Tuesday, October 11, 2011
For about the past 40 years, the Village of Skokie has been trying to figure out ways of revitalizing its decrepit downtown section.
They tried calling it a "Fashion Center" hoping to attract clothiers to its vacant storefronts, but all it attracted was one of those cheap fruit markets and a bunch of Tae Kwon Do storefront self-defense schools. (These are proving immensely popular now that Skokie is home to many Section 8 apartment dwellers from the old CHA housing projects, including a celebrated member of last summer's Chicago black mob attacks.)
Potemkin Village-style, they tried putting fancy facades in front of all the vacant storefronts with uplifting slogans about a revitalized downtown Skokie. It looked a bit better, but generated not a farthing in new tax revenue.
So it seems that the big-spending, ever burgeoning Skokie government has hit upon a tried and true cash-generating strategy, as old as the small town Mississippi speed trap: shaking down passing motorists.
Today at 9:15 am, there were 4 Skokie Policemen, on foot, conducting a roadblock at the corner of Niles Center Rd. and Lincoln Avenue -- the gateway to (or exit from) Skokie's downtown commercial ghost town.
They were checking for seatbelt use and issuing tickets.
A beautiful clear sunny morning -- scores of cars equipped with airbags and a plethora of hi-tech safety gadgets, on a 30 mph street -- and Skokie is using government force to insure that all you entering and exiting drivers are safely ensconced in your seatbelts.
And to see that you are safely relieved of your cash.