Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The quiet desperation of the middle class

Read this article from The Atlantic. Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog shared it today.

Over the years on this blog I have written about middle-class issues. Especially important since I created this blog to discuss neighborhoods such as Chatham.

I've learned over the years that the position of the Black middle-class is often precarious. It often seems being middle-class in this nation is just as precarious.

If you read this article feel free to offer your thoughts.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Marathon Pundit: Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent Auburn Gresham neighborhood

7711 S. Lowe St. - John Ruberry
On a Thursday, the Marathon Pundit did some urban exploring in Auburn Gresham. Ruberry notes:
The notoriously-violent Englewood neighborhood sits on Auburn Gresham's northern border.
According to the Chicago Tribune Auburn Gresham is tied for eighth in violence of Chicago's 77 official neighborhoods over the last 30 days.
During the 1960s Auburn Gresham went from being predominately white to being majority black. The Encyclopedia of Chicago says blockbusting and panic peddling were less of a problem than in other Chicago neighborhoods at the time. At the start of the decade my grandparents moved to the more prosperous Beverly neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Ironically, the South Side Irish Parade, which originated in A-G, followed my grandparents to Beverly.

Blacks were barred from most white neighborhoods by covenants that prohibited home owners from selling to them. Click here to read a 1929 letter from the ominously named Auburn Park Property Restriction Association, Inc. which explains an Anti-colored Restriction Agreement to John Wagner of Englewood. Covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1948.
In taking pictures of the many abandoned houses, two-flats, and vacant lots he also has nice things to say about Father Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina parish:
When Auburn Gresham is in the news, particularly nationally, it's usually has something to do with St. Sabina Church, where committed leftist Father Michael Pfleger has served as pastor for an unheard of, at least in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 35 years. Pfleger. who is white, has worked on projects with radicals such as the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan and Barack Obama's former minister, Jeremiah Wright.

However Pfleger, despite allowing a personality cult to envelope him, has his merits. The church compound also includes a large senior residential complex and a grade school, as well as social service, job training, and technology centers. That brings a whole bunch of people to the St. Sabina complex, which is near the intersection of 79th and Racine, and that corner has noticeably more retail activity than the rest of Auburn Gresham. The church, in a way, boosts 79th and Racine in a way that monasteries did to nearby towns in the Middle Ages.
And here's a shot of it!
St. Sabina - John Ruberry
 So basically we see some family history from Ruberry as his family once resided in this community. However, what we see are abandoned homes, homes being rehabbed, and The Final Call hq.

I sometimes think of Auburn Gresham as a community with great potential especially with that corridor along 79th between Halsted and Ashland.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bennett School has a new website

I'm ecstatic that somehow I found a new website for Bennett School after a Google search. Over six years ago I found a different iteration of this website which has long since went offline.

This website has a lot more information about the staff of Bennett School and hopefully they will continue to add more information regarding the neighborhood elementary school in the future. So far I like and especially emphasized some of the architectural details of Bennett.

If they need any help with content I would be happy to volunteer. They'll probably never ask though. :P

BTW, I will say sometimes I wish the many public schools in Chicago utilize the many tools available to alert the public about their activities. Bennett now has a website but they could also use a Twitter, Instagram or a Facebook page. The surrounding neighborhood should know what's going on there even if they don't have any children going to school their. The local school is a neighbor after all.

ALSO another school neighbor has also updated their website, Harlan High School which is reflective of a new principal change as well. Harlan - GO FALCONS - also developed more of a social networking presence and then mysteriously stopped. This is definitely an example where they should use these various tools to let the community know what's going on there, especially some of the good news involving students.

DISCLOSURE: I'm an alum of both Bennett School and Harlan High School

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

9th ward community meeting

Alderman Anthony Beale
  • Please Join Us!
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For more info
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale
    34 East 112th Place
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Took these shots of the Shedd School property

On my walk to Pullman a few days ago. It was a wet rainy day as depicted in these photos. The first two pics are of the front one is similar to the shot you see in the Shedd School blog's header.
200 E. 99th Street
200 E. 99th Street
Here's the backlot a field that I used to play around in during recess and of course before school started the kids would play in this field also. Fun days and sadly no longer common. I'll explain after this pic.
Looking from 98th & Indiana
Shedd School has been closed since about 2013 and the local community organization Roseland Heights Community Association has been concerned about a zoning change for this property. It has been zoned for industrial use and therefore a concern is now seen over this greenspace just a block away from Michigan Avenue.

As a former student there, it's unfortunate that classes are no longer held here. However, my hope is that the greenspace remains for the community. If the building remains then it shall be used for the benefit of the community.

Sidenote - I've been using this accessory on my smartphone called an olliclip. Basically this is something you can slip onto your iPhone, iPad or Android devices and take shots with various lenses to enhance your mobile photography. That's why one of the pics above seem unusual.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: How Do We Expect Others To Respect Our Community

82nd/King Drive by Worlee Glover
Worlee on his FB page writes about the issues with the lots owned by the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council over the years. Many starts and stops as far as an potential plans for this site including a garden or a greenhouse or even a community center. He further asks: "So how long do we let this stay an eyesore. What would we do if another entity owned these lots?"

BTW, I understand there has been a "changing of the guard" for the CAPCC perhaps there will be further discussions on what to do with these lots on King Drive.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Capitol Fax: Today's number 63%

Go Falcons!
Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax talks about the increase of students in our high schools and increase the number of high schools. In addition he makes these comments as far as the policy over neighborhood schools and retaining the middle class in our city:
Neighborhood schools weren’t working in many neighborhoods at the bottom of the economic ladder. So, Chicago embraced public school choice. But that isn’t working either for kids on the lowest economic rungs. Charters can kick kids out for low performance, behavioral problems, etc. and they do that a lot.

I happen to think charters can be a great thing. But, man, the costs sure are high to run all those new schools. And innovators like Kansas City are also having some very real problems.
I wonder if some of these issues involved with the neighborhood schools include Harlan. I'm very sure that they might and it also have some undeserved reputation for violence. I say it's undeserved because over the years they attempt to emphasize the students who got something going for themselves with college and the scholarships for example.

BTW, I would suggest you read the full post at Capitol Fax and read The Atlantic article he quotes from. It deserves a read from me regardless.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hope Dealers documentary

Hope Dealer Trailer from Lawrence Trapp on Vimeo.

[VIDEO] I've written about this group from time to time and I got wind of a future documentary of which you see a preview here. This is what's posted to the video page:
Hope Dealers, a non-profit organization that aims to help areas through community service. The group was created by Corey Hardiman, a Morehouse graduate and native of Southside Chicago. Although looking to eventually expand, the group for the past three years has primarily performed service in Southside Chicago, Ill.
Now to find out when this documentary is coming and if it will be shown exclusively on the internet or shown at a movie house near you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Community press conference regarding Eddie Johnson

A press conference was called today by Richard Wooten, former police officer and current leader of the Gathering Point Community Council and Grater Chatham Alliance, meeting at Josephine’s (formerly Captain’s Hard Time dining

Eddie Johnson was scheduled to appear (after meeting with Wooten and several ministers a few days ago). Unfortunately, Johnson was called into a meeting with Mayor Emanuel as well as having the President come to University of Chicago that day, so he was not in attendance.

Wooten instead used the press conference as an opportunity to express support for Eddie Johnson as permanent Police Superintendent. Wooten was joined by representatives of community organizations from West Chesterfield, Chesterfield, Chatham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing and Park Manor as well as 6th Ward Alderman Rod Sawyer and Victor Love & Josephine Wade of the restaurant.


Wooten and others noted that “We are not pleased with the process, but we are pleased with the person.”

Praises for Johnson included how he boosted morale for officers in the 6th district, reduced crime, and instituted “Peace in the Park” program at Cole Park, immediately following the death of Thomas Wortham IV.

Wooten also talked about plans for a Justice Town Hall meeting, especially for the residents of the greater area, in which Eddie Johnson will be invited. Specifics will be determined, pending Johnson’s schedule.

Andrea Watson of DNAinfo was in attendance, so expect a story very soon. Channel 2,5,7 and 32 (local CBS, NBC, ABC, & Fox stations, respectively) were also in attendance, so expect stories today as well, perhaps as early as noon or 4pm .

Reporters asked tough questions such as “How can Eddie Johnson change the culture of ‘Code of Silence’ which has been around for generations”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What do we do about the 50 Yard Line?

The 50 Yard Line is a lounge on 75th Street and it was in the news at the end of last month that a fatal shooting occurred there. It has started a community discussion which occurred at a recent Park Manor neighborhood meeting. Over at the Concerned Citizen's of Chatham FB page Worlee Glover writes a report on this meeting.

My two cents is that as a person who generally doesn't visit bars, it would be sad to see such an institution goes. My belief is that better a bar that's dedicated to protecting people either keeping them from getting into their vehicles and driving while intoxicated or keeping a patron from drinking too much be in a community. I also figure there are those elements who believe alcohol is bad regardless sees this as one more excuse to close down another lounge.

Fact is there aren't too many places in our communities where we could have a good time with friends or family. If not a lounge there aren't many sit down restaurants. I'm hoping that the 50 Yard Line owners and the community are able to get together in the hopes that we won't have many violent and deadly incidents such as this one recently.

Tribune: Millionaires are leaving Chicago, report says

I found this most interesting:
Millionaires are leaving Chicago more than any other city in the United States on a net basis, according to a new report.

About 3,000 individuals with net assets of $1 million or more, not including their primary residence, moved from the city last year, with many citing rising racial tensions and worries about crime as factors in the decision, according to research firm New World Wealth. That represented about 2 percent of the city's high net worth individuals....
Chicago was among four cities worldwide with the biggest flight of millionaires.
And then it got more interesting:
Most of the millionaires who left Paris and Rome fled their countries, while Chicagoans moved elsewhere in the United States, said New World Wealth, whose data is used by luxury-goods companies, private banks and real estate professionals, among others.
Findings of the New World Wealth report are consistent with a Nielsen study released late last year that showed Chicago is losing large numbers of affluent African-Americans.

The Nielsen report found that the Chicago area has fallen out of the top echelon of U.S. cities when it comes to the percentage of black households earning more than $100,000. In 2000, Chicago ranked seventh among the cities with the largest percentage of black households with income at that level or higher, but in 2015, Chicago had dropped out of the top 10.
The question is now what's going on in our fair city. Why are there fears of racial tension? Why are the more wealthier Blacks leaving the area entirely and taking their resources with them?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Last year on "Political Forum" #Aldertrack

[VIDEO] Recently over at the "Shedd School" blog, I posted a year old video from 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale who made his case for another term on Chicago's City Council. Today this year old video shows 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer - who had been successful in his bid for re-election in 2015 - on CAN-TV's political forum.

Topics of interest discussed on this program the large lot program in Englewood, the re-entry center on the east side of Cottage Grove, helping ex-cons return to work, more locally owned businesses that will not only add to tax base also hire from the community, an elected school board, development of the State Street corridor in the 6th Ward, snow removal, and concerns over standardized testing for CPS students. Whew...a lot of issues are discussed on these shows I know.

Ald. Sawyer noted how in his second term as 6th Ward Alderman he wanted to really work on further developing 6th Ward communities such as Chatham, Park Manor and Englewood. When he got elected in 2011 those communities were stagnating. He stated that he started his first term planning his areas and then start his second term implenting the plan. I hope he's successful.

Let's see what else I have missed from Political Form for the past year.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Education protests today

A messge forwarded to us from Leslie Honore of Greater Chtrham Alliance. This ws originlly sent by Sharon Banks-Pincham Harlan High School LSC Member

Let us know of your own story or opinion about the state of education in our community.


Below is the plan of action for Harlan. 

This plan is being conducted in concert with many other unions who are
being effected by the political onslaught of Governor Rauner and Mayor
Emanuel to dismantle the union structure in the name of "balancing the budgets"

Over the next few days, you may be hearing about the actions on April 1st taking place across the City that emphasize the disrespect and disregard for;
Students from Pre-K to PhD by not providing a  fair funding formula for all students in Illinois to the withholding of MAP grant monies to state run university students. 

Fair wages for the workers at McDonalds, 

Moving of jobs from the United States to Mexico (Nabisco)

The building and expansion of prisons instead of schools in Illinois as well selling off public education to the private sector.

The lack of pension funding because City and State governments did not pay their portion and used the taxes  to fund those pensions with the promise to pay it back......over more than 20 years.........and never did. 


The current plan for Friday April 1, 2016 is: teachers meet at 8 a.m.
at Harlan to picket for an hour; at about 9 a.m. teachers who are
physically able will walk to Chicago State; teachers who are unable to
make the walk will drive to Chicago State at 9:30; we will converge at
the Student Union Building at 10:00 a.m. for a rally at CSU; a teach
in will be conducted from 10:00 a.m. until just after 12 noon; CTU,
CSU faculty and community organizations (West Chesterfield, Rosemoor, etc.,)will rally at noon and march back to Harlan; Harlan teachers can get their cars and drive downtown (actually) the lot near Cermak and 
Wentworth is recommended with a Red Line ride to State and Lake;
others may elect to catch the 95th Street Red Line with CSU faculty to
go downtown; CTU and other unions will gather at the State of Illinois
(Thompson) building located at Randolph and Clark.

By the way, the Thompson building is a public building. There is a
food court on the lower level offering a variety of foods.

If you arrive a little early, grab something to eat. The food court
starts shutting down around 3p.m. The downtown "Shut Down Chicago-Fund Our Schools" rally at the Thompson building will run from about 3 or 4 until around 6.

All are welcome to call or email (
sherry8750@yahoo.comif there are questions or concerns.

Sharon Banks-Pincham
Harlen LSC Member

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...