Friday, February 5, 2016

Progress IL: No confidence vote by faculty for City Colleges Chancellor

What is this all about?
City Colleges of Chicago faculty issued a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Cheryl Hyman at Thursday's board of trustees meeting.

Faculty members are concerned, in part, over tuition hikes, reductions in class registration time and proposed program consolidations as part of CCC's "Reinvention" initiative.

"We are exceptionally concerned that our chancellor's actions are destroying our mission, the values and the integrity of the City Colleges," Faculty Council President Jennifer Alexander said at the meeting, reported WBEZ.

More details on purchase of the Blue White House

Photo by Dennis Rodkin
Last month I wrote about this so-called blue White House @ 8401 S. Michigan in fact the first blog update on this big old house in years. Chicago Magazine wrote about this place over 5 years ago and finally has an update:
An unusual, quasi-presidential property on the South Side sold for $400,000 last week.

The “blue White House” is a 7,900-square-foot, ivory-pillared manse in Chatham that closely resembles its big sister on Pennsylvania Avenue—save for a vivid robin’s-egg blue paint job.

“I wasn’t crazy about the blue brick,” says Karen Tolbert, who on January 22 closed the sale with her fiancé, Dana Hillard. “But when I walked in, I just fell in love with it.”

Tolbert says that at a gathering that night to celebrate the couple’s purchase, Hillard’s friends begged her not to alter the 50-year-old home’s exterior. Hillard had grown up just blocks away. Tolbert couldn’t say no. “It’s a staple in the community, so [painting is] something I won’t be doing,” she says.
What happened to the person who rehabbed this house and originally put it up for sale?
Shaunda Brown, a Chatham resident who told Chicago she had admired the house as a child, purchased it that year and embarked on a $400,000 gut rehab, revamping the interior with granite countertops and hardwood floors, converting an old smoking room into a media room, and transforming a former ballroom into a spacious master bedroom.

Brown tried to sell the property in 2010 for $1 million. No one bit.

Foreclosure proceedings began in 2014, and by October 2015 the house was back on the market, its previous price slashed in half, to $425,000.
I hope that Tolbert gets a landmark designation for this unique home and that more will be know about the history of this home. Especially the people who originally built this house with the unique blue Italian brick.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Chicagoist: Man wants to own city's first gun shop in Chicago

More info via our ig
In this case in the River West neighborhood of downtown Chicago and even has the "tentative" support of his alderman. Even though in recent years the city and the state has had to acquiesce to court rulings involving conceal carry and gun control laws, we still struggle with the idea of citizens owning guns.

It seemed the city didn't even want to allow the sale of firearms in the city only to adopt rather onerous rules such as where a gun shop can be located. Still many Chicagoans may not be happy as even in this new year we hear stories of gun violence even in this cold weather we've been having lately.

Still this future gun shop & range owner Chistopher O'Connor may have the right idea when he says: “Chicago has created a culture where guns equal crime, because only criminals can have guns."

As for the basic concept:
O'Connor is eyeing a space at 613 N. Union Ave., near the Tribune printing presses, which will be home to a spacious gun range if his plans come to fruition. It will also sell guns host classes that would provide the “tools and training to become responsible armed citizens,” O'Connor told Chicagoist.

O'Connor is spearheading the project in part because he saw unmet demand for gun training in Chicago, where concealed carry and gun sales have both been in and out of legal purgatory until recently.
...
The sporting aspect would be the focus of his gun store. Sales would be secondary at best, O'Connor said, since local regulations won’t allow more than 20% of a Chicago gun facility’s floor space to be devoted to sales.
BTW, O'Connor further opines:
When asked about the epidemic of shootings, from Sandy Hook to Charleston, O'Connor said he thinks of those as a rare events overexposed by the media. “You never hear about the guy who defended his convenience store against an armed assailant,” he said.
Case in point the attempted robbery on 87th Street where the assailants ran into a clerk with a piece. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Horrific numbers on youth unemployment

In sharing some startling statistics as far as youth unemployment Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax linked to a recent Mary Mitchell column on this subject:
It is particularly disheartening that Chicago had the highest percentage of black 16- to 19-year-olds (14.3 percent) who were out of work and out of school in 2014.

There’s just no getting around the barrier a lack of education presents.

These alarming jobless statistics could also explain why there is so much violence in black and brown communities.

Still, it is unlikely the private sector is going to rain down jobs on the West and South Sides or that a state government drowning in debt is going to launch a massive job training and employment operation.

Instead of begging for jobs, we ought to be nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit.

In the past, unemployed teenagers went door to door with a rake and lawn mower looking to earn some bucks. College-bound seniors sold snow cones on front porches in the summer and shoveled snow in the winter.

Instead of waiting for someone to hand them a job, these youngsters understood it was on them to make a way.
These unemployed young men who hopefully can find an honest way to make themselves some money can hopefully become future entrepreneurs. Not only could they fill up spaced in the storefronts of our community, but they can also help create jobs for other youths. One way to look at this and come up with a solution.

That hasn’t changed.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

West Side Blogger: With Another $3.5M Sale, Investors Double Down on South Shore Real Estate

Photo by DNAinfo/Sam Cholke
Bill Barr took note of a recent DNA Info article on the investment of a real estate company into the south side's South Shore neighborhood:
Out-of-state investors have increased their bet on housing in South Shore, buying three more buildings and spending a total of $13 million to buy seven properties in one month.

Broker Jeff Baasch of Sperry Van Ness said Wednesday that a group of Florida-based investors have paid nearly $3.5 million to purchase 136 units across three buildings near the Jackson Highlands area of South Shore.

In early December, the same group paid $9.5 million for four buildings, also near the Jackson Highlands.

Baasch said the new buildings, 6750 S. Merill Ave. and 6952 S. Paxton Ave., will be renovated. He said a vacant building at 7270 S. South Shore Drive will get a major overhaul.
Baar's comments I somewhat agree but what do you all think?
Get rid of the gangs and crime and South Shore would thrive. Some of the best views of Chicago can be had from the classic apartment buildings accross form Jackson Park along 67th street, while excellent transportation to the loop from Metra's (Illinois Central) trains on 71st. Someone sees the opportunities.

So whatever happened to that Blue White House in Chatham?

A Chicago magazine article from 5 years ago surfaced on FB discussing the blue White House replica in Chatham located at 8401 S. Michigan. The house had been for sale at prices approaching $1 million dollars.

I decided to find any photos on instagram for this house and found one from an instagrammer named marquisdefacade who took a more recent shot (3 weeks ago) of this residence that showed the doors boarded up. Then found information on this house and current status in which it was found that the house sold this month for $400,000.

So the people who helped to redevelop this house had to have taken a loss. It surely didn't take $400K just to rehab this home.

Either way glad to see that someone has bought the home now here's hoping they can give this unique residents the tender loving care that it deserves.

Related 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Citizen: Treasurer Summers Honors Dr. King by Launching “77 Proud” Initiative


This story involves Mr. Jahmal Cole and his My Block My Hood My City project.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., City Treasurer Kurt Summers on Monday brought together faith and community leaders to address disinvestment in Chicago’s communities and announce a new initiative that promotes non-violence by providing access to economic resources. “77 Proud” consists of 11 financial education resource fairs that will take place across the City from January to March. The announcement took place at Stone Temple Church on Chicago’s West Side where Dr. King spoke at a rally 50 years ago.

“Each of our 77 neighborhoods has great potential, but they don’t each have the same access to opportunity or to investment,” Treasurer Summers said. “As we honor Dr. King, it is dire that we immediately take a stand against the violence, the inequalities and the injustices that exist in Chicago’s communities. By investing in Our Chicago and providing tools and education to those who need it most, we can help empower more Chicagoans to pursue Dr. King’s dream.”

Treasurer Summers also spoke to inequity in the justice system and disinvestment in Chicago’s neighborhoods as it relates to the more than nearly 500 deaths that took place in 2015 and almost 30 that have taken place since January 1, 2016. Founder of My Block My Hood My City, Jahmal Cole, has partnered with the Treasurer’s Office to implement 77 Proud and help spread a message of peace across the City.   


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What's going on at CPS?

The Capitol Fax alerts us to the after effects of the school closings of 2013. I wonder if they prove to be further unpopular if computers, furniture, etc wasn't accounted for.
• CPS says it has no records on what happened to any of the books from the closed schools.
• There are more than 9,400 desktop and laptop computers listed on inventories of schools that were closed. Of those, 3,724 were “redeployed” to other schools or to CPS headquarters, according to CPS, which says the rest were “disposed” of — though how or where isn’t clear.
• More than 33,000 chairs and roughly 12,000 desks and 6,000 tables were listed in good condition in the closed schools, CPS records show. About 9,500 of those chairs, 3,900 desks and 1,000 tables apparently were moved to other buildings. It’s unclear where the rest went.
In the meanwhile also on the Capitol Fax we learn of a proposal that would allow the city of Chicago and CPS to declare bankruptcy as currently the law in this state doesn't allow them to do so. In fact the Republican leaders in the General Assembly are hosting a press conference as I publish this.

Well as I understand there is a deadlock in Springfield as far as a budget and Democrats have a majority in both houses of the General Assembly what are the odds the bankruptcy proposal sponsored by the Republicans goes nowhere?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Neighborhoods I wish I could see in the Curbed Cup Chicago

Curbed Chgo
Now I could say for this year, but something to aspire to in the future. By this I mean maybe not 2016 but hopefully 2017 or 2018 for as long as Curbed Chicago continues to publish their blog. I got my eye on three communities within this blog's main geographical coverage area that hopefully will get more attention.

To start I got my eye on Roseland. Hopefully were the 2015 Curbed Cup winner Pullman goes so can the surrounding neighborhoods.

Whatever benefit Pullman gets with a national momnument hopefully the positive effects will spillover into at least Roseland. There is a commerical area in Roseland between at least 111th and 115th streets which deserves more investment. There's Roseland Hospital which is certainly one of the assets of this community. As with another community that I will mention in this post, Roseland is basically a blank slate which with the right investment could turn this impoverish community around. I hope one of those investments is the future CTA Red Line extension.

The next community I would like to see place in the Curbed Cup is definitely Englewood. There are those who say Englewood is a community with potential to become the next hot neighborhood. While we can view that area as a blank slate some of their assets are coming into play.

Consider the Green Line L which is an asset, Kennedy-King College, and then the coming in 2016 Whole Foods Market at 63rd/Halsted. As with Michigan Avenue in Roseland, the 63rd/Halsted area hopefully can again become an area of commerce as it once was. In fact in its hey day it almost rivaled downtown Chicago.

Another thing to note with Englewood is that we here at The Sixth Ward have come to note the very passionate activists who for example started RAGE. If Englewood did place in the Curbed Cup I'm sure it would be thanks to the push by RAGE members to get the votes necessary as Pullman did at the end of last year.

Finally I want to throw in the Chatham neighborhood. One of the reasons I started The Sixth Ward is to really talk about this area as an historic bastion of the Black middle class. Unfortunately it has gone on the decline in recent years however that neighborhood is known for their activism and are willing to fight for Chatham's reputation.

Chatham's assets mostly is the housing the bungalows and the modernist housing dotted through the community - which got some attention at the end of last year also. The history is a good asset for a future Curbed Cup, but I'm hoping that we can hear of some development plans in the future. Perhaps we can see further improvment along 79th Street or even 75th Street in addition to Cottage Grove or State Street on the periphery. Regardless if Chatham can get the right attention it's time to see them in a future Curbed Cup and hopefully the many community organizations there will put some focus into it.

What other neighborhoods should Curbed Chicago have their eyes on at the end of 2016?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Decision 2016: 6th ward GOP Committeeman


It's that time of year again while petitions have been filed and now we are in petition objection hearing season.

We were just alerted to the race for Republican Committeeman  in the 6th Ward. Committeeman Darnell Macklin e-mailed us info regarding his race. Candidate Jimmy Lee Tillman withdrew from this race and other opponent Aja McClanahan reportedly has been removed from ballot although this information from the Chicago Board of Elections doesn't reflect that fact as of yet.

And Alderman Roderick Sawyer the current Democratic Committeeman of the 6th Ward has no opposition in his race. Four years ago he faced off against Richard Wooten for that office in addition to facing him twice for 6th Ward Alderman in 2011 & 2015.

Feel free to let us know if there are any races we should cover for the 2016 primary elections. We already see an interesting election taking place in the 1st Congressional district for example.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Marathon Pundit visits Englewood

On Sunday, John Ruberry of Marathon Pundit visited the neighborhood of Englewood to snap shots of the ruins throughout he community. His pic above is the Masonic Temple near 64th/Green a building that is consider endangered and who knows if anyone is willing to spend money to restore this building.

However there are some houses in Englewood looking for TLC especially greystones and other classic house that you may find there. Who knows with some of the vacant lots in the residential areas perhaps in the future a developer or property owner can leave their own architectural legacy as has been done in Chatham.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pullman is the Curbed Cup 2015 winner

We had to wait a few days for the official call, but thanks primarily to a strong effort in the comments and voting my Pullman residents and supporters they did it. Pullman is the 2015 neighborhood of the year for Curbed Chicago. Here's hoping for a great 2016 for that historic and architecturally significant community on the far south side of town.