Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black, Latino aldermen press Quinn to sign casino bill

Chicago Breaking News (of the Chicago Tribune) posted this news story
Latino and African American aldermen today prodded Gov. Pat Quinn to sign legislation that would allow Chicago to get a casino.

The City Council members said a casino would help create badly needed jobs for the city’s minorities because it would provide immediate construction work and eventual gambling jobs. And it would create other jobs over the long haul, they said, because Emanuel has promised to pump the casino’s profits into upgrading the city’s water mains, CTA lines, schools and roads.

More at...  Black, Latino aldermen press Quinn to sign casino bill

While the SEIU greatly exaggerated Alderman Sawyer's response to a questionaire in the many many pieces of propaganda, how strongly is he in support of this? How about our state representatives and senator?

And how much are YOU in support of gambling in Chicago?

Look for an opinion piece on this soon.

There's another yard sale coming to Chatham....

Chatham Club Sidewalk Sale Flier

This time out of the Chatham Club Development at 90th & Wabash on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Rain date is Sept 14, 2011. Sponsored by the Chatham Club Homeowner's Association.

Public high school grads struggle at college

[VIDEO] In May, Worlee posted on his blog a Sun-Times article about why Chicago Public School students strugging in class. The article from the Tribune and the video above almost seems like a follow-up to that:
The data, searchable on the Tribune's website, reveal wide disparities in how students from different public high schools perform at college. For example, Bolingbrook High School graduates had an average 2.44 at the University of Illinois, while those from Glenbrook South High School earned a 3.43 — even though college-bound students from both schools had similar average high school GPAs.

The average freshman GPA was 2.52 across all state universities and community colleges, roughly C+ work, based on the state's tracking of more than 90,000 public high school students who graduated between 2006 and 2008. In high school, those same kids exceeded a B average — 3.08.

Graduates who enrolled in Illinois' four-year public universities during that period averaged a 2.78 GPA as freshmen, compared with 3.37 in public high schools.

College and K-12 officials blame the performance declines on myriad factors, from inadequate high school preparation to high school grade inflation, newfound independence and increased partying away from home.

Educators say GPAs often improve following freshman year and are an important factor in gaining admission to competitive undergraduate majors such as business, and graduate and professional programs. In a tough job market, employers also look at GPAs, preferring at least a 3.0 average, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Urban Geography: How to Save Chicago

It's safe to say that this is one mission of Rahm Emanuel as he had just completed his first 100 days in office. This article is worth your time. While the writer - Daniel Jelski - seems a bit dour at least he noted one prominent example and it involves in part our part of Chicago's far south side:
My wife and I inadvertently got off the Skyway one exit too soon and wound up driving down 87th St. to Stony Island. This is a thriving, middle-class Black neighborhood. Every storefront was occupied, and there was no graffiti! (Unlike graffiti-scarred Rome, which we also recently visited.)
If they continue further west they probably would've discovered how far the lack of graffiti went. Here's a condensed version of what Jelski is looking for:
So get Chicago open for business. Lower sales taxes. Ensure public safety downtown and in the neighborhoods. Invest a little in mass transit. Give up just a bit of the parking revenue. Chicago is a great tourist and shopping destination, better than Rome in every way except ruins. Allow your citizens to cash in before Chicago itself becomes a ruin.
Read on for more details. What do you think needs to be done to save Chicago?

Hat-tip Newsalert!

Free rides for all seniors to expire on Thursday...

Very early in this blog's history I was very concerned about the state of transit in our city. There was a "doomsday" scenario back then with issues of financing transit in the Chicago region that was only averted with the help of a gubernatorial amendatory veto.

Rod Blagojevich who was Governor back in late 2007/early 2008 amended some legislation that bailed out Chicago region transit authorities, but the AV forced transit agencies to offer free rides to all senior citizens. The legislature accepted that and well transit still have their issues to the point where at least CTA was forced to raise their fares within the past two years.

Well this year we see another transition. On September 1, free rides for all seniors will end. Details from Tribune:
Under a new law that takes effect Thursday, only low-income seniors who meet requirements of the state's Circuit Breaker program will continue to receive free transit rides that were mandated for all seniors by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008. The free rides have cost the cash-strapped transit agencies tens of millions of dollars.

All transit riders age 65 and older who do not meet the income-eligibility limits will pay about half or less of the normal regular full fare. Actual fares will vary based on a number of factors, including whether the seniors pay fares with the new magnetic-strip senior transit cards and permits, or with cash.

All reduced-fare programs require seniors to present a new RTA photo-ID reduced-fare permit, which the RTA mailed out this summer to about 420,000 seniors (about 83,000 free-ride cards and about 337,000 reduced-fare permits), according to the RTA. Information about obtaining cards is posted on or by calling 312-913-3110.

The new cards are similar to the magnetic-strip fare cards that many seniors used before the free-rides program.

But many seniors are unhappy with the cards, saying they would prefer the ease of using a smart card that could be linked to a credit card or bank account, eliminating any fuss about how much money is on the cards. Smart cards reload value automatically.
Well this change is the subject of this post by The CTA Tattler which lists the many difficulties in this change for seniors especially as mentioned in the above excerpt the lack of a smart card option. Although I understand transit agencies chose to go with a more convenient option of using what they have available. And it's noted that there weren't enough smart cards to offer senior citizens.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kennedy-King College town hall video on demand

Last night's townhall meeting was about the budget. Still there is a common theme in these reports, someone is upset about losing their city job and have lost their benefits in addition to perhaps still struggling thanks to their unemployment. In one of those videos below Garry McCarthy fields a question regarding the Police Department. Yeah he was actually at Kennedy-King College with the Mayor Monday night!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Growing Pains: The Red Line Extension - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

Growing Pains: The Red Line Extension - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

The Bass Furniture owned by Eddie Davis near 115th & Michigan  is mentioned in this Mechanics post as I've been there on several occassions. Could be one business that could benefit from an L stop near his store. It shows comments not from people outside of that area of the city but those such as Mr. Davis from that area.
"I believe for the unskilled eye it's a threat," said John Paul Jones, a field organizer for Developing Communities Project. "We can welcome and find mutual benefits in supporting the two ends. There are legitimate needs on the North Side."

DCP is a faith-based community organizing group that has led the grassroots push for the Red Line extension since 2003. The organization got its start with a young Barack Obama in the 1980s.

Jones said he thought combining the South Side and the North Side improvements along with enhancing service in Evanston and Wilmette was a shrewd move on the part of the CTA. He had faith that Sen. Dick Durbin would push for federal dollars to extend the Red Line, but Sen. Mark Kirk would be more inclined to support projects closer to his backyard on the North Shore.

"I think it was added to satisfy [Kirk]," Jones said. "It has two senators who agree on transit investment. The Civil Rights movement can help ensure there's real parity in transit spending."

The travel times for transit riders that would be served by the extension are currently among the longest in the city, averaging more than an hour. According to a 2005 University of Illinois-Chicago study [PDF], one-fourth of the households along the new route are transit-dependent, meaning without cars.

"During the Clinton period, when the economy was supposedly experiencing an economic boom, there were areas of the country that the economic boom bypassed, and the greater Roseland area is one of those areas that were bypassed," said Lou Turner, a political consultant for DCP. Turner believes one reason the Far South Side has struggled so much is because it is cut off from jobs in the rest of the city.

The area once relied on nearby steel mills and factories such as the Pullman Company, but most of those industrial hubs are long gone, and the city's job centers have shifted north to the Loop and beyond. The Red Line extension would shave 20 minutes off the commute to the Loop from 130th Street, not including transfer time and frequent traffic tie-ups on Michigan Avenue and 95th Street.

"I'm not looking to that as a savior, but it will move people faster, and it'll give people access to get jobs," said Ladell Edwards, the owner of Edwards Fashions, which sells men's dress clothing on Michigan Avenue near Bass Furniture. "A lot of the jobs are not in Roseland."
Hat-tip Curbed Chicago!

Luring Chicago dropouts back to school, one doorstep at a time

Check out this WBEZ story featuring the Principal of Englewood's Harper High School located at 6520 South Wood Street. Do you think CPS should chase after the high school dropouts and re-enroll them into school?
Leonetta Sanders is not actually looking for dropouts. The district doesn’t do that yet. But it could learn a lot from the way the Harper High School principal goes after her truant students.

“Where are you supposed to be at right now? (At school). Why aren’t you in school? (I don’t know.),” Sanders said.

Sanders works off a list of names and addresses—today it’s freshmen. But out on the streets, she’ll go after anybody—forget the list.

When she sees one of her students pushing a lawn mower down Damen Avenue at 11 a.m., she’s on it.

Sanders: What you pushing this lawn mower for? (‘Cause I’m finna go home and cut my grass.) OK, and then what you gonna do tomorrow at 7:45? (Be at school.) You gonna be at school, Baber? (Yes.) Are you sure you’re gonna be at school? (Positive.) You gonna have on your uniform? (Yes). You ready to learn? OK. Now don’t lie to me, if you say you're gonna be there I expect you to be there, OK? (OK) All right. (OK).

Sanders crosses the street at a furious pace. She heads straight for the gas station where Baber had been hanging out—and ducks inside.

“I understand some of my kids are hanging out here during the day—they’re supposed to be in school. And I just caught one of them leaving here. So I need you to let them know, that they need to be in school, starting tomorrow—full uniform.”

From behind thick, bulletproof glass, the gas station attendant promises not to sell anything to kids during school hours.

And that’s how the morning goes. Sanders knocks on doors, talks on porches. “A lot of people are like, ‘You the principal? Coming out to the house?’ Yeah!”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

VIDEO: Mayor Emanuel on His First 100 Days in Office

This aired on FOX Chicago Sunday this morning and the basic background:
Rahm Emanuel was marking the completion of his first 100 days in office.

As he did it, though, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was celebrating the announcement that a manufacturer was moving to Merrillville after 97 years in Illinois, at 138th and Western, a few blocks of the border between Chicago and Blue Island.

Merrillville's good fortune - involving about $5.5 million in tax breaks and incentives -- was a blow to the South Side, which simply can't afford to lose any more jobs, especially the 260 good-paying factory jobs at Modern Drop Forge.

So FOX Chicago Political Editor Mike Flannery asked the mayor to give the pitch he made to lure a very different company -- EMC. It's a Fortune 100 technology-involved outfit that announced on that same day last week it would move 200 jobs to Chicago.

Emanuel focused on the highly-educated part of our work force and the presence in the west suburbs of Argonne National Research Lab and Fermi Lab.

Now here's a volunteer opportunity at our neighborhood schools...

Courtesy of an e-mail blast from the Greater Chatham Alliance and perhaps an answer to a recent post. Let us know if you plan to be at any of these schools to volunteer!

Join The Black Star Project's Chicago High School Alumni Associations and Celebrate the opening of Chicago High Schools

In Chicago, alumni from our area high schools are invited to be at their old high schools on the opening day on:

Monday, September 6

Let's welcome students back to school and if you can, volunteer some time to make your old high school great again!!

All Chicago Alumni should call 773.285.9600 to become actively involved with their former high school.

Black Star Project Foundation will plan activities that improve schools and serve students.

These High Schools' Alumni are committed to making changes at the schools below. Why not join them!

Aquinas - Austin - Bogan - Bowen - Brother Rice - Calumet - Carver - Chicago Agricultural School - CVS - Collins - Corliss - Crane - Creiger - Curie - DeLaSalle - Dunbar - DuSable - Englewood - Farragut - Fenger - Hales Franciscan - Harlan - Harper - Harrison - Hirsch - Hubbard - Hyde Park - Jones - Juarez - Julian - Kenwood - Lane Tech - Leo - Longwood - Lucy Flowers - Manley - Marshall Mendel - Mercy - Morgan Park - Mount Carmel - Orr - Parker - Payton - Phillips - Providence-St. Mel Richards - Robeson -Roosevelt - Simeon - South Shore - Spaulding - St. Patricks - Taft - Tilden - Von Steuben - Waller - Washington - Westinghouse - Whitney Young

Catholic High Schools not in existence should call Black Star to request a Catholic High School to assist at.

The Black Star Project!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Pictures of Peace in the Park- This is Our Park


Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Pictures of Peace in the Park- This is Our Park

This is Worlee's account of last nights event in Cole Park (301 S. King Drive). The 2nd annual event that let's the neighborhood know that Cole Park is safe as it was the site of several shootings last year including one that claimed the life of Officer Thomas Wortham. Believe it or not Garry McCarthy made it to this event and as you see here made a speech.

Read more and see more photos at Worlee's blog.

Mayor Emanuel involved in drive-by shooting at Dixon School

Location: Dixon Elementary School, 8306 S St Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60619-5792, USA
Mayor Emanuel involved in drive-by shooting at Dixon School.

To elaborate & explain: On our Facebook page, we posteda photo from the Mayor's facebook page. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had stopped by Dixon Elementary School on Tuesday morning, for what was essentially a photo opp (i.e. photo shooting). (A search at came up with nothing ).

So the headline was a little misleading.
OK, a lot misleading.  But how much significant time has Mayor Emanuel really spent in our community? He has been here a few times, to eat at Izola's (which has since closed, but hopefully temporarily), shake hands at El stops, and this Dixon appearance.  But he has avoided most forums on the South Side when he was running for mayor, such as the Mayoral Forum at Carter Temple, where every other candidate appeared.

We will we see any significant attention from the Mayor in the next 4 years?

Random question: why were the Dixon students "out of uniform"? Was it intended to make the school seem "safer" than a school with uniforms? Or just a coincidence that it timed with the photo opportunity?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ward Room: Why Unelected Bodies Shouldn't Raise Taxes

Well this post talks about not only the Board of Education, but also the Illinois tollways. Although I have no idea how many who reads this blog rides the tollways. The Board however affects most of us directly:
This week, the Chicago Board of Education and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority both got into our wallets. The Board of Ed raised property taxes 2.4 percent, and the Tollway Authority raised fares to as high as $1.90.

Reader, I’m sure you had the same reaction that I did: let’s throw those bums out. The only problem with that is that we can’t throw the bums out. The best we can do is throw out the bums who put in the bums.

That’s because the Board of Ed and the Tollway Authority are both unelected bodies. One is appointed by the mayor of Chicago, the other by the governor. Let me make a proposal to the General Assembly: it should henceforth be illegal for unelected bodies to raise taxes or fees.

Change of Subject: Where in the world was Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy?

More fallout from last Saturday's GCA meeting where Supt. McCarthy was a no-show! This time we read an explanation by Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn:
Police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen C. Biggane responded to my first email query about this with, "There was a scheduling conflict and subsequent miscommunication."

When I pressed her--Where was McCarthy?-- she replied:

"The 5th Annual Hoops in the Hood Cross-City Tournament was held at Seward Park (on the Near North Side, starting at 11 a.m.). The Superintendent attended this Youth Basketball Tournament in support of Chicago's neighborhood children going for the cross-city basketball title. Twelve community basketball leagues from across Chicago were scheduled to participate. As it turned out, the event was canceled after the Superintendent's arrival because of the rain. The Superintendent remained on site and visited with youth, organizers and others in the Seward Park field house."

Sounds poorly handled, not just by McCarthy's scheduler but by Carter, who owed the gathering a thorough explanation. It gets back to my theory that people will understand and forgive when you mess up, but only if you're forthcoming.

Biggane said the Q&A session will be rescheduled.

Special Service Area funds used to help supplement police patrols?

Not an unheard of idea. In the 9th Ward which contains such neighborhoods as Rosemoor, Roseland, and Pullman, they did have private security patrolling the streets that way.

It's possible that this may come to Chatham in the near future:
Sixth Ward alderman Roderick Sawyer, elected this spring after promising to improve public safety, said the new redeployments won’t address all of his constituents’ concerns. “We do have more officers patrolling the area, which is always a good thing,” he said. “But they can't do it all themselves and we have to acknowledge that.”

So Sawyer says he’s researching the possibility of using special taxing districts to fund a private security force for the community. “We’d get security guards and off-duty cops to patrol, particularly in our residential areas,” Sawyer said. “That might help us crack down on these property issues we’ve been experiencing—the thefts of air conditioners, the lawn mowers stolen. I think we need to do something to combat that.”

The alderman is talking about special service areas, or SSAs—designated districts where property owners pay a little more in taxes for extra services like storefront facade improvements, extra trash pickup and street sweeping, and economic development.

Sawyer isn’t the first person to propose using SSA funds for security. In fact, the southwest side community of Marquette Park began paying $70 a month for private patrols way back in 1994. The policy has been controversial almost ever since. As one Marquette Park resident said in a 2002 story about it for the Reader: “We're paying for the Chicago police—so why are we paying for extra security?”

The issue came up again in 2009, when far south side aldermen Anthony Beale and John Pope wanted to give private security guards the authority to issue citations for parking, litter, and other small infractions. Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley and police superintendent Jody Weis—well aware they didn’t have the money to hire Chicago cops for the work—said they were open to the idea, but it was ripped by the police union and died soon after.
What do you think of this development?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are there any volunteer opportunities at our schools?

This post at the Egdeville Buzz causes me to ask one question. Are there volunteer opportunities at our neighborhood schools? If you know of them feel free to post a comment, send a tweet (@thesixthward), send an e-mail, or write on our FB page (The Sixth Ward) wall.

CPS Now Wants Longer School Day in January - Chicago News Cooperative

CPS Now Wants Longer School Day in January - Chicago News Cooperative
Less than two days after negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union stalled, a new offer is on the table presenting the possibility of a teacher raise and a longer school day as early as January.

Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard first offered to pay elementary school teachers 2 percent more to work an additional 90 minutes each day in September when he appeared on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” Tuesday night. During Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, CPS officials said the changes could be made as soon as January, 2012.

The offer came as a surprise to CTU president Karen Lewis. “It would’ve been nice if we had that proposal while we were actually in negotiations,” Lewis said Wednesday after the board meeting. “For some reason they decided to do it on Channel 11.”

The two parties began negotiating over wages after the board voted to deny teachers their 4 percent contractual raises in June, citing a $712 million deficit.
Yeah making a proposal on TV show when it could've been made behind closed doors in labor negotiations is not exactly a good look. I'm just going to side with Karen Lewis on this one!

I do however like the fact that they're talking about a longer school day especially on the elementary school level. Let's hope that the school board and the teachers can come to terms with that.

ALSO you can watch CEO Brizard's appearance on Chicago Tonight below [VIDEO]

Chicago Reader: Where’s Garry McCarthy?

Cmdr. Eric Carter by Tonika Johnson/Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader's own Mick Dumke paid a visit to this past Saturday's GCA meeting where Superintendent McCarthy was a no show. This was explained in an e-mail from GCA, a portion of which is posted here on this blog. This article made no mention of how many attended this event:
Hundreds of people gathered inside a Chatham church Saturday morning for a Q&A session with police superintendent Garry McCarthy. But 15 minutes after it was scheduled to start, the featured guest wasn't there yet.

"We understand our police commander is on the way," announced Roosevelt Vonil, president of the Greater Chatham Alliance, the community organization hosting the meeting. "Let's just hope the police aren't running this late the next time we have to call them for help."

Several people laughed, others applauded, many nodded their heads, and just about everyone seemed to agree that Vonil's wisecrack cut to the truth. Some unsettling things have been happening in their neighborhood, and they wanted to know how much they could count on the police to help.

For more than 50 years Chatham has been one of the country's best-known upper-middle-class black neighborhoods—a magnet for professionals and government employees who take immaculate care of their spacious bungalows and wide lawns. People lucky enough to be able to find and afford a home there tend to stay for decades.

It's also a place where residents aren't afraid to pipe up when they don't think things are working. The wards that encompass the Chatham area are among the highest vote-producers in the city, often for independent-minded candidates.

It's no surprise, then, that following a string of brazen crimes in recent years, residents have both fretted and mobilized, decrying the "outsiders" and "thugs" responsible, questioning the city's restrictions on gun ownership, ousting their longtime alderman, and pressing city officials for more police.

Though crime totals for the police district that includes Chatham have declined from highs in the 1990s, many residents believe the stats don't tell the real story.
This article is worth a read if you weren't there. You can also read Worlee's account!

What happened with Garry McCarthy at the GCA meeting...

That was held on this past Saturday. Got this e-mail from the GCA with an explanation offered:
As many of you know, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was a "No-Show" at our meeting.

At least 500, Chatham and 6th Ward neighbors waited patiently to engage in a serious dialogue with Superintendent McCarthy.

I want everyone to know that on Monday, August 22nd, I received a phone call, around noon, from the Superintendent. That's right McCarthy called me directly.

He profusely apologized for the meeting mix-up that unfortunately caused the scheduling conflict.

Though GCA scheduled our meeting around the end of June/very early July, someone in his office goofed up!

The Superintendent assured me several times that when we reschedule our meeting with him, this time there will be no mistake: he guaranteed me, he will be there!
Found an article this morning written by The Reader's Mick Dumke about the recent GCA meeting. It's a good article it'll be the next article that I will share with you this morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chesterfield Community Council - 4th Annual Church in the Park

Location: Tuley Park, 501 E 90th Pl, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Chesterfield Community Council in conjunction with St. Mark Lutheran Church, Burnside Community Baptist Church, New Beginnings Church, St. Samuel COGIC, Gethsemane Church, New Bethlehem MB Church and more will host the "4th Annual Church in the Park" celebration.

Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tuley Park.

This free event will consist of motivational speakers, great music, fellowship, food, fire truck, jumping jack, health screenings and more. Bring A Friend, Bring A Neighbor and Pass the word...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Successes of first 100 days ‘just the beginning’ - Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Successes of first 100 days ‘just the beginning’ - Chicago Sun-Times

Speaking of Mayor Emanuel who is to have a budget town hall meeting at Kennedy-King next Monday how do you think he's doing as our Mayor so far?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cited accomplishments of his first 100 days in office Monday, producing a formidable checklist that he said represented not perfection, but a “down payment” on changes Chicagoans expect.

He covered issues from the big — making a start toward cutting $75 million from the city budget — to the bureaucratic, such as merging departments and cutting mid-level administrators. And he insisted he’s keeping his eye on long-term goals: safe neighborhoods, better schools, stable finances and governmental ethics and openness.

Emanuel called those his “north stars,” his navigational aids for civic improvements and political success.

“This is a down payment. This is just the beginning,” Emanuel said at a City Hall news conference. His 100th day in office is Tuesday.

The mayor said he’s not declaring victory on any vexing problems, noting that hard negotiations with municipal unions remain and that more changes must come to schools to ensure the placement of empowered principals and qualified teachers.

GCA - Mayor Emanuel Town Hall at Kennedy-King College

Gca-mayor Emanuel & Town Hall
Kennedy-King College is located at 6301 S. Halsted Street and the event is to take place on August 29 from 6 PM to 8 PM. Do you have any ideas to contribute towards the city's budget?

Monday, August 22, 2011

About that meeting with Garry McCarthy...

Well so far we haven't heard much about why he wasn't able to make this weekend's GCA monthly meeting where he was the featured speaker. Worlee estimated a crowd of 100 at Carter Temple on Saturday. GCA in this quote below from the Chicago Independent Bulletin noted the attendance of over 500 to this event:
6th Ward residents are still wondering what happened last Saturday, August 20...City Police Chief Garry McCarthy was a disappointing no-show at a community meeting at Carter Temple CME Church, 7841 S. was held to discuss local crime and the top cop’s plans to combat the problem; and was sponsored by the Greater Chatham Alliance, who angrily pointed out: “Over 500 people were seated! The alderman is there! The new 6th District Commander is there! But the superintendent didn’t show up. This meeting was booked two months ago!” Not good...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Did Chief Garry McCarthy Disrespect the Chatham Community?

Location: Christian Methodist Episcopal, 7841 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60619-2322, USA

This past Saturday morning the Greater Chatham Alliance (GCA), a community organization, held their monthly meeting at Carter Temple, 79th Wabash. This meeting was a departure from their normal format as the meeting focus was a community forum with Chicago Police Department Chief of Police, Garry McCarthy. The organization had been marketing this event for a month with door to door flyer distribution, robo calls, and traditional and internet press releases. Also, they asked "The Mayor" WVON radio host Cliff Kelly to moderate the question and answer portion of the meeting.

This was not going to be the first trip to the Chatham community for Chief McCarthy as he had been involved in a community forum hosted by Bobby Rush, Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, and The Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) in May and came out to a major crime scene several weeks ago.

alderman sawyerThe meeting gathered over 200 residents and media representatives from Channel 7, The Reader, Bloggers and independent reporters who came out despite the rain. Roderick T. Sawyer, Alderman of the 6th Ward stepped up to the podium at approximately 11:45am to introduce the Superintendent. Alderman Sawyer mentioned in his remarks that he had attended an event earlier this week with the Superintendent and mentioned that he would see him on Saturday. The Alderman stated that the Superintendent made no indication that he was not going to attend.

commander carterIn an attempt to keep order, the Alderman introduced the new Chicago Police Commander of the 6th District, Eric Carter. Commander Carter is a veteran of the Chicago Police department and most recently served in the 4th district. As Commander Carter started his remarks he received a text and made an announcement that Chief McCarthy was not going to be attendance. There was no reason given and a number of attendees became visibly upset that after it took an hour for Chicago Police Department representatives to make announcement.

cliff kellyAlthough Chief McCarthy was not going to attend Commander Carter stayed and fielded questions from the audience moderated by Cliff Kelly. Some of the most popular questions centered around Chief McCarthy lack of attendance and perceived tardiness, Conceal & Carry and policing strategies being implemented. Commander Carter was able to answer most questions and did not answer the Conceal and Carry question.

vonilThe president of GCA, Roosevelt Vonil expressed his disappointment with Chief Mccarthy absence during his final remarks.

As of the writing of this post, there have been no published reports as to why the Superintendent was not in attendance. Should the Superintendent make a public apology to the Chatham community for not showing up or is his attendance at previous events sufficient? What do you think?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ald. Sawyer Meet & Greet coming August 27th in Engelwood

Location: Englewood, Chicago, IL, USA
From the Facebook page of R.A.G.E - Resident Association of Greater Englewood...

RAGE member Sam Smith is planning a "Meet and Greet" with Alderman Sawyer of the 6th Ward in Englewood on August 27th more details are forthcoming...
We'll post details when available.

Friday, August 19, 2011

95th Street could be a bus rapid transit route

Back in 2008, I blogged here about an earlier proposal for bus rapid transit. One of those routes that would've been affected back then was the #79. A new proposal will affect the #95 route.

Here's a map below provided by the Tribune that shows all the BRT routes around the city proposed by the Metropolitian Planning Council (MPC). They will connect to not only CTA L lines, but also to Metra lines. For example #95 BRT route would connect not only to the 95/Dan Ryan station, but also to the stations along Metra's Rock Island line. What this reflects
Currently according to the Tribune the CTA is only considering three routes around the city for BRT with three more planned in the future. The MPC, has one good reason to consider their alternative:
They differ in most cases from the three routes the CTA is planning (on Jeffery Boulevard, Western and an east-west transitway connecting commuter rail stations in the Loop), and another three routes in the future. The streets selected in the new study are wider and more linear, which make it generally easier to implement and operate rapid transit bus lines, officials said.

The two major locations where the CTA and the study agree are on Ashland and Western avenues, where the CTA is conducting a corridor study covering 21 square miles.
Now if only we can get people from Altgeld Gardens better access to public transportation either through BRT or the Red Line extension.

Hat-tip CTA Tattler!

6thWardChicago: Inaugural Back to School Picnic @ Tuley Park

At 90th & King Drive starting from 11 AM to 6 PM. Let's be there for the students from our very own 6th Ward! August 20th as you know is a very busy day with various events! Refer to our calendar in the sidebar.

GCA agenda for August general meeting with Police Superintendent...

An agenda for this meeting on August 20th. Superintendent Garry McCarthy comes to the Chatham neighborhood at Carter Temple @ 7841 S. Wabash (or corner of 79th & Wabash). Of course as important as sending our young people off to school especially since their safety and our safety is important!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicago Tribune: Emanuel targets 9 neighborhoods in foreclosure fight

One of those neighborhoods is Chatham:
The "Micro-Market Recovery Program" is distinct from several attempts by the city to combat the housing crisis in recent years because it better coordinates the efforts of not-for-profits, banks and community groups, Emanuel said Wednesday.

While it will start with roughly $15 million from the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation for loans, Emanuel said it also will tap federal funds. And officials will reach out to banks to invest in keeping people in their houses or rehabilitating foreclosed properties, which Emanuel hopes will bring the total to $50 million.

A measure passed by the City Council last month that requires banks to secure and maintain buildings left vacant after foreclosures gives the banks incentive to work with the city, said Andrew Mooney, commissioner for Housing and Economic Development.

"We will approach (banks) and tell them 'You have specific responsibilities in this neighborhood,'" Mooney said.

Emanuel said he chose parts of nine neighborhoods — Humboldt Park, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, West Woodlawn, Auburn Gresham, West Pullman, Belmont Cragin, Englewood and Grand Boulevard — because they have high concentrations of recent foreclosures and have active community organizations that can help the administration focus its resources.

Ward Room: Are Casinos a 'Sure Thing' for Chicago?

What do you think about a possible casino in this city? Do you think it should be used to fund infrastructure for example? Here's what Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland has to say:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel thinks he’s found a way to enrich himself with gambling, too.

He’s already spent the money from a Chicago casino that hasn’t even been built, hasn’t even been approved by Gov. Pat Quinn. The mayor plans to use his casino windfall to fix up 25 schools and rehab the "L."

For every winner at the racetrack or the casino, there are 50 losers. And for every 50 losers, there are 50 guys who thought they had a sure thing. Gambling is no way to solve personal financial problems, and it’s no way to solve civic financial problems, either. It’s entertainment.

If Emanuel wants a casino so Chicagoans can enjoy poker, blackjack, craps and slot machines, that’s fine. But if Emanuel wants a casino so the city can squeeze more money from Chicagoans to pay for civic improvements, everyone’s going to lose.

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Where O Where Are Our Restaurants???

In discussing the closure of another neigborhood restaurant, The Bay, Worlee has this idea about how to prevent future failures of our neighborhood restaurants:
Since we have entrepreneurs who want to get into the restaurant business it would be great if Chatham Business Association reach out to the Illinois Restaurant Association and Washburne to develop a program so we do not continue to see these type of failures.
Another way to open up our community to business!

Wortham Education Walk August 20th...

Wortham Education Walk

It'll start at 9:30 near 75th & King Drive with step-off at 9:45 then concludes at 85th & King Drive at Cole Park. There will be school supplies available while supplies last. There are other events to be had on Saturday as well here in the 6th!

Alderman Hairston,Sawyer, Jackson & Harris- It's Time for a Big Box on the Southeast Side

Location: 7700 S South Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

Now that Alderman Brookins has gotten his wishes for a Walmart that will primarily serve the southwest side and Alderman Beale, Foulkes and Thompson bringing Walmarts to their wards on the far south and far southwest sides, it leaves the southeast side with nothing.

Several years ago there was talk of a Super K-Mart store coming to 77th Stony Island. Several businesses in that area relocated and the land was sold to unnamed developers. Now a sign was erected marketing a 6 acre site that stretches from 77th Stony Island to 78th South Chicago. The site is attractive because it has two major roadways to direct traffic and access to the toll road that could bring in Indiana shoppers. There are several small building adjacent to this site that host relocatable businesses. So we have a site large enough for a big box player to come in. We will have more than enough Walmart's so hopefully the Alderman collectively could reach out to Mejeir or Woodman's who do not have a presence in the city and bring some competition to the market.

The Southeast Alderman need to support this site collectively as it borders on all their wards and could bring much needed jobs to their wards. Also, they are going to have to collectively work together to have the political muscle to convince their fellow city council members and the unions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What incident happened on 79th today?

Location: 79th Street & Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
We were coming home from the hospital today around 11am when we saw an ambulance and almost a dozen police cars (marked & unmarked) headed east on 79th today. Police officers were dispacthed at 79th & King to direct traffic, preventing entrance to Eastbound 79th at King.  We saw lights down on 79th, possibly near Cootage Grove.

As of 3:50pm, there was no news on CLTV or Chicago Breaking News.

Anyone know what happened?


Location: 8206 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60620, USA

Hi worlee glover,
August 17, 2011
Alert # 620-11-026

Community Alert
Wanted for Armed Robbery
006th District

About This Crime
• On Saturday July 16, 2011 at 6:49pm, two offenders entered Ashland Cleaners located at 8206 S. Ashland, displayed a handgun and demanded money form the clerk. The above offenders took the money and fled westbound on 82nd street from Ashland.

About The Offender
• The first offender was described as a male black, 30-35 years of age, 5'10-190-200lbs, wearing a black Kango hat, black t-shirt and black jeans.
• The second offender was described as a male black, 30-35 years of age, 5'08, 150-160lbs, wearing a white t-shirt with blue jeans.
• These offenders should be considered armed and dangerous.

What You Can Do
• Be aware of this situation and alert neighbors in the area about the crime.
• If possible, don't walk alone and stay in well lit areas.
• Call 911 to report any suspicious person(s), vehicle(s) or activity in your neighborhood.
• Call 911 and provide a detailed description of the offender(s) including the vehicle description and license plate information.

If you have any information about this incident, Please call the Area 2 Detective Division at (312) 747-8273 or email your tips to

Reference RD# HT400673
For full details, view this message on the web.
Notification Image
Notification Image

BGA live chat with Rahm Emanuel

According to an e-mail from the GCA you should submit your questions to Mayor Emanuel by Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM and with the added instruction that you note the neighborhood where you reside if you choose to ask a question. Here's some more info in addition to the flyer up top:

In two days -- Wednesday, Aug. 17th, 12:15 p.m. CST -- I'm sitting down for a live, good-gov chat with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Here's how you can participate:
>> Find out more and submit your questions here:
Do you plan to participate?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ward Room: Teachers Blast Merit Pay Proposal

Ward Room:
The Chicago Teachers Union blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to reward high-performing principals with merit pay, saying it could bring about the same kind of cheating that took place in Atlanta schools after principals were tempted with more money for higher test scores.

“The research is conclusive—merit pay does not work and can have troubling side effects—cheating, narrowing of curriculum and competition between teachers where collaboration is needed,” CTU President Karen GJ Lewis said. “Think Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles: student standardized test scores were never intended to be nor should they be used for any personnel decision.
“Independent studies, including in Chicago, show that teaching to the test does not improve student achievement. An investigation in Atlanta concluded that pressure to meet testing targets led to widespread cheating in 44 schools. Similar investigations are underway across the country. Chicago and our students deserve better.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

CTU President: Possibility Of Teachers Strike 'Very High'

Progress Illinois:
In a radio interview, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the potential for a teachers strike is "very high" this coming school year. Although the recent school reform bill requires that a larger majority, 75 percent, of members vote in favor of a strike and also lengthens the timeline before a work stoppage can be held, Lewis contends that it is still a serious possibility.

"We still have the leverage of a strike," Lewis said on WLS AM radio, according to the Tribune. "If they continue to push us and not want to be reasonable, then we still do have that leverage." 
Could be the first since 1987!

6th ward officials on garbage pick-up grid plan...

[VIDEO] 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer & 6th ward streets & sanitation superintendent Paul Bryson discuss the new garbage pick-up grid plan proposed by Mayor Emanuel with Jay Levine on CBS2. Got wind of this via @6thwardchicago on Twitter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let's Stop The Hypocrisy- Let's Move Forward

Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
 This past week was an ugly week in our community. First with  knuckle heads shooting at the King Drive bus and then the attempted armed robbery of a senior citizen. Fortunately, no was seriously hurt. Mr. Edward Alexander, 85 was shot in the thigh during the scuffle with his assailant. Mr. Alexander stated he fought back because you have to take a stand at some point.

Our community has said that Crime, Education, Economic Development, Seniors and Youth are our top priorities. This upcoming Saturday, August 20th starting at 9am the 6th ward will have events that address all of the above issues. Unfortunately, there was a lack of coordination among the event organizers but the events are in close proximity whereas individuals can attend several if they choose.

All the events are IMPORTANT and I wish that the event organizers asked their supporters to be respectful of all the events on that day. Acting a fool on social networking sites, posting over other events and making petty comments is disrespectful and unnecessary. All the "drive by community activist" need to relax because people are going to choose what events they want to attend and there is more than enough time for individuals to attend more than one.

This is the time for our community to show everyone we really care and let people like Mr. Alexander and the Wortham family that their act were not in vain. and are just not giving lip service to the issues that affect our community.

Wives United In Prayer - School Supply Drive

A recent e-mail sent to us by a Carmen Collins of Wives United in Prayer (WUIP) let's us know about another event to take place on the South Side August 20th. The school supplies drive will take place at Avalon Park located at 1215 E. 83rd Street outside the boundaries of the 6th Ward, but expected to help support students in 6th ward schools as well.

First, I want to thank you for keeping us "Concerned Citizens of the 6th ward" updated with your blog.  My husband and I are proud Chatham residents but can't help but to shake our heads at the increase in crime.  The lack of family values and pride that I was accustomed to when growing up in Chatham seems to be diminishing as new "blood" penetrates our beloved community.  As a young black married woman, this inspired me to want to give back to the community even more.  Yes, I serve on some boards to benefit the youth, but this didn't feel like enough to me.  So I created a not profit called Wives united In Prayer.  We've been in  existence for two years now and have various events throughout the year to show Marriage still matters to our younger generations.  We also focus on giving back to the community. Last September, we collected over 75 pairs of shoes to needy families.

Please find the attached flyers about our upcoming event to support students in the 6th ward.  We hope to provide (also asking for any school donations) at least 100 back to school bags for students.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions and post the flyers.  You can also advise any women interested in gaining more information about our organization and how to get involved can contact us via email or the phone number listed below.

Thanks for all that you do!  Be encouraged!

Carmen Collins
Wives United In Prayer, Founder & President
Prayer, Support & Encouragement Unites Us, Christ Leads Us.
Check out the flyer below and feel free to send this organization an e-mail at info[@]wivesunitedinprayer[.]org and visit their website at if you seek more information.
School Supply Donate

Sun-Times: Chatham man, 85, fends off robber

Edward Alexander, 85 - Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
This is the elderly gentleman who was shot while tending to his lawn on Thursday:
When in Chatham, don’t mess with Edward Alexander.

The guy is tough. Old school tough.

While Alexander was watering his front lawn at 82nd and Wabash Thursday, a would-be robber pointed a gun at the 85-year-old and told him to “give it up.” Alexander knocked away the pistol and punched the man in the face, hobbling the bad guy, who ran away — but not before the pistol went off and a bullet hit Alexander in the leg.

From his hospital bed Friday, the retired probation officer of 32 years says he has no regrets.

“You’ve got to make a stand one way or the other in life,” he said from his room at Advocate Trinity Hospital. “And if you don’t you’ll be run over.”

It happened in a flash.
It's a great story, in case you know very little about the victim. Glad to know that he's out of the hospital and WILL recover. Read the whole thing!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Energy $avers Grant for Bungalow Homes...

"Available now for a limited time!"

Provided by the Greater Chatham Alliance and more information would've been provided at last months general meeting except that it was cancelled in light of strong storms last month. The information below was provided in this month's meeting announcement. This month's meeting will see police superintendent Garry McCarthy as GCA's guest speaker:
This grant program is designed to help bungalow owners lower their gas & electric bills, make their homes comfortable and reduce their energy use.

Weatherization services may include: sealing leaks & gaps in the attic, basement & sidewalls, attic insulation, weather stripping for doors or windows and furnace & boiler repairs.

To see if you are eligible, call 312.675.0300 or visit: ––NOW!
The flyer for this grant program is below:
Bungalow Grant Final

Thieves target people doing yard work

[VIDEO] Worlee posted about this on his Concerned Citizens of Chatham FB page. This ABC7 story was e-mailed to us from Leslie Honore @ GCA about an elderly man assaulted while doing yardwork on his property. It makes sense what authorities and neighbors are doing. Let a neighbor know you're outside in the yard or don't be outside alone.

Ald. Sawyer got a quote in himself:
"It's devastating to me in such a nice neighborhood, and it's a wonderful neighborhood, great neighbors over here, that some punk would just want to go over there and shoot this man," said 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer.

Oh yeah Ms. Honore shared this link to insure more people come out to the GCA general meeting with guest speaker Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy next Saturday at Carter Temple located @ the corner of 79th & Wabash.

Please be careful out there!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mayor plans to change garbage-collection method to save $60 million

Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to change the way garbage is picked up in Chicago with the intention of saving $60 million a year, according to a report.

Several aldermen say the mayor believes he can save that much and will not pass it up just because it could anger City Council members, for whom influence over such services is important in their wards, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday. Aldermen are afraid a grid collection plan would take away their ability to answer special service requests in their wards, the paper said.

Mr. Emanuel recently asked consultants to come up with a collection plan that spreads the work evenly among drivers without consideration of city ward borders, according to the report. Aides to Emanuel said then that City Hall was just looking into the idea and that a decision wouldn’t be made until after a draft plan was written by consultants and they figured out what amount could be saved, the Sun-Times said.

Community Alert- Strong Arm Robbery Incidents in 3rd District

Location: 7500 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60649, USA

Community Alert
Strong Arm Robbery Incidents
3rd District
About These Crimes:
• These incidents occurred between July 11, 2011 and July 27, 2011, from 2:00
P.M. to 2:00 A.M.
• These incidents occurred in the vicinity of 6800 South to 7500 South on Stony
Island (1600 East).
• Offender(s) approach lone victims and use force to gain control of victims'
• Offenders were described as male blacks, 15 - 20 years of age, 5'08 - 5'09, 145 -
175 pounds. One offender was described as having dreadlocks.
What You Can Do
• Be aware of this situation and alert neighbors in the area about this crime.
• If possible, don't walk alone and stay in well lit areas.
• If confronted by an offender(s), comply with their demands and allow them to
leave without confrontation. Call 911 and provide a detailed description of the
offender(s) including the vehicle description and license plate information.
• Call 911 to report any suspicious person(s), vehicles(s) or activity in your
If you have any information about these incidents,
please call the Area 2 Detective Division at (312) 747-8273 8273 or email your tips to
Reference RD # HT-391630, HT-395200, HT-397627, HT-410368, HT-415904, HT-41756

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Missed this one: Group rallies support for CTA Red Line extension

Alas this had been published at the Tribune's Red Eye site on June 30th. I wonder if this group made it to the August 2, 2011 Red Line extension meeting at St. John MB Church:
South Side community activists say they collected about 900 signatures today during an hourlong petition drive to get federal funding to extend the CTA Red Line.

Nearly two dozen volunteers blanketed the area around the 95th Street Red Line stop to ask for support for the Red Line extension to 130th Street, said community organizer John Paul Jones of the Developing Communities Project, which aims to improve the quality of life for residents in the Roseland area.

The project was approved by the CTA board in August 2009, and Mayor Emanuel made it a priority of his campaign. Emanuel said he would push Washington and Springfield for funding of the extension, which is projected to cost $1.4 billion.

"We want to make sure we keep ratcheting up public support," Jones said. "We recognize that we got to keep it center stage."

Jones said the signatures will be delivered to Congress, President Obama, City Hall and the CTA. Jones said there were three other petition drives this past spring.
I found it by chance look at Red Eye's Going Public. I was very much hoping that it had been a recent story. It would've been perfect if it had been written not long after the August 2nd meeting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council: Peace in the Park After Dark (PPAD)

Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council: Peace in the Park After Dark (PPAD):
Peace in the Park After Dark (PPAD)

Hosted by the 6th District, this overnight camping event is for youth ages 11-17. Located at Nat King Cole Park, 361 East 85th street, on Friday September 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm through Saturday 4, 2011 at 8:00 am.

Participating in the event with our CAPS office are community volunteers, elected officials, park district staff and local businesses.

Please note: In order to be completely registered for PPAD, contact the 6th District CAPS office at 312-745-3641.

This will be a fantastic camping night out!
Is this related to the Cole Park Sleepover on August 26, 2011 advertised at Worlee's blog? Why is this a separate event held on differing dates?

CTA: Red Line extension not ready for years

Red Eye:
The CTA has said that the extension could be ready by 2016, depending on the availability of funding. Kevin O'Malley, general manager for strategic planning at the CTA, backed off from that date at an open house for the project Tuesday night.

"It's sort of hard to tell at this point," O'Malley said. "2016--It would be pretty hard to do that at this point."

The CTA held the open house at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Roseland to get public input for its environmental impact statement, which will evaluate the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed extension.

This phase of the project should take two years to complete, O'Malley said. The CTA received $8.4 million in federal funding to prepare the environmental impact statement, the agency said.
This article could really have used some comments made by people who would actually be affected by this extension just to see what they think the impact would be. Not just a random comment from a person who lives along way from those far south neighborhoods.

BTW, I always figured this extension could happen if Chicago had gotten the 2016 Summer Olympics. So in that context 2016 made sense. Although now that there isn't a lot of money to go around these days, obviously it's a tough sell unfortunately.

Save the Date: August 20, 2011 IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE 6th WARD

Location: Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Save The Date: August 20th, 2011 will be a busy day in the 6th ward:

The Thomas Wortham Family Educational Walk
Join the Wortham Family, Thomas Wortham Education Foundation, Chicago Police Department , CAPCC and others as they walk from 75th King Drive to Cole Park (85th King Drive) to Stop The Violence in our community and raise awareness on the value of education.
Starts: 9:30 am
Cost: Free

GCA Host Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy
Where: Carter Temple 7858 S Wabash
When: 11:00am
Cost: Free

The 6th Ward Back To School Picnic
Join the Honorable Roderick T. Sawyer, Alderman of the 6th Ward for the 1st annual 6th Ward Back To School Picnic.
Where: Tuley Park 90th King Drive
Starts: 10 AM to 6 PM
Cost: Free

Chatham Yard Sale Flyer (1)
Chatham Yard Sale
Where: 80th Michigan
When: 8am- 6pm Sat and Sun
Cost: Free to enter

Coffee & Cake Benefit for the Kusanya Cafe
When:Saturday, August 20th

Where:Hamilton Park Cultural Center 
513 W. 72nd Street
Time: 4pm-6pm
Cost: Free-Donation Requested

Cole Park Classic
Where:Cole Park 85th King Drive
Time : 12:00 pm
Cost: Free