Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Will never go to Manny’s again

By Ray Hanania

A few months back, I drove to Manny’s Deli to get a corned beef sandwich and matzo ball soup. I drove along Ogden Avenue between Cermak and Roosevelt Road with my windows closed and doors locked.

But I didn’t face a potential carjacking or any gunfire. In fact, it was an easy drive, and I enjoyed the lunch.

Two months later, though, I received an “Automated Speed Enforcement Warning” letter from Chicago. It said that on June 15, at around 1 p.m., my car was recorded by a speed camera, driving southwest on Ogden near Douglass Park and Mt. Sinai Hospital. It said I was speeding in a park Safety Zone.

First of all, parks in Chicago are nothing near being safe, even during daylight hours. Kids are killed there all the time by street gang thugs.

Somewhere on the road, the speed camera clocked me going 39 mph. On the entire length of the road, there is only one speed sign that says “Park/SPEED LIMIT 30.” It would have taken me another block to see it, although that’s not an excuse, of course.

The fines are $35 for speeding between 6 and under 11 miles above the posted speed limit, and $100 for speeding 11 miles or more.

I can see a fine for speeding 11 miles over a posted speed limit. I’ve been driving 52 years, believing it is OK to go under 10 miles over a posted speed limit.

Ogden Avenue, where I got nailed, is a four-lane road with two frontage roads on both sides. It’s not a place where any pedestrian might be walking, and it’s pretty far from the Douglass Park, one of the least safe parks in Chicago.

I drive through there in fear most of the time, hoping not to get stopped at the red light, making me a sitting duck for a gun-toting street gang member or a carjacker. It can be frightening, given all of the news stories about the increasing crimes.

Last week, a woman from Orland Park was shot and killed in the passenger seat as her husband was driving them home from a White Sox game. They were caught between gun-toting street gang members firing at each other on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 63rd Street, another scary place to be even in a car.

Police report there have been 158 gun-related attacks involving vehicles on Chicago’s portion of the expressways just in the past year, almost one every other day.

What’s amazing to me is how the city can use technology to nail motorists driving through the city but can’t seem to get anything on street gang members who every day are carrying guns and killing people.

The police know who these street gang thugs are, but in today’s world, criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens. The criminals have more rights than the police, who when they respond to criminal activity get blamed when the encounters go south.

I appreciate the fact that they gave me a warning letter. But I hope they can appreciate the fact this will be the last time I go into the city for one of my favorite sandwiches.

Going into the city just isn’t worth it anymore. The potential to be a victim of crime was bad, but not having to pay to drive through the city just broke the camel’s back for me.

The idea of ticketing someone for going between 6 and 11 miles over the speed limit seems offensive to me, because I know the city cares more about collecting cash than arresting street gang thugs. Worse is that the city and state think it’s OK to let drivers tint all their windows black so you can’t see who’s in a car, a situation that is dangerous for police officers that might pull them over. But no one cares.

If Mayor Lori Lightfoot can put cameras on Chicago streets, how about focus them in the direction of the gangbangers and killers to get convictions?

Criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens, and more rights than the police who risk their lives every day to protect families and seniors, businesses and homeowners.

In today’s screwed up world, criminals now have more rights than motorists.

Check out Ray Hanania’s work at hanania.com.

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