TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Party Line Dialing

Re: Party Line Dialing
22 Feb 2007 10:53:09 -0800

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to Lisa Hancock:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Skokie did it with 'emminent domain',
> which was the same thing here when Walmart had their eyes set on the
> West Main Street property they eventually took over. Apparently the
> theory of emminent domain can be liberally interpreted. At one point,
> there had to be some _specific government use_ for property in order
> for the government to condemn it and obtain it. Not so any longer; the
> fact that some corporation merely _claims_ that their acquisition of
> a piece of property will 'eventually' benefit the city or town is a
> good enough reason.

The Supreme Court recently upheld liberal interpretations of eminent
domain. "Benefit" could simply mean the new commercial use will kick
in more taxes than the prior use. So there could be a perfectly nice
and well kept modest neighborhood in place, but if some developer
wants to put in a shopping mall, the existing people are "S.O.L."

Interestingly, there are several exhibits in NYC on the works of
master builder Robert Moses, who figuratavely or literally bulldozed
anyone or anything in the way of his projects. But at least his
projects were of public use, such as highways, parks, education,
public housing, and hospitals. (The relative merits of his projects
and methods is under debate). If one has any interest in public works
or urban planning they should read the stuff on the various websites
of the museums.


In the South Bronx of NYC, where much of it is now a wasteland, I
wonder how NY Telephone handled the situation. Do they have old
exchange buildings with mostly empty space or unused gear reflecting
the loss of subscribers? Do exchanges serving the wasteland have lots
of empty numbers? Sometimes one new development project -- which there
are -- can eat up lots of lines for Centrex and other modern stuff.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: South Bronx, in New York City is the
rough equivilent of Lawndale, a Chicago inner-city neighborhood, which
is telephonically served by 'Chicago-Kedzie', a west side central
office. Lawndale was in the midst of the 1968 riots in Chicago, and
to this day, there are still blocks and blocks of vacant lots and
much wasteland, never repaired or rebuilt following the fires,
etc. The Lawndale community, in the 1920's, used to be majority
white and mostly Jewish, given the number of buildings in the area
which formerly were synagogues, and similar.

The Jews grew very fearful of circumstances around there in the
1950's; by and large they all relocated to the north side Rogers Park
neighborhood or many of them to Skokie. Lawndale was the supplementary
'downtown Chicago' with all the department stores having branch stores
there (much like 63rd/Englewood on the south side); about a dozen
large movie theatres; all the synagogues of course, and several
restaurants. As the Jews and other white people moved out, middle
class blacks moved in. Soon, the neighborhood got even too rough for
middle class blacks and they mostly moved away, leaving (or making
room for) the lowest class black residents. Then came the riots and
fires of April and August, 1968. Of course City of Chicago promised to
rebuild the entire area and make it a 'showcase' once again. The
stores which had not been burned out in the riots quickly saw the
handwriting on the wall, took the hint, and split. Please tell me
whatever happened after the riots in South Central Los Angeles in the
1990's? I know that El Lay promised it would all be rebuilt, nicer
than ever before. Did that really happen, or was it just another
example of a 'Walmart promise', like Chicago?

Chicago-Kedzie CO always had plenty of armed guards around the place,
so the riots did not cause them anything other than a nuisance. At
that point in time -- 1968 -- Kedzie still had a large Traffic Depart-
ment operating room on the second and third floor of the building, and
on the three worst nights of the riots, the _only way_ they could get
operators to come to work (and back home safely at the end of the
evening shift) was by sending _everyone_ in a cab. As a matter of
fact, I was working overnight at Amoco/Diners Credit Card at the time
and took a cab downtown myself.

All the way downtown from my home in Hyde Park, the taxicab radio
dispatcher was like a radio evangelist, with his constant pleadings to
drivers: "Kedzie Bell! Kedzie Bell! I want at least twenty _more_ cabs
for Kedzie Bell! Drive down the alley and park at the loading dock;
the security officers will give you each two or three passengers. Each
operator will have Yellow Cab scrip as payment. Don't ask for money!
Just take the scrip and turn it in to your garage cashier. Kedzie
Bell!" (then, after a pause as someone was talking to him, he starts
again; "um, no, Kedzie Bell, not Kenwood Bell! Kenwood Bell lets out
at midnight; but now we have to get Kedzie Bell; they let out at 11:30
pm. Don't ask me again for a passenger's name! I do not know their
names! Security officers at Kedzie will load your cabs. Three or four
riders each cab; mark down the fare on the scrip and add fifty cents
each rider for your tip. Pull up in the alley by the loading dock;
report to the security officers! I need a commitment from twenty more
drivers at Kedzie Bell!" By the time I had arrived at work at the
credit card office, the dispatcher had changed his tune, now he was
asking for cabs at Kenwood Bell, but with the same terms and deals.

Telco later said it cost the company about a hundred thousand dollars
to get operators to work and home after work those two or three nights
of the riots. The last time I was in the area, in 1999, entire blocks
were still sitting totally empty, except for here and there a
combination cut-rate liquor store and Illinois State Lottery
agent. Kedzie Bell totally automated all their operator positions to
TSPS out of some remote point, somewhere. No more operators there at
all. Kenwood followed shortly behind them. What is El Lay South
Central like these days? PAT]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Terry Tang, AP: "Virtual Strip Searches Begun at Phoenix Airport"
Go to Previous message: T: "Re: Party Line Dialing, was Re: Telephone Area Codes and Prefixes"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page