Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I wanted to share my notes of the recent community meeting held at St. Vincent DePaul Center regarding the Children’s Memorial site.
Alderman Vi Daley and the City of Chicago Planning Department hosted the meeting to introduce Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK), a well respected land use and architecture firm, who apparently will be leading a four month investigation into potential uses for the Children’s Memorial site.
Here is the link from Alderman Daley’s website describing the firm.
Todd Meyer, HOK principal, led the meeting and explained that the scope of work for which HOK was retained is as follows:
Historic Structure analysis
Refine Initial Conceptual Recommendations
Meyer showed a site map and commented on its excellent proximity to transportation, shopping, schools, open space, especially highlighting its proximity to DePaul University and its expanding campus, as well as Lincoln Elementary.
These characteristics make the site extremely valuable from a market and an urban planning perspective. HOK posed some questions:
Could there be some civic open space, indoor or outdoor?
Could its position on the street be taken advantage of to benefit the community?
The site in in the line of the expansion to date by DePaul. Could it part of the expansion of DePaul?
Or perhaps local elementary schools?
HOK and the City reviewed the site’s zoning, noting that it is a planned development (PD158) zoned only for hospital use at this time. It was acknowledged that given the size of the site, it would need to be a planned development. This means, in practical terms, that the eventual developer would have to negotiate the zoning with the city.
HOK emphasized that their role was NOT to actually design the site, but to review the situation and present a range of options that would be feasible; to give a road map of what is possible.
They have a four month timeline, with a possible 3 or 4 community meetings to receive input. Children's has not even begun to market the property, according to the consultants.
HOK introduced the following as their team:
Alderman Daley and her staff
City of Chicago Department of Planning
Economic Research Associates (ERA) has been retained to assess the market value of the property.
Metro Tranportation has been retained to assess what traffic and access demands any redevelopment would put on the community
Granacki Historic Consultants has been retained to consult on the historic aspects of the site http://www.historicpreservationchicago.com/index.html
Flowers Communications will handle public relations for the project
HOK emphasized that they had no preconceived notions for the site and wanted input.
The following questions and comments were put forth:
What guarantees will the community have that an eventual developer will comply with any recommendations that come out of the study?
A representative of the Jane Adams Senior Caucus reminded the audience that several precincts in Lincoln Park had passed an “inclusionary housing ordinance” requiring a certain percentage of units in any development be set aside for affordable housing and asked Alderman Daley for her support. Alderman Daley said she would consider it.
It was noted that five neighborhood groups bordered on Children’s because the hospital blocked access through the neighborhood and it was suggested that Burling Street and Kemper be reopened to reestablish the street grid in that area. There was serious opposition to this suggestion.
It was suggested that a strong “community benefits agreement” be enacted as part of the planned development to ensure that the developer is bound to provide specified public benefits.
Other suggestions from the floor:
Relocate the Lincoln Park Public Library to the site Expand Lincoln Elementary
Create affordable housing
Locate a grocery store or hotel on the site
Implement communications upgrades
Create a mixed use “community crossroads” with open space, public meeting space, housing, hotel, etc.
Former alderman Marty Oberman noted that, in his experience, the market price approach will always favor the so-called “highest and best use”; that is, one that maximizes the financial return to the owner. That would likely be a big residential high rise. Thus, if this is truly a plan to benefit the community, the plan should drive the price of the property, the price should not drive the plan.
Another participant asked, “How can this work? Children’s wants to maximize their revenue. So does the city.”
Many questions, including my own, centered around community involvement in and building community support for the eventual plan. While the HOK process included some community meetings, it did not appear that community members would be “rolling up their sleeves.” How will true community concensus be achieved.
There is a possibility of putting in an office in the neighborhood where people could get and give information. Alderman Daley also promised a website about the process
Several people also expressed concern about the demolition process and asked for assurances that demolition would take place safely and without the release any toxic waste.
I asked that the recently shuttered Lincoln Park Hospital be put in the planning process. I also suggested that the Steering Committee should have community members - residents and business owners - included. We have a wealth of knowledge in the 43rd Ward, with many architects and planners in our midst.
Alderman Daley replied that she hoped she did not have to wait until 2012 to resolve the use of Lincoln Park Hospital and that she had already spoken with the owner, who was considering converting it to senior housing.
I for one, believe there should be strong community involvement in this process and would like to call for a working Steering Committee to oversee and observe the process over the 4 months designated.
Friday, November 14, 2008
We hoped we could, we believed we could and....We Did It!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Monday, October 27th, 7 pm
RSVP or questions at email@example.com.
Chicago Tribune says "Vote Yes."
The Illinois League of Women Voters says "Vote No."
We need you! We're sending people to Indiana and Michigan. We're making calls day and night. Call Rakhael at 312-806-8888 0r email firstname.lastname@example.org. Who were some of the volunteers on the phones?
Beatrice Muchman, 75, from the Gold Coast, said "I'm here because I need to DO something and it's more inspiring to do it with others. I want to help get Obama elected before I have a nervous breakdown!" Gary Alexander, 43, from Lake View, is an actor and he's spending his Saturday with us because "I want to make sure Obama wins and wins BIG." This is Gary's first time volunteering for a candidate. Christine, 30, from Lincoln Park, says "I'm here to support Obama because his message has been amazing and inspiring and I'm thrilled to be part of the campaign." Christine has never volunteered for a candidate before. THANK YOU so much, Beatrice, Gary and Christine and the hundreds of other volunteers who have passed through the doors of the newly opened 43rd Ward Democratic Party office. This is just the beginning of a vigorous, people-powered politics for our community!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Bring your friends and join us at The Grand Central, 950 W. Wrightwood, for the last of the Presidential Debates on October 15th. The debate starts at 8:00, so get there a little early to save your seat! $10 buys you a drink and snacks during the debate. It's more fun with friends!
There's lots to do for the Obama Camapaign. Come by any day from 12pm to 5pm and in the evenings from 5pm to 9pm to make Phone Calls for Obama! Contact Rakhael at 312-806-8888 0r email email@example.com.
COMING UP :Saturday, October 18th: Go To Michigan for Obama!
You can make a difference door-to-door in Michigan on October 18th. The Obama Campaign also needs you there on November 1st, November 2nd and on Election Day! Contact Shanti Singham at 773-343-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
A very special thanks to our gracious hosts Bob and Eudice Fogel for inviting us into their lovely home and to Peg Roth, our former 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman, who served as Honorary Co-Chair of the event. Stunning floral arrangements were provided by Dilly Lily - one of our local 43rd Ward businesses.
Many of our local elected officials served as hosts along with numerous friends in the 43rd Ward community. Please take a moment to look at our Unity Event Photos to see the full range of our 150 attendees.
This is a tremendously important time for the Democratic Party, including those of us in the 43rd Ward. The success of our Fundraiser makes it possible for us to continue organizing for the November election. It ensures that we will be able to continue our voter registration drive and implement a precinct operation that will turn out the vote in November. It means continuing to make phone calls and making trips to Michigan to turn out the vote there for Barack Obama. It means we can truly make a difference in this most important race for the White House.
That's why we came together for this Unity Event and that's where you can help. To volunteer in the election effort please contact me at email@example.com.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Desperately Seeking Credentials, or Networking Gone Wild!
I arrived in Denver early Monday after only a few hours sleep. After dropping off my suitcase, I spent the day with a friend who is a veteran of conventions. First order of business? Get me a credential so that I can watch the convention tonight!
As I am not a delegate, I have to get new credentials every day of the convention. My experienced friend said to get credentials we have to talk with everyone who might have access to them - party officials, large contributors, and political figures and see if any of them has an extra.
The Illinois Democratic Party is having a lottery to allocate their excess credentials. I put my name in, and we move on. Along the way, I chat with all the people I know - in no particular order, Com. Mike Quigley, State Rep. John Fritchey, Peg Roth, State Sen. Kwame Raoul, my old collegue from the U.S. Attorney's Office Sheldon Zenner, Debra Shore, Jesse White, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Ald. Bob Fioretti, Ald. Danny Solis, Rep. Luis Guitierrez, Sandye Jackson, and many more. We took off for the Ritz, then the Hyatt, the Comfort Inn, back to the Marriott, back to the Hyatt. . .
Finally, about 3:00, credentials appear for me. I'm an "honored guest" of the Democratic National Committee. But boy do my feet hurt!
Finally, we entered the Pepsi Center - and bedlam. My so-called "honored guest" passes were great, but by the time we got there, the place was well over capacity. Up in the bleachers, we were urged to sit on the floor of what I believe was a maintenance catwalk, with nothing more than a 2 foot railing separating us from a long drop to the convention floor. Finally, after a stint of sitting on the steps of the balcony, a seat opened up, and I got a bird's eye view of a magnificent speech by Edward Kennedy, with a full demonstration of support by the crowds of delegates on the arena floor.
Later, we got into a skybox (free hotdogs) to watch Michelle Obama deliver a speech that the delegates on the floor carefully listened to, and enthusically endorsed. Spirits are high.
I thought I had a source of credentials for the day, so I decided to take in a few of these meetings. First up - the Women's Caucus of the Democratic Party. Not truly a meeting, the caucus was a rally of about a thousand women, listening to many prominent Democratic women, including for example, the President of Planned Parenthood, officials of the Democratic Party, and a few television celebrities - Eva Longoria ("Desparate Housewives" and Fran Dresser ("The Nanny") - who are both active in women's issues.
Frankly, after a while the speeches seemed sort of the same ("We need change! We need Barack Obama!) while the spectators cheered and shook tamborines (furnished on each chair courtesy of Lifetime Television). But I sat up straight and listened to businesswoman Sheila Johnson, one of the founders of BET, as she called it straight on the issues of race, sex and age in this campaign. "Women hate negative campaigning . . . We have the power to bring back honor the political process." After dropping in for a buffet by another organization, I moved on to the main women's event of the day - a rally sponsored by Emily's List.
Again - thousands of women in a room (no chairs!), with speeches from incredible women. My favorite - Barbara Mikulski, the first woman elected to the Senate without inheriting the seat from a husband. I remember Barbara Mikulski as a Congressman in 1974, when I was a student intern on the House Subcommittee on the Environment. Mikulski worked hard on those issues, and then walked down the hall to serve on the House Judiciary Committee to impeach President Nixon. She is fiery and passionate. She is very very short and well, stout. She said when she decided to run, she was told "This isn't the way a Senator looks." Well, she remarked, this IS the way a Senator looks. The crowd cheered, and I felt better.
When Hillary Clinton appeared, the place erupted. Ellen Malcolm, the founder of Emily's List, was a chair of the Clinton Campaign, and had already made a passionate endorsement of Barack Obama. Hillary, in a preview of her speech last night, told the crowd "all the hours of work and doors you knocked for me, I want you to do the same for Barack Obama."
The Emily's List event ended at four. I walked back to the Marriott to drop off the buttons, pamphlets and posters accumulated during the day and then marched off to the Denver Performing Arts Center for a reception hosted by Mayor Daley. By the time I got there, the food was all gone (and that reception started at 4:00). But I ran into more people I knew - Aldermen Richard Munoz (nursing a broken foot), Bob Fioretti, State Rep. Barbara Currie, former State Rep. Judy Erwin, and many others.
To avoid a repeat of Monday, many left early to trek over to the Pepsi Center and get in line, where I met Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet. And then onto the convention and that great speech by Hillary Clinton. We have to get Barack Obama elected.
All Politics is Local
I haven't yet reported that each day of the convention starts with a breakfast for the Illinois delegates and an hourlong meeting, chaired by Mayor Daley. The Mayor and others address the delegates and the rest of us "hanger-oners" watch or kibbutz in the back of the room.
But today was an amazing experience. We heard from Senator Durbin, Congressmen Bobby Rush (recovering from cancer), Danny Davis (who represents part of the 43rd Ward), Governor Blagovich and finally, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.
As everybody knows, politics down in Springfield are - well - complicated. And troublesome right now. The message of every speaker on the panel was unity - between Hillary and Barack delegates, and among Illinois politicians.
I wish I could report all the terrific remarks and stories. I admire a good political speech and today was filled with them. But Jesse Jackson, Jr. topped it off. You may have already read reports about this in the papers or on the evening news.
Frankly, part of the reason I came to the convention was to meet many people I had not had the opportunity to meet. Rep. Danny Davis graciously spent a few minutes with this newcomer, and I have chatted with a large array of local Democrats (many from the Ward) - Marilyn Katz, Cynthia Kobel, Aldermen Tom Tunney and Joe Moore, Water Commissioner Patricia Horton, and many others.
But I was most amazed by the young reporter I met while talking to someone. He mentioned that he lived in the Ward, and finally admitted that he was a high school student from Lincoln Park High School covering the convention for Pioneer Press. I was so proud - I invited him to our 43rd Ward event on September 4.
I don't mean just on the convention floor - I mean everywhere. Speaker Madigan hosted a reception for Illinoisians at Coors Field. There was more food and drink that I can imagine. Buses to the event from the hotel were sponsored by Peabody Coal Company. Thought you would like to know.
And I just got back from the Illinois delegation's party sponsored by Speaker Jones, State Senator Mattie Hunter (who represents part of the 43rd Ward), and others. I was so fired up from the proceedings on the floor tonight - incredible speeches by President Clinton, Joe Biden and the roll call - that I just wasn't tired.
From the Precinct, to the Ward, to the Nation
Attending this convention has benefited our Ward in so many ways - I have met public officials who are interested in our ward, and met fellow Democrats from whom I am learning.
But more directly, after the morning Illinois caucus, I stopped in for a seminar called "Precinct First" for a seminar on precinct organizing. Here were some progressive Democrats from Denver, teaching a Chicagoan how to organize a precinct. Of course, we think we know it all, but these guys are organizing precincts in places you can hardly find a Democrat. I picked up some nice materials that I'm sure we'll incorporate into our precinct organizing training.
In a terrific turn of credential olympics, my friend Mary gave me her "special guest" credential while she got a better one. That allowed me to sit in the 100 section of Invesco Field, which if you know football stadiums, is right below the skyboxes. The rest of the day was spent getting to and attending the incredible day at the stadium. We took shuttle buses from downtown. People with community credentials (that is, public tickets) were not allowed on the shuttle buses and had to walk from public transportation (like parking at McCormick Place for a Bears game).
Mary and I stood in line behind State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie and State Senator Julie Hamos, and it took us a long while to realize that we were standing behind actress Jorja Fox, who is on CSI and played Secret Service Agent Gina Toscano on the West Wing (you know, the one who protected Zoe Barlett). I had to take a picture.
When we arrived, we learned Congressman Jan Shakowsky had already spoken. Then followed a succession of Colorado politicians, a salute to Martin Luther King (yesterday was the anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech), and many many other politicians and musical interludes - Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder each did two numbers. But most remarkable was the text messaging. The Obama campaign asked people to text in their name and city and flashed them on the screen (did anyone see the "43rd Ward Democrats - Chicago" that I texted?). What a tremendous strategy - they collected 30,000 text messages - meaning 30,000 cell phone numbers for the campaign.
At a couple of points, teams of orange t-shirted volunteers appeared in the aisles, distributing the American flags and posters that you saw being waved.
As I watched speech after speech from politicians local and national, some that were terrific and others not-quite-so and then heard the combative and moving speech by our nominee, Barack Obama, I realized that every person on that stage was just a person, an ordinary person, who for some reason wanted to do something, make a difference. I hope I can, too.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The event promises to be great fun and it's a time to meet and catch up with other 43rd Ward Democrats. This is certainly a time when there is lots to talk about.
The money we’re raising will go to support the 43rd Ward Democrats so that we can continue programs like voter registration, selecting and training election judges, hosting informative public programs such as candidate forums, renting office space for volunteer programs and running a smooth election day so that everyone can exercise their right to vote.
Please join us. For more information about the event and to RSVP and pay for tickets go to http://www.actblue.com/page/43unity .
Tuesday, August 19: Organizational Meeting 6:30 pm at The Holiday Club (4000 N. Sheridan Road)
Wednesday, August 20: Cell Phone Bank at Ann Sather (anytime between) 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm
Thursday, August 21: Organizational Meeting 6:30 pm (810 W. Diversey Pkwy)
Saturday, August 23: Volunteers travel to Michigan to register voters, meeting at 7:00 am at the Ann Sather on Belmont. Volunteers can expect to return home by 7:30 pm that evening. We need drivers and will create carpools for those who cannot drive.
If you have any questions or would like to sign up for the Michigan trip please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
If you are interested in this opportunity or have any further questions please contact Obama Michigan Trip and give us your day and evening phone numbers.
If you have a car and are willing to drive to Michigan, please contact the campaign right away and let them know how many volunteers you can accomodate in your vehicle. Car pools will be arranged and available for those without vehicles.
All the proceeds will go towards improving the working and living conditions at the local firehouses.
The Park West Community Association is sponsoring the event which goes from noon until 10pm on Saturday and noon until 8 pm on Sunday.
For more information or to buy advance tickets for the event, please call 773.506.4460 or email email@example.com.
Friday, August 1, 2008
In order to vote in the November election you must be registered, at your current address, by October 7, 2008. If you have moved since the last time you voted, even within the 43rd ward, you must re-register.
Do you need to register? Can we set up a voter registration table in your building? Would you like to volunteer helping to register voters? Please contact me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org This is a Committee on the move!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
What is the city planning to do? Not much, or so it appears. Members of the Department of Planning and consultant unveiled a "Halsted Triangle Plan."
This study, which apparently started in January 2007, was designed to address "development pressures" in this planned manufacturing district (meaning there are not supposed to be residences there). The planners stated they were trying to find a way to develop a look for the area, buffer the industrial areas, and help drivers find their way to parking. The plan showed a streetscape for Kingsbury, which would change the parking from diagonal to parallel, widen the sidewalks and put in trees. The planners also proposed a riverwalk for along the North Branch and a pedestrian bridge which would allow workers from Goose Island to reach the area.
So what's missing from this picture? The residents figured it out quickly -no plan for the traffic in and around the area. Residents peppered the speakers with questions about North Avenue traffic, and explained thatKingsbury is now used as a bit of a relief valve for North/Halsted traffic.
What's next? No new public meetings are scheduled. Send comments to me at email@example.com and we'll compile them. Or contact the city directly to Eva-Marie Tropper, Project Manager - North District at Evafirstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
And another side benefit of the preservation of the historic fronts of our community.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Anita Alvarez Wows Us All!
If you weren't there, you missed an exciting introduction to our guest speaker Anita Alvarez, Democratic candidate for Cook County State's Attorney. She was dynamic and informative as spoke to us and graciously answered questions. She committted to having a greater presence in the neighborhoods with community offices and to being independent in representing the people when she is elected State's Attorney! Anyone interested in learning more about Anita's campaign or in volunteering should go to Anita Alvarez.
So how can we increase the vote in out Ward? Get involved! Here are our committees:
Become an election judge, or join our Election Judge Recruitment Committee - headed by Merle Tresser and Beryl Clemens
Get Out the Vote Committee - precinct leaders, passers and more
Event and Fundraising Committee - Plan fun events for 43rd Ward Democrats like picnics, talent shows, debates and more!
Communications Committee - Get the word out to you and other 43rd ward residents
Please contact me at email@example.com if you want to join! All are welcome, and many signed up at our meeting.
Volunteers from the Committeee to Keep Lincoln Park Public, were on hand to sign up volunteers and to keep us all informed on the latest developments with the Chicago Park District and the Latin School. As you may know, the Illinois Appellate Court recently enjoined construction of the field. To learn more go to cklpp.
And Esta Kallen, President of the League of Women Voters, invites you to learn more at lwvchicago.org/.
I look forward to hearing from you. Please get in touch if you are interested in being on a committee or have ideas for future meetings at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us for more information at 773-963-8963.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Join us on April 29th at 7pm at the Lincoln Park Library (1150 W. Fullerton) for the first meeting of our organization! Our guest speaker will be Anita Alvarez, the Democratic Party candidate for Cook County State's Attorney.
RSVP at email@example.com. See you on the 29th!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
We had a solid strategy and a truly remarkable group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to keep us on track to the victory on February 5th. And it was a great victory for all of us who believe in openness and true democratic process.
All of you committed to something we all want to believe in - a more open, responsive ward organization, where 43rd Ward Democrats can have their voices heard and be a part of shaping a progressive and fiscally responsible Democratic Party.
I will work to realize this goal. I will work hard to create more inclusive representation of 43rd Ward Democrats in the Cook County Democratic Party and to represent the values and demonstrated wishes of my constituency
I look back with gratitude at the number of people who gave so freely of their time, energy and money to support my campaign. Talented, creative, loyal people, who put in hours of time to help us effect change in the 43rd ward and in the City of Chicago.
Looking to the future, we can work together both in the General Election in the fall and to build and strengthen the Democratic Party in the 43rd Ward. I hope you become part of those efforts - and I look forward to working with you.