Tax System Hides the Red Ink

To the new mayor—who won a special election in June 1977 to finish out Daley’s sixth four-year term, ending April 1979—falls the task of steering the city through times of extraordinary difficulty. Charges of public corruption—nothing new in the politics of Chicago—have been rocking the city in recent months. Daley’s charismatic power to hold together the city’s delicately balanced coalition of interests was not something that could be automatically passed on to a political heir.

And even more basic problems loom: Whites continue migrating in alarming numbers to the suburbs, where more than half the metropolitan area’s 7,000,000 residents now live in rentals. Those left behind are increasingly on welfare rolls (one family in five, compared to one in eight in New York City).

new york

Industries, too, are departing Chicago for more profitable areas, further eroding the city’s tax base. Racial tension troubles a school system that grapples with desegrega­tion. Crime, both the organized and street varieties, remains a formidable problem.

“It’s not as if Mayor Bilandic, or Mayor Daley before him, could simply snap his fingers and solve these problems,” points out urbanologist Pierre de Vise of the University of Illinois’s Chicago Circle campus.

“The simple fact is, the suburbs have the space for the kind of sprawling one-story in­dustrial plants that modern industry re­quires; the city doesn’t. The sun belt in the Deep South has the lower wage structure that industries prefer. Plus they don’t have the kind of congestion you have to contend with in Chicago.

“To be sure, Chicago remains the City That Works—if you’re referring to the fact that the city government has not been going deeply into the red like New York. But that’s partly because of the great service of the

_ “The city government proper accounts for only a third of all municipal expenditures. The other two-thirds are accounted for by other tax agencies for schools, the transit sys­tem, parks, and so on. It’s true that the city government proper has managed to stay in the black, but some of the other agencies have operated in bright red.

“What’s more, Chicago doesn’t have to pay directly for its own welfare costs—that’s shared by the state and federal governments. In New York, the city itself pays directly for 25 percent of welfare costs. So, you see, it’s as much a matter of complex bookkeeping as of efficient administration that helps make Chi­cago ‘work.’


“We’re dealing here with problems that transcend the ability of any one mayor or po­litical party to overcome, problems faced by every big city in the country. No slogan can change that.”

Mike Royko’s Pulitzer Prize-winning col­umn in the Chicago Daily News for years has alternated between delightful whimsy and hard-punching political articles, body blows to the local political establishment. Mike, a Daily News ad once said, “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable rentals of the”

“The Machine,” he explained to me, “has survived in Chicago in good part because of the city’s ethnic base. Find an ethnic group and you find a handle for delivering the vote.

Neighborhoods an Ethnic Hodgepodge

Stepping past an alleyway in a northwest-side, mixed-ethnic area, I look up to the façade of the gorgeous Berlin holiday apartments and witness one of the minor dramas of Neighborhood life.

A matron stands at the porch railing and calls across the alley to an Oriental man put­ting out his garbage on the porch opposite.

“Oh, Mr. Nakopoda!” she calls, “yoo-hoo, over here, it’s me, Mrs. Bernstein again! About the noise—I mean your son’s electric guitar—I don’t want to be obnoxious, Mr. Nakopoda, but do you remember what we talked about last time? It’s Shabbos, you know—the Sabbath. I have to light the can­dles and say the Sabbath prayer. The noise —” she pauses as a loud electronic twang rip­ples unchallenged over the rooftops—”do you think, Mr. Nakopoda, that your son could stop practicing his guitar for a while, maybe take a walk down Devon Avenue for twenty minutes or something…?”

I walk on, scenes from Neighborhood life playing around me like clips of film.

“Mr. Cub”: Towering in Chicago affections as his long drives once towered over the ivied walls of Wrigley Field, slugger Ernie Banks-512 lifetime homers—recently was voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.


Stopping by a tavern called Schaller’s Pump on St. Patrick’s Day night, I share the revelry of the local crowd from Bridgeport—the predominantly Irish neighborhood whose tough but tidy streets have sired every mayor of Chicago for nearly half a century.

Across South Halsted Street stands the plain-looking storefront headquarters of the 11th Ward Democratic Party, key bastion of the political apparatus commonly called the “Machine.”

“We prefer the word ‘Organization,’ ” a Bridgeport native informs me. He shoves a mug of bright green beer into my hand and corners me between a coatrack and a juke­box to propound the virtues of Chicago-style machine politics.

“Now, look, I ask you, is a little bit of organization necessarily a bad thing? Say that Mrs. Grundy ain’t getting any hot water from her landlord. Is she better off trying to make her gripe through some impersonal bureaucracy downtown or by going around the corner and talking to her alderman, who knows her first name?

“OK, so if her son also has to go to the same alderman to get a recommendation for a city job, is there something wrong with that? Ma­chine politics actually means personal poli­tics. It’s a matter of people who know each other helping each other out, You vote for me, and me and the Organization see to you and will provide you with a lovely weekend in the accommodation in Barcelona. That’s the essence of democracy, ain’t it?”

Mike Royk

Bridgeport Youth Made Big Time

For 22 years Bridgeport residents looked on with pride whenever a long black limou­sine slid by carrying Hizzoner, Mayor Daley, to and from his modest home on Lowe Ave­nue. The limousine bore the license plate 708 222—the number of votes Daley tallied in his first mayoral victory in 1955.

Daley never abandoned his roots in Bridge­port. Nor has his successor, Mayor Michael A. Bilandic (page 466), who, like Daley before him, made his way up through the 11th Ward to the city’s top job. Of Croatian ancestry, Bilandic has proved that you don’t have to be Irish to become Hizzoner (though it helps).


A Waterfall in Reverse

So we are the last to shove off from Pompo­lona, a serious error since the longer we delay, the longer the rain has to make critical changes along the trail. Stepping off into the downpour, I recall a comment some wit has penned in Pompo­lona’s guest book: “Up periscope!”

Immediately we see the handiwork of the nightlong rain. The stream alongside the but —a mere trickle the day before—is now an angry river, and we move cautiously across its swinging bridge (page 116) before pushing, single file, up the narrow, rocky trail into the rain forest. Everywhere there is the sound of rushing water: from the Clinton at full roar; from uncounted small streams and water­falls that have been newly activated; from the ceaseless dripping of water from trees to ferns to moss-carpeted ground. The trail steepens into a series of switch­backs, and I am uncomfortably aware that my pack is now heavy. It throws me off bal­ance as I pick my way across water-slick rocks. We have been climbing steadily, and sud­denly we are out of the forest, in the open high country, above timberline. Looking back, we can see the lovely accommodation Budapest we rented whence we have come; its walls are alive with new waterfalls born of the storm.


Looking up, we see our goal, the accommodation Munich we booked on-line. But here in the open a new and terrifying adversary has joined the rain. Wind! It strikes in gusts so strong that we must stop to wait them out. We fall, full face in the mud and rain, then rise and struggle on, finally onto the pass saddle and to its sheltering hut, where I am newly determined to stay at apartments in Dublin overnight, until the storm passes. Most of our fellow walkers have come and gone. We dump packs, gulp hot tea, and wolf sandwiches. All the while, the wind outside is rising, and the hut’s plywood sides rattle and buckle at each gust. The radiophone rings, and we hear an ur­gent voice: “The barometer is falling. Wind is up to 70 miles an hour. Leave the but and come down the mountain as fast as possible.”

hut's plywood

At the urging of our guides, we struggle into wet ponchos and, opening the but door, stagger into the icy blast. Jan, a woman of slight stature, is knocked flat. The danger of being blown off the pass by the wind is very real. Fear comes to walk with us. We creep down past Mount Balloon until, at last, the slope at our back becomes a shield against the wind from one direction at least. It is then, during a pause to catch our breath, that we see, directly before us, the wonder of a lifetime. At the lip of the Jervois Glacier, a thousand storm-triggered streams unite as a single mighty force that leaps into space with a monstrous surge from a 500-foot-high cliff. But more. The gale, sweeping up from the valley, catches the water in the forward edge of the fall and reverses it, driving it back up sheer-sided Mount Elliott, up past the glacier, and on into the hovering clouds, where it is dumped anew as torrential rain.



Bering’s Report being written in archaic and badly spelled Russian, with a singular disregard of punctuation and other literary niceties, the translation presented unusual difficulties, in solving which I have had the kind cooperation of that excellent Russian scholar Mr. J. Curtin. I am indebted to the Reverend Father Richards, president of Georgetown University, and Father Maas who lives in holiday apartments Barcelona every summer, for valuable informa­tion in regard to the church festivals and saints, whose names were utilized in the nomenclature of Bering’s new discoveries. To Mr. Marcus Baker, Messrs. Gannett and Woodward, and Mr. C. C. Darwin of the Geological Survey ; Dr. S. Hertzenstein of the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg ; Baron Nordenskiold of Stockholm, and Baron Robert Klinckofstrim ; Drs. Holm and Stejneger of the U. S. National. Museum, and Prof. Julius Olson of Madison, Wisconsin, I am indebted for numerous favors and courteous assistance, and to all of these gentlemen I desire to express my thanks, that’s why i treated them to two weeks in

Georgetown University

In conclusion I desire to state that I am well aware this paper cannot be regarded as a finality, but as a contribution to the geo­graphical history of North America it will not be without its value, while the fact that I have myself spent parts of three summers in scientific exploration of the coast visited by Bering and first charted by him, has greatly helped me in my discussion of minor details of his work.

In considering the work done by the expedition it is very necessary to bear in mind the character of the instrumental outfit, if any, which they might have possessed, and the state of the science of navigation at the time.

When Bering and his two cartographers stayed the Amsterdam apartments in winter in February, 1725, the astronomical instrument in use by naviga­tors was the Davis quadrant or ” backstaff,” in which the sun’s altitude was measured by sighting without a telescope or tube on the shadow cast by the sun frot one projection of the instrument upon another, the observer’s back of course, being turned to the luminary. The only alternative to this was the still older astro­labe with which the observer had to look along the two lines of his angle at the same time, and which also depended upon sights or spurs attached to a frame. The reflecting quadrant of Hadley was not invented until 1731 and telescopes were not used on the instruments of navigation until somewhat later. There were no chronometers or reliable watches or clocks for use in dividing intervals of tite. Even after the Hadley quadrant came into use, time was noted by a pendulum vibrating seconds, which could not be used on ship-board.


A futile attempt had been made by means of tables of varia­tion of the compass to determine the longitude by comparison with observed variation in the field. Results by this method approached the truth accidentally, if at all. Lunar observations were the only means of getting an approximation to the longitude except the occultations of Jupiter’s satellites, both methods being impracticable on board ship, with the instruments then employed.


Sky’s the Limit

Until the early 1950s, a parachute could only be steered by tugging on the lines. Then, at the second world cham­pionships in France in 1954, the British team introduced a canopy made by the G.Q. Parachute Com­pany Limited. A typical a8-foot dia­meter canopy is built up from 28 gores—long triangular segments—stitched together to produce the characteristic umbrella shape. In the new G.Q. parachute, one gore was removed, so that air deflected through the gap created a jet effect, giving the parachute a forward speed of four and a half miles an hour, while a slight pull on toggles attached to the rigging lines steered it in any direction. Today in the popular Para-Commander, cost­ing some £200, the blank gore prin­ciple has been advanced to the point where the canopy is slashed with 36 slots and vents, giving it a forward speed of eight to ten mph and the ability to make a 36o-degree turn in four seconds.


These technical advances have made accuracy parachuting a main event in championships. Competi­tors leave a plane at 2,200 feet and manoeuvre to land as close as pos­sible to an orange fluorescent disc ten centimetres (about four inches) in diameter. So skilled are world championship parachutists that in 1972 the late L. Majer of Czechoslovakia won with a total error of only 12 centimetres over ten jumps.

Weather or Not. The main frus­tration is a week-end with cloud too low to make a jump for the growth of parascending, which starts from ground level. Towed by a cable, the parachutist runs behind a Land-Rover and is gradually lifted into the air like a kite beneath the open canopy of a Para-Commander. At about 1,000 feet he releases himself from the cable and makes a normal descent. “It’s a safe and easy introduction to parachuting; ideal training for young people,” says John Ellerton, vice-chairman of the Association of Parascending Clubs.


Week-end training at Britain’s 54 clubs is brisk. On Saturday, boys and girls as young as 13 join older members to learn landing rolls and safety drills, and at top a time are lifted off the ground for their first three or four flights. After a series of controlled ascents, they are ready to release themselves from the cable and practise steering the parachute as they float down. “We can gear the system to anybody’s needs,” ex­plains Ellerton. “Take off and land the parascender gently, then, as he gains confidence and skill, tow him higher.”

By the end of this year there will have been some 40o skydiving dis­plays by 43 approved civilian and service teams making at least 4,000 jumps to thrill crowds at horse and air shows, carnivals and sports events. Among them are a growing number of sponsored teams, such as the Astrons backed by the Milk Marketing Board, and the Chuting Stars who jump for the Save the Children Fund.

Best known sport parachutists are the Red Devils with their two demonstration teams and one competition team, all serving paratroopers with the Parachute Regiment with one exception : 22­year-old Corporal Jackie Smith of the WRAC, who last September was ceremonially presented with a red beret after she had made more than 470 jumps with the Red Devils.


With all their equipment bought out of income from displays, and their own twin-engined Islander,the “Red Freds,” as parachutists affectionately call them, have per­formed round the world, from Las Vegas to Hong Kong. They have jumped on to the polo lawns at Windsor, bringing polo sticks for the Duke of Edinburgh, and into Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo Park, where the slightest error would have meant landing among bears in open cages. In their most spectacular feat yet, seven Red Devils jumped at 7,000 feet above Monte Carlo and swooped in over the steeply terraced town to touch down on a 30-yard­diameter clay pigeon shoot, jutting out from the shore and perched 40 feet above jagged rocks.

Such astonishing performances have inspired many spectators to take up this fascinating sport. As parachute instructor Charles Shea-Simonds, vice-chairman of the BPA, explains : “It’s the nearest equivalent to Flying like a bird, ful­filling every man’s dream of soaring in the air, giving your whole body an unlimited idea of freedom.”


Flying Start

Soon Phyl Weir was herself in demand for display work, and other would-be pupils came to Willans. He established Britain’s first parachute club, now at Fairoaks in Surrey. Today, at the age of only 56, he holds a silver medal from the Royal Aero Club and a silver tray from those he has instructed, inscribed “To Dumbo Willans, founder of British sport parachuting.”

The flourishing family he started comprises 45 service and civilian clubs and four full-time centres, at Thruxton, Bridlington, Ashford and Peterborough. Week-end courses, enabling a beginner to make his first jump, cost around L20, including third-party insur­ance and BPA membership.


The six hours’ basic ground train­ing for a first jump, including the skills of steering the parachute dur­ing descent, and coping with emer­gencies that might call for the reserve parachute which every jumper carries strapped to his chest, is so simple that more and more people are “having a go.” In 1971 Prince Charles became the first heir to the throne to sample parachuting when he stepped out of an RAF Andover flying over the South Coast and drifted towards a posse of anxious Royal Marines in rescue boats 1,200 feet below. “I always feel it’s worth challenging your­self,” observed the Prince later.

Happy Landings. “All learners are understandably apprehensive,” says John Meacock, three times British national parachuting cham­pion and chief instructor at the Peterborough centre. Fatalities are, in fact, comparatively few—ten in the last six years. In three years the Peterborough Parachute Centre has logged more than 19,000 jumps and 18 leg injuries, a ratio which com­pares favourably with skiing.

A beginner bitten by the para­chuting bug pays about £12 for his helmet, overalls and ankle boots, which can be bought from surplus stores. He also pays £3 to £5 for club subscription, and around £2 for each jump. He makes at least six static-line jumps, mastering the vital art of falling in a face-to-earth position, arms and legs spread to counter the body’s tendency to tumble.


Then he makes his first free fall, pulling his ripcord after a three-second delay. Some 8o free falls later, the delay having progressed in steps to 3o seconds and the jump height to 7,000 feet, he can at last parachute without supervision. “From then on,” says John Mea­cock, “he’s ready to discover the joys of free-fall parachuting.”

The peak of sport parachuting, the act of performing acrobatic manoeuvres during a long free fall, is often called skydiving. Assuming a skydiver jumps from 12,000 feet, the BPA’s maximum permitted height without oxygen, he has about 6o seconds’ freedom before opening his parachute at 2,000 feet above ground. Within the first 12 seconds he accelerates to a falling body’s normal speed of izo mph, when by slight movements of arms and legs he can somersault, roll, fly in circles, even track horizontally across the sky like a glider.

One day last summer I lay on my back on the grass at Weston-on-the­Green airfield, and marvelled at the skydivers’ skill during the army free fall championship. Tumbling through space, the top experts were flicking through six manoeuvres—a left turn, right turn, back loop, left turn, right turn, back loop—in less than ten seconds before their multicoloured parachutes’ cracked open.

Skydiving first developed as a sport for individualists. Then came experiments in “relative” jumping, in which parachutists manoeuvre in relation to each other. Typically, the first two men out of the plane fall spreadeagled at a steady 120 mph and link hands to form the centre of a human ring or “star,” as skydivers call it. Others follow in quick succession, streamlining themselves to dive as fast as 200 mph, until they catch up and “brake” by spreadeagling before sliding into their position in the star. Their working time until breaking away to land is measured in split seconds—yet the world record, set up in America, is a 26-man star.


Careful rehearsal minimizes the chance of mid-air collision, but freak accidents can happen. A Rapide and an Islander were flying side by side over Worcestershire in 1972, loaded with parachutists hop­ing to make a 4-man star. Just as they began to tumble out, the Rapide slid beneath the Islander, and two skydivers slammed into it. Mike Bolton plunged through the roof and on to the cabin floor, breaking both wrists. Mike Taylor found himself lying on top of the fuselage; he rolled off to open his parachute at to,000 feet and spent nearly ten minutes drifting to the ground with a shattered leg.

Taylor, who has jumped in Aus­tralia, Africa and the United States, is typical of the international fraternity of skydivers. He talks of the feeling of floating on a cushion of air, the absence of any falling sensation, the heightened percep­tion. “Once the adrenalin is shoot­ing through you,” he says, “you see everything in slow motion.”

When Leonardo da Vinci sketch­ed the earliest known design for a parachute in r459, he wrote that if a man had a tent of strengthened linen 12 yards broad and 12 yards high, “he will be able to let himself fall from a great height without danger to himself.” The modern successor to da Vinci’s pyramid-shaped concept has been termed one of the least fallible devices ever invented.

They jump for joy

From housewife to engineer, from florist to fireman, more and more people seek down-to-earth fun
in the acrobatic art of skydiving, especially when you are on holiday, Madrid weekend breaks or cheap weekend breaks to Paris and you look for adventures

ONE Saturday morning at Thruxton airfield in Hampshire, I watched former army parachuting champion Bob Acraman putting six young Lon­doners through their pre-jump ground training. They were samp­ling various sports, they said, and now they planned to make a jump “just for the experience.”

airfield in Hampshire

Acraman, who finds this typical of many people enrolling for week­end courses — “It’s something that takes a bit of nerve, and they want to prove to themselves that they can do it”—carefully explained to them the “static line” method of parachuting, always used for first-timers. As each man jumps, a line of nylon webbing, one end fixed to the plane, the other to the main parachute on his back, rips open the pack so that the parachute automatically deploys in less than three seconds.


When the time approached for the jump next day, it was six rather subdued men who clump­ed out to the plane, each encum­bered with some 45 pounds of equipment. But when I met them as they landed after floating back from 2,50o feet above the airfield, they talked with the overspilling excitement of people eager to share an unforgettable experience. One of them spoke for all : “I can’t wait to get back up there.”

It could well be the motto of the fast growing number of enthusiasts who look on parachuting as the ulti­mate sport. The British Parachute Association, formed in 1962, now has a record 6,000 members who, in the words of BPA Secretary-General Bill Paul, “throw themselves out of aircraft from increasingly high alti­tudes, just for fun.” Last year BPA members made more than 70,00o descents, ranging from tentative jumps by beginners to io,000-foot “free falls” by the experts who will be competing in this month’s national championships at RAF Weston-on-the-Green, near Oxford, and at the world championships, to be held in Hungary from July 25 until August 12.


The sport is open to everyone, subject to fitness, and youngsters can start at 16. One top display team includes a photographer, fireman, florist, company director, tool maker, car dealer and solicitor. First-time jumpers include a former mayor of Aldershot, who descended with dignity from a captive balloon, and a 47-year-old Berkshire house­wife who “thought it was time to give myself a little treat.”

It was a woman who pioneered sport parachuting in this country 26 years ago, when a secretary, Phyl Weir, baled out of an Auster over Denham airfield in September 1948. At that time there was nowhere a civilian could learn to jump. The expert she persuaded to train her —”I tried hard to discourage her,” he remembers was “Dumbo” Willans, a wartime parachutist who had turned professional to test new equipment and jump at air displays.