Ron Huberman has wrapped himself) will admit.

We (the Bowen security staff and teachers) knew all of the other seven, and I knew all but two of the others (it was my job to know them, remember, my title being "security coordinator" as well as English teacher, union delegate, etc., etc., etc.).

In my spare time, I was editor of Substance. Then. Now. But then I wasn't blacklisted from teaching in the greater Chicago area by vote of the Chicago Board of Education (August 2000). But that's another story of our kind of town...

So the MSNBC Chicago "violence" numbers -- like much of their financial reporting -- is bullshit. (Do you really rely on MSNBC for facts after the past two years on Wall Street?).

That said...

We warned Arne Duncan and Michael Scott when they began closing the high schools in 2004 that the closing of the high schools would lead to increased gang violence.

The "we" in that sentence is me, the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union under Debbie Lynch, and the teachers, students, and community leaders who tried to help solve the violence within the schools. I was director of school security and safety at the time for the Chicago Teachers Union, and we were developing a comprehensive plan to deal with the gang violence (it's not a generic form of "violence" -- most of it is drug gang violence) in coordination with law enforcement agencies, the state's attorney, CPS security, and the teachers (via the union).

Arne Duncan and Michael Scott sat across Arne's conference table and agreed to that plan.

Then they double-crossed us and announced they were going to close Austin and Calumet as their solution to the "violence" (generally, no mention of the gangs, which every cop -- except a political hack cop like Ron Huberman -- can tell you are the root of 90 percent of this problem).

Duncan and Scott double crossed us and destabilized Austin and Calumet (and the adjacent high schools) because they were scripted to follow that stupid robotic "turnaround" (and other) replacement strategies, not to help public schools face terrifying urban realities. Not just "turnaround." Pick your flavor of the month teacher bashing reform: "Small Schools"; charters; contract schools; mini-schools; military academies; polytechnics...

They have an infinite supply of nonsense coming out of their corporate propaganda mills and the professorial and preacher patronage hives that create this kind of stuff. An infinite supply. Nobody with a real classroom job in the real world can keep up with the Orwellian proliferation of this nonsense. And it's funded with billions - even before Arne Duncan got the "stimulus" dollars to put behind the next generation of that nonsense for the rest of the USA. Born in Chicago. Exported as toxic waste across the country...

Yes. They can be named and called out for their crimes. It's about time.

I personally brought together much of the testimony at the hearings in June 2004 against the closings of Calumet and Austin. Wanda Hopkins (PURE) spoke against the closings dramatically then, telling Arne Duncan at a Board meeting, "The blood will be on your hands."

At every hearing on proposed high school closings (or "turnarounds") since then, the majority of speakers have opposed the hearings, with a large part of those warning about destabilizing further the delicate balances across gang boundaries.

Yes, they were warned -- by those of us with "boots on the ground." They ignored the warnings, ignored the drug gangs (and their complicity in the gangs' proliferation), and ignored the impact of their teacher bashing. (Lots to say about how communities are destabilized when the last stable professional groups -- the teachers -- are pushed out after humiliating Stalinist show trials, which began under Duncan).

So, yes, the blood is on their hands. Ron Huberman.

Arne Duncan.

Michael Scott and Rufus Williams.

The Seven Dwarfs (the members of the Chicago Board of Education)...

and most of all Richard M. Daley and his corporate "school reform" masters (one of whom -- Norman Bobins -- is also one of the Seven Dwarfs).

Now fast forward to Ron Huberman and the band of hired hacks who write stories for the bourgeois media (Chicago magazine; Newsweek; Tribune) about what a tough and cool guy he is. He's even more dangerous than Arne Duncan, because (this is breathtaking to write) he's both dumber and more arrogant.

Check out§ion=Article

for our story about the "Lady Taliban" street gang (a branch of the GDs) if you haven't been following this stuff closely.

What did Huberman do in the face of the problems at Julian High School?

He made them worse by grabbing some headlines (Newsweek) by ousting the principal there last April. Nothing he did was for the school. It was part of the publicity stunts by means of which he thinks he can run the nation's third largest schools system, while his phalanx of hacks writes lurid stories about how cool, cute, and tough he is -- and how good with the "numbers" in his "data driven" world.

The Lady Taliban and a thousand little grouplets like them are real, and won't be solved with publicity stunts or by wasting $60 million on preacher and professor patronage (which is basically what Jobs for Jerks is).

I've got other things to do on the night shift tonight, "administrator."

But thanks for asking.

So you really believe that the "facts" you get from General Electric via MSNBC are part of reality? I hope your family isn't surviving on a 401(k) you set up based on MSNBC economic and "business" reporting.

But that's another tale for another time...

September 30, 2009 at 4:26 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Fenger teachers, call Substance

Substance is going to continue taking calls and e-mails from present and former Fenger High School teachers and others. The Substance e-mail address is


The Substance phone number is


(also: Cell: 773-401-6202).

We honor "off the record" sources. In 35 years, Substance has never 'burned' a source. If you are off the record, you remain off the record. We just need to have facts we can report and verify.

September 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM

By: Truth

Some clarifications

Ask anyone associated with Julian and they will tell you that the gang/school climate situation is vastly improved with the new principal. Have you been there recently? The building is clean and orderly, it's a 180 turn from a year ago.

If all the 'Jobs for Jerks' money is going to 'preachers', why were preachers at the board meeting protesting their lack of inclusion in the program?

September 30, 2009 at 7:43 PM

By: gokrtmozart


The reality hit me my 2nd year of teaching wile working in a school located in Chicago's CHA. The naievete forever smacked from my ivory tower bred brain. The boys were actually bragging, without considering they were revealing classified information. They gave me a brief insight into how a child is "blessed" into a gang nation.

As explained by them, children are ceremoniously inducted into their "nation." This is known and understood by every mother, father, brother, cousin and gang chieftain of importance in this kids life. It was then that I realized how stupid, ignorant, naive I sound trying to convince thes kids to "Be cool, stay in school, say no to gangs and drugs, blah, blah, blah ..." The gang culture of our cities despises anything that resembles intellectualism, academic excellence, strong English language verbal skills, interest in academic pursuits, etc.

These kids are not about to cross or violate the cultural and societal as established by these so called "nation." Thus, otherwise intelligent kids spend all day every day demonstrating how they can disrupt, interupt, and be a threat to anyone who looks at them side ways. When these kids participate in these brawls like the one that took Darrion's life, they experience an adrenalin rush that is renforced by every person of importance in their life.

It is my estimation that this conduct will only increase until the justice system starts to hold the PARENTS responsible for the unlawful and willful acts of misconduct by their minor aged children. When parents begin to find themselves facing fines and imprisonment for the acts carried out by their children, the, we may see some tangible and measurable reductions in this type of behavior. Until then, all of the programs, mentoring, "cash for guns" and "Jobs for thugs" programs will only serve as amusement to these thugs who make teaching, learning, and living with them and impossibility.

October 1, 2009 at 1:55 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Editor, Substance

Thanks, anonymous. That's precisely true. More than one drug dealer laughed at the teachers during the years I was dealing directly with the gangs, both at Amundsen High School as union delegate and at Bowen High School as union delegate and "gang security coordinator."

But you leave out one thing: the ruthless economics that underly the drug wars and the drug economy.

The economic Darwinism in Chicago's drug gangs has been violently on display for all of us for more than 40 years (since I began teaching at DuSable Upper Grade Center in 1969, for sure). Despite the brief period when the Black P. Stones got religion (Islam) and banned the sale of poppy products (viz., heroin), the financial motor for the gangs and the "nations" has been the money that flows from drugs. Politically and economically, Chicago in this manner is by far the most corrupt city in the USA. Half the wards (i,e., both the alderman and committeemen) are working with the drug gangs and everyone on the street knows it. When (former alderman) Arenda Troutman got caught and sent to federal prison, it wasn't even for her involvement (which was far from the "romantic" diversion that became "news") with the Black Disciples, but for being stupid and staying stupid stuff to a wired up informant. Like Rod Blagojevich?

The best times to see this in action is precinct by precinct on a hotly contested election day.

It's Chicago's dirtiest little secret. The "People" and "Folks" would not be so powerful (to the point now where they are selling their culture on the Internet, Google "Latin Kings" and see for yourself) were it not for the fact that they have both political and economic support all the way to the top of Chicago's economic and political leaderships. Does anyone really believe that the drug gangs would be running both the Cook County and Illinois correctional systems from the inside without the politicians being part of the action and my colleagues in the news media having taken a vow of silence, almost like cloistered nuns, in the face of what every kid who's ever been locked up knows before he goes "inside"?

We could go on.

We'll report it, just as we reported the photo op of the "Lady Taliban" last Spring. Everyone I know spends some time looking at the stark honesty of "The Wire" and thinking how much more detailed that story would have been if it had been set in Chicago. Only instead of one corrupt "Senator" (Clay Davis in "The Wire"), Chicago would be able to offer about two dozen aldermen and a raft of others. And a Mayor who Knows Nuthin'.


Don't expect to hear any of this discussed at the City Club or Civic Committee, however.

They're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

October 3, 2009 at 12:36 PM

By: West Side Educator


I stumbled upon this website, but you have earned a loyal reader and supporter.

October 4, 2009 at 9:56 AM

By: West Side Educator


I stumbled upon this website, but you have earned a loyal reader and supporter.

February 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM

By: jelisa


i think that they should of gave them life with out parole i think that they should of killed them with no thought about it

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