Monday, January 31, 2011

Moseley Braun to Watkins: 'You were on crack'

One piece of news out of the mayoral race over the weekend. Of course I know there are those who will continue to support our former Senator, and there are those who weren't swayed by this theater one way or another. Anyway the short story is that Carol Moseley Braun went off on Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins at a mayoral forum at that famous Trinity United Church of Christ on Sunday. I'll let you be the judge as to whether or not this is a good temperament for an aspiring mayor.

Video above from ABC7!

BTW, courtesy of the Sun-Times a quote from our Alderman who is a Braun supporter:
“I’m not sure how much of it was fatigue. These campaigns tend to be physically draining, [but] I was very surprised. I don’t think it represented an ambassador of the United States government,” said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th). 
The rest of that article is about some of the other gaffes Sen. Braun has made during the course of this mayoral campaign.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Army and Lou's to close - maybe permanently, maybe temporary

I saw this on Rep. Constance Howard's Facebook page:
Celebrate the History, Legacy, and Institution of Army & Lou's Restaurant

Come out with your friends and family to celebrate the rich history and say farewell "for now" to ARMY & LOU'S, the oldest black owned restaurant in the Midwest. Eat your favorite meals and listen to live Jazz on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the buffet and Live G...ospel on Sunday, 422 East 75th St., Chicago.
So I sent her a message asking about it.  Here's what representaive howard shared with me:
JP, Here is information from BERA, regarding why the restaurant is closing:

Alicia Spears talked with the publicity representative from Army and Lou’s and here is a summary of their conversation:

Restaurant owners do not know if they will re-open. They need funds, they need willing parties to commit to use of the site-not just verbal consent; they need consistent support, or investors willing to take over the 65 year old establishment.

Many people are going to the south loop restaurants where it is more trendy, a better sense of security, better parking. Since many African-Americans now live north of 63rd Street, they don’t want to come south.

Alicia Spears

Executive Director
Business and Economic Revitalization Association (BERA)
200 East 75th Street
Chicago, Illinois
Here is Army' & Lou's website.

i hope this restaurant doesn't close for good. We already lost Yonni's. We can't lose this classic restaurant. In addition to the food and people, 2 standout qualities include the art display from a nearby art gallery, and a meeting room that could be reserved for meetings, gatherings, etc. I used it several times for my former organization's monthly luncheon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Upcoming Mayoral Forums

A listing of Mayoral forums in our community and around the city courtesy of Concerned Citizens of Chatham.

Not too late to register to vote

If you missed the Jan. 25th deadline there is a grace period according to CPR:
The voter registration deadline for Chicago's February election passed earlier this week, but tardy residents are not yet out of luck. Grace period registration is now taking place.

"[This] allows the procrastinators who have not registered to actually register," explained Langdon Neal, chair of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Normally, these late comers must vote on the spot, right when they register. Except, this year,  things are being done a bit differently.

That's because of all the confusion caused by ballot challenges, including the pending court case involving Rahm Emanuel's candidacy for mayor. So instead of voting immediately, grace period voters will be handed an application for an absentee ballot.
The grace period will end on February 15th. All you have to do is go to the HQ of the Chicago Board of Elections @ 69 W. Washington Street, Suites 600/800. Also note that early voting commences on Monday, Jan. 31st.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New business caucus wants Chicago to re-think ‘impediments to growth’

Another Sun-Times story and this caucus has ended offering our Alderman an endorsement:
Roper’s definition of “stepping up” is the “Jobs and Growth Caucus,” 20 sitting aldermen endorsed by the Chicagoland Chamber PAC who have agreed to push a job creation and business development agenda in the new City Council.

The caucus will be chaired by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), owner of Ann Sather’s Restaurants.

The $112,000 raised so far by the Chicagoland Chamber PAC is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions that labor is expected to spend on aldermanic races again this time. 

But the group’s endorsement of 27 incumbents and eight aldermanic candidates is a prelude to a much broader agenda. 
The Jobs and Growth Caucus will work against those efforts and for a business agenda that includes eliminating the employee head tax and solving the city’s pension crisis.

“What we want from the Council is to take a look at those impediments to growth for companies. It could be a more refined tax and regulatory policy, getting through zoning faster, taking a look at licensing and permitting,” Roper said.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) added, “This is not labor vs. business. We have something in common. We want to put people to work. Chicago must be open for business. We hear from New Jersey, from Wisconsin, from Indiana. Everyone’s attacking this state, this city that they’re better than us. We have a message to send to them that we’lll compete at every level on every detail to get businesses here so they can stay here and prosper.” 

The Chicagoland Chamber PAC made 35 endorsements, including 27 sitting aldermen. Seven incumbents got the nod, without joining the caucus. They include political powerhouses Edward M. Burke (14th) and Richard Mell (33rd) along with Aldermen: Pat Dowell (3rd); Leslie Hairston (5th); Freddrenna Lyle (6th); John Pope (10th) and Ariel Reboyras (30th).
If there is a time to think about bring jobs to this city as well as making this city business friendly now is the time.

Save-A-Lot coming to the old Dominick's store...

According to this recent story from the Sun-Times in story that originally was about closing a Jewel/Osco at 6057 S. Western:
Residents will soon have a smaller, lower-cost and limited-assortment grocery alternative when Save-A-Lot opens five stores Feb. 24 on Chicago’s South Side, including one at 6701 S. Western Ave., a company spokeswomen said.

The other Save-A-Lot stores will open at 148 W. 79th St., 344 E. 63rd St., 6858 S. Aberdeen and 8240 S. Stony Island.

The Save-A-Lot stores, a wholly owned subsidiary of Supervalu, which owns Jewel-Osco stores, measure 15,000 square feet, on average, compared with a Jewel-Osco store averaging 45,000 to 55,000 square feet. Save-A-Lot currently operates eight stores in Chicago.
Even then you still don't have to go far to visit a Save-A-Lot as there are locations at 7908 S. Halsted Avenue, 10700 S Halsted St, and 7240 S Stony Island Ave. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Englewood Aldermanic candidate seeks a Wal-Mart

The 16th Ward is a neighboring ward to the 6th as it largely encompasses the Englewood neighborhood. We here at The Sixth Ward had blogged an ABC7 story about some Englewood activists seeking a Wal-Mart in their community. Apparently it's part of an Aldermanic campaign platform this year according the Chicago Muckrakers:
Jobs are the topic of the The Chicago Reporter's latest issue. It's an issue everyone's thinking about, including Hal Baskin, a community leader and 16th ward aldermanic candidate from Englewood. The South Sider says jobs are the way to reduce crime in neighborhoods, increase safety at schools and improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents.

We mapped the number of jobs in Chicago by ward and found that the 16th ranks almost dead last. Baskin, a reformed gang member who now runs the P.E.A.C.E. Center, proposes one solution to bring jobs into Chicago: more Wal-Mart stores.
Baskin has been one of the retailer's biggest supporters. "I'm not supporting big companies or unions," he says of the living wage controversy that's swirled around the discount store. "I'm supporting people in the neighborhood and they need jobs," Baskin said.

With plans for more Wal-Marts in the future, Baskin is pushing for a store in the heart of Englewood, where 63rd Street and Halsted Street intersect. Like many Wal-Mart proponents, he laments the tax revenue lost when Chicago residents drive to the suburbs to shop at Wal-Mart. And he brightens up at the prospect of the hundreds of jobs that a Wal-Mart could bring if a local store were to open in Englewood.
I suggest you read the whole thing. It talks about how Wal-Mart benefited or may not have benefited the Austin neighborhood. Also let's not forget that Wal-Mart sought to build a store not in another minority community such as Chatham or Pullman but in a North side lakefront community such as Lincoln Park or Lakeview.

Via Curbed!

Talking more about Emanuel and the Red Line extension...

Since it appears that Rahm Emanuel will be on the ballot for now per a state Supreme Court ruling, we can further discuss his plans for extending the Red Line from 95th to 130th Street:
First on Emanuel's to-do list, which totals billions of dollars, is overhauling 10 miles of deteriorated Red Line track on the South Side from 18th to 95th streets, where slow zones cause long travel times.

Emanuel also seeks to extend the Red Line from its current south terminus at 95th Street by another 5½ miles, to 130th Street. Finally, he proposes to renovate Red Line stations and track north of Belmont Avenue. Some of the stations north of Belmont are in deplorable condition.

These aren't new ideas. Daley and CTA officials have wanted to get the job done for years. But with almost $7 billion in CTA capital needs that are not funded, talk is cheap.
But Emanuel, who holds 44 percent in the latest Tribune poll, pledged he will have all three phases of the Red Line project under way in his first year as mayor.

He will rely mostly on federal funding, a commitment that typically takes years to line up by completing the applications and studies required by the Federal Transit Administration. State funding and public-private partnerships to support reconstruction of rail stations are also envisioned by the Emanuel campaign.

"It's a heads-up to Washington, D.C., and Springfield that this will be a priority if I'm elected mayor," Emanuel said last week.
But Emanuel, who holds 44 percent in the latest Tribune poll, pledged he will have all three phases of the Red Line project under way in his first year as mayor.

He will rely mostly on federal funding, a commitment that typically takes years to line up by completing the applications and studies required by the Federal Transit Administration. State funding and public-private partnerships to support reconstruction of rail stations are also envisioned by the Emanuel campaign.

"It's a heads-up to Washington, D.C., and Springfield that this will be a priority if I'm elected mayor," Emanuel said last week.
Please note that this column from John Hilkevitch, the Tribune's transportation columnist was written on January 23rd a day before Emanuel was originally kicked off the ballot per a State Appellate Court ruling. We know that Emanuel is on board on transit issues, but what about the other Mayoral candidates? At that what about our Aldermanic candidates? Especially on the issue of the Red Line extension and how it might or might not benefit the residents of the 6th.

Via Edgewater Community Buzz!

From Saturday's 6th Ward Aldermanic candidate forum at Kennedy-King College

Worlee also did a write-up at Concerned Citizens of Chatham complete with photos. It was also indicated at Worlee's blog and in a write-up provided by the GCA that this forum will be aired on CAN-TV in the near future. Hopefully when that information is provided we will share on this blog.

BTW, I understand that Sekum Walker was there. Was actually wondering if he was going to be seen at all.

There are pictures provided by Leslie Honore at GCA and the write-up posted below. If there is any other coverage we should know about feel free to let us know.

Monday, January 24, 2011

WOOTEN: "Chesterfield & West Chesterfield, here's what's wrong"

In this brief video Wooten examines Chesterfield & West Chesterfield. This write up applies for both neighborhoods:
Foreclosed homes blemishing the beauty of this once, sought after single-family home area. Quickie drug deals and burglaries are disrupting the tranquility of this well-established community and certain types of families have started to ignore the time-honored values that this community is known for. This community also asks: why can’t they have the kinds of small and big businesses you expect to see in Northside areas? Should that still be a wish or a reality?
In this one he doesn't veer from the script at all so nothing new here. You should read his PDF editorials there isn't much difference between the two, only that well he changes Chesterfield for West Chesterfield and vice-versa:
Today, if you don’t o er our youth the options of being engaged in after school programs, you leave them vulnerable to bad in uences. Volunteering with our youth and mentoring young men in the ward has made that very clear to me. So my administration will work with our churches, schools and community groups to implement programs that allow kids the chance to stay focused on a positive future. Should we succeed in securing a grant from the Illinois Violence Prevention Agency, jobs would be created in the community aiding in the establishment of neighborhood patrols to report criminal and suspicious activities. Most people have no idea how the city’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) works! What some of us do know is that it was intended to improve poor communities. But the mayor abused it. Englewood and Park Manor would be on the top of my list! If we don’t stabilize the hardest hit areas rst, the spill over e ect will topple the best parts of West Chester eld.
So he wants to work on the destabilized neighborhoods of Englewood and Park Manor in order to protect that best parts of Chesterfield and West Chesterfield. Does this make sense?

UPDATE: Emanuel off the ballot for Mayor

UPDATED 6:26 PM Emanuel files an emergency motion to stay the Appellate Court Ruling pending appeal via Capitol Fax.

You can read this story from the NY Times.

You also can read a round-up of consequences from the Capitol Fax.

It makes you wonder doesn't it? Who wants Rahm Emanuel off the ballot? To be honest I haven't really been paying attention to this story as I already knew that the Chicago Board of Election voted in Emanuel's favor. I knew about the court case as well, but this for some was an unexpected ruling.

All that can be said was well I was glad to see him take a stand on the Red Line extension, but it doesn't do him much good if he's no longer on the ballot.

Chinatown closer to new field house, library

Chinatown residents are inching closer to winning some city resources that they’ve lobbied for during the last several years. Chicago’s City Council allocated funding in September for a new field house to replace one that was torn down nearly 50 years ago. More recently, the Chicago Public Library and city officials identified a site for a new library branch and have started moving to acquire the property. The progress comes just as Chinese-Americans observe their 100-year anniversary in Chicago’s South Side Chinatown.

The field house has been a particular sore point for young and elderly Chinatown residents alike. “When I started fighting for this thing I had children,” said Leonard Louie, President of the Ping Tom Memorial Park Advisory Council. “And I think today my grandchildren are old enough to be able to use it. That's how long it's been.”

Louie himself used to play basketball at the old field house at Hardin Park, before the state tore it down in 1962 to expand the Dan Ryan Expressway. At the time, said Louie, Chinatown residents were promised that they’d soon get another field house. Instead, Louie and other residents say children now often play volleyball over sidewalk fences, because there’s no proper facility or community center. “It's definitely a problem because you just have kids hanging out on the street and looking for things to do,” said Louie. “You're in a situation where you're just asking for trouble.”
The Chicago City Council approved a $10 million allocation from the River South TIF District to finally build the facility near the southern end of Ping Tom Memorial Park. At that price, park leaders will likely have to pare back their original vision for the facility. “The original plans for the field house were to include a natatorium, which is an indoor swimming pool,” said Louie. But park district officials estimate that could cost anywhere from $15 million to $18 million. More recent field houses, like the Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park and Jesse Owens Park, did not include swimming pools, and ran just below $10 million. Still, Louie hopes whatever the city builds could be expanded to include a swimming pool later. He and other park leaders are also exploring the possibility of raising additional money to fund the natatorium.
This story is worth a read. And this is the kind of thing I would like to see out of our community!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So is it true about Harlan students going to the White House...

Starting with this young man featured in a report from CBS News on the day of President Obama's inauguration. They never mentioned what high school Mr. Stephen Gordon was from, however, they did show Harlan's corridors and thus I could tell where that footage was filmed.

It was noted at the January Harlan LSC meeting that I believe this individual was the first to visit the White House. Another student paid a visit in 2010. Yet another it was mentioned another student will have an opportunity to introduce 1st Lady Michell Obama at the White House this year.

Harlan Principal Reginald Evans said it himself at the meeting as he wondered whether anyone at CPS HQ downtown will recognize that "something is happening here".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wooten: What's wrong in Englewood?

Well you know the videos for the neighborhoods of the 6th from Aldermanic candidate Richard Wooten I've just decided to post them individually. Here's the video for Englewood which takes up only a small portion of this ward in the northwest corner. Here's some text to follow although it's not exactly word for word:
There are so many things wrong with Englewood that it’s no wonder some residents feel hopeless! Crime across the board is rampant! Vacant, deteriorating and abandoned properties are everywhere! A lack jobs and job training for our young and out-of-work middle-aged adults. Plus, there’s a huge need for affordable housing and more health clinics/ facilities. In addition, this area needs more homeless shelters and battered women safe houses.
I'll hand it to Officer Wooten, he is attempting to diagnose the issues of the individual neighborhoods here in the 6th.

The case for electing Chicago's school board

This issue has interjected itself in the Aldermanic race as several of the Aldermanic candidates have taken a position on this issue. CPR interviews Jitu Brown of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization to talk about his position on how to organize the Chicago Board of Education.

Man gets 7 1/2 years for selling properties he didn't own


John Hemphill, 41, was convicted in August of mail fraud and false impersonation of a federal official. U.S. District Judge William Hibbler sentenced him to 90 months in prison term Thursday and ordered Hemphill to pay $166,910 in restitution, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office.

According to evidence at trial, since 2008, Hemphill engaged in a scheme to defraud property owners and prospective purchasers by creating and recording fictitious deeds with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, then posing as the property owner to sell the property.

He typically filed a fictitious deed conveying title to a parcel of property to one of Hemphill's businesses, and then filed a second fictitious deed purporting to convey title to a third party. He told prospective buyers that he and his business entities held title as a "federal receiver" or had other lawful authority to sell the properties.

In early 2009, he falsely sold property at 5436 S. Paulina in Chicago to an undercover agent for $6,000, the release said. Hemphill was arrested on Oct. 14, 2009, after purporting to complete the sale at his office at 211 E. 79th St.
JP wrote about this location back in October 2009.

Friday, January 21, 2011

VIDEO: Sleet in the 6th Ward

Brian Sleet describes the 6th in the speech for this video as a "collection of safe neighborhoods with middle-class values". Also he says the 6th embodies the "entrepreneurial spirit of self-reliance and economic independence" as well as being "proudly a high voter turnout and anti-machine ward". This video also show scenes from throughout the 6th along such streets as King Drive, 87th, 83rd, and 75th Streets. Duration is at least 3 minutes. What are your thoughts on this video?

SUN-TIMES: Extend Red Line to 130th Street, Emanuel says

Another story about Rahm Emanuel talkin' up the Red Line extension into Roseland & Altgeld Gardens:
Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel stood in a gospel music store at 107th and Halsted Thursday to announce his first mass-transit priority as mayor would be to extend the Red Line to 130th Street.

“Stopping at 95th Street cuts off stores like this from commuters and customers,” Emanuel said.

Extending the line would cost about $1.4 billion, but Emanuel said he demonstrated as a congressman he would be “strong, direct … and focused” when it comes to winning federal money for Chicago, as he did for the Brown Line modernization.

He also wants $300,000 to fix up the tracks from 18th to 95th streets and another $1 billion to modernize the tracks north of Belmont.

Thursday’s announcement was a “heads up to Springfield and Washington, D.C.” that the Red Line extension will be his top mass-transit priority if elected. He said the project could bring 4,000 construction jobs.
You can read the previous story here!

GCA 6th Ward Aldermanic Forum on Jan. 22

You should've already heard about this forum already either here or at the Concerned Citizen's of Chatham blog. This is to be held at the Great Hall of Kennedy-King College located @ 740 W. 63rd Street to be held Jan. 22 from 1PM to 3:30PM. If you plan to be there feel free to offer a recap of this event.

Capitol Fax on the Mayoral Race

Polls indicate that former Congressman and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is increasing his lead in this race. Also his lead is increasing in Black communities around the city. In addition Emanuel's warchest is building up as far as funds go. Carol Moseley Braun on the other had was outraised by an unknown Black mayoral candidate named Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

UPDATED: Emanuel pitches Red Line extension

UPDATE 5:07 PM - Progress Illinois provides this video (shot in the Roseland neighborhood) of mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel talking about his plan for the Red Line.

Clout St:
Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel today said his first transportation priority is an expansion of CTA’s Red Line, “the backbone” of the city's rail system.

He wants to secure federal funding to rebuild deteriorating tracks south to 95th Street, extend the line to 130th and renovate and modernize lines north of Belmont.
The $1.2 billion effort was meant to reach out to disadvantaged minority neighborhoods by adding four additional stations — at 103rd, 111th, 115th and 130th Streets — as well as bus terminals and park-and-ride lots.

Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, acknowledged that the major infrastructure investment will require “active and sustained lobbying on the federal and state level for funding.”

“It’s a heads up to Washington, D.C. and Springfield that this will be a priority if I’m elected mayor,” Emanuel said inside a South Side business that he said could benefit from increased traffic. The Red Line has “lacked the investment other parts of the system have received. I’ll secure it.”
I hope he comes to the affected communities that could benefit from the extension to show that he's serious about the expansion.

I.C.E. Theaters Receives Financing to Renovate Chatham 14

Concerned Citizens of Chatham:
Stonehenge Capital Company, LLC is pleased to announce today it has commenced financing on a $10 million Illinois NMTC allocation that will enable ICE Development, L.L.C. to renovate and reopen the ICE Lawndale Theaters, make improvements to the ICE Chatham Theater (200 W 87th) , and pay down outstanding debt. The investment by Stonehenge is expected to create and preserve 99 jobs.

“On behalf of ICE Development, we would like to express our deep gratitude to Stonehenge for enabling us to reopen ICE Lawndale Theaters and to make improvements to ICE Chatham Theater which are two projects that will provide a much needed economic boost to underserved areas,” said Donzell Starks, co-owner of ICE Development, L.L.C. His wife and co-owner, Alisa Starks, continued, “We respect that we could not do what we are doing without the Illinois New Markets Development Program, and for that we are also very grateful to our elected officials who had the vision to create the initiative.”
Certainly great news. ICE can reopen one of theaters that they shuttered over three years ago and they can get to work on the Chatham 14 theaters as well. Hopefully the best is yet to come.

Chicago News Report: Gunman Robs South Side Family Dollar Store

Chicago News Report:
On January 16, 2011, around 10:50 a.m., a south side dollar store was robbed at gunpoint.

The robbery occurred at the Family Dollar store at 364 East 87th Street in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood.

Police described the armed suspect as an African-American man with a light complexion, approximately 25-years-old, about 5'7", and 115 lbs. He was last seen wearing a light blue jacket and a black skull cap.

After the robbery, the crook ran northbound on Martin Luther King Drive.
Does anyone know anything about this crime? If you do have any information please contact police. This post from Chgo News Report was posted on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Barnett Report: Ald. Lyle

Richard Barnett has as his guest a person whom he refers to as the best Alderman in the city of Chicago on his cable access show. This 13 min. video was posted on January 11, 2011. Mainly a little personal history such as how Ald. Lyle got appointed Alderman of the 6th in 1998. Also the various duties of her office and especially notes how the Alderman is closest to constituents than congressman or state legislators. And she talks about all the meetings she would attend in her capacity.

Grocery store in Roseland and SSA in 34th Ward from Citizen Newspapers

In the neighboring 9th Ward there was a groundbreaking for a new grocery store near 115th & Michigan:

Ald. Anthony Beale led ground breaking ceremonies for an Aldi store at 115th St. & Michigan Ave. to cheers of over 60 people who braved the snow and cold this weekend.

“There’s good representation here today — residents, business people, community leaders,” observed Godfrey Lawson, president of the l00~ and Eberbart Block Club. “The neighborhood is coming back!”

Persistence and renewal were the themes of several remarks made at the event. Beale noted he had worked 11 years to address the ward’s “food deserts” and that Aldi would be one of two major grocery stores to open soon. “They will flu avoid with fresh produce, seafood and other items we lack,” said Beale.

According to Musa Tadros, president of Crown Commercial Real Estate and Development Inc., the 18,000 sq. ft. Aldi will anchor a 90,000 sq. ft. mini-mall.

He expects the real work on Aldi to begin in March, with doors opening by the fall. He indicated a bank, restaurant and other services emphasized by the community were being sought to complete the mall.
Then in the 34th there is talk of creating an SSA for that part of the far south side:
Business owners and community residents of 34th Ward crowded into the Sheldon Heights Church located on 11325 South Halsted Street on last week to discuss Special Service Area (SSA) #46.

SSA #45 and #46 are located in the 34th Ward.

The SSA Program is a mechanism to fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous industrial, commercial and residential areas, according to the City of Chicago’s website.

The town hall meeting last week was for both #45 and #46 where the debate centered around the calculation of the tax levy where #46’s tax increment is much higher than #45.

Arba L. Houlden, Jr. executive director of the Far South Community Development Corporation (FSCDC) explained that, “The voting constituents benefit from the SSA because a more attractive and safe business district attracts more viable and popular tenants to the Ward. This way residence don’t have to travel outside the Ward to other neighborhoods for goods that their community provides,” he stated.

SSA-funded projects could include but are not limited to security services, area marketing and advertising assistance, promotional activities such as parades and festivals, or any variety of small scale capital improvements which could be supported through a modest property tax levy.
It was noted that there are 43 SSAs city wide. Of those there are only 10 in black neighborhoods throughout the city and only 4 in Latino neighborhoods. And surely the discussion only mirrors what's being discussed about an SSA here in the 6th.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What wrong in Roseland Heights: the video version from candidate Wooten.

This video was based upon the written version I found at Wooten's campaign website over the weekend. There are videos from his campaign for this ward's other neighborhoods as well.

CTA Red Line extension and transit not discussed by mayoral candidates

Since it appears that the Uptown Update & CTA Tattler are promoting "scoping" meetings starting later this month about modernizing and improving the northern most portion of the CTA L system. Isn't it about time this part of the south side continue discussing the proposed extension of the CTA Red Line into Roseland and Altgeld Gardens from 95th Street?

Looks like according to the NBC Chicago Ward Room blog, talks about that Red Line extension. In fact, they think that the poll from the Amalgamated Transit  Union should have asked about completing the L system. In fact that was the basis for that Ward Room post:
Here’s a better transit-related question for the mayoral candidates: will you support completing the L system? Specifically, will you advocate for the funding to extend the Red Line to 130th, with a terminal near the Altgeld Gardens housing project?

Right now, the Red Line ends at 95-th Street, nearly five miles from Altgeld Gardens, a “transit desert” where half the residents don’t have jobs, or cars that could get them to jobs. These people live inside the city limits, but a bus-and-train trip downtown takes nearly two hours. If the Red Line comes their way, they could get to the Loop in 39 minutes. It would also reduce traffic on the Bishop Ford Freeway by an estimated 20 percent. And, it would bring commerce to an area where residents complain they have to pay $5 for a bag of sugar.

The new tracks would run alongside the existing Union Pacific Railroad, but this would still be an expensive project: $1.4 billion, with 80 percent paid by the federal government, and 20 percent by the state. That’s a lot of money for these times, but bringing the L to the poorest neighborhoods of the Far South Side would fulfill a campaign promise every candidate is offering: to make Chicago one city.
BTW, the mayoral candidates made no mention of transit according to Jon Hilkevitch at the Tribune. That was alluded to at the Ward Room in the same post about the ATU poll.
But a new public-opinion poll on mass-transit issues found that the Chicago electorate cares greatly about CTA service, extending even to individuals who don't ride the system.

Do you see a disconnect between the politicians and the public?

The results suggest that mass transit is a big untapped issue that could play a key role in attracting votes, including among voters who consider themselves undecided in the mayor's race, according to the pollster who was commissioned to conduct the survey for the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents most CTA employees.

"Transit is kind of a sleeper issue in the race," said pollster Vic Fingerhut, who heads a polling firm based in Alexandria, Va. "You'd expect at least one of the campaigns to call for no more service cuts or fare hikes."
Although this isn't indicated by Hilkevitch, I'm starting to think he's referring the ATU poll referred to by the Ward Room. The ATU comes up a little further along in the column:
Officials at the Amalgamated Transit Union said they plan to organize transit passengers as a voting bloc, both for the upcoming election and to contact their elected officials in the run-up to congressional reauthorization of the multiyear federal transportation legislation.

"This is not just a Chicago crisis,'' said Larry Hanley, international president of the transit workers union. "In the last few years nationally, we've seen a crush of new riders but also some of the deepest service cuts and highest increases in fares in the last 50 years.

"Our goal is to get transit back on the political agenda," said Hanley, a former bus driver in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Gas prices are going to go back up again, and we have a great story to tell, one that people who ride our systems believe in."
Bringing this issue back home here, it's probably about time to ask the Aldermanic candidates what their position is on the Red Line extension. We know already that Alderman Lyle supports the extension, but what about the other candidates? Also how do we keep the extension at the top of the CTA's agenda so that it will eventually be built?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some links of interest in the closing hour of MLK day

First, Lee Bey talks about the property that once was home to Dr. King when he lived in Chicago to advance the Civil Rights cause up here in the north. That residence has since been torn down however today another residential building currently sits in it's place.

Also YoChicago reflects on MLK day with an accompanying video from the Chicago Tribune marking Dr. King's stay in Chicago.

Curbed, looks at the homes of not only MLK, but the homes of other Civil Rights leaders.

The Tribune has a story about CPS students having a day of service on MLK day. It includes a picture from Englewood's Stagg Elementary School @ 7424 South Morgan Avenue. Well that seems a long way from what I really think of as Englewood. Anyway...

The Sun-Times answers the question as to who helped to make Dr. King's birthday a national holiday.

Now in closing, how did you observe the MLK holiday this year?

Robbery/Purse Snatcher at Jewel's

Just got wind of this incident via e-mail tonight!
My wife was just a victim of a robbery at the Jewel on 87th at the Dan Ryan. The incident occurred at approximately 5:45pm on January 17, 2011.

NOTE: The purse snatcher was a Black male wearing a Black Hooded Top with Blue Jeans. He was driving a late  model Maroon Buick sedan with 4 doors.
Best regards
Let's keep an eye out for this individual. Also be very careful out there.

If there are any other incidents out there we should know about feel free to e-mail us.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Labor Laying Ground for Gains in Council Races

Chicago News Coop:
Organized labor is planning to spend millions of dollars and deploy thousands of volunteers across Chicago’s wards in the coming election to expand its influence at City Hall.

Although the largest labor groups appear to be staying neutral in the race for the open mayor’s post, the union that is the top donor to Illinois political campaigns is positioning itself to play an important role in the City Council races.
Thomas Balanoff, the president of S.E.I.U.’s state council, said last week that his group and other union activists, including the Chicago Federation of Labor, could spend several million dollars in the city elections this year.
This year, with Mr. Daley not running for another term and 10 incumbent aldermen also retiring, union officials say they hope to claim a majority on the Council. “That’s our goal,” Mr. Balanoff said. “We think there is a good chance.”
A priority will be to re-elect the freshman aldermen they helped to win in the last election as well as other council supporters with greater seniority. The labor-endorsed incumbents include Pat Dowell in the 3rd Ward, Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th, Toni Foulkes in the 15th, Ricardo Munoz in the 22nd and Joe Moore in the 49th, S.E.I.U. officials said Friday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's Wrong in Roseland Heights?

I'm excerpting this from a page from Richard Wooten's revamped campaign website. Most of the other information isn't much different from the other pages dedicated to neighborhoods throughout the ward:
Poor police response time! Unstable property values, due to foreclosures and vacant land, are cropping up in the area. Slum landlords!  Lack of new housing!  And this community wants more Alderman accountability regarding Roseland Heights’ infrastructure. Plus, they want to know why they can’t have more direct interaction with the Alderman to influence the decision-making that affects their community. Should Roseland Heights have the right to express how their taxpayers’ money is spent?  You bet! Further adding to the dysfunction of our ward is the inability of the Alderman’s office to instantly address the problems and–– identify programs that can effect change. My years of service to my country and community have taught me that you are only as good as your team. I want a qualified staff that is continually trained in customer service and communication skills. I want a staff member with grant writing experience to help consult the ward’s community groups and neighborhood businesses. This person will identify grants and programs that groups and businesses can pursue to help restore core values back to Roseland Heights.
For the other pages for the neighborhoods of Chesterfield, West Chesterfield, Chatham, Park Manor, and Englewood the first paragraphs are different. The rest of the information contained within are not.

What are you thoughts?

Voting in the municipal elections

First off if you haven't yet registered the last day January 25, 2011. Be sure that you're registered at your current address. 

Early Voting-City Municipal Election
January 31-February 17, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Whitney Young Library 7901 S. King Dr.

Municipal election day is on February 22, 2011

For more info you may visit

Friday, January 14, 2011

ComEd renews pitch for automatic rate increases

Commonwealth Edison Co. plans a big legislative push this spring that would allow electric and natural-gas utilities to hike delivery rates each year and would sharply curtail state utility regulators’ power to control the price for power and heat.

The measure, modeled in part on a controversial rate-freeze bill ComEd tried to move through the General Assembly last May, would give the state’s utilities far more certainty about recouping infrastructure investments in a timely way. But consumer advocates warn it would increase utility bills.

In a major change from the previous legislation, the new version would involve all of the state’s gas and power utilities rather than just Chicago-based ComEd. That means ComEd can enlist industry allies and add clout to its lobbying effort.

Under the proposal, utilities that agree to invest in their systems at a specific level would be allowed to automatically change their rates each year based on their costs. That would enable them to avoid the Illinois Commerce Commission’s review process, which often stretches to 11 months. The ICC instead would be given a narrower, after-the-fact review to ensure the costs aren’t egregious.

Congressman Rush doesn't plan to move his congressional offices

I heard about this story but I hadn't read into it until US Rep. Bobby Rush came to last nights 6th Ward meeting. It started off in this way on January 10th:
Rush, a Democrat who represents the South Side and suburbs, said the Arizona shooting spree has prompted him to hear the pleadings of his staffers and agree to move his congressional office, at 700 E. 79th St., out of the area. Rush said there were two or three killings near the office last year and a constituent was mugged on the way to a forum there. Rush has another office in Midlothian.

"There's an increased level of alarm and concern by most members of Congress," Rush said.
Another thing mentioned, is that his congressional office on 79th is located within the confines of Beat 624. I blogged about this police beat based upon a Sun-Times article last year. This story from Lynn Sweet from Jan. 12th, lets us know that Rush was undecided about moving his office:
Congressman Rush has not closed this office and he has not made a decision on whether to close this office, one of two located in the 1st congressional district. Any reports to the contrary are inaccurate.

For nearly two decades Congressman Rush's 79th Street office has been located in Beat 624, which recently was called the "most violent" police beat in the City of Chicago. The office, located near 79th and Cottage Grove, is based in a hot spot for fatal shootings, criminal assaults, robberies as well as gang and drug-related activity. It is also near areas where two Chicago police officers lost their lives. Given these facts, Rush believes that appropriate safety and security resources should be distributed throughout this district so that relative peace and the rule of law can be maintained.

As a lawmaker, activist and responsible employer, Congressman Rush is concerned about the safety of the residents who live within Beat 624 as well as his constituents and his congressional staff.

It's worth noting that the security measures of staff on Capitol Hill are quite different than those used within congressional districts. Rush and his staff are working with the U. S. Capitol Police and other appropriate law enforcement officials to determine the appropriate safety precautions that need to be adopted to ensure the safety of those who access his Chicago district offices, as well as those who work there on a daily basis.
He let us know at the ward meeting last night that he's not going anywhere. In fact pledged to help make Beat 624 much more safer with his presence. Even turned attention to the liquor store at 79th and Cottage Grove that is considered a problem by many. All the same NBC Chicago confirms that:
"I think it was misunderstood.  It was a slow news day.  I don't know what it was, but I just want to be absolutely crystal clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I'm like a tree planted by the water.  I shall not be moved," he said Thursday.
And while his office is in a high-crime neighborhood, he said he lives in the neighborhood near a public housing complex and is "kind of used to this environment."

"I've been here 20 years.  I'm not moving this office.  I'm going to be here when there's nothing but one building, and that's this building right here.  When everything else is gone, I'll be here."
Of course he said that at the ward meeting last night before I decided to Google for stories about any plans to move his constituent services office. It's great that he is staying, hopefully, this might mean a turnaround for 79th Street. I say this knowing it will take time!

Banks walk away from some foreclosures in Chicago

A new study says banks are choosing to walk away instead of completing some foreclosures, leaving buildings abandoned.

The housing research group Woodstock Institute says it identified about 2,000 of these vacant homes in Chicago. Here’s what happens – a homeowner stops paying, the bank servicing the loan files a foreclosure, the homeowner moves out, but then the bank decides it doesn’t make financial sense to actually take ownership. Then the house sits empty. Geoff Smith of Woodstock Institute co-wrote the report.

"While that’s all happening, the property takes away from the quality of life in the surrounding community, costs the city substantially and the servicer essentially walks away without any type of accountability," Smith said.

Smith says it costs the city money to take legal possession, secure the house and then in many cases, demolish it. He says that could total about $36 million just for the vacant properties his institute identified. Smith says most of them are located in African-American communities already hard hit by the housing crisis.
Is it that someone doesn't want to be the bad guy? Or is it all about the money?

Very sad Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting January 12th...

I think there's some interest in this. If you've been following the FB page, Barbara Ellis was the Principal at Bennett-Shedd Elementary School. Sadly she passed away on Monday. This is a personal story as she was my 3rd Grade teacher before she eventually was promoted to Principal. I would like to post more thoughts later but only for publication on the day of her funeral services (provided in a link at the end of this post). Cross-posted from Shedd Public School.

I wrote in my notebook twice about people getting emotional :'(, it was a really sad meeting under the circumstances. I was actually looking forward to seeing Mrs. Ellis again, but I had no idea December was going to be it. Some of the staff said that she was actually on vacation and she even came in at some point before she passed on.

There was some business discusses such as new computers and the new copier at Shedd School that was agreed on the previous month. This was the first time I didn't speak at the meeting. It was easier to do being the only one there as I was in both October & December, but there were more people there. Not sure how many parents but none spoke or identified themselves as such. One man said he was president of the No Child Left Behind program at Bennett.

In public participation the ones who participated was a 5th Grade teacher at Shedd and the President of NCLB who discussed ways to reach out to the community. An issue I am concerned about, but on this occasion I chose to hold my fire at that time. Actually I wanted to tell Mrs. Ellis about this blog, and sadly I waited too long.

Any event the meeting was called to order at 3:55 PM and I left when the LSC went into closed session at 4:42 PM. Here's the acutal agenda.

The previous post has info on funeral services.

Mysterious Survey Mokey Survey

Saw this posted by a friend on Facebook.
1. If you were in the election poll, who would you vote for?
  • Roderick T. Sawyer
  • Freddrenna M. Lyle
  • Brian E. Sleet
  • Sekum Walker
  • Cassandra Goodrum-Burton
  • Richard A. Wooten

 *2. What do you think is the most important issue that concerns the 6th ward citizens?

(open text)
*3. What do you think the next 6th ward Alderman should address the most?
  • Crime
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Lack of city services
  • Education
  • All of the above
4. What's wrong with the current 6th Ward Aldernman?
  • not assessible
  • not visible
  • not a coalition builder
  • not responsive

 *5. What would be the best way for the 6th Ward Alderman to better serve the people? 
  • Be responsive
  • Be assessible
  • Be visible
  • Build Coalitions
  • All of the above

*This question requires an answer.

So who published this survey? Why can't we see the results?

One thing that disturbed me was Question 4 -- it's phrased to be anti-incombent, rather than saying "what area needs the most improvement". Some people may feel there's something wrong, however, others may legitimately feel otherwise.  And you can't submit the survey without answering it (and no way to add another option).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

6th Ward Alderman Candidate Forums

R.A.G.E - Resident Association of Greater Englewood Candidates Forum for the 3rd, 6th, and 20th Ward. This is an open forum for residents and the current runners for each of the wards that serve Englewood. The January 15th forum will focus on the candidates of the 3rd, 6th and 20th ward. Part two will be Thursday, January 27, 2010 for candidates running for alderman in the 15th and 16th ward. Saturday, February 12th will be the last forum for the candidates running for alderman in the 17th ward. The times and locations for part two and three will be announced at a later date. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. Spread the word to residents in the 3rd, 6th and 20th Ward on the Englewood side!! For more info email or call 708.323.7140.

The Greater Chatham Alliance will host a Sixth Ward Aldermanic Candidates' forum on January 22 at Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St. from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The GCA will be joined by panelists from community groups representing the 6th Ward to participate in the forum. For more information, call Romana Branker, chairman of the GCA 6th Ward Aldermanic Forum Committee, at (773) 371-0231.

Chesterfield Community Council will host a 6th Ward Aldermanic Candidates' forum on January 18 at New Bethlehem M.B. Church, 8850 S. Cottage Grove at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the Chesterfield Community Council at 773-651-3958.

Mayoral race round-up at the Capitol Fax...

Rich Miller goes after former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun on her lack of knowledge of the anticipated income tax hike and whether or not the city will see a cut of it. Also who amongst the mayoral candidates support the tax hike. Finally Rahm Emanuel supports cutting the number of vehicles used by city workers.

6th Ward Aldermanic forum on Saturday, January 22, 2011

For those of you looking for for a chance to see all the aldermanic candidates, and live, mark you calendars

What: Candidate Forum for 6th Ward Alderman Office
When: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Kennedy King College, 740 W. 63rd Street (parking available on street and in lot)
SPECIAL GUEST MODERATOR – WVON 1690 AM radio personality, Cliff Kelly

The 6th Ward communities of Park Manor, West Chesterfield, Chatham Avalon, Greater Grand Crossing, Roseland Heights and Englewood would like all residents of these communities to come out and listen to the platforms of each nominee running for office of the 6th Ward Alderman in the February 22, 2011 election.

Please plan to attend to hear about the candidates’ qualifications, vision and specific plans for leading the ward during these very difficult financial and social times.

All 6th Ward residents are invited to attend.Please invite your family, friends and 6th ward neighbors!

Come out and hear from the candidates, all were invited to participate:
Please join us!

It is important to participate in our own community’s future.

For more information, contact: Ava Martin at 773-412-4025 or
The event is organized by Greater Chatham Alliance, with presidents of leading 6th Ward Community Organizations as panelists (such as Park Manor Neighbors Community Council , Chesterfield Community Council , Chatham Avalon Park Community Council).

The style will be similar to the League of Women Voters format for debates.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Future events from Ald. Lyle's office

Thanks to Kari Steele for alerting us to these events!

Southside Collaborative Chicago Community Resource and Career Expo
February 5, 2011 (Saturday)
10:00 a.m. - 2:00p.m.
Chicago State University
9501 S Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr.
Description: Learn how to save ENERGY & MONEY & Where JOBS are! Hosted by Ald. Freddrenna M. Lyle 6th Ward, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Senator Donne Trotter, State Rep. Marlow Colvin, State Rep. Connie Howard, Ald. Anthony Beale 9th Ward, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. 21st Ward, Alderman Carrie Austin 34th Ward  

6th Ward ICONS Awards Luncheon
February 13, 2011 (Sunday)
2:30 pm - 6:30pm
11901 South Loomis Street, Chicago, IL
cost: $50.00
Description: Join Alderman Lyle's  "SOAR Community Development Corporation"  as they showcase individuals that help make the 6th Ward a vibrant and stable community.  This is a chance to say "Thank You for all the hard work that they do"!  For more information call 773-994-5747

Mazany: Focus on accountability and testing has been excessive

Chicago Public Radio:
Though he only plans to stay on as head of the Chicago Public Schools for six months, interim CEO Terry Mazany laid out a dramatically different course for schools Monday, saying that under No Child Left Behind “we’ve traded off our pursuit of excellence for the tyranny of accountability.”

Mazany said the focus has been on failing schools and all that encompasses, including firing bad teachers and principals and closing schools.

By doing so, we’ve ignored the 80 to 90 percent of schools that are good, and lost opportunities to make them great, Mazany said.

“If…we think about schools as needing to improve—not needing to be closed—then we focus the system’s resources on support and development,” Mazany told civic and business leaders at a speech at the City Club.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THURSDAY: January '11 6th Ward Community Meeting

Place: New Bethlehem M.B. Church @ 8850 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Time:  Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 6:30 PM

For more info contact the Alderman's office by phone: (773) 846-7006 or e-mail: ward06 [at] cityofchicago [dot] org

Slain police officer's star retired

Photo by José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

The star of slain Chicago police Officer Thomas Wortham IV was to be retired weeks ago with a ceremony honoring his sacrifice, but it had to be postponed because it fell on the same day as services for Michael Flisk, the fifth officer killed in the line of duty in 2010.

Today, the moment finally arrived for Wortham's star No. 6181 to be placed inside a glass cabinet in police headquarters beside those of the 477 other Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty since the 1800s.

Wortham was a 30-year-old Englewood District officer who was fatally shot in May when four people tried to rob him of his motorcycle while he was off-duty outside his parents' Chatham home. Just days before Wortham's death, the Tribune had quoted him in a story about how he and others in Chatham were battling to keep their middle-class neighborhood safe.
The stars of Flisk, an evidence technician killed in November, and Officers Thor Soderberg and Michael Bailey, who were each shot and killed in July, are still to be retired.

While fielding questions from reporters after the ceremony, Wortham's father, Thomas Wortham III, himself a retired Chicago police sergeant, wiped away tears as he discussed street violence.

"This is too much killing," he said.
The Tribune pic above is of Officer Thomas Wortham's parents being escorted after the ceremony that retired Wortham's Police star.

Legislature finally ends free rides for most senior citizens

CTA Tattler:
A bill to allow free transit rides only for low-income seniors has been sent to Gov. Quinn for his signature after the state Senate passed the bill on a 54-2 vote on Monday. The House had OKed it on Saturday 95-15.

The bill would allow seniors who qualify for the state's Circuit Breaker aid program to continue to ride free, while all others would pay half price. Here are the income limits for the Circuit Breaker program:
  • $27,610 for a household of one.
  • $36,635 for a household of two.
  • $45,657 for a household of three.
Great start, perhaps for those seniors who don't qualify we can have reduced fares for them like what used to be the case before this free rides mandate. It was mentioned that Gov. Quinn hasn't said whether or not he would sign this bill and if he did, that veto could be overturned.

Calumet Heights wants a Whole Foods

Click pic to visit company website
Going so far as to post a petition on the Calumet Heights Community Coalition (CHCC) blog. This quote I grabbed from the petition link:
Isn't it time we had affordable naturally grown foods available in our neighborhood.

A little over a year ago, I blogged about the possibility of bringing Whole Foods to Chatham Market as mentioned at a neighborhood meeting for Wal-Mart in November 2009 by our neighboring Alderman Howard Brookins (21st). I do wish however that CHCC would say more about their drive to bring a Whole Foods to the Stony Island Corridor between 83rd & 95th Street.

Don't know how many have already "signed" this online petition, but I'm sure this organization doesn't have a problem with people from outside their immediate community express support.

BTW, Calumet Heights also contains the neighborhood of Pill Hill.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tribune candidate questionnaire for 6th Ward aldermanic candidates

Go here for races around the city. So far Roderick Sawyer, Ald. Lyle, and Cassandra Goodrum Burton had responded. The Tribune editorial board makes clear that no one has been endorsed so far.

Roderick Sawyer's questionnaire. This quote is about the Chatham Executive Building that has remained vacant even after renovations.
We have a state-of-the art "green" building in our community owned by African Americans, yet it remains virtually empty primarily due to the surge in violence on 79th Street.
Ald. Lyle's questionnaire. Her response to how to encourage employers to our city.
By providing an educated workforce, a culture that supports businesses and assisting new businesses in cutting through the regulatory maze.
Cassandra Goodrum Burton's questionnaire. Ms. Burton has this quote about Chicago State University.
One underused resource in the ward is Chicago State University. I would like to see the University serve as an economic engine for the area much like UIC does for the west side.
I would like to write more about their comments. It interesting to read their thoughts about how they think CPS should be administered whether continuing the status quo, switching to an elected school board, having a CEO with education experience, or who should appoint the CEO. Also interesting is how each would address the issue of crime and economic development.

I will continue to check in future for responses from the other candidates for 6th Ward Alderman.

Via Uptown Update!

Ill. rep concerned for safety after Ariz. attack

The tragedy in Tucson, Arizona over the weekend is reverberating here with Congressman Bobby Rush:
Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush says he's "very concerned" about his own safety and the safety of other congressmen following the shooting attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

The Chicago Democrat tells The Associated Press the climate for political leaders is bad, particularly for those who've supported President Barack Obama.
Rush says he's told those around him to be more vigilant. But he doesn't plan to scale back on any public appearances.
Also, west side Congressman and former Mayoral candidate Danny Davis also claimed to have received a threat over the weekend as well:
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said his office received an e-mail threat on Sunday.

"It was some person who emailed one of my staff persons and said that 'Danny Davis is next,'" Davis said. Davis, a Chicago Democrat, said the Capitol Police and Chicago police have been notified.

Chicago police news affairs could not immediately confirm that a report of a threat had been filed with the department.
Davis said he would typically ignore such a threat, but a shooting Saturday that injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killed six and injured 14, prompted him to be on alert.
I know there are those who are blaming political discourse in this nation for the Tucson tragedy. This has nothing to do with political discourse, but everything to do with a nutcase who was bent on committing some form of violence.

Best wishes to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was the target of this individual. She was shot in the head at close range, but is still with us (check this CBS News update) and there were 8 other people who are still hospitalized. Best wishes to those people as well.

Community Policing Is Caught in a Cross-Fire

Mick Dumke at the Chicago News Coop has more on the CAPS program:
Last Monday, neighborhood residents and police officers gathered at a Humboldt Park community center for their monthly community policing meeting. Crime in their police district, the 11th, had fallen, but it still outpaced the rest of the city in many categories, including homicide, where it ranked No. 1.

Those at the meeting also noted that the drug trade was as robust as ever. In November and December, residents of one two-block stretch of North Ridgeway Avenue had called the police 127 times, an average of more than twice a day.

Despite the problems, turnout at the meeting was poor: five police officers, two residents and a local housing advocate. One of the officers, Sgt. Davina Ward, announced that because of budget constraints the 11th District would hold fewer community meetings. “CAPS has been cut,” Sergeant Ward said, referring to Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, the city’s 18-year-old community policing initiative.

Mr. Weis said last week that the department remained committed to community policing. 
What do you make of this statement?
Critics countered that the police department, at Mr. Daley’s behest, veered from true community policing years ago. It should be doing more than encouraging citizens to snitch, they said. It should be teaming with them to confront the neighborhood disorganization that leads to crime, like irresponsible liquor stores, abandoned buildings and drug dealing.
You should read the whole thing.

Unknown Chicago: A New Plan for Saving (1-10-1910)

Location: W 63rd St & S Stewart Ave, Chicago, IL 60621, USA

John Schmidt had written about a defunct old bank that served the Englewood neighborhood once located at 63rd & Stewart. This financial institution had closed in 1941 before the neighborhood turned by the late 1960s.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Aldermen critical of proposed income tax increase

Two aldermen, Joe Moreno (1st) and Walter Burnett (27th), aren't very happy about this potential income tax increase being considered in the lame duck session of the Illinois General Assembly:
A group of aldermen have now joined the growing list of city officials critical of the proposed state income tax increase. While some agree the tax increase could help cure the state's dire economic condition, others remain concerned that the hike will create more financial problems for taxpayers and businesses, especially if Chicago does not see an increased share of the new revenue.

"If our citizens have to pay into the pot, it's only fair that our citizens get some money out of the pot," said 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett.

Burnett joined Ald. Joe Moreno and several others who want to make sure that if state lawmakers approve an income tax increase, Chicago gets its fair share. As it stands, revenue to Chicago would remain capped at one tenth of one percent -- regardless of any increase.

The opponents say with ongoing budget woes and pension commitments, the city cannot afford to miss out on millions.

"With unfunded mandates like funding the pensions for police and fire, it's unworkable and it's just unfair," said Moreno of the city's 1st Ward. 
Generally I'm against tax increases - especially income taxes - however, I do support the efforts of these Aldermen to make sure the city gets its fair share of taxes. The city isn't doing that great fiscally itself so of course Illinois' largest city wants to get a significant piece of that pie.

The contents of this tax increase are:
The proposed state tax deal would temporarily raise the personal income tax rate for the next four years from 3 percent to 5.25 percent. It would also increase the corporate income tax rate from 4.8 percent to 8.4 percent and boost the state's cigarette tax by $1 to $1.98, which would generate roughly $7.5 billion each year.
Supporters say the new revenue would be used to reduce the state's debt and fund education and human services. It would also pay for the $12-billion loan Illinois would borrow through a deal to immediately pay off the state's annual pension contribution and its growing backlog of bills.

Taxpayers would also get some of the money back annually in the form of a $325 property tax rebate check.

According to a research group, the income-tax rate moves Chicago to one of the highest-taxed areas in the country.
We're currently in a recession, correct? So while we consider raising taxes in a recession the Capitol Fax (from where I found this story) talks about how our neighboring state is expecting to benefit from this tax increase. Yeah this state and our city needs to pay the bills but what could this mean for future economic growth here?