Saturday, March 30, 2013

Man Charged With Murder of His Grandfather - Chicago

Man Charged With Murder of His Grandfather - Chicago

Earlier this month a story we shared a story about the murder of an elderly man who was about to be transported to a dialysis appointment. It even elicited a comment from 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer as seen in a TV report. This morning thanks to a shared link from Concerned Citizens of Chatham we now know who did that unfortunate deed:
William Strickland, of the 400 block of East 95th Street, is charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm in the March 13 death of his 72-year-old grandfather, also named William Strickland.

The elder Strickland was waiting near his house in the 400 block of East 95th Street for a ride to a dialysis appointment at about 3:30 a.m. He was approached by two males, police said, and shot multiple times. He was declared dead on the scene.

The younger Strickland is expected to appear in court Saturday.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Reader: Chicago's black voters wake up with a Mayor Rahm hangover

Rahm Emanuel
I noted a report from Charles Thomas from ABC Chicago last week about Mayor Rahm Emanuel losing support in the Black community. Ben Joravsky recently noted that Black votes helped the Mayor securing his victory over two years ago. Thanks to a number of issues such as school closings and crime where would the Black vote be and his electoral chances in two years time?
At the very least, I'm having a hard time finding many black voters—outside of appointees, contractors, and aldermen—with nice things to say about Mayor Emanuel's administration.

Even though lots of black people voted for him.

Admittedly, there's nothing scientific about my survey. It mostly consists of me going up to anyone of any race, creed, or color and asking: (a) Did you vote for Mayor Emanuel? and (b) If so, are you happy with what you got?

And the overwhelming response from black people goes like this:

Yes. And—hell no!

Some people are too embarrassed to confess. So they'll say, "You know, I can't remember who I voted for in that last election."

Well, for all those who forgot . . .

The mayor received well over 50 percent of the vote in the city's majority-black wards, including 58 percent in the Sixth Ward, 59 in the Eighth Ward, and 59 percent in the 21st Ward.
The next part I could only image could be found on a Republican/conservative op/ed:
Instead, they largely voted for him because they assumed President Obama wanted him to be our mayor. As opposed to the president couldn't take one more minute of Emanuel as his chief of staff so he cooked up a deal with the Daley brothers to dump him on us. And then choreographed a happy White House send-off so everyone could save face.

Thanks again, Mr. President.

In short, what we have here is a massive misunderstanding.

Mayor Rahm thinks he got a mandate from black voters.

And black voters think their mandate was for President Obama.
So what do you all think about Mayor's electoral chances. In the blog post about Thomas' report I made sure to ask the question about who could credibly run against the Mayor. Then NBC Chicago's Ward Room offered one alternative, Toni Preckwinkle!

This past week Joravsky's Reader Colleague Mick Dumke even wrote about Preckwinkle making some noise over the expected school closings last week.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Forgotten Land: 80th Wabash

Location: 8000 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Most residents of Chatham are aware that the Chicago Park District owns Cole Park, Brown Park and Tuley Park. But, most are not aware that this is not the only land they own in Chatham. The Chicago Park District also owns a parcel at the Northeast corner of 80th Wabash. There were several initiatives under the Daley administration to clear vacant properties that had become a nuisance to the community and transfer them over to the Chicago Park District to be used for recreation of some sort.

This lot has been vacant for some time now and this is the time the Chicago Park District is preparing their Capital Budget for the next 5 years. So what would you like to see happen with this site?

Click here to take survey

NOTE: The above survey is not endorsed by the Chicago Park District nor The 6th Ward Aldermandic office. The survey results are non binding and will be used for research purposes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ald. Sawyer hosts meeting to explain grid system

Location: 215 West 71st Street, Chicago, IL 60621, USA
To be held at Greater Salem Baptist Church, 215 W. 71st St. on Saturday, April 6 starting at 10:30 AM with representatives of the Dept. of Streets & Sanitation to discuss the grid system for garbage collection. Have any questions you may contact Ald. Sawyer's office at (773) 635-0006 or via e-mail at service @ You may also refer to the flyer below.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Black World Cinema: FREE ANGELA DAVIS and All Political Prisoners

Location: 210 West 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
 April 4,2013
Chatham 14 Theaters
210 W 87th St
Admission: Free
 Must RSVP at

FREE ANGELA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS might seem like a cumbersome title but it rings with truth and historical significance to all those who continue to be inspired by her fight for political and racial justice. As a woman of colour living in a city that is far from repressive, I am always aware that I benefit from the struggles of the civil rights movement, and of the urgent need for the younger generations to be reminded of, and inspired by, the victories of the 1960s and 1970s.
This exceptionally well made documentary, by writer-director, Shola Lynch, goes a long way to answering that need for a definitive record of Angela Davis’ central political struggle: her rise to notoriety when the Regents of UCLA sacked her for being a Communist, and her trial for murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, when guns she had bought in self defence were used by others in an attempted kidnapping of a judge. The charges were, of course, ludicrous. Why would a woman of profound intelligence – an Assistant Professor of Continental Philosophy be so dumb as to use guns bought in her own name in a kidnapping. And as Davis pointed out in her own opening statement in her defense, there is a deep vein of male chauvinism in the idea that an hysterical woman would commit a crime of passion to free the man she loved – as if woman are irrational objects unable to govern their emotions.
The documentary benefits from complete access to all the prominent people in the trial, not least Angela and her equally impressive sister. There is something still resonant and powerful in hearing two such eloquent women arguing intelligently for civil rights. Shola Lynch also makes good use of the extensive archive footage of Angela’s UCLA case, and reporting of the trial, as well as the subtle use of recreation to give us an idea of certain key emotional scenes when Angela was on the run, and then incarcerated. The most surprising thing for me was that two heroes emerged from this whole era of repression in the most surprising places. The first is the white farmer from a conservative town in California, who put his farm up as bond for her bail on the grounds that freedom of speech is part of the American way of life and must always be defended. The second is the white judge who casually describes his act of courage in deflecting all the political pressure to use this chance to essentially rig the trial at a time when the three charges Angela was facing all carried the death penalty.
FREE ANGELA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS is an important and complete record of a key event in the civil rights struggle. One can only hope that it gets the audience it deserves.
All screenings are followed by lively discussions moderated by program director Floyd Webb or local scholars, screenwriters and directors. Screenings occur every first Thursday of every month at Chatham 14 Theaters 210 W. 87th Street Chicago, IL

Sun-Times: One-time Sen. Burris Chief of Staff wouldn't dream of taking salary to replace Beavers

Natasha Korecki reports:
The unofficial race to replace William Beavers on the county board is gaining interest with the onetime chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Roland Burris not only throwing his hat in the ring, but upping the ante.

Kenneth Sawyer, the cousin of Ald. Roderick Sawyer, said Monday that if a group of ward committeemen appoint him to replace Beavers, he would do it for free.

That is, for the term of the appointment, which runs until 2014.

Sawyer said he would take the county commissioner salary - which is about $85,000 - and create scholarships for those in the 4th District.

Sawyer, 45, who lives in the Chatham neighborhood, is in investment banking.

"I wouldn't think of taking a salary. I think people have been tired of looking at these things - the sequester in Washington, the pension issues in Illinois," he said.
As you all know Beavers was convicted in federal court for tax evasion and his seat on the county board is now vacant. Now we're seeing people come out of the woodwork to replace him.

We see know that Sawyer is very serious in addition to former County Board President Todd Stroger. The 4th District Seat was once held by Stroger's father John Stroger until his stroke and incapacity in 2006.

Chatham Parks: A Few Good Men and Women Wanted

Location: Cole Park, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
As we enter into spring and the temperature starts to rise our young people will start to come into the parks in our community. Our Chicago Park District parks supervisor, Gene Morgan, has done a yeoman's task of creating opportunities for our young people to engage in positive activities. He has created tumbling, gymnastics and soccer teams that compete in citywide events and is planning more for the spring and summer. Gene and his staff have gathered young men from 13-18 to play in Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's basketball tournament.

Unfortunately, because of budgetary constraints the current staff cannot accompany the teams to play in the tournament that will be held at Jackson Park on Thursday and Friday evenings. The teams need coaches who can commit to working the entire 47 week schedule. Coaches must be Chicago Park District certified volunteers. Individuals interested can obtain a volunteer form from the Chicago Park District website  and for information on the basketball program or other volunteer opportunities contact Gene Morgan at 312.747.6063.

Over the last year, many residents have expressed their displeasure with the condition of Brown Memorial Park . The park needs an overhaul as the playground equipment, tennis courts and grounds in general are in disrepair. The Friends of the Parks, a non for profit organization that supports the parks is accepting applications from community groups to be selected for one of 35 playgrounds they will build this summer. A copy of the application is below. Any group(block club, community based organization, church, etc.) can apply

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mitchell: Closing low-performing school programs is long overdue

Mary Mitchell
Another perspective on the school closings. Both sides makes sense to me parents are concerned for the safety of their children and the city can't afford to keep many of these schools open. Something does have to give here.

Mary Mitchell at least attempts to explain the rationale for closing some of the schools. BTW, you may need an account with the Sun-Times to be able to read the whole column:
There is no easy way to close a school, even one with a floor full of empty desks.

But Chicago Public Schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett appears to have given it her best shot. She appointed a commission that was guided by Frank Clark, the former CEO of ComEd. Clark not only stands shoulder-to-shoulder with top executives across this country, he has a long track record of trying to improve the quality of life for African Americans in this city.

That Byrd-Bennett put this explosive issue in his hands should have been enough to convince naysayers that the matter would be handled delicately.

And it was.
But to hear opponents tell it, closing schools is just another conspiracy to deny African-American children the right to be educated in their own neighborhoods.


Where were these people when children sat in stagnant classrooms and fell years behind their grade levels?

Where were they when these children were trying to learn in deteriorating buildings while new schools were being built elsewhere?

Where were they when neighborhoods became so dangerous, a lot of these students had to hook up with gang-members just so they could get back and forth to school?

Education is the only thing that can save these children from a broken life. But instead of fighting to provide children in public schools a quality education, too many of us are fighting to preserve a tired status quo.

Well, the blame game isn’t working anymore.
None of us are very happy about this, however, there are arguments that it must be done. And here's hoping that if you're affected that your child will be able to go to a good school. If not then you have every right to let the school board know that they haven't lived up to their obligations.

Dumke: Why are we closing schools and packing the jail? - County Board Prez

Last week after the news of school closings I noted a report that claimed that Mayor Emanuel is losing support in the Black community. Which is all fine and good in taking part in the time honored practice of freedom of speech and petitioning your public officials. At the same time I asked who'll replace the Mayor.

Then we see one possibility, Toni Preckwinkle. Check out this write-up by Mick Dumke:
As the top official in Cook County government, Toni Preckwinkle didn't have any formal say in the decision by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his education team to shutter 54 Chicago elementary schools.

But she does have a few thoughts on the matter. Like: What are they thinking?

"I talked to a member of the school board that I knew and said what a terrible idea I thought it was," Preckwinkle told me in an interview. "You know, schools are community anchors. They're social centers. They're part of a community's identity. And often kids go half a dozen blocks and they're in different gang territory.

"The closings are going to take place almost entirely within the African-American community, and given the problems we already have with violence, I think it's very problematic."

Preckwinkle, the county board president, wasn't just venting. The county oversees the local criminal justice system, and she's made a priority of reducing the number of people caught up in it—along with the cost to taxpayers. I had stopped by her office to discuss the recent news that the population of the county jail has surged despite her goals. It was disturbing how smoothly the conversation shifted to school closings.
What do you think? You think Preckwinkle - who's in her first term as County Board President - is considering making a run against Emanuel in 2015? Would you consider voting for her then?

Effective March 25th: New grid for garbage collection

You might have seen this over at Ald. Sawyer's 6th Ward Chicago fb page. The grid system is coming to portions of Wards 6, 9, 15, 16, 17, & 18 according to the map you see in the graphic below. Trash pick-up will not be done according to wards. Of course if you expect trash pick-up on a certain day there probably won't be a change. For example if you normal expect pick-up on a Tuesday there will be no change to that.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

PHOTO: 79th & Langley in the 1980s

Sometimes I wonder if we could get a pizza joint of some type on our various commercial strips or buildings whether that's on 87th, 79th, 75th, 71st, Cottage Grove, King Drive, or State Street. Once upon a time Reggio's had a location on 79th & Langley and now the closest one to us is on 87th west of the Ryan at the Chatham Ridge shopping center the same area as the Harold's Chicken Shack.

The pic you see above was said to have been taken in the 1980s and was posted to the Reggio's Pizza fb page. Further information on this pic was found on Reggio's official webpage. The building itself is currently being used for the Congressional office of Bobby Rush.

Who else might be interested in replacing Bill Beavers...

A friend of the blog recently pointed this out to me from the Sun-Times article I linked to on Friday. Sometimes I miss things that are in front of me!
Two other names surfaced as possible replacements on Friday; both of whom are tied to Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th). Sawyer acknowledged that his cousin, Ken Sawyer, and his chief of staff, Brian Sleet, are among those angling to replace Beavers.

Beavers’ replacement will be by appointment, based on the Democratic ward committeemen’s vote, which is weighted according to voter turnout in Beavers’ last election.
JP Paulus stated that some portions of the 6th is embedded within the 4th District. That means if Rod Sawyer wants his chief of staff to get the position that will mean he may well already got a vote there. Although let's remember the votes are weighted and that means:
Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, will cast the largest number of weighted votes as 21st Ward Democratic committeeman. Brookins told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that he does not yet have a favorite to replace Beavers.
So time will only tell who will be the favorite. I'm so curious if any other potential candidates will step forward.

Also the Tribune noted:
Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, who had the most votes in 2010, will serve as chairman of the committee, which will include nine committeemen, said party Executive Director Scott Cisek.

Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th, whose ward had the second- most votes, will be vice chairman.

County and Democratic Party officials believe Beavers was out as commissioner upon the guilty verdict, and that’s the assumption on which the party is proceeding. “We want to have the new board member appointed by the next meeting” on April 17, Cisek said.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chicago Chatham Resident Wins Scion Motivate Award

Jahmal Cole, a Chatham resident recently won a National Competition for Toyota (Scion) Brand. scion Scion flew him and 50 of America's most passionate entrepreneur's out to LA to meet with executives and to compete for a grand prize. The competition was very tough and they were mentored by CEO's from Spotify, Monster, Entrepreneur Magazine, film makers, Famous Clothing Designers etc. In the end, he was able to secure a victory for his family, the Chatham community, and his Publishing Company Role Model Publishing (LLC). Through book sales, he has been able to fund monthly presentations at Whitney Young Library, and also run teen mentoring workshops. He plans to host these workshops this summer. You can find out more about the competition at these links. Books are available now online at

Ward Room: Englewood Parents Protest CPS School Closings

View more videos at:

[VIDEO] If you check out RAGE's fb page you will see how they consider themselves hard hit by CPS' plan to close schools. They provide this breakdown of which schools will be affected and where students are expected to attend.

In the video above Englewood parents involved in the group Action Now marches at the home of a CPS board room filmed by our local NBC affiliate.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sun-Times: Todd Stroger wants to replace former ally William Beavers on County Board

Just jumping on JP Paulus's post from earlier noting the conviction of former Alderman and current County Commissioner Bill Beavers.

I'm sure the former county board President still has his fans out there in considering this. Todd served one term between 2006-2010 when he was succeeded by Toni Preckwinkle after she defeated him in the Democratic primary. He even flirted with joining the field for the 2nd Congressional District primary.

When you think about it, I always imagined sitting on the county board as a commissioner was a better fit for him than attempting to live up to his father as President of the county board. What do you think?
With the ink barely dry on William Beavers’ guilty verdict form, another familiar name is angling to replace the disgraced Cook County commissioner.

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday he wants in.

“Actually, I do have an interest,” in replacing Beavers on the Cook County Board. “I am going to reach out to all the committeemen this weekend,” Stroger said in a phone interview.

Stroger, who was ousted in his re-election bid by the reform-minded Toni Preckwinkle, said he’s been thinking about a comeback for some time. Beavers was Stroger’s staunchest ally on the County Board and a close friend of his father, the late County Board President John Stroger.

“For one thing I’m 50, and I found that at 50 you have to find something to do, so you might as well find something you know and you like,” Todd Stroger said. “What I said about the county in my term, we need someone who can actually speak the truth in the county.”

Beavers found GUILTY!

Photo from Chicago Magazine of soon-to-be-former
Cook Couny Commisioner Bill Beavers
Cook County Commisison William "Bill" Beavers has been found guilty of tax evasion. The jury took a mere 2 hours to find him guilty on all counts. You can see below for links which detail the suspicious financial dealings of the soon-to-be former commissioner.

Much if not all of the 6th Ward falls under Beavers' 4th District, so his representation covers much of our readership. And his now removal from the board opens up a power vacuum that doesn't have an immediate name.

We would also like to note that current 34th District Elgie Sims ran against Beavers in 2010, and lost by fairly close 55% to 45%.  A Green Party (NOT a Republican) member was on the ballot in November but lost 10% - 90%. We would love to hear form our readers if you recall voting for that office, why you cast your ballot.

Here are some articles which talk about the situation with Beavers:

 Cook County Commissioner William Beavers convicted of tax evasion in less than 2 hours (Chicago Tribune)

Mark Brown: Beavers’ biggest jackpot didn’t come out of a slot machine (Chicago Suntimes)

Bing Search of Beavers
  A few questions for you, the readers:

  1. Did you vote for Bill Beavers in the 2010 primary and/or general?
  2. Do you regret your vote?
  3. Do you feel Bill beavers accomplished anything for our distirct?
  4. Has Beavers or his staff ever appeared in your neighborhood meetings?
  5. Do you believe Beavers was guilty and/or should be punished?
  6. Who do you think should replace Bill Beavers? (If we have enough comments, we may do a poll on our Facebook Page.)

P.S. We apologize for the multitude of postings today, but felt this was too important to wait until the weekend.

Mayor losing support in Black community thanks to crime & school closings

[VIDEO] While crime has been an issue almost since Emanuel has been in office as mayor, many are not quite happy with the plan to close schools that has recently been released. Charles Thomas of our local ABC affiliate reports that these two issues are weakening Black support for the Mayor who was a former chief-of-staff to the 1st Black President of the US.
When President Barack Obama said that Emanuel would make a fine mayor for Chicago, the city's black voters took the president at his word. He won 59-percent of the black vote in the 2011 mayoral race.

Fast forward over two years to crime, unemployment and school closings and a major block in Emanuel's political base is showing weakness.

"You're hurting my community and I have a problem with that," Chicago Public Schools parent Michelle Young said.

The mostly African-American demonstrators noted correctly that most of the schools on the CPS underutilized list are in predominantly black neighborhoods.

"In any city that's as segregated as Chicago, anytime that you destroy black schools and destroy black communities you can't call it anything but racist," the Executive Director of Action Now Katelyn Johnson said.

Emanuel, who is currently on a skiing vacation with his children who attend private school, is getting the brunt of the racially-charged criticism.

"Why do we have to have 50 kids in a classroom? They don't have it in the white neighborhood," Young said.

Emanuel is also criticized for the rising violent crime rate and high unemployment rates in African-American neighborhoods.
Now, if this holds who might be able to step up to the plate and challenge the Mayor in 2015. That's the question we need to ask and not just register our dissatisfaction.

I'd like like others in Englewood to know...

Location: South Halsted Street & West 63rd Street, Chicago, IL 60621, USA

R.A.G.E (Resident Association of Greater Englewood) posted these photos on their Facebook page. These signs are located at 63rd & Halsted.

As of 1:00 Wednesday, they reported onfacebook:
Both sides are now filled up with positive words which completely override any negative comments...
Do you think we should try a similar thing in Chatham, and other neighborhoods?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crain's: Possible rescue for black-owned, South Side bank

To be sure, Seaway Bank had been in talks years ago with Highland Community Bank to by them out but they never appeared to get together on a deal. And Seaway had already acquired two banks in 2010 and 2011 who were failing so Seaway isn't in the running this time.
A would-be savior has emerged for foundering Highland Community Bank, one of just three black-owned banks left in Chicago.

But the definitive agreement from the parent of startup Generations Community Bank to acquire Highland, announced today, is subject to raising at least $8 million in equity both to absorb loan losses at Highland and to capitalize it to grow.

Matthew Roth, the former Harris Bank executive who has pursued starting up a minority-focused community lender on the South Side for several years, said in an interview that he and his team believe they understand the depth of the loan problems at Highland. He declined to say how much he thinks he needs to raise from investors, but one person familiar with Highland said it's at least $8 million and probably more.

Mr. Roth, who would run the newly named Generations Community Bank as president and CEO if the deal closes, said he hopes to complete the capital raise and garner regulatory approvals in the early third quarter.

“We feel optimistic about our prospects to raise the capital,” he said. “It's ambitious, but we think we can get there.”
If Mr. Roth is successful, Highland could well lose its status as a black-owned bank, but would be officially listed as a “minority-led” institution because more than half of its board would be minority individuals, he said.

Edward Williams, another former Harris Bank executive and an African-American, would serve as chairman of Generations Community Bank.
I clicked through to another Crain's article that showed how minority-banks are faring in the current economic climate. I think it's worth a look if you're interested. It had been published last November.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ward Remap Prompts Aldermen to Protest, Consider Legal Action - Chicago

In this case we can only assume this is an injunction to stop the many city council committees from using the future remapped wards to consider their respective agendas.
The city's muddled ward remap is prompting two aldermen to formally object to its pell-mell imposition and consider legal action to win an injunction.

"They're just disenfranchising voters," said Ald. Nick Sposato (36th).

"We have a constitutional and fiduciary responsibility to represent our constituents we were elected by," added Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).

At issue is a new ward map that was drawn up after the 2010 census. Some aldermen have already started honoring the ward boundaries established by that map — providing services to residents who lived in other aldermen's wards under the previous map.

Sposato and Fioretti believe those new boundaries shouldn't be honored until after the spring 2015 aldermanic elections. They cite a letter written a year ago by Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton stating "applicable law provides that the 2001 map, which was in effect for the 2011 aldermanic elections, should govern for the duration of those four-year terms."

"Don't continue to disenfranchise voters. This is not right," Sposato said Monday. "If somebody elected me, I should be representing them."
I'm wondering if the next step is to eventually throw last year's remap out of the window through legal action?

Sun-Times: Four more city committees using 2015 ward boundaries

Future boundaries of the 6th Ward colored red
More fallout from last year's ward remap more committees are planning to use the new map to conduct their business and as a guide for who they may defer to:
Four more City Council committees are now recognizing Chicago’s new ward boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions impacting, traffic, transportation, housing and licensing, infuriating endangered incumbents, who claim their voters are being “disenfranchised.”

Two months ago, Zoning Committee Danny Solis (25th) sent a letter to his colleagues informing them of his decision to implement the new boundaries.

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

The Zoning Committee chairman 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.”

Now, the chairmen of four more City Council committees have followed Solis’ lead: Housing and Real Estate; License and Consumer Protection; Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, and Transportation and the Public Way.

Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) accused his colleagues of disenfranchising voters and overruling the legal advice outlined in 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. ... Applicable law provides that the 2001 map, which was in effect for the 2011 aldermanic elections, should govern for the duration of the those four-year terms.”

Sposato is 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.
Also Alderman Sawyer who himself was affected by the remapping last year chimed in:
Sposato, Fioretti, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) and several of their colleagues in the Progressive Caucus are now demanding that Patton and the mayor’s office clarify the “potential legal ramifications” of the decision by five committee chairman to “ignore results” of the 2011 election.

“The system is not ready for it. When I put in 311 requests, I can only input things under the new map, but I can’t track it. I can only track requests from the original 6th Ward. It doesn’t make sense” to switch, Sawyer said Monday.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tribune: Ex-Country Club Hills police chief arrested on witness tampering charges

Photo of Regal Theater auditorium courtesy of Cinema Treasures
You may be wondering why this is relevant. This chief is the owner of the Regal Theater located near 79th & Stony Island. This case involves her investment in that venue:
A former south suburban police chief is in custody after being charged with witness tampering in a federal fraud case involving a $1.25 million state grant.

Ex-Country Club Hills Chief Regina Evans is accused of coaching a witness to lie to the grand jury about allegedly cashing fake paychecks and returning the money to Evans.

Evans, a former Chicago police lieutenant, and her husband were charged last year with siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the job-training grant to pay friends and relatives and cover the mortgage on the couple's landmark New Regal Theater on Chicago's South Side. The money was supposed to help train dozens of minorities and women for construction jobs.

In the latest charges, authorities say Evans directed a close associate to lie to investigators while downplaying the associate's concerns about getting caught.

Evans' attorney, Lawrence Beaumont, said his client is innocent. "We dispute the allegations, and we plan on litigating the matter vigorously," Beaumont said.

Authorities say they have it on tape. The recordings started last month, soon after the associate told a grand jury about teaching courses for the nonprofit and being paid thousands of dollars, authorities say. The associate was not named in court records.
Some extra info this Regal Theater was renamed during the 1980s in honor of the old Regal Theater located in the Bronzeville neighborhood @ 4710 S. King Dr. has apparently been rechristened to it's old name as the Avalon Theater last fall according to the Cinema Treasures website.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sun-Times: Mayor’s ‘strategic vision’ for seven neighborhoods

Recently Uptown Update took a look at recent plans Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made for seven neighborhoods around the city. Of course UU had something to say because these plans involved the Uptown neighborhood.

Today we look at communities on the south side that includes Englewood and Pullman which will be our focus. Of course we can provide an honorable mention to the Bronzeville neighborhood.
A “permanent farmer’s market” that could rival Seattle’s Pike’s Market. The nation’s longest protected bike lane. An Uptown Music District. A pedestrian bridge over Lake Shore Drive at 35th Street. An elevated, boardwalk bike trail at the Drive’s north end.

Those are just some of the ideas that could become a reality, thanks to a $3 billion plan that shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking Daniel Burnham’s, “make no small plans” mantra to heart.

Emanuel has identified seven geographic areas brimming with either development or promise — Bronzeville, the Eisenhower Corridor, Englewood, Little Village, Pullman, Uptown and Rogers Park — and targeted those “Opportunity Planning Areas” for the City Hall equivalent of a full-court press.

With a combined, $2.65 billion in private sector and university projects on the drawing board, Emanuel wants to pump an additional $350 million in city money into those areas to accelerate the progress.

The city’s contribution would come in the form of federal, state, Park District and city land and transportation funds, as well as general obligation bonds and tax-increment-financing (TIF) districts.

“Usually, we’ll put in a train station. We’ll pave a road. We’ll put [in] some streetscape. And that was it. This is a more nuanced, coordinated effort … to make a series of investments in neighborhoods in a strategic vision,” Emanuel said in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
Here's what's said about Englewood & Pullman:

REDMINDER: CTA job fair for customer service assistants

Posted this information last month and at that time there was one on the west side. I'm sure for many of you it was very last minute however we recieved this info at the last minute. This time we're going to remind you at least a week in advance, however, we'll be sure to post one more reminder either two days or the day before the job fair. The flyer will be posted below but here's the direct info for where and when this next CTA job fair is to be located.
  • Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 9 AM to 1 PM
    Roberto Clemente Community Academy
    1147 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Again please refer to flyer below for more details as to the educational and experience requirements for this position. Also please remember that CTA - as per a press release -  is seeking to fill 700 customer service assistant positions at L stops throughout the city.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Important Streets and Sanitation Information

In a conversation with the Ward Streets and Sanitation office they are asking residents to  follow several request to help keep the ward clean and rodent free. With the new grid system coming these request will help  keep residents from getting sanitation code violation fines.

First the 6th Ward Clean and Green is April 20, 2013. Block clubs and other organizations are asked to call early to reserve equipment(no power tools). The flyer is below

The following are request
  • Place trash inside the carts and close lids. keeps pest out of cans and trash off the ground
  • Limit large items(chairs, bed frames, etc,) to one to two items per week. There are no more "Bulk" or "Junk" pickups and these items go on the regular truck.Also, place these items out as close to pickup date as possible to discourage salvage trucks from "stripping" mattresses and other cloth items for the metal frames. 
  • You MUST call the Street and Sanitation office to schedule pickup for excessive large items and amounts of trash. If you do not call for pick up ( garbage truck personnel are not responsible for completing your "cleanouts") you may be subject to fines. 
  • Call 311 and report fly dumping, cart additions or replacement.
  • Please cooperate and move your vehicle when you see the signs posted for street cleaning. Street cleaning will resume the week of March 25, 2013. Streets from State to King Drive will start that week and King Drive to Cottage will start in April.
Other tips are:

  • Cole Park will be accepting gently used sports equipment(baseballs, basketballs, gloves, soccer balls, etc). Please check with the park about exercise equipment.
  • Recycle small electronic items( cell phones, MP3,game players,etc) at electronic stores such as Best Buy, Frye's, etc
  • Do not put mail or other documents with personal information in trash. There will be paper shredding days coming up where those items can be shredded.

  • Donate large working/non working electronic items, furniture, clothing to non profit organizations such as the Salvation Army(1-800-SA-TRUCK) or Zealous Good.

If you have problems with dirty alleys, excessive trash or any other sanitation problem call the office at 312-747-8776. Your ward sanitation superintendent is Mr. Paul Bryson. Mr. Bryson goal is to make the 6th Ward the cleanest in Chicago.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Capitol Fax: The old way will always be the best way

I intended to post this much earlier but found myself sidetracked so therefore you will recieve this brief lesson today. These are for those of you who are considered aspiring leaders and want to see what works in politics. This is something that isn't even lost upon me and it's very easy to believe that today's technology will be the primary methods of getting out the vote.

Anyway, Rich Miller writes about a study conducted by two political scientists showing methods of getting out the vote. He shares this conclusion:
There is absolutely no substitute for physically touching voters. And there never will be. Talk all you want about technology. But unless the tech is directly related to helping a physical street canvass, then it’s mostly a waste of money.

And if you can’t touch them, using volunteers to talk with voters is the next best thing. Robocalls are cheap, which is why they’re so over-used. And while they might have an impact at the margins, they’re nowhere near as effective as real people telling real stories about why they are voting for a candidate.
We may have internet social networking, robocalls, etc. but it will never totally replace face to face contact with voters. Probably time that such interaction returns to our communities.

ALSO, the comments here are very interesting as well. Since comments are closed there you can always comment here!

Friday, March 15, 2013

REMINDER: Chicago Bungalow weatherization grant workshop!

This event was posted on Saturday and it's for those of you who own Chicago Bungalows that were built before 1940. You can recieve a $4000 weatherization grant for your home.

However, you may also recieve:
  • if your refrigerator is over 8 years old, you could be eligible to get a brand, new refrigerator as well under the appliance grant.
  • three (3), new,window air conditioners you could be eligible for too! 

Again, this event will take place St. James Lutheran church at 8000 S. Michigan Saturday March 16 from 11 AM to 4 PM. Please click this link above for more info although one page of the flyer will be show below.

Also feel free to visit

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sun-Times: CTA OKs price hikes for passes for college students, fees geared toward tourist

Changes are abound at CTA for college students and those of you who pay cash for fare especially on the L:
CTA board members Wednesday signed off on two price hikes of more than 30 percent — one affecting college students; the other expected to impact tourists and infrequent L riders.

As of this fall, the board agreed to raise the cost of U-Passes used by full-time college students from 81-cents to $1.07 a day ­— a 32 percent price increase.

It also approved a $3 fare for L passengers who choose to buy one-way tickets with cash once the plastic-card-dominant Ventra payment system starts this summer. That’s 33 percent more than the $2.25 fare the same one-ride passenger would pay now — or in the future if using a plastic Ventra card with a special chip.

The U-Pass price change could affect up to 130,000 full-time students at 52 colleges who now can use the deeply-discounted transit cards for unlimited daily rides. Usually, CTA officials said, universities embed the cost of U-Passes in student fees but do not have to do so.

The price change translates into a $15 increase per U-Pass per semester, and is intended to offset “higher operational expenses,’’ but still reflects a great value, CTA officials said. U-Pass rates have not increased in three years, they noted.
Starting this fall, new U-Passes will be in the form of new plastic Ventra payment cards which will also feature student photos and names.

A new five-year contract agreement approved Wednesday also requires schools to pay a $5 fee per Ventra card up front, but it’s up to schools to decide if they want to pass that cost on to students, CTA officials said.

CTA President Forrest Claypool told reporters the U-Pass hike was tied to the expiration of the U-Pass contract, rather than the new Ventra system.

The new contract is for five years and, for the first time, will give students access to not only the CTA but also Pace. Plus, some certificate-granting post-secondary schools may be offering U-Passes.

Meanwhile Wednesday, CTA Board members agreed to charge riders who choose to buy a one-way rail ride with cash $3 once Ventra launches this summer. The amount reflects the cost of a $2.25 one-way rail ride, a 25-cent transfer ­— whether used or not, and a 50-cent “convenience fee’’ for producing a disposable paper ticket with the same special chip contained in new plastic Ventra cards.

CTA officials said they expected tourists and infrequent riders to use one-ride cash L tickets and regular riders to opt for payment by Ventra cards.
Want to know more about the Ventra system you can visit this page:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

EVENT: Role Model Movement at Whitney Young Library

Recently Role Model Movement's Jahmal Cole alerted us that he was asked to do monthly presentations at the Whitney Young Library located at 79th & King Drive. One of the speakers for this month's event is Resident Association of Greater Englewood's Ay-Sha Butler. She will fit in with the topic of revamping our education system as Englewood is very serious about having a discussion about the schools in their neighborhood. Will you be there on Tuesday March 26th? Refer to the graphic below for more details and expect a reminder as the day of the event approaches.

BTW, the more people who attends these events at Whitney Young Library the more likely a new library can be built. I suppose doing so would be two-fold, supporting a future local leader and insuring that a more adequate facility can finally be built!

Monday, March 11, 2013

REMINDER: 95th Improvement Project hearing on March 14th!

Concept of the new interior of the 95/Dan Ryan terminal

We posted about this event late last month. A hearing for the improvement project for the 95th terminal is coming up below is the date and location:
  • 95th Street Terminal Improvement Project - Public Hearing
    Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.
    Harlan High School
    9652 S. Michigan Avenue
Once again feel free to refer to the document for more details about this project you can also visit the project's official CTA website. Especially if you're interested in commenting on this project expected to begin in 2014. The year after the big project to rebuild the Dan Ryan route of the Red Line expected to commence in this coming May 2013. For public comments on this project the deadline is March 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM and you can send them via e-mail or the post office.

Again refer to the document below for more details:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

EVENT: State of the District on TOMORROW!!!

State Rep. Elgie Sims is sponsoring a "State of the District "on TOMORROW Monday, March 11, 2013 from 5 PM to 6 PM to take place at the branch of Urban Partnership Bank located at 7801 South State Street. Basically: "State Representative Sims will give an overview of current Springfield legislation that affect the 34th District". If you want more info this phone number is listed in the flyer below: 773-783-8800.

6th Ward Seniors Meeting

It's coming on March 14, 2013 meeting held at St. Mark AME Zion Church on 7358 S. Cottage Grove Ave starting at 11 AM. If you want more information please use contact information provided in the post and refer to flyer below:
  • Shenita Batie - 6th Ward Senior Coordinator
    Monday-Thursday 10:00am-4:00pm
    ShenitaBatie6thWardChicago @

Saturday, March 9, 2013

EVENT: Chicago Bungalow weatherization grant workshop!

This event is for those of you who own a Chicago bungalow that was built before 1940. If you own such a home then you may be able to get a $4000 grant for some weatherization work. One side of the flyer is posted below, however, you can get both parts of this flyer at this link!

Daylight Savings Time: Remember to "Spring Forward"

You know, this crept up on me this time around. Hopefully you knew this time was coming. Worlee most certainly did.

Now is the time to set your clocks 1 hour ahead as it's now that time of year. It's Daylight Savings Time and it starts at 2 AM. Hopefully most of us don't have to get to work in the morning at least for those of us who aren't even off on Sundays.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sun-Times: School closings hardest on African-Americans because of population shifts, mayor says

That is if you believe the 2010 Census results. Apparently it's still being brought up even if not directly in this article:
Nine out of 10 Chicago Public School students potentially impacted by school closings are African-American because their neighborhoods suffered population losses, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.

One day after a community activist branded the disproportionate impact on black students a “lawsuit waiting to happen,” Emanuel renewed his commitment to forge ahead with a politically explosive decision that Chicago has avoided for a decade.

“There has been a big change in the city over the last decade ... and we need to make sure that our schools are reflective of the change in our city,” the mayor said.

“We have postponed this. It’s actually a postponement that’s adversely affected our children’s education. Now, we need to deal with it in a very sensitive way, in a compassionate way, but achieve the goal, like the longer school day, to give all our children a high-quality, valuable education so they can have a future that is worthy of those children.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that 88 percent of the students attending the 129 schools that remain on the CPS hit list are African-American.

The newspaper also reported that 117 of the 129 schools are majority black and that 119 of them have a percentage of black students higher than the district average.

The racial breakdown of the schools does not mirror overall demographics of the district. Across the city, 41.7 percent of CPS students are African-American, 8.8 percent are white and 44.1 percent are Hispanic. The rest are Asian, Native-American or members of other racial groups.
BTW, this comment was e-mailed to the blog recently. We know that CPS wants to sell their downtown HQ and this was in response to that posting, "Just wondering. Why don't they renovate one of the schools they are about to close?"

ABC7: CTA ex-offender program offering apprenticeships

[VIDEO] This is news you should know about.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool were scheduled to kick off an expansion of the program that gives ex-offenders a second chance with rail and bus apprenticeships Wednesday.

Under the expanded program, bus apprenticeships will last up to a year while rail assignments will continue for nine months.

High-performing apprentices will be eligible to apply for full-time CTA positions.

As many as 200 bus positions will be included in the program along with 65 rail slots.
You can learn more about these positions via this CTA Press Release and this Q & A about the apprenticeship program. And of course our best wishes for success!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crime announcement from 6th District Chicago Police HQ

We recently got this crime alert from the GCA. They want a good turnout at the court located at the 5th District Police HQ:
4 Mar 13

Hello 006th Police District Residents:

The Chicago Police Department recently concluded a narcotics enforcement operation targeting violent street gangs in the area of 600-700 E. 79th.

Approximately, two weeks ago, during the course an inspection of a commercial establishment located on the 600 block east 79th (District 6), two investigators from the Department of Business Affairs were assaulted by employees of that same location.

One investigator was held down by three employees of the business while another unidentified individual verbally threatened to shoot the investigator in the head.

Three individuals were subsequently arrested by the Police and charged.

We are asking everyone to take time to attend court with us on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm at 727 E. 111th Street.

We are asking that you please meet us first at 12:30 pm at the 5th Police District in the Community Room at 727 E. 111th Street and we will walk next door.

With your presence we are letting the Judge know we are concerned about what is going on in our community.

If you cannot make court, send someone else in your place please call 312.745.3641 or e-mail me back with any questions.
There was an e-mail attached with the message Beverly.Taylor-Williams @ Feel free to utilize that if you have an questions.

BTW I may post a reminder at least two days before this event.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tribune: CPS may sell downtown headquarters

Considering that CPS is seeking to close some schools, this is an interesting development:
Chicago Public Schools officials are looking at moving out of their downtown headquarters as another way to ease a projected $1 billion budget deficit.

The district has requested bids from real estate brokerage firms to help sell its building and scout for a new headquarters location. CPS says it has cut 30 percent of its staff since 2009 and with a little more than 1,000 employees has too much space at its present location, 125 S. Clark St. in the Loop. Potential savings from a move were estimated at up to $3 million annually.

The district's move to Clark Street was also made to save money. CPS purchased the 20-story building that formerly housed Commonwealth Edison in 1998 for $8.2 million. Before that, its main offices were in a former Army distribution center at 1819 W. Pershing Road. The cost of heating and cooling that massive edifice was $6.2 million a year, leading to the move downtown.

District officials hope to sell the present headquarters. If they are unable to, the building will be leased, said CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll.
If they were to sell the building, where would they go?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

State Senator Jacqueline Collins Newsletter

Location: 1155 West 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
Senator Jacqueline Collins
March 5, 2013
Dear Friends,

February has been a busy month here in the Capitol. I’ve worked on Senate Bill 26: landmark legislation that will allow Illinois to use federal money to provide health care access to uninsured, low-income adults. I’m continuing to address the foreclosure crisis from every possible angle so communities and homeowners can recover from the housing slump. And my colleagues and I observed Black History Month, drawing attention to the fact that Illinois was the first state in the union to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery. Please read on for details, plus an exciting employment opportunity with CTA.

Tomorrow Governor Quinn will deliver his budget address, and the legislature will begin to consider next year’s spending. My role in this process will be to represent the 16th District and work to allocate program cuts fairly so we do not balance our budget on the backs of those least able to bear the weight. Because the sluggish economy and rising pension payments mean money is still tight this year, the legislature will need to prioritize. As I have done throughout these lean fiscal times, I will continue to speak boldly for prioritizing the needs of “the least of these.” Only by responding justly and compassionately to the needs of our most vulnerable residents can we improve quality of life for everyone in Illinois.

As always, it is an honor to serve and represent you. I welcome your questions and ideas about the budget or any other legislative matters. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts or if I can be of any assistance to you or your family.

Jacqueline Collins
Senator Jacqueline Collins
16th District – Illinois

Medicaid expansion: health care access and job creation

I was proud to co-sponsor legislation, approved last week by the Senate, allowing Illinois to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults not currently eligible for the program. The federal government, under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, will fully reimburse the state for medical assistance spending on the newly eligible population.

Medicaid expansionThe National Black Caucus of State Legislators featured my work on Medicaid expansion on its website this month. You can also visit my website to read more about this great opportunity for hospitals, communities and the medically underserved. Although the Senate voted for this legislation, the House must still approve it in order to send it to the governor for his signature. Please consider contacting state representatives in support of better health care for people who currently have few options beyond the emergency room.

Grace period foreclosure counseling: a success story for homeowners

Last week the Financial Institutions Committee approved a measure I introduced to extend protections that allow homeowners facing foreclosure to obtain counseling. Called the “30-30-30” approach, these legal safeguards require lenders to delay a foreclosure proceeding while a homeowner works with a counselor on a loan modification plan. If the bank accepts the plan, the homeowner and his or her family may be able to stay in the home while still making payments. Using financial counseling and loan modification to avoid foreclosure is a winning proposition for homeowners and lenders alike.

Since 2009, the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network has connected nearly 600,000 people to free foreclosure help. More than 48,000 homeowners have received free homeownership counseling. The Illinois Hardest Hit program has given temporary mortgage payment assistance to more than 6,500 struggling homeowners. With funding from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Program, the Illinois Housing Development Authority has facilitated at least 3,100 loan modifications, with 900 of those mortgages now reported as current.

The success of these efforts is made possible by federal funding but also provisions of Illinois law that require a lender to wait 30 days after a payment is due, send the homeowner a notice informing him or her of the availability of counseling, wait another 30 days for the homeowner to obtain assistance from a licensed counselor and then give the homeowner and counselor 30 more days to offer the bank a modification or work-out plan. Senate Bill 56 will renew these protections for three more years so we can continue fighting foreclosure and stabilizing the housing market.

Illinois and the Thirteenth Amendment

Moviegoers who saw the film “Lincoln” last year learned about the great political struggle to secure congressional approval of the Thirteenth Amendment. The other part of the story is its ratification by the states and the fact that Lincoln’s home state of Illinois led the way.

13th amendmentOn February 23, I attended a celebration in remembrance of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, born one hundred years ago this month, and presented a resolution I sponsoreddeclaring February 2013 “Thirteenth Amendment Ratification Month.” John Paul Jones, one of my constituents and president of the Sustainable Englewood Initiatives, asked me to find a way to publicly acknowledge Illinois’ status as the first state to ratify the amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States and formally freed all slaves still in bondage in 1865.

Illinois’ prompt ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment is something we can all be proud of today, nearly 150 years later. I sponsored this resolution because it’s important for our children to know about the significance of this moment in history – the beginning of a road that has stretched from Jim Crow to Brown v. Board to Selma to our nation’s first Black president and beyond. This part of our journey started with the legal, constitutional right to be free.

Please click here to watch me discuss the significance of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation.

New law helps neighborhoods recover from foreclosure crisis

On February 8, Governor Quinn signed a law I sponsored to address the glut of abandoned properties clogging the court system and to give communities money to clean up or demolish abandoned residential properties. Abandoned houses stuck in the foreclosure process for hundreds of days are keeping the housing market sluggish. They stay on banks’ balance sheets and become neighborhood eyesores, adversely affecting property values. They can also be safety hazards and havens for criminal activity.

foreclosureNow courts can use a new, expedited foreclosure process once a lender has proven a property is abandoned and not occupied by any legitimate residents. This change in the law will shorten the foreclosure process in such cases from more than 500 days to about 100 days. An increased filing fee on the largest lenders will go into a fund for counties and municipalities involved in renovating or demolishing abandoned lots and houses. The additional money will also fund free foreclosure counseling for about 18,000 households.

Please see my website for more information.

Job Opportunity: CTA Customer Assistant

I want to make sure my constituents who are seeking employment are aware that the Chicago Transit Authority is hiring customer service assistants. The position pays $12.40 per hour and offers benefits and growth potential. CTA will hold two job fairs:

Friday, February 22 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
JLM Abundant Life Community Center
2622 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago 60612

Saturday, March 23 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
1147 North Western Ave., Chicago 60622

Military veterans in particular are encouraged to apply. CTA is an equal opportunity employer. Interviews will not be conducted at the job fairs; you will be contacted after the event if CTA selects you to interview for a position.

Job candidates must be 21 or older, pass drug and alcohol tests and a criminal background check, be able to understand and follow oral and written instructions, be able to pass a basic test of customer service skills, accurately perform basic arithmetic, communicate clearly both in writing and speaking and maintain a neat and professional appearance. Please contact my office with additional questions.

District Office
1155 West 79th Street • Chicago, IL 60620
773-224-2830 (Phone) • 773-224-2855 (Fax)

Springfield Office
M114 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-1607 (Phone)