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Beware of "sleeping dangerously"

The Tribune's John Kass reported (reg. req.) last week about a tired Orange Line who got a $50 ticket for sleeping on the train.

A CTA spokesperson, after initially being unable to explain the ticket, finally found a rule "that was written with the intent of protecting customers. It includes activities like passing between rail cars, smoking, indecent exposure," said Robyn Ziegler.

Sleeping or dozing "where such activity may be hazardous to such persons or others, or where such activity may interfere with the operation of the CTA" is illegal, she said.

The spin the next day turned to "interfering with the operation of the CTA." A police spokesman noted that the perpetrator had his legs sprawled in the aisle.

So watch it, all you CTA sleepers. Dads and sons too!


Hey Kev! - I saw the John Kass column last week and thought of your blog, I wanted to e-mail him and point him in this direction. You reminded me and I might just do that now. This beats the hell out of politics doesn't it? Hope all is well for you and yours.

Dang right it beats politics, Biloxi!

Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the visit and the publicity.

Everyone acts like this is ridiculous, but you know that if the CTA was being honest, they'd say this rule keeps homeless people from paying $1.75 and sleeping on the trains all day. Anyone who says they are never annoyed by a passed out homeless person across an aisle on the train is being less than truthful.

Maybe if Kass ever rode the train he'd know that.

BUT--If that's the case--and I agree, it probably is--but then how come I've never actually seen it ENFORCED on the homeless? And then too--from what I got from the column, the guy who actually got the ticket was not exactly homeless-looking. So why him?

All I can tell you is, if they try to ticket me for my morning and afternoon Purple Line naps, y'all are gonna see some SERIOUS civil-disobedience!

I have no idea why this guy got ticketed, but I don't trust Kass to give a fair and balanced explanation. I do know from my 33 years of el and greem limo riding that rarely do these things happen in a vacuum, if you know what I'm saying. Usually there is some event that adds context to the seemingly ridiculous.

OK, here's a theory on why this guy was ticketed, and (allegedly) others haven't been: because he's not a white, American-born Caucasian.

Actually, I don't know whether he's white, because I've never met him. But Kass does report that he was born in India and just came here for school in 2001. Perhaps that explains part of it -- profiling?

Bingo with the theory Kevin, that would be my guess also.

David, just because you may not like John Kass' politics (my inference from your comments) doesn't mean he wouldn't give a fair and balanced portrayal of what actually happened. I've never known the man to be anything other than factual when reporting actual events. When he writes opinion it is fair to disagree but we are talking about reporting an event here.

Kass may have been fair and balanced, but my encounters with him have not reflected any such fair balance. I once e-mailed him about one of his Silver Shovel columns. I said that since the Feds had indicted a number of people and closed the investigation, it didn't seem fair to me that he kept insinuating that Daley should have been indicted.

His response was to imply that I sexually service the mayor and implied I was a racist. Since then I have thought very long and very hard about any column of his I read.

Take it for what it's worth, but he did not strike me as rational in that interaction.

The sleeping on the trains rule is probably some old law they've dusted off and are now enforcing because the city needs the revenue. They've recently started enforcing the rule about not using the exits at the ends of the cars to walk from one car to another. A kid who works for me has been ticketed TWICE for doing that in the last few months.

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