Their View: Windy City becomes new Flower Power city
We thought we knew Chicago. Tough. Blue-collar. Big shoulders. Red meat. Tommy-gun-toting gangsters. Da Bears.
It seems the city is running on new software and bidding to join Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., as Latte Belt cities.
The city council, anxious that Chicagoans not harm themselves, is considering limiting the amount of trans fat in fried fast food. Clogs the arteries, you know. The council earlier outlawed smoking in nearly all public places. It also became the first city to ban the sale of foie gras on the grounds of cruelty to geese and ducks.
To get the citizens' feet pedaling and hearts pumping, the city has installed 10,000 bike racks and is building 500 miles of bike paths. Commuters can lock up their bikes and shower in a municipal facility.
While many congressional Republicans see gays as a threat to the social order, Chicago just finished playing host to the quadrennial Gay Games, and an event official effusively thanked the city for its “tremendous support.”
The Windy City is studying its famed winds as a pollution-free means of generating electricity.
And the city is offering incentives to developers to install “green roofs,” roofs that are planted with shrubs and grasses to reduce the city's heat signature and the need for air conditioning. City Hall has a green roof.
Mayor Richard Daley, who grew up in the city's rough-and-tumble political tradition, has embarked on a massive program of planting flowers and trees, 400,000 so far. He explained to The Washington Post: “If there's more trees, more flowers and more greenery, it helps the environment and attracts nature.”
Who knew that the city that in 1968 welcomed the hippies with tear gas and nightsticks would become a convert to Flower Power.
- Dale McFeatters,
Scripps Howard News Service