Friday, November 13, 2015

Increasing Diversity On the North Shore

Recently, it has been brought to the attention of residents and politicians alike that the northern suburbs of Chicago's housing prices are deemed unaffordable for a majority of the population. One of them, Wilmette, has the average price for a house range between $670,000 to $700,000 compared to the state average of $170,000 according to Because of this, the majority of the residents are white and prove to have little diversity. To try and fix this “problem” and attract a new crowd to the town, there have been talks between Wilmette plan commissioners of building a 20-unit affordable apartment building. When village leaders met to discuss the idea, many other residents came to express their opposition. Their complaints included their concerns of increase an of crime and or possibly a resulting decrease in their own house values.

Personally I believe that such an idea is unrealistic. In no way am I discriminating against person, no matter their race, but typically the richest families in our nation are white. Wilmette has currently over 27,000 residents and covers 5.41 square miles of land. It is realistic to assume that everyone in every house in those 5.41 square miles of the neighborhood are fabulously wealthy. Yes there are many large, expensive houses throughout the town, particularly near the lake, there are also many affordable houses and small apartment buildings throughout the neighborhood.

One must also keep in mind that the phrase, “location, location, location,” is a very relatable topic to such a case. This is something that realtors and homeowners or buyers frequently consider when looking at places to live along with their price. Last year my grandmothers had told me about how her local top doctor was putting his house on the market. It was the largest property, not including a farm, that was being sold in the town of Grand Island, Nebraska. It had a three car garage, three stories, and was appraised on the market for $300,000. My grandma expressed her disgust with such a price that she said in her slight country accent, “Who has that kind of money? That price is ridiculous!” This price is less than half of the Wilmette average, but it’s that way for a reason. Instead of looking at the house itself, let’s look at what is around it. Grand Island is very different than Wilmette, Illinois. What adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to property costs are factors like being near Lake Michigan and Chicago, some of the best public schools in the country, and even the peaceful atmosphere.

If even more “affordable” apartments were added to the town, there could be large problems. Agreeing with some of the angered residents, it could lower their own appraised value for their homes and is not very logical concerning the factors that make the area so expensive. I don’t think that any of the objections are made to insult people of the lower class or another race, but are made to show concern for personal loss of money in the long run for the families already living in Wilmette. Personally I don’t think creating another group of people living in Wilmette is as big of a problem is it seems. If these buildings are approved to be built, they need to be done so in an area where it does not threaten the value of the nearby houses.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Police Handcuff 7-Year-Old Student

On October 12th, a seven year old child attending Brownell STEM Academy's after-school program in Flint, Michigan was handcuffed by police. His mother, Chrystal McCadden, was called into the school office, and when she arrived, she saw her son’s wrists bound together. When she demanded that her son be released, the officers claimed that they didn’t even have the key. Chrystal Claims, “He don't deserve to be in no handcuffs, he ain't in here with no knife, he ain't in here with no gun. You put my son in handcuffs and you don't have the key — what sense does that make?" She later revealed to NBC reporters that her son had ADHD and had never attempted to hurt himself or another person. That would make it difficult to calm his actions when the teacher demanded him to stop. It is still unproven exactly what the boy did to show some sort of disturbance in the school environment. The mother even managed to record video of her son while in the handcuffs in the school. See the two videos here

The Flint Police Department released a statement on Friday that the young student "appeared intent on injuring himself" and was then handcuffed to prevent injury to himself and other students. Along with this, James Tolbert, Flint Police Chief, made a public announcement toward the McCadden family, explaining his apologies for the incident. He has scheduled special training for all of the department’s officers in “de-escalation tactics” to use toward children.

One would only imagine that these kind of interactions between children and police rarely occur, but this is not the case. Only last week, a South Carolina school officer was fired after flipping an 18-year-old student in her chair. Along with this, in August, an 8-year old Kentucky boy who had ADHD was handcuffed while in school by a Kenton County Sheriff's Deputy after failing to listen to his teacher.

This topic is obviously very sensitive towards some and I understand that. It brings up the question if children, or even students, should be treated this way by police officers. Should they be treated as if they were adults? Personally I do not think so because they have experienced less than those who are older and could possibly not know better. I know that this is not exactly the best, most specific reason, but just imagine seeing a child behind bars who might not be able to help committing their crime, like McCadden who had ADHD. Let me know how you feel.