Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Trees for sale at Williams Hydro-Plants

Worlee did a great job on an article about Charles and Belinda Williams of Williams Hydro-Plants a short time ago.

I can personally testify to how friendly and helpful they are.  They have also become their unofficial granchildren. (see the photo of the girls with Mr. Williams),

The Williams are selling Christmas Trees starting Saturday, December 1.  They will be doing so through the evening (past their closing time of 5pm).  We encourage you to buy from them if you use real trees.

Their store is at 311 E. 79th Street Chicago, IL 60619. They will sell the Christmas Trees in their lot across the street at 79th & Prairie, also across the street from the south playground of Ruggles elementary school. Their phone number is (773) 651-3426, so can call ahead and schedule your pickup.

Also, if you have other needs, please contact them.  They can have items such as salt and snow melt ready for you out there as well.

Let them know JP Paulus (dad of Mia and Faith) sent you. It won't result in any discount. But it would be great to know connections have been made.

West Chesterfield December Community Meeting

From West Chesterfield Community Association
Hello All,
West Chesterfield welcomes Ms. Patricia Walsh 5th District Chicago Police Commander and Ronnie Watson Illinois State Police Chief Chicago State University to our WCCA  10am Saturday Meeting at our Cultural Center at 9351 S Michigan.
The 5th District Commander is invited because the WCCA is now in the 9th Ward and some residents would like to understand the workings of our neighboring police district in the 9th ward.

The 6th District may send a representative to this meeting, due to scheduling and timing conflicts.

All are welcome to attend, space is limited.
Topics of interest include:
·        Police careers and apprenticeships for youth
·        Overview of troubled areas the 6th District Police.
·        Gang signs and crime to be aware of.
·        Safety tips for the community during the winter.
·        Beat Officers.
·        C.A.P.S. Meetings future  (Dismantling Announcement.)
·        Special Service Area/Community Policing.
·        Working with problem businesses.
·        Guns being titled like cars.
·        Illegal sign postings on city property.
· Working with the CSU State Police and the Chicago Police Department

Ms. Patricia Walsh 5th District Commander Chicago Police Department
727 East 111th Street Chicago, IL 60628

Mr. Ronnie Watson  State Police Chief  Chicago State University
9500 S King Drive, Chicago, IL 60619                                                                   

For your Information: Common Sense Gun Legislation Petition

This is an informational nonconfrontional meeting. 

OK, so who is this Dan Ryan anyway?

One of our local expressways (other than the Bishop Ford/Calumet) is the Dan Ryan Expressway, basically the route that the Red Line south take. That is the route that is often referred as the Dan Ryan line for you old timers (i.e. Howard-Dan Ryan) at least those who remember the route names from before CTA assigned their L routes colors.

Here's a history lesson from WBEZ's John Schmidt:
He was born Daniel Ryan Jr. in 1894. Daniel Ryan Sr. was a Democrat office-holder who followed the Chicago political tradition of naming his son after himself. The elder Ryan eventually became President of the Cook County Board. Dan Ryan Woods, at 87th Street and Western Avenue, is named after him.

Our Dan Ryan grew up on the South Side. He served in the Navy during World War I, then earned a law degree from Chicago-Kent. When Dan Ryan Sr. died in 1923, Democrat leaders followed another local tradition. They appointed his son to the vacancy on the County Board.

After finishing out his father’s term, Young Dan ran the family insurance business for a while. In 1930 he became a candidate for the County Board in his own right, and was elected. He stayed on the Board for the rest of his life.

Dan Ryan was a Democrat Machine politician, with all that implies. He formed alliances with various factions and gradually built up his power base. As early as 1933, when Anton Cermak was killed, Ryan was in the running to be slated as Mayor of Chicago, but was passed over. His fondest ambition was to become Governor of Illinois. He never made that office, either.

“He lacked the ruthless ambition to reach the top,” one writer said. “He sat in on all the inner-circle meetings, but usually more as a spectator than a manipulator.” And yet, he got things done. Ryan was a big, bluff, hearty man who had few enemies. Republicans were still a factor in local politics, and he got along famously with them.

In 1954 he matched his father by being elected County Board President. County government was politically-infested then–just as it had been in the past, just as it is today. But Ryan kept things in line. During his tenure, there were no major scandals.

Sometimes he rose above politics. When University of Illinois trustees wanted to take over a big chunk of the forest preserve, Ryan stopped them cold. At another Board meeting, a scientist requested money to buy cages for research dogs. Ryan was a dog lover. His response was: “The only use we could make of such cages is to put research scientists in them.”
On a related note, we looked at who Bishop Ford was too a few years back and it even got noticed by Chicago Tonight.

State Sen. Trotter wants to represent the 2nd Congressional District

It should be noted in the jockeying to succeed I never mentioned state senator Donne Trotter. He just won re-election to his seat although with very little difficulty as he was unopposed. He did make a run for higher office in 2000 seeking to take Bobby Rush's seat and running against a young Barack Obama. We see that Ed McClelland at Ward Room is reminiscing about meeting with Sen. Trotter over 12 years ago.

Also CapFax talks about Trotter, he notes that he already have suburban Democratic committeemen (referring specifically to the committeeman of Thornton Township) behind him already. Rich Miller also notes that: "If he can raise the money, Trotter could very well be the one to beat.

From Greg Hinz he mostly talks about who's out of the race. One of the candidates who stepped out was 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns. Toni Preckwinkle commissioned a poll and it wasn't looking good for him according to this piece. Time will tell who else will want out!
Back to Ward Room, Ed McClelland handicaps the race and even includes the names of those who are out such as former County Board Prez, Todd Stroger. He already said he was out and then also there's Ald. Will Burns.

BTW, missed this old article but it fits. I wrote about the Red Line extension recently to 130th St and Debbie Halvorson has even made a statement in support of this extension perhaps this needs to be an issue to be brought up in this race:
Also talking transportation earlier in the day was former Congresswoman Deb Halvorson. She focused on a project Mayor Emanuel strongly supports.

"We're right here at 95th St. The extension of the Red Line. We need to right away make sure that is extended. It needs to go to at least the city limits, 130th Street," Halvorson said.
Perhaps other potential candidates should follow suit! Especially Ald. Beale because the extension will affect his 9th Ward.

BTW, have any stories to share about the future special election for Jesse Jackson Jr's House seat feel free to share in the comments, send a tweet or even post to our FB page.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

YOU helped a local couple in their adoption process!

We wrote about John and Nicole Anthony on October 10 regarding the adoption resources contest they were a part of. We encouraged you, our readers, to vote for them via Facebook.  They won that contest, thanks in part to your help!

Nicole and John Anthony of Chatham with their 3-year-old Golden Doodle Maestro, whom they adopted from a friend in Washington who was breeding and selling puppies to fund an in-vitro fertilization procedure. The Anthonys considered in-vitro fertilization before deciding on adoption, which they say is less expensive and more reliable option.

(photo by DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman)

Read more:
Lizzie Schiffman of interviewed me (JP Paulus) to talk about how the blog impacted voting. She did a great job withthe story.

You can find the article here, entitled "Facebook Contest Helps Couple Get Closer to Dream of Adoption "

Congratulations to the Anthonys on winning and helping their next steps to building their family!   And thanks to Lizzie and DNAinfo for the write-up. We will post more on them in the future, as they report on our neighborhoods!

What's new in the 2nd congressional district

Well, we already should've known about this. Mel Reynolds was already interested in regaining his old Congressional seat. You can read the Greg Hinz report here. It seems Reynolds held himself up well during the course of his announcement. Courtesy of Ward Room you can even watch some video of Reynolds' announcement.

BTW, Capitol Fax used Reynolds entrance into the race to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. for the 2nd Congressional District as the basis for a humorous question of the day. Snark was encouraged to provide Reynold's campaign slogan. :P

Back to Jesse Jackson Jr., you should've seen a link to this Sun-Times story in the aforementioned Capitol Fax posting. The former Congressman was tipped off about a potential investigation into his campaign finances before he took a medical leave from the House of Representatives back in June.

Ward Room has been all over this story posting very frequently. So here's an updated listing of who's in and out of the race. We know Jackson can still get his pension as so far he hasn't yet been convicted of a felony. Also another point to be made here, a suburbanite could gain this seat.

BTW, it's amazing that it's just as much news that Jackson's resignation letter was also read in the House of Representatives. Video below is courtesy of ABC 7 with this write-up which also indicated that his brother Jonathan is considering a run! [VIDEO]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tribune: South Side leaders push for Red Line extension

This article was in the Tribune recently:
Community leaders on Chicago's South Side on Monday questioned the commitment of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CTA to extend the Red Line to 130th Street, complaining that the long-sought rail project may be suffering unnecessary delays as the transit agency moves quickly to spend hundreds of millions on other improvements.

Among the key concerns is the CTA linking the Red Line extension to its overall modernization plans for the entire line, which is the agency's longest and busiest rail route.

"The Red Line extension could be moving faster, and we want to make sure it is not put on the back burner,'' said Gwendolyn Rice, executive director of the Developing Communities Project. "Work on one project should not preclude work on the other.''

CTA President Forrest Claypool has said it makes no sense to extend the Red Line without also enhancing the line elsewhere by eliminating slow zones caused by deteriorated track and updating stations and electrical power along the route so trains can circulate more quickly between the North and South sides.

Emanuel made the Red Line extension, estimated to cost at least $1.5 billion, his No. 1 transportation priority when he campaigned for mayor.

CTA officials say the extension remains a top priority. But the agency has not established a timeline for building the 5.3 miles of new track, new stations at 103rd, 111th, 115th and 130th streets, and park-and-ride facilities.

The project schedule will depend on review and approval of the project by the Federal Transit Administration and funding availability, CTA officials said.
Read the whole thing! Via!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Greg Hinz: Who's in, who's out in race for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s seat in Congress?

US Capitol Washington, DC

A flurry of names are coming out in the special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. who resigned last week. A special election has been called with a primary in February next year and then a general in March next year.

We've been hearing some names since Jackson's resignation such as Todd Stroger but he quickly took his name out of contention. Well now people are looking at the money in his campaign accounts!

Debbie Halvorson who is a former member of Congress has put her hat into the ring as well. She ran against Jackson in the primary earlier this year and needless to say she wasn't able to win that one.

Another interesting possibility is 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale. He has only gone so far as to form a political committee for that purpose. Beale is considered to be in the Jackson circle so who knows how that could work out in a congressional race.

There is an irony here. Jackson himself took the seat in 1995 in a special election when he replaced Mel Reynolds after he had been embroiled in a sex scandal and was ultimately sent to prison for sexual assault and bank fraud. Reynolds who attempted to regain his seat in 2004 is also throwing his name into this election.

BTW, there is a "fear" that a Republican could potentially win this seat although it's certain that this potential Republican could only last one term. Time will tell what will happen in this coming election.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Personal attacks are greatly discouraged!

Recently a comment was posted to this blog that could be interpreted as a personal attack. I understand that in some closeknit communities feuds can run deep. Personal attacks are not expressly prohibited but whether they are published or remain published are up to the discretion of the moderators.

We do not seek to be a hub for speculating on anyone's personal affairs whether they be a citizen who just have a leadership role in the community or even a politician. In future if anyone's personal business is posted to this blog expect that comment to be deleted.

AGAIN we are not a hub for speculating on anyone's personal affairs whether they be a citizen who just have a leadership role in the community or even a politicians. We seek to stay above that fray and I hope that you would consider other venues to post negative comments such as the one that had been posted to this blog over the weekend. For that activity this is NOT the place.

Thanks in advance.

2 shot at gang funeral: 'This is crazy'

This shooting is more disturbing than most as it happened during a funeral, near a church. The presiding minister for the funeral was Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church. He is the pastor who made national news by camping out on the roof of an abandoned motel, and was abel to purchase and demolish it through that campaign.

The following is from the Chicago Tribune's news blog: Chicago Breaking News.

2 shot at gang funeral: 'This is crazy'

Friday, November 23, 2012

Experiencing Chatham: Neighborhood Tour Program

For the first time, a guest post by Jill Farley, Manager of Digitial Iniatives at the Chicago Architecture Foundation
On Friday November 2, I had the privilege of exploring the Chatham neighborhood through the eyes and voices of some of its most passionate advocates. A new tour has been developed as part of a program entitled Neighborhood Voices and is a collaboration between the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the residents, leaders and community members of Chatham. One of these two-hour bus tours kicked off on Friday morning at Mather’s More Than A Cafe, as thirty-five tour-takers from all over the city settled onto a comfortable coach bus ready to experience the architecture and history of the area.

The microphone was passed between four docents for different segments of the tour. These docents—women who are residents of Chatham or have close ties to the community—spent 15 weeks developing the tour and training with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to bring the tour program to life in Chatham.

From the first minute, I could tell the next two hours would be rich with history, personal stories, architecture and humor. Docent Jan Mason kicked off her narrative by telling us that the neighborhood was originally known as “Mud Lake” and “Hog Swamp” by the area’s original farming residents. Before long, she was deep into the story of how Chatham evolved into the “heart of middle-class African Americans” in Chicago. Overall, the tour had four themes woven throughout: Housing, Politics, Culture, Business. 

The story of the bungalow dominated much of the early part of the tour, and served as the foundation for discussion on the history of the neighborhood and its residents. Homes of well-known African American residents such as Roland Burris (former home of Mahalia Jackson), Dempsey Travis, Thomas Dorsey and Cheryl Burton were spotlighted.

As we cruised along the area’s main commercial corridors, the docents introduced us to many of Chatham’s first and most successful African American owned businesses such as Johnson Products, Independence Bank (now Urban Partnership Bank) and Seaway National Bank. When we passed the corner of 79th and Lawrence, tour-takers craned to see one of these icons—the “spaceship-looking” Pride Cleaners built in 1959 with its hyperbolic roof, glass walls and unforgettable 60’s style sign. The tour also showcased some interesting contrasts, notably the stunning terra cotta buildings in Chatham’s landmarked commercial district juxtaposed with the area’s newest commercial area of Chatham Village Square.

My favorite part of the tour was when the bus took a left turn off of 87th and rolled into the sub-division of Marynook, pocketed in the Avalon Park neighborhood. For five minutes as we wound around the curved suburban-style streets, discussed the 1950’s homes and marveled at the well-manicured lawns, the city couldn’t feel further away.

The tour brought it home with a journey along Michigan Avenue north of 87th street to explore one of the community’s first successful large subsidized housing areas. The homes defy common perception of subsidized housing with their cottage-style charm and impeccable upkeep. The final stop on the tour was the famed 7900-square-foot “Blue Mansion”, modeled after the White House.

This is only a snippet of the stories and sites revealed on the tour.  It’s impossible to convey the true pride the docents and partners feel for the Chatham community, and the tour is a great outlet for better understanding the area, its history, its assets and its residents—past and present. For more information on this tour and the Neighborhood Voices program, go to 

If you are interested in the tour, contact Krisann Rehbein at the Chicago Architecture Foundation: krehbein @
Dixon School
Primary partner is the Chatham Business Association with additional cooperation from Mather’s and the Chatham Avalon park Community Council.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ward Room: Open Up The Primaries

Could this be another idea who's time has come? Just like the idea to reduce the number of Chicago City Council wards?
A lot of us have ideas on both, which is why it would be a good idea to end the tradition of partisan primaries, and give voters a ballot listing all candidates, from all parties. You could still only vote for one candidate per office, and thus for one party per office, but no one would know whether you’d vote Democrat or Republican.

The parties wouldn’t like it, because they wouldn’t be able to identify “their” voters, but it might produce general election candidates who are closer to the center than the ones we get now. Suppose a Chicagoan likes a Republican candidate for governor. He’s going to be reluctant to vote in the Republican primary, because in Chicago, every minor office -- state representative, state senator, county board member, circuit court judge, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner -- is determined in the Democratic primary. So he’ll be missing out on the opportunity to choose most of his representatives just so he can vote for one Republican. But if this crossover voter does vote Republican, he’ll probably choose a more liberal candidate than a dyed-in-the-wool Republican from Cerro Gordo or Effingham would. He probably won’t choose a Tea Partier. Which would allow the Republicans to avoid nominating Bill Brady again, their biggest fear for 2014.

California adopted a similar system this year. The “top two” primary puts every candidate on a single ballot. The two biggest vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election. (This resulted in one of the nastiest congressional elections of the year, between Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman, two incumbents drawn into the same district. Since they agreed on everything politically, they spent the campaign attacking each other personally. During one debate, they were separated by a police officer.) This would be an enormous change to Chicago politics, extending by seven-and-a-half months elections that usually end in March. That may be too much politics even for Chicagoans to endure, but as I laid out above, there are easier ways to open up the primaries.
Alright! I think JP Paulus has discussed his thoughts on the Democratic primary being tantamount to a general election victory here in the city. There are others who may feel that way for the most part but are open primaries the solution to that?

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. had planned to speak Wednesday — but called it off - Chicago Sun-Times

  The South Shore Democrat’s top aides gave conflicting reports late Tuesday on whether Jackson had planned to address his workers in a conference call and email on Wednesday, as a TV station reported.

But ultimately, they agreed it was not going to happen.

Rick Bryant, Jackson’s chief of staff, insisted Jackson had no plans to “break his silence” Wednesday.

“We’re not having a conference call tomorrow, no,” Bryant told the Chicago Sun-Times.

But Frank Watkins, Jackson’s spokesman, said his boss had planned to speak, but changed his mind.

“There was a conference call. I was informed the congressman was going to have a conference call with the staff at 10 a.m.,” Watkins said Tuesday night.

“All I know it was a conference call, and the congressman was going to speak to the staff,” he said.

But a few hours later he was told that the call was off.

“Chief of Staff ... Rick Bryant informed me the call was cancelled,” Watkins said.
 What is the deal?

Any here's some related reading. Ed McClelland at Ward Room answers the question many are wondering. In spite of Jesse Jr.'s absence how did the veteran Congressman get re-elected earlier this month?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Help those less fortunate

Consider this an update to an earlier post here regarding food pantries. Worlee at his blog has much larger list of neighborhood food pantries. They're not looking for monetary or food donations, but volunteers as well! You should know of three from this blog - two in the posts St. Columbanus and Chatham/Avalon Ministries and then there's Israel Methodist Community Church.

Let's not forget Thanksgiving is coming up this week and this is certainly a good time to make a donation to these institutions. Unfortunately we must remember that there are a lot of people who are struggling and aren't able to make a meal for themselves for the holidays. Certainly holidays are about blessings!

AGAIN, you can check out the Greater Chicago Food Depository and find a food pantry near you to make a donation!

ALSO, if you know of any other food panties in the area please let us know on our FB page, post a comment here, sent a tweet or write an e-mail!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stop Picking on the Black Middle Class

Written at The Root in the summer of 2011, subtitled: "It didn't abandon urban communities, despite what some say". Perhaps there are some parallells between DC's & Chicago's Black middle-class.
This is the premise of Jonetta Rose Barras' cover article in the Washington City Paper. The piece profiles a white woman who was a change agent in her neighborhood public schools on Capitol Hill. This is easier to do when you live in a wealthy, mostly white part of the city, as she did. But she still deserves kudos for having the drive, focus and energy needed to create an island of success in a very dysfunctional school system.

But Barras goes off track when she tries to argue that black neighborhood schools have not seen a similar transformation because the black middle class has abandoned them. Part of the blame, Barras writes, goes to black culture itself: "In many black communities, schools are considered sacred institutions; reverence for teachers is similar to that for pastors  … Consequently, many have been reluctant to question administrators or alter the infrastructure of schools."

Also: Black families "rely" on government to improve District public schools. This is exactly "backwards," Barras writes. She singles out some black D.C. Council members who sent their kids to public schools in predominantly white neighborhoods. "The real culprit is the flight-not-fight mentality prevalent in the black middle class," Barras concludes.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect teachers and administrators to do what we pay them to do. That's the way public education is supposed to work in a democracy. And ask my public school teacher-friend who just got cursed out by a parent if the hood greets them like the pope! As for "flight-not-fight"? I believe that white people invented that in inner cities sometime after World War II.

But it's not productive or even fair for me or anyone else to sit around assigning racial blame for the state of urban education. These are not black or white problems but societywide problems. The schools are a reflection of larger problems facing the urban core left to rot by disinvestment and poor policy decisions.
Blame transportation policies that built great big highways to take striving families right out of the city. Point to the decline of high-paying industry jobs. Take a look at "business innovations" such as crack, which filled the power vacuum in inner cities and made them dangerous places to live.

But if I were looking for a culprit in a racial group, the black middle class is the very last place that I'd be sniffing around. The black middle class is the bridge between the peril and privilege in our society, as Mary Pattillo-McCoy wrote in her classic book, Black Picket Fences.
This piece is worth a full read!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Ald. Sawyer introduces privatization transparency ordinance

Uploaded by danxoneil
Sent to us this morning! You can check out the PDF version as well!
As the city council votes for the 2013 budget, Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer of the 6th Ward introduced an ordinance that he believes will help the city maintain growth as it increases its fiscal discipline. The Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance is a tool to allow the City Council to evaluate the full costs of any proposed privatization deals as well as judge their effectiveness in maintaining financial accountability. The ordinance would require a city council committee hearing on any proposed privatization deals that would evaluate the savings, and if the deal was in the best interests of the city.

"I do not believe that there are no good privatization deals," Alderman Sawyer said, "I just think we should be clear about which deals are in the best interest of the city and which are not. I have a concern about touting a monetary savings if we haven't thought about the people that will lose a job, the families that could lose a home and the local businesses that could lose a loyal customer. "

The Ordinance provides that any City department that is considering the privatization of any part of its operations must :conduct a study on the cost-effectiveness of privatizing the service prior to the award of any contract; work with the potentially affected employees, and their union, to pursue all reasonable options to improve the quality of service in-house; cooperate with the City Council Committee on Budget and Government Accountability which will hold at least one hearing on the proposed privatization plan; demonstrate greater than 10% projected cost savings and that the economic benefits of privatization outweigh the public’s interest in continued city operation of the service; among other reforms.

"I have a lot of government workers in my ward as do many of my colleagues," Alderman Sawyer continued, "If we gut the foundation of our most stable communities by moving jobs to companies that do not have a residency requirement, does the money saved on the budget make up for the money lost in property tax and sales tax revenue? Is there consideration on possible collateral costs of neighborhood destabilization and loss of property values? I believe that the more we know, the better it is for this city. This is a Pro-Chicago ordinance.”
You can check out the

FOX 32: Jackson Jr. won’t resign until he gets disability pay

[VIDEO] The story of Jesse Jackson Jr has become the story of the year. He had largely been absent not only from Congress, but also from the recently concluded 2012 campaign. After not being seen he still had been re-elected to his seat and soon it appears he won't be a sitting US Congressman.

Earlier this week the Feds had their eye on Sandi Jackson. The Capitol Fax commented on this stating that the mob won't mess with your friends and family but they Feds would. If nothing else this is only pressure and they've been through enough already and it's already taking it's toll on Jesse Jr.

At this point FOX 32 Chicago has an exclusive!
Sources tell Fox 32 News that congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is willing to give up his 2nd congressional seat if he's given disability when he steps down.

Jackson Jr. was re-elected to his tenth term but last month, sources say, he applied for a disability package--what could be his only income if he resigns. It is expected to take a couple of weeks for congress to approve or deny the request.

This house on 72nd Street is part of the federal government's investigation into allegations that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. misused campaign funds. Sources say Jackson allegedly spent $20,000 to renovate and buy furniture for the family's home in Chicago, not their 5-bedroom Victorian home in Washington D.C.

The basement in the Chicago home has five televisions and a number of printers and copying machines, sources say. Most of the equipment was purchased in the mid-90's when Jackson was first elected, but because of flooding a couple of years ago, most, if not all, was replaced.

Sources close to the family tell Fox 32's Darlene Hill that the congressman may be reporting the use of the space in the basement as his campaign headquarters.

Citizen: Lawsuit Probable in Battle Over Chatham Theater

Click image to visit their website
The Citizen is writing more about our local movie house. We already know the genesis of this story, Alisa and Donzell Starks had been forced out of day-to-day operations by their silent partner Michael Silver. Silver brought in a management firm to operate the theater and the Starks' continue to operate Lawndale. While the Starks' no longer operate the Chatham 14, they still own the property with Silver.

I'm trying not to excerpt a lot from this article but there is a lot of information here. This is the most complete story I have found yet! There was another indication here, trouble had been brewing for years. If you know the court system in Cook County it takes time to evict people whether we're talking about residential or business renters.

All the same, it starts off with the Starks' planning to go to court and then the beginning of their relationship with Michael Silver which started in 2007. Then how Silver thought breaking with Marcus Theaters and F & F Management had been a mistake in hindsight. The most important thing to note in our posting was the process of the eviction and forcing the Starks' out of day to day operations at the Chatham.
Earlier this year, Silver began the eviction process in court. As the managing partner he took the Starks to court for outstanding “rent” as the theater operators. Both sides said they didn’t want it to come down to such action.

The Starks said they began to expedite their plan to buy Silver out and were close to a deal as the sides went back and forth to court. The couple had until late September to make a move but Silver said they ran out of time which was evidenced by the big neon green eviction sign on the movie house’s door on Oct. 19. At the time, the theater was preparing for a busy Tyler Perry’s “Alex Cross” film opening.

“He is using his role as managing partner to control some things in a certain way that we’re objecting to,” Alisa Starks said about Silver.

Silver said the couple had at least six months to ante up and buy him out, or altogether step aside. When they didn’t, he put them out.

“They agreed in writing that if they were unsuccessful in buying that interest, they would voluntarily step down and allow a new operator to take their place,” he said. “I was very, very upset because I did not want to disrupt that theater or the Chatham community. But I had no choice but to evict them.”

According to documents available on the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website, the owner of the Chatham theater property is 210 W. 87th Chicago TH, LLC (Silver and the Starks) and eviction proceedings began in March against I.C.E. Development (the Starks) which operated the theater. According to the electronic docket, the Starks owe at least $725,000. Alisa Starks said the couple needed just shy of $10 million to buyout Silver.
So also noted here are future plans!
F&F Management is now operating Chatham and Silver said he is expecting to make at least $1 million in capital improvements.

John Scaletta, vice president of F&F Management, said that the Chatham -14 theater workers who wanted to stay on had been retained and that all of the African American vendors and contractors — except for the security company — are still intact. He added that all of the managers are still at the theater, as well.

“The Starks did something really, really important. They brought entertainment to the South Side of Chicago when no one else would,” said Scaletta.

The battle over Chatham will move to the courts, the Starks said. Still, Lawndale remains open under them and they look forward to reopening Western in the future.
 I was up there not long after they reopened and one weekend in the same period. They still can draw a crowd and on the day I had been up there which was a Wednesday, there were a steady stream of senior citizens coming up to watch a show. So there are still people who will come to watch a show during the course of a given week.

How many of these people would be willing to go to the West Side to support the Starks'? There were those who were calling for that in the wake of the eviction and the Chatham's reopening.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WBEZ: CTA awards contract for Red Line South reconstruction

I'm sure the question to be asked here is how much "minority" participation there will be on this particular project:
The Chicago Transit Board awarded the contract for its biggest reconstruction project on Wednesday.

F. H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen and Associates, LLC will rebuild the Red Line South from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street. With an estimated budget of $425 million, plans include improving stations, tracks and ties, drainage systems and more.

“We are looking forward to providing our south Red Line customers with improved stations that are cleaner, brighter and better than they have been in years,” Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool said in a press release. “From cosmetic improvements and repairs to more substantial upgrades, like three new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th street stations, we are committed to giving our customers a new south Red Line experience.”More than $1 billion in federal, state and local funds are being invested in these improvements, according to the CTA.

Paschen—the general contracting firm awarded the CTA contract—not only put in the lowest bid, it participates in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. Forty percent of its subcontractors qualify as a disadvantaged business, a goal CTA wanted to meet.
I hope Ed Gardner has his eye on this project.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Are Community Organizations Relevant Anymore

Very valid questions and Worlee's response to our recent post "Direction: communication & cooperation" it's spelled out even more the conflicts between the various community organizations and especially spells out the purpose of the emerging Re-Unite Chatham noted in the posting here. He does take aim at Greater Chatham Alliance & Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council:
For some residents this is where the usefullness of these organizations begin and end. Some residents have criticized the organizations of political grandstanding, partisian politics, a tool shed for governmental employees and being clueless on what residents want and need. The major criticism is that the presence of two organizations has turned into turf wars. The former president of one sent the other a letter stating that a portion of the community did not want to be represented by them. Also, on several local issues regarding businesses, it turns into one will say yes and the other will automatically say no. It has been a tradition in the ward for the Alderman to refer business owners who want to potentially open up to gain community organization approval. This process has gotten out of hand and prompted the current Alderman to state that he will not allow community organizations to stymie economic development.

Recently, a convenience store that was rumored that they were going to apply for a liquor license finally approached the Alderman for support. The Alderman refused to support the issue and as the news made its way around the community, it was very apparent that the community opposed the issuance of a liquor license. Subsequently, a group of residents decided that they wanted to start a community organization. The group decided on the name ReUnite- Chatham. I was contacted and attended a meeting.

This is where the BS begins, it was apparent that I was not suppose to have been invited to this meeting but it was nothing that could be done. The organizer which is a block club president started off the meeting selling woof tickets. The moderator stated that the current community organizations have not been proactive but reactive to issues, there were a lack of recreational opportunities for young adults and teens and other criticisms. A comment from the audience was a long time resident stated she hadn't heard of the other community organizations. I personally took exception to the statement that the community had a lack of recreational activities for young adults and teens as the church where the meeting took place has a young adult choir and teen club open to the community. Also, the Chicago Park District Superintendent for Cole Park lives in our community and has broght a number of programs back to the Park. Then it hit me what was going on here when former Alderman Niles Sherman(21) who has an on going dispute with current Alderman Howard Brookins was attempted to play political godfather in the 6th ward and the comment he made against one community organization was totally unwarranted and a misrepresentation. After the comments speakers from the Mayor's office and the Chicago Police Department spoke. I left the meeting because I saw that this meeting was political and they wanted to pimp the residents for their political gain. No representatives from either community organization or the Alderman office was invited or present.

As we end this year and enter a new one it appeared that there might be a truce called over the "turf wars" but with this new organization, ReUiting Chatham was not on the agenda but rather the political aspirations of wanna be and defeated political candidates being mentored by a wash up has been former Alderman who has been exiled from his former ward.
While I feel like the question I would like to ask could be a bit loaded, it's worth asking anyway. Are community organizations in Chatham relevant?

BTW, Rev. Marc Robinson is a sub-area Vice President for the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council. He recently announced his resignation from the organization. I'm wondering if this resignation is indicative of the issues that may exist in Chatham neighborhood organizations. Indeed Rev. Robinson does seems to point his finger at the organization he's resigning from.

Also let's note that the organizations that exist in the 6th Ward in addition to the CAPCC and GCA we also have Park Manor Neighbors for example. In this vein Worlee made sure to note that the Resident Association of Greater Englewood has looked east of the Ryan to emulate those organizations. That would be my hope in spreading the idea of The Sixth Ward as "as state of mind".

As always comments are appreciated!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicagoist: Jackson Plea Deal May Include Jail Time; Family Not Talking

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. may be in trouble. He won his re-election bid last week without making any public campaign appearances. He's still pursuing treatment for his bipolar disorder and now it looks like the Feds may have something on him!
Since Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed first broke the story last week, CBS 2 reported Friday the plea deal could include jail time and Jackson would resign his seat, citing his health. He would also promise to pay back any campaign contributions spent for personal use. Jackson is alleged to have spent campaign money on redecorating his home and on a Rolex watch for a female friend.

The plea deal is being negotiated by former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb. Webb was one of the prosecutors in the Operation Greylord scandal, helped negotiate the plea deal for former congressman Dan Rostenkowski in 1994, and was appointed earlier this year to investigate the Chicago Police Department’s and Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the case involving the 2004 death of David Koschman, who died from injuries sustained from a punch by Daley family relative Richard “R.J.” Vanecko, who was never charged in the murder.

Webb is negotiating for Jackson to keep his pension, but the congressman won’t be able to collect it until he turns 62.

CBS 2 went to Rainbow PUSH headquarters and Jackson’s campaign headquarters for comment. Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. would not comment and staffers at Jackson Jr.’s office would not answer the door.
If this comes to pass, there would have to be a special election. However, this was home Jackson became a congressman as he had run in a special election to replace Mel Reynolds back in 1995 after Reynolds became embroiled over a sex scandal.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Sixth Ward...a state of mind

Me and my other counterparts have considered ways to re-brand this blog. Personally I'm hesitant to turn this into The Sixth & Ninth Ward blog. The blog name as it is should be OK. Just that in the near future, some of the neighborhoods that were part of the "old" 6th Ward will become part of the "new" 9th Ward.

We'll probably still discuss how to re-brand or even find ways to integrate coverage of the 9th Ward into the content of this blog. As a matter of fact we're slowly easing it into the coverage. There are issues that concern the residents of the 6th just as easily as they concern the many residents in the 9th.

Besides many in the current 6th Ward are concerned about the possible extension of the Red Line into the far south side of town as much as I imagine many residents of the 9th Ward are concerned about it. Also if you drive down King Drive south of the Bishop Ford Expressway you will find neighborhoods just as nice and peaceful as those in the 6th Ward. Surely the residents of these neighborhoods - especially nearby Rosemoor - share the same values as those in Roseland Heights, West Chesterfield, and even Chatham.

What I suggest is simple. The values of the 6th ward and the neighborhoods that we seek to cover could be considered a state of mind. It goes beyond political boundaries or even geographic areas.

Let me put it this way, there are good neighbors everywhere.  The 6th is all about good neighbors and it made the various neighborhoods what they are today. My hope is that we can help tell the stories of the good neighbors in the various communities that make-up the 9th just as we have been able to tell the stories of the good neighbors that are in the 6th.

Illinois State Police: Wanted in the 32nd District

This past Monday November 5, 2012. there were some guest at the Park Manor Neighbors Community Council (PMNCC) meeting. A television reporting team and several reporters were present at the meeting due to the following document.
Press Thapedi Park Manor  After opening with a prayer, the meeting started out with Andre Thapedi, State Representative 32nd District. The 32nd district includes portions of Woodlawn, Greater Grand Crossing, Englewood, Park Manor and Chatham. Representative Thapedi updated his constituents on what was happening in Springfield as well as where he stood on several pieces of legislation.

The major portion of his time was spent on his proposal that he plans to submit to Governor Pat Quinn. Representative Thapedi stated that he was going to request that the Illinois State Police who currently patrol the Dan Ryan expressway expand their coverage area a minimum of one mile east and west of the expressway to assist the Chicago Police Department. There were some puzzled looks in the room, but Thapedi explained that the dan Ryan Expressway fell into the 32nd District and there are several street owned by the State of Illinois in the district, therefore he had a right to make this request. Also, he explained that the Illinois State Police patrolling the Dan Ryan is a result of an Intergovernmental agreement that dates back to the Harold Washington administration.

Representative Thapedi stated he could not stand back and do nothing for his constituents and felt that "out the box" solutions were necessary. He stated his office gets inundated with calls about crime and shootings. He further stated he could not see any reason why a parked State Police car could not assist the Chicago Police, He used a popular phrase "Really" several times to emphasize that this made sense. Some in the audience compared this to the calls several other State Representative have made to call on the Illinois National guard. Others called it the creation of a police state and others called it grandstanding and non innovative. Representative Thapedi stood firm that this was a quick fix but anything that saved the lives of young people was worth looking into. Also,he again reiterated that there is already cooperative between the two law enforcement agencies and the Illinois State Police have valuable resources that the Chicago Police Department does not have.

Representative Thapedi proposal overall was well received by members of PMNCC who have seen a spike in violent crime. He stated his office was researching all the necessary legalities and was open to input from the members. He office was also circulating a petition that he also plans to submit to the Governor. Lastly, he was asked did he think Mayor Rahm Emanuel would sign off on this agreement and he stated he is a State Representative, but could not see why the mayor would not welcome the assistance.

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...