July 31, 2008

Gale Community Center - The First Day - Be There!

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We welcome the news that the Chicago Park District will open the Gale Park Community Center at 1610 W. Howard to the public on Friday 8/1/08 and plans an open house Saturday. The best interests of the community are served by keeping this new building as a community resource, managed and operated by the Park District as a public facility. We are optimistic about the news because it seems to address the needs of both residents and the Park District staffers upon whom we will depend for support of service delivery.

However, we remain concerned that the Park District – which should directly fund, support, and deliver programming for our community as it does at other park buildings – is being lobbied to make a $100,000 annual grant to the Boys and Girls Clubs. The funds appear to be aimed at still trying to enable the club to set up operations in the community center building.

Our concerns go beyond the real practical issue of how two major entities could physically occupy basically the same, relatively small space.

Will this proposed $100,000 deal undercut funds that are available to the park district staff and Gale Park funding to deliver community programs and full-time operations of the community center?

All of us should be working to bring the wonderful BGC youth program services to the Gale School Annex which has more space and is capable of serving more youth.

Our alderman needs to immediately set up an open process to discuss pursuing the Gale School option and bring in all the stakeholders. This new publicly funded Community Center is NOT an option for the B&G Clubs and we need to MOVE ON from that.

The private negotiations involving Mr. Moore appear to have evolved into a proposing a ‘shared’ effort or shared use of space by the BGC and the Park District. Stakeholders need to know what is currently being planned for the public space

Placing the Lathrop BGC in the Gale Annex, a larger more suitable space to house their programming would also provide the neighboring NFPs the shared space to work together with the BGC in their common goal of programming for youth. It’s vital that the BGC and other organizations who work with youth in the community share the space as needed.

The B&G Club should be treated like all other community organizations that want to schedule activities in the new park facility.

The Park District runs quality programs throughout the city and we trust they can operate our facility to the same high standards as they do other facilities throughout the city -- Loyola, South Shore Cultural Center, Gill Park, Berger Park to name a few -- with the help of an active Advisory Council and neighborhood input.

Many park programs are free and there is always the option that the community request the fees be lowered to accommodate the demographics of any neighborhood. Fees can vary from park to park in this city. That is a little discussed fact.

Regarding funding: Jim Ginderske has stated that the only funding available for the B&G Clubs in Rogers Park is from the Park District, which is why he does not consider the Gale School Annex to be a viable option. However, Joe Moore and the BGC are not new to the art of asking for contributions. They should focus their energies on raising funds and exploring grant options so the B&G Club could move into Gale Annex, until such time as an application can be submitted for 21st Century grant funds.

Furthermore, the CPS System has other resources besides 21st Century funds to bring to the Gale Annex. Those funds need to be researched and brought to light. Perhaps Moore/BGC could match the $50k pledged by Senator Steans (source unknown) and again, focus on grants and pledges as other NFP’s in our community have for years. The Park District should not be giving B&G Club $100,000 annually to operate programs the Park employees can run. This is not the responsibility of the taxpayers of the City of Chicago.

Again we have the issue of public versus private use of a public facility funded by the people.

Gale Park Opens to Community!

As you were advised of last week - the Chicago Park District is pleased to announce the opening of Gale Park to community residents beginning Friday, August 1, 2008 at Noon.

On Saturday, August 2, 2008 the park will host an

Open House
from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

We invite community residents to stop and meet the new park supervisor Sharon O’Connell and her staff. Take a tour of the facility and check out the new fitness center, gymnasium and club room! Kids can create an arts & crafts project and everyone can enjoy light refreshments.

The park will be open to the community

Monday – Friday, Noon – 8 p.m.;
Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.;
and we're closed on Sunday.

Judith A. Molloy
Chicago Park District
Marketing/Communications Manager
6601 N. Western Ave, 60645
773.262. 6078
fax: 773.262.6154
cell: 312.656.5991
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

"The Endless War" Is Really A No Brainer This Time

Viewpoint from Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader

As I told Matt Marino after the July 22 Loyola budget meeting – I’ve been attending Park Advisory Council meetings for about 5 ½ years in rain, sleet, snow, and sweltering heat. I’ve chronicled the myriad excuses, ground breakings, first earth mover landing in the park to the final building. I did not spend those volunteer hours of my life attending meetings to turn a public building over to a private entity.

This one is definitely political – on Joe’s part. I’m not sure what the real reason is but there is more to this lobby than is being disclosed. Perhaps it’s the connection to the powerful, highly paid CEO’s who ask their boards to make huge donations to the enterprise. Then there's the political financial strings to all those involved with promoting the BGC of America. We won't mention a possible conflict of interest within the park commission, the BGC and the whole secretive mess. But it’s much more than this mantra of ‘It’s For The Children’. If that were the case, then Moore would have voted YES to the Children’s Museum being built in Grant Park! He wouldn’t have stood there repeating “Why Here?” in Council Chambers on June 11, 2008.

With Mayor Daley finally admitting Chicago is facing big budget shortfalls can anyone, in all honesty, say taxpayers can afford to donate $100K or more annually to a private entity in a public building? Can anyone say that we voted to make this annual donation? I just don’t recall seeing such a referendum on the ballots or in the city council resolutions either.

That’s pretty much the bottom line - apparently our parks are for sale at the taxpayers expense.

July 30, 2008

The Sensitive People of Our Ward

SEIU Local 73 Says NO to Joe

A 5-minute video of Dale Jackson, of the SEIU says a lot.

Some witnessed Ginderske doing the Rooster Strut at Loyola last week at Frank Klein, SEIU – great way to impress Joes’ SEIU donors. Then three of the gang tried the Rooster Strut at Jasson Perez, SEIU after the Heartland Live radio event on Saturday. That, of course, was after Joe Moore – not on the agenda given Eva and Jasson – suddenly appeared to spin for his loyal contributors, supporters, board member of Lathrop BGC and of course, that other sensitive guy, Jim Ginderske.

That day was the first time ‘the public’ has heard from the alderman in person on this attempted privatization of a public space in a public park. (Until that day, Joe relied on his email blasts to his distribution list.) He still maintained that there weren’t any secretive sessions going on. That’s why one NFP director went to Joe’s office on another matter and was invited to join the meeting at the last minute. That’s why some NFP’s should be wondering what the hell is going on with the NO RFP – Open Bid process. Where was it, what was it, and why wasn’t everyone included in the beginning?

Another neighbor stated he was confronted by Ginderske’s pal and former aldermanic campaign helper Terry Feingold at a public event over the issue. With this aggressive behavior – how can they possibly maintain this isn’t political on their part? We have the pathetic Rooster Strut imitation of the Sopranos crew intimidating and spinning their way to promote this silent (secret) RFP process.

Meanwhile, Joe maintains that a ‘small group is spreading misinformation’ about the proposed deal. SHOW US THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT then before it's signed! Meanwhile, Joe stated in one email blast that there would be a public meeting once an agreement has been made. Well, isn’t that a little late?

So once again, we have the political agenda backed by aggressive confrontational behavior by these sensitive people.

The same, sensitive, tuned-in people that missed the Gale Park Groundbreaking – the real one.

The above link is to the spontaneous (damage control) outdoor 'health fair' for the children after the fatal fire in September, 2006 that took the lives of 6 children here.

July 29, 2008

Moores' Lobby Mantra - How Genuine Is It?

It’s All About The Children – has become Joe Moore’s latest mantra.

Until Sister Cecilia and Eva started lobbying for a community center, Moore was busy on more important projects. He was busy for years and years.

Was he sickened when he saw how children NOH did gymnastics? If he was sickened, he certainly has a long reaction time. It had to be pounded and pounded to make the mark.

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Suddenly Moore has put on his sensitive hat with his lobbying for Ginderske and the Lathrop BGC Board member/Moore supporter who lives on Albion. Albion is far, far away from the sights and sounds of NOH.

Joe seldom wanders around NOH unless it’s a campaign year. He used to say he had a dear friend living here so he had a vested interest. Well, his friend sold the condo and became Mrs. Moore. His only vested interest is the people he can manipulate with a few bucks to litter a neighborhood. Rather than getting them real jobs like he did for Wayne Frazier, he doles out a few bucks for odd jobs here and there for ‘the children’.

All these sensitive people should come visit and walk the hood with us, get to know your neighbor kind of thing.

Sell your house, buy NOH – come be with us.

Then you can have a genuine hands-on ‘help the children’ campaign in your own backyard NOH.

July 27, 2008

Keep The Petition Going....

In light of the timing of events on Friday, July 25, 2008 -

A. Matt Marino of the Chicago Park District contacted Eva McCann stating the Gale Community Center would open as a park facility on or about August 1, 2008. That was around 3:00PM

B. Moore sends an email blast to his ward list begging everyone to contact Tim Mitchell and Gery Chico and beg for the BGC with him and Ginderske around 5:00PM.

C. Moore's email does NOT MENTION Marino's phone call to Eva. He may have received a message but was too busy to read it or listen to it. Or, perhaps it's in the pile of unreturned messages. After all, many people skip out of work early on Friday afternoons.

D. SOCC's petition drive is not OVER - we asked that the petitions be turned in for tabulation to present the number of signatures at the July 15 regular monthly meeting. Since July 15, many Ward 49'ers have signed the petition to keep Gale Community Center a public building operated by the Park District.

Please contact SOCC in the link below to get petitions signed in your neighborhood to make sure those without email capability can be heard.

Save Our Community Center Petition

July 26, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALDERMAN MOORE

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALDERMAN MOORE
SATURDAY, JULY 26TH, 2008

RE: YOUR PLAN TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF GALE COMMUNITY CENTER TO THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS


Alderman Moore,

In your effort to secure a Boys and Girls Club for the Rogers Park Community, you have proposed to the Chicago Park District that they allow the Boys and Girls Club to occupy, operate and manage the yet unopened Gale Community Center at 1610 W. Howard. Many residents of this community and your constituents in the 49th Ward, whom we have polled, find this use of a public park facility unacceptable at the very least and illegal at worst. We strongly urge you to stop this process immediately, withdraw your requests to use the Gale Community Center for such activities and allow the Center to open without delay under its original intent as a public Park District facility for the neighborhood.

Additionally, we strongly urge you to pursue the opportunity to bring a Boys and Girls Club into the Rogers Park community at the free-standing Gale School Annex. Principal Richard Glass has gone on record welcoming the Boys’ and Girls Clubs to utilize the school and Arnie Duncan, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, fully supports and encourages the Boys and Girls Clubs continued use of CPS facilities. Currently the Boys and Girls Clubs are located in 24 CPS schools in Chicago and over 600 nation-wide. It has been and continues to be a very successful partnership. We highly advise you to focus your time and energy in securing such a facility for the Rogers Park community. We also insist that you create a community panel, representative of all the stakeholders in this process, to work with you in securing such a facility for the Boys and Girls Clubs in the Gale School. Together, in an open and transparent process, we can have both our new public park field house and a Boys and Girls Club in Rogers Park.

Sincerely,
Committee To Save Our Community Center
S.O.C.C. Steering Committee
Mike Luckenbach
Maryon Banks
Toni Duncan
Sister Cecilia Fandel
Don Gordon
Eva McCann
Carla Tomino

cc: Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor
Mr. Tim Mitchell, Superintendent Chicago Park District
Mr. Arnie Duncan, CEO Chicago Public Schools
Mr. Gery Chico, President Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners
Mr. Richard Glass, Principal Gale School
Ms. Erma Tranter, President Friends of the Parks

SOCC Rally - The FACTS and The Moore-Ginderske Lobby

The people of Rogers Park were supportive in today’s first rally. They came, they listened, chose signs to carry, and didn’t give up until the grand finale at the ward office. The people today weren’t about politics but were about getting those who make the politics of our world to keep their promises. Two government entities, an Alderman and the Park District, promised this community center for ALL people in the community. After twelve long years the building is finally a reality –under siege of lobbying that is keeping the doors closed.

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FACT: Yesterday, July 25, 2008 around 3:00 PM Eva McCann called me at work stating she’d just gotten off the phone with Matt Marino of the Park District. He had called to inform her that the Gale Community Center would open on or around August 1, 2008 as a park district facility with park district employees supervising programs.

FACT: I got off the purple line at Howard yesterday before 6:00 PM to be greeted by Mr. Ginderske’s friend and former aldermanic campaign helper, Francis Scudellari handing out bright orange factless sheets about the center and the BGC. The whole North of Howard neighborhood was plastered with them. That was done by Moore’s paid minions.

FACT: Everyone on the Ward49 email list received a blast from Moore at 5:03PM mirroring much of the contents of the orange factless sheet. Moore urges everyone to email Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Chico. Well, think about these FACTS before you believe a word in that email. Think about these facts before you send a "happy happy" email to either Mitchell or Chico!

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POSSIBILITY: Perhaps Tim Mitchell and Gery Chico of the Park District want this headache to disappear and made a decision and Joe and his insiders are still fighting with their orange propaganda.

POSSIBILITY: Was it a ploy to hopefully pacify the neighborhood and the SEIU Local 73 while continuing the negotiations? Will there be a reversal announcement at a later date? …upon further consideration we have changed our minds…kind of tactic. Not above board but this is Chicago!

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FACT: As Eva stated today at the rally, Marino’s call now appears to be a small victory.

FACT: The larger battles still loom since Moore and his supporters are still working to show Tim Mitchell and Gery Chico the whole world wants the privatization of one more corner of Chicago’s PUBLIC spaces at the taxpayers expense.

FACT: When Eva told me about Matt Marino’s call the first thing I said ‘get an email from him, get something in writing, get a paper trail’. She left him a message and he called back stating that Tim King of the Park District would mail her a document to that effect. Mr. King, how about a scanned pdf in an email? It’s much faster, efficient and saves paper.

FACT: Between the two hours of 3:00PM and 5:00PM July 25, 2008 the Gale Community Center is either:

A. Really going to open on or near August 1, 2008 as a public facility managed by Park District staff.

B. Or open the doors to give the appearance that it’s a public park facility while Joe and Ginderske and the BGC lobby and hammer away at their negotiations.

C. A reliable anonymous source states the amount of the purse the Park District is willing to offer the Lathrop Boys and Girls Club to take over a taxpayer-paid- for building is in excess of the quoted $100k. Let’s try $150-$300k as the donation of our tax dollars to the charity of Joe Moore’s choice on our unwilling behalf..

Keep on your toes neighbors – Moore and Ginderske don’t like to hear the word NO.

D. There will be more than one form of collusion from both the Park District and Moore if that building opens under any other management than a park managed facility whether it be August 1, 2008 or any year. Where is the accountability gentlemen?

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The Statement of The People:

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Moore's paid minions removed the petition names and signs after everyone finally dispersed from the rally.

From The Broken Heart

Thanks for being there today Craig.

July 25, 2008

SAVE OUR COMMUNITY CENTER


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SAVE OUR COMMUNITY CENTER
Rogers Park Residents Say No to the Privatization of the New Chicago Park District Community Center at 1610 W. Howard Street!

A public protest rally is scheduled for Saturday, July 26th at 2 P.M. starting at Gale Park, 1600 W. Howard Street (Marshfield & Howard). The rally will feature speakers from S.O.C.C., (Save Our Community Center), Save Our Parks, SEIU Local 73, Gale Park Advisory Council as well as Rogers Park residents representing seniors and other community organizations. The rally will conclude with a 4 block march to 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore’s Ward office at 7356 N. Greenview, where protesters will demand the Alderman cease and desist in his plan to privatize the Gale Park Community Center by sponsoring a ‘turn over’ of the new, unopened building to the Chicago Boys and Girls Clubs, which would limit, if not completely prohibit community access and use of this new, public taxpayer funded, Chicago Park District Community Center. At several recent community meetings, including this past Tuesday’s Chicago Park District’s North Region Budget Hearing, individuals and organizations, including SEIU Local 73, the Gale Park Advisory Council, S.O.C.C. and Friends Of The Parks, have spoken out strongly against this privatization of Chicago Park District property. Please join us for this important event to
“Save Our Community Center”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 25, 2008

For additional information contact: S.O.C.C. at 773-465-2433
Steering Committee Members
Maryon Banks
Toni Duncan
Sister Cecilia Fandel
Don Gordon
Michael Luckenbach
Eva McCann
Carla Tomino

Are The NFP's Wondering?

Think about this….

How many social service agencies are in this area?

How long have they been here?

How many provide services to youth with after school programs and summer camps?

Did the unaccountable politicians build a ‘new house’ with tax dollars for them?

Were they given the opportunity to respond to an RFP to be the vendor at the Gale Community Center with a $100K purse for programming and personnel? According to my sources, they were not. Are they wondering why? I certainly hope so.

If I were an NFP director struggling to find extra space in a storefront for children and staff I’d be wondering. If I’d been here 20-30 years, writing grants, selling the good points of my NFP to obtain additional funding to meet rising costs, I’d be wondering. I’d be wondering how the park district and an alderman could bring in a new NFP and give them the new house in Gale Park, lock, stock and barrel without a second thought. And, the new NFP will bring their own board of directors to run the whole show in the area.

The negotiators state there will be room for all of us, but I’d be wondering how we will all fit into the downsized community center.

I’d be wondering what will happen to my young people, their parents and my funding for them. At donation time, will be big corporations look over the neighborhood and say ‘hey, there’s a Boys and Girls Club’ and give to them before they even notice the rest of us?

Since I’m not a director of an NFP, I guess I shouldn’t worry since I don’t have a horse in the NFP race. But I sure as hell pay taxes in this place and so do you.

July 24, 2008

SEIU Local 73 Statement

Good Evening ,

My name is Dale Jackson; I am the Park District Division Director of the Service Employees International Union Local 73. As you know, SEIU Local 73 represents the over 2,200 employees that provide the programs and also landscape our beautiful Parks.

I stand today to address a concern we share with organizations in the Rogers Park community. There are discussions currently going on about allowing the Boys and Girls Club to lease out Gale Park and its brand new field house to run its programs.

SEIU Local 73 disagrees with this Boys and Girls club proposal or any other effort to have outside agencies begin to take over the running of programs in the Parks. Personnel hired by these agencies will be doing the very same jobs that Park District employees are currently performing or are capable of doing.

We are also appalled to hear that after the community requested, demanded, fought for and even desperately asked for the District to build a Park in the North of Howard community, you are now contemplating a proposal that would lease the new $6 million Park Field House (that was built with taxpayer money) to a private, not-for-profit organization like the Boys and Girls Club.

Please don’t get me wrong. The Union is not attacking the Boys and Girls Club. We recognize the good work they do with and for youth. Indeed, they actually do a fine job living up to the mission they have set for themselves.

However, we just don’t support the idea of handing Gale Park over to them.

1. Because SEIU members have been working for more than 60 years to provide vital recreation services to this City. We are more than capable and willing to continue to work with communities to provide the programs they are looking for.

2) Most importantly, the community has repeatedly demanded that the Park remain a PUBLIC Park with regular full-time Park District staff. This request has somehow fallen on deaf ears.

3) There is an advantage to having open and public Parks, although the District seems to think differently. Leasing to an outside agency would actually limit community members’ access to programs and to the Park itself.

Lastly, is the District now going into the business of building $2 million soccer fields to give to the rich; $6 million dollar Parks to give to the Boys and Girls Clubs – and what next? The community doesn’t like the idea and SEIU doesn’t either! In fact, this is a very slippery slope to what can be described as the Capitalist ideas about eating off the public trough.

We are here today to urge you to reverse this decision, reject this proposal and any like proposal in the future. We see this issue a violation of the community trust and a severe departure from the mission of the Chicago Park District, which is to take the lead in providing recreational service to all of Chicago’s communities. This proposal makes it looks as if you are trying to get out of the business.

Please take this message back to President Chico and Superintendent Mitchell: the Union and the Community are in unity.

July 23, 2008

Highlights of North Regional Park District Budget Hearing

July 22 was the Area 5 - North Regional Park District 2009 budget hearings at Loyola Park. PAC members and neighbors living near northern area parks appeared to make their requests a matter of public record to Matt Marino and Brian Loll of the Northern Region who in turn report the individual parks needs up the chain of command.

The three parks North of Howard were represented with the wish list(s).

Several neighbors and friends stood during the whole Gale Park Budget List reading and many were holding signs.

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Shortly thereafter, Mr. Dale Jackson, SEIU Local 73 addressed the gentlemen of the Park District. This is a brief overview of his statement: There are 2,200 SEIU members who are employees of the Park District and there are contract negotiations coming up soon. The SEIU is in total disagreement with outside agencies running programs in a park facility. Therefore, there is no support of a Boys and girls club in Gale Park Community Center from the SEIU. Mr. Jackson stated the public has repeatedly demanded that Gale Park Community Center remain public and wondered aloud when did elected officials and officials of the Park District stop listening to the people? He further stated the proposed BGC would limit access to the public. Jackson referenced the suit the people won over the soccer field in Lincoln Park and the slippery slope the Park District is creating. I have requested his full statement to blog in its entirety.

After all the speakers representing their parks and other park-related issues had spoken, Mr. Ginderske, having signed up to speak after arriving late, addressed the group. He spoke of the issues concerning poverty and crime and the relation between the two. Again, he cited the study done for the health clinic and made reference to interviews with Rogers Park residents who indicated concerns to him about youth.

Mr. Ginderske again reiterated his BGC promotion that a) membership is a flat $20.00/year and b) he claimed that according to CAPS 2422 meetings (he attended the July meeting for the first time in ages) that many issues arise from non-resident youth visiting their non-custodial parent or family members in Rogers Park. Their visitor status, according to Ginderske, often leads youth down the wrong path. Ginderske changed his original stance that Gale School did not have the supplemental funding to support a BGC club in the Gale Annex to the Board of Education did not have the supplemental funding. So which is it?

What Ginderske did not mention was that certain programs with special instructors would require an additional fee (just like certain Park District Programs) above the flat $20/year membership.

Mr. Klein, also of SEIU 73, had spoken on other issues but not Gale. However, after the meeting adjourned, many witnessed Mr. Ginderske angrily confront the man.

I did not give Internet time to a portion of the July 10 meeting in the aldermanic conference when Mr. Moore raised his voice at me. However, after witnessing Mr. Ginderske’s aggressive behavior after the meeting toward Mr. Klein, I will. At the point in the July 10 meeting when I asked two government entities ‘where is the transparency, why was the Gale Park Council excluded and where were the public meetings’, Mr. Ginderske jumped right into the answer. Since it had appeared in the News-Star, he pushed his point that we are ‘difficult to work with’. He referenced the ONE council meeting he attended which was the attempted change of the agenda. Ginderske pointed out that I used the term hijacking on ‘your blog’. He referred to his sister and the term hijacking in the 9/11/01 attacks. I replied: “It’s a word Jim and this issue is not about me or my blog and what about your…” At that point, Moore started his thundering. So as soon as that was over, I still stated for all to hear that Mr. Ginderske’s lawyer friend has a blog which has posted some rather outrageous, nasty slams at certain council members sitting at the table.

Apparently, when one steps in it, the other changes the subject to continue the divisive tactics to keep from being transparent and open. As I pointed out to him - my blog wasn’t on the agenda that day – at least in print.

Gale Park Budget Requests

Good Evening,

I am Eva McCann. I am here to represent the Gale Park Advisory Council and the Rogers Park Community on the issue of the Boys and Girls Club taking over the management of programs at the new Gale Park Community Center Facility. I will also present a list of programming items and Park Improvements that should be included in the budget for Gale Park and the Gale Park Community Center.

Community members and Rogers Park organizations over the years have worked with the Chicago Park District in good faith to help raise funds, design and bring to fruition the Gale Park Community Center. In good faith these same community members and organizations expect the Chicago Park District to uphold its commitment to the community to run programs as in other parks and their facilities throughout the city of Chicago, using Park District Staff that have already been hired to work at Gale Park Community Center.

The Gale Park Advisory Council has passed out surveys throughout the neighborhood asking people of all ages how they feel about the new Park building being run by the B&G Club and overwhelmingly they say it should be run by the Chicago Park District

If the Boys and Girls Club runs programs, Park District employees who have been hired to work at the Gale Park Community Center will be displaced.

If such an agreement goes through with Gale Park how many other agreements with other Park facilities will take place and how many more Park District Union Employees will find themselves without a park to call home.

The Gale Park Community Center is a public facility paid for by tax payers money. We insist that this Park Facility be run by the public agency for which our tax dollars have been designated. Our park taxes are not intended to be invested in a private organization to run the Gale Park Community Center.

The B&G Club is a private organization. The B&G Club is not accountable to the public nor can the public hold them accountable for running programs that meet the needs of the entire community, young and old alike.

An agreement such as this short changes the neighborhood for which it is meant to serve and allows the Park District to continue to be an absentee landlord to the three parks North of Howard. We need the Park District to be accountable to the taxpayers and to be present to take responsibility for what goes on in the Gale Park Community Center and its sister parks. We have worked too long and too hard to get to this point to have this facility dropped into the hands of an outside private organization. The B&G Club should not take over this public facility.

Improvements we are asking to be included in the Gale Park and Building Budget are:


1. A spray pool.

Kiwanis Park, the original park that the Park District tore down to build the Gale Park, had a small kiddy sprinkler area for the children to play in on hot summer days. The community asked the Park District to leave it or modernize the sprinkler area because parents do not allow their children to go to the lake by themselves to cool off in the summer. The Park District removed it down despite the community’s request.

We want to have the replacement of that kiddy sprinkler with a spray pool included in the budget for Gale Park improvements for 2009.

2. Other items we are requesting to be included in next years budget are:

Outdoor basketball hoops be installed
Park Kids Program
Neighbor Sports
Mighty Fit Kids
Cubs Care
Go Go Girls
Volleyball, youth and adults
Basketball, youth and adults
Wheel chair basketball
Cultural Arts Camp
Teen Club
Teen Leadership Club one for males, one for females
Family Night Out
Chess, youth and adults

3. Gallery 37, so that young people can provide art for our three parks, artistic benches, sculptures, mosaics, textiles etc.. Young people will learn artistic appreciation, help beautify the parks and earn some money while doing so.

4. Gymnastics

Not just tumbling but artistic and rhythmic gymnastics with a fully trained instructor. Parents in this neighborhood are not likely to take their children out of the area to participate in training activities. Parents have not done so, thus far, therefore the physical talents of these youth go unrecognized. There are also so many talented young people in this neighborhood who are unsupervised who pull dirty mattresses out of alleys to use for tumbling. Kids destroy trees trying to climb and swing and circle & flip over limbs. The children need to learn the real discipline of gymnastics. Real gymnastics that will discipline their minds and bodies while building strength and a sense of team work and personal best.

We request that you include in the Gale Park budget real gymnastics equipment like the balance beam, vaulting horses, uneven bars and parallel bars, high bars, rings and pommel horse.

5. We need Programming for special needs population in the budget
Special Olympics for the physically challenged
Arts & Crafts
Creative Expression

6. Other forms of fitness and conditioning that should be included in the budget are:

Seniors:
Low impact aerobics
Walking
Weight training
Yoga

Young Parents Programs
Stroller Fitness
Toddlers Tunes & Turtles
Mommy & Me Ballet/Creative Movement & fitness

Youth & Young Adults
Boxing/wrestling

7. Have designated time for an Adult social club where people can gather to play bid whist, chess, scrabble or bingo.

8. Intergeneration programs and Family Nights Out

9. Young people need to learn about the environment through programs like:
Outdoor Explorers,
Team Adventure
Urban Campers.

10. The Park District needs to put into the budget various Arts Partnerships to provide:

African or Caribbean dance for both youth and adults
Some form of traditional Latin Dance to accommodate the Hispanic population
Hip Hop Dance
Steppers Dance
Theatre classes for all ages
Creative writing
Drumming Circles
Arts & Crafts
Cooking Classes

These programs are not asking too much for a community that has been deprived for decades of productive supervised activities. There are artists and instructors ready and willing to partner with the Park District to help bring many of these programs to the Community Center. The Community agrees to continue to work with the Park District to help provide the types of programming needed. We just need the Park District staff to be there and to work with and to partner with us to bring the highest quality possible to a desperate needy neighborhood.

The Boys & Girls Club can bring additional programming by moving into the Gale Annex 1/2 block north on Marshfield. They do not have to nor should they take over the Gale Park Community Center. We can have the best of both programming options by utilizing both facilities, one run by the Chicago Park District in the Gale Park Community Center, the other run by the B&G Club in the Gale Annex. Gale Academy wants the B&G Club in the Annex. Let them continue to work with the CPS system and let the Park District do its job where it will benefit people the most.

Thank you

HW Playlot Budget Request

Harold Washington Memorial Play ground Budget Needs


1. Add more swings in park both kiddy and regular

2. Replace bushes that kids have destroyed

3. Replace trees that kids have destroyed

4. Repair artificial birm grass with real grass/turf

5. Water trees and plants on a regular basis so they do not dry out and die

6. Repair playground equipment in a timely manner

7. Remove graffiti in a timely manner

8. Pick up garbage and clean daily

Triangle Park Budget Requests

Triangle Park Budget Request:

1. Quiet seating area for seniors, designed by teens in a gallery 37 program run out of Gale Community Center or designed by both seniors and youth collaboratively through an intergenerational arts program.

2. Functional art, sculptures and mosaics designed by seniors and youth

3. Enhance the picnic area

4. Plant more trees, through an environmental program with youth

5. Plant natural grasses in the park around a quiet seating or gazebo type area

6. Develop a small part of the park as a dog park area.

7. Maintain the large grassy area

8. Install a couple of Chess/Checker tables

9. Place more garbage cans in park

10. Fence off area of park that belongs to Hispanic Housing

July 22, 2008

It's on You, Joe

Alert: today's theme is "It's all Joe Moore's fault," the least favorite blog post theme of Moore apologists.

This Summer


When one of our young boys out of shear boredom dons his uniform white tee and bikes to the corner seeking work as a look-out...

you have to wonder...

What if he had a choice?

When one of our kids lies bleeding out on the sidewalk with a cap in his butt...

you have to wonder...

What if he had been shooting baskets in the gym instead?

When roving bands of our children open the annual neighborhood gooning season...

you have to wonder...

What if they had somewhere to go?

When our police break up another domestic, help another woman up from the floor of her kitchen...

you have to wonder...

What if one or both of that couple could get out of the house occasionally to somewhere that wasn't a bar?

Yeah, well, you can wonder all you want but we'll never know how many lives could have been changed in some small way this summer.

It's on you, Joe Moore. It's all on you.

July 21, 2008

Moore is Why the Field House is Not Open


Did You Know....


On Wednesday, July 9, 2008 Tim Mitchell, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, told the officers of the North of Howard Park Advisory Council that the alleged "buckling of floor boards" in one corner of the gym near the door in the new field house in Gale Park on Howard St has been resolved, that there are no outstanding issues with the contractor, and that the Park District has signed off on project completion.

Did You Know...

On Friday, July 11, 2008, Mitchell told us that the privatization of the operation of the new Park District field house is Joe Moore's idea, that the Park District is not for or against the privatization, and that the Park District will do whatever the community wants.

(Unfortunately so far Mr. Mitchell is mistaking Joe Moore and Jim Ginderske for our community. Meanwhile, the unions are learning what we have long known which is Joe Moore has no principles, there is nothing he believes in).

Did You Know...


It's not about operational funding. The Park District's 2008 budget includes headcount increases for the neighborhoods and fee increases to pay for them. The Park District has already conducted and completed a selection process for staff for the new field house, and has already offered jobs to a park supervisor and several assistants.

Moore is proposing to spend an undisclosed "substantial sum" of Park District dollars to PAY a private contractor to operate the taxpayer-built Park District field house in Gale Park.

Did You Know...


The ONLY reason that the new field house in Gale Park on Howard Street is not open RIGHT NOW - is:

Joseph A. Moore.

It's criminal.

July 20, 2008

The Burden Is On The Taxpayers - Again

The First Public information on the proposed change in direction for the taxpayer paid for community center at 1610 W Howard was made in a public CAPS meeting, June 12. That was one day after the City Council meeting where the $800K in Howard/Paulina TIF dollars was approved. That was one day after our alderman said "Why here?” and voted NO to the Childrens’ Museum moving into Grant Park.

A month later, some members of the PAC saw comparisons of basic park district programs scheduled to be offered versus the programs to be offered by the BGC. There were no handouts for visual comparisons just two pieces of paper held up by Tim Mitchell. Presumably, the park district feels it's no ones business during the negotiation process. Yet other entities have been privy to these comparisons, have attended meetings regarding the ‘you’ve got to match or surpass’ our cookie cutter initial programs. BGC: "Sure, no problem, here’s what we can do…"

A senior citizen who has lived in the neighborhood for years wrote the alderman expressing his concern about this sudden change of plans for a taxpayer paid for community center. In part the response from the alderman was:

“….the Boys and Girls Club need an independent funding source to supplement their expenses of operating in our neighborhood. While they have committed to raising some of the money needed to operate a full-time program, they cannot subsidize the entire cost. The Park District has committed to providing a substantial sum of money to the Boys and Girls Club to subsidize their cost of providing programming in our neighborhood.”

"In short, without the Park District's involvement, there will be no Boys and Girls Club in Rogers Park unless an independent funding source can be identified."

Uh, what about a fundraiser? Or what about grants? Uh what about the BGC sending out a request to its corporate sponsors in Illinois alone for that extra $100k? It's a tax write-off isn't it? BGC is not a small organization and is not financially strapped. If they are having financial difficulties in this economy then perhaps they shouldn't pay their top officers such exorbitant salaries and spend more on their mission - children. That salary pyramid is a mirror of corporate CEO salaries in comparison to the little people who make any organization move. At any rate, IF the entities involved really wanted the BGC in Rogers Park, in the larger facility of Gale Annex it could be done. Placing the club in the annex would be politically correct and would give the appropriate appearance of working with the existing social service agencies that have been providing youth activities for years. Read this excellent letter of reason.

The alderman also referred to the vocal neighbors (or council members?) as ‘elements in the community’ who are spreading misinformation about adult programming. So the burden of staffing and programming for a new NFP is put to the park district or the board of education to supplement. In other words, some of the burden of staffing and programming by the BGC is put to you, the taxpayers.


Again, one question regarding adult programming was partially answered after the July 10 meeting with Moore, Mitchell et al. I asked Ms. Janney of the BGC if, at my age, I decided to go to the facility after work and use the exercise machines would I get my own BGC card? I think she understood the humor of a woman having to present a card referring to her as a ‘girl’. Anyway, she smiled and told me, I would have to pay my dues and everyone has to sign in upon arrival. The next part of the answer tells a lot about adult programming. She stated I would have to come with my group.

Unless one of these entities wants to explain in detail how adult programming will be presented, I have only that brief conversation to run on. The answer appears that adults must be in groups and probably scheduled into the calendar. The scheduling is important to avoid conflicts or overlaps. However, I do find issue that an adult having paid the dues cannot just walk in, sign in, and step on a treadmill or use other machines. Or what about an adult who wants to join the teenagers and throw a few hoops?

Similar programming comparisons to the park district during school season would be to schedule adult activities during the day when school is in session and there is ample available open time.

Perhaps the BGC will offer adult programming – but what is the scope and the limit? For example, at Loyola Field house, can one pay the fee for a weaving class and walk in and learn when s/he gets the urge or the time? Or must there be X amount of people signed up before the program is offered and be at the very first class? Or yoga or adult boxing could be used as examples too.

And the exercise room….aren’t there restrictions to use on those machines by anyone under the age of 18? Aren’t there waivers to sign stating the user is aware of how to utilize the machines? And, isn’t there to be a knowledgeable trainer available to assist and observe users?

And the timing is key too. How many adults work during the day and can only utilize these proposed adult programs after 6 or 7 PM? From September until June while school is in session, there will be a certain amount of free time from morning until the after school programs would begin….just as any park district managed facility that taxpayers have already paid into.

July 18, 2008

THANK YOU, Berny Stone!

We'd like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Alderman Berny Stone (50th) for his contribution to getting the new community center in Gale Park built, if not opened.

Last month, Our City Council including Stone approved a diverse package of subsidies to the Park District to construct a field house in Gale Park on Howard Street in the grossly under-served North of Howard community.

AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EXECUTION OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM HOWARD/PAULINA TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF GALE SCHOOL PARK

(See page 31 in the PDF, Journal page 28949)

One highly unusual aspect of this deal is the timing, coming as it does after the building was completed, and the contractor Paschen (also the GC of the Howard El station) had been paid and moved on.

Another highly unusual aspect is reflected in the meager details of the sources of funds, which includes a generous contribution by Alderman Stone of $1.4M! Stone contributed more than Moore! Stone contributed more than the Park District!
Funding Sources

Seabury Foundation Donation $500,000
Alderman Moore Menu $1,082,000
Alderman Stone Menu $1,400,000

Howard-Paulina Tax Increment Financing District $800,000
City of Chicago $1,800,000
State Funds (Representative Julie Hamos) $200,000
State Funds (former State Senator Carol Ronan) $500,000
Chicago Park District $1,343,621

Total $7,625,621
(See page 51 in the PDF, Journal page 28969).

To further put the magnanimity of this $1.4M grant into perspective, recall that the total annual allotment of so-called "aldermanic menu" money is $1.32M per alderman per year lately. Stone sacrificed more than a year's worth of pothole filling, street-light installations, and sewer repairs in the 50th ward to better the lives of those North of Howard. After years of tossing menu dollars around like manhole covers, Stone lets lose the flood gates - in the 49th Ward!

Thank you, Berny Stone!

Please let's not forget to invite Berny to the grand opening festivities. Whenever that is.

July 17, 2008

Joe Moore's Spin

“Moore also said that he initially informed the entire park advisory council in a meeting that took place in his neighborhood ward office on June 5 to discuss renaming Gale Park."

Moore forgot to mention that he dropped it on us at the end of the renaming meeting. Dropped it at the end of the meeting.

"They were informed ahead of time," Moore said of the park advisory council. "As you can see by the timeline, there wasn't a whole lot of secret negotiations going on." The Complete Story from News Star

What Moore failed to disclose to the News-Star is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

True: There were some park council members at the private meeting at his office on June 5.

False: Not every member attended the private meeting at his office on June 5.

True: Two other park council members attended the June 16 meeting but...

False: were not there as advisory council members but as members of other organizations invited to the table! It just so happens that they were conveniently council members so it would ‘appear’ the council had been included.

True: That statement in a newspaper is typical spin.

True: Moore shared bits and pieces of the negotiations at a public meeting June 17 known as a park advisory council meeting. Of course, that was the day after wasn’t it?

True: Moore did 'host' a meeting at the City Council offices.

False: Moore failed to mention that Eva, president of the council, had requested a meeting with Tim Mitchell when Joe dropped it on us June 5. In order to be 'in control' this is how Moore handled it. The Council was there to ask questions and to give statements which Joe didn't want to hear or perhaps didn't want others at the table to hear.

Ten minutes on June 5 and 15-20 minutes on June 17 isn’t exactly full disclosure. Hey, what about the meeting in April? Only two meetings in total?

It's a good attempt to spin away from it all though.

July 16, 2008

Save Our Community Center

Here’s an introduction to one speaker who attended last night’s meeting. Tom Tressor, founding member of Protect Our Parks - the group that sued to stop the construction of a private soccer facility for the Latin School in the heart of Lincoln Park. It seems like there is a growing trend in the parks system to do secret deals with all sorts of private organizations to take over park land or park facilities.

While some may say it’s apples and oranges to compare Gale Park to Lincoln Park since it involved a sale, construction, and the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, the common thread is the ‘privatization of our parks’. He pointed out that ‘no one is going to give us property to build a house on’.

Also mentioned was the ‘salting away’ of some of the Park District’s percentage of TIF dollars for the proposed Olympics 8 years away. In 2006 the Park District had $500 million. Well, less the millions in restitution over the soccer field fiasco which is still not over.

The audience laughed when Tom stated that while the “Park District may plead poverty – they have more money than God”. Privatization is a ‘sweet deal’ for the Park District. Latin School, a very wealthy private school had money-making plans for that soccer field. They would have had naming rights to the field, a donors walk for big business and advertising reaping more money and attention in a public park.

In our Gale Park fiasco, we have government and other entities in negotiations behind the community’s back as well as the park advisory council. Gale Park doesn’t belong to anyone but the people.

I will write more later on other speakers but wanted to share just one more speaker on this post.

During the 90 second individual input, Jasson Perez of SEIU Local 73 spoke to the group. Jasson is a community liaison between the union, their Park District employees and people like us. The parks and park buildings are public. Private entities such as BGC (or Latin School) have the means and power to raise money for land, facilities and programming – and should not be aided by the Park District at the expense of taxpayers. Nor should program funding be placed on the public school system to provide additional monies that large, powerful entities already have.

Jasson further spoke on the subject of park fees. If neighbors of any park in the city feel the charges don’t match the demographics and income they should speak up.

Clarification: I asked Tom Tressor for clarification on the funding statements on taxes and TIFS.

He responded: You got most of it right - but the correct info is - The city collected $500 million in property taxes from Tax Increment Finance Districts in 2006 (probably $600 million in 2007). These funds are off the books and are not available to the taxing bodies who use these funds to operate - including the public schools, the public libraries and the park district. The city has collected $2.5 billion in TIF funds since 1986 - that is money NOT available to mass transit, the schools, the parks, etc. The city is using TIF $ in questionable ways. So my comments were that the city has more money then God - and when they, or the Park District pleads poverty, it's a lie.

Now not all that money would be for the parks, or any one use - but surely the parks would better served if all the TIF districts were ended and the city's taxing bodies could collect their allocated share of property revenues. The city just spent $85 million to purchase the Michael Resse site for the Olympics. The city has enough money to operate its essential services in a quality manner deserving of a world-class city.

July 15, 2008

Gale Park Council Meeting Update

To accomodate as many people who chose to come to the Gale Park Advisory Council meeting - we have opted for a larger facility.

There will be a notice on the door of HACC and people to re-direct everyone across the street to:

The Good News Church, 7651N. Paulina at 7:00 P.M.

Topic

Gale Park Community Center

Why isn’t it open?

· Why a Boys and Girls Club in the Park Bldg?
· GPAC Position
· Results of surveys & petitions to date.
· What about Gale Annex?
· What do others say?
· Other issues about Gale Park.
· Where do we go from here?
· What next?

Community residents are urged to attend and become INVOLVED in the decision making and future of their neighborhood!

Chicago Public Schools CEO Endorses School-Based Clubs

“The Boys & Girls Club of Chicago has been an important partner to Chicago Public Schools in our effort to provide comprehensive after-school programming for our students. The school-based clubs provide our students with much needed programs, such as art, music, technology and recreation, during the critical hours of 2-6pm. In addition, the energy and expertise of BGCC staff contribute greatly to the development of our students and their educational experience.”

Arne Duncan,
CEO, Chicago Public Schools

Source: Boys & Girls Club of Chicago 2006 Annual Report

July 14, 2008

B&G Club Demographics


The Boys & Girls Club of Chicago's currently has NO programs for adults, and NO members over 18 years of age. Adult programs are mission creep.

When someone tries to tell you the BGCC has programs for adults, it's because they cooked something up on paper just for you! Ask them where? Ask them for a complimentary day pass, so you can visit one of their 31 Chicago area locations and experience their adult programs for yourself.

North of Howard is where you go to experiment.

Excerpt from the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago 2007 Annual Report:
Mission Statement

To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Service Demographics

Fiscal Year 2007 Membership Demographics

Age
3 to 5: 6%
6 to 7: 11%
8 to 10: 24%
11 to 12: 17%
13 to 14: 17%
15 to 18: 25%
19 and up: 0%

100%


The Boys & Girls Club's Lobbyists

Last October, two partners broke off from Mayer Brown, one of Chicago's oldest, biggest, and most hooked-up & connected law firms. Mayer Brown has over 1500 campaign contributions totaling over $2.3M disclosed to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

When Mayer Brown partners Mark Taylor and Robert Uhe spun off Taylor Uhe LLC, some of their "government relations services" clients just happened to move with them, including the Illinois Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs umbrella group. Taylor and Uhe quickly formed a "strategic alliance" with their old partners at Mayer Brown.

If you're new in town, you might think, the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Inc. being a not-for-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity in good standing, no way they could possibly participate in pay-to-play. But if you've been around a while, you know it's really quite simple: the 501(c)(3) tithes $65,000.00 per year to a 501(c)(4) which pays a registered lobbyist to pay the politicians for services rendered, and everything is hunky-dory.

Just to take one prominent recent example, registered lobbyist Mayer Brown contributed $20,000.00 on 3/29/2007, between the City primary and run-off, to the "First Congressional District Victory PAC" used up by Mayor Daley to funnel massive amounts of cash to pro-Daley alderman and retain the Daley machine's stranglehold on the legislative branch of our home town's government.

Former Mayer Brown partner and Taylor Uhe principal Mark R. Brown of Naperville is also directly a supporter of Richard M. Daley for Mayor in nearby Chicago, including $1500.00 on 1/11/07.

North of Howard Park Councils Meeting

Here’s a printable petition to Save Our Community Center

July 13, 2008

Annex and Community Center Comparison

This is the entrance (east) to the Stephen A Gale Annex building on Marshfield. There is a full size gym just beyond the front door and across the hall. It's also a polling place, so many neighbors have been in the building. I’m not sure where the computer lab is located but I have been to the upper level in the wonderful greenhouse on the west side of the building.

GEDC0002


This is another view of the Annex and it is not a small building.

GEDC0001

After years of waiting and delays, this is the end result of the long-awaited Community Center. I know Mr. Mitchell referred to the final cost at $10 million during the July 9 Park District Board meeting. Had the government entities involved moved as quickly as they do when they want something, it wouldn’t have been so expensive which includes the reduction in square footage.

Note: The BGC would not have to pay rent at the Gale Annex. That $100,000 could be used for the youth.

GEDC0006 GEDC0002

Rear view facing south of the gymnasium.

GEDC0001

Rather than squeezing 60 children into each of the rooms facing Howard street in the community center that have dividers - just how many more could be easily accomodated in the Gale Annex? Due to budget reductions the facility is not wired for computers. Laptops would have to be used.

Again, where is that word compromise so that North of Howard and all of Rogers Park could welcome a BGC and retain two facilities to serve everyone?

July 12, 2008

Gale Park Advisory Council Position

Since the July 10, 2008 meeting was declared casual by Joe Moore, since he brushed off statements being read for that reason, below is the statement from the Gale Park Council to the community. The points were made verbally at various intervals of the meeting when we were allowed to speak. Frequently we had to interject them into the discussion. To ensure they understand any points that may NOT have been allowed to be stated, this email was sent to Tim Mitchell, Joe Moore and the BGC and a others on both sides of the issue.

****
To the Community:

Two of the roles of the Park Advisory Council is to

1. Advise the Chicago Park District on all operations and development of the park, and

2. Act as liaison between the community and the Chicago Park District.

We have tried our best, despite handicaps and obstacles in our way, to fulfill our responsibilities, most recently with the attempt to locate a private entity in the public facility, that is, our Gale Park Community Center. Following is the position we conveyed verbally to the Chicago Park District, Alderman Moore, and the Boys and Girls Club.

We, Gale Park Advisory Countil, have

· Consulted the community.
· Are knowledgeable of the positions of other Rogers Park organizations.
· Spoken with Boys and Girls Club and Gale school principal.
· Examined the history of how the BGC was invited to consider Rogers Park

Now we come to the Park District to hear our position and the will of the community:

Position

We want the Park District to keep its promise to the community, to honor the hard work by all persons who contributed with money or labor to make the Park facility a reality, and to operate and manage this facility and all three green spaces as one unit.

We further recommend to the Boys and Girls Club, which brings assets to a community, to negotiate with CPS and Mr. Glass, the principal, to become co-partners in the Annex building, which is more suitable in size, amenities and access to youth.

Because a park supervisor and staff have already been hired, we want Gale Park Facility to open on July 15th for recruitment and programming. And we want the advisory council to have a walk through of the building on Monday, July 14th

July 11, 2008

Park Council Finally Gets To The 'Table'

Here's a short overview on yesterdays meeting with the Tim Mitchell of the Park District, Joe Moore, Jim Ginderske, Dick and Dorothy Gregory, April Janney and Jim Pottinger of BGC, Rep. Julie Hamos aide, Angie, Boyd McDowell of The Seabury Foundation, FOTP and the Gale Park Council – more will come.

GEDC0001

Opening scene: All parties gatherd at the table in a conference room in Aldermanic Chambers in City Hall. The meeting was the result of a request from Eva to Tim Mitchell to meet. In other words, the council, having been excluded had a few questions and the right to receive answers.

We heard first from Mitchell who spoke of two meetings with the 'group'. One in April (no date given) and one on June 16, 2008. He held up sheets (no photocopies for handouts) of program comparisons between the park district and BGC. When I asked about passouts later, Mr. Mitchell told me I could find the park districts programming on the website!

April Janney, BGC again discussed their mission and spoke of the issues surrounding school based clubs.

The Park Council had a very important document to read from Mr. Glass, Principal of Gale Academy. Joe interrupted Eva claiming this was an informal or casual meeting and we didn’t need any statements read! So we distributed photocopies of the letter. Noticing it was from Gale, Joe brushed it off lightly stating that ‘with a glance’ at the letter he can say that Mr. Glass is in favor of a BGC in Rogers Park. Joe stated that he had met with Mr. Glass in his office. It is my understanding that Mr. Glass was invited and attended a meeting at DevCorp North but Joe didn't mention that meeting.

What he may have missed was the salutation and certain contents of the Letter From The Principal of Gale Academy

The brackets note the important verbiage that Joe may have missed in his quick ‘glance’.

The counter arguments from Mitchell and Moore and Gregory were:

Gale doesn’t have the funds
Good principals leave and the next principal may not allow such leniency for the whole community.
Issues of the club operating on school holidays and weekends.

Gale Council considerations:
Gale has more square footage than the end result in the new building after the years of waiting and rising construction costs.

That summer programming would have been underway had the 'parties involved' utilized the larger Gale Annex with Mr. Glass full cooperation. The new public facility, run by the park district, could be a spill over on holidays and weekends when the school was closed. There could be a compromise to any issues.

Readers are intelligent enough to read and comprehend what Mr. Glass has written.

Joe, who took over the meeting kept denying the council proper ‘table time’ by ignoring our little hands raised in the air like children. When finally given my little turn, I asked both Mitchell and Moore my big questions.

Here we have two government entities meeting with other entities deciding to lease a public building designed for public use to a ‘vendor’, the Lathrop BGC. I asked why the council was EXCLUDED and why there were NO PUBLIC MEETINGS. Let's just say that Joe got angry and did his City Council thundering directed at me.

Joe referred to his email blasts to ‘4000+ constituents’. I asked how many people are in a ward – he didn’t respond - so I had to let those at the table know. There are usually 55k per ward.

In closing, IF there are financial items with Gale Academy that would give these government entities the excuse to lease this public building to Lathrop BGC…perhaps had this been an OPEN WORK between all parties involved, including the park council and the community at large, Rogers Parkers may have mounted a huge fundraiser for the school. Personally, I feel that any monies donated would be put to much better use than those raised for political campaigns. So if everyone at the secret table is so damned concerned about the children then perhaps they should have taken it to the community.

After the meeting I asked Ms. Janney of the BGC if I wanted to run over and use the exercise room one night after work, did I get my own club card? She responded that I’d have to pay my fee, sign in so they know who is in the building. That’s just like any exercise facility. But unless I didn’t understand her next sentence, she stated that I’d have to come with a group.

So the taxpaying adults may be expected to utilize their public facilities in groups.

July 10, 2008

CAPS Beat 2422 Monthy Meeting - Tonight

CAPS Beat 2422 meets tonight.

Thursday, July 10
Gateway Senior Apartments
7450 N. Rogers - Community Room
7:00 PM

July 8, 2008

No Public Hearing on Taxpayer Subsidy for Lathrop B&G Club

Our City Council approved an $800,000 subsidy from property taxpayers to build a new home for a private, not-for-profit, on public land - with no public hearing!

AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EXECUTION OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM HOWARD/PAULINA TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF GALE SCHOOL PARK

Read the "where as"-es carefully. See any mention of a public hearing?

Read the rest of the ordinance. See any mention of the Lathrop Homes B&G Club?

Now let us read together Illinois' TIF law (Chicago is in Illinois):
"Prior to the adoption of an ordinance proposing the designation of a redevelopment project area, or approving a redevelopment plan or redevelopment project, the municipality by its corporate authorities, or as it may determine by any commission designated under subsection (k) of Section 11‑74.4‑4 shall adopt an ordinance or resolution fixing a time and place for public hearing." 65 ILCS 5/11‑74.4‑5(a)
The definition of "redevelopment project" requiring public hearings is quite broad, and explicitly includes public as well as private projects:
"Redevelopment project" means any public and private development project in furtherance of the objectives of a redevelopment plan." 65 ILCS 5/11‑74.4‑3(o)
To appreciate what is conspicuously absent from the Gale Park process, compare and contrast the Gale Park legislation with another property taxpayer subsidy approved moments earlier at the very same City Council meeting: a $39,735,000 property taxpayer subsidy from the so-called "Pratt/Ridge" TIF to Moore's corporate sponsor, S & C Electric:

DESIGNATION OF S & C ELECTRIC COMPANY AS PROJECT DEVELOPER AND AUTHORIZATION FOR EXECUTION OF REDEVELOPMENT AGREMENT FOR THE REHABILITATION AND RENOVATION BUILDINGS AT 6601 N RIDGE BOULEVARD
WHEREAS, Pursuant to Resolution 05-CDC-29 adopted by the Community Development Commission of the City of Chicago (the "Commission") on March 8, 2005, the Commission recommended that the Developer be designated as the developer for the Project and that the City's Department of Planning and Development ("D.P.D.") be authorized to negotiate, execute and deliver on behalf of the City a redevelopment agreement with the Developer for the Project; ...
One subsidy had a public hearing before the Community Development Commission; the other did not. If you follow TIF in Chicago, you may be under the impression that a public hearing is required for TIF subsidies, and that the CDC hosts those public hearings. This is a recent innovation in the City's process for doling out great wads of our money: skipping the public hearing.

The $800,000 subsidy to bring the Lathrop Homes B&G Club to Gale Park was approved by the full City Council on Wednesday June 11, 2008. (Unanimously, of course, 45-0; oddly, Moore's vote is not officially recorded although he was not absent.) A week later, on Wednesday, June 18, 2008, Moore showed up at a North of Howard Park Advisory Council meeting to explain his plan to lease the new building to the Lathrop B&G Club. On Monday, June 30, Moore sent out a blast mail announcing his plan to lease the facility to the Lathrop B&G Club. Conspicuously absent from Moore's website and profuse e-mail stream was any mention of this 11th-hour $800K public subsidy, let alone any announcements of opportunities for public participation.

Just think, IF a public hearing HAD been held on this subsidy...
  • might the City have claimed in public that the subsidy was for a Park District facility, with Park District programs?

  • or might the City have been forced to reveal their plan that this subsidy was to a building, 12 years in the making, that they planned to LEASE to a private not-for-profit?

  • might neighbors have attended?
Sadly, we will never know.

Our neighbors north of Howard are currently struggling mightily against the grip of two titanic forces, two fronts in the war against the public and in support of the Olympics in Chicago:
  1. the marginalization of park advisory councils, and

  2. no public comment subsidies

Cameras Don't Lie

If the associates of the real estate industry took note of the appearance of the approach their clients see on their way to the showing perhaps they would have a different approach to some blog posts and the tell-all photos. Isn’t one of the big buzz words Curb Appeal? Isn’t another the close proximity to public transportation? Renters and Owners get a view like this at least twice a day on many Rogers Park streets.

There are some properties for sale on this street. If a prospective buyer met the real estate agent, they may have driven down this street to their destination. Looks great doesn’t it? How many other streets have stretches of weeds and trash like this? Did the bloggers do it?

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It took neighbors calling the ward office, calling 311, calling IDM management of the Broadmoor properties which includes the vacant Broadmoor East. It may have taken less energy and time had the real estate industry put their share of pressure on the violators to finally get a drive by that looks somewhat less blighted.

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Sometimes even bloggers agree to disagree on certain issues – but trash and lack of services, drugs and crime and cronyism isn’t one of them.

July 7, 2008

Survey From The Bench On Gale Park

Tom Mannis has created a poll that counts only one vote per user. This poll will close at 3:00 PM today.

Click on the green headline to submit your opinion.

July 6, 2008

Take The Gale Building Survey

Since your opinion may not have been requested therefore not represented, please complete this survey if you live in Ward 49. To use the check box, double click the yes or no box to respond to the question. Double click and a new window will open with the ‘not checked’ default box. To make your selection, put the cursor in the ‘check’ option and the black bullet dot will move.

Click OK, and save the document with your initials and email it to howardwatchers@aol.com or crf1229@sbcglobal.net - that would be Toni or Sister Cecilia Fandel.

Take the Survey

If the check box is a problem, just type an X on the LEFT side of the word Yes or No.

We need these completed and returned by 3PM tomorrow, July 7, 2008.

July 4, 2008

NOH Park Councils Meet With BCG

Members of the three North of Howard Parks Advisory Councils sat at the table with April Janney, Senior Vice President of Operations, of the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago. Since the Gale Park Advisory Council was deliberately excluded from any prior conversations with her, we asked to meet with her. Attending with Ms. Janney was Mr. Sanchez who would be in charge of the programming at the building if the Boys and Girls Club operated the Park District Building. Some of us had serious questions about their desire to move here and how their possible relocation to the 1610 W. Howard building would work for a whole community.

Ms. Janney stated that as part of their strategic planning, Rogers Park had been on their sites for about a year. Janney explained that most of their clubs are in partnership with schools or CHA projects. As the demographics of the CHA projects change with the de-concentration and rehabbing into mixed-income neighborhoods, the BGC client base also changes. In other words, they are always looking to expand and their focal points are poor neighborhoods. They are unsure when, or if, the BGC at Lathrop Homes would cease to exist or when, or if, the lease would be terminated by the CHA.

But she referred to receiving a “couple of calls about Rogers Park”. An Advisory Council member mentioned that there are already five not-for-profit youth programs in the immediate north of Howard area with outreach into the schools extending south to Sullivan High School, but there are no NPF’s listed as serving youth south of Sulivan (Pratt).

Janney mentioned their affiliation to schools and remained focused on NOH. She also stated there are other neighborhoods in Chicago that meet the criterion for the home of Lathrop BGC. Other neighborhoods she mentioned were West Garfield Park and Humboldt Park. When asked about their proposal to the Park District, she stated it was not available except to the legal entities of the Park District and the BGC while it is in the negotiation process.

When asked about the breakout of BGC in Chicago she responded that there are 32 clubs. In the Chicago area there are 8 ‘free standing’ clubs. These are either located in CHA owned properties or rented by the Boys and Girls Club.

There are 23 clubs that are school based working in conjunction with local schools in the neighborhoods. That adds up to 31 but is conclusive that BGC are more school based than ‘free standing’. They are partner-operators of these facilities, offering programming for youth after school, generally from 2:30 – 6:00, and activities for Junior and High School students from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Once a club member, a student may attend any BGC in Chicago.

Regarding gangs and turf: Ms. Janney, stated they were very aware of the issue, work around this issue in the clubs. Whether youth are gang members or known to associate with gang members as club members they still have to abide by club rules. There have been instances when turf problems surfaced. Rather than excluding certain kids, one night would be set aside for X gang and another night for Y gang. She also mentioned ‘lock downs’ if there were immediate safety issues with gang members. There are times when affiliates or gang members of different gangs could co-exist in the same building without issues.

Both Janney and Sanchez responded to questions on the interaction between existing agencies and the BGC. Current Howard Area NFP youth programs could schedule their meeting dates or activities e.g. Boys and Girl Scouts into the BGC calendar with Mr. Sanchez.

When asked about the compromise concept of the Gale Annex to serve both the BGC and thus save the annex the response was mixed. The compromise idea presented was for BCG to serve grades 1-8 in the Gale Annex and schedule programming for older youth with the park district in the new public park district building at 1610 West Howard. That way the 1610 Howard public facility would serve both the BGC and still remain a public building. Ms. Janney stated that a school based club can only serve students of that school. She did mention that allowing non-students was at the discretion of the principal. Club membership allows admittance to any member from other clubs in the city and that’s a policy she stressed.

The Park District Facility at 1610 W Howard is intended to be a pilot project for the BGC. In other words, this will be the first time BCG is attempting to partner by signing an agreement with the Chicago Park District. However this works out, it may lead to them operating additional CPD facilities. Mr. Sanchez outlined his role in the new building as the facility manager, overseeing planning, staffing, etc. He mentioned his visual concerns with the Howard Street area noticed during his walk through the new building earlier in the day. He outlined his plan to meet with the 24th District and improve the Gale Park and Howard Street demeanor.

On the subject of adult activities: As previously stated, their busiest hours would be after school – 2:30 PM to closing at 9:00PM. Just as with any park district public building, they would have down time from opening time until the after school activities began. During summer there would be less downtime, just as with any park district public building. All adult or community events would be approved and scheduled by Mr. Sanchez. He used the example of a birthday celebration. He would appropriate the space and the time and require a list of invitees to ensure that only those on the list were allowed into the area allotted to the activity.

Both Ms. Janney and Mr. Sanchez stated they were not aware that a Park supervisor and other personnel had been interviewed and hired for the new building at 1610 W. Howard.

On the subject of management: From what we understood, the building at 1610 Howard would be Lathrop BCG II, while the current Lathrop BGC will remain at Lathrop Homes until the rehab there is determined. The current board of directors at Lathrop would serve both sites but residents of the Howard area community could serve the board as non-voting committee members. The boards job is mainly to secure funding and is the outreach to corporations for financial support.
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My personal take on it: The new NFP on the block, i.e. BGC, would get a brand new building while the old NFP’s who have operated in storefronts and schools will be replaced or struggle to continue as before. If they have a need, they’ll get permission from BGC to use the space – similar to a park district run building.

The neighborhood gets one more NFP, the park district collects rent from a private entity in a public building, and we will continue to be charged taxes for said public building. If the neighborhood wants anything, the ‘board’ will decide if we get it.

Ms. Janny is doing her job – she’s a director of an organization. Her job is to sell herself, her product and services – I don’t fault her. But the non-resident intruders who sneaked around and courted the BGC without community input or approval have added one more insult to an already injured neighborhood. Moore created the 30 year extension of low-income housing in behind the scenes negotiations with his supporters. Knowing there will be a 30 year need for this new kid on the block, Moore can embrace it, and say, “ ‘why not here?’ I’ve created the perfect demographics for such an entity AND my friends on the board get to make all the decisions. Just how much better could it get?”