Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looks like we know who the Republican challenger is...


[VIDEO] According to the Chicago Tribune Paul McKinley had only 955 votes and about 23 votes separated him from his closest challenger Eric Wallace. The conservative publication National Review even used this as the time for a piece to talk about the 2nd Congressional District race.

The video above will show in a nutshell who Mr. McKinley is running against - the "Chicago machine". I've seen various videos of him debating and being interviewed and it seems very consistent with what he discusses. Even I was like listen to this man, he's outspoken and he could stand out in a race.

At the same time when you stand out - I say this whether positively or negatively - then you might run into pieces like this from FOX Chicago. It looks like Mike Flannery has done some research on McKinley:
McKinley--who has been convicted of 6 felony counts and served nearly 20 years behind bars for armed robberies, aggravated battery, and burglaries--refers to himself as an "ex-offender" who wants to get other ex-offenders to work.

McKinley was also arrested 11 times from 2003 to 2007, mostly for protesting. Records show he also owes $14,147 in federal taxes.

There are dozens of districts where very few voters bother to participate in Republican primaries, setting the stage for ugly surprises. Remember entertainer "Spanky the Clown?" He won the GOP nomination to face Mayor Daley in 1995. That may have been good for a laugh. But those who dream of rebuilding the Republican Party in Chicago aren't laughing at the apparent nomination of convicted armed robber Paul McKinley.

"He's not a Republican, obviously, and he doesn't represent the Republican Party," says GOP activist Chris Robling.

As one who's helped lead public and private conversations about rebuilding the GOP in Illinois, Chris Robling said he knows this much: former burglar and armed robber Paul McKinley is not the sort of new leader the party needs. In a series of campaign videos, McKinley said he cared little for Democrats or Republicans.
BTW, I should note you have some citizen journalists such as Rebel Pundit who have made the charge that Chicago's mainstream media ignored Republicans in this race. As a matter of fact not long before the special primary election Rebel Pundit reported how the local FOX affiliate for whom Flannery is employed had largely ignored the Republican contest.

Of course the reason is mainly that they're not expected to succeed in this case in a district that hasn't elected a Republican to Congress in over 50 years. And in the piece above expect McKinley to not get a lot of support from his party for his run, Flannery even compared him to a former clown who ran against Richard M. Daley for Mayor back in 1995.

On April 9th it will be Robin Kelly v. Paul McKinley. Can we expect a different result in about one month from now?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CSU President statement to the community

Dr. Wayne Watson
Dr. Wayne Watson, President of Chicago State University, had sent this statement to the university community about the news that broke this week about him stepping down from his post. It seems he doesn't plan to leave his post beyond his sabbatical.
TO THE CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY:

“There have been some statements in the media regarding my position at Chicago State University that I wish to correct.

Several days ago, I requested approval of an administrative sabbatical by the CSU Board of Trustees. During the proposed sabbatical, I would first and foremost, be able to better help my 96 year old dad whom I feel has suffered most from my current 24-7 commitment to the University. I would also have more time for the level of academic research and writing I wish to achieve as president of a major American University. I have not resigned as CSU's President and no date is set for the sabbatical to begin, if approved. Even though press reports have included some inaccuracies, I am grateful for the thoughtful remarks about our turnaround at the University and my part in it. Clearly, our work continues.”

Yesterday we had a special election...

Pic from Robin Kelly's campaign flickr page
Yesterday Robin Kelly won the primary election against former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson and Ald. Anthony Beale.
Former state Rep. Robin Kelly easily won the special Democratic primary Tuesday night in the race to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, helped by millions of dollars in pro-gun control ads from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's political fund.

A snowstorm and lack of voter interest kept turnout low as Kelly had 52 percent to 25 percent for former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and 11 percent for Chicago 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale with 99 percent of precincts counted.
...
Kelly framed her win as a victory for gun control forces.

"You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation," Kelly told supporters in a Matteson hotel ballroom. "A message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end.

"To every leader in the fight for gun control ready to work with President (Barack) Obama and Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel to stop this senseless violence, thank you for your leadership and thank you for your courage," she said.
I would like to talk about the Republican primary now granted the 2nd district is solidly Democratic but we're still supposed to live in a two-party democracy even in this state. At this moment no seems to be able to call the race for any of the Republican candidates so I'm going to hold off here. We'll just focus on Robin Kelly.

She had been a member of the Illinois General Assembly and worked in the state treasurer office under former Treasurer Alexis Giannoulias. She attempted to run statewide for the Treasurer's office but lost against current office holder Dan Rutherford.

It's very likely that she'll win the election, but let's not forget that there are others who are running againts here in the general election on April 9th.

When we get more news on the Republican primary we'll share it here on this blog as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AUDIO: Last Friday's "Afternoon Shift" live broadcast from Brown Sugar Bakery


[AUDIO] JP Paulus mentioned this last week and now we can share some audio of this WBEZ program on this blog. The audio embedded above features not only 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer but also Brown Sugar Bakery owner Stephanie Hart and Park Manor Neighborhood Association President Darlene Tribue.

Subjects that came up during this segment the history of Park Manor, 75th Street as a commercial street, also the issues of living in an area such as Park Manor or the 6th Ward in general. Also host Rick Kogan had Hart make a case for people from the suburbs to come down to 75th Street and the 6th Ward for a visit. This was a very interesting segment and lots of stuff said about the area and its history.

You can hear more clips from last Friday's The Afternoon Shift here.

Also the pic below was taken at Brown Sugar Bakery last Friday for the live WBEZ broadcast. In the pic from left to right is Darlene Tribue, Ald. Sawyer and Rick Kogan. This was posted on 6th Ward Chicago - the Alderman's office official website -  as the pic for last week.


Chatham Parks: A Few Good Men and Women wanted

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

Unfortunately, because of budgetary constraints the current staff cannot accompany the teams to play in the tournament that will be held at Jackson Park on Thursday and Friday evenings. The teams need coaches who can commit to working the entire 47 week schedule. Coaches must be Chicago Park District certified volunteers. Individuals interested can obtain a volunteer form from the Chicago Park District website http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/assets/1/7/Volunteer_Application_for_Adults.pdf  and for information on the basketball program or other volunteer opportunities contact Gene Morgan at 312.747.6063.

Over the last year, many residents have expressed their displeasure with the condition of Brown Memorial Park http://www.chicagonow.com/concerned-citizens-of-chatham/2012/05/the-fight-to-save-brown-memorial-park-is-race-a-factor/ . The park needs an overhaul as the playground equipment, tennis courts and grounds in general are in disrepair. The Friends of the Parks, a non for profit organization that supports the parks is accepting applications from community groups to be selected for one of 35 playgrounds they will build this summer. A copy of the application is below. Any group(block club, community based organization, church, etc.) can apply

Monday, February 25, 2013

95th Improvement Project hearing on March 14th!

This information was provided to us by the West Chesterfield Community Association. I do plan to post reminders in the future as we get closer to March 14th.

The meeting's location as well as date & time:
  • 95th Street Terminal Improvement Project - Public Hearing
    Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.
    Harlan High School
    9652 S. Michigan Avenue

The first public hearings for this project occurred last September. Nearby neighborhoods such as not only West Chesterfield but Roseland Heights expressed their expectations for this project. This project is expected to start in 2014 and not long after the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan route of the CTA Red Line is finally completed and re-opened.

Refer to document below for more details.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Renovated Shell Gas Station Set to Reopen in Chatham - DNAinfo.com Chicago


 There's been some controversy over this project namely concerns that neighborhood residents weren't get jobs on this project or at least Blacks were getting jobs in a predominantly Black community. So it looks like residents have something to look forward too in the near future:
Owner Azam Kham plans to reopen his Shell gas station at 8659 S. State St. on March 16 after it closed two years ago. The renovated station will be open 24 hours a day and will have four additional pumps, bringing the total to 10. In addition, Kham has doubled the size of a convenience store at the site, to 2,000 square feet, and plans to sell more food as well as household items like soap, toilet tissue and paper plates.

"Customers can come inside to pay for their purchases and not stand outside as they did before," Kham said. "They can buy household products, snacks and other items."

But the convenience store will not be selling lottery tickets, he said.

"I do not plan on getting a lottery machine unless it is something the community later says it wants," Kham said. "I want to offer services the community needs."

Additionally, he plans to house two retail tenants at the site.

"I expect to have a restaurant and a bakery," added Kham, who also owns another Shell gas station in Bridgeport at 215 W. 31st St.

Kham said he had hoped to reopen the station last year, but was slowed by the permitting process and city inspections.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ward Room: Mayor Emanuel is liked by few and loved by fewer

We can name the politician we can from President to Governor to Congress to Mayor and even Alderman. If we did a poll on any such politicians we may find if you continue to monitor the data that at some point the people aren't very happy with them.
Today however we're focusing on Mayor Emanuel. He's not looking so good right now.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's image in Chicago is taking a turn.

A new poll by Crain’s Chicago Business notes the mayor’s job-approval rating “has taken a big hit in recent months.”

According to 600 voters in Illinois, only 19 percent somewhat or strongly approve of the mayor’s performance. When Crain’s polled a similar group back in September, 34 percent approved of the job Emanuel was doing.

Crain’s points to the Chicago Teachers Union strike as well as the spike in murders and the push for government workers pension reform as possible reasons for his poor poll numbers.
He hit the ground running and now the people aren't happy. Then again we're two years away from electing the next Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer and City Council. A lot could happen by then.

BTW, Capitol Fax recently criticized this poll!

People will forget about these polls and it won't matter much if there's no one on the horizon who could credibly challenge Mayor Emanuel.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dan Ryan Red Line shutting down in 86 days!


[VIDEO] Well this video which aired on ABC 7 yesterday says 87 days it's now 86 days. The Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line will be shut down for reconstruction. Will you be ready by May 19th to either seek alternatives or to take shuttle buses to take you where you need to go?

Of course shuttle buses are only one leg of the trip as you can also take the shuttles to the CTA Green Line stop at Garfield. In the ABC 7 write-up, ridership is expected to go from 1,300 passengers a day to 13,000 passengers during the reconstruction. It will get more busy there for the next five months starting in May.

Also, according to the Chicago Sun-Times the rides on the Shuttle buses and the transfer from the buses to the trains at Garfield are free. Furthermore:
The CTA and Metra also will offer a discounted combined fare card during construction that should run until Oct. 19.

Dan Ryan drivers also could face some inconvenience during track rebuilding. One lane of the Dan Ryan on each side of the Red Line tracks will be shut down between 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. near work sites, CTA spokesman Brian Steele. 

The CTA estimates it will lose $7.3 million in revenue during the $425 million project.
According to a press release from CTA:
CTA today also launched a new project website — www.redlinesouth.com — with extensive project information and history, as well as a project Twitter account, @redlinesouth.

CTA previously announced the multiple alternative travel options and discounts the agency will provide, including:
  • FREE shuttle buses from Red Line stations south of 63rd Street to connect customers with the Garfield Green Line rail station
  • FREE entry at Garfield Green Line station for bus shuttle passengers
  • Red Line train service running on Green Line tracks from Roosevelt to Ashland/63rd
  • Expanded bus service on numerous nearby bus routes
  • 50-cent discount on bus rides south of 63rd Street
Also noted in the press release is more service on the Metra Electric. So we might need another look at the 95th Street Metra State near Chicago State. In addition there are also fare options if you are utilizing Metra to get downtown.

Are you ready for May and the five months after that?

Some of the links were provided by Chicago-L.org.


National Guard help curb street violence, do you agree?

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore
This article caught my eye today:
At the news conference at the Chicago Military Academy in the Bronzeville neighborhood, [former US Army Lt. General Russel L. Honore] spoke out against the gun violence that affects the lives of so many of the students.

Honore was mild in his tone and fell short of demanding action. Instead he suggested a strategy he thinks could work.

To tackle the violence here, Honore said, the state police and other law enforcement agencies could lend a hand to local police. And the National Guard could take over routine duties, patrolling the streets and handling traffic, while police concentrate their efforts on solving crimes and increasing their presence in troubled neighborhoods.
...
"Trust me, we can tap this down," Honore said of the shootings. "It would take a commitment, and it's not going to be popular. Many people are going to say why are you bringing that to my community? (But) do you want law enforcement or do you want people shooting day and night and destroying the lives of innocent people like the little girl who lost her life here a few weeks ago?"
...
"We should do whatever it takes to end the violence, so we won't have to feel scared," he said. "These kids have guns. We need experienced people that can stop them."
BTW, even Police Officer and former Aldermanic Candidate Richard Wooten has something to say:
When he's not working as a Chicago police officer, Richard Wooten said he's in the neighborhoods — Auburn Gresham, West Chesterfield and Chatham — helping residents develop neighborhood watch groups.

"Crime in Chicago is just running rampant," said Wooten, who does community work as part of his own organization, the Gathering Point Community Council. He attended Honore's news conference.

"This is going to require more than just the Chicago Police Department," he said. "We are in a state right now where we need not only to get the community activated and mobilized and dealing with the issues in their community, but somewhere along the way, we're going to have to tap into some federal funding."
Still, I would say the last thing we would want is to get the National Guard on our streets. Hopefully what the city is facing at the moment doesn't even warrant that. But what say you on this subject?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Job fair coming up for CTA Customer Service Assistants

I recognize this is very last minute but it's worth sharing. If you're not able to make this one Friday morning - tomorrow - you certainly have time to make the other scheduled job fair one month later at Clemente High School. According to a Press Release from CTA, they expect to create at least 700 customer service assistant posts for L stops around the city.

Please refer to flyer below for more details. It was provided by the people at the Greater Chatham Alliance.

UPDATE Expect a reminder when the one for March comes near!

Afternoon Shift Remote Broadcast: VENUE CHANGE - to Brown Sugar Bakery!

Location: 328 East 75th Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Afternoon Shift Remote Broadcast: VENUE CHANGE - to Brown Sugar Bakery!

from WBEZ (Chicgao Public Radio, 91.5 FM)

Come out and enjoy The Afternoon Shift with Rick Kogan at Brown Sugar Bakery! (328 E. 75th Street) this Thursday 2/21 from 2:00pm-4:00pm.



Rick will talk with WBEZ's Richard Steele and V103's Herb Kent ("The Cool Gent") about Chicago's Black radio legacy and history; famed Chicago author, Lowell Thompson about Chicago's "Black" History; 6th ward Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer about changes in the neighborhood; and Harper High School Principal, Leonetta Sanders. Her school is now featured on This American Life.

 

Please post a comment if you can make it. (We will NOT be able to read questions or comments to the guests)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Grid: The Area


[VIDEO] This has been a concern for RAGE since they brought this to our attention almost two years ago. The section affected is in the northwest corner of Englewood.

I got wind of this mini-documentary by Gaper Block's David Schalliol  - who is not only the managing editor there but also a PhD sociology student at University of Chicago - via Lee Bey. This doc is part of Gaper Block's The Grid series that also shown a fishmarket located near 71st & State Street a while back.

In any case this video shows how the community has come together since the effort by the Norfolk Southern railroad have come to light. There was a community forum about this and we see the residents who getting active in order to oppose the efforts of the railroad for their inter-modal facility.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chatham Residents Impatient for Young Library Expansion - DNAinfo.com Chicago


Five years ago the city announced plans to expand the Whitney M. Young Library branch, but residents wonder if they will have to wait another few years before the project is done.

The Public Building Commission this week approved a $1.2 million federal grant to perform an environmental cleanup on the expansion site next to the library, but that isn't expected to be done until toward the end of this year. And officials say they haven't secured the funds to actually complete the expansion.

Residents are growing impatient.

City officials "make promises all the time to the black community and do not keep them," said Doris White, 51, who grew up in Chatham. "If this library was in Lincoln Park or downtown they would have been finished expanding it, but because it is in the black neighborhood they figure we can wait."

The vacant lot adjacent to the 11,000 square-foot library at 7901 S. King Drive was previously occupied by a dry cleaners. Expansion plans include expanding the library to 16,500 square feet.

A cleanup "is necessary due to pockets of contamination from a cleaning establishment which occupied one of the lots," said Ruth Lednicer, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Library.

But while the environmental cleanup is expected to be finished later this year, Lednicer said there is still no timetable on when the expansion would begin. That's because the commission, which is overseeing the project, has not yet secured money to pay for it.
Read the whole thing!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jesse Jr. and wife expected to plead guilty to federal charges!

This is a very unfortunate development and apparently months if not years in the making. It's very unbelievable but at some point we knew this day would come!
Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi intend to plead guilty to federal charges alleging the former congressman misused $750,000 in campaign funds while she understated their income on tax returns for six years, their lawyers say.

Jackson Jr., 47, a Democrat from Chicago, was charged in a criminal information Friday with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.

Sandi Jackson was charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.

Jackson Jr. is accused of diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

Federal authorities allege that Jackson Jr. used campaign funds to purchase a $43,350 men’s gold-plated Rolex watch, $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children’s furniture. The purchases were made between 2007 and 2009, according to the criminal information, which authorities noted is not evidence of guilt.

Other expenditures listed by prosecutors include $10,105 on Bruce Lee memorabilia, $11,130 on Martin Luther King memorabilia and $22,700 on Michael Jackson items, including $4,600 for a "Michael Jackson fedora."

The government also alleged that Jackson Jr. made false statements to the House of Representatives because he did not report approximately $28,500 in loans and gifts he received.

"He has accepted responsibility for his actions and I can confirm that he intends to plead guilty to the charge in the information," Jackson Jr.'s attorney Brian Heberlig said.

Sandi Jackson is accused of filing incorrect joint tax returns with her husband for calendar years 2006 through 2011, reporting income “substantially less than the amount of income she and her husband received in each of the calendar years,” with a substantial additional tax due.

Her attorneys released a statement saying she has "reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office to plead guilty to one count of tax fraud."
It's very unfortunate that two promising political careers in Chicago has come to an abrupt end. In fact they were going to be the next best "political machine" in Chicago and they had defeated a rival machine in the form of the organization for current Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers. Unfortunately, even the feds have him under indictment.

For now we have many aspirants to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. who had resigned not long after his successful re-election bid although he hadn't been in the public eye since June. Also Sandi Jackson's replacement on the Chicago City Council has already been appointed.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sun-Times: Feds shut down Covenant Bank on West Side

Now defunct

WOW!
Federal regulators late Friday shut down Covenant Bank on the West Side, which has been losing money since its 2008 founding by megachurch pastor Bill Winston.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sold the bank’s assets to Liberty Bank and Trust Co. of New Orleans. Liberty will continue to operate Covenant’s only office at 1111 S. Homan.

The sale will protect account holders, who are insured up to the $250,000 per-account maximum. But it will wipe out the bank’s owners, including members of Winston’s Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park who provided cash for the purchase.

The FDIC estimated the closure will cost its insurance fund $21.8 million. It said that as of year-end 2012, Covenant had $58.4 million in assets.

Many of the bank’s owners, who provided Winston at least $1,000 each, are people of modest means. Winston did not return a call Friday.

He purchased the former Community Bank of Lawndale for a reported $3 million, preaching the need to put religious faith into practice by supporting revitalization of the West Side. But FDIC records show the bank’s losses have been heavy, especially in the last couple of years.
Liberty Bank appears to be a Black-owned bank so such an institution will be continuing to serve the West Side of Chicago. The official website for Covenant Bank is still up! Usually such websites of failed financial institutions are often shut down with a notice that it had been shut down by the FDIC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

VIDEO: Jahmal Cole "Inclination vs. Obligation"

Part 1


Part 2



[VIDEO: PART 1 & PART 2] This footage is of Jahmal Cole giving a presentation at Whitney Young Library last Thursday. Here's a description of what he discusses in these two videos:
Role Model Movement founder Jahmal Cole speaks 2-7-2013 at Whitney Young Library. The topic of discussion is Choices "Inclination vs. Obligation."
The first vid is 8 minutes and the second vid is 10 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

CPS gets $50,000 Fed Grant to Deal With Englewood Violence - DNAinfo.com Chicago

Chicago's public schools are getting a $50,000 federal grant to help deal with violence in the Englewood neighborhood.

The funds come through the U.S. Department of Education's Project School Emergency Response to Violence and are specifically meant to address 35 shootings over the past year at four high schools in the Englewood community.

“These grants provide support to students, educators and communities impacted by these senseless shootings,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Tragic events damage students and entire communities, and disrupt teaching and learning. These funds will support Chicago schools as they continue to recover from these acts of violence and work to make the community safer so all children can live free of fear.”

CPS applied for the grant and intends to use it on its Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program as well as Response-to-Intervention plans to address violence, including crisis counseling.

According to the Project website, funds can be used for mental health assessments, overtime for teachers, counselors, law enforcement and security officers, and temporary security measures such as metal detectors and additional security guards and security cameras.
I wonder if RAGE is going to get their hands on these funds.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ald. Sawyer releases plan on violence

You can read the whole letter at the Alderman's official website at the following link:
http://www.6thwardchicago.com/2013/02/11/alderman-roderick-t-sawyers-open-letter-on-violence/

Below you can read a one-page press release which is basically the short hand version of the letter you can access via link.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2nd Congressional District Candidate Forum

To take place right on the south side of Chicago at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Blogger Lee Bey will be the moderator. Refer to flyer - sent to us by the GCA - below for more details.

I wonder if any Republican candidates will be invited to this one!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

REMINDER: Black History Presentation Whitney Young library

We posted about this on January 19th. It's still coming up February 7th (TONIGHT) at Whitney Young Library - 7901 S. King Dr - to start at 6 PM. An updated flyer was sent to us by event organizer Jahmal Cole.

UNIT 5: How CTA's One-Day Fare Hike Hurts the Poor


View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

[VIDEO] Carol Marin brought her cameras to a currency exchange at the corner of 79th & Cottage Grove to discuss the fare increases enacted by CTA. Well really these fare increases effects the various passes offered such as the one-day, seven-day, and 30-day passes. The prices for those passes were increased last month.

Basically the focus of this story is the one-day pass considered the cheapest option for CTA customers. It's considered cheaper than similar passes offered by other transit agencies around the nation.

Also who you see interviewed in this video is John Paul Jones who is listed here as part of the Sustainable Englewood Iniative. He's also part of an organization - Developing Communities Project - that wants to see the construction of the CTA Red Line to Altgeld Garden

Chatham McDonald's a Community Hub - DNAinfo.com Chicago


Chatham McDonald's a Community Hub - DNAinfo.com Chicago

Derrick Taylor
A local business gets profiled over at DNAinfo. It's a business I'm sure many who read this blog are very familiar with:
When Derrick Taylor and his wife became franchise owners of a McDonald's in Chatham six years ago, they knew the restaurant would be a popular place to grab a quick bite to eat.

But they had no idea the restaurant at 7900 S. King Dr. would turn into a de facto community center and meeting space.

“It's the busiest place in Chatham," said Trina Burton, 44, a CTA bus driver for 11 years. "This place has relaxing music and not that rap stuff these kids listen to all day. It is clean, convenient, and the food is good, too."

Like other CTA drivers, Burton often just hangs out at the restaurant between shifts.

"I like it, and so do most of my co-workers,” she said.

Senior citizens who live in the area are also regulars.

Jerry Rodgers, 73, of Chatham, meets his friends “at least five days a week at McDonald’s.”

The retired mechanic has kept this routine up for the last five years.
79th & King Drive is a very busy corner and I can only imagine the traffic this Micky D's gets everyday. Taylor and his wife also owns the located near 87th & Dan Ryan as well as the one on the Chicago Skyway located at 8871 S. Kingston Ave.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crain's: How ShoreBank's successor is digging out

It's about time we look at local institution Urban Partnership Bank as they have assumed operations in the branch located near 79th & Dan Ryan. How are they shaking out since they took over for the former ShoreBank:
The successor to ShoreBank, the high-profile urban community lender that failed in August 2010, finally got its loan machine working last year.

Urban Partnership Bank, based on Chicago's South Side, blew through its $26 million loan-origination goal for 2012, lending $35 million to small businesses and real estate investors on the city's South and West sides.

The $1.1 billion-asset bank, which employs 311, has set a $42 million lending goal for 2013. Bank executives said they continue to be cautious yet are finding opportunities in neighborhoods that have been devastated economically and are suffering through a rash of gun violence that has made national headlines.

The good news: “We think fundamentals are stabilizing in our neighborhoods,” CEO William Farrow said in an interview.

But Mr. Farrow's isn't sugarcoating the situation: “As a friend recently said, he could buy his parents' house for the same price they paid in 1963.”

Loans to small businesses such as day care providers, security firms, food-service companies and restaurants make up about 60 percent of Urban Partnership Bank's volume right now. The remainder is commercial real estate loans to apartment rehabbers and investors in single-family homes as Chicago's mainly African-American neighborhoods on the South and West sides begin the long recovery from a housing bust that was significantly deeper than better-off areas experienced.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Geography: Why Are There So Many Murders in Chicago?

Aaron Renn who writes the Urbanophile blog penned this column recently analyzing Chicago's murder rate. The question here is what's going wrong. He mentioned the destruction of CHA housing projects, but he also points to the political meddling in the police department.

Monday, February 4, 2013

ABC 7: Controversy swirls on hiring for South Side Walmart construction


[VIDEO] The Walmart that Ald. Beale is touting as one of his accomplishments as the Alderman of the 9th Ward seems to have a controversy. It seems a man thought he had a job to help build this Walmart and now that he doesn't he claims that the hiring is politically based. I'm going to excerpt Ald. Beale's response:
Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, a candidate for Congress, said he's always recommended private contractors use hiring consultants on projects here to ensure local residents are hired.

"It's been successful for 14 years," Beale said. "It's a process that's in place and it works."
...
Beale denied any connection between his political organization and Maurice Williams.

"There's no connection between my office and Mr. Williams other than he has a company and we direct people to his particular company," Beale said.

Because of the hiring list, the Walmart construction workforce includes 40-percent minority workers, which is well over the city's requirement, according to Beale.
Lot's of questions to be asked here? And of course it's noted in the write-up that the 9th has one of the highest unemployment rates in this city. One question to ask, what's going on here?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ward Room: Why Chicago Is America's Murder Capital

Ed McClelland writing for the Chicago politics section on the website of our local NBC affiliate talks with a retired police lieutenant to discuss the root cause of violence on our city streets:
The other day, I had a conversation with a retired police lieutenant, who explained to me that Chicago’s history of segregation reverberates to this day with street violence unparalleled in any big city.

Going back over 100 years, African-Americans were confined to a narrow strip of the South Side known as the Black Belt. As they migrated north in greater numbers, during and after World War II, the borders of the Black Belt remained the same, while the black population increased dramatically. Instead of allowing them to settle in white neighborhoods, Chicago politicians tried to cram as many as possible into their existing turf. Hence the creation of housing projects, such as the Robert Taylor Homes and the Ida B. Wells Homes. And of Chicago's reputation as the most segregated city in America.

The Vice Lords and the Gangster Disciples developed inside the projects, the lieutenant explained, and used them as strongholds to control drug sales for miles around. The projects were demolished in the 1990s and 2000s. Partly, that was because of the gang violence going on inside -- the killing of 7-year-old Dantrell Davis, accidentally gunned down in a gang crossfire, is referred to as “the shot that brought the projects down.”

When the projects disappeared, the gang culture born inside them didn’t. The gangbangers dispersed throughout the city, but without the projects, their organizing structure was gone. Gang lords operating out of the projects had controlled as many 500 members, allowing them to settle turf disputes and keep a lid on violence that might have drawn unwanted police attention to their drug enterprises.

Now, instead of a few well-organized gangs controlling entire neighborhoods, we have dozens of small gangs fighting over drug-sale territory as small as a street corner.
OK well I wish there was an easy answer for something that it appears no one has a great appetite to really fix. Well at least segregation now, but sadly it's even more difficult to cause something that's very deep.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chicago Tonight: Cook County Treasurer Amps Up Transparency on Local Debt


[VIDEO] This video from a recent edition of Chicago Tonight was forwarded to us last night. It was certainly in relation to the coming event where property owners can visit with representatives of the Cook County Assessor to see if they can apply for any exemptions. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas was on the show two nights ago to discuss where all the debt is in the county.

Sun-Times: City implements 911 dispatch changes freeing up officers for response

With aldermen bracing for the political fallout, Chicago is implementing a dramatic change in 911 dispatch to free the equivalent of 44 police officers a day to respond to the most serious crimes.
As of Sunday, police officers are no longer responding in person to reports of a vehicle theft, garage burglary, or crime where the victim is “safe, secure and not in need of medical attention” and the offender is “not on the scene and not expected to return immediately.”

Instead, those 911 calls are being transferred to the Chicago Police Department’s Alternate Response Section, staffed by officers on light duty. Police reports will be taken over the phone. If necessary, evidence technicians will be assigned later. 
6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer was quoted in this article about the policy change:
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said he’s willing to “take the heat” if it means freeing police officers to respond to more serious crimes.

“I’d rather them be upset than not responding to a domestic battery or burglary or some other crime going on in real time,” Sawyer said.

“We respond to a lot more calls than other cities do. Is there gonna be some push-back? Initially, there will be. But, this seems to be a reasonable response to the volume of calls we get to free officers who sometimes go on calls that turn out to be frivolous.”
Your thoughts?