Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Washington Post: The divided American dream

This story surely happens everywhere. An area that mostly contains Black residents are devalued.
When the new subdivisions were rising everywhere here in the 1990s and early 2000s, with hundreds and hundreds of fine homes on one-acre lots carved out of the Georgia forest, the price divide between this part of De­Kalb County and the northern part wasn’t so vast.

Now, a house that looks otherwise identical in South DeKalb, on the edge of Atlanta, might sell for half what it would in North DeKalb. The difference has widened over the years of the housing boom, bust and recovery, and Wayne Early can’t explain it.

The people here make good money, he says. They have good jobs. Their homes are built of the same sturdy brick. Early, an economic development consultant and real estate agent, can identify only one obvious difference that makes property here worth so much less.

“This can’t happen by accident,” he says. “It’s too tightly correlated with race for it to be based on something else.”

The communities in South DeKalb are almost entirely African American, and they reflect a housing disparity that emerges across the Atlanta metropolitan area and the nation. According to a new Washington Post analysis, the higher a Zip code’s share of black residents in the Atlanta region, the worse its housing values have fared over the past turbulent housing cycle.
Nationwide, home values in predominantly African American neighborhoods have been the least likely to recover. Across the 300 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, homes in 4 out of 10 Zip codes where blacks are the largest population group are worth less than they were in 2004. That’s twice the rate for mostly white Zip codes across the country. Across metropolitan Atlanta, nearly 9 in 10 largely black Zip codes still have home values below that point 12 years ago.

And in South DeKalb, the collapse has been even worse. In some Zip codes, home values are still 25 percent below what they were then. Families here, who’ve lost their wealth and had their life plans scrambled, see neighborhoods in the very same county — mostly white neighborhoods — thriving.

“I don’t think it’s anything local residents did that caused that to happen,” Early says. “I think it’s all outside forces that did this.”
I think this is definitely worth a read. Is this happening in the city?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The quiet desperation of the middle class

Read this article from The Atlantic. Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog shared it today.

Over the years on this blog I have written about middle-class issues. Especially important since I created this blog to discuss neighborhoods such as Chatham.

I've learned over the years that the position of the Black middle-class is often precarious. It often seems being middle-class in this nation is just as precarious.

If you read this article feel free to offer your thoughts.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Marathon Pundit: Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent Auburn Gresham neighborhood

7711 S. Lowe St. - John Ruberry
On a Thursday, the Marathon Pundit did some urban exploring in Auburn Gresham. Ruberry notes:
The notoriously-violent Englewood neighborhood sits on Auburn Gresham's northern border.
According to the Chicago Tribune Auburn Gresham is tied for eighth in violence of Chicago's 77 official neighborhoods over the last 30 days.
During the 1960s Auburn Gresham went from being predominately white to being majority black. The Encyclopedia of Chicago says blockbusting and panic peddling were less of a problem than in other Chicago neighborhoods at the time. At the start of the decade my grandparents moved to the more prosperous Beverly neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Ironically, the South Side Irish Parade, which originated in A-G, followed my grandparents to Beverly.

Blacks were barred from most white neighborhoods by covenants that prohibited home owners from selling to them. Click here to read a 1929 letter from the ominously named Auburn Park Property Restriction Association, Inc. which explains an Anti-colored Restriction Agreement to John Wagner of Englewood. Covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1948.
In taking pictures of the many abandoned houses, two-flats, and vacant lots he also has nice things to say about Father Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina parish:
When Auburn Gresham is in the news, particularly nationally, it's usually has something to do with St. Sabina Church, where committed leftist Father Michael Pfleger has served as pastor for an unheard of, at least in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 35 years. Pfleger. who is white, has worked on projects with radicals such as the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan and Barack Obama's former minister, Jeremiah Wright.

However Pfleger, despite allowing a personality cult to envelope him, has his merits. The church compound also includes a large senior residential complex and a grade school, as well as social service, job training, and technology centers. That brings a whole bunch of people to the St. Sabina complex, which is near the intersection of 79th and Racine, and that corner has noticeably more retail activity than the rest of Auburn Gresham. The church, in a way, boosts 79th and Racine in a way that monasteries did to nearby towns in the Middle Ages.
And here's a shot of it!
St. Sabina - John Ruberry 
 So basically we see some family history from Ruberry as his family once resided in this community. However, what we see are abandoned homes, homes being rehabbed, and The Final Call hq.

I sometimes think of Auburn Gresham as a community with great potential especially with that corridor along 79th between Halsted and Ashland.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bennett School has a new website

I'm ecstatic that somehow I found a new website for Bennett School after a Google search. Over six years ago I found a different iteration of this website which has long since went offline.

This website has a lot more information about the staff of Bennett School and hopefully they will continue to add more information regarding the neighborhood elementary school in the future. So far I like and especially emphasized some of the architectural details of Bennett.

If they need any help with content I would be happy to volunteer. They'll probably never ask though. :P

BTW, I will say sometimes I wish the many public schools in Chicago utilize the many tools available to alert the public about their activities. Bennett now has a website but they could also use a Twitter, Instagram or a Facebook page. The surrounding neighborhood should know what's going on there even if they don't have any children going to school their. The local school is a neighbor after all.

ALSO another school neighbor has also updated their website, Harlan High School which is reflective of a new principal change as well. Harlan - GO FALCONS - also developed more of a social networking presence and then mysteriously stopped. This is definitely an example where they should use these various tools to let the community know what's going on there, especially some of the good news involving students.

DISCLOSURE: I'm an alum of both Bennett School and Harlan High School

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

9th ward community meeting

Alderman Anthony Beale
  • Please Join Us!
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For more info
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale
    34 East 112th Place
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Took these shots of the Shedd School property

On my walk to Pullman a few days ago. It was a wet rainy day as depicted in these photos. The first two pics are of the front one is similar to the shot you see in the Shedd School blog's header.
200 E. 99th Street
200 E. 99th Street
Here's the backlot a field that I used to play around in during recess and of course before school started the kids would play in this field also. Fun days and sadly no longer common. I'll explain after this pic.
Looking from 98th & Indiana
Shedd School has been closed since about 2013 and the local community organization Roseland Heights Community Association has been concerned about a zoning change for this property. It has been zoned for industrial use and therefore a concern is now seen over this greenspace just a block away from Michigan Avenue.

As a former student there, it's unfortunate that classes are no longer held here. However, my hope is that the greenspace remains for the community. If the building remains then it shall be used for the benefit of the community.

Sidenote - I've been using this accessory on my smartphone called an olliclip. Basically this is something you can slip onto your iPhone, iPad or Android devices and take shots with various lenses to enhance your mobile photography. That's why one of the pics above seem unusual.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: How Do We Expect Others To Respect Our Community

82nd/King Drive by Worlee Glover
Worlee on his FB page writes about the issues with the lots owned by the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council over the years. Many starts and stops as far as an potential plans for this site including a garden or a greenhouse or even a community center. He further asks: "So how long do we let this stay an eyesore. What would we do if another entity owned these lots?"

BTW, I understand there has been a "changing of the guard" for the CAPCC perhaps there will be further discussions on what to do with these lots on King Drive.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Capitol Fax: Today's number 63%

Go Falcons!
Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax talks about the increase of students in our high schools and increase the number of high schools. In addition he makes these comments as far as the policy over neighborhood schools and retaining the middle class in our city:
Neighborhood schools weren’t working in many neighborhoods at the bottom of the economic ladder. So, Chicago embraced public school choice. But that isn’t working either for kids on the lowest economic rungs. Charters can kick kids out for low performance, behavioral problems, etc. and they do that a lot.

I happen to think charters can be a great thing. But, man, the costs sure are high to run all those new schools. And innovators like Kansas City are also having some very real problems.
I wonder if some of these issues involved with the neighborhood schools include Harlan. I'm very sure that they might and it also have some undeserved reputation for violence. I say it's undeserved because over the years they attempt to emphasize the students who got something going for themselves with college and the scholarships for example.

BTW, I would suggest you read the full post at Capitol Fax and read The Atlantic article he quotes from. It deserves a read from me regardless.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hope Dealers documentary

Hope Dealer Trailer from Lawrence Trapp on Vimeo.

[VIDEO] I've written about this group from time to time and I got wind of a future documentary of which you see a preview here. This is what's posted to the video page:
Hope Dealers, a non-profit organization that aims to help areas through community service. The group was created by Corey Hardiman, a Morehouse graduate and native of Southside Chicago. Although looking to eventually expand, the group for the past three years has primarily performed service in Southside Chicago, Ill.
Now to find out when this documentary is coming and if it will be shown exclusively on the internet or shown at a movie house near you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Community press conference regarding Eddie Johnson

A press conference was called today by Richard Wooten, former police officer and current leader of the Gathering Point Community Council and Grater Chatham Alliance, meeting at Josephine’s (formerly Captain’s Hard Time dining

Eddie Johnson was scheduled to appear (after meeting with Wooten and several ministers a few days ago). Unfortunately, Johnson was called into a meeting with Mayor Emanuel as well as having the President come to University of Chicago that day, so he was not in attendance.

Wooten instead used the press conference as an opportunity to express support for Eddie Johnson as permanent Police Superintendent. Wooten was joined by representatives of community organizations from West Chesterfield, Chesterfield, Chatham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing and Park Manor as well as 6th Ward Alderman Rod Sawyer and Victor Love & Josephine Wade of the restaurant.


Wooten and others noted that “We are not pleased with the process, but we are pleased with the person.”

Praises for Johnson included how he boosted morale for officers in the 6th district, reduced crime, and instituted “Peace in the Park” program at Cole Park, immediately following the death of Thomas Wortham IV.

Wooten also talked about plans for a Justice Town Hall meeting, especially for the residents of the greater area, in which Eddie Johnson will be invited. Specifics will be determined, pending Johnson’s schedule.

Andrea Watson of DNAinfo was in attendance, so expect a story very soon. Channel 2,5,7 and 32 (local CBS, NBC, ABC, & Fox stations, respectively) were also in attendance, so expect stories today as well, perhaps as early as noon or 4pm .

Reporters asked tough questions such as “How can Eddie Johnson change the culture of ‘Code of Silence’ which has been around for generations”