Monday, January 31, 2011

CTA contemplates closure of Jarvis El stop

In case you've missed this recent news, the CTA has held public meetings to get feedback on several different modernization scenarios for the far north side and Evanston. These meetings are over, however, the public comment period is still open until February 18.

To see graphic representations of these scenarios, click here. More information is available in John Hilkevitch's Getting Around Column and on the CTA web site. If you scroll down on the CTA page, you'll find several links for PDF files with detailed information on various aspects of this proposed project, as well as snail mail or fax info for submitting feedback.

Does the Jarvis El stop matter to you? Does the continued survival of our fine little Jargowood business district matter to you and the neighborhood? If you haven't already weighed in, you can e-mail your comments until 2/18.

Your opinion matters. If you haven't already spoken up, please do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicago mayoral candidates - Miguel del Valle

Miguel del Valle brings his experience as a lifelong Chicagoan as well as his job experience into his candidacy for mayor. He has many years of experience in city government, but not in a position with the scope and intensity of the mayor's office.

So far he has been the only mayoral candidate to address many significant environmental issues, including sustainable transportation.

To get a sense of his ideas on specific issues, I recommend reading his answers to the Tribune Editorial Board's questionnaire and the IVI-IPO questionnaire.

Chicago Tonight has an election blog, which provides continually updated coverage of his campaign.

His official campaign web site adds more information.

All of these sources are worth reading to get a better sense of the candidate.

Monday, January 17, 2011

tonight's Chicago Tonight forum

Chicago Tonight did a superb job in hosting a fine mayoral candidate forum with Miguel del Valle, Gery Chico, Carol Moseley Braun and Rahm Emanuel. Carol Marin moderated as the candidates took questions from Chicago high school students.

Towards the end of the forum, one student asked a question about how candidates would deal with bullying of GLBT teens. She got some interesting answers. Miguel del Valle gave a thoughtful response, in which he told of his own experiences with bullying when he was in Chicago public schools, and talked about ways to promote a healthier, more accepting culture in schools.

Carol Marin asked the candidates how many of them were bullied when they were in school. Three of the four raised their hands - all except Chico. She then asked how many students in the audience had been bullied in school. Nearly half raised their hands.

Carol Moseley Braun struck the right tone with her answers about public transit, but on this and many other issues, she had few concrete plans on how to implement the ideas she discussed.

I thought that Rahm Emanuel gave better answers to these students than I've seen him give in some other settings.

All the candidates answered with varying degrees of responsiveness and concrete plans to questions about school safety and the quality of a CPS education. No one connected these particular dots in one way that seems rather obvious to me. They mentioned that much youth violence happens in the afternoons, when kids are the streets after school. They talked about how our kids are shortchanged in terms of the number of hours of classroom time they get in a school year, and how it affects the quality of their education.

Wouldn't it be logical to sell a plan for longer school days as both a boost to quality education AND a public safety measure, keeping kids in school longer so that they have more time to learn and less time to get into trouble?

If you missed the forum, you can watch it online here.

I will be curious to see how the candidates respond in Wednesday's forum on environmental issues.

a few thoughts to ponder

In these weeks leading up to the mayoral and aldermanic election, I ask you to consider these thoughts.

If a candidate can't be bothered to respond to questionnaires from respected organizations or attend candidate forums, will that candidate take the time to consider and respond to the needs of his or her constituents once elected?

All voters deserve to have full information about their candidates and their positions on important issues. If a candidate does not bother to share information we need to make an informed choice, is this really a candidate we should vote for?

Just my $0.02.... Your mileage may vary.

Friday, January 07, 2011

where to recycle old holiday lights

Do you have old burned out or broken holiday light strings? You can drop them off for recycling at one of the following locations during their regular hours between now and Tuesday 1/18.

Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento
City Hall Lobby, 121 N. LaSalle St.
RecycleTech, 11235 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago Police Dept., 5101 S. Wentworth
Edgebrook Ace Hardware, 5423 W. Devon
Whole Foods South Loop, 1101 S. Canal
Wright College Campus Center, 4300 N. Narragansett
Logan Theater, 2646 N. Milwaukee
Southeast Senior Center, 1767 E. 79th St.
Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, 1414 N. Ashland
Southwest Senior Center, 6117 S. Kedzie
North Community Bank, 5235 N. Western

notes from Jargowood

Thanks to Lorraine for sharing notes from this week's Jargowood meeting, as well as a few helpful suggestions.
Regarding Participatory Budgeting for 2011 – Jargowood does not have a representative involved in the “planning process” to determine which projects get on the ballot for 49th Ward residents to vote upon. If you'd like to vote, go to the Participatory Budgeting page on the Alderman’s website. “Potholes and drainage issues” - a perpetual problem in Jargowood - would make a fine suggestion.

Regarding Participatory Budgeting for last year 2010 – The walking path around Touhy Park has not really yet been improved/completed; we had a false alarm about this project around election day when a Bobcat showed up on site and tore up some pavement. Now that pavement has been patched, we're back where we started. The Dog Park at Pottawattomie is a negotiation point with the Park District – as is the Community Garden at Dubkin Park (Ashland & Fargo). Both projects have volunteer committees engaged with the Park District. These things will not happen overnight. Maybe we'll see them in 2012 or 2013?

Please vote for your favorite Participatory Budgeting projects in 2011 April. I'd strongly encourage you to vote in favor of using a large percentage of the $$$ to fix potholes and drainage issues. If you don’t express a strong opinion about this, the murky lakes on Rogers, Ashland/Jarvis and other perpetually swampy spots will continue to be navigational hazards to pedestrians, and the bike and car-jarring potholes will become the next lakes.

If you are more inclined toward self-help and direct action, take a rake and scrape the dead leaves and trash out of your curbside drain – don’t wait for government assistance.

Regarding community policing – Beat 2422 will meet next Thursday Jan 13. Do we have any “hot spots” or “troubled buildings” or drug/gang issues in beautiful Jargowood? If you know of a problem area, please show up and speak up.

We have lost a good neighbor. John Dawson passed away last week – check Trib obits on line – memorial/visitation today (Friday) and Sat.

Jargowood 1/4/11 meeting notes:

Alderman's Report – Continuing Issues:

Michael Land represented Alderman Moore’s office.

Corner of Rogers, Clark & Jarvis (Fruit Market) – CDOT has agreed to perform a traffic study of the intersection. Study dates have not yet been determined. Those attending the meeting suggested including a Saturday and Sunday, when the parking issues seem more intense.

Corner of Jarvis & Ashland (SW) – The SW corner is currently being rebuilt as part of the ongoing effort to repair catch basins. Alderman Moore’s office has on multiple occasions requested the rebuild/correction of the northwest corner.

Participatory Budgeting 2011 – The various committees are currently working on their proposals. When voting on proposals for 2011, there will be an option to select a percentage of the menu money to be set aside for street repairs in the ward. Voting should be in early April.

Participatory Budgeting 2010 – There was a discussion on the status of various 2010 projects: dog park, community garden, walking path, murals, etc. Michael explained that if the money is not spent in the current year it is not lost; the money is allocated. Some small projects were completed in 2010 using funds allocated in 2008 and 2009.

Corner of Howard & Ashland (SE) – There has been some movement from the City in working toward City ownership of the property (former Lerner building – now a vacant lot). Royal Bank of Canada owns some of the debt. Michael stressed that it would be a long-term process to acquire the property.

Corner of Birchwood & Greenview (SW) – Cagan Management has recently taken over the management of the property. Alderman Moore’s office is planning to contact them and give a “nudge” toward their completion of the construction.

Howard Theatre Building
– The Howard Theatre building is in receivership. Alderman Moore’s office met with the receiver to get them to increase building security. There appears to be improvement at the property. The building was controlled by Jay Johnson. It was noted that the Jay Johnson buildings (non-senior housing) are also in receivership.

non sequitur Friday

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Chicago mayoral candidates - Carol Moseley Braun

This is the first of four installments on our Chicago mayoral candidates.

After a lot of media coverage and discussion, the dust has settled, and Carol Moseley Braun has been declared the "black consensus candidate." This leaves me scratching my head. When Barack Obama launched his campaign here for the 2008 presidential election, wasn't he supposed to be a "post-racial" candidate? Wasn't the era of racially loaded campaigning supposed to be over? How many black voters still buy into the concept of a consensus candidate, and how many would rather vote for the most qualified candidate whose positions on the issues are the best match for their own ideas?

WTTW's campaign blog is being updated daily with all media coverage of mayoral campaigns.

Here's her official campaign web site.

What's your opinion?

Walk Bike Transit

Do sustainable transportation issues matter to you? Would you like to be part of a grassroots effort to make sure that walking, bicycling and public transit issues are on the agenda of all our candidates for mayor and alderman in Chicago? Contact the Walk Bike Transit political action committee to get involved today!