What’s up with the mail?
That’s the question on every Chicagoan’s lips this winter. Since September, postal delivery delays have been commonplace across the city, and they picked up after the recent snowstorms, but they’re particularly bad on the South Side, nothing new. A scathing U.S. Postal Service inspector general’s report released February 1 found that at four South Side sites audited from September through January (Auburn Park, Henry McGee, Ashburn and James E. Worsham) had in total 62,866 delayed letters, flats, and packages on just two dates in September alone. Block Club Chicago noted that Worsham station packages due to be delivered in August were found sitting at the post office in October. Rep. Bobby Rush, who represents the 1st District, has called for Postmaster Wanda Prater to resign (or be fired) and last week 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea sponsored a resolution echoing that sentiment; twenty-nine other aldermen signed on as cosponsors, but the resolution has not yet been introduced to City Council. Meanwhile, postal officials blame understaffing due to both COVID and the summer’s civil unrest for the delay, and point the finger at the feds, where Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is under similar scrutiny.
1,100 get vaccinated in Little Village
In response to data showing the neighborhood is at the top of the list of COVID-19 deaths in the city, and considering its large number of essential workers, community organizations Mi Villita, Padres Angeles, and the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project at UIC partnered with Walgreens to organize a walk-up inoculation event at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Little Village. Given the absence of mass public vaccination sites to date, clinics like Esperanza Health Centers and Howard Brown Health have also held events and pop-up sites to vaccinate people in their network and the general public. The city’s Protect Chicago Plus program has been supportive of community clinics in Black and brown communities; the city and state announced it will designate the United Center a mass vaccination site on March 10. Check southsideweekly.com for a list and map of South Side vaccination sites.
OIG report frowns upon CPD’s handling of the summer protests
In February, the Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report on the city’s response to the protests and uprisings that took place in May and June 2020 in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The report’s findings were harsh. “CPD’s senior leadership failed the public they are charged with serving and protecting and they failed the department’s rank-and-file members and front-line supervisors,” it read in part. The OIG conducted dozens of interviews, analyzed CPD arrest data, and reviewed body-camera footage and radio transmissions. They also cited the Weekly’s protest coverage when establishing when each downtown bridge went up on May 30. The report noted that CPD took months to respond to many of the OIG’s records requests, some of which were still pending at the time of publication. The OIG concluded that CPD’s use of mass arrests and excessive force during the protests and uprisings “set CPD and the city back significantly” in their efforts to foster trust with community members. Superintendent David Brown disputed some of the report’s findings.