TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Bell System and GTE Telephone Operator?

Re: Bell System and GTE Telephone Operator?

Justa Lurker (
Sat, 06 Aug 2005 03:20:05 GMT

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to Justa Lurker:

>> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In Chicago, in addition to the CTA or
>> Chicago Transit Authority (thus situated), there is also the CHA (or
>> Chicago Housing Authority) which is a _true_ atrocity if there ever was
>> one. CHA has been in 'federal receivership' now for a few years due
>> to the unbelievably awful living conditions in the 'homes' and the
>> amount of crime on its property. Originally very nice _but plain_ living
>> accomodations, the CHA was started in 1941 and its first commissioner
>> was a woman who was a protege of Jane Addams of Hull House fame. CHA
>> was intended to be _temporary, transitional_ housing for needy people;
>> then after the second war ended, the idea was to provide _temporary,
>> transitional_ housing for military veterans returnin from military
>> duty. Since about 1960 or so, these high-rise (fifteen or twenty story
>> buildings; a cluster of a dozen or so in each location) have been
>> almost exclusively for black people;

> Exactly how has this racial exclusivity been enforced ?

>> many of whom of course

> "of course" ???? Do explain further, please.

>> have extensive criminal histories and their families; quite often
>> the only person in the 'home' (all seven or eight thousand of them
>> in an aggregate total) is the Mother. Nearly every one of them has
>> one or more sons or fathers currently in prison or recently
>> released. The little kids run around wild and rather delinquent as
>> one would expect.

> All of which is somehow the fault of the CHA ? You've lost me here.

>> The television series of the 1970's, _Happy Times_ (written by Norman
>> Lear) is now in endless re-runs on TV-Land .

> "Good Times". I remember watching it as a lad, along with "All in the
> Family" and other Lear shows. :-)

>> The former commissioner of the mess, a man named Charles Swibel, a
>> rich, white older man

> How is his financial status, race, and age relevant ? Why did you
> mention them ? Aren't you a white older man too (so that can't be the
> problem) ? Maybe your real problem is that he is rich and you are not.
> Or are you implying that he & the CHA oppressed black people on behalf
> of rich white people. Say what you mean ! Don't keep us guessing.

>> from the northern suburbs had some problems of his own in keeping
>> the CHA money accounts in order, barely escaped going to prison
>> himself, but did get CHA tossed into federal recivership (a sort of
>> bankruptcy chapter used for governments) when the feds 'evicted' him
>> from office.

> Not all that unusual, or unique to Chicago or even Illinois,
> unfortunately.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Racial exclusivity in Chicago means
> that when black people move into a neighborhood, the white people
> generally move out. Blame it on whomever you wish; that is a fact of
> life in Chicago (another reason, among several, why I was happy to get
> away from Chicago). I like Independence, because it is an integrated,
> inclusive community. There are many 'integrated' couples and families
> here. Blacks and whites are not at each other's throats as happens so
> often in a place like Chicago. Gay and straight people are not always
> hassling each other here either. We are simply too 'laid back' to
> bother with that sort of thing. There was a discussion here in town
> once of having a 'gay pride' parade. Some gay people said 'why should
> we do anything like that; who needs such a garish display?' I did not
> completely agree with that assessment (having lived so long in
> Chicago) but I can see where the local guys were coming from.

> Our public schools here are totally integrated; in Chicago the public
> schools are almost entirely black (by default, since the white people
> send their kids to private schools often times.) Here the white people
> do not run and hide when blacks are around. The 'racial exclusivity'
> of the CHA 'housing projects' came about by this default; blacks moved
> in, whites moved out. It was not entirely the CHA's 'fault' except
> that as the conditions of the housing got worse and worse over the
> years, many less ecomically privileged blacks found it was all they
> could afford, and the white people figured out somewhere else to
> live. Yes, I am a white man, and no I am not rich; even when I lived
> around Chicago I could not afford to live in an enclave like Wilmette
> or Glencoe or Winnetka. Many of CHA's problems came from Charles
> Swibel and his immediate sucessors, men who were demonstrated thieves,
> men who ripped off the housing authority for most of its money, it was
> nothing to do with 'rich oppressing poor' or 'white oppressing black'.

> I mentioned those items about his race, wealth and living accomoda-
> tions to show the difference between the person who ran the system
> versus those who lived and still live under the system. In recent
> years, some thought has been given to having a board of directors of
> CHA who are _actually residents_ in large part of the housing
> project. Just like the Chicago Police Department; isn't it sad there
> has to be a law requiring officers to live in the city; in other words
> they have to live where they shit and the other way around. For many
> years there was no such law; cops tended to live where they wanted,
> usually the white cops lived around other white guys (much nicer white
> suburbs) and the black cops lived in at least the better class black
> neighborhoods in the suburbs. Ditto with school teachers in
> Chicago. You want to work here, then _live_ here as well. City of
> Chicago had to force that rule, even with the unions fighting them. We
> just do not have to do that sort of thing here; people in town by and
> large are proud to be part of Independence. Once on a local area BBS
> in Chicago, I got into a discussion with a guy who said "prostitution
> and 'drug use' should be legal in a 'red light district'. " I asked
> him where would you put the 'red light district'? He said "oh I guess
> we would locate it somewhere in _Chicago_." I asked him why not
> locate it in _Lake Forest where you live_ or maybe in _Winnetka?_
> Needless to say he was highly indignant at my suggestion.

> Oh, by the way, even our local 'housing project' here in town; it
> is called 'Garden Walk Apartments' on North 10th Street near the
> high school (rents subsidized by City of Independence and State
> of Kansas) does not come close to the hassles that were so prevalent
> with the CHA. And our housing 'project' is truely integrated, not
> just all black people who cannot manage to do any better. PAT]

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and detailed
reply !

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You are quite welcome. I have heard it
stated on a few occassions that much or most of the trouble in the
world comes from people _not understanding correctly_ what another
person is saying. With this thesis in mind -- that many problems would
be solved if _everyone spoke the same language and phrases_ (not as
per English versus German or French, but if we all could fully commun-
icate what we wanted to say to each other easily) -- I sometimes attempt
to do that in this Digest. To that extent, my responses are sometimes
painfully long -- some would claim 'long-winded' -- because I want to
convey _exactly_ what I mean, and what I feel is a solution to the
issue or problem at hand. When some reader or another _actually under-
stands_ what I am saying I feel gratified, even if they do not agree
with me. Clarity in written or oral conversation is very important. PAT]

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