Thursday, July 2, 2020

NBC News on modern day redlining

I saw this linked on NextDoor last month and decided to share it here. It's amazing that we're still talking about redlining in America and other aspects of inequality in America. One of those issues we should just as easily discussing as far as revitalizing Black neighborhoods.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Chicago Board of Ed. continues CPD contract

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (Ward 6) discussed this issue last week and I would say he made some good points as far as why police are in CPS schools and what CPS could replace police with in their schools. It's interesting that even the 2nd City Cop blog seemed to support removing police from CPS schools at one point.

Then Wednesday's Board of Education vote and the contract continues [VIDEO]
And 2nd City Cop discusses this some more
The obvious answer is that the four votes don't want to face the political fallout when schools become uninhabitable for the good kids along with the three or four hundred teachers who would resign instantly should their last modicum of safety was removed. That makes them reasonably intelligent....for public school employees that is.
Also from the above video, Miguel del Valle noted that LSCs can make the decision as far as whether they want police officers or school resource officers in their individual schools. I suppose if each school can make that choice then so be it as opposed to making this a system wide mandate. It was noted in this article that Minneapolis' schools made their decision to end their contraction with Minneapolis police. They also voted to abolish their police department.

I wanted to show you this video of the protest on Wednesday in downtown Chicago. I drove right through it at least before Dearborn Street got shut down. Even saw a car with "Defund the police" in big letters and a huge figure of a pig on top of it - fill in the blank on that one though no need in this case I know their point. In this 1 min 30 sec video I don't see that car but we do see the protest. [VIDEO]

Monday, June 22, 2020

We are entering Phase 4 in Illinois

From NBC Chicago:
Phase four of the "Restore Illinois" plan allows for the reopening or expansion of several industries, including indoor dining at restaurants, health and fitness, movies and theaters, museums and zoos and more. This next phase also increases the size of gatherings that are allowed from 10 people to a maximum of 50 people.

All four regions of Illinois are on track to enter phase four on Friday, Pritzker's office said, with the state's average 7-day case positivity rate falling to 2.5 percent as of Saturday.

"Over the last four months, Illinoisans have pulled together with the common mission of keeping each other safe. By staying home and practicing social distancing, the rate of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop and each region throughout the state is prepared to move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan," Pritzker said in a statement. "Science and data are the overarching guardrails for how Illinois will keep moving forward. By continuing to wear face coverings and following the guidance from health experts we can continue to safely reopen our economy and move forward together."
Here's a tweet from Gov. Pritzker.
If you want to know about the city's move into Phase 4, I will share this Sun-Times link.

Friday, June 19, 2020

CapFax: Black and brown people are being hit coming and going

Not only about positive rates of infections when you read this post from Rich Miller they also talk about jobs. The economy took a hit due to the lockdowns and while it seems this state had regained jobs guess there were some groups who didn't appear to benefit?

Tribune: CTA and Pace buses will begin collecting fares again, as riders slowly return to public transit

If you've gotten used to boarding the rear of a CTA bus during the course of this coronavirus pandemic, that time is ending. If you enjoyed avoiding paying your fare, especially for those of you who prefer to pay with cash as opposed to using a ventra card those days are about to end.
In another sign that things are getting closer to normal in the Chicago area, the CTA and Pace will start collecting bus fares again, and the CTA will end rear-door boarding.

The CTA will require customers to enter buses via the front door and pay fares starting Sunday, while the Pace suburban bus service resumes fare collections Monday.

Both agencies had waived fare collection as a way to protect operators and passengers from the coronavirus. But since the agency started rear-door boarding in April, the state and the agency have adopted other ways of keeping people safe, including providing masks for all drivers, requiring that passengers be masked, and implementing new cleaning technology, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele.

The agency limits the number of passengers on buses to no more than 15 people on a 40-foot bus and no more than 22 on a 60-foot bus. The CTA also has a ridership information dashboard on its website that shows when buses are the most crowded to help people choose a better time to travel.

Keith Hill, president of the bus drivers’ union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, said his group agreed with the resumption of front-door boarding. Hill noted the CTA had agreed to increase the “standee line,” or how far passengers have to stand back from drivers, to more than six feet.
In addition to outdoor dining, opening the lakefront, even allowing businesses that provide such services as barbers, pedicures, tatoos, etc to reopen it's a start!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Does CPS need police at schools? #6WardChicago

[VIDEO] Alderman Roderick Sawyer (Ward 6) speaks with WGN on a proposal to remove Chicago Police (CPD) from CPS schools.

A couple of things that resonate with me from this discussion. First, should students be concerned that some minor mischievous actions could quickly turn into a police situation. Ald. Sawyer noted that a student spent a night in jail for mouthing off to a police officer. One shouldn't get smart with police anyway, however, was it worth a night in jail?

Second, while police were stationed at schools initially to keep out bad influences could the schools find other resources to help students. Let's say CPD or CPS ended the contract for police at the schools, perhaps they could find a way to bring in resource officers. We've heard a lot about bringing in nurses, psychologists, social workers, etc into our schools. So let's say we do take police out of our schools, we can replace them with resources for our students.

What do you think?

Chicago's lakefront will reopen soon

[VIDEO] The above from CBS 2 shows that bars will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday and the lakefront will be opened next week. This isn't exactly breaking news, however, I'm glad that the coronavirus hasn't entirely ruined summer.

Of course with this in mind, authorities are still concerned about the coronavirus. As you see in the video from Mayor Lightfoot on twitter you still have to maintain social distancing for example or take any other precautions necessary.

Lori Lightfoot has had a rough period the last two or so weeks, but I have to admit this video you're about to see is pretty hilarious. At the end a cutout of a stern mayor in earth tones replaced by a more relaxed mayor in summer white.
I'm happy that our city is taking one more step towards returning to normal after two months of lockdown and after a brief period of civil unrest.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

CBS Chicago: Some Aldermen Furious With Mayor Lightfoot Over How Looting Was Handled

[VIDEO] Ald. Anthony Beale (Ward 9) and Ald. Raymond Lopez (Ward 15) should be commended for calling into question Mayor Lori Lightfoot's response to the chaos in the city that spilled over from downtown into the neighborhoods on the city's south and west side on May 30 & 31. We see how the communities of both the 9th and 15th ward and other parts of the city was very devasted by the civil unrest that resulted in looting and vandalism.

I'm glad that the measures put in place in response to the unrest caused by the death of George Floyd when he was arrested by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month are being lifted. The civic unrest occurred just as the city was about to reopen after just about two months of shutdown due to the coronavirus.

While the city began to reopen on June 3, 2020 as planned I'm glad that the curfew has been lifted. Hopefully traffic in the city's downtown area will begin to return to normal once the bridges downtown are lowered (they were raised in an effort to control traffic into and out of downtown). Hopefully there will be further efforts to get things back to as close to normal as possible in the city's neighborhoods, especially on the south side.

BTW, I want to especially note the clash between Ald. Lopez and Mayor Lightfoot that resulted in a profanity laced argument between both on a conference call. I've heard Lopez on the radio over the past week as far as the looting in his neighborhood and I could tell he wasn't very happy with the response.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Meet the Dreadheaded Cowboy

With the unrest in downtown Chicago and in the neighborhoods I was all over social media looking for postings (usually fb, ig, and twitter) about the . Thankfully instances of looting, vandalism or violence has tamped down a bit, it does sound like it still goes on in the neighborhoods, however, peaceful demonstrations are still on going throughout the city in the past week.

I do want to talk about the Dreadheaded Cowby - real name Adam Hollingsworth - whom I seen on social media and the videos that were out there usually had a caption "This man stole a horse from the police". Some would point out that they've seen him in the neighborhoods and that police horses are usually uniform in color unlike any videos of this man on his horse which is brown and white. That's not quite a uniform in color horse.

The great thing about social media is that everyone has a platform the bad thing about social media is that everyone has a platform. If you want to know what's going on now, you really do have to vette a social media user's credibility and I do think that's hard.

The alleged theft was a joke by Hollingsworth in the heat of a moment. Unfortunately some people took that comment and ran with it and sadly tagged his car with spray paint urging him to return the horse. He spoke to Block Club Chi about that night and about the vandalism of his vehicle:
But people have snapped videos of Hollingsworth riding at protests in Chicago and posted them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, claiming he stole Bella from a mounted police officer. One Twitter post, which read “Breaking: Protester stole a horse from police,” was retweeted more than 8,000 times and watched more than 1 million times.

The video, shot by an unknown person, shows Dreadheadcowboy galloping on his spotted horse, Bella, Downtown during the protest.

People have threatened Hollingsworth and someone even egged and spray painted his car, writing, “Return the Horse Bitch.” Hollingsworth lives in suburban Crete but his car was parked at his sister’s house in Englewood, and she first noticed the damage Tuesday morning.

“I’ve been getting people inboxing me, telling me to return the horse and don’t come to Chicago,” Hollingsworth said Tuesday. “I want to let people know that I’m out here to bring the positive back to the community, and they’re making it even harder than what it is.”

People even edited a video Hollingsworth recorded to spread the fake news. He was recording a lengthy Facebook Live of his ride during one protest when other people at the event joked he stole the horse. He joked back, “I stole it from the police,” and he laughed.

But someone edited the more than 29-minute live video into a 32-second snippet, proclaiming again Hollingsworth stole the police horse, and shared the truncated video on a different social networking site.

It was reshared by people, including a comedian, on Facebook. People accused Hollingsworth of theft, demanding he return the horse as others tried to correct the misinformation, sharing news articles about him.
Via Block Club Chi

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Become part of the solution

I'm very dismayed at the unrest that unfolded over the weekend here in Chicago. I witnessed the demonstrations in downtown Chicago and unfortunately the vandalism of Chicago's streets and businesses having seen graffiti on not only streets and buildings and buses also. Even seen streaks where it was apparent someone threw something at a window on some buildings.

I get that people are upset about what happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Mr. George Floyd. It's generally agreed regardless of your political affiliation or even ethnicity that the police officers involved in his arrest and death had a very callous disregard for that man's life. It's great that people are demonstrating another instance of police mistreatment of yet another citizen.

What bothers me is the destruction not only of downtown Chicago which I know the city itself will do its best to take care of. It's the destruction in looting in south side neighborhoods. An area of the city which could ill afford it.

I've seen people bring up 1968 - there were riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. - there are parts of this city that never recovered from those riots sadly. And I'm definitely concerned that those areas hard hit by the recent looting and violent may take a long time for recovery.

I've seen reports of the Walmart in Chatham on 83rd & Stewart was not only looted, it was also on fire. I've not been up there to see what's been going on with that, however, I'm sure many of us assume it's still standing and will be repaired.

I remember the debate over bringing a Walmart to that location. The debate was over the rate of pay for Walmart workers. Another debate unfortunately was racial as people were concerned about who'd shop there as people of many backgrounds will shop there. Some of those comments were seen on this blog at that time.

Ald. Howard Brookins was eventually successful in getting a Walmart on 83rd and it's sad to see that in a matter of days his hardwork to bring new stores and jobs into the community has suffered a reversal. As of now it appears that this Walmart will be reopened in the near future, I did start off pessimistic on this and I'm glad the recent unrest wont close any Walmarts in the city.

Just about 13 years ago J.P. Paulus and I started this blog. My goal was to create something of a community blog akin to blogs such as the now defunct Broken Heart of Roger's Park, Uptown Update, Sloopin' and even Edgeville Buzz. I don't know if this blog had fully fulfilled that mission over the years though by some accounts whether second hand or personally it seems that we have.

I don't consider myself a community activist or even a journalist though some have argued as such over the years. I do know that as of now, my goal is to be part of the solution.

My goal is to continue updating you all especially with our fb page. You all stay safe out there

Friday, May 29, 2020

Phase 3 to reopen Chicago #Pandemic

As far as Chicago goes Mayor Lightfoot has said the city won't be ready for May 31 which is when things will slowly start to reopen in the state. However, fairly recently some restrictions on businesses in the city will begin to ease by Wednesday, June 3, 2020 here's a city website for phase 3. The mayor discusses the city's response to phase 3 here [VIDEO]

In the rest of Illinois phase 3 begins on Friday, May 29, 2020 in other words today. You can read more about the phases of "restore IL" here. Here's some video from Gov. JB Pritzker's press conference [VIDEO]
I also want to add this from NPR just to show there the state is at as far as coronavirus cases
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says every region of the state has now met the criteria to move into phase three of his five-phased reopening plan, called Restore Illinois. That includes the percentage of positive coronavirus tests falling and remaining below 20%, a falling or flat rate of new COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals, and enough available medical, surgical and ICU hospital beds and ventilators to handle a possible surge in COVID-19 cases.

Phase 3 of reopening in Illinois is a bit more limited that the plans in many other states. Illinois residents should not throw out their face coverings and masks as those are still required in public.

Restaurants can reopen for outdoor dining, but tables must be spaced at least 6 feet apart, and groups sitting together are limited to no more than six people.

Hair and nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and other providers of personal care services will be limited to those that can be performed with both the customer and employee wearing coverings over their nose and mouth. Massages and other body treatments will be limited to 30 minutes.

Nonessential retailers can reopen but must limit the number of customers in their shop at a time to five per 1,000 square feet of retail space, which is half the normal capacity.
As always take your precautions out here in the world and stay safe. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Editorial: The Avenue could again become magnificent #Ward09

The Chicago Neighborhood
This editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times makes reference to last year's fire at the former Gatelys Department store on the Michigan Avenue shopping strip south of 111th Street. It's probably time to redevelop that corridor, especially in time for that Red Line extension whenever it gets funded and construction starts.
Keep an eye on the Roseland neighborhood’s Michigan Avenue, once a retail strip so popular it was called Chicago’s second Magnificent Mile.

Shoppers could find anything from school supplies to furniture to brand new cars.

Rocked by two devastating extra-alarm fires within the last year, and now slammed by a pandemic that’s likely to change forever how we shop and gather, the faded and struggling commercial strip faces a tough future.

But “The Avenue” — as this stretch of Michigan Avenue between 115th and 107th was called in its heyday — now is being targeted by the city for possible redevelopment.

The plans were in place before the coronavirus broke out and they’ll need to be modified. But given that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all traditional retail strips hard — have you seen the boarded up stores on North Michigan Avenue these days? — saving The Avenue should be even more of a priority.

When neighborhood shopping dies, neighborhoods die.

The Avenue’s day as a regional commercial giant are not likely to return. People just don’t shop in brick-and-mortar stores the way they used to, and the street’s major retailers, such as JCPenney, are long gone.

But the buildings still stand and could be reused in potentially exciting new ways. And if done correctly, the lessons learned here could be applied to troubled commercial streets in neighborhoods elsewhere on the South and West sides.
Probably excerpted a lot more than I should've so I'll stop there and hope that you'll read the whole thing.

The editorial itself makes reference to this strip's proximity to the Pullman National Monument. How could the businesses and the community leverage that. The Avenue - at least for those old school residents might refer to the strip - might not return to the glory days. I still would like to see what plans could develop with revitalization. What entrepreneurs can become successful in this area.

White Castle near 111th & State #tbt #Ward09

You may well have already seen this photo below on social media taken in the mid-1980s of the White Castle that formerly stood at 111th & State Streets or actually 2 E. 111th street. I'm most familiar with this location since often looking for a hamburger slider fix this was where my folks went. At some point during the 1990s this location was closed and demolished.
Then looking for photos I found an even older photo of the White Castle taken in 1937 according to the information on the photograph. Could be the same building and I don't recognize the neighborhood around it.
Via Pinterest
Of course back in the 1980s the White Castle was surrounded by a post office to the north and then to the east on 111th Street was the YMCA. The post office is still there however the YMCA is long gone though the building itself remains.

I hope you enjoy this look back and a break from the dire news regarding coronavirus.

Friday, May 8, 2020

No more pandemic press conferences on the weekend from the state

I'm noting that Gov. Pritzker doesn't plan to further continue holding his daily updates over the weekend as he had been once coronavirus became a problem. There will still be daily updates usually in the form of a press release by the Illinois Dept of Public Health which will continue to be released every day, however, the governor will continue his press conferences during the rest of the week as opposed to Saturday and Sunday.
If you haven't been following this, I wanted to find a way to share this with you. Jahmal Cole has been doing a wonderful job - he's been getting a lot of attention as you all may know for his many initiatives within the community - providing care packages to seniors during this pandemic. Seniors are unfortunately vulnerable to this virus and he's providing senior citizens with supplies to help them combat this disease. Especially since items like hand sanitizer has been at a premium due to the panic buying by many consumers.

He made his appearance at a Saturday press conference with the governor to deliver a speech that Rich Miller of Capitol Fax refers to Cole's speech as fiery. I was hoping there was an easy way to share his speech, however, in a recent email blast Cole himself provided a video with snippets of his speech. [VIDEO]
I agree with Mr. Cole hope is what is needed right now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Multi-phase plan to reopen the state

[VIDEO] Im glad to see this plan from Gov. J.B. Pritzker as far as reopening this state. Illinois is a far more diverse state and there is a lot more to our state than the Chicago area. Chicago and Cook County - also certainly the collar counties - are more of a hotspot that other parts of the state. And 97 of the state's 102 counties have reported cases so far

I would recommend you check out the governor's remarks from Tuesday as he discusses his regional phased reopening plan.

There were some challenges by two downstate legislators and another by a pastor challenging the governor's' new stay-at-home order which went into effect on May 1, 2020. Here it is in full. There was a ruling by a federal judge on Monday declaring the governor's executive order as constitutional which involved the lawsuit by a pastor in Illinois

I do want to address this video many of you seen from Saturday afternoon in the parking lot at the shopping center on 87th street that contains a Jewel. It was a crowd of people standing outside and congregating and evidently a full parking lot. On a typical day with all stores open - although Burlington Coat Factory had recently closed - the lot wouldn't be that full.

I could see this as an act of defiance and the weather is getting warmer people will get restless. However, if encouraging people to stay home will help to get Chicago reopened then I'm definitely for it.

Here's the video below.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Stossel: Coronavirus cans the bag ban (taxes)

[VIDEO] Grocery stores and pharmacies are considered essential business as people still want to pick up prescriptions and over the counter medication. People also still have to eat and while many restaurants are open for take out orders only, your best bet is still go to the grocery store and find your ingredients so that you can cook.

I noted this a while ago in a post about coronavirus numbers and the effect of the pandemic on "essential" retail. A few grocery stores aren't allowing for the usage of re-usable bags I know for sure the Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods Market, and Target if you go to a cashier they won't package your items in your reusable bags.

Personally reusable bags are very convenient, however, what's noted in this John Stossel video is that there are many of us who don't take the time out to clean them. Sometimes I throw them in the washers, however, sometimes it's just something that I don't take the time to do. If you don't clean them then you could be carrying microbes on your reusable bags that are often dangerous.

Stossel takes aim at the attempts by governments around the nation to ban plastic bags. Chicago has asserted a 7 cent bag tax to encourage use of reusable bags. It's understood that they want to discourage use of those plastic "Jewel" bags. Unfortunately whether or not you use a "Jewel" bag or a paper bag, you still get charged a 7 cent tax. And paper is not only better for the environment not only because they are reusable (even if fragile as you see in video above) they are also recyclable, yet if we use a paper bag from a store we STILL get charged a tax.

Another thing of note is that while Whole Foods, Target, and Jewel that I know of for sure seemed to have waived collecting the city' bag tax. If you go to Mariano's and use a bag with them they will still charge you the 7 cent tax.

In my opinion, who knows if this is going away. Since the pandemic has caused the shut down of many businesses, surely tax revenues are down. Since in many places there is already a bag tax enacted, my idea is this is one convenient tax that won't go away. Especially since people during this difficult time still got to go out to shop for "essential" items.

Any other retailer - especially grocery stores - still charging you the 7 cent bag tax? Let us know...