Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Is Blago A Man Of His Word?

From ABC7:
That's the question that's ricocheted around the state this week after state funds earmarked to restore Pilgrim Baptist Church went to the wrong place.
Another religious leader is also accusing the governor of breaking a promise.
Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz says, as a religious man, he's not going to accuse Governor Blagojevich of lying to him but believes he did break a commitment made at a Seder. The rabbi claims the governor offered him $400,000 to build a long-dreamed-about, non-sectarian community center in Uptown. That was more than two years ago.
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  1. Blago is the ultimate "Feel good" politician. This is no different than his wacky idea of all senir citizens riding CTA for free. That little bone threw everyone for a loop.

  2. Yes. I wonder Rod was thinking when he decided to allow unlimited public transit rides to seniors. Now the CTA buses and EL's will legitimately become the defacto homeless shelters for all those homeless and "too confused to make their way home" persons over 65.

    Oh well, many interests will be served.
    1. The Coalition of the Homeless can get back the homeless shelter space they resent losing in phase-out of overnight and day shelters going on in the 10-year plan to end homelessness.
    2. "CTA shelters" will operate across the city instead on only in certain overburdened communities.
    3. Crime patterns and sex offender populations associated with overnight shelters can be spread across the city also.
    4. Activists can no longer complain that it is unfair to place those over 65 in transitional shelters in other neighborhoods because they will have free transportations to communities such as Uptown and the Stroger Hospital Area, where all the homeless feeding and medical services are concentrated.

    I guess Rod did a good thing.

  3. Tell Mayor Daley to give him one of our soon to be closed elementary schools. McCutcheon might be a good choice since the Lawrence TIF has no money to remodel. The CPS system says there are no longer enough kids in the neighborhood to keep enrollment high enough in our local schools.

    There is precedent. After all, the city gave away the Park District building on Halsted for a "community center" even though it is always called a LGBT center. Tom Tunney gave his $700,000 annual annual Aldermanic menu funds to it too.

    Likewise, the city gave the Broadway Armory to be a Park District and community facility in the 48th.

    We could use a real community center around Lawrence in someone control other than Shillers.

  4. never really thought of that. we really do need a community center because right now we are left to virtual forums. a nondenominational one not in control of shiller might actually help set some civil ground rules and a spiritual tenor of respect and love. the idea about mccutcheon isn't as outlandish as it seems. nearby parents are choosing not to send their children to that school at this time. and the day labor place across the street is only going to make it less likely that they will embrace this struggling school in the future. not a good outcome for CPS, the neighborhood, the students who would have benefited from some more resources.

  5. A community center should probably be located in an area very close to retail in order to encourage more foot traffic, like the Wilson Yard for instance. The problem is that any community center would not be a center for the entire community if Shiller has anything to do with it. It would become another social service stop and warming center.

    I would be in heaven if something like what's at the Center on Halsted could be transplanted to the Wilson Yard. Put a twist on what they did there and have some type of an enclosed farmers market and offer the sale of different types of food from all over the world.

    McCutcheon School might be better served as some type of condo development because it's on a residential street.

  6. McCutcheon school might be better served as a well-funded and socio-economically diverse public school in the heart of a global city.

    Guess I am just dreaming our local and City officials would want to help us build that.

  7. If you are interested in a good article about Daley, TIFs and Schools, check out and click on Ben Joravsky's March 6, 2008 article on their front page.

  8. Actually I was being just being sarcastic when I suggested turning McCutcheon into a community center - although I was completely serious about my concern about controlling over age 65 homeless on the CTA system.

    I am very worried about which local elementary school will be knifed under the Arnie Duncan 5-year plan. By all statistics, it should be Joan Arai. But that had always been Shiller's patronage army base. In other words, get them while they are young and pack the LSC and management to bleed the budget to pay the political workers. Test scores have been abysmal and parents yanked their kids out of there in droves as soon as the program changed to allow parents to relocate their kids away from underperforming neighborhood schools.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the CPS funded Slim Coleman Algebra project, which entailed walking kids through the neighborhood to count the white gentrifiers who displaced the poor. Start the interracial hatred while their young minds are impressionable.

    The building houses a Park District funded and maintained pool, which few in the community even know about or use. The location across from the one of the one of Chicago's few Public Health Centers makes little sense because sex offenders and crimminals enter the school zone to access free health services.

    Joan Arai should go, but I bet politics will win out.

  9. You know, our very own 46th Ward Democratic Committeeman, Tom Sharpe should be asked that question.

    Tom, a longtime politico of Dick Mell's organization before he ran for office in the 46th ward, is a big Blago boy. In fact, that was his justification for him and his wife, Karen Boehning, secretly rising from within then-Committeeman Sanda Reed's organization to knock her off the ballot and overtake the committeeman spot.

    I believe Reed, a teacher, supported governor candidate Paul Vallas who had headed the Chicago Public School System.

    Sharpe is a County Employee; Boehning's a Food Vendor contractor who sells to the city. Both support "Independent" Helen Shiller, who used the Regular Democratic Committeeman's office for her political campaign. Shiller's 46th Ward Ward Superintendant, Don Nowatny is Tom Sharpe's Community Director.

    Thick as Thieves, as they say.

  10. You're right. Go to Sharpe's website and go to the photos link. There are two of the seven photos are of him and Blagovich.

    Even more interesting is his home page endorsement of Obama. Then one of the seven photos in his photo album is what looks like a Photoshop superimposed photo of Hillary with one of his volunteers.

    Aside from the fact that it looks like a photo fake, what is he trying to do? Hedge his bets and support two Presidential candidates simultaneously?

    Check it out for yourselves:

  11. Putting yourself in a picture with Obama doesn't garner any support from me.

    Nor Rahm.

    Nor Hillary.

    Nor Blago.

    The democratic party in Chicago is a flippin' joke and I refuse to vote for any Dem around here, at any point, for any reason .. whatsoever.

  12. to the non-democrat above
    I'm a full fledged Democrat and I have always been. Sad to say, I fully understand why you won't support the Democratic Party. I still love the Democratic Party's ideals but I get sick to my stomach with the corruption and back room deals. I'm just proud to say Helen isn't a Democrat. That would tip me over to seriously consider the Republican Party.

  13. response from the non-dem anon poster:

    I'm a registered democrat. And, I'm wondering if my party's "ideals" are anything more than smoke and mirrors to disguise the graft and force feed policy that benefits ... the party.

    Not that the GOP is better or worse, I'm just not a member of that party.

  14. We like to be Lakefront Independants who lean Democratic left up here. The problem I have with Helen's reputation as the fighting independent is that she has no constistent ideology that she can defend.

    Ralph Nadar, love him or hate him, is consistent in his policies and his views. He has always stood for the same things.

    For Shiller, there is no consistency. She claims to be for the poor yet endorsed Republican George Ryan in a year he ran on a platform to cut aid programs to the poor. Huh? She claims to against machine politics, yet her Slim Coleman tactics are the ultimate in dating back to the Heart of Uptown Coalition are pure machine politics- right down to the vote-the-rope frauds, patronage workers on school payrolls, and police and city worker favors.

    There is no reconciling her extreme left posistions that give her the great media attention with her far right Republican endorsements and longstanding cooperation with the Daley and Mell political machines.

    She's just been fortunate enough to operate in such a poor, disorganized and uninformed area that she's gotten by with no one understanding that her carefully crafted image does not match her political organization, fundraising and votes.

    She's no better as an Independant than the worst Dems or Republicans.

  15. Wow. Thanks Anon 4:02. You are 100% right. She's got leftist ideals, machine-politics tactics and now Republican-style public policy. The result is that everyone has an opportunity to get trapped and burned unless they are more powerful than her. That is why she has got to go.

    She must wonder why she is so vilified. Uptown probably could have handled a true leftie for the last 8-10 years but I don't think there is any chance of that now with all of the destructive class baiting that has been going on here.

  16. I think Daley wants to keep her here as long as he can. She's a great placeholder. As long as she's sitting in the Lakefront liberal slot no truly effective and powerful Lakefront liberal will take her place.

    For being one of the oldest members of the Council she has virtually no power to go along with her years. She can't get anything but goofball legislation passed - other than the special interest lobbyist stuff that she fronts for the other aldermen. What did she give us last year - chicken and pigeon legislation and honorary votes against the Iraq war? That really solves alot of deperate progblems in the 46th Ward!

    And God knows, she has no clout to really deliver services to her Ward. That's why we've got the oldest and most broken down buses dedicated to our bus routes. That is why our CTA station is last to be repaired. That is why our Parks are either lacking or run down or used for citywide use instead of serving our ward. That is why the city worker list (and Clout list published by the Trib) has no 46th Ward people who have gotten city jobs.

    All Shiller gets is the low income housing that none of the other alderman want in of their wards and other things they don't compete for. He campaign literature lists all the ward improvements she delivers but those are the capital improvements on the aldermanic menu that all aldermen automatically get.

    She is powerless leader and that is exactly the way the Dems want to keep the Democratic Lakefront liberals. She has even become dependent on Daley in the last elections to keep her in office. She has been "Dorothy Tillmanned" (stop opposing me and I'll help you keep your office) and will eventually fall like Dorothy Tillman fell.

  17. "She's just been fortunate enough to operate in such a poor, disorganized and uninformed area that she's gotten by with no one understanding that her carefully crafted image does not match her political organization, fundraising and votes."

    Yeah, but the Trib should know better. They cited long term change in the ward and Wilson Yards as reasons for endorsing her in the last election. She has got to realize that she has gotten few spoils from the City for her tenure and that she is used and generally disregarded as a player by more powerful politicians. No?

    If I were old enough to have been a voter when she first got elected, I might have been inclined to vote for her. We needed (and still need) an outsider to shake things up and demand change. Affordable housing IS an important issue that should stay on the City's radar. We SHOULD stop dealing with our problems by displacing people. However, it seems that since she has lost the larger battle she is now content to just act it out closer to home where she can control it. That might make her and her cronies feel like they are still doing something, but all they are doing is fighting over crumbs while the true powers walk away with the cherry pie. I fear that in the long rum these home turf battles will only result in backlash. I'd be in heaven if she would leave Uptown to a true leftie who might be able to garner broader support from local liberals and if she would bring her agitating tactics to an area of the city that hasn't gotten any help on her kinds of issues.

  18. "That is why the city worker list (and Clout list published by the Trib) has no 46th Ward people who have gotten city jobs."

    That is a good point too. City jobs are good jobs. Ever notice how many City workers live in mostly white/mostly city-worker enclaves? Why shouldn't some of those jobs have gone to the people of Uptown? I am not a big patronage fan, but think about how different our community might be if we had a sizeable amount of residents with those kinds of jobs. Their incomes would have had a stabilizing influence on the community over the years.

  19. She has got to realize that she has gotten few spoils from the City for her tenure and that she is used and generally disregarded as a player by more powerful politicians. No?

    Ever notice that all the aldermen in the surrounding wards share office space with other elected officials? Even Tom Sharpe, one of her own chronies, won't share office space with her.

    Ever notice that she's never been appointed to head up any committees on City Council? After over 20 years in office you would think she would have been appointed to something.

    We complain that she can't get along with residents? Well, she can't get along with other politicians as well. But she can make back room deals.

    I heard from an insider in City Hall that da Mayor endorsed Helen because he had made a deal with her about always voting for his budget. It is the old adage of "keep your friends close and your enemies even closer."

  20. Liberal, or conservative, we need someone qualified.

    Assuming quality based simply on party is the silliest thing to do.

    Besides, this city is run by liberals, and look how happy we all are over recent decisions.

    A bipartisan make up in council is what we need.

    Keep in mind, not everyone in Chicago, or Uptown, are liberals.

  21. Liberal, or conservative, we need someone qualified.---Agreed.

    Although I am pretty liberal politically, I actually vote Republican/non-incumbent in City elections unless I feel the democrat has done responsible work. There is just way to much corruption, machine-politics and waste. Informed dissent (wherever it comes from) is the way to challenge power.