Friday, December 14, 2018

What's going on with Ald. Burke?

I wanted to cover the events of this week as I saw this on twitter from Carol Marin
If you want to know what's up here's an article we still don't know why the feds are interested in the long-time chairman of the city council's finance committee.
Federal agents returned to the City Hall offices of Ald. Ed Burke on Thursday, two weeks after they carried out unprecedented raids on the longtime alderman’s downtown and ward offices, sources said.

Federal investigators were looking for information they didn’t find during the first raid, sources said. The nature of the information sought was unknown.

On Nov. 29, federal investigators descended on Burke’s ward and City Hall offices and covered the windows with brown butcher paper. At City Hall, investigators spent at least five hours inside and left with boxes of records and computers.
They also showed up at the home of political operative Peter Andrews Jr., the longtime head of Burke’s ward organization. They seized Burke’s cellphone.

Sources at the time told the Sun-Times that the initial raid was not triggered by Burke’s administration of the city’s $100 million workers compensation program, nor was it tied to Burke’s property tax appeals work for the Trump Tower.
Speaking of which there were moves to take away the administration of worker's comp away from Burke's finance committee.
A plan introduced before the City Council on Wednesday would strip Ald. Edward Burke of his control of the city workers’ compensation system, nearly two weeks after federal agents raided his offices.

The ordinance sponsored by Ald. John Arena and other progressive aldermen would place the $100 million-per-year program under the control of the corporation counsel, who is appointed by the mayor. The corporation counsel would have the power to designate people to oversee the fund and to approve payment vouchers.
If you want to watch a video talking about this from CBS 2 [VIDEO]
What's this? An allegation against Ald. Burke? He's using his political muscle with regards to the dealings of a city department?
Former Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans is laying out a bill of particulars against Ald. Edward Burke (14th), alleging that he worked repeatedly behind the scenes to inappropriately pressure her and her staff on airport business.

In a memo to the Sun-Times, Evans, who resigned earlier this year, gave five examples of Burke or his staff allegedly interfering or overstepping.
 Well, time will tell what the feds are looking into with the powerful Alderman.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel floats port district land as Chicago casino location #Serving17

Even though Rahm Emanuel will only remain mayor until May 2019, he seems to be coming up with some proposals. He's still trying to use what's left of his political heft to come up with some ideas for the city:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday floated a port district site on the Far Southeast Side as the possible location for a Chicago casino, if state lawmakers finally grant the city the long-sought gambling palace.

In a meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, Emanuel noted his “love-hate” relationship with the idea of a casino but said if the city finally builds one it should be away from the Loop and McCormick Place. Instead, he said it should bring economic development to an area of the city that needs it, before floating an Illinois International Port District site near Pullman as “an example.”

The land, just off the 111th Street exit on the Bishop Ford Freeway, currently is home to the Harborside International golf course with some harbor operations and terminals nearby on Lake Calumet. The port district that owns the land is a joint city-state entity.

“If you go down to the port authority where the golf course is, there’s enough land there for both a hotel and a casino,” Emanuel said. “That would be a big boon economically to the Southeast Side of the city.”

Emanuel made the remarks on the same day he gave a speech to aldermen on his recommendations to address the city’s pension funding shortfalls moving forward. The mayor’s plan included revenue from a proposed Chicago casino as part of the answer.
Personally I'm with this, who says a proposed casino has to be in or near downtown Chicago. Put one in a neighborhood that's struggling. In this case Pullman, and then again hopefully there are other proposals.

However, to be honest it seems like forever that there's been discussions of a Chicago casino that seems to have a tendency to fall through. So perhaps deciding on a site or finally building one will still take years. Wait and see I suppose.

h/t to state Sen. Elgie Sims FB page hence why I used the #Serving17 hashtag.

#tbt The demolition of the South Side Masonic Temple earlier this year

The demolition of the South Side Masonic Temple - 6400 S. Green St - took place earlier in this year. Will share the three posts I wrote about that unfortunate event after sharing a photo with link to one J.R. Schmidt who wrote about going to Englewood in February '18 and seeing this architecturally significant building being demolished.
J.R. Schmidt photo
And then he writes: 
Built in 1921, the temple was abandoned in the 1980s.  Preservation Chicago had it on the “endangered” list for perhaps a decade.  Now we’ve lost another bit of our history and our culture.

I don’t know what is planned for the southwest corner of 64th and Green Streets.  Here’s hoping it will be something worthwhile.
Via Marathon Pundit
The pic above is a more recent pic courtesy of John Ruberry in 2016 who in recent years had taken up urban exploration.

Here are our posts of the temple's demolition from earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Today's debate: Can you serve a community non-profit and run for office? #6WardChicago

Today's debate, whether or not officers of community based organizations, churches, etc. should be allow to run for office while simultaneously working for these organizations. It's something you're probably following over at Concerned Citizen's of Chatham since last night at least.
And a candidate for 6th ward alderman addresses what was seen at Concerned Citizens of Chatham.
We were tagged in a comment to that post so Ms. Foster-Bonner made sure we got her response!

Were you caught in the AM delays on the CTA Red Line?

I was on the train early this morning and was told by a motorman that someone got hit by a train  at 63rd and we should head upstairs for alternate service. There were loud speaker announcements with regards to a medical emergency at 63rd. Power was said to be turned off due to this incident from 63rd to 95th Street.

I made sure to retweet this CTA update.
Service was restored by 8:30 AM according to this Sun-Times article. Trains started rolling by 6:40 AM. So if you were already on a train and I saw one at 69th that had just pulled out of the station and was stopped there, they may have had to wait almost an hour. Anyway the Sun-Times article below.
I'm sorry to report according to the Sun-Times the person who had been hit by a train was killed. The incident was said to have occurred at 5:30 AM, however, by the time I heard about this incident I was already on the train by 5:10 AM.

If you were caught up in the delays this morning how was your commute? Did you get to where you needed to go on-time?

The Chicago way?

Outside of the scope of this blog we have an interesting story out of the south side's 13th ward. A college student is seeking to run for Alderman there, and as it turns out he's only up against one of the more powerful Democrat organizations in the city.

The 13th Ward has long been controlled by Illinois House of Representatives speaker Michael Madigan. He's the one whom our soon to be outgoing Governor Bruce Rauner claimed is actually running the state of Illinois.

Anyway, there's a reason why Madigan has been a power to reckon with in Springfield for over 30 years. All you have to do is see what's being pulled in the 13th ward and his way of keeping his handpicked Alderman in office.

Check out this recent story from CBS Chicago [VIDEO]
And here's yet another story where CBS 2's Derrick Blakely tracks down these voters who signed revocation affidavits [VIDEO]
Also you might have seen something about this on the CapFax last Friday. It explains further what you see in the above two videos candidate David Krupa files 1,703 signatures well above the necessary 473 to qualify for the ballot. Then somehow affidavits that revoke signatures on Krupa's petitions were filed with more than 2,700 signatures. Why the overkill?

Anyway for anyone looking to run for office this is certainly something to learn from. Another trick most of us would've never heard about until now.

I'll have to admire Mr. Krupa a college freshman who decides to put himself forward as a candidate for Alderman and only serves to go up against a powerful political organization. Who knows if he has a future in politics, but I would consider this ambitious!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Uptown Update: Share the Warmth! Donate Winter Gear To Our 46th Ward Students!

I know outside of the scope of this blog, but I never minded sharing the charitable aspects seen around the city especially from the good folks in Uptown. And of course someone in our local schools on the south side also don't have winter gear as we head into winter.

If you know of any coat drives in the community send us an e-mail, a tweet, or even let us know on our ig page. We'd love to hear about it.

ABC 7: Man shot while campaigning for political candidate in West Englewood

[VIDEO] This incident happened on Sunday and you probably heard about it that night on the 10:00 PM newscast. I would find this unacceptable, however, I would accept the explanation provided by Ald. Raymond Lopez (Ward 15) as it happened in his ward. It probably was gang members shooting at these campaign workers and wounding one only because they don't know them.

I found a write-up about this at the Tribune:
A volunteer for a candidate for alderman of the 15th Ward was shot while on Facebook Live as he was out canvassing the West Englewood neighborhood Sunday, officials said.

Maxwell Omowale Justice, 32, a volunteer for the Joseph Williams campaign, is speaking to the camera when shots can be heard in the video.

The shooting took place while Williams was a few houses away with his two children, as a group from the campaign tried to get affidavits from residents following a challenge to Williams’ petitions, said Erin Ellenbolt, Williams’ campaign manager.

“Maxwell had just shown up and he was handing out flyers as well and trying to get signatures,” Ellenbolt said.

Police said the shooting happened about 1:45 p.m. Sunday in the 6600 block of South Marshfield Avenue. Justice was hit once in the leg when a man in a red ski mask opened fire as Justice stood on the sidewalk. No arrests have been made.

Justice drove himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, where he was treated and released. Reached Monday morning, Justice said he was resting and wasn’t ready to speak more. In social media posts, he shared an image of his bleeding leg.
Also I'm with this:
Ald. Raymond Lopez, who currently serves the 15th Ward and is seeking re-election, put out a statement about the shooting Sunday.

“Campaign or not, it is completely unacceptable and unfortunate that someone would feel compelled to shoot at someone simply because they didn’t recognize them from the community,” Lope wrote. “This is the same type of mindless gun violence we have seen in other neighborhoods. It must be confronted and addressed directly and without excuses.”

BTW, this was a mindless shooting for what I would consider frivolous reasons (they didn't recognize the canvassers). This wasn't political at all and we should be disturbed if the shooting occurred for political reasons. We should also be disturbed if without knowing all the facts that anyone would consider than any candidate is involved with this incident.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sun-Times: Where 16 Chicago mayoral candidates stand on TIFs #ChiMayor19

Feel free to read those 16 candidates' full responses. What are their positions on Tax Increment Financing districts? What would they use them for? TIFs has been a hot button issue for our city over the years.

Bill Daley at the City Club of Chicago #ChiMayor19

[VIDEO] Bill Daley is not only the son of the late former Mayor Richard J. Daley, he's also the brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and brother of Cook County Commissioner John Daley. He's a former executive at SBC Communications, JP Morgan Chase & Co. in addition to being a former Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and a former White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama.

Now he wants to be Mayor of Chicago, and late last month he was at the City Club of Chicago. This aired recently on the Illinois Channel and saw a portion of his talk Saturday morning on CAN-TV channel 21. The above video duration is about 50 minutes.

One of the things that stuck out at me was how he declared that Chicago will remain a sanctuary city. He's right about how immigrants gave the "Windy City" the character that it does today. However what do you all think about Chicago remaining a "sanctuary city"?

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Crain's: How Pritzker's lieutenant plans to use her ‘lite guv' platform

From Prtizker transition site
If you don't already know state representative Juliana Stratton will become the first Black to be elected Illinois' Lieutenant Governor serving with Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker once they're installed in office next month. Here's what Crain's says not only about her background but her role as Lt. Gov.
Now she is set to be inaugurated as the first African-American lieutenant governor of Illinois. While that No. 2 job is long on influence and short on statutory authority, Stratton plans to hammer home criminal justice and equality, themes that have dominated her life. She and Pritzker inherit a financially stressed state still digging out of a two-year budget crisis and facing pockets of population decline statewide.

Stratton, 53, is chairing their transition team, which is pursuing a plan to create a new office of criminal justice reform and economic opportunity that she will lead. Small-business loans for communities that have experienced disinvestment, from Chicago to East St. Louis, and equitably awarding state contracts across the state will be priorities, she says.

She's also eager to take one statutory role, overseeing the Governor's Rural Affairs Council. Aside from that, a bevy of transition committees studying issues from education to infrastructure to energy will recommend policies that further define her job, Stratton says.

Parts of the state outside Chicago will be skeptical, with her reception dependent on policy outcomes, says Kent Redfield, a retired University of Illinois at Springfield political science professor. "If good things are happening, it's much easier to be the face of that, and for people to be positive about the lieutenant governor," Redfield says.

Stratton's warmup was as a state representative for the 5th District, a skinny strip of land running from 79th Street through Bronzeville, up Michigan Avenue to the Gold Coast—a true tale of two cities. When it came to economic development, constituents on the north end complained about parking problems, while those on the south end couldn't find a place to buy a cup of coffee, she says.
If you want to know more about what the future Pritzker-Stratton team plans to do once they're installed in office visit their transition website.

The progress on the 95th terminal

This is really old news to most of us as it was shown on the local news last month. The connecting bridge between the north and south terminals at 95/Dan Ryan had been installed and work continues on that bridge and the new north terminal on 95th Street.

In the ig post below CTA shares some of their own photos from the continuing project.

A post shared by Chicago Transit Authority (@chicagocta) on

10 years ago the FBI arrested a sitting Illinois Governor

We're going back to something we covered over a decade ago on this blog. We also followed some of the ensuing consequences of what happened with this story.
This was on the CapFax on Tuesday. We're approaching the 10 year anniversary where Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the feds. In this post, we see an article from Chicago Magazine where we see the thoughts of the two FBI agents who came to arrest Blago.
Here's the most incredulous part of this:
After a couple of minutes, Dan knocked on the door and told Blagojevich that we needed to go. He came out with a toothbrush in his mouth. We repeated that he needed to get dressed right away and come with us.

The governor picked out a blue Nike jogging suit, white socks, and running shoes to wear. As we prepared to leave, he turned and asked: “How does my hair look?”

“You look fine,” we told him, astonished by the question. It was as if he were preparing for a press conference. As we brought him downstairs, his daughters remained asleep, for which we were grateful. You never want a child to witness a parent being arrested.
I appreciate the consideration of the FBI agents on the scene. While I know Blago still has his supporterss, how selfish to put his own daughters into this situation.

Ultimately he would be impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives and removed from office in a impeachment trail by the Illinois Senate. Later he was convicted on corruption charges in federal court and is currently serving his 14-year sentence.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Kwanzaa on the 9 #6WardChicago

Sorry for the late notice on this, but if you're not busy this Saturday here's a flyer for an event to take place on Saturday on 532 E. 79th Street!

Krispy's Chicken is coming to Chatham on 87th

Photo by Lee Edwards - BlockClubChi
Well I'm glad to see that the garish signs from the King Food & Deli has been removed along with their bulletproof glass to be replaced by a different business. This building which was formerly a Church's Chicken is going back to its original function.

Lee Edwards of BlockClubChi informs us:
After complaints from residents, community leaders and the neighborhood’s alderman, a controversial Chatham convenience store that used bulletproof glass and sold junk food and cigars has been replaced with a restaurant.

A new Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood restaurant location recently opened its doors in place of the King Food and Deli convenience store, which Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) labeled a “problem business” this summer.

Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood is a restaurant chain based out of Wichita, Kansas, with four existing locations on Chicago’s South Side.

“I’m glad the community got together and made the owner rethink his business model because his former model wasn’t conducive for the Chatham community,” Sawyer said. “It’s not ideal but it’s better than what it was before.”

The new restaurant at 400 E. 87th St. is the result of several conversations between the alderman, the store’s owner, who also owned King Food and Deli, and Melinda Kelly, executive director of Chatham Business Association, Sawyer said. He said he voiced his opinions about the business, which were well-received by the business owner, who ultimately decided to convert the store into a restaurant.
We see the good people over at Concerned Citizens of Chatham have already been debating this new development since last month.

Capitol Fax: Hard times are driving African-Americans away from Chicago area

Sorry to have missed this yesterday. The CapFax discusses a study and a column by Crain's Greg Hinz regarding why Blacks are leaving the Chicagoland area.
For instance, while the unemployment rate in the region dropped from 9 to 7.6 percent overall, among blacks it dipped just four-tenths of a percentage point, or 0.4 percent. That's significantly smaller than the drops among Latinos, Asians and non-Hispanic whites, even though the unemployment rate was and remains far higher among blacks, more than 17 percent.

Similarly, median household income among blacks is still off nearly a tenth—9.4 percent—among blacks. In comparison, among whites, the drop was 1.5 percentage points; among Hispanics, 4.2 percentage points, with Asians gaining a bit. And while the drop-off in labor force participation rates was smallest among blacks in the 2010-17 period compared to other groups, blacks already had and still have the lowest rate, with just over 60 percent holding a job or actively looking for one.

The result: African-Americans are leaving, while the population of whites, Latinos and Asians is up, if only modestly so. Those findings had been previously reported, but in its new report CMAP breaks it out by those with and without jobs, and some of the data is eyebrow-raising.

Among non-Hispanic whites, Asians and Latinos age 16 to 64, a clear majority of 53 percent to 64 percent, respectively, of those leaving the region already hold jobs. But among blacks, only 42 percent are employed. The remaining 58 percent of those moving either are unemployed or out of the workforce and not looking at all.

CMAP Associate Policy Analyst Aseal Tineh said there could be various reasons for the latter distinctions, such as more rapid aging among white residents. But overall, it's likely that African-Americans here are having a harder time finding jobs, and a harder time getting jobs that pay well, she said. Beyond that, the report itself notes previous research that black commuters tend to have a longer trip to work than other area residents.
The question is what can we do about it?