December 31, 2006

Happy New Year - 2007

On New Year’s Eve a certain introspective element surfaces so we may reflect on the departing year and plan for the upcoming twelve months. In our time, we celebrate many olden traditions carried down through the centuries. My black-eyed peas, ham hocks, cabbage and carrots are simmering away. The corn bread is cooling and the feast will be ready for tomorrow. While many will go out and celebrate, others will have home gatherings with family and friends.

Other worldwide customs are as varied as their landscapes. Many have survived through the centuries. Here’s an interesting one I discovered when searching for a tradition I remembered from my two year stay in the United Kingdom - Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations.
As a young military wife, I spent much of my time absorbing the rich history and people of the villages we were stationed near, one being Mildenhall, England. We had rented an old farm house a few miles from the air base. It was two-storey cottage with several working fireplaces and the standard English pantry that served as a refrigerator.

One of our neighbors was an agile, weathered older woman who loved to share her fables. I spent many afternoons listening to her as she tended her plants in a greenhouse with grapevines curling from the ceiling. From her I learned about the country custom of carrying a piece of coal out the back door and back into the house through the front door at the stroke of midnight. No doubt it was a milder version of the Scots Hogmanay tradition.

Years later when English friends came to visit here, I mentioned running around the house with my fireplace coal. They looked at one another and laughed at the memory of one of their New Years Eve escapades. After a few drinks, they paid their neighbors a visit with a lump of coal and explained the old custom. The neighbors took the coal and they all proceeded to every house on the block with the group of merrymakers growing at each stop. They effectively created a mini block party with one gesture of an ancient custom.

Here’s to New Years Superstitions and traditions!

December 30, 2006

Moore Retreats from "Community" Process

Around the time of Moore's razing of the Adelphi Theater and the sudden reversal of his long-held position on the Pivot Point building in favor of developer pals, constituents worked hard to pressure Moore into paying lip-service to a more open, community-based process for decision making in the areas of zoning and development.

Community Input Key to Decision-Making

For the first time, Moore documented his "process" and pledged to make better use of modern tools like the internet in communicating with his constituents.

49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee Community Review Process

Lately, however, Moore is going BACKWARDS in his pledge that zoning would be an open process. Moore has taken DOWN even the few scant meeting agendas and minutes he had posted at one time.

Meeting Minutes and Agendas

With a close election coming up, and with another set of campaign disclosures due in a few weeks, Moore does not want us to connect the dots between his legislative activities and his campaign fund raising activities. Moore does not want us to look up his campaign contributors in the minutes of his "community" zoning committee. Moore is REQUIRED by state law to disclose his campaign contributions, but only a mere pledge to his constituents binds him to posting what his "community" zoning committee has been up to, SOMETHING had to give, or his legislation-for-cash business would be exposed, so the transparency of his development decisions was jettisoned.

December 29, 2006

Club 50 On Liquor Licenses

by Lorraine Swanson - News Star

Read the article in its entirety and tell me if there's anything really new being proposed.

"Alderman can already impose moratoriums on liquor license transfers and new applications by declaring two-block sections or certain precincts "dry," as well as lift moratoriums with or without community input."

Let's strike the 'without' community input. Taxpaying voters have a right to know what's going on in their neighborhoods before some alderperson makes a decision for them. How about adding a clause that 'no campaign contributions' may be accepted from same businesses? Can you hear the whining and yelling on that one?

"If a liquor licensees is causing a public nuisance and refuses to participate in a community meeting process facilitated by the alderman and will not take reasonable steps to protect the community, the proposal would give the Dept. of Business Affairs and Licensing the authority to fine, suspend or revoke the business's liquor license.

The process allows the liquor licensee a reasonable amount of time to get the business back on track and mitigate public nuisance conditions. Such steps might include the elimination of selling small packaged or single serving liquor, calling 911 when loitering or public drinking is occurring outside the business, and attending monthly CAPS meetings.

Should problems continue or the liquor licensee fails to take corrective steps, neighborhoods can request a hearing before the city's Liquor Commission, by filing a petition with the signatures of a majority of the legal voters living within 500 feet of the establishment. The petition may be filed only after community meetings have failed to remedy the situation."

All the above shouldn't be limited to liquor stores or bars. Intervention in any business that appears to be harboring shady people or appears to be involved in a shady side business should be 'monitored and approached'. Unfortunately, the petition business is a red herring so it will take time to get resolution. A good example are all the problem buildings in the blogs - from The Block/Rider Building to the Broadmoor to the infamous Jay Johnson buildings. Neighbors complained - aldermanic response was slow if at all. So what is the point and purpose other than the little insert about 'grudges'?

It's nothing more than a pacifier in legalese. It seems as weak as their anti-slumlord law which was another pacifier.

One way is the silent act - neighbors should stand in front of these places sucking on pacifiers and no doubt a blogger will get some action for them. Distribute pacifiers at CAPS meetings. At first sight some beat facilitators would be overjoyed at a room full of angry neighbors with pacifiers in their mouths. Other beat facilitators who try to get these places cleaned up might be overjoyed at the silent statement.

Better yet, show up at Club 50's next meeting and show support for your elected diplomat.

December 27, 2006

A Can Of Beer Is A Can Of Beer

by Lorraine Swanson - News Star


"During the Chicago City Council's regular meeting on Feb. 8, 2005, the City Council approved lifting the moratorium on new liquor licenses between Pratt and Devon per Moore's request.

The next day, Odeh contributed $1,000 to Moore's campaign fund according to the alderman's campaign disclosure statements filed at the Cook County Clerk's office. Moore has since said the contribution had nothing to do with his decision to lift the moratorium."

AND, the article states Ginderske's campaign volunteers and News Star have purchased the 'banned' single cans of beer.

So which is it Joe, you claim in one article that you have no influence in liquor licenses, as stated in this story in the ChiTown Daily News. "Moore verified this when I asked him, saying that liquor licenses are not something that Aldermen have input on." When the Island Groove's public meeting took place, the yeas were 39 and the nays were 37. Joe stated that night that he had influence, and it would be a tough one to call.

The Island Groove owners made the grave mistake of not contributing to Joe's campaign fund because they did NOT get a liquor license. They are allowed to serve food, movies, have bands and yes, BYOB from the liquor store next door. They were told the license issue could be reviewed in a year based on their performance. In other words, it would be reviewed after the aldermanic election. So, two men North of Howard get nixed with their liquor license, but a Joliet man can manage to get the alderman's influence on a City Council vote? And campaign contributions have NOTHING to do with it? At least one of the owners of Island Groove lives in Rogers Park.

So either an alderman has influence or does not have influence on liquor licenses. Just make up your mind which story to tell and stick to it.

Is Toddy Threatening Us?

Chicago Tribune - December 27, 2006


COOK COUNTY -- Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said Tuesday that the county's elected officials were refusing to cooperate with his recommendation that they cut their budgets by 17 percent.

A number of those officials last week said the suggested budget cut was too drastic and that Stroger issued the recommendation without first consulting with them.

In a written statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Stroger said "taxpayers should be very disappointed that their elected officials have so far refused to cooperate in finding a solution to the county's budget crisis."

Stroger said he looked forward to meeting with officials this week "to find common ground." Stroger has until the end of February to propose a budget and get it approved by the County Board.

The county faces a projected $500 million deficit in 2007 without spending cuts or tax increases, which Stroger has ruled out.
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The City of Chicago taxpayers aren't happy right now Toddy. We aren't happy with you or your private elevator that we're paying for but can't use. We will definitely not be happy when we open our property tax envelopes.

Toddy's statement sounds like a threat to me. Toddy needs to trim the fat at Stroger Hospital et al...that would be a real good place to start. What about Gerald Nicols, is he gone yet? How many more useless one's are out there that Toddy could cut? What happens to all those that were hired 'after the freeze'?

Get real Toddy, don't threaten the taxpayers just borrow $500 mil from the Machine that put you and Daddy, Blago and too many others in office. They helped make the mess, let them pay to clean it up.

December 26, 2006

Chicago - The City That Walks

December 26 Chicago Tribune Editorial


"There's little doubt that trying to cross the street in some parts of Chicago can seem a death-defying act. On average, more than one pedestrian a week is killed in traffic here. To get across busy streets, walkers often have to do the hokey-pokey, repeatedly sticking one foot out and then having to pull it back because, out of nowhere, a car comes whizzing past.

Getting drivers in 2-ton SUVs to be more heedful of two-legged traffic is a laudable goal.

The trick is to do it without embracing a creeping California-ism that would alter the equilibrium of Chicago's more competitive car-versus-pedestrian culture."


During morning and evening rush hour, many intersections have the old-fashioned traffic cop. Some are wonderful and some appear afraid of the SUV's too. One traffic director, a large man, almost dances in the middle of Madison/Clark. A must see. Drivers pay attention to him; pedestrians appreciate him.

Then there are some who stand on the sidewalk waving hands and blowing whistles. Useless. Don't bother approaching one of the latter asking why he/she didn't take down the license plate of the SUV that nearly plowed through 10 people. Vehicles are always right, they're bigger, so why bother is the mentality. We already have the car vs pedestrian culture here. These hand flailing traffic directors can be cut from Strogers' proposed layoffs. If pedestrians have to hold up their arm and yell STOP at a vehicle that's creeping up to their person in a menacing manner, then what's the point of paying someone to stand on a street corner going through the motions?

Then we have the issues of the CTA buses tailgaiting one another stopped in an intersection. Sensible thing to do - move the damn sign a few feet down so the second bus isn't partially blocking the intersection. People fearing they'll be late to work will walk behind the last bus against oncoming traffic. They don't comprehend the reality that dead means they'll be late forever.

Cameras may catch license plates, but do we really think it will stop the pedal to the metal mentality? Everyone is soooo important, in such a hurry, it's going to take a lot more than a camera to change it. Granted, many people walk against lights, so the timers are a helpful warning. Timers are more sensible than walk and don't walk symbols.

The real question has yet to be posed: Do you really need to drive that vehicle to work? The Mayor and Club 50 don't want to insult those revenue producing parking garages so let's see if they can get a little more aggresive in 2007. Keeping voters alive by dictating what they cannot eat has been their 2006 plan. We're due for some sensibility for the new year.

If one person (on average) is killed per week on Chicago streets, there's really no argument that 'crime is down'. That's 52 homicides to add to the annual total. Don't be one of them.

Don't follow the person in front of you - look at the light, make your head do the 360 exorcist spin and take care of yourself. That cell phone call isn't that important is it?

December 25, 2006

Sun King

Maybe we can put this on our wish list for next year. Let's wish that US auto makers start designing for the 'future'. No more SUV's in the city limits.

December 24, 2006

Memories and Magic 2006

Here's a replay for all who believe in magic.
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We all have special memories of Christmas.

I grew up near a small town with many churches. Ours was the only church with statues and the only one open at midnight on Christmas Eve. That was the night of the year when magic filled the air. It was the night we were allowed to stay up very late with permission. We were replicas of the grownups in our velvet dresses and little man suits, but we were wide-eyed children watching the skies.

When I think of Christmas as a child, midnight mass is the first recollection that surfaces. Thanks to my mother’s imagination and my father’s faith, it was truly a memorable night. We’d pile in the Ford and drive the ten miles to the event. Dad always left early because it was bad manners to be late. Sprinkled along the way, farmhouses illuminated the darkness with their decorative lights and trees. The cool white glimmer of snow under the wide open skies reflected the stars. My brother being older and much wiser would show me the constellations.

The church always looked different on that night. It was dimly lit, mostly by the many glowing candles. Red and white flowers decorated the altar and there was a large scale version like our nativity scene at home. Music and voices seemed to come from the ceiling. Ave Maria. The aisle was filled with sweet smelling ‘smoke’ wafting from a brass container the priest swayed back and forth. I was too young to understand but just old enough to be mystified by the candles, the incense, the chanting, and the music. It had the same effect on the adults, especially the guests from other religions.

After mass, we would go to a relatives house. The parents 'visited', the teenage cousins listened to their music and we little cousins played. We also plotted and planned their winter visit to our farm. Cunning children know parents are more agreeable at Christmas. Before long it would be 3 in the morning and time for the suspenseful drive home - if I could stay awake.

As luck would have it, one Christmas Eve, Santa was running late at our house. It was really hard to hide the disappointment and I wasn’t sleepy after so much excitement. Having learned from my brother that children will stay awake, our parents worked out a plan with Santa and the dentist. I was sent to brush the sugar cookies from my teeth with big brother as the supervisor. I had to brush, he had to inspect, then I had to brush some more. (He’s still a perfectionist). Suddenly we heard Dad calling us. We ran into the living room and there was Dad standing in his pajamas at the wide open front door. “You just missed Santa” he said. The cold night air was quickly overtaking the room as we ran to look at the sky hoping to see the jolly old guy. Mother’s blue eyes had that leprechaun glimmer as she looked at the gifts Santa left under the tree. We didn’t have a lot of money for expensive gifts but Santa always managed to deliver some of our ‘wish list’ items to us.

Years later, with children of our own, we always returned to that small town for Christmas. The grandparents would take the little ones to pick out a Christmas tree in the woods. Dad still drove a Ford and Mother was still a mischievous leprechaun!

And yes, sleigh bells would ring, and my daughter and nephew looked in wonder at the magic of the Christmas sky and at the gifts Santa left under their little tree.
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Have A Magical Winter Holiday!

December 23, 2006

Remember: Moore Took Office in a Run-Off

Remember this, dear neighbors:

Joe Moore took office in a run-off
. Back in his first attempt at elected office in 1991, he failed to get a majority in a multi-way race in the February municipal election. The 5-way race held Moore to just 317 votes short of winning outright. Moore and the incumbent were forced into a run-off in April, in which Moore defeated an incumbent Alderman.

49th Ward Municipal Election Results
Tuesday, February 27, 1991
Candidate Votes % Short of Majority
Joe Moore 4680 46.8% 317
Robert Clarke 3861 38.6% 1136
Grady A. Humphrey 449 4.5% 4548
Betty Major-Rose 349 3.5% 4648
James Chiakulas 654 6.5% 4343
Total 9993

Majority 4997


In 18 wards, it's down to 1 on 1 for alderman
Robert Davis,
Chicago Tribune, Feb 28, 1991, p. 1

A record 18 Chicago aldermanic seats were thrown into runoff elections by Tuesday's vote, promising to keep the campaign season alive and kicking for another five weeks.

With Mayor Richard Daley's lopsided victory in the Democratic primary virtually assuring his election to a second term in the April 2 general election, political attention will now turn to the runoff contests scattered throughout the city's 50 wards.

Twelve of the races involve incumbent aldermen ...

... billed as a "Daley versus the independents" contest is the 49th Ward aldermanic race, where incumbent Robert Clarke is facing Joseph Moore. Last November, Daley appointed Clarke, a favorite of Democratic Ward Committeeman Lee Preston, to take over the vacancy created when independent David Orr was elected Cook County clerk.

Orr had pushed for the appointment of Moore, but Daley went along with the wishes of the ward's regular Democratic organization. Tuesday, Moore picked up about 47 percent of the vote.

49th Ward Run-Off Election Results
Tuesday, April 2, 1991

Candidate Votes % Margin Margin %
Joe Moore 5589 52.1% 453 4.2%
Robert Clarke 5136 47.9%

Total 10725




Familiar faces are ushered out of City Council

Thomas Hardy, John Kass, Chicago Tribune , April 3, 1991, p. 1

Some of the most colorful and most vocal players in the Chicago City Council's turbulent recent history found themselves out of office or at least on the bubble as ward votes were counted Tuesday. ...

Losing in Tuesday's runoff election were Aldermen William Henry (24th), Sheneather Butler (27th), Roman Pucinski (41st) and Robert Clarke (49th). ...

The most recent chapter in City Council politics was represented by the narrow loss of Ald. Robert Clarke (49th), appointed by Mayor Richard Daley last December to succeed Cook County Clerk David Orr.

In a test of respective coattails and organizational prowess, Daley backed Clarke over winner Joseph Moore, a longtime protege of Orr who had his mentor's backing. Clarke was the only one of eight aldermen appointed by Daley to fill council vacancies who lost election bids this year.

December 22, 2006

Quote Of The Week

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Natarus said it would be faster to evict the bar. The landlord did not return a phone message Thursday. Natarus said he's witnessed numerous problems outside the bar, including people with guns.

When asked why he never called 911,

Natarus said: "I could be in court all day. I could be cross-examined all day, and I'm not that certain, I'm not at all certain, I don't think the courts regard an alderman as a good witness."

Tough Burt, calling 911 is your civic duty as a citizen and an alderman, ignoring it makes you part of the problem. Please define courts - do you mean the judges don't trust aldermen or the juries, composed of taxpaying voters, don't trust aldermen or both?

How much time did Burt spend lobbying for Toddy? Toddy now uses our money for his own private elevator at city hall. We need new Club 50 members.

December 21, 2006

Another Half-Baked Attention Getter

Club 50 members are really slow learners aren’t they? Here we go again on a half-baked tangent –concerning just ONE utility, namely ComEd and namely the tragic fire that killed 6 children over the Labor Day weekend.

If watching this tragedy play out from 12:30AM until almost sunrise wasn’t enough, what did our caring leader do? He finally arrived mid-morning to hand out free smoke detectors in front of the building for photo ops and interviews with the media. The fire and police department had called him that night from the scene, but he didn’t respond. Then our caring incumbent proceeded with the blame game to protect and defend his suburban zoning pal, Johnson and himself. But, that’s what lawyers do isn’t it? That’s what politicians do too isn’t it?

Back to the upcoming half-baked ordinance. Once a year with some landlords and some buildings is enough - for others once a month may be necessary. Before anyone signs the lease, grabs the deposit and rent, there needs to be an educational process about the dangers involved with electric and gas shut-offs. How many fires are started every year from unattended space heaters? How many fires are started by unattended stoves? How many fires are started by some fool trying to unlock the meter the gas company turned off? If I owned rental property, tenants would be screened and educated before they were handed the keys. So why aren’t landlords protecting their properties and their tenants? Because there’s no real law stating they have to.

North of Howard has a high percentage of low income rental units and anyone accepting any form of federal/state/city monies to ‘own and manage’ these properties is responsible to the tenants and the community to provide safe homes. Every one of these NOH agencies should be watchdogs on questionable landlords and the alderman should be overseeing the show. Where are these educations on safety in the home, on tenant rights? A blurb on a website and a number to call and then the string of referrals. Instead of providing safe havens for low income residents, instead of providing transitional educations to empower people to move on, NOH insists upon keeping the status quo. Thus all the JoMo signs in many of the questionable owners yards!

Get the recipe straight Club 50 and incumbent – fires begin from many sources – not just electricity cut-offs. If you’re all so damned concerned you would have lobbied long and strong against ComEd’s rate raise. Instead, you wring some more attention from the tragedy of the Marshfield fire. Get with the program and start educating your constituents. The CPD should be in every neighborhood touring with horrible movies like we were forced to watch in drivers ed. Every one of these high density buildings receiving tax credits should have an emergency escape plan and I truly doubt there’s one in place.

Pass an ordinance that states both ComEd and Peoples Gas must notify property owners and the alderperson when the service is shut off for non-payment. Every alderman should be required in this ordinance to follow-up on every shut-off to ensure the safety of his/her constituents. If not, the alderperson should face a stiff fine and be released to the media.

Shoulder some of the responsibility Club 50 – you can’t have it every which way but right forever. It's time to earn your wages.

Gordon On Economic Development

Gordon on Economic Development and the Future of Our 49th Ward

“No one shops here anymore.”

Residents and neighborhood visitors hear that message everyday. I’ll work with the citizens of our community to set an aggressive timetable of revitalization.

Background.

Longtime Rogers Park residents remember better times when our neighborhood featured wonderful shops of all varieties, such as bakeries, delis, numerous restaurants, and even movie houses, all within walking distance. While most of Chicago neighborhoods have gone through a renaissance of revitalization over this same period, Rogers Park and the 49th Ward have mostly stagnated and deteriorated.

Howard Street, once one of the most vibrant retail strips in Chicago, resembles a desolate war zone where numerous storefronts remain empty, years after the opening of the Gateway Mall. The mall’s design is neither conducive to pedestrian traffic nor accessible to the “L” station. There has been negligible spillover effect up and down Howard, which continues to be an embarrassment to Rogers Park.

Morse Avenue used to be our “Main Street,” but it has deteriorated dramatically over the past 20 years. From Clark to Sheridan, Morse is littered with empty storefronts and burglar bars covering the windows. Today we have dollar stores and liquor stores, a blue light police camera and two rundown strip malls. Once a bustling neighborhood shopping area, Morse now only bustles with gangs, drugs and crime.

Clark Street, the thoroughfare of Rogers Park, is a complete mess. Instead of an attractive destination for shopping and eating, unique to Rogers Park’s cultural diversity, we have a few gems lost in the middle of a chaotic retail district.

The result is that residents leave Rogers Park in search of goods and services they need, and every year spend millions in other neighborhoods or worse, in the suburbs. They take sorely needed local jobs and tax revenues along with them.

My Pledge.

I will be a full-time and a half, hands-on, in-the-street, on-the-ground alderman for the 49th Ward. That’s what we need to pull us out of this commercial mess we’ve been dealt for the past 20 years. I will demand smart, energy-efficient, multi-use development that brings together residential and commercial properties, creating vibrant retail enclaves!

I will recruit high-quality and locally owned neighborhood stores to keep money in the community and attract new investments – transforming Rogers Park’s retail districts into destinations and creating jobs for residents. I’ll leverage city, state and federal funds; private investment, aldermanic discretionary funds, subsidies, foundation grants, and even university resources to make this happen.

The First 100 Days.

1.) Convene a series of working sessions with residents, community business owners, and successful entrepreneurs to create a Chamber of Commerce that is responsive to business development and accountable to our community. I will demand measurable standards and implementation plans to revitalize our retail districts.

2.) Lead community residents in creating a visionary and realistic plan for economic development. This “Plan of Rogers Park” will incorporate elements of numerous plans, some already conceived but never implemented, and successful models from other communities throughout the city.

3.) Collaborate with leaders from neighboring communities to learn from their business recruiting strategies. We will use a wide variety of ideas to create vibrant shopping destinations and fuel economic development with much-needed jobs and opportunities.

4.) Seek assistance and advice from strategic business organizations such as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Restaurant Association, Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, to help us develop plans that encourage locally owned businesses and bring in successful retailers from other communities.

The First Four Years.

1.) Seek public and private partnerships to build new parking facilities that serve the long-neglected needs of residents and business customers on Howard Street, Morse Avenue, and Clark Street near the Metra stop. This will stimulate local business and attract patrons from outside the neighborhood and city.

2.) Create a Traffic and Parking Task Group to recommend solutions on providing ample parking spaces along our commercial corridors (Howard, Morse, Clark, Jarvis, and Sheridan) and assess neighborhood needs for parking on blocks adjacent to these retail districts.

3.) Establish a Glenwood Arts District Advisory Board to recommend solutions for revitalizing the Glenwood Arts District. This group will evaluate infrastructure, streetscaping, work-live housing development incentives, and zoning to create an arts, music and theatre district from Pratt to Touhy.

4.) Work with our community organizations and businesses to promote Rogers Park as a destination community for the arts and entertainment and develop a marketing program that will focus on drawing patrons from outside of the community to our retail districts.

5.) Personally work with our Chamber of Commerce to recruit new businesses, sponsor regular business roundtables, promote small business development, create living-wage jobs for our residents, implement aggressive solutions to parking problems, and address other factors that impede retail development.

6.) Evaluate how Tax Increment Finance (TIF) and Special Service Area (SSA) revenues are being collected and allocated. We need to guarantee that they benefit revitalization of our retail districts, contribute to balanced housing, fund our neighborhood schools, and stimulate the creation of jobs in the community.

7.) Establish a TIF/SSA Advisory Board that truly represents residents from the entire community. This Board will meet regularly, report regularly to the community and be held accountable to ensure that TIF and SSA funds are used to meet the goals of the community.

8.) Visit Rogers Park businesses on a regular basis to personally assess the condition and needs of our commercial districts. The 49th Ward Community Service Office will maintain staff to be responsive to our needs for retail growth and development.

9.) Create a Business and Commerce Development Desk in our 49th Ward Community Service Office. This desk will be a one-stop site to leverage city government resources, support business development, review business permit applications, and access public and private investment support services.

10.) Create multiple centers of entrepreneurship for small business development that will fuel job growth through training and internships. This will be a cooperative effort of the alderman’s staff, our Chamber of Commerce and other state and local agencies.

11.) Develop a Local First program for Rogers Park, creating incentives for residents to shop locally, merchants to hire locally, and financial institutions to do business locally. Replicate the success of Jarvis Square and the strategy of how Dan Sullivan revitalized one of the worst crime corners in the community.

Citizens to Elect Don Gordon
1600 West Morse Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60626
773.262.9473
Don Gordon for Alderman

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Policy papers or their links from A or G or G may be submitted for posting.

Arrogance or Common Sense?

By Josh Noel-Tribune staff reporter
Published December 21, 2006

"But Mayor Richard Daley is no fan of the ban--just this week, he called it "the silliest law" the City Council has ever passed.

Perhaps that helps explain why the Health Department is in no rush to boost their compliance checks.

"In a world of very limited public health resources we're being asked to drop some things so we can enforce a law like this," Hadac said. "With HIV/AIDS, cancer, West Nile virus and some of the other things we deal with, foie gras is our lowest priority."

Ald. Joe Moore (49th), sponsor of the ban, took no exception to the fact that foie gras investigation is among the lower priorities for the Public Health Department, or that it is not more active with enforcement.

But he was dismayed to know restaurants are flouting the ordinance.

"It evinces a certain degree of arrogance on the parts of these establishments, but I hope the city will act accordingly," Moore said."

Arrogance? This word falling from the mouth of the incumbent who interrupts people asking questions in public meetings ! The sole purpose is to meet and ask questions and receive answers. We know the cheerleaders in the audiences who espouse all the 'positive' spin statements.

Arrogance? This word falling from the mouth of the incumbent who defended his friend/zoning committeeman/not so good landlord - Jay Johnson to the media about missing smoke detectors? Right, the Chicago Fire Department conspired against poor Jay.

Perhaps six children would be alive and singing holiday songs today had the incumbent aggressively enforced Club 50's anti-slumlord law.

December 20, 2006

Another "Silly Ordinance"

Does Club 50 do any really constructive work? Is this like corporate America where one just has to have a list of 'goals'?

If that's the case, find something more sensibile than foie gras or Eddie B's latest tangent. With increased taxes that aren't met by increased incomes, diners absorbing the cost of reprinting menus may help taxpayers learn to cook and eat at home. At home, one can limit salt intake which Eddie hasn't attacked yet. He's still chewing the fat.

Toddy Instills Fear?

December 20, 2006 by Steve Patterson Sun-Times Reporter


“Late Monday, Stroger fired his carefully scripted warning shot: he wants budgets from all county officials on his desk by Friday with 17 percent cuts to close a $500 million deficit.

That would mean fewer guards at the jail, nurses in hospitals, public defenders and prosecutors in courtrooms, and clerks to process court documents. Pappas said property owners might have to pick up their tax bills because she couldn't afford postage.”

That’s right boys, get rid of the necessary people to keep the paper pushing administrative types. That’s not trimming the fat, that’s keeping it. Right Maria, let’s raise property taxes and we’ll be happy to pick them up, we may as well pay while we’re there right?

I’m just curious to know where these employees of county go to the hospital, and what insurance plan they have. Is county really providing the services they claim to the ‘poor people’? Otherwise, why the billing?

Can you imagine the fear young Toddy instills in that board room?

December 19, 2006

NOH Park Council - Meeting Cancelled

The North of Howard Parks Advisory Council Meeting for tonight has been cancelled. Please join us on January 16, 2007 7PM.

New Item - Click To Report Graffiti in 24

Graffiti Form

December 18, 2006

Is There A Transit Oriented Plan?

These questions came from emails exchanged between our green advocate, George Sulivan to several people including Kimberly Bares and Joe Moore and Marty Max beginning on October 22.


Joe, Kimberly and Marty,
Is there a redevelopment plan for Howard Street around the Howard el stop? Loyola has a proposed plan for the Loyola el stop - is there a plan to pick up where the Loyola development stops? The meeting for the Sustainable Development and Congress for New Urbanism is this Wednesday, and study groups will be assigned to study numerous CTA el stops including Loyola and Howard. There are numerous aspects that will be considered in this study, including walkable businesses, services needed near el stops, parking, etc. This is the chance for the local community to present their views and have input into the study. You can click on the link below to find information on the group, and meeting times.

Starting in January 2007, study results will be published in the following publications: Urban Land Institute, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Green Building Initiative, US Green Building Council web site and newsletter, and The Chicago Sun Times.

Thanks,
George D. Sullivan

The discussion led to a questionnaire being sent as a review of the Howard Street and Loyola Development. That was November 7, 2006. George and Celeste are still awaiting answers to the questions on Sustainable Development and Congress for New Urbanism Study of Two Rogers Park El stops.
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The following is a general quesionaire, mostly based upon questions used by the EPA’s Smart Growth program for studying and advising new transit-oriented development. The questions are intended to help guide those planning a new development and to help community members understand the complexity and scope of the development.


TOD Study Area Questioner

1) Is there a long term or master plan for the geographic region?

a) What time frame does the long term or master plan (LTMP) cover?
b) Over what time frame is the LTMP to be implemented?
c) What organizations (Local, City, State, and Federal) were involved in or consulted with in the development of the LTMP?
d) Were any outside consulting or design groups used in the development of the LTMP? If so who were they? How were their recommendations used in the development of the LTMP?
e) What community involvement or public information intake meetings were used in the development of a LTMP?
f) How is the LTMP and plan time frame evaluated to plan execution? Who does the evaluation and how is the evaluation done?
g) Does the LTMP have a scheduled review date or interval? If so how is the review done and who has input on the review?
h) How is the plans success determined and by whom?

2) Are the specific geographic area master plans (GAMP) included in the LTMP? If so, how many GAMPs are there? How were the GAMPs determined and by whom?
For each GAMP;

a) What are the land use types by percent in the specific GAMP?
b) What are the infrastructure requirements or improvements of the LTMP and the GAMP? How are the improvements reducing the environmental and public health impacts of the development or redevelopments?
c) Are the GAMP’s inclusive of identifying, preserving and or creating; public and private open land and green space, historic buildings, increased density, transit hubs by type (i.e. light rail, bus, heavy rail), walk-able and scaleable development, reduced automotive use while preserving a sense of place in the GAMP? How were these identified and by whom?
d) What time frame does the GMAP cover?
e) Over what time frame is the GAMP to be implemented?
f) What organizations (Local, City, State, and Federal) were involved in or consulted with in the development of the GAMP?
g) Were any outside consulting or design groups used in the development of the LTMP? If so who were they? How were their recommendations used in the development of the LTMP?
h) What community involvement or public information intake meetings were used in the development of a GAMP?
i) Does the GAMP have a scheduled review date or interval? If so how is the review done and who has input on the review?
j) How is the GAMP and plan time frame evaluated to plan execution? Who does the evaluation and how is the evaluation done?
k) How is the plan’s success determined and by whom?
l) How many studies have been done on or in the GAMP? Over what time frame and by whom?
m) What recommendations were made in the result of the studies?
n) Were any of the recommendations implemented? If so, what were they? Where and when were they implemented and by whom? If the prior studies were found not to be applicable, who made that decision? What was it based on and why?

We would like to thank you for your time in assisting us in the review process of the TOD plan that you will be presenting. The background information will give the group a better understanding of how your plan was developed and the type of studies that were used to develop the base line information that your plan was built on.
**************************************************************

George hasn't received a response. Apparently there are either no answers or they don't want them published.

December 17, 2006

Update On Improper Campaign Signs

Thanks to tips from neighbors and to upper management, the not so legal JoMo campaign signs have been removed from Northpoint properties. It took a few emails and phone calls from other watchers, but the yards and common areas are clutter free.

Paulina/Jonquil
NoMo3

Juneway
NoMo2 NoMo1 NoMo

Then along comes the Jonquil Hotel to save the day and promote Joe in their windows and side yard. But considering the favors provided by the city scavengers picking up extra trash and debris in the alley, Bud Ogle owes Joe a favor or two in return.

MoJo

There must have been a holiday event at the church around 2:30 PM yesterday. It’s a real shame the day wasn’t spend cooperating with the CPD in collecting guns NOH. But that’s community relations up here – maintaining the status quo. After the first ‘community meeting’ in 2005 when the minister made demands of the new commander, one would think the church would have been the leader in getting guns off the streets.

NoGunTurnIn

December 16, 2006

Discriminating Phone Poll

Looks like someone wants my opinion on Saturdays...

Ring Ring....
Hello...long pause
Caller: I'm so and so from Community ??? conducting a political survey for your area. May I speak to a male voter in the household?

Me: What's this, sexual discrimination? Women have the right to vote, don't you know that? Ask me the questions please.

The questions ranged from the pro and con statements from the supporters for Gordon, Ginderske, Adams and the incumbent, probably garnered from press releases to local gossip. To some of the questions, I had no response because I don't know the history on rent or mortgage payments, nor do I particularily care. I do know that some of the pro statements aren't quite true on some of the candidates due to the fact that they were NOT active in anything until recently i.e. the past year or less.

Naturally, the Correct Statements were made about the incumbent:
Not in touch with the ward
Too involved in 'out of ward' issues (note I refrained to interject'out of world') i.e. foie gras and big box and the war in Iraq.
Camping with developers
Displacing affordable housing for condos
Not actively involved in stopping crime


But there was only one candidate that seemed to have a 'clean slate' in the negative question category. No really negative questions were asked about Chris Adams. So I don't have any suggested rumors to provide on his history of late rent or mortgage or even foreclosure data.

Luckily the young lady asking the questions had a sense of humor. She laughed when I responded to the question of 'what race are you' to which I responded 'I'm an American taxpaying voter'. She said 'Good answer, I'm writing that one on the form'. On the question of age, I responded 'I'm a boomer that hasn't traded in ideals for MONEY like too many of my generation'.

Caller ID and/or *69 will give you the #863-765-4321 but a reverse look-up will not yield any information, so obviously the calls are routed into a phony number so no one can track and get the dirt on the instigator! Politicians think we voters are really stupid don't they? The young lady and I laughed on that one too!

So the question of the day: Who do you think sponsored this latest poll?

December 15, 2006

Tribune: County Health system bloated, embarrassing, dishonest, slipshod, and, oh, yeah, patronage-ridden

The 10 percent solution

The county's long-bloated and deficit-ridden Bureau of Health Services needs major reform. The savings forecast by promoters of the new Stroger Hospital haven't materialized. And while you can work the numbers six ways from sundown, it's possible that the county now spends one-sixth of its entire budget--$500 million from a total of $3 billion--to care for an average of only 500 inpatients in its three hospitals. Put short: the Bureau of Health Services has been an embarrassment of dishonest administration, brazen patronage and slipshod finances for years.

More...

Are We On A Cruise Ship?

Here's an excerpt of the police blotter from Pioneer Press. Be careful out there on your way to get a free flu shot, turn in those guns in another ward and off to the free movie. You may call the police for any guns you want to turn in and they'll arrange to pick them up. Per a police comment at the CAPS meeting last night, just don't walk into the police station carrying any weapons to turn in!

Please be aware of your surroundings as we await the next planned activity from the rushers at 49. It's beginning to feel like a cruise ship or a retirement center isn't it?

ROGERS PARK
24th DISTRICT
ROBBERY

by Lorraine Swanson - Pioneer Press

Two teens reported that they were robbed of $16 by four male youths in their late teens on the 6600 block of North Bosworth Avenue around 2 p.m. Dec. 4. The victims told police the youths demanded money. When they said no, one of the youths pushed one of the victims to the ground and began to kick him. The youths went through the victim's pocket and took his money. They told the victims to leave. The victims ran to the Dist. 24 police station to report the robbery.

A man in his 20s walked into the a grocery store on the 7400 block of North Western Avenue at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and pointed a handgun at an employee during an attempted robbery. A customer entered the store and the would-be robber fled.

A 45-year-old man told police he was grabbed from behind by a male juvenile in his late teens and robbed on the 2000 block of West Lunt around 10:15 p.m. Dec. 2. One of the robbers grabbed the victim by the neck, held a knife to his throat and ordered him to give up his money. The victim turned over $180 cash and the two suspects fled on foot, running eastbound on Lunt.

BURGLARY
A 32-year-old woman surprised a would-be burglar who broke into her apartment on the 6400 block of North Kedzie at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 6. The victim told police she heard a loud noise in her kitchen. When she went to investigate, she saw an unknown male in her kitchen. The home-invader pushed the victim down, then fled out the backdoor. Police said he entered the apartment through a ground floor window.

Burglars stole a laptop computer valued at $1,600 and ransacked a closet on the 1200 block of West Lunt sometime between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6. Police found a palm print on the kitchen window and a makeshift ladder leaning up against the side of the building.

December 14, 2006

Beat 2422 Meets Tonight

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

Get Extra Holiday Cash For Guns

There was a gun turn in last April in Rogers Park at West Ridge Community Methodist Church. One would think that the community organizers North of Howard would be bidding for the church of choice to promote this December event - here.

Could one reason be lack of involvement? One would think the city would embrace as many churches in this program as possible. Aren't our local churches involved in these meetings? Is one event a year enough? We can always expect Father Pfleger to be involved in such issues, like him or not.

Another possible reason could be it's too close to home. Too many 'lookouts' watching just who entered the local church(s) on a Saturday - and retaliation on auntie Jane.

Or is it just easier to embrace the 'what is' and get involved after the bullet leaves the chamber?

December 13, 2006

What's Your Score?

Everyone dreaded one class in our high school - junior year American History. We didn't dread the topic itself, but feared Miss Bertha Brown. Students today would 'totally freak' if they had to face Miss Brown for 55 minutes a day, 5 days a week for an entire school year as we did.

Miss Brown ruled the classroom. There were no control issues in her class, one either studied or paid the price. If a student missed the bell - too bad. She stood just inside the door as we filed in. As soon as the last bell rang, she locked the door. Anyone who was 'locked out' was left to explain the situation to the principal who patrolled the halls. Miss B was so ingrained in that 'old time' school system she had a policy even the principal was afraid to overrule. So he was always around to catch anyone she banished.

If anyone flunked the Constitution test in the spring, it was welcome to junior year again! No one in my junior class failed American History.

December 12, 2006

Meet Chris and Jesse

I received this in an email from candidate Chris Adams. He wrote: 'It's a chance for the community to come and talk about education and we're bringing in the top guy in the state to hear what people have to say and to share some thoughts.' If you're interested in education or interested in meeting Chris, please attend!
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Schools and the 49th Ward


Come join a discussion about the state
of education in our neighborhood

Featuring:

image001

Jesse Ruiz
Chairman
Illinois State Board
of Education

When: Friday, Dec. 15
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. open house

Where: 1549 W. Touhy Ave.
(southeast corner of Touhy and Ashland)

What: $20 donation appreciated

Details: Refreshments served.
RSVP to 773-465-ADAMS (2326)
or valerie@adamsforalderman.com



Authorized and paid for by Friends of Chris Adams. Contributions are not tax deductible. A copy of our report is or will be available for purchase from the Cook County Clerk (69 W. Washington Ave., Chicago, IL 60602) or the Illinois State Board of Elections.

December 11, 2006

A Different Bears Rush - Update on Coe

The opening comment from the alderman was to thank everyone for attending and hopefully everyone could get back to the Bears game.

Mr. Coe must have been given 24/7’s queries by our alderman because he opened his dialogue with a brief history of his experience and updates on other properties.

Coe’s been in the business approximately 10 years. He’s the paperwork person and his partner who oversees the construction part of the business is out of the country for the holidays. So the audience was left with the attorney and the architect to gather much of the data that Mr. Coe couldn’t provide. Of course, he had representation from the alderman and Mr. Land to fill in any gaps.

Coe stated the property formerly known as the Pinewood Tavern consists of 13 condo units of which 7 have sold. It is a mix of commercial on the first floor and condos above.

Coe stated the property on Morse had to be demolished due to the vagrants in the area. Regarding the ‘unfortunate’ demolition that resulted in horror stories from our neighbors on Morse, Coe stated the demolition was done by a City certified/licensed contractor. Mr. Coe stated the city licensed contractor had been informed by the gas company the service had been shut off. However, that was not the case.

Mr. Moore interrupted to extract a ‘promise’ that the same construction company would not be hired for the Howard Street tear down. The answer was affirmative. However, Coe’s partner, (who is out of the country) would have the information on the contractor lined up for the Howard demolition.

On to the ‘delay’ in construction – Mr. Coe stated that the delay in construction was not due to the ‘demolition errors’ but to accommodate their first floor occupant, Devcorps needs. DevCorp is slated to occupy the first floor ‘commerical area’. This accomodation required a re-design of the plans, required a submission of additional soil samplings, and the acquisition of new permits for the new renderings. Also, it had to be determined if the water supply to the site would come from Morse or Greenview – thus an additional permit. Per Coe, excavation on Morse began today and the total expected timeline will be 15-18 months.

Now to 1523-35 Howard – the former home to the dry cleaners, Mel’s hot dogs, and the current home of Howard Tire Shop is to become a mixed-use commercial/condo building contained in the current B3-3 zoning.

100_1542

Coe needs a variance for an ‘unusual’ zoning code since the building is on two streets, Howard and Rogers with a gangway connecting the two. If they don’t receive their variance, one building cannot be built but two separate buildings or a sub-divide would have to occur. The ground level is to be commercial condo space either to be sold or rented by Coe – yet to be determined. No restaurants will be allowed in those spaces. Fast food such as Subway was mentioned by Coe in that no cooking is done on the premises.

To maximize space and to offer quality construction, the building will be brick – no concrete blocks. The 4 stories above the commercial space will contain 28 condo units with 2 bedrooms/2 baths in the lower $300k price range. When asked about low income units, Coe stated 1-2, Moore interjected 2-3 affordable units.

The ground level shows a design to allow transparency from Howard to Rogers, to promote security with the openness. There will be 31 parking spaces in an enclosed garage for owners.

When the Q&A session began, one neighbor asked about utilizing green technology and offered the suggestion that the city is supposed to expedite permits for same. There will be no green technology in this development. The second part of the question regarded the lack of (or small) windows on the east side of the building. The response revolved upon natural light and ventilation.

My question seemed to irritate the alderman. When I prefaced my question with the number of these meetings held, attended, approved there is still no progress or development in the past 4+ years, he interrupted wanting to know if I had a question. Yes sir, I do. I cited the Rogers/Sheridan site, the Lerner building, where construction is not underway and the Pivot Point that's been on hold for months. I was interrupted while giving an historical overview leading up to the question! One part of the question referred to the environmental issues surrounding the Lerner building and asked if the dry cleaners on Howard been properly tested and cleaned. Mr. Coe stated it was cleaned and had passed tests in 1988 stating an entity known as the Dry Cleaning Association funded it. The point of the question was to ensure that any environmental issues had been rectified and would not be cause for any delays. The architect spoke up and stated that soil sampling and obtaining permits go in tandem. From obtaining permits, to demolition and construction the estimated timeline is 28-30 months.

Another point made was in reference to an earlier statement made by Mr. Coe when he stated that the Lerner site would be undergoing construction in the near future. Coe was asked if he was involved in this ‘new’ development. Coe stated he had spoken to Terzakis regarding this plat, didn’t feel the design was feasible, and didn’t feel Terzakis’ asking price was reasonable. The community’s only information regarding the Lerner/Terzakis property came from a statement regarding eminent domain made by Moore at the Pivot Point community meeting nearly a year ago. Moore stated that Terzakis had received community and city approval for his plans and had not acted upon it. Moore stated again tonight that the city was to proceed with eminent domain, take bids and choose the developer.

In closing Mr. Coe stated he would be a ‘trailblazer’ by undertaking the first new construction east of the Howard El. He stated demolition would not be underway until all permits are completed. The hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals is this week. Someone in the back of the auditorium asked if there would be a vote, however, I didn’t notice a call for yeas or nays.

Consensus was granted and let's assume those who were interested made it back for the rest of the Bears game.

December 10, 2006

Tagging Along With A Candidate

24/7 tagged along with Don Gordon this weekend. All the candidates, including the incumbent, were gathering last minute signatures to place them on the ballot for 49th Ward Alderman. And, as four years ago, some people play politely, others don’t! But what else is new right? An email was sent to me complaining about Joe’s signs all over ‘private property' owned by AIMCO, known to us as Northpoint. I’m not sure what the alarm is about because we all know that the incumbent truly cares about the low income voters in this ward. He cares so much that he pulled all the right strings to create a high density pocket of poverty which keeps North of Howard known as a separate entity from the rest of ‘Rogers Park’.

Hot dogs and turkeys and promises of jobs...and the usual crew to dish out the spin. They weren't visible when the cul-de-sac at Ashland/Jonquil was a hot spot. They're never around when fireworks or weapons disturb the neighborhood. They weren't visible when tenants had issues and needed real help. Of course they showed up at a tenant meeting to make sure they were 'visible' after all the footwork had been done by 'civilians'.

But when it’s time to vote, Joe's ‘imported crews’ are out in in a furious force! So, we’ll see what upper management at AIMCO feels about this intrusion. Perhaps as a ‘courtesy’ they have allowed these signs. But as regular CAPS attendees know, No Trespassing signs are on all Northpoint properties. So, all other candidates should have the equal opportunity to send volunteers to trespass and put their signs up too right? All’s fair in an election…or that’s the goal.

Jonquil/Paulina
PICT1176
Juneway Area
PICT1170PICT1168PICT1173

But one vision that can’t be stolen were the smiles from several of the NOH residents as they took campaign brochures, buttons and happily signed the petition. There are several low income residents who have been waiting for someone to hear them. And the good part is the fact that some campaign volunteers actually live in Rogers Park! One man was very disgusted that a Moore ‘volunteer’ showed up at his door who stated he lives on the West Side. The man wanted to know why a West Sider was on his doorstep! Well, sir, that’s the Machine for you.

So this aldermanic candidates' signs are starting to re-appear, are cataloged by store/apartment/address/date placed. If Wayne and his imported Machine Manipulators dare to show up to remove them this election year, it will be reported and the signs will be replaced. Hint – all candidates should be doing this!

The Gordon sign had been removed by ‘someone’ from this store. It went back up today and will be watched accordingly.

100_1541

Another establishment ‘refused’ to share window space and will allow only Joe’s sign…but they’re involved with the non-chamber of commerce and reside in another ward. Just one year ago, the proprietor was complaining loudly about being coerced into the current location by the non-chamber of commerce – you see, the business owner really wanted to be located in the mall but the ‘machine’ had other plans. So they were conveniently placed on Howard to deal with the dubious foot traffic outside their business! What buds the manipulators are!

Permission was granted for each sign placed. To deny a ‘fair election’ is not a very democratic process now is it?

December 9, 2006

The Rude Phone Call

The Moore Machine is starting to make phone calls.

Ring, Ring...

Me: "Hello"
Caller: No introduction just "are you X?"
Me: "No, I know who X is X lives in the building, may I help you?"
Caller: "What about Y?"
Me: "First of all, WHO are YOU? Could you identify yourself?"

Caller: "Oh I'm Ms. so and so from Alderman Joe Moore's office. Can we count on your vote on February 27?"

Me: "I don't think so"

Man in background repeatedly stating "Not interested, not interested"

Caller: "Oh, Thank You"...and hung up.

Was that you in the background Wayne? If so, you need to teach your group some phone etiquette such as proper introductions and to ENUNCIATE. Perhaps they could try to pronounce names correctly!

PS: Caller ID and *69 will not reveal the number that dialed! Is that a surprise?

December 7, 2006

Coe's Coming To Town

We all want to see some change on Howard Street right? Here’s our chance to hear all about change the ward 49 way…

The developer, Robert Coe his attorney John Pikarski and his architect Laszlo Simovic will present a proposal to build a five-story mixed-use building containing commercial space and 28 dwelling units. The combined lots are zoned B3-3, with a total of 15,011 square feet. The proposed building requires a variance for unobstructed open space since it is a through lot, which is a lot that goes through from one street to another street.

For more information on Mr. Coe, our neighbors on Morse have some homework you may want to review before you take the infomercial test. Nothing is stated in the email blast from ward 49 about ‘affordable units’.

Considering the study done by Lakeside Community Development Corporation article by Lorraine Swanson – Pioneer Press 11/15/06, does this project fall into the category that is not providing affordable housing from the verbiage in the alderman's email? If you didn't get the email you will have to check out his website.

Moore and Coe have until Monday, December 11, 2006, at 7:00 P.M. at the Gale Community Academy, 1609 West Jonquil Terrace to do the spin and damage control.The proposal is under review by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee. Alderman states he “will only support the project if it enjoys substantial community support”.

The community may want to know if proper, credentialed demolition experts will be used. The community may want to know if this project is going to sit for years as Coe's project has on Morse Avenue. The community may want to know if this is one of those Joe Specials for an election year that lands on a back burner for years like the Field House. The community may want to know if months after this meeting there will be a halt to work due to 'environmental issues from the dry cleaner chemicals' as was the spin on the vacant Lerner Newspaper building. That's one of the issues that needs to be addressed upfront.

These buildings on Howard have been vacant for over a year. The hole on Morse Avenue is considered 'dangerous'. The community may want a REAL construction timeline on both projects in writing. The community may want to demand affordable units in this development - in writing.

Accountability has to start somewhere, sometime and the community needs to muster the energy to attend, listen and hold someone's feet to the fire on these promises.

December 6, 2006

NOH Park Advisory Council Needs YOU

Excerpts from 11/28/06 NOH Park Advisory Council Meeting

Gale Field House Update
Eva stated that Mike Land reported Paschen Construction is on schedule. We do not have a written timeline, but we do have the following verbal benchmarks:
· The foundation and footings are in.
· Sewage and water is going in this month.
· Steel girders will go in January.
· In March masonry work will be done.
· In April the interior work will begin and continue through the summer.
· By end of September – early October, 2007 it will be completed.

These meetings are attended by the 'regular' council members and one suggestion was to blog the awareness to the entire community that we need your support. You will be hearing this invitation from other sources also. Many have spent years struggling to get this field house for the neighborhood youth as well as adults. Yet since the council was formed, very few neighbors have come to meetings. Please consider setting aside one hour a month to set the course for not only Gale Field House, but the Harold Washington Playlot and to offer constructive, creative ideas for Triangle Park. Triangle Park poses challenges that many may enjoy, from suggesting a new name, to getting resolution on the parking area that was part of a City agreement to a developer.

We realize people have very few free hours in the day but this is a neighborhood venture that when completed will be available to individuals, families, and groups to utilize. We need your assistance in becoming a 501 C 3 to organizing fundraising and grant writing and hopefully mentoring. We need programming ideas to request from the park district so there will be a variety of activities. So while the construction is underway, could some of our supporters from the past offer up a little of their time to join us? We may only be an 'advisory' council, but we, as a community need to be heard. This is our neighborhood and these are our parks.

Please contact Sr. Cecilia at cfandel@howardarea.org or call 773-262-6622 or stop by Howard Area Center at 7648 Paulina and ask for an application. The application is a formality the park district requires of all council members. Or just come to a few meetings and be heard! We need fresh ideas that many of you have to offer to help bring our parks and our neighborhood together.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Dec. 19 at HACC 7-8:30 pm. We meet the 3rd Tuesday of every month.

December 4, 2006

School Report Card

There are many factors that create good schools. Financial assistance from governing bodies is one factor, quality instructors and involved parents are two more. Creating a course of education to emcompass all academic levels has been a high point for years. How many high schools still provide alternative studies for students who may not be geared to 'higher education'?

As posted last week, the city and state are saturated in TIF's capping tax dollars for education. Any politician using education on his/her platform should simultaneously be calling for a halt to TIFS.

We all know what a windfall $50.00 is don't we? Ask any TIF receipient.

December 2, 2006

WANTED - A Home

Is anyone interested in taking in, 'adopting', a beautiful, young (1.5 yrs?), loving, male Orange Tabby with a striking, large, Lemur-like, ringed tail? Anyone who is interested or wants more info, please call me ASAP!
Thanks,
Mike NHNA
773-465-2433
P.S. I currently have 4 'animal companions' and am unable to take him in myself, otherwise I would. He's a great guy!

December 1, 2006

Source of Budget Deficits?

Thanks Paradise for sharing the above link on statewide TIFS. Let's put it up front. These 'quick fixes' in the long term not only are bleeding the taxpayers dry but the whole City and state for necessary resources. Most consider police, fire departments and schools necessary, but they are 'capped' for years.

From the link About TIF:
"Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) helps local governments attract private development and new businesses. New businesses mean more jobs, more customers, and, in turn, more private investment. TIF designation also helps retain existing businesses that might otherwise find more attractive options elsewhere. The jobs and additional investment --- private and public --- mean more money for the community. TIF also helps to overcome the extraordinary costs that often prevent development and private investment from occurring on environmentally contaminated and other properties. As a result, the TIF area itself improves and property values go up.

Since the Federal and State governments have greatly reduced their support for economic development, Tax Increment Financing permits municipalities to accept some of this responsibility without raising local property taxes.

Without TIF benefits, a deteriorating area will not improve. Businesses do not sink capital into decaying areas and most local governments cannot afford the needed costly improvements without raising taxes. But in a TIF district, dollars for improvements are generated by businesses --- new and old --- attracted by the TIF benefits. Specifically, money for infrastructure improvements and other incentives comes from the growth in property tax revenues --- the tax increment."

So applied to our little neighborhood, most of the above advertising jargon inaccurately describes the Howard/Paulina TIF. Howard Street proudly bears boarded up windows on some vacant storefronts, only one dollar store remains (but received new windows and signage) and has maybe 10 live businesses from Sheridan Road to the El. That's two sit down restaurants, a pawn shop, tire shop, dollar store, liquor store, corner mini grocery, wig store, currency exchange, shoe store and some small walk and eat joints. Paulina is reserved for social services and religion with the exception of a post office, grocery store,laundromat, barber shop and a medical clinic. But both streets have a thriving drug business, is that what our law makers had in mind?

Of course, it's rumored that the non-chamber of commerce and the incumbent alderman will reveal 'plans' for re-development in January 2007. It was mentioned in the SSA#19 meeting, so why not just talk about it then? Wrong tax? January is just in time for an election. Remember the many groundbreakings for the field house? How many occurred as the earth was frozen solid in an election year? How long has this TIF been around and what's the balance and who / what received the most benefits? It sure wasn't the economy North of Howard. How many census tract 101 job receipients are there for this TIF?