Interview with Jane Byrne

Well, we're talking about--


When you talk about projects and condos and was that ever going to go condo? Nothing like that ever crossed my desk. When I moved to the projects it's because for six weeks, eighteen people--in six weeks eighteen people had been shot, killed, knifed. And I thought those were lousy statistics. And I also thought that if it was a town the size of 25 thousand people, that if eighteen people had been shot, killed or knifed, the mayor should be kicked out of office who didn't do something like that. And I pushed on the police department at the top. And there were no changes. It's not far from here. And I would drive through there and I wouldn't see police. And it was going on and going on and going on. And finally, through such a scene in my office, and taking the superintendent and the chairman of public housing personally to the project and saying, "Show me the police. Let's go in and talk to these people," did every start to change. And after it began to change, and I'm still driving through there. I'm there on a Saturday. And I see a sergeant that I met going very quickly down the street in a car and a foot chase going on all around. And I said--he slowed the car. And he said, I said, "What happened?" He pointed. There was a fourteen year old little girl on the back seat of this unmarked squad car being taken to Henrotin who had been gang raped by three. But there was a difference, because this time the police were there. And the policeman shouted, "Don't worry, Mayor. We got 'em." And I thought if I hadn't been kicking what they call butts, whoever did this would be free. And it made me think how much more I could do and how much I could establish if I made this the prototype of what was going to take place in the projects.