Friday, July 31, 2009

In front of Harlan

I think I see a glimpse of the future here. I can see it now future diploma covers, similar to mine seen below, for graduates of Harlan Community Academy & Academic Center may have trees sketched in front of the school. It would be a nice touch wouldn't it?

BTW, let's get the back of this bus stop shelter in front of Harlan cleaned up!
I'll have to admit the seal of the City of Chicago on the back of these shelters is a nice touch.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walked thru Abbott Park today

Location: Abbott Park, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Actually around the back of Harlan Community Academy at the track which is technically still Abbott Park.


I hear Harlan has a good track program it would be nice if these bleachers could be fixed so that there can be more seats for spectators who show up in support of our young track stars!


It's been years since I used this fountain and while perhaps it has been decided that this fountain is no longer needed it's very unfortunate that this fountain is left in this condition as if this part of the park is abandoned!


I just decided to take a pic of this graffitti not sure what this means. It may be nothing although it's still a form of defacement!

Then I walked along State Street and took out my phone and found this scene on 95th and State, near the CTA terminal you see to the left. That cone has sunk into the ground on top of a "manhole" (well surely there is a more PC term than that and I don't remember what that term is).

BTW, since these pics are posted today I wanted an excuse to post a link to this album from the Facebook page, Concerned Citizens of Chatham. Well I could conclude that they may look worse, but I'll let you decide that.

Rhymefest on GML


These two segments in fact aired last night, but this up & coming Chicago rapper responsible for a protest video that was posted here on Sunday. He talks about his art and his support from bringing Wal-Mart to Chatham on Garrard McClendon Live (GML). Go to this post and you'll also see a video of Ald. Brookins on GML arguing his position!

I tweeted that post as well!

Charges in death of infant who fell from porch

Tribune:
Charges of first-degree murder were approved this afternoon against Jason Range, 20, in the death of Jeremiah Range, according to a spokeswoman with the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Five-week-old Jeremiah was being carried down the porch steps, unsecured in a carseat, when Range allegedly kicked his estranged wife in the back, according to police reports.

Jeremiah slipped from the car seat and dropped to the ground below in the 8200 block of South Maryland Avenue, authorities said.

In 2008, Range was charged with threatening his wife with a knife and dragging her by her hair, court records show. Those charges were later dropped.
GOOD!

Wal-Mart in Chicago


I've posted articles thru this blog's Twitter about any statements that City Council finance committee chair Ed Burke had made about Wal-Mart. Now we have some video evidence.

Of course in this piece from last night's edition of Chicago Tonight there was more than just Burke's comments as the city council rules committee chair Dick Mell essentially "punted" this issue to his colleague's (Burke) committee.

The two quotes you will see from Ald. Burke is about his support for labor in this debate. He wants to see Wal-Mart agree to allow their workers to organize and it doesn't matter how many stores they may propose or open in the city. He also wouldn't answer when the finance committee may allow the store at 83rd & Stewart to come to a full vote before the City Council.

You know I think the Alderman (Lyle) is correct, this issue can't just be evaluated and discussed merely in soundbites. Perhaps it's time to just lay out the arguments made on both sides.

State denies 130,000 late applicants college aid

Sun-Times:
The state will deny the financial aid applications of an estimated 130,000 students -- the most in Illinois history.

They were denied because they applied for state aid after May 15, a cutoff months earlier than in years past, thanks to Springfield's budget woes.

Hardest hit? Students at community colleges and returning adult students, because they tend to apply for aid later.

What's more, under the state budget compromise reached earlier this month, which slashed funding for the state's Monetary Award Program in half, no student at any Illinois school will receive aid for the second half of the 2009-2010 school year.

If lawmakers don't provide more funding, "that would be horrendous,'' said Andy Davis, director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which runs MAP.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On the CLTV homepage

A poll as to whether or not you want a Wal-Mart in Chatham. Visit @ http://www.cltv.com/news/!

BTW, we see neighboring Aldermen Brookins and Lyle in this story from CLTV today.

 

Ill. has worst stimulus site in nation: group

AP:
The report by the watchdog group Good Jobs First gave Illinois the worst ranking in its 50-state study. On a point scale of zero to 100, Illinois receive no points at all.

Researchers checked if states provided specifics on how much money's being spent in the state. It says Illinois' site has no such figures.

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based group sought to check how states are doing in fulfilling President Barack Obama's pledge that the $787 billion federal stimulus bill would strive for "an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability."
Check out the Recovery Illinois website @ http://recovery.illinois.gov/ and let us know what you think of it.

Wal-Mart backers rally for 2nd city store

Crain's, btw here's a video for you to watch:
Hundreds of Wal-Mart supporters rallied Wednesday morning across the street from City Hall as members of a City Council committee tossed around a controversial plan that would pave the way for the retailer’s second outpost in the city.

The City Council Finance Committee is expected to consider an amendment, introduced by Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) in April, that would alter a development proposal to allow Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to build a store at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue.

Mr. Brookins, who has been fighting to add a Wal-Mart in his Chatham neighborhood ward since 2004, told supporters at Wednesday’s rally that the council needs to move on this issue.

“Now is the time for action,” Mr. Brookins said. “It is time to be mad. I have a plan that puts hundreds of people to work . . . without asking anybody for an increase in tax revenue. I have a plan that is going get people back to work now.”
Man there has been a lot of activity on this!

Map project will give South Siders new view of neighborhoods

Chi-Town:
One morning last week, the block-by-block grunt work of verifying a database of businesses in Kenwood was anything but glamorous for college students Juan Lindstrom, Ruben Ornelas, Lauren Foster and Johana Muriel-Chandler.

But the payoff, a searchable map of every type of business in parts of the South Side, will shed light on what services residents have at their disposal in a way that Google Maps can’t touch.

That’s the idea behind the University of Chicago’s Resource Mapping Project.
“What does the environment look like?” says Colleen Grogan, the co-director of the project. “What’s the economic vitality in the community, what are all the social services provided?”
...
The four students split into pairs and spent 20 minutes recording the business names, hours and types of services: a 24-hour laundromat, three restaurants, a game store, a currency exchange and a dentist.

The slice provided some insight into what the project hopes to accomplish.
...
Much of last week’s survey in Kenwood meant verifying business listings on residential streets, checking buzzers on homes and condominiums to see if business names were listed.

“We do know that a lot of these people do have businesses where they work from home,” says Ornelas, a senior political science major at the University of Chicago.
That’s something the survey team will verify later, because people such as accountants who work from home provide useful services that also need to be included, even if they don’t have a sign hanging out front.
...
The project’s leaders hope to have the Web site up and running for the public to explore by the end of the year. At first it will have data for just six neighborhoods – East Side, Grand Boulevard, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Washington Park and Woodlawn. Eventually, the group wants to survey all 32 South Side neighborhoods. A National Institutes of Health grant for which the project has applied could help pay for that, Grogan says.

Just as important once the site is live, Grogan says, is finding ways to keep the data current, since businesses come and go.
I look forward to a survey of the neighborhoods of the 6th!

Picture: Alderman call the vote for jobs on the south side now!

Posted two hours ago by Choose Chatham!

Well this is not a surprise.

That is if you read a blurb from last week where Ald. Mell chair of the city council rules committee said he would re-refer a plan for a Wal-Mart at Chatham Market to Ald. Ed. Burke's Committee on Finance. Here's more from Clout St:
A Chicago City Council committee today voted to kick the controversial plan for a South Side Wal-Mart store to another committee.

There was little debate on the procedural move that now places the issue in the council's Finance Committee, which is led by powerful Ald. Edward Burke (14th). Burke said it is not clear yet when his committee will hold a hearing.

The decision dismayed dozens of protesters who said they want jobs at a new store.

After the vote, Rev. Leon Finney---the leader of the Woodlawn Organization and one of Mayor Daley's top allies on the South Side---stood up in the audience and yelled, "What happened?"

The protesters began chanting for the aldermen to vote on the proposal immediately.
I'm watching the City Council online right now. Basically their attending to the inauguration of Ald. Maldonado of the 31st Ward, memorializing Officer Valadez who died in the line of duty, two Chicago paramedics who saved a woman's life, and now paying tribute to Ald. William Banks who will be retiring from the Chicago City Council.

Capitol Fax on the Laura Washington Column

Some pertinent comments:
But here’s a secret to reading any poll. Politicians and operatives pay the most attention to voter intensity. Will a certain issue mean anything come voting time? Responses above 70 percent are given a lot of attention by the players. If not, then they’re not much to worry about.

Here’s the intensity answer to the Wal-Mart question…
Question: “If your alderman voted against building a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, would you vote to re-elect them to office if an election were held today?”

Thirty-nine percent said, “Re-election.” Thirty-eight percent said, “Not re-elected.”
So, voters care about the issue, but not enough to make any sort of difference at the ballot box. At least, not yet. We’d need more responses to other questions to see if the issue might eventually become important enough to make a difference. I don’t have the full poll, so I don’t know if those questions even exist.
I was given the ward-by-ward results (on MS Excel) via email of a survey push poll on July 28th which asks one simple question...
"This is a one-question public opinion poll concerning your view on whether Mayor Daley and the City Council should allow a Walmart to be built at 83rd & Stewart. Advocates of the plan cite the 400+ jobs that will be created and the wider availability of fresh groceries and other goods. Opponents to building the Walmart say the jobs are not good enough.
We'd like to know how you feel.

If you think the Walmart SHOULD be built, press ONE on your phone.

If you think the Walmart SHOULD NOT be built, press TWO on your phone.

If you're unsure, press THREE.”
These are the 6th Ward's results: 85.65% for Yes, 7.51% for No, & 7.84% Unsure.

What do you think out there about this Wal-Mart?

Positive loitering

Perhaps this could be something to consider in our part of town:
The organized gatherings -- called Neighborhood Nights -- take aim at a more than 40-year history of gang activity along the business district in the 1100 block of West Thorndale Avenue. The strip has a shoe repair shop, dry cleaner, video store, coin laundry, liquor store and two family-owned restaurants. "It's no coincidence that we chose Thorndale," said Dan Kleinman, housing director of the Edgewater Community Council, which sponsors Neighborhood Nights. "If you can fill Thorndale with an ongoing effort, it starts to become a more enjoyable place."

The weekly events seek to create a community feel in the North Side neighborhood, which is one of the city's most ethnically diverse and densely populated.

But some business owners are skeptical that a weekly two-hour event can change the personality of the street.

"There's still a lot of [youths]," said Maria Brito, whose family owns Lake Breeze Restaurant under the Thorndale Red Line "L" stop just east of Broadway. "These boys are on every corner no matter what they do. Even if they leave [during Neighborhood Nights] they come back right away."

On a typical Monday between 6 and 8 p.m., anywhere from 30 to 100 children and adults show up to enjoy the games -- such as Ninja Versus Ninja and Stratego -- that employees from Chicagoland Games supply. Some of the young men who hang out on the streets occasionally even participate.

During one event, Kleinman said, a reputed gang member tried to make trouble, but his peers told him it was not an appropriate place.
Consider it!

The Ward in the Media

The Ward in the media...

Here's the new link from Alderman Lyle's appearance on Chicgao Tonight on Monday, July 27.

Also, I was glancing through public access, and saw a bit of Sip of Inspiration (Tuesday, July 28 9pm-10pm on Comcast channel 19) , and one of the guests mentioned Brown Sugar Bakery (on 75th street). This was a part of a discussion on how to promote small businesses. A Sip of Inspiration is hosted by Stephanie E. Wilson-Coleman

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wal-Mart steps up pressure on City Council

Clout St:
Wal-Mart representatives tonight tried to increase the pressure on Chicago's City Council ahead of a committee hearing Wednesday where the prospect of a new South Side store could come up for debate.

A spokesman for the company announced a polling firm made automated calls today to more than 75,000 Chicagoans with a one-question recording that touted the benefits of a new Wal-Mart, including more than 400 jobs and "a wider availability of fresh groceries and other goods."

The company said the recording also said opponents "say the jobs are not good enough."

Wal-Mart officials said the results show Chicagoans overwhelmingly favor a second store for Chicago, but it's unclear whether their latest public relations push will win them converts among aldermen who have so far sided with organized labor groups that oppose the store.
The full city council meets tomorrow at 10 AM. Watch it live online at the City Clerk's website. I've been advertising this on Twitter.

Daley: CPS admissions investigation shows change how public schools are perceived

Sun-Times:
“I haven’t heard anything like that,” he said, when asked if kids were clouted into coveted schools.

In fact, the mayor appeared to make light of the investigation ordered by his hand-picked schools CEO.

After telling reporters that Ron Huberman was “on top of that,” Daley said he welcomed the need for an investigation. It shows there’s been a sea change in how parents perceive the public schools, he said.

Thank God people want to get their kids into school. … Usually, they’re fleeing to the suburbs. ... This is unbelievable,” Daley said.

“Years ago, no one even wanted to go to any [Chicago] school. We only had one school. We had Whitney Young … and you had thousands of applicants. Now, we have Jones. You have North Side Prep. You’ve got Gwendolyn Brooks. We got Walter Payton. And we hope to build four or five more as quickly as possible. … What we have to do is build more magnet schools all over the city.”
Very interesting. I never would have thought of it that way!

Rep. Jackson comes thru on Red Line funds

From a press release:
$400,000 for the Chicago Transit Authority Red Line to extend the line from its current terminus at 95th St. to 130th St.  The project will include four new rail stations and a new rail yard serving densely populated areas on the Southside, providing better access to downtown and more efficient connections to popular bus routes.
$400K? That's all? What is that money going to be used for? It can't be used for building the extension can it?

Another video from the Farmer's Market @ Chatham Market


Check out this post from "One Story Up" a blog about housing written by Megan Cottrel a north side resident who checked out the farmer's market event last Saturday at Chatham Market.

Cottrel gets at the story of this food desert in mostly poor minority communities. Since it's established that she lives on the north side she makes it clear that she doesn't lack a choice when it comes to grocery stores. In fact there is a report regarding food deserts at certain city locations.

Chatham from Hands on Chicago

This map of Chatham I had scanned from the 1996 edition of The Guide to Black Chicago. I already scanned a description of Chatham from that booklet in October 2008.

Anyway Monday night I scanned the section on Chatham from the book Hands on Chicago by Kenan Heise & Mark Frazel. The book was published in 1987, but a few years ago I purchased an updated 1990s edition of the book.

Consider this book a very short version of the Encyclopedia of Chicago with brief entries on Chicago slang, people, legends, and places. In addition there is a section of the book dedicated to all 77 community areas of Chicago of which Chatham (well community areas are different than neighborhoods, although how much different is a question I can't answer) is numbered at 44. That is the excerpt that I scanned just for you Monday night. It took some work to get it as one image since the section on Chatham went over two pages. For the purposes of citation that pages 229-30.
Click on the scan for a better view!
BTW, you will see a basic experiment near the very beginning, perhaps you might be able to try this to see if it still holds true. Well just find a local phone book (perhaps a white pages) and see how many listings (especially for businesses) that may include the name of the neighborhood. Well the neighborhood name being Chatham, of course. If you attempt this, leave a comment and let me know what you find.
Have fun!

Before Ald. Lyle appeared on Chicago Tonight on Monday...


She appeared on Good Day Chicago Monday morning to discuss the issue of Wal-Mart coming to Chatham at 83rd & Stewart.

Stressed on both appearances on TV yesterday was that she was unwilling to sacrifice the businesses in the 6th. She was unwilling to have this Wal-Mart in Brookins' ward impact that quality of life in the 6th.

Indeed in this piece she came up with a new argument. A Wal-Mart could in fact cause a loss in tax revenue. Possible because well, it is believe Wal-Mart will cause other smaller businesses (Mom & Pop shops) to close for business.

Another common thread is that there is an issue of traffic especially on both 83rd & 87th. Heh, I wonder how traffic is doing when it comes to that Target on 87th & Cottage Grove. I can understand the issue of traffic, which is probably why Ald. Brookins wants an overpass built at 85th Street as either a shortcut to shopping on 87th or Chatham Market but as an alternate exit.

I can admire and respect Ald. Lyle for recently making her plea where she's protecting our neighborhood businesses. The issue of traffic surely shouldn't be taken lightly especially if bottleneck results during business hours. At the same time would increased traffic be a bad thing if it could mean more activity for neighborhood businesses?

I think I can understand the argument against Chatham being a food desert, but other than that in what way would a Wal-Mart not be a good fit for this community? Would a Wal-Mart Supercenter be a bad idea? Finally would you be concerned about the products a Wal-Mart Supercenter might have available?

Another thought on the proposed 85th street bridge

My personal thoughts on Levois' post on a proposed bridge over 85th...

1) Rather than a conduit for business to the 87th street shops, or the proposed Wal-Mart, it's more like an "escape path" for the residents, who might find 83rd much more congested, and frustrating (probably a more real reason why they are opposed to Wal-Mart)

2) Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, from what I heard form a member a year ago, bought some property near 86th & LaFayette, to build a hotel complex there. A bridge can facilitate traffic coming in from the south. The previous statements should not be considered solid fact...but something to investigate.

Whatever the case, we would really love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ald. Lyle on Chicago Tonight



Ald. Lyle joined Ald Howard Brookins , Rev. Leon Finney (of Metropoltan Apostolic Community Church and The Woodlawn Organization) and one other guest on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, with Carol Marin moderating.

Ald. Brookins of course supported the Wal-Mart, while Ald. Lyle spoke out against it.

Chicago Tonight repeats tonight on channel 11 (WTTW) at Midnight & Tuesday at 5am, and may be available On Demand (such as through Comcast).

Or you can watch it here! ;) - Levois

If you live in the 6th ward...are you for or against the Wal-Mart. And either way, what is your age?

Will Council heed unions or voters on allowing 2nd Wal-Mart in city?

Laura Washington:
Five hundred jobs is a helluva lot better than no jobs at all. In this disastrous economy, company layoffs and plant shutdowns are as plentiful as glazed doughnuts. Meanwhile, for years the City Council has been blocking the corporate behemoth Wal-Mart from building a megastore on the old Ryerson Steel yard at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue.
...
It seems that many members of that august body are terrified of labor unions like the Service Employees International Union, which charges that Wal-Mart underpays and disrespects workers. Vote for a Wal-Mart, the unions warn, and we'll run you out of office. Our jobs or no jobs, they proclaim.

No matter that the unemployment rate for metropolitan Chicago rose to 11.3 percent in June, the highest in 26 years, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The Council doesn't care that the proposed Chatham store would employ up to 500 workers. Wal-Mart says its Chicago area stores pay an average hourly wage of $12.05 for associates (excluding managers).

Aldermen could give a whit that the multimillion-dollar West Side Wal-Mart store was built by an African-American female general contractor, with 57 percent of all the subcontracts going to women and minority-owned firms.

They sneeze at the other rich bennies Wal-Mart claims it has brought to Chicago: Its West Side store generated $10 million in new tax revenues in its first two years, and 14 new minority-owned Chicago vendors have gotten their products into Chicago area stores.
There was a poll mentioned in this column. You want to know the results? Here they come!
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a new poll that may turn some aldermanic heads.

The poll, which queried registered voters in 12 wards throughout the city, was conducted by the Freeman Institute, a Chicago-based political advisory and public affairs firm that specializes in targeted polling. The survey, taken June 8-12, targeted residents with long histories of voter participation.

Question: "Should your alderman vote to approve the proposed Wal-Mart store on Chicago's South Side?"

Seventy-three percent of voters polled said yes, 17 percent said no, and 10 percent had "no opinion."

Question: "Has Chicago's City Council succeeded or failed to bring job growth and economic development to Chicago?"

Sixty-six percent said "failed."

Question: "If your alderman voted against building a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, would you vote to re-elect them to office if an election were held today?"

Thirty-nine percent said, "Re-election." Thirty-eight percent said, "Not re-elected."
This is the robocall survey JP was talking about a while back!

For Illinois, recession looking milder, recovery weaker

Crain's:
Illinois’ economic downturn is easing as home sales stabilize and factory orders start to recover, but lingering unemployment points to a weaker-than-expected recovery next year, according to a new forecast.

Moody’s Economy.com now foresees a 1.4% decline in gross state product for 2009, better than the 2.1% decline the Pennsylvania-based firm predicted earlier in the year. It’s also better than the 2.7% drop Economy.com forecasts for the national economy.

The Farmer's Market at Chatham Market on CLTV


The Farmer's Market was held this past Saturday. Does anyone have any thoughts on this event?

Baby dies in fall from Chatham porch after domestic fight

Baby dies in fall from Chatham porch after domestic fight :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime

Very unfortunate case! A domestic dispute resulting in a baby falling from a porch in the neighborhood and died from that fall. Read more details at the Sun-Times, the adults are fine as it appears the spat was over who was the father of that baby boy.

Shared via AddThis
League Styles Barber Shop was featured in a recent episode of CNN's Black in America 2 . It was in the context of Project Brotherhood, and the project's innovative outreach strategies, including using barber shops to reach out to African Aerican males and help them get the medical care they might avoid for various reasons.

Visit the shop...let them know about the blog too!


League Styles Barber Shop
411 E. 75th Street
Chicago IL 60619
773-846-0731

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chatham Food Market Outdoor Cookout

Location: 327 E 79th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 1st to be held at the Chatham Food Market's parking lot at 327 E. 79th Street. CAPCC blog tells us what's going on:
Everyone in the community is invite to stop by for the great servings of food with games and prizes! Vendors, including Frito-Lay, among others, will be there exhibiting their food offerings. Mr. Derrick Griffin (of Griffin Cleaners) and his wife will join in with the cooking. So all customers and the community as a whole are welcome to come to the Outdoor Cookout beginning at 11 A.M. until 5 P.M.
How about that for a non-Wal-Mart story?

Chatham Food Market might want to update their website with this story.

Engaged citizens at the 6th Ward Service office

From Choose Chatham on Facebook posted on July 23rd:
Ald Lyle had some engaged Chicagoans at her office this afternoon with the right message - a vote for the Chatham Wal-mart is a vote for 500 new jobs!
Heh, it's not everyday that we know of a protest in our community.

BTW, you can check out this album from Choose Chatham on Facebook there's only this pic and another pic in that album for a total of two pictures. The protestors while perhaps they are engaged look kinda young. It could be plausible if they too are concerned about the jobs they could be holding.

Wal-Mart blog posts of interest

A recurring theme lately as this whole battle to bring in another Wal-Mart in Chicago and especially to our neighboring 21st Ward is heating up.

Clout City - The next big box war . . . and peace 
The irony is that if Brookins gets his wish, it will likely be the result of a successful union campaign. As one top labor leader tells me, unions have little interest in waging another Wal-Mart opposition battle. For one thing, lots of their members actually want Wal-Marts in the city. For another, they’re already fighting over the city and state budgets.

And since Democrats took over the White House and both chambers of Congress, organized labor across the country has its eyes on another prize: the federal Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it far easier for them to organize at places like big box retailers. Despite vehement opposition from business groups, a compromise version of EFCA appears to be moving forward in Washington.

“Wal-Mart can come into the city if they like,” the labor leader said to me. “And when we get EFCA, we’ll organize them.”
Also mentioned here was Ald. Beale (9th Ward) and his attempts to bring Wal-Mart to a former industrial site on 111th Street in the Pullman neighborhood.

The Provacateur - Fun With Numbers: The Chatham Walmart Proposal
I have a stimulus proposal. It's a 150,000 square foot superstore. The construction would require 500 UNION contractors, electricians, construction workers, etc. The construction project would keep these 500 employed for about a year. Once built, the superstore would employ another 400 employees to operate it. This project would be entirely privately financed and would require absolutely no public funds. In fact, this private entity has all the cash available. This is important because in the current commercial mortgage market trying to finance such a project is very difficult.
...
Of course, I am describing the proposal by Walmart to build its second superstore in the city of Chicago. Chicago's latest unemployment rate is 10.3% and climbing. So, a project that would employ 500 UNION workers to build a superstore and then 400 more people would be hired to manage and operate the store is one that would have plenty of takers. There's more. This store would be placed on 83rd and Steward in the Chatham neighborhood. According to Walmart's records, which measured the receipts from credit cards and checks, the three zip codes that surround this proposed location spent $80 million at Walmart stores in the suburbs, In fact, according to the same records, Chicagoans spent $500 million last year in suburban Walmarts. (keep in mind the real receipts are much higher because cash payments can't be measured)
...
If the Chicago economy had 4% unemployment that would be one thing. It doesn't. Chicago's unemployment crossed 10%. Here comes Walmart presenting a SHOVEL READY project that they're willing to finance all on their own. (the city can contribute up to $10 million to encourage business construction) They've even committed to hiring up to 500 UNION workers to build this store. Still, that's not enough.
...
This is what happens when politics trumps policy. There's a plot of dirt there now, and Walmart wants to put a 150,000 square foot super store there. They want to pay each and every dime to build and maintain the store. They want to hire UNION workers to build it. They want to hire hundreds of people to operate the store. Finally, if it's not built, Chicagoans will simply spend $500 million in Walmarts in the suburbs.
The Provacateur - Some Perspective on Alderman Mell and the Walmart Proposal
 Now, I don't mean to suggest that the city of Chicago is anything like the third world, however, I will suggest that politicians with agendas besides the growth and prosperity of the areas they serve only hurt the economy as a whole. It is in that context that we should view the fight over the Walmart in Chatham on 83rd and Stewart. Walmart is willing to build 150 thousand square foot store. They are ready and willing to hire about 400 UNION employees all from the Chicagoland area. They can even finance the project all entirely with their own money. Then, they'll hire about 500 employees to operate the store. The citizens of the area want the store. A poll by McKeon & Associates in June, 2007 found that 82% of the residents the ward wanted a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Finally, the area where the store will be is a plot of dirt currently.

Yet, we are headed into the fourth year that Walmart has lobbied to get permission from the city to build the store. The man currently most responsible for holding this up is Alderman Richard Mell. Walmart's bid for approval is stuck in the rules committee he heads. Most have speculated that his motivation have to do with Walmart's refusal to unionize. Of course, this is strictly speculation. That's because all major media in Chicago, including both newspapers the Sun Times and Tribune, have attempted to reach out the Mell and he refuses to explain exactly why their bid is still not moving forward.
...
What this battle clearly shows is that Chicago politicians have created an environment that is not business friendly. It may NOT be on the scale of pay offs to government officials. (though I bet some would argue) Still, when politicians make conducting business painful and expensive, it hurts business in their locality. All Richard Mell has done is told all businesses that the only ones welcome are those the politicians deem worthy. Just try and imagine an economy in which the only business done is that done by those with connections to local politicians. That's the message of the fiasco surrounding the Walmart. The politicians of the city of Chicago are telling businesses that the only businesses that will go up are their kind of business. That's corrupt and corruption breeds economic stagnation.
What do you think of the last paragraph of this excerpt? That Chicago isn't a business friendly environment?

Rhymefest Strikes at City Hall


Received via e-mail. Here's a description from the YouTube page:
Rhymefest is protests at City Hall to bring jobs to his community, more specifically a Walmart on 83rd & Chatham.

Vote July 29th!

www.jobsorelse.com

www.fakeshoredrive.com
The second link is more of a Hip-Hop music site. Expect to be bombarded right away with scantily clad women if you dare to visit that link. Fair warning! ;) 

The people in this video were also seen in another another vid from Channel 7 posted here Friday morning!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A bridge over the Dan Ryan at 85th

A posting over at the Concerned Citizens of Chatham Facebook page:
Alderman Brookins is requesting a bridge crossing the Dan Ryan at 85th Street. Do you support a bridge at this location?
Hmm, it could work. It could give people an alternate route to shopping and the movie theaters on both 87th & at Chatham Market. What do you think?

Friday, July 24, 2009

ComEd loses customers for first time in 56 years

Crain's:
Chalk up one more dubious distinction for this economic storm: Commonwealth Edison Co. has seen its number of accounts drop this year for the first time since 1953, when it started keeping records on the statistic.

ComEd CEO Frank Clark said Friday that the number of the utility’s customers has fallen by 17,000 this year. ComEd has 3.8 million customers in its northern Illinois service territory.

“This is the first time we’ve ever seen it,” he said during an analysts’ call for ComEd parent Exelon Corp. “It is an unusual event.”

He said he wasn’t sure what caused the falloff, theorizing that people losing their homes to foreclosure are moving in with friends or family.
Well, the question I may ask have nothing to do with it, but I'll ask anyway. Is anyone dissatisfied with the level of service provided by ComEd?

Video round-up of Wal-Mart stories


Ald. Howard Brookins 21st Ward discusses bringing Wal-Mart to his ward on Good Day Chicago.


Neighborhood college student featured on this report on FOX Chicago could have been hired by the Wal-Mart on 83rd for the summer had there been no barriers to even building this store.



ABC7 tells us that the battle for the Wal-Mart at Chatham Market on 83rd Street is heating up once again!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unemployment in Chicago area reaches 11.3 percent

Well on top of that editorial by Ald. Brookins, well the Sun-Times offers the unemployment rate in the Chicagoland area:
The unemployment rate in the Chicago metropolitan area continued to surge in June, reaching 11.3 percent, up from 6.9 percent a year earlier and the highest level since July of 1983, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The rate is up from 10.7 percent in May and from 9.9 percent in April. It exceeds the state's 10.3 percent rate and the nation's 9.5 percent rate.
...
The Chicago area lost 184,300 jobs--the biggest decline--as jobs dropped in 11 of the 12 metropolitan areas in the state. The second biggest drop was in the Lake County area, which lost 17,800 jobs, followed by the Rockford area, which lost 5,900, and the Peoria area, which lost 5,100. The only metropolitan area to report an increase in jobs was Champaign-Urbana, which added 1,400 jobs.

Ald. Howard Brookins: We're Mad and We're Not Going to Take it Anymore

Ald. Howard Brookins: We're Mad and We're Not Going to Take it Anymore

I got this op/ed from 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins from Huffington Post via e-mail:
Walmart wants to build a store with fresh groceries in my ward, at the new Chatham Market development - a development that currently houses a Lowes and Potbelly but the remainder of this large site sits empty. The proposed store will create at least 400 new jobs, stimulate economic development, and generate millions in new taxes for the CTA/RTA, County and City. It will also assist in bringing other new retailers who have expressed interest but will not commit without the Walmart bringing additional jobs and tax revenues to the community.

In a poll conducted by McKeon & Associates in June, 2007, 82% of the residents in my ward wanted a Wal-Mart Supercenter built at Chatham Market so they could purchase their groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables and prescriptions at low prices - year round and in their own neighborhood.

If we are so worried about the escalating violence in our communities, why are we exporting to the suburbs the needed job opportunities and sales tax revenues new retail stores will provide? Every year, Chicago residents purchase more than $500 million worth of goods at Walmart stores outside Chicago. The residents of the three zip codes that comprise my ward spent $80 million at suburban Walmarts last year alone.

The City, economists and business organizations are all studying ways to eradicate the Chicago food deserts by luring grocery retailers to these under-served areas. We wouldn't need to provide any incentives to retailers to build stores in Chicago if we simply encouraged economic development the correct way -- provide a competitive retail environment without the threat of unreasonable and unfair wage mandates.
Posted using ShareThis

City Colleges expanding Englewood TIF

City Colleges expanding Englewood TIF Chicago News, Events and Culture Chi-Town Daily News

The proposed expansion of the Kennedy-King College (KKC) TIF is said to become larger as Washington Park. It will extend from Marquette & Wentworth where the old KKC was located to a mile south of that location. What do you think can come of this TIF? What are your opinions on TIFs?

BTW, Ald. Lyle is quoted here! Heh, Jumped the gun, she was not quoted in this piece, but I can offer you a brief excerpt of this piece. She was contacted to comment on this story but didn't return a phone call.

Shared via AddThis

Investigation of CPS admissions requested

Investigation of CPS admissions requested :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Education

This story broke yesterday and was the subject of a 6th Ward blog post. Today's story takes aim at the aspect of selective enrollment known as "principal's pick". Is this issue a concern for anyone?

Shared via AddThis

Cole Park/Jazz in the Park

CAPCC blog announces Jazz in the Park scheduled for today from 6:30PM to 8PM. Cole Park is located a block north of 87th on the west side of King Drive.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's the worst CTA station and bus route?

Over at the Red Eye. Here's one 6th Ward bus route and two ward CTA L Stops:
CTA bus driver Steve Fuentes writes about the No. 34 South Michigan: "From the 80 or so routes I've driven, I would start by nominating the No. 34 South Michigan. Reasons: Over-crowding, rude customers, buses are left very dirty after serving street, conversations on the bus almost always include much foul language, and frequency of disturbances on bus!"
...
Cathy Reed of Ravenswood writes about the 79th Street Red Line station: "Sometimes, the racial disparity in this city is so obvious by the way the CTA stations are maintained.

This past Saturday, I called RTA Travel Info for directions to go to Harvard Avenue on the South Side. I got off at the 79th Street Red Line stop and tried to find the No. 29 bus, but I could not find it.

I asked a CTA employee in the upstairs booth which way to go to get to Harvard. (There is a bus stop on both sides of the street.) She said that I would have to ask the person in the booth downstairs, that person would have the information and slammed her booth window shut.

And to boot, the 79th Street 'L' station is one of the most raggedy, worst-looking-looking stations in the city. Just take a look at the Damen Brown Line station for a comparison and you will see what I mean."
...
Javarry Rodriguez, 22, of South Shore writes about the 69th Street Red Line station: "I would have to say the 69th Red Line station. That station will make you want to vomit. Wait I almost stepped in vomit twice. Where were the janitors? That's horrible and I shouldn't have to smell or see that coming home from a long day of work."
Do you have any stories to tell about CTA service on our part of town?

Via Uptown Update!

Plan aims to bring wireless Internet to poor neighborhoods

Sun-Times:
The mayor declared four impoverished neighborhoods — Englewood, Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn and Pilsen — “digital excellence demonstration communities” that will be flooded with technology to demonstrate the internet’s “transformative power.”

Microsoft has agreed to donate $1.1 million worth of software to help 28 non-profit organizations in those neighborhoods. Another $2 million from Microsoft, the MacArthur Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the state will help bring internet access to schools and public spaces in those disconnected neighborhoods.

A “Digital Excellence Access Agenda” crafted by a mayoral commission also urged the city to develop “detailed standards for broadband readiness in public and private, new and renovated developments” and to “enact policies that encourage developers” to meet those standards.

“We think we can do this piecemeal. ... And eventually, President Obama is talking about the digital-divide, broad-band and other things. So, we’ll be working with the federal government,” Daley said.

At a news conference in Pilsen, the mayor unveiled results of a pioneering study by UIC and the University of Iowa. It shows that 25 percent of all Chicagoans do not use the internet at all and that another 15 percent have only limited access.

Daley openly acknowledged that he’s one of the 25 percent. He says he has “enough to do” and is “too busy” to use computers.
Question: How big might the digital divide be in our communities?

South Chicagoans demand faster police responses

Sun-Times:
South Chicago residents descended on a City Council committee today to complain about a slow police response to gun violence that has made them prisoners in their own homes.

The Police Committee took no action on the proposal by Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) that would have mandated the temporary re-deployment of officers to her far South Side ward and other high-crime areas.

But, the message from South Chicago residents was delivered loud and clear.

“You hear shooting from 96th and Calhoun to 102nd and Calhoun. It’s back-and-forth, back-and-forth. You call the police. There’s a [squadrol] two blocks away just sitting there. Thirty minutes later, the police come. It’s too late. Everybody [has] scattered. The crime has taken place,” said Pastor Amos Bradford.
...
Chief of Patrol Eugene Williams responded to the barrage of complaints with the same claim Deputy Police Supt. Dan Dugan made to aldermen last spring: No police cars are available to respond when South Chicago residents call 911, in part, because they call for too many non-emergencies.

“We have to stop dispatching so many calls to police officers on the street. We are one of the few — probably the only major city — that responds 60-plus percent of the time when someone picks up the phone and says, ‘I want the police,’” Williams said.

“We can’t respond to calls of, ‘My eight-year-old refuses to go to school.’ We get those calls. We get 10,000 calls-a-day. What we have to do is transition to what other major cities have already done. That is to say, we’re not gonna be able to respond to that many calls so we can keep our people available” for the real emergencies.

Last spring, Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers (29th) used disparate figures for “radio assignment pending” calls in North and South Side wards as “Exhibit A” in the case for beat realignment, something that hasn’t been done in Chicago since 1985.
Via CapFax morning shorts!

Question: Do you percieve that police response is slower than it should be? Especially if the call involves anything from a violent crime to breaking and entering?

Burge attends status hearing

WLS-TV:
He returned to Chicago for a status hearing [in a federal courtroom today]. He's charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.

The former lieutenant is accused of lying about whether he and other officers under his command tortured and abused suspects in custody dating back to the 1980s. His trial has been set for January 11.

Burge has another court date in September. He is asking that wants his trial be moved away from Chicago. But a judge said she will likely turn down his motion.

End Wal-Mart mystery delay, OK Chatham site

A Sun-Times commentary:
There's a mystery at City Hall. It's not your old-fashioned whodunit. It doesn't even have much intrigue.

But solving the mystery matters, both for the job-starved South Side and a city dealing with a massive drop off in tax revenue.

It revolves around the City Council Rules Committee, which is where an ordinance to allow for a long-awaited Wal-Mart in Chatham sits.

The chair of that committee, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), apparently told Wal-Mart officials and the alderman pushing for the Wal-Mart, Howard Brookins (21st), that the Rules Committee would consider the Wal-Mart ordinance in July.

Well, time is running out -- and no one seems to be able to get an answer from Mell, this page included.
The last chance for a Rules Committee vote is July 28, the day before the full City Council's July meeting. Notice for a rules meeting must go up no later than Friday.

We urge Mell to solve this mystery and allow for a Wal-Mart vote next week
Here's some stats!
The first and only Wal-Mart in Chicago, which opened in Austin in 2006, has been a boon for that neighborhood and the city. In its first two years, Wal-Mart says, it generated $10.3 million in new sales tax revenue and created more than 400 permanent jobs. The average hourly wage, excluding managers, is $11.30.

We know Wal-Mart has its problems and unions vehemently oppose the chain. They say Wal-Mart mistreats its workers and doesn't pay a decent wage. And they're most concerned that a Wal-Mart with a grocery department will depress wages in local supermarkets.

We share those concerns, but we also see some improvements at Wal-Mart recently, including a major expansion of employee health care last year and new plans to label all products to reflect their impact on the environment.
Worth a decent read!

UPDATE 4:51PM: I just found this Sun-Times article which has Mayor Daley's comments on Wal-Mart...
After accepting a $700,000 Wal-Mart grant to create “green jobs” for ex-offenders, Daley lauded the world’s largest retailer as a “great corporate citizen” that is “responding” to concerns about wages and health care that have fueled union opposition.

The mayor said it’s “up to the citizens” to pressure their aldermen to give Wal-Mart the go-ahead to build its second Chicago store — and first super-center that sells groceries — at a former Chatham industrial site at 83rd and Stewart.

But, Daley left little doubt where he stands.

“It’s OK in Evergreen Park. It’s not OK in Chicago,” the mayor said, accusing union leaders of hypocrisy.

“People need jobs. … Labor had better understand that. ... It’s something that they better come to grips with because people do need jobs.”

If he feels so strongly about the need for jobs and shopping choices, Daley was asked why he refused to give Wal-Mart administrative approval to build a second store in Chatham.

“If I start doing that, you would write a headline, ‘Mayor is arrogant. He’s usurping his power. Mayor starts changing the law for his own benefit because, one day he likes Wal-Mart. The next day he’s liking something else.’... I’m not gonna fall into that trap,” Daley said.
Another good read!

UPDATE 4:56PM: More news from Clout Street!
Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) said today that he will "re-refer the [21st Ward Wal-Mart] item to the committee where it belongs, the Finance Committee" when his Rules Committee next meets July 28.

Asked if his move will make it seem like he's passing the hot political potato, Mell said, "That's true, to a certain extent."

But Mell said the real reason he is passing the Wal-Mart issue Ald. Ed Burke's Finance Committee is procedural. Mell's rules panel is a "committee of the whole." That means all 50 aldermen are members and if one opponent asked to verify there was a quorum present, they would need at least 26 council members there to have a vote.

Chicago schools open probe into 'clout' enrollment

From Greg Hinz. First it was the University of Illinois now it's enrollment to our city's top public schools!
CPS boss Ron Huberman announced Wednesday morning that he's launched a probe into possible irregularities in the district's selective enrollment practices, "based on information that recently has come to" his attention.

"Existing policies may not have been followed," Mr. Huberman said in a press release, adding that he has directed the system's inspector general to review the matter.

Mr. Huberman also said he's hired an auditing firm to "review the current process and report whether additional controls are recommended," and he indicated he will appoint a new "data integrity unit" later this week to boost controls on electronic and paper files.
Focus, the magnet grade schools and college prep high schools!

BTW, that report from Hinz was posted at about 11AM this morning. This has some more details from Chicago Breaking News (Tribune):
The CPS advertises the selective enrollment program as a way "to meet the needs of Chicago's most academically advanced students." It is meant to steer such students into schools which offer a curriculum of mostly honors and advanced placement courses.

School officials say the process is highly competitive, with thousands of applications submitted each year.

Last year, a staff member at Sabin Magnet school was fired when the inspector general found she had helped students get into the school by falsely claiming they had siblings at Sabin.  Siblings have a better shot of getting into highly selective schools than do other students.

At the time, then-CPS chief Arne Duncan insisted the selective enrollment program was free from bias. Duncan said a lottery system used to select students worked as intended, despite rumors that students were admitted based on other factors.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old Dan Ryan line photos found on Flickr

The following photographs were found on Flick posted by davidwilson1949 of scenes of the CTA Dan Ryan line (now we call it the Red Line) taken in March 1970.
This was near 75th Street.
 This is 95th Street!

This pic was taken near 69th Street!

Finally! I know this is outside of the current boundaries of the ward, but here's a scene below from 63rd Street.
It's interesting to look at the Dan Ryan line when it was practically brand new and before these stations got work done in the last decade or so!

ALSO: Check out this vid I posted last year that showed some scenes along the Dan Ryan route. The footage taken was also from the 1970s!

Crackdown on vacant lots

Sun-Times:
In July, 1998, the body of 11-year-old Ryan Harris was found in a vacant and overgrown lot in Chicago's crime-ridden Englewood community.

Harris had a fractured skull. She was sexually molested, her underwear torn and shoved in her mouth. Weeds were stuffed in her nostrils. A bloody brick was found nearby.

Ald. Joann Thompson (16th) is determined never to re-live that nightmare.

On Monday, Thompson convinced the City Council's Buildings Committee to crack down on the negligent owners of unkempt and debris-filled vacant lots who, she complained, use the city as their "private lawn care service."

Vacant lot owners are already required to remove trash and debris, put up fences, keep grass and weeds below ten inches high and post ownership signs. Thompson's ordinance would more than double the fine for violating those conditions -- from $100 a day currently to $250.
...
"It's a breeding ground for crime. They hide drugs in the weeds. [Eleven] years ago, a child was found in a weeded area," Thompson said, referring to Ryan Harris.

Thompson accused vacant lot owners of thumbing their noses at the $100 fine and City Hall of failing to enforce the maintenance conditions.

"I don't know if the city is working with us or against us," she said. "We have to take pictures of the lots, write tickets, then send it in and they have to send back the [ownership identification] numbers. Meanwhile the grass is still growing tall. It has become a huge problem. At what point can we take back our land?"
How I found this article? Thru Everyblock in the ward's feed which has an address, 6636 S. Parnell, where Ryan Harris was found over 11 years ago. Just think she would have been at least 22 years of age had she lived today and perhaps even graduating from college.

Questions: Obviously vacant lots are eyesore and in depressed neighborhoods they are more than eyesores especially if there are blocks upon blocks upon blocks of vacant lots. However, do you think that Ald. Thompson's proposal in an appropriate measure to govern these vacant lots in our city? Do you believe that vacant lots attract crime?

Walmart to host Farmer’s Market this Saturday

Check out this press release! Old news really since I posted a story about this yesterday more this offers some more info. I got this message via e-mail.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 21, 2009: Walmart will host a farmer’s market this Saturday at the site of the proposed store in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. Taking place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the farmer’s market will offer a variety of fresh, quality produce at Walmart’s signature low prices. All proceeds from the Walmart Fresh Farmer’s Market will directly benefit the Chatham Business Association.

“I am pleased Walmart will offer quality fruit and vegetables in our community this week to benefit the Chatham Business Association,” said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward.) “We are looking forward to a fun day.”

The farmer’s market is the first to be held by Walmart in the Chicago area. WVON-AM 1690 will broadcast live from the event. Entry and parking is free. Cash only will be accepted. For more information, visit www.chicago.walmartcommunity.com

WHAT: Walmart Fresh Farmer’s Market

WHERE: At the site of the proposed store at the corner of 83rd & Stewart in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood.

WHEN: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, July 25
WVON-AM will be at the Farmer's Market and the proceeds from this event will directly benefit the Chatham Business Association. Well let the charm offensive commence!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Urbanophile: Race and the City

This is a very good piece, and I would recommend you give it a good read. Here's an excerpt of something I would like to focus on:
Yet African Americans tend not to feature prominently in urbanist discussions of our cities and their future, save perhaps in hyper-segregated Detroit. I can understand that people are hesitant to forthrightly discuss race because it is a subject matter that is sensitive. But perhaps there is nothing more important to talk about.
...
In nearly all of our cities we see a black community that has not shared in civic success or which has disproportionately been hit by civic failure. This is not only a disgrace, it will block those cities from finding urban success properly so-called. No city that leaves an entire segment of its community behind can truly claim success, no matter how many gleaming towers or swanky restaurants it might have.
Question: Do you think there is any truth to what was said here? Do you feel that blacks in Chicago haven't been featured prominently in the development of our city? What role should blacks play for development in black communities?

Wal-Mart to hold farmers market at South Side site

Tribune:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to hold a farmers market on Saturday at the vacant site where it wants to build its second city store as it steps up pressure on the city to allow it to expand.

The truckloads of fresh fruits and vegetables, supplied by Wal-Mart vendors, are slated to be for sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and radio station WVON-AM 1690 will be broadcasting from the event, according to Wal-Mart.

The move is the latest salvo in the world's largest retailer's five-year battle to build a supercenter store, a format that sells groceries, in the Chatham neighborhood on the city's South Side.

As the jobless rate rose this spring, Wal-Mart resurrected its lobbying campaign in City Hall pitching the 400 jobs it would bring to the city's South Side.
WVON is broadcasting from a farmer's market at the site of the proposed Wal-Mart? Oh dear, there is an outright push to get this store built!

Chicago's 6th Ward on Facebook

Originally posted yesterday morning July 19, 2009.

It appears to be an official Facebook page for Ald. Lyle who represents the 6th Ward on the Chicago City Council. There isn't much info other than office hours at the service office on 75th Street, a shared link for this blog's Twitter feed and pics of events around the ward such as Ward Picnics, parades, or even public artwork in the ward. It could use some more fans so join up! (Note: They also have a NING social networking site as well. )

Alderman Lyle's Facebook page is unrelated to the Facebook page for this blog and of course there is also the Concerned Citizens of Chatham Facebook page.

On another note, there is also a Facebook profile for Choose Chatham. Connected with the website sponsored by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that is seeking to drum up more support for a Wal-Mart at Chatham Market on 83rd Street.

My experience at the 6th ward picnic

Alderman Lyle held a 6th Ward picnic this past Saturday at Tuley Park.

Attenders got the opportunity to get a hot dog or hamburger, chips, and a drink, as well as popcorn, nachos, italian ice, all for free.

There was entertainment (music, dancing, face painting), vendors, and displays (such as the fire department).

We unfortunately got there a little late (about 1pm), and by the time we were finished eating & meeting, we missed things such as ID's for kids.

The photos definitely don't show the scope of the picnic.

We'll post any other accounts of the picnic (including info like numbers)

The photo on the right has Mia enjoying some time with a dog. His owner, nathan (and his wife, not shown) were part of the crowd.



The photo on the left has my daughter, Mia, enjoying a hot dog, in an unusual style.

People of all ages showed up, and mingled.












We met new friends such as Mary Garrett. She's been in the neighborhood for several years, and has been to this picnic for a number of years. She noted how it was a bit smaller in some ways (in terms on vendors -- due to the economy), but bigger than others (more food options)

It was definitely a pleasure to meet her a picnic, and hope to see her again in the future.

It was a great time, and hope to enjoy it more in the future.

Anyone have their own stories?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Woman wounded in South Side shooting :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Woman wounded in South Side shooting :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Read the news from the Sun-Times...and 18 year old woman was shot in Park Manor, after an altercation with a 15 year old male.

Church service for those affected by Burr Oak situation

Just heard this in church...

New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church is supposed to have an evening service today for those who have had trauma & hardship due to the Burr Oak situation.

They said it would be today at 5:30 pm

I am unable to find more info on it on the web.

754 E. 77th St., Chicago, IL 60619 (77th & Cottage Grove)
773-846-3700

Please let us know if you went to the service...

Future 6th Ward aldermanic meetings

Well there won't be one next month (that's August), but for the remainder of the year!

Saturday, September 12, 2009 @ 10:00 AM
Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church, 8100 S Calumet Ave.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 @ 6:30 PM
Greater Institutional AME Church, 7800 S Indiana Ave.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 @ 6:30 PM
Mt Nebo Church Baptist, 354 W 71st St.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 @ 6:30 PM
Carter Temple CME Church, 7841 S Wabash Ave.

From the Alderman's website.

Todd Stroger on Public Affairs


He's been beaten up pretty good in the press and by a lot of people. Sometimes, however, its best to hear from the horse's mouth himself. No I'm not calling him a horse necessarily, but I just want to indicate that in this video on the cable access show, Public Affairs, we hear him talk about the county and on how the media is treating him.

I've covered the county on occasion for this blog. What do you think about his job performance? Do you think in going after Carol Marin or Channel 11 (WTTW) shows that he's being defensive? Do you think he may be right in his evaluation about Channel 11 or media in Chicago?

Also, he was the guest this mont on Ald. Lyle's 6th Ward Scene cable access show, that you will see each month on the first and third Thursday and Friday at the times of 6PM and 1PM respectively. Him and the alderman mainly talked about the county particularly the level of services provided by the county or even where the responsibility stops as far as what the county board president does.

If you want my opinion well it seems that Todd Stroger seems to know his role. I may not agree with all of his policies, but he has put it upon himself to educate people on what the county does. That's certainly a good thing since 2006 perhaps a lot of county residents could use an education on the role of the county government.

Anyway keep in mind the questions above and the floor is as always open!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

311 lesson from the alderman's office

Originally posted July 16, 2009

In front of my house, we've had a hole in the sidewalk that's getting bigger & bigger. We've called 311 a couple of times, but nothing has been done in 2 weeks..not even some kind of horse or barrier or paint, to let people know of the possible danger.

So I sent an e-mail to the alderman's office which is ward06[AT]cityofchicago.org (replace the [AT] with @)

Later that morning, Keith Harris from the alderman's office called me to follow up. After taking my information, he kindly explained to me that whenever someone calls 311, they should make sure they get a service request number, so that you can follow up on it in the future. 311 operators don't always tell you that number upfront, so you should ask. That way, if you call again, you can use this as a reference. If you still aren't getting any real response, you can give that information to the alderman's office, and they can help keep 311 accountable, and find out the status.

The alderman's office has a 311 informational sheet,to help you make the most of your call.

Thanks for the help!

Black churches hope farmers markets change eating habits in Chicago 'food desert'

Tribune:
This month, several churches on the city's South and West Sides have recruited local farmers and urban growers to peddle their produce at farmers markets, filling what organizers called a void in fresh fruit and vegetables in their communities.

Last week, Trinity United Church of Christ on the Far South Side unveiled a weekly farmers market in their church parking lot. On Saturday, Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in North Lawndale will launch a similar open-air market on the West Side.

Trinity and others have planted seeds for a community garden as well.

Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, pastor of Avalon Park Community Church, said he wants the Far South Side neighborhood to "be on the front end of this new green economy." Members of his United Church of Christ congregation recently planted tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and peppers.

"This is an exercise that can help us toward healthy eating. It's an exercise toward self-sustained communities," Ford said.

According to a recent report by the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the churches' efforts are in line with a growing nationwide movement within the faith community to promote wholesome diets and encourage Christians to care for and cultivate the Earth.

The healthy-diet initiative also represents an emerging social justice movement in African-American churches in neighborhoods without major grocery store chains -- areas also known as "food deserts."

Some churches plan to donate their homegrown produce to food pantries and soup kitchens. Others intend to offer the harvest to their congregations with recipes to preserve their African cultural cuisine and health.
...
Many of the churches involved are in food deserts. Researchers have found residents there tend to buy food at gas stations and convenience stores.

The most recent research by Mari Gallagher, a Chicago-based consultant, showed that more than 600,000 Chicagoans live in food deserts, most of them are African-American, and many are classified as working poor without a car.

Gallagher said supermarkets or healthy alternatives such as farmers markets add years to the lives of residents suffering from cardiovascular and kidney diseases and diabetes.
Via Concerned Citizens of Chatham Facebook page, join up there!

Friday, July 17, 2009

CapFax Question of the Day

About prominent Illinois atheist Rob Sherman who takes issue with funds in the recently signed capital bill going towards religious institutions (churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc.) believing such expenditures to be unconstitutional.

My question to you is not to debate whether or not expenditures to religious institutions are unconstitutional. Instead the question is for what purpose should a religious institution receive state funds?

Jobs for Chicago

An editorial on Wal-Mart from the Tribune, here are some excerpts, but read the whole thing when you get a chance:
The good news, such as it is: Job losses in the Chicago metropolitan area slowed in June. We still lost jobs, though. The unemployment rate stands at 10.3 percent for the state, 10.6 percent for the region.

The area's job losses have been on a steady, dreary march this year: 37,200 in January, 37,700 in February, 22,500 in March, 27,000 in April, 37,600 in May, and 2,300 in June, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

More than 200,000 jobs have been lost since the start of the recession.
...
Yet the company and the alderman [Howard Brookins, 21st Ward] face huge resistance from the City Council to a proposal for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the South Side, at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue just west of the Dan Ryan.

What's there now? A vacant lot. A vacant lot where no one is working.

The construction of that store on that vacant site would put hundreds of Chicagoans to work. Once the store was opened, at least 500 people would get jobs.

"This should be a no-brainer," Brookins told us. He has pleaded with his fellow aldermen to allow a vote on an ordinance to push the project forward. But the ordinance remains stuck in the Rules Committee, which is run by Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).
BTW, I found a website Our Community, Our Choice that proclaims support for a Wal-Mart in Chatham, however, this website is supported by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. I'm not sure if the website was as a result of grassroots support in Chatham for Wal-Mart in or otherwise. If you got Twitter you can join them there or on BlackPlanet as well!

As always your comments as to whether or not you support Wal-Mart coming in at 83rd & Stewart will be much appreciated as it appears that we will have more time to debate the value of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in our community or why we shouldn't allow Wal-Mart here. Thus what I'm saying is that the floor is ALWAYS open!

ALSO: Here's another website, provided by Wal-Mart that has testimony from both local residents and Wal-Mart workers.