Showing posts from June, 2008

Sharing with you a new website . I got an email from a representative so that you'll know more: In April I joined ; which was started in the fall of 2007 by Adam Andrzejewski. The purpose of the not-for-profit is to rekindle the true spirit of public service among our elected officials. We feel that the best, most effective method to do this is by building a mandate from the bottom up here in Illinois. Regular people have common sense and we understand the power of engaging them to re-assert their rightful review of government. The movement is building momentum within our local school districts. We are asking districts to 'Pass The Open Book Test' by posting their check register on their school websites. The website is now home to the Illinois School District Honor Roll and Public Service Watch list. We are rewarding districts that are open and transparent, and identify those districts who fail to 'Pass the Open Book Test'. Our ob

Minimum wage increase makes workers happy, business owners - not so much

From : Brandon McMurray will not be getting a raise tomorrow. The 23-year-old cashier at Pantera's Pizza in the Montclaire Shopping Center in Edwardsville already makes more than minimum wage because of his four years at the pizzeria. "It's one of those things," McMurray said. "I've been here for a while and make enough over that. It would be nice to make a little more." But when Illinois' minimum wage officially increases Tuesday, some of his co-workers will be making a little more than they did before. "They're excited for it," McMurray said. "Every little bit that you can get helps out." "With prices going up, and with gas prices at $4, everybody can use a little more cash these days." His boss, Jeff Tolliver, on the other hand, isn't looking forward to the wage increase. It's not that Tolliver doesn't want to pay his employees more, but rather the pressure it puts on the cost of doing business

Chicago, city of broad stricture

I posted excerpts from this Tribune article over at Illinoize on Saturday. The article is basically about the fact that Chicago comes dead last in a survey of the most populous cities. The survey is regarding how cities balance individual freedom with government paternalism. Read the article, check out the post, and if you don't mind leave a comment.

West Siders Want Handgun Ban to Stay

From Chicago Public Radio also via The Capitol Fax morning shorts today. Interviewed are some people who resides in West Garfield Park about the possible overturning of the gun ban in Chicago: WOMAN 1: I think it’s going to be more killings, more robberies, more drive-bys, more crime. MAN 1: I think it’s going to be kind of crazy. If everybody has got a gun, it’s going to be wild, wild west. WOMAN 2: I don’t think it’s going to change one bit the amount of gun violence in this community. The people that commit the gun violence, they don’t go and stand in line and send in their applications for gun permits. They obtain illegal weapons and they use them illegally. MAN 2: I lost a son in 2002 due to handguns. With this law being changed, somebody else’s son is going to be killed . Listen to the audio although consider what you see on that page a transcript.

CTA's rail safety criticized

Tribune : The best that can be said about the level of safety on the Chicago Transit Authority rail system is that riders are not putting their lives in jeopardy. That's far from high praise, but it's the basic conclusion of an on-site safety review of the CTA rail system commissioned by the Regional Transportation Authority , which has oversight authority over the transit agency. In essence, CTA trains are safe enough to ride, but many upgrades are necessary and should not be postponed, the RTA concluded in evaluating 14 key areas. The CTA is doing a poor job of identifying hazardous conditions leading to rail accidents, and the agency should be "more rigorous" in taking corrective action, the audit said. Between January and mid-August 2007, 13 train derailments and five train collisions occurred in CTA rail yards, according to the safety review. Via The Capitol Fax morning shorts . Go read the whole thing.

Video: Bloggers assaulted by police and paramedics

Via The Bench ! Some of you may not take this story very seriously on the other hand I'd like to think that police and paramedics have better things to do than to harass some citizens who were there to observe a situation. I should say concerned citizens concerned that paramedics didn't attend to a man down. Indeed they didn't even bother looking for the man down in question. I'm sure someone out there will make this an issue about whether or not Tom Mannis at The Bench or Craig Gernhardt at The Broken Heart should have backed off. Still I wonder if the actions of the police and the paramedics were appropriate. What do you think?

Eye on Chicago: The future of the handgun ban

A video from WBBM-TV Chicago. Discussing whether Chicago's gun ban will suffer the fate of DC's gun ban. Also please take note of is a website regarding the attempt to overturn Chicago's gun ban.

In Chicago, Some Want More Guns, Not Less

From via Newsalert : In too many Chicago neighborhoods, gun violence rules the block. And some say the time has come to fight fire power with fire power. "I need a handgun in my home," said Chicago resident Colleen Lawson. "It comes down to an issue of life or death." In fact, Lawson and her husband do own a handgun. But because of Chicago's ban on handguns, it's illegal to keep it in their home. The weapon was locked up outside the city when three men recently broke into their house. Lawson was unharmed, but she says the incident turned her into a critic of the city's gun ban. "It makes me feel as though I'm relatively helpless to keep my promise to my children to be able to protect them," Lawson said. Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s gun ban on Thursday, Lawson and her husband joined others in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's gun ordinance, which has been in place since 1982. Chi

Chicago officials are going to have to fight for the right to keep their firearms ban

Commentary from Chicago Argus talking more about the fallout from the DC v. Heller US Supreme Court decision. There is a suit against the city of Chicago to overturn the 1982 gun ban.

Tax Ememption Assistance

I just got this email! I haven't checked all day. Unfortunately most of this information is not valid , but I'll share it anyway... Dear Resident: There is a new tax exemption called Long Term occupants exemption. You must have lived in your home for 10 years or more and make under $100,000 per year to be eligible. Seniors 65 and older who make $50,000 or less per year are also eligible for the new tax exemption. A representative from the City’s Tax assistance center will be at Alderman Lyle’s 6th Ward office 406 E. 75th St., Thursday, June 26, 2008 from 3 pm to 7 pm to assist residents in completing the exemption forms. The deadline for filing these forms is Monday, June 30th. You must bring a picture I.D or the paper’s from your closing.

Chicago DC v. Heller roundup

I want to apologize in advance if these links seem largely biased towards support of this decision. I wanted to find a balance of stories but at this moment I'm not finding many. I'm sure someone out there has a point of view either for or against this decision. Either way here's your place to sound off. Mayor Daley Hates the Bill of Rights from The Bench The hysteria about guns is all about politics, not reality. Here's some reality: The alarming increase gun violence in Chicago this year is committed for the most part with handguns. Every one of those handguns is illegal. Ask yourself whether the ban on handgun ownership has prevented the thugs from obtaining them. Or from using them. As it has been said a million times, if you ban something only the criminals will possess it. Same with handguns. Additionally, Daley's remarks about a need for increased police presence and of higher numbers of hospital gunshot wound admissions is not based in fact. In fact, the op

ISRA files suit against Chicago in Federal Court

In light of the DC v Heller decision of the US Supreme Court this morning the Illinois State Rifle Association has filed suit against the City of Chicago. Directly from their homepage... The Illinois State Rifle Association, together with Second Amendment Foundation and several individual plaintiffs, filed suit against the City of Chicago in federal court this morning at 9:15 CDT. More information will be made available in a statement from the attorneys tomorrow. Via The Capitol Fax in this post with a great discussion about this decision and the role of the courts in interpreting the law. Some might say legislating from the bench or judicial activism but I'm sure there are some court followers who have their own opinions on that. When the ruling came down apparently Mayor Daley has been promising to fight any attempts to overturn Chicago's handgun ban enacted in 1982. There are stories contained in both the Capitol Fax post and the ISRA's homepage. This article with D

National Urban League conference may boost Olympic hopes

I found this Sun-Times article via The Capitol Fax morning shorts today. The National Urban League coming to Chicago was news a few days ago: After a 30-year hiatus, the National Urban League's annual conference will return to Chicago in 2009 -- a marquee event drawing 10,000 people that Mayor Daley hopes will showcase the city's diversity to the International Olympic Committee. "This convention is really important to the history of Chicago because of the African-American community," Daley said. "It is important to the future of our city ... to show people how diverse we are." Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said the conference July 29 to Aug. 1 at McCormick Place will send a message slightly more than two months before the IOC chooses a host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics from four finalists: Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. "It's another opportunity for Chicago to showcase its values and its vision,&quo

Have you gotten your city sticker?

The next time you can buy your sticker at the Alderman's office is on July 11th. Between the hours of 10AM & 6PM. The service office is located on 75th & King Drive. In addition you can go to the main branch of Seaway Bank and Trust (located at 645 E. 87th St.) and buy a city sticker during regular business hours. Also you can go to Jewel-Osco and purchase a city sticker as well you can go to either the Jewel on 87th & Dan Ryan as well as the one on 95th & Stony Island. You can find out more information about this on this page courtesy of the city clerk.

Teacher quality study shows Chicago narrowing the gap

Crain's on the educational front in Chicago: When it comes to hiring teachers, experience shouldn't automatically trump academics. That's the conclusion of a new study released Wednesday that looks at the quality of public school teachers in Illinois. The 44-page report from the Illinois Education Research Council found the highest percentage of academically talented teachers were at schools in the Champaign area, with those in suburban Chicago and west-central Illinois close behind. While schools serving minorities and low-income students in Chicago rated lower in "teacher quality" compared to everywhere else in the state, those schools also made the biggest gains in hiring academically talented teachers over the years studied, 2001-2006. Go read the whole thing!

Kook Kounty Kars

From Division Street talking about the cars owned by Cook County and who exactly are driving them.

I'll have to admire this man's passion

Dave at the 11th Hour takes on those individuals who think state workers are lazy.

Items from today's Crain's

Blagojevich vows $2B in cuts unless Madigan caves I should ask, why should Madigan cave? If there are cuts to be made, then make the cuts. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday threatened to veto $2 billion of state spending — affecting just about every area of state government except for local school aid — unless House leaders relent and pass additional revenue measures by July 9. But there was no sign that the ultimatum will work. In a Chicago news conference, Mr. Blagojevich, as he has for several weeks, charged that the Legislature passed him a fiscal 2009 state budget with a $2-billion hole. He again blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has refused to sign off on plans backed by the Senate to privatize the state lottery, authorize three more casinos and tap unreserved state funds. The governor said he is not inclined to veto the entire state budget, which would force lawmakers back to Springfield to start over on a new spending plan. Instead, he outlined $2 billion in cuts he said

About Illinois: Alto Vineyards

On the programming schedule this week on the Illinois Channel is a program about Illinois' wine industry . Just to show you what else is going on around this great state. Check out online or watch them out Saturday and Sunday mornings on CAN-TV .

Mr Mayor: Knock Down This Wal-Mart Wall

A commentary about Wal-Mart from a new blog that caught my eye, ReedBiz : In a slowing economy, the prospect of more urban employment and greater tax revenues should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough to win over a rabid Wal-Mart-hating coalition of aldermen, union leaders, and community activists, who’ve politically pressured City Hall into slamming the door on the chain’s Chicago expansion. In May, city officials rejected Wal-Mart’s bid to open a South Side store, effectively telling the chain to get lost. This is a huge, pig-headed mistake. To fix it, Mayor Richard M. Daley needs to muster his political courage by pressing opponents to end their anti-Wal-Mart campaign, even if it means ticking off labor while the city competes for the 2016 Olympics. The mayor better get moving before this plum economic development opportunity forever slips away into the welcoming embrace of nearby suburbs. I’ll concede it’s not easy to roll out the welcome mat for Wal-Mart. Founder Sam Walton’

Should streetcars return to Chicago?

What say you? I'd like to see that again. I should point out this post I made a few weeks ago with potholes revealing Chicago's transit history although those potholes have been filled. The question is serious with this Sun-Times article . The idea is to get Chicago competitive with say Europe. I wonder if this might be important if Chicago should be blessed with the Olympics in 2016? Their bones are still there, poking through the city streets. Under the asphalt, you can still see the steel rails of the once-great Chicago streetcar system. It has been 50 years since the last "Green Hornet" finished its route on June 21, 1958. But Bob Heinlein will never forget. Chicago had one of the biggest streetcar systems in the world, the Encyclopedia of Chicago says. Before the Great Depression, streetcars run by Chicago Surface Lines carried almost 900 million riders, more than the city's other transit systems and cars combined. Several factors helped

Cook County Property Tax Relief Soon to Expire

From CPR : Cook County homeowners have one week to take advantage of a property tax break. It's part of a program set to expire next year, but some politicians are trying to make it permanent. The break is a 7-percent cap on property tax increases. Opponents say it's unfair to local businesses. They say homeowners paying less means businesses pay more to meet the county's fiscal needs. Cook County Assessor James Houlihan says that's nonsense. HOULIHAN: I suppose under some tortured logic, they could call that a shift onto business, but it is not accurate. He says home values have far outpaced those for business property. And the tax cap helps even out the financial burden.

TIFs for tots

Check out this slideshow that is a very simple primer for Tax Increment Financing. Via Gaper's Block Merge .

Future city workers could lose out on lush pension plan

I can only imagine some moans and groans or perhaps some cheers for those who don't want to pay taxes for these public service pensions. Sun-Times ... The lavish pensions that City Hall has been known for may become a thing of the past for new city employees. Newly hired employees would shift to the 401(k) plans favored by private industry -- instead of the "defined benefits" enjoyed by their older co-workers -- under a plan being pushed by the head of Mayor Daley's pension reform commission. Sources said the two-tiered pension system is the painful solution favored by Chicago's former chief financial officer Dana Levenson. Levenson agreed to co-chair the 32-member pension commission to solve a crisis that threatens to strangle future generations of property taxpayers. The city's four pension funds alone have $10 billion in unfunded liabilities to employees and retirees. If they run out of money, Chicago taxpayers get stuck with the tab. "I am not goi

Gambling take drops nationwide, study says

I suppose we should never put too many eggs in one basket. Especially when we attempt to figure out a capital programs. Clout St ... A major gambling expansion has been touted as the way to pay for a proposed $34 billion construction plan in Illinois, but a new study suggests states may be counting too much on that money. A report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government shows revenue growth from gambling across the country has slowed down over the last three years. Study authors at the New York-based think tank warn that sluggish economic growth and social objections to gambling have taken a toll on gambling revenue. In Illinois, proponents of a statewide construction plan, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, want to pay for it with the help of a land-based casino in Chicago. The idea stalled in the waning hours of the spring legislative session last month when House Democrats gave it a cool reception. The state’s nine casinos brought in $142.7 million in May, down 14 percent fro

The Decline of Chicago: The City that Doesn't Work

Steve Bartin from this local blog known as Newsalert offers his two cents on the state of the city of Chicago in this online column . Something that's worth a pull from this column among other things I'd like to excerpt... Recently, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on Chicago winning an award from Fast Company magazine. “Chicago stood out in our reporting for its creativity and vitality,” Editor and Managing Director Bob Safian said at a press conference here. “Chicago offers something distinctive.” Fast Company Magazine is representative of much of the media: not much on hard facts about Chicago. The Windy City has distinctions but not positive ones. Chicago’s retail sales tax is the highest in the nation at 10.25 percent. Unions, high taxes, and political corruption have made Chicago one of the leaders in big city decline. One of the great modern myths of big city America is that Chicago is some sort of successful town and a role model for others. By any traditional perfo

New problems and Issues

From the June 2008 Roseland Heights Newsletter : Residents on 97th and Forest reported Memorial Day hold-up at gun point, by teens. Gun shots were reported on 97th and Prairie also. Residents were upset by slow response time of police and lack of action. The responding officers showed lack of concern, were dismissive of reported crime, and somewhat disrespectful. Residents wans something done about adult and teen loitering in the community. They are dissatisfied with the lack of police patrols in Roseland Heights. There is very little visible police presence during the day and none (that can be seen) at night. The community wants to be supportive of police. They feel that the larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, burglary, auto repair on the street and in alley could all be reduced or stopped by mobile, foot, and bike patrols in conjunction.

How to pound the pavement from your couch

This news is certainly for those of you out there looking for work or those who knows someone looking for work. It should be easier now with the internet. All most of us have to do is click on a company website and all most of us have to do is to fill out an application online or submit a resume either onto the website or in an email attachment. Even better there are employment search websites that allow job seekers to post a resume for the review of employers and indeed a job seeker could post their resume and actively seek positions and submit resumes (think HotJobs or Monster). Anyway article from Crain's: A Geneva startup is putting a newsy spin on help wanted ads. Job Search Television Network is presenting job listings in a broadcast news format on the belief that an anchor delivering a 60-second job description will leave a stronger impression with a job seeker than print. It’s aiming its sales pitch at companies seeking workers. “What differentiates us (from other job si

Englewood Farmer's Market

I know this is generally oustide of the scope of this blog, although, the sixth does move a little into Englewood. However I want to advertise another farmer's market in the area. A report by Chicago Public Radio . As well as a website created by the Lindblom Math & Science Academy.

Bottled water tax take falls far short

From the Chicago Sun-Times via Newsalert . Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are continuing to trickle in -- at less than half of city projections -- despite claims that consumption would rise during warm-weather months. City Hall predicted a summer surge after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the first month of collections from the nickel-a-container tax had fallen far short of the city's projections. Instead, the problem has gotten worse, exacerbating a budget crunch that has already prompted Mayor Daley to order $20 million in mid-year spending cuts and warn of a second round of cuts. For the first five months of this year, the city collected slightly more than $2 million from the bottled water tax, including $606,286 in April and $472,838 in May. At that rate, annual collections would be $4.8 million. That's less than 46 percent of the $10.5 million projection included in Daley's tax-laden 2008 budget. David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Mer

A little Wikipedia love for The Sixth Ward

In the entry for the 95th Metra Electric station. A picture posted here is included. Awesome!

County short-term loan will cost taxpayers $9 million

From Clout St ... Cook County Board President Todd Stroger cast a rare tiebreaking vote Tuesday on a measure to borrow $150 million—a stopgap he said was needed to keep the county financially afloat until proceeds from a county sales tax increase flow into government coffers. The short-term loan, which county commissioners figured they would need when they passed a budget in February, will cost taxpayers as much as $9 million in interest and fees and be paid back by December 2009, the Stroger administration said. Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston)—who voted for the preliminary borrowing resolution and sales tax increase at the end of February—opposed the loan Tuesday, saying the county had enough money to stay afloat. “This is not the time to be doing this,” Suffredin said, noting a percentage-point boost in the county sales tax that was part of the $3 billion budget package. “I think this is a slap in the face of the people who are going to be paying the sales taxes star

Angry taxpayers give Stroger earful

Well, I'll say this looks like trouble. From the Tribune today: Cook County Board President Todd Stroger finally kept his date Monday with taxpayers in the northwest suburbs, where some officials had threatened to secede from the county in anger over a sales tax increase he championed. Stroger and his staff were met with a combination of laughs and groans as they stood before about 200 northwest suburban politicians and residents to defend the $426 million tax hike. Many in the audience listened politely, but they were there to show their anger. "We are now starting to feel that we are now starting to get gouged," said state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who introduced legislation that would make it easier for Palatine to secede from the county. "Do you really understand the competitive disadvantage you're putting the northwest suburbs to?" The secession movement in Palatine was a long shot at best, but it illustrated a belief by some suburbanites that Str

Community resources

Courtesy of Seaway Bank and Trust Company . Info on bank holidays (at least those days on which the bank is closed), financial calculators, the annual art fair, internships at the bank (for those in college and interested in the banking industry), the Seaway Community Development Corporation, and of course other links that are banking and financially oriented. Worth checking out.

Eye On Chicago: Salmonella-Tainted Tomatoes

Video from Channel 2 on the city's response to the tomato scare .

Alderman wants new TIF for Olympic Village

One of the things discussed at the Aldermanic meeting on Thursday. The alderman said developers have been wanting to get at that lakefront for years. She mentioned that a friend from New York said that Chicago is the only place where poor people can get on the lakefront. I suppose we could pose the question should the lakefront become prime real estate only affordable to those with means (i.e. wealth)? I'd rather hope not, but we can still look at an article from the Sun-Times about how Chicago will get an olympic village built. A South Side alderman is urging Mayor Daley to create a new tax-increment financing district to generate the millions needed to turn the soon to be closed Michael Reese Hospital campus into a $1.1 billion Olympic Village. "We're gonna need as many resources as we can possibly get to do this because of the expense of building new streets, water, sewers and whatever else we're gonna need," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th). Her ward in

An Olympic vid and the Aldermanic meeting

Via Second City Cop , the subject matter seems to be talking down the whole concept of bringing the Summer Olympics to Chicago. Heh, I was thinking exactly about the idea that if Chicago gets the olympics there can be 5 stars on the municipal flag instead of 4. Those stars represents such events as a world's fair, a Columbian Exposion, to name a couple of events off the top of my. One of those stars represents the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, but I was trying to think positive here. Also I went to the Aldermanic meeting were amongst such subjects as hospice care, lead poisioning, & information about a financial seminar being held on the south side we had some community outreach from the Chicago 2016 team. The presentation was very good it looks like the west side will get that swimming pool in Douglas Park and the venues will largely be in public parks around the city especially in Grant Park and Lincoln Park. Of course most of us are familiar with the olympic stadium that is p

Chicago is losing its middle class: report

I post this Crain's article with a question. Do you think that eventually Chicago will be a place where only people with adequate means (or to clarify, I could say wealthy people) can afford the high price of living in order to live in the city? The Chicago area’s middle class is disappearing. This group shrank by 14% between 1970 and 2005, according to a report released Thursday by Brookings Institution research group. The decline was above the average slide of 10.7% for the 100 metropolitan areas included in the study, giving Chicago the eighth-largest drop in the group. The report defines middle class as workers who earn between 80% and 150% of their metro area’s median income. The examination of the middle class was just one of the research areas that Brookings Institute included in its “MetroPolicy: Shaping a New Federal Partnership for a Metropolitan Nation” report. Other research categories include the gross domestic product per job in 2005, the number of people who hav

For the teacher that was murdered last week

If you want to make a donation for her two children you can call Dixon Elementary where she worked at (773) 535-3831. If you don't know what happened I blogged about it at my other blog. My intention isn't to talk much about crime here although it is a fact of life. Oh I should also note that another murder that took place in Chatham during the spring a suspect has been arrested and charges were filed.

Wednesday news link blog

Crain's CTA to halt over-budget Loop superstation At an occasionally testy board meeting, CTA President Ron Huberman blamed inflation in building materials, logistical woes and the unexpected difficulty of relocating a century’s worth of utility lines on the block, located between the Daley Civic Center and Macy’s State Street flagship store. But angry board members asserted they’d been misled for years about soaring expenditures on the superstation and, without naming him, made it clear that the problems arose during the tenure of Frank Kruesi, whom Mr. Huberman succeeded as president last year. What went wrong with Rod?: Hinz Like a good script by Sophocles, the story of what happened to Mr. Blagojevich truly is a tragedy. Political pros will long ponder exactly what occurred. But some features clearly stick out. Arrogance and inexperience. Wild ambition teamed with bad memory. Too much attention to the wrong things, and not enough to the things that count. Guv, leaders meet

Chicago City Council in session

Today one of the items on the agenda is the Chicago Children's Museum's proposed relocation into Grant Park. Clout City already has a prediction on how the votes will come down. If you're at a computer at this moment you can watch the session online thru the Chicago City Clerk website. 11:19 AM - Looks like they're finally on the item regarding the Chicago Children's Museum. There were some chuckles with the mayor presiding over the city asked if they're ready. I suppose they know there's a lot of passion in the air regarding this issue. A minute has passed with Ald. Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward talking about his opposition to the museum moving to Grant Park. 12:51 PM - Alderman Ed Balcer of the 11th ward didn't make any substance just said that this is a great country because of this debate. And reminds us to fly the flag on June 14th. 12:52 PM - Ald. Lyle is speaking on this issue talking about how she sent children to these museums around the

Tuesday night link blog

Crain's Housing group gives AG Madigan top grade In a report released Tuesday, Acorn gave Ms. Madigan an A+ for her work in helping cash-strapped Illinois homeowners hang onto their houses. She was commended for pushing passage of the Illinois Homeownership Preservation Act in 2007 and for investigating whether Countrywide Homes Loans Inc. and Wells Fargo Financial Illinois Inc. violated fair lending and civil rights laws. That investigation is pending. City taps new HR chief Mayor Richard M. Daley on Tuesday tapped labor lawyer Homero Tristan as head of the city’s human resources department. As Chicago’s commissioner of human resources, Mr. Tristan, 37, is charged with reforming the city’s hiring practices as well as recruiting new employees, overseeing promotions and labor relations and enhancing productivity. Sun-Times Retired cops subpoenaed, alleged torture probe into Burge ramping up Retired detectives named in a decades-old Chicago Police torture scandal have been subpoenaed

Church life in the 6th ward

Where i (the other writer of this blog) live in Chatham, there are literally 80 churches within a mile of my home (according to Mapquest). Yet on my block, at least 1/2 the people i have talked to go to church MORE than a mile away. It's very different than the north side, where there are only a handful of bible believing churches between downtown & Howard Street (the Chicago/Evanston border). Another difference is that many South Side churches are far more political (for example, an alliance of churches supported Thelma Andrews in her bid against Alderman Lyle in the 2007 6th ward race). Not so with most North Side churches. This topic is a bit personal, as i am looking for a church for my believing, "real", has small groups, is near to the house (so we can see other members as we go to the El, the playground, the store, etc.), also one where we can grow (after having been in leadership positions at a church that went through rough transitions). We hav

A little history of Chicago's municipal flag

Apparently it started with only two stars but by 1939 the flag would contain four stars. You can read more about our city's flag at this page courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. I got that link via Chicago Argus in a post where he discusses the use of Chicago's flag as an emblem for the new hometown soccer team. The Chicago Red Stars will begin play in 2009 in the Women’s Professional Soccer league.

News link blog

I'm going to try this again and I'll be sure to do this in the evenings if this would continue. Perhaps some of you have some headlines worth sharing. The Broken Heart of Roger's Park Ald. Jackson's Freshman Year: Frenetically Finding the Bathroom Crain's Chicago Business Daley’s Olympic appeal to biz: Help sell Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley urged Chicago business people Monday to promote the city “with everyone they know around the world” to help secure the bid for the 2016 Olympics. “Call everyone you know, personal or business, around the world to promote Chicago,” the mayor urged more than 1,000 people attending the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast meeting. Tight economy takes bite out of Illinois tourism Chicago’s tourist volume was flat in 2007 at 32.8 million, following a 13.4% increase from 2005 to 2006. But a nearly 9% increase in business travelers last year pushed up the city’s overall traveler volume 2.2% over 2006, to 45.1 million p

Unfiltered: Grant Park Debate

If you'd like here's some audio of a debate over the Chicago Children's Museum's proposed move to Grant Park at the Union League Club. It was pointed out by another reader some remarks made by the museum's President Jennifer Farrington near the 48 minute mark... In a recent debate before the Union League Club, museum president Jennifer Farrington admitted that they had refused to consider neighborhoods on the Southside, Westside or Northside (like mine, Uptown), because those neighborhoods contain negative connotations which "may make families feel like it’s not a place for them." (May 6th) Some more info. on why this is being contested by Ald. Brendan Reilly and other Grant Park suporters: The 1836 covenant protections that prohibit buildings in Grant Park, turning over control of park lands to private hands, and charging admission to events and exhibitions ONLY apply to the land bounded by Randolph Street on the North, Michigan Avenue on the West, Lake

Hey I was there, I just didn't get to see the Democratic nominee for President!

Apparently Sen. Barack Obama found his way back to town today and gave a nice speech. I saw it on the CBS 2 news at 5 today and here's a story in Crain's . When I dropped by there was a martial arts demonstration. Unfortunately I forgot was the actual martial art was, I believe it started with an I. Anyway it was touted as a much more modern martial art and it was as much about diplomacy as it was about aggression. I may not be explaining it right. Anyway surely this might be another sport where one can compete for a gold medal in the olympic games. There wasn't a lot of people around obviously aside from curious onlookers. There were some tents in Daley Plaza filled largely with vendors and of course there were people looking at the stage at the demonstration. I had to get a shot of the podium with the seal of the City of Chicago. If that podium was there then Mayor Daley would certainly have at some point showed up if he hadn't already. Though why not he's as muc

Committee OKs building Children's Museum in Grant Park

I really wish I could see a roll call of those who voted. Sun-Times : So much for the treasured City Council tradition of deferring to the wishes of the local aldermen on zoning issues. By a vote of 6 to 3, the Council’s Zoning Committee on Thursday approved Mayor Daley’s plan to build a $100 million Children’s Museum in Grant Park over the strenuous objections of downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd). The measure passed after a six-hour hearing. Reilly got a standing ovation when he entered a Council chambers filled with opponents of the Grant Park plan, only to get dissed by his own colleagues. The only other time in recent memory that the City Council has defied the local alderman on a zoning issue occurred in 2004, when aldermen rejected a proposed Chatham Wal-Mart pushed by Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). That one-vote defeat for Brookins and Wal-Mart came at the behest of organized labor. Thursday’s vote was at the mayor’s behest. It sets the stage for a final showdown Wednesday in th

Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz - Kwame Raoul

Sen. Barack Obama's successor to the state senate talking about a number of subjects especially about being in Obama's presidential campaign and the state operational and capital budgets. Also discussion of the relationship between the governor and the state legislative leaders.

Soul Queen

Located on 9031 S. Stony Island in the Pill Hill neighborhood when you enter this restaurant you will be inundated with pictures and newspaper clippings of all the people who have entered this restaurant over the years. You might find plenty of pictures of Mayor Harold Washington, Rev. Jesse Jackson, even President Bill Clinton. Either she's met those luminaries or they've dropped by from time to time. It's hard to believe Soul Queen has been in business for 60 years. I dropped by to get a carry out one evening. You can get cabbage, short ribs, collard greens, turkey, rib tips, chicken, in addition to either sweet potato or peach cobbler. Of course you can't have collard greens without some corn muffins. Did I forget that we're talking about a buffet here? I just wish this place was busier, of course, I might have to show up on a Sunday when people are getting out of church services on that day. Whether you're leaving church or you just like a good meal drop by.

There is a verdict in the Rezko trial

A brief write up in the Tribune and the Capitol Fax has some links in case you're eagerly anticipating the verdict. I haven't been following the case intently, but I do know this could affect the viability of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Governor Rod Blagojevich. I suppose we'll see what happens now that we are at the end of the trial. Here's a primer if you're not sure what he's on trial for. ADDITION: Convicted on 16 of 24 counts . The Capitol Fax has the counts for which Mr. Resko was charged and convicted.

Participate in Local Government - Sue your Home Town!

A very cynical post from the Broken Heart of Roger's Park . One example provided what how citizen got together to stop a private school and the Chicago Park District from taking a piece of parkland.

ComEd could seek $3 monthly surcharge, aldermen told

Clout St : ComEd customers might be asked to pay a permanent $3 monthly surcharge so the company can augment its electricity delivery system with the latest technology, the utility’s leader said Tuesday at a Chicago City Council committee meeting. The upgrades, a combination of new digital technologies called “smart grid,” would allow ComEd to know when an outage occurs without a call from an affected customer, said ComEd president and chief operating officer J. Barry Mitchell. It also would allow remote switching of circuits that now can only be flipped manually. “The initial phase of smart grid would incorporate technology proven to lead to fewer and shorter outages and strengthen the system infrastructure,” Mitchell said. “Our vision for smart grid would provide customers with real-time data to make better-informed choices about their electricity use with advanced meters and automated self-healing distribution equipment to drastically reduce outage duration.” Wasn't there m

Council panel OKs tougher rules for vacant buildings

Well I wonder if this is such a good idea. I'd be concerned about unintended consequences of something that is obviously well meaning. Sun-Times : The use of plywood to cover doors and windows would be strictly prohibited on buildings vacant for at least six months, under the ordinance, advanced by the Buildings Committee after a four-hour hearing. A six-month vacancy would also trigger a requirement that buildings either be secured with steel panels or have all windows and doors installed, a functioning security system and an “active account” with a private security company. Dusk-to-dawn lighting would be required at all exits. Let's see what some of the aldermen are saying about this proposal the pros and cons: “To deal with the worst set of circumstances, we’re requiring that everyone spend the money to do it in every circumstance, even though it’s not necessary in every circumstance. I’m fearful this will lead to more demolitions, rather than more opportunities to use the

Pay Raises for Politicians as an Anti-Corruption Measure

An interesting explanation for why public officials want a pay raise from The Broken Heart of Roger's Park .

CTA Red Line train derails; 1 injury reported

From the Tribune today at least this didn't occur during rush hour: The four-car train was southbound with 14 passengers aboard when it derailed about 2 a.m. just before reaching the end of the line at 95th, CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory said. The train was close enough to the station that customers were able to get off and walk along the tracks to the platform. Chicago Fire Department personnel assisted passengers in the evacuation, Gregory said. Fire Chief Joe Roccasalva said one passenger suffered minor injuries and was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Center in Evergreen Park. The other 13 passengers and the train operator refused treatment at the scene, he said. The train remained upright during the incident, which occurred at ground level where the Red Line runs along the Dan Ryan Expressway, Roccasalva said. The left lane of the southbound expressway was shut down while crews worked at the scene. Power was shut off in both directions to the southern end