On the night of March 20, at the end of a race that had cost candidates a combined $5 million, Joseph Berrios called Fritz Kaegi to congratulate him on his victory. Barring the unlikely introduction and even less likely victory of a Republican candidate in the fall, Kaegi will assume the office of Cook County Assessor in December and attempt to deliver on his reformist platform. What voters may not realize—and what Kaegi will have to contend with—is that the anticipated reforms are years away.
In 2010, when the last families were moving out of Cabrini-Green and the last tower was being prepared for demolition, Ben Austen, a magazine writer and South Side native, began researching this end of an era for a Harper’s article. In a recent interview with the Weekly, Austen reflected that the more he dug in, he realized that this was “not just an important Chicago story but one of the most important Chicago stories…the whole history of the city exists within it.” Seven years and hundreds of interviews later, Austen would document that history in a deeper way with High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing.
This week on SSW Radio we got reactions on Black History Month, talked with Ben Austen about his new book on public housing, and began celebrating Valentine’s Day with the first in a series of interviews about love and marriage
Deep in the recesses of a basement at a former meatpacking facility in Back of the Yards, opposite large hydroponic tanks and industrial storage lockers, lives an unlikely success story. Tiny shoots of pea, radish, and peppercress bask under hanging lights, housed on several racks six feet tall and eight feet long. Twice a week, they are harvested and delivered to restaurants throughout the city, where they introduce surprisingly strong flavors into salads and sandwiches. Meanwhile, the leftover soil is composted, and a new set of trays, filled with germinated seeds, is brought out from underneath and into the light. The cycle continues and the demand for microgreens grows.
On Friday, May 12, the unionized editorial staff of the Chicago Reader unanimously voted to authorize a strike. Their decision was, in some ways, an act of desperation. Twenty-eight months after forming a union, they had not yet reached a contract with the owner, Wrapports, LLC. Last year, in response to a contract proposal calling for better salaries and a retirement plan, the company countered with “no salary increase and a severance package to consist of one day’s pay for every year worked,” according to a blog post by Ben Joravsky, a veteran political writer at the Reader.