Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ward Room: Anthony Beale Q&A

Anthony Beale
Incidentially, at this Saturday's West Chesterfield neighborhood meeting Ald. Beale is expected to be a guest. I'm curious what he will talk about there during the course of that meeting. Here's one topic of interest to West Chesterfield at least, however, he does talk with the Ward Room about other things going on in the 9th Ward such as Walmart, guns, 2nd congressional district race or even a Presidential library in Roseland. In the case of West Chesterfield let's focus on the Red Line:
Q: What have you done so far to move the Red Line extension forward, and what can you do as a congressman to get the money?

A: Being chairman of Transportation, we've been aggressively pushing the Red Line upgrade and the Red Line extension. This summer, we're shutting down the Red Line for four months in order to get the Red Line upgraded, which will save people between 12 and 15 minutes between 95th and Cermak. Once the Red Line is upgraded, now we can start implementing the Red Line extension. We're in step 4 of 7. Once the Red Line is upgraded, then we can walk right into the transition for the extension.

REMINDER: February 5th event with the Cook County Assessor

We posted about this event January 15th. It's being heavily promoted by the Greater Chatham Alliance and will take place February 5, 2012 at Whitney Young Library - 7901 S. King Drive - from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Refer to flyer below for more details!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tribune: Companies 'enthusiastic' about partnership for Red, Purple Line projects

Also noted here is the possible savings by CTA "getting out of the fare-collection business". Of great interest to us here is how private-public partnerships could help build the CTA Red Line extension to 130th Street amongst other projects:
The CTA is receiving strong and enthusiastic feedback from the private sector about investing in two mega-projects along the Red and Purple lines that the transit agency could not afford to undertake on its own for many years, CTA President Forrest Claypool said Monday.

CTA officials and financial adviser Goldman Sachs are studying potential public-private partnerships to construct the proposed Red Line extension to 130th Street, and to demolish and rebuild track, aging stations and crumbling viaduct structure on the North Side, from north of the Belmont station through Evanston, Claypool told a gathering of transportation experts at Northwestern University.

"We believe that partnerships with the private sector are one piece of the key to keeping mass transit healthy,'' especially in a period of declining federal and state funding, Claypool said.

The response to the CTA's outreach to the financial industry on the two Red Line projects has been "overwhelmingly enthusiastic,'' Claypool said. The CTA's goal is not to sell off assets but rather to lower costs by 10 percent to 20 percent on major projects, he said.

Both proposed Red Line projects are in planning stages, but they are unfunded for the construction phase, officials said.

The approximately five-mile south extension of the Red Line, from the current terminus at 95th Street to 130th, is estimated to cost at least $1.5 billion. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said when he was campaigning for office that the Red Line extension was his top transit priority and he expected construction would begin within a few years.

Cost estimates on the Red Purple Modernization project range from about $2 billion to more than $4 billion, depending on the scope of the work that would be undertaken to replace infrastructure that is more than 90 years old, officials said. The north branch of the Red Line serves the largest ridership in the CTA rail system, and the transit agency is spending $86 million on temporary repairs to shore up dangerously dilapidated infrastructure.

Claypool said the CTA was not interested in privatizing the operation of the Red Line or selling it off to the private sector. Instead, any deals would involve a public-private partnership to design, build, finance and maintain the rail line, but CTA employees still would run the trains, he said. In return, the venture partners would assume part of the financial risk of building two complicated projects and receive "a small potential share'' of profit.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recap of a Civic Discussion held on January 26th, 2013

This recap below came from the desk of West Chesterfield Community Association President Michael LaFargue. I'm sorry that I didn't put a lot of effort into posting about this although you may have seen a flyer for this on my scribd account. Did anyone else go and would like to offer their thoughts on this event?

Progress Illinois: Youth Unemployment Summit Highlights Illinois Teens' Urgent Need For Jobs

I recently found this article from Progress Illinois. There was a 19 person panel consisting of various politicians from the city, county, and state levels last Thursday hosted by the Chicago Urban League. The youth of Chicago gave testimony of their difficulty in finding a job:
Illinois’ teen unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and during a panel on Thursday at the Chicago Urban League, local elected officials came face-to-face with Chicago’s unemployed youth.

“Not being able to provide for your kid or help your family is an awful feeling, I feel like nothing, but I don’t have opportunities to work,” said Dwillie Bush, 18, during the panel. A senior at Banner Academy South High School in the far South Side neighborhood of Jeffrey Manor, Bush is father to a four-month-old boy and lives with his single mother and four siblings in Englewood.

“Point blank, I need a job,” he said.

In front of a 19-person panel that featured a collection of aldermen, commissioners and legislative representatives, more than 15 teenagers gave testimony to the struggles of unemployment in Chicagoland. Thursday’s panelists were also presented with a recent report explaining how teens, particularly low-income and minority teens, have been excluded from the labor market and the negative economic impact Illinois has seen as a result.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The American Interest: The Crisis of the Black Middle Class

Last year I started talking a bit about the Black Middle-Class. As a matter of fact the core areas this blog hopes to cover are mostly Black Middle-Class communities. And these communities are struggling with different issues, perhaps no more worse than the people who are residing in them.

I found this article primarily via a right-wing blog - Instapundit. Don't let this stop you from considering this issue and all the causes surrounding them.

What's at issue here is not only the housing market which it is argued have hurt many Blacks. It's also the jobs that have put them into the middle-class mainly jobs in the public sector. They mentions predatory lending, espeically those who have already owned their homes however they were convince to refinance their homes.

Since this is something you found on a right-wing site, there was a swipe at typical progressive (referred to here as blue or Democratic) policies. The bottom line here is that solutions are necessary. New answers are needed, but what are the questions?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

ChicagoTalks: Roseland profile

Roseland Community Area
During the remap debate last year a lot of people were very apprehensive of being combined with Roseland in the 9th Ward. In fact they used Roseland and 9th Ward almost interchangeably in discussing this issue. There were concerns (although certainly baseless) that property values will dip if their neighborhood was drawn into 9th Ward. Aside from the change in electoral precinct and one Alderman wanting to use the new map in zoning decisions we're not quite there yet.

However, this article gives me an excuse to talk about Roseland. If you're concerned about Roseland I'm not sure this article will give anyone any ease at all.
According to, a website that tracks crime, there were 116 crimes in Roseland during the past week. Meanwhile in Lincoln Park on the North Side, there were only 10 crimes reported during the same week. Crimes in Roseland were more violent, including theft, battery and narcotics possession. In other areas of the city, crimes reported often consisted of home burglaries and thefts of smart phones or iPods.

“This is a dangerous area, no doubt about it,” said Jamal Pearson, 47, a CPD officer who has worked in Roseland for 11 years. “You’ll be wanting to watch yourself in this area. This is one of the worst areas in the city.”

But some residents said they keep to themselves and manage to avoid becoming victims of crime.

“If you mind your own business then you’re safe. You don’t have to worry about nobody coming after you,” McCoy said.

Mike Smith, 28, who works at a clothing store in Roseland, said he has lived there for 10 years. He said the police don’t come around often.

“The [U.S. government] don’t care. As long as we killing each other, the [U.S. government] don’t care,” Smith said. He says he’s not scared and doesn’t plan to leave Roseland. He referred to Roseland as “baby Iraq.”

“I love this [neighborhood]. I’m used to it. It doesn’t bother me,” Smith said. “Its just a fact of life now.”
Staying safe is a matter of minding your own business. How many of you find that bothersome? Although to be sure no one should ask you to be a hero I wonder what it means to "mind your own business".

This area needs it's own version of RAGE!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sun-Times: County edges closer to buying up vacant, foreclosed properties

A Cook County land bank was mentioned in an open letter from 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer back on January 15. Do you believe this to be a good idea in communities that have suffered as a result of the real estate crash and the current recession?
What is being dubbed the nation’s largest landbank — an independent agency set up to acquire vacant land and foreclosed homes and commercial property in Chicago and the suburbs — moved one step closer to setting up shop Tuesday.

The Cook County Board’s finance committee signed off on creating the new landbank – in hopes of cleaning up neighborhoods and returning abandoned property to the tax roles. Because the finance committee’s membership is identical to the full County Board, the measure is expected to sail through final approval during Wednesday’s meeting.

County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, credited with taking the lead on the measure, said the cash-strapped county government wouldn’t have to fund the landbank. Instead, the roughly $15 million in seed money needed during the first three years of operation will likely come from local foundations and grants.

The money will be used for anything from hiring staff to purchasing property to rehabbing or demolishing it.
We learned that as far as this proposal goes the Greater Chatham Alliance has some reservations about it believing there could be serious repercussions for south side neighborhoods if there is little community input on such a program. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

JEWEL-OSCO Kicks Off "A Taste of Black History

Location: 1655 East 95th Street, Chicago, IL 60617, USA

JEWEL-OSCO will get an early start at celebrating Black History Month with a special "A Taste of Black History" VIP Shopping Event.

January 24,2013
1655 E. 95th Street 
Open to the public, the free event will feature:

  • Appearance and autograph signing by Celebrity Chef Josh Marks, runner-up in FOX-TV's "MasterChef" reality cooking show.

  • Food sampling from more than 30 of the retailer's African-American food vendor partners, including several Chicago-based companies.

  • Live music by band Zzaje

  • JEWEL-OSCO will award a total of $10,000 in donations to St. Felicitas Church Food Pantry, Grant A Wish Food Pantry and one other community organization serving the African-American community

  • Enter sweepstakes for a chance to win up to $1,000 in JEWEL-OSCO gift cards

  • Special saving opportunities.

The purpose of the event is to recognize the contributions and achievements of JEWEL-OSCO's African-American vendor partners and celebrate "Black History Month."

The vendors will visit the following stores
Saturday, February 2nd

Noon – 5 p.m.

87 W. 87th St.

Sunday, February 3rd

Noon – 5 p.m.

7530 S. Stony Island Ave. (Chicago)

Monday, February 4th

Noon – 4 p.m.

3153 W. 183rd St.
(Homewood, Ill.)

Saturday, February 9th

Noon – 5 p.m.

2485 W. Howard St.
(Evanston, Ill.)

Sunday, February 10th

Noon – 5 p.m.

9400 S. Ashland Ave.

Monday, February 11th

Noon – 4 p.m.

17705 S. Halsted St.
(Homewood, Ill.)

Saturday, February 16th

Noon – 5 p.m.

1655 E. 95th St.

Sunday, February 17th

Noon – 5 p.m.

9400 S. Ashland Ave.

Monday, February 18th

Noon – 4 p.m.

87 W. 87th St.

Saturday, February 23rd

Noon – 5 p.m.

7525 W. Lake St.
(River Forest, Ill.)

Sunday, February 24th

Noon – 5 p.m.

443 E. 34th St.

Monday, February 25th

Noon – 5 p.m.

11730 S. Marshfield Ave.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sun-Times: Powerful alderman sparks uproar by opting to use 2015 ward boundaries in zoning decisions now

First they changed the electoral precincts to the new ward map, now they want to use the remap for zoning decisions. If you live in West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights Ald. Solis wants to defer to Ald. Anthony Beale in zoning decisions affecting those communities:
A powerful Chicago alderman has decided to start recognizing the city’s new ward boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions on zoning and sign orders, infuriating incumbents endangered by the new map. 

Nearly one year to the day after the City Council approved the new map without a vote to spare, Zoning Committee Danny Solis (25th) sent a letter to his colleagues last week informing them of his decision to implement the new boundaries. 

Solis said he would continue to honor the long-standing tradition of “deferring to the aldermen of the ward in which a zoning change or sign order” is located. But, that political deference will now go to the new alderman — not the old one.

“It’s really a courtesy, a protocol. It’s not a legal thing,” the chairman said Tuesday. 

Solis said he made the decision to end a year of political limbo in response to complaints from developers who “wanted to start doing business” in Chicago, but were “confused about who to talk to.”
Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) is livid. He’s one of a handful of incumbent aldermen endangered by a map that cut the heart out of his Northwest Side ward and nearly doubled its Hispanic population — from 32 percent to 61.2 percent.

“I was elected for a four-year term — not a year-and-a-half term. ... To say I can no longer represent the people who elected me after a year-and-a-half is unconscionable. People are furious in my ward,” Sposato said Tuesday.

“You can’t assign people to wards. People elect people to wards. I’m gonna keep representing the people to the best of my ability. If they’re not gonna allow me to do that — if [Solis] is gonna deny stuff that I approve for people — then I’ll have to look at other avenues.”

To bolster his case, Sposato released a Feb. 2, 2012, memorandum written by Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton.

In it, Patton cited legal precedent and wrote, “These cases establish that the 2011 aldermanic elections were for full four-year terms notwithstanding the intervening redistricting and that these aldermen represent the constituencies which elected them.”
I wonder if there is any new news with regards to any potential legal challenge to last year's ward remap?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

EVENT: Black History Presentation Whitney Young library

What:    Black History Month Presentation
When:   Thursday, February 7th @ 6pm
Where:  Whitney Young Library 7901 S. King Dr.
Who:     Role Model Movement

Refer to graphic below for more details.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ald. Beale - Political Forum CAN-TV

[VIDEO] Last Wednesday, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale appeared on CAN-TV's Political Forum mainly to discuss his current bid for US Congress, proposals for gun laws, and public transportation. This program lasted a little over 25 minutes.

Were you able to chime in last week?

Get your tickets for the viewing of the Presidential Inauguration...

Pick up free tickets at the Chatham 14 Theaters box office located 210 W. 87th Street on Saturday, January 19 starting at 10 AM. The actual event will take place from 9 AM to 1 PM on Monday, January 21st. Refer to flyer below for more details. Hat-tip Concerned Citizens of Chatham.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

EVENT: 2nd Annual Educational Empowerment Summit

Coming to Englewood on Saturday January 26, 2013 at Team Englewood High School - located at 6201 S. Steward - from 9 AM to 2 PM. Refer to flyer below.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

6th Ward Chicago: 2012 Year In Review

The Alderman's office share what's been going on in the past year and of course there is talk of what's going to happen in the New Year. Do you think, the year in the 6th Ward has gone to a good start? Will this be a good year for our communities?

Chatham 14 Theaters has a new majority owner

Lone Movie Theater on the South Side Changes Ownership - Chicago

Me and a friend of mine continue to talk about this situation. The story continues and this proves to be an interesting development. For those who have followed it, I wonder if there's a big surprise here.
Besides its name, little has changed since new ownership took over the South Side's only movie theater.

Formerly ICE Chatham 14 Theaters and now the Chatham 14 Theaters, located at 210 W. 87th St., the cinema was once the only black-owned movie theater in Chicago, featuring films geared toward an African-American audience and employing local youth.

Now Michael Silver, who had been part owner for the past five years, is the majority owner after the theater's founders, Donzell and Alisa Starks, sold it to him, Silver said.

The Starks, founders of Inner City Entertainment, still own the ICE Lawndale 10 Theaters on the West Side, according to Alisa Starks.

“We are thrilled that we have come to this agreement,” said Silver, who is white. “We are looking forward to taking the Chatham 14 Theaters into the next stage of development. We’re making plans for upgrading the theaters with digital projectors, new carpeting and other amenities to make this a world-class entertainment venue on the South Side.”

Silver declined disclosed financial terms of the deal.

The business relationship between the Starks, who declined to comment, and Silver soured in October when Silver had an eviction order he filed in Cook County Circuit Court enforced. The theater was forced to close for a week after Cook County sheriff's deputies shut the building down. It later reopened with a new name and new management, F & F Management Inc., which took over daily operations from the Starks.

Even though the cinema is no longer black-owned, Silver said that the Chatham 14 Theaters would continue in its role as the film hub of the neighborhood by hiring local vendors and employees, as well as presenting a platform for independent filmmakers.
A sad development, but time to move forward. Many still continue to support this business and hopefully many on the south side still support the business in spite of what happened this past October. We do wish the Starks' well in their future endeavors.

Not mentioned is the real estate arrangement although that probably hasn't changed yet. I wish there was more to the F & F Management website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SAVE THE DATE: February 5th event with the Cook County Assessor

A special tax event with the Cook County Assessor's office to take place at Whitney Young Library 7901 S. King Dr from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM on February 5th, 2013. Information courtesy of the Greater Chatham Alliance. Refer to flyer below!

EVENT: RAGE village meeting

Sorry for the short notice on this blog tonight the Resident Association of Greater Englewood will have a village meeting at Ogden Park 6500 S. Racine from 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Refer to flyer below.

Ald. Sawyer responds to NY Times article on Chatham

You can check out the article here and if the image isn't viewable you can read this posting from the Alderman's office or check out Concerned Citizens of Chatham who has a PDF copy available.

Click for larger resolution!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Need a Hand? Technology Center Opens in Englewood - Chicago

The purpose of this posting is to highlight another resource you may not know about. It's essentially these days that we get ourselves computer literate or you may be left behind. Or in this article jobs may be on the line if you don't have ready access to a computer:
Christopher Erby credits a new technology center that opened in October with helping him find full-time employment at the nation's largest retailer-Walmart.

"I owe it all to to them. Now I am working and I love what I do at Walmart," said Erby, 20. "It's hard out here and when you do not have a lot of skills it's even harder. I'm glad someone other than my mother cared enough to help me find a job."

Erby, who began his new job in November, first learned about the Teamwork Englewood Community Technology Center, 815 W. 63rd St., from his mother who works as a security guard in the building. He lives with his mom in Englewood and do not have a computer to search for jobs.

"Now, when my benefits kick in next month I can get a computer with my discount," he added. "I was working part-time at this Family Dollar store (in Englewood) for two-weeks before Walmart offered me a full-time position. I hated working at the dollar store. I didn't see myself going anywhere there."

Going places is what Rosalind Moore, program manager for the center, aims to help do for everyone who walks through the center's doors.

"I grew up in Englewood and I am happy to be back doing what I love, and that's helping people," said Moore. "I get so tired of reading about all the negative things that occur in Englewood. This center is something positive and we are doing positive things here for the community."

Free services offered at the center include job readiness prep, technology classes, social service referrals, tutoring, ex-offender assistance such as GED preparation and expungment, and mentoring programs for boys and girls. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It's still a tough economy and job market out there. This is the time to find some resources and then utilize them so that you may be able to get ahead!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tribune: Supervalu to sell Jewel-Osco, other chains to Cerberus group

Jewel-Osco stores will be sold to a consortium of investors led by Cerberus Capital Management, Jewel's parent Supervalu said Thursday.

The deal, valued at $3.3 billion, also includes the Albertsons, Acme, and Shaw stores.

The announcement ends months of speculation that all or parts of the troubled grocery chain would be sold to New York-based Cerberus, an investment firm. Supervalu acquired Jewel in 2006 as part of a larger, complex acquisition of the Albertsons company.

Supervalu also reported earnings of $16 million, or 8 cents per share, in the third quarter ended on Dec. 1, compared with a year-earlier loss of $750 million, or $3.54 per share.

Excluding an after-tax gain related to a cash settlement from credit card companies and after-tax charges primarily related to store closures, it earned $5 million, or 3 cents per share.

As part of the deal, which includes $100 million in cash and $3.2 billion in debt, the five grocery chains will be acquired by AB Acquisition, an affiliate of Cerberus. Other investors in the deal include Kimco Realty Corp, Klaff Realty, Lubert-Adler Partners and Schottenstein Real Estate Group.
For additional reading Worlee opines about what this means for our local Jewel-Osco store at 87th & Dan Ryan. We have recieved rumblings that the store could be closed in the future. We also have heard that people haven't been particularly happy about the service recieved from the store.

Would you be affected if the 87th/Dan Ryan had been closed? What would it take to keep this store open if there's a restructuring after this acquisition?

No More Currency Exchanges Wanted - Chicago

A new menace to the community in addition to section 8 or even dollar stores. Well we haven't heard much about dollar stores lately but there were those who wondered if there should be a moratorium on such establishments. To quote one of the other writers here, we hear a lot about what the community doesn't want but what does the community want?
In the Chatham area, there are 10 currency exchanges, according to Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association.

Said Marlon Cooper, 63, a retired construction worker, "We don't need 10 currency exchanges in Chatham."

"This is a working-class community, not some low-income area like Englewood," Cooper said.

Chicago historian Timuel Black described Chatham as a black, middle-class community made up mostly of public servant and white-collar employees. There are nearly 64,000 people living in the 60619 zip code in Chatham, according to census data, and 26 percent are seniors age 55 and up.

Critics say currency exchanges charge higher fees than banks for needed financial services. The industry notes that their fee structure is government regulated.

Kelly said there are six banks with branches in Chatham. They are Chase, Urban Partnership, Bank of America, Illinois Service Federal, PNC, and Seaway Bank & Trust Co.

She would prefer to see more banks.

"I don't have a problem with currency exchanges because they are a business providing a convenient service to a lot of people. But I do have a problem with our community having few banks available," Kelly said.
The quote I placed in bold, OOOF! Here's another criticism of currency exchanges:
Currency exchanges attract negative people who do harm to the neighborhood, contends Valerie Huggins, 41, an office manager who lives in Chatham.

"Currency exchanges cater to a special group of people, usually the unemployed or under-employed but rarely the middle-class," claimed Huggins. "I do not use currency exchanges and think overall they are bad for the community because of the loitering that takes place."
OK other than a concern for the neighborhood reputation although I recognize that this is putting it lightly, there's also a concern about business practices and that using a currency exchange is more expensive than using a bank. Also concern of safety people loitering around.

BTW, I should note that although it may have changed in the past Seaway Bank has sold city stickers so you will see in the article one lady likes currency exchanges for that very reason. Although some banks do sell city stickers, perhaps the issue for her is convenience. In addition to the other services they provide other than cashing checks for example.

Finally the general community has several places to engage in banking services. Let's not that across the expressway you can also utilize TCF whether in Jewel store or even a branch on 87th Street. Go further east on 87th there's a Citi branch. Point is, I'm curious how covered this part of the south side is with banks.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

UPDATE:Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Shooting on 84th/King Drive

Update: I was informed by my neighbor that the young man who shot and killed on Sunday was one of our neighbors. The young man who the newspaper stated lived in Woodlawn has been living in Chatham for the past several months. He has been living with grandmother on  82nd Vernon. I know the young man, and he spoke on a regular basis, but have no knowledge of his past. Per the family, he and two cousins were walking to 87th street to catch the bus when they were ambushed by two men who came out of the side drive between two homes. The three young men ran as guns were pulled but unfortunately only the two got away.

[VIDEO] This incident already makes this the 11th homicide and 10th fatal shooting of 2013. It happened right in the Chatham neighborhood and Worlee shared a statement from a local leader - Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson:
Tragedy has hit the heart of our community once again. This evening as I was coming home. I saw police cars everywhere within the blocks of 84th and 85th street and King Drive on the west side of the street. As I got closer, I pulled over and noticed a young boy lying dead in the front yard of someone's home. An eyewitness told me that the kid who shot the other kid then jumped on the bus going North bound on King Drive. My people! When will this madness stop? I will be the first to say that this is a direct result of the dysfunction within our homes and young boys growing up fatherless. Wake up !!! This happened around 7:00 p.m, Sunday, January 5, 2013. This is the introduction of what to expect this summer in our community? We must learn to work together and get rid of egos, insecurities, jealousy and envy because our community is falling a part.
A 19-year-old young man cut down near 84th & King Drive. The fact that this happened is utterly shocking! I wonder if Rev. Robertson's comments is point the fingers at the leaders of our communities. He must be asking for direction & communication.

Corey Brooks' church shaken by two fatal shootings...

[VIDEO] Sunday's shooting in Chatham on the 8400 block of King Drive has another unfortunate connection. Pastor Corey Brooks who is the man who successfully got a run-down motel torn down so that it can be home to a community center. He had also officiated a funeral that had been shot-up this past November. Mentioned in this story is that Pastor Brooks also lost a friend to violence but in Calumet Park, IL.

Have a Question for Alderman Anthony Beale?

Anthony Beale
As you may know Ald. Anthony Beale is running for Congress in the 2nd District special election. I wonder if anyone will ask any questions about that. That in addition to other issues that affect the city or the 9th Ward. Will you tune into CAN-TV, Wednesday?

They announced Wednesday's edition of Political Forum over at EveryBlock recently:
Your alderman, Anthony Beale (9th Ward), will be answering questions live on CAN TV's Political Forum this Wednesday, January 9 at 7 p.m. on cable channel 21 and online at Have something to ask the alderman? Tune in and call in to get your answer live or leave a comment on this post and we will pass your question on to Ald. Beale. For videos and information on upcoming Political Forum guests, visit
We'll be sure to post the video of his TV appearance to the blog in the near future!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Legacy Project is a GO!

[VIDEO] In the vid above Pastor Charles Jenkins of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church discusses the donation of property located at 8522 S. Lafayette Ave. was donated to his church for their plan for redevelopment. That property vacant for a period of 11 years was once the HQ for Johnson Products Company and later Soft Sheen after their acquisition by L'Oreal.

Here's a press release and an excerpt:
The 14.5-acre site will be the new location of the church and a mixed-use development project, which promises to enhance the social fabric of the community holistically, marking a major milestone in a broad vision for the property at 8522 S. Lafayette Ave.

The irrevocable, landmark multimillion-dollar donation comes from the foundation of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., an Oklahoma City-based national arts and crafts chain that has contributed to faith-based initiatives nationwide for many years.

"I offer my sincere gratitude to the Green Family for their unparalleled generosity to Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and our work in the city," Pastor Jenkins said. "We are excited about this huge step and other amazing friends and partners who are already joining us on this meaningful and impactful journey to serve inner city Chicago."
The mission of the Legacy Project is to build people and community by focusing on personal growth, job creation, education, youth development, healthcare, economic development, and community empowerment.

Plans additionally call for renovation of the 229,000-square-foot office building to include a school, health and wellness center, a center for youth programming, a casual dining restaurant, as well as construction of up to seven retail stores at an estimated cost of $26 million.

"The church is committed to working toward reducing unemployment, crime and violence, raising resident morale, and providing hope to the community overall," said Pastor Jenkins. "This donation is the first I have heard of in this community and one of many examples of God blessing our effort and dedication to serving Chicago."
Want to learn more about this project, you may go to the official Legacy Project website. Here's a Sun-Times story.

Curbed Chicago on the recent NY Times story on Chatham

While Worlee was where I had first discovered a story about Chatham from the New York Times, Curbed Chicago had something to say about it:
A shocking 2010 murder threatened to derail the proud neighborhood, but strong social ties prevailed. As criminologists see it, Chatham has "ecological advantages" in its small single-family housing stock— more familiarity among neighbors, less blight from vacant lots. Dennis Rodkin recently put Chatham atop a list of neighborhoods with housing on the rebound. And new businesses are cropping up. Will the trend hold? Not even the mighty Times can say.
No one can say, but we can only continue to work towards a rebound.

Refer to last night's post for more about the NY Times article. The photo above was from a CBS Chicago story last year about Chatham.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chatham: Battered but Vibrant

[VIDEO] This was a very powerful story about Chatham from the New York Times. Worlee told the story about how this story was written and eventually published and he was quoted in the write-up. It starts with the attempted robbery and murder of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham in 2010. That event was considered a "cataclysm"
For all that, the social scientists studying Chicago neighborhoods in 2010 were betting that the middle-class enclave of Chatham, on the city’s South Side, would remain stable through the recession. It had done so for decades, while surrounded by impoverished areas. It had somehow absorbed a wave of newcomers from recently demolished housing projects. And the researchers’ data suggested that its strong identity and scores of active block groups had helped protect residents from larger economic threats and offered clues about how to preserve threatened urban communities all over the country.

Chatham should hold, barring some unforeseen cataclysm.

The cataclysm hit on May 19 of that year. That night, a group of assailants jumped Thomas Wortham IV, an off-duty police officer and Iraq war veteran, as he was leaving his parents’ house. He resisted and was shot, bleeding to death on the street where he grew up.

The entire city seemed to stop for breath, holding a memorial attended by hundreds of fellow police officers and citizens, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois.

“We were blindsided by this; blindsided by what happened to Tommy,” said his mother, Carolyn Wortham. “And yes, you begin to question everything.”

In Chatham, it seemed, all bets were off. Many residents began to think the unthinkable, that maybe it was time to escape the place they had done so much to build.

The community’s response to the crisis would test a theory emerging from an ambitious, nearly decade-long study of all of Chicago’s neighborhoods — that a neighborhood’s character shapes its economic future at least as much as more obvious factors like income levels and foreclosure rates.
And we still have the issue of crime with Chatham being the location of the 10th firearm death in Chicago. I can only hope it doesn't get worse this summer. Also, I hope the NY Times won't think that crime will go through the roof in Chatham!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Shooting on 84th/King Drive

[VIDEO] This incident already makes this the 11th homicide and 10th fatal shooting of 2013. It happened right in the Chatham neighborhood and Worlee shared a statement from a local leader - Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson:
Tragedy has hit the heart of our community once again. This evening as I was coming home. I saw police cars everywhere within the blocks of 84th and 85th street and King Drive on the west side of the street. As I got closer, I pulled over and noticed a young boy lying dead in the front yard of someone's home. An eyewitness told me that the kid who shot the other kid then jumped on the bus going North bound on King Drive. My people! When will this madness stop? I will be the first to say that this is a direct result of the dysfunction within our homes and young boys growing up fatherless. Wake up !!! This happened around 7:00 p.m, Sunday, January 5, 2013. This is the introduction of what to expect this summer in our community? We must learn to work together and get rid of egos, insecurities, jealousy and envy because our community is falling a part.
A 19-year-old young man cut down near 84th & King Drive. The fact that this happened is utterly shocking! I wonder if Rev. Robertson's comments is point the fingers at the leaders of our communities. He must be asking for direction & communication.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Who's Knocking At Your Door

Location: 7900 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
In the era of overseas call centers and "voicemail hell" the door to door(D2D) salesman has reemerged. Whether a company calls it consumer direct, up and down the street(UDS), consumer interaction, its all door to door. This sales method has been used as an effective tool in workforce development as it allows teenagers, laid off older workers, and those with background issues enter/reenter the workforce. There are not for profits who train individuals to go into D2D sales careers.

Recently, there have been some post about D2D salesman who are allegedly misrepresenting themselves and companies. Specifically, ADT Security and Comcast have been mentioned. Because of the nature of D2D sales and Independent Sales Organizations(ISO's) its almost impossible to pinpoint who is responsible. So I think its time to take a hard look at who's who and what's what.

The first group that needs to be looked at is:

1. 3rd Party Energy Companies - Many of the companies (IGS, Direct Energy, Veridian, Ambit, etc) have both ISO's and direct reporting D2D salesman. The D2D salesman are independent contractors(commission)  so they might be a little more aggressive in their sales approach. Walking 8-10 blocks in the cold weather and no sales doesn't make anyone happy. ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. In the D2D situation, they should have branded clothing as well as a picture ID. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the company name and contact information.

Please be alert as most Chicago area residents are opting into the City of Chicago energy plan with Integrys. Integrys does not use sales reps and some 3rd party D2D reps are engaging in slamming. Slamming is they are illegally changing residents energy providers without their knowledge. Some of the providers have exit fees and tie you into contracts. Over the next couple of days, please check your utility bill and especially any senior, to ensure you or they have not been slammed.If you feel you are a victim contact the Illinois Commerce Commission(ICC). Also, you can check energy rate from various providers at Plug In Illinois.

2. Home Alarm Companies-  Whether it's ADT, Protection One, Monitronics or Viviant, etc have both ISO's and direct reporting D2D salesman. ADT does not have D2D salesman while the others have D2D salesman are independent contractors(commission)  so they might be a little more aggressive in their sales approach. ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. In the D2D situation, they should have branded clothing as well as a picture ID. The rep should introduce himself as a rep from the authorized dealer of XYZ company and not as an employee. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the company name and contact information.

3.Satellite Television- The companies in this category are DirecTV, Dish Network. Neither company has a direct sales staff but use ISO's.  ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. The companies allow ISO's to wear branded clothing. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the ISO's company name and contact information.

4. Cable TV/Internet/Telephony- The companies include WOW, Comcast, AT&T, Clear/Sprint. All these companies have both D2D sales employees and ISO's. Comcast, WOW, and AT&T require all D2D reps and ISO's to wear picture ID's. The ISO's must represent themselves as such. Currently Comcast and WOW have sales reps and equipment retention reps. You will only get a call from an equipment retention rep only if you are deliquent or disconnected service and did not return equipment(settop boxes, internet modems, etc). Clear/Sprint has ISO's.

Hopefully, this clears up any confusion and equips residents to be prepared. The first rule is always follow your gut. If you have doubts or suspicious about anyone knocking on your door ask for ID or ask them to leave the information and you will call them if interested.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A drive along 63rd - from Englewood to Woodlawn

[VIDEO] The vid above is from one of my long time YouTube favorites, artistmac. He takes a drive along 63rd Street from Morgan Street all the way to Stony Island and he made sure to note how the individual neigborhoods once grew in that corridor. 63rd & Halsted was once a bustling commercial district in Englewood and then the area around 63rd & Cottage Grove was also a bustling commercial area in Woodlawn. Both areas are now mostly vacant lots although some redevelopment has occured in those areas.

In fact on East 63rd just past the Cottage Grove terminal of the CTA Green Line some single family homes have been built. Artistmac didn't want to get into the politics on the video of how the Green Line abruptly ended at Cottage Grove when it used to terminate as far east as Stony Island. Sometimes I wonder if cutting the L beyond its current terminus was a huge blunder!

On West 63rd, Kennedy-King College was built within the former 63rd/Halsted business district and is still waiting for even more development. While it seems more likely Woodlawn could be redeveloped given the fact that the University of Chicago is slowly but surely expanding south beyond the Midway Plaisance, time can only tell for Englewood.

Artistmac does provide one omnimous conclusion: "Unless those middle-class residents can be enticed to come back to Woodlawn, Bronzeville and Englewood, I doubt those neighborhoods, or any of Chicago's declining neighborhoods, can be brought back to life."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Black Gentrifiers Have Affected the Perception of Chicago's Changing Neighborhoods

Bronzeville Row Houses - Laura Chipps

How Black Gentrifiers Have Affected the Perception of Chicago's Changing Neighborhoods

Another wrinkle in the idea of gentrification. If any Black communities were to ever change and gentrify my only hope is that it's Blacks who are driving it. That's what this article from The Atlantic Cities seeks to argue.

The look at the case of Bronzeville (aka The Black Metropolis). It seems that even though the area has largely changed for the better in recent years. Still even then the area can't remove the stigma of the housing projects most of which have been torn down in the area, especially the ones along the State Street corridor.

Still it seems it's an entirely new thing to see that Blacks gentrifying urban neighborhoods is considered a new phenomenon. It's unheard of and it seems gentrification depends upon your race. Of course this depends upon who you talk to. In that vein this article we see a comparison between Bronzeville and Pilsen.

In any case we have talked about gentrification here on this blog. We have added the terms of South Looped or even Hyde Parked to the vocabulary here. Granted those terms haven't been used here in years!

Still, let's take this discussion further South. There is an interest to attract those same residents who are attracted to Bronzeville to this part of town as well. We want them to buy a home in Chatham for example. We also hope they might bring some of their amenities with them as well!

Would our part of town be burdened by the same issues that has burdened Bronzeville?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

REMINDER: Roland Burris School of Politics on January 8, 9, 10

We posted about this last month. There's still space available.
  • To Register Call: 312.364.9292 Ext. 22
  • Class Dates: January 8, 9, and 10 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
  • Class Times: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Tuition Fee: $50
  • Class Location: West Chesterfield Community Association
  • Cultural Center: 9351 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL
    (Park along East and West on 94th Street) 
Refer to flyer below!