November 29, 2008

Such Silliness

Broken Hearts reporting on Crime seemed to take the sideline of Blame it on Gale Park Advisory Council and residents who rallied against the stealth attempt of privatization of a long-awaited public space!

To the commenter who mentioned three NOH names – I think you did just fine! How many times can the same blame be put on those who did not originate the problems in Rogers Park? We didn’t work behind closed doors to work out a 30 year extension with Illinois Department of Housing for North Point – Joe and his supporters did. Could it be that HUD and the City of Chicago weren’t promoting large low income concentrated projects any longer but the state was still in the game?

And what about those liquor licenses? Why didn't the proper authorities attend the hearings? Why is it always up to taxpayers to take vacation days to do City work for their overpaid officials?

And what about the parents of those Sullivan High school kids? Sometimes a parent can't control what their child does but after X number of issues, the school, problem students and their parents need to write up binding behavior agreements with consequences for their actions. But that might take too much effort to get the parents of problem kids involved. I can't judge all parents, but too many may be behaving on the same emotional level as their children.

Moores' supporters seem willing to excuse any manner of unprofessional behaviors and actions if it keeps their street free of issues that have plagued North of Howard for decades. Crime issues were on-going for the years the park land sat dormant, while zoning issues and musical chairs at the Park District were awarded the trophy for excuses. When phone booths were removed to stop drug dealing where was Ginderske et al? When neighbors boarded up bad buildings on weekends, where were the Moore Supporters who don’t live here? Moore only showed up for photo ops when the media came to cover the neighbors actions.

When neighbors organized walks around Jarvis Square years ago, I doubt that some of Joe’s current supporters even lived in Rogers Park. Later when neighbors resumed walks North of Howard, one supporter jumped in with his predictable race card rants. Little did he know that many people were afraid to walk because they didn't want to be the target of intimidation of 'walking with those people'. They would wave from windows or honk their horns but actual participation might have put them in jeopardy. Some of the do gooders who chime in with the blame game have their own neighborhood they could be working on. Some are, some aren’t.

Logic and common sense aren’t liberal or conservative or red or blue issues but fall in to the category of community planning and education when the topic is crime. This meeting seemed to have taken the usual off-topic course to avoid the purpose of the meeting. Senator Steans should have conducted a slumlord summit and kept slamming the gavel to keep on-topic. Any rental property owners, including stores, that seem to provide a haven for criminal activities should have been at the table with the police and politicos working on viable solutions to the crime-related issues they enable. Instead, it was one of those summits attended by people who aren’t breaking, bending or ignoring the rules. Most people are tired of the Hot Seat Blame Game.

I did not attend but I’m still trying to figure out how recycling is a deterrent to crime. I’m not attempting to understand how and why the issue of Gale Community Center is still their one and only burning excuse. There have been illegal activities abounding here for decades and the neighborhood had to hit the streets, establish CAPS, get petitions, and go to court to accomplish change. Where were the leaders? They were and still are taking all the credit.

On November 20th there was a meeting on Howard Street conducted by Partners for Rogers Park on the economy. Across the street at the park facility kids and parents were shooting hoops for turkeys and pies donated by area businesses. Joe couldn’t make the time to walk across Howard and make an appearance even though he told park staff he would stop in. Some of his staunch supporters, election judges and pollwatchers were there!

Deep-seated resentments don’t work well as the fuel for change for a politician or wannabes unless the last 8 years have been forgotten. Perhaps the angry boys and girls who promoted our president-elect on the platform of change should take lessons from Obama instead of hijacking community meetings with recycling silliness and latent anger over the Boys and Girls Club not being allowed to take over a public facility. It’s time to act like adults now, OK? From what I read, it was more of the same old tactics – blame, excuses and diverting from the topic to avoid dealing with it head on. If it’s up to the neighbors to take over the streets, then we may as well be self-ruling and dismiss city council. I’m sure 50 wards could target that $110k and staff money to better their neighborhoods.

November 25, 2008

Send A Card To The Troops

If you go to this web site you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq , Afghanistan. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

It is verified as Truth on Snopes.com.

November 24, 2008

The Time Capsule

A neighbor emailed these historical photos of Howard Street. These were before my tenure here.

Old Kiwanis Park -

photo_of_old_kwanis_park

Jarvis-Greenview Corner

jarvis-greenview_corner

Ashland-Howard and Queens Pantry

howard-Ashland

November 22, 2008

Will These Two Have Their Job In 2009?

Months after the initial call for service, the dead limbs have finally been removed from the city parkway tree. It is now safe to park under it. At least safe from falling dead branches.

Tree Trimming at last Tree Trimming at last

At first, the cutter called and announced who he was and said he didn’t see any dead limbs. Duh, that’s because all the leaves have fallen – come on up and I’ll show you. From the window I showed him the dead branches without bark that were over the curb and street areas. At last, the point was taken and the sawing began.

As I left for work, the man doing the trimming announced to me that the branch was indeed dead. His partner on the ground hadn’t heard the update on the mayors and alderpersons agreement on the 2009 budget.

I hope the fearless leaders who took their 6% salary increases but expect other city workers to take unpaid furlow understand the full impact of their actions. Among other things….

At least one can see results from some city employees work.

November 21, 2008

Two Winners In The Turkey Shoot

These ladies hold their first and second prizes for winning the women’s final round in the first Turkey Shoot at Gale Park Community Center last night.

First and Second Prize Womens Turkey Shoot, Gale Park

Contestants by age and gender groups had ten hoop shots in two rounds; the highest ranking won a turkey and second highest ranking won a choice of apple or pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, one lady expressed her anger that everyone who participated didn’t win a turkey. I asked “Well, did you have fun meeting up with your neighbors?” She still insisted that she wasted two hours of her time for nothing. As I told her, ‘hey, I’m just volunteering and I don’t expect to take anything home but the experience of watching everyone having fun’. Sometimes it’s good to give with no expectations of receiving anything in return. It was a contest and how many people win on those lottery tickets they purchase?

Other than this lady, everyone enjoyed shooting hoops, line dancing between rounds and chatting with neighbors.

The rest of the photos will be printed up for Sharon to display in the atrium.

November 19, 2008

Shoot A Turkey!

When it was still warm weather and Thanksgiving seemed so far away, Sharon O’Connell, Gale Park supervisor, was planning ahead. Sharon’s pulled the neighborhood together to host a Turkey Shoot tomorrow evening at Gale Community Center.

GEDC0083-1

Come out and shoot free throws and win a turkey or pie or just come out and have some fun.

Volunteers are needed to assist the staff – stop in and fill out a special event volunteer form for the evening. For more information call 773-262-5051.

Wall Street and Main Street In Rogers Park

“WALL STREET & MAIN STREET: the impact of the market meltdown on our community”

A Town Hall Meeting Presented by Partners for Rogers Park

Thursday November 20th
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Housing Opportunities for Women
1607 W. Howard St., 2nd Floor

For more information, contact Jaela Neal @ Partners for Rogers Park at jneal@how-inc.org or (773) 465-5770 x 261

All community residents are invited to an open discussion on how the national economic crisis is affecting our community. Partners for Rogers Park is also inviting public officials, representatives of community groups, business leaders, and YOU to discuss how all this will affect our neighborhood and our residents. A portion of the Town Hall will be devoted to PRP membership business.

November 18, 2008

A Worthwhile Destination

Here's a reminder that today is the third Tuesday of November – and our Parks Advisory Councils monthly meeting.

Our three parks advisory councils - Gale Park, Triangle Park and Harold Washington Playlot - will meet at 7:00 PM at the Gale Community Center, 1610 West Howard.

We've had three exciting program presentations in September and October -

1. Duwayne Pendarvis from Joel Hall Dancers

Mr. Pendarvis, a NOH neighbor is applying for grant funding through CAAP – Community Arts Assistance Program, and NAP – Neighborhood Arts Program, to offer modern, jazz and/or ballet classes from April to December 2009. He has successfully obtained grants and taught dance in the Chicago Park District.
Joel Hall Dancers

2. Donna Werner, of the George S. May Foundation For The Arts

The P.A.U.S.E. Initiative is “A partnership or organizations, businesses, and musicians committed to giving students direct access to music as an aesthetic, and using it as a vehicle towards higher achievement”. Grants are offered and Ms. Werner hopes to partner with local after school programs and Gale Park Community Center to offer this unique program that teaches students to read music, learn to play a musical instrument and perform at various learning intervals. Joint fundraising with the immediate neighborhood and beyond will provide an on-going music program in the Center.

P.A.U.S.E

3. Mr. El Kouyate, Master Djembe Drummer of Guinean Folklore and Traditions, original founding member of Muntu West African Dance Theater, Music Instructor and Facilitator for Soul Creations Arts and Education Program in Evanston. Mr. El Kouyate outlined highlights from his handout flyer offering lessons in traditional African song, dance, drumming to benefit the youngsters sense of spirituality and sense of being connected to the earth. His teachings are in harmony with Illinois State Learning Goals.

No website is available for this presenter.

We've created programming/fundraising, community outreach and safety committees -

The groundwork is being laid - please join us and be a part of creating a positive change for our neighborhood.

For tax deductible donations for these programs and other assistance for the Gale Park facility – please contact Eva McCann at elm@clstoons.com or me at howardwatchers@aol.com or Sister Cecilia Fandel at crf1229@sbcglobal.net
for further information.

If you would like to volunteer your time for special projects, please stop in the Gale facility and pick up a volunteer application.

November 16, 2008

Toddler Is Whining Again

Poor Toddler

My dad would say, "The lead dog always gets bit in the butt."

It must be lonely at the top – that’s why Toddler has cousins and family friends in his chambers on our dime.

People come to me for jobs all the time,and I tell them not only do I not know about the job you're talking about, I don't want to know.

Here’s Toddler’s new theme song.

At least East Bank Club members must be understanding him.

I would love for people to know Todd Stroger the person, who I really am, rather than how I can be portrayed in the newspaper. I see people at the East Bank Club, and they say to me, "Who is that guy in the papers?"

Government has a tendency to have more employees than work being accomplished. Input versus output. Toddler has enhanced that aspect and we should try to understand.

If we had not passed the sales tax, we probably would see massive layoffs... We'd have to cut another 2,000 jobs -- not vacant positions, all live jobs.

Now does Toddler go for a spa cleansing before or after his visits to the common folk stores?

When I go to the Jewels or Target ... there's a lot of support. Sometimes, people say, "I don't like what's going on in government, but I support you." Also, there's a lot of people who say, "You know what, I got a resume."

Everybody says there's investigations. Nobody knows. You don't know the feds are coming until they knock on the door and tell you to get out, and they're taking records. ."

Perhaps he should apply for a top dog position at AIG - to speed up the investigative process.

”Baby, do you understand me now
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don't you know that no one alive
Can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be bad
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood”

B.Benjamin/S.Marcus/C.Cadwell

November 13, 2008

Recipe For The Status Quo Or For Progress?

Who knows how many times squatters have broken into this building? This is the long vacant Broadmoor East on Bosworth. The boarded up window at the far end of the photo clearly shows it’s been partially removed. This quick fix fence addition between the properties is hardly a deterrent.

Extra Security Fence Break and Enter-Squatters Rights

So, neighbors on Bosworth, if you didn’t receive one of these tiny official notifications of a zoning hearing, consider yourself notified. As explained to me by the new owner(s) attorney, the street level was incorrectly zoned for commercial rather than residential. This alleged zoning change is to rectify that age old error.

Zoning Note

Many have contacted this attorney and voiced their opinion on what the neighborhood does NOT want this building turned into. Joe Moore knows what this neighborhood does NOT need but Joe thinks this neighborhood should have more of the same. Some of the NFP’s would prefer more of the same to keep the status quo for Joe and for their income.

Of course, the hearing on November 21 is not the place to voice these opinions because the problems of North of Howard don’t relate to zoning. The problems stem from mismanaged, high concentrations of subsidized buildings in a small area. The problems relate directly to the liberal mindset of the so-called progressives here. Please look up the definition of progressive and decide if this neighborhood fits any of the offerings.

If we were truly progressive, then a new blue light would not be blinking at Howard and Paulina winking at its counterparts at Jonquil and Ashland and Howard and Ashland. If this progressive little area fit the definition, we could have affordable housing without crime. It would require a little intervention from the alderman and he should have time now that the election is over.

All he needs to do is conduct a HUD management seminar, provide a straight forward lesson on how subsidized buildings are to be managed in conjunction with HUD’s rules. He should then have all subsidized owners enter into a binding agreement to uphold the rules before obtaining taxpayers dollars to subsidize their bank accounts. HUD officials should participate and cooperate fully. They're supposed to anyway, but it hasn't been enforced. That action would have more impact on quality of life issues here than banning foie gras.

And for our neighbors on the 7600 block of Marshfield – the police reported a man was robbed at 7628 on his way to buy drugs. No kidding – he told the responding officers that he went to make his drug purchase and the sellers robbed him.

In May, the owner of the pizza joint on Marshfield/Howard was at the CAPS meeting blaming the cops for all the darling youngsters who were hanging out inside and in front of his business. Well, sir, perhaps you should drive by some evening and see your staff outside smoking with the locals leaving the shop unattended. Is that the cops fault?

Where Are The Ambassadors for NOH?

Police nab alleged robber

While working another robbery mission, police received a call of a robbery taking place on the 1600 block of W. Juneway around 8:15 p.m. Nov. 5. Police observed three men fitting the robbers' descriptions on the 1700 block of W. Juneway. As police approached the men, they fled through a gangway. Police circled the block and saw a man in his late teens running through another gangway on the same block.

Police apprehended the man and took him back to the robbery scene, where he was positively identified by the 19-year-old victim. The victim said he was entering his residence when the man allegedly shoved a handgun in his face and said, "Shut-up or I'll shoot you." Two other men in their late teens grabbed the victim's arms and took a cellphone and wallet from his pockets, according to the police report. The victim's wallet was recovered on the scene. Police could not find the other two men, but Ronald Williams, 19, of the 800 block of Brummel in Evanston, was charged with armed robbery. No court information was available. News-Star Police Blotter

As I wrote yesterday, maybe the alderpersons in charge of ‘bad wards’ should take care of business. The election is over - the Democrat won; can our local leader start cleaning up his backyard? After all, it is ‘his ward’, we just pay the bills, clean up the trash, and pray we don’t get mugged.

How about sending his ambassadors up here for another reason than getting out the vote? There's the monthly CAPS Beat 2422 meeting tonight at 7PM for starters. I can't remember the last time there was a representative from the ward office attending.

CAPS Beat 2442 meets tonight:
Gateway Senior Apartments
7450 N. Rogers - Community Room
7:00 PM

November 12, 2008

AIG and Chicago City Council

Was this conference really necessary?

AIG’s poolside sitting upper management were at least dressed in suits….
If they indeed told the hotel staff not to mention ‘AIG’ it doesn’t appear transparent. But our leaders in Chicago should understand spending taxpayers money in spite of their demand to sever their AIG relationship.

“The aldermen will also demand that the city sever any relationships with these individuals and their firms, including insurance giant AIG, whose execs authorized a $400,000 spa outing after receiving federal bailout money.
• • The upshot: The city's insurance is handled by AIG or its affiliates including all the major liability policies for O'Hare and Midway airports. The city reportedly pays more than $50 million in premiums annually” Source


Meanwhile, back in Chicago City Council Chambers

“Blind-sided by Daley’s plan to charge their treasured aldermanic menus for the cost of replacing broken alley and street lights, aldermen threatened to delay a vote on the $5.97 billion spending plan.”

Whoa, is the thought process here that if we have well-lit streets there will be justification in not hiring more police? Are they trying to say that crime doesn’t happen under streetlights? The streetlights at the corner of Bosworth/Howard and Jonquil/Paulina haven't deterred any drug dealing or prostitution. It has been reported there were males at the Broadmoor corner openly drinking alcohol yelling at cars and pedestrians 'this area is run by the GD's...better get out of here.' This occurred last week around 6:30 AM.

On the flip side, there’s a code they can pull up to go after bad buildings for not having proper lighting. But why is there no penalty for bad areas in wards with burned out street lights? Why not penalize the wards who don’t clean up their messes? The aldermen want to keep their menu money stash but don’t care if their tax-paying constituents want to keep their savings do they? Some don't seem to give a damn about taxpayers safety on the streets either.

This straw-grasping is amusing and depressing. If the mayor really wanted to CUT back then he would FREEZE those aldermanic pay raises. If anyone whined or rebelled then the mayor should just cut the number of wards in half. That’s a whole lotta money.

Some alderman was on the early morning news Sunday babbling that …all Chicagoans are in this together and need to dig into their pockets. BS, we have so many hands in our pockets…local, state, and federal, we can barely move.

November 11, 2008

A Pleasant Change of Pace

A neighbor referred this refreshing blog. Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks JM and David

November 9, 2008

We're Americans and We Never Give Up

The Great Depression

By 1928 and 1929 the Federal Reserve was worried about the high level of the stock market. It feared that the "bubble" component of stock prices might burst suddenly. When it did burst, pieces of the financial system might be suddenly revealed to be insolvent, the network of financial intermediation might well be damaged, investment might fall, and recession might result. It seemed better to the Federal Reserve in 1928 and 1929 to try to "cool off" the market by making borrowing money for stock speculation difficult and costly by raising interest rates. They accepted the risk that the increase in interest rates might bring on the recession that they hoped could be avoided if the market could be "cooled off": all policy options seemed to have possible unfavorable consequences.

In later years some, Friedrich Hayek for one, were to claim that the Federal Reserve had created the stock market boom, the subsequent crash, and the Great Depression through "easy money"policies. Source

Timeline of Economic Recessions/Depressions

Many of us grew up hearing our parents stories of the Great Depression. We heard it when we left the lights on all over the house, when we turned the heat up to 75, when we wanted the top of the line clothes,cars and gadgets; when we wanted anything we really did not need.

My maternal grandfather was one of the fortunate ones who had a necessary job. His wife would stash housekeeping cash and ran her own version of a soup kitchen from home while he was at work. I'm sure he knew about it from neighborhood ‘talk’ but it was grandmothers contribution to the ‘shanty people’ who camped out near the railroad. He never said a word. Other than walking to school in the ice and snow in the mandatory dress, one of mothers favorite stories was about the people who knocked on the back door for bread and soup and the 'secret' she shared with her mother.

Life on the paternal side of my family was a lot tougher. They were Catholic immigrant farmers from the old country who were looked down upon by the locals. But their spirit of survival sustained them through the hard times. All 5 kids had their roles and tasks - the most important one was going to school. There wasn't a yellow bus in those days, just a footpath or the horse and wagon on bad weather days. The only time kids missed school was for the harvest season.

Grandpa John was proud of his citizenship. His slogan was 'we're Americans now and we never give up'.

November 7, 2008

Whose Fault Is it?

It’s amusing isn’t it? Many voters were terrified of a VP Palin, just a heartbeat away from being president, but the GOP pressed on. Now, the sore loser boys are blaming Tuesdays loss on her. None of their revelations is surprising but their attack mode really shows their nasty side. Do I dare use "bitchy" to describe it?

Another twist from a comment made by an acquaintance – did the GOP use McCain as the fall guy because they already knew a win in 2008 was doomed after the last 8 Bush years?

McCain is 72 – this was his last chance to run for president. Others who dropped out may still have another chance – or so the strategists may think. It looks like they’re crucifying ole Sarah but they’re jamming those nails into their own credibility with each leak!

November 5, 2008

Now, Can We Go To Work?

Congratulations to Obama and all those who were chosen by the people. He has an enormous clean-up ahead of him from the messy economy to re-establishing communication and trust with allies and former allies in the world.

I live in a part of the world where the mess needs an enormous clean-up too. My thanks to the neighbors and the police who did not scream and yell or shoot all night. Today is a new day, with new headlines to read. Now can our locals can get home and start following their leaders footsteps? The only difference other than the label ‘Democrat’ is some have been in office for years – their new leader has yet to be sworn in.

Let’s get busy incumbents – do your jobs, clean your wards of blight, slumlords, gangbangers and keep those promises from the election that pushed or shoved you into office.

As for North of Howard, the gambling parlor has been removed from Gale Park….for those who wore the other shoe for the sake of making an argument…here’s proof these can be more than just a friendly gathering.

Can our leaders stop the excusing the behaviors and start working to clean up their wards? People are tired of policing the streets for free, cleaning up anti-social litter for free, tired of cleaning gangbanger graffiti for free...the list is endless. It's time to do some work for that ever-increasing salary we pay.

November 3, 2008

Triangle Park Wins Mayor Daley's Landscape Award

MayorDaleyLandscapeAward Triangle Park Nature Garden

Triangle Park Advisory Council's garden group took the 3rd place Award in Native Landscape City Wide sponsored by the Mayor Daley Landscape Award contest. The Award ceremony was held at the Garfield Park Conservatory Saturday, November 1.

Receiving the award from Mayor Daley were Kenneth Bain and Peter Ashton, two members of the garden group.

MayorDaleyLandscapeAward1 MayorDaleyLandscapeAward2

The garden was created in spring 2007 utilizing youth groups from Starfish, Howard Area Community Center and Family Matters. Additional help was given by the Howard Area Leadership Academy and neighborhood volunteers under the direction of Master Gardeners Dennis LoBue and Beata Welsh. The Triangle Park Garden Group recently received a grant from Parkways Foundation to purchase tools and equipment to continue their work in beautifying Triangle Park.

Congratulations to everyone!

NOH Paintballs

Update on the paintballers from Broken Heart

Saturday morning this young lady on a bicycle seemed overjoyed to find this intact paintball on Howard Street. One would have thought she’d picked up the winning lottery ticket. However, I can possibly attribute it to innocence. She didn’t know the guns were illegal and these little balls could cause injury if they hit an eye or a temple with enough force.

GEDC0085

Either she didn’t tell her friends or perhaps they just don’t care.

November 1, 2008

Polls and Scare Tactics

Gallup Poll Today

NY Times Tracker

And from the trash folder:

Dear MoveOn member,
Here's some ominous news: In the last week, Obama's lead in the national tracking polls has dropped by almost three points. If it keeps dropping, we could be looking at four years of President McCain and Vice President Palin.
Now, don't panic yet. Obama's still ahead. But if you thought it didn't matter whether you helped the campaign this weekend, think again. The election looks like it'll be very, very close. If folks start thinking that Obama's got this one licked, and he doesn't really need their vote—well, we could be in big trouble.

******************
I will be so glad when this drama is over. No MoveOn, I will not be traveling to a swing state to knock on doors. I’m taking care of business at home, someone has to. Please send the scare tactics to someone else

Mortgage Bailout Needs More Scrutiny

From the NY Times:

“If the government says, ‘Prove that you can’t afford your house and we’ll redo your mortgage,’ then people are going to try to qualify,” Mr. Schiff said.
In that situation, those who will benefit the most are the ones who, unlike Mr. Lawrence, spent far beyond their means — who refinanced their houses and used the cash to buy toys and lavish vacations, or sometimes just to pay the bills.

“You put something down, you have something to lose,” Mr. Schiff said. “You put nothing down, you’ve got nothing to lose.”


This mortgage bailout possibility parallels many other issues that taxpayers foot the bills for. Too many people were given loans they did not qualify for – putting those who did qualify, who did pay their mortgages, in an ill-tempered mindset. How many condos have bad apple owners who bought and didn’t pay mortgages, assessments and/or utility bills? How many of these apples refinanced and blew the money on toys just as the article states? How many condo associations were then pulled into the domino effect created by bad apple owners who were not capable or mature enough to take care of their responsibilities?

So, when the utilities are turned off for non-payment – no problem, just run an extension cord to another part of the building and steal electricity. Until the gas company wised up, the locks on meters were easy enough to remove to restore service and steal gas. Meanwhile John and Susie Dumb Apples re-financed, by-passing the association treasurers on assessment data and bought toys and continued to live beyond their means!

Even when their expensive fantasy caught up with them and they were foreclosed on or abandoned the property, the other condo owners still had to foot the reality of bills out of their own pockets. This bailout cannot be done as a blanket bailout! The John and Susie Dumb Apples will retain their home (or move back in) and still not pay their legal share of the bills.

At least with single family dwellings – a neighborhood is blighted with board-ups but not burned monthly with utility and insurance bills for the properties.

And where’s the investigation on these lenders who didn’t do any homework and cashed in on commissions?