Does the White House really want to open up a national conversation about the state of Chicago? OK, let's talk.
Obama, his wife, his campaign strategists, his closest cronies and his biggest bundlers all hail from Chicago. Senior adviser and former Chicago real estate mogul/city planning commissioner Valerie Jarrett and her old boss Richard Daley presided over a massive "Plan for Transformation" in the mid-1990s to rescue taxpayer-subsidized public housing from its bloody hellhole. How'd that work out for you, Chicago?
Answer: This social justice experiment failed miserably. A Chicago Tribune investigation found that after Daley and Jarrett dumped nearly $500 million of federal funding into crime-ridden housing projects, the housing complexes (including the infamous Altgeld-Murray homes) remained dangerous, drug-infested, racially segregated ghettos. Altgeld is a long-troubled public housing complex on Chicago's South Side, where youth violence has proved immune to "community organizing" solutions and the grand redevelopment schemes championed by Obama and company.
In fact, as I've reported previously, it's the same nightmarish 'hood where Obama cut his teeth as a community activist -- and exaggerated his role in cleaning up asbestos in the neighborhood, according to fellow progressive foot soldiers. As always, Obama's claims to success there were far more aspirational than concrete.
In the meantime, lucrative contracts went to politically connected Daley pals in the developer world to "save" Chicago's youth and families. Another ghetto housing project, the Grove Parc slum, was managed by Jarrett's former real estate empire, Habitat, Co. Jarrett refused to answer questions about the dilapidated housing development after ascending to top consigliere in the Obama administration.