June 24, 2008

Banishing Volunteerism

The funding for the Gale Park Community Center began several years ago. The infamous Rudy Mulder, developer of the Gateway Mall, (who is now on the lam) initially promised a one million dollar donation toward the building in the late 1990's. At that time the park district would not fund the building. Later, Rudy lowered his donation pledge to half a million. The donation never happened because Rudy had to go underground.

So the Seabury Foundation stepped in and donated half a million to jump start the project. According to notes taken at the June 11, 2008 budget meeting, here is the breakdown in final funding for the ‘building’.

1610 West Howard, Joe Moore, Chicago Park District, North of Howard

$1.82M Ward 49 menu money
$ 1/2M Seabury foundation
$1.4M Bernie Stone
$800K Howard Paulina TIF
$1.3 M from State
$ 8M Park District

This project was conceptualized and finally put into motion by people not given any recognition in the 6/23/08 email blast from Joe Moore. For a progressive liberal, Joe is very selective when it comes to giving credit where it is due. An open-minded male friend once stated that ‘Republicans and some Democratic men are terrified of strong, intelligent women’. Apparently that statement is applicable to the two women who started the ‘grass roots’ push for this building.

As for transparency in government, this is a classic example of political favoritism. These wise backroom players have overlooked many concerns and I’ll be damned if I write about them today. No doubt the email was forced more than planned. Perhaps it was hastily written to quell neighborhood inquiries? Joe states ‘last April’ – so does that mean April 2007? Or did he just just misuse the word ‘last’?

Oddly, Joe left a voice message at my work number at 8:10 am yesterday. He's out of town but upon his return the council will be included in something later this week. Now, after the fact, after the bargaining, dealing, and embracing, after the public announcement, NOW the Gale Park Council has been summoned to a meeting with Tim Mitchell, Joe and I presume these other recognized people. There were no words of praise yesterday for Sister Cecilia Fandel or Eva McCann who presented the idea several years ago.
Note: Eva has been trying to set up a meeting with Mitchell for several days now.

Now Joe can have the Mayor at his grand opening and introduce those he praised so highly in the email who did nothing to get this project started. Ginderske came to the hijack meeting last summer and drew on a notepad all evening. He attended one council meeting, but has been working ‘for several years to bring a boys and girls club to Rogers Park’. The first time many of us heard of him was his guest appearance on The Broken Heart 9/3/05. He was standing in a hole in the street near his residence which isn’t and has never been North of Howard. The BGC was in his 2006-2007 aldermanic campaign platform. More or less 2 years ago.

As I wrote recently, I had never met Dorothy Gregory until she appeared in Joe’s office at a re-naming meeting. That was June 5, and the woman sat there poker-faced as if she was hearing about the negotiations for the first time! Was she there there to gauge the reaction? Her husband, Cotter Board member Mr. Dick Gregory, is still a stranger to me. Heather Steans is not our representative in the senate but has funded a summer camp in Gale Park? Again, the council read about it in the email instead of being respectfully included and informed about it. What is also odd - the usual summer programming various groups always offered was halted this year. The explanation given was ‘the park district can’t be responsible/liable for any activities if the building isn’t open’.

But Joe wrote “Together we brought the idea to Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell, who embraced it.” The boys just bypassed the Park Council and the neighborhood. So residents in other areas of Rogers Park who don’t know the history or the struggles to get this building will read the email and think ‘wow, this is just great’.

So the concept of volunteerism for any woman not in Joe’s favor is limited to picking up trash dropped by his many anti-social constituents living in the many subidized buildings he sustains from our tax dollars.

Broadmoor East Trash, Rogers Park, Chicago IL, 60626

Or we can start the Women Against Clogged Storm Sewers Movement (WACSS)

Clogged Storm Drain Clogged Storm Drain

Or Women Against Little Green Baggies Movement (WALGB's)

Little Green  Drug Bags

It was ‘Why here?’ when Joe questioned the placement of the Childrens Museum in Grant Park, but it’s apparently ‘Why not?’ when secretly negotiating and embracing the takeover of a community building for political supporters and friends. It will be very interesting to see what offerings this union would present to adults in the community and the availability of space for “non-club related activities”.

The Storm Sewer and Trash Ladies will need a place to convene their meetings.

the history


been there said...

the email that sent out was not about how the community center was started. it was not about the opening of the center. so, pats of the back for those that got this off the ground would not have been germane. it was an announcement about the boys and girls club.
the fact that you take such offense at certain people not being named is indicative of the kind of attitude that exists between the neighbors and the alderman. it is a sad situation. it looks to me like the kind of festering wound that can really destroy the collaboration needed to do big things. especially to do things across several branches of government. i am saddened for all involved in this mess.
like the old saw about acid mostly harming the container that it is kept in, i watch this kind of grievance playing out around here with great sadness. i have been in many leadership positions in many organization. i have run into this kind of blowback. i have seen some great potential just boil away into nowhere.
i don't have an answer for how to heal this kind of deep would. but i do know this- all these hard feelings are a waste.


Toni said...

Well, it contained verbiage about the possible opening by July 1st actually. There are others who have taken offense, not just me. It's not about me which Westgard et al do not understand but the building does relate to history.

If history is unimportant then we can banish it in the schools, forget how this country came to be, and the myriad family histories borne from Ellis Island.

The word negotiation was used - within negotiation there is usually compromise. I didn't read it, hear it, and none of the neighborhood was privy to these talks. If you don't find any offensive methodologies there, I'm happy that it appears good for you.

If you choose to believe that only certain people are the acid in the jar, you might want to study the history of a neighborhood. How did it go from 'here' to 'there' and who were the players.

Perhaps the blowback stems from the leaders who ignore their constituents from presidents to local elected officials.

Most taxpayers are tired of funding illegal wars, government funded slumlords, rising taxes on utilities, food - the list is endless. The last thing taxpayers need or want to see is national or local government playing corporate wheeler dealer games.

Maybe too many changes have been made without constituent input?

been there said...

i came here, and posted here, words of conciliation. i am a stakeholder, too, after all. and you chose to continue the battle, and not even really listen to what i said. i see that is a part of your personality. as i confessed, it is part of mine.
i think the hard part of change is letting go of habits. and once a warrior, it is hard to put down the habits of the warrior. but i have been very pleasantly surprised by what i have found when i set my judgments, my hurt feelings, my fears aside and reached out to work together.

yes, history has it's place, and grudges are easy to collect. but hope and change are not made of these.

Toni said...

Been There,

You came here to semi-apologize or explain Westgard. I offered a variation on your doubt about them being best friends...speaking for himself...etc.

That has nothing to do with my personality or being a warrior. Long time residents have been unable to put down the guard because they never know when the shoe will stomp them again. If you can presume to analyze me or other neighbors who live here, that is your option, your free will.

The way many here see the 'grudge collecting' is in the demeanor we are treated if we aren't in agreement. IF this is a democratic process, then those in leadership roles should behave in that manner. When something is not working, has not worked for years, then it is time to sit down and figure out why.

Unfortunately, that rarely happens North of Howard. Tonight there were 6 squads in front of the corner store on Howard/Bosworth. According to one officer a search was being conducted. People were partying and yelling as if it was a street fair.

These issues are what should be analyzed, they're much more important than my personality. It does take a license to accurately analyze a human - just common sense to analyze a problem.