Showing posts from March, 2009

600K to get food stamps via stimulus

Clout St : About 600,000 needy Illinoisans will get an increase in food stamps thanks to the federal economic stimulus, the state announced today. Gov. Pat Quinn said the federal aid will help at this time of recession because "Illinois families are struggling to put food on the table." The state is getting $890 million to increase food stamp benefits, the administration said. Illinois also expects an additional $11.5 million for food banks. Illinois Illinois already has ordered 3.5 million pounds of food for food banks, the administration said.

Daley discusses Quinn tax hike proposal

WLS-TV : Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said if income taxes go up under Governor Pat Quinn's proposal, property taxes should go down. Quinn wants to raise the tax to four-and-a-half percent, but the mayor says if it's going to happen, property owners need some tax relief. For years, the mayor has advocated what some call a tax swap, wherein the income tax would be raised only if property taxes were lowered a corresponding amount. The mayor said his position on increasing the state income tax has been a long-standing one. The mayor and other tax swap proponents point out how property taxes have soared in recent years. Daley said he would want an expanded circuit breaker law and cap on property tax increases before he would ever support an increase in the income tax. You can read more stories about Gov. Quinn's budget plan over at the Capitol Fax !

How we can reach our youth -- FREE event at UIC

Please pre-register for the event described before April 2nd, as a room assignment will be made based on pre-registrations. e-mail JulieHenschel at jhenschel(at) You may recall a few days ago a previous post about the Reload Urban Youth Workers conference at North Park University on Saturday, April 4 . In it, I had some editorial on the (percevied, by me) the lack of connected effort by community churches to reach out to the youth. Every day, I see some youth in the neighborhood who look like they could be up to no good. However, we do have resources, whether churches or after shcool clubs, that can help these kids. And we need youth to reach out to youth. They (the youth) do it all the time, anyway...and they create this thing called "buzz" which promotes different ideas, movements, media, etc. Could be negative, but it the buzz can also be positive. The author of the book "Anatomy of Buzz" is in town, and providing a special FREE event at UIC this upcomin

Louis Farrakhan speaks in the neighborhood

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke at Greater Institutional AME Church this past Sunday. The story is on the Tribune's Chicago Breaking News blog . They have a photo, and the brief story: Rev. Louis Farrakhan of The Nation of Islam attended services today at the Greater Institutional Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago prior to his speech on stopping neighborhood violence. Farrakhan spoke today about the violence that has taken the lives of several youths in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. He said if young people would see each other as brothers and sisters, they would not feel the need to use a gun against each other. The minister also called on all communities to work together to end the spike in violence. Was anyone there? Please comment....

National Block Club University

You know I wanted to post about this for a while. Well not necessarily this, but in fact a video like this made by the founder of this organization : Syron Smith was running against Andre Thapedi last year in the 32nd District for the seat to be given up by Milt Patterson who retired, but not before voting no on impeaching the recently ousted Rod Blagojevich. In any event Smith was knocked off the ballot and in that video said he was running as a write-in candidate, but the seat was won in November by Thapedi (his General Assembly profile ). The 32nd District represents the 6th in the portion that encompasses the northern most portion of this ward. Anyway Smith's organization mentioned in this post's title, National Block Club University, has this basic history : NBCU was officially incorporated in summer of 2003 as a not for profit organization designed to teach and develop residents to combat crime and disorder. Founder Syron M. Smith of Chicago, Illinois created NB

The middle class, tax hikes and the GOP

Round up over at the Capitol Fax . I'm pulling this quote: One problem is that the idea of what a middle class family is has so radically changed over the years. People struggled to keep up with the Joneses while their wages stagnated. That led to a credit overextension, which led to some of the current housing-related woes. I will refer you to this previous post from the weekend.

Transit advocates: state funding not enough

Chi-Town Daily News : As Illinois legislators consider Gov. Pat Quinn's annual budget proposal, transit advocates say the state is falling far short of what's needed to adequately maintain Chicago's existing bus and rail systems. In his budget, submitted earlier this month, the governor acknowledges that "mass transit systems are in dire need of new investment," and he sets aside $1.5 billion for state transit agencies over five years. Under Quinn's proposal, the new money would come from increases in motor-vehicle license fees. But transit advocates warn that the new funding would not cover the $1 billion annual cost of maintenance and repairs for existing mass transit in Chicago. They say the federal stimulus package, which endowed Chicago transit authorities with more than $414 million this year , is not a replacement for a much-needed capital spending bill from the state. "The state hasn’t provided a dime of transit capital funding for five years,&quo

Honors Students Also Struggle at Robeson High School

CPR : Most of the incoming freshman at Robeson High School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood read below grade level. So resources are directed toward those struggling students, and less attention is given to the motivated ones like freshman Sarah Vance. These honors students get high grades but the curriculum doesn’t adequately prepare them for college. Some do make it but others either get discouraged or are doomed for failure. Read the whole thing!

Some Popeye's have re-opened...

Update on the Popeye's closings that were reported on this blog . The one on 111 W. 75th was actually open as of Saturday morning (probably even before then). The one at 346 E. 95th was still closed. I didn't get a chance to go to the 75th location to find out details...just saw customers coming in & out. Anyone with any details or experiences at these stores?

Yolan Henry speaks out

Video from CBS2Chicago and related to the fundraiser for Cook County Sheriff candidate Derrick Baker that I had blogged about yesterday.

Are you hosting a block party?

I found these street clousures thru EveryBlock Chicago du to block parties: 333-341 E 78TH ST Block party on March 29 Posted to the City of Chicago Web site on March 29, 2009. 342-399 E 78TH ST Block party on March 29 Posted to the City of Chicago Web site on March 29, 2009. 400-400 E 78TH ST Block party on March 29 Posted to the City of Chicago Web site on March 29, 2009.  The weather I'm sure is kinda crazy right now. I thought block parties were only held during the warmer weather months. BTW, if you're hosting a block party in the near future please let the blog know. Drop a comment here or send a quick & brief e-mail.

Saving Chicago's Middle Class

I blog Progress Illinois' post here since the 6th is considered a largely middle class area so this should get some play on the blog: It's no secret that income inequality has widened dramatically in the last 30 years. Between 1979 and 2005, the top five percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 81 percent while the lowest-income fifth saw their real incomes decline by one percent The gap is often most stark in urban areas. Chicagoland's middle class population -- defined as those who earn between 80 percent and 150 percent of their metro area’s median income -- declined by 14 percent between 1970 and 2005. The top 10 percent of employees now earn 6.3 times more than the bottom 10 percent of the city’s workforce. The take-away: Chicago's once-vibrant middle class is slowly vanishing. Go there with some ideas Progess Illinois offers. My only opposition to some of their ideas is to a city minimum wage. I don't believe that it's a governm

Block Club Sign = 7900 Block of Calumet

A photo of a block club sign not taken by Levois!

Grandmother of Eddy Curry's son speaks at campaign event

This story is relevant for two reasons. Apparently a 6th Ward connection to the story of Eddy Curry's ex-girlfriend was found murdered in her apartment earlier this year. And the grandmother who refused at first to give up her grandson, Curry's son, is present at a political fundraiser: The maternal grandmother spoke at a campaign kick-off event for Cook County Sheriff candidate Sylvester Baker, who is calling for creation of a domestic violence unit in the sheriff’s office, to be charged with enforcing orders of protection. Henry’s daughter, Nova, who was killed along with her granddaughter, Ava, in January — allegedly by an abusive ex-boyfriend, Fredrick Goings — had let an order of protection against the man lapse. “My daughter had filed an order of protection, but because of her fear, she never followed up on [Goings] was allowed to carry a gun,” the mother said. “When you file a restraining order, there’s so much red tape, so many hoops you have to jump thro

Urban League's nextOne program developing minority business dreams

Former Chatham Food owners Leonard & Donna Harris went through this program, as described in the Chicago Sun-Times : Ti Ron Gibbs has watched his company's profits and revenues more than triple in the last year. Lee Reid has been able to keep his real estate business on track in the midst of recession, and a trio of entrepreneurs, whose businesses had been on different paths a year ago, are teaming up on a new green technology business venture. They credit a Chicago Urban League program, designed to help accelerate black business growth and economic development in African-American communities, with helping them find new market opportunities and expand. Eighteen months ago, the League launched its nextOne program to assist a select group of established Chicago companies in partnership with Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. The intensive six-month program provided industry specific one-on-one business coaching to entrepreneurs. It targeted businesses with sales fro

2 Killed, 4 Injured in Dan Ryan Crashes

Two separate accidents near 73rd and 75th streets on the expressway as reported by FOX Chicago.

Reload: Chicago Urban Youth Workers Conference

Reload is a one day conference. There are 80 churches within 1 mile of 79th & King, but our neighborhood's residents go to 200 (or more) churches! Many of them will be at Reload. (Churches include: Salem Baptist, Apostolic Church of God, Fellowship Missionary Baptist, Canaan Missionary Baptist, Lawndale Community Church, Christ Bible Church (formerly known as South Shore Baptist), Armitage Baptist, New Life Covenant, Oakdale Covenant, La Viitta Commnity, New Life Community, Evangel Assembly) However, it seems like NONE of the churches in the 6th ward have come. If you read this on Saturday, when you go to church on Sunday GRAB YOUR YOUTH MINISTER. If you miss them on Sunday, CALL THEM ON MONDAY. ======================= Reload - Chicago The largest urban youth workers conference in Chicago One of the largest in the 20 city Reload Tour Rates $20 Pre-Registration $25 At the Door Click here to see the full brochure RELOAD Chicago April 4, 2009 North Park Univ

Illinois Student Assistance Corps now hiring soon-to-be college grads

Disclaimer -- the author of this entry, JP Paulus, works for the Illinois Student Assistance Corporation. Also, PLEASE read the notes at the bottom of this entry -- they are very important for those applying! __________________ NEWS ALERT Illinois Student Assistance Commission Making College Affordable for Illinois Students Since 1957 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, March 06, 2009 Media Affairs Contacts: Paul Palian , 312-814-3679 (Direct), 312-590-7790 (Cell), Emergency , 312-814-3689 or 312-590-9432 Recent Grad? Graduating Soon? ISAC Has a Job for You! Agency seeks “a few good grads” to serve students and families throughout the state Deerfield, Ill.—The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announces it is hiring 78 positions in conjunction with All-Access Illinois, a college access initiative seeking to unify ISAC’s many valuable outreach services, products, and initiatives into one comprehensive campaign designed to engage students from low

Aldermen convince Chicago 2016 to up contracts for minorities, women

Sun-Times : Dissatisfied black aldermen threatening to derail City Council approval of a community benefits ordinance persuaded Chicago 2016 to up the ante on Olympic construction set-asides — to 30 percent for black contractors and 10 percent for women. The decision to raise the bar — from an original proposal of 25 percent and 5 percent respectively for minorities and women — was a pragmatic one. Aldermen Ed Smith (28th) and Isaac Carothers (29th) said they had "at least 14" aldermen who were prepared to vote against the agreement. At the very least, it would have gotten ugly. "We were going to be as vigilant as we possibly could have been to make sure it didn’t pass," Smith said, shortly before the Finance Committee signed off. "Why … come in here with the same old 25 and 5? ... We can’t go back and tell our community we didn’t fight for more. We could have been really kicked in our community. We didn’t want that. Why

CTA plan would avoid service cuts, fare hikes

Well I almost would have thought "DOOMSDAY" talk was back in style! Greg Hinz : The Chicago Transit Authority is floating a plan to close a $155-million budget hole without raising fares, cutting service or boosting the size of its public subsidy. But the proposal faces a very tough sales job in Springfield, where lawmakers would have to agree to allow the CTA to at least temporarily reduce contributions to its employee pension plan. Under the proposal from CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown, about half of the projected $155-million hole in the CTA's $1.3 billion annual budget would be filled by using federal economic-stimulus funds. Some of that money would be switched from capital to maintenance, a switch allowed under federal law, and some is anticipated savings as the agency reaps the benefits of new buses, track work and other projects that stimulus funds are providing. Another $18 million would come from internal savings, with about $30 million borrowed from the Regi

Is there a parking meter rebellion?

Carol Marin and Mike from The Expired Meter talking about the growing pains of privatizing the city's parking meters on Chicago Tonight You can also watch the video at the Chicago Tonight video archives . WTTW needs to work on the coding for video embedding! UPDATE: From the Tribune today! Chicago is sending out its own mechanics—and billing the private company now responsible for operating parking meters in the city—in a belated effort to catch up on a torrent of problems that include broken meters and inaccurate signs about parking rates and enforcement, officials said Wednesday. Indications of a more urgent approach to fixing the problems became apparent Monday morning when the Tribune observed meter inspectors and repair personnel working downtown. It followed a Tribune story on Friday that exposed the broad scope of the problems and how drivers and business owners are angry at the city, which watched rates quadruple this year as part of a 75-year deal to lease 3

Strolling along 87th

WVON-AM studios on East 87th Street two weeks ago!

Business Leaders Tempted to Leave Illinois Over Proposed Tax Hike

WGIL news : Mike Nobis, president of Creative Printers and Mailing in Quincy, which is right along the Illinois-Missouri border, says the business climate in Illinois isn't that good right now, and border towns in Missouri in Iowa notice. Nobis says towns like Palmyra, Mo. would love to have more jobs, and with Missouri's lower corporate tax rates, he has been tempted to pack up and move across the river. But he says he stays because Illinois' economy is more powerful and diverse than that of surrounding states. Nobis says in his company's 101-year history, he has never had to lay off employees, but if the governor's proposed tax hikes take effect, that probably will happen. He says if Quinn truly wanted to stimulate the economy, he'd lower the business tax and let the business sector stimulate itself.

VIDEO: Atlanta city councilman talk about his plans

Kwame Hall talks about his plans for his district in Atlanta, GA while he hosts a fundraiser. Via MyUrbanReport !

Recent comment

On an almost year old post regarding successors to Bobby Rush although this person got the congressional district wrong: I would support Ald. Lyle for the 2nd congressional seat if she'd only fix the pot holes on the side streets,have the drug dealers removed from our ward,enforce marshall law on 79th street,not rant against Daley then flip flop voting on suppresive traffic issues in council. Hmmm! To who ever posted this comment you should know that the Alderman actually reads the blog. Also, I've called for people to report what's happening on the side streets. Especially during the controversy regarding plowing the side streets. This blog will always been open to those who want to talk about issues on the side streets whatever they may be. That will include potholes, loitering, snowplowing, or anything like that. As for removing drug dealers well, what does that mean? Do you mean arrest them and prosecute them? I hope you know that surely that takes a lot of effort espe

Ill. unemployment at 17-year high

Crain's : Unemployment in Illinois hit its highest level in February in over 17 years, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Wednesday. The unemployment rate soared to 8.6% last month, up from a revised 7.8% in January, reaching a level the state has not seen since December 1991, according to the department, which publishes state figures on a delayed basis compared to national jobs data. The total number of unemployed in Illinois grew to 570,100, the highest since November 1983. “A national and local effort is needed to lift our country and our state from the depths of this recession,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said in a statement. Unemployment in Illinois exceeded the national rate, which climbed to a 25-year high of 8.1% in February. During the month, the economy lost 651,000 jobs nationwide. That was the 14th straight month of job losses, bringing the national total to 4.4 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007. Well don't let

Time to give up fight, OK Chatham Wal-Mart

Sun-Times commentary on Wal-Mart in Chatham and Ald. Brookins: Chicago -- specifically, the jobs- and grocery-starved South Side -- has always needed Wal-Mart. And now, with unemployment among African Americans approaching 14 percent, the South Side needs Wal-Mart like never before. Chicago opened its first Wal-Mart, in Austin neighborhood on the West Side in 2006. In that store's first two years, it generated $10.3 million in new sales tax revenue and created more than 400 permanent jobs. The average hourly wage, excluding managers, is $11.30. For five years, Wal-Mart has been contemplating a second, larger store, with a full grocery, at 83rd and Stewart in Chatham, but it has been thwarted at every turn. ... The Chatham store would create up to 650 permanent jobs, plus 1,500 construction jobs. It would give South Siders who live in "food deserts" a close and convenient place to buy groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables, at good prices. Chatham Ald. Howard Br

Ald. Brookins on Good Day Chicago

Hey we were just talking about our neighboring alderman to the west who hopes to build a Wal-Mart in his ward right across the Dan Ryan on 83rd Street. This in spite of heavy opposition from members of the city council and the unions. And this is what dominated that discussion in this brief video. Will this store be built and operational in the near future? We'll see! You can also watch this segment here !

Creative Floral and Gifts is hiring

Creative Floral and Gifts is hiring! In this recession, it's good to know there is still hope. Now would be an especially exciting time, as Easter, and even more so, weddings and Mother's Day are coming up. Creative Floral is located at the corner of 79th & Calumet (1 block west of Martin Luther King Drive). (343 E. 79th, to be exact). I’ve been there several times, and the service has been wonderful. Check our previous entries for more information. Pictured here is my daughter with the sign. For more information about the position, please contact them at 773-846-2929

Alderman's push for 2nd Wal-Mart could renew big box fight

Sun-Times : Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) said Monday he plans to introduce an amended redevelopment agreement at the April 22 Council meeting that would allow Wal-Mart to build its second Chicago store at a former Chatham industrial site. "There's no other way to get this moving. The [Daley] administration is not willing to do it themselves. The only way is to force their hand is by spelling out that Wal-Mart shall be permitted to come," Brookins said. "I think there are 30 folks who will vote with me on it. It may open the door to bringing back another type of big box type ordinance." Some activity on the vacant land at Chatham Market could be of some use right now generating revenue instead of continuing a fight that would only serve to block some economic development right now. Especially if no one else is coming around the corner to build there and provide jobs and such. Via CapFax morning shorts .

9th Ald. Anthony Beale on Good Day Chicago

He talks about Special Service Areas (SSAs) that are helping to fund private security firms and private street cleaners along 103rd Street and Michigan Avenue in his ward. His wish to have private security firms to issue minor citations has become a news item as of late. He also tackles the issue of foreclosure which is said to be an issue down that way. Beale urges those under the gun to seek help immediately and not wait until the last minute. BTW, I wish that FOX Chicago would update their list of Aldermanic interviews.

Sen. Link backs school mergers to save money

Clout St. : Democratic state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan says he would support legislative efforts to streamline all levels of government, including consolidation of school districts, as a method of achieving savings for taxpayers before backing Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to hike income taxes. ... “We’ve got to look at ways that we can help people save money, directly and indirectly, and if we could do things like consolidation of schools, do other things that are going to save people money, we’ve got to do that so when they put their hand in their pocket, there’s money there,” Link said on WGN-AM (720). Link cited a need to achieve “efficiencies in government,” including the always controversial issue of consolidating the number of school districts and perhaps eliminating other units of government, to achieve savings for taxpayers. Not sure if it's still true, but Illinois was said to have the largest number of local governments in the nation!

Trent steps down as ISP director

In The Telegraph he answers the charges against him regarding the state police's refusal to obey expungement orders: He acknowledged the issues raised by the Chicago Reporter and Madigan may have concerned Quinn "to a degree," but he defended the State Police's stance on the matter. "I don't believe that child molesters should have their records expunged," Trent said. "Contrary to (Madigan's) numbers, ISP expunged 32,000 criminal records in the last four years. There are 2,700 outstanding in a particular court in Chicago that she believes we are delinquent on. "We notified the petitioner on those expungements; we notified the state's attorney. Our bureau that handles that failed to notify the court that we disagreed with the decisions on those. "There are some things that can't be expunged, by law," Trent said. "If a judge issues a court order for expungement of one of those things, that's invalid. We beli

Burger King is re-opening!

Burger King re-opening on Tuesday, March 24. OK, we've got a couple of them here in Chatham. Which one are we talking about? Hint: It is not the one Jennifer Hudson used to work at (that one is on 87th, near the Dan Ryan). This one is at 418 E. 79th. From this photo (and others) Burger King remodeling is almost done From the looks of things, it looks like it might be a more café-style design (see Mather’s More Than a Café at 153 E. 83rd Street). Let us know how you like the new interior! And more important -- how is the service? Does it match the physical re-make? When I saw the sign that they were remodeling, I thought that meant they were closing. With most restaurants, “remodeling” is a codeword for closing. Such is the case with Captain Smith’s Seafood, just down the block at 353 E. 79th.

Food deserts will bring Daley back into Wal-Mart battle with unions

Laura Washington : It's called kicking the can down the road. In 2006, Mayor Richard M. Daley took a political hit that still reverberates today. The Service Employee International Union rammed a "big box" ordinance down the throats of the City Council. Its goal: To keep Wal-Mart mega stores out of underserved neighborhoods. The ordinance would have required wage and work rules for businesses with more than $1 billion in annual sales in stores of 90,000 square feet or more. The Council passed it. Daley vetoed it, arguing it would hurt economically depressed neighborhoods. The SEIU, which has long crucified Wal-Mart as anti-labor, targeted aldermen who didn't back the measure and neatly knee-capped them, knocking off six incumbents in the February 2007 aldermanic primary. ... The economy is strangling the economic life out of the neighborhoods -- particularly the South Side, proposed site of the Daley-Olympics. Hundreds of new jobs in Chicago's depressed nei

Public vs. private education students at UI

Daily Illini: A recent study by two University professors is challenging the assumption that private schools offer a better education than public schools. Sarah Lubienski and her husband Chris Lubienski, both professors in Education, released a follow-up study to research performed several years ago. In the original study, researchers found that public school fourth- and eighth-graders scored higher on math standardized testing than their counterparts in private schools. Chris Lubienski said the study looked at math scores because math is considered the best measure of what one learns in school. Children learn to read at home, he added. The study accounted for demographics and compared students of similar economic backgrounds. The research was compiled using federal government data. "The assumptions that people should choose private schools because they're academically superior doesn't really hold up," Chris Lubienski said. Via Illinipundit ! Here's anoth

DePaul, Roosevelt draw transfers with instant acceptance letters

Chi-Town Daily News : The interminably long wait between applying to a new school and getting accepted is something of a rite of passage for many transfer students. But a growing number of schools, including at least two in the Chicago area, have found ways to cut down that wait and sometimes get rid of it completely. In recent years, DePaul University and Roosevelt University have created fast-track open houses that let prospective students drop off all their transcripts, forms and recommendations at once and get a yes or no answer on the spot. “We wanted to give an opportunity for transfer students to have a smoother transition and take away a little bit of the fear of applying,” says Pamela Lee, who helps oversee transfer student admissions at DePaul. Last month alone, DePaul had 300 students come to eight events in the city the suburbs. And about 78 percent of those get admitted, Lee says. DePaul's program is in its third year.

Chatham Food Legacy contnues -- outside of our neighborhood!

Illinois still has one African-American grocery store… Unfortunately, it’s not in Chatham anymore. The former owners of Chatham Food, Leonard and Donna Harris, sold it because their children were not interested in continuing the family business. So at least for a short while, there were NO black-owned full line grocery stores in Illinois. (No, Moo and Oink don't count) However, John and Maggie Anderson of the Ebony Experiment (where they are attempting to buy from only black-owned businesses) are going to Farmers Best Market.

The Taxin' Illini

Wall Street Journal : Over the last six years, Illinois has ranked 45th out of 50 states in job creation, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. In 2008, 175,000 jobs vanished -- a medium-sized city of lost jobs. Mr. Quinn's tax increase will mean 50% higher taxes for nearly every small business, subchapter S company and corporation in the state. This is a state that does almost everything wrong economically. It is not a right-to-work state and is thus heavily unionized, repelling new business investment. It has the fifth highest minimum wage among the states, the fifth most trial-lawyer friendly legal code, the sixth highest workers' compensation costs, and the 11th highest property taxes. It has one of the highest inheritance taxes, at 16%, so retirees flee to states with no death tax, such as Florida and Arizona. A rare Illinois advantage has been its relatively low income-tax rate, but that will shrink or vanish under Mr. Quinn's increase. Over the last

Unfortunately what a person with a camera can do

Hmmm, good case of gotcha journalism. A politician forcefully and vulgarily pushing a constituent out of his office. Wow! This certainly isn't good for constituent services. But NOT SO FAST! Is the Alderman truly pushing out a constituent because this is a concerned citizen who cares about the job his elected official is doing? Or perhaps this is an attempt to provoke a response that was ready made for a camera? This vid has circulated on Newsalert or even The Bench . Even seen on the conservative blog . However, The Bench questions the story as portrayed on this vid. Even goes so far as to call the activists who produced or edited this video as " lying activists ". This vid may not present the whole story. Also note that this vid may have been posted late last month but was made last year.

Charge it to my account once more

I missed this post at Clout City, but consider this a follow-up to the WLS-TV I-Team report on Aldermanic finances that I blogged on Friday. Please note this was posted at Clout City one month before the I-Team report.

Daley, Weis intrigued by security guard proposal

Sun-Times : Both Mayor Daley and Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said Saturday they were intrigued by a proposal to allow private security guards to issue citations for minor offenses including moving violations and littering. “In an economic crisis, it’s not a bad idea,” Daley said of the idea, floated last week by two South Side aldermen. Daley said the idea would need to be refined and the guards may need additional training, but he likes the concept and “sometimes you have to think outside of the box.” Weis said he hasn’t met many police officers who love to write tickets. “In these times, let’s be creative,” said Weis. “If we can have police officers focusing on higher priority crimes, I think it’s worth looking at.” Tickets currently are issued only by Chicago Police officers. Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) and Ald. John Pope (10th) want armed security guards already patrolling three commercial districts on the South Side to be able to write tickets for everything from

Pension fund for CPS axes 2 managers

Crain's : The pension fund for Chicago Public Schools teachers terminated two Chicago-based investment managers for underperformance. Ariel Investments LLC and Chicago Equity Partners LLC were axed by the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago at a board meeting Thursday, according to Kevin Huber, the fund’s executive director. The timing of the decision was a surprise to the firms. The two managers, which handled nearly $200 million of the fund’s $9 billion in assets, had been put on notice after three-year returns lagged market indexes. They were scheduled to meet with the fund’s trustees in May to argue their case for retention.

Video: Urban policy ideas

We listen in on Antonio French who is the Alderman-elect from St. Louis' 21st who is visiting a conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin talking about different ideas to revitalize urban areas. From taxes to starting some urban farms You can see more of the Alderman-elect at his blog, PubDef . Or check out his campaign website as well. Added bonus video of an urban farm in Milwaukee .

Illinois House pledges $250M Olympics backstop

AP : The Illinois House has voted to pledge up to $250 million to Chicago for any potential losses it may incur if the city hosts the 2016 Olympic Games. Supporters of the state-backed insurance program say it is a must for Chicago to secure the games. The Illinois Senate is expected to take up the bill next week. Democratic Rep. William Burns of Chicago said Thursday the insurance is a low-risk deal for the state, adding the Olympics could have $22 billion economic impact for Illinois. Burns pointed out that the last three Summer Olympics in North America have averaged a $733 million surplus.

State Police director has reportedly resigned

Capitol Fax One reason to care about who he, Larry Trent, is, for all the expungement orders that were ignored by the state police. It may not necessarily be of his doing, but one should consider who appointed him.

Maps for the 34th state house district

From the Tutor Mentor Connection and Mapping for Justice . These maps mainly look at mentoring/tutoring programs in relationship to failing schools, poverty, hospitals/clinics, college/universities, places of worship, banks, and pharmacies. Using the data on these maps an elected official or a very concerned leader could determine what programs are needed where for the benefits of these failing schools. In addition to that these maps seek out where such programs can find sponsors especially from their neighborhood churches, banks, or pharmacies. Indeed even potential tutors or mentors for these students in struggling schools. Are there any mentoring/tutoring programs that need attention in the 6th Ward? Leave a comment or send an e-mail if you know of any.

1,500 Simeon students told: We must stop the killing

Sun-Times : More than 1,500 Simeon High School students were told Thursday that the fight against the kind of senseless gun violence that claimed 14-year-old classmate Gregory Robinson III must begin with them. "Stand up. Be responsible. Help us fight this fight to get these guns off the streets,'' an impassioned Annette Nance-Holt, mother of slain Julian student Blair Holt, told a sea of students during a third-period tribute to Robinson on the street outside Simeon. "Our people came from slavery to this?'' Nance-Holt said. "We came all this way to have nothing except funerals we can't afford to pay for?'' Nance-Holt and others urged kids to alert police, pastors or school staff if they hear of trouble on the streets or know of gang-bangers packing guns. "Who has these guns? Who's killing these innocent people? You know who they are. You know who the gang-bangers are. You are just as responsible as we are for letting this happen in o

CSU press conference location change

From a recently send press release from Chicago State: The location for the previously announced news conference has been moved to the legislative assembly rooms of the Academic Library, third floor. Previous post Proposed scholarship offers free year of college tuition to eighth grade students

State court: Pardon doesn't mean clean slate

Daily Herald : The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that gubernatorial pardons based on convicts' innocence do not automatically clear their criminal record -- a decision some attorneys said would cause their clients undue anguish. The ruling involves pardons that declared two men, Stanley Howard and Dana Holland, innocent of violent crimes and could have been the first step to officially wiping away their convictions. But when the men took steps to expunge their records, judges said no. ... Thursday's ruling applies only to pardons where a convict is declared innocent -- not to pardons issued on other grounds, like failing health. In recent decades, there have been only several dozen pardons that explicitly declared a convict's innocence. A key issue the Illinois Supreme Court grappled with was whether lawmakers meant to give courts discretion over whether to wipe clear the record of someone wrongly convicted. In its ruling, the court found they did have that d

Rent-a-cops could write tickets on South Side

Back in December I blogged about some police action investigating a burglary and one of the cars weren't a Chicago Police car but that of a private security service. I would have easily thought that they were deployed by a private burglar alarm service although I don't know if that's common in the city. I get the feeling we might see more of them. I saw a nice post about the use of private security patrolling the Roseland neighborhood over at 2nd City Cop . This morning an article in the Sun-Times: Private security guards patrolling three Far South Side commercial strips would be empowered to write tickets -- for everything from parking and moving violations to loitering, littering and graffiti -- under a groundbreaking plan that faces strong resistance from rank-and-file Chicago Police officers. The controversial idea comes at a time when City Hall is slowing police hiring and violent crime is up. Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th) and John Pope (10th) said they're puttin

WLS-TV - Unaccounted aldermanic allowances

I-Team report : What happens when Chicago aldermen get their hands on generous expense accounts? And why isn't anyone watching? The economy may be in the tank but Chicago aldermen are now flush with spending money. Their expense allotment more than doubled last year. Each of the fifty members of Chicago's City Council now receives $73,280 a year for expenses. ... Chicago overlooks part of the largest fresh water body in the world which provides drinking water for millions of us. But according to city expense records obtained by the I-Team, Lake Michigan water isn't good enough for most Chicago alderman. They pay thousands of dollars a year from their city expense accounts to have bottled water delivered to their ward offices. Among them is South Side alderman Anthony Beale who also paid more than $16,000 in tax money last year to a public relations firm that helps prepare ward newsletters sent out a few times a year, screens press calls, and sets up media intervi

RTA director talks CTA, ridership and budget crisis

Chi-Town Daily News : RTA Executive Director Stephen E. Schlickman began the year with several challenges: new leadership at the Chicago Transit Authority, a call for more minorities and women at transit agencies, and a multimillion-dollar disagreement over the extent of the CTA's 2008 budget deficit. The RTA and the CTA are waiting on last year's final quarterly results to reconcile their figures next month. But there are also bright spots for the leader of the Regional Transportation Authority. The American Public Transportation Association released figures that show a four percent climb in mass-transit ridership nationwide in 2008, and the RTA's ridership growth was even larger than the national average. The agency also received more than $400 million in federal stimulus funds. Meanwhile, transit officials say they're hopeful that the Illinois Legislature will adopt a new capital-spending bill for their agencies this year. Read the whole Q & A!

FOX Chicago: Aldermen From All 50 Wards

I got wind of this series via Progress Illinois . I remember in 2006 ago I blogged a few profiles of Chicago Aldermen that were courtesy of Rick Kogan from the Tribune. All of the 50 Aldermen who were profiled. I blogged about two who were actually retired next year such as Ted Thomas who retired and Shirley Coleman who lost her re-election bid. I look forward to seeing Alderman Lyle's edition of this series, but let's show one from close to home with Sandi Jackson from the 7th Ward. You can watch her vid. here as well. What the series seeks to cover is what issues are important to Chicago's Wards. Perhaps you might have some issues in mind and share them here. Write a comment or send an email. I have a few ideas economic development (especially job creation or the creation and development of businesses), education (especially for elementary and secondary school students),  and crime (especially discussing prevention in addition to the investigation and prosecuti

Auto bailout may help Illinois-based suppliers

Crain's : A $5-billion lending program by the U.S. Treasury could help struggling Chicago-area auto parts makers who have suffered steep drops in orders as car companies pull back on production. The funds would be made available from the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, said members of the Obama administration's auto task force. It would create a financial entity similar to a revolving credit to provide financing for auto parts that large suppliers have shipped to the Big Three automakers but have not yet been paid for. U.S. automakers — General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. — would have the option of using the program and would be required to pay a 5 percent fee of up to $250 million to join. The car makers would designate the parts suppliers who need financing and the suppliers would have to agree to terms of the government-backed protection and pay a small fee for the right to participate. The money would provide some relief t

Ray LaHood denies disparaging Illinois work ethic

AP : U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is disputing claims by the president of an energy company that the former Illinois congressman is the source of comments claiming Illinois workers have an "awful" work ethic. Globe Energy LLC president David Jones said LaHood told him a few years ago that Illinois has a bad reputation when it comes to work ethic. Jones said he has found it true that Illinoisans' have a questionable work ethic. LaHood said Wednesday that Jones' claim he made the comment was "baloney." LaHood said he met with Jones several years ago when Jones was attempting to establish Globe Energy, an English company, in Peoria. The company provides energy saving technology to commercial firms. Not good, especially since he used to be a Congressman from Illinois. Well we can't prove whether he said what he said to that man. Indeed it's more plausible that this Jones character probably said what he said. People from Illinois are be

Is the income tax hike too small

Well according to James Meeks it is if you read this Mark Brown column : Case in point: Sen. James Meeks, the South Side minister who has been the state's most outspoken advocate of an income tax increase for the past seven years. Meeks supports raising the income tax so that the state will adequately fund education. In particular, he wants to end the over-reliance on property taxes for school funding that shortchanges students in poorer communities such as some of those he represents in the south suburbs. In the process, Meeks had also hoped to use a big chunk of the money from an income tax increase to provide direct property tax relief. ... But Quinn's proposal does little to address the education funding problem, at least for the short term. Of the $2.8 billion in new state revenue that Quinn says his income tax plan would generate, he would direct only $174 million to schools and $40 million for colleges. And there's nothing in there for property tax relief. &

Block club sign

I took this picture on New Years Eve on the corner of 95th and Indiana.

Ah so this is the magnet engineering program?

The Alderman e-mailed me a while back to let me know that Harlan has a magnet program in engineering. I didn't think to really check it out until I saw this link for this on Harlan's official website . Well one of their official websites. I'm very curious to know what kind of students would be attracted to such a program. Also check out this description of Harlan on the CPS website: Harlan offers a college prep and Education To Careers (ETC) program. Harlans Math, Science and Technology Academy (MSTA) boasts state-of-the-art science laboratories, math mini-labs and three computer labs. Through College Bridge and Excel, students can take classes at Chicago State University and other colleges. ETC programs are offered in carpentry, information technology, software applications, web design, Tech Prep, Occupational Prep, Licensed Practical Nursing, and Police and Firefighters Academy. Honors classes are offered in all core subjects. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are offer

Proposed scholarship offers free year of college tuition to eighth grade students

A press release from Chicago State: Illinois Rep. Mike Boland plans to unveil a proposal for free college tuition for eighth grade students at a news conference next Monday, March 23 at 1 p.m. at Chicago State University. The plan will offer scholarships to eighth grade students in exchange for a pledge from the students to avoid drug or alcohol abuse, have no arrest record with law enforcement, as well as remain suspension free for the rest of their high school careers. The scholarships will be equivalent in value to a year’s tuition at a community college, which could also be applied to a state university such as CSU, as well as any other public or private college or university in the state of Illinois. Boland, who chairs the higher education committee, calls the grants “Challenge Scholarships.” His proposal is modeled after a similar concept in Indiana called the 21st Century Scholars Program, established in 1990, which has awarded in excess of 15,000 scholarships. If you want to

State fee hikes and other budget items

AP : Gov. Pat Quinn is asking Illinois drivers to pay higher fees for renewing their driver's license and vehicle stickers. He says the increases will help fix crumbling roads and bridges. Quinn wants a $26 billion construction program, supporting 340,000 jobs. State officials have argued for years over how to pay for such a construction plan. Quinn's answer is to raise the cost of license plate stickers by $20, bringing their cost to $99. A driver's license that now costs $10 would climb to $20. Neither of those fees have changed in at least a decade. Of course in addition to this in light of the financial condition of the state... Paying More to Work In Illinois - MSNBC Quinn to call for sales tax holiday - The Southern Higher taxes, fees in plan to balance state budget - RRStar Big Tax Increases Could Be On The Way From The State - Illinois Governor Gives More Details on Budget - CPR Illinois Politicians Disagree on Tax Hike Op