Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lady and her carriage

This is the 95th Street CTA terminal. You can find that photograph over at Flickr. Via CTA Tattler with photo feeds in their sidebar.

E-Mail Your Support Of TIF Transparency

I just got this e-mail Friday Morning:
Flores' & Waguespack's TIF sunshine ordinance was referred to committee. Ald. Waguespack expressed an interest in walking into the committee meeting with a big ole thick stack of print-outs of e-mails from folks who think more transparency for TIFs in Chicago might be a good idea, even if from outside his ward. I told him we could help. He asked that we use his "ward" e-mail address, ward32 (AT) cityofchicago (DOT) org. The committee meeting will be in early March, so you could save this for a slow news day. My preference would be to keep my name off the post if I may impose to partake of your anonymity.

Below is a sample post soliciting e-mails. Of course recast in your own words if you so desire.

Thanks for your support!
Here's a sample e-mail if you want to lend your support to transparency with your tax dollars.
Dear neighbors,

Please write to Alderman Scott Waguespack and express your support for greater transparency in Chicago's TIF program.

Aldermen Flores and Waguespack recently introduced into City Council a ground-breaking proposal to post documentation related to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) online. This important proposal is working its way through the City Hall process, but it needs YOUR HELP! If you have been frustrated in trying to learn more about what your home town is doing with your property tax dollars, please take a moment to send Ald. Waguespack a brief note of support for this simple idea.

Send your note of support to Ald. Waguespack at ward32 (AT) cityofchicago (DOT) org today!

Thank you!
If some of you aren't familiar with TIF then here's some stories that will educate you on this subject:

Transparency on TIFs by Mick Dumke, Chicago Reader, February 11th 2009

Aldermen want to remove shroud over TIF contracts by Kate Gardiner, Medill, Feb 18, 2009

Opening a window on Daley's piggy bank - Chicago Sun-Times editorial, February 23, 2009

Oh and lest we not think that TIFs doesn't affect the 6th Ward here's one that might be created in our neck of the wood for the site of the old Kennedy King City College.

College trustees considering Kennedy-King TIF from The Sixth Ward

Burris headlines

Gov. Pat Quinn says comments could create racial divide - Tribune
Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday called "unfortunate" a suggestion by a group of African-American aldermen that black voters may withhold support for politicians critical of beleaguered U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, saying he feared the return of a racial divide in the Democratic Party.

Quinn's reaction came a day after several Chicago aldermen defended Burris, saying he has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and issued a warning.
...
Quinn said he feared the controversy surrounding Burris would echo the "Council Wars" of the 1980s, when race divided the city's Democrats.

Congressman Danny Davis of Chicago said there's considerable support in the black community to leave Burris "alone and let him do his job." He decried the aldermanic comments as "divisive," but said those calling for Burris' resignation are "overreaching."

Blacks rally to defense of embattled Burris - STLtoday.com
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said Friday that many blacks don't believe Burris should resign, in part because the person who appointed him — now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich — hasn't been convicted of a crime.
I may somewhat understand this sentiment, however, it's not that simple. Blago may not at this moment have been either convicted or even indicted of any crime, but the stigma over who appointed Burris is there. That's the heart of the matter, Burris was appointed by a man who was arrested for attempting selling that seat. Anyone who takes that appointment is getting their hands on a hot-potato.

Why Is Roland Burris Still A Senator? - NPR

Burris, Coleman: Senatorial Embarrassments - Courant.com

Roland Burris, please go - BND.com

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ald. Lyle on Chicago Tonight


You can also go directly to the Chicago Tonight website as well.

Recovery Done Right: Chicago Bank Helps Business

WBBM-TV:
Hot tamales have turned into good business for Isidro Martinez.

"We started making in the house, in my basement," Martinez, of Isidro's Tamales, said. "I got two kids and I show all kids how to make tamales."

Last fall, as Washington approved billions in rescue funds, he went to a New York-based national bank for an expansion loan and was turned down.

"You have your dream you think go up and they tell you 'no' and they send you back again," Martinez said.

Chicago's smaller MB Financial Bank said yes, in part, according to managers, because local banks may have a better understanding of the area's economy.

"They may not have seen the heart of the leadership of this company," said MB Financial Bank Executive Vice President Thomas Fitzgibbon.

TARP funds didn't directly give MB more money to help Martinez, but they did make a difference.

"Basically it's a confidence factor, the confidence to continue to do what we've always done," Fitzgibbon said.
...
Park National, which received $100 million from the government, loaned out $248 million. Marquette Bank received $35 million, and extended $15 million in last-quarter credit. And MB Financial, which received $196 million, registered $132 million in increased business.

Lawmakers Consider Taking Away Free Rides

AP:

A bill sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bassi, a Republican from Palatine, would limit free rides to seniors who qualify under the state's low-income guidelines. Other seniors would still get reduced or half-fare rides.

"I don't think we're planning to get rid of that. That's a policy that's in place, and there's a lot of hard times for a lot of people right now in our state. We're going to have to look at every nook and cranny of state government to make sure that we serve taxpayers first," Quinn told WBBM's Steve Miller.

Advocacy groups such as AARP Illinois and Metro Seniors in Action say they have no position yet on the rollback.

Another unfortunate legacy of Rod Blagojevich to go to the wayside.

Daley tags Rodriguez as CTA president

Sun-Times:
Richard Rodriguez, one of City Hall’s fastest-rising stars, will be appointed CTA president today, leaving Rosemarie Andolino in charge of both the Department of Aviation and O’Hare Airport expansion.

Mayor Daley’s appointment of Rodriguez, 38, continues the meteroric rise of an energetic, no-nonsense manager who comes from the same mold as his predecessor, Ron Huberman.
...
Rodriguez’s appointment is certain to please Hispanic ministers and aldermen who have been pressuring Daley to appoint more Hispanics to high-level jobs. Rodriguez is a former field attorney for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 24-hour disaster team.

At City Hall, he has hopscotched from top jobs at the Chicago Housing Authority to Aviation before being put in charge of three departments in the last three years: Construction and Permits, Buildings and Aviation.

Burris headlines

Time to Hold Roland Burris Accountable - Arlene Jones

Democrats reject quick action on bill aimed at Burris - AP
Legislation that could force Sen. Roland Burris out of office is stirring up controversy at the Illinois Capitol.

The measure would change the law under which Burris was appointed to the Senate. It would end his temporary term and require a special election to fill the seat.
...
Critics say a move to cut short Burris' term might be unconstitutional. But Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued an opinion saying the change would be legal.
A Modest Proposal to Solve the Burris Problem - The New Republic

How to get rid of Roland Burris in the U.S. Senate
- WGN-TV

Quinn: 'time is fast approaching' for Burris to step down - Clout St.

Burris gets support from Chicago's black caucus - AP
Sixth Ward Alderman Freddrenna (fred-REHN'-uh) Lyle says calls for Burris' resignation are unfair because white politicians have not been similarly targeted after accusations of wrongdoing.
Council's black caucus on Burris: Back off - Sun-Times
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), city chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, said the “anti-Blagojevich hatred” has unfairly been transferred onto Burris.
“I would just suggest to those people who seek to run in the wards of the city of Chicago where there are people of color living that they should tone it down because some of us are taking notes. They will run at their peril,” Lyle said.
She added, “I can't go to the residents of my ward and ask them to vote for someone who, they feel, has disrespected them. And they won't. Remember, we just don't vote for people. It is in our history in modern times when we voted against people. In fact, it's usually easier to get people to do that.”
Check out this line from Ald. Leslie Hairston:
Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 — about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.
For the aldermen, the story was over the top.
“You all are attacking people's children. That is crossing the line,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).
Gov. Quinn looks into Roland Burris II's employment - Sun-Times
“I don’t think I’m going to pre-judge things, but I think the matter deserves serious review and it [should] be done very quickly,” Quinn said.
Quinn said his chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, and his general counsel, Ted Chung, will look into Burris II’s situation, but no timeline has been set. Quinn said they would make a recommendation to the IHDA board and executive director.
“I want to make sure everything is right and proper,” Quinn said.
Rush: Burris Should Stay - RealClearPolitics
Today, members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with President Obama at the White House. Members spoke to the press after, and were asked about the absence of Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.). The members indicated that the CBC was invited as a group, not individually, and that as a member of the CBC Burris was entitled to attend. They did not respond to questions about whether his status in the Senate came up in discussions with the White House.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), one of Burris' most vocal supporters, said after that Burris should have been present as any others were. Asked by RCP about a new push for a special election that would result in Burris being removed, Rush insisted that it would be too expensive for the state, and was not necessary.
"I think Sen. Burris should not resign," Rush said. "He did not do anything inappropriate, he did not do anything arrestable, he did not do anything indictable."
Parties Ponder Burris’ Future - CQ Politics

Roland Burris Sons State Job - RightPundits.com

M
ore trouble for Roland Burris? - First Read

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Media alert from CSU

Yeah I can certainly get with encouraging black men to attend and graduate from college.
Chicago State University Associate Provost Dr. Anitra Ward, Congressman Danny Davis

News conference featuring four predominantly black institutions that have received major grants

Friday, February 27, 9:00 a.m.

Malcolm X. College
1900 West Van Buren
Chicago

Dr. Ward is the recipient of a two-year, $1 million grant to attract and retain black males in higher education. Her research will identify risk factors, barriers, and intervention measures that can negatively affect black males in higher education. The grant also funds the creation of the African-American Male Resource Center on the CSU campus and a national conference in April.

Herb Kent date change

I look in my e-mail today and there are additional amendments to the upcoming event that I continue to advertise. But this time you can make a phone call to be sure you will come at the right date at the right time.
I just received word that the Chicago State University book signing featuring Herb Kent, author of *The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent* (Lawrence Hill Books), is now on March 10, 2009. The address and time remain the same as previously stated.

I know you’re sharing this information with your readers so I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. For further questions on the event, readers can contact José Pizaarro at 773-995-2324.


Now if you're Herb Kent fans and you don't want to miss him, you got a person you can contact to be sure you won't miss him.

Just got an press release from Chicago State University as well. Something worth sharing here. I'll do that momentarily.

New Report: Drop in Chicago Home Sales

CPR:
The Illinois Association of Realtors says Chicago home sales are down about 25 percent. This January, about 900 homes were sold in Chicago... that's compared to the nearly 1100 in January 2008. David Hanna is president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.
...
The report says the average home price last month for the Chicago area dropped below $250,000. The average in January of last year was more than $320,000.
Also from the AP new jobless claims and homesales:
New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits has topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week's figure of 631,000. Analysts had expected a slight drop in claims.

The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982, though the labor force has grown by about half since then. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 639,000, the highest in more than 26 years.
...
And new home sales tumbled 10.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 last month, the worst showing on government records going back to 1963.

The median sales price fell to $201,100 in January, a record 9.9 percent drop from the previous month. The median price is the midpoint, where half sell for more and half for less. But even lower prices and low mortgage rates haven't ended the housing market slump.

Daley backs Weis decision not to release cop complaint list

Clout St:

Mayor Richard Daley today said he supported Police Supt. Jody Weis' refusal to publicly release the list of officers who have been the subject of repeated complaints, a decision that defies two federal judges.

Daley said many complaints against officers are "unfounded and meritless." Those officers do not deserve to have their names made public, the mayor said.

“They have been thoroughly reviewed,” Daley said. “Those people should not come under scrutiny of any lawyer … These are public servants. I believe [Weis] is doing the right thing.”

The mayor shrugged off Weis’ defiance of the federal judges, saying, “Like anything else … you have a right to appeal it.”
Via Newsalert!

Transit Officials Go Before Lawmakers To Explain Deficits

WBBM-AM:
Armed with as many uncertainties as answers, top officials from the CTA, Metra, Pace and the Regional Transportation Authority go before an Illinois House committee meeting at Chicago's Thompson Center Monday (1 p.m.) to discuss their rapidly deteriorating tax funding.

RTA Chairman Jim Reilly is expected to tell the Illinois House Transportation Committee, chaired by State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), that he is even more worried about 2010 and 2011 than he is by the current year, despite a shortfall projected at $155 million at the CTA alone.

"They've added some discussion of the emerging problem of deficits over the next couple of years," he said. "That's what they want to know about."

RTA officials admit discussing the faltering economy with CTA, Metra and Pace officials in November nd December, but did not notify them formally that they would receive less-than-anticipated 2008 tax revenues until Feb. 12.
Also in transit news, the CTA seeks to unload a quarter of their HQ space:
About four years after moving into its new downtown headquarters, a shrinking Chicago Transit Authority is stuck with more space than it needs in an increasingly tough office leasing market.

Because of job cuts, the Chicago Transit Authority has recently added a floor to the space it has on the market at 567 W. Lake St., bringing the total to 105,000 square feet, or a fourth of the 420,000-square-foot building. But the pool of potential tenants is limited to other government agencies or qualified non-profit groups, a CTA spokeswoman says. The restriction does not apply to a buyer.

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. is now marketing the top three floors of the 12-story building; each floor is 35,000 square feet. The 10th floor just came onto the market because of staff reductions, the agency spokeswoman says.

Fifield Cos. developed the building for the CTA in 2004 but does not own the structure. The project, which totaled $94.6 million, was financed by the city’s Public Building Commission.
I wonder how much money they can make from this transaction.

Burris links


Now that is a much sexier headline than the previous one, if I may say so. Excerpt:
The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Housing Development Authority indicated Wednesday there was nothing improper about Burris II's employment by the agency, whose mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.

Burris II's hiring, however, raises more questions about Sen. Burris' interactions with Blagojevich and his inner circle at a time when the governor was soliciting Sen. Burris for campaign contributions and Burris was angling to have Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
Well the heat of this story may not cool off yet!

Sen. Roland Burris went back to work on Wednesday, giving a speech on the Senate floor and presiding over a body he has been told by many that he should quit.
Burris gave a two-minute speech from the Senate floor in support of a voting rights bill, then presided over the Senate for an hour, a tradition for freshman. He was scheduled to spend another hour with the Senate gavel later in the evening.

"Allow these 600,000 residents to become full citizens," Burris told a virtually empty Senate chamber in support of a bill that would give a congressional seat to Washington, D.C.
A Problem Like Burris - The 11th Hour
It has been the right thing to do for people like Dick Durbin and several from the Illinois Congressional delegation to call for his resignation but, in the end, it’s Burris’ decision. Burris didn’t do the right thing in accepting the appointment so I don’t expect him to do the right thing now. I think we may just have to continue registering our displeasure with him (to keep the pressure on in case he does eventually cave) while keeping in mind that he is really just part of a Blagojevich hangover that will eventually go away on its own with time.
Burris appoints 2 to staff - AP
In a news release today, Burris says he's appointed Brady King as his interim chief of staff and Jim O'Connor his communications director.
Defending Burris - Times Argus

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Herb Kent's CSU Event Rescheduled

Recieved in the morning e-mail
The recently postponed Chicago State University reading by Herb Kent, author of *The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent* (Lawrence Hill Books), has been rescheduled for March 12, 2009.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center at Chicago State University (9501 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago, IL 60628) from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Obama's State of the Union speech

Provided here in case you haven't been able to see it. Duration 54 minutes


And here's the Republican response by Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindahl. Duration 12 minutes.


Both vids are courtesy of C-Span.

Ald. Smith tells Lisa Madigan: 'Do your job' on Burge case

Sun-Times:
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will face a political backlash from black voters if she insists on washing her hands of torture cases tied to former Area 2 Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, an influential alderman warned Tuesday.

Ald. Ed Smith (28th), former chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, fired off an angry letter to Madigan four days after the attorney general’s office asked to have supervision for five of the 25 Burge cases shifted back to the state’s attorney office.

“If this is shifted back, it’s gonna get lost in the cracks, put on the back burner and nothing will happen. Those people who are in jail will remain in jail. I want her to follow these cases to fruition and make sure that justice is served from her office,” Smith said.

If Madigan insists on passing the hot potato back to the state’s attorney’s office, Smith warned that she would pay a price in a race for governor, the U.S. Senate, the Illinois Supreme Court or even for re-election.

“Our community is still upset about these cases. It could give the impression that she just wants to walk away and let it go. It could be an adversity if she ran again,” he said.
Is anyone out there upset about this Burge case?

Local Business Says Bailed Out Bank Won't Lend

WBBM-TV:
A family run business here in Chicago was hoping the bank bailout would have solved its problems with Bank of America - keeping both parties out of court. It hasn't. As CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports after six decades, the family may be forced to close up shop.
...
Now their once successful business, La Guadalupana, is on the verge of financial ruin. They blame a bailed out banking system unwilling to give credit to Main Street America.

"We can't be the only ones that the money is not getting where it was intended to go," Castro said.

These are the ingredients of the family's financial troubles:

They claim, in 2007, Bank of America encouraged them to use a $400,000 line of credit to finance the purchase of a similar plant in Ohio - promising a business loan in a few months that never materialized, and then canceling their complete line of credit last summer - making the Castros unable to pay their bills.
...
Last fall, Bank of America contacted La Guadalupana's clients demanding payment be made directly to them and not the company.

But not everyone receiving the letter paid the bank; in fact, many didn't in support of their neighborhood business.

Attorneys for the company say Bank of America has since received $45 billion in bailout funds from Washington, but has been less than willing to work out a new deal with the Castros.
...
In a written statement, Bank of America said it "does not discuss its clients", adding "we try to work with borrowers because we want our clients to succeed."

Clients like the Castros struggling to hold on to the family business. 
Tough times!

Burris headlines

Updated 9:29 AM: Carol Marin's column on the Burris "fiasco". What I except can be seen as the truth of the matter. The column is entitles "Translating Durbinspeak on Burris fiasco"

DURBIN: There is a "feeling of disappointment of some of us in the Senate. . . . We were relying on his sworn testimony."

TRANSLATION: Everyone knew this guy, appointed by THAT guy, was tainted but Harry Reid and I didn't have the cojones to cross the Congressional Black Caucus and just say no.
That how the talking heads are sizing it up. Well some of them. They lined up behind Burris whom many see as flawed because of the man who appointed him. I'm sure many are saying they could've avoided this problem in the first place by standing their ground, however, now they got a problem with him because Burris can't get his story straight on who he met with and what happened regarding that Senate seat.

It's so bad that Obama barely acknowledged him at the State of the Union address and Burris was forced to walk alone. Even faced the scorn of his Senate colleagues who were probably the first to welcome him into their prestigious chamber despite the fact of who appointed him. Even Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. got the whole I didn't nothing wrong Jesse at the State of the Union. It's a mess.

BTW, you can get a round-up of Burris stories at the CapFax blog.

This video is really old news, but a visual record of Sen. Dick Durbin comments after his meeting with Sen. Roland Burris.


The Burris Signal - Progress Illinois

Dear Illinois African-American Community - Beachwood Reporter
Please let me make a point on the unfolding debacle formerly known as Roland Burris, despite the fact that I have no recent ancestors from Africa. (I considered not writing this at all, but then I picked up the paper and found Eric Holder was already calling me a coward.)

The single most reliable strategy to ensure that President Obama's former Senate seat will ultimately go to a white politician is to keep Roland Burris in it right now.

Ill. GOP chairman: Senate should oust Burris - AP

The head of the Illinois Republican Party says the U.S. Senate should kick Roland Burris out of office since he won't resign.

Republican chairman Andy McKenna says the Senate should immediately take steps to remove Burris.

He's also calling on Illinois Democrats to pass legislation that would end Burris' Senate appointment and set up a special election to replace him.

Trouble for idea of Ill. special Senate elections - AP

A plan to change the way Illinois fills vacant U.S. Senate seats faces a tough road in the state Legislature, despite the new governor's support and the ex-governor's vivid illustration of problems with the current system.

Gov. Pat Quinn has endorsed legislation that would end the current practice of letting the governor decide who should be appointed to the Senate. Instead, voters would choose a new senator in a statewide special election.

Burris attorney still working on key document - AP
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris’ attorney says he’s still working on a document that’ll prove Burris didn’t lie about the circumstances of his appointment.

Attorney Timothy Wright says he doesn’t know when it will be completed, and Burris will decide who sees it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Police Camera Fails To Help Crack Murder Case

WBBM-TV:
Police had hoped a surveillance camera could have helped them crack a murder case, but the camera wasn't working. CBS 2's Mike Parker reports that at the scene of Friday's triple murder on the southeast side, the Chicago Police superintendent was hopeful that technology might pay off for investigators.

"We've got two pod cameras that are in great position, hopefully they captured what happened," said Supt. Jody Weis.

As it turned out, there was one flashing blue light camera, and it captured nothing. When detectives at the scene tried to download video from its hard drive, it was empty.

When asked what went wrong with the camera, Asst. Dep. Supt. Matt Tobias said, "I believe, an internal short circuit within the camera."
I hope they crack the case, but I wonder if they're worth the investment that the city wants to put into them. Read the whole thing!

Too much power to principals for student selection?

For those of you who are in the process of determining where your children should attend high school in Chicago.

Sun-Times:
The debut of a policy that gave all eight of Chicago's college prep principals the power to hand-pick 5 percent of their freshmen -- without following a strict formula based on admission tests, grades and attendance -- weathered a somewhat rocky start last year.

As thousands of eighth-graders learn this week if they have won slots at Chicago's eight selective-enrollment college prep high schools, Chicago Public School officials are tweaking the "principal's pick" process, which gives a sliver of kids another way into the prized schools.

"We have to be transparent and fair,'' said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for new Schools CEO Ron Huberman. "That's the goal."

Parents say a major improvement would be better publicity about a process that lets kids with outstanding extracurricular strengths, extenuating circumstances, an ability to overcome hardship or with a sibling already in a college prep win admission to the city's top public high schools.
Did they have this when I went to high school? If they did, I could communicate that I belonged at their school. Besides even when I was in 8th I had some effective writing schools, so they said.

Here's more:
Last year seven college prep principals handpicked a total of 129 students, data obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed. Of those selections, 21 -- or 16 percent -- violated guidelines or did not pass initial law department scrutiny. Those picks occurred at King, Young, Lindblom, and Northside.

CPS officials say some principals had good reasons for straying from the rules. CPS ultimately allowed principals to accept all their picks because by the time the review was finished in August, it was too late to say no to the kids. By then, principals had already notified some questionable picks that they were in, said CPS legal counsel Patrick Rocks.

Some principals picked kids who didn't have enough supporting documentation, or arrived in Chicago after admission tests were over, CPS officials said. One principal used his picks to select learning disabled.
If you really want something, here are ways you can get it. Hopefully these students have a great ability to be persuasive. To be honest it almost seems like overkill. Of course creativity could pay off:
A talented pianist walked into one college prep and gave a formal piano recital.

At Payton College Prep, one applicant submitted a packet of information with a cover sheet that showed a photo of herself superimposed into a shot of the Payton campus, said principal Ellen Estrada. It was captioned, "Mrs. Estrada, I can visualize myself at Walter Payton. Turn the page."

Others sent in DVDs of their work, or their best English essay.
Kids these days! Then again we should smile at their drive to get into better schools. If they want it they can earn it. Hopefully they do well by it!

Here's the principal pick policy for the city schools.

Via CapFax morning shorts.

CPS Changes Course On Six Schools

A press release from CPS posted on the Chicago Schools blog:
The decision to withdraw proposals to close or turnaround Peabody Elementary School (1444 W. Augusta Ave); Las Casas (8401 S. Saginaw Ave,); Yale Elementary School (7025 S. Princeton Ave.), Hamilton Elementary School (1650 W. Cornelia Ave.), Holmes Elementary School (955 W. Garfield Blvd.) and Global Visions High School (2710 E. 89th St.) will be presented at the February 25th Board Meeting.  Board members are expected to vote on the proposed recommendations.

Peabody, Yale, Las Casas, Hamilton, Holmes and Global Visions are among 22 Chicago Public Schools proposed for changes earlier this year.
So Yale according the the EveryBlock feed for the 6th Ward is located in the ward. So for those of you who are concerned about Yale here's more from the Tribune:
While Yale Elementary, at 7025 S. Princeton, was designated a "turn around" school, meaning all of the school's staff was to reapply for their jobs, Huberman said the school had been showing academic improvement in reading and math over the last three years. He said he wanted to give the school more time to improve.
Good news.

CBC to Obama: Don't forget us

Politico:
When the first African-American president holds his first meeting with 42 veteran black lawmakers Thursday, it will be a mountaintop moment for all involved.

But members of the Congressional Black Caucus will also be sending the president a subtle message.

“Don’t take us for granted,” said one House Democratic aide.

The meeting between President Barack Obama and the CBC, scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, has been in the works for several weeks, but the timing is, in part, “the result of member concerns about certain things,” said an aide to a senior member of the caucus.

Caucus members are pleased, by and large, with the size and composition of the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this month.

But in the lead-up to the final stimulus vote, many grumbled that party leaders, including the president, buckled by allowing the GOP to strip out nearly $60 billion in aid to states to make way for an alternative minimum tax extension that will largely benefit the middle class.

Moreover, many members, including CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), are still bothered by Obama’s selection of New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg as commerce secretary — an appointment that ended with Gregg’s voluntary withdrawal over ideological differences with the White House.

Burris headlines

UPDATE 3:40PM Durbin asks Burris to resign; he refuses - AP
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris is refusing to resign despite a suggestion from fellow Illinois senator Dick Durbin to do so.

Burris also is refusing to say whether he'll run for the seat in 2010.

Durbin tells Burris to resign - Politico
Sen. Dick Durbin has told Sen. Roland Burris he should resign, but the embattled senator still has no plans to quit the Senate.

"If I were in that position, I would resign," Durbin said Tuesday afternoon.

Burris and Durbin spent an hour in a private meeting on Tuesday afternoon, where Durbin offered this advice.
You know the headline seems leading. Designed to whet appetites. I'm sure Durbin wants Burris to resign but I'm sure there is a nuance to convincing a colleague to do what you wish them to do. The headline seems to indicate something a bit more forceful that what probably really happened or at least than what the rest of the article has indicated.

Don't resign, Sen. Burris - Dennis Byrne
Hang in there, Roland.

Don’t quit. Finish out your term as the Democratic senator representing the cheesy state of Illinois.

It’s your best, and perhaps only, way to get even with your fellow Democrats who have turned on you with a vengeance, who have knifed you in the back after your lifetime of subservience to Democratic rule. You are the Rod Blagojevich gift to fellow Democrats that would keep on giving.

Truth is, senator, your former compadres want you out, without a second to lose, even more than Republicans, who have much to gain by your hanging on. Your Democratic pals didn’t want you in there in the first place, so it shouldn’t come as news to you that they’d betray you at the first chance they get. They’ve got their chance now, with your bumbling non-explanations for how you got the seat in the first place. Now, for as long as you stay in office, Democratic bigwigs have to worry what it will do to their candidates in the big 2010 election.
Positives for Sen. Roland Burris - Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council

I mentioned this last night. Just a link, but this appears to be a series of e-mails talking about the political situation of Roland Burris. It's somewhat racialized, but it's still worth a read.

Burris attempts to extricate himself - Capitol Fax round-up

Roland Burris returns to DC to face colleagues - AP

Get Rid of Burris the Chicago Way - Chicago Daily Observer

Did Senate leaders blow it on Burris? - Politico

Burris lawyers still working on Blagojevich memo - Clout St.

Burris Will Not Resign, Will Not Run in 2010 - Political Wire

Monday, February 23, 2009

Have you noticed the neighborhood blogroll?

*blows off dust*

I've been putting off for a while posting this. It was supposed to be an announcement but I was Googling for stories about Sen. Roland Burris and I found this blog for the Chatham/Avalon Park Community Association. They have only started since October of last year and there are already a number of issues worth tackling on that blog. Check out this post tackling the Burris story.

BTW, Burris if you haven't been following this story or even paid attention to the fact that the media is literally filing reports outside of his home. His home being in Chicago's Sixth Ward and more specifically in the Chatham neighorhood of Chicago.

The neighborhood blogroll has been around well I've been sitting on this post since November and maybe longer. This Chatham/Avalon Park blog is definitely a good find but I want you to know they're not the only ones who blog in the ward/neighborhood.

Other entrants to the 6th Ward's neighborhood blogroll is my blogs It's My Mind, The Movie Cabinet, & John G. Shedd Public School. There's also our own JP Paulus who blogs (intermittently lol) at More 2 Ignore. Finally there's The Violence Project by James Edwards.

I've been saying this a lot early on. While I just as easily hoped that we can find more contributors from the different parts of this ward I also hoped that we can interest others in starting their own blogs. Especially if these blogs can tackle more neighborhood-centric issues as Chatham/Avalon Park blog is doing at the moment. Not that this is the only reason you should set up a blog, what you do with a blog is entirely up to you. There is nothing but varying subjects one should tackle

All I can ask is that if you do choose to blog and you want some link love, let us know. We have an e-mail address which you will see near the end of this post, although you can also look at the far left sidebar and use that to send an e-mail as well. You will be linked especially if you find contacts us, if we find you the same we'll link you just as we did for Chatham/Avalon Park.

So let's utilize this internet electronic network to keep in touch and get active!

Also added is the blog for the 6th Ward Junior Democrats.

Harlan in the news!!!

Location: Harlan Community Academy HS, Chicago, IL 60628, USA
I've ran into a lot of people for whom Harlan's "reputation" is known. Students who go there or who have went there apparently aren't seen in the best of lights unfortunately.

I know that I often do EveryBlock Chicago crime reports and often Harlan's street address comes up. A couple of weeks ago there was a shooting almost two blocks away from Harlan and the student who was shot was said to be a Harlan student.

It's great to see this Harlan in the news page at the school's official website. In fact I saw this video the day of Obama's inauguration although unfortunately I never caught the school although the interior seemed so familiar even if it was a general change over the years. This was on CBS Evening News.

And I had no idea now that Harlan actually has a Lacrosse team. I always just thought that they had a typical Basketball, Football, Baseball (they were a powerhouse let me tell you), Track & Field, and Volleyball programs. Nothing else more fancier than that.

I remember browsing thru old yearbooks. There was a number of activities for students. There were wrestling teams, swim teams, and there was once a ski club. I often believed that if Harlan was a bad school for the last decade or so, it was a better school years before that.

Here's an evaluation of Harlan from Trulia with 9 comments a few very positive, but don't get it wrong there are a few negatives. Two of them is certainly lack of parental involvement.

Still I hope that Harlan's reputation can change. Perhaps it won't have that "rough" reputation it has acquired over the years. I look forward to the day that crime reports won't be attributed to it either.

Foreclosures spur neighborhood ghost towns

Tribune:
The children who live on West Wilcox Street won't go out at night for fear of 12 vacant graystones that draw criminals to their block. In Rogers Park, a half-empty 39-unit condo building on Farwell Avenue has become a hide-out for squatters and feral cats.

Two streets that have little in common—Wilcox on the West Side and Farwell on the North— illustrate the latest chapter of the housing crisis: a surge in vacant homes that is sinking property values and blighting swaths of the city.

As foreclosures soar to historic levels, the infection has spread beyond places of perennial concern, such as West Garfield Park and Englewood.

Condo ghost towns replete with granite and stainless steel have emerged on stretches of the North Side, leaving a pox of hollow buildings dotting the landscape.

"We're kind of in an unprecedented moment," said Philip Ashton, an assistant professor of urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "A lot of the research that is on the table relates to a completely different world."

In the past when banks auctioned off foreclosed homes, buyers lined up to snatch real estate at bargain prices. But given the states of the housing and credit markets, almost 99 percent of homes lost to foreclosure in 2008 went back to lenders—a total value of $1.9 billion in Chicago, according to data provided by the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based think tank.
You can read the Roger's Park take on this story over at the Broken Heart! This current economy is a mess!

Cool Gent Event at CSU Postponed

I just got this e-mail this morning.
Please note that an upcoming event for author Herb Kentâ?Ts book *The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent* (Lawrence Hill Books) has been postponed until further notice. The event was to be located at Chicago State University in Chicago, Ill. on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. It will be rescheduled for March or April 2009. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will update you with any new information when it is available.
I posted this blurb about that event yesterday.

Sen. Burris links

Is Roland Burris a Liar, Or Just a Victim of a Bad PR Plan? - Team America's 10 Dist. Blog

Sen. Feigngold's Constitution - George Will
The Wisconsin Democrat, who is steeped in his state's progressive tradition, says, as would-be amenders of the Constitution often do, that he is reluctant to tamper with the document but tamper he must because the threat to the public weal is immense: Some governors have recently behaved badly in appointing people to fill U.S. Senate vacancies. Feingold's solution, of which John McCain is a co-sponsor, is to amend the 17th Amendment. It would be better to repeal it.
Burris in the neighborhood vids from WBBM-TV. Click the pics for the video reports.

Joanie Lum oustide of Burris' Chatham neighborhood home this morning talking about Burris' silence over the past weekend.


And Burris is seen here leaving his home and about to be approached by reporters as he heads towards his car. This story is regarding his interview with federal authorities on Saturday.


And a report from FOX Chicago outside of his home.

Lest we forget JP Paulus' post looking for neighborhood people affected by the press attention brought on by this Burris story.

Former advisor flees the Burris train wreck - A round-up from The Capitol Fax.

Statewatch: Illinois

Economist:
The president’s home state, like many others, is grappling with an ailing economy. But it also suffers its own brand of affliction. For most of December and January Illinois was consumed by the scandal of Rod Blagojevich, the governor who allegedly tried to sell Mr Obama’s Senate seat. Now Mr Blagojevich’s appointee, Roland Burris, has admitted that he tried to raise money for the governor while seeking the seat, a fact he omitted from testimony in January. A Senate investigation is under way. The distraction is unwelcome.

Illinois entered the recession already weak. The state had never regained the employment levels of November 2000. The government had long been sunk in dysfunction. By May 2008 relations between legislators and the governor in Springfield, the capital, were so frayed that the legislature sent Mr Blagojevich a budget with a projected deficit of $2.1 billion. The governor did not lower spending enough to meet available revenues, explains Dan Hynes, the state’s comptroller.

That Illinois is faring better than Michigan, Ohio and Indiana is small comfort. Last year the number of foreclosures there jumped by 55%. Illinois’s unemployment rate was 7.6% in December compared with a national average of 7.2%. Matters will probably get worse. During the commodities boom, exports of farm equipment and construction machinery from companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere helped boost the state’s economy. That support is now dwindling. Geoffrey Hewings, an economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explains that Illinois is apt to enter business cycles later than the country, but that its downturns are usually deeper and longer. The state lost 100,700 jobs in 2008, 73,600 in November and December alone.

The recession has affected each part of the state differently. For much of 2008 Peoria and its surroundings remained relatively prosperous. Since the 1980s industries such as health care and business services had expanded. Without any housing bubble to burst, the area’s median home price even inched up last year. Nevertheless, Caterpillar looms large, and its job cuts have shaken the region. Of Caterpillar’s 22,000 layoffs, at least 1,500 are in greater Peoria. Rick Doty, the president of the local United Auto Workers union, has a Barack Obama commemorative plate on his desk and big hopes for the stimulus. “If Obama’s stimulus gets moving with the infrastructure,” he contends, demand will rise for Caterpillar’s heavy machinery. Mr Obama, during his visit to East Peoria, claimed that the stimulus might spur Caterpillar to rehire workers. Later Caterpillar’s chief executive admitted that many cuts would remain.
Via Gaper's Block!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anyone personally affect by Burris news coverage?

...what i mean is this: i have notced several TV news crews filming in the residential parts of our neighborhood. (i..e by Sen. Burris' home).

Does anyone live close by, and is being affected? Such as:
  • heavy traffic
  • no parking
  • noise late at night/early in the morning
  • lots of reporters wandering around

If so, PLEASE let us know....perhaps you like it? Perhaps not. Whatever the case, let us know.

The anti-renaisannce man

Chicago Weekly:
Education administrators in business suits are gathered, miniature complimentary bottles of San Pellegrino in hand. This is the “CPS Senior Staff Retreat,” and at the front of the Gleacher Center meeting room sits Ron Huberman, the newly-ordained CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, recently transferred by Mayor Daley from his position as the head of the Chicago Transit Authority. The meeting is nearly at an end, but first Huberman approaches the podium and declares his delight in introducing two final speakers, who turn out to be administrators from the CTA. As the woman at the podium begins to describe in-depth the methods of reducing gap times between city buses, I turn to look at the faces around me, searching for signs of incredulity or disbelief to match my own.

A few seats away sits a public school teacher in a sequined necktie. He seems out of place, but he’s actually a guest of honor, a recipient of a DRIVE (Delivering Results through Innovative and Visionary Education) Award. His name is Xian Barrett; he’s the man who invited me to the event.

In just his third year as a public high school teacher, Barrett seems to have a presence in every organization available that combines education and social justice; he is a member of Teachers for Social Justice, an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) site team member, a student coordinator for Student Development and Service Learning, and the faculty advisor for two organizations—the Social Justice Club and the Japanese Club—at Percy L. Julian High School, where he teaches. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 with a degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures, he spent two years in Japan teaching English and Human Rights Education. The experience solidified his twin passions of teaching and social justice.

Following the meeting, I overhear Barrett talking to a friendly administrator who has approached him: “At first I was a little worried when they started talking about the CTA, but then I started to draw an interesting comparison…When something goes wrong with the Red Line, they get out and figure out how to fix it. They don’t get rid of the Red Line.”

The sting in Barrett’s comment is a reference to Renaissance 2010, an initiative drawn up by the Commercial Club of Chicago and presented by Mayor Daley back in 2004. The program calls for the creation of 100 new charter schools, funded privately by businesses, and the closing of 100 underachieving public schools in the Chicago area by 2010. The charter schools would still technically be public schools, but with a number of notable differences, including the use of an application process and no requirement for teacher’s unions.

Read the whole thing!

Literary listings

Sun-Times for February 24th:
Herb Kent and David Smallwood will discuss and sign The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legens Herb Kent, 4-7 p.m. at Chicago State University, 9500 S. King.
Right in the ward ladies and gentlemen. If you're interesting in going, mark your calendars.

Rep. Jackson breaks silence about Ill. politics

WLS-TV:
Now the South Side representative tells ABC7 he is sick of the sideshow that has swallowed the state of Illinois.

"This embarrassing episode in Illinois politics needs to end," said Jackson.

The Democratic representative broke his silence Saturday with harsh words for embattled Sen. Roland Burris, specifically Burris' struggle to come up with a consitent story about his dealings the Blagojevich regime in the weeks leading up to his appointment.

"What's the message we are sending our children with the half truths and deceptions? So, let the chips fall where they may," Jackson said.

The congressman stopped just short of calling on Burris to resign, but he joined Sen. Dick Durbin and President Obama in saying Burris should quickly provide a full account of conversations with Blagojevich and his allies and then consider his options.
...

Burris is continuing his silence in the center of the storm. It's a position Congressman Jackson can relate to.

"There was no one on my staff whatsoever authorized to serve as an emmisary to me with the governor of the state of Illinois, " Jackson said back in December 2008.
I expect that Congressman Jackson isn't the only one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Policing Chicago aldermen

Tribune editorial:
Last Sunday, in introducing an ongoing Chicago Tribune effort titled "State of Corruption," we told you we would advance reforms to combat the culture of political sleaze at all levels of government in Illinois. This Sunday we're pleased to report that Ald. Patrick O'Connor, Mayor Richard M. Daley's floor leader in the Chicago City Council, promises to instigate a change that would empower the city's inspector general to investigate the 50 aldermen.
...
When he introduced an I.G. ordinance in 1989, Daley included no carve-out to protect aldermen and their staffs. When he was asked repeatedly which city employees should be subject to scrutiny, he replied, "A-L-L! How many times do I have to say it?"

That provoked high aldermanic dudgeon:

• Shaw again: "Anyone who suggests that members of the City Council are less than honorable should take that information to the state's attorney or the U.S. attorney."

• Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd) said the fact that many aldermen had been convicted of crimes "indicates the system works as it is."

• Ald. William Beavers (7th): "This is supposed to be a strong council and a weak mayor. I won't give anybody my powers."

• Ald. Fred Roti (1st): "Are you saying you're corrupt?"—an indignant rebuke to Ald. David Orr (49th), who had observed that Chicago's City Council was "one of the most corrupt historically in the country." Eight months later, Roti was indicted on corruption charges. He spent four years in prison.

Excluding aldermen and their staffs keeps the current inspector general, David Hoffman, from pursuing leads. Last Sunday's Tribune quoted him as saying that, "In some of our investigations, this has stopped us from moving in certain logical directions."
...
If Chicago aldermen were prone to shame, they'd be embarrassed that even members of the Cook County Board permit their inspector general to investigate themselves. Every reason voiced since 1989 for the aldermen's carve-out has collapsed:

• Council members who at times play constitutional scholar, fussing about separation of powers between executive and legislative branches, never mention that the FBI and federal prosecutors—parts of the executive Department of Justice—routinely investigate members of Congress. Even if separation of powers was a valid worry, the council is a hybrid: Aldermen legislate, but they also make executive-level decisions on such crucial matters as zoning within their wards.

• And while in prior years the I.G.'s office pursued relatively small offenses while massive City Hall corruption in hiring and contracting flourished, that changed when Hoffman arrived in 2005. His staff has proven that it operates independently from City Hall, often to Daley's chagrin. There's no reason to think the mayor would be able to pull strings and have the I.G.'s office settle political scores with disobedient aldermen.
Via Uptown Update!

Scott returns to lead Board of Education

Sun-Times:
Whatever the reason, Scott is back for a return engagement as Chicago Board of Education president -- just in time to inherit the controversy surrounding the proposed closing or shakeup of 22 schools.

He replaces Rufus Williams, who was forced out after ruffling feathers at City Hall and the Chicago Public Schools.

In 2001, the last time Scott took the hot seat, it was with the understanding it would last no more than two years. He ended up staying five.

This time, he has agreed to stay through the 2011 election -- long enough to give newly appointed schools chief Ron Huberman a solid foundation.
Chi-Town Daily News has more:

Rufus Williams, the president of the board since 2006, is expected to resign soon, says Vanessa Hall, a spokeswoman for Mayor Richard M. Daley. Michael Scott, who was the president of the board from 2001 to 2006, is expected to take Williams’ place, she said. But she did not know when the transition would happen.

The timing is important because all eyes will be on Wednesday’s board meeting, at which the members will vote on which schools to shutter in the latest round of closures under Renaissance 2010.

“We were kind of getting tired of Michael’s way of doing things, but when Rufus Williams, came in, that really threw us for a loop,” says Wanda Hopkins with Parents United for Responsible Education.

She credited Scott with working to involve parents in the past  and filling them in on the district’s plans, something she says Williams seldom did.

“He was not a person who was sensitive to parents,” Hopkins says of Williams. “I mean, he was an arrogant board leader.”

What else is going on at the county?

County Commissioners Beavers and Daley goes at each other according to the Sun-Times:
During a debate over approving a financial team to handle the sale of nearly $300 million in capital bonds, Beavers got steamed when Daley accepted a motion to delay the vote.

The bond team would give lucrative business to a handful of minority-owned firms and politically connected banks including JPMorgan Chase, where Daley's brother William Daley is a top executive.

"He don't want to vote for the [bond] team. If you look at this team, it's the first time minorities have ever been senior bond counsel. This is history," said Beavers. "And that's what they don't like. It's all about money."

Daley said Beavers "doesn't have a clue."

"He's totally wrong," Daley said. "My record on supporting minorities is very strong."
Sounds like someone is hurt because they've lost one too many.

Stroger on future sales tax increases

Sun-Times:
During a radio debate between Stroger and Commissioner Forrest Claypool on WLS-AM 890's "Connected to Chicago," host Bill Cameron asked Stroger if he could "rule out future sales tax increases."

Stroger's answer: "No."

Stroger went on to say the 1 percentage-point sales tax hike that gave Chicago the highest sales tax in the country put county government in a stronger financial position.

He said local and state governments will likely have to raise taxes in the future because of the economic downturn. It was unclear during the debate if Stroger thinks Cook County would also face that type of tax-hike scenario.

But Friday afternoon, Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins said the president has no plans to raise sales taxes or any taxes next year or "any year that he does a budget."
More on the recently passed county budget:
The county's 2009 spending plan -- which passed Friday with only Commissioners Jerry Butler, Larry Suffredin and Mike Quigley voting "no" -- doesn't include new taxes or any borrowing to pay for self-insurance or pension payments, which was suggested by the Stroger administration.

The original budget proposal was trimmed by about 4 percent, which could force some county departments to lay off workers.
A little more from the Trib's Clout St. blog...
The Cook County Board approved a new $2.9 billion budget today that doesn't raise taxes or borrow money.

The 14-3 approval was far less contentious than last year, when Board President Todd Stroger had to pull out all the stops to pass a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase.

Stroger wanted to borrow several hundred million dollars this year, but ultimately could not muster the votes to get it done. The borrowing issue was deferred to another day.
Previous post: Todd Stroger: The Beating Continues

Neighborhood school crime reports from EveryBlock

Assault
7000 block S. State St Simple assault: Pro. emp.: hands, no/minor injury
Place: School, public building. Reported at 2:30 p.m. on February 10, 2009.

Battery
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Simple battery: Pro. emp.: hands, no/min injury
Place: School, public building. Reported at 8:15 a.m. on February 11, 2009.

This was reported in the news the shooting involving a Harlan student. Not necessarily listed as a school public building, but it had something to do with a Harlan student. And who'd have thought that it would merely be considered "aggravated battery".
 
00 block E. 95th St Aggravated battery: Handgun
Place: Street. Reported at 3:30 p.m. on February 10, 2009.

9600 block S. Michigan Ave Simple battery: Simple
Place: School, public grounds. Reported at 6:50 p.m. on February 9, 2009.

Theft
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Theft: From building
Place: School, public building. Reported at 2:05 p.m. on February 9, 2009.

6800 block S. Normal Blvd Theft: From building
Place: School, public building. Reported at 9:30 a.m. on February 9, 2009.

Criminal trespass
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Criminal trespass: To state sup land
Place: School, public building. Reported at 8:14 a.m. on February 11, 2009.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Todd Stroger: The Beating Continues

Chicago News Bench reports that GOP Cook County Commissioner was able to beat back new tax increases and increased borrowing as originally proposed by  County Board President Todd Stroger. However. Tom Mannis says that...
That is very good news, but it's a bit like saying you're happy to learn that your neighbor will not increase the number of times that he beats up his wife per week. The beating continues at the same pace, he just won't increase the frequency. Todd Stroger continues to beat up the taxpayers. While we thank Tony and his allies for this "victory," we hope they will keep fighting until Todd Stroger stops beating his constituents.
Of course this is according to the Peraica campaign. Depending on what side of the fence you're on, the response might be either indifference, happiness, or perhaps disgust. Well at least we can say at this moment that Stroger will have some competition when his seat's up for election next year.

A surveillance camera on every street corner?

Sun-Times:
Mayor Daley has argued that security and terrorism won’t be an issue if his Olympic dreams come true because, by 2016, there will be a surveillance camera on every street corner in Chicago.

But even before that blanket coverage begins, the “Big Brother’’ network is being put to better use.

Call takers and dispatchers now see real-time video if there is a surveillance cameras within 150 feet of a 911 call, thanks to a $6 million upgrade to the city’s “computer-aided dispatch” system.

When live video appears, call takers can pan, tilt and zoom those cameras to get the best possible view of a crime or disaster scene.

“As a first responder, I can’t tell you how important it is to have a set of eyes on an emergency scene prior to your arrival. The valuable information they provide from the camera network can ultimately mean the difference between life and death,” said Ray Orozco, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
A camera on every corner, it almost seems like overkill doesn't it?

Via Newsalert!

Burris' support in black community begins to waver

AP:
A group of black ministers who supported U.S. Sen. Roland Burris as he fought to get his job now plan to ask for his resignation following revelations that he tried to raise money for the disgraced governor who appointed him, one of the ministers told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Many of the city's influential black pastors supported Burris because of his scandal-free reputation — even though he was appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich three weeks after the governor was arrested for allegedly trying to sell the Senate seat.

Now some of those pastors will ask Burris to resign, according to the minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a meeting with Burris had not yet been scheduled.

Clergy Speaks Interdenominational, an umbrella group that includes hundreds of Chicago's black churches, will meet Friday to discuss its support for Burris, spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said. For now, the group still supports him and its leaders are unaware of discussions about asking him to resign, she said.

Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor would not say whether the senator would meet with ministers and referred to a statement from Burris asking that leaders "stop the rush to judgment."
...
Burris' latest revelations are "making the black community just as suspicious of him as anyone else," said the Rev. Leonard Barr of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

But Burris deserves a chance to defend himself and should not step down, he said.

"I think he can do the job," Barr said. "He would be a good senator and a conscientious senator."

People who have supported Burris are torn between feelings of anger and betrayal and a desire to keep the only black senator in the country, said Laura S. Washington, a politics professor at DePaul University and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

"They're disappointed, embarrassed and worried that the seat will be in jeopardy," Washington said.

Edward Bogan, a 58-year-old printer from Chicago, said he doesn't buy Burris' explanation for not telling the House impeachment committee about all his contacts with the Blagojevich administration.

"If your memory is that bad, why do we need you in there?" said Bogan, who is black. "... If you're only going to remember the part that benefits you, what good are you?"

But Chicago resident and real estate counselor Danyelle Hall, 37, says plenty of African-Americans still support Burris.

"I think that he would've been more forthcoming if the appropriate questions were asked," by the committee, said Hall. "That didn't happen and that's not his fault."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We have a Facebook page?

Join The Sixth Ward Blog page on Facebook. If you don't already have an account and you have no issues with social networking sites then consider joining our blog page. Especially important if you're a resident, but anyone interesting in our blog or our community are definitely invited to become a fan of the page.

Here you will find at different times relevant links, especially to those stories that may concern the Sixth Ward or our part of the south side of Chicago in general. Perhaps you have some pics to share about the Sixth Ward well share them with us on Facebook. Any videos, ditto, share them!

Visit facebook @ www.facebook.com and sign up for an account.

I would also like to refer you to a previous post about Chatham's executive building.

How Obama's homeowner lifeline can help you

WBBM-TV reports on how Obama's homeowners plan can help troubled ordinary homeowners.

Is Illinois becoming a laughing stock?

A report from WBBM-TV talking about the media blitz on Illinois with regards to Rod Blagojevich and now Roland Burris.

Dolton mayoral race a real fight

Sun-Times:
Dolton mayoral hopeful Riley Rogers gets first crack at breaking up what's left of the late Mayor William Shaw's administration.

Rogers is set to square off with Shaw's handpicked successor, Mayor Ronnie Lewis, in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

So far, the primary showdown has been a slugfest.

In December, Rogers supporter Elliott R. Kozel was arrested and charged with punching Dolton inspector general Robert Shaw, the late mayor's twin brother.

Since then, Rogers claims Lewis's campaigners and Dolton employees have systematically removed his campaign signs from all over the city.
Important here, because Ronnie Lewis was once a teacher and an assistant principal at our very own Harlan High School.

Via CapFax morning shorts.

Here comes the vultures!

Greg Hinz says that Chicago Urban League CEO Cheryl Jackson is looking at a run for Burris' US Senate seat. Here we go!
Probably the last thing embattled U.S. Sen. Roland Burris needs now is for another prominent African-American to make a move on his Senate seat. But that's exactly what's happening.

Confirming political rumors, Cheryle Jackson, the president and chief executive officer of Chicago Urban League, says "I am considering a race" for the Senate seat now held by Mr. Burris.

"Given the economic crisis, I have to consider what I can bring to the table," Ms. Jackson said in an interview Wednesday. Whether she actually runs depends on where she concludes she can best pursue "my passion" of spurring economic development, she added.
Well I didn't think people would start declaring openly whether or not they'll run against someone. He hasn't been confortable in his Senate seat for a month and people are already lining up against him. Of course we know why, it's been dominating the news since over the weekend.

What did Dick Durbin say today?
“I am troubled by this and I hope he will call in some advisers he trusts and gets some advice about what to do next,” Durbin said of Burris. “At this point, his future in the Senate seat is in question.”
...
“I’m troubled by the fact that his testimony was not complete and it was unsatisfactory,” Durbin said. “It wasn’t the full disclosure under oath that we were asking for.”
...
“Every day, there are more and more contacts with the Blagojevich administration,” Durbin said. “Then there was the issue about fundraising and more information about what he did about fundraising.
Senator where were you when Sen. Burris finally took his oath of office last month. You were one of the many people who was in the way of his seating? Then when the race card comes out or you waffled on legislation that would call for a special election to fill President Obama's then vacant Senate seat you and others were more concerned about a Republican winning that seat. And that opened the door for Rod to assert his authority even as his political career was coming to an end.

I just hope the truth comes out and if Senator Burris has a very short Senate tenure because of it, then so be it. As long as we can look forward to put in someone who doesn't have the baggage that Burris seems to have at this moment.

What a mess!

Crossposted at Mechanics and Illinoize.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CTA: Big money woes could mean another doomsday

Sun-Times:
The CTA says it's facing another possible doomsday.

Officials said today they are looking at a likely $87 million budget shortfall this year and $155 million next year.

They blamed a loss of public funding from the Regional Transportation Authority.And things could get worse, as unemployment cuts into ridership, and falling tax receipts eat into CTA revenues.

"The challenge we have may be even larger," Dorval Carter, acting CTA president, told the transit agency's board this morning.
More from the Tribune:
The RTA notified the CTA last week that public funding for 2008 has been decreased by $58 million, accounting for most of the $87 million deficit for the year.

The CTA made internal cuts and raised fares in January to close what it thought was its budget gap.

In addition, the CTA should expect to receive $155 million less than originally projected in public funding this year, the RTA said.

The combined shortfall for both years totals $242 million.

The cutbacks are the result of declines in sales tax and real estate transfer tax revenues, due to the sagging economy.

CTA officials said they will seek additional funding from the RTA to avert a crisis that could otherwise lead to wide-ranging service cuts and hefty fare increases.
There have been stories about the financial picture at the CTA. And some of the stories I've seen seems to suggest that RTA is holding some funds back. Either way raising fares last year wasn't enough apparently.

Neighborhood school crime reports

Battery
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Simple battery: Simple
Place: School, public building. Reported at 10 a.m. on November 14, 2008.

9600 block S. Michigan Ave Simple battery: Simple
Place: School, public building. Reported at 3 p.m. on February 5, 2009.

6800 block S. Normal Blvd Simple battery: Aggravated: Police officer: hands, no/min injury
Place: School, public building. Reported at 2:10 p.m. on February 5, 2009.

7200 block S. State St Simple battery: Simple
Place: School, private grounds. Reported at 3 p.m. on February 6, 2009.

Sex offense
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Criminal sexual abuse: Public indecency
Place: School, public building. Reported at 11:10 a.m. on February 5, 2009.

Criminal trespass
9600 block S. Michigan Ave Criminal trespass: To state sup land
Place: School, public building. Reported at 2:35 p.m. on February 6, 2009.

9600 block S. Michigan Ave Criminal trespass: To state sup land
Place: School, public building. Reported at 10:45 a.m. on February 6, 2009.

Small Business Resources

Electronic Villager:
Do you own a business? Have you ever thought about starting a business?

I ran a small business incubator for five years. I would interact on a daily basis with entrepreneurs, small business owners and people that had an idea for starting a business. I suspect that the current economic crisis is causing a lot more people to consider work outside of corporate America.

There are some great resources that I heartily recommend for your consideration if you are thinking about starting a business ... or if you are in the first couple of years of operation.
The 6th ward is said to be home to many black-owned businesses. It doesn't particularly matter if they may be one person proprietorships or incorporated businesses. Hopefully you will check out the information at Electronic Villager and hopefully, for those of you who want to be entrepreneurs this will be the place you shall start! Hopefully you keep your businesses in the neighborhood.

Things aren't looking good for Sen. Burris

A lot of news broke yesterday on Roland Burris. So I refer you to this post yesterday over at the CapFax. I want to focus on three specific stories here.

UPDATE 11:26 AM - Also here's an updated round-up regarding Senator Burris on the defensive by the CapFax.

Yesterday Burris indicated that he was open to a Senate inquiry on the circumstances regarding his appointment to Obama's Senate seat. Well the Senate has started one story courtesy of Lynn Sweet:
The Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is opening a preliminary probe into Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) and his seeming misleading statements about events leading up to his appointment by ousted Gov. Blagojevich to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

"Whenever allegations of improper conduct are brought to the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee, we open a preliminary inquiry," Boxer Communications Director Natalie Ravitz said Tuesday.
The Chicago Tribune has already called for Burris' resignation:
The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four.

Let’s see if we have it right: Burris had zero contact with any of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s cronies about his interest in the Senate seat being vacated by President Barack Obama— unless you count that conversation with former chief of staff Lon Monk, and, on further reflection, the ones with insiders John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma and, oh yeah, the governor’s brother and fund-raising chief, Robert Blagojevich. But Burris didn’t raise a single dollar for the now ex-governor as a result of those contacts because that could be construed as a quid pro quo and besides, everyone he asked refused to donate.

The story gets worse with every telling.

Enough. Roland Burris must resign.
Rich Miller also excerpts from a letter than was sent to him by Cook County Clerk David Orr:
…Naturally, any nominee can play word games, a verbal hide-and-seek with the truth. But your silence in this matter is subterfuge, not gamesmanship. No Americans or Illinois voters nor your colleagues in elective office should have to suffer through more episodes in this unseemly drama. We deserve a clean break with the embarrassing Blagojevich era. This is not merely a legal issue; it is a moral issue.

I have supported you in the past as a colleague and as a friend. But today I ask you to step down and let the people of Illinois move forward into a new era of good governance.

Sincerely,
David Orr
Cook County Clerk
Here's the full letter by the Cook County Clerk.

If you go over to the CapFax you will also see a statement made by Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley who like state Rep. John Fritchey is seeking to replace Rahm Emanuel in the US House of Representatives.

I should add because of an objection Fritchey made during impeachment committee hearings back in January when Burris was asked about the circumstances of Burris appointment he might have a little bump in the road for his run for Congress. We'll have to see, I don't think he was wrong for objecting, but it does seem people wanted to really tear into Roland Burris because he said yes to an appointment made from a guy who was arrested. And at that arrested for crimes connected with appointing someone to that Senate seat.

It's a mess!