Friday, November 30, 2007

Let's talk about the transit issue

Well just to let you know doomsday is far from over for those of us who ride the CTA. Since the summer the CTA has made plans that threaten to cut service (we might be talking about schedules and routes), raise fares, and layoff workers. The Governor has come to the rescue on two occasions finding money from somewhere (let me get back to you on where exactly) but what is needed is a permanent solution to funding the CTA. What probably could have helped this situation failed to pass the Illinois House. From the Tribune...

State lawmakers went home Thursday with nothing to show for two days of special sessions but promising to keep working toward an agreement on mass transit aid for Chicago and construction projects statewide.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich let legislators leave but said he would call daily special sessions up until the holidays if negotiations with legislative leaders don't produce a breakthrough soon.

"At the end of the day, in the final analysis, we've got to get a solution for the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), the Legislature has to pass a solution for the CTA before Christmas," Blagojevich said at a news conference outside his Capitol office.

Lawmakers left town grumbling about being called into special session by Blagojevich only to continue the squabbling that has blocked progress on both issues for months.

Senators met both days only briefly and took no floor action. The House shot down late Wednesday a plan Blagojevich backed to help Chicago's mass transit systems by shifting state gasoline sales tax money.

Downstate lawmakers whose votes are needed for a mass transit bailout refuse to support it unless a deal also is reached on billions of dollars in road, school and government projects throughout Illinois.

Top legislators continue to work out details of such a plan and the massive gambling expansion eyed to pay for it, but those complex negotiations will still take some time.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, sent his members home Thursday morning until January, although he cautioned they could be called back to work quickly if a deal emerges.
Are you a transit rider? If you are perhaps you need to sound off on this issue. What do you think about this current transit crisis?


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

6th Ward Offices up for election

In February not only will we elect our choices for President, the Illinois General Assembly, County offices (such as Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, Board of Review, State's Attorney, Recorder of Deeds), and Water Reclamation District. Sixth ward will also elect committeemen for not only the Democratic and Republican Parties but the Green Party as well.

Well the Green Party is new to the scene since they won the required amount of votes in the gubernatorial election last year to be considered a major party. What that means is that they won't have to file as many petitions signatures if they were to have started a new/independent party. So they also get to elect committeemen and that position would allow them to build a party.

It should also be noted that filing for an elective office ended November 5th and it appears all are running unopposed for the election to their respective positions. In the 6th ward the committemen candidates are:

6th Ward Democratic Committeeman - Ald. Freddrenna Lyle

6th Ward Republican Committeeman - Jackie Robinson

6th Ward Green Party Committeeman - Beverly Neely

They have all filed to stand for election to head their respective parties in the 6th Ward.

According to the Cook County Clerk's Office.

BTW, here's a committeeman's race worth watching in the 7th Ward next year as Sandi Jackson takes on Bill Beavers for 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On the ballot next year

Next year in addition to deciding voting for US Senator, our representatives in the General Assembly, President of the United States among other offices there's another thing voters are being asked to consider next year. In 2008 voters are to determine whether we should convene a constitution convention to consider changes to the current state constitution. The current Illinois Constitution was written in 1970.

A provision in Article XIV (fourteen) section 1 clause b requires that every 20 years that a question with regards to a constitution convention is placed on the ballot by the Secretary of State for consideration by voters. The last time Illinois voters voted on a constitution convention was back in 1988 where it failed with 900,109 votes in favor of a convention, 2,727,144 against the convention, and 1,069,939 didn't make a choice.

I want to bring to your attention this program from the Illinois Channel where a panel is discussing the possibility of this convention and the issues that would come up at this convention. Some of the people you might know at this panel are Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, former state comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Dawn Clark Netsch, and you may not have heard from him but if you follow state politics expect to hear about him more, State Rep. John Fritchey. It's a very interesting discussion that is had here and I wanted to share this with you.

If you have a broadband connection watch this program right now online at the Illinois Channel website. But you can also watch this on the air on both Saturday and Sunday mornings on CAN-TV in the city of Chicago. On Saturdays Illinois Channel programming airs on CAN-TV channel 21 from 9AM to 11AM and on Sundays on CAN-TV channel 19 from 8:30AM to 10:30 AM.

Additional reading
Illinois Constitution at Wikipedia

Harlan High School

This is Harlan Community Academy High School located at 9652 S. Michigan Ave. It was built in 1959 and is named for John Marshall Harlan, actually there were two John Marshall Harlans who served on the Supreme Court grandfather and grandson. I have to figure out who this high school was named for but I think I can procure that information.

This just one of many public schools located in the boundaries of the 6th Ward. There are a few more elementary schools but I will share a few pics of those eventually. I'm not sure if this is the only high school in the ward though, I'm thinking it is but I'm going to have to find that out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Real Estate Curmudgeon - treating your skin disease

Originally posted at It's My Mind on July 14, 2007

I missed this video from May 2007. I have been a fan of YoChicago for a while now. I followed their coverage of the south side neighborhoods of West Chesterfield, Chatham, Park Manor, Pill Hill, Burnside, and Auburn-Gresham.

Anyway this video talks about some of the themes that have come up on this blog overtime. Especially check out this post from November 15, 2005. It talks about the disparity in home value of two different neighborhoods that has roughly the same characteristics with minor differences. It's just that one is mostly white on the north side vs. the one that's mostly black on the south side and both can certainly be seen as middle class neighborhoods.

So Mr. Joe Zekas touches upon it. He calls this disparity a skin disease. Check out this note...
A 4 bedroom, 2 bath bungalow in Chicago's south-side Chatham neighborhood costs about $225K, but the same property in Belmont Heights on the northwest side goes for $350-$400K.

What's the difference? The Curmudgeon says it's nothing but the skin color of your neighbors, and suggests that's a "skin disease" that costs $800 to $1,100 a month to treat.

What is my point in posting this you may ask?

Well, because it's of interest. I like the Chatham neighborhood. I'm sure people from other parts of town will just blow off this south side neighborhood as just another ghetto. It certainly doesn't help if the general neighborhood is just about all black. It's believeable that it is a treasure that no one knows about until they actually drive thru.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another neighborhood guide

From information on some of the neighborhoods that make up the Sixth Ward.

Grand Crossing
West Chesterfield

These guides aren't the most accurate. Indeed for Chatham they seem to confuse with an Illinois town of the same name. Some of the addresses aren't correct but most are still within the neighborhood.

Just letting you know what's out there as far as information on the neighborhood goes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

City mail delivery improves, study finds

This was a story that most Chicagoans had seen from earlier this year. The mail doesn't get to where it needs to go in a timely fashion in the Chicago area. This morning Chicagoans should see that mail delivery should have improved from the Chicago Tribune.

Oh, BTW when I first wrote about this mail delivery problem, I had wrote about a story that IBC 34 did about their neighborhood post office. The problem wasn't so much mail delivery as it was bad customer service. It's worth a read if you're so inclined.

I also just now discovered another story IBC 34 did about mail service from Roseland. Also worth a read if you're so inclined.

Looking west, toward the 100 block of E 79th St, at Indiana Ave

On the corner of 79th and Indiana, this is where you go if you're looking for some Mexican food. Pepe's Mexiacan Restaurants can be found around the Chicago area. Their tacos are better than Taco Bell. I promise.

Oh and here's Flickr photoset of the Chatham neighborhood and also a Chatham Flickr group. Both are presented by YoChicago where you can see their pictures on Flickr as well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This American Life: Remembering Harold Washington

The 13th Floor Blog at discusses a program that aired November 9th of last week on NPR . It was called This American Life and this episode (you can listen online) was about the first black Mayor of Chicago, the late Harold Washington. This program actually aired back on November 21, 1997.

Wow, it'll be a decade next Wednesday that this program aired. Also it'll be 20 years since his death on November 25, 1987. Mayor Washington was re-elected earlier that year and was only 7 months into his second term as mayor. He had been Mayor of Chicago since 1983 and that election will be covered in this program.

I heard this program a while back and I'm so glad that I can hear this once again. And an addition that they talk about the presidential candidacy of US Senator Barack Obama. A famous black lawyer and judge, Eugene Pincham, mentioned that Dr. Martin Luther King was not a well liked man when he was alive but when he was murdered and couldn't lead anyone anymore, he got a holiday. Then Pincham says that Mayor Washington on the other hand is not going to get those same accolades because Washington is likely to inspire people from beyond the grave.

Roughly 25 years have passed since Harold Washington was elected Mayor of Chicago and the question could be begged that this program seemed to address in 1997 & 2007. Would a black candidate have a fair chance to be elected Mayor today? Would that candidate have suffered the same resistance that Harold Washington had in 1983?

The pic at the top left is of a Harold Washington memorial courtesy of YoChicago's Chatham neighborhood Flickr set. This memorial sitting on South Vernon Avenue was sponsored by the people of Vernon Avenue, from 83rd to 87th Streets. To YoChicago, it was more memorable of a tribute to Mayor Washington than the library named for him in downtown Chicago.

This post was also posted at Illinoize with some minor edits!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Retail at 79th & St. Lawrence

From YoChicago. This post talks about the retail available at that intersection. It also especially helps that at the time this was posted more storefronts were bing built this. This was from March 17, 2007.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Google Street view

I originally posted this to It's My Mind on October 13, 2007. I figures this should get some play here as well.

I've been seeing this on a few Chicago blogs in the past week or so. I've been playing around with it and as a matter of fact I'm playing with it now. It's a great little toy. You can get a feel for a city you've never actually been so I'm liking it. If nothing else, you can have a look at a neighborhood in maybe any city that you're not very familiar with. Who knows you might find out that one area isn't as bad as the conception you've had in your head.

If you want to play with this program you go to Google Maps, then enter an address and the city and state and click on this button that says street view and you should be good to go.

This almost reminds me of when I could look for satelite images of a place. I did this a long time ago and I suppose I got bored with it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I was looking at the Chicago Wikitravel guide

On this Chicago travel guide they break up the city into districts or it could be called regions or parts of the city. Some of these districts are assigned more geograpic names such as the familiar north side, south side, downtown or west side. Of course things get more technical when areas of the city get called far southwest side, far southeast side, far north side, far west side.

It should also be noted that this map even divides some of these districts into their neighorhoods/community areas. The district known as the far north side is divided into Roger's Park/Edgewater, Uptown, and North Lincoln. Also the southwest side is divided into the southwest side and then there's the Midway area.

It seems though that the sixth ward is divided into two areas the southwest side and the far southest side. I'm somewhat disappointed that they don't go into detail about the various neighborhoods/communities that make up these two regions. Then again this is a wiki technology, it can change since anyone can contribute something. Especially if the information you have can be backed up factually.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Champaign Co. Clerk on new state election bill

This article was in today's Capitol Fax Morning Shorts from the blog of the Champaign County Clerk about an election bill that was signed into law by the Governor on Friday. He calls this a good bill but what I want to highlight is an unfortunate provision...
The unfortunate provision in this legislation takes effect for the 2010 election. That requires our voting equipment to be set to detect undervotes on ballots for Constitutional Offices and to initially reject such ballots. Under this provision, if you go in and vote for Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer but leave blank the office of Comptroller, the voting equipment will beep, inform you that you've undervoted and give you a chance to recast your ballot. This provision will cause a number of people to have the privacy of their ballot compromised, especially those who are blind or visually impaired and use the Automark Voter Assistance Terminal.
I can see how this can be problematic, especially if for those offices mentioned above you won't have any privacy if you have undervoted. Of course the last election I was actually able to personally cast a ballot the rules where that you punch your ballot as usual and of course if you've undervoted or overvoted the ballot machine rejects your ballot and you're given an opportunity to re-cast your ballot. If you choose not to then the election judges will go on ahead and accept your ballot.

Cross posted from It's My Mind.

At 95th & Dan Ryan

I was on a train heading to downtown Chicago during the summer when I snapped this picture. One of the many services to be had in the 6th Ward is transit. Buses from either CTA or Pace service the ward and then of course there is the CTA Red Line on the edge of the ward.

Oh and while the 95th Street Terminal is a gateway to not only the loop and the south and southwestern suburbs, but a gateway to travel around the country. For the price of a bus ticket, Greyhound & Indian Trails will take you to destinations around the country. To be sure that you won't wind up going to the downtown terminal the next time you go out of town on vacation, I would suggest you look up schedule information online at the Greyhound website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A drive through Chatham and West Chesterfield, Chicago

This video is courtesy of YoChicago driving thru the aforementioned neighborhoods. These are contained on the far south end of the 6th Ward.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


The idea hit me last month that there should be a blog for the Sixth Ward of Chicago. I figure why not. Uptown has a blog, Roger's Park has several of them, even the 34th Ward has a blog. Why not a 6th Ward Blog?

I'm not sure where this is going to go, yet. I figure if nothing else I can post info about the 6th Ward perhaps videos, real estate, businesses, schools, or churches. I want to post pictures that I have found about the 6th Ward. Perhaps eventually I can go into politics.

For right now I want to take this one day at a time.

Joe Zekas R.I.P.

 Joe Zekas ran the real estate news website YoChicago . If you have been following that site and their social media channels i.e. YouTube o...