September 28, 2006

A Serious Attempt by City Hall?

Everyone knows the world has changed in the last 50 years. Kids used to go home at dinnertime and do their homework. Yes, they pretended to be the western heroes with guns - but they were usually cap guns that went pop and didn't smell too good. Now, kids with the wrong set of values given by a too lenient society carry real guns. If they can't get their hands on the real thing, they can always pretend and bully their way with a look alike. Some go home when they're damned good and ready and scoff at homework.

And the liberals can scream and point but the stats remain the same. If the homes are as terrible as some social services agencies claim, then what are these agencies in business to do? Hold tea parties and banquets? Granted, you can't help someone who doesn't want help, but are kids included in this broad brush too? They shouldn't be.

I had the honor of knowing a music teacher who taught begining band to freshmen and intermediate to those who had taken music in grammer school. After school was the 9th hour for his concert band class. This class was on his time after school so ALL musicians could be a part of the concert band. The often overused word 'diversity' was exactly the composition of this class. It was the neighborhood high school and home for the International Baccalaureate program. Students came from every part of the city. Every ethnic and socio-economic group was represented. The class was the one free hour where all could assemble and perfect their musical gifts.

The man not only taught music, he taught life sense. There were times when a student would disrupt the class. If a stern look didn't stop the problem, the baton would fly and the sermon would begin. He insisted that students, like adults, had to earn respect. The requirements to enter this 9th hour class were to keep up the grades in all studies, be on time and represent the human race in school events. His drop out rate was low and the level of mutual respect was high. It was a tight group that few dared to intrude upon. Those life lessons are still with the students he taught.

So what is the point in comparing a pretend gun ban by Club 50 to a good teacher? A good teacher is paid by our taxes and the result is a group of young people who may have learned in a classroom what they would never have learned at home. Club 50 is paid by our taxes and after a year of banning where people smoke, what they can/cannot eat, what stores can enter Chicago, how much they must pay, Club 50 is finally making an attempt to deal with a serious reality.

They need some refresher courses in life sense . It should be a required course to all government payroll recepients this election year.

CAPS Beat 2422 Meeting 9/14/2006

9/14/06 Beat 2422 CAPS Meeting

Beat Wide

Contact Cards: 362
Case Reports: 132
Arrests: 111

Priority Area
Arrestees from 2422: 63

Domestics: 4
Simple Battery: 5
Vice (not Narc): 3
Quality of Life: 34
Narcotics: 33
UUW: 1
Theft: 15
Robbery: 0

Jargowood 2
Birchwood/Greenview: 11
Triangle Park Area: 3
Bosworth: 12
Clark: 2
Jonquil: 10
Juneway: 4
Marshfield: 7
Rogers: 6
Sheridan: 7

Noteworthy Incidents/Arrests:

Sex Offender - Failure to Register 2
Aggravated Battery with a Handgun 1
Warrant Arrests 7

Beat Priorities: An officer is on the Howard Street/Gateway Mall beat during the day and another is on the daytime beat in the vicinity of Gale School.

Building Updates: No one mentioned any.

Guest Speaker from the Chicago Fire Department, John Hernandez, spoke to fire safety, and stated that most fires occur in the kitchen area. The act of placing the lid on a skillet will extinguish most fires by eliminating the oxygen feed. Also mentioned was the need to purchase two fire extinguishers. He suggested the second one be used in an alleyway to 'practice'. Apparently, the City has suspended classes on how to use fire extinguishers. Hernandez stated that he was unable to discuss the 7706 Marshfield fire of 9/3/06 that claimed the lives of 6 children.

The fire was still a topic of discussion. It was pointed out that one agency and the principal of Gale School knew about the electricity turn off. No one from the agency or the principal was in attendance to agree or disagree to that statement. Hernandez did state that nationwide, candles are the number 1 cause of fire, and careless smokng is the number 2 cause.

He did state that some of the zoning laws are old and outdated. The safest system is a hard-wired detector with a back-up battery.

One resident asked about the status of the traffic study on the curve at Sheridan. At the August meeting, Kevin Cosgrove attended and stated he'd started the process. Alicia Lopez was to follow-up on the request.

Another resident mentioned her husband's pick up being towed from Jonquil. Ms. Lopez stated that there are parking restrictions/permits but it isn't well-known. The resident stated there are no signs indicating restrictions or permits.

Community announcements were made as attendees got in line for free smoke detectors.

The next meeting is October 12, 2006 at 7:00PM

September 27, 2006

Freakonomics - a totally different perspective

Freakonomics is my train book this week. A new hire at work was discussing a book he read with another co-worker and me. It was somewhat amusing to note two different reactions to the overview he gave. For those of you who see what is and wonder why, or wonder why it is still that way, check out this book! Steven Levitt is known as a 'rogue economist'. Check out the blog link too if you're curious.

"Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?"

Co-authored by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Saving Ducks - Again

September 27, 2006
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

"Not surprisingly, Ald. Joe Moore (49th), chief sponsor of the foie gras ban, had a different view.

"The City Council won't be taken seriously if they do repeal this. It would be a travesty if the City Council repealed an ordinance that tried to forbid a product of animal torture and animal cruelty. It would, in essence, be saying 'We countenance that,' " he said."

What isn't mentioned is what this alderman does 'countenance' or tolerate:

Patronage to developers
Patronage to certain nonprofits
Patronage to upzone or downzone certain areas for certain property owners
Patronage to certain bad landlords aka slumlords
Patronage to campaign contributions by same
Patronage to campaign shenanigans

Not enough patronage to the voting taxpayers, their children - that's why NOH remains pretty much the same year after year. It only took YEARS to get bulldozers in Gale Park and nicely timed for a re-election bid. Yes, insult our intelligence again by insisting that we tolerate being ignored, tolerate not having a voice in the decisions being made.

Meanwhile, chicken bones and chip bags, not duck carcasses and expensive side dishes in styrofoam containers, litter Howard Street. Take care of your ward not the world - some of us can't stomach the mentality.

September 26, 2006

Rep. Urkel on Education

Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 1997

When House lawmakers tried again in April to repeal the near century-old perk of handing out tuition-free scholarships, Rep. Todd Stroger was among the minority voting against it.

Newly released state records on Monday showed Stroger (D-Chicago) also was among the few lawmakers who have recently awarded a scholarship to a family that has provided him with campaign contributions.

While lawmakers eventually failed to kill the scholarships, which cost the state more than $4 million annually, they had agreed in last year's fall legislative session for public disclosure in the future of the names, addresses and universities of the recipients.

So, after decades of being shrouded in secrecy, the first of those records released under the new state law show 55 of the state's 177 legislators have awarded scholarships to 137 recipients, providing them with $389,450 in tuition waivers to public universities across Illinois.

The scholarships ranged from $375 to send a Downstate El Paso woman to a summer course in dietics and nutrition at Illinois State University to a $16,800 waiver awarded by former Sen. Thomas Dunn (D-Joliet) to send a Joliet man to three years of dental school at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

The move to abolish the scholarships was prompted by reports that lawmakers frequently used them to reward political friends and traded the tuition waivers with other legislators to help students outside of their districts.

But with the public release of the recipients, most lawmakers appear to have stayed away from using the waivers as a political benefit, although at least three legislators awarded scholarships totaling more than $6,000 to students whose families have contributed to their political campaigns.

State Board of Education records, for example, show Stroger awarded a one-year scholarship at Governors State University to Carmen Triche of Chicago's South Side. Triche told the state she estimated the tuition waiver was worth $1,090.

That amount is almost double the campaign contributions that have been donated to Stroger's campaign fund since September 1994 from the Triche address, state records show.

Campaign disclosure reports filed with the State Board of Elections show that a Carmen Triche of the same address as the scholarship recipient donated $350 to Stroger's campaign fund and a Dove Triche of the same address has given $200.

Stroger was not available for comment

September 25, 2006

Take A Break

Press any key to start.

Be Creative

It might help you decide who to vote for.

September 24, 2006

Representative Urkel's Record

Todd "Urkel" Stroger occupied a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, as Representative from the 31st Legislative District on Chicago's south side. Here's his record of legislative initiatives:

91st General Assembly
Became a Public Act on 7/9/99

Summary: Amends the Environmental Protection Act. Provides an increase in civil penalties for open dumping from $500 per offense to $1,500 for a first offense and $3,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

Yup. That's it! 9 years paid as a legislator in Springfield (his official bio calls it 10), ONE (1) contribution to the laws of Illinois. Increasing penalties for fly dumping. Not a new category of crime, an increased penalty.

Urkel was first elected to the Illinois House on November 3, 1992. Urkel was slated to succeed Donne Trotter when Trotter bumped himself up to the State Senate. Urkel has never faced a primary opponent. Urkel never had a Republican opponent, and never had an opponent at all except for an independent in his 1st attempt.

Urkel was a State of Illinois House Representative until Mayor Daley appointed him Alderman from the 8th ward in September, 2001 to fill the vacancy left by the cancer death of John Stroger protege Lorraine Dixon, another Daley appointee. Urkel "went on to a higher calling," as Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie explained. Significantly, Urkel never faced an incumbent Alderman in an election, never won election to the City Council as a challenger.

What say we annoint this guy head of a $3B/year government?

Behind The Scenes

Behind the scenes not mentioned in the article, is a decades old story of the 'religious' founders that declared this neighborhood to be home to the poor. What Mr. Daniel Romero didn't mention to the interviewer is that many subsidized renters eat there after spending their checks on _____? Or what about the patrons who stop in after they’ve depleted their monthly Link Card for cash trades? Also not mentioned is the 'connection' to the Women's Shelter and other properties of the religious founder. The women and their children in the shelter are required to eat there. That bumps the number up a tad. He didn't mention it's also a 'social thing' for some more than a dire necessity. He also didn't mention where certain dinner guests hang out after he goes home. Nor is mention made of the fights that require a call to 911. The kitchen’s guests are not drugging, squatting, defecating and urinating in his neighborhood. He doesn't live here.

According to reports in the papers, the Ramirez family ate at the soup kitchen. Since Mr. Daniel Romero wants to know everyone's business, I'm surprised he didn't know about their plight. He could have gathered his local and imported North Shore religious protesters and his bullhorn in front of ComEd! Or more sensibly, made some phone calls. Perhaps he did?

This is another experiment in keeping the status quo, keeping those North Shore contributors pouring in the bucks. Keep the poor in their place, keep control on other peoples situations. The kitchens spin-off, North Side Power tried its best to get TIF dollars for job training from the taxpayers for it’s Ultimate Power, MAC, where he and his boss are members. Moore had to be educated in the process of job training with tax bucks or maybe he forgot? According to the article, Mr. Daniel Romero states there is no government funding. Well, not from the Howard/Paulina TIF anyway.

Regarding community safety - no one has seen him or his boss join the neighborhood walks this year. He irregularily attends CAPS meetings but often sends a non Beat 2422 resident to take notes. The blue police cam on Howard is not a result of his work either, so it would help to clarify which two blue lights he refers to. Regarding Commander Rottner - well, that was a not too polite welcome to introduce a new leader was it? Most speeches were scripted by Mr. Daniel and no question/answer time was permitted to taxpayers in this so-called 'community meeting'. Again, the control feature.

The Kitchen will present their third annual "Celebrating Good Works Awards Banquet & Benefit" next month at the Oak Room in the Sears Tower. Silent auction, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres begin at 6pm, dinner and awards presentation begin at 6:30pm. (diluted version from ward 49 web site) He’ll advertise, I won’t.

”Sponsorships, tables, ads, and individual tickets are available.”

Please contribute to the status quo. Of course, it’s noble to feed those less fortunate, but to not follow the pattern beyond zip code tracking is obtuse. One meal a night isn’t helping the poor transition from their plight. Instead of the Kenilworthers busing into NOH, why don’t they purchase a nice building - with adjacent living quarters/school in their town and bus the hungry there? Let the revolution begin there.

September 23, 2006

Tactics of Ward 49 Bounce to Ward 8

Chicago, IL... Yesterday, in an obvious attempt to deflect attention away from Todd Stroger's inconsistent and outright false statements about his relationship with embattled former county patronage chief Gerald Nichols, one of his 8th Ward henchmen, who is now under federal scrutiny for allegedly directing illegal hiring at Cook County, Stroger's campaign manager Mike Noonan, said the following,

"The voters are starting to realize the truth about 'Phony Tony.' Tony Peraica would say anything and do anything in order to implement his radical right wing agenda on the good people of Cook County."

On the ABC-Channel 7 report after Mr. Noonan's Chicken Little routine, ABC-7 political editor Andy Shaw noted,

"Stroger's campaign manager, however, did not answer repeated questions about Stroger's relationship with Gerald Nichols."

Today, Peraica campaign general consultant Dan Proft released the following response,

"First, Mr. Noonan's statements are about as climactic as the sun rising in the east. When the Peraica campaign released a poll in late July showing Tony Peraica with a slight 4-point lead over Ald. Todd Stroger, Peraica warned at the time the public's opinion of Todd Stroger was cemented. The only chance Todd Stroger had for victory was slash-and-burn politics and personal smears against Tony Peraica, instead of those issues that are truly front-and-center in this contest-namely, ending political corruption; tax reduction; and reform of major county departments like the heath bureau and the juvenile detention facility. When the facts aren't with you, you attack your opponent.

"And so it begins.

"Second, Todd Stroger has put together quite an interesting campaign team. Mr. Noonan is a long-time business partner with former City of Chicago IGA Director Victor Reyes, who is under federal scrutiny (and named in federal proffers) for directing illegal hiring at the City of Chicago. Noonan was with Reyes at the law firm of Greenburg Traurig and then left with him to start their current enterprise, The Roosevelt Group.

"Meanwhile back at the ranch in the 8th Ward, on the very day that the FBI raids county offices ostensibly looking for paperwork related to hiring schemes directed by Gerald Nichols, Nichols is sitting in Todd Stroger's 8th Ward aldermanic office making phone calls to try and raise campaign cash for Stroger-something the Stroger camp confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Brazen does not begin to describe the Stroger operation.

"Todd Stroger has truly put the band back together and they're hoping to play 'Same as it ever was,' on election night. Two of the key figures in the unfolding hiring scandals in BOTH the county and city are directly, or by extension, part of Todd Stroger's kitchen cabinet.

"This group does not belong in Cook County politics, they belong in a Franz Kafka novel.

"Have we had enough, indeed."

Dan Proft, General Consultant, Tony Peraica for Cook County Board President.

September 22, 2006

Play the Urkel Drinking Game

The First Peraica - Urkel Debate
The Tribune editorial board's first question: Mr. Urkel, please outline your record of legislative initiatives during your two terms as state rep:

"There were several initiatives, they were all defeated by the Republican Senate."

When pressed for an example of legislation actually passed, Urkel had one: increasing fines for fly dumping.

The Tribune politely declined to ask after Urkel's record as an Alderman.

Now, on with the game! Gather round your friends, pour yourself a tall one of your fav beverage and play along at home! (Warning: have some refills staged nearby.)

"I don't know..." - one sip

"I'm not sure..." - one sip

"I can't tell you..." - one sip

(These are one sip in the interest of sobriety. Don't put your drink down!)

"Gerald Nichols has never worked on my campaign." -full drink

"Management positions in the Bureau of Health are ripe for consolidation." -full drink

"I never told any distruth about my father's health." -full drink

"A no new taxes pledge is not good government." -full drink

"I don't call myself a reformer." - one drink

Now - who won? You be the judge!

ALLEGEDLY - Joe and Jay Knew

September 22, 2006,

"Levin said the family believed there was a mistake in the bill and said they had worked with social service agencies and the local alderman's office to resolve it."

"But it repeated an assertion made by Johnson earlier that the apartment had smoke detectors, according to a September 2005 inspection of the apartment by the management company. Also, the statement said, an inspection conducted last week by an independent licensed fire safety professional found that each of the 14 other units in the building is equipped with a working smoke detector."

These photos were taken on Labor Day 2006. A neighbor called stating that Johnson’s workers were entering the building with smoke detectors. So I walked over and asked if they were hired by Johnson. In broken English, they stated a third party contacted them for Johnson. Several of us wondered if the investigation was over and called the FPD. According to someone who finally responded, ‘there would be a police officer in front of the building if the investigation was not over’.

jj fire 052

jj fire 042

The same neighbor nudged me and pointed 'there's Johnson'. So the 'third party' must have called JJ so he could check on the work? As the camera tells you, the worker is talking to Johnson in his SUV.
jj fire 049

Now here's what was reported on September 6, 2006

Chicago building inspectors Tuesday said they found some working smoke detectors inside the Rogers Park building where six children died in a weekend fire, while others were unresponsive or had dead batteries.

Chicago Tribune 9/6/06

Certainly, by September 21, Johnson can state there are working fire detectors in these buildings! A little too much far too late.


See Photo 19 with Police Guard on Sunday 9/3/06

The police were in front of the building on Sunday, September 3. Another photo, #20 captures the CFD investigators on the same day. It was also the same day that Moore finally arrived at the scene handing out free smoke detectors.

The photos I took of the two electricians was on Labor Day, Monday September 4. That's when the neighbor called me about their activities. There was no police presence in front of the building when I arrived. We tried calling 911 and 311 to see if the investigation was 'completed' or if this an attempt to install 'working' smoke detectors in the other apartments in 7706. There were clean up crews removing the debris from the front and back where firefighters tossed furniture and clothing after the fire was extinguished. A fire truck just happened to drive up Marshfield and two of us 'hailed' it and asked if the investigation was complete or if these two were invading a crime scene. The firefighter on the 'passenger' side said he'd make a call. Later a sergeant in a red van drove up and entered the building. I asked if the workers should be in a crime scene. He said that the owner must have gotten permission for them to be there and that if the investigation was not complete there would be a police guard at the gate.

We can only assume the investigators entered ALL units in that building since it was stated some of the detectors did not work properly or at all. One may also assume that the tenants displaced the night of the fire at some point would return and no doubt Johnson wanted to ensure their safety? The FPD was aware at 2:00am on September 3, 2006 that other detectors in that building did not sound an alarm right away. Otherwise, the tenant below would have awakened to the alarm, not the smell of smoke and Al Tillman pounding on his door. The FPD was in that building in the early hours of Sunday morning and could not find evidence of any smoke detectors in that apartment or in the debris outside.

One last note: At last week's CAPS meeting the representative from the CFD stated he could not discuss the fire at 7706 because the investigation was still ongoing. A police officer added that it takes time to compile the evidence and cited the length of time (2 years?) it took to get answers to the County Building fire in 2003. Also mentioned at that meeting was the knowledge by one agency and the principal of Gale School that the family was without electricity. Nothing was mentioned about an agency working with the alderman's office nor did the representative attending from ward 49 speak up on the issue. It was a somewhat disjointed statement since we have more than one agency here who was somehow involved with the family. We also have the soup kitchen here and there are two Spanish speaking leaders there who want to know everything that affects poor people here. The only reference to other agencies and the soup kitchen was made by reporters. That tunnel vision needs to change.

September 21, 2006

Families File Suit Against Johnson - CIG

By Oscar Avila
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 21, 2006, 5:46 PM CDT

"No one who played a part in this tragedy will go without scrutiny," attorney Steven Levin said at a news conference in front of the Rogers Park apartment, where wood covers burnt-out windows and stuffed animals remain as a shrine to the dead children.

A spokesman for Johnson, the general partner for Marshway Limited, said he could not comment because company officials had not seen the lawsuit.

But the building owner affirmed his commitment to working with the city to determine why the fire occurred and to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
That's OK Jay, Chicago doesn't need any more of your commitments. North of Howard definitely doesn't need your concern.

FBI searches Cook County hiring offices

By Mickey Ciokajlo, Tribune staff reporter, September 21, 2006, 3:35 PM CDT

The FBI executed a search warrant today at the offices of the Cook County Bureau of Human Resources, the first public indication that federal investigators are interested in personnel matters at the county.

Agents also visited Cook County health facilities Thursday and delivered a subpoena to the offices of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

The search at the Bureau of Human Resources, 118 N. Clark St., where county government keeps its hiring records, began around 9 a.m., and is part of an ongoing federal probe, FBI spokeswoman Cynthia Yates said. ...

Federal agents also visited Stroger, Oak Forest, Provident and Cermak [David Fagus, CEO] hospitals ... Each of the hospitals has its own human resources unit.


OH HAPPY DAY! No word on whether the Fagus File was snatched up.

Ward 49'ers Could Keep The Line Hot

From aldermanic partiality and ‘favors’ to contributors, developers, certain other agencies, to not forwarding citizen complaints to City authorities, to behind the scenes alliances with some non-profits that are NOT in the best interest of all constituents, to allegedly not knowing who is opening businesses or who is working without building permits, to the simple unacceptable habit of not returning calls or emails. The blame bounces to the voters in the end.

There are several possible reasons to consider the word corrupt:

a. Too busy saving the world
b. Tarnished with builder buds money
c. Other dastardly alliances
d. Protecting the wrong people and ruining neighborhoods
e. Unconcerned and out of touch

But it's Chicago and we can just move if we don't like it.

September 20, 2006

Zoning for sale: Moore fundraising proceeding apace

In Chicago wards, custom legislative services, new laws for fee, selling the services of your elected office, is the main fundraising tool of incumbent Aldermen. Moore's campaign fundraising efforts are progressing apace despite what for a less capable operator would be serious distractions, such as deaths by fire in a major campaign contributor's and committee member's building and defending his animal rights and living wage positions.

Zoning board reviews projects


THANK YOU! To the Pioneer Press and Ms. Swanson for your commitment to local news. The simple act of attending these meetings and reporting back is a tremendous boon to the community. Let's hope shining a little daylight on this important back-room process becomes a regular feature.

Sadly, while the Alderman's web site features extensive up-to-date information on his child safety and national initiatives, the Alderman's web site makes no mention of this meeting: no announcement, no meeting notice, no agenda, no minutes.

At the meeting of Moore's insider planning committee:

7649 N Paulina

Committee member asks for permission to pull a trailer on to Good News property North of Howard to use as a classroom for school children.

1523-35 W Howard

Major Moore contributor Robert Coe, business partner of major Moore contributor and committee member Rich Aronson, and developer of Coe's Hole, DevCorp North's new World Headquarters at Morse and Greenview, asked Moore for custom legislation to permit him to build a five-story, mixed-use building.

1766-76 W. Estes

Major Moore contributor Balvinder Singh asked Moore for custom legislation to permit him to build a 56 foot tall, half-block self storage project, between Touhy and Estes, between the alley and the Metra.

Balvinder Singh to Citizens for Joe Moore

$1,000.00 11/1/2004
$500.00 2/19/2003
$1,000.00 5/22/2002
$2,500.00 5/22/2002

Notice the "split" contributions on 5/22/2002, a common technique for trying to keep under the radar.

A-One Carpets, Inc
2341 W. Devon
Balvinder Singh, President, Secretary, and owner
to Citizens for Joe Moore

$500.00 2/25/2005
$500.00 3/25/2004
$500.00 8/19/2004
$2,500.00 7/24/2003

Contributing under your own name and then again under your business is another time-honored technique for circumventing Our Fair City's Pathetic Ethics Laws, which make a feeble attempt to limit contributions from those seeking to do business with the City, including zoning changes.

Balvinder Singh to Democratic Party of the 49th Ward

$600.00 10/30/2004
$600.00 6/30/2004
$600.00 5/30/2004
$600.00 4/30/2004
$600.00 3/31/2004
$600.00 3/2/2004
$600.00 1/31/2004

A-One Carpet to Democratic Party of the 49th Ward

$600.00 9/30/2004
$600.00 8/30/2004
$600.00 7/30/2004
$500.00 12/20/2003

Contributing to the ward organization in addition to the Alderman's PAC is another time-honored dodge.

David Fagus is 49th Ward Committeeman, Chairman of the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward, AND a member of Moore's insider planning committee.

Singh was Fagus' landlord at 2049 W Howard in 2003 and 2004. Fagus got free rent for years from Singh. Now Singh gets custom legislative services from the Alderman.

September 19, 2006

Don't Get Duped - Again

Some bloggers like to bitch and moan about the semantics of the candidates. I can’t unless I hear the verbiage (or read) in full context. Whatever.
Words are words. Actions are actions.

Today marked the beginning of petition signing for ALL aldermanic candidates. When I saw my nemesis Craig Berryhill smoozing up to people at the Howard El, I knew what the next post had to be about. Petition Education.

I loudly reminded Mr. Berryhill that he shouldn’t forget to tell petition signers that they can only sign ONE candidates petition, it was the law. He chimed back that I was wrong, it was dependent upon who got their petition notarized first. He knows the ‘law’. Well, his version of his law and what I pulled from the 2007 Chicago Election Pamplet read a little differently.

This is how Mr. Moore’s ‘team’ plays and it’s not according to the law.
Here’s Berryhill violating election laws in March 2006 Team Moore avoids telling petition signers the truth so other candidates petitions can be challenged, discredited, and struck down.


Chicago Election Pamphlet 2007

Signing petition sheets – Page 5
Each person signing the petition must personally sign the petition. No one may sign another person’s name or signature on the petition, including spouses or members of the family for another person. [10 ILCS 5/10-4]
The signer's residence address must be written or printed opposite his or her name and shall include the street address, city and county, except that the City of Chicago and Cook County may be printed on the petition forms. [10 ILCS 5/10-4]
Petition signers must, at the time they signed the petition, be registered voters at an address within the ward in which the candidate is seeking election. [10 ILCS 5/3-1.2, 5/10-4]
Petition signers may not sign more than one nominating petition for the same office. [10
ILCS 5/10-3]

Here are your choices that have publicly announced their candidacy in alphabetical order:

Chris Adams

Jim Ginderske

music06 009

Don Gordon

music06 007

If anyone else is declaring, let me know.

Defiance Notice

Jay Johnson and the Building Department keep the poster business alive and well. This shot was taken at 1643 W. Howard – part of the Howard Theater Building on or near the day the orange notice landed on the door. I wouldn’t want to venture which ‘organization’ owns the wooden veggie stand-ups for fear of being called a nay sayer. So I’ll settle for posting the bright orange message.

Is there a pattern of defiance regarding the Building Department, or is it just my camera?

NOH happenings8.27.05 007

NOH happenings8.27.05 006

September 18, 2006

Electronic Shot Spotters

Perhaps Club 50 could investigate and invest in some. They would be wonderful for the month of July 4th.

The spotters read sound waves and can differentiate between gunfire, fireworks, cars backfiring and similar bangs.

Thanks Anne!

September 17, 2006

Auto Theft Ring Busted

According to the press release Rogers Park, 24th was a target of this crew.

September 16, 2006

Club 50 missed this chance

“ComEd says its rates in the Chicago area will be 14 percent lower than the average rate for the 10 largest metropolitan areas. But the Illinois Attorney General's office, which is suing to reverse the auction, said Illinois' rates for 2007 are now 25 percent higher than other states in the region."

"If this had been a truly competitive auction, the prices would have been much lower," said senior assistant attorney general Susan Hedman.”

Club 50 (City Council) missed this chance to make sensible history. Again. They seem to miss many opportunities to appear hard-working and concerned about their constituents well-being. Our representative should have been concocting an ordinance to freeze electric and gas rates for his low income voters. Perhaps, after the fact, Joe and a fellow club 50 rep will demand hearings in Council Chambers with a hand selected audience?

Maybe he'll get to sit in Richard Daley's chair again?

September 15, 2006

World Music Festival

The weather forecast looks perfect for a music festival.

In case you get 'bored' do stop at the competition's safety stage in Pottawattomie Park with your children. There's a big treat for them in the health tent - get their teeth checked and fill them with savory junk food and soda.

The sky's the limit!

Connecting The Dots

Physicians aren’t the only professionals required to report suspected child abuse or suspected neglect. Neglect doesn't always mean visible physical abuse. Neglect could also be interpreted as looking the other way to avoid involvement in a delicate situation. It's a difficult call to make.

At tonight's CAPS meeting, the guest speaker was from the educational arm of the Fire Department. Immediately after introducing himself, he stated he could not answer questions about the 7706 Marshfield fire because it was still under investigation. Period. People still discussed candles and absence of electricity. Contrary to what this gentleman stated, the press was only repeating the candle theory because it was stated by Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco at press conferences. He didn’t state a candle was the cause, but a possible cause. Let the dodging begin. I’m sorry sir, the media was holding microphones, not doing tabloid fantasies.

It was stated by someone other than the FPD person that events occurred between ComEd turning off the electricity and the tragic fire that took the lives of 6 children. It was stated that a social service agency (or persons employed there) was aware the family may have had no electricity. It was also stated that the principal of Gale School was allegedly aware of the situation. (No one from the agency or the principal was present.) School just started which leads one to count the months of summer break. Court records show there were eviction proceedings that were dropped by the plaintiff or landlord, Johnson in 2005. Payment must have been reconciled, therefore no eviction. The media quoted Johnson et al as having done a check on smoke detectors in 2005. A year ago.

While everyone was discussing Com Ed and the family, what about the judicial system that should have been aware that an impoverished family was behind in their rent? The court is in the linked list too. The key word is ‘family’. Any time a defendant is brought into eviction court, the judge should automatically notify utilities if the welfare of children is at stake.

Logically, the next step in chain of debt is the non-payment of utilities. It happens to people in the middle income bracket too. Middle incomers often tend to ignore utility bills due to an insane priority to pay the cable, cell phone, SUV and credit card bills first. ComEd and Peoples Gas have their priority – making a profit, collecting or turning off. Middle incomers are often guilty of living beyond their means. Low incomers are guilty victims of a system that pretends to work for them and their children.

It’s a politically sensitive issue at the moment and there are powers that will go to any length to protect certain individuals. One may ‘argue’ that the family was provided with the information to seek help and allegedly they didn’t. My concern is if what I heard at the meeting tonight is true, then why didn't those who allegedly knew not take the necessary steps to intervene? None of us know all the rules, laws, and regulations so how could immigrants with a language barrier comprehend the big picture? Intervention doesn’t have to be a frightening, negative or threatening process if done intelligently. Unfortunately, intimidation and fear tactics are the general modus operandi of the legal system, powers that be, and landlords. Poor people aren’t aggressively educated in their rights and continue to live in fear.

Someone with proper credentials should be tabulating every subsidized utility account and do some tactful educating on how poor people can get help and follow-up with some precautionary steps. Otherwise, this will not be the last tragic loss of lives.

The next on the list are those in charge of subsidized housing vouchers. Whether a whole building is subsidized or just individual tenants with vouchers, they're subject to HUD’s rules. There should be mandatory inspections of all subsidized apartments or buildings. Random is a senseless word and an easy out. If people weren’t poor they wouldn’t be residing in subsidized buildings. If HUD was watching who they dole out tax credits to these buildings would be safe. If the alderman had been listening to his constituents……. Two aldermanic candidates sent press releases about the situation shortly after the fire. 9/14/06 our alderman informed constituents that he wants an ‘investigation’. I thought that’s exactly what the Chicago Fire Department is doing. Did we miss something?

ComEd is giving us a rate hike. Peoples Gas has been gouging customers for years. How about a Club 50 ordinance about that?

September 14, 2006

Is There A Tax Trail To Slumlords?

One comment in the mailbox offered up questions. No matter how radical they may have read to some, I thought I'd visit HUD's website. Here are some excerpts from studies, some rules and regulations. The biggest unanswered question I pose, is how do these sub-standard landlords get in the door and stay in a neighborhood?

Thirty Some Years Later


Public Housing Agencies(PHA's)
page 12
PHAs have the ability to sanction both bad tenants and bad landlords. Landlords must include language in their leases that establishes the right to terminate tenancy for drug-related or violent criminal activity or for activity engaged in by the tenant or his or her household, guests, or any other person under his or her control if that behavior threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants, the owner or manager, or persons in the immediate vicinity. A PHA may determine not to renew a Housing Assistance Payment contract with an owner who refuses to terminate a tenant for these reasons. In addition, owners with a history of non-compliance with Housing Quality Standards or failure to meet State or local housing codes may also be denied participation in the program Who's minding the HUD store? Our tax assistance is contributing to substandard landlords. How are we helping good low-income neighbors if they aren't in a safe, clean environment? If they're safe, then chances are the rest of the neighborhood will be safe. Very simple isn't it? It should be more than scripted words on a web page, it should be action time in City Hall.

Type In Addresses That Concern You For starters, type in 7722 North Ashland, Chicago IL 60626. My screen shows Ashland I and II with the LIHTC icon, does yours? Does the icon pop up on Marshway/Juneway and the Broadmoor?

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Why Are Some Of Our Known Bad Landlords Still In Business with the government?

You can open the pdf document and read in its entirety.

Someone in a leadership role should be asking these questions instead of yelling about duck livers and big boxes. How about cleaning up ward 49 and protecting all voters - of all income levels and races? It isn't just a national or state issue, it's a neighborhood issue. Our neighborhood. No more buck passing.

No one is safe with irresponsible (mostly non-resident) property owners in Ward 49 and NOH - tenants and neighbors alike.

A Sensible Proposal For A Change?

Now that McDonald's is planning to invest in 'obesity studies' is Eddie Burke going to get on the protect humans track? At least it's more in tune with his taxpayer paid salary than his transfat issue.

It's not as though it hasn't been mentioned before

September 13, 2006

Beat 2422 CAPS Meeting

The regular CAPS meeting of Beat 2422 will be Thursday, September 14 at 7:00PM. The meeting place is the Gateway Senior Apartments, 7450 N. Rogers, 1st floor community room.

Ramirez Children Wake and Funerals

Ramirez Family
Visitation and Funeral Services

Visitation: Tuesday, Sept. 12. 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Weinstein Funeral Home, 1300 W. Devon

Funeral: Wednesday, Sept. 13. 11:00 am
St. Jerome’s, 1704 W. Lunt St.

Burial: Maryhill Cemetery
8600 Milwaukee Ave. Niles, IL

The Ramirez Family Fund
Donations to "The Ramirez Family Fund" can now be made directly to any LaSalle Bank location. The fund is being administered by the Howard Area Community Center. Donations may be made in person or by mail with checks made payable to "The Ramirez Family Fund". The Gateway Centre Branch of LaSalle Bank at 7516 N. Clark Street, Chicago, is the location of the Fund account. Donations may also be dropped off or mailed to HACC, 7648 N. Paulina, Chicago, IL 60626. If you have any questions, feel free to contact NHNA (773-465-2433) or the HACC (773-262-6622).

From 9/12/06 Tribune

So Terribly Sad

Not mentioned is the presence of the alderman or the landlord. If they didn't show was it out of respect to the families? Will Moore finally stop grandstanding in front of the cameras? Let's hope it stays that way for the funerals today.

A long, wide ribbon on one floral arrangement said "Ald. Joe Moore" in large letters. Another floral arrangement had a more tasteful card from Mayor and Mrs. Daley. Many arrangements had the children's names on the ribbons. It is, after all, about six children and those left behind.

When I left, people were in line on Devon to pay their respects.

Big Box Going Down?

from the Sun Times:

The protesters were bused in by ACORN and led by the Rev. Robin Hood, who warned that if Daley's veto is sustained, "You will see people in different communities ... coming together to change aldermen and vote a mayor out."
More threats, more manipulations, more excuses. Even Ald. Schiller notes it's a "narrow" ordinance. Up here NOH we're used to that mode of thinking. It's been narrowed to a priveleged few and the rest of us are noticed now and again. Especially at election or save thy arse time. It's been in the latter mode since 9/3/06.

We need refreshing in Ward 49 for the faux pas that kept the attention on foie gras and big box and pals rather than the people living here.

September 12, 2006

Coleman's Denial On Investigation

"Tony Gonzalez, owner of Ever Green Landscaping Contractors in Chicago Heights, said Monday he's in the business of selling Christmas trees to the city, not donating them, especially an $11,000 one to an alderman he barely knows. Gonzalez said Williams ordered the tree and said she would pay for it, but never did."

A little extravagant for a poor ward isn't it? Can he list it as a tax write-off now? She claims it was a donation.

The on-going problem of non-separation of church and state.

September 11, 2006

Get The Microscope

While they're at it, they may as well check out everyone in Club 50. We've watched or read the smoke detector excuses by Joe Moore for his friend, contributor and holiday turkey provider, Johnson. Before the tragedy, many of us heard excuses when we complained about the condition of his properties - and those of a few other owners up here. We either received no response, or the usual brush off to another ward49 worker. It's been labeled Progressive yet this last minute desperate distraction from the negligence NoH is pathetic.

Johnson was the toast of the town a few years ago. Then the tides turned and he wasn't quite so welcome in certain groups. Yet, Moore stubbornly kept this connection. Is it the developer bond we see far too often in the infomercials? Johnson is no longer part of the Rogers Park Builders Group, but is a suburbanite sitting on a City of Chicago ward zoning committee. How much longer will that last?

There's appears to be a connection between the agencies and their web sites since the family requested donations be made to HACC - yet some community web sites do NOT MENTION HACC. Why? Maybe Johnson is right to a certain extent, there seems to be a lot of blame to go around. Patronage.

This man vouches for Johnson with his statement: "This is not a sleaze guy, slumlord person," said Rev. Jerry Wise, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Woodlawn, which is planning to develop affordable housing with Johnson in its South Side neighborhood. "We checked out Jay a lot before we decided to go into business with him."

No offense to Rev. Wise, but what stage are the South Side developments in and what is the completion date? One states "75% SOLD" but are they finished? Was North Side tax money for our low income neighbors re-invested in these developments? Better check out the sources you were given.

September 10, 2006

Tax Appeals for Rogers Park

Many say they've lost appeals until they had legal representation. So you pay legal fees and then the taxes. What's wrong with this picture?

Mandatory Screening - Long Overdue

Many times this idea have been tossed around in discussions NOH and elsewhere. It should be extended to any landowner offering any government assisted housing. This mix of rents and rules for all is long overdue and it will be interesting to see how it works out. Rules for a community to live by. Drug testing is mandatory for most job applicants by the way and certin jobs require background checks.

"They have to realize that not all people in public housing are bad. That bad element that brought down public housing is being weeded out," Levy-Rogers said.

That "weeding out" process is more than a little controversial, as you know, and I wouldn't want anybody to think that I've forgotten that this "bad element" -- some of which wasn't as bad as others -- has had to go somewhere, and that we didn't solve the overall societal problem by moving them out of sight.

But this new sanitized version of public housing for what you might call the "good people" definitely looks like an improvement for those who get to live there."

Taxpayer assisted housing is a privelege, there should be safeguards for the law abiding low income families, middle income, and surrounding neighborhood(s).

Hope all NOH landlords read this article. Call it 'Big Brother' if you like, but improper tenant screening, lack of criminal and background checks, were contributing factors to some of the problem buildings that have been existing here for years. If done properly at the inception of the rental process, there might be less whining when the problem is exposed. There definitely might be a safety net for a whole neighborhood.

Gale Park Field House

Thanks, Mike

September 9, 2006

One Week After

We haven't allowed ourselves to celebrate the real groundbreaking for the Field House in Gale Park. Here are a few shots I’ve taken during the week.

Digging 015 Digging 019

Digging 020

Safety for Kids day was a spontaneous and belated event – not well attended by our neighbors. It could have been the gloomy weather or perhaps it was too premature
Digging 024

Digging 026

with the reminder of what happened here just a week ago today-
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September 8, 2006

The Funerals Are Next Week -

The families have yet to bury their dead children. The neighborhood should still be a little respectful...

Join Your Spin Leader Joe Moore tomorrow at Gale Park for a tacky, child safety event after the tragedy 9/3/06. Had attention been paid to neighborhood complaints about the Johnson properties, concerns about the neglect of this little area, last weeks tragedy might have been avoided. Get the media up here again. Don't forget to mention the Big Box as the damage control tries to plow through. Don't forget to take credit for the bulldozers digging at the west end of the park. You did it all. It took a few years, but we'll let you add it to your resume.

Spin Leader Moore told me the other day to put my money where my mouth response was 'I did. I invested up here and have been vocal ever since.'

I sure hope this doesn't dig too deep into the 2006 budget. It's usually just the Back To School Event and the free turkeys for the Holidays which are allegedly donated by none other than Jay Johnson.

September 7, 2006

Jay Johnson Portfolio - Part 3

Wayne Senior Apartments
6928 N Wayne
PIN 11-32-117-002
5o units, 6 stories of subsidized rental apartments for seniors

The spin: from Cornerstone

The reality:

This post has been sitting in 'draft form' since 12/26/05. Two of us made calls to a local service agency to avoid displaying this. Yes, I can be sensitive to people and their situations. This senior's daughter was allegedly aware of her mothers situation. Shortly after making calls for assistance, I heard from another service worker that while the senior was out on errands, the cat 'disappeared'. The senior thought kitty had sneaked out and would come back. A short time after the cat disappeared, social workers heard the senior had been placed in a nursing home. At the time, it seemed it had become a non-story. Now I'm not so sure in light of the tragedy at 7706 Marshfield.

A home health care worker contacted me after hearing about conditions at this building owned by CIG aka Jay Johnson.
The purpose of the call was to inform me of squalid living conditions of a certain tenant that the management office was aware of. The tenants case worker was also allegedly aware of the squalor. What’s being done? To date – nothing. Last week we all read the barrage of emails between one agency and the alderman and the ultimate ‘big meeting’about a 'sister building for seniors' on Morse. If the meeting had been held in this building, they could have taken a little tour and made it an ‘interactive’ meeting.

With the tenants permission, I was taken into the apartment today. Here you will see tiny baby cockroaches with their adult relatives feasting on cat food, paper, cardboard and crawling everywhere. We even saw dead cockroaches in the stairwells.
100_0794 100_0797 100_0798

The CIG building manager was told of the tenants’ living conditions. In spite of the fact that the tenant is nearly 70, has physical and possible mental disabilities, the tenant was referred to as a ‘slob’. Whether true or untrue, the tenant needs HELP. Allegedly the tenants case worker is aware of the living conditions in the apartment as well. The apartment is in squalor; the tenant can’t manage cleaning it alone with disabilities. Granted, there are many items that need to be tossed into the garbage, but that will require extra hands and able bodies. As such, the home help care worker will contact Catholic Charities for a cleaning crew that performs just this type of aid. It is our hope that Johnson, and his building manager will cooperate by finding temporary lodging for this tenant and Allen the cat until the place can be emptied, cleaned and properly exterminated. The mattress will need to be replaced. It is full of roaches.

By just collecting the $240 rent and ignoring the squalor, the rest of the building is probably infested with roaches. If the tenant needs counseling then the case worker should be on top of it. If this building is for seniors and is to supposed to be a ‘showcase’, then let’s make sure there’s some “SENIOR RESPECT”.

This is just one case in how many in this vicinity alone? Collect the rent, blame the ‘old tenant’ and look the other way. None of us get to stay young.

September 6, 2006

The Jay Johnson Portfolio - Part 2

1722-24 Juneway
PIN 11-30-205-009
16-unit, 3 story red brick apartment building
Property taxpayer of record is Marshway, LLC, whose office of record is the Wayne Senior Center at 6928 N WAYNE (SOS)

This property is at 1722-24 Juneway near Triangle Park across from the Community Garden.

jj fire 057

7616 N Marshfield
40 unit, 4 story, white brick 4+1, half block N of Howard
This building has had a checkered past including former owner notorious slumlord Lou Wolf.

This property, 7616 N. Marshfield, is a relatively ‘new’ addition to the portfolio. And, as one lawyer stated, ‘when you purchase a property, you also purchase it’s problems’. It was a nifty purchase of few million. jj fire 077jj fire 078 7616

And, the highlight is the controversial
Howard Theater Building

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For more background on the Howard Theater, please see "Howard Theater Building Redevelopment"

Pyramid Fashions, in the Howard Theater property, was in business for perhaps three months. Held up, tied up at gunpoint, the business owner finally gave up. As luck would have it, McHugh construction is using it for HQ during the Howard El renovation. jj fire 080

This sign is on the back door of the former Pyramid Fashions facing the 'parking lot' for McHugh.
jj fire 086
The area that was once part of the Howard Theater and parking lot is home to machinery and materials for the renovation.
jj fire 085

The Blame Game

Readers, keep track of what is said. Earlier Mr. Johnson denied any foreclosure, now he admits foreclosure proceedings on Ashland.

"Johnson, who says his company has taken precautions to keep the remaining tenants inside that building safe, has plans to rehabilitate the complex. He is fighting foreclosure proceedings on the building after a $1.08 million mortgage balance went unpaid for 13 months."
So what's the truth? Did I lie Mr. J and Mr. M?

Watch out NOH neighbors, Mr. Johnson plans to 'rehab' that Ashland building.

And, per the alderman I'm just a political naysayer and let's see how he SPINS around the forensic findings:

Chicago building inspectors Tuesday said they found some working smoke detectors inside the Rogers Park building where six children died in a weekend fire, while others were unresponsive or had dead batteries.

Perhaps they found some working detectors/batteries since Johnson sent a crew of two electricians out Monday to do 'some kind of work' in the 7706 building. Many of us saw, asked questions. The most specific was: Is the investigation concluded? Do they have permission to be in that building yet? We watched Johnson drive up and confer with them. We took photos as well. What is, is.

"As community groups prepared to help bury the children of Augusta and Amado Ramirez and school friends made shrines of teddy bears and flowers, Johnson acknowledged in a telephone interview that the building's manager knew the Ramirez family was living without power inside their home."

Earlier it was the family's fault, now Mr. Johnson is pointing to his maintenance person. Just as he did years ago with the Ashland/Juneway building.
"His voice shaking from "three days of non-stop emotion," the developer said he wasn't personally aware of that fact until after the fire, but "that is not an unusual situation in affordable housing, unfortunately."

There are clean, safe affordable housing buildings in this City, but here we are, full circle with the blame game. It's not as though people didn't try to do anything about Mr. J's buildings. Johnson didn't until the City noticed. Thankfully tenants and former tenants are coming forth to tell their horror stories to the media. Some have told me, thus the stories to match the photos I've blogged to which Ald. Joe Moore called 'slander' yesterday. Mr. M told me to put my money where my mouth is - I did, I made an investment here, and have been 'vocal' about what's gone wrong here for years.

So keep spinning, keep blaming. Now the boys aren't dealing with the little woman blogger anymore, they're dealing with real reporters hearing some of the stories I heard and forensics staff. The forensic reports don't mention that bracket anywhere do they?

Quotes from the Chicago Tribune

The Jay Johnson Portfolio - Part I

"I don't want to address any one person's perspective other than to say that our objective is quality housing," Johnson said, "as witnessed by the fact that this building has been inspected two times in the last year and has been found with no code violations."

Here are a few photos of this perception of ‘quality housing’ provided in the NOH area by said person above.

1642 Jonquil
AKA 7705 N Paulina
PIN 11-30-216-006
NW corner of Jonquil & Paulina
32 unit, 3 story, red brick apartment building

This is 1642 Jonquil, alley corner, of the building where the fire was. The conduit leads to a light and the wires give the appearance of being severed.

jj fire 058 jj fire 059

7722-34 N Ashland
PIN 11-30-217-013
52 unit, 3 story, red brick apartment building
Property taxpayer of record: Ashland I Limited Partnership @ PO box (Ashland, LLC?)

This is the mostly vacant property beginning at 7722 N. Ashland. It’s also the property with the condemned back porches that have not been completely repaired. Work just stopped.

jj fire 068

All properties seem to have the same gated security system.
jj fire 066 jj fire 071 jj fire 065

And, neighbors near this courtyard building awake to pick up this on a daily basis.
jj fire 072

7736 - 7742 N Ashland
PIN 11-30-217-012
SW corner of Ashland & Juneway, north of above
32 unit, 3 story Yellow brick apartment building
Property taxpayer of record: Ashland II Limited partnership @ PO box (Ashland-Juneway, LLC?)

Some long time residents say the ‘billboard’ is on the parkway with special permission.
jj fire 061 jj fire 062
It is not ‘true advertising’ since these units are unfinished, there are allegedly no current permits, but to disagree would be unfair or perhaps biased.

Neighbors made this sign and were told it was ‘inappropriate’ and it could not be placed on the parkway. The secondary excuse was that Mayor Daley doesn’t like signs and their clutter.
summer06 006

September 5, 2006

There's No Time To Sit On The Fence

There are many long time residents in the neighborhood who have complained to the alderman about Johnson, his buildings, and his methods of landlording. I am asking that those of you who have shared your stories and complaints contact I have a list of media contacts for you. The media needs to hear that this didn’t just happen – wasn’t just an isolated incident and that your concerns were ignored or glossed over. Many of you were concerned as well as angry.

There is no time left to mull it over while allowing any more excuses from the ward office with your silence. Some former tenants and neighbors who’ve had problems gave me their names/phones to give to the media. As the spin has it, 24/7 is a one woman show making untrue allegations. As the truth has it, many NOH residents gave me the stories, updates and asked me to blog about it one more time. So now it’s your turn to tell those who have the time and resources to pull the layers from the spin. You have your emails, your letters, your records of concerns about this landlord and a few others.

Many of you were out of town for the long weekend. The authorities contact any alderman when there’s a tragedy. I called Mr. Moore at 1:48am Sunday morning and left a voicemail. He appeared at the site sometime later in the day. He may have been out of town, I’m not presuming to know. Moore allegedly dropped in at a neighborhood picnic at Gale Park Saturday afternoon. I was informed when I stopped by at 3:00 pm.

This is about six children who died needlessly. This isn’t about protecting Moore or Johnson and it’s in poor form, and poor taste to take the silent stance. Forget your political affiliations and express your truths. You can prevent this from ever happening again in this neighborhood or any other neighborhood.

Update: Here are media contacts - to expediate the matter.
312 565 5533 News Desk

Gerry Doyle
312 222 4029

Shamus Toomey
Suntimes (He was at the scene)
312 321 2704

Steve Miller
WBBM news radio
312 297 7836 T
312 636 9067 C
312 836 5658

Annie Sweeney
Sun Times

Matt Walberg
312 222 3540

Robert Jordan – Channel 9

September 4, 2006

Ramirez Family Fund - Howard Area Community Center

Sister Cecilia Fandel of Howard Area Community Center sent the following flyer for posting. Flyers will be posted in the neighborhood as well.

Ramirez Family

SIX Ramirez children lost their lives in the deadly fire at 7706 N. Paulina early Sunday morning. The mother, her infant, and another child are still hospitalized. We offer them our prayers and our support.

Wake and Funeral Services

Wake at:___________________ Address;

Funeral at St. Jerome’s, 1704 W. LUNT ST.

The Ramirez Family Fund
will be set up at the La Salle Bank-Gateway Branch – Clark Street

Acct. No. to be determined on Tuesday when the bank reopens.
Donations may be given in person or electronically.

Cash or check Donations can also be left at the
7648 N. Paulina St.
Monday, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Checks to be made out to Ramirez Family Fund

Websites for information on the tragedy:

CBS Channel 2

North of Howard Neighbors Association

September 3, 2006

Tragic Fire Kills At Least Five Children NOH

This is the first report I've found. Julie Seagraves called me at 12:25 am. I went and it was a horrific sight. I'll post more later.


The phone was ringing, I thought I heard sirens, but that’s not unusual here. It was 12:25am and Julie Seagraves was telling me there was a fire on the 7700 block of Marshfield. I finally woke up enough to realize it was just up the street so told her I’d dress and go. A crowd had gathered on all corners, squad cars, ambulances and fire trucks were on Jonquil and Marshfield. A ladder was extended to the third floor above 7700-02 Marshfield on the Jonquil side of the street. A second ladder was extended over the site of the fire on the 7706 Marshfield address.
jj fire 003

As with any tragic event, I heard several stories. What I can honestly report is the overwhelming feeling of helplessness all of us on the street were feeling. Some of what I heard was later confirmed by Larry Langford and Commander Roy Orozco CFD.

The mother, Augusta Ramirez her husband and 9 children lived on the third floor. On the second floor, Myron Hall was visiting his mother and was awakened by someone kicking and pounding on the door. He smelled smoke and opened the door expecting to find the fire department or police but it was Albert Tillman, someone he recognized from the neighborhood. Tillman and others had smelled smoke and once they located the source began a rescue effort. Curtis Hall and several young men went up the back stairs but the fire was raging when they opened the door. Tillman was in the front of the building and saw a little girl and boy sitting on the window ledge holding onto the window. Smoke was billowing out of the window around them. Tillman entered the building and grabbed the boy and brought him out. Upon his exit with the child, the police and fire department had arrived and someone took the child. Tillman was determined to re-enter the building for the little girl but was ordered not to by the authorities.
jj fire 007

The young men who couldn’t enter the blazing back door into the kitchen area came to the front with a blanket and tried to get the little girl to jump. She was paralyzed with fear and wouldn’t or couldn’t jump.

Shortly after I arrived, a fireman ran past me on Marshfield toward the waiting ambulances with a small unconscious child. The paramedics began resuscitation immediately on the street in the triage they had set up between ambulances. Soon there were four little children there. It was heartbreaking to see the medics working, hope against hope, to breathe life back into the little ones.
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The family had allegedly been without electricity for about a month and had been using candles. Ten people were removed, the mother and nine children. I saw a fireman holding an infant seat and reportedly it was a newborn. The mother is in serious condition, the infant and 4 siblings died according to fire officials who were updating the Sun Times reporter, Julie and me.

As the cameraman and reporter stated, this is the worst tragedy Chicago has seen in a long time. My sympathies to this family.

The building is owned/managed by CIC, Jay Johnson.
jj fire 011

September 2, 2006

Now And Then...

Now and then, a note of appreciation is received. With permission, I'm posting Owen's response when he read the story about his water-logged business. Note: The building is under the management of Urban Properties rather than IMC.
Dear Toni,

I would like to thank you for taking the time and the effort to sympathize with my situation. People like you are the ones making a difference in life and I salute you for that.

I need to make one little correction to the info published, I have not renewed my membership with Dev Corp for some years now. I know that they are advocates helping the business community around here but no contact with that association has ever been concluded with any satisfying result. Regardless if you go there for a meeting or if you invite an officer for lunch or coffee, you always have the feeling that you are not welcome (It is only my own experience).

I am sure that the big name stores and big pockets businesses in the area are well represented by them. As far as I am concerned, I don't recall any of the small guys member of the organization around Howard Street, taking a positive attitude regarding DevCorp. If you know of anyone, please let me know.

Memberships and contributions are supposed to make a big difference for a small organization like them. I wish I was able to give big money as well.

It has been very hard many times and still is right now, to come up with the plain rent and, when you add the robberies, the attempts to my life several times, the fact that the police could care less, the prostitutes, the drug dealers harassing you for money and I could go on and on again and come back to the guy above me, Mr. Johnny who always pays his rent on time because the government's money is always on time "this is according to IMC Property Management".

My Toni, my souvenirs of Howard Street will be and only be nightmarish. What else can I tell you.

I need to pickup the pieces and move on.

Thank you again for your help

Owen Leroy

Which Commissioner Bailed on the 7%?

Other Tidbits

Is anyone able to open the video?

Your Tax $ Purchased This

Compare your income to some of these! Compare what you are expected to accomplish in an 8 hour workday too. Unfortunately, making a comparison may be a little difficult because in the ‘real world’ heads roll if the work doesn’t get done. Then again, maybe that’s the point and purpose….not getting much accomplished.

Drug Bust


I hope the street is quiet this weekend for our neighbors to the south. Calling 911 and being persistent does pay off. Good work by the CPD.

September 1, 2006

The Green Schedule

Here are several interesting meetings.
Green Home Meet-up Group Tour Greenhome Meetup
Saturday, September 23, 2006, 1:00 PM 20060923T180000Z
Ronin Development's Green Home
2652 W. Walton Street
Chicago , IL 60622
· This is a private home or office
On September 23rd at 1pm we have a great opportunity to go out and tour a GREEN home here in the city with the developer, Paul Ahlrich, and George Sullivan on hand to answer questions. We will meet up on site and take our time touring the home then head over to Humboldt Pie Coffee House located at 1001 N California Ave, Chicago, IL to discuss the home and all the issues that surround developing GREEN in the city with Paul and George. Please RSVP as soon as possible so we can have a good idea of how many to expect. It is going to be a very interesting tour and a meetup not to miss.

Saturday, September 23, 2006, 1:00 PM 20060923T180000Z
Ronin Development's Green Home
2652 W. Walton Street
Chicago , IL 60622
· This is a private home or office
On September 23rd at 1pm we have a great opportunity to go out and tour a GREEN home here in the city with the developer, Paul Ahlrich, and our good friend George Sullivan on hand to answer questions. We will meet up on site and take our time touring the home then head over to Humboldt Pie Coffee House located at 1001 N California Ave, Chicago, IL to discuss the home and all the issues that surround developing GREEN in the city with Paul and George. Please RSVP as soon as possible so we can have a good idea of how many to expect. It is going to be a very interesting tour and a meetup not to miss.

Chicago Center for Green Technology offerings additional information at
City of Chicago Website

TITLE: Case Study: Lawndale Graystone Rehab
DATE: 9/26/2006
TIME: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
PRESENTER: George Sullivan, Eco Smart Building
LEVEL: All levels welcome
Rehabing an existing one hundred year-old Chicago Graystone for superior energy
efficiency AND as an investment rental income property is no small feat. This green
renovation project, located in the Lawndale neighborhood, aims to do just that! All
aspects of the building—from the building shell and the contemporary living space
design--to the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems were developed to achieve maximum energy efficiency in a green rental property

TITLE: Case Study: Brownfield Redevelopment
DATE: 10/24/2006
TIME: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
PRESENTER: George Sullivan, Eco Smart Building
LEVEL: All levels welcome
Brownfield redevelopment in Chicago is one of the most critical land uses. This project
replaces an existing one story factory building with 8 new Energy Star town homes.
Learn the reasons for brownfield redevelopment and the advantages to the environment.
There are a number of new energy efficient wall framing methods that are use in the
development of this project to cut energy use and increase indoor comfort.

Ask-an-Expert is an opportunity to ask questions, seek answers, and receive individualized feedback from experienced professionals on your green building project.

TITLE: Working with a Building Contractor on a Green Building Project
DATE: 10/7/2006
TIME: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
PRESENTER: George Sullivan, Eco Smart Building
Are you just getting started on a green building project? Tap into this opportunity to meet one-on-one with an experienced green builder to inquire about the contractor's role in a green project, learn how to build green and stay within a budget, and discuss new and emerging technologies.

TITLE: Greening Your Home
DATE: 12/2/2006
TIME: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
PRESENTER: George Sullivan, Eco Smart Building; Erik Olsen, Chicago Department of Construction and Permits; Karen Kaplan, New Leaf Interiors
For anyone starting a residential project this program is for you! This is an opportunity to meet with an experienced panel of green professionals to discuss renewable energies, building codes and permits and how to incorporate green technologies and materials into your home.

Please note: Participants are eligible for 1 half-hour block of time. Pre-registration is required. To register, please contact Meghann Maves at 312.746.4678.
Hope to see you at the meetings.

George D. Sullivan
Eco Smart Building
P. O. Box 4154
Chicago, IL 60654