Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicagoist: More Neighborhoods Get "The Chicago Neighborhoods" Treatment

Chicagoist recently featured the many designs from The Chicago Neighborhoods project. Amongst those shown there are the logos for Chatham, Englewood, & Bronzeville.

We already know people from Chatham on Facebook already like the design created for that particular neighborhood. A more negative reception for the Englewood design was seen on our blog.

Also I add Bronzeville primarily because it's another predominantly Black neighborhood that deserves some due. I would consider this a home run and especially for the description where Bronzeville residents didn't like their community being referred to as merely the "Black belt or ghetto".

Anyway I share this so that you all will still see how others may perceive our communities. I also share this so that you will be allowed every opportunity to share you thoughts on the various designs for various city neighborhood. You should go to Chicagoist to share your thoughts as well!

Also note Chicago Neighborhoods are on Twitter & Facebook as well!

Candlelight vigil against gun violence...

This information was just emailed to the blog today! A printable flyer for this event is below!
For Immediate Release

Gun Violence Survivors Join Workers and Residents in Chicago’s 6th Ward to Hold Candle Light Vigil Against Violence

Alderman Roderick Sawyer Joins Community Partners to Say Violence is Destroying Lives and Killing Economic Opportunity


Wed, Feb. 1st, 4:00 pm—4:30pm


Meet at Cole Park (NE corner of 85th and South Martin Luther King Drive);

Then candle light march to Church's Fried Chicken, 400 E 87th St, Chicago, IL 60619


Chicago Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer, 6th District

Minister Oscar Varnadoe, Park Manor United Church of Christ

Cynthia Youngblood, homecare worker, whose teenage daughter was shot twice

Jacqueline Smith, childcare provider, shot in the back from stray gunfire

Kenya Taylor, part-time traffic control aide


Gun violence survivors and residents of Chicago’s 6th Ward will join together at Cole Park and hold a candle light march, walking two blocks south to 87th and King Drive – the site of a tragic shooting by a teenager that killed three people on Nov. 5, 2011. Chanda Thompson, Cortez Champion and Shawn Russell were all three shot to death in their vehicle outside a Church’s Chicken which shared the parking lot with A Piece of Cake Bakery. The trio had been at the bakery to pick up a birthday cake for Thompson’s 2-year-old daughter.


Gun Violence survivors will speak about how their lives have changed since being shot and how violence is eroding economic opportunity in the 6th Ward. Residents are coming together to call for urgent action to stem the violence in the community and to demand that solutions also include jobs, economic development, and community investment as a vital strategy to improve public safety.
6th Ward Candle Light Vigil Gun Violence 02-01-12

Jahmal Cole book signing THIS Sunday at Chatham Food Market!

From Jamahl Cole, to help us begin to think about Black History Month (as well as our community's ongoing legacy):
*Chatham Foods Kicks off Black History Month, February 5th. *

Community Activist Jahmal Cole will be signing copies of his latest book
"The Torch of Decency." A book inspired by the legacy of the Chatham

*Sunday, February 5th, 2012 11AM-4PM* (On Sale for only $5)
10% of profits go to the Greater Chatham Alliance Community Organization
We welcome reviews of this book. Please send them to blog (at) TheSixthWard.us

Monday, January 30, 2012

More from Concerned Citizens of Chatham = Feb. community meetings

More from Worlee's blog, Concerned Citizens of Chatham. This post is about February's community meetings.

Here is a partial listing of upcoming community meetings

West Chesterfield Community Association
February 4, 2012
West Chesterfield Community Fieldhouse
9351 S Michigan
Issue: Remap

Park Manor Neighbors Community Council
February 6, 2012
6:30 to 8:30 pm
St. Columbanus( Glass House)
317 E. 71st
Issue: Remap and IDOT CREATE Project

Chatham Avalon Park Community Council
February 13, 2012
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Northern Trust Bank
7800 S. State Street
Topic: Community Issues

Greater Chatham Alliance Community Organization
February 18, 2012
11:00 am to 1:30 pm
St. James Lutheran Church
8001 S. Michigan
Topic: Community Issues

Roseland Heights Community Association
February 21, 2012
7:00 pm
Temple of Glory International
311 E. 95th Street Chicago, IL 60619

Concerned Citizens of Chatham on the recent GCA meeting

The main topic of discussion was the ward remap. Worlee already posted his thoughts on the meeting, soon I will post my own. Here is just a brief flavor:
The main issue of the day and why most individuals came out was to hear what happened to the 6th ward as a result of the remap process. Alderman Sawyer stated that he initially supported the black caucus to keep as many African American ward in the City of Chicago. He also stated he did not want to lose any of his ward but understood that he would probably have to do so. After a series of meetings and public hearings a compromise was made. The 6th ward would end at 87th street and the entire communities of Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights would go to the 9th ward under Alderman Anthony Beale ad Michelle Harris. After this agreement was made, Alderman Harris stated she changed the map because she did not want Richard Wooten, a former candidate for 6th ward Alderman and current candidate for 6th ward committeeman and 34th district state representative, in her ward. Alderman Sawyer stated that Alderman Beale stood by and supported Alderman Harris rogue move. Alderman Sawyer stated that even senior members of the city council could not understand the audacity of Alderman Harris and Beale. Alderman Sawyer had some heated words with Harris and Beale while the leader of the Black Caucus Alderman Howard Brookins stood by and did nothing but remap a small portion of Chatham into the 21st ward. His feeble attempt was designed to get his taxpayer supported bridge built. This bridge would alleviate the traffic congestion that will occur when Fellowship Missionary Baptist church builds their new church at 85th Vincennes along with the new Walmart.

During the questioning Alderman Sawyer was grilled as to why did he think that his previous relationships with members of the black caucus would mean anything. He was also grilled as to what some characterized as a nonchalant attitude and not showing he was mad as hell. Others chastised him for not being more vocal at the public hearings.

Then there were the Rodney King comments"can't we all just get along". The answer was NO by some who felt this was all concocted by Alderman Howard Brookins as payback for not backing his Walmart project. But, there were several surprising comments with one coming from Richard Wooten who chastised Alderman Sawyer and the other African American alderman for not communicating with constituents and not being more vocal on the remap process. Then Mr. Wooten stated that Alderman Harris and Beale changed the maps to avoid him. He stated a representative from one of their offices contacted him and stated they felt Alderman Sawyer was running from a battle with Mr. Wooten in 2015 by allowing West Chesterfield to be remapped in the 8th or 9th ward. Mr. Wooten characterized it as cowardliness by Alderman Beale/Harris for gerrymandering to avoid a fight and was disrespectful towards the residents of the City of Chicago. Lastly, former 21st Ward Alderman Niles Sherman, now a 6th ward resident, chastised the community for not being more vocal. He stated that this was in the works for years to dismantle strong African American wards. He clearly stated that if the audience was not up to a dog fight then it was no reason to continue to discuss the remap issue. He made it plain that the community needed to vote in the March primary and bring their A game because they were going to play with the big boys in a remap challenge. He also commented on Alderman Howard Brookins Jr leadership of the Black Caucus. " A leader is born not made".
My own flavor though it will come in a separate posts. Other than Sawyer's comments that I recorded on video some in the crowd tore into both Brookins and Beale. And I describe Mr. Wooten's comments as another political speech, a better script couldn't have been written.

Was anyone else there Saturday morning? Do you have your own thoughts to share on the meeting or the ward remap? Please share!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Secretary of State launches ethics probe of Ald. Beale’s wife - Chicago Sun-Times

WOW!!!! First his daughter takes part in controversial state legislative scholarships to attend one of our state's public universities and now an ethics probe on his wife:
The wife of Ald. Anthony Beale is the subject of an ethics probe for undisclosed “job performance” issues, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office confirmed Tuesday.

Dana Beale was hired by the secretary of state in 2000 and worked as an enforcement auditor in White’s securities division until last May, when she resigned from her $79,620-a-year post.

Despite leaving that job eight months ago, she remains under investigation by James Burns, the secretary of state’s inspector general and a former U.S. attorney, White spokesman Dave Druker said.

“The inspector general is conducting an investigation pertaining to her job performance in the secretary of state’s office,” Druker said, declining to offer any other specifics about the nature of the investigation.

Burns declined comment.

Dana Beale is a legislative aide to state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) who receives a “token” $400-a-month state paycheck for helping, as Rita described, “serve more than 100,000 constituents … [handling] constituent service requests for help and community outreach activities.”
This causes me to draw a conclusion at the moment but perhaps you will be thinking what I'm thinking. At least I hope you are.

Armed robbery at a local Metra station

[VIDEO]This long neglected Metra Electric (or IC for you old timers) station was the scene of an armed robbery recently. The video above shows some screencaps of what was seen on surveillance cameras there from NBC Chicago. The quote I will share with you is from CBS Chicago:
At 1:38 p.m. on Jan. 19, the men entered the Metra station in the 800 block of East 95th Street with handguns out, ordered everyone to the floor and demanded all of their money and valuables, an alert from Calumet Area detectives said. 
The suspects were described as black males between 18 and 25, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9, and 155 to 165 pounds. One was wearing a black puffy winter vest, light brown sweatshirt and light brown baseball cap. The other had on beige pants and a black hooded sweat jacket.

Anyone with information should call detectives at (312) 747-8273 or send tips to area2tip@Chicagopolice.org.
Alderman Sawyer was shown in the video above as well as Chicago State University Police Chief Ronnie Watson. The 95th Metra station is right on the edge of Chicago State's campus. Here's an excerpt from the write-up at NBC Chicago:
The police chief of Chicago State University said Friday he's had ongoing safety concerns about a marginally-lit Metra train station at the northeast edge of the campus.

"I dont want to get into a pissing match with Metra. This is about keeping our students safe," said Chief Ronnie Watson. "Look at it. Have you ever seen another Metra station [that] looks like that?"

The station, at East 95th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue, is little more than a large shack. There's no attendant, and the only connections to the world around it are a single security camera and a telephone. Metra said security personnel monitors the station 24 hours a day.

But that did nothing to stop two men from walking in, flashing guns and ordering three CSU students to the floor during a daytime robbery on Jan. 19.
The picture below I took over 5 or 6 years ago. It was about to be dark when I took the pic I got a pic of the stairwell also. I'll post a pic of the railroad viaduct where you will enter to board the train. I will refer you to a set of pictures I posted onto this blog back in December 2007 which included information on the future plans for this Metra stop.

Friday, January 27, 2012

FOX Chicago Sunday on Remap

An excuse to remind you of the Greater Chatham Alliance meeting coming up this weekend. Click this link for more details as one of the items on the agenda is the ward remap.

[VIDEO] Ald. Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward was on last week's edition of FOX Chicago Sunday talking about not only how his ward was drawn up north in the form of a Salamander (he holds up a map of the new 2nd ward) but perhaps even a strategy for a future lawsuit against this remap. Mainly that such a lawsuit would be an equal protection argument that this new map "rips apart communities" and also there are more people in white majority wards (at least 10% more) than there are in Black wards (that's not one person, one vote).

Gentrifiers vs. anti-gentrifiers...

Megan McArdle writes for The Atlantic on issues of business and economics. She takes a timeout to talk about the issues of her Washington, DC neighborhood.
Many of the urban planning debates that take place in DC are in fact proxy battles over gentrification.  Almost no one on either side ever actually voices the core conflict, which is that the poorer, mostly black current residents do not want gentrification to force their community out of their affordable and centrally located homes, and the newer, mostly white residents want the sort of services (and property values) that materialize when a neighborhood gentrifies*--and that the presence of one community is an obstacle to the goals of the other.  

Since no one wants to come right out and say this, the debate focuses on procedural issues:  noise, parking, safety, "respect to the community".

Basically, the gentrifiers spend a lot of time arguing in favor of new bars and restaurants; the current residents spend a lot of time arguing that they aren't needed.  Both sides argue--and may even genuinely believe--that this is a purely principled argument over, say, the procedural mechanisms for distributing liquor licenses, but this is pretty transparently not the actual motivation.  In my own neighborhood, many of the people who had argued forcefully in favor of licensing Shaw's Tavern seem to have neatly switched sides when the applicant was Full Yum Carryout, a sort of Chinese-hybrid takeout place that caters almost exclusively to the area's black residents.

(Before you ask, I am against liquor licenses on principle, but if we must have such a regime, I believe that the regime should follow the "shall issue" principle that governs dog tags and fishing licenses.)

If you follow these debates long enough, you end up hearing a lot of the anti-gentrifiers argue that they too, want services--just not bars and restaurants, or so many bars and restaurants.  This has always struck me as a little bit odd because they're sort of vague on what services they do want.  Grocery stores are a big favorite--but my neighborhood, Eckington, now has two large, well stocked supermarkets, and I doubt that the density would support much more than that.  Everyone seems to love dry cleaners, and drugstores (but we have a fair number of those, too).  Beyond that, it's not been clear to me what people had in mind when they complained that all the bars and restaurants would prevent the development of needed retail.
It actually goes on to talk about those neighborhoods that were decimated by 1968 riots - that is the riots that erupted after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That's true of plenty of neighborhoods around the nation not just Washington, DC and not just Chicago. The article made note of how many people who no longer have the old bricks and mortar retail in some neighborhoods are more likely to rely on Amazon.com or other online retailers to be able to procure their goods and services.

You might ask how would this relate to our neighborhoods on the south side of town. Well in Chatham specifically I have noticed a lack of cohesiveness as far as businesses that they wish to attract. Still some comments seems strictly rejecting but without noting what businesses they would like to attract.

Perhaps the dynamics in DC is a little different than here, but the rejection is certainly there! Do you have any thoughts on this?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

REMINDER: Next GCA Monthly meeting on Jan. 28 to talk about the remap

GCA January 2012

JP already posted about this last Friday when there really was snow on the ground. Here's an actual flyer that was recieved from the Greater Chatham Alliance last week. It will take place at 8000 S. Michigan from 11 AM to 2 PM. Will you be there to take aim at the ward remap?

Mayor Emanuel visits Chatham again

Location: 806 E 78th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The Chicago Citizen posted this story.
(Photo Credit: Brooke Collins, City of Chicago).
Chatham business owners convened Thursday for a roundtable discussion with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the QBG Foundation (QBG), 806 E. 78th St.
The mayor visited the Chatham community several times while on the campaign trail including a stop at Izola’s Restaurant during a neighborhood listening tour to learn what Chicagoans wanted in a mayor. He explained that his visit last week carries the same momentum.
“I came to Chatham during the campaign, and I’m here again, because I want Chatham, and places like Chatham, to have the same type of growth, investment, and opportunity as we see downtown,” said Emanuel.

You can read it online at the link above or pick up a copy of the newspaper in several locations.

Thanks to Strannik_REB45 for sending us a Tweet on the link. Larissa Tyler of the QBG Foundation and Citizen Newspaper also posted the news on Facebook.

I am wondering -- did the Mayor know that the restaurant he visited was closed?  Does he even care?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walmart opened today in West Chatham!

Location: 8331 S Stewart Ave, Chicago, IL 60620, USA

 And I (JP Paulus) was there. So here's my story (more personal rather than journalistic)

Simeon High School's marching band gave an opening performance. They then promptly marched across the street to their school. (They weren't missing any school time)

My pastor, Dr. D. Darrell Griffin of nearby Oakdale Covenant Church gave the opening convocation.
Keith Richards, Chatham Walmart's General Manager
Alderman Howard Brookins spoke (thanking many people, though no one from the Chatham Community that I was aware of), as did General Manager Keith Richards (no not THAT Keith Richards), and a couple of others.

The ceremony was quickly over and people started shopping.

As with all new stores, the shelves were clean, the food was fresh and people were friendly.  They were extra friendly due to my daughter Faith (1 year old and smiling the whole time). And the neighborhood residents who were there were the ones who were already excited about having a Walmart nearby.

Several news organizations were there, including Medill News Service (Northwestern University's journalism school). We will post the video when its ready.

Because those who opposed Walmart these past few years obviously weren't interested in shopping there (and protests at this point would not change a thing), I actually gave the argument against Walmart that I feel the community has expressed.(This was for the Medill story), Let us know if you feel that was an accurate representation of the Walmart opposition.

You can also expect a story from Anita Padilla of Fox Chicago news. ABC7 was there as well, and apparent myself and Faith were on the 11am news.

I also shared with several Walmart executives my concerns that the quality of the store might go down in the months to come, as it has in Evergreen Park.  They of course assured me that the quality would remain, but to contact Keith Richards if there was a problem.  However, when i left the store today, I saw several loose shopping carts in end of the parking lot, just like I see every week in Evergreen Park.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Don't forget to vote in our Facebook poll as well.

ABC 7's story...

WGN TV's story, which included a comment from the owner of a food mart at 79th and Vincennes.

Alderman's daughter recieves state tuition waiver...

This was brought to my attention on Monday so I figure this is something (hat-tip Capitol Fax) worth posting today.
In state Rep. Robert Rita’s legislative district — which covers a swath of Chicago’s south suburbs and part of the city’s far South Side — just one out of 10 people has a college degree. The daughter of Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) — a friend and political ally of Rita — is being given the chance to buck those odds and earn a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tuition-free courtesy of a coveted “legislative scholarship” handed to her by Rita.

That four-year freebie to the state’s flagship state university is valued at nearly $37,000.

It’s the latest in a string of cases in which the children of political insiders have been given one of the two four-year scholarships to a state university that each Illinois legislator gets to award every year to students who live in their district. Legislators also can split the scholarships, giving a partial tuition break to as many as eight students a year.

Beale and Rita (D-Blue Island) have close ties. Beale has endorsed Rita for re-election in the past, calling him a “strong” ally. Beale’s wife works for Rita. Dana Beale is a part-time, $400-a-month legislative aide at Rita’s district office who, until recently, was also making $76,684 a year working for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. And Rita has contributed more than $20,000 to the alderman’s election campaigns over the years.

Beale, who makes $110,556 a year as a Chicago alderman, says none of that put his daughter, Taylor Beale, at the head of the line when Rita was deciding which students would get four years of free college tuition.

“She filled out the application, submitted it to the state rep and received the scholarship,” says Beale.

He describes his 21-year-old daughter as a good student who earned the tuition waiver on merit.
There have been attempts within the last year to eliminate these perks which it has been contended by many was abused by state legislators. For example these waivers - or scholarships - have often been given to the children of other politicos around the state.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Walmart to open in West Chatham tomorrow, Wednesday, January 25!

Location: 8331 S Stewart Ave, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
The new Walmart Superstore will open tomorrow, Wednesday, January 25 at 7:30am.

It has been a long & contentious 6 years.  We have heard many opinions on this Walmart, and we have posted several times on the subject.

 Is it the Anti-Christ which will destroy our local economy? Or the Messiah that will completely revive it? Or do you have an opinion somewhere in between?

Let us know!

We also have a Facebook poll to tell us  how you feel.

State Representative Connie Howard had already weighed in:
Constance A. Connie Howard
I am pleased that the facility will provide employment opportunities for area residents.
Please vote and comment!

Monday, January 23, 2012

6th Ward neighborhood leaders interviewed regarding remap...

[VIDEO] West Chesterfield President Michael LaFargue and Roseland Heights President Clevan Tucker were interviewed recently by Medill Reports. At the blog we got a heads up about it last week before the remap vote had taken place and it was noted on the West Chesterfield FB page. They talk about the remap and how it would affect those to neighborhoods and their issues with how the process has gone forward. As a matter of fact this interview took place on the day of the remap vote in the Chicago City Council!

I do wish there was a YouTube version of this story.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tribune: 4 charged in attack on CTA bus driver on South Side

Photo by ctabusphotographer
The youths then got on the bus and attacked the 26-year-old driver, hitting him in his head and body with their fists, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

A Grand Crossing District Tactical Unit was in the area and heard a call reporting a fight on the 71st Street bus and responded to the scene, Mirabelli said.

When the team arrived, they took two of the youths into custody. Two others fled the scene but were quickly caught, Mirabelli said.

A 43-year-old witness who was on the bus was able to identify all four of the culprits, who are 17 and 13 years of age, Mirabelli said.

Darius Love, 17, of the 700 block of East 90th Place, was charged with misdemeanor battery and one count of felony robbery, Mirabelli said. Anthony Williams, also 17 and of the 7200 block of South Evans Avenue, was charged with attempted robbery, he said.
I wonder what they were trying to do. Was this a robbery or did these troubled young men thought it was funny to assault a man doing his job?

According to this article the 13 year-olds weren't identified because they're juveniles. The two 17 year-olds are expected in bond court today. Also the CTA wasn't immediately able to comment on how these youths were able to shut down the bus or any further details about this crime! I would really be curious about how they know to shut the bus down!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chicago Tonight: Ward remap...

[VIDEO] Probably nothing new here. This aired on Thursday night long after the City Council vote. It was noted that the city council could vote on putting this map into effect in the near future instead of waiting for the next city election which would be in 2015. There is no clear legal precedent that determines when a new map goes into effect according to to our new friend strannik on his blog recently.

ALSO, just ran across this page at the Chicago City Clerk which has all the data files and maps for the recently passed remap ordinance. It's worth studying as at the time of Thursday's vote this information wasn't immediately available. I got my eye on the demographic data especially (you will need Adobe Reader for .pdf files).

BTW, Greg Hinz noted on his blog Thursday that
However, the map does so by packing voters into mostly white North and Northwest side wards with populations of 55,000 to 56,000 residents, while stretching the black population into South and West Side wards with populations generally of 51,000 to 53,000.
Each ward is generally supposed to have around 53,912 people. In order to approve this map, they probably had to draw wards with varying populations.

Chicago City Council: Anthony Beale

I had sat on this posting for a little over a full month. So now it's time to trot it out since the remap of the 6th ward has come to pass. Even with that in mind I see a new opportunity for this blog. Another community to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly. Time will tell! :P

Those of us who might be drawn into the 9th Ward now is the time to get to know Ald. Anthony Beale. Our local NBC affiliate has the 411 on Ald. Beale.
Background: Ald. Beale did not graduate college. He worked at AllState insurance as a technician, but also maintained involvement in public service. He has been a long time member of action committees like the Redevelopment of Roseland Area board and the Rosemoor Community Association. He is also Vice President of the United Block Club of Roseland and President of 1000th Street of Prairie Block Club of Roseland. Beale also serves on the board for the Rainbow/Push Coalition- a Jesse Jackson Sr. organization.

The Ward: Roseland was once a thriving, highly-populated area with a wide diversity of people. Located on the far south side, the area today is mostly African American, but is struggling economically and with gang related violence. The Roseland neighborhood was one of the areas on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's food desert list, because of its lack of available fresh food retail options.

The Office: In 1999, Beale was one of the youngest alderman ever elected. His youth didn't deter him from quickly gaining the chairmanship of the prestigious Police Committee under former Mayor Daley. He called for more police on the streets and reduction of requirements to become a police officer. Beale also proposed a ban on liquor license sales in the ward and created a business advisory board to pre-screen potential business moving to the area. He was key to establishing a Walmart store in the Pullman area. He also revived Little League and hosted the 2007 Little League State Championships.
You can visit his website at http://www.ward09.com or his FB page.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brookins Clears Ballot Hurdle - Chicago News Cooperative

Ald. Brookins was certainly a player in the ward remap that was recently concluded in a session of the Chicago City Council. It was a map forwarded by his Black Caucus that the current map is based on. It looks like after mostly negative stories that would see him kicked off the ballot for re-election to 21st Ward Democratic Committeeman, he may be able to stay on the ballot after all.
Ald. Howard Brookins can remain on the March primary ballot for 21st Ward Democratic ward committeeman, a Chicago Board of Election Commissioners hearing officer determined today.

The election board will now vote on whether to uphold the decision.

Brookins’ position on the ballot was put in danger earlier this month when an examination of his nomination papers found he did not submit enough valid signatures from registered voters in the South Side ward. The examination found Brookins, the incumbent committeeman, was about 100 signatures short of the 939 minimum.

Burt Odelson, an attorney for Brookins, on Tuesday submitted more than 100 valid sworn statements from voters whose signatures were tossed out after the preliminary examination. The hearing officer said the statements showed Brookins submitted a sufficient number of signatures.

Brookins, the chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, had been preparing to try to retain the party post with a write-in campaign.

“I’m happy I won’t spend extra dollars on a needless write-in campaign,” Brookins said.
Two other incumbent Alderman running for ward committeemen around the city are off the ballot. One was removed and the other dropped out of the race in their respective ward committeeman races. Even though being a  Democratic committeeman is a volunteer posting it does confer a certain amount of prestige and opportunities for those who seeks those positions.

Greater Chatham Alliance postpones meeting until January 28

Location: St James Evangelical Lutheran, 8000 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60619-3511, USA
Greater Chatham Alliance is postponing tomorrow's scheduled meeting due to the snowstorm. The meeting wil take place next Saturday, January 28, at 11am at St.James Lutheran Church, 8000 S. Michigan.

The re-map will be a topic of discussion.

Contact the Greater Chatham Alliance for details = 8202 S. King Drive, P.O. Box 507 , Chicago IL 60619 *** 773.635.6500 *** gcahonor@sbcglobal.net

The new ward map...

I wanted to find a decent picture of the new map, but have been unable to find one. I did find this interactive map from WBEZ however you will probably have to scroll around to see all the new ward boundaries.

This is how the new 6th Ward will look. It looks like the 8th Ward now has the blocks west of Cottage Grove between 83rd & 78th Streets. And then a thin strip along 87th Street and then south towards about 89th Place between St. Lawrence and Langley.

Progress Illinois: Chicago Ward Remap Could Still Face Lawsuit

[36th Ward Ald.] Sposato, who tried to delay today's vote, says a parliamentary maneuver to force the vote could also factor into any legal action.

The map does satisfy legal requirements regarding the 1965 Voting Rights Acts that guarantees equal representation to racial minorities. There are 18 majority Black wards, 13 majority Hispanic wards, and two Hispanic "influence" wards.

However, the map might not meet the most basic rule of representation: One person, one vote. Some wards on the far South Side have almost five percent more than the 53,912 median ward population – some on the far North Side have almost five percent less than the median.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and other groups released their own maps to be considered by the Chicago City Council. These maps more closely adhere to “one man, one vote” and could set in motion a lawsuit against the city.

Several advocacy groups could be party to these lawsuits, as they were disenchanted with the final map.

Theresa Mah, policy consultant for the Coalition for a Better Chinese Community, says it is too soon to know if her organization will join a potential lawsuit. But Mah is adamant that the compromise map does not effectively represent Chicago's growing Asian population. "I can't really say that our concerns were heard by anyone," Mah says. "The [compromise map] splits Chinatown into five wards."
What about this parliamentary maneuver?
[2nd Ward Ald.] Fioretti and Sposato, their political survival threatened, tried to “postpone the inevitable,” as Sposato put it, by exercising the right of any two aldermen to delay consideration of any matter for one meeting.

But Emanuel’s forces used an obscure parliamentary maneuver to prevent the delay — by ruling that matters directly introduced to the City Council can’t be postponed.

They were that determined to put the divisive issue to rest and to prevent the hard-fought deal from unraveling.

Burnside Academy pivotal in School De-Segregation

Location: Burnside Elementary Scholastic Academy, 650 E 91st Pl, Chicago, IL 60619-7698, USA
The Burnside Scolastic Academy's Parent Advisory Council shared this article yesterday which highlighted Burnside's pivotal role in the civil rights struggle.

We are including the whole thing,as the Suntimes is installing a paywall which may deprive some readers of access.The link of the article is here.  they also have "online extras" here.
Tony Burroughs, outside of the Burnside School 650 E. 91st Place, where 50 years ago the first demonstration against Chicago Public Schools system of segregated and unequal education took place. Friday, January 13, 2012.
Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

It was a pivotal moment for Chicago’s racially separate and unequal Chicago Public Schools system.

But for then 12-year-old Tony Burroughs, the three-week sit-in by African-American parents and students at Burnside Elementary School — 50 years ago this month — was life-changing.

“Historians tend to look at the big picture,” says Burroughs, now 63 and a noted genealogist and author.

“You don’t hear a lot about the small sparks to the fire that ignited the Civil Rights movement. This spark ignited protests against the ‘Willis Wagons’ [portable classrooms] and eventually led to the 1963 citywide boycott of the Chicago Public Schools where 250,000 students stayed home,” he says of the incident that began on Jan. 2, 1962.

Spearheaded by the Burnside Parent Teacher Association — primarily its president Alma Coggs, member Zenia Gray, and Burroughs’ mother, Mary Ellen Burroughs — it fueled the school desegregation movement of the ’60s.

And the protests that followed, according to Chicago Urban League papers the University of Illinois Chicago Library holds in its Special Collections, in turn “focused the city’s attention on racial segregation and inequality, created a new militancy among many Chicagoans, and set the stage for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s decision to move his wing of the national civil rights movement to Chicago in 1966.”

Anyone have any thoughts or memories?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Official Statement from Alderman Sawyer on ward re-map vote

Location: Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Here is the official press release from Alderman Sawyer, posted on his website at http://www.6thwardchicago.com/(not affiliated with this blog or our domain, http://www.thesixthward.us/

Over the objection of Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer (6th), the Chicago City Council passed the new ward map 41-8. “Unfortunately this is map, despite numerous public hearings, was not one that the public was able to review and provide input” Alderman Sawyer said. “The communities of the 6th Ward made their opinions clear in the meetings that existed; unfortunately the city council chose to fully disregard the concerns of my community. This map only benefits a few self-serving Alderman, not the City of Chicago, and definitely not the Citizens of the 6th Ward. Nonetheless, I remain committed to the communities of the 6th Ward and I look forward to bringing our new residents into the family.”

Under the revised 6th Ward map, the communities of Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights have been removed from the ward. The 6th ward now loses 2 public parks, its top performing elementary school and a high school. These neighborhoods are a traditionally high voting area and this move greatly affects the voting strength of one of the city’s traditionally highest voting wards.

“There are numerous problems with the process. There was blatant disrespect for the outcome of the last election as certain individuals were determined to disregard the well stated preferences of their community and allowed rules to be broken in the process,” Alderman Sawyer continued. “I left with an agreement on my map, with particular boundaries that, while not perfect represented what I worked for, only to receive a call this morning to find that my map had been unilaterally changed with no notice to me. This was done in spite of the fact that such an action is in clear violation of the rules set up to govern this process. There is no way that I could support such egregious actions that disrespected so many of the people who sent me to office, but it is a wake-up call about the priorities of certain individuals and exactly what they think of our community.”

Alderman Sawyer concluded, “Today, when you look at the aldermen who were disenfranchised, the city council sent the residents of Chicago a clear message; if we don’t like who you elected, the concerns of your community will be ignored. For someone who has spent his entire life in Chicago politics, I can honestly say I have never seen such little regard for the voters of this city.”

For Immediate Release
For More Information Contact:
Lesley Chinn lrchinn33@gmail.com
(773) 746-9044

Alderman Sawyer votes no on re-map, but it passes anyway

Location: Chicago, IL 60619, USA
From Alderman Sawyer's Facebook page (sent via Twitter) on January 19, 2012 @ ~ 11am
I voted No on the map 41-8 #ChiCouncil

So though our alderman voted against it,  it passed anyway (40 alderman were needed to make it happen).

Did any non-aldrmanic citizens get a chance to see the map before it passed?

What are your thoughts, and how does it affect us?  Any way to appeal it?

Edit -- Here are some comment updates on the Facebook post . In addition, Chief of Staff Brian Sleet will send us an official statement in the near future to the blog, and we will post it as soon as psossible.
JP Paulus Thank you for taking the courageous stance. i wish just 2 other alderman had the guts to do so. Was the new map even available to the public to view before the vote???
about an hour ago · Like.

Kenny Williams Why did you vote no?
about an hour ago · Like.

JP Paulus Another question -- how does it affect the ward now?
about an hour ago · Like.

Darlene Perkins Tribue ‎18African American Wards, 13Hispanic, 2Asian,17White. Fioretti voted out out of his ward. It passed.41 to 8 according to ABC news. Is this correct?
about an hour ago · Like.

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer ‎Kenny Williams I voted no because the process was completely disrespectful to me and to our residents.
10 minutes ago · Like.

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer ‎@Darlene yes that is correct... JP we still were not given a full picture of the ward but a part of chatham was removed at the last second.
8 minutes ago · Like

Alderman Sawyer added these tweets ~ 2pm today

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer  I have been, and remain, a public servant and if you need service, I am still available to you.
Like · · @RoderickTSawyer on Twitt · 6 minutes ago via Twitter · .

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer  I want to be clear, despite the vote on this map, I still represent the traditional communities of the 6th Ward and welcome my new residents
Also, Joe Lake on Facebook (of the Chicago Chatham Connection group) provided a link to the City Clerk's office regarding the legislation. There is a pdf attachment that includes a wordy description of the borders, and a vague map that gives you a general feel, but it is difficult to see exact streets, and how this affects ward block-by-block

New aldermanic wards for one-third of Chicagoans - Chicago Sun-Times

New aldermanic wards for one-third of Chicagoans - Chicago Sun-Times
As early as Thursday or next week probably at the latest, an estimated one-third or more of Chicago residents will be living in a new ward.

They’ll be in two wards, actually, one old and one new, thanks to a ward redistricting plan that an alliance of aldermen will try to push through the City Council today.

The new boundaries don’t really go into effect until after the city election in 2015, but the practical effect is more complicated.

As in the past, some aldermen will want to start serving new constituents right away to build goodwill for the next election. Others may prefer to dance with the voters who brought them. The result is some residents may find themselves with two aldermen vying for their affection while others will have trouble finding anyone to pay attention to their concerns.

You say you’d like to know which ward will now be claiming you as a resident?
 That's what I'm sure the residents of West Chesterfield, Roseland Heights, and Chesterfield are wanting to know.

There was supposed to be a city council meeting at 10 AM today, however, so far as I type this post it has yet to commence. Perhaps they're still working on getting those 41 votes and continuing to move lines around. We shall see!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ward map vote tomorrow...

I found this comment at the Ward Room blog from our local NBC affiliate. JP Paulus would agree:
Can the media EVER get it right? The REFERENDUM in 1990 did NOT cost the taxpayers $20 million dollars. What cost the $20 million was the challenge to the map. Whatever map wins here, either by Aldermanic vote or referendum, could cost $20-$30 million if challenged in court. If these maps go to referendum (which they should - Let the people decide!) the cost would be less than $100,000. Still a cost, but the people are allowed to decide, not a group of Aldermen in a back room worried just about themselves. The media's misinformation is pushing us away from a referendum and the people having THEIR say (since the "public hearings" are a sham).
If you want to watch the festivities of this vote tomorrow it will start at 10 AM. This is a special session of the Chicago City Council, and I'm sure most of you will want to be there to express your opinion if you're able. If not able to attend a city council meeting there's always the streaming video courtesy of the Chicago City Clerk! Just remember that the council will consider ALL remap proposals filed so far with the city clerk.

BTW, that Greg Hinz seems to have an idea as to whether or not this map will succeed in the City Council tomorrow morning:
But council leaders are working really hard on Alderman Michele Smith (43rd), whose Lincoln Park neighbors are upset about the map and have the money to fund a legal challenge. Sources report she's been offered a map that keeps more of the ward together than the prior proposal, although it still will have 3,000 or 4,000 more residents than new African-American wards.

Council leaders also are trying to reel in Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd), whose Near South Side turf would be sliced and diced several ways but whose house might be put into a new, mostly white ward stretching north and west as far as Roscoe Village.

Right now, Messrs. Mell and Emanuel need 41 aldermen to approve their map to avoid a referendum fight over dueling maps. Mr. Mell says he thinks he'll have the votes Thursday, and I'd say that's likely, though not certain.

Then we'll see what the lawyers do.
 And yet no idea as to how this map would look other than that it's based on the MBC proposal.

Brookins’ petition battle shows ward politics aren’t what they used to be - Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Brookins (21st) has a hearing today regarding the objections to his petitions. He could be in danger of getting kicked off the March 2012 ballot:
At 8:30 Wednesday morning, Brookins will go before the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners at 69 W. Washington to do some serious battle.

If he wins, he’s on the ballot. But right now? He’s kicked off.


Brookins, a nine-year veteran — seasoned as he is — couldn’t come up with enough signatures of registered voters in this city’s second-most-populous ward to qualify to run.

“Nobody has an organization anymore,” observed one City Hall election veteran in modest disbelief on Tuesday.

In Brookins’ case, all he needed were 939 bulletproof signatures. Though he submitted 1,300 names — more than the minimum — by the time his political nemesis, Bruce Crosby, was done challenging those petitions, Brookins was 103 signatures short. Some who signed, it turned out, weren’t really registered voters. And some printed their names rather than wrote them longhand — a potential disqualifier.

Even Brookins’ attorney, Burt Odelson, seems surprised.

If Odelson’s name is familiar, it should be. He’s the veteran election lawyer who challenged Rahm Emanuel’s residency and right to run for Chicago mayor a year ago. Emanuel, it should be noted, filed 90,000 petition signatures when only 12,500 were required.

“The rule of thumb,” said Odelson by phone Monday, “is that you have at least twice or three times the minimum.”
This Carol Marin piece starts off with the idea that the internet and electronic devices have replaced the time honored practices of going door-to-door and pounding the pavement for votes are about "as exotic as a typewriter". No doubt that being able to communicate on the web is important for candidates on any level but they still have to be out there with the people on the streets or their front door. It was also noted that Brookins was busy on the ward remap which is nearing it's conclusion.

All the same this piece notes the importance of having an organization of some sort. Does this mean Brookins simply didn't have the ability to have an army of workers in his ward not only getting all the signatures he can, but also to vette the signatures he does have?

Potential vote on new ward map coming but possibly delayed...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called a special City Council meeting Thursday to consider a new map of the city’s 50 wards, but the aldermen leading the effort to reach a political compromise said the final vote may not come until early next week.

A parliamentary maneuver to put off an immediate vote can be invoked by just two aldermen, Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, noted Tuesday. If that happened, another meeting would be called for early next week, he said.

Mell spoke after the third of four public hearings on competing proposals put forward by the Black and Latino caucuses and their respective allies. No mention was made of the special meeting, and no details about the compromise taking shape were presented.
Not a lot of transparency in this.

BTW, read Worlee's thoughts! He doesn't think anyone in the 6th Ward will be happy with whatever the finished product would look like. This has turned into a frustrating process!

ALSO, there are two more ward remap hearings coming up this week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Increasing graduation rates, job one at city colleges

While the blog has largely been focused on the remap, that doesn't mean we can't take a brief look at other issues affected our community. 

For example, I'm going to share an article from Inside Higher Education about the Chicago City Colleges. For those who are truly into the education system in our city, this probably isn't news to them. They're probably keeping a serious eye on this as well.
So how bad are graduation rates at City Colleges?

The 7 percent number cited by Emanuel is the graduation rate metric used by the Department of Education, which looks at full-time, first-time students over a period equal to 150 percent of the time it would take to earn a credential – 3 years for an associate degree. That rate lags far behind the national average of 22 percent for public, two-year colleges. But only 35 percent of the 127,000 students who attend City Colleges count toward that graduation measure, because many have studied elsewhere or enroll only part-time.

Shortly after arriving, Hyman called for a closer look at the system’s performance. The resulting research tried to be more representative of the student population. What they found wasn’t pretty.

When part-time students are included, the graduation rate bumps up a tick to 8 percent. And when time to degree is doubled, to six years, still only 13 percent of City College students make it to graduation.

Any way you cut it, the system has a problem with completion. More than half of degree-seeking students (54 percent) leave City Colleges after just six months, and only 16 percent of students transfer to four-year institutions.

The chancellor is hardly shy about touting unflattering numbers. Transparency, she says, is also part of the reinvention.

Improving graduation and transfer rates won’t be easy, in part because of the preparation of students who come to City College. More than 90 percent need remediation, and 36 percent are under the poverty line.
Read the whole thing when you get a chance!

Via Newsalert!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remap progress???

It appears the city council may be able to produce another ward map. Hopefully this map will be seen at this week's remap hearings before the City Council will take a vote. It's all about their votes!

Anyway here's what was at stake:
“There’s no more debate on the number of wards Hispanics would get. It’s 13. And the number of [Hispanic] influence wards is two. The Black Caucus would get 18. The 20th Ward would stay on the South Side. They’d keep everything they’ve got except the 15th Ward, which would become a super-majority Hispanic ward,” Solis said.

“The only real issue now is will this map get struck down because of the deviation” from the benchmark that every ward have 52,900 residents.

Victor Reyes, a consultant to the Hispanic Caucus, said the original map filed by the Caucus included a deviation of four percent. The compromise raises it to ten percent.

Hispanic majority wards are at least 60 percent Latino, influence wards 35 percent to 40 percent, and super majority wards, at least 65 percent.
If you're not happy about the proposed map, it looks like they're working to insure that it won't be challenged in court:
But, Solis said, “We need a clear and coherent narrative that, not only we understand but the public can understand of how this map will be defensible to a legal challenge. We just want him to have a further conversation with our attorney, Mike Kasper, since he went through this” when legislative and congressional maps were drawn to coincide with the 2010 U.S. Census.

Burt Odelson, an attorney representing the Black Caucus, insisted the compromise is on solid legal ground.

“All the case law throughout the United States is that, if it’s below ten percent [deviation] with good reason, then it’s an acceptable map,” Odelson said.

“Good reason means pursuant to the Voting Rights Act and trying to make wards with a population that will be able to elect a minority — whether that be Latino or African-American.”
A national redistricting expert approves of this new ward map as well:
For weeks, the council’s Black Caucus and its allies and the Latino Caucus have pushed their own versions of a new ward map. On Monday, aldermen heard from Allan Lichtman, a consultant the council hired for the remap process.

Lichtman told council leaders that a modified proposal first submitted by the Black Caucus and its allies could withstand a legal challenge. But the American University professor and redistricting expert witness said aldermen would need to show that population variances among wards were designed to protect African-American and Latino voters and preserve racial harmony, aldermen said.

Approval by Lichtman was the key condition set last week by Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, Latino Caucus chairman. If Lichtman also can find legal justification for other map quirks — including the odd shaped of the proposed 11th Ward — the Latino Caucus would sign off on the plan, Solis said.
Some expected changes in this map:
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that a last minute boost in the Hispanic population of the Southwest Side’s 23rd Ward — from 54 to over 60 percent — could seal a remap deal.

Incumbent Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) remains adamantly opposed to the changes, but his vote may not be required. The compromise could attract the 41 votes needed to avoid a remap referendum — with or without Zalewski, sources said.

“I assume they’re just gonna go ahead and pass a map with as many votes as possible. But nothing has changed as far as my position,” Zalewski said Friday.

In addition to Zalewski, the new map would endanger incumbent Aldermen: Jim Balcer (11th); Nick Sposato (36th) and Bob Fioretti (2nd), whose home would not be located in his newly-redrawn ward.

Aldermen Toni Foulkes (15th) and Joann Thompson (16th) would be thrown into the same ward, meaning only one of the two incumbents could survive.
The main concern is how the 6th Ward will fare under this map. If only there was a way the public can view this map before it's voted upon, finally!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Future ward remap hearings

Well three more two of them to be held during the course of the day at the City Hall Chambers. Found this courtesy of Don't Remap the 19th Ward fb page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
North - Grand High School Auditorium
4338 West Wabansia
Chicago, IL 60639
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 19, 2012
City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
10:00 a.m.

Information via chicagoredistricting.com

ALSO the city council is expected to meet on January 18th although since remap hearings are clustered around that date it's unclear if they're even going to vote on a new ward map next Wednesday!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Watching this YoChicago video on Englewood

[VIDEO] It was contained within a recent post entitled "Does Englewood have any hope of recovery?" Joe Zekas takes a drive along Normal Avenue starting from 63rd to about 57th Street. In that posting he notes the lack of impact of the new Kennedy-King College Campus and then asks this question about Englewood's prospects:
Some urban neighborhoods are so deteriorated that it’s impossible to reclaim them without first clearing them. Is Englewood one of them?
I'm sure the people at RAGE want to answer this question so here's their opportunity. BTW, I hope you're following their FB page if you didn't already know this photo was out of Englewood (63rd & Morgan) surely you would've thought this was somewhere on the north side
Surely a lot of people who admit that Englewood sure needs a lot of work but I would loath the idea of a clearing. Clear the buildings out of that neighborhood for what? Whatever has been cleared there has remained vacant as if there was no plan for when they clear the lots. Besides they largely cleared the old Englewood downtown and aside from building Kennedy-King no more progress seems to be made from that.

To go back for a second, it seems Zekas takes a drive in roughly the area Aysha Butler took Marc Sims through sometime last year. Little did I know there were two videos click here for both but I will only embed one of them here [VIDEO: PART 1, PART 2]. Basically the land Butler and Sims toured late last year and what you see in the YoChicago video are land that could one day be cleared for a railroad switching yard. You can also read what Mrs. Butler wrote on her blog.
And here's yet another bleak YoChicago report about Englewood entitled "A West Englewood rehab without a building permit". If you watch the video while the building featured @ 6219 S Marshfield Ave looks very nice on the outside the rest of the neighborhood is bleak. It seems Zekas wants to steer people away from Englewood:
HUD’s rent schedule is the same for all of metropolitan Chicago. It isn’t difficult to find housing at those rents in many environments that are far more attractive than West Englewood.
It's been noted Englewood doesn't have much in assets. The one they that neighborhood does have is public transportation, the Green Line. But if you go to that rehab posting you'll see a report from the Ashland/63 Green Line station. That's not even enough to encourage investment.

The next question, I suppose is what would it take to give Englewood the attention it deserves? Does anyone have an answer?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Progress Illinois: Possible Deal On Ward Remap, But Few Happy

It's interesting that Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) made this quote at a remap hearing at DePaul University on Wednesday:
“I don’t think anybody likes either one of these maps,” said Ald. Richard Mell, (33rd), chairman of the council’s Rules committee, which is in charge of the remap, at a public hearing Wednesday at DePaul University.
And you know he's right. I'm sure many here in the Sixth Ward are thrilled with either map. This is a difficult year because of the population changes most of the Black population leaving Chicago and an increase in Latino in this city. Also most of the population are clustered around downtown Chicago.

Anyway, a deal is in the works.We already posted a story about Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) who just so happens to be the Chairman of the Black Caucus of the city council:
According to Howard Brookins, 20th Ward alderman and chairman of the black caucus, the only obstacle left is a lawyer to confirm the map can withstand a lawsuit. “There is an understanding and once there is an opinion to the legality of it, we think a deal will be reached,” Brookins says.

That would add the eight members of the Latino caucus to the 32 aldermen already in support of the Map for a Better Chicago – or 40 aldermen, leaving Map for a Better Chicago proponents needing to pick up just one more vote. Brookins says he is “confident that there will be sufficient enough aldermen” to get to 41 votes.

The Latino caucus is a bit more cautious. Victor Reyes, head lawyer for the caucus, said that given the request for a legal opinion it would be “difficult” to have the Latino caucus on board in time for the next City Council meeting, which is on Wednesday.
The legal issue. I've read that the MBC proposal is gaining favor but it could be challenged even if the city council votes in the affirmitive:
Plus, it is not a sure thing that the Map for a Better Chicago passes legal muster. The map probably adheres to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects the representative interests of racial minorities. There will be the 13 majority Latino wards and 18 majority African-American wards. But it might deviate too much from the “one man, one vote” rule. Many wards on the far South and far West sides have up to five percent fewer than the median 53,912 people in each ward. Many far North Side wards have up to five percent more than the median.

With perhaps these deviations in mind, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund released their own “Equitable Map” with much smaller deviations. MALDEF – which is independent of the City Council Latino caucus – could be poised to take legal action.

“They have positioned themselves in a good way if that’s the way they go,” says Paul Sajovec, chief of staff for Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) – who supported the Taxpayer Protection Map and has not taken a position on the potential compromise map.
What map would you support? Is there a map you would like to submit to the city clerk so that the city council could actually consider it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting Ready For The Snow

Getting Ready For The Snow

The above link is for resources from the Alderman's Office @ 6thWardChicago.com to help with the snow. This is especially for senior citizens who are unable to shovel their sidewalks. A reminder that sidewalks must be shoveled under city ordinance.

While you can always contact the 6th Ward service office you can always check out ChicagoShovels.org for help with the snow.

Public sounds off on ward remap proposals

6th Ward MBC proposal
WBEZ has a report from last night's meeting. The people in Lincoln Park doesn't want that Black Caucus' "Map for a Better Chicago" (MBC) Proposal to prevail. What will the people of the Sixth Ward say about it at this evenings remap hearing to be located at Progressive Baptist Church - 3658 S. Wentworth tonight starting at 6 PM?
Frustrated Chicagoans accused aldermen of shattering communities to protect their incumbencies at the first public hearing on the city’s ward remap process Wednesday night.

At least 600 people flooded into DePaul University’s Student Center in Lincoln Park, with many forced to wait temporarily outside closed doors due to concerns that attendance would exceed fire code limits. For three hours, scores of city residents hurled criticism at the more than 20 attending aldermen, and the two maps they created.

“This map is unwise for all Chicagoans, because it not only shatters our communities, it fails to accurately reflect the city’s current ethnic and racial balance,” said Daniel Varanauski, President of the Wrightwood Neighbors Association in the 43rd Ward, where the hearing was held.

Varanauski and hundreds of other 43rd Ward residents came to put pressure on council members against the map that appears to be gaining the most traction at City Hall – The Map for a Better Chicago. That map, proposed by the council’s Black Caucus, would carve the 43rd Ward on Chicago’s North Side into five wards.

“If adopted, as Alderman (Michelle) Smith (43rd) suggested, costly litigation would result,” added Varanauski. “Moreover, it is so gerrymandered that ward services could not be delivered effectively.”
BTW, chicagoredistricting.com has finally been updated with more information about the proposals. I wish it had been more transparent before all these other maps have been filed with the city clerk. Then again I understand why there wasn't much information out there, the city council had to work it out amongst themselves but during all that time it wasn't working very well it appeared.

Again, who from the Sixth Ward will make it to tonights remap hearing? Would you be willing to e-mail us some updates and even photographs?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Black Caucus chairman predicts City Council agreement on remap

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the Black Caucus, said a last-minute increase in the boundaries and Hispanic population of the Southwest Side’s 23rd Ward could seal the deal, ending a bitter feud that threatened to divide the City Council along racial lines in a way not seen since Council Wars.

By inheriting Hispanic precincts from the adjacent 14th Ward, the 23rd Ward’s Latino population would rise from 54 percent under a prior draft to 61 percent, sources said.

“There will be a tentative agreement. We will be able to avoid a referendum,” Brookins said, hours before Lincoln Park residents aired their concerns about being splintered into five different wards during the first of two public hearings on the issue.

Ald. Danny Solis (25th), chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, agreed that the two sides were closing in on a compromise.

“If they get to 61 percent for the 23rd Ward and a couple of other things, we’ll be very close,” Solis said.

But, he warned, “We have to make sure taxpayers are protected and whatever map we come up with will be defensible. We need an expert on redistricting to look at the map and say, `This can withstand legal scrutiny.’”

Incumbent Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) could be a roadblock. He has signed on to the proposed boundary changes in the ward that now includes Midway Airport.

“I understand everyone has to give a little. But, every time we get close to an agreement, I get a different [Hispanic percentage] and a different set of boundaries. It’s totally splintering the fabric of the 23rd Ward. I can’t let that happen,” Zalewski said.
What does this agreement mean for those concerned neighborhoods of the 6th Ward? Will they be happy about a remap agreement?

There is a remap hearing coming up Thursday night from 6PM to 9PM at Progressive Baptist Church located at 3658 S. Wentworth Ave. There will also be another hearing at City Hall although I don't know if it will be with the same hours as the earlier ones. Will the 6th Ward make themselves heard at these ward remap hearings?

Chicago aldermen on Twitter - RedEye Chicago

A recent issue of the Tribune's Red Eye talked about Chicago Aldermen using Twitter.

Alderman Sawyer  and his chief of staff, Brian Sleet, were featured in the story.

Chicago aldermen on Twitter - RedEye Chicago

(Unfortunately, the photos and comments were NOT published online -- only in print!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Q&A with Alderman Sawyer

Michael Finney of the Examiner sat down with Alderman Sawyer in his ward office for an interview. Here's some of the pertinent things that you will find interesting in this exchange:

Finney: Being someone who has spent his childhood and adulthood in the Chatham area, what changes have you noticed during your time as a resident in the 6th Ward?

Sawyer: The biggest change that I have seen is the presence of Black-owned businesses in the area. Over time those businesses have been vanishing due to either lack of patronage or providing a service that was unsatisfactory to the consumers in the neighborhood.

Finney: With the opening of Garrett’s Popcorn in the area and with much more business opportunity being offered by the 6th Ward, what type of businesses would you like to invite to the neighborhood?

Sawyer: I would like to invite economic engines such as light industrial, manufacturing or technology businesses to consider development in the 6th Ward for a number of reasons. The cost of square footage would obviously be more cost effective in the 6th Ward than it would be in areas such as downtown Chicago, Bucktown, and the South Loop. By offering these types of economic engines, we then open the door for other businesses such as hospitality, service, etc.

Finney: We often hear and read about how the African-American community doesn’t have an adequate number of residents that are prepared and trained for jobs when the opportunity for economic prosperity arrives. This has been an accusation that has been made by the business community as well as politicians, what’s your response to this assumption?

Sawyer: The 6th Ward has TIF areas. We have the space, potential infrastructure, and a pool of well-trained candidates for employment opportunities once businesses make those opportunities available.

Finney: With the unanimous approval of the Mayor’s budget, what changes should residents in the African-American community expect to take place?

Sawyer: Smaller increases in patrols that I was pushing for such as in the bureaus of electricity & forestry. The number one call we get into our office is for street light repairs, so safety is priority. If residents don’t feel safe leaving and returning to their homes we can’t expect them to be the community members that cares. I was upset about the decrease in clinics, health centers, and libraries but the understanding is that efficiency in those areas would be improved drastically. I think more than anything, this budget is requiring us to live within our means. For decades we’ve spent a lot more money than we actually had to spend and that has to come to an end if we expect to compete with not only other major cities across the country but also in the global economy.
I'm going to applaud the first response in this series. If the expectation was for Bronzeville to change only for the economy to sour with the last four or so years, then Chatham at least should be in a better position. You would have to build in Bronzeville whereas in Chatham there are already storefronts available to rent especially along some portions of 79th Street. Even the Chatham Executive Center.

BTW, I wonder where any possible industry or light manufactuing will be located. There are certainly places not only within the ward but also in surrounding wards where this will be feasible.

There's just no reason the neighborhoods of the Sixth Ward couldn't be competitive with downtown Chicago, Bucktown, or even the Sloop for example!