In April I joined www.forthegoodofillinois.org; which was started in the fall of 2007 by Adam Andrzejewski. The purpose of the not-for-profit is to rekindle the true spirit of public service among our elected officials. We feel that the best, most effective method to do this is by building a mandate from the bottom up here in Illinois. Regular people have common sense and we understand the power of engaging them to re-assert their rightful review of government.BTW, I haven't decided yet if I should post somewhere on this blog a debt counter for the state. We'll have to see about that!
The movement is building momentum within our local school districts. We are asking districts to 'Pass The Open Book Test' by posting their check register on their school websites. The website is now home to the Illinois School District Honor Roll and Public Service Watch list. We are rewarding districts that are open and transparent, and identify those districts who fail to 'Pass the Open Book Test'. Our objective is to ask as many of the 874 school districts in Illinois as we can in 2008-9.
I am contacting you because I noticed some of your website’s content about politics in Illinois. I thought you might be interested in some additional content. Not only are we the home of the Honor Roll and Watch List; we also have an Illinois State Debt Counter. You are more than welcome to copy the HTML language and insert it into your website. You can find the language directly by going here: http://www.forthegoodofillinois.org/IL-Debt-Counter/ .
I look forward to reading more postings on your website and would readily circle you in further on our movement if you care to know. Keep up the good work!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Brandon McMurray will not be getting a raise tomorrow.Read the whole thing. I found the article via Newsalert. And while you're there check out this post on Cook County's sales tax. This sales tax at 10.25% is touted as the highest in the nation.
The 23-year-old cashier at Pantera's Pizza in the Montclaire Shopping Center in Edwardsville already makes more than minimum wage because of his four years at the pizzeria.
"It's one of those things," McMurray said. "I've been here for a while and make enough over that. It would be nice to make a little more."
But when Illinois' minimum wage officially increases Tuesday, some of his co-workers will be making a little more than they did before.
"They're excited for it," McMurray said. "Every little bit that you can get helps out."
"With prices going up, and with gas prices at $4, everybody can use a little more cash these days."
His boss, Jeff Tolliver, on the other hand, isn't looking forward to the wage increase. It's not that Tolliver doesn't want to pay his employees more, but rather the pressure it puts on the cost of doing business.
"I have to pass it on to customers, and that's not really good for anybody," he said.
This year's quarter increase in Illinois -- from $7.50 an hour to $7.75 -- won't raise much fuss, Tolliver said, but when the state minimum wage went up from $6.50 to $7.50 last year, some of his current employees were asking for a raise.
"It's really bad for morale, and already we're in a high-turnover industry," Tolliver said. "This really doesn't help anything. It puts pressure on prices. Everything is going up as it is. Automatically, the minimum wage goes up also. It just makes a bad situation worse, to be quite honest."
Illinois will raise its minimum wage for the fourth time in as many years Tuesday with 25-cent rate increases scheduled for each of the next two years. By July 1, 2010, Illinois workers will be earning $8.25 an hour, which by then could become the highest minimum wage in the country.
The series of wage hikes has been championed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who pushed the initiative through the General Assembly. The new $7.75 wage is estimated to generate an additional $520 in annual wages for full-time minimum wage earners -- to a new total of $16,120 annually for a worker on a 40-hour week. The governor has cited that at this time of economic crisis, the minimum wage increase will help Illinois workers support their families and help them afford basic necessities.
Listen to the audio although consider what you see on that page a transcript.
WOMAN 1: I think it’s going to be more killings, more robberies, more drive-bys, more crime.
MAN 1: I think it’s going to be kind of crazy. If everybody has got a gun, it’s going to be wild, wild west.
WOMAN 2: I don’t think it’s going to change one bit the amount of gun violence in this community. The people that commit the gun violence, they don’t go and stand in line and send in their applications for gun permits. They obtain illegal weapons and they use them illegally.
MAN 2: I lost a son in 2002 due to handguns. With this law being changed, somebody else’s son is going to be killed .
Via The Capitol Fax morning shorts. Go read the whole thing.Between January and mid-August 2007, 13 train derailments and five train collisions occurred in CTA rail yards, according to the safety review.
The best that can be said about the level of safety on the Chicago Transit Authority rail system is that riders are not putting their lives in jeopardy.
That's far from high praise, but it's the basic conclusion of an on-site safety review of the CTA rail system commissioned by the Regional Transportation Authority, which has oversight authority over the transit agency.
In essence, CTA trains are safe enough to ride, but many upgrades are necessary and should not be postponed, the RTA concluded in evaluating 14 key areas.
The CTA is doing a poor job of identifying hazardous conditions leading to rail accidents, and the agency should be "more rigorous" in taking corrective action, the audit said.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Via The Bench!
Some of you may not take this story very seriously on the other hand I'd like to think that police and paramedics have better things to do than to harass some citizens who were there to observe a situation. I should say concerned citizens concerned that paramedics didn't attend to a man down. Indeed they didn't even bother looking for the man down in question.
I'm sure someone out there will make this an issue about whether or not Tom Mannis at The Bench or Craig Gernhardt at The Broken Heart should have backed off. Still I wonder if the actions of the police and the paramedics were appropriate.
What do you think?
Also please take note of ChicagoGunCase.com is a website regarding the attempt to overturn Chicago's gun ban.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
In too many Chicago neighborhoods, gun violence rules the block. And some say the time has come to fight fire power with fire power.
"I need a handgun in my home," said Chicago resident Colleen Lawson. "It comes down to an issue of life or death."
In fact, Lawson and her husband do own a handgun. But because of Chicago's ban on handguns, it's illegal to keep it in their home. The weapon was locked up outside the city when three men recently broke into their house.
Lawson was unharmed, but she says the incident turned her into a critic of the city's gun ban.
"It makes me feel as though I'm relatively helpless to keep my promise to my children to be able to protect them," Lawson said.
Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s gun ban on Thursday, Lawson and her husband joined others in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's gun ordinance, which has been in place since 1982.
Chicago's mayor said changing the law would be disastrous.
"Why don't we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West? You have a gun, and I have a gun. We'll settle it on the streets," Mayor Richard Daley said.
But many say a number of Chicago neighborhoods already resemble the Wild West. In this city, it's been an epic year for violence. Chicago's murder rate is up a startling 13 percent. Police have responded to 27,000 reports of "shots fired," an average of one every 10 minutes.
Too often, the victims have been young and innocent.
Read the whole thing! It may not be an indicator of the support over turning the gun ban might be. I suppose that there are those who wants to see it.
I don't want to beat this issue to death here. And since this affects the city expect to find more stories about the legal action against Chicago's gun ban.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
There is a new tax exemption called Long Term occupants exemption. You must have lived in your home for 10 years or more and make under $100,000 per year to be eligible. Seniors 65 and older who make $50,000 or less per year are also eligible for the new tax exemption.
A representative from the City’s Tax assistance center will be at Alderman Lyle’s 6th Ward office 406 E. 75th St., Thursday, June 26, 2008 from 3 pm to 7 pm to assist residents in completing the exemption forms.
The deadline for filing these forms is Monday, June 30th. You must bring a picture I.D or the paper’s from your closing.
Mayor Daley Hates the Bill of Rights from The Bench
The hysteria about guns is all about politics, not reality. Here's some reality:Illinois lawmakers: ruling to make it tougher to pass gun restrictions from Clout St.
The alarming increase gun violence in Chicago this year is committed for the most part with handguns. Every one of those handguns is illegal. Ask yourself whether the ban on handgun ownership has prevented the thugs from obtaining them. Or from using them. As it has been said a million times, if you ban something only the criminals will possess it. Same with handguns.
Additionally, Daley's remarks about a need for increased police presence and of higher numbers of hospital gunshot wound admissions is not based in fact. In fact, the opposite would probably be true.
Of the 50 United States, only Wisconsin and Illinois do not allow their residents to carry handguns. In the 48 states that allow it, handgun violence has either remained the same or been reduced from level prior to enactment of conceal-carry.
State lawmakers said Thursday the Supreme Court opinion on gun control is likely to prompt a flurry of legislation in Springfield but at the same time will make it harder for any new gun restrictions to pass.Morton Grove - the ball's in your court from Illinoize
Even before the decision, lawmakers struggled to find votes for bills aimed at reducing gun violence. Since 2004, when Congress allowed a 10-year federal ban on assault weapons to expire, lawmakers have been unable to muster enough support to restrict assault-style weapons in Illinois.
Similarly, Mayor Richard Daley’s gun package was quietly tabled this year after proponents fell two votes short of passing a bill they thought had the greatest chances of success. It would have required people who sell guns privately to first get background checks of potential buyers through licensed dealers.
Gun control remains a potent political issue in a state where the geographic divisions on the issue between urban and rural manifest themselves in the Statehouse.
As a Chicago legislator, Gov. Rod Blagojevich once famously made an unsuccessful push to increase the fee for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card to $500. As a candidate for governor, he was forced to make amends to rural voters and now, in his second term in office, Blagojevich has failed to use the power of his office to advance major gun control measures.
Daley's repeated gun control efforts have repeatedly been rebuffed by rural Downstate lawmakers joining with their suburban colleagues. But the voting is hardly along partisan lines, particularly with more socially moderate Democrats winning seats in what had been solid Republican suburbs and socially conservative Democrats representing some Downstate areas.
Not about Chicago exactly but suburbs might have restrictions that could be challenged in light of the Supreme Court decision.
Chicago's Gun Ban As A Racketeering Enterprise from Newsalert
Newsalert has often talked about Chicago's gun ban even going so far as to say that a member of the mob who just so happened to be a Chicago Alderman had a hand in banning Chicago citizens from owning a gun. Chicago's gun ban according to Newsalert could place this under RICO. The same statute that saw some convictions in a recent federal trial, The Family Secrets trial.
Silly Statements from Second City Cop
I've honestly been waiting for this one.
The Illinois State Rifle Association, together with Second Amendment Foundation and several individual plaintiffs, filed suit against the City of Chicago in federal court this morning at 9:15 CDT. More information will be made available in a statement from the attorneys tomorrow.Via The Capitol Fax in this post with a great discussion about this decision and the role of the courts in interpreting the law. Some might say legislating from the bench or judicial activism but I'm sure there are some court followers who have their own opinions on that.
When the ruling came down apparently Mayor Daley has been promising to fight any attempts to overturn Chicago's handgun ban enacted in 1982. There are stories contained in both the Capitol Fax post and the ISRA's homepage. This article with Daley talking about this Supreme Court decision it seem that Daley is rambling more than usual.
I also want to note a pro 2nd Amendment rally that will be held at the Thompson Center on July 11th. That is for those of you who might be interested in that.
I don't want to go on and on about it but I would like to see if there are any comments on this at all. Perhaps I'll see what other Chicago area bloggers might be saying about this ruling as well.
After a 30-year hiatus, the National Urban League's annual conference will return to Chicago in 2009 -- a marquee event drawing 10,000 people that Mayor Daley hopes will showcase the city's diversity to the International Olympic Committee.
"This convention is really important to the history of Chicago because of the African-American community," Daley said. "It is important to the future of our city ... to show people how diverse we are."
Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said the conference July 29 to Aug. 1 at McCormick Place will send a message slightly more than two months before the IOC chooses a host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics from four finalists: Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.
"It's another opportunity for Chicago to showcase its values and its vision," Morial said.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
In addition you can go to the main branch of Seaway Bank and Trust (located at 645 E. 87th St.) and buy a city sticker during regular business hours.
Also you can go to Jewel-Osco and purchase a city sticker as well you can go to either the Jewel on 87th & Dan Ryan as well as the one on 95th & Stony Island.
You can find out more information about this on this page courtesy of the city clerk.
When it comes to hiring teachers, experience shouldn't automatically trump academics.Go read the whole thing!
That's the conclusion of a new study released Wednesday that looks at the quality of public school teachers in Illinois.
The 44-page report from the Illinois Education Research Council found the highest percentage of academically talented teachers were at schools in the Champaign area, with those in suburban Chicago and west-central Illinois close behind.
While schools serving minorities and low-income students in Chicago rated lower in "teacher quality" compared to everywhere else in the state, those schools also made the biggest gains in hiring academically talented teachers over the years studied, 2001-2006.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I should ask, why should Madigan cave? If there are cuts to be made, then make the cuts.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday threatened to veto $2 billion of state spending — affecting just about every area of state government except for local school aid — unless House leaders relent and pass additional revenue measures by July 9.Higher costs gnaw at Taste vendors
But there was no sign that the ultimatum will work.
In a Chicago news conference, Mr. Blagojevich, as he has for several weeks, charged that the Legislature passed him a fiscal 2009 state budget with a $2-billion hole. He again blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has refused to sign off on plans backed by the Senate to privatize the state lottery, authorize three more casinos and tap unreserved state funds.
The governor said he is not inclined to veto the entire state budget, which would force lawmakers back to Springfield to start over on a new spending plan. Instead, he outlined $2 billion in cuts he said he “probably” will make unless Mr. Madigan changes his mind.
Topping the list is Medicaid, with the governor saying he may have to ax $600 million in proposed spending, an action that would lengthen from 70 to 90 days the typical period needed for the state to pay a physician, hospital or other provider.
Social service agencies around the state likely would suffer a $260 million cut, Mr. Blagojevich said, with spending on mass transit and economic development to drop $257 million.
The governor said he likely could cut $500 million out of the operation of state government in the form of across-the-board reductions. While aid to local and elementary schools still would rise $500 million next year, schools would likely lose $110 for construction projects, he said.
Mr. Madigan’s spokesman said there are “substantial defects” with each of the revenue measures favored by the governor. “Absent some effort to fix the defects, I can’t imagine the Legislature would go along.”
Mr. Blagojevich asserted that the $2-billion hole is the largest budget deficit ever sent to any Illinois governor by the General Assembly.
It's that time of year again!!!
This year’s Taste of Chicago festival is taking a bite out of restaurant budgets.Nat'l Urban League returning to Chicago
Food and fuel costs have soared since January, when restaurants wanting to set up shop at the Taste submitted applications outlining their menu items, portion sizes and prices.
So, as they confront rising costs, the restaurants have to live with menu prices that are locked in.
Ron Ruffolo, owner of Hashbrowns on Maxwell Street and a first-time participant, estimates he will spend up to 20% more than he originally budgeted to produce the four items — including sweet potato hashbrowns and french toast sticks — he’s offering at this year’s 10-day food festival, which kicks off Friday in Grant Park.
“The portions have to stay where they were when you submitted your application,” Mr. Ruffolo said. Since then, he estimates his costs for wheat, potatoes and eggs have “probably doubled.” Still, he says, he won’t lose money on the week.
According to Taste requirements, the average price for a restaurant’s items must be $3.75, and no item can cost more than $5.
The price controls mean the 74 restaurants participating in the Taste, now in its 28th year, will see slimmer margins in exchange for getting their names in front of millions of people.
Chicago will host the National Urban League’s 2009 annual convention, marking a return to the city after at least three decades.
The annual convention, which expects to draw more than 10,000 participants, is typically held in July. This year’s convention is in Orlando, Fla.; the 2007 convention was in St. Louis.
Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson and National Urban League President Marc Morial are scheduled to announce details of next year’s event at a Wednesday morning press conference.
In a slowing economy, the prospect of more urban employment and greater tax revenues should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough to win over a rabid Wal-Mart-hating coalition of aldermen, union leaders, and community activists, who’ve politically pressured City Hall into slamming the door on the chain’s Chicago expansion. In May, city officials rejected Wal-Mart’s bid to open a South Side store, effectively telling the chain to get lost.For now it does seem that Wal-Mart expansion isn't likely to happen soon. In spite of some of these drawbacks in terms of health insurance or even Wal-Mart's apparent ability to drive small businesses to shut down, there is still a need for a Wal-Mart in those areas where no one is likely to open up shop and offer either jobs or even needed retail services. Anyway this is just something to chew on and I'm sure there are those out there to whom this piece might make sense versus those who might be opposed to this anyway.
This is a huge, pig-headed mistake. To fix it, Mayor Richard M. Daley needs to muster his political courage by pressing opponents to end their anti-Wal-Mart campaign, even if it means ticking off labor while the city competes for the 2016 Olympics. The mayor better get moving before this plum economic development opportunity forever slips away into the welcoming embrace of nearby suburbs.
I’ll concede it’s not easy to roll out the welcome mat for Wal-Mart.
Founder Sam Walton’s quest to provide customers with deep discounts on every item in stock has a dark side. There’s merit to activist claims that Wal-Mart’s nationwide expansion, coupled with its cold-blooded operating efficiencies, has relentlessly driven many small rivals out of business and has perpetuated the demise of some rural business districts. Organized labor rightly takes aim at Wal-Mart for low-paying front line jobs and spotty benefits, especially its resistance to making health care insurance more readily accessible to all its store employees.
But there’s another hard truth: Capping Wal-Mart’s Chicago expansion won’t solve these problems but fencing Wal-Mart off will needlessly deprive communities of many vital services and job opportunities.
For example, supermarkets with pharmacies are increasingly rare in many city neighborhoods but each Wal-Mart includes ample space dedicated to grocery aisles, while its in-store pharmacies sell 350 generic prescriptions for $4 per 30-day supply. Moreover, Wal-Mart’s money centers provide basic bill paying and cash checking at prices that are much lower than those charged by currency exchanges.
Also while you're at it check out a more recent piece. The blogmaster at ReedBiz, Bob Reed, interviews Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The question is serious with this Sun-Times article. The idea is to get Chicago competitive with say Europe. I wonder if this might be important if Chicago should be blessed with the Olympics in 2016?
Should the Chicago streetcar come back after a period of 50 years in time for the 2016 Olympics or should we even wait for the Olympics? Chicago's transit system is in need of an upgrade anyway to get people around the area. Streetcars or some form of light rail could be a way to go.
Their bones are still there, poking through the city streets.
Under the asphalt, you can still see the steel rails of the once-great Chicago streetcar system.
It has been 50 years since the last "Green Hornet" finished its route on June 21, 1958. But Bob Heinlein will never forget.
Chicago had one of the biggest streetcar systems in the world, the Encyclopedia of Chicago says. Before the Great Depression, streetcars run by Chicago Surface Lines carried almost 900 million riders, more than the city's other transit systems and cars combined.
Several factors helped doom the streetcar. One was a state and city cap on fares that kept the private streetcar companies from keeping up with inflation. The government also taxed profits at 55 percent. It's tough to run a business that way. When it proved impossible to reorganize the railways as a private enterprise, the state created the CTA to buy them out in 1947.
Another factor that hurt the streetcar was the postwar migration of city residents to the suburbs, which decreased customers. Increased numbers of autos made it hard for streetcars, which ran on a fixed route down the middle of the street, to move through traffic.
"Being in the middle of the street, where the left turn lane was, worked against the streetcar," said Heinlein. He remembered the motorman would get stuck behind cars turning left and just have to wait.
"I was on the last one," said Heinlein, 70, assistant superintendent of operations at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, which has Chicago streetcars on display. Heinlein was a CTA employee in 1958 and rode that last car with other CTA workers. "When the rails weren't all over Chicago anymore, it was a letdown," Heinlein said.
It was also a mistake, argues Rick Harnish, executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association: "We made some really bad assumptions as a society about what the automobile was capable of."
Rather than maintaining the streetcar track and figuring out how to integrate streetcars with auto traffic, it was easier for the CTA to replace all streetcars with buses, Harnish said. Now Chicago is behind European cities when it comes to having an energy-efficient street transit system, Harnish said.
A few attempts to revive the streetcar have been ballyhooed over the years, but none made it. A plan for a "Streeterville Trolley" made headlines in 1989. In 2003, then-U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski (D-Ill.) proposed a route on Ogden Avenue and Cermak Road.
Harnish's group has been trying to talk the city into running a streetcar line from Navy Pier to railroad stations and the Shedd Aquarium, so far without success.
Instead of new streetcars, the CTA is planning a pilot "bus rapid transit" program, which would give buses their own designated lanes during rush hour on certain streets. The CTA is also trying to reduce the cost and pollution of buses through the use of more hybrids.
Streetcars, which run on electricity, are less polluting and more energy-efficient than buses, since they travel on steel wheels on steel rails, instead of tires on asphalt, Harnish said. He says streetcars should one day make a comeback here in Chicago, as they have in Europe.
Article via Gaper's Block Merge.
Cook County homeowners have one week to take advantage of a property tax break. It's part of a program set to expire next year, but some politicians are trying to make it permanent.
The break is a 7-percent cap on property tax increases. Opponents say it's unfair to local businesses. They say homeowners paying less means businesses pay more to meet the county's fiscal needs. Cook County Assessor James Houlihan says that's nonsense.
HOULIHAN: I suppose under some tortured logic, they could call that a shift onto business, but it is not accurate.
He says home values have far outpaced those for business property. And the tax cap helps even out the financial burden.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The lavish pensions that City Hall has been known for may become a thing of the past for new city employees.
Newly hired employees would shift to the 401(k) plans favored by private industry -- instead of the "defined benefits" enjoyed by their older co-workers -- under a plan being pushed by the head of Mayor Daley's pension reform commission.
Sources said the two-tiered pension system is the painful solution favored by Chicago's former chief financial officer Dana Levenson.
Levenson agreed to co-chair the 32-member pension commission to solve a crisis that threatens to strangle future generations of property taxpayers. The city's four pension funds alone have $10 billion in unfunded liabilities to employees and retirees. If they run out of money, Chicago taxpayers get stuck with the tab.
"I am not going to comment on anything about what we're doing," said Levenson, head of North American Infrastructure for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon and Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue were equally reluctant to talk about reforms, for fear of violating a confidentiality agreement signed by commission members.
But when the Chicago Sun-Times confronted them about Levenson's idea, they could not remain silent.
"We knew before this commission was even formed that there was a potential desire to have a two-tier pension system for city employees," Donahue said.
"Unions have consistently been against such a plan. It establishes different benefits and creates different classes within your membership."
Gannon agreed that a two-tiered system would make it "very difficult to represent people. ... An employee is an employee -- whether you have 20 years, five years or no years."
A major gambling expansion has been touted as the way to pay for a proposed $34 billion construction plan in Illinois, but a new study suggests states may be counting too much on that money.
A report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government shows revenue growth from gambling across the country has slowed down over the last three years. Study authors at the New York-based think tank warn that sluggish economic growth and social objections to gambling have taken a toll on gambling revenue.
In Illinois, proponents of a statewide construction plan, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, want to pay for it with the help of a land-based casino in Chicago. The idea stalled in the waning hours of the spring legislative session last month when House Democrats gave it a cool reception.
The state’s nine casinos brought in $142.7 million in May, down 14 percent from May 2007.
Gene O’Shea, spokesman for the Illinois Gaming Board, said the drop in casino revenue can be partly attributed to the statewide smoking ban that went into effect in January. O’Shea attributed the nationwide drop to the weakening economy.
“People don’t have as much discretionary income,” O’Shea said. “It’s going into their gas tanks.”
Whatever the reason, study authors say states shouldn’t rely on gambling as a growth stream, given their findings.
Read the whole thing!
Here's another problem highlighted...
Recently, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on Chicago winning an award from Fast Company magazine. “Chicago stood out in our reporting for its creativity and vitality,” Editor and Managing Director Bob Safian said at a press conference here. “Chicago offers something distinctive.”
Fast Company Magazine is representative of much of the media: not much on hard facts about Chicago. The Windy City has distinctions but not positive ones. Chicago’s retail sales tax is the highest in the nation at 10.25 percent. Unions, high taxes, and political corruption have made Chicago one of the leaders in big city decline.
One of the great modern myths of big city America is that Chicago is some sort of successful town and a role model for others. By any traditional performance standards Chicago has failed. Like many old, big industrial cities, Chicago peaked in the 1950 Census with a population of 3,620,962. In the 1950s over two percent of the entire U.S. population lived within Chicago city limits. Over a half century later, while America’s population doubled, Chicago’s population declined. The 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1990 Census numbers showed Chicago losing population.
Mayor Daley and Chicago residents were quite excited about the 2000 Census showing Chicago gaining over 112,000 people (a growth rate at half the national average for the 1990s). It appears the 1990s were an anomaly for Chicago. Since the year 2000, according to Census estimates, Chicago again continued its population decline with a loss of 63,000 from 2000 to 2006 leaving a total of 2,833,321.
Though 2000 was a somewhat positive year, that year’s Census numbers mask some rather disturbing trends. The white flight out of Chicago continued with 150,000 non- Hispanic white people leaving Chicago from 1990 to 2,000. African-Americans, for the first time, began leaving Chicago with a net loss of 5,000. The population gain in Chicago during the 1990s was due to Hispanics.
Let's talk a little about business in Chicago. Chicago and Cook County already has the highest sales tax in the nation but what might be the after effects of that and other taxes on businesses here...
What is even more pronounced is the lack of white children in the public school system. The entire Chicago Public School is only 9 percent white . Not a single public school has a population that is majority white. Not one.
Recently, the stubborn facts of Chicago’s population decline made news. As CBS TV Chicago reported in January of 2008:
Half-empty schools are ‘unacceptable’ because they don't serve their students or the communities they're supposed to anchor, Mayor Richard M. Daley said Thursday, setting the stage for the biggest wave of school closings in decades.
Officials contend 147 of 417 neighborhood elementary schools are from half to more than two-thirds empty because enrollment has declined by 41,000 students in the last seven years. A tentative CPS plan calls for up to 50 under-used schools to close, consolidate with other schools or phase out over the next five years.
Most of the underused schools are on the South and West Sides, often where the student population is largely African-American, and in lakefront neighborhoods that include Lincoln Park, Lake View, Uptown and North Center.”
The situation isn’t any better in Chicago’s Catholic School System. The Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2007:
Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, called the exodus from Chicago's Catholic schools ‘mind-boggling.’ In 1964, he said, some 500 schools were spread across the diocese, with about 366,000 students. Now, the system has 257 schools and fewer than 100,000 students. Over the last decade statewide, the number of Catholic schools has dropped from 592 in 1997 to 510 this year, according to figures released at the conference.
Chicago’s political elite love to give speeches about the importance of public education, but not for their children. Mayor Daley sent his children to private schools. Deborah Lynch, the former head of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, sent her kids to private schools. America’s newest political superstar, Barack Obama, sends his kids to private schools. With the exodus of the rich from Chicago’s public schools, 69 percent of the children in the Chicago Public School system are poor.
The horrible public schools, high taxes, and crime have driven families out of Chicago. The city’s job base cannot compete with anti-union places like Houston and Phoenix.
I just post this here because there are some things to consider here. Does anyone think the City of Chicago is in trouble? Does anyone think there might need to be some changes made in how the city is able to attract and retain businesses here?
Chicago’s high tax life style has driven businesses and jobs to the suburbs. Chicago is one ofthe only towns in America with an employee head tax on employment. Companies with over 50 employees must pay $4 a month per employee to the city. Most of the major corporate headquarters in the Chicago area are located in Chicago’s suburbs. Motorola, Walgreens, All State, Kraft, Anixter, Illinois Tool Works, McDonald’s, Alberta-Culver, and Abbott Labs all have their corporate headquarters outside city limits.
Recently, Chicago got its first Wal-Mart. In most places in America, politicians allow consumers to decide whether a business should fail or succeed. In Chicago, with the power of the unions, Chicago’s city council has made it difficult for Wal-Mart to open up any more stores. Chicago’s poor are relegated to paying higher retail prices and have less access to entry-level jobs. The adjacent suburb of Niles has the unusual distinction of being the only town in America (with less than 45,000 people) with two Wal-Marts. One of the Niles Wal-Marts is located right across the street from Chicago.
The largest employer in the city of Chicago is the Federal government. Followed by the City of Chicago public School system. Other major employers are the city of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Cook County government, and the Chicago Park District. These thousands of government workers provide the backbone of the coalition for higher taxes, generous pensions and “political stability”.
Chicago’s political system is inefficient and costly. There are no term limits in Chicago. The Democratic Party has controlled the Mayor’s office since 1931(a big city record). There’s no opposition: Democrat’s control 49 out of 50 seats on the city council. Corruption is everywhere. Barely a month can go by without a major scandal. The FBI has the largest public corruption squad in the United States located in Chicago . Chicago voters don’t seem to care. Those who care about high taxes, good public schools, and low crime are a small minority in Chicago.
This column concludes that low-tax and low-regulation Houston, Texas will over take Chicago in 15 years. Does anyone think that will happen?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Residents on 97th and Forest reported Memorial Day hold-up at gun point, by teens. Gun shots were reported on 97th and Prairie also. Residents were upset by slow response time of police and lack of action. The responding officers showed lack of concern, were dismissive of reported crime, and somewhat disrespectful. Residents wans something done about adult and teen loitering in the community. They are dissatisfied with the lack of police patrols in Roseland Heights. There is very little visible police presence during the day and none (that can be seen) at night. The community wants to be supportive of police. They feel that the larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, burglary, auto repair on the street and in alley could all be reduced or stopped by mobile, foot, and bike patrols in conjunction.
Friday, June 20, 2008
A Geneva startup is putting a newsy spin on help wanted ads.
Job Search Television Network is presenting job listings in a broadcast news format on the belief that an anchor delivering a 60-second job description will leave a stronger impression with a job seeker than print. It’s aiming its sales pitch at companies seeking workers.
“What differentiates us (from other job sites) is that we have video,” said Roger Stanton, the network’s co-founder. “People remember pictures. People remember video.”
To find clients, Mr. Stanton turned to job listings and cold-called companies looking for workers. He persuaded nearly a dozen companies to get on board, among them McDonald’s Corp., Allstate Corp. and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare.
“What attracted us to this is that it fell into an area that didn’t replace anything like Monster.com or classified ads,” said Bill Luehrs, chief human resources officer for ENH. “It gives us the ability to get to the passive job-seeker through a media that we didn’t have before.”
Mr. Stanton’s three-year-old company recently inked a deal with Comcast Corp. to carry Job Search Television Network on its cable system for three hours a day. The network will debut June 30 on Comcast’s channel 102, which typically airs local programming. The show will air daily from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 9 to 10 p.m.
“We bought three hours (of air time) to start and we can buy more hours,” Mr. Stanton said. “We have enough content. Right now, the number of jobs out there far exceeds (our air time).”
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A report by Chicago Public Radio. As well as a website created by the Lindblom Math & Science Academy.
Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are continuing to trickle in -- at less than half of city projections -- despite claims that consumption would rise during warm-weather months.I suppose someone should be prepared to make some more government cuts. Gotta be careful with taxation.
City Hall predicted a summer surge after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the first month of collections from the nickel-a-container tax had fallen far short of the city's projections.
Instead, the problem has gotten worse, exacerbating a budget crunch that has already prompted Mayor Daley to order $20 million in mid-year spending cuts and warn of a second round of cuts.
For the first five months of this year, the city collected slightly more than $2 million from the bottled water tax, including $606,286 in April and $472,838 in May.
At that rate, annual collections would be $4.8 million. That's less than 46 percent of the $10.5 million projection included in Daley's tax-laden 2008 budget.
David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, responded by essentially saying, "I told you so."
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger cast a rare tiebreaking vote Tuesday on a measure to borrow $150 million—a stopgap he said was needed to keep the county financially afloat until proceeds from a county sales tax increase flow into government coffers.
The short-term loan, which county commissioners figured they would need when they passed a budget in February, will cost taxpayers as much as $9 million in interest and fees and be paid back by December 2009, the Stroger administration said.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston)—who voted for the preliminary borrowing resolution and sales tax increase at the end of February—opposed the loan Tuesday, saying the county had enough money to stay afloat.
“This is not the time to be doing this,” Suffredin said, noting a percentage-point boost in the county sales tax that was part of the $3 billion budget package. “I think this is a slap in the face of the people who are going to be paying the sales taxes starting July 1.”
Commissioners voted 8-8 on the borrowing plan, then Stroger voted for it.
Although shoppers will start paying the higher sales tax July 1, the county won’t get any additional revenue from the state, which collects the tax from retailers, until October. The county’s fiscal year concludes at the end of November.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger finally kept his date Monday with taxpayers in the northwest suburbs, where some officials had threatened to secede from the county in anger over a sales tax increase he championed.Almost reminds me of the story where there was a movement to secede from Fulton County Georgia. That's the county of the city of Atlanta. Go read the whole Tribune article.
Stroger and his staff were met with a combination of laughs and groans as they stood before about 200 northwest suburban politicians and residents to defend the $426 million tax hike.
Many in the audience listened politely, but they were there to show their anger.
"We are now starting to feel that we are now starting to get gouged," said state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who introduced legislation that would make it easier for Palatine to secede from the county. "Do you really understand the competitive disadvantage you're putting the northwest suburbs to?"
The secession movement in Palatine was a long shot at best, but it illustrated a belief by some suburbanites that Stroger wasn't serving them and didn't understand the economic harm a sales tax creates in border towns where shoppers can cross into another county for lower rates.
At Monday's meeting at Harper College, the crowd applauded when Nancy Golemba, 48, of Inverness, said, "I think Cook County represents the residents of Chicago."
"I feel totally disenfranchised," said Jeff Milstein, a jewelry store owner from Schaumburg. "I don't trust you guys."
Stroger, who remained unflappable, said "people don't trust politicians . . . and that's they way this job works."
He also said people near a county or state line sometimes get pinched by a sales tax increase.
"To be honest with you, that's part of being in a large government," he said. "There are going to be areas that are harder hit than others."
In addition to worries that shoppers will look elsewhere, leaders in Palatine have questioned the value of what they get for being in Cook County. They note they have their own police, animal control and health departments, and that they plow most of their own roads. Stroger Hospital, they say, is used mostly by Chicago residents.
At the gathering, the crowd was shown a video outlining county services.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I'd rather hope not, but we can still look at an article from the Sun-Times about how Chicago will get an olympic village built.
A South Side alderman is urging Mayor Daley to create a new tax-increment financing district to generate the millions needed to turn the soon to be closed Michael Reese Hospital campus into a $1.1 billion Olympic Village.
"We're gonna need as many resources as we can possibly get to do this because of the expense of building new streets, water, sewers and whatever else we're gonna need," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th).
Her ward includes the Reese campus, which would be converted into a new residential neighborhood after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are over. Her plan calls for creating the new district within the existing Bronzeville TIF.
TIFs don't raise taxes, they re-direct them away from schools, parks and other local government agencies bankrolled by property taxes.
Property taxes within a TIF district are frozen at existing levels for 23 years. Any increase over the starting tax base is funnelled into a pool used for specific purposes, primarily infrastructure improvements, business subsidies and environmental cleanup.
Preckwinkle acknowledged that the "TIF-within-a-TIF" concept would be a precedent-setting first for Chicago.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Via Second City Cop, the subject matter seems to be talking down the whole concept of bringing the Summer Olympics to Chicago. Heh, I was thinking exactly about the idea that if Chicago gets the olympics there can be 5 stars on the municipal flag instead of 4. Those stars represents such events as a world's fair, a Columbian Exposion, to name a couple of events off the top of my. One of those stars represents the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, but I was trying to think positive here.
Also I went to the Aldermanic meeting were amongst such subjects as hospice care, lead poisioning, & information about a financial seminar being held on the south side we had some community outreach from the Chicago 2016 team. The presentation was very good it looks like the west side will get that swimming pool in Douglas Park and the venues will largely be in public parks around the city especially in Grant Park and Lincoln Park. Of course most of us are familiar with the olympic stadium that is proposed to be built in Washington Park.
We had a flyover presentation over the various venues to be used for the Olympics. A video of the Mayor and Democratic nominee Barack Obama at a rally for the Olympics. I guess it was before I was there to take a few pictures. The speech were Obama said he's be finishing his second term as President and he'd like to walk from his Hyde Park home to the games in Washington Park.
There were a number of good questions during the Q&A portion. Will 95/Dan Ryan be upgraded? Will there be an open bidding process? Will minority firms be allowed to bid on any projects? Will there be set asides for minority firms? Could the Olympics affect property taxes?
It was also mentioned that Chicago State University might see some Olympic activity. That would mean that there might be some traffic at 95th Street. Of course 95th has just finished upgrading a year or so ago. Another subject touched upon was the extension of the CTA Red Line out south.
The idea was to decrease use as stated by Ald. Lyle. I don't see a time where 95th will cease to be a bus terminal, however the traffic won't be what it one was when that extension is placed online. Especially since many bus riders taking not only CTA, but Pace as well might be able to continue their trips by train if the Red Line goes further south.
It was great to see the Olympic team stop by into the neighborhoods to talk about the Olympic games. It looks great, but of course as you saw with Second City Cop there might be some naysayers. I like the idea of an upgraded CTA the key to the viability of Chicago in its Olympic bid.
Still if you're asking my opinion, well I'm not all gung-ho about the Olympics coming to Chicago. I won't be so eager to place another red star on the flag of the City of Chicago. What other benefits will there be for residents?
The Chicago area’s middle class is disappearing.
This group shrank by 14% between 1970 and 2005, according to a report released Thursday by Brookings Institution research group. The decline was above the average slide of 10.7% for the 100 metropolitan areas included in the study, giving Chicago the eighth-largest drop in the group.
The report defines middle class as workers who earn between 80% and 150% of their metro area’s median income.The examination of the middle class was just one of the research areas that Brookings Institute included in its “MetroPolicy: Shaping a New Federal Partnership for a Metropolitan Nation” report. Other research categories include the gross domestic product per job in 2005, the number of people who have attained a bachelor’s degree in 2006 and the per capita carbon emissions in 2005.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Oh I should also note that another murder that took place in Chatham during the spring a suspect has been arrested and charges were filed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
CTA to halt over-budget Loop superstation
What went wrong with Rod?: Hinz
At an occasionally testy board meeting, CTA President Ron Huberman blamed inflation in building materials, logistical woes and the unexpected difficulty of relocating a century’s worth of utility lines on the block, located between the Daley Civic Center and Macy’s State Street flagship store.
But angry board members asserted they’d been misled for years about soaring expenditures on the superstation and, without naming him, made it clear that the problems arose during the tenure of Frank Kruesi, whom Mr. Huberman succeeded as president last year.
Guv, leaders meet again on budget
Like a good script by Sophocles, the story of what happened to Mr. Blagojevich truly is a tragedy. Political pros will long ponder exactly what occurred.
But some features clearly stick out. Arrogance and inexperience. Wild ambition teamed with bad memory. Too much attention to the wrong things, and not enough to the things that count.
The morning meeting comes amid revelations that House Speaker Michael J. Madigan is circulating a memo to legislative candidates about the possible impeachment of Blagojevich. The governor's office fired back at Madigan, accusing him of trying to divert attention from disagreements he has with the governor and other leaders over the budget.It's the second meeting on the budget. Madigan didn't attend last week's meeting.
Retired cops subpoenaed, alleged torture probe into Burge ramping up
Obama has round-table talk on South Side
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment, but pointed to a statement U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald made last September announcing his office is engaged in a criminal investigation into the matter.
In January, the city approved a nearly $20 million settlement with four former Death Row inmates who claimed Burge and more than 20 officers who worked with him in the 1970s and 1980s coerced murder confessions from them.
State Republicans blast Madigan memo
Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama held a round-table talk today on the South Side with three consumers gouged by credit card companies.
“For too long, credit card companies have been using unfair and deceptive practices to trick Americans into signing agreements they can’t afford,” Obama said.
Experts: Gas Prices To Stay Above $4 A Gallon
The gloomy forecast for drivers comes from the U.S. Energy Department. The problem, according to experts, is crude oil, which is expected to stay well above $100 a barrel.
Prices have gotten so high for a number of reasons including international demand for oil from places like China, India, and the Middle East.
11:19 AM - Looks like they're finally on the item regarding the Chicago Children's Museum. There were some chuckles with the mayor presiding over the city asked if they're ready. I suppose they know there's a lot of passion in the air regarding this issue. A minute has passed with Ald. Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward talking about his opposition to the museum moving to Grant Park.
12:51 PM - Alderman Ed Balcer of the 11th ward didn't make any substance just said that this is a great country because of this debate. And reminds us to fly the flag on June 14th.
12:52 PM - Ald. Lyle is speaking on this issue talking about how she sent children to these museums around the city. She didn't have much of a chance to research this issue. At 12:56 she said she'll vote for the children's museum. She does this mentioning that people in the ward talked about taking basketball hoops and baseball fields out of the park. She closes out by saying that when "you bought a house and it was a park there then and it will be a park now."
1:09 PM - Clout Street is liveblogging the debate over the Children's Museum. I just found this over at the Capitol Fax.
1:41 PM - Ordinance has passed!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Housing group gives AG Madigan top grade
In a report released Tuesday, Acorn gave Ms. Madigan an A+ for her work in helping cash-strapped Illinois homeowners hang onto their houses. She was commended for pushing passage of the Illinois Homeownership Preservation Act in 2007 and for investigating whether Countrywide Homes Loans Inc. and Wells Fargo Financial Illinois Inc. violated fair lending and civil rights laws. That investigation is pending.City taps new HR chief
Mayor Richard M. Daley on Tuesday tapped labor lawyer Homero Tristan as head of the city’s human resources department.Sun-Times
As Chicago’s commissioner of human resources, Mr. Tristan, 37, is charged with reforming the city’s hiring practices as well as recruiting new employees, overseeing promotions and labor relations and enhancing productivity.
Retired cops subpoenaed, alleged torture probe into Burge ramping up
Retired detectives named in a decades-old Chicago Police torture scandal have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury -- a clear sign a criminal investigation into former Cmdr. Jon Burge and others is ramping up, sources said today.
Five to 10 detectives received subpoenas last week to appear June 19 before the grand jury. The probe is headed by Sergio Acosta, civil rights coordinator in the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, the sources said.
Unite and Conquer
You don't need to wait until aldermen approve the plan to move the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park to get a glimpse of how the city's executive and legislative branches continue to merge.Chicago Public Radio
School Funding Rally Planned for Soldier Field
Over the last few weeks, the district has been e-mailing all its principals to recruit students for the event. Though it's not required, one district spokesperson says it could become, quote, "the largest civics class in history." Officials say they expect tens of thousands of students at the stadium. Principal Ken Hunter says about 200 of those will be from Prosser Career Academy. He says the rally's a great chance to teach students about being politically active.Oh and on this subject by A Chicago Blog
And more from the Chicago Tribune
Thousands of Chicago Public School students were at Soldier Field on Tuesday listening to students, politicians and entertainers ask state officials for more money to help fund programs they believe could lead to reduced violence in the schools.Illinoize
Taking the form of a combination rally and summertime concert, Mayor Richard Daley, Rev. Jesse Jackson and schools chief Arne Duncan joined the parents of many of the students who were killed in the last few years to appeal for a peaceful summer.
Ronnie Mosley, an 11th-grader at Simeon Career Academy, called on state officials to help pay for districtwide crime-prevention programs beginning in elementary school. A CPS student was killed just outside Simeon this spring.
"If we don't have the funds for the programs that we already have, how can we bring in new programs that would be effective?" Mosley said. "[The violence] affected me greatly. It has become a plague on our generation."
Rob Olmstead: Rezko whistleblower still has no hospital, five years after the fact
Bill Baar's West Side
Rezko International Airport
Madigan advises candidates on impeachment talk
Madigan’s impeachment memo
Also the news regarding flooding in downstate Illinois here.
It's very different than the north side, where there are only a handful of bible believing churches between downtown & Howard Street (the Chicago/Evanston border).
Another difference is that many South Side churches are far more political (for example, an alliance of churches supported Thelma Andrews in her bid against Alderman Lyle in the 2007 6th ward race). Not so with most North Side churches.
This topic is a bit personal, as i am looking for a church for my family...bible believing, "real", has small groups, is near to the house (so we can see other members as we go to the El, the playground, the store, etc.), also one where we can grow (after having been in leadership positions at a church that went through rough transitions).
We haven't visited all 80 churches. While some may not look very good on the outside, it's probable we are overlooking some great churches.
What's your church experience?
Monday, June 9, 2008
The Broken Heart of Roger's Park
Ald. Jackson's Freshman Year: Frenetically Finding the Bathroom
Crain's Chicago Business
Daley’s Olympic appeal to biz: Help sell Chicago
Mayor Richard M. Daley urged Chicago business people Monday to promote the city “with everyone they know around the world” to help secure the bid for the 2016 Olympics.Tight economy takes bite out of Illinois tourism
“Call everyone you know, personal or business, around the world to promote Chicago,” the mayor urged more than 1,000 people attending the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast meeting.
Chicago’s tourist volume was flat in 2007 at 32.8 million, following a 13.4% increase from 2005 to 2006. But a nearly 9% increase in business travelers last year pushed up the city’s overall traveler volume 2.2% over 2006, to 45.1 million people.Sun-Times
Officials blame the city’s static tourist volume to a weakening U.S. economy and higher costs for fuel and other expenses that soaked up discretionary dollars.
Clinton could bring Obama trouble: polls
The intense dislike for Clinton suggests that besides support from women and others she could bring to the ticket, she might make it harder for Obama to win over some independents, a pivotal swing group in the November election against Republican John McCain. It also means she might push some Republicans and conservatives to vote against the Democrats — or donate money to the GOP — who might otherwise lack motivation to do so because of tepid feelings toward McCain.Tribune
Chicago police issue more than 100 warnings on first day of crosswalk scofflaw program
Video: Cleaning up the CTA
'Beauty shop' gives extreme makeovers to CTA trains
Illinois hosts record number of tourists
Chicago had more than 45,000,000 visitors in 2007.
This past Memorial Day weekend also attracted big tourism. "With rising gas prices travelers are recognizing that our city is a great value. Just look at Memorial Day Weekend. Chicago was the number one destination in the country for the second year in a row according to Hotwire dot com," said Dorothy Coyle, Director of the Chicago Office of Tourism.
Budget Battle Threatens State Employee Paychecks
As Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, the General Assembly approved a state budget ten days ago that calls for spending at least $2 billion more than it raises in revenue. Governor Blagojevich is hinting veto, but he can't do that until the House and Senate send him the official, "enrolled and embossed" copies of the legislation. Sources say the State Senate may delay until the last possible moment on June 30th, because Senate President Emil Jones is trying to talk the governor out of a veto.State Talks To Buy Wrigley Field Hit Tax Snag
One reason for this is it could cost legislators a $4,700 pay raise.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
In a recent debate before the Union League Club, museum president Jennifer Farrington admitted that they had refused to consider neighborhoods on the Southside, Westside or Northside (like mine, Uptown), because those neighborhoods contain negative connotations which "may make families feel like it’s not a place for them." (May 6th)Some more info. on why this is being contested by Ald. Brendan Reilly and other Grant Park suporters:
The 1836 covenant protections that prohibit buildings in Grant Park, turning over control of park lands to private hands, and charging admission to events and exhibitions ONLY apply to the land bounded by Randolph Street on the North, Michigan Avenue on the West, Lake Michigan on the East, and 11th Street/Park Row on the South.Very interesting!
The Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Soldier Field are ALL outside of that zone.
In fact, the land that they sit on was created by landfill into Lake Michigan in the early 1900's.
The ONLY exception to the prohibition is the Art Institute, and ONLY because Montgomery Ward chose not to include them in his lawsuit. Instead, he negotiated an agreement, spelled out in the Supreme Court's first Ward Decision, that allowed for the Art Institute to go forward on a specific footprint provided that they provide free admission to the public on certain days and free admission to school children ALL of the time.
P.S. Before his death, Montgomery Ward admitted regrets for not having challenged the Art Institute, because he feared it would be used as justification for future development of Grant Park. Smart guy.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Apparently Sen. Barack Obama found his way back to town today and gave a nice speech. I saw it on the CBS 2 news at 5 today and here's a story in Crain's. When I dropped by there was a martial arts demonstration. Unfortunately I forgot was the actual martial art was, I believe it started with an I. Anyway it was touted as a much more modern martial art and it was as much about diplomacy as it was about aggression. I may not be explaining it right. Anyway surely this might be another sport where one can compete for a gold medal in the olympic games.
There wasn't a lot of people around obviously aside from curious onlookers. There were some tents in Daley Plaza filled largely with vendors and of course there were people looking at the stage at the demonstration.
I had to get a shot of the podium with the seal of the City of Chicago. If that podium was there then Mayor Daley would certainly have at some point showed up if he hadn't already. Though why not he's as much a driving force for these olympics as any body else was.
Does anyone have any thoughts as to the prospect of the Olympics coming to Chicago in 2016?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
So much for the treasured City Council tradition of deferring to the wishes of the local aldermen on zoning issues.This article was advertized over at Gaper's Block as a violation of Aldermanic perogative. Here's another quote from Ald. Reilly...
By a vote of 6 to 3, the Council’s Zoning Committee on Thursday approved Mayor Daley’s plan to build a $100 million Children’s Museum in Grant Park over the strenuous objections of downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).
The measure passed after a six-hour hearing.
Reilly got a standing ovation when he entered a Council chambers filled with opponents of the Grant Park plan, only to get dissed by his own colleagues.
The only other time in recent memory that the City Council has defied the local alderman on a zoning issue occurred in 2004, when aldermen rejected a proposed Chatham Wal-Mart pushed by Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). That one-vote defeat for Brookins and Wal-Mart came at the behest of organized labor.
Thursday’s vote was at the mayor’s behest. It sets the stage for a final showdown Wednesday in the full Council, where Daley has reportedly lined up as many as 30 votes, four more than he needs for passage.
“If it was an issue that involved a Mom and Pop store or a high-rise, that is totally within the jurisdiction of that alderman. But, you’re not gonna say the lakefront belongs to one ward. It would be just as absurd to say that, because O’Hare Airport is located in the 41st Ward, that alderman should have sway over development practices at the airport,” said Zoning Committee Chairman William Banks (36th).
Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) added, “When we talk about aldermanic prerogative, this belongs to the entire city. It doesn’t belong to just Ald. Reilly. If this were on the lakefront further north, yes, Ald. Reilly. I vote the way you tell me. But, this is the center of the city. This belongs to all of us.”
“With the potential for an Olympic bid, aldermen should hope their perogative is respected because they deserve a seat at the table when major decisions are being made in the neighborhoods they represent,” he said.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Located on 9031 S. Stony Island in the Pill Hill neighborhood when you enter this restaurant you will be inundated with pictures and newspaper clippings of all the people who have entered this restaurant over the years. You might find plenty of pictures of Mayor Harold Washington, Rev. Jesse Jackson, even President Bill Clinton. Either she's met those luminaries or they've dropped by from time to time. It's hard to believe Soul Queen has been in business for 60 years.
I dropped by to get a carry out one evening. You can get cabbage, short ribs, collard greens, turkey, rib tips, chicken, in addition to either sweet potato or peach cobbler. Of course you can't have collard greens without some corn muffins. Did I forget that we're talking about a buffet here?
I just wish this place was busier, of course, I might have to show up on a Sunday when people are getting out of church services on that day. Whether you're leaving church or you just like a good meal drop by. Either get a carry out or dine-in you might be able to watch the big screen TV.
Oh on this evening I dropped by the waitress was so helpful she got herself a tip.
If you want to drop by her website it's provided in the section for business links.
Here's a primer if you're not sure what he's on trial for.
ADDITION: Convicted on 16 of 24 counts. The Capitol Fax has the counts for which Mr. Resko was charged and convicted.
Wasn't there movement to freeze electric rates at one point? Now consumers are getting hit with another fee!
ComEd customers might be asked to pay a permanent $3 monthly surcharge so the company can augment its electricity delivery system with the latest technology, the utility’s leader said Tuesday at a Chicago City Council committee meeting.
The upgrades, a combination of new digital technologies called “smart grid,” would allow ComEd to know when an outage occurs without a call from an affected customer, said ComEd president and chief operating officer J. Barry Mitchell. It also would allow remote switching of circuits that now can only be flipped manually.
“The initial phase of smart grid would incorporate technology proven to lead to fewer and shorter outages and strengthen the system infrastructure,” Mitchell said. “Our vision for smart grid would provide customers with real-time data to make better-informed choices about their electricity use with advanced meters and automated self-healing distribution equipment to drastically reduce outage duration.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Let's see what some of the aldermen are saying about this proposal the pros and cons:
The use of plywood to cover doors and windows would be strictly prohibited on buildings vacant for at least six months, under the ordinance, advanced by the Buildings Committee after a four-hour hearing.
A six-month vacancy would also trigger a requirement that buildings either be secured with steel panels or have all windows and doors installed, a functioning security system and an “active account” with a private security company. Dusk-to-dawn lighting would be required at all exits.
“To deal with the worst set of circumstances, we’re requiring that everyone spend the money to do it in every circumstance, even though it’s not necessary in every circumstance. I’m fearful this will lead to more demolitions, rather than more opportunities to use the properties,” said Ald. Helen Shiller (46th).Article via Clout City!
Ald. Ed Smith (28th) said a “whole lot of buildings” in his impoverished West Side ward are owned by senior citizens on fixed-incomes.
“What happens if they can’t afford an alarm system? Does the building get torn down? It may be a perfectly good building,” Smith said.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) added, “If a person is struggling, we’re setting these folks up to fail. And we’re setting ourselves up for coming into possession of a lot more buildings.”
Buildings Committee Chairman Bernard Stone (50th) said safety standards are needed to convince lenders City Hall “means business” about the need to maintain vacant buildings. Chicago already has 10,000 vacant buildings. The inventory is growing fast because of the foreclosure epidemic.
“There are buildings all over the city just sitting there wide open. Most of these lenders aren’t doing a damned thing. … If you go after the buildings, lenders have to fix ‘em up. Otherwise, they have no investment,” Stone said.
As for fears that Ma and Pa owners would be saddled with added costs, Stone said, “I’m not going after the two-flats and three-flats. I’m going after big buildings. You can be selective as to what you go after.”
The four-car train was southbound with 14 passengers aboard when it derailed about 2 a.m. just before reaching the end of the line at 95th, CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory said.Here's a CLTV video report.
The train was close enough to the station that customers were able to get off and walk along the tracks to the platform. Chicago Fire Department personnel assisted passengers in the evacuation, Gregory said.
Fire Chief Joe Roccasalva said one passenger suffered minor injuries and was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Center in Evergreen Park. The other 13 passengers and the train operator refused treatment at the scene, he said.
The train remained upright during the incident, which occurred at ground level where the Red Line runs along the Dan Ryan Expressway, Roccasalva said. The left lane of the southbound expressway was shut down while crews worked at the scene.
Power was shut off in both directions to the southern end of the Red Line for several hours, and the CTA operated a "shuttle train" between the 87th and 95th Street stops, as well as shuttle buses in both directions. Service was restored by about 4:30 a.m. and Red Line trains would operate on normal schedules for the morning rush hour, agency spokeswoman Kim Myles said.
The train was towed to a CTA yard for inspection. The cause of the derailment was under investigation and further details about the train and the operator were not immediately available, Myles said.