Saturday, December 31, 2011

RAGE: A year in review...

The website for the Resident Association of Greater Englewood has their own posting regarding what they accomplished in 2011. We all look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in 2012 as well. As you can see they have accomplished a lot in the areas of civic engagement, education/youth development, and economic development/housing.

I would also like to refer you to Worlee's New Year's post and also our very own posting.

Happy New Year's!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: 2012-The Rise of Chatham

I would also like to refer you to our own New Year's post looking backwards and looking forwards.

Worlee is looking forward to a new year in Chatham on his blog. Listing the accomplishments of our community through the emergence of social media including the Aldermanic election, removal of gaudy signs, and closing the flop house near 95th & Michigan. Also the emergence of Chatham's future leaders which include those running for state representative to replace the retiring Constance Howard and 6th Ward Chief of Staff Brian Sleet.

Further commenting:
In 2012 we will still have the challenges of dealing with crime, economic development and education. We will have to elect several new representatives and deal with the ward remap. Through all of this we will see a new stronger community, a community that has gotten sick and tired of being sick and tired. A community that will put politicians on notice that you cannot overlook our community and expect to get the vote and the reemergence of a independent voice even when it isn't popular. So those "so called community leaders" from other areas of the southside who have taken our dollars for granted and in one case stated we are not welcome, take notice that you will miss these dollars going forward as Chatham rebuilds. Thanks to all those who read this blog and comment whether you agree or disagree. The important thing is that we start the discussion and as we move forward we encourage others to join the conversation.
He also notes the reemergence of cooperation between the many neighborhood organizations in the ward. Let's hope that continues because as we have seen, they are cooperating on protesting the ward remap.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

GCA ANNOUNCEMENT: Sadly, TOYA BEY, former GCA Safety & Security Chairman has passed

Location: 8200 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
An official message from Greater Chatham Alliance (sent Dec. 27), which clarifies a news story about a GCA member:
Dear Greater Chatham Alliance members, Chatham and 6th Ward neighbors:

I've been getting a lot of emails and calls regarding the death of Toya Bey since it was released by the media in the last day and a half.

And truly, I am terribly saddened and sorry to issue this statement regarding her death. As most of you know, Toya was GCA's first Safety & Security Committee Chairman.
GCA is sending this announcement out via an email blast because ABC-TV (Channel 7) wrongly reported her death yesterday.

Here is an actual account of what occurred.

After struggling for the past three years with illness, Toya suffered a heart attack. What is more heartbreaking is the way it happened. As her neighbor, my husband and I were witness to part of this tragic occurrence.

This past Friday, Christmas Eve, around 10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., I was barely up when I heard a frantic ringing on my doorbell and loud banging on my door. It was Toya's housekeeper who had arrived that morning to assist Toya with her Christmas Eve preparations.

Linda shouted through the door, as I was opening it, to call 911. She frantically said Toya had collapsed.

I, in turn, grabbed my cordless phone in the living room, called 911 and simultaneously ran up the stairs to get my husband. I was still in my pjs. Darwin quickly threw on his pants, shoes and a jacket and flew out the front door.

We live one door-- South-- of Toya's home. Unfortunately, Toya, in an effort to get help, exited from her side, kitchen door. That door is facing directly opposite the front door
of the neighbor's home who lives North of Toya's house.

Within three to four minutes from when Darwin went around to see what he could do, I received a phone call from his cell phone.

He told me that he felt Toya was dead. Before I could even react, an ambulance pulled up. (Yes, an ambulance arrived in 5 minutes and the police in 8 to 10 minutes.)

Darwin said, Toya, dressed only in her nightgown, was lying on the ground between the inner-lane corridor of the two homes.

Naturally, we had both assumed when her housekeeper came over to our home that Toya was inside the house.

We also found out later that the senior neighbor who lived in the home, North of Toya's house, had left early, around 4 p.m., on Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, to stay with her daughter's family for the holidays.

So no one was at the neighbor's home on Christmas Eve.

After the ambulance arrived, Darwin came to our front door and said it was official: Toya had died. Over the course of the next 15 to 20 minutes, since Toya had a very small family with no parents or siblings alive, we had to figure out a way to contact her boyfriend.

Here is another sad truth, we never had access to an emergency number for next of kin. Probably, because middle-aged people don't think about it like seniors, or people with children when they are living at home by themselves.

I know Toya always knew our Wabash blocks were tight enough that most of us had at least 65% of the neighbors' numbers. (Yes, we too don't have the 35% who live in the six-flat on our block).

But as you can clearly see, it doesn't always work as planned.

In any case, we figured out, among our friends, who might know how to contact Toya's boyfriend because they were closer to him. After two calls, we got lucky and got his number. Darwin called him and naturally, he was on his way.

All in all, the Chicago Breaking News site did a better job reporting her death: given her heart attack, Toya's death was accelerated due to cold exposure. The police said after examining
her that she was probably outside on the ground for over 5-6 hours--maybe even longer. It looked like she left the house in the late evening hours; but no one can really say for sure. And, the neighbor didn't have her motion lights on.

Here again, is an ill-fated aspect. Think about it! Had the motion lights been on, someone passing by in a car, or walking by, might have seen Toya laying on the ground and rushed to her aid.

What is also known is that when she fell, Toya may have also hit her head. Plus, her main kitchen door closed behind her. I am just hypothesizing here, but her small dog may have accidently jumped on the door and shut it. You see, the kitchen door was tightly closed.

Normally, as you know, GCA does not make death or funeral announcements. As a former GCA Executive Board member, we are going to make an exception and send out a notice on her funeral arrangements. This is to accommodate folks who have asked me to forward that info to them.

Thank you for all your condolences to GCA and for sharing your sadness with me. But one thing I think Toya would have wanted me really say about this:

If you live alone, or have a senior relative living with you, you may want to invest in a panic button with your alarm system, or get one from the company that sells the "Life Alert" system. Remember their tag line:

"Help I've fallen and can't get up!"

Toya was always good at calling things the way they were-candidly. And I think that she would want people to learn from this situation as she always shared what she knew to be true from her professional experience in the past.

I can honestly say: this whole event has made me consider things a little differently myself as part of a middle-aged couple.

Please commend her soul in your prayers to God. Toya would have been glad to know so many of you expressed your concern and sorrow.

Leslie Honore

GCA Corresponding Secretary

Here's the Chicago Tribune story in question:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shared cost city sidewalk program...

Information provided by a recent e-mail blast from the Greater Chatham Alliance. Perhaps some of you are looking to fix-up your sidewalks for the new year. I will make sure that a printable version is available for you as well if your interest. Just click picture for a larger resolution.

The New Year: Looking back and then forward

2011 was an interesting year.

First and foremost residents of the 6th Ward voted for change and elected a new Alderman in Roderick Sawyer. Fredrenna Lyle - the previous Alderman who Sawyer defeated - was herself appointed to a judgeship on the Cook County bench.

Chatham still gained attention thanks to a series of columns from Mary Mitchell (she also appeared on TV to talk about her columns) and a series of videos [Part 1 & Part 2] featuring Worlee Glover shot by the real estate website YoChicago. Chatham still has issues with crime a fatal shooting back in October. Just one of many issues to continue to work through going forward.

2010 census numbers show that a little over 181,000 Blacks have left Chicago. Total population loss for Chicago is approximately 200,000. As a result of the census data we see a ward remap fight where the Black caucus wants to maintain their level of representation on the Chicago City Council. The Latino Caucus on the other hand seeks more representation on the city council as Latinos add 25,000 people to Chicago's total population.

BTW, we also continue to celebrate the heroes of our community from Corey Ankum to Thomas Wortham IV to Michael Bailey. And speaking of Michael Bailey we now have a suspect in his murder!

Looking forward to 2012.

Now Chatham residents can ring in the New Year with Garrett's Popcorn and no longer does anyone have to go all the way downtown to make a purchase! Garrett's new store came just in time for Christmas.

Another big thing to look forward to is the Walmart Supercenter near 83rd & Stewart coming next spring. It's will be interesting to see what traffic it will bring and what traffic Garrett's will bring in the future. Let's also note that last summer Walmart had already opened an Express store in the Chatham Market development where the Supercenter will also reside.

We will have another election, President Barack Obama is up for re-election in 2012. Alderman Sawyer seeks his father's (late former Mayor Eugene Sawyer) old position as 6th Ward Democratic Committeeman. And an open seat for 34th District State Representative with several contenders seeking that seat in the state House of Representatives.

Of course the remap issue still hasn't been resolved although those 6th Warders who are concerned about where they stand see what's been filed with the city clerk so far. Since the City Council still hasn't been able to vote and agree on a map we still have no idea what the final ward maps will look like. And there could be either a referendum or litigation on the future ward map.

Is there anything you would like to add to what happened in 2011? Is there anything you're looking forward to in 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How about this for a way to attract visitors?

Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
Great for public safety

I saw some of these signs on Facebook, and was thinking...what if we put up signs like these along 79th street and other areas? Would they attract good business?

They would have the novelty of the Cows, but be far less expensive and much simpler to put up.

 A quick Internet search showed that artist Jeff Shell has done these all over Manhattan.

What do you think? Love 'em? Or hate 'em?

On Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from The Sixth Ward

May you have a happy and safe Christmas! :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Did you go to the opening of Garrett's yesterday?

[VIDEO] Zack Isaacs of 2CN reports from the opening of Chatham's Garrett Popcorn store near 87th & Cottage Grove. Unbelieveable a 1 hour wait for service. Also note that I've seen pictures and this video here shows a line wrapped around this entire building. People were definitely excited for this welcome addition to the retail near that intersection.

OH, I had to wait for JP Paulus of this very blog to be interviewed in this video at about 45 seconds in!

BTW, Worlee was there to take some pictures and made sure to note that Seaway Bank financed the refurbishment of this building. Believe it or not this used to be a KFC for many years, it does not look the same any longer.

In addition, on their FB page Garrett's have their own photo album. Alderman Sawyer is in the album shaking hands with artist Rahman Statik who created the mural on the side of the store.

And then check out their blog. The first customer at 11 AM yesterday was noted and their rewards for being the absolute first in line! Be sure to offer your first impressions of the newest business in Chatham.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

RAGE: Englewood steps into action for quality schools

The Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) sends us this press release on Wednesday:
Englewood Steps into Action for Quality Schools!
Despite school actions, key stakeholders of Englewood
Have all hands on deck to implement Strategic Educational Plan.

Chicago, IL – The Englewood Community Action Council held a special meeting on Tuesday, December 8, 2011 to assure all hands will be on deck in order to implement an action plan that supports the students attending schools in the Greater Englewood neighborhood. Those involved include parents, educators, students, and community leaders; all eager to step into action to assure a quality education will be provided. This alliance will utilize the Strategic Educational Plan developed by the Englewood CAC as a roadmap to achieve premier educational opportunities.

Since October 2010, the leadership of this council has been guided by two co-chairs, Asiaha Butler and Latesha Dickerson, both residents of Englewood and advocates for quality education in their neighborhood. The initial charge of the Englewood Community Action Council was to review the current state of education in the Englewood community and make specific recommendations for improvement. The work over the past thirteen months has been global in nature, looking at education in the community from a birds-eye perspective.

During the last Englewood CAC meeting, it was suggested that the Community Action Councils were rumored to be “rubberstamps” of CPS and contributed to the proposed recommendations for school actions. All members of the Englewood CAC spoke out explaining that this information was completely inaccurate. “It was not our responsibility to make recommendations for individual schools, nor did we make recommendations to CEO Jean Claude-Brizard or other key district staff about specific schools needing action in Englewood. The Council’s strategic planning process focused on actions improving all Englewood schools, not specific actions for individual schools,” says Dickerson. Butler states, “The Englewood CAC was not prepared to give any recommendations regarding closing or turnarounds this was not the work of our council. Honestly the Stagg turn around news threw us all for a loop, especially since we have discussed how to strengthen the Montessori program which is currently working well for Stagg students.”

Throughout the strategic planning process, the council was painfully aware that many of the elementary and high schools could possibly face district actions. At this time, the role of the Englewood CAC is shifting its focus to provide support to students and families at schools with proposed actions. The group is striving to empower both students and families with information and resources to make informed decisions during this difficult time.

This cadre of key educational stakeholders is extremely excited about the work of the Englewood CAC and enthusiastic about the next phase of this process. The comprehensive strategic plan will be available for public review in January 2012; it is a blueprint for changing the state of education in the Greater Englewood community. The twelve goals of the plan incorporate all stakeholders and community resources to transform the lives of the children and youth in the community. Englewood developed a community vision for a cradle-to-college or career pipeline and is working collectively to assure that the plans will be carried out despite the proposed actions outlined by the district. “Our students and families are our top priority, so we are excited to see the community ready to work together to assure all our schools in Englewood received a world-class education”, says Butler.

EDITORIAL: Let's see the doomsday map

I missed this editorial published December 17, 2011. Yeah I'm sorry this is another article about the ward remap but potentially another possibility. Surely many Aldermen wouldn't be too happy about if it doesn't protect them, but my wish is to not only see a map for 25 or 35 Aldermen, but this other map mentioned in this editorial:
Here's something interesting. The aldermen have produced another map. It's known as the "doomsday map." It hasn't been released, but we have an idea a lot of regular citizens would really like it.

It simply divides the city into squares. Ward boundaries don't meander all over the place to sort voters into predictable majorities. We hear it achieves near-perfect division of the city population, so each ward has the same number of people. And we hear it is likely to produce a City Council that closely mirrors the racial demographics of the city.

What it doesn't do: Protect incumbents.

Now you know why aldermen call it the doomsday map.

Nice, neat squares. Aldermen would have to find which square they live in and run there and hope for the best. That would mean some hot competition. The last thing aldermen want is a map that disregards their home addresses.

So let's see the doomsday map. And if there is a public vote in March, let's make sure that map gets on the ballot.
Ya know they could always draft a boxy map with only 25 Aldermen in mind. Make that the "doomsday option".

Read the whole editorial!

Hispanic aldermen welcome proposal to cut City Council in half - Chicago Sun-Times

Hispanic aldermen welcome proposal to cut City Council in half - Chicago Sun-Times

First a report about drafting a map for 35 aldermen and now the Latino Caucus wants to draw a map for 25 Alderman. I'm wondering if this is one way for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to intervene in this redistricting fight. Not too many Aldermen want to give on this remap and compromise doesn't look very promising at this point. So what other option is there other than to possible reduce the number of Aldermen?
The 25-ward map drafted by the Hispanic Caucus includes eight majority white wards, eight majority black wards, seven majority Hispanic wards, one Hispanic “influence” ward and one black influence ward.

That more fairly represents a city now 32.9 percent black, 31.7 percent white and 28.9 percent Hispanic, according to Ald. Danny Solis (25th), chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus.

“If it was 25 wards, we would be much better and more fairly represented because you’re starting from scratch. This would be welcomed by the caucus and me,” Solis said.

“It was an issue in the last election. Editorial boards asked the question. It’s been mentioned in several of the meetings that the mayor might push this. We would be open to it and confident the end result would more accurately reflect the population.”
21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins doesn't like this idea or at least why Solis and his caucus are pursuing it:
“They think they’re gonna beat Ald. Ed Burke in a ward that’s double the population and he’s got $9 million in the bank? That’s a pipe dream. They will not fare better. It’ll be harder to run, harder to win and require more money,” Brookins said.
The debate over how many ward the city should have isn't brand new. It actually came up during the mayoral election as noted by this article at CBS Chicago. Mayor Emanuel even brought it up during the course of the campaign although it certainly can't be counted as one of his campaign promises. Of course it is also noted:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Black Caucus and the fate of 6th Ward

I was alerted to this blog post by the twitter user @Strannik_REB45. What you read here is in fact from their own blog. The blog post analyzed the "Map for a Better Chicago (MBC)" proposal by the Black Caucus/Rules Committee. You should read the whole thing, but the excerpt below concerned the 6th Ward mainly:
Under the current map, the 6th Ward includes southeastern corner of Englewood, Grand Crossing, Chatham, West Chesterfield, western Burnside and Rosemoor neighborhoods. While Englewood is notorious for its problems and Grand Crossing is only somewhat better, the rest of the ward is noticably better off. Chatham is one of Chicago's oldest African-American middle-class neighborhoods. While the Great Recession caused increase in crime rates and decline in retail, it still has great homes, busy shopping corridors and community groups committed to helping the neighborhood recover. West Chesterfield, Burnside and Rosemoor are working-class neighborhoods. While they are not without problems, they have lower crime rates and better commercial corridors than many neighborhoods to the south and west of them.

The TPM proposal keeps most of the 6th Ward intact - it would lose the Rosemoor section and not much else. But the MBC proposal slices off everything south of 87th street, putting West Chesterfield and the Burnside portion of 6th Ward into 9th Ward, even as it pulls the 6th Ward deeper into Englewood.

It is an alarming prospect for residents of of West Chesterfield and Burnside, who worry that their property values would decline and the qualify of city services would decrease. At the same time, community groups within Englewood and Gread Crossing welcome the MBC proposal, as it would increase their representation within the ward, which, they hope, would make the 6th Ward alderman pay more attention to their problems.

Already, there have been indications that some 6th Ward residents are considering lending their support to the Coalition. That is not an idle threat. Residents of Chatham are better education, better organized and more politically connected than their counterparts in Englewood and Grand Crossing. Chatham community organizations tend to work in tandem with their counterparts in West Chesterfileld and Burnside, which increases their political power. Under both proposals, they are a voting block that Black Caucus would have to deal with. And given the stakes of the remapping process, they are a bloc that then Black Caucus could ill afford to ignore.
Since Englewood figures as far as the remapping goes, it's more than appropriate to go backwards to last month and post strannik's thoughts on the remap as it concerns Englewood.

Another posting to refer to cited in strannik's post is Worlee posting at Concerned Citizen's of Chatham where he advocated for citizens of the 6th Ward to reach out to the Republicans on the redistricting. Of course it was based on a lawsuit challenging this state's congressional districts that recently went down in flames.

Buy local - buy a Christmas tree!

Location: 79th Street & Prairie, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
It's just a couple of days until Christmas! 

Buy local and buy a treet at our very own Williams Hydro-Plants! Trees are available in his lot across the street from his store (and Ruggles school) at 79th and Prairie). 

Mr. Charles Willaims will be out there (in the cold) later than hia usual business hours. Stop by & say hi!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Remap referendum faces tight timetable - Chicago Sun-Times

I could've sworn that I saw an article about an actual time table for a remap referendum. This Fran Spielman article instead is more about whether or not there should be a referendum on the ballot to reduce the number of Chicago City Council wards:
During the Richard M. Daley-to-Emanuel transition, Emanuel broached the subject of shrinking the nation’s second-largest City Council from 50 to 25 members, only to settle for a 10 percent cut in City Council spending.

But if aldermen can’t forge an agreement on a new ward map, the mayor is prepared to resurrect the issue, said his floor leader, Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th).

O’Connor raised the stakes after the Hispanic Caucus agreed Monday to let Chicago voters choose a new ward map and accept the results — without filing a legal challenge — whether or not their version wins. They asked the other side to do the same — and O’Connor refused.

“If their position is they’re done trying to negotiate and simply want to go to a vote of the populace, that will encourage the mayor to file his referendum to bring the Council down to 25 members,” O’Connor said. “The mayor has been encouraging us for the last several weeks to resolve this. If we continue to show an inability to resolve it and go to the expensive proposition of having a referendum, then that position of going down to 25 aldermen is something the mayor would look at again. He’s already indicated he was somewhat in favor of that.”

O’Connor said he has “no doubt” that Chicago voters frustrated by the prolonged recession and furious about the steady stream of corruption scandals would approve a non-binding referendum to cut the Council in half.

“We’re going to a grid system on how we handle [garbage collection]. We’re already there with Forestry. We’re taking out the traditional role of aldermen. People would see that as an economy they’d be willing to embrace. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what would happen,” he said.
It's interesting that this has been revisited within the past month. It was reported that Aldermen had already started drawing up plans for that possibility. Then at last months ward remap forum in Roseland Heights it was noted by a guest speaker that the odds of keeping the 6th ward intact would increase if there were to be a reduction in city could wards.

I wonder how frustrated city residents are for them to want this to actually happen?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Garrett Popcorn: It's coming to 87th Street December 22nd...

Worlee posted the pic at left and an accompanying press release this morning on our FB page wall. You can also read a posting from the Garrett Popcorn blog as well announcing the opening!
For Immediate Release

Garrett Popcorn Shops®: A Chicago Tradition Since 1949

Opens its First Stand-Alone Shop at 87th Street and Cottage Grove

CHICAGO (December 2011)— Garrett Popcorn announces with excitement it will open its first stand-alone Shop located at 737 E. 87th Street and Cottage Grove in the Chatham neighborhood on Thursday, December 22 at 11 a.m.

To celebrate this historic occasion Garrett will offer loyal fans complimentary treat-size bags of the famous Chicago Mix popcorn from 11 a.m. when the doors open until 1 p.m. The lucky first customer will receive a special Garrett gift. To all customers who make a purchase, Garrett will also give their Signature Holiday Tin Ornament all day while supplies last. Beginning at 4 p.m. until closing customers can enjoy samples of the Garrett CaramelCrisp® Apple Cider that is being sold to benefit The Boys and Girls Club. Also, fans on Facebook will be rewarded with an opening day special not available to the general public.

“So many Garrett consumers have shared in our excitement about our new Chatham home. We wanted to express our appreciation and recognize these loyal and committed Garrett fans with some opening cheer,” says Melissa Mikolajczak, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Garrett Popcorn Shops®.

An enthusiastic on-line fan shared the following, “This is within walking distance. I love Garrett’s Chicago mix! Finally something exciting to eat in Chatham!”

"I'm excited to welcome Garrett Popcorn to Chatham just in time for the holiday season. Investments like this, by major brands, reinforce the viability of Chatham and the South side as a whole as a place where you can do business and be very successful," says Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer, 6th Ward Chicago. "I am convinced that this location will do very well in Chatham. There has been a great amount of excitement about this store's arrival ever since it was first announced. I have told Garrett executives that I fully expect this to be one of the best performing stores very quickly."

The new free-standing Shop at 87th will provide the same delicious Garrett Popcorn everyone loves in a stylish, yet familiar setting. It will feature a colorful mural painted by Chicago native Rahmaan Statik, entitled Global Intellect. The mural commissioned by Garrett captures the spirit of the Chatham community and the important role of education. “We are especially excited, in this economy, to support the growth of the Chatham community,” says Melissa Mikolajczak, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Garrett Popcorn Shops®.

87th Street hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday - Sunday;
December 24: Open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
December 25: Closed for the Holiday
December 31: Open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
January 1: Closed for the Holiday

The official grand opening celebration is planned for early February. At that time, community leaders and neighbors will gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Garrett will announce a special community partnership with Chicago Public Schools.

About Garrett Popcorn Shops

Garrett Popcorn Shops®, a Chicago tradition for more than 60 years, handcrafts its gourmet popcorn using only the highest quality ingredients. Every batch is handmade daily in old-fashioned copper kettles. It begins with a privately grown blend of hot-air popped kernels that are then mixed into a secret, family recipe passed down through three generations. Since its very first days in Chicago, Garrett Popcorn Shops attracts lines of historic proportions outside of all its Shops.

Garrett Popcorn Shops offers these signature flavors: CaramelCrisp® (which can be selected with almonds, pecans or cashews), CheeseCorn™, Buttery, Plain and the famous The Chicago Mix - a blend of savory CheeseCorn™ and rich, sweet CaramelCrisp®.

Vocal fans include Halle Berry, Bill Cosby, Neil Patrick Harris, Salma Hayek, Jane Lynch, Sherri Shepherd and countless others.

In Chicago, Garrett Shops are located at 625 North Michigan Ave., Navy Pier food court, Merchandise Mart (2nd floor), 26 West Randolph St., 4 East Madison St., 27 West Jackson Blvd., 737 E. 87th Street; two at O’Hare International Airport, in Terminals 1 and 3, and in the Northwestern Station/Ogilvie Transportation Center at 500 West Madison St. Garrett also brings a taste of Chicago to its Shops in New York City (at Penn Plaza between 7th & 8th), Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

For more information and to share Garrett around the country visit Join other Garrett fans on Twitter @GarrettPopcorn and on Facebook.
I would like to know what Garrett Popcorn has in store for the Chicago Public Schools. Does this mean that they may do something for some of our area schools?

Welcome to the neighborhood guys. And that store with the mural and the insides looks GREAT!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Map for a Better Chicago" proposal overlaid on the city street grid

Done again by @natelynch who presented this on twitter. Here's a link to his cartography, but it's presented below on the map. Both of the submitted proposals for the new city ward map have descriptions of what the boundaries are for each ward. They still have to be voted on and approved and there could be changes to either proposal when they're finally up for a vote.

Below is a crop of where the 6th Ward would be draw under this proposal. As stated in a previous post, this map would take the 6th further west into Englewood than it was under the original Black Caucus proposal. However, it would cut off at 87th Street. The Ninth ward would take up most of the southern portion of the 6th and the 8th would also take up some of the land south of 87th up to about Tuley Park.

Previous posts

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CTA Holiday Train 2011 -- join us THIS SATURDAY!

 Sorry we weren't able to make it yesterday. If anyone see's this in time, you can meet JP & his family TODAY (Saturday) at 2:15pm at the 95th street el platform to board the CTA Holiday Train (the price of a regular ride).

Here's the link for more info on the the train.

2City News: On the Spot with Jahmal Cole

[VIDEO: PART 1, PART 2] Author Jahmal Cole is interviewed by 2CN's Zack Issacs. The first video delves into the background of Mr. Cole and his roots in the Chatham neighborhood. The second video has him talking more about general subjects such as the Xavier vs. Cincinatti brawl that hit the news during the past week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The "Map for a Better Chicago" proposal

I should've labeled these maps better. On Thursday the Latino Caucus filed with the office of the city Clerk their "Taxpayer Protection Plan" (TPP). On Friday the Black Caucus filed their "Map for a Better Chicago" (MBC). Friday morning at about 1 AM I had posted a street map representation of the TPP.

The TPP is probably closer to what many hope the new 6th Ward would look like although it still loses it's southernmost end to the 9th Ward. The MBC map more resembles the original Black Caucus proposal. The 6th Ward however would go further west into Englewood. It's even more gerrymandered than the original proposal.

Just like with the TPP proposal I have also uploaded images here of the MBC Proposal. The map below is for all 50 Wards.

This map is a crop of the above map showing what the new 6th Ward could look like under this proposal. This is how the 6th Ward would look under the original Black Caucus draft proposal!
It's interesting to note that it was said that no Black alderman endorsed the TPP map and also no North Side Alderman. As far as this map goes, the only Black alderman to not endorse this map looking at what was filed with the city clerk was Toni Foulkes.

According to Ald. Mell there will be even more hearings about this map so the public will have input on this map. It will still be tweaked or adjusted, but to be sure it shouldn't have taken this long for city residents to see where they stand as far as this remap goes.

Also, they may attempt to vote on this map before the end of the year. If city Aldermen remains deadlocked whatever proposals gets the most votes will be decided by the voters in March at our Presidential primary.

Check out this crime alert from GCA

Got this in an Greater Chatham Alliance e-mail blast and certainly worth sharing, something to keep in mind:
84th S. Vernon Block

We were informed that a 14 year old granddaughter of one of our neighbors was attacked by an assailant(s) who jumped out of a parked car on Sunday evening, December 11th at approximately 6:15 PM.

They tackled her to the ground, took off her Timberland boots, and ran back to the parked car with boots in hand. The 14 year old, bruised teenager had to walk home without shoes.

As this block club president said: "Let's all be vigilant of our surroundings as we move through our neighborhood. And remember, if you see something, say something and blow your whistle."

In fact, she advises that neighbors may want to get whistles for their children and grandchildren to encourage them to blow it when approached by a stranger.

GCA doesn't know if this victim reported the crime to the police. We hope the teenager did so that police might have a description of the attackers and of their car.

All we know is this: don't let your guard down whether the weather is mild or the streets are bristling cold and filled with tons of snow.

This economy has set loose bloodless creatures like they are the "Walking Dead" that you just don't want to believe are walking our streets today.

At this time of the year, put the emphasis on watching out for your fellow man, woman or kid: be it children or teens walking home from school, the store or a party; do a wellness and hello check with your senior neighbors; and a watchful eye out for the neighbor who works, or is shopping or enjoying holiday festivities in the streets.

This season give this gift-- this very free gift-- your commitment to Chatham and your other 6th Ward neighbors.
JEEZ!!! Yesterday I was in the Loop and some guy who almost looked criminal complimented me on my shoes. I didn't trust the guy so I made sure I went the opposite direction he did. He just struck me as someone who probably would attempt to "jack" shoes from someone.

BTW I don't know of they still sell them, but CVS sells some cheap whistles that are still in my possession today. I rarely carry one on me these days, however, it's still good advice. That or getting some mace/pepper spray to ward off those up to no good.

Be vigilant out there ladies & gentlemen!

Latino Caucus proposal street map

This evening on Twitter the map below was produced by @natelynch. At first the lines were out of sorts but things have settled. So this is how all 50 wards look under the plan of the Latino Caucus. Click the pictures for a larger resolution. Here's the link for natelynch's map!
I cropped this picture to show the 6th Ward. Under the incorrect version it appeared to as far south as 103rd. It would've been cool because well Bennett-Shedd schools would both be in the 6th ward. Not to be since certain indents would've been at Chicago State or a park near 103rd & Cottage Grove. So it looks like only Roseland Heights would be sent to the 9th Ward under this proposal.
I'm sure Aldermen are continuing to talk and they will continue to tweak the map. I'm looking forward to the map produced by the Black caucus. If they still can't get enough votes for either map next March we have to decided in a referendum. It's expensive but probably necessary.

The Latino Caucus would take at least three wards one represented by a white Alderman and the other two by Black Aldermen and they would be Latino majority wards. Under a tweaked Black caucus proposal there would be either 18 or 19 Black wards while Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th ward) should theoretically be able to win re-election.

Read this previous post for any updates to yesterday's activities!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

City Council remap talks stalled Latino Caucus files their own map...

Click for larger resolution
The Sun-Times reports that talks amongst the Aldermen have broken down in the ward remap:
Last-ditch negotiations appear to have broken down among Chicago aldermen re-drawing the boundaries of the city wards. That means Chicago voters may get to choose between competing maps in a March referendum.

It also means Chicago voters could be on the hook for expensive litigation that cost $20 million 20 years ago — the last time the city had an all-out fight over re-drawing ward boundaries.

Earlier Thursday, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) said he nearly had the 41 votes necessary to avoid a referendum. But Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said 16 aldermen including the Hispanics and eight white aldermen are going to file their own map which they think will better pass legal muster.
Count Alderman Joe Moreno (1st ward) as one of those 16 Aldermen who sponsored the proposed map by the Latino caucus that you see above listed at the City Clerk page of the sponsors of this map:
I'm tired of waiting and I'm sure you are too. 
We needed to introduce something; Chicagoans need to know where they stand now. 
Filing this map today means the process has started. The map can still change, during the committee process, but now we can finally take these discussions into the open.
Here, here. Although now many of the people who are reading this blog are happy to see where they stand currently. I'm sure many of them aren't happy that they don't stand where they want to stand on this remap.

It looks like Aldermen Cochran & Foulkes could lose their wards in addition to city council rookie Nicholas Sposato:
The black caucus is fighting to keep its 19 wards. Under the Latino caucus proposal, three incumbents are in jeopardy of losing their seats, including Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th), Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) and Ald. Nick Sposato (36th).
The 20th Ward will be located on the north side instead of the south side where it is currently. Justification:
“By moving one ward from the south to the north side of the City, the Taxpayer Protection Map holds together communities of interest, balances racial proportionality, and creates ward boundaries that are generally compact and contiguous. Other proposals over- populate wards on the North Side, and under-populate wards on the South Side,” the [Latino Caucus] release said.
Expect another map to be filed tomorrow:
Mell later said that a coalition of the 18-member Black Caucus and council leaders, including Mell, Ald. Patrick O’Connor, 40th, and Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, would be filing their own map by Friday morning.

The map was based on the Black Caucus proposal, with adjustments, sources said.
That article from the Tribune linked above notes that there may be three maps to be considered. The Rules Committee map, the Latino Caucus map, even Mell thinks ward maps should be drawn by computer. I'm sure music to the ears of reformers. Yet there's more:
Mell said he believed that the “coalition” map would be endorsed by more than 26 aldermen, but he pledged as Rules Committee chairman to present both maps, and any others that get filed, during at least three public hearings he hopes to hold before year’s end.

“We’ll take them out to the community,” Mell said. “The community will have an opportunity to look at ‘em. After we have input from the community, we will come back at City Council meeting, have another discussion I’m sure on the floor, and have an up-or-down vote.”
Sheesh more hearings. Will any new hearings be more productive than those held in September, October, and November?

Ward remap round-up...

An old ward map - Crain's
The city council didn't consider a new ward remap today and this is the last scheduled city council meeting of the year. Still:
If they don't hold a special session before the end of the year and approve a new map with 41 of 50 votes, citizens would get to have their say through a referendum. And that could cost as much as $20 million.

While there's no official map yet, several aldermen on Wednesday said they're close, albeit not overly satisfied.
I'm sure that would make JP Paulus very happy. Of course that would only occur if Aldermen still are unable to come to an agreement on a map.

I saw this earlier tonight, the Latino Caucus wants to submit their own map:
Members of the City Council's Latino Caucus today say they will submit their own plan to redraw Chicago's wards Thursday if last-ditch negotiations fail to achieve a compromise agreeable to them and groups of white and African-American aldermen.

After weeks of marathon closed-door sessions to realign Chicago's 50 wards in light of 2010 census data that shows Hispanic population gains and white and African-American losses, Latino City Council members and their allies said the time has come to push the effort toward a vote.

Several aldermen emerged from a meeting this afternoon to say they had agreed to give Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd -- who is heading up the remap effort -- until 10:30 a.m. Thursday to try to broker a deal. After that, they said they will submit a map to the City Clerk's Office that creates 13 wards with majority Hispanic populations and three other wards with substantial "Latino influence" populations.
And they've been working long days and weekends to come to some type of agreement on a new ward map.
Some aldermen have worked 12-16 hours a day for the past week, including Saturday and Sunday, trying to draw boundaries for the city's 50 wards. In Chicago, it's familiar ground where race meets politics.

"There are no real winners. Everybody has to give," said Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd Ward.

If City Council members appeared lethargic Wednesday, they had good reason. Many were up to nearly midnight, hammering out details of a new ward map.

"If you really look at the whole map, all 50 wards, nobody is 100% happy with the ward that they're going to get," said Ald. Danny Solis, 25th Ward.
Most of us concerned about the ward remap should've been prepared. I don't intend to rehash what brought us to this point, but it's clear that this was bound to be a difficult process thanks to the census numbers. It's easy to point fingers, however, the numbers are what they are. However the map looks and I hope the public will get to see a map from whoever submits one. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Greg Hinz: City ward remap takes turn toward the bizarre

Crain's Chicago Business political columnist has some news about this ward remap fight. It seems there still not close to a resolution and as was predicted no map was introduced at today's City Council meeting the last scheduled one of the year!
The first map rolled out by council remap chief Alderman Richard Mell (33rd) would have reduced black and white numbers while increasing the number of wards for Hispanics, who make a convincing case that they're under represented. That plan died almost instantly, amid that shouting match between Mr. Mell and African-American colleague Carrie Austin (37th) that broke up only after police intervened.

A nasty racial spat is the last thing Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants. So, I'm told, he sent word to give the blacks what they wanted.
We've heard about that spat and we've also heard that Mayor Emanuel wanted to stay out of this remap. I think this is a sign of intervention in this process. Correct? Now continuing:

Torch of Decency promo...

[VIDEO] Chatham resident Jahmal Cole talks about his new book Torch of Decency which is available for sale at his Role Model Movement website and at Chatham Food Market (327 East 79th St). He does a promo produced by 2CityNews (2CN).

Here's what this book is about:
In his book, Cole discusses Chatham’s founders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and politicians and how they shaped the community. He also delves into the increase in criminal activity and economic woes which currently plague his beloved community, while providing readers with solutions and ways to rekindle the community pride that was once Chatham’s claim to fame. According to Cole, assuming responsibility for the preservation of the acclaimed accomplishments of Chatham’s previous generations is a torch of decency all should carry.
Click on the link above before the quote for more information about this book.

CTA Holiday Train 2011 -- join us THIS Friday

* Join JP & his family this Friday to ride the Holiday Train. Meet us at the 95th street platform at 4:25pm.  Send an e-mail to jp (at) thesixthward (dot) us  for details.  See the following for other times & details to ride the train).

The Chicago Transit Authority has now announced their schedule for the Holiday Train, featuring a special car for Santa Claus, with specific stop times.
I have taken my daughter previous years to the Holiday Train, and it was fun. For just the cost of an El Ride, we were able to get to Belmont and take some photos.

The Holiday schedule will be posted here.

This Saturday, families can take photos from 1:45pm - 2:15pm at the 95th street station.

Some suggestions for those considering doing it this year:
  1. Go to the beginning of the trip (whether it's Howard or 95th). Even just 2 stops into the "tour", at 79th, the train was quite crowded already.
  2. Plan to be there at least 15 minutes ahead of schedule. It will be a lot less stressful.
  3. There is a time to get a photo taken next to Santa and in front of the trains. This includes at the very beginning, but also at 1 or 2 major stops, like Belmont. But note-- it's only about 4 minutes to do so. So take your photos and hop back on! (we wound up missing it after the photos)
The dates, times and directions for the 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th el stops:

(Dec 14 Wed - Northbound)
  • 95th = 4:22pm
  • 87th = 4:25pm
  • 79th = 4:27pm
  • 69th = 4:29pm

(Dec 16 Fri - Northbound)

  • 95th = 4:48pm
  • 87th = 4:51pm
  • 79th = 4:54pm
  • 69th = 4:57pm
(Dec 17 Sat - Northbound)
  • 95th = 2:51pm and 7:11pm
  • 87th = 2:54pm and 7:14pm
  • 79th = 2:57pm and 7:17pm
  • 69th = 3:00pm and 7:20pm
(Dec 20  Tue- Northbound)

  • 95th = 5:19pm
  • 87th = 5:22pm
  • 79th = 5:25pm
  • 69th = 5:28pm
Any families want to meet up this year?  E-mail us at blog (at) TheSixthWard (dot) us

Happy Birthday!

OK, maybe a bit self-serving...but St. Representative Connie Howard, The Sixth Ward creator Levois, and myself ( JP Paulus ) all share today as our birthday!

So Happy Birthday everyone!

Interesting development in the ward remap...

It was discussed at the Ward Remap forum hosted by the Roseland Heights Neighborhood Association last month although not at great length. That is the guest who spoke at that forum said keeping the 6th Ward intact could be a strong possibility if the number of Aldermen were reduced. 

While I'm sure this wasn't exactly a palatable possibility it seems city Aldermen are drawing up plans for this anyway if this report is to be believed:
It appears doubtful that chairman of Chicago City Council's Committee on Rules and Ethics, 32nd Ward Alderman Richard Mell, will introduce the new Chicago ward map to the floor of City Council on Wed., Dec. 14, though it should have been introduced by Dec. 1. Several aldermen, however, are working on a new redistricting map--one for 35 instead of 50 wards.

For months there have been meeting after meeting, behind closed doors and in public forums. Aldermen have shuffled in and out of the "map room" to make sure no one has adjusted their boundaries or to readjust them because another part of their ward has been claimed. Negotiation after negotiation has fallen apart. Boundaries look less symmetrical then teeth on a rip saw blade. Logical squared-off boundaries appear to be totally unacceptable. An entire ward is to be moved from the south to the north side of the city and the list goes on.

Tired and no doubt frustrated by the continual jostling for turf that is going nowhere, a group of aldermen including Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward, decided to look at a new solution by reducing the number of wards. There is some historic precedent.

When Chicago incorporated as a City in 1837 there were six wards created. As the population increased the ward count increased to 35 by 1889. For the most part, except for two wards, there were two aldermen per ward until 1923. At that point, the count of aldermen per ward went to one as the number of wards increased to 50.
All the same take this with a grain of salt. The only thing that's probably certain is that there's still no agreement yet on a map as lots of residents not only in the 6th ward but around the city are still waiting on what ward they may lie for the next decade.

BTW, if the city council agrees on possibly reducing the number of wards Joe Lake adds this comment on his FB profile:
Any approval of 35 wards would be by a mandatory referendum.
And if that happens, JP Paulus would get his wish. ;) Although per another comment on FB:
It still would require a vote by the General Assembly in Springfield to change the number of alderman.
And that means it's time to do some research. Must Springfield approve of any reduction or do the residents of Chicago get to determine how many Aldermen represent them?

Petition objections in 6th Ward races

Namely the focus here is on both the race for Democratic committeeman and 34th State Representative. Information for committeeman is via the County Clerk though hopefully more information is available through the Chicago Board of Elections. The information for state representative is via the state board of elections.

Ald. Sawyer has been challenged in his bid for Democratic committeeman

Paul Gregoire and Sandra Wortham have been challenged in their bid for state representative.
Another race of note is Water Reclamation District where Kari K. Steele has been challenged in her bid as well.
Feel free to offer any further updates to these challenges as they occur!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Imagine Englewood's final meeting of 2011

Location: 730 W 69th St, Chicago, IL 60621, USA
From an e-mail sent to us:

We have much to celebrate, so feel free to document and share your success stories and accomplishments for 2011 at the luncheon meeting. If you are so moved, bring your favorite dish or specialty. But definitely bring yourself. It will be an informal setting, which will be reflected in the agenda. LET US BREAK BREAD TOGETHER FROM 12:00 NOON TO 2:00 P.M. AT:

730 W. 69th St.
Chicago, IL 60621


Jean Carter-Hill, Co-founder and Executive Director,

“Imagine Englewood if. . .!”

Advocate for Youth Empowerment & a Lead-free Englewood

WBEZ: City Colleges to specialize in vocational training

The City Colleges of Chicago will soon start focusing on vocational training with the help of local businesses. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the region needs more skilled workers in fields like healthcare, high-end manufacturing and hospitality.

"We have in the Chicagoland area, a little over 100,000 job openings and yet you have unemployment hovering around 10 percent. That is a mismatch," Emanuel said at a Monday press conference.

Emanuel argued it's because the mission of community colleges hasn't been updated in decades. Starting in the fall of 2012, Malcom X College will start working with Allied Heath to tailor its curriculum toward health care. Olive Harvey College will train for transportation logistics with the help of AAR, a commercial aviation corporation. Emanuel said industries will work with teachers to develop lessons, and maybe even teach.
Now would this mean that the City Colleges would work with any plan that would see CPS schools confer associate degrees on students, especially if this relates to vocational training?

Christmas Caroling in Chatham-why not join?

 Just sent out in an e-mail blast this evening from the Greater Chatham Alliance with the flyer below:
Love to sing? Join Christmas carolers from the Goshen Seventh-Day Adventist Church this Sunday to sing throughout Chatham!

On Sunday, December 18th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Goshen Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 82nd and State Street (in the old Galaxy Building) will sponsor Christmas carolers who will be singing and walking throughout the Chatham community.
Anyone plan to spread any Christmas joy in the neighborhood?

Monday, December 12, 2011

JP Paulus on The Chicago Neighborhoods project logo for Englewood...

JP Paulus edited my post from yesterday about The Chicago Neighborhoods project logo for Englewood so his edit has become its own separate post. Some contact information was posted below, but if any of you reading this blog have some graphic design skills perhaps you can come up with logos for your particular neighborhood. All the same JP & I would invite you to offer your own input because as stated earlier the contact info for The Chicago Neighborhoods are posted at the end of this post. JP's words are below!

JP edit:  Here's what they did with Englewood.

While this looks historic and nice, here's what the descriptrion of the photo is
The hotel at the corner of 63rd and Wallace in Englewood, designed by, built for, and owned by Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was much more than just a place to lay your head during the years around the World's Columbian Exposition. Holmes' hotel, which later became known as the "Murder Castle," was also the final resting place for handfuls of unsuspecting victims.

Holmes, who was constantly hiring and firing work crews, was the only person to fully understand the design of the hotel. The first floor contained his drug store, while the second and third floors "contained his personal office and a maze of over one hundred windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors that could only be opened from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions," all put into place with murder in mind.

Holmes, who mainly preyed on females, tortured and killed his victims in various ways. He would lock them "in soundproof bedrooms fitted with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them at any time," or he would lock them "in a huge soundproof bank vault near his office where they were left to suffocate," among other horrific methods. Holmes would then drop dead the bodies down a secret chute to the basement where they "were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then sold to medical schools."

While the total number of his victims has never been confirmed (it could be more than 200), Holmes confessed to 27 murders during his time in Englewood.
R.A.G.E. (Resident Association of Englewood) would probably strongly disagree with the notion that "My vision might not match yours, but I hope that we can agree that a neighborhood with a logo is better than a neighborhood without."  (RAGE is trying to change the image of Englewood as being a neighborhood of murders.)  

Other neighborhoods also had much of at least the current character of the neighborhood missing, such as Uptown and Rogers Park, which showed no hint of the diversity of these neighborhoods.

Let's contact the artist so that we can get a more accurate view of Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing and Burnside.  

Here's his contact info:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Chicago Neighborhoods: neighborhood brands


In the past I've taken pictures of neighborhood identifiers in particular the ones near 71st/Dan Ryan identifying Grand Crossing and Park Manor. I posted an "open blog" no one responded to about neighborhood identifiers in Chatham. In fact methinks that should be bumped up.

This morning I discover this website - The Chicago Neighborhoods - which seeks to provide logos for the 77 Chicago Community areas and the various neighborhoods around the city. You can see that a few neighborhood logos are up already where you can click on them to see the full image.

I look forward to seeing how they plan to represent the various neighborhoods in The Sixth Ward. Especially Chatham, Park Manor, or even Englewood. With an honorable mention for Roseland Heights which though it's not actually recognized officially by the city of Chicago it's certainly a neighborhood that's more fitting of the idea of village in the city more so than Beverly.

Hat-tip Gaper's Block!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tribune: Black caucus hires seasoned litigator and 15th ward to be majority hispanic...

Looks as if the Black Caucus is serious about making sure their interests are protected in this ward remap:
Consensus on a new Chicago ward map remains so elusive that the City Council Black Caucus has prepared for a potential legal battle by hiring attorney Burt Odelson, an election law expert schooled in the arts of negotiation and litigation.

"It makes sense that he's around for this last bit of negotiation in case we do have to go to court," said caucus Chairman Howard Brookins, 21st. He spoke Friday as remap leaders entered their 10th day of talks, with their fellow aldermen placed on call for the weekend to sign off on any tentative agreement.

"Talks are continuing," said Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, who as Rules Committee chairman heads the effort. "Hopefully, we will be able to present a map that gets 41 votes."

Getting approval from 41 of 50 aldermen would end the possibility of a March primary referendum on dueling maps, which takes place if any 10 aldermen endorse an alternative plan. Such a referendum was held 20 years ago; the map is changed every decade to adjust for population shifts found by the U.S. census.
You might have seen JP Paulus make a comment where he hopes that the people get to decide on a ward map instead of the insiders at City Hall. That last paragraph in the quote is exactly what he's referring to in his desires.

That linked Tribune article also mentioned the news about a possible remap of the 11th Ward which is opposed by Ald. James Balcer and Democratic Committeeman John Daley. Stated before that is the home ward of the Daley family and it largely contains the neighborhood of Bridgeport. We blogged about that here yesterday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aldermen mixed on time needed for ward remap

WBEZ add more about the ward remap issue:
A map was supposed to be done by Dec. 1 according to state law, but aldermen say they don't have the votes yet. Forty-one out of 50 aldermen need to agree on a map for it to pass.

Alderman Walter Burnett, who used to head City Council's Black Caucus, said tempers have cooled after some racially-charged debates earlier this week, and he added that the council will have a map soon.

"Hopefully before the weekend is over," said Burnett, who added aldermen were planning to meet Thursday night to further discuss the issue.

As the longest-serving member of the Chicago City Council, Alderman Edward Burke said he's sat through five ward remaps. He wasn't as optimistic about that time line.

"I think we are moving. I wouldn't say we're moving in large leaps," said Burke.
It's all about the votes. Also it's the end of the week so we shall see if the Aldermen can agree on a map and get the necessary votes. I can also believe the "Dean" of the city council Ed Burke who says that Aldermen aren't moving in large leaps. Especially if you believe this Sun-Times report of the verbal shootout between Ald. Richard Mell and Ald. Carrie Austin.

The 11th ward isn't even immune to the ward remap...

Chicago's 11th Ward
The 11th Ward as most of us Chicagoans know is the home base of the Daley family and beyond the Daley family it is also known as the cradle for mayor as many Mayors from Edward J. Kelly from the 1930s to Richard J. Daley and his son Richard M. Daley. It looks like even that ward which largely consists of Bridgeport wasn't immune to the ward remap.

11th Ward Ald. Jim Balcer is fighting to keep his ward intact just as other Alderman are fighting to maintain theirs. It appears the Black Caucus put out another map to save as many of the 19 Black wards as possible:
The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that the Black Caucus has drafted a new ward map that preserves 18 of 19 black wards in a way that would have been unthinkable during Richard M. Daley’s 22-year reign.

The 11th Ward, cradle of Chicago mayors and political power base of the Daley family, would lose nearly 60 percent of its current population, including Canaryville and McKinley Park. Instead of a near equal mix of whites, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, the new 11th Ward would be 92 percent white.

The heavy turnover would make it very difficult for Balcer to get re-elected. Daley’s brother, County Commissioner John Daley, is the 11th Ward’s Democratic committeeman.
I did note that the 11th Ward is the home base of the Daley family. Yeah confirmation right there in that last paragraph.

Judge Lyle was quoted here:
On Thursday, former Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), an attorney representing the Black Caucus, denied that black aldermen had chopped up the 11th Ward because Richard M. Daley is no longer in office to protect it.

“That was never a consideration. Our guy has no idea of the political dynamics of Chicago. He’s from Lansing, Michigan. All he does is sit at the computer,” Lyle said of the mapmaker hired by African-American aldermen.

“There’s an unattributed population we haven’t put in any ward. When that’s done, we may put the 11th Ward back together and make it more compact. That version is not gonna stay. That version has unassigned people. It is an unfinished map. It should never have left the room.”

She added, “Things are getting closer to finalization. People are unhappy. And they want to start using the press as their additional lobbying group. It’s really unfair. Now, it’s one big mess.”
I wonder if this was the same guy who presented the first known draft map at the public meetings held by the City Council Black Caucus? Although one good thing is that an outsider is drawing the ward maps. At least for those of you opposed to gerrymandering.

Of course many of us, including myself, still want to see what's the deal with the 6th ward as far as this remap goes. No news on when the public at large will see a map.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mapping 10 years of school closures

WBEZ provides a graphic that charts all school closures or turnarounds over the past 10 years. Amongst the turnarounds in our area is Deneen School which was acted upon by the school board in 2010.

Got wind of this link via Chicagoist who said:
In November Chicago Public Schools designated 10 South and West Side schools for turnaround — firing all staff — and said it would close or partially close eight others. It would be the most the district has ever done in one year, and the district expects to spend about $20 million hiring new staff and restructuring the schools.

If the district’s Board of Education approves the proposals, Chicago will close its 100th school since Mayor Daley’s administration introduced the “renaissance” program. In light of that landmark, WBEZ and Catalyst compiled this fascinating map that shows where schools have been closed or turned around, how well the new facilities are performing and what has become of those old school buildings.

Not surprisingly, the turnarounds have hit African Americans hardest. Humboldt Park and the Near West Side, followed by Grand Boulevard, have seen the most school shakeups. Those three areas are also due for more turnarounds under the new proposal.
It has also been noted that most of these schools that have either been turned around or close have been either turned into either charter or magnet schools. Entrance into such schools are either by test scores or a lottery and not based upon neighborhood boundaries.