Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Tough Relations 

This story is a reminder that public relations can be tough relations. One not only does not go along with the public, but one imposes demands and expects the public to live up to them. This is a stance one takes in such things as union negotiations, for example. The company shows a firm outer face while negotiating. Any sign of weakness only encourages strikers to stay out longer. On the other hand, the union shows a firm hand as well to communicate to the company that the business does not have the upper hand. Public relations is a face-off between wrestlers in a ring -- each growling and gnashing his teeth.

In the case of public housing projects, one has only to see the old projects to understand how bad they were and how dangerous. Chicago is determined to change from the past and hence, its demand that everyone work. Cabrini Green is a hellish place: It has been for decades. There were periods of running gunfights in broad daylight and open drug dealing everywhere. There were murders, rapes and robberies, and no one was safe even in one's own apartment. It is a mark of Chicago's concern that it is imposing rules on the residents of the new North Town Village homes. It doesn't want to repeat the Cabrini Green experience: Most of the occupants don't either. Of course, there are those who raise concerns about what these people can do, but I hope Chicago sticks with the demand. Sometimes the only way to get one to respect oneself is to force the issue.


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