I cannot wait to kick my feet up on the bleacher seats in front of me, holding a bag of peanuts, a hot dog and a cold beverage at Comiskey Park, I mean U.S. Cellular Field.
I want to stroll across Grant Park, taking in the sounds of my favorite Chicago blues artists while chasing the shade as the hours fall into evening.
I want to smell the orchestra of restaurants that are participating in the Taste of Chicago.
I want to sit at Navy Pier as the breeze of Lake Michigan ushers thoughts of the many reasons why I love summer in the Windy City.
But there is a reoccurring theme here. I’m sure as an Austin resident you know exactly where I am about to go with this commentary.
Everything that I want to do in the summer is outside of the Austin area.
There is a problem here.
I am taking hard-earned dollars outside of a community that needs it. I am going to make sure other youth in other areas are staying employed while the employment rate for our youth is disgustingly low.
And you are going to do the same at least once this summer. I guarantee it!
There are re-elected and newly elected officials in Austin and a brand new captain at the helm of the city, Mayor Emanuel.
But Austin’s issues aren’t new and some of our politicians aren’t either! In fact, to restate the obvious would be just as redundant as the reasons we have been given as to why these things don’t exist in Chicago’s largest neighborhood.
I’m asking Ald. Deborah Graham, Ald. Emma Mitts, Ald. Jason Ervin, Ald. Michael Chandler, Commissioner Earlean Collins, state Rep. La Shawn Ford, state Rep. Camille Lilly and Congressman Danny Davis to embrace this new era as an opportunity to assist in reviving the culture of Austin.
Give us the business district, street fairs and entertainment venues that Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, West Town, Ukrainian Village, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Pilsen and almost every other neighborhood enjoys.
What is so special about those neighborhoods? Maybe their leaders?
It’s not too much to ask from you. You were voted in to represent the interest of your constituents.
I ask of the voters to hold you accountable for your responsibility to enhance the quality of Austin. Aldermen have unique powers that I don’t think Austin residents are fully aware of.
Maybe that’s the media’s fault.
What I have recognized is that some of the Austin’s media outlets, me included, have not vigorously questioned the allocations of your financial resources, time spent or any ordinances you have taken to the council. We have not put you through the scrutiny that maybe other officials have been subjected to.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but when I think about how much money that I am going invest in the interest of other neighborhoods at summertime events, I just want to know moving forward how will you address these issues?
I promise I will do my part from here on out. Will you do yours?