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. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

State trooper dies on the Dan Ryan

I want to share a portrait of State Trooper Gerald Mason before we get to what was reported about his death. It's just amazing that he loses his life after the state police's starts to escalate their presence on Chicago area expressways.

Friday, October 1, 2021

A dream future home of the Chicago Bears in South Shore/South Chicago?

Allow me to wade into the discussion over a potential new stadium for the Chicago Bears.

To be honest, I was rather hoping that Arlington Int'l Race Course would continue to be a venue for horse racing. I also recognize that perhaps that's not the future as the economics of horse racing has changed to the point where there is a question as far as whether or not they can compete with casinos in Illinois.

That said we knew for a while there was a possibility that Arlington will close in the future and perhaps one day demolished. One day the Bears might consider going up there to build a brand new football field. It would be very unreal since I've only known them to play at Soldier Field, they also formerly played at this baseball stadium up north that's named for a brand of chewing gum.

Either way in the off chance that someone with the Bears or anyone at the City of Chicago reads this (don't matter if they work for an alderman or the mayor) I would like to propose the old South Works on 87th and Lakefront. Its land waiting for a use with many proposals over the years to be developed.

State Police to double presence on Chicago area expressways

 A subject I've been looking at of late and it seems there will be some efforts to make the commute safer for everyone traveling through the city. Story from the Lake & McHenry County Scanner

The Illinois State Police announced they will be more than doubling their patrol presence on Chicago area expressways beginning Friday in an effort to combat a surge in shootings.

The patrol presence will be increased by 157% during “peak criminal activity times” on Chicago area expressways as part of District Chicago’s Safe Drive Detail.

This increased presence will begin in the evening and continue through the overnight hour shifts, Illinois State Police (ISP) said.
As part of the Safe Drive Detail, the ISP will reallocate officers from around the state to District Chicago to prevent roadway violence and provide ISP Patrol District Chicago maximum staffing in high violence shifts throughout each month.

There will also be additional enforcement and visibility details taking place throughout Chicagoland expressways aimed at reducing violence.

“ISP’s number one priority is and will always be to keep the public safe. ISP officers will continue to proactively patrol Chicagoland expressways with the goal of ensuring public safety and preventing violence,” state police said in a statement.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Where is Kierra Coles?


[VIDEO] Ms. Coles is a Chicago area postal worker who went missing in 2018. She was last seen outside of her home at 81st & Vernon and authorities are offering a reward for information on her whereabouts.

In this story from WGN her family is in Pilsen celebrating her 29th birthday on Sept. 24. Sad that she's not around to celebrate her birthday and also bear in mind Coles was also three months pregnant. The family hopes that Coles will be around for her 30th birthday.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

CBS Chicago: City Council Approves Ordinance To Crack Down On Single-Use Utensils


[VIDEO] UGH! I just don't get it. Crime is an issue in the city and the city council is worried about reducing waste? Really?

Saturday, September 4, 2021

WTTW: Pullman Nat'l Monument


[VIDEO] This video was shared to the Pullman Videos YouTube channel sharing a story about the Pullman Nat'l Monument and features architecture writer Lee Bey discussing the history of the Pullman neighborhood. 

This video aired on Chicago Tonight last month and the grand opening for the new visitor center in the former administration building that contains the clock tower will be today and tomorrow Sept 4 & 5. Hopefully this new development which has been years in the making will prove to turn around the fortunes of the far south side of Chicago.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Chatham Theaters reopens


[VIDEO] I'm sorry to have shared this with you all much later as this is old news. How many of you are glad that our local movie house on 87th is back open. That facility has gone from being ICE Theaters, Chatham 14 Theaters, Studio Movie Grill and now Cinema Chatham powered by Emagine. It has gone through many ownership changes since 2012.

It re-opened this past weekend as Cinema Chatham and this story by Jim Williams shows their first day back in action having been closed over the past year due to the pandemic. We learned this past spring that Studio Movie Grill who owned this venue since 2014 will not be returning to this location.

With the excitement of the Chatham Theaters reopening, it's in the news that they're also looking to bring a restaurant to the theater in the future. This is according to Wendell Hutson at Chicago Business Journal which unfortunately is behind a paywall.

Also they're hiring up there if anyone is looking. There are about 70 employees there and they are looking hire people aged 16 & up.

Also shoutout to Harlan Falcon Bryan who we see is the General Manager for the Cinema Chatham.

Monday, August 23, 2021

CBS Chicago: Drivers who regularly take Dan Ryan say it's dangerous but have no choice


[VIDEO] This story from WBBM-TV was uploaded to YouTube on Friday discussing commuters who are concerned about the shooting incidents that often occur on the Dan Ryan Expressway. Noted was a fatal shooting on a Red Line train near Garfield on Thursday which trying to get home then was something of a concern although thankfully after some delays I got home. Also noted was that the State Police are installing license plate reading cameras which hopefully will enable authorities to get a handle on some of these incidents.

Anyone here want to talk about their commutes on the Dan Ryan? Any incidents you've seen that have left you concerned? Let us know.