November 30, 2007

HOLIDAY CRAFT AND ART CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

HOLIDAY CRAFT AND ART CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

St. Nicholas
Pope John XXII School Parking Lot and Cafeteria
1120 Washington Street
Evanston, IL

Saturday, December 1, 2007, 9am. to 4pm
Sunday, December 2, 2007 10am. to 3pm

Craft Fair
Dennis LoBue Needlepoint Art
Caps
Pillows
Framed
Patches
Runner
Jackets

Price From $5.00 to $100.00 Tax Included

THANK YOU AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS

November 29, 2007

The Beaver's Desperation

When I read the pathetic Beavers BS yesterday on the Sun-Times - even two cups of coffee didn't convince me I was reading correctly. If Todd Stroger was white? Wake up call Beav, Papa John got the county into this mess and he wasn't white either. IF and when politicians can deal with problems and leave the race card unplayed, Chicago and Cook County may get back on its feet. Until then....

If you haven't found these gems, please partake now!

A Must Read From The Bench

More Truthful Blogging by Tom Mannis

TIFed Off Neighbors

Our 47th Ward Neighbors need our support to fight the cancerous-like, fast-spreading growth known as TIF. Our neighbors are worn down, upset, but still kicking and TIFed off. If this government capture of pockets of private property in Chicago isn’t realized, acknowledged and snuffed, it will gradually creep across the whole city. With 156 TIF's in Chicago, this could happen to you.

Slide1


Read more at the Save Lincoln Square Website

Excerpt:
In 2000, the City Council passed the Western Avenue North Redevelopment Project Area Tax Increment Financing District Eligibility Study, Redevelopment Plan and Project, which designated 437 buildings on 70 blocks as a "conservation area" - giving the city the power to condemn our businesses for private developers. The standard to be declared a "conservation area," similar to a "blighted area," is subjective and vague.

On September 11, 2007, the Community Development Commission approved a resolution submitted to it by the Department of Planning and Development authorizing the acquisition of our 16 businesses on the 4800 block of North Western Avenue, citing that that they "do not represent the highest and best use of the land, they do not realize their potential tax-generating ability, and they include obsolete structures." This could be said about anyone's home or business, because anyone's property could make more money as something bigger and newer. This resolution was then approved by the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, and This resolution will likely be heard at the next full City Council meeting on Wednesday, December 12.

Hugh’s Excellent Post

The meeting is December 5th.

November 28, 2007

HALA

From today's News-Star...

November 27, 2007

Panel Discussion on TIF Abuse in Illinois

Thursday, November 29th 6:30 p.m.
77 West Washington (Chicago Temple Center - 1st floor)

Panelists:

John Paul Jones, Friends of the Parks
Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley
Ben Joravsky from the Chicago Reader

Sponsored by the Independent Voters Organization

For more information contact Herb Ziegeldorf at 773-353-7770 ext 2429

To Tax Or Not To Tax

By Mickey Ciokajlo | Tribune staff reporter - November 27, 2007

The Cook County Board may not vote this week on President Todd Stroger's proposed $888 million tax increase because there is not enough support for it, the board's Finance Committee chairman said Monday.

Commissioner John Daley (D-Chicago) said there's a "strong possibility" the board will not vote Friday on Stroger's plan to raise the sales tax by 2 percentage points and boost gasoline and parking taxes. Daley, the Finance Committee's chairman, said it is "pretty likely that [Stroger] doesn't have the votes."

If the board does not support Stroger's tax plan, Daley said he expects county officials will be brought back before the Finance Committee to help identify areas where spending can be cut.

Complete Article

Voice your opinion, you’re paying their salaries:

The nine Democrats inclined to give Stroger more tax dollars

From yesterday - Here's who they are and how to reach them:

* William Beavers, South Side and south suburbs: 312-603-2067 and 773-731-1515, wbeavers @cookcountygov.com. In his response to a 2006 Tribune editorial board questionnaire that asked about cost reductions versus tax increases, Beavers wrote in part: "As chairman of the [Chicago] City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations, I have a record of supporting budgets that address revenue shortfalls through the reduction of costs in government. I will continue to advocate for such budgets if elected as a county commissioner. ... We need to continue to make progress in employee head count through greater efficiencies."

* Jerry "Iceman" Butler, Near South Side, south suburbs: 312-603-6391, jbutler@cook countygov.com. Butler in his written response: "We are constantly looking for ways to reduce payroll. ..."

* Earlean Collins, West Side, west suburbs: 312-603-4566 and 773-626-2184, ecollins@cookcountygov.com. She may be the deciding vote on whether to raise county taxes.

* John Daley, South and Southwest Sides, southwest suburbs: 312-603-4400, jdaley@ cookcountygov.com. Last year Daley said in his response to the Tribune: "Taxes should be raised only as a last resort and not before savings measures are implemented through consolidation and efficiency gains. ..."

* Roberto Maldonado, North and Northwest Sides: 312-603-6386 and 773-395-0143, rmaldonado@cookcountygov.com. Like Collins, he could be the deciding vote on tax increases.

* Joseph Mario Moreno, Southwest Side, Cicero: 312-603-5443 and 773-927-7154, jmoreno@ cookcountygov.com.

* Joan Patricia Murphy, south suburbs: 312-603-4216 and 708-389-2125, jmurphy@cook countygov.com. The essence of Murphy's response in 2006: "I do not favor decreasing the workforce if it limits the services the County provides. ... I do not favor raising taxes. ..."

* Deborah Sims, South Side, south suburbs: 312-603-6381 and 708-371-4251, dsims@cook countygov.com.

* Robert Steele, Near North, Near West and Near South Sides: 312-603-3019 and 773-722-0140, rsteele@cookcountygov.com.

And of course there's Stroger, who said when he proposed his budget that he wasn't hearing from citizens upset by his plans to raise taxes:

* Todd Stroger's telephone numbers are 312-603-6400 and 312-603-5500. His e-mail addresses are thstroger@cookcountygov.com and office of thepresident@cookcountygov.com.

Feed The Hungry and Your Brain

. . . and your brain gets a snack, too!

This site, like some of the others where each click counts
for a donation, raises funds for a cause. This one
gives food from the sponsors of the site. It's
legitimate. (Do keep going to the hunger site, the
breast cancer site, etc.)

Unlike the others, though, you can keep clicking and
clicking -- and learn some new words while you're
doing it. For every correct definition you choose,
ten grains of rice are donated. You can keep going
until you just have to stop . . .


And the really cool thing is that the program adjusts
its level of difficulty to the player, so it's great
for everyone. Click through a few words today!

Free Rice

Like so many of these, it raises awareness and some
funds. Each person's little bit is added to lots of
others, and something good happens.

Some of the others:
Hungersite
(find links to others at the site)

Click 2 Donate

From an anon reader - Thanks AR!

November 26, 2007

Send A Message To Stroger

Speaking of Stroger, money, politics and quality of life issues, please check out the above link to Fargo's blog.

Turkey Droppings

Just a week ago, the alderperson of Ward 49 was handing out free holiday turkeys at Dominicks. He communicated this via email, some bloggers picked it up, and the media was notified so our ‘leader’ could get camera time. According to the email blast, “100 turkeys” were to be given to “100 needy families”. Some of my low income North of Howard Neighbors are curious to know who met the alderman’s 100 needy list and how certain people knew and many others didn’t.

No one noticed any posters, unless they were printed and dropped off the same day as the event. According to my sources, knowledge the event in the low income area North of Howard was by word of mouth. Other neighbors saw the event while doing their Monday morning shopping. Allegedly, one woman asked what was going on, got in line for a turkey and was told she didn’t qualify. How does one qualify for a free turkey, show their disability card, their monthly income check stub? How else could 100 free turkeys be distributed to 100 needy families without proof of need?

According to my sources, allegedly the alderperson personally contacted certain low income members of his little NOH army or ‘club’. No doubt certain Dave Fagus/Joe Moore election judges and poll watchers got their turkeys as well as ‘friends of the friends’

November 23, 2007

Moore Info-mercial for 2001 W Howard - 2 Years in the Making!

* Tuesday, May 30, 2006: from Gary Fuschi's Rogers Park Review, The Rogers Park NewsBlog:

Tasty Sub: Gone for Good?

* Friday, July 7, 2006: from Gary Fuschi's Politics Page, Politics In Rogers Park:

ZALUC Agenda July 11, 2006

And now...

Community to Review Howard/Damen Development
Tuesday night, November 27, 2007 7:00 p.m.
Pot Park Fieldhouse
7340 N Rogers

"Building owner Gus Rizakos, his architect, Irene Zemenides and his attorney, Sylvia Michas, will present the plans. ... The owner is requesting a zoning change to B1-3, which would allow him to construct up to 32 dwelling units. His proposal calls for only 24 dwelling units."

The team is BACK, this time with high-power lobbying assistance, the BEST zoning attorney money can buy in Chicago!

Sylvia Christine Michas
Date of Admission as Lawyer by Illinois Supreme Court: November 8, 2001
Law Offices of Samuel VP Banks
221 North LaSalle #3800
Chicago, IL 60601-1509

Regular readers will of course recall Sam Banks is the brother of Alderman William Banks, long-time Chairman of the City Council Committee on Zoning, and that the lead attorney in the Banks family law firm lately is aldermanic nephew, James J. "Jar Jar" Banks, the most successful attorney in the history of Chicago! He NEVER loses a zoning change! You may recall Banks as the zoning attorney/lobbyist for the Connie Abels legacy project on Sheridan Road and of the recent TIF subsidy for 6610-28 N Sheridan, among many others.

And Banks has in turn hired a high-power team of legislative consultants to ease this zoning change through the halls of power, sprinkling the way with great wads if cash:

$500.00 3/10/2006 to Citizens for Joe Moore
$500.00 2/25/2005 to Citizens for Joe Moore
$250.00 3/1/2001 to Citizens for Joe Moore

$250.00 7/18/2005 to the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward
$500.00 2/23/2004 to the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward

(Not to mention Jar Jar's generous support of the incumbency of his uncle and the rest of the zoning committee.)

Watch for it

In the light of these campaign contributions, will Moore recuse himself from the decision on this zoning change, and agree to be bound by the "community" zoning committee's decision?

Will "community" zoning committee member, 49th Ward Democratic Committeeman, and chairman of the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward David Fagus recuse himself?

Where's the Set-asides?

The 49th Ward Zoning Process


"I have a policy that requires any proposed residential development in my ward of ten units or more to set aside at least ten percent of the units for the City of Chicago’s CPAN affordable housing program, which gives moderate income individuals an opportunity to purchase a home at a much more affordable price. "

-Alderman Joe Moore, October 27, 2005

Can a developer in the 49th ward exempt themselves from Moore's local affordable housing requirement by making an in lieu contribution to Citizens for Joe Moore?

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day of tradition, family get-togethers and sharing memories over a table of wonderful food. It’s also a time of reflection.

Our family holidays usually rotated from house to house. One year, Thanksgiving was at my dad’s parents. Please bear in mind, those two people immigrated from Italy, married and were farmers. They kept the old country traditions alive and well and frugality always reigned! Grandma’s kitchen had a big, black iron cook stove. She knew how many logs it would take to bake bread, pies or birds and adjusted the temperature by tweaking the flues on the stove pipe. It was always a mystery to her grandchildren since our mothers turned a knob to a certain number and the appliance did the rest.

That year Grandpa shot a goose and Grandma roasted the prize in her wood stove. The covered dishes landed on the table and soon all 10-12 of us were seated. The conversation was a mix of English, broken English and Italian, depending on the subject matter and the speaker. Dad and his brother would translate when we were having communication problems. It was almost like a foreign film with subtitles.

One older male cousin suddenly started spitting his food into his napkin. He’d bitten into some buckshot Grandpa John missed while cleaning or dressing the duck. No damage was done and the rest of us slowed down and searched for more buckshot. It may have embarrassed the grandparents but we never knew. No doubt after traveling across the Atlantic to a new life a little buckshot was nothing to what they’d endured.

Happy Thanksgiving, be grateful and may the bird of choice be buckshot free!

November 19, 2007

The Chart Daley Did NOT Want You to See















(click to magnify)

In 2006 alone, Chicago's TIF program raked in $500,369,348.17. That's right, over a HALF a BILLION dollars.

Let's put that number in perspective.
  • Last week, Daley raised his property tax levy by $86.5 million.
  • The endless CTA doomsday scenarios are largely result of the inability of our elected officials to address a projected $158 million shortfall.
  • Our public schools are also in perpetual crisis, but in their 2008 budget, the Chicago Public Schools increased their property tax levy by a mere $55 million.
Please note these are NOT cumulative revenues. Between 1986 and 2006 (not even counting the first few years of Chicago's TIF program) Chicago raked in a CUMULATIVE $2,510,745,038.88. That's right, more than 2 1/2 BILLION dollars.

We have a rainy day fund for luxury condos, but none for our trains or our schools. Over the last two decades, our home town as a matter of policy has amassed a vast slush fund that will insure that Daley's real estate developer pals will thrive, no matter what political winds blow. Daley and his developer pals are the frugal ants, and we poor homeowners are the singing grasshoppers. They saw more clearly than we that this day of reckoning would come, that local governments would squabble, unable to squeeze any more cash out of Chicago's homeowners.

Source: Cook County Clerk

Shut Up Drew

By David Elsner | Tribune staff reporter

"Are you worried she may never come back?" Lauer asked about Stacy Peterson.

"I don't know, I have no idea," Peterson responded, then added: "Yes I am, my kids need a mom."

Peterson concluded the interview by once again asking Stacy to return. "Basically, I'd like to have her publicly show herself so we can clear this up," he said.

-----
Of course, for Matt Lauer it’s mostly about ratings – for a person like Drew Peterson it’s no doubt one of his egotistical fantasies come true – wow I'm on TV. Yep Drew, you’ve shown the world just how brilliant you are. His kids need a mom but as he's shown us, it's easy enough to get another wife. Granted I never watch morning yap yap shows so can only base my opinion on what online media has to offer.

Neil Steinberg’s Take On The Subject

The only true television justice I can imagine would be Peterson having a female defense attorney telling him to shut up. And we know that's not likely to happen. But it’s a delightful image isn’t it?

November 17, 2007

The Transformation of Gale Park

It started one morning with a cement mixer, an earth mover and the ensuing progress is self-explanatory. It makes me proud to be one of the squeaky wheels that finally got this project started and nearly finished. This batch of photos was taken last week.

111607 001 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 025 111607 004 111607 008 111607 009

Today the landscapers added a few final touches.

111707 009 111707 004 111707 014 111707 015



111707 006

November 15, 2007

Fire Some Aldermen and Hire Inspectors

Here is an interesting media team-up investigation in case you missed the news last night. Whether a new structure or a rehab, each step of the process should have a check and balance system before buyers get what should be termed 'someone else's problem'. It should automatically be directed to the developer et al. I’m sure some developments have this system in place but how many don’t?

If the Mayor and his Club 50 crew were really thinking and planning for the future of Chicago and its residents, the recent tax increase might have been averted with proper check-ups on the housing boom. Of course that might interfere with TIF to build dollars and that's one of those hush hush topics.

From the ABC link:

“In downtown Chicago there are only four inspectors to insure that 100 buildings end up safe for occupancy. City building department officials say they plan to hire 34 more inspectors by next year.”

ABC 7 Chicago

A city the size of Chicago with FOUR (4) inspectors for 100 buildings?

The Daily Herald Link

We could do with fewer alderpeople and hire more qualified inspectors! The remaining alderpeople could focus on setting real building code checkpoints. The next step would be accountability sessions on development. Progress Reports. But the connected developers on City Hall’s Inside Track would be screwed. If the knife slashed the developers instead of the buyers that just wouldn’t work in Chicago would it?

Most buyers hire inspectors before a home purchase - but how much is hidden behind those walls? How much is hidden elsewhere? Apparently too much for comfort.

November 14, 2007

End Eminent Domain Abuse

Hi, neighbors!

Think you own real estate in Chicago? Think again! "Owning" property doesn't mean the same thing in Chicago as most places, as some small businesses on Western Ave are finding out: in Chicago, you own property at the pleasure of the City of Chicago. Some of our neighbors are organizing to fight back: Save Lincoln Square

Eminent domain moves forward
November 14, 2007
LORRAINE SWANSON, Pioneer Press News Star

There were few surprises for business and property owners at the city's Committee on Housing and Real Estate meeting last week where plans for the city to claim a stretch of Western Avenue under eminent domain moved forward.

Members of the committee approved an ordinance on Nov. 8 authorizing an acquisition of properties along the east side of Western Avenue between Lincoln Avenue and Ainslie Street, and at 4814 and 4820 N. Claremont in the Western Avenue North TIF District.

The City Council was expected to approve the proposal at its Nov. 13 meeting.

"I wasn't surprised. I knew this was going to happen, but we had to be present and go through the process," said Imre Hidvegi, co-owner of Chicago Soccer at 4839 N. Western Ave.

More...

Fair Warning

The city has reserved the right to wipe out this block for a developer to be named later

September 14, 2007
By Ben Joravsky, The Works, Chicago Reader

In 1994, Imre Hidvegi and Edgar Alvarez opened Chicago Soccer, a soccer supply store, in a vacant storefront on the 4800 block of North Western. “It was just the two of us, and we did maybe $50,000 in business” to start, says Hidvegi.

More...

November 13, 2007

Update On Marshfield Fire Settlement

Pioneer Press News-Star on Marshfield Settlement

Chicago Tribune Article on Marshfield Settlement

“An attorney for the three defendants—CIG Management LLC, Marshway L.P. and Marshway LLC—could not be reached immediately for comment.”

******
Note: The LLC’s and LP bear the burden, our golden boy Mr. Johnson is merely tarnished.

But feel free to invest in Cornerstone’s newly ‘rehabbed’ affordable condos around the corner at 7722-34 North Ashland, formerly known on this blog as Manderly . This rehab is now known as Terrace View.

Join Cornerstone et al for a free breakfast tomorrow at 7:30 AM as the non-resident organizational leaders of Rogers Park promote the change Mr. Johnson has provided the North of Howard Neighborhood.

History of Cornerstone

November 12, 2007

A Timely Settlement - 2006 Marshfield Fire

November 12, 2007
By LORRAINE SWANSON Staff Writer
A settlement has been reached in a civil lawsuit against a Rogers Park landlord who owned a building where six children lost their lives in a September 2006 fire.
Complete Article Here

*************
A timely settlement for Jay Johnson, owner of the 7706 Marshfield building where 6 children perished in a 2006 Labor Day fire. Timely one may ask? It's just in time for the November 14 BizArts breakfast to be held at Cornerstone's 7722-34 Ashland to view the recently rehabbed buildings as 'affordable condos'. Biz Arts is a co-sponsored monthly event to promote local business by DevCorp North and RogersPark.com or is it the RPBG?

Surely someone will clarify.

There's no reason we can't vote against Mayor Daley's budget

Open Letter To Chicago's Aldermen

Dear Chicago City Council,

None of you wear ruby slippers. For the most part, it's wingtips, tassled loafers and some tasteful heels - though I have often seen one of your female members wearing gym shoes with her business skirt and jacket on the council floor. Any of these will do. Now, click your heels together three times and say:

There's no reason we can't vote against Mayor Daley's budget.
There's no reason we can't vote against Mayor Daley's budget.
There's no reason we can't vote against Mayor Daley's budget.

That's right, you've always had the power to vote against his budget. It's the law - you can look it up.

- Cate Plys, Beachwood Reporter, Nov. 12, 2007

More...

November 11, 2007

Dysfunction

Why was Stacy with Drew Peterson? Why did she stay if she was afraid of him? Then there’s the 30 year age difference between a young, smart, pretty girl and a middle-aged man with a three marriage track record

Today’s Sun-Times insight into the dysfunctional family history Stacy grew up in could be applied to many families. Multiple marriages, alcohol or substance abuse, moving to greener pastures, and pipedreams to chase. The children are always caught in the middle. Sadly, too many of the female children seek an escape whether they run away, have a baby or run into a marriage.

Let’s face it - all families have some dysfunction but the Stacys of the world have to bypass the better parts of childhood. Sadly, their escape too often is into yet another dysfunctional place with a replication of the abuses of their childhood. It’s the only emotion or reality these kids can recognize. Knights in shining armor are usually for fairy tales only.

Simple logic would be that abused women would grab the kids and escape to their family or a friend. But it’s not easy to admit defeat so they usually stay hoping that ‘if I love him more’ he will change. It doesn’t happen that way but it’s one reason abused women stay in bad relationships. By the time the abuser has exerted the controls, many womens self-esteem and self-worth are so damaged they become slaves to the abuser. They feel ashamed to come forward and admit what they've been subjected to.

Every school in this country needs special classes on abusive relationships. It won’t stop the abuser but it may help young women and men to recognize the symptoms before they delude themselves into thinking it’s love.

November 9, 2007

Petition To Oppose Proposed Cook County Phone Tax

Thanks NHNA for the link!

If you've had enough of Toddy's proposed taxes, here's a chance to let him and his crew of commissioners know you oppose a phone tax.

Copy the link and send it to your neighbors and friends.

City Hall Watching - Part II

Part of the Summer Art Exhibit Moves To City Hall

Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 008 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 005 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 011 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 015
One of the plaques at the base of each globe.

On the way back, I couldn’t resist asking a city employee what was going on behind the fenced in area.
“Oh, the sidewalk was cracked and it’s being repaired.”

Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 022 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 023

“Really? It never appeared bad to me, I replied. It’s odd, they’re fixing the sidewalk in front of corporation council’s home at 30 N. LaSalle but I can’t get any taxpayer paid concrete for a hole on Howard.” (That LaSalle Strip strip is granite slabs, not your regular run of the mill concrete.) The city employee laughed and shared a similar tale of woe from his neighborhood. The City tore up part of his yard, dumped gravel after they finished their work and two years later have never replaced the soil. He just shrugged, I took photos.

Now can we fill that hole at 1615 Howard? It’s not really that complex – it’s just bureaucratic talk. The next time a concrete mixer is NOH for the CTA rehab – it’s prepaid taxpayer concrete….all McHugh needs is City permission. There was a concrete truck yesterday at the field house. What's so complex about pushing a wheelbarrow of taxpayer paid concrete across a street? The act of accounting for every taxpayer dime? Spare us that one!

Maybe that request could added that to the agenda? It would give those hard working alderpersons a break from figuring out how to tax us more.

November 8, 2007

Joe Moore Works EVERY DAY - ALL DAY - for a WHOLE WEEK!

"For most of October, my legislative life has revolved around the Mayor's proposed City Budget for 2008. I've spent countless hours reviewing multiple books issued by the Mayor's Budget Office, attending budget briefings and hearings (held all day, every day, from October 15th to October 22nd) ... "

- Joe Moore
"City Council Report"
11/6/2007

Who's Next?

Excellent Editorial from today’s Chicago Tribune

City Hall Watching - Part I

It was relatively quiet at work yesterday so I took a watchers stroll. Within a block and a half I noticed a blue Streets and San truck loaded with several boxes of paper pull up and park outside City Hall. This huge truck had a load of about 8-10 cartons of printer paper. Each box holds 10 reams of 500 sheets of paper per ream.

Did they just pick up an Office Max order from Madison and Wells? Or perhaps they were moving it from one building to another?

Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 003 Globes and Sidewalk repair 30 N LaSalleCityHall 002

With our parsimonious city government, we taxpayers not only bought the paper but paid for this huge oversize truck, gasoline and not one, but three Streets & San men to unload it at street level, not at a loading dock, and no wheeled cart was visible.

Ahhh, the complexities we bloggers just don't understand.

November 7, 2007

TIFS, Taxes, Charitable Giving, and Renters Aid

All Linked Articles from Today’s Pioneer News Star 11/7/07

"We don't mean ask for less. We mean take it off the table entirely," Head said.
Instead of further burdening already cash--strapped low- and middle -income homeowners, the city should start using the millions of dollars in TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds, she said.
"All we want to do is hang on to our homes and stay in our neighborhoods," she said.

YES – There’s money in them thar TIFS

ComEd is seeking an 8 percent rate increase that will add about $6 to the average $75 electric bill.

And that’s BEFORE Toddy adds his taxes

Holiday Giving None of our Rogers Park's many NFP's are listed even though probably contacted. If any NFP is accepting gifts/food please contact someone at the News-Star.

********************
And from Brian White at Lakeside CDC:

Lakeside is seeking volunteers to assist with a project that is helping improve the housing conditions for renters in the greater Rogers Park community. Working through a coalition called the Ad Hoc Committee on Rental Housing Issues, Lakeside is leading an effort to survey tenants in Rogers Park about their experiences. Information collected is being used to target services to specific tenant households, identify gaps in community housing services, and develop an advocacy agenda that improves the quality of rental housing opportunities in our community. To date, we have collected nearly 300 surveys from renters, providing us much-needed information to support our efforts. Other organizations that have contributed to this effort as members of the Committee include the Rogers Park Section 8 Tenants Council, the Rogers Park Community Council, Rogers Park Community Action Network, Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, and the Metropolitan Tenants Organization.

This Thursday, November 8, the Committee will be staffing two survey collection efforts at Gale School and Armstrong School in conjunction with report card pick-up day. At each school, we will have a table set up from 12 noon to 6:15 pm and will be sharing information and collecting surveys from parents coming to the schools to pick up their children¢s report cards. We need volunteers to help staff these tables. If you or someone you know can volunteer for at least an hour or three this Thursday, please contact Ken Bigos, community organizer at Lakeside, at (773) 381-5253.

I appreciate your help!

Brian C. White
Executive Director
Lakeside Community Development Corporation
1806 W. Greenleaf Ave
Chicago IL 60626

November 6, 2007

Where Was Your Voice?

"Who wants the title of 'best unaffordable city in the nation?'" Ocasio said.
"We are killing the poor. We're killing them," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th).

How about "You're Killing Chicago"?

Reading through the Sun Times article should stir enough of the right emotions to have people calling 311 to leave a message with the mayor. You talk, the dispatcher types, and ask for a report number. (Remember, your emails don’t go through anymore.)

It’s odd that the state of affairs during the re-election was peachy, Chicago was just moving right along – vote for me and we’ll invite the world here in 2016. That is if Chicago isn’t reduced to skyscrapers and miles of boarded up buildings from bankruptcies, foreclosures, fires for profit, and developer take-overs. Rich, Todd and Rod just can’t assimilate that the average Chicagoan’s income doesn’t come close to $90k per year.

Meanwhile, as the TIFS eat away at the proverbial bottom line, we’re expected to pay extra on utilities - again, more on phones, more and more property taxes, more for everything - but can wait years for a simple hole in a sidewalk to get filled. After work we need to check out the city’s building codes to make sure we spend money on their paranoid rules. Ahhh, but they voted to cool it on high rise apartments didn’t they? Correction the ordinance is proposed! How fortunate for Shiller and Stone!

Back to those TIFS for a minute though...what about that LaSalle Street TIF to repair the financial district? The financial district with banks and interest rates can't afford to repair their conglomerate buildings? They need our help? Mercy.

People might want to remind their alderperson, commissioner, state rep and senator that s/he represent the people – a job description that usually gets lost the day after the election. Too many of these representatives of the people are actively in the process of further degrading the term ‘democratic process’ and too many of our so-called representatives are begging to lose the next election if anyone is still in Chicago to vote.

Some may wonder where their aldermanic ‘voice’ was yesterday or why their ‘voice’ left before the meeting was over. Isn’t it their job to attend these city council meetings? Don’t these voices know they don’t have to vote yea or nay but can utter the word abstain? Is the City Council of Chicago governed by a different set of voting rules?

Blog Note: Must Read Post from Tom Mannis at The Bench

Chicago's $895 Million Dollar Elephant in the Room

ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Lynn Becker

The mayor has taken a sound development tool - the TIF, or tax increment financing, district, used to jump-start private investment in depressed neighborhoods - and transformed it into a massive slush fund that diverts nearly $400 million each year from schools and basic city services.

More...

Fagus unopposed for 49th Ward Dem committeeman

David Fagus, Joe Moore's chief flunky and the poster boy for patronage and corruption in Cook County government, will once again run unopposed for Democratic committeeman from the 49th ward.

November 4, 2007

Who's Minding The Cameras?

Having made my purchases at Rogers Park Fruit Market, I chose to walk along Rogers and check out some concerns people have been emailing to me. Before I got to the destination place, I nearly got a contact high passing this building. Note there are three windows then the dark space – it’s an open stairwell. 7531-7529 Rogers. Ohhh, do you smell that smell?
Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 004

When I checked out the back of the vacant dry cleaners, the additional fence along the street had been installed at this former problem spot.
Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 006

Within a few feet, I was near the spot people have been emailing about.
Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 007 Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 012

Stashed not too inconspicuously behind the garbage cans was an empty homestead. A braided rug, plastic and cardboard for an autumn sleepover.

Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 010

The complaints in the email were, in part, about this alcove on the Rogers side of Lost Eras. Early morning walkers have seen a lot of activity here. I’ll spare some of the grotesque details but they involve drug dealing, prostitution, and certain necessities of camping out. Upon a closer look, their accounts could possibly be true.

Odd the SSA#19 camera doesn’t catch this activity. "You Are Being Watched And Recorded".
Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 014 Canna and Other Walks11.4.07 013

Perhaps someone in charge of the cameras could check them now and again? Like daily? Put that tax money to work. There’s one camera on the Rogers side and another on Howard that I could see in the twilight.

November 3, 2007

Unreported Crime Is Up?

An anonymous person called me this morning stating gunshots were heard in the alley between Gale Park and Bosworth around 2:30 this morning. Allegedly this person called 911 and the dispatcher asked if anyone was hurt. The caller said “I don’t know” to which the dispatcher allegedly suggested “Why don’t you go outside and see?”. Sorry, reporting the incident should be sufficient to warrant letting the 24th know.

At any rate these casings, about 10-12 in all were laying in the alley when I took the photos. Someone told me they are from a 25mm automatic which is a small, easily concealed weapon.

Bullets behind Bosworth 003 Bullets behind Bosworth 010 Bullets behind Bosworth 011

Here’s a cluster of the small casings and the usual plastic paraphernalia from Friday Fun North of Howard littering the gangway.
Bullets behind Bosworth 009


Bullets behind Bosworth 001Bullets behind Bosworth 002

Crime’s down when it’s not reported properly. Thank you Mr./ Ms. Dispatcher! Job well done.

[where: 7600 Block of Bosworth, Chicago IL 60626]

The Saga Of The Hole

Residents have called 311, they’ve called the ward office, they’ve emailed the ward office about this hole on Howard. It’s still there. One source claims to have received an email response that Wayne Frazier would ‘check it out’.

Perhaps Wayne could take a short walk from the confines of Jarvis/Greenview and look at it. It doesn’t appear as bad if one is cruising past in a comfy vehicle. Besides walking is good exercise and it doesn’t pollute the environment. Of course the air quality on Howard is often a mixture of cooking grease, exhaust fumes and pot. With those handicaps in place, could residents at least have a safe sidewalk at an alley?

There’s still time to patch it before winter. The CTA concrete is taxpayer paid already and some of the workers would fill it if they had 'permission'.

Howard that Great Street 001 Howard that Great Street 003

The Real Green

**ATTENTION!**

The following program was accidentally omitted from the November 2007 Green Tech Update, but is however still on schedule:

TITLE: Case Study: Energy Star Single Family Residence
DATE: 11/6/2007
TIME: 6:00-8:00 PM
PRESENTER: George Sullivan, Eco Smart Building
LEVEL: All levels welcome
Recycling the resources of the built infrastructure is crucial to reducing man's footprint on the environment. This seminar will take a closer look at how a historic two-flat was redeveloped into a high performance building that exceeds Energy Star's requirements by 85%. This project qualifies for Energy Star's Federal Tax Credits and is a 3 Star Plus certified project in the Chicago Green Homes program. Join is as we review this project's strategies, details, and test results.

If you are interested in attending this seminar, please pre-register at (312) 746-9642 or greentech@cityofchicago.org.

We apologize for the omission and any inconvenience.

*********************
Chicago Deparment of Environment - Chicago Center for Green Technology
Resource Center
445 North Sacramento Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612
Hotline: (312) 746-9642
Fax: (312) 746-9192

Take a Self-Guided Building Tour! We're open to the public!
Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Visit their website!

November 2, 2007

Gateway Mall sells for $22M

Gateway Mall sold for $22,125,000.00 in a transaction executed 8/31/2007 and recorded 9/13/2007, see Cook County Recorder of Deeds document number 0725644046. Combined-Development Howard LLC sold the property to SEC CLARK & HOWARD LLC.

The seller Combined-Development Howard LLC is the limited liability company formed by Alderman Joe Moore and his henchman Kevin O'Neil in 1996 to endow DevCorp North and enrich Moore's campaign contributors. Combined-Development Howard LLC's development of Gateway Mall was heavily subsidized by a massive package of public subsidies including property taxes and gifts of land purchased by the City at taxpayer expense. Moore and O'Neil worked DevCorp North, the 501(c)(3) subsidiary of Moore, Inc., into a 5% stake in the deal for $50.

The purchaser SEC CLARK & HOWARD LLC is a limited liability company controlled by RREEF Real Estate, a unit of German bank Deutsche Bank A.G.

The WORST Real Estate Deal in the History of Rogers Park


In November, 2006, 10 months before the sale of Gateway Mall, DevCorp North claims they sold their 5% stake for a mere $75,188. $22,125,000.00

DevCorp North claims the sale closed 3 months before Moore stood for re-election, but the sale was not disclosed for 11 months, until DevCorp North's DevCorp North, a taxpayer-funded delegate agency of the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Chicago, currently rents space from Moore campaign contributor Rich Aronson.

Declaring Mission Accomplished! on Howard Street, DevCorp North explained that their largess from their decade of investment in commercial real estate on Howard Street will be used as a down-payment toward purchasing a new construction world headquarters on Morse Avenue from another Moore campaign contributor, and partner of Aronson, Robert Coe. DevCorp North, the renamed Howard-Paulina Development Corporation, originally founded as the area "community development corporation" (CDC) , will join a half century of flight of businesses from Howard Street.

DevCorp North Watch

Purporting to be a non-profit, DevCorp North does not have to file "income" taxes, but they are required to file economic disclosures sufficiently detailed that the government, grant-making institutions, and the public can assess the organization's claim to tax-exempt status. In contrast with the income tax filings of individuals, organizations claiming tax-exempt status are required to disclose their ASSETS.

But DevCorp North has NEVER disclosed their stake in Rogers Park commercial real estate. So our local storefront public charity is in the extremely awkward position of realizing a $75K capital gain from an asset they have held for a decade but never reported!

How will DevCorp North's brain trust handle this on their next disclosure?

Will the purchase of their headquarters be carefully concealed, as was their dabbling in real estate speculation?

Stay tuned!

November 1, 2007

Moore Fundraiser Cited for Fundraising on State Time

A public employee so corrupt - the BLAGOJEVICH adminstation was offended!

Inspector: Campaign work done on state job

Blagojevich moves to fire supporter


By Christi Parsons and Ray Long, Tribune staff reporters, October 18, 2006

A supporter of Gov. Rod Blagojevich who got a state job under questionable circumstances has been accused by investigators of raising campaign money for the governor on taxpayer time.

The governor's executive inspector general recommended firing Khalil Shalabi for allegedly conducting personal and political business while on the job ...

State moves to fire Tinley health worker

By Gregg Sherrard Blesch, Staff writer,
Daily Southtown, October 19, 2006

The state has moved to fire an employee whose office was at the Tinley Park Mental Health Center after an investigation found that he was doing personal and political work on the job.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office confirmed Wednesday that Khalil Shalabi, of Lemont, was found in a report by the inspector general to be misusing time and resources as an employee of the Department of Human Services.

"(Shalabi) was put on [paid] leave on Oct. 6, and the termination process is moving forward," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenoff said. ...

Shalabi helped organize fundraising events for the Arab American Democratic Club
...




World headquarters
Arab American Democratic Club of Greater Chicago
4346 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60629


Arab-Americans Heart Joe Moore
- on taxpayer time!


Arab American Democratic Club transfers out to Citizens For Joe Moore

$250.00 12/5/2006
$500.00 7/22/2004
$500.00 10/23/2003
$250.00 7/25/2002

Contributions Received by Citizens For Joe Moore from Arab American Democratic Club

$250.00 12/14/2006
$250.00 12/14/2006
$500.00 8/19/2004
$500.00 12/17/2003
$250.00 9/19/2002
$500.00 5/9/2000

$2,250.00 total

White, black, yellow, or brown - Joe Moore doesn't care WHERE campaign cash comes from - if it's green he'll take it.

Ask any of Moore's challengers if 2 grand might have come in handy.

Yes, that's right - it's not a typo. Moore disclosed TWO contributions of $250 dollars each - on the SAME day in December, 2006, weeks before the election.

More background: The Arab American Democratic Club: The Beginning

Update: Whistleblower fights to keep job