Supply and Demand: A Market Analysis of Chicago’s Heroin Trade, and its Residual Criminal Aspects, Written by a JunkieNews etc. 1 Comment »
Four years ago, I wrote a piece on heroin use for Newcity. Since then, I moved to New York, hit rock bottom, and returned to Chicago.
Much has developed over the past four years. While I was in New York, a major heroin bust (the Dana Bostic ring on the West Side) was responsible for making my old dope spot disappear. In fact, when I came back to Chicago, I went directly from O’Hare to the West Side via the Blue Line, straight to the old “clear bag” spot and found no one there. But within several minutes someone walked me to another spot and I was all set.
Since then, I have been all over the West Side countless times. I’ve been arrested, robbed, beaten up, almost arrested again, and had a gun stuck in my belly in broad daylight—all in less than two years. I have a better feel for how the local markets work. A small amount has been written, mostly by Alex Kotlowitz and Lance Williams, about how the local black gangs have been disintegrating into smaller cooperatives, where profits matter more than the color of your flag. (Meanwhile the Hispanic gangs are said to be where the black gangs were twenty years ago, fighting over territory and colors.) Unfortunately this has resulted in lower-purity heroin for Chicago users, relative to East Coast markets. On the East Coast, the bigger distributors have increased their impact on the retail markets in an effort to boost profits. In Chicago, the efforts to boost profits simply result in dealers doing more stepping on the bags (diluting the product) as each player in the supply chain tries to extract the maximum value from his segment. New York City distributors have become more vertically integrated, so when a large buyer on the East Coast makes, say, a $150,000 purchase of heroin, it is often delivered to him already bagged up and in bundles (bundles out east are what jabs are here in Chicago, that is a dozen single doses, known as blows). This decreases the likelihood that dealers lower down on the chain will step on the product in the East Coast, so it has the bonus effect of increasing quality control all the way down the chain of command. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
There were no horses on the American continent until about the 1680s or so. The Spaniards brought them and in no time they became one of the most ubiquitous animals in the new world. As went the American experiment, so went horses. As a beast of labor, transportation and food source when things got lean, the horse has served us well.
For years they were slaughtered for dog food and sundry other industrial uses as well—brushes, hides and various gluing compounds. It seems that there is no bottom to the ugly cruelties we can levy on the equine species.
The history of our own city is also rich with the labor of horses. In the stockyards, horses rounded up cattle and drove them into pens, and to the slaughterhouse. Horses helped build bridges and roads as well as canals.
Our city’s first police force, enforced the law from horseback—and in many cases, to this day, still do. Just watch on those rare occasions when one of our sports teams wins a championship. The corner of Clark and Division has more horses and cops than a John Wayne movie. Read the rest of this entry »
The Illinois Department of Transportation isn’t all bad, but it sure seems that way sometimes. Earlier this year, my blogging partner Steven Vance broke the story that IDOT has been blocking the Chicago Department of Transportation from installing protected bike lanes on state-jurisdiction roads. The motives behind the ban aren’t clear yet, but documents the Active Transportation Alliance obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that, contrary to the state’s explanation, concern for safety isn’t one of them.
Also this year, IDOT rammed the Circle Interchange Expansion through the regional planning process. The project will make room for more cars in the West Loop’s “spaghetti bowl” junction of the Ryan, the Ike and the Kennedy. While this $475 million boondoggle promises to do little to relieve congestion, it will discourage transit use, and its three flyover ramps will degrade the pedestrian environment and lower property values. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): This is an indelicate oracle. If you’re offended by the mention of bodily functions in a prophetic context you should STOP READING NOW. Still here? OK. I was walking through my neighborhood when I spied an older woman standing over her aged Yorkshire Terrier next to a bush. The dog was in discomfort, squatting and shivering but unable to relieve himself. “He’s having trouble getting his business done,” his owner confided in me. “He’s been struggling for ten minutes.” I felt a rush of sympathy for the distressed creature. With a flourish of my hand, I said, “More power to you, little one. May you purge your burden.” The dog instantly defecated. Shrieking her approval, the woman exclaimed, “It’s like you waved a magic wand!” Now I am invoking my wizardry in your behalf, Aries, although in a less literal way: More power to you. May you purge your psychological burden. Read the rest of this entry »
By Charlie Puckett
Tucked away in a Ukrainian Village alley off of Bishop Street, there are two women in a garage full of horsepower attracting askance glances and stares of jealousy alike. If you are a Ukrainian Villager, chances are you’ve never seen the garage or met Kamaca Reavis and Crystal Kimmey, but you’ve probably heard the engines of their vintage vehicles splitting apart a quiet afternoon, or you’ve heard a friend say, “I saw the craziest thing today walking down Chicago Avenue.” The spectacle your friend’s talking about could have been Reavis and Kimmey and their eight-year-old son idling in one of their vintage BMW sidecar motorcycles at a stoplight.
If your friend was staring, and Kimmey saw it, she may have said this to her son: “Seamus, sweetie, ask that nice man if he doesn’t like the color of my dress or if he’s constipated.” When that eight-year-old kid in a Star Wars X-Wing helmet leaned over in the sidecar to ask the question, that’s the moment your friend probably had his constipation relieved and whispered desperate supplications for the light to turn green. That’s just the kind of neutral response Kimmey is used to throwing out there before she shifts into first and rips away. Read the rest of this entry »
Race Review: University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital RBC Race for the Kids 5K Run (October 6, 2013)-Neighborhood/Suburb, Hyde Park, News etc., Running No Comments »
While there are a large number of races taking place in Chicago throughout the year in various northern sections of the city (Lincoln Park, Montrose Harbor and Grant Park come to mind) aside from the two popular halfs (Chicago Half Marathon and the Chicago 13.1 Marathon), there aren’t a lot of racing opportunities south of Museum Campus. The rather lengthily titled University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital RBC Race for the Kids 5K Run, starting and finishing on the University of Chicago campus, provides just such an opportunity. And though it might be a hike for non-South Siders to get to, it’s worth the trip.
With a reported 1,500 participants registered this year (though only 729 ultimately competed and finished—perhaps because of the slightly chilly, rainy Sunday morning), the University of Chicago quad (at 58th Street between University and Ellis) was packed with runners before the race. Setting up base camp in the midst of the impressively historic academic buildings in this location provided an air of illustriousness to the proceedings and a clear boundary for the vendor tents. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Sometimes you quit games too early, Aries. You run away and dive into a new amusement before you have gotten all the benefits you can out of the old amusement. But I don’t think that will be your problem in the coming days. You seem more committed than usual to the ongoing process. You’re not going to bolt. That’s a good thing. This process is worth your devotion. But I also believe that right now you may need to say no to a small part of it. You’ve got to be clear that there’s something about it you don’t like and want to change. If you fail to deal with this doubt now, you might suddenly quit and run away somewhere down the line. Be proactive now and you won’t be rash later. Read the rest of this entry »
By John Greenfield
“It doesn’t matter what you do to the bus! I will never take a bus! I will drive until the state won’t give me a license anymore.” So said an otherwise nice-seeming lady from the anti-bus rapid transit group the Ashland-Western Coalition at a community meeting this summer.
The CTA plans to build a BRT line on Ashland from 95th to Irving Park, providing an El-train-like experience on wheels instead of rails. Think of it as the Gray or Indigo Line. The buses will run in car-free lanes in the middle of the street, with stops located every half mile.
These traits, along with several other timesaving features, will bring speeds up to an estimated 15.9 mph, including stops, during rush hours. That’s almost twice as fast as the current #9 Ashland bus, which the CTA says averages only 8.7 mph, and it’s comparable to car speeds. That’s what’s needed if we want to make transit an attractive alternative to driving. Read the rest of this entry »