Sunday, February 28, 2010

Man found fatally stabbed in Chatham

Chicago Breaking News:
A 54-year-old man was pronounced dead this morning after he was found stabbed in the Chatham neighborhood, officials said.

Willie Anderson, of the 9400 block of South Michigan Avenue, was pronounced dead at 8 a.m. at Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, according to a spokesman with the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Police responded to a call at 7:09 a.m. to the 600 block of East 79th Street where they found Anderson on the sidewalk with multiple stab wounds, said News Affairs Officer Daniel O'Brien.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a neighborhood ice rink?

The Chatham Avalon Park Community Council blog has occasional posts with the title "Would it be nice if..." where they imagine some kind of business would be at a certain location.

Yet they seemed to have missed completely an area that apparently is owned CAPCC, with the original intention of a community center. The area is the size of 6 home lots.

Here's are two crazy ideas that might work.

That area ought to be made into a community ice skating rink.

We have 2 skating rinks in the area, on on 87th and another on 77th. i know they are different activities, but it's not a stretch that fans of roller skating might want to do ice skating, right?

The nearest rink is all the way by University of Chicago, which has plenty of development.

If the businesses allow it, there is PLENTY of nearby parking.

The skating season (at outdoor parks) with the Chicago Park District will have ended as of this evening..  But that gives us plenty of time to get grants and community momentum.

During the summer it could be a community garden. Depending on how the ice skating rink is set up, perhaps structures could be built above the garden area that could be taken down in Spring (such as a sitting area, or where one can put on the skates).

Right now that area is desolate. But so much could be done with it. These ideas are things that could be done for a season, but then easily undone if another development is able to take root.

Isn't something better than perpetual nothing?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tropic Island Jerk Chicken is NOW open!

Original Tropic Island Jerk Chicken has finally opened their new location at 553 E. 79th Street across the street from the mall housing Cosmo Beauty & Little Ceasar's), starting to serve the community again last Wednesday.

The storefront takeout counter looks like the old one.

You can see from the bottom photo that they have added a nice dining room.

You can check the old prices on the website. But they actually have a menu with prices raised (presumably to help pay for the additional overhead).

It's been over 2 months since the old one closed due to the land acquisition process for the updated Whitney Young Library. I know my wife missed the restaurant very much.

Contact information for the restaurant:
Original Tropic Island Jerk Chicken
553 E. 79th street
Chicago IL 60619
(the also have a store in Calumet City at 570 Torrence Avenue)

Please note that the name of the restaurant is Original Tropic Island Jerk Chicken , not what was listed here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Support Wings around the World

Wings around the World , a local eatery specializing in Chicago style chicken wings has been nominated as one of Chicago's best. Help them win the contest. Vote at

You can now pick up your packages at Walgreens.

Walgreen's has a new feature called Pick-up Zone.

Your first package is free, and additional ones are $0.99 each. Seems expensive (especially if you do a lot of mail order), but it's a safe place to have packages sent if you are not home very often.

I have even been home, when the postal service didn't drop off a notice until 2 days after they said it was sent back. Maybe it would be more secure at Walgreen's?

Chatham's own Walgreen's at 11 E. 75th is the only south side location east of the Dan Ryan to have this service.

For more information on PickUpZone, go to Walgreen's website.

It's a smart idea, and i wish other businesses, such as restaurants, would "pick up" on this.  If you're at the business all day, and someone can pick up packages, it would be a great way to lure customers in.  And as they give those packages, they can include flyers for specials on their business.

CPS faces $1 billion deficit

Chicago Public Schools is facing a deficit of up to $1 billion next year that can be reduced only through a combination of pension reform, union concessions and job cuts, schools chief Ron Huberman said Thursday.

Without all three measures in conjunction, Huberman said, teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and cuts to important programs are distinct possibilities.

"These are last-case, worst-case scenarios," Huberman said.

The grim 2011 budget forecast takes into account a skyrocketing pension obligation next year and contractual raises for teachers that together increase costs by about $450 million over this year, district officials said.

The dire prognosis comes in the middle of an already tough budget year that started with a half-billion-dollar deficit. To balance this year's budget, the district trimmed millions in programs, laid off 536 employees and mandated six furlough days for nonunion staff.

Huberman announced Thursday another three weeks of furlough days and 500 more layoffs for nonunion staff to better position the district for next year's deficit and the impending teacher negotiations. Though the estimated $25 million in cuts were not necessary to balance the budget this year, officials said they showed fiscal responsibility.

Pushing through changes to the pension system and renegotiating union contracts come at a difficult time politically, with the Chicago Teachers Union elections scheduled for later this year. While Huberman said that he hoped the union would work with him on the issues, the union balked at the suggestion of opening its contract.
I had to really rack my brain at the last time the public schools announced that they had a significant deficit. Perhaps I haven't always paid much attention, but this is the first time in over a decade that I recall. In this current economic environment a lot of public agencies have to tighten their belts. CTA is the only governmental arm that has to face fiscal difficulties.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

a brief review of this Tuesday's Library Meeting.

Part of the Chicago Public Library's Facilities committee meeting on Tuesday was spent on the new Whitney Young Library.

i unfortunately got there late (about 11:30; meeting started at 11am), so i missed MaryEllen Drake of the Chatham Avalon Community Council. They are the only group, as far as i know, that showed up to the meeting.

the meeting was brief. I was only able to arrive at 11:30, during their closed door executive session. the commissioners then spoke with me briefly, and the meeting ended. I presented 3 questions/ideas:

1) temporary location (answer: typically, none are planned during those construction times)

2) Children's/Family room (answer: this will be built)

3) a smaller meeting room/ Community development room (i.e. an ongoing display of material, whether videos, books, etc. dedicated to Community Development; they said a temporary display might be set up)

They are still in the land acquisition phase.

Details such as space usage and design are not being discussed in detail at this time.

There are NO plans for a two story building. Preference has always been for a one story whenever possible. Alderman Lyle has mentioned the 1 story preference at one of her Ward Meetings (where she also mentioned that at the time, they were planning to do a 2 story building dues to issues with the laundromat land). So for those arguing over whether it will be 1 story or 2 story: both ideas were presented by officials to the public. You were both right at the time.

Costs, in addition to the construction itself, include upkeep and personnel. So, especially in this economy, that's what the deal is.

So, in my opinion, the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council blog either needs to create real community momentum, or stop posting fanciful ideas that just are not happening. It will NOT be the Bucktown model, but rather a new prototype not yet seen by the public.

However, preliminary plans do include space for young children as well as preteens and teens.

Some decisions will be made at the next meeting, which will take place again at the Harold Washington Library on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:30 am.

Also note, the April meeting is actually at the Whitney Young Branch, so that should be one all Chatham residents should attend if possible.

The meeting was friendly, and seemed very open for comment.

A suggestion: Mary Dempsey and the staff know what an asset Whitney Young is, so understand that they are on our side. We need to be patient, but also detailed with questions and concerns.

Sometimes our community meetings can get heated. Let's not bring that to a meeting that will benefit our community (even if we do not get a two story building!). We can move forward, but only if united.

And speaking of the new library property, look for a post tomorrow Saturday about Tropic chicken, which has just re-opened (as of last Wednesday) at 553 E. 79th Street.

Local School Council participation

From the Roseland Heights Neighborhood Association's website. While it's not entirely clear which LSC this author, LeahE, is referring in the beginning at least. It becomes clear the further along you read this post.
I enjoyed the RHCA meeting on last night and intend to become more active with the organization. Many good points were brought up at this meeting and it sounds as though the RHCA has been very involved in the improvements that have been ongoing in the community. Thank you.

On behalf of all of us who do, in fact read the newsletter, but have church service or other meetings at the time slotted for the monthly meetings. You are greatly appreciated.

Now, as for the LSC. I believe membership applications are being accepted into the first or second week in March. It is unfortunate that the current membership does not include actual residents of the area. Thank you for pointing that out. I will be investigating the process immediately and submitting my application if possible.

For years I've heard 'our' people complain about outsiders adopting 'our' children; starting businesses in 'our' communities and fronting black faces that will never be allowed to touch the cash registers unless heavily monitored. We say we don't get enough support for black business. Sometimes 'our' people out-price themselves and their services, the other times we should be more flexible and tolerant with start-up businesses. This, on the otherhand is something we can do to instill a sense of concern to and for our young people.

Everyone needs to know someone cares and my belief had been that the school was going strong. Thank you for the wakeup call last night. I am an alumni of Harlan High School and was totally unaware that attendance was down. I participate in many of the alumni functions to raise monies to improve the school, but no one ever mentioned that the class sizes were decreasing. I will inform the alumni association and we shall put our heads together to see what we can do on our part. I shall also put a call out through our email campaigns for those still living in the area to attend the meetings and pay their annual dues.
Sounds like Roseland Heights aren't entirely convinced of a renewed Harlan, but on the positive we're looking at someone who wants to help. If nothing else Harlan can use that, the support of the surrounding community. A school such as Harlan advertised as a school with a pride that other schools could only wish for could really use the surrounding community to look at it with pride as well.

BTW, class sizes are decreasing. Easy for me to bloviate on that point. I could say hey we got to find ways to bring young families into this community, preferably middle-class families, and have them put down roots. Another thing I can say is to make Harlan and attractive option for excellent and ambitious students. For now the need to discuss Harlan and decreasing class sizes are facts.

Hmmm now I wish I could get into touch with this person and have them discuss their vision for serving on the LSC at Harlan.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deneen "turnaround" is approved

Decided at today's school board meeting courtesy of the Sun-Times:
turning over the management of five schools to new leaders and teachers. So-called “turnarounds’’ were approved at Curtis Elementary, at 32 E. 115th St; Deneen Elementary, 7257 S. State; Bradwell Elementary, 7736 S. Burnham; Phillips High, at 244 E. Pershing and Marshall High, 3250 W. Adams.

Hundreds of teachers and school activists jammed Board chambers and an overflow room Wednesday to protest the proposals, which were trimmed back from an original 14 planned school shakeups.

In accepting her new post, new Board President Mary Richardson-Lowry conceded that “we need to work with the community. We need to improve our transparency and we will.’’
As you may well know, there's been a lot of commotion about the school's proposed actions regarding turnaround or closure. Here's more from WBBM-AM:
The Academy for Urban School Leadership, headed by former Chicago School Finance Authority Chairman Martin Koldyke, will oversee the turnarounds at Curtis, Deneen, Bradwell and Phillips, and intends to spend $1 million a school on the improvement effort.
We still want comments regarding the turnaround of Deneen. Do you think a new regime there will improve the school?

CTA talks and free rides for seniors

CTA Tattler has a post about the talks between CTA President Richard Rodriguez and ATU Local 241 President Darrell Jefferson:
For his part, CTA President Richard Rodriguez was very respectful and somewhat conciliatory to Darrell Jefferson, ATU Local 241 president. On WTTW's Chicago Tonight show Tuesday, Rodriguez said he respects the position of the union -- that it doesn't want to reopen the contract for further negotiation. But he asked them to do so anyway.

Meanwhile, Jefferson backed off a bit from yesterday's strike talk, saying, "It's not something we're advocating." Of course, Rodriguez then reminded him that any strike would be illegal. And it "would only serve to harm riders and interfere with the public's right to transit," the CTA said in a separate statement.

Rodriguez indicated he would be happy with even small concessions.
if the union gave up just one vacation day, the CTA would save $3 million, he said. And he reminded the union that "we haven't asked [the union to do a] single thing that we [non-union workers] haven't already done.

But Jefferson wouldn't budge. When asked why he won't negotiate with the CTA, Jefferson said, "The union can't sit down and talk because it would indicate a negotiation, which my members don't want to do."
Are you groaning? That last paragraph well what can I say. It's simple posturing and nothing gets done at all! In the meanwhile we still have to deal with the service cuts. Thankfully not as bad as they're portrayed in the media however I'm only speaking for myself.

BTW, you can watch this segment of Chicago Tonight with the ATU Union Rep and the CTA President here

According to the CapFax, a bill passed in the state House may change the whole free rides for seniors program. Of course the bill has to pass the state Senate and then be signed by the Governor.
The House has overhwelmingly passed a bill to get rid of free rides for all seniors, regardless of income. 83 members voted “Yes.” If the bill becomes law (not guaranteed yet), seniors enrolled in the Circuit Breaker program would still be able to ride free.
I would like to continue following this. There may be a will in Springfield to address free rides for seniors that was injected into transit bailout legislation in 2008 by then Governor Rod Blagojevich. Unfortunately before any attempts to raise fares last year or in the light of service cuts at CTA there was no will by Gov. Pat Quinn to address the free rides for seniors. I hope for the best, but not sure if there is a will to get this bill through.

UPDATE 2:19 PM More about the state House vote from the Chicago Sun-Times:
The Illinois House voted overwhelmingly today to scale back the free-rides-for-seniors program on public transit systems that ex-Gov. Blagojevich put in place.

The House voted 83-27, with three other representatives voting “present,” to move legislation pushed by Rep. Suzanne Bassi (R-Palatine) on to the Illinois Senate.

Under Bassi’s plan, low-income seniors still could ride public buses and trains for free, but more-affluent seniors would pay half-fare. Anyone making under $27,610 a year or a couple making $36,635 would continue to be able to ride for free.

Bassi said the move would save the cash-strapped Regional Transportation Authority $37 million a year. The transit agency is running a roughly $90 million annual deficit.
Link via Progress Illinois.

Would you believe Chatham 14 almost wasn't built?

This is an old article (via High Beam) from the Citizen from well almost 13 years ago (dated Feb. 27, 1997). The issues present in this article may well still exist in the community. What do you think?
Donzell Starks, in responding to accusations that he may not have been "sensitive" enough about community input on the movie project, acknowledged that may be true at times because of his concentrated "business focus."

However, in an interview with the Citizen, Starks said a number of community leaders have helped to make the Chatham theaters a reality, including Loretta Weston of the West Chatham Improvement Association; Keith Tate, of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, Garth, and aldermen, Jesse Evans (D., 21st) and John Steele (D., 6th).

"(Weston) worked with residents in the 21st and 17th Wards, and especially senior citizens to communicate to them about giving young people an opportunity," Starks said.
As young Black entrepreneurs, Forte said, he, as well as the Starks have to battle on two fronts: generation, and racial.

"We take it from both sides," said [president of the Black Contractors United Eddie] Forte. "We get it from older Black business persons and the White guys are kicking our butts."

Tate pointed our that initially most senior citizens were against the development of a theater in Chatham because "they are afraid of young people." However, he said by insisting that quality movies and positive messages from the community be carried on the screen, Tate added, many people opted to approve of the cinema.
Initial resistances and unfortunate resistance. Of course we have the cinema up there now with a different set of problems than had existed before they were built. Today it might be less about the young people than it is about customer service.

Also I would rather hope future development within or around Chatham has little to do with fear of young people. If it is, then the unfortunate part about that is missing out on any possible opportunity to provide more amenities for our community.

Should McCormick Place be privatized???

UPDATE 12:09 PM This was in the Crain's article that I already excerpted below. I kinda brushed this off! With a hat-tip to Rich Miller of The Capitol Fax
Mayor Richard M. Daley is pushing what could be called “privatization lite” as a solution for Chicago’s McCormick Place, which has lost several key conventions in the past few months.

Mr. Daley told reporters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon that he’s not proposing to hand control of McCormick Place to a private operator under a long-term lease, as he has done with the Chicago Skyway and city parking meters in deals that reaped billions of dollars in upfront payments for the city.

Rather, he’s talking about short-term leases of individual convention halls within the complex to show operators—for the duration of a particular convention.

“You could lease it for seven days,” Mr. Daley told reporters in the nation’s capital, where the Supreme Court is hearing a case involving Chicago’s handgun law. “A lot of show places do that.”

Mr. Daley said show operators would be responsible for furnishing all services required for a convention, including labor, utilities and catering. They would have “full responsibility for all the payments inside their leased piece of property,” he said. “They’d pay for everything, not inside the building but inside the hall.”
With more from the Trib. Also excerpted on CapFax:
The goal would be to cut expenses for exhibitors, many of whom have chafed at costs stemming from the in-house electrical service and from union work rules that prevent exhibitors from doing a lot of their own booth set-up. The city has lost two major shows that complained of high costs, and several more are on the fence.
Stated earlier on this blog, the main reason Chicago is losing some convention business. We're in the climate where there has to be some changes made. I just hope there is some will to make those changes.

Daley is looking for another opportunity to privatize a public entity:
The mayor says the agency that runs McCormick Place should be completely privatized.

He says that private companies are just more motivated to keep customers happy.. So they do a better job.

“Remember, government doesn’t' have customer satisfaction. Only every four years, you don't like the guy, you throw them out. That's it,” Daley said. “But the rest of the employees stay forever. They produce, they're fine. If they're not nice to you they still stay. That's what is wrong with McCormick Place. I don’t' think the government can manage that any more. It has to be a realignment of that. Bring the private sector in and you manage it. Get out of the business.”
You know I like the thinking. There has been groans with regards to privatization of the parking meters for instance. This is possibly one area where privatization could do some good. Of course I say this knowing that I need to find some evidence of a privately run convention center being run successfully.

BTW, McCormick Place and Navy Pier are under the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. More from Crain's:
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which operates the convention center, is undergoing a complete overhaul of its operations. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation to replace the agency's 13-member board with an interim panel of seven members.

In a recent interview with Crain’s editorial board, McPier officials, including CEO Juan Ochoa, outlined steps they have taken to reorganize the agency. That includes reducing staff to 400 employees from 700 over three years.

The authority also has fired a large chunk of its electricians, a key target of complaints from trade show clients.
You know why the mayor and the McPier officials are taking these actions. The city is losing convention business. I've written blogs about this. Some might place blame on organized labor at McPier and the high price of doing business with McPier.

That Crain's article mentioned that the Mayor made his comments on ABC7. You can see that report here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2 schools on closure list to stay open w/ rally at Deneen

Well the gist of this article may not involve our neighborhood schools but this does relate to at least Deneen which will still face closure turnaround tomorrow. If you watch the video above or click on this link you will find out about a rally held outside of Deneen School.
Seven other schools on the closure list remain, however. And parents, students and staffers at those schools were still fighting Tuesday night. At Deneen Elementary they demonstrated on the 71st Street Dan Ryan overpass. And they got help from the Rainbow/PUSH coalition.

"We simply want to have a dialogue, not a monologue. This decision has been forced upon the parents at Deneen and we are protesting that decision and this process," said Jonathan Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH.

The Deneen school community is supporting a proposed moratorium on school closures making its way through City Council right now. The bill, however, would be symbolic, not legally binding.
I have a Google News feed marked for Ald. Lyle and thus I have at least four articles discussing any possible moratorium on any school closures. Unfortunately I haven't allowed myself the time and effort to post about any of them.

But you can look below for the actions by the Chicago Teacher Union to block any attempts at any school closings.

Teachers union files motion to block school overhauls

The Chicago Teachers Union filed an emergency motion today, seeking to block Chicago School Board members from voting tomorrowon overhauling Deneen and McCorkle Elementary Schools.

The union based its complaint on both schools inclusion in an innovative program, called the Teacher Advancement Program, that resulted in the district receiving a $27.5 million federal grant.

Staff at both Deneen and McCorkle voted to join the TAP program for four years, and Chicago Public School officials would be violating this four-year deal by handing Deneen over to a not-for-profit management company and consolidating McCorkle into another school that has not joined TAP, the union's motion stated.

Under the TAP program, teachers agree to have their pay tied to the performance of their students. In Chicago, they get bonuses if students make nearly the same or better gains compared to similar students systemwide on state math and reading tests. The program also offers teachers extra training and quick feedback on their teaching techniques.
Deneen, in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, joined the program just this school year, according to the CTU motion, and has not “had the opportunity to be judged fairly and equitably."

Deneen was selected for TAP because it was underperforming, and for it to be taken over by a not-for-profit operation "prior to its completion of its first year violates the good faith and fair dealing principals found in every Illinois contract," according to the CTU motion.
A hearing on the emergency motion for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today before Chancery Judge Leroy Martin, a CTU spokeswoman said.

CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said the school district remains committed to the TAP program, but she stressed it is "in a pilot phase."

"It's not a silver bullet in and of itself for school turnaround, but, rather – part of a more comprehensive strategy," she said. "Therefore, we don't advocate that it become an exclusionary criteria for school closing."

CTU President Marilyn Stewart joined staff, parents and students outside both schools this morning as advocates protested the planned upheaval of their schools.
Tomorrow the school board is to vote on whether or not to close Deneen. If you plan to be at that meeting I would appreciate anyone e-mailing us to report what was discussed at this meeting.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do you support a moratorium on School closings?

A Chicago City Council committee is discussing a moratorium on the city's planned school closings. It comes as parents, students and teachers rally against the board of education's latest plan to overhaul several schools.

Nine schools are slated to be closed, consolidated or turned around after this school year.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman said, while overhauling some schools is necessary, the process could be improved.

Several aldermen are behind a resolution calling for a year long moratorium on school closings until they and others can get a better handle on the process. Even if a resolution like that were to pass, it's strictly advisory. The sponsors know that. What they really wanted to do Monday was let school officials know that the school closing process -- despite the claims of transparency -- is still very flawed.

"I think we've done everything right. We've presented facts. We have community support. We've done everything CPS has asked us to do, and we're still slated to be closed," said Jennifer Lister, Prescott School parent.

Lister is a parent at Prescott Elementary, a pre-K through eighth grade school on the North Side. Prescott is on the list to be closed, not because of test scores, but because of low enrollment. There are roughly 200 students there.

CPS wants no fewer than 250. Lister and others think that's short-sighted, unfair. They and others have complained that the school closing process is ill-conceived and has kept parents out of the loop until it's too late.

"They've had 15 years to get this right, and they haven't been able to get it right," said Julie Woestehoff, Parents United Responsible Education.

The most recent announced school closings and turnarounds have riled some Aldermen who Monday sought to scold school officials and talk about a one-year moratorium on school closings -- though theirs is merely a proposed resolution with no legal authority.

"I do not believe and have not been convinced that we've done all we can with these schools before we pull the plug," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th Ward.

"The very simple answer is to say, you know, that we're not going to do this, but in my opinion, walking away from this would be a terrible thing because a lot of our students would be poorly served by doing this," said Huberman.

Huberman defended the logic and need for school closings and turnarounds, but he did acknowledge Monday afternoon that the process needs to be much improved -- that underperforming schools ought to be given fair warning before they wind up on a closure list.

"When schools are notified that they may be up for action that there be significant advance, sit down with schools to let them know where they are failing," said Huberman.

That doesn't change things, however, for Prescott. It's still slated to be closed.

"It's deflating, depressing, disturbing and incredibly frustrating, and makes us wonder if there isn't something else at play. Because we've done everything right," said Lister.

When it was announced in mid-January, 14 schools were on the list for closing or turnaround. That list has been cut back to nine, and the school board is expected to vote on it Wednesday.

What CEO Huberman did acknowledge Monday is that schools on the failure bubble should know, and in the future will know, months in advance what's at stake, what must they fix and how much time do they have to fix it before decisions are made.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2 shot at party on South Side

Two men suffered multiple gunshot wounds at a party in the South Side Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood early Sunday.

At 2:40 a.m., police responded to two men shot on the 720 block of East 67th Street. One 24-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen and right arm and another 24-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to his right arm, police said.

The shooter is believed to be a 23-year-old man, according to police. The man was involved in a verbal altercation with the two men at a party at the above address, left and came back, shooting the two victims, police said.

One man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition and the other man was taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center in good condition, police News Affairs Officer Michael Fitzpatrick said.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicago Civil Rights-Era Bank Weathers Financial Storm

EDIT 10/1/12 The video version of this story is available at Seaway Bank's website!

If you saw the Tweet or the status on the Facebook page then you were already aware of this piece on FOX Chicago Friday night. In fact, you probably should have been able to tune in for that segment when it aired.

Anyway, here's some of the history of Seaway. I urge you to watch the video above or read the whole write-up (updated link no video though)!
The banking bias of the mid-60s is what inspired the founders.

The major banks had all left the neighborhood as blacks moved in. Businessman Ernest Collins went to a downtown bank and applied for a $25,000 loan.

"The loan officer informed him, ‘Well you can put up $25,000 and we'll loan you $25,000,” said Walter Grady, president of Seaway.

Grady said Collins turned that disrespect into a business plan.

"You needed a million dollars in order to apply for a charter," Grady recalled.

“I think to begin with, our first cost of a share of stock was 20 bucks or something like that,” Dickens added.

The founders got the charter in 1965, and embarked on a mission to prove black money is green and small money can grow.

While the average account balance may be much smaller than the major banks, loyalty adds up. Seaway’s bottom line has never been in the red in its 45 years of existence. And the deposits now add up to nearly $400 million.
You know I've always admired the history. The bank's founders sold shares door to door. If only I was that bold!

BTW, it was noted that a $20 share of Seaway stock would be worth $1000.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New library meeting

FYI: Here is a meeting schedule for the Public Library Board. On this page also is a schedule for admin-finance, facilities, and board of directors.

According to the CAPCC blog the Facilities committee of the public library Board of Directors are holding a special meeting at the Harold Washington Library Center on February 23, 2010 @ 11 AM. The discussion is with regards to the acquisition of land for the new Whitney Young Library @ 7901 South King Drive.

If you plan to be at this meeting please give us some notes by e-mailing us @ thesixthward [at] 1chicago [dot] net. Please replace the spaces and the bracketed words with appropriate symbols!

Ald. Beale claims votes to break Wal-Mart stalemate

This is looking like a shrewd move:
Far South Side Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said Wednesday he has the votes to break the stalemate that has prevented Wal-Mart from building as many as five Chicago Supercenters.

Instead of forcing the issue on a proposed Chatham Wal-Mart at 83rd and Stewart -- now bottled up in the City Council's Finance Committee -- Beale wants aldermen to vote first on Pullman Park.

The massive mixed-use project on the former Ryerson Steel property between 103rd and 111th along the Bishop Ford Freeway would be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter that sells groceries desperately needed in the heart of a "food desert."

The 270-acre project also includes 1,200 homes, a hotel tower, community recreation center, park and senior apartments.
BTW, the article mentions that Ald. Brookins clashes with Ald. Leslie Hairston and Ald. Lyle were the reasons why the Chatham Wal-Mart proposal hasn't moved forward. Hmmm, but Beale on the other hand:
Beale apparently has no such problem. And the fact that his project is so huge and far from any other retailers makes it easier for him to garner support.

"I'm confident I have the votes. I'm floating around 34 or 35," he said, predicting Chicago Plan Commission approval in March and a City Council vote in April.

“We will be voting on a development — not just a store. It’s a bigger issue than just Wal-Mart. My site will create 4,000 permanent jobs, generate hundreds of millions in new revenue and keep union people working. It’ll create 1,200 homes and a dozen stores. In this climate, how can you vote against that?”
Unfortunately there is a wildcard in this!
Last month, Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) tried and failed to tie a Chatham Wal-Mart to a requirement that retailers with more than 50 employees that benefit “directly or indirectly” from city subsidies pay a “living wage” of at least $11.03 an hour.

Barring an unforeseen wage deal between Wal-Mart and organized labor, Burke has told his colleagues he has no intention of moving the Chatham Wal-Mart. He doesn’t want to risk alienating union support he needs in next year’s aldermanic election.

Brookins argued that Beale’s massive redevelopment agreement won’t work without a tax-increment-financing (TIF) subsidy that must be approved by the Finance Committee.

“If Burke is gonna block mine, he’ll block ‘em all,” Brookins said.
Ald. Burke may well attempt to block a Pullman Wal-Mart! Brookins may have a point.

Just as easily as I support a Wal-Mart in Chatham, I support a Wal-Mart in Pullman. Unfortunately I would be concerned about the development in Beale's ward turning into a debate on TIFs. TIFs doesn't seem like a very popular issue these days!

Gillespie Elementary removed from turnaround list

The Chief Admin. Officer at CPS said at the recent aldermanic meeting that he would recommend that Gillespie would be removed. This to the applause of those in attendance at Wesley Church last Thursday. Story from CPR:
Chicago Public Schools has announced four schools that were slated to be closed by the district will be given another lease on life. The schools had been targeted for low performance or under-enrollment.

Schools chief Ron Huberman removed schools in North Lawndale and Englewood from the controversial closings list because of concerns over safe passage to and from new schools.

In another case, the district decided efforts already underway at the school could improve performance. The closings and overhauls were fought by thousands of parents and teachers.

The Board of Education will still vote on whether to close five schools at its regular meeting next week. They’ll vote on firing all staff at another five schools.
Deneen Elementary's fate will be considered by Chicago's Board of Education on February 24th.

BTW, there was an article from the Austin Weekly News discussing the story of Gillespie and mentions Deneen:
Gwen Roby, a teacher at Gillespie Elementary on the South Side, has certainly pondered this question a time or two over the past few weeks. Since CPS put Gillespie on the turnaround list, Roby and the rest of the school's teachers, administrators and staff will lose their jobs if the Chicago Board of Education accepts the district's recommendation to overhaul the school and hand it over to a district operator.

Roby and the others will have their answer-pink slip or teach-when the board votes Feb. 24. According to CPS, the overhaul was recommended because Gillespie has struggled academically. But many close to the school say CPS officials are letting test scores dictate its decision, preventing it from seeing how far the school has come in such a short time.

"Gillespie is already turning around," Roby said. "We're on the verge of doing great things."

Roby is a lead teacher for Gillespie's Chicago Teachers Advancement Program, a federally-funded reform model for underachieving schools. At a hearing about the turnaround last week, several students said their classmates fought, heaved books out the window and even sometimes brought guns to school. While teachers and community members point to Principal Michelle Willis' arrival in April 2007 as the main turning point for Gillespie, they regard the school's adoption of the TAP program as a close second.

"The police used to be here constantly," said Cynthia Varnado, a teacher at Gillespie for three years. "Dr. Willis was brought here to get the school under control."

The violence has been clamped down and order has been restored, many at the school have said. They also credit TAP for giving the teachers a fresh approach. But now, only five months after Gillespie and fellow South Side school, Deneen Elementary, implemented the reform program, CPS is proposing to overhaul both schools.
Well we already know Gillespie's fate, soon we will know Deneen's.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is Chicago throwing away $40 million?

Chicago is turning its back on $40 million in guaranteed revenue over the next 10 years -- and 25,000 free trash/recycling bins -- by ignoring an Aurora company's offer to install "Free Green Cans" bearing advertising across the city.

Steve Holland, founder of Free Green Can, said he was closing in on an agreement with City Hall after a test last summer that saw the company install 65 free containers at Taste of Chicago.

Chicago is ignoring an Aurora company's offer to install "Free Green Cans" bearing advertising across the city.

But no sooner had the experiment ended than Chief Environmental Officer Sadhu Johnston resigned to take a job in Vancouver. That stopped the deal dead in its tracks. Daley has yet to name a replacement.

Free Green Can is offering the cash-strapped city 10 percent of all advertising revenue for 10 years with a minimum annual guarantee of $4 million. The 25,000 free cans would save the city another $4 million-a-year
Complete story at,CST-NWS-freecans17.article

How about this? Let a private company come in and place trash cans along 75th, 79th, 87th so soe of the trash we see can be placed in these cans.

Defender: Chatham welcomes green office building

This article is about the Chatham Executive Building that we have blogger about a lot here in the past. This is the very first post about this building.

Here is more from the Chicago Defender:
As you ride along 79th Street between King Drive and Cottage Grove Avenue you'll notice a few new fast food joints, several hair and nail salons and two dollar stores. You may also a notice a new “green” retail and office building on the northeast corner of Champlain Avenue, aiming to spur a re-birth of “value added” businesses to the community once completed, said the building's owners.

Clarence and Lisa Hall, proprietors of CHL Properties LLC, own a few mixed-use buildings in the area, including a barber college a few blocks away, and decided to go strictly commercial for their next investment.

“When we look for property to buy, we look for eyesores in the community. We came across the city-owned building in 2006 and began the process of trying to acquire it,” Lisa Hall told the Defender.

Since the building was owned by the City of Chicago, the Halls had to get support from Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) and the Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council before snagging the final approval from the city.

As preliminary designs for the 12,000-square-foot two-level building were presented, the couple realized they were a few steps away from a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.

Construction on the “Chatham Executive Building” began in 2008 and it's currently 90 percent complete.
Read the whole article! It shows the journey of this building as the Halls got their building recognized as a green building. They started on this building (formerly owned by the Nation of Islam) before the "green revolution started".

Since lately we've posted blogs about possible ideas to revitalize 79th Street, this really out to be one place to start. I hope we'll find out who might rent space there in the near future.

Gospel museum luncheon to be held at Capt. Hard Time

Well this gospel museum will actually be located in a former church parsonage in the Bronzeville neighborhood. You can read this Sun-Times article for more details, but I'll exceprt a little about this luncheon:
Andrews, singer Albertina Walker, the Rev. Clay Evans and others will attend an informational luncheon about the museum Thursday at the Captain's Hard Time restaurant, 436 E. 79th St.

Keeble, 72, said he hopes to have between 500 and 600 items of memorabilia to open the museum. He already has the tuxedo worn by the late James Cleveland when he received the first of his five Grammy Awards, plus uniforms from Chicago's legendary Thompson Community Singers. Keeble hopes the gospel community will bring historical items to the luncheon.
Does anyone here have any items of interest to this museum?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lt. Governor's race

Most of you may be aware that the Democratic Lt. Governor nominee Scott Lee Cohen had recently withdrawn from the race because of a media storm regarding domestic abuse allegations. As a result state Democratic Party officials are attempting to find someone to replace Cohen on the ballot to run with Gov. Pat Quinn. Also there is a move by State House Speaker Michael Madigan to abolish the Lt. Governor office.

Well there are attempts by two of our local Democratic party officials Constance Howard and Jesse Jackson Jr. who both serve on the party's state central committee to stake out their own choices for the new Lt. Governor nominee:
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd), of Chicago, won the Feb. 2 primary for central committeeman over Emil Jones Jr. Jackson will represent 2nd Congressional District voters at a proposed March 15 meeting to slate the lieutenant governor candidate. His female counterpart representing the district is Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).

While Jackson said he didn't favor one person, his description of the ideal candidate seemed to match a certain Chicago alderman. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), considered running for lieutenant governor last year.

"The ticket needs some excitement," Jackson said. "It needs someone to capture the imagination of the electorate by selecting someone who knows how to run a campaign, who knows how to respond quickly to prisoner release ads and to Harold Washington ads and to the state's deficit woes. That candidate has to bring resources nationally, and it's hard to imagine the existing candidates, who couldn't beat a pawnbroker in the primary process, are capable of beating a lumberjack in the general election."

The "pawnbroker" reference was aimed at Cohen, a pawn shop owner. The "lumberjack" is Jason Plummer, the Republican lieutenant governor candidate who manages a family lumber business.

Other Southland members of the central committee include Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings; U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-11th), of Crete; U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), of Chicago, and state Rep. Connie Howard (D-Chicago) whose district includes the Southeast Side of Chicago and southeast suburbs.

"If Miss America made some not-so-wholesome decisions and she was moved out of the way, No. 2 would be the person," Howard said in explaining her support so far for Turner. "When the No. 1 person can't do it, No. 2 moves up. (Turner) is very qualified. He's well respected by all members of the caucus and by members on the other side of the aisle."
This is a good article! A lot can be said here about the current scramble to replace Cohen. Surely there are many who probably said this scramble shouldn't have been necessary.

BTW, if you're concerned about the race issue remember that there are blacks who are nominees for both state Comptroller and Treasurer. Also I think geography is an issue since most of the Democratic nominees are from the Chicagoland area.

If there are those who believe that the state's Lt. Gov. should be black. Let's not forget about downstaters who are concerned about the state being run by people from Chicago.

Either way, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Gov. is uncertain. The future of the Lt. Gov. spot is uncertain as already stated there are proposals to abolish the office. In fact there are those who believe no one should bother appointing a replacement nominee for Cohen. I do have my feelings on that.

Also the Republican nominee for Governor is uncertain. For now State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) is leading State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) but not by much currently. It'll be by at least Feb. 23rd before we'll even know the conclusion of that race.

CPS Fears $267 Million Shortage In State Funds

A report by Mike Flannery:
A big battle over budget cuts looms over the Chicago Public Schools. It could mean layoffs for hundreds of teachers. It could also mean that dozens of innovative and popular charter schools will be forced to close their doors. CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports.

Sources tell CBS 2 that state education funding payments to the Chicago Public Schools are four months late and $120 million behind. CPS fears the state could come up $267 million short by the end of this school year. Next year could be far, far worse.

Among programs on the chopping block, sources say: all after-school programs, early childhood education, bilingual education and some sports programs.
Read the whole thing or watch the video!

BTW, a bit of a sidenote but I was at the Aldermanic meeting last Thursday with the Chief Administrative Office of the Chicago Public Schools and they recommend that Gillespie Elementary be taken off the turnaround list. Not yet sure what this'll mean for Deneen that still have Save Deneen posters in the windows.

Hopefully these lean financial times won't affect those schools in any adverse way.

ALSO, well this part is upsetting only because CTA is in the same boat!
Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart says of the proposed hundreds of layoffs, "It's devastating. I think they're devastating public education as we know it."

CBS 2 has learned that Schools CEO Ron Huberman will be asking the Chicago Teachers Union for contract concessions, or else he'll have to lay off hundreds of its member teachers.

Stewart said our report took her by surprise. She insisted the union would absolutely not give back any contract concessions, even if hundreds of teachers lose their jobs.

"The teachers union will give no concessions," Stewart said. "No concessions. Next question!"
What do you think? Is this mere posturing with the teacher's union giving in at some point? Isn't it just better to just say in the face of layoffs that the school board and the teachers union will continue to negotiate?

This aspect is even more problematic I would imagine:
Marilyn Stewart's tough talk reflects the internal politics of the teachers union. Older veteran teachers control the union. And as they contemplate retirement in the next few years, they vehemently oppose pay cuts and also oppose giving taxpayers any break in the amount that's supposed to go into their pension fund.
I hear the groans right now!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Should we tolerate bootleg DVD's in our community?

From Saturday's Chicago Breaking News:
Police from two northwest suburbs seized about 10,000 illegally copied DVDs,
including blockbusters currently in theaters, in a raid on a Wheeling
man's home, authorities said today.

OK, it's not the most heinus crime that requires a lot of attention & resources. But does the selling of bootlegs really help the community?

For example, does The Bootleg Man at the Captain Hook's/Firehouse on 79th & St. Lawrence REALLY enhance that establishment, or Chatham as a whole??

Some positives of selling bootlegs might include that people aren't selling drugs or doing nothing, or that people save mney from seeing a bad movie.

But there seem to be a lot of negatives as well.

Does it help the consumer, who often watches pretty low quality DVD's, and don't go out & see the community, or help local businesses?

Does it help local businesses which employ our youth & young adults (or even older adults)? Do we really want ICE Theaters and surrounding businesses to fail?

Does it help the Black Film industry when we watch it on illegal DVD instead of the theater. Two examples that my wife observed: Dreamgirls or the Tyler Perry movies have been packed when they came out; leading to some continual success for the producers and actors involved. Yet on a Christmas day, she observed that many barber shops & hair salons were showing "The Great Debaters" when it came out in theaters that day. Did such behavior harm the movies success, hampering the great message it had from getting out to the general community?

We've had a lot of discussion on what businesses we do and don't want in our neighborhood. This may not rank very high, but can we consider it as part of our discussion?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Special Report- Chatham is still the community of choice for housing

This report is brought to us by Marki Lemon a real estate professional with expertise in selling properties in Chatham.

Time can bring about a change. Chatham a community on the south side of Chicago has long been home to middle and upper income professionals. The streets are tree lined and the lawns are well maintained. As a child I would often run and play up and down streets in Chatham because my family has resided there since 1964. I remember when Kham and Nate’s were located on the corner of 87th and Cottage Grove or we would go to the movie theatre on 79th and Saint Lawrence.

A lot has changed throughout the years except for one thing; Chatham is still a community of choice for middle and upper income bracket professionals. With the surge in foreclosure Chatham appears to be on SALE. Yes, there are discounts to be had in this stable community but, more important sweat equity can prove to be profitable.

Chatham is comprised of two zip codes parts of 60619 and 60620. In 60619 there are currently 558 NOD (Notice of Defaults Filed) and 547 NOD filings in 60620. Properties have sold for as little as $5,600 and as high as $289,000. Frank Montro has managed to be a leading force in insuring ARV (after repair value) exists in this community. A prime example is 732 East 88th Street that was purchased for $25,000 in September 2009 and now graces the MLS at $182,500 fully rehabbed and ready to move in or 8534 S. Saint Lawrence that was purchased for $52,000 and resold completely rehabbed for $176,000. Chatham is one of the few communities were you can have it all and not break the bank.

Sample 60619 NOD

Sample 60620 NOD

Chatham Community Area 44

City of Chicago Chatham Map

Marki D. Lemons

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House of Blues on 79th Street?

Another idea from the CAPCC blog. I have to admit that's real ambitious, however, the question may well be whether or not it will be a good fit within the Chatham neighborhood. I'd say let's discover some homegrown ideas to revitalize 79th Street.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Open Blog- Let us know whats on your mind

If you are planning on attending any great Black History month events or have anything on your mind please post on the blog.

Free CTA Rides for Seniors May End

Is this a good idea?
Seniors may not be able to ride Chicago Transit Authority trains and buses for free much longer. Illinois lawmakers are moving forward to cut the program. The proposal would allow some low income seniors to ride free if they sign up for the Circuit Breaker program.

Cynthia Soto represents the West Town neighborhood in Chicago. She says there's a lot of paperwork with Circuit Breaker.

SOTO: It asks for a lot of information that they don't want to do, maybe they think it's too time consuming, maybe that they're not going to qualify...So there's people that do it and do apply for the circuit breaker, but there's so many other people who sometimes don't even know they have to go through that to get to the free rides.
So, to be honest I was always against it when it was first proposed by Ousted governor Rod Blagojevich. Any attempt to remove the program I can support unfortunately that move slowed down because now we're in an election year. There are some politicos who don't want to touch it. Unfortunately it comes at an expense.

UPDATE 3:54 PM More CTA News, the unions are threatening a work slowdown:
CTA bus riders will have to wait even longer to get picked up if drivers follow through on a threat to ease off their accelerators as part of a work slowdown to try to force the transit agency's leadership to make concessions in an ongoing labor impasse.

Bus union president Darrell Jefferson said today that if there's no agreement soon to restore service cuts he will ask his membership to adhere strictly to CTA rules, including a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit. Bus drivers rarely stay below that limit now, Jefferson said, because if they did they wouldn't be able to finish their routes in a timely fashion and riders would see significantly larger gaps between buses.

Drivers also would follow other rules to the letter, such as waiting until all riders are seated or "standing securely" before leaving a stop and sitting at intersections with stale green lights rather than driving through, Jefferson said.

"If we do what we're supposed to do (according to CTA rules), you would never get a bus down the street," Jefferson said after a news conference at Operation PUSH headquarters with Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Jefferson said officials with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241 hope to meet with CTA officials Wednesday, but if no agreement is reached then, he said the slowdown could be the next step.
A move to restore service cuts and force concessions on CTA management. Let's see how this goes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Homegoing services for Ald. Lyle's mother

From the Leslie Honore at Greater Chatham Alliance:
Good afternoon,

Please be advised that the homegoing services for Mrs. Delores Harris, beloved mother of Alderman Freddrenna Lyle, will be held on:

Tuesday, February 16 at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church
Visitation will take place from 10-11 a.m., Funeral services immediately following.
Flowers and cards can be sent to:

AA Rayner & Sons Funeral Home
318 East 71st Street
Chicago, IL 60619.

The telephone number is 773.846.6133.

Our sympathies as always!

UPDATE 12:32 PM More from Clevan Tucker at the Roseland Heights Community Association
It is with much sadness and sorrow that I announce the passing of Mrs. Delores Harris; the mother of our beloved 6th Ward Alderman Ms. Freddrenna Lyle. Her transition was February 8, 2010. On behalf of the RHCA we extend our condolences to her family, friends and residents of the Park Manor Community.

Services will be held
February 16, 2010 10:00 am visitation - 11:00 am Funeral
at New Covenant Baptist Church
754 E. 77th Street Chicago, IL
1 773 224-5570

You may want to offer some comfort (and prayers) to Alderman Lyle
Please send cards to:
The Sixth Ward Service Office
C/O Alderman Freddrenna Lyle
406 E. 75th Street
Chicago, IL 60619

or Email:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Does Sen. Meeks have it right? Bill would strip local school councils of principal selection, budget powers

Grassroots education advocacy groups are reeling from the news that state Sen. James Meeks filed a bill Monday that would strip local school councils of their most important powers, including selecting principals and controlling their school’s discretionary funds.

The bill would make LSCs merely advisory boards and would transfer their authority to the Board of Education.

Meeks, a Democrat and the pastor of the House of Hope, a megachurch on the Far South Side, did not return calls on Wednesday.

Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Monique Bond issued a statement that “Meeks has been a champion of school reform and education and his efforts to ensure that students are receiving the best educational opportunities is consistent with our mission, and we look forward to reviewing the legislation.”

But Bond did not respond to follow-up questions about whether CPS officials knew Meeks planned to submit the bill and whether the district supports it.

February 2010 6th Ward meeting

We get a visit from an official at the US Census, commander of the Chicago Police 5th District, and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the Chicago Public Schools. Hmmm, for the CAO of the CPS, I'd be curious to know what that's about! We'll see at this month's meeting and that's on Thursday!

Don't forget that it's at Wesley Methodist Church @ 201 E. 95th St.

FOX Chicago tests responsiveness of the city's Aldermen

We see Ald. Lyle in that story, but click on this link to read the write up or play the video above to see how she fared. And how responsive do YOU think she is?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

City council offers landmark status to Gwendolyn Brooks' home

Of course for not only the home of the IL Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, author, and professor. Also for the homes of Lorraine Hansberry and Richard Wright. Also let's not forget about a library in Bronzeville that helped to foster local Black writers with research collections on Black history and literature.

Read more about it at Chicago Breaking News.

CAPCC blog with more ideas

Well let them do the talking:
How about putting up some specialty food stores that have a dedicated Internet cafe serving gourmet coffee up and down 79Th Street in Chatham to go along with the comedy clubs?
It seems like they're on the right track right now. There is a need for revitalization on 75th Street. I mean serious revitalization.

Comedy clubs, specialty food stores or internet cafes couldn't hurt.

Of course if we were to have specialty food stores what could be sold there that might interest anyone in the community? What could be sold there that might interest anyone outside the community? What could be offered that can have anyone spend money in the community? Can the community benefit from this?

BTW, if we're talking internet cafes, what about the Starbuck's? They're not an internet cafe, but they can operate a WiFi network of course that means that people will have to bring their own laptops than are WiFi capable.

Perhaps there is a need for a post discussing revitalization of 79th Street in the near future.

You can also read this post on comedy clubs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Can we get a REAL race in the 1st Congressional District?

I wrote this earlier, but wanted to give our candidates a chance to show their campaigning skills, and not be biased in this race.

However, I am very disappointed at the lack of a real contest for the 1st Congressional District primary race (which, in our part of town, unfortunately determines the "official" winner for the fall election). Here's what the results showed as reported by the Chicago Sun Times:

Rush , Bobby (i) = Dem = 68,229 = 80%
Guillemette , JoAnne = Dem = 7,992 = 9%
Smith , Fred = Dem = 5,174 = 6%
Bailey , Harold = Dem = 4,207 = 5%

The opponents combined couldn't even muster enough votes to match just a third (1/3) of Bobby Rush's votes!

It's fine if many people think Bobby Rush is good for the district. But there was no debate. Rep. Rush didn't even have a real campaign site, and neither did JoAnne Guillemette! All she had was a pretty picture with just 3 words!

Jeff Adams of the Green party will be a choice this fall...but unfortunately, i don't expect many people to seriously consider anyone other than a Democrat.

Looking at the Illinois Election website, look up Bobby Rush, and you will note that he has raised less than $10,000 during most election years! Now, if a credible candidate showed some real possibility of winning the Democratic primary, that amount would go up quite a bit. (When Barack Obama ran against him in 2000, Rush did raise about $35,000)

So if you are looking for some change in politicians (or at least for those running in the next 1 -2 years), it's time to START NOW for 2012. If you could find 25 people who would each raise $1000 each within the next 2 years, you might find yourself as a political leader of our community.

IL Poet Laureate's home to recieve landmark designation

This is the home of poet Gwendolyn Brooks and it may be receive recognition as a landmark along with two places that were homes to black writers. Story from CBS2Chicago:
Some of the most noted African American writers in the world grew up in Chicago. It's a source of pride the historical committee of the Chicago City Council recognized Monday. CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports the homes of Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks are on the way to becoming designated landmarks.
The award -winning play, "A Raisin in the Sun", was written by South Sider, Lorraine Hansberry. It was based on her family' s experience when they moved into an Englewood two flat, which back then, was predominantly white.

Darrell Brewer rents the apartment at 6140 S. Rhodes that the Hansberrys once owned. It was here, according to history, that 7-year-old Lorraine was almost hit by a brick thrown through the window from an angry white mob.

That's a slice of Chicago history some members of the City Council want to preserve. So on Monday, the Committee on Historical Landmark Preservation proposed an ordinance designating the Hansberry home, a Chicago landmark.
Another building, at 4831 S. Vincennes, destined for landmark status, is the home of author Richard Wright. It was here he wrote the critically acclaimed novel, "Native Son."
The home of Illinois Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, is another home on the landmark list. Brooks wrote more than 20 books, many of them when she lived at 7428 S. Evans.

"It just makes me feel so good to know that she was recognized the world over and I lived next door," said former neighbor Norma Jackson.
The vote on the landmark status is expected at a meeting of the city council on Wednesday.

BTW, I wrote about this home earlier so landmark designation for Brooks' home isn't exactly old news. I used Google Streetview to find this house but to no avail. The pic provided above was from a screen shot of a video story from CBS2.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gillespie Elementary School defends itself against 'turnaround'

Substance News on the closing hearings regarding Gillespie Elementary:
Joined by Alderman Fredrinna Lyle (6th Ward), Gillespie Elementary School principal Michelle Willis — joined by more than 100 Gillespie teachers, parents, students, and community supporters — told the Chicago Board of Education's hearing on the proposal to "turnaround" Gillespie and turn it over to AUSL (the Academy for Urban School Leadership) that Gillespie is already well on the way to being changed for the better and that CPS should leave the school alone to do the work it is already doing well.

The Gillespie hearing was just the latest example of a school pointing out that what CPS officials think they know from their version of "data driven management" has nothing to do with the reality of the real children and real adults in the real school they are trying to describe in their computer spreadsheets, graphs and charts.

A highlight of the hearing was the testimony of Alderman Fredrenna Lyle (6th Ward) who warned the Board not to continue privatizing public education."We should not outsource education," Alderman Lyle told hearing officer Fred Bates, who had smiled and reminded her that she was his alderman.

Because the hearing officer once again allowed the Board of Education to present its "case" for nearly an hour at the beginning of the two-hour hearing, many of those who signed up to speak were cut off when the hearing was adjourned precisely at 7:30 p.m. Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart (above) spoke, but the union's Recording Secretary Mary McGuire was not allowed to speak. Nor was former CTU President Deborah Lynch, who had also signed up, nor Substance editor George Schmidt, who had prepared testimony entitled "Garbage In Garbage Out -- Ron Huberman's Rube Goldberg Performance Management Machine". Marilyn Stewart pointed out that the hearings this year, like those in past years, tried to reduce complex human educational problems to irrelevant data sets. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. A the beginning of the hearing, there were 126 people in the Board chambers prepared to defend Gillespie. As usual, by Substance count, the majority of those people, including the children, were African American. A significant feature of the school closings done by the Daley administration, as Substance editor George Schmidt pointed out during the hearing on Tilton and Marconi schools on February 3, is that the victims of these policies have been black.
Also provided in the link are YouTube vids. I present some below!

Ald. Lyle speaking up for Gillespie

A parent from Gillespie talks about the school

Local School Council @ Gillespie challenges the Board of Education

BTW, read the whole article as we will see the testimony of a teacher at Gillespie as well!

4 men shot outside South Side night club

Edit from JP: Please click on the link and read the comments. Someone is calling our neighborhood a ghetto. Let us know your opinion of the neighborhood, the article and/or comments.
Not sure when this picture was taken but you can find it @

Four men were shot this morning in Chicago's Park Manor neighborhood near a South Side night club.

The shootings occurred outside of the Laristos Night Club at 606 E. 75th Street about 12:50 a.m., police said.

Previously, Chicago police news affairs said that only two men had been shot. But later reports said that a 17-year-old from Dolton was shot in the right calf, an 18-year-old from Chicago was shot in the right calf, a 19 -year-old from Harvey was shot in the left thigh, and a 25-year-old from Chicago was shot in the right foot, police said.

The men were standing outside of the night club when they reported being shot, police said. Police recovered numerous shell casings near the shooting but no one was in custody, officials said.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentine's Special : Creative Floral

Creative Floral & Gifts has a sale this week.

Order by February 11, and get free delivery. Get 10% off if you mention this blog post (mention JP to the owner, Carole) or bring in an ad.

And if you come in and fill out a survey, you get a free pen, and a chance to win something else.

Creative Floral and Gifts' contact info:

343 E 79th ST
Chicago, IL 60619

phone: (773)-846-2929
fax: (773)-846-2934

The business is located in the southeast corner of 79th & Calumet, across the street from Chatham Food Market.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

CPS closing hearings for Deneen

Via CORE (Caucus of Rank & File Educators)"
February 8, 2010. DENEEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Deneen Elementary School (TO BE TURNED AROUND). CEO Presenter Ryan Crosby. LAW DEPT presenter (Not yet announced).
There was a hearing for Gillespie as well, but that was on Feb. 4th.

If you've attending the hearing at Gillespie or plan to attend the hearing about Deneen, please give us a brief report on what happened.

BTW, on my way back from downtown last night there were some signs in the windows of Deneen School that are visible from the Dan Ryan. If only I could get pictures of them, but certainly in reference to the possibility of what could happen to Deneen in the future. The signs said "SAVE DENEEN".

If you're in any way close to the situation at Deneen, you're more than welcome to comment here. Also I would like for someone to react to this comment I found about Deneen as well.

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...