Friday, January 14, 2011

Congressman Rush doesn't plan to move his congressional offices

I heard about this story but I hadn't read into it until US Rep. Bobby Rush came to last nights 6th Ward meeting. It started off in this way on January 10th:
Rush, a Democrat who represents the South Side and suburbs, said the Arizona shooting spree has prompted him to hear the pleadings of his staffers and agree to move his congressional office, at 700 E. 79th St., out of the area. Rush said there were two or three killings near the office last year and a constituent was mugged on the way to a forum there. Rush has another office in Midlothian.

"There's an increased level of alarm and concern by most members of Congress," Rush said.
Another thing mentioned, is that his congressional office on 79th is located within the confines of Beat 624. I blogged about this police beat based upon a Sun-Times article last year. This story from Lynn Sweet from Jan. 12th, lets us know that Rush was undecided about moving his office:
Congressman Rush has not closed this office and he has not made a decision on whether to close this office, one of two located in the 1st congressional district. Any reports to the contrary are inaccurate.

For nearly two decades Congressman Rush's 79th Street office has been located in Beat 624, which recently was called the "most violent" police beat in the City of Chicago. The office, located near 79th and Cottage Grove, is based in a hot spot for fatal shootings, criminal assaults, robberies as well as gang and drug-related activity. It is also near areas where two Chicago police officers lost their lives. Given these facts, Rush believes that appropriate safety and security resources should be distributed throughout this district so that relative peace and the rule of law can be maintained.

As a lawmaker, activist and responsible employer, Congressman Rush is concerned about the safety of the residents who live within Beat 624 as well as his constituents and his congressional staff.

It's worth noting that the security measures of staff on Capitol Hill are quite different than those used within congressional districts. Rush and his staff are working with the U. S. Capitol Police and other appropriate law enforcement officials to determine the appropriate safety precautions that need to be adopted to ensure the safety of those who access his Chicago district offices, as well as those who work there on a daily basis.
He let us know at the ward meeting last night that he's not going anywhere. In fact pledged to help make Beat 624 much more safer with his presence. Even turned attention to the liquor store at 79th and Cottage Grove that is considered a problem by many. All the same NBC Chicago confirms that:
"I think it was misunderstood.  It was a slow news day.  I don't know what it was, but I just want to be absolutely crystal clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I'm like a tree planted by the water.  I shall not be moved," he said Thursday.
And while his office is in a high-crime neighborhood, he said he lives in the neighborhood near a public housing complex and is "kind of used to this environment."

"I've been here 20 years.  I'm not moving this office.  I'm going to be here when there's nothing but one building, and that's this building right here.  When everything else is gone, I'll be here."
Of course he said that at the ward meeting last night before I decided to Google for stories about any plans to move his constituent services office. It's great that he is staying, hopefully, this might mean a turnaround for 79th Street. I say this knowing it will take time!

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