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Posts Tagged ‘Gary’

This blog represents the first in a series of blogs that will attempt to chronicle “what’s wrong & right with the City of Gary, Indiana”. The blog is written with the sole purpose of creating forward thinking dialogue on how to improve, not lambaste, the City that I grew up in.

No, I no longer live there. However, it’s where I was born and raised. My parents raised my family there. Worked and lived there for 30 years. I have a connection there that will and cannot ever be broken. The place has so much to do with who I am today as well as “how I am” as a person.

As I told my wife the other day in a conversation, I believe in laying blame. I know, I know. I’ve been around many a situation in the corporate setting where a “leader” has espoused the type of statement that “placing the blame is useless” when addressing a major issue that needs fixing.

The thing about the topic of Gary that differs from that of say a business setting is that what ails Gary is of a social nature. Yes, business or lack there of, is a major component of what ails Gary. But from a social vantage point, I believe, we first have to solve, or improve, the social environment of Gary before ANY type of viable business structured solution can be brought to the City.

In solving, or improving the social environment, we’ve got to call out those who seek to continue or contribute to the spiraling fall of the city where I was brought into this world.

Yes. Gary is a predominately Black city. I therefore feel that it’s problems are predominantly those of the Black citizens of the city. Essentially, I get the impression that my former neighbors who have decided to stay in Gary and “tough it out”, feel they are powerless at effecting change in Gary. They do vote. They pay their property taxes. They are not the problem. They have aged and contributed to the city and the elected officials there have let them down in return.

Sure, this sounds like the post is going into the direction of, say, a Post-Tribune or a NWI Times editorial written by some outsider person of the White race who, it seems, takes great joy in pointing out the ills of Gary.

However, I am not White. Though I am now an outsider, I still have a connection to that city in which life long friends and neighbors still traverse the mean streets of Chase St, 5th Ave, Grant St., Broadway, Burr St and Taft St., among others.

I understand when a friend who calls me and tells me he just came from Gary, helping his mother purchase a lawn mower and comments on how bad the city looks, or that someone I grew up with just died and how they died, I understand the sorrow in their voices. It’s different then the tone of a editorial written by some White resident who lives in Merrillville or Hobart or Crown Point who harbors a stereotypical mindset towards Blacks due to the history of the existence of Blacks in the Lake County area. Gary in particular.

That tone is one of innuendo and hate filled propaganda. The tone of my friends when they tell me things about the city they still live in, there is a tone of hurt, despair, and love. They dearly wish the place would see better days. The tone of the Post Tribune columnist is one that gives the impression they couldn’t care less if the people in Gary all killed themselves and died a horrible death.

So Fuck Them. (This the only time you will see such an offensive statement in this blog about Gary, I promise)

The emotions that I have on the whole issue of my UNDERSTANDING as to how Gary ultimately arrived where it is today, is fueled by my distaste for those people who essentially have kept a death grip on Gary financially while living outside of it’s boundaries. Those would be the “White Flighters”.

I have purposely, in the recent past, traveled to Gary with my daughters who for the first time were old enough to see Gary and remember it after the visit. I can argue that the place looks nothing like it did when I first took them there when they were very young, that type of thinking is directed towards the neighborhood I grew up in. More importantly, the house I grew up in.

I loved that house. I loved my street. I certainly remember the days, years, that everyone (well most everyone) took pride in how their homes looked. Kept up their quarters. I had a beautiful childhood on 8th and Taney. I would not trade it for any other type of childhood experience. And yes, it was a 100% and viable Black neighborhood!

There are some who think there was no way this was possible in the City of Gary. As far as most Whites in particular are concerned, Gary has been a  S-hole since at least the early 70’s. Well I can attest to the wonderful upbringing I had in the city. I take the good memories with the bad.

So I’m driving down Broadway with wife and girls and showing them our sparkling, dynamic downtown. Yes, the first thing they notice is that all, yes every building is boarded up. I ask them to take a CLOSER LOOK at the boards that were on the store fronts. I asked them to take a close scan of the buildings that were dilapidated. I then asked them to identify one sign that informed anyone as to how to purchase or lease any of those buildings.

THEY COULD NOT FIND ONE! Then I explained something to them that I found out when I returned to Gary years ago at a time that I myself was a business owner in Nashville, Tn. I had an interest in how one would go about purchasing one of those buildings. The thing I found out is that for the most part, they are not for lease or for sale!

Most of those entities who abandoned Gary in the 70’s under the guise of White Flight has retained ownership of the business store fronts they abandoned while relocating their shops and businesses in places like Hobart and Merrillville. They have a vendetta against Black Gary citizens. Yes the Black ones who essentially voted in the nations first Black Mayor of a major city, Richard G. Hatcher.

The way Hatcher ascended to power contributed to the lingering resentment that those former White citizens of Gary have towards Blacks today.  I explained to my girls that Hatcher ascended to the position of Mayor of Gary on the coat tails of the Black Power Movement of the late 60’s. I explain to them that even today, any type of black political figure that was or has been associated with the “Black Power” movement of the civil rights era, is a hated figure in the racist part of the White community and is often identified as examples of racist blacks by modern mainstream media and White politicians the like.

I explained to my girls, there is a deep hatred towards Black citizens of Gary by the suburban White citizens of Lake County Indiana who still own those store fronts on Broadway. Essentially, Blacks stood up to what was then a racist City of Gary government that treated black citizens as second class citizens much like the way Blacks were treated throughout the country at that time.

The big thing was that Blacks in Gary chose to use ideology more in line with Malcolm X then that of Martin Luther King to effect change.

You know. The line Bernie Mac used to use to open his shows on Def Comedy Jam.

Well for now, read this article in the Post-Tribune for an example of one our own (Black Men) who clearly has been taking the citizens of Gary for a ride with their tax dollars…

Glen Park group forgets about ‘that’ $100,000

Like I said. The Post Tribune does a good job at making sure the ills of Gary are on display. I’ll use it to make a point. I promise to dig deeper then the sarcastic tone the journalist who wrote the piece clearly has taken.

(to be continued…)

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Those of us who TIRED of black people making excuses for our race need to jump behind Obama and his call for the black community to be more responsible for their own actions. Though this is nothing different then what Bill Cosby has said on numerous occasions in the past.

Case in point. The very house I was raised in in Gary Indiana was broke into countless times before my parents retired, BY PEOPLE I WAS RAISED WITH IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

They’ve since retired and moved from Gary. They sold the house to my sisters best friend for like $18,000! That’s after 30 years of ownership. Now I find out my sisters best friend has had to deal with some punks doing the following:

  • Fools LITERALLY driving a car through the front of the house (smack into the bedroom that I shared with my brother), back out, drive off while she was chasing after them, and never get caught!
  • Deal with a break in where they took quite a bit of stuff out of the house.
  • A month after the first break in, they broke in again. Because they had trouble getting the big TV out of the house, they decided to F it up by busting it up.

When my parents were still living in the house, I remember becoming infuriated when I came to visit them when I went into the Den room, only to see where my parents had put up a 2X4 barricade on the back door to prevent assholes from kicking in the door and stealing everything or worse, doing something to my mother when my dad wasn’t there. It was like my parents were scared in their own home.

Keep in mind the next door neighbor had guys my age that grew up with me. They didn’t have my back? My peoples back? HELL NO! Why? Because in the hood, fuck a ni__a is the motto of the day.

This is essentially the problem. Places like Gary, Newark, Baltimore, East St. Louis, they know about this problem all too well. I found out that my best friend had sold drugs to the young sister of a dude who had looked out for him when he was younger. It was then that I knew that he was no longer the same guy I had grew to love like a brotha when we hung tight.

People change. Situations change. The guys that got caught breaking into my parents house when they still owned it was a guy I grew up with next door (on the other side of the house), and two other guys that I played with as a kid. It was PAINFULL to learn they had did what they did. It was then that I learned that when people are on that stuff, or dealing in that stuff, friendship don’t mean shit!

It made me turn against G.I.. I’ve never looked at the place in same light since. Before, man I used to get goose bumps when I approached the city limits on I-65. I’d have this excitement in me that only those from G.I. understand. Then, it was gone.

I’ve been back twice in the past 3 years. Each time, I certainly did not have that feeling. Nor did I have the desire to see people that I certainly would have looked up in the past. It was fitting that both times, I was in the area for funerals. Maybe I just grew up. I don’t think that was it.

Now I don’t want to pile on Gary, like the racist ass whites who fled Gary and purposely have kept their hands around the throats of the city financially since the days of Hatcher do in the Post-Tribune or the Northwest Indiana Times. But I do believe that when Obama talks about how blacks need to start taking more responsibilities for their actions, G.I. is the epicenter and a case study on the topic.

Though I know the institution of racism is alive and well, I am also aware of the penchent for my race to default to identifying with sterotypical descriptions of blacks.

  • “CP Time” (colored people time)
  • Using “you know what I mean” after making a statement
  • Always talking about food
  • Bling Bling is the measure of success
  • Flashiness
  • No snitchin
  • hustlin
  • gettin over
  • saying the word Nigga in public indiscriminately in broad public

We are our own worst enemy. So I say this. Jesse, Barack has the right to ‘talk down” to black folk or “niggas” as you said on Fox. by the way, you know Fox threw you under the bus on that one.

We have to have someone do it. Nas aint doing it. Kanye ain’t doin it. Jay Z damn sure aint doing it. We’ve got to fight the power of ignorance thats in our own community just like we’ve been fighting the institution of racism.

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I recall reading about John Boyd (Coach of West Side) sounding bitter about the circumstances of a charter school (I think Bowman) affecting where the ever thinning basketball talent pool goes to high school in Gary.

Having been born and raised in Gary in an era where charter schools were not a problem, I can only speak on this subject from the “outside looking in” perspective. I will also attest to having limited knowledge of just what a charter school is.

From what I understand, Gary now has 5 high schools remaining: West Side (always 1st), Roosevelt, Lew Wallace, Wirt and then Emerson.

Horace Mann was closed some years back and I believe I’ve read about whispers of “HISTORIC” ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL closing this year. Whew…

That’s hard to imagine. Especially when I read about Bowman Academy.  With Gary’s dwindling population, I’m sure that Bowman’s siphoning of students from the rolls of schools such as Roosevelt is contributing to the chatter or need for a school such as Velt to close.

Am I missing something here? Keep in mind that I was born and raised in G.I. and I completely understand the challenges the citizens of Gary face in the area of getting their children a quality education. I will say this, for all the negative critique of the Gary School System, I sure do have a lot of former classmates and hear of a lot of former classmates and friends doing some good if not great things with their lives.

When I left West Side, I did so with an ability to read/write/think with the best of any other 18 year old in the country. I don’t care what the Post Trib or NWI Times says. In my adult life, I see it everyday in what I do for a living, people of all walks in life, degrees from the best or 1st tier universities, especially white , who simply don’t impress me with their ACTUAL ABILITIES” to do white collar tasks on a consistent and quality basis.

Sure their degrees are from UNC or NC State or Duke, but I’ve learned to look beyond that and focus on their actually abilities. You’ll be surprised what money or a legacy can buy…

Back to Bowman. Of course the issue comes down to Gary’s past time: HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL! I saw last year how Bowman, I think, beat Roosevelt and played West Side and Lew Wallace tough (they may have beat el dubb).

I guess I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this topic. Seeing the Gary Holiday tournament won by Bowman Academy instead of Side, Velt, El Dubb, Wirt, or Gary Mann is like WTF?

From the sounds of the chatter coming out Gary, this is a possibility this upcoming season.

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So Obama might just be the next president of the U.S.. While I applaud his position, I also have to signal the need for his black supporters to “wake up and smell what’s brewing”.

I mentioned in previous post how a Barack win will bring about a new type of perspective on blacks in the eyes of quite a bit of White America. The first thought that comes to mind is that since he is articulate (like millions upon millions of other Blacks) and (if) he actually wins the presidency and does his time in the White House, then this will provide a step forward in the area of racial relations in this country.

Then comes: Racism? What Racism”.

This is where the “wake up” comes in. The Obama-Clinton race for the Democrat nomination demonstrated just how much racism is still in existence in this country. It’s true the mere fact a black man can be seen as a viable candidate for the Presidency and receive millions upon millions of votes from white voters is surely a sign that race relations have taken a monumental leap from the year I was born (68).

On the contrary, the venomous campaign approach Clinton used to stay in the race showed just how easily it is to stoke white racist feelings about black men and people in general, and use it as a motivating tool to go against anything that involves the improvement of black people, whether it be in their personal lives or the perception of black life/people in all of the Americas.

Which brings me to this; A blacks ability to advance in this country is going to take a DRAMATIC change with an Obama Presidency.

Expect more heated and intense challenges to affirmative action from whites.

Expect even more scrutiny when the need to use anti-discrimination laws justifiably arise

Expect more charges that blacks are racist towards whites

Expect there to be a perception that everything is level now. We do have a black president, you know…

The days of a Shaq rapping about Kobe (justifiably) and using the n word without receiving heat are gone. Shaq got a taste of that years ago when he mocked Chinese dialect when making a statement about Yao Ming.

Black people, if we are going to cry a hissy fit about a guy like Imus saying the N word or something racist, we’ve got to expect that we need to be held to the same standard.

It’s a unique time for black people here in the U.S.. I for one believe it’s going to be a good, positive change overall. It’s going to be tough. The majority (whites) still and will continue to do things that WE blacks know are racist.

It happens to me at least once a day as a black man. Every singe f_ckin day. Sometimes in small subtle occurances. Other times in ways that simply Makes Me Wanna Holla!

It’s time for us to police our own. We have alot of growing to do within our own community. Our own little Zimbabwe’s and Mugabe’s across the country within our own communities. We’ve been needing a jolt and I believe the Obama experience is and will catapult us into the next episode.

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The Milk Depot. The Lure. Screamin Wheels. Rays Shrimp House. Tri-Tri City. Westbrook Apartments. Chase School. The Dairy Queen on 15th Ave. Jackson Rib House. Archie B’s. Martin Gas Station. Jewel Food Store. The Village. Vienna Red Hot stand. Custom Tops. Montgomery Wards. Gilmore Stadium. Methodist Hospital. Mercy Hospital. Arts Bakery. Horseman. WEST SIDE COUGARS. Roosevelt Panthers. El Dubb. Wirt. Lake St. Beach. Marquette Park. Broadway. The Genesis Center. Disco Enterprise!. Victor Vincent house parties. House Music. Farley. JM Silk. Julius Jumpin Perez. Mickey Mixin Oliver. The Fly Jock Tom Joyner. WGCI 107.5 FM. WBMX is gonna make you rich!. The hot lunch mix. Leaded Gasoline. My Camaro rollin on Chrome Cragar 20’s in the 80’s! Jensen 6×9’s(four of em) in the back dash. The flea market behind The Village. Kressgees. JC Pennys, White Castles. Piggly Wiggly on Grant St (way back). Walgreens in Tri City. Mays department store across from Tri City. The Bud Plant. The Store in Tri City. Ivanhoe (Poe Jets!). The Spectrum. West Side vs. Roosevelt. The Holiday Tournament. The Thanksgiving Day Tournament. The Gary Drill Team Competition. The Gary Dump. Tim McCalister. Kenny McLaurin. Winston Garland. Johnny Fort. Tellis Franks. Donald Carter. Jerome Harmon. Eric Longino. Craig Dixon (Mr. Westbrook) schoolin D-1 prospects on the court in Westbrook.

The wavy part of Chase St going to the Village. 5h Ave. The Westbrook community center. Summer programs at Chase School and West Brook Community Center before Ronald Reagan. Ridge Road. Ventures in Griffith. South Lake Mall. Century Mall. Carson Pieri Scott. L.S. Ayers. Burger King on the first floor. Lockers in the mall for your coat in the cold ass winter. Chess King, The Lark, Bachrachs. Spencers. Jordach Jeans. The designer jeans craze. Run-DMC. Crush Groove. Whodini. LL Cool J. Afrika Bambata. Planet Rock. Midnight Star, SOS Band. Rick James. Seeing Rick James/Parliament/Bar-Kays concert at West Side’s Gym with my brother. Remembering how so many people was in the gym smokin weed that the cops couldn’t do anything about it. Rick James telling the crowd to ‘light it up”. Trippin out on the cat in Parliament that wears a diaper (old ass still does in current concerts). Devo, Thomas Dolby. Duran Duran. Other European white groups that we actually listened to. When we first got cable and watching an HBO movie for the first time. Those HUGE VCR’s that you used to have to program by moving these small white wheels.

“Sock Hops” on lunch hour at West Side. Darren “Magic” Sumbry. Herman Hurston. Bo-Pete. A.G.. Bo, Sophia Smith, Derenda Braden, Lisa Hill, Mabel Peters, Eric Crosby, Patrick Smith, Marilyn. Old neighborhood friends Tommy Houston. Derrick Owens. Michael Owens. Donnell Draper. Ben Jones. Tim Boudreaux. Ivan Colbert.

Driving like a damn fool down 4th Ave at night coming back from hanging out at the beach. Not noticing how dangerous Gary was until after I left. Now Laters. Chico Sticks. Grape Soda. Riding a bicycle EVERYWHERE until I got a car. Ballin all day and sometimes under the light during the summer months. Ballin in the winter months after clearing the snow from the court and grabbing the outside trash can and putting rags and other crap in it to make a fire to warm your hands while waiting for “next” on the court. Playing tag football in the street. Playing “piggy” in the street. Playing hide and go seek. Talkin about each others momma under the street light. Not challenging Diciples when they roll up on you talkin bout “who you rollin with?”, I ain’t rollin with nobody. Tolleston. Gettin jumped over a girl at West Side. Inland Steel. Sophomore Star Night at West Side. The Gary Football O’Rama. Over sized Boom box carried on my shoulder while walking around the Football O’Rama.

More…

Calling James Piggee “Manute” when he dunked. Lincoln way Deli on 4th. The Blue Room. Dena’s Pub. IUN. Seeing someone get shot. Shoveling snow. In May. Standing in line at the Drill Team Competition or high school basketball games. In the snow. With the wind chill 20 below. Frontin driving thru the front of the Village lookin at my ride in the glass. Skipping school and hanging out at Roosevelt on their lunch period. Tarry Town. The Cobbs. biker shorts at miller beach with biker hats. Broaches and long shirts (house style) Mothafuc_in gangstas wherein black hats with the crossed guns on them. seeing dudes walking down 15th ave ‘stackin” and throwin up pitchforks. The indoor car wash on 11th ave in the winter. the Zanzibar. the library next door. Popeyes chicken on broadway. The bad service at Popeyes on Broadway. City Castles across from the old “Gary” Post Tribune site. All the stores on broadway boarded up. The old theater on broadway with the “Jackson Five” sign still up. Big ass pot holes in the streets. Drag Racing down 5th Ave going towards Miller Beach. West Side Lounge. tip tops. Racist ass Hessville. Going to McDonalds for lunch at West Side. the surge. Getting my car broke into bout 6 times. My Best Friend from elementary school Don Clay. Tommy “King Weird” Houston. throwing rocks at the new car windows on the train. Shooting birds with my pellet gun on the “high line”.

Shine Dog. Kerm. Ug. Flea Bag. Bay Bay. Bootsy. Pink Floyd. Juno. Magic. Richard Hatcher. Ron Helflin. Ike Brown. The Cougar Den Gym. The Panther Den. EC Roosevelt ‘Rough Riders”. Thanksgiving day tournament at EC Roosevelt. Snap dying too young. Cheap Ass Churchs Chicken on 5th ave. Rib Tips. Foot Long Fried Polishes. Trying to rap to girls older than me. The Sheraton when it was open. The old train on 5th AVe across from City Hall. The MEPS Station across the street from the Genesis Center. Not snitchin on dudes from “the Bronx” but having to pay restitution for all the Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and Ding dongs they stole from the delivery truck outside the surge when the dumb ass driver left the back of the truck unlocked and went inside of the school for about 15 minutes. Fast Willie walking down 5th ave selling peanuts walkin REAL fast during the day time. Seeing Fast Willie walking REAL fast that same night selling peanuts at Miller Beach while hanging out and underage drinking. Being stopped so many times by the Gary police in my ride. They never took us to jail. they just took our “stuff” and let us go. Giving a Gary police officer a beer as he cruised thru the parking lot at the Marquette Park Beach parking area, though I was under aged myself.

Straight leg plaid pants. Get n’ them from the thrift store. V-neck Izod sweaters. Swoop fade haircuts (see you tube video of Kwame), Polo’s. Polo cologne. Lagerfield. K-SWISS. The Swiss Boys. The Rude Boys. Black Scotty from Tolleston (The best GQ dressing mofo in middle school). Trench coats. piano ties. Michael Jackson’s Thriller Jacket. The Jerry Curl Factory off Grant St (and I believe 15th). Wet, drippy jerry curls. Afro picks. Afro sheen. Watching Walter Payton play for the Bears on Sunday at 11am. Missing the first half of the games because my momma dragged me to church. Once going to church definitely still hung over from going out the night before (ofcourse moms didn’t know). Walter Jacobson on the Channel Two News. Bill Curtis. Chet Lemon-center fielder for the White Sox. Hating the Cubs (still do). Hating the Packers (still do). Hating Roosevelt High School (as competition- I grew up, don’t hate no more). Reflecting on the HATERS and noticing how I didn’t have time to notice them back then because “I was doin my thang”. Realizing that G.I. was full of haters back then as it is today. Playing the numbers in the raggedy house next to the Milk Depot on Chase St.

Walking to school to Tolleston. Being concerned when that faggot was molesting kids (I guess this was in like 1980 or 81) abducting them while they walked to school-the name for him in the hood was the “booty bandit”. We all walked to school in groups because of this. Mr. Williams at West Side (how he’d cuss at you) Remembering being spanked with a paddle in the 8th grade at Tolleston by Mr. Whiteside (that shit hurt and was humiliating because he did it in front of the class). Me and Magic carrying Ant Green to his front steps while he was passed out drunk, ringing the door bell, running down two houses down where my car was parked and taking off.

Remembering the day my mom called me and told me my boy Magic had been shot to death (she was working in the emergency room the day he was brought in)…

Kerry “Trent Bennett…R.I.P. (You and your moms was/are good people)

Marilyn Bouler… R.I.P. (My prayers go out to her family and her close friends)

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Pasty Rush Limbaugh’s Ditto Heads are the “white working class” that has been “crossing over ” and voting for Hillary in large numbers. I’m convinced after noticing right after the completion of several primaries, theres always a statement in the press that talks about how heavy the voter turn out was in normally Republican Red districts.

When you look at vote totals for McCain and other Republican candidates, their overall vote totals/volume is less than twice/three times what the totals are for Obama and Clinton.

The thing about it, the press has always known about it. A prolonged primary season means more money. Does anyone really believe that McCain can win the nomination?

The King Puppet Master is hard at work fooling you all into believing that Barack can’t garner the “white working class” vote.

After finding out that Lake County Indiana went to Obama (got the majority of the white and black votes from this “blue collar county), it’s clear that it was the red district Republicans that did wicked “Limbaugh Crossovers” and voted in blocks throughout state of Indiana and other state primaries that gave Hillary the “bump” she needed to win in those states.

The media is more then willing to facilitate this agenda. It prolongs this media money making race for the Democrat Nomination.

Notice how very little press McCain actually gets throughout each week. They can’t make any money off the guy!

A tried and true formula for selling ad space is race baiting political topics.

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Look no further then the steel city and it’s surrounding municipalities to find bitter small town folk who won’t hesitate to say so. This is the area Hillary threw down a shot of Crown at the bar to show she can hang with the boys.

We’ll one thing you can count on, it’s going to take more then drinking a shot of whiskey to convince those people in Hammond, Gary, Whiting, Griffith, Hobart, Portage and East Chicago that a vote for her is a vote for American jobs. These people will not be fooled. They are tough as hell and they see through bull s quite well.

I’ll say this, if the people in “the region” (that’s what they call it) outside of the city limits of Gary show strong support for Obama, this proves that he can garner the white working class vote. To me, this is the real test. Not those PA folks.

Those people outside of Gary hate black people as a whole because of the legacy of Richard G. Hatcher. Yea, I said it. I was born and raised in Gary. My dad worked in Inland steel for 30 years. I’ll call it like I know it.

But hopefully, those people understand that Hillary will play them like Bill did on the steel tariffs issue that his Administration tip toed around.

The real story is not what Indianapolis, Fort Wayne or Evansville think or how they vote. All eyes should be on one of the funkiest places on the planet, Lake County, Indiana.

Let’s see how funky Hillary can get. ( I really don’t want a visual of that)

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