Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Are Community Organizations Relevant Anymore

Very valid questions and Worlee's response to our recent post "Direction: communication & cooperation" it's spelled out even more the conflicts between the various community organizations and especially spells out the purpose of the emerging Re-Unite Chatham noted in the posting here. He does take aim at Greater Chatham Alliance & Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council:
For some residents this is where the usefullness of these organizations begin and end. Some residents have criticized the organizations of political grandstanding, partisian politics, a tool shed for governmental employees and being clueless on what residents want and need. The major criticism is that the presence of two organizations has turned into turf wars. The former president of one sent the other a letter stating that a portion of the community did not want to be represented by them. Also, on several local issues regarding businesses, it turns into one will say yes and the other will automatically say no. It has been a tradition in the ward for the Alderman to refer business owners who want to potentially open up to gain community organization approval. This process has gotten out of hand and prompted the current Alderman to state that he will not allow community organizations to stymie economic development.

Recently, a convenience store that was rumored that they were going to apply for a liquor license finally approached the Alderman for support. The Alderman refused to support the issue and as the news made its way around the community, it was very apparent that the community opposed the issuance of a liquor license. Subsequently, a group of residents decided that they wanted to start a community organization. The group decided on the name ReUnite- Chatham. I was contacted and attended a meeting.

This is where the BS begins, it was apparent that I was not suppose to have been invited to this meeting but it was nothing that could be done. The organizer which is a block club president started off the meeting selling woof tickets. The moderator stated that the current community organizations have not been proactive but reactive to issues, there were a lack of recreational opportunities for young adults and teens and other criticisms. A comment from the audience was a long time resident stated she hadn't heard of the other community organizations. I personally took exception to the statement that the community had a lack of recreational activities for young adults and teens as the church where the meeting took place has a young adult choir and teen club open to the community. Also, the Chicago Park District Superintendent for Cole Park lives in our community and has broght a number of programs back to the Park. Then it hit me what was going on here when former Alderman Niles Sherman(21) who has an on going dispute with current Alderman Howard Brookins was attempted to play political godfather in the 6th ward and the comment he made against one community organization was totally unwarranted and a misrepresentation. After the comments speakers from the Mayor's office and the Chicago Police Department spoke. I left the meeting because I saw that this meeting was political and they wanted to pimp the residents for their political gain. No representatives from either community organization or the Alderman office was invited or present.

As we end this year and enter a new one it appeared that there might be a truce called over the "turf wars" but with this new organization, ReUiting Chatham was not on the agenda but rather the political aspirations of wanna be and defeated political candidates being mentored by a wash up has been former Alderman who has been exiled from his former ward.
While I feel like the question I would like to ask could be a bit loaded, it's worth asking anyway. Are community organizations in Chatham relevant?

BTW, Rev. Marc Robinson is a sub-area Vice President for the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council. He recently announced his resignation from the organization. I'm wondering if this resignation is indicative of the issues that may exist in Chatham neighborhood organizations. Indeed Rev. Robinson does seems to point his finger at the organization he's resigning from.

Also let's note that the organizations that exist in the 6th Ward in addition to the CAPCC and GCA we also have Park Manor Neighbors for example. In this vein Worlee made sure to note that the Resident Association of Greater Englewood has looked east of the Ryan to emulate those organizations. That would be my hope in spreading the idea of The Sixth Ward as "as state of mind".

As always comments are appreciated!

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