Friday, December 3, 2021

More remap news: what's going on with #Ward09

 I've been retweeting like crazy any news to be found on the ward remap. The main thing I found yesterday was that the Latino Caucus and a few other alderman went over to the City Clerk's office to file their own map. As you know the Dec. 1st deadline has passed and that should mean that in June - presumably during next year's primary elections that month - the city's voters will choose a map. That is except well negotiations continue and that might mean even though this deadline has passed city aldermen (or is it alderpersons I still hate that) could still vote on and approve a map for the next decade.

One of the people should be recognizable here, that's Ward 9 Alderman Anthony Beale. Another people with the Latino Caucus map is Ward 2 Alderman Brian Hopkins. Doing a quick Google search I see Ald. Beale's comments. The Latino Caucus Ward Remap is called the Chicago Coalition
Chicago Crusader talks about this:
Alderman Beale is Lightfoot’s biggest critic among the 20 Black aldermen. He broke with the Black Caucus this week after clashing with its chairman, Alderman Ervin, when talks involved removing the diverse and voter-rich Pullman neighborhood from Alderman Beale’s ward, which also includes the less affluent West Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods.

Before the Rules Committee canceled its plans to vote on the map, Alderman Beale, in an interview with WGN 720 Radio, said he was trying to enter a room where talks were being held when Alderman Ervin stopped him from entering.

“I was told that I could not go in the room with the Black Caucus by the chairman of the Black Caucus,” Alderman Beale said. “I know where that came from, and I know he’s doing that on behalf of the mayor because there are certain people in this process that are constantly trying to be heard.”

A critic of Mayor Lightfoot, Alderman Beale believes his ward is under attack.

When WGN 720 Radio asked him, “So, they’re trying to draw you out?” Alderman Beale responded, “Absolutely. They’re trying to take the Pullman area out of my community. They’re trying to take all the best housing stock out of my community and all these things were done without talking with me and working with me, and so I went and saw there was a coalition of people. And I went to join the coalition because I have to do what’s right for my community and fight for my community.”

In a brief interview with the Crusader, Beale reaffirmed his move to the Latino Caucus came when learned that he was being allegedly shut out of the remap talks by the Black Caucus.

“I knew I was being dismissed when I was being denied access by Ervin and the Rules Committee,” he said.

Sources confirmed to the Crusader that Beale found out that his ward was being redrawn when he was informed by Alderman Susan Sadowski Garza. Beale then went into the room and saw the Black Caucus ward remap that confirmed what he had been told.

I see the two conflicting maps over at Greg Hinz' column at Crain's and here are Hinz' thoughts:

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Ward remap news

 I would like to go more in depth but I share this to state that so far the city council has failed to agree on a map and next June voters would have to choose a map. Here's a very interesting development out of the remap that affects the far south side:

The city’s ward remap process was led by Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), chair of the Rules Committee, political insider and attorney Michael Kasper and the Aldermanic Black Caucus, whose members said they fielded feedback from alderpeople across the city.

The city’s map includes 16 majority Black wards, 14 majority Latino wards, one majority Asian ward and one “Black influence” ward that isn’t quite a majority — the 27th Ward.

Under the proposed map, indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) would be drawn out of her Far South Side ward. The longtime alderwoman said she’ll likely retire rather than run for a new term under the proposed map, which would move the 34th Ward into parts of The Loop, West Loop and Near West Side.

The maps I've seen out there show that what used to be Ward 34 would be largely taken up by Ward 21 a seat held by Ald. Howard Brookins. Again this remap appears to be a test of wills between the Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus of the Chicago City Council. Hispanic Caucus want a few more wards drawn in their favor while the Black Caucus is contesting this.

Here's a draft map that was seen at a meeting of the city council yesterday Dec. 1, 2021 the deadline for Alderman to approve a map before voters must do so. If you have difficulty seeing it click on the tweet to enlarge. Perhaps later on I can find a much better copy of this draft map.

It does appear what was Ward 34 would be taken up by the Ward 21 & 9.

Also I retweeted this yesterday Ald. Ray Lopez (Ward 15) doesn't seem that happy about this draft himself.

What are you thoughts on this remap? Excited about the opportunity to to vote on which city council ward represents you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Politico: The remap's clash of the Chicago caucuses

 As it turns out on this Thanksgiving Eve the December 1st deadline is just around the corner. So I'm copying a lot more than I would actually be comfortable with but here's what's written by Shia Kapos on the ward remap:

The Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus presented vague details of a redistricting map for the city’s 50 wards, though Ald. Jason Ervin was clear about wanting to keep a three-seat advantage over the Latino Caucus.

His caucus is calling for 18 majority-white wards, 17 Black wards (one less than there is now), 14 Latino wards (one more than there is now) and one Asian ward.

“We believe this number is appropriate and gives everyone the space needed to move this program forward,” Ervin, chair of the council’s Black Caucus, said at a press conference yesterday at the Harold Washington Cultural Center. He displayed a map that made sweeping generalizations about where Black and brown wards might be but didn’t show how individual wards might be drawn. Tribune’s John Byrne has a picture.

The boundary debate is ratcheting up the tensions between the two caucuses ahead of a Dec. 1 deadline for the City Council to approve a new ward map. If it's not nailed down by then, voters could get to decide in a referendum next year.

The Black Caucus’ proposal falls short for the Latino Caucus, which has presented a detailed citywide map that uses census data to create ward boundaries that account for the population increase among Latinos — which has surpassed Black population in Chicago.

“If this is something that the Black Caucus wants to use to start discussions, I can tell you that they’re off on the wrong foot,” Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), head of the Council Latino Caucus said in the Sun-Times story by Rachel Hinton.

Points of contention are on the South and Southwest Side sides where there’s been a Black exodus while the Latino population has grown in areas such as Chicago Lawn, New City and Ashburn. The Latino Caucus is recommending 16 Black wards and 15 Latino wards.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for the two caucuses to come to an agreement. “If they don’t reach a compromise, most of the members of the City Council are going to lose — most of them will lose, some won’t, but most of them will,” she said at an unrelated news conference. “Because, if they throw this to a referendum, anything is possible. They have to recognize the art of compromise.”

After December 1st, voters would get to decide the ward map that they want. I get a feeling there won't be a compromise hear and no real mayoral influence to get there. My prediction, but then again who knows.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The red line extensions funding from recent federal infrastructure bill

I'm sorry I missed this story about how the recent infrastructure bill which was signed by President Joe Biden into law would affect us in Illinois. Especially how it would affect the south side of Chicago, particularly this Red Line extension through Roseland into Altgeld Gardens.

From the Sun-Times:

President Joe Biden signed the historic $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday, passing to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot — at the White House for the ceremony — the massive job of spending the billions in new money flowing to the city and state in the next five years.

For the first time, there will be a dedicated funding stream in the form of grant programs to make all transit and commuter rail stations in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, a legislative victory for the champion of the measure, Iraq War vet and double amputee Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Based on interviews with Lightfoot and Pritzker, expansion of the CTA Red Line from 95th to 130th Street, speeding up lead water pipe removal and rebuilding portions of the Eisenhower Expressway through Chicago and nearby suburbs, the I-190 turnoff near O’Hare Airport and I-80 in Will County have emerged as among the priority projects to be bolstered by the federal spending.

The federal funding will speed up some projects already in the works — removing lead water pipes in Chicago — jumpstart transit and highway projects stalled for years — while helping to bankroll large scale electric vehicle charging networks throughout the state.

Public transit expansion, lead pipe removal, expanding broadband internet access and creating a new support system for electronic vehicles are at the top of Lightfoot’s list.

Lightfoot said there “definitely” will be federal money to expand the CTA Red Line from 95th Street to 130th, though she had no timetable yet for the project.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said at the White House he handed a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging him to support the Red Line South Side expansion to near the edge of the city.

“This transit desert disproportionately impacts Black residents, meaning that the early termination of the Red Line has considerable equity implications. This results in many of Chicago’s African American citizens literally being disconnected from the ‘mainland’ of the rest of the city. It reminds one of the ‘colony’ and the ‘motherland’ divides of a past time,” the Rush letter said.

Glad to see it's a priority for the mayor, however, no timeline yet to begin construction only that  the federal infrastructure money would be used to expand the red line. By expand hopefully she means starting construction, however, I want to see what else is out there by the mayor and governor regarding this extension,

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Game Stop "smash & grab" in Chatham

 Downtown has been victims of "smash and grabs" even some suburbs are reporting such crimes most recently a Louis Vuitton store in Oak Brook, Illinois. Try one of those in Chatham at a Game Stop on 85th/Cottage Grove.

A report from Hyde Park Patch:

A video game store in the Chatham neighborhood also reported an unknown amount of merchandise was stolen at around 6:30 p.m.

No one was in custody in relation to any of the incidents as of Saturday afternoon, police told Patch.

To go back downtown not too long after this incident there was a smash and grab on the Magnificent Mile at the Neiman Marcus store. Here's a story from CBS Chicago on this [VIDEO]

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Fall back one hour tonight!

Tonight is the night. Set your clocks 1 hour. Daylight Savings Time ends until March 13, 2022.

Worlee at Concerned Citizens of Chatham has some helpful tips for you as we fall back as far as time.

Friday, October 29, 2021

WGN News: State's Attorney says she's not soft on crime


[VIDEO] Just remember over the past summer a poll listed both State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Mayor Lori Lightfoot as under water on the crime issue. After what happened in the Austin neighborhood on the west side last month with no charges for "mutual combatants" she's at an event with the west side NAACP.

The State's Attorney claimed to have very little power as far as bail which she says judge's control. She explained a law passed by the state which not the ability to pay cash for bond shouldn't determine whether or not you're held. It should be your threat to public safety should determine whether or not you remain in custody.

She's very concerned about the "false narrative" around her job performance as State's Attorney. I don't know if her office's handling of the west side shooting which is also mentioned in this report along with her spat between the Mayor and Police Supt. David Brown has helped change that false narrative.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

More ward remap news the Latino caucus proposes their own map

 Want to see what the City Council Latino caucus proposes I will share with you this link from WTTW. It almost looks like the current map though some major differences. For example ward 34 would go further north and the ward 17 is expected to have more of a Latino population under this new proposal.

Allow me to share more from the Chicago Tribune:

The Latino Caucus chairman, 36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas, insisted his group simply “followed the data” in drawing the lines. And he acknowledged this map is a jumping-off point to start negotiations with colleagues, particularly those in the 20-strong Black Caucus who don’t want to give up any seats in spite of Black population loss.

“The bottom line is, it has to start somewhere,” Villegas said. “This is our start. We’ve been communicating with our colleagues. And we’ve been talking to them, mapping with them, working with them to try to get to a point, those that want to work with us.”

The South Side 17th Ward, currently a majority-Black ward represented by Black Ald. David Moore that includes parts of the Auburn Gresham, Englewood and Marquette Park neighborhoods, would be pushed west into the heavily Latino Marquette Park and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods. That would make Moore, a two-term alderman who’s running for secretary of state, the odd man out.

“That won’t fly,” Moore said. “You come over there and try to pull out a Black ward, they won’t be able to get majority support for that.”
The Latino Caucus also proposes moving the Far South Side 34th Ward — now represented by veteran Black Ald. Carrie Austin, who’s under federal indictment — into the North Side.

Another ward is needed near downtown because of the exploding population of young professionals now living in that part of the city. And the population loss in heavily Black South Side neighborhoods makes it the place to remove a ward, Villegas said. The 34th Ward currently includes parts of the West Pullman, Morgan Park and Roseland neighborhoods.
The remap process is contentious under the best circumstances, as various Chicago constituencies try to increase or maintain their power in the council and incumbent aldermen scratch and claw to protect their seats in favorably drawn wards.

This year the atmosphere is particularly charged, as the census revealed a change in the city’s racial dynamic.

Data showed Chicago’s Latino population went up by more than 40,000 over the past decade. That group now represents nearly 30% of the city’s residents, making them Chicago’s second-largest racial and ethnic group.

The city’s Black population fell by almost 10% in the same time, with a loss of nearly 85,000 residents. Black residents now make up nearly 29% of the city’s residents.

Here's is the Latino Caucus proposal.

I hope to see what the City Council's Black Caucus will come up with. Will they be able to preserve some of their representation on Chicago's City Council?

Fox 32 Chicago: Poll show bad news for the mayor


[VIDEO] When was the last time we heard from Mike Flannery of WFLD-TV on this blog. The longtime political reporter discusses a poll by Ogden & Fry with regards to whether or not voters would consider giving Mayor Lori Lightfoot a second term on the 5th floor of city hall. And 46% are opposed to giving the Mayor a second term as mayor with 28% unsure and 25% say they're in favor of her getting a second term.

Also noted in this report is strong report for her city employee vaccine mandates and firing of those city workers who won't comply. It's making national news the friction between police union leader John Catanzara and the Mayor as far as the vaccine mandate for Chicago Police officers. With concerns that Chicago Police will be at half coverage due to those officers who choose to defy the city's vaccine mandate.

Flannery states that we have 16 months before we cast ballots in the 2023 municipal elections for mayor. While I hold out hope that she might decide not to run for a second term, he's right in stating that if she wants to turn her fortunes around before the next mayoral race then she needs to get busy. Her comments toward Catanzara over the vaccine mandates doesn't make that promising.

Lightfoot later Thursday called the Tabares-Napolitano ordinance “foolishness” and plans to do “everything I can to stop it.”

Catanzara “has demonstrated over and over again he’s racist. He’s a misogynist. He’s xenophobic. He hates immigrants and refugees,” Lightfoot said. “I think people in her ward need to ask why [Tabares] is carrying the water for a guy like that.”

I heard the sound bite on the radio way before I found that quote in the Sun-Times. Seems like more conflicts ahead. 

CBS Chicago: CTA reduces some fares in new budget


[VIDEO] This has been in the news and since I like to cover transit related issues on this blog felt this was necessary to share. Riding CTA will be cheaper once the new budget is approved for 2022.

And get this transfers are free which in most parts of the country (for example Atlanta) you don't have to pay for transfers. How many of us remember before the days that you got someone tap for you to board a train that people used to beg for a paper transfer?

Also if you use passes they were reduced over the summer in an effort to encourage transit riders to return to using CTA. For next year those prices will remain in effect. For example a 7-day pass will now cost $20 as opposed to $28.

Oh and one thing I should've noted base fares will remain the same. $2.25 if you ride the L and $2.25 if you ride the bus and applicable especially if you use a Ventra card. Click this link if you want to see all current CTA fare information.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

State Rep. Smith to be chairman of the Illinois House Black Caucus

 State Rep. Nick Smith was in Politico's Playbook yesterday. This is news from Springfield recently:

The Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus has formed a political action committee that will be chaired by Reps. Nick Smith and Lakesia Collins.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a few years, and it took some time to put it together,” Smith told Playbook of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus PAC.

Black legislators have for years relied on the Black Caucus Foundation to help boost civic and philanthropic efforts in members’ communities. “We felt we needed something to support the caucus politically, too,” Smith said.

The goal, said Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Kam Buckner, “is to raise funds, mobilize volunteers, and have an effective apparatus to elect and re-elect members of the Black Caucus.”

Creating the PAC comes as the Democratic Party shifts its operations under new leadership. Party members can no longer rely on former House Speaker Michael Madigan to open the purse strings for campaigns. New party Chair Robin Kelly has created a separate fundraising arm for state and local campaigns, while she focuses on fundraising for federal positions.

“Speaker Welch is doing a great job but he’s focused on his entire caucus. And it’s too early to tell how the party’s local [fundraising] committee will do,” Smith said. “There’s a vacuum with Michael Madigan gone, and we see an opportunity to fundraise to help fill that hole.”

I found this via CapFax who further stated in reference to this story: "Smith is right. Also, If Rep. Buckner really does want to run for mayor, he’ll need some significant fundraising experience."

Bring it Buckner! Can't wait for '23!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sun-Times: The city could still make a play to keep the Bears

Former South Works site

Did someone read my thoughts on the Bears' stadium issue? The one where I propose the Bears come down to the former U.S. Steel South Works site that is waiting for further development? Well I'm not naieve enough to think that I'm the first to come up with, however, I didn't even see this being discussed.

Anyway from a recent Sun-Times editorial:

We could imagine, for instance, a Bears stadium on land owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority at 35th Street and Shields Avenue, just north of the White Sox’s ballpark. Part of that deal could include the proper redevelopment of the 70 acres of surface parking — also owned by the ISFA — that surround the ballpark.

Or, if the Bears would prefer another lakefront stadium, the city could offer a piece of the 500-acre former U.S. Steel South Works site. To do that, City Hall would have to bring the land’s owner, U.S. Steel, to the table. But the steelmaker might be wise to listen, given that two decades of redevelopment plans for the land have fluttered and died like Jack Concannon’s forward passes.

At the U.S. Steel site, the Bears would enjoy a nearly blank slate to build on and the result, if done right, could greatly benefit the working-class South Chicago neighborhood.

“So I just ask you, with all the priorities you have of lifting up communities, which is where the priority has to be, let’s not give up on trying to find a place to keep these guys in Chicago,” [Ward 48 Ald. Harry] Osterman said to Cox.

The planning department did not respond to Osterman’s suggestions, other than reissuing a statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. “The mayor,” the statement said, “has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

Ald. Osterman wasn't suggesting any sites for the Bears to consider within the city, but he does want the city to work further on keeping the Bears from going to Arlington Heights, Illinois. I'm glad to see that someone at the Sun-Times sees the former South Works site as a potentially viable option for whatever the Bears want to do around a new NFL stadium.

Time will tell as far as whether or not the Bears will pull a trigger on moving from Soldier Field. Who knows what effort the Mayor of Chicago would make or even if she would be successful in keeping one of the historic NFL franchises from leaving Chicago. 

BTW, I hardly pay attention to the NFL anymore but I wish I had seen their routing of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Ward Remap: The People's Map

[VIDEO] I'm a few days late however an independent group the Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission created a map for consideration by the Chicago City Council. This report from WGN discusses this proposed map.

A few things to consider and it wasn't much different from the debate in 2011-2012. The Latino community wanted more representation and this map would create a ward designed to elect an Asian-American to the City Council. For that Asian-American they would likely be elected in a ward centered around the Chinatown community.

With this said, I see that Englewood could be one ward which is what R.A.G.E. has often advocated for. How many wards will be drawn to elect Black Aldermen (or is it Alderperson or Alderwomen). The map is a bit different than I'm sure many of us are used to and for the city council itself I'm sure they will debate among themselves how their map for the next 10 years.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaign in 2019 for an independent commission to draw a ward map. She welcomes this map reportedly though she's a long way from supporting the map you will see below the People's Map.

The People's Map

Also noted in this report by Tahman Bradley the political reporter for WGN and you might know from the last remap led by Rahm Emanuel. 41 Aldermen must vote in favor of this map, however, if more than 10 Alderman reject this map and propose another this will trigger a special election where Chicago voters will choose a ward map.

I also wanted to add that the Mayor had also supported an elected school board then opposed proposals for an elected school board when it was proposed in Springfield and we ultimately got an elected school board whether or not she actually wanted one. Will she treat a city ward map much different we shall see?

Do you like what you see with the above map?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The crime issue in Chicago


[VIDEO] I've been hearing about this on the radio today and decided this is a good story to share. We see a spat between Mayor Lightfoot and State's Attorney Foxx over the lack of charges in the case of a shooting in Austin on the west side.

Both the Mayor and the State's Attorney have polled under water as far as the crime issue this past August. Also bear in mind Cook County voters re-elected Kim Foxx last year.

I want to share another post from yesterday over at the CapFax which discusses the lack of charges in the Austin neighborhood shooting from last Friday. Here's one quotable:

False arrests and convictions have cost city taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. A more careful and just approach has been warranted, but this is ridic.

Is Lightfoot wrong in her comments towards the State's Attorney? Should there be more effort to charge the gunmen? 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Death of state trooper on Dan Ryan ruled a suicide


The death of an Illinois State Police trooper found Friday on the Dan Ryan Expressway has been ruled a suicide, according to autopsy results released Saturday.

Gerald Mason, 35, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The incident happened around 1:45 p.m. in the inbound lanes of the Dan Ryan at 43rd Street, state police said in a statement. A passerby came to his aid and police drove him to a hospital where he died.
During a news conference hours after the shooting, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said his troopers may “seem like superheroes on many days, but they are not immortal.”

“They are not indestructible. They are humans with hearts, minds and souls, as fragile as the next person,” he said. “They have a breaking point.”

I don't want to add anything more to this. Very tragic and again condolences to Trooper Mason's family.