May 31, 2007

Let's See How They Vote

NO CONFIDENCE:

Political Hires ... Financial Mismanagement ... And Now a Tax Increase?

Zorn: Peraica's 'No Confidence' Resolution 'Makes Sense'


CHICAGO, IL - Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica will introduce a resolution of "No Confidence" in the Stroger Administration at next week's County Board Meeting - and Stroger continues to prove he is more than worthy of such a resolution.

In addition to Stroger's continued hiring of political cronies and family members in the wake of the County budget crisis - this weekend Todd called for an increase in property taxes.

"Why does Todd want to raise taxes? So he can have more taxpayer money with which to hire friends and family," said Peraica. "Stroger has shown that his only concern with the County budget is how to use it as a political tool to reward cronies and contributors. Cook County taxpayers don't need a tax increase, they need competent leadership that Stroger simply refuses to provide."

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote of Peraica's resolution:
"The motion makes sense. Stroger's brazen continuation of crony politics has broken faith with those who believed the reform platitudes he issued during his successful campaign against Peraica last fall."
Zorn’s complete column

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin wrote over the weekend:
"In the midst of a wrenching county fiscal crisis in which doctors, nurses, prosecutors and public defenders have been laid off and medical clinics closed, the County Board president keeps finding creative new ways to play with the payroll. A payroll that he generously pads with six-figure salaries for relatives, cronies and pals."
Marin’s complete column

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board wrote this week:
"Stroger's real problem isn't bad press. It's his imperial style, out-of-whack priorities and his mismanagement, which have all led to the bad press. The media, after all, didn't decide to rope off an elevator at the County Building for Stroger's exclusive use. We didn't hire his cronies for six-figure salaries at the same time the county was cutting nurses and prosecutors and other frontline service workers. Stroger did those things and more, and he apparently thinks the answer is not for him to stop doing them, but for us to stop writing about it."
Complete editorial

Peraica's "No Confidence" resolution will put the Cook County commissioners on record as either supporting, or opposing, Stroger's continued troubling actions.

"It's been a good year for Stroger friends and family, but a bad year for frontline workers, nurses, prosecutors and Cook County citizens in need of health care," said Peraica. "This resolution will send a clear message that the despicable actions of the Stroger administration will no longer be tolerated, and that the taxpayers and residents of Cook County have lost confidence in Todd Stroger's ability to govern."

May 30, 2007

Alderman's Father Released On Bond

No doubt Alderman Munoz and his father are embarassed, humiliated, and possibly a little afraid tonight. One would hope that the meaning of 'humility' which comes from the word 'humble' would bring an awakening to a city council member. One can hope it becomes a contagious trend. Alderpersons are, after all, humans just like us.

Unfortunately, not enough people understand or appreciate the meaning of being humble. Far better to be an humble person than the many antonyms which are: arrogant, big-headed, egotistical, superior, over-confident, and condescending, to name a few.

(CBS) CHICAGO The 2 Investigators showed us last February how easy it is to buy a fake ID in a thriving marketplace in Chicago, and an some even more shocking information has been learned tonight.

As 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, it seems the father of a City Hall alderman is smack in the middle of the ID sales.

CBS Channel 2 - Pam Zeckman's breaking story on May 5, 2007
Pam Zeckman’s Investigation


Update tonight May 30, 2007
(CBS) CHICAGO The father of a Chicago alderman was out on bond Wednesday night after appearing in court for charges he took part in a fake ID scheme that stretched from his Little Village photo shop all the way to Mexico.

Elias Munoz, 62, made an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown, who set bond at $50,000 and ordered Munoz to wear an electronic surveillance device.

Munoz Released On Bond Tonight

Father of Moore's Top Ally in City Council Indicted

Feds: Alderman's dad took photos for fake IDs
LITTLE VILLAGE
Scheme resulted in controversial raid last month

May 30, 2007
" The father of a Chicago alderman allegedly snapped the photos that were in the middle of a sophisticated fake ID scheme"

OOPS!

Remember that sweep by the Feds of the fake ID operation in Little Village? Alderman & candidate for Congress Rick Munoz and his dad claimed they had NO IDEA what was being done with all the passport-size photos being taken in dad's photo shop on 26th St? Well, the Feds didn't buy the dumb guy act.

Whenever Moore needs someone, ANYONE, to acknowledge him as the LEADER of the Resistance Movement in the Chicago City Council, his lap dog Munoz is his go-to guy. NO ONE looks up to & admires Joe Moore more than Ricky Munoz:

  1. Munoz joined Moore in calling on the City's Law Dept. to recover cash obtained from City Hall corruption, a call that went nowhere.

  2. Before the recent election, Munoz joined Moore in calling for hearings into CTA services, hearings which never happened. Rank hypocrites Moore & Munoz both voted for the downtown CTA SuperStation they both decried in a press conference as demonstrative of the CTA's warped priorities.

Every Day Is A Bad News Toddy Day

From NBC News

With the denial of benefits from Stroger's office, he says he doesn't know how he'll pay the mounting bills at home. But he did have an answer for those who sent him a hospital bill.
"I sent it back to them with a note," he said. " 'Keep dreaming.'"

Thanks to a tip from ChiAnim8r
******************************

Every day is a bad news day with Toddy's name attached to it. Yesterday it was Toddy's Property Tax Threat thanks to Tom at Rogers Park Bench. Just can't wait for the next dreadline.

So when are these commissioners going to wise up, unite and block him out? Forget about party ties and consider the taxpayers would you please?

Just remember, tax hikes = rent increases, no one is spared.

Any comment from those of you who supported Toddy? If the election were held today, would you still vote for him?

May 29, 2007

The Ward 49 Gang

There's a resurgence of an old gang North of Howard.

The 49th Ward Service Office took to the streets for the first time that I've lived here. It's known as a moving Satellite Service Office set up outside train stations on certain mornings. The original email blast stated they would be there "to meet with you, take requests for city services and assist you with any other matters of concern to you."

I always cross the street at Ashland and walk to the Howard el on the south side of Howard. This morning I walked on the north side of Howard to the stop light at Paulina. There was a new gang loitering outside the el with coffee and possibly other food. I didn't pay much attention to the table since The Man in the Suit was there. He was grabbing hands - some that were reluctant to shake his.

I was behind a six foot neighbor but Joe saw me coming. He very courteously and very professionally smiled at me from a slightly sunburned face. He pretended to happily greet me and smiled that extra big smile. I attempted a smile in return which should have been appropriately sufficient. Then he called over his shoulder to 'get her a banana'. Wanting to make sure I heard correctly above the din of trains and street noise, I said 'pardon me'? He chuckled ever so innocently and said 'oh, I just said to get you a banana'. Joe and his Ed McMahon (Dave Fagus) snickered like two naughty little boys. But Fagus was to Joe's right and if I recall correctly, Joe called over his left shoulder. Who's smiling face should appear from the doorway of Pete's Cafe? None other than 'Ward 49 Human Relations' staffer, Wayne Frazier.

Such professionalism to a constituent, just one of half the ward who did NOT vote for him.

'Speaking of bananas' I said as I reached into my carry-all, 'what are you doing about this?

The expected denial came fluttering out with a sarcastic insinuation that it could have been one of my 'friends' NOH. Certainly, I have friends NOH. His inference that some don't like me are certain ones who 'assisted' him in the dirtiest campaign of his career! Let's just say these assistants couldn't afford the postage to send hundreds of these little things or obtain the mailing lists without a little help!

The Man In The Suit once again lowered himself to his bully antics and in a public place. I'm 5' 2" and his tomfoolery made him look much smaller than me. Joe feels obligated to chastize one blogger for his meeting antics, (or lack of social graces) yet fails to note that frequently his demeanor is on much the same level that he mocks in another!

Isn't the alderman supposed to support all constituents? If this will be his attitude for the next four years then apparently he hasn't learned much at all. So much for the 'matters that concern you'.


On a side note: A neighbor who campaigned for Gordon had a 'front yard fire' about 9:00PM last night. Charcoal briquets were set afire with an apparent large dose of accelerant causing flames to spiral upward. Neighbors doused the fire with water before it spread to a nearby tree. No perps were seen much less apprehended. Too bad the alderman wasn't there to stomp it out with his fine Italian shoes.

Let's hope he's nearby if the perps try it again right?

Don't Forget

rpgg_poster_may_2007_2


Come to the Rogers Park Garden Group's May Meeting for a presentation on Container Gardening, tonight!

May 29 at 7PM
Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Room
7059 N. Greenview


for additional information you may also contact p.vangiessen@gmail.com

May 28, 2007

Look At The Howard El

Overhang skeleton from Northbound Platform
El Facelift 001-1

Southbound Platform – Escalator bared to daylight.
El Facelift 002-1 El Facelift 003-1

They were pouring concrete into the support columns to finish the concrete platform connecting the escalator section to the rest of the new platform.

These shots were snapped on my way to a day at the carnival. The Tilt a Whirl was still the same fun ride that it was when I was 12. Sure would be nice to have a carnival in RP.

May 27, 2007

Outrage: Officer Allegedly Beats Up Teenager

Mr. Fagus, I am outraged at this.
Here’s my outrage for you Fagus

Let's add this parent, who just happens to be a police officer, to the many who have intervened in their kids problems. Again, it's a case of not knowing the whole story, but I doubt that the kid could match the fighting skills of a trained cop. Unfortunately, parents can be overprotective, and over-reactive.

Let's not forget that too many parents push their kids into competition and 'winning' at an early age now. They bypass childhood and prep the kids for the fast track. Remember the Texas Mom who hired someone to kill her daughters cheerleading competition?

On another note, I must digress to vent outrage at this big government and board of elections faux pas. Every registered voter may want to Check his/her Credit Rating to make sure some of the critters our alderpeople have involved in their campaigns and offices haven't used a social security number for other purpose.

Fagus: Here's More Outrage

As a leader, Stroger can't hack it
May 27, 2007
CAROL MARIN cmarin@suntimes.com


"Doesn't it seem like only yesterday that Strausberg was trying to bamboozle voters into believing John Stroger would recover from his pre-primary stroke to campaign in the 2006 general election? Instead, thanks to the cunning of county ward bosses, his alderman son inherited the keys to the kingdom. Loyal politicos gathered round to endorse him. Illinois senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, a reformer if ever there was one, jumped on Todd's bandwagon, as did Sen. Dick Durbin and Mayor Daley.

What an enduringly proud moment for the Cook County Democratic Party.

We haven't really heard from those guys lately about Todd's performance or the Todd Squad that surrounds him since the election. Like his $142,820 chief financial officer-cousin, his $116,000 purchasing agent and best friend's wife, his $141,725 human resources director friend, and his $310,000 dad's doctor and hospital chief. All that bounty over at county, while poor women can't get appointments for mammograms."

Thank you Ms. Marin! I look forward to reading what our 'cunning ward boss' has to write about it!

May 26, 2007

Hey, Fagus: Where's the Outrage?

Paid to defend poor but doing Stroger's bidding
'It's totally inappropriate': commissioner

May 24, 2007
BY STEVE PATTERSON AND ERIC HERMAN Sun-Times Staff Reporters

On paper, he works for the Cook County agency that represents those too poor to hire a lawyer.

But in reality, attorney Richard Velazquez is being paid to give legal advice to County Board President Todd Stroger.

The move has stunned county commissioners and some in the public defender's office, but Stroger said Wednesday there's nothing wrong with his decision to hire Velazquez on the public defender's budget -- only to use him as his own attorney.

AlderTrack II: A Multifarious Movement of Municipal Esoterica

Son of AlderTrack

Our neighbor who brought us excellent information via the AlderTrack website during the election cycle is not letting up, he is continuing his amazing efforts at shedding sunshine on the government of our home town. The website is embarking on an ambitious project of posting agendas, audio, and transcripts.

Highly recommended. Bookmark these and keep checking back!

AlderTrack II



Rogers Park

May 25, 2007

Huberman's Threat

Come on Ron...the world at the Howard el revolves around the suburban riders. Now one purple line only delivers them to our door and runs back for more. The trains won't take off until the yellow line riders have landed.

One CTA worker told me the suburban riders complain more, that's why the trains wait for them.

Non-Union vs Union workers? I don't know what their membership is, but one can generally find 3-4 people working and an equal amount 'watching'. Is that really necessary?

How about getting extra cash from all those TIFS? It is taxpayer money after all, it is 'development' after all.

A Solution For Bernie et al

REAL ESTATE | Two key city departments to reunite
May 24, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter


I agree that these two departments, Buildings and Permits, are troubled…and can attest to their confusion. While they didn’t want to ‘slow Chicago’s building boom’ they sure created buyers hell. What can or will the City do about it? I’ve been chronicling every step of the way with these pre-existing code violations we unknowingly inherited. Trust me, if it was a 30 minute sitcom it would be hilarious, but not when one is in the middle of the fray.

According to Stone, the ‘big problem’ is in the building department because they have no commissioner. So, Bernie et al, what was the problem back in say 2001 and earlier? Low morale, lack of supervision…yes, sir, I’ve been suffering from the first malady with this scam but have no symptoms of the second. One in the legal department stated there has been contention ever since the legal department took over the building department. I’m not sure how valid that statement is at all, but it’s no excuse for not knowing what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s called job performance.

Since they’re all confused, and I’m not an expert, I’ve had to insist on a paper trial of emails on he said/she said for any bumps down the road. No, we do not need a permit for this work. Yes, we do need a permit for that work and, no, we do not need architectural drawings for that work.

The last ‘chase your tail’ game was about a week ago. I was sent to a certain room in City Hall where they had grumpy people to match my moody friend on the 9th floor. (Permits) Finally one woman overcame her mood and decided to we should make the trip upstairs. Bad moods can be very motivating – it’s called let’s get to the bottom of this so I can return to my bad mood. She said she wasn’t leaving until she got a project manager to answer my questions. She did too.

Not having a key to the interior offices, she giggled and crawled over the counter, waved and disappeared. When she returned, she had a very tall project manager! After repeating the story for what seemed like the hundredth time, he looked at certain photos I’d shown someone else on the 9th floor in March. He concurred – no architectural plans needed for one violation and no permit needed to remedy one violation (with certain restrictions, of course).

He led me back to my un-friend at the permit desk. I filled out the form as required. Permit boy didn’t like what I wrote and made me fill it out again. He also didn’t like my attitude and went whining to the tall project manager. The tall one appeared just as I was asking permit boy ‘why can’t I just write repair per code violation, there’s only two skinny lines here’? That’s when permit boy was told ‘it’s quite alright for her to write it that way’. Permit boy was told that they needed to talk! Ha Ha Ha!

Now, the plan Mr. Stone, is this…You aldermen need to do your fair share to support the building department in it’s time of re-marriage to its divorced partner. That’s got to be rough. What a frightening thought!

My suggestion is get a spreadsheet going on every single building in your ward that’s either in rehab or new construction. Next column(s), enter any and all code violations, description, date reported, expected date of compliance. Next, get on the developers asses and turn them over to the building department. The non-compliances need to be flagged in these systems:

a. The Department of Buildings
b. The Legal Department
c. The alderperson’s spreadsheet
d. The real estate community of the City of Chicago. Don’t mess with that license!
e. The mortgage lenders and title companies (A&B are supposed to post per the law anyway)

Still not up to code yet? No sales allowed, no profits made, period. And, no plea bargaining allowed, period. As we know, alderpeople know the real estate clan and they all love making money, so its time they scratched backs properly and protected the buyers for a change. There should be very stiff fines on the seller and the agent for selling a flagged property, and one for the alderperson too.

The only exemption would be a huge 16 font declaration document to be signed by any buyer stating he/she is knowingly and willingly purchasing a property with code violations. No more 'as is' and no more hiding violations and attacking after the sale! Start writing laws without sneaky loopholes. Naughty, naughty.

We know politicians (like some managers) like to delegate their work to the little people. So what can we little people do? We call our ward office and report every construction site we see. Or we have a committee in each beat to collect the new site data and submit to the City and the ward office after every CAPS meeting. And it should be available to the public.

Now, the little people have done their task and tossed the ball back into the City’s court. Now, Mr. Stone, you and your 49 comrades can earn the salaries we pay. And, please don’t whine – working is even tougher in the real world. The deadlines are real.

Oh, did I mention that every one of you should get out there and get ALL of your vacant buildings registered? So a pal owns the building, so it’s tax-exempt, tough, get it listed in the next six months. It’s called a deadline guys. It's also one of your laws that's not enforced.

Send me an email if you have any questions or if I may be of further assistance.

May 24, 2007

Alleged Slavery Charges

By FRANK ELTMAN
Associated Press Writer
Published May 24, 2007, 6:58 AM CDT

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- A millionaire couple accused of keeping two Indonesian women as slaves in their luxurious Long Island home and abusing them for years have been indicted on federal slavery charges.

Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, 35, and her husband, Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, 51, operate a worldwide perfume business out of their home, contracting with overseas factories to manufacture the fragrances.

The two were arrested last week after one of their servants was found wandering outside a doughnut shop on Long Island, wearing only pants and a towel. The woman was believed to have fled the home when she took the trash out the night before.

The complete Tribune article here

***********

Was this couple competing with Leona Helmsley, the original 'Queen of Mean'? How many more are suffering from slavery in our country?

5/10/07 Beat 2422 Meeting

Beat Wide Arrests from April 1, 2007 to April 30, 2007

1st Watch 7
2nd Watch 2
3rd Watch 18
Tactical 21
Gang 15
Other Units 24

Total Arrests: 87

Top 10 Crimes for Beat 2422
Battery/Domestic Simple 14
Criminal Vehicle Damage 12
Battery/Simple 11
Criminal Trespass/Property 9
Narcotics-cannabis 9
Forced Entry 8
Retail Theft 7
Criminal Property Damage 7
Assault/Simple 5
Theft under $300 4

The above was a new format and no arrests by street were given.

Beat Priorities
Gale Campus Park/Howard Street
7600-7700 N Paulina
Greenview/Jarvis/Fargo/Ashland
Bosworth/Ashland/Jonquil Terrace
Triangle Park/Harold Washington Playground

There was continued discussion from the previous month about loitering at the Howard El. It was suggested to invite a guest speaker from the CTA to address security concerns at el stations.

Other attendees mentioned loitering in front of the new pizzeria that opened on Howard, the old Dunkin' Donuts spot. The owner does have a 'no loitering' sign in the window.

A representative from DevCorp stated new planters that could not be substituted as benches had been ordered. The rep also inquired about placing park benches on Howard. The group responded that Howard was not ready for benches. The rep also asked that everyone pitch in and help keep the area litter free.

One attendee mentioned parking problems on the circle are near Triangle Park stating CTA employees are taking up valuable spaces. No solution.

Special attention has been given to the Harold Washington Playground in light of recent disregard of park rules. The beat officer stated he's been patrolling the area until his duty ends around 9:15PM. Also mentioned was the addition of the summer bike patrols to extend from the Lake to Chicago Avenue/Clark. The patrols begin May 24 and will be in the area until midnight.

One concerned neighbor mentioned the murder earlier that afternoon of Blair Holt, a Julian High School student gunned down on a CTA bus. The neighbor continued to discuss the lack of respect youth has for one another and what can be done about it. The response was directed to the hope that the Gale Park Field House will serve the youth with various programs. Currently, there are baseball and basketball tournaments; there's Noah's Ark youth center on Paulina, and other park programs. However, after one Rogers Park resident inquired about basketball, it was mentioned that many NOH youth are afraid to travel to the Loyola or Pottawattomie Park field houses - there are too many gang turfs to cross. By this fact alone, young people remain in the area which was the main reason the neighborhood sought a field house.

BUILDING REPORT

Northpoint Ms. Boyd, on-site manager, stated there will be increased patrols by their security team. Additional lights on all Northpoint buildings was discussed.

Jonquil Hotel - 1600 Jonquil - Has placed additional lighting on Ashland

Noah's Ark - 7600 Block of N Paulina is in transition according to Richard Marks, manager of the Jonquil Hotel. There will be a supervised event over the Memorial Day weekend at the Ark for young people.

Other Announcements:
North of Howard Parks Advisory Council meeting 5/15/07 @ 6:30 PM at Howard Area Community Center. Also mentioned was the need for native seeds or plant donations. Financial donations will be accepted also.

Eva McCann, the beat facilitator distributed a handout listing possible summer activities for CAPS and the neighborhood. Some ideas were: weekly walks, volleyball/softball tournaments, weekly exercize in the parks, dancing in the parks, picnics, storey telling festivals, etc. Additional ideas may be sent to elm@clstoons.com.

Alicia Lopez attended from the ward office.

The next Beat 2422 Meeting will be Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 7:00 PM

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.

May 23, 2007

Trash In The Wind

From the mailbox

"It looked like there was a street fair on Howard this morning. There was trash everywhere. This section of street is such a complete eyesore, it’s no wonder that people don’t care enough to use the overflowing trash cans."

Yep, saw it on the walk to the El.

Howard Street this morning 5/23/07
100_1812

Sadly, this is how the playlot appeared Monday morning. Perhaps another street fair overnight? Did aliens and faeries have a paper mache event?

The Playlot on Paulina the morning of 5/21/07

PICT1754 PICT1756

The Steel Has Landed

Peeking through the construction mesh at Gale Park this morning 5/23/07 100_1810
100_1808

100_1809

Viewing eastward on Howard this evening 5:50PM

100_1814

Tonights view through the mesh.
100_1816

Another Embarassing Situation

By Jeff Coen and Ray Long
Tribune staff reporters
Published May 23, 2007

"Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign fund as part of a sweeping corruption investigation into whether top aides and advisers exchanged state business and jobs for political support, the Tribune has learned."

So let's see, we have Roddy and Toddy and who will be next?

Toddy's Latest Lie Revealed

Stroger gives campaign worker $85,000 job
COUNTY | Nurses group complains as clinics close

May 23, 2007
BY STEVE PATTERSON spatterson@suntimes.com
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has another high-level adviser: Sean Howard, who just months ago resigned in embarrassment from the Stroger campaign because he'd been arrested for allegedly stalking a girlfriend. Read the rest of the disgusting story here

So the woman didn't 'pursue' charges? How much pressure was put on her?

No wonder the City wants every adult to get a blood pressure checkup. We're paying for this abuse of power and favoritism.

Could this be why our our democratic committeeman was trying to challenge bloggers to attack the police? Hey you bloggers get outraged about Michael Abbate, run around in circles with that one and maybe you won’t notice what my boss Toddy has done?

May 22, 2007

Correction on Gordon v Moore Court Date

Is this your final answer?

Note: Court date is May 30, 2007. The other post is deleted.

HW Playlot

Just read the rules and everyone will 'be on the same page'.
2422  009

It looks like someone tore up a phonebook in the CHILDREN's Playlot. Sure, there are park workers who come pick up the place, but this mess is deliberate, defiant and obnoxious. Just remember, everyone's mother and dad pay into the taxes that pay the park workers to pick up the trash.

If you're the mother or dad, then its time to read the sign. If one or two people get busted for littering it might stop.

2422  008

There's been a lot of flap about the age and size of 'youth' in the park, not to mention the habachi people one weekend. This playground was designed/created for smaller children. That small scale table isn't for teenagers.

Daley and Beat Cops

May 21, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter/fspielman@suntimes.com

"Four years ago, Daley promised in his inaugural address to redeploy Chicago Police officers to hot spots to fight a troubling rise in the city's murder rate that had claimed the lives of two innocent children.

Today, he promised even more surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods and to answer the clarion call for "more police on the beat" by challenging Chicago's next police superintendent to "transfer even more officers from behind desks to street duty."

**********************

One would think the alderpersons would be making a unified request for beat cops....even good neighborhoods have problems.

May 21, 2007

No Room At The Garage

Good catch Broken Heart - Bud Ogle and his ‘garage’ shelter make the news

New Life Shelter

100_1071
Transitional shelter for women and their children


Michelle Wang, denied shelter by Bud Ogle Inc.

Why not place this young woman in the Jonquil Hotel? It is, after all, an SRO, (single room occupancy)? Or, Bud could have welcomed the young woman into his own home until a room was found. Or he could have gotten on the hotline to the North Shore ladies who donate blankets and cash.

$150,000 huh? It was a 'clerical mistake' huh? Isn't it always those darn secretary types who make the mistakes?

May 20, 2007

Mr. Fagus, Sir, if you please

Mr. Fagus feels that the bloggers have ‘ignored’ the Michael Abbate (Chicago policeman) video showing Abbate brutally beating a female bartender. He feels the blogging community should be outraged. He mentions his wife's recent visit to NYC where she saw the video. He didn't mention his wife's line of work, which I believe is law enforcement. IF it was a business related trip, it might explain viewing the ugly video better.

It appears he left out a few key words, perhaps he was in a hurry. I think he meant to write "...this issue has given Chicago a very serious black [mark] on the world stage at a time..." It happens. But to complain about what bloggers chose to write about?

He wants to know where the outrage is, where the alderman (it should be plural) who feared the City being criticized for foie gras. He feels the foie gras was exploited for political agendas. He claims ‘nearly every blogger who wrote about the outrage of foie gras ultimately showed their colors and came out for Gordon. There has been coverage in the papers, none or almost none on the blogs’. [about woman beater Abbate]. The subject of police brutality in Chicago goes back a long, long way. Remember 1968?

He wants us to start attacking the cops now I think. “I hope that the coverage starts or continues and intensifies to show that the policy this city has for addressing police malfeasance is broken…” When I have a complaint, I email the commander. Even the community policing office has gotten a few 'outraged phone calls'!

Here’s a link to ALL Tribune articles on Abbate

Now what isn’t Fagus writing about? Is it that Moore wants to ‘pressure’ OPS to move to an independent committee? “Investigations of police misconduct must avoid any hint of favoritism. Accordingly, I would support a proposal to make the Office of Profession Standards a more independent agency, perhaps placing it under the control of the City’s Inspector General’s Office”. IVI-IPO responses to questionnaire.

That being written for you Mr. Fagus, I have my ongoing questions on other forms of bullying that perhaps you could investigate.

a. Who’s responsible for the pink postcard?

b. I had to finally send an email to Moore to get the expected response. What’s on tape however, is that HE would contact ME not vice versa.

c. Why did one very tall, husky SEIU dude just accidentally bump into me in front of Gale School April 17?

You see, I was standing near the curb so I couldn’t be accused of ‘obstructing’ people walking on the street. I was facing East, and the tall, husky non-resident Ward 49 SEIU-Moore supporter apparently couldn’t see my yellow hat or bright turquoise coat as he walked West and just bumped right into me. No apology either.

d. Why do you ‘hand pick’ election judges from certain ‘groups’? What qualifies a judge in your opinion?

e. Why were certain judges politicking in the polling places?

f. Why were certain judges allowing Joe to politick in the polling places?

g. Why don’t you ensure a fair election by educating your judges? Perhaps out of ward judges would work better?

h. Why does Joe insist that North of Howard be a concentration of poverty?

i. How do you and Joe think the police can be effective when there’s such a high concentration of poverty in one small place?

j. Who really contacted The Reader about the Bananas?

k. Why did Kevin Cosgrove ‘resign’?

Ahh, the list is endless, but the Soprano’s are coming on soon. FYI – not all Italian Americans are mobsters, just as all police officers aren’t brutal drunks.

As a short female person, I have total disdain for physical abuse. I also have no respect for abuse of power or 'favoritism' in any form by any leader. There are so many subjects to be outraged about, it's up to the individual to chose the topic of their outrage.

May 19, 2007

Gordon et al versus Moore Update

Lawsuit Status Report on Gordon et al versus Moore et al
Court and Legal Actions and Detail/Explanation


May 29, 2007 Next court hearing date

May 15, 2007 Plaintiffs Gordon et al:
1. Filed subpoena asking for information from the Chicago Board of Elections

2. Filed Freedom of Information Act request for information from the Chicago Board of Elections

3. Filed Substitution of Judge motion. Case subsequently assigned to Judge Nathaniel House

Defendant Chicago Board of Elections - Filed a motion to dismiss the law suit

May 3, 2007 U. S. Judge Honorable Wayne R. Andersen - Federal Court judge rules in favor of Gordon et al and sends case back to state court.This judicial ruling orders that the case be remanded back to the Cook County Circuit court. The case will be heard in circuit court on May 15.

May 2, 2007 Plaintiffs Gordon et al - Filed federal court motion to remand to state court.Plaintiffs motion to remand is a request to the federal judge to send the case back to the state court.

May 1, 2007 Defendant Moore - Filed motion to remove lawsuit from Cook County Circuit Court and transfer case to United States Federal Court.The initial status call for the lawsuit resulted in the entry of an order abating the matter, pending further order of the federal court.This abatement order was entered because defendant Joe Moore filed a notice of removal, which had the legal effect of transferring the case to the federal district court.The order entered on Tuesday abating the state case while still pending means that the state court case file will sit idle until an order remanding the case back to the state court is entered by the federal judge.

April 23, 2007 Gordon et al VS Joe Moore et al lawsuit assigned to a judge Cook County Circuit Court Judge assigned case. Initial status call set for Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 10:30 a.m.

April 23, 2007 Plaintiffs Gordon et al - Filed Cook County Circuit Court lawsuit. Plaintiffs Don Gordon, Eileen Foxman, Eva McCann, and Blane Roberts file law suit to contest fraud in 49th Ward April 17 Runoff Election.

May 18, 2007

Community Alert

This incident happened nearly a month ago. Parents and children shouldn't have to worry about child molesters, gunslinging people on buses, in cars, schoolyard bullies, neighborhood bullies, getting homework done, getting to school on time, etc. With that agenda, there isn't much time to be a kid is there?

For that matter, there's not a moment that parents don't have that fleeting, fearful thought about their childs safety. Projecting oneself into a state of panic everytime a child leaves the house isn't 'normal' but the harsh reality of headlines is far from civilized social behaviors.

This incident was in the 2500 block of W. Peterson. This man could be anyone, living anywhere.

Encourage your children to walk in groups.

• Identify safe havens along your child's route to and from school, such as businesses or trusted neighbors.

• Call 911 to report any suspicious person(s) or activity in your neighborhood.

If you have any information contact
Area 3 Detectives,
Special Victims
312-744-8266
RD #: HN-296153

An Awwwww Story

The photo should melt just about any humans tough exterior.

When I was about 11 years old we had a first time mother cat who was neglecting her babies according to our dog Mandy. Momma Kitty had moved her kids into a metal barrel and the sun was overbearing. Mandy carried the kittens out one by one to the shade of the big oak tree.

Mandy also began nursing 'her' babies. Even though she had no canine babies, she began to produce milk. This continued until the kittens were old enough to eat solid food.

Mama Kitty was quite happy to have been relieved of her duties.

Mandy was quite happy to be a foster mother.

May 17, 2007

Container Gardening

And Sandy Says…

rpgg_poster_may_2007_2


You don’t need a large yard to be a gardener – Come to the Rogers Park Garden Group's May Meeting for a presentation on Container Gardening.

May 29 at 7PM
Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Room
7059 N. Greenview


for additional information you may also contact p.vangiessen@gmail.com

Rogers Park Dog

From Margot Hackett's new blog:

New post of dogs that need your help. Please send this to all pet lovers you know. Also let them know that this link is a great way to post pets lost, pets found and pets needing a home. Posting instructions can be found on the left hand side of the page.

Circle Prayers, Book Sales and Clinics

Ceasefire is holding a Prayer Circle at 6PM tonight at Fargo and Wolcott. This is standard operating procedure after an act of violence. An 11 year old was shot this week from gunslingers in cars. Again, it's scheduled at the top of 'commute time' for most people who work. Perhaps that the plan -

a. to be joined by people returning from work or
b. to keep participation at a minimum

Other headlines of interest:

Obama’s book earnings for 2006

According to the article, his earnings are modest in comparison to other candidates.

Additional income for Walgreens

Since the government is avoiding health care for all, the corporate world is taking advantage. That's the way it goes.

May 16, 2007

Moore Versus the Purse Snatcher(s)

Check out Tom Mannis Rogers Park Bench post 'challenging' the incident versus the reporting. Me thinks something is amiss again in Ward 49, what about you?

Moore vs the Purse Snatcher(s)

Rogers Park to Obama

Here's another Rogers Park bloggers perspective on Obama. Good post, good blog.

Didn't Obama Endorse This Dude Too?

Toddy, we haven't forgotten you! It's amazing to read now that Sen. Durbin is being blunt with you. Dick scolds Toddy.

Dick, you should have read our emails warning you about endorsing Toddy. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it? Why don't politicians ever listen to their bosses? Why don't hopefuls pay attention to what their would be voters have to say?

******************************************

May 15, 2007
By Mike Colias

Cook health chief: No fed money until plan endorsed

By Ofelia Casillas
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 10, 2007
"Unpaid bills, poor bookkeeping and untracked absenteeism all contributed to deteriorating conditions at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, according to an audit released Wednesday.

The audit, conducted by the county auditor beginning in February, found that the staff at the beleaguered center sometimes ordered food without knowing whether there was money to pay for it -- at one point there were $500,000 in unpaid food bills. Cash that was held for teenage residents at the center and never reclaimed became mixed with money for expenses. Employee attendance was tracked only sporadically."

The complete Cesspool Article

The Obama endorsement according to Zorn

May 15, 2007

Take A Break!

Every decade has it's history. My parents didn't buy me a car either.

Two Wounded In Rogers Park Shooting

POSTED: 9:25 pm CDT May 14, 2007
UPDATED: 11:55 pm CDT May 14, 2007

CHICAGO -- An 11-year-old boy was wounded by a stray bullet Monday when occupants of two vehicles traveling down a Far North Side street fired upon each other, also injuring an 18-year-old.

Occupants of two vehicles were traveling down the street firing shots at one another Monday night, according to police News Affairs Sgt. Eugene Mullins. The shooting occurred about 6:30 p.m in the 7400 block of North Wolcott Avenue.

A Legal Spin On Freedom Of Speech

"Bureau of Prisons regulations give wardens the right to reject correspondence by an inmate for "the protection of the public, or if it might facilitate criminal activity." That includes material "which may lead to the use of physical violence."

The Bureau of Prisons failed to respond to repeated inquiries from The Associated Press about whether Rudolph's writings violate prison rules.

But U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, who helped prosecute Rudolph for the Alabama bombing, said there is nothing the prison can do to restrict Rudolph or the supporter who keeps posting his writings, anti-abortion activist Donald Spitz of Chesapeake, Virginia."

Full Story on Eric Rudolph’s prison taunts

To think some politicians think bloggers are evil! This guy's rights are protected even in prison.

May 14, 2007

Giving Back

They tend to be well educated and technologically savvy. There are 77 million of them. And they want to use their skills and experience after retirement.

Full Story

It's an intriguing concept backed with facts and data. If more people of any generation would find a niche in each RP neighborhood, we'd really have a voice wouldn't we?

May 13, 2007

Alleged Squatter Building On Rogers

There’s no address on the Rogers side, the front, of the building. Neighbors at a CAPS meeting in March stated there were squatters in the top floor. We noticed a chain was on the gate last week on our beat stroll.

2422 problem bldgs 014

The rear of this vacant new construction is in the alley behind the Tire Shop on Howard. No one knows if this building was ever occupied. Some state the owner or previous owner ran into hard times and never completed it.
2422 problem bldgs 015

The cars belong to someone who either owns or works at the Tire Shop on Howard. He stated he sold the property to the 'developer' and it has been re-sold. But he has access to the gate. No one seems to know who owns the property.

2422 problem bldgs 016

There appeared to be the back seat of a vehicle in the parking area where the woman is standing and her friend is sitting. It could be the warm weather waiting area while the tire is repaired.

Coe's Howard/Rogers Property

Mr. Coe's having some difficulties on Morse keeping the fence up. His properties North of Howard aren't in the construction phase just yet. They're still in the destruction phase of development. The first photo is the rear of the old dry cleaners with two doors wide open - unsecured. The second shot is the Rogers side of the boarded-up gangway between Rogers and Howard. Well, let's say the Howard side is secure. The Rogers side has been pried loose.

2422 problem bldgs 005 2422 problem bldgs 007 2422 problem bldgs 009 2422 problem bldgs 010
Since this is not a well-lit area, it's the kind of place where certain exchanges take place.

2422 problem bldgs 012
This tire trash and an old leather jacket are stuffed in a stairwell area on Rogers.
2422 problem bldgs 013

Walking that block is not the scenic route to the Fruit and Vegetable Market.

May 12, 2007

Sustainable Streets and Green Alley Program

Chicago Area Planning Organization

Why isn't Rogers Park signed up for these green upgrades on the 2007 menu? The streets NOH could use some green pavers. After heavy summer storms it often takes days for the streets to completely drain. George Sullivan attended the conference yesterday and David Leopold stated that Ward 48 was signing up for several green projects. Ward 48 was referred to as 'the model ward'.

Ward 49 was not on Leopold's list.

Ward 49 Infrastructure Map I may not be a skilled topographer, but this 'interactive map' doesn't indicate any yellow markers....maybe it can be done next week. It would be beneficial to properties if basements didn't flood because the storm sewers can't handle the runoff.

What about us?
Green Alleys

*Please note the text beneath the diagrams of the permeable pavers. It clearly states areas close to the lake have the ideal sandy, permeable soil.

Green Alleys
CDOT has begun a pilot program to construct “green alleys” that provide environment benefits.
There are three types of green alleys:
· Green alleys that use a permeable pavement (asphalt, concrete or pavers) that allows stormwater to drain into the ground, instead of collecting on hard surfaces or draining into the sewer system
· Green alleys that use a high albedo pavement, a lighter-colored surface that absorbs less heat and helps reduce the urban heat island effect
· Green alleys that use recycled materials, such as concrete aggregate, slag and recycled tire rubber
Other green alley techniques include using proper grading and pitch to facilitate drainage, and using dark sky-compliant light fixtures to reduce light pollution and provide uniform illumination.

According to Sullivan, the same process is used for permeable 'green streets'.

May 11, 2007

Candied Meth

True - from Snopes.com

May 10, 2007

A Spy Among Us

It's rather disconcerting to walk into the monthly beat meeting and see an 'alien' from another neighborhood on the front row. It's happened in the past if there was a pressing issue or request to be made - but tonight was just another little tactic.

What's the tactic? I'm not sure, but it can't be for any good purpose! It's often difficult enough getting through a meeting agenda when some aren't sensitive about 'group time'. But for an outsider who should have read about the Gale School greenhouse plants on the blogs last year, it's terribly suspicious. Even worse was the repeated questioning about basketball for the youth. Gee Spyman, kids up here NOH play basketball year round - especially in the summer. Yes, as you were informed, they have tournaments too. You see, there isn't much for young people to do here. Many of them are afraid to cross gang turf to attend summer activities at Loyola Field House or heaven forbid, Pot Park. So they just hang out and play basketball or worse yet, meet all the wrong people.

One senior gentleman asked me after the meeting if his statement about kids doing something more positive wasn't clear. I assured him it was very clear - that's why it went straight through the alien's ozone layer.

We had our usual discussion about the need for other outlets that educate, enlighten and they aren't found on a basketball court. Surely there's more than one kid who doesn't like playing basketball or has anyone ever thought about it? We hear it, read it, headline after blaring headline that our schools aren't up to par, kids can't read, bla bla bla. It's endless. So is there a reason to steer kids to basketball instead of a summer reading program? Why not have computer programs at DevCorp's free computers?

More importantly, is there a good reason money can be available for one expensive 'end of summer' political picnic that would be better spent taking kids on summer outings?

How many kids NOH have seen the 'bean' in Millennium Park or watched the fountains change faces, or enjoyed the cool water on a hot day? Have they experienced any of these sites? There's also the zoo and conservatory, free days at the museums...the list is longer than any basketball court.

It would be progressive and positive to take the list back to the secret room and tell the masters that there is much more to life than the streets NOH and hoops.

Fast Eddie Gets Nailed

Check Mannis Post in the link above!!

A friend wrote: What took 'em so long?

Vrdolyak indicted in real estate case

By Jeff Coen and Matt O’Connor
Tribune staff reporters
Published May 10, 2007, 3:46 PM CDT
Fast Eddie Vrdolyak

By John Kass
Tribune columnist
Published May 10, 2007, 1:28 PM CDT
Fast Eddie Finally Gets Nailed

When are these aldercreatures past and present ever going to learn!

The Broadmoor RFP due May 31 2007

A direct quote from Dave Fagus Ward 49 blog:

"This new term is an opportunity to put many ideas on the table and have them looked over. I would urge all of those who have some idea of how they would like to see things go forward to make written suggestions and send them to the Alderman’s office."
*****************
At an actual human face-to-face ‘neighborly chat session’ this evening we learned the RFP status of the Broadmoor more or less by accident. It did NOT come from a Ward 49 email blast. I have asked the status of the Broadmoor of the ward office. I have asked at CAPS meetings and received no response. I have even asked on the blog since I know ‘they’ read blogs!

It appears that with this ‘new term’ the opportunity to put ideas on the table hasn’t changed much from the ‘old term’. We’re told what we’re supposed to know when our public servants deem it appropriate to inform us. In other words, after the fact.

Broadmoor East and West RFP’s due May 31, 2007

AFFORDABLE HOUSING REQUIREMENTS
"These properties currently have an extended use agreement through 2032. Under the terms of this agreement 101 of the units must be rented to persons at or below 50% of area median income (AMI) and the remaining to persons at or below 80% of AMI.

These restrictions may be restructured based on the proposals submitted. Proposals will be considered under this competitive bid process which complete required rehabilitation on the properties and attain an appropriate economic mix of rental and for sale housing for both the affordable and community market. It is expected that at least the 7600 Building would be preserved as affordable rental housing.

You have the right to bid on the total project consisting of four buildings or bid on individual properties. All proposals will be considered.

Viewing will be available May 10 – May 24, 2007 by appointment only. Contact JENNIFER BELLI at 312-258-0070 x 208 or email jbelli@cicchicago.com.

All bids must be in no later than end of business May 31, 2007."
********************
I’m sure many neighbors, tenants and owners alike, would appreciate knowing full and complete details and differences of the “extended use agreement through 2032” versus the “restrictions may be restructured based on proposals submitted”. If it is indeed a competitive bid process, the City should be getting the community’s input and approval. This is our neighborhood - we live here, we pay taxes here - we should be a part of the decision making process. If the Broadmoor remains under this agreement through 2032 it will remain joined to two Northpoint buildings on the same street under contract until 2034. That's not necessarily progressive for NOH.

We're also aware that this property was not well-maintainted and will need major rehabbing at an unknown cost. What this neighborhood does not need is the continuation of this once proud building into a replica of the last owners legacy - the pariah of Bosworth. The properties across the street, known as Broadmoor East have been vacant for years. In fact, it was the subject of one of my first blog posts.

Although it's an attractive building, again, the years of vacancy and neglect will require considerable rehabbing at an unknown cost, so let's do it right for a change.

I propose the City bring it to the whole community - not a select group. I also propose the City look SOUTH of Howard Street for long term tax funded affordable buildings. This plan reads like the ‘term’ I moved here on and it’s still moving laterally for NOH. I appreciate the concept of a ‘mix of rental and for sale housing’ in the affordable market. That is progressive not lateral, so let's see this 'new term' in action. NOH has been ignored and neglected long enough.

May 8, 2007

Tuesday Beat 2422 Stroll

Having heard about a few problem spots, Eva and I took advantage of a nice evening for a very long stroll. Tonight the Harold Washington Playlot had little children in it for a change. Recently, the rules have have been ignored - the park is for little kids, not adults with hibachi's and hot coals. Triangle Park is more suited for cookouts and even provides picnic tables. The program isn't that difficult...let's get with it.

As with any City park, the playlot and Triangle Park are definitely not legal places to consume alcoholic beverages and the plants are not urinals. There are cans for the trash too. I wonder if people throw their trash on the kitchen floor or only exhibit this behavior outside? The parks belong to everyone.

If people living near the playlot could take an evening stroll and stop in for awhile, it would be greatly appreciated. The 'corner people' will disappear if you plop down on a park bench. It's all part of the 'broken window' theory and we can make the time to pitch in for a better neighborhood by taking a stroll. Warm weather is always a good opportunity to meet neighbors.

The rest of the beat was relatively quiet - that is until we came back to Howard Street. The blue lights were flashing, and teenagers were on cell phones in front of Round-The-Clock. It seems a gentleman was selling illegal substances from his vehicle just west of that corner.

Several neighbors signed up for strolls like tonight, so we'll be contacting you to meet up with us. If you've noticed anything you feel needs to be addressed, bring it to the CAPS 2422 Beat meeting Thursday, May 10 at 7PM at the Gateway Senior Apartments, 7450 N Rogers, 1st floor community room.

For confidential concerns, you may email Eva at elm@clstoons.com.

Broken Windows - Tribune Editorial

EDITORIAL
'Broken Windows' and crime

Published May 6, 2007

“Disorderly behavior that goes untended leads to the breakdown of community controls: As weeds go unmowed and more windows shatter, adults stop scolding one another's rowdy children and people start drinking in front of the grocery store. Law-abiding families move out, driven by the perception that crime is on the rise. Criminals sense weak social controls and pounce.”

**************************

Many people living North of Howard (and other pockets of deliberate poverty) will identify with the paragraph above. Yet how many are gutsy enough to demand that the politicians, police, and ALL members of the community do something about it? The various self-serving interest groups, politicians and 'special' property owners are all keeping a certain amount of windows conveniently broken. It’s the law of the land disguised as ‘caring for those less fortunate'.

What is NOT being done by the self-serving interest groups, politicians and certain property owners is getting a round table discussion and a plan to repair all broken windows. It’s easier to fall back on divisive tactics to maintain the status quo. It’s been a lose-lose situation for years. Speak up and you’re a racist, or you don’t understand. Speak up and you want 'gentrification' not civilized behavior. There's always a spin!

The simple act of asking children to put their trash in proper receptacles unleashes a tornado of cursing and spitting. Remind adults it’s still illegal to drink and piss in the park and another torrent is released.

Why is there no discussion about common, civil respect? One good reason is politicians! They love their low income voter base as they're easily manipulated. They love their ‘special’ landlords and self-serving interest groups that enable the poor and prevent any kind of upward transition. The not so silent motto: Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing! That’s why the aldermanic election runoff scared the pants off some people. That’s why the scare tactics and race card are still playing out long after the polls closed.

We won’t give up and join the enablers. We’ll continue to educate our neighbors about the truth and the rules we ALL must abide by - without the local politicians willingness to participate.

May 7, 2007

Is This Story REALLY About A Cat?

Sun-Times
May 7, 2007
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter/mihejirika@suntimes.com

"It really stemmed from they had an abandoned vehicle on the property, and a number of stray cats," said their attorney, Enrico J. Mirabelli. "Before we got to court, we made major strides, removed the car and got rid of almost all the cats. But the city wanted them all gone. We agreed to all but their daughter's pet cat, Felix, she's had for 15 years."

In the ensuing court order, the judge inserted a clause protecting the fat, gray and black tabby. It read: "Animal Care & Control is authorized to enter the subject property, all areas, on the same day of the Dept. of Building's inspection, to remove and take into custody all unauthorized animals (excluding the 1, 16-year-old cat Felix)."

"It can't be much clearer than that," said Mirabelli.

"The couple still live in the house they built 52 years ago in the Southwest Side Clearing neighborhood, and they own a couple of adjacent lots."
************************
Naturally this story got my attention for two reasons, it involved cats and the City's storm troopers from the department of buildings. Some information is missing though. Did the couple go to a hearing for 'voluntary compliance'? From this story, the City bypassed that step and went straight to let's inspect and go to housing court. Granted 30 some cats in one home is too many even for someone not 70 or 89, but for one's space to be invaded by two departments at once? For these so-called inspectors to arrive without the court order? Granted, I haven't seen the property in question, but do note the couple owns 'a couple of adjacent lots', the couple is elderly, and what's in it for the city?

The City has a tendency to 'see what it wants to see' and ignore what it needs to see. What ward is this and who's the alderman and what development plans, if any, are in the pipeline?

IF the City inspectors would purchase a CTA card, get on the any of the elevated trains they would see more than many alderpersons would like. They'd see slanting porches, peeling paint, rusted metal around bay windows and porches, huge cracks in the brick walls to name a few.

Apparently, it's easier to sit by the phone and wait for someone to complain, and do their routine inspections dependent on the size of the building. When they receive a complaint, they spend $3.00+ a gallon for gas to drive from Point A to Point B and back after zeroing in on ONE building. Their blinders are on for the total drive. That's counterproductive and a big gas burner for tax payers.

There's no monetary amount that would replace a feline member of anyone's family. Shame on the person(s) who killed Felix.

May 6, 2007

The Fruit Cake Lady

A few funny clips from the little lady from Florida. We'll miss her.

May 5, 2007

Backpacks, 'Toy Guns' and Busts

About 8:20 this morning on my way to meet a friend, I noticed a backpack on the sidewalk. The south of Howard street was relatively quiet for a Saturday morning. It seemed odd to see a perfectly good backpack on a busy street nowhere near a school.

Later in the afternoon, a friend and I had lunch and trekked over to a garage sale. Again, on Howard this time, was a backpack on the sidewalk. A few steps ahead of it was a bottle of contact lense drops and a few feet further, a blue cap. Twice in one day? Someone was either grabbed or was shedding identifiers as he/she ran.

We spent a few minutes at the garage sale and came back to find a squad car picking up the dropped items. Over coffee at my place, we watched the blue lights driving around Gale Park. So we went to catch the action. One of the kids had allegedly pulled out one of those pretend guns that looks too damn real.

Ah, the hood! A neighbor with a scanner asked if I saw the action on my street last night. Unfortunatly, I slept through the whole excitement of one person (at least) being escorted to a police car and driven away.

And the strangest part - it wasn't a warm day!

Must Read from RPB

Did you know a handful of people composed a typical divisive email letter to Don Gordon and sent it on your behalf! Did you give them your permission? I certainly didn't. But then, we have decisions made all the time for us don't we? Tax increases, TIFS, SSA's, to what we cannot eat, etc. We have two City departments responsible for posting building code violations who know how to hide them when it's time to buy!

If you are one of the voters (nearly 50%) in Ward 49 who doesn't appreciate anyone speaking on your behalf, you have an option to Speak For Yourself and Contact Jim at the DFA via this link.

To any sensible person (political ties aside) it would seem that if there was nothing to hide or to fear from Gordons challenge, there would be no need for this spam mail letter would there?

And, to irk Couch Captain even more - we do have politicos, unions and nutty ACORNS trying to intimidate people! Many of my low income neighbors had Moore's people telling them they had to vote for him or they'd lose their homes. Northpoint is contracted as low income housing until around 2034. So what is that other than intimidation and subliminal threats? Isn't that behavior divisive? Isn't the race card that's played every election divisive?

Not everyone bit it like a wide mouth bass.

May 4, 2007

PINK

While searching the Internet for 'pink' I clicked on the above link. Those are some super protest hats at least.

This week marked a milestone - 500 returned pink postcards. No doubt the post office and mail carriers in Rogers Park are tired of the color. I should create a nice pink ensemble for the next community meeting.

Although the intruders have gone back to their own wards, the nuts aren't at the El anymore, the PINK is still floating around. So is someone else's sicko message on the back of it.

I don't forget easily. I'm still waiting a response from Joe.

May 3, 2007

City Recycles Low Income Housing Players

April 24, 2007
BY TIM NOVAK Staff Reporter/tnovak@suntimes.com

Red Flag #1
“Rezko and Mahru had no construction experience. Yet City Hall gave their new company, Rezmar Corp., a $629,000 loan to help fix up an abandoned apartment building at 46th and Drexel.”

“In 1991, Jim Edgar had just been elected governor, and Rezko had been "very helpful'' in raising money for Edgar, according to Robert Kjellander, a top Illinois Republican Party official and one of Edgar's top fund-raisers.

Rezko and Mahru hired Kjellander, an influential lobbyist, to help get state money for housing projects. "It just lasted a couple years," Kjellander said.

Eight months after Edgar took office, the Illinois Housing Development Authority gave Rezmar a $500,000 loan to help rehab a 65-unit building for senior citizens in South Shore. A year later, Rezmar came back to the state and got a $60,000 loan, citing cost overruns.”

Red Flag #2
“Eight years later, Rezmar abandoned the building, leaving it to its partner in the deal, the Chicago Equity Fund, whose corporate investors had purchased tax credits from Rezmar to help pay for the rehab. The building was left in disrepair, and the Equity Fund investors were facing IRS penalties if the project didn't survive for 15 years. So the fund got a separate loan from the state, for $381,839, to try to rescue the building. “

Ring any bells yet?

Red Flag #3 “Rezmar's deals "were doomed to fail,'' said David Brint, Rezmar's former executive vice president. "You had unrealistic expectations on expenses and income.''

Two years later, Rezko and Mahru began abandoning their buildings, dumping them to its limited partner, the Chicago Equity Fund.

"I told Dan [Mahru] that he ought to stay in, that he owed it to us and the properties,'' said William Higginson, who founded and was president of the Chicago Equity Fund. "I understand the [seven-year] guarantee is gone, but that doesn't mean the responsibility was gone. They said they couldn't do it.''

Rezmar's buildings were in bad shape, according to a May 14, 2001, letter Higginson wrote to state housing officials asking them to suspend the mortgage payments for six months.

"We were faced with innumerable problems,'' Higginson wrote. "No keys for dozens of units; no heat in over half of the buildings; Insufficient record-keeping to enable us to identify actual tenants as well as delinquent tenants; high percentage of tenants rent that were 3-4 months behind; back payables that exceed $350,000; and capital improvements, legal costs for evictions and unit turnovers that will cost between $300,000-$400,000 over the next 12 months.''

Rezmar Map

IDHA grants money to David Brint/Brinshore Development LLC page 16 for Sunrise Apartments. Page 17 mentions receiving one bid, The Wolcott Group, for South Shore Elderly property and continues to discuss loans etc., as the "purchaser" of another property (FAF-003)in the CEF Portfolio.

There seems to be a lot more to uncover here. Red Flags #2 and #3
wave wildly for some of us North of Howard dwellers…since Bill Higginson’s Broadmoor Blasters and cameras did not serve or protect anyone inside the building or in the neighborhood. (Grace passed away a few months after the post.)

It's interesting that Higginson commented to the press. Is he making an attempt to excuse his mismanagement of IMC by deferring blame to Rezmar? Is he trying to re-write history just little? Higginson must have seen some gold dust in Rezko to have partnered with him! So two greedy people make a deal and one slides out, now how uncommon is that? Is Higginson is trying to paint himself in a softer, gentler manner for any former investors to read?

I recall helping a Broadmoor resident who was habitually given 5 day notices for unpaid rent when she had the receipts. Time and again, she would meet with the manager, and a different run total on her rent would surface. IMC had pathetic accounting too. It was bold of Higginson to mention the state of another building on the south side. This is the Broadmoor in 2005 and a typical Broadmoor court 2005 hearing.

So we are led to believe tht events years ago on the south side had a ripple effect all the way to North of Howard. Or, could it be the systemic application of mis-management -101 for subsidized housing ripples citywide?

When Higginson ran into financial straits he turned the management contract to Elzie Higginbottom of East Lake Management. Allegedly, this two year contract is the reason one prospective Broadmoor buyer backed out of the purchase. The prospective buyer allegedly refused to accept East Lake as part of the deal. One by one all their properties combined (IMC and apparently Rezmar) were hauled into court by sectors of the City. That was some 3-4 years after Rezko bailed out and after communities and neighbors repeatedly forced the court to listen.

In stepped CIC and doled out receiverships and then the RFP’s and now it appears Ald. Preckwinkle wants to brush some of the residual Rezko gold dust off her reputation just like Higginson!

Did Preckwinkle take a few measures beyond this?

Higginson

Some of these Rezmar/IMC properties, unlike the Broadmoor, have been purchased. Two of the southside properties shown on the Sun-Times map were purchased for $6,426,000 and $2,000,000 respectively by one TWG Funding XXIII LLC.

Is David Brint involved in TWG Funding XXIII LLC? The management signs on both buildings state "The Wolcott Group".

Interesting recycling of the players isn't it?

May 2, 2007

May 1, 2007

New report documents condo conversions

Condo boom thunderous
Study also shows how city has lost apartments since '89
By Johnathon E. Briggs, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporter Gary Washburn contributed to this report
April 30, 2007

" ... areas that gained condos generally lost apartment buildings. For example, over the 15-year period [1989 to 2004; (Joe Moore, alderman, 1991-2007)], Rogers Park gained 2,196 condo units and lost 217 large apartment buildings and 119 small ones."

One and a Half Decades of Apartment Loss and Condominium Growth

Changes in Chicago’s Residential Building Stock
By Julie Lynn Davis and David F. Merriman, Loyola University Chicago
Center for Urban Research and Learning

  • at least 44,637 and perhaps as many as 97,894 apartment units
    were removed from Chicago’s housing stock
  • 102,408 condominium units have been added to the housing stock
" ... our analyses emphatically confirm the widespread public perception that Chicago’s housing stock has been transformed in recent years. The stock of both large and small apartment buildings has been greatly diminished and the stock of condominium units has been greatly increased."

Happy May Day

There's more to May Day than protests and Marches. Ah yes, the Merry Month of May.