Why I think Chicago sucks

So, you’ve just Googled “Chicago sucks” or clicked the WordPress tags link “Chicago sucks” and you find yourself here. (It’s extremely unlikely you got here with any other search term.) Or, possibly, you clicked a link from City Data or Windy Citizen.  Now what?

Please allow me to give you a little friendly advice. If you actually love Chicago and were only Googling “Chicago sucks” for the giggles, please keep moving, find another blog. You WON’T like what you read here. Please don’t comment, because this is NOT a debate site, it’s a commiseration site for people who feel the same.

It’s also NOT a public forum, it’s a post on my personal blog, so 1st Amendment rights do not apply to you here. I don’t allow flames, or name calling – such comments are deleted. I’m also not particularly indulgent when people think they need to “defend Chicago” or “offer a rebuttal” to my opinion of Chicago. First of all, Chicago doesn’t need you to defend it; secondly, you can’t say anything that anyone here hasn’t heard thousands of times already; and thirdly, I don’t need a “rebuttal” because I AM the rebuttal to the starry-eyed “Chicago is the greatest city in the world!” attitude.

Still have something to say? Here, go to www.wordpress.com and get your own blog.

For the record:

  • No, I haven’t dedicated an entire blog to Chicago sucking.
  • No, this is not all I think about. This is but one post out of more than a thousand on my blog.
  • No, these are not the only comments on this post. The comment thread got so huge I had to move them to another page in an attempt to shorten the length here, so add about 1500 to the total you see here. (Prior to WordPress changing their comments format)
  • No, I’m not a native Chicagoan.
  • Yes, I live in Chicagoland.
  • Yes, I’ve lived here for decades.
  • Yes, I’ve lived in other cities around the country.
  • Yes, I’d love to move.
  • No, circumstances don’t permit that right now.
  • Why, is really none of your business.
  • It’s enough that if I could move, I would.
  • But since I’m currently stuck here, and a tax-paying citizen here, I AM free to express my opinion with the state of things here, since I’M paying for it.
  • Don’t like that? Then move along, nothing for you to see here.
  • Yes, we know Chicago has bars, museums, restaurants, parades, the El, and a big, shiny bean.
  • No, those are not the things we particularly care about.



Yes, we know other cities have problems too, but we don’t live in other cities, we live here, and are concerned about issues here. It’s not enough to say “It’s not as bad as Cleveland, or Detroit,” when the reality is, why aren’t we as good as Houston or Salt Lake City? They have lower taxes, lower unemployment, lower crime. Why do Chicagoans settle for less, and apparently like it?  Why are they, in fact, proud of it? 

So, you want to say, “Get the f*ck out if you don’t like it here!” as though (a) I didn’t think of that and (b) I’ve never heard that before?

Here’s a thought for all of you who say that to me – How about YOU leave so we can fix the place up and make it so it doesn’t suck? Just sayin’.

If, on the other hand, you don’t care too much for Chicago either, and need a place to vent your frustration, want a group of like-minded people to share your thoughts with, then by all means, scroll down and say hello. :)

 

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If you’ve come here to argue with me, be rude, hostile, or a smartass, please don’t bother. You’re never going to change how I feel about a place, or undo what I’ve dealt with.

And please don’t make the mistake that I am a miserable person and “so unhappy.”  FORBES called CHICAGO a miserable city, it did not say I am a miserable person.  Are we clear on this now?  Plus, it’s not like you care whether or not I’m happy, so it’s okay for you to ditch the “if you’re so unhappy you should just leave!” lines.

How about this – if you’re so unhappy with my post, you should just move on to another blog. 

If you want to love on Chicago, I’m more than happy to point you to www.wordpress.com , where you can get your own blog and praise Chicago to the skies. No hard feelings. :D

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(The original post from Feb. 2008 , in its entirety, follows.)

Recently I did a little post called, " Proof That Chicago Sucks ." It has turned out to be one of my most popular posts, and I get daily searches for the phrase "Chicago sucks" in my search engine terms. So I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to the subject, with my reasons for disliking Chicago, and not simply Forbes reasons for listing it in the Top 10 Most Miserable US cities.

fireshot-62.jpg

The unemployment rate is higher than the national average. I can speak from personal experience that this is especially true in the tech industry. And even if you can get a job, the pay rate will be below national average.

Housing sales are down more than 22% since the same time period last year. The average home price is close to $260,000. And property taxes are through the roof. (Pun intended!) Can’t afford a house? Plan on paying at least $1000 to rent a half-way decent apartment.

The commute time is horrible, on roads that are more pothole and patchwork than actual road. Plan on an hour, each way, just to get to work and back.

The weather is terrible. A local joke is that Chicago has 2 seasons – winter and road work. Um, it’s not a joke and it’s not funny. I have calculated that temperatures can vary as much as 200°. I have seen -80° wind-chills in winter, and 120° heat indices in summer. Often it is colder here than in Alaska.

Jackets? You like jackets? Good, because you’ll need at least 6. One to wear to and from the car, one to wear in the car, one to wear inside, one for fall days, one for fall nights, and one for rainy days. See, if you get one heavy enough for outside wear, it’s too bulky to wear in the car, but your car’s not warm enough to ditch the coat entirely – you still need something to stay warm. The weather varies so widely that you need a coat, jacket, or sweater for every 10° variance.

In the summer, the heat and humidity can be so stifling that it’s almost difficult to breathe. It’s no surprise that Chicago has one of the highest asthma rates in the nation.

How hot is it? In 1995, it was so hot that nearly 600 people died in less than a week from heat related causes.

Spring? Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Autumn’s not a whole lot different.

The City That Works? ROFLMAO Yeah. I remember when this story about sleeping on the job hit the air. Pictures and video of sleeping city workers were all over the news. Officials leave work early, if they deign to show up at all. They put friends and relatives on the payroll. No, they don’t give them jobs, just put them on the payroll.

Government corruption in Chicago, and the Illinois state government? Notorious. One of our former governors is sitting in prison right now for his role in this truck license scam that cost a family 6 of their children.

Taxes? Chicago has one of the highest tax rates in the country. (And it’s gone up since the linked article was written.) Someone has to pay for all those relatives and friends on city payrolls.

It seems like everything costs more here, from milk to gasoline. Utility rates are sky high. Take natural gas, for instance: one year I lived in a place that had electric heat. The years before and after I had gas heat. During that one year with electric heat, gas prices had doubled. Before, I paid about $75 to heat my house. The year after? About $150. Bigger house? No. I checked the bill – the rates were 100% higher. And that was 10 years ago.

People think the food here is wonderful. I suspect the only people who feel that way are the people who have lived here all their lives, and never eaten anywhere else. Chicago pizza isn’t all that hot. It’s more sauce than cheese, and sausage seems to be the topping of choice around here. Saucy sausage on dough. Does that sound appetizing to you?

And did you know, it’s offensive to put ketchup on a Chicago Style hot dog ? I kid you not: "It is taboo to put ketchup on a Chicago hot dog; there are actually some hot dog shops and stands that will refuse to provide service if the customer makes the request." They aren’t kidding – I’ve been to such places. "We don’ got no catch up heeah. You ain’t from Shikahga, air ya?" No. No I’m not. (Yes, folks actually speak like Dennis Franz around here. He’s from Chicago, not New York. The "accent" he has is native to here.)

I would love to get out, but it’s like living in a black hole.

There’s some sort of weird arrogance in Chicago too, at least on the news. Everything has to have some kind of Chicago connection. When the September 11 attacks happened, I expected my local news to carry the story of what was happening across the nation – New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. Nothing was happening here, the big news was elsewhere. What was the news about? The Sears Tower and how it might possibly may have maybe at some point thought to have been we think on the speculated we assume target list. Oh and by the way, some planes made the World Trade Center collapse. But they were headed to Chicago! It was nauseating.

Those are a few of my reasons. I have more, but I think this is enough for a post. No doubt you’d say, "More than!" LoL :) That’s why I hope someone who’s searched for "Chicago sucks" comments here. Hey, we’re in one of the Top 10 Most Miserable cities! Let’s chat! Tell me why you think it sucks here. 

Some people like it here. I doubt they’ve ever lived some place else to compare it to. I’m happy for them, honestly. It’s good to like where you live. I know of families who’ve lived around Chicago for generations. I wish I could live where I liked and like where I lived. It must be a great feeling. One day I’ll get out, and find that place for myself as well.

If you like Chicago, try these links: Why I Love Chicago , or you can to Chicagoist , or to Chicago Adventures . They like Chicago too, and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to have you visit. :)

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Categories: Chicago, Rant, Thinking out loud | Tags: , , | 1,861 Comments

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1,861 thoughts on “Why I think Chicago sucks

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  1. ImproveChi-Town

    I’ve been trying to find a place to vent about Chicago’s problems. And here seems to be the right place. Okay, This is what I don’t like about Chicago. We claim to be a great city yet we have absolutely no “it” factor! nor do we really promote the few amenities we do have. Going back to the “it’ factor. We have no major industry that would make people say Chicago is the epicenter of ….? We have no film district or literature hub. (Not every artist is a painter or stage actor). We have no fashion scene. We host no tv specials or world wide events. It has no major party district.This city isn’t a place for people who wish to flourish in their fields or have fun outside of hanging at a friend’s house. It’s a city for people who only care about getting by. Chicago is nothing but a bunch of buildings and a lakefront.That’s it that’s all. Sure the buildings and lakefront are pretty, however that’s not enough. And I find it funny people fail to realize this, Until Chicago fixes these problems the imagine of Chicago will always be of a bland city lying about being a top contender.

    The sad thing about it, people think fixing the corruption, the school system, and some roads will make it a great city. Fixing those problems will make it a livable city. However it won’t make it a great city. It won’t make people say ‘I’m hittin’ up the Chi this summer.” Chi-town delusionists love to say all we do is complain, yet offer no solutions. (Neither do they!) I on the other hand, do have some idea’s to turn Chicago into a real world class city. I would like to submit it, because I do want my home city to become one of the worlds best cities with real reasoning. Not mediocre things that can be found in other fly-over states. Not because it’s the 3rd largest city. Which would be Houston in a minute if Chicago doesn’t wake up. My ideas will truly make Chicago stand out from other mid-west cities. It will redefine what is fly-over country. I just don’t know where to begin to get others on board.

    Like

    • Martin

      Dear Improve Chi-Town:
      Your exact thoughts have been ruminating in my mind for weeks, as the weather has turned for the better in Chicago: If you take away sports, alcohol, and food there’s very little going on in this city. The problem with just having sports, food, and alcohol is that EVERY major city in the United States has these things. Buffalo, NY. has sports, alcohol, and food….. Chicago’s art scene is anemic. Chicago’s music scene is totally ignored nationwide. Chicago has NO fashion vibe and the film community here is pathetic. It’s not hard to figure out why the city is inundated with ignorant, alcohol guzzling, obese jerks. Go look up weekend activities for Los Angeles on Facebook any given weekend and see just how pathetic Chicago really is. A skyline and public transportation don’t make a city great. Corruption, tough love, and ignorance don’t make a city World class. Why are so many natives so proud of Chicago’s history of dishonesty and injustices? Why do natives believe that gun murders make a city a tourist attraction? I could on……. But why? Chicago IS nowhere and IS going nowhere. In the four and half years I’ve been living here I’ve come to realize that Chicago has a small town mentality and small town thinkers calling the shots. If New York and Los Angeles weren’t so cost prohibitive, I would be there. But let’s think about why real estate is so much more expensive in NY and LA? Because people WANT to live there! Chicago isn’t a city people move to, to make dreams come true. It’s a city you move to “just to get by”. Thank you Improve Chi-Town.

      Like

    • Dave

      Love Chicagoans or leave it. Tourist always are impressed with Chicago’s CLEAN and Vibrant Downtown (a Real Downtown) Rows and miles of Brick Bungalows and tree lined neighborhoods, much of the city built late 50s and 60s. No other Great Lake city preserved and recreate a Lakefront with Harbors and Beaches, even Downtown. I lived in Chicago in the 70s 80s. Then downtown decay and some neglect had most Chicagoans look down at their downtown. Now in 30yrs later. Chicago rebuilt its expressways, Restored its downtown Parks. Has the fastest growth in people living downtown in the nation. New skyscraper condo and Apartment buildings boomed the Skyline. The CLEANEST Downtown in the USA. Even a Theater District now. And few large American cities have Beaches Downtown?? Chicago has three. On Oak street beach with palm trees in planters. You can imagine you are Florida even a Tokai bar on that beach. Every visit I make I see more rejuvenation, restoration and gentrification , along with so much new construction. Too bad our economy too they downturn that halted many mew skyscrapers. But really MOSY CHICAGOANS ARE PROUD OF THEIR CITY EXPECIALLY ITS DOWNTOWN. Compared to30 yrs ago.

      Like

      • Dear Dave, I’m sorry you neglected to read the entirety of my post, and so missed the part where I said,
        If you want to love on Chicago, I’m more than happy to point you to http://www.wordpress.com , where you can get your own blog and praise Chicago to the skies.

        MY blog is not the place for you to have your love-fest about Chicago. In other words, if you don’t like my blog, you should leave it. Thanks!

        ~Ness
        PS – also, please don’t copy and paste from other sites. Use your own content, thanks.

        Like

        • You need a guy like Dave, so i can be reminded why i moved 8 years ago, and thank God for giving me that opportunity, after 20 years of Endless tit for tat penny-ante Mediocrity.. He can ad “juice” to the site, reminding us we are not just running from “the Place Shicago” , but also “the People that Live There too.” There was hope 30 years ago. Not So Today.
          2nd city? no, try 11th? The Next Detroit™. Hahah Yes LOVE the Clean Downtown. The Restaurants always give you lots of napkins too. The Sidewalks are Fancy! Shiney stuff to look at too.

          Like

      • GDR10

        Some pretty funny comments here. This guy Dave claimed that Chicago had the fastest growth in the nation. In fact Chicago had the second worst population loss in the nation. Only Detroit is worse. Chicago has the worst unemployment rate of any major U.S. city, it has the financial status of an Enron, and is the homicide capital of the nation.

        Downtown Chicago, honestly, is not that impressive. It’s big, but not as nice as 30 years ago, when all the corporations were still downtown, and State Street was lined with huge department stores. The lakefront is overrated, with ill-maintained parks, a freeway (LSD) blocking the lake from the neighborhoods, and the beaches are gross and gang-infested. The neighborhoods have mostly suffered from white flight and are poor, dangerous and gang-infested. Only a few frat boy hoods on the North Side haven’t declined, and honestly, if you want that kind of living, why not move to a more prosperous place like an NYC?

        Chicago is ok if you live in a nice suburb. If you’re in the city, you’re just asking to be miserable. A third rate Rust Belt version of a real city, with high taxes, parking fascists and idiot politicians to boot.

        Like

  2. Bill

    I’m almost 32, and I lived in the Chicago area for 29 years, I lived in c
    Connecticut the other 3 years. (Another hellhole). Chicago is abysmal, everything about this place is terrible, The 2013-14 winter was brutal, as is every winter in this place, if we weren’t getting a foot of snow, it was 15 below.

    The summers here are uncomfortable and it’s humid as hell every day or it’s raining, seriously when did Chicago turn into Seattle or London?

    The sports here usually suck, And im getting sick of this pissing contest between Tom Rickets, (the latest sucker to buy the hapless Cubs) and the roof top owners. Why is this news? The cubs suck, they could play on the moon and they will still lose. Turn wrigley into a parking lot The Whitesox are losers
    too, The Bears have been Green Bay’s bitch for the last 20 years. 670 the score, Chicago’s sports radio station is the equivalent of jamming an ice pick in your ear drum over and over. Especially in the afternoon.

    I hate this place, the taxes, the corrupt politicians who are turning Chicago into a glorified Detroit, businesses leave this dump in droves, and I can’t blame them, take me with you.

    Like

    • I’m so sorry I seem to have missed your comment, Bill!

      I know just how you feel. The corruption here is so bad, it leaves a bad taste on everything.

      I don’t follow Chicago sports but I do know all the teams here seem to be more on the losing side than the winning one.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope you see you again. :)
      ~Ness

      Like

  3. Martin

    Am I the only one noticing the rash in CTA train accidents the last year or so? Am I the only noticing the CTA buses don’t adhere to any type of schedule, with two buses on the same route traveling back to back frequently? Is this the world renowned public transportation that Chicago-ans brag about? I’ve long ascertained that the greatness of public transportation in Chicago is a highly marketed lie. From crime to grime, the CTA is a miserable joke.

    Like

    • Allison

      Martin, the CTA is by far the number one reason why I hate Chicago. Schedules are nowhere near consistent, bus and train drivers are always late causing the back-to-back issue you mentioned (this also happens with trains more frequently than people think, hence the express routes), the crime that occurs DAILY on trains, buses, and platforms is consistently ignored by the attendants,there is no wait time to allow passengers to board and get off the trains/buses, and the people who ride it are a catalyst to everything that is wrong with Chicago.

      I will definitely be back to post more of my Chicago hate, as this has been on my mind quite frequently, but I really need to get to work. I just wanted to emphasize that the CTA is by no means a “world renowned transportation system” or anything to enjoy. I was surprised it wasn’t mentioned much earlier.

      Like

  4. Maddie

    You should talk about the new red light and speeding cameras! I got a fucking speeding ticket from a camera saying i was going 6-10 over and had to pay $150….that is a sick joke. I live in lincoln park and commute to franklin park for work (should be a 20 minute commute but because of the terrific idea of only building 3 major highways to get in and out of the city, my commute is about 40 minutes). I take a side road to work and counted 13 red light cameras and 8 speed radar cameras. there is basically a camera at every single light and the speed cameras are in school zones that are 20 miles per hour so I literally have to drive fucking 20mph and it is beyond frustrating. Chicago is a joke and I can’t wait to move somewhere not nearly as expensive and WARMER!! Just have to get through two more years of college and then i’m out of this shithole

    Like

    • LSDetroit

      Maddie, Used to do nearly the same route. Most of the stoplights seem to be intentionally designed so you hit every one and some are just plain retarded.

      I am kindof worried since my next dream job might require me to move back here and from what I understand it is even worse under Rahm, Sad to hear the cameras are back, they legally had to shut them down well before I left.

      Like

  5. Dave

    Chi town Dave high tx no work no one cares I hope my wife and I leave hear for good thank you!

    Like

  6. JakeB

    I live in Texas and my coworker is from Chicago. She thinks that everything is better there than it is here. I am starting to think otherwise!

    Like

    • I am here to tell you, Jake, that your coworker is officially afflicted with Chicagoitus. ;)

      Seriously, if you need to vent about your situation, you’ve come to the right place. :) Hello and Welcome!
      ~Ness

      Like

  7. Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been well and enjoying this summer, that surprisingly hasn’t been all that bad this year. Yay for little miracles!

    I’ve been really busy – building websites for a couple of places, believe it or not! I know, took me by surprise, too. :) I thought I was busy before, then I went and added the responsibility of managing 2 more websites.

    I’m trying to nail down a schedule, and my goal is to check in here more often, see how you all are doing. Sometimes I come across articles that I’d like to share with you, and I’ve found something to replace the Springpad notebook I was using, now that they’ve “bit the dust,” so to speak. The new note board can be found here: http://www.noteboardapp.com/darcsfalcon.

    Take care of yourselves and don’t be strangers!
    *hugs*
    ~Ness

    Like

  8. Martin

    Fortune Magazine’s Ten Most Corrupt States:

    1. Mississippi
    2. Louisiana
    3. Tennessee
    4. Illinois*****
    5. Pennsylvania
    6. Alabama
    7. Alaska
    8. South Dakota
    9. Kentucky
    10. Florida

    http://fortune.com/2014/06/10/most-corrupt-states-in-america/?xid=tab_rss

    Like

    • I saw that, Martin! LOL I was thinking, “#4? We’re only #4? Doggone, we’re slipping! We can do better than that, this is IL! We’re #1!” :lol:

      Like

  9. I have a public bulletin board for some other articles I’ve found about Chicago, if you’d like to check them out. :)

    http://www.noteboardapp.com/darcsfalcon

    Like

  10. Martin

    I must be doing something wrong in Chicago, because the people at City Data said there must be something wrong with me that the only people I can meet in this city are: Heartless, rude, selfish, ignorant individuals that feel entitled to my “stuff”. Also, no matter how hard I try to pretend to be polite to people in public, I’m not on good terms with this city at any level, especially the city and state employees.

    Like

    • *snort* Don’t pay any attention to the people at City-Data, Martin! They were the absolute WORST when this post first went up. I got more filthy drive by hate emails and comments from them than anyone else. They are a bunch of … well, insert your own description here. ;)

      Like

  11. LSDetroit

    Stop being polite or pretending to be polite. People there treat you more like shit the nicer you are. Better yet, try to get the fuck out. I kept Michigan plates on my car for SIX years because the employees at the DMV didn’t give a crap about helping me change them over. I’m so glad they were such pricks, It probably would have cost me 6 grand in repairs, mods and fees if I actually did.

    City data is filled with unemployed agoraphobics who think Chicago is the center of the universe. Ignore them, most I doubt even know the name of the guy at the front desk.

    Like

    • Martin

      The problem is that Chicago is the biggest small town ever: Clannish and cliquey. Don’t “know” someone in Chicago? Forget about a decent job. Racism (from all races) and segregation are rampant and permanent. “Old boy” kickbacks and favors are considered normal business. CPD is just as much of a problem as the gangs….. Really this city is a mess. And it’s such a shame. Chicago could be such an incredible city. But it’s really easy to pretend Chicago is just great when you have the money to hide in a “nice” part of town.

      Like

      • Do you really think of those as small town traits, Martin? I don’t know. I’ve never lived in one personally but I know people who have, and it doesn’t sound like they’ve described it to me. I think that’s why I can’t wrap my brain around this notion that Chicago is “the biggest small town” ever. I’ve heard others say it too and it simply doesn’t make sense to me.

        The other things you mention those – the basic “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” sentiment does seem to be huge here, and I’ve even seen that addressed in documentary type shows I’ve seen about Chicago. The whole mob/union/Democrat thing. It’s about who controls the city, and if you don’t know them you’re nobody. Now that I think about it, sounds more like what I’ve heard about frat houses, lol.

        Like

    • Yeah, seems like the best thing is just not to make eye contact with anyone. I heard about this machete attack on one of the CTA lines. Now that is some scary sh!t. So glad you made it out, LSD!

      Like

  12. So, I’ve been sick for the last several weeks and have missed a lot here! I’m sorry for that. Thankfully I’m on the mend now and plan on getting back into my groove here. Thanks for your patience, guys! :)

    Love,
    ~Ness

    Like

  13. Martin

    Chicago teachers, firefighters, cops, and many many other city employees have been paid unsustainable and irresponsible wages and pensions for decades. While some Chicago students graduate high school hardly able to read and write, you have to wonder if some these teacher pensions are substantiated? And when gangs continue to flourish, despite the lies of Garry McCarthy’s media manager, you have to wonder why CPD is so well compensated? These working class “heroes” from the Chicago public union sector are such great citizens of Chicago, none of them are willing to budge an inch in rectifying Chicago’s scary pensions crises. These saintly public employees would rather see Chicago go bankrupt than lose a cent of their over sized salaries/ pensions. And no, I don’t think a tech boon is going to pull Chicago out of this deficit because tech boons are fickle and can collapse over night. I would say bringing back mass manufacturing operations would save Chicago but that’s wishful thinking for now. Lastly, as someone who lives in Little Village, there are illegal immigrants pouring into this city every week with kids to boot. And when so many US citizens remain un or under employed in Chicago….. It kind of leaves you scratching your head.

    Like

    • I agree with you 100% on this one, Martin. All those you mentioned, the teachers, cops, etc, are union, and it’s these unions and their “guaranteed yearly wage increases” and sky-high pensions and perks that drain the taxpayer dollars dry. I had a blogger friend some time ago, over on http://www.chicagolampoon.blogspot.com/ and if you scroll down on his sidebar to his “greatest hits,” he’s got posts that list teacher’s salaries from area school districts. The numbers would astound you. Not to mention, the extra perks that many teachers get – retired ones too! Like cars, and full medical benefits paid, etc. It’s corruption, plain and simple. Legalized robbery of the taxpayer.

      Like

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