Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dart is in trouble.

Wants to go into showbiz.
Dart needs to look at the poll to the right of this post. He is lagging behind other would be mayors. It wasn't that way a year ago. Why? Some people would say it's because he has started to take himself too seriously.

My advice? Get over yourself, you aren't that great. You're just normal like the rest of us. Quit showing up everytime there is a television camera crew around and just do your job.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Verizon

The T-Mobile Girl
Verizon Wireless will soon make some customers pay for the privilege of paying their bills.
The nation's largest wireless company is instituting a $2 "convenience charge" for those customers who make one-time bill payments either online or by telephone. The fee will go into effect on Jan. 15.

Time to go to another phone carrier, like T-Mobile?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Steve Williams, Candidate for State Rep 35th District

Murph,
I just saw your request for candidate information on the 19th Ward Chicago blog. I am a Republican candidate for the 35th IL House district. Thanks for getting the word out about the candidates. Your readers are exceptionally in tune with the challenges our current House leadership has brought us. I hope to give them an alternative to more of the same.
Thanks
Steve
I grew up in New Madrid County Missouri and graduated from New Madrid County Central High School in 1983. I attended college for a year and then worked in my parents’ small businesses as well as a local factory before joining the U.S. Air Force in May of 1985.
In the Air Force, I served as a Law Enforcement Specialist (Police Officer) at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX for 2 years before earning a position in the San Antonio Armed Forces Police Detachment (AFPD) in the San Antonio Police Department. During my two years at AFPD, I was responsible for the military’s relationship with 26 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as investigating over 100 deserter incidents per year.
After being honorably discharged from the military in 1989, I entered the University of Memphis and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance in 1992 while working full-time for the Germantown, TN Police Department as a dispatcher/jailer.
After graduation, I entered the private sector and over the last 20 years have held Internal Audit and Information Technology positions with Ameritech, Federal Express, CCC Information Services, and CNA Insurance. While working full-time, I attended Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, earning a Master of Business Administration degree in Technology Strategy, Management, and Entrepreneurship in 2001. While in these positions, I have led numerous process improvement initiatives to drive out waste and inefficiency, saving those organizations millions of dollars.
Today, I am a Director in the IT Business Management Office at CNA Insurance leading the Metrics, Reporting, and Analytics group and a key leader in planning and managing the organization’s $350 million budget.
My family moved to Orland Park in 2006. My wife earned a Bachelor and Master degree from Northern Illinois University and is a stay at home mom after holding positions in audit and product management. My son is currently in first grade at Centennial School and is actively involved in sports within Orland Youth Association. Our family supports numerous charities including Toybox Connection, The Julian Center, Orland Township Food Pantry, St. Barbara Food Pantry, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, Dress for Success, and Literacy Volunteers of America.
I am also an avid mountain biker and member of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers, a non-profit advocacy and education organization.
In the legislature I will focus on improving the Illinois business environment to bring jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, to those hardest hit by the current economic situation. As we are able to put people back to work, I will shift my attention to reducing state spending to enable tax relief and balance the budget. Finally, I will work to prepare Illinois for the future by prioritizing strategic investment in long term assets like education and infrastructure.
I welcome any feedback. Given the diversity of the 35th House district, listening to my constituents will be a top priority for me as I simply cannot know everything that is impacting those in the district. You can connect with me at my website (http://www.stevenwilliams.org), through email info@stevenwilliams.org, or at my Facebook page Steven Williams for IL 35th House District.

If you feel that you are inclined to support the candidacy of Steve Martin, feel free to write about why, below.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Map?????

Rumors about the new 19th ward boundries are out there. I don't know what to believe. Perhaps Matt O'Shea can send out one of his email blast to keep everyone informed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tony Martin, Candidate for State Rep 35th District

Candidate Martin
This candidate did not respond to my request for info.  He works as a Chicago fireman. He is married and lives in Mt. Greenwood. It is notable that he just constructed a new house at a location which is outside of the boundaries of the 35th dist. He has pledged to sell that house when he is elected. His position on a number of political issues is unknown. He education is unknown.

If you feel that you are inclined to support the candidacy of Tony Martin, feel free to write about why, below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The latest attack on the Catholic Church......by a journalist that seems to be abusive.

Is Mr. Steinberg being abusive of his power or is he being rational and objective? Read this and be the judge.
Is it still OK to elect Catholics?
Updated: December 19, 2011 3:24PM

Anti-Catholic bigotry was once widespread in this country. In 1959, nearly a quarter of Americans — 24 percent — said they would not vote for a Catholic for president, no matter how well-qualified.
John F. Kennedy overcame this prejudice in part by insisting that, if elected, he would not be a tool of the Vatican.
He said he believed in “an America where the separation of church and state is absolute . . . in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair . . . I am not the Catholic candidate for president, I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters — and the church does not speak for me.”
Pope John XXIII did not contradict him.
Such discretion, alas, is not the style of Cardinal Francis George, who over the weekend decreed that Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t using his own conscience correctly.
Quinn met with Cardinal George and nine other bishops Saturday. This being Christmas week, Quinn put a bright spin on the meeting, telling the Sun-Times that they mainly talked about aiding the poor.
A wiser man might have left it at that. The cardinal chose to respond, challenging Quinn, saying, basically: The hell we did!
“We share the Governor’s concern for the poor,” Cardinal George and his bishops wrote. “From our point of view, however, this was a meeting between pastors and a member of the Church to discuss the principles of faith, not the works of faith. On several occasions, the Governor has referred to his Catholic conscience and faith as the justification for certain political decisions.
“As Catholic pastors, we wanted to remind the Governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the Church, as defined by Scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience. The Catholic faith cannot be used to justify positions contrary to the faith itself.”
Sure it can. The cardinal might not like it — I’m sure he doesn’t. But plenty of the faithful join the governor in considering themselves good Catholics while conducting parts of their lives in ways “not consistent” with church policy — just last week a survey showed 98 percent of sexually-active Catholic women use or have used birth control banned by the church. (We’re fortunate that the cardinal has not challenged the governor over which form he uses, at least not yet). Much Catholic doctrine isn’t even followed by Catholics, yet church leaders would dragoon government to force it upon the rest of the state anyway.
What Quinn has done to draw church censure — for those of you not up to date — is present an award to a rape victim at a pro-choice dinner, and lead a state whose laws forbid discrimination against citizens due to their sexual orientation, which means the church had to decide whether to place homeless children with gay couples, or get out of the adoption business. It chose to get out of the adoption business — you can debate among yourselves whether that is a choice a loving God would smile upon.
The church is free to turn its back on orphaned children in the name of faith — I would never tell them what its conscience should dictate. But Pat Quinn also enjoys the right to act as the citizens of Illinois — 70 percent of who are not Catholic — want him to act, even if veering from church writ.
Some readers will complain that I am commenting upon their religion — a Jew bashing Catholics! — and I will observe that their leader is more than commenting, he is pressuring and berating the governor of my state, a state whose voters elected him based on his merits, not upon his faith.
If at election time I were to say, “You can’t vote for Pat Quinn — he’s a Catholic and will be bullied into strictly following church doctrine” — I’d be accused of bias and rightly so. Yet the cardinal is trying to do exactly that, to exercise an authority over public life he does not and should not possess.
Quinn attended 13 years of Catholic school — the church already had its chance to mold him. Now he is 63 and an adult. It is Quinn, and not Cardinal George, who gets to decide how his faith influences his life. I’m sorry to be the one to deliver the news.

For some reason, I think Steinberg is not sorry he got to take on the Cardinal.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Andy Hodorowicz, Candidate for State Rep 35th Dist.

Candidate Hodorowicz
This candidate did not respond to my request for info. Andy Hodorowicz is a former 19th Ward  Democratic precinct captain and comes from a 19th Ward political family.

He is employed as a mortgage broker. He is married and lives in Palos Heights. His position on a number of political issues is unknown. His education is unknown.

If you feel that you are inclined to support the candidacy of Andy Hodorowicz, feel free to write about why, below.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fran Hurley, Candidate for State Rep 35th District

Candidate Hurley
This candidate did not respond to my request for info. Fran Hurley is the 19th Ward endorsed candidate. What that means is that the local leadership has looked around and concluded that Fran Hurley is the 'best" candidate. I presume that they are considering what is best for the neighborhood as opposed to what is best for the 19th Ward Dems.

Her picture reveals a healthy physique. (Rumor is that she hits L.A. Fitness often). She was employed for a number of years as an aide to former State Rep Kevin Joyce. She is a divorced mother and lives in Mt. Greenwood. Her position on a number of political issues is unknown. He education is unknown.
If you feel that you are inclined to support the candidacy of Fran Hurley, feel free to write about why, below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joe Bird, Candidate for State Rep 35th District

Candidate Bird
I'm Joe Bird, 41, married to Regina, with three kids, Sean, 12, Maddy, 10, and Joe, 8. All attend St. John Fisher (SJF). I coach Sean's SJF 6th Grade Basketball, and am an assistant coach for his travel baseball team, Orland Park Southside Express and his Southwest Ball Hockey team. I'm an assistant coach for Joe's Southwest Ball Hockey as well.

I have been a Chicago Police Officer for roughly 15 years (5 May 2012 will be 15 years). I was promoted to Sergeant in July 2008 off the list. I worked the street for most of my career and I believe I carry an excellent reputation with fellow officers. I was an aggressive and active police officer. I tried out for the SWAT Team with 41 other Sergeants and finished 3 in a two-month testing process about two years ago. I truly enjoy being a Chicago Police Officer.

I have my undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Masters Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I received both prior to joining the police department. I was in my first semester of law school when the police department called. I took the police department’s test in 1993 when around 26,000 people took the test. While on probationary status as a police officer, I was required to postpone law school for 1-year. I completed law school and passed the bar exam on the first attempt.

I have operated a law practice at 10450 South Western Ave., since 2005. As a small business owner, I have felt the crunch of slower business with the constant requirement to pay monthly expenses (rent). I am no different than other business owners, but I feel the importance to maintain a practice instead of leaving another vacancy on Western Ave.

Positions:
1. Getting Illinois Financial House in Order
2. Pension Stability
3. Political accountability and responsibility
As to #2, I do not want to refer to it as "Pension Reform". Believe me, I am disgusted as every police officer, fireman, laborer, when its reported that people are double-dipping on pensions or that some only had to work a minimal amount of days to receive a pension. However, I'm tired of seeing police, fire, and other public sector pension benefits being grouped with that group and then falsely portrayed in the media as “excessive” and “gold-plated” when the truth is that members of these professions dedicate their lives to the service of others to receive a fraction of their salary after retirement.
#3 - most legislators (or their group of people) have been governing for the last 20 years, yet none of them take the blame for the State's current financial crisis. There is no accountability. It’s very difficult to makes changes via the election process.

I hope this is helpful. Thank you.

Joe Bird


The picture and bio was sent to me by Joe Bird. It is my opinion that Joe Bird is a truly independent candidate. If you feel that you are inclined to support the candidacy of Joe Bird, feel free to write about why, below.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Please read the Beverly Review

Be sure to support The Beverly Review. Good for the neighborhood.

Another request for information.

I am again asking all of the candidates for their bio's, etc.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

19th Ward Christmas Party

Was tonight. Attendance was on the weak side. Present was the Sheahan family, kiss asses, many people with 2 or more pensions, the curious and yours truly. Absent was Tom Hynes and anyone still hooked up with him.

It's interesting, although they "really do hate each other", for the sake of convenience, Tom Dart had his party in the next room.at the same time. All the kiss asses were able to walk back and forth.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dart

PR Hound
What is happening that Sheriff Tom Dart would try to get mileage out of an attack on a priest?  Tom, if you are reading this. Your press antics are wearing thin. Please focus on the job you were elected to and try to keep out of the press.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

95th Street boardups are a disgrace.

I don't know about you but I am getting tired at looking at the boardups on 95th street. I am especially thinking about the buildings at 1841 and 2215 W. 95th st. Am I alone in my concern? Isn't there a city ordinance that mandates the replacement of broken glass? Plywood is not an option. Where are the building inspectors? Have these buildings been cited? Are they in court? I don't think the 95th street business strip has a chance when conditions like these are allowed to exist.

Am I wrong for asking about this? Am I wrong for asking some absentee landlord to take care of his building? Where is BAPA on this? Where is Alderman O'Shea on this?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

111th and Kedzie

It's looking better and better every day. They were out there planting trees today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Request for information.

I am requesting information from all of the announced candidates for the 18th Senatorial district and the 35th Legislative district. Please include a bio, photo and a brief summary of your platform. This information will be published in weekly "up close and personal" post, beginning December 12. Please email it to me.

If you decide not to participate, I will compose something for you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Please support the Beverly Arts Center

At the corner of 111 and Western Ave.
This wonderful group offers classes, entertainment and a little bit of culture to our neighborhood. Times are hard for everyone and I would venture to say it's a little bit harder for them.

Winter classes begin on Jan 8 and yours truly will be there too. Check them out at http://beverlyartcenter.org/ .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Support Joe Bird

Those wishing to sign a petition to allow Police Officer Joe Bird to run for State Senate... INFO FOR YOU


Chicago Police Officer Joseph Bird is going to run for the Illinois State Senate... Those interested in helping Joe run may stop by the ffice located at 10450 South Western Ave (IT HAS THE PRS SIGN ON THE BUILDING) and sign the petition allowing him to be on the ballot. TODAY from now to the evening hours.

NOTE CORRECTED ADDRESS PLEASE: 10450 South Western Ave

We need to elect people that reflect our values not the values of Boystown or some bureaucrat in D.C. Joe Bird will represent us and what we believe in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Tax Increases

Read this article. Does it make any sense? What about the waste and sweetheart deals? What about the sheriff with 5 public relations people and 10 lawyers on his payroll? Is that part of the reason we need these tax increases? I think the pols are steering Cook County in the direction of Detroit. People will leave in order to avoid these taxes. Preckwinkle’s tax increase package passes first hurdle - Chicago Sun-Times

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mt. Greenwood Streets

The gas company has torn up miles of streets in the name of new pipes and better service. I was wondering if theres's a plan to put these streets back together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RE MAP MEETING

Every ten years, the United States government conducts a nationwide census to gather information about the national population. Upon completion of the census, government entities are legally required to alter legislative district boundaries in accordance with population changes. The Chicago City Council is in the process of shifting ward boundaries to reflect shifts in population.
If the City's population were evenly distributed, each ward would have 53,912 residents. Currently, the population of the 19th Ward is 52,647, below the average. Unfortunately, wards that border ours fall well below that average and are looking to absorb portions of our eastern edge to makeup the difference.
Residents living on the east end of our community have been emphatic in their desire to remain part of the 19th Ward. The Beverly Area Planning Association has organized a petition drive and letter writing campaign; many residents are displaying yard or window signs affirming their desire to remain part of the 19th Ward.
Diversity is one of the 19th Ward's greatest strengths; our residents are proud to live in one of the few truly integrated communities in Chicago. As long as residents seek to remain in the 19th Ward, we will work to maintain our boundaries. Our children learn in 19th Ward schools, play in 19th Ward parks, and read in 19th Ward libraries.
There is a public hearing tomorrow night, Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in the auditorium at Morgan Park High School, 1744 W. Pryor Ave., from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. Please come out in support of your neighbors. Together we can keep our wonderful community in place.


Thank you,  Matt O'Shea

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Movement

After watching and listening to these kids on Jackson Blvd all week I am convinced that the movement has been organized by forces intending to get Obama re-elected. The kids really don't have a specific beef. Most of them don't know why their there. They just go with the herd. There is some serious money behind the organizing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Maloney Retires


State Senator Ed Maloney has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2012. Instead, he will be replaced by State Representative Bill Cunningham. Interestingly, both of these "representatives" will go down in the books as being advocates for gay marriage and the right of "partners" to tap into government pensions. Such positions seem to be very contrary to the interest of most 19th ward residents.

Cunningham will be replaced by Francis Dorgan, whoever he or she is.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Lets keep the children safe. Trick or Treating in the neighborhood is until 7 P.M.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What's up with Tom Dart?

My opinion of Tom Dart has begun to change during the past year. He has 5 PR and 10 lawyers on his payroll. Perhaps it's time for the Cook County Board to start taking a hard look at his payroll.


From Detective Shaved:

Cook County Board - Homeowners must pay an additional $150.00 per house for Sheriff Tom Dart Police Patrols


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle doesn’t think residents of unincorporated Cook County pay as much as they should for police protection from the county sheriff’s department.

Her assertion isn’t going over well in the Kimberly Heights subdivision, an unincorporated area near Tinley Park.

Preckwinkle’s proposed 2012 budget includes a plan to have residents of unincorporated areas pony up — about $150 more per year for the average homeowner — unless they want to contract out for police services or annex into a neighboring town.

Preckwinkle argues that those residents, an estimated 98,000 countywide, make up 2 percent of the county population and the other 98 percent are paying taxes for police services they don’t use.

“They should pay their fair share,” Preckwinkle said.

Hearing about the plan made Kimberly Heights resident Jackie Oziemkowski roll her eyes.

“Where do all our taxes go? It’s ridiculous. I’m pretty upset,” she said. “I don’t think eight grand a year (in property taxes) is not a lot of taxes. We pay a lot. Now they don’t want to give us police? So we have to get our own police force? Wow. How nice.”

“I think it (stinks),” fellow subdivision resident Don Foege said.

The proposal already has met opposition among county commissioners, too.

Elizabeth Gorman (R-Orland Park) said providing for the public safety of all residents of the county is “one of the main statutory responsibilities of the county of Cook,” and unincorporated residents pay the same taxes as everyone else.

Two Republican commissioners who represent the northwest suburbs, Tim Schneider and Gregg Goslin, pointed out the fairness statement could be made about many county services, saying their constituents could argue they pay for services they never use, such as Stroger Hospital.

Preckwinkle conceded “there’s an inevitable unevenness in the use of county resources and services, but I think everybody should pay their fair share.”

Many residents of Kimberly Heights want to continue being served by the sheriff’s police.

“I see them almost every day,” Karl Maerz said of the patrols. “We don’t like to be incorporated because the taxes go up, the water (rates) go up. It’s not why we moved here.”

He said paying a special fee to the county for the patrols or hiring Tinley Park police would be too expensive.

“I don’t know what to make of this idea,” Maerz said. “Politics?”

Foege, who has lived in the Kimberly Heights subdivision for 34 years, said he doesn’t want to incorporate — “I don’t want anybody telling me when I can water my lawn,” he said — and he doesn’t want to lose the sheriff’s police, either.

“We had a rash of car break-ins earlier this year,” he said. “Someone broke into my Hummer and got into the garage, going through my wife’s car. ... I called the county sheriff and they were out here in two minutes. Another one was here a minute later.”

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said he wasn’t sure how the village would determine what to charge residents of the unincorporated area if they wanted to hire Tinley Park police.

Village police already assist the sheriff’s police on life-threatening calls, Zabrocki said.

Kevin Kellar, a resident of an unincorporated area near Palos Park, said that although he doesn’t want to pay more taxes, he understands Preckwinkle’s reasoning.

“She may have a leg to stand on. It sounds fair. But I wouldn’t want to be incorporated,” he said.

Back in Kimberly Heights, Norman Patterson seemed resigned to paying more eventually.

“We should just incorporate now and get it over with,” he said.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pritzker Family vs The 19th Ward

Just for the record, it is the Pritzker family who is behind the shopping center development at 91st and Western.

That being said, where are our elected representatives on this issue?  Maloney and Daley are hereby called upon to intervene and get this development scaled back in terms of size.  Our roads are congested now. Imagine the impact on our neighborhood.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rahm nonsuits his own ticket?

From Detective Shaved
During the evening of Oct 12, 2011 Mayor Rahm Emanuel's leased vehicle (the official mayoral limo) was ticketed for being parked ILLEGALLY on Michigan Ave in Downtown Chicago... The parking ticket appears to have been written by a person working CTA Special Employment who was unaware that Rahm Emanuel has a leased vehicle with no designators on it to show that it is the mayoral limo.

Now we all know that Rahm Emanuel made $18 million dollars in one year working for the Fannie and Freddie Mortgage Company ontop of millions of dollars in his war chest... So does Mayor Rahm Emanuel do the right thing and pay the ticket???

NO SIREE! HE CALLS AND YELLS AT A CERTAIN COMMANDER AND HAS IT QUASHED AFTER THROWING A SHIT FIT LIKE A THREE YEAR OLD KID WHO HAD HIS CANDY TAKEN AWAY!

Mayor Emanuel who is chasing city employess to pay their parking tickets and who now wants speeding cameras... Has his parking ticket quashed, killed, non-suited!.....

Detective Shavedlongcock has the parking ticket citation number... would the officer who wrote it please e-mail me please???? shavedlongcock@yahoo.com

The amazing part is had Rahm just paid the parking ticket and then had the incident "leaked to the press" he would have look like a regular guy doing the right thing...Now he looks like, well you know what he looks like....


What gives?

Monday, October 17, 2011

22 and Mt. Greenwood library update.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ald. O'Shea who was able to head off the possible closings of the 22nd District and the Mt. Greenwood library. Tough times call for tough measures but .........

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicago in 2017 ?

Do you think it won't happen here? Don't kid yourself. Look at Chicago's track record. Look at all the triple dipping public servants we have. There will be nothing left after they get theirs.

Seeking to stave off a state takeover of its beleaguered budget, the city of Harrisburg, Pa., filed for a rare Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy on Wednesday.
Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital that previously defaulted on its debt, cited a “continued erosion of its finances,” in a resolution that was passed late Tuesday approving the bankruptcy.
According to Bloomberg News, Harrisburg listed liabilities of $500 million, compared with assets of $100 million. A clerk at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania confirmed receiving a physical copy of the filing.

The resolution to authorize the Chapter 9 filing passed by a narrow 4-3 vote, Kirk Petroski, the acting city clerk of Harrisburg, told FOX Business. The resolution said bankruptcy will provide the city with “the necessary protection from its creditors while it develops and negotiates a plan for adjusting its debts.”
However, acting city attorney Jason Hess said the measure wouldn’t be binding because the city council didn’t follow procedure, Bloomberg News reported.
The city's fiscal troubles have been triggered by an overhaul of the budget and a trash-to-energy incinerator that didn’t increase revenue by as much as expected, Bloomberg reported. The move comes as the state had been mulling a takeover of the city’s finances and forcing the installation of a fiscal rescue plan.
Chapter 9 filings by municipalities are very rare. According to Alan Gover, a partner at White & Case who has advised municipalities on restructuring options, there have been just 35 such filings since 1981.
"The reason is that Chapter 9 cannot do for municipalities what Chapter 11 can do for troubled businesses -- smoothly downsize and if necessary redo the balance sheet by converting debt to equity," Gover said in an email. "The business of municipal government is providing basic civil services that cannot be easily eliminated without serious repercussions...Unless the citizens want to become a company town by privatizing all their public assets, the bargaining table will serve them better than the courtroom."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Biggest scandal since Graylord

THE FEDS HAVE LAUNCHED THE INVESTIGATION. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO JAIL!
In print or online Wednesday, this newspaper's latest expose of rampant public pension abuse ought to stir your fury, and your sympathy: fury that pension officials enabled this corruption, and sympathy for the rank-and-file union members, as well as the taxpayers, who are victimized.

You'll learn how Chicago labor leaders eligible for grossly inflated city pensions also stand to receive union pensions for the same work periods. One labor leader stands to collect about $450,000 a year from three pensions — a city fund for laborers, a union district council fund, and a national union fund — all for the same stretch of his career. The actuarial computation is that his three pensions, over his expected lifetime, will pay him some $9 million.

What you won't learn from the news story is what we hope federal investigators will explore in lavish detail: Why did some of City Hall's top finance officials allow these outrages to occur? How could they, in their oversight roles at city pension funds, expose union members and taxpayers to future calamities? How could they permit themselves to have fiduciary responsibility to protect the public purse and responsibility to pension funds that draw vast sums from that same public purse?

We're talking about a city pension system that is underfunded by approximately $20 billion, maybe more.

We're talking about public officials in positions to realize that the implosion of city pension funds (1) would profoundly hurt union workers who expect to collect stable pension payments, or (2) would extort vast sums from taxpayers to cover the obligations of empty pension funds, or (3) would do both.

We're talking, then, about the abandonment of professional and personal responsibility by pension fund officials who had to know the real story here: A foolishly loosey-goosey interpretation of state law permitted de facto public pension payoffs to union leaders who, in return, delivered labor peace to City Hall.

That state law attempts to prohibit double- and triple-dipping from public and union pension funds. If you're a union official who draws a city pension, you can't earn a separate pension from a "local labor organization." The way city pension fund officials have been reading the law, though, it's OK for you to draw that second pension, and maybe a third, if they come from your union's district council or national headquarters. Those, you see, aren't … labor locals.

A lawyer for city pension fund overseers says the law is vague. Maybe so. How did fund officials react to that vagueness? Did they sound an alarm and demand clarity? Did they tell labor leaders that the law's intent to block double- or triple-dipping is obvious? Did the fund officials, in short, act to protect pension funds for future retirees and act to protect taxpayers from future obligations?

For now the answers appear to be: No, no and no. Instead, the pension fund overseers — they're all city officials and union officers — aided and abetted this scandalous looting of city pension funds.

With each new revelation, the need for independent investigation of egregious pension-rigging grows more obvious. We'll stick with the tripartite recommendation previously prescribed on this page:

FBI agents can assess whether any pensioner fraudulently claimed benefits when he or she asserted eligibility for a public pension. The feds also need to probe the conduct of city pension fund officials, and of city officials who directed payments into these funds.

• The city of Chicago's inspector general has authority to explore the use, and potential misuse, of city funds. We'll be watching Wednesday to see whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed budget for 2012 increases or decreases funding for that office.

• The U.S. Department of Labor has responsibility to protect union pension funds. This situation screams for investigation by Labor.

These authorities can decide whether any of this conduct is illegal. But even a dictionary knows it meets the definition of corrupt: contaminated, morally unsound, debased, venal.

Who should pay for this? We're counting on three prompt and aggressive investigations to provide that answer.

Copyright, Chicago Tribune

Monday, October 10, 2011

We need some speed limit enforcement.

I was southbound on Western ave this am between 111 and 115. Another vehicle on my ass. I speed up to 40. She passes me on the right and cuts me off. She was doing 55 MPH while passing me. All I could do was flash my lights. 30 seconds later, here comes a Beaner, same maneuver. Why are they driving like this? Because they know that there is no enforcement. I doubt very much if they would drive like that in EP.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

111th and Kedzie

I have to say, it is starting to look good. Now if they can start to fill some of those vacant stores.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tax Bill

Ouch, my bill went up $250.00 for no reason. I called someone that knows and he told me it's because of the Board of Education.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Coming traffic problems?

A developer is proposing to build a 500,000 square foot shopping center at 91st and Western. Imagine the congestion on 95th street and Western after it's built. Is this good for our neighborhood?

Monday, September 26, 2011

On the chopping block.

Due to budget cutbacks, the 22nd District station and/or the Mt. Greenwood library are both regarded as "dispensable" and are on the chopping block. Some people are saying that there are alternatives to keeping these facilities open. I say wrong.  It is going to be up to our local leaders to save them. See the recent article in the Sun-Times:

The chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee acknowledged Wednesday that Police Supt. Garry McCarthy could “unilaterally close police stations” without City Council approval and said Chicago’s financial crisis is “so dire” that the closings must be considered.
Politically, Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs aldermanic support if he hopes to sell residents on the idea that closing neighborhood police stations will not make them less safe.
Governmentally, it’s another story, according to Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th).
“”The police superintendent could unilaterally make the decision to close police stations. I don’t know that the City Council would play a role in that,” Burke told reporters after addressing a group of students in the City Council chambers.
Pressed on whether he could support such a move, Burke said, “The financial challenges of the city are so dire that nothing can be taken off the table. ... Everything has to be considered.”
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley once embraced a consultant’s proposal to close seven police stations to free 400 officers for community policing, only to abandon the idea and start building new police stations. Daley viewed police stations as community centers and anchors for neighborhood development.
On Wednesday, Burke shot down that notion.
“I don’t see the citizens going to the police station to have cake and coffee. They go there to report a crime. But, most of the reporting of crime is by telephone or other means,” he said.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that McCarthy is exploring the politically volatile idea of closing district police stations to save millions and free scores of officers for street duty.
McCarthy is under the gun to cut at least $190 million from the Police Department’s $1.3 billion-a-year budget. He is under further pressure to put more police officers on beat patrol at a time when the city cannot afford to hire more officers.
Sources said fire station and library closings are also on the table as Emanuel struggles to erase the city’s $635.7 million shortfall without raising taxes, cutting police or using one-time revenues. That’s even though Daley’s building spree also included libraries and fire stations.
Asked Wednesday if Chicago has too many firefighters and paramedics, Burke harkened back to what happened in 1980 when then-Mayor Jane Byrne tried to take on the firefighters union.
“That would go down in the history books as one of the great political conflagrations of our history,” Burke said, referring to the bitter firefighters strike.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Solyndra

Rumors suggest that a current Chicago pol has his/her fingerprints all over the latest scandal. Solyndra is about to become a household word. Stay tuned.
The below is a news account:
The FBI executed an early-morning raid today on the solar panel plant that President Barack Obama swung by last year and celebrated for their green-friendly products.
The headquarters of Solyndra, Inc. in Fremont, California was the site of this morning’s bust, which has left the plant’s top brass saying they are unsure of why it even happened. Agents on the scene were mum to reporters, but a spokesman for the company suggested it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees that were awarded to them recently by the Department of Energy.
Despite the federal assistance, Solyndra announced earlier this month that they will be shutting its doors and only this week filed for bankruptcy. In a statement released last week, Solyndra said that the company could not stay afloat with foreign manufacturers offering competitive prices that couldn’t be matched domestically.
Prices for solar panels have dropped by nearly half as of late because of foreign competition.
Regardless of what the FBI was on the look-out for, Solyndra says they weren’t expecting feds to come over unannounced this morning.
"It was quite a shock," Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller told Silicon Valley’s Mercury News today. "When I got here at 7 a.m. they were already here."
The last time a federal appearance garnered as much attention for Solyndra was back in May 2010 when Obama dropped by. The president was supportive of the plant’s products that would help Americans go green while giving money to the America economy, saying that Solyndra was paving the way for a “brighter and more prosperous future.” But barely a year later, Solyndra has been unable to make ends meet, even with the help of the US government.
Republicans have been skeptical of the investment all along, however, with some right wing reps going as far as to call Obama’s backing “a dubious investment” when the commander-in-chief first offered his support.
The FBI has only commented that the raid is being carried out as part of a investigation being put together by the Energy Department, so feds could be considering if federal loans to Solyndra were mismanaged in the months leading up to the company’s demise. FBI Public Affairs Specialist Peter D. Lee has confirmed to reporters only that the raid indeed occurred but that all documents relating to the probe are currently sealed.
In addition to the assistance loans from the government, Solyndra owes private investors an additional $69 million.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dangerous Tree

Fallen Tree
On the northeast corner of 115th street and St. Louis, there is a dead tree. I see it every week when we go shopping. It looks like an Elm and it's getting ready to fall. When it does fall, it will fall upon whatever happens to be below it at that given moment. Cars, schoolchildren, whatever. The problem is that the tree is located upon private property and the owner is either oblivious or short of sufficient funds. Either way, something needs to be done now. I call upon our local city officials to rope the area off and give the resident a few days to remove the tree. If the tree is not removed quickly, the city has the option of making an emergency removal.

Photo is courtesy of Detective Shaved.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What business raises their prices by 26%?

Waste and Inefficiency
The Metra Board is mulling fare increases which average 26%. If a business tried that, they would be out of business. Trust me when I say the Metra Board is composed of grossly incompetent people. They have a $65 million deficit? Did they ever hear of budgeting? How about cutting your expenses? How about living within your means?

Imagine the detrimental effect this is going to have on our neighborhood. We need our local pols to jump into action.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is it time for a Special Prosecutor??

Cook County States Attorney Alvarez
by Carol Marin:
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says she’s running for re-election.
And though some names of possible opponents are being tossed around — former Inspector General David Hoffman and Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey — no one, so far, is running against her.
She will be hard to beat.
In the 2008 Democratic primary’s six-way race, Alvarez clobbered Bob Milan, the endorsed candidate of her predecessor, Dick Devine. And almost everyone else. Only former alderman, now judge, Tom Allen got within 10,000 votes of her.
The first woman and first Hispanic to win that powerful job, she made it clear that despite being a 21-year veteran of the state’s attorney’s office, she was no defender of the status quo, nobody’s good old boy.
Now comes the David Koschman case to test that claim. And to become an election issue if a strong candidate opposes her.
Readers of the Sun-Times know this story well.
David Koschman, a 21-year-old from Mount Prospect, and three of his buddies were hitting the bars on Division Street in the wee hours of April 25, 2004, when they ran into a slightly older group, including Richard R. J. Vanecko, the nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley, who was partying with other young Daley family friends. Everyone had been drinking. Words were exchanged. One punch was thrown. Koschman, small in stature, was hit, his head crashing onto the street.
Vanecko, described as the tallest and largest in the crowd, fled with a friend. (Not until this year did Chicago Police acknowledge he threw the punch.)
The Daley friends did not give police Vanecko’s name until many days later. By that time, David Koschman was dead.
While R.J. Vanecko undoubtedly did not mean to kill David Koschman, this case was not handled like a normal police matter. We know that thanks to the relentless reporting of the Sun-Times’ Tim Novak and Chris Fusco who, in the last nine months, have uncovered “missing” police files, omissions of critical information that were crossed out of a detective’s notes, and the unbelievable absence of any record, notation, or log entry at the Cook County state’s attorney’s office memorializing prosecutors’ involvement in the case — even though it had been asked to consult with police.
Newly obtained Chicago Police reports show Detective Ronald Yawger “arranged interview w/Victim’s friends & ASA” on May 18, 2004. That “ASA” was Assistant State’s Attorney and Felony Review chief Darren O’Brien. It is amazing that the state’s attorney’s office has not one record of it — especially because O’Brien would personally interview witnesses two days later.
Alvarez initially argued our Sun-Times reporting was unfair to her. And then she said she would turn the matter over to the Illinois State Police — without mentioning that the No. 2 man in her investigations bureau was just about to be named the head of the State Police. A conflict of interest even a first-year law student would spot.
The State Police, properly, took a pass.
The only independent investigator on this case, at the moment, is Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. And he, unlike Alvarez, has no power to convene a grand jury.
Alvarez needs to affirm the promise she made during her first campaign: that she is not an old school pol defending the status quo.
She needs to ask the chief judge of Cook County’s criminal courts to appoint a special prosecutor with grand jury powers — and no conflicts of interest with her office — to get to the bottom of this awful case.
It would make a powerful campaign commercial.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bodyguard Detail Cut

Daley's bodygaurd detail has been cut in half and the city cars are being returned to to the pool when not in use. Whatscha think about dat?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Explosion and Fire

And so goes a neighborhood institution. A terrible loss for the neighborhood. I wonder if they will rebuild.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day. Now read about another public pension abuse.

Check out this story which appeared in the Chicago Tribune on September 2. Does anyone think that what happened may result in indictments?

Every month, Thomas Villanova gets a $9,000 reminder of how lucrative it can be to serve as a union leader in Chicago.

"WE ARE LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR INTEREST"
The sum is part of a city pension that comes on top of the $198,000 annual salary he is paid to represent the interests of thousands of city workers.
      Villanova last worked for the city in 1989 as an electrical mechanic with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, making about $40,000 a year. Yet in 2008 he was allowed to retire at age 56 with a $108,000 city pension. That's because, under a little-known state law, his pension was based not on his city paycheck but on his much higher union salary. This kind of deal is available only to union officials who meet certain requirements, but a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has uncovered documents that show Villanova violated state law when he applied for the pension and cast doubt on whether he truly qualifies for all that money. To boost his taxpayer-supported city pension, Villanova signed documents certifying that he had waived his union pension and had two union officials write letters supporting his claim. In fact, records show dues collected from the rank-and-file were still set aside for Villanova's union pension. When city pension fund officials discovered last year that Villanova never gave up his union pension, they gave him a pass and didn't move to take away his city retirement benefits. What's more, labor leaders can get an inflated city pension only if they are on a leave of absence from a city job to work full time for a union. But officials from the municipal pension fund approved Villanova's application despite city employment records that show he took a leave to go back to school and then let that leave of absence expire in 1992. Now just 58, Villanova stands to collect approximately $3 million from the city's municipal pension fund during his lifetime, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV analysis based on the fund's actuarial assumptions. And because the state's pension laws are so broken, he didn't have to contribute enough to the city pension fund to cover the costs, which means taxpayers will make up the shortfall. "It's egregious. I haven't seen this anywhere else in the country," said Keith Brainard, research director of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, when he heard about Villanova's deal. "The spirit of a pension plan is insurance against poverty. It's not to become wealthy." In order to receive an inflated city pension, state law says labor leaders can't be part of any pension plan from their union. Yet Villanova is one of four officials from Local 134 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who received city pensions based on their union salaries even though they never gave up their union pensions. Terrance Stefanski, executive director of the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, conceded that the union leaders violated state law by participating in both the city and union pension funds at the same time. But he said the law is confusing and the city pension fund isn't in a position to determine whether the labor leaders knowingly submitted false information, which would be a felony. "We are not an investigative agency," he said. Stefanski said the city still considered Villanova to be on a leave of absence, and therefore he qualified to receive the pension perk. Villanova declined to be interviewed. Through attorney Patrick Deady, Villanova said he followed the city pension fund's directions and that he qualified for his city pension because he taught union apprenticeship classes while in school. Now president of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council, Villanova helped negotiate every current collective bargaining agreement between Chicago and the 33 trade unions that do business with the city. With the Emanuel administration struggling to fill a $635 million budget hole, Villanova sits at the bargaining table and speaks on behalf of 8,000 city tradesmen who face layoffs, furlough days and reduced benefits, in no small part because of the city's rising pension costs. Today, the municipal pension fund is racing toward insolvency, with barely half of the assets needed to cover its liabilities. That means city workers face threats not only to their current job security but also to their future retirement security. The average city retiree receives a pension of about $28,000 a year, roughly a quarter of what Villanova is drawing from the same fund. Meanwhile, about $200,000 in rank-and-file dues that were paid into a union pension fund for Villanova have yet to be returned to the union. Documents show that Villanova agreed in writing last year to "disclaim" the pension money — but left the door open to taking it back if the rules change. Double-dipping Villanova's six-figure city pension is far better than that offered by his former union, Local 134. The local's pension plan would have provided Villanova with 45 percent of his average salary during his highest-paid five years of work. He couldn't retire until he turned 65, however, without forfeiting a significant chunk of his union pension. Under rules governing the city pension plan, on the other hand, Villanova could retire from his old city job at 56 with 70 percent of his average union salary during the prior four years; that average turned out to be $158,000. What's more, he could keep his high-paying union position. To get that deal, Villanova had to make $344,000 in contributions to the plan as if he had been a city employee all along. He also had to submit an application certifying that he met all the criteria for the city pension, including that he wasn't part of a union pension plan. In November 2008, Villanova signed an application that included this line: "I also understand that I am allowed to make these contributions as long as I do not receive credit in any pension plan established by such local labor organization." In addition to his signed application, Villanova submitted a letter from a trustee of Local 134's pension plan that said Villanova had waived his union pension. "We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. Villanova requesting that his Local 134 pension credits cease immediately. The Local 134 Executive Board will act upon his request accordingly," Peter Cerf, the pension fund's executive board secretary, wrote in September 2007. Frank O'Lone, secretary-treasurer of the trades council, also wrote a letter on Villanova's behalf, in October 2008. "Thomas Villanova will not receive any pension credits in the Building Trades Council Pension Plan for the period starting 3/5/2004 to present," the letter read. Yet documents submitted by the union pension fund to the U.S. Department of Labor show that money set aside for Villanova remained in the fund. When Villanova became president of the trades council in 2004, Local 134 amended its pension plan to allow certain employees of the council to be participants. The Tribune and WGN-TV were able to identify contributions the trades council made on Villanova's behalf because he was one of only two council employees who were part of Local 134's plan and the only one who had worked long enough to be vested. Records submitted by the union pension plan show that, in all, about $200,000 in member dues from the trades council went toward a union pension for Villanova. He also received a decade's worth of contributions from Local 134 members before becoming president of the trades council. But it's impossible to know the total from publicly available documents. Officials from Local 134 and the trades council declined to comment on Villanova's pensions. The municipal pension fund discovered in September 2010 that Villanova was not complying with state law by participating in both funds. City pension officials could have pursued criminal charges against him if they thought he had knowingly made false statements on his pension application, which is a felony. Municipal pension fund officials had Villanova sign an affidavit admitting that he was participating in both plans at the same time and promising to "disclaim" union contributions that overlap with his city pension. But the money is staying in the fund in case municipal pension fund requirements "are reversed pursuant to action of the (fund's) trustees or litigation by similarly situated participants." That means Villanova wasn't required to return union members' money that went to his union pension, and eventually he still could get access to it. 'It does look bad' Villanova's hefty municipal pension depended, in large part, on how he described his leave of absence from the city in his pension application. "I was an employee with the City of Chicago or Board of Education," his signed application states, "and was granted a leave of absence to work as an employee of the labor organization named below." The organization he wrote in was Local 134. Yet city records show that Villanova didn't take a leave of absence to work for Local 134. He took a leave to attend Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. While there, he earned roughly $41,000 a year working for the college, state records show. Under city work rules, employees can receive various types of leaves, including disability, maternity, military, personal and union. City workers must apply for a leave of absence and in many cases must renew those requests after a certain time period has elapsed. Villanova applied for his leave of absence on Oct. 25, 1989, according to city employment records. In the section of the form marked "Reason for Request," he wrote: "Return to school for advanced courses." He renewed his leave every three months, filing seven requests in all. On each, he wrote that he was taking a leave to go back to school. All of the forms he signed say that if he failed to report back to his city post within five days after his leave of absence expired, he would resign his position with the city. Villanova's last leave of absence request expired on July 24, 1991. State records show that he continued working full time for the state community college until November 1992. The municipal pension fund's own records show that he didn't start at Local 134 until January 1993, a year and a half after he had effectively resigned his city job. Yet when Villanova applied for a city pension in November 2008, the municipal pension fund approved an amount based on his union salary — even though he did not take a leave of absence to work for a union and had allowed the leave he did take to expire 17 years earlier. The fund's board of trustees, composed of union leaders and city officials, signed off on Villanova's $108,000-a-year pension in February 2009, backdating the start of his benefits to November 2008. "It does look bad," said city Treasurer Stephanie Neely, a trustee of the city pension fund. "But we on the pension board didn't do anything wrong. We did everything we could do, and that's all I can somewhat control." As part of the justification for awarding him the higher city pension, the municipal pension fund provided the Tribune and WGN-TV with a 2008 letter written by then-Deputy Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Vanessa Quail on Villanova's behalf. "Mr. Villanova's current status with the Department of Streets and Sanitation is that we regard him on a personal leave of absence," she wrote. "While we have not located any leave of absence papers of Mr. Villanova's subsequent to April of 1991, that is not inconsistent with his retaining his status." The reason he was able to maintain his leave of absence: No one at the city department entered a code in its computer system showing that Villanova had given up his post. According to Stefanski, the technicality means Villanova qualifies for a city pension based on his union salary. Thanks to his work at Moraine Valley, Villanova's city pension is one of two public pensions he is currently receiving. Villanova gets another $12,000 a year from the State University Retirement System of Illinois, based on his work for the community college. Although he held that job for only three years, state law allows him to receive reciprocal pension benefits from SURS when he retired from the city. That pension is also based on his union salary, not the $41,000 he made working for the community college. In all, Villanova takes home about $120,000 a year from taxpayer-supported pension systems, an amount that will grow by 3 percent every year as long as he lives.

Friday, September 2, 2011

$190 Million ?

Rahm wants to cut the CPD budget by $190 million. Is that possible? Where can they make the cuts? Will our neighborhood's safety be affected?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Global Warming?

Global warming is what city officials are blaming the recent flooding on. I don't know if this is a joke and I find it hard to believe that anyone could stand there with a straight face and tell us our basements are flooding because of global warming. I doubt very much if Alderman O'Shea had anything to do with this. That said, he now needs to get some distance away from global warming.

My thanks to the 19th Ward Politics  Blogger for bringing this to my attention.

Experts From The City Blame "Global Warming" At Matt O'Shea Flood Meeting!
Climate change and global warming are the cause of flooding that occurred in more than 1,000 local households on June 9 and July 23, city officials said at a meeting at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on Aug. 18.
“It’s a new day, and the new day has some pretty bad weather,” said Tom LaPorte, assistant commissioner of the city’s Department of Water Management, at a town hall meeting hosted by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. Approximately 200 people attended the meeting.
Storms characterized by their intensity, brevity and random pattern have increased in frequency over the past five years, which is why homes that never flooded in the past have experienced recent problems, LaPorte said.
“It’s kind of haphazard; scientists haven’t really figured out a pattern, but we do know that it’s happening,” LaPorte said. “What we’re getting is huge torrents of rain from the sky. I used to have to make a case that this was happening; now you just need to look out your window. Two and three times a summer, people are flooding.
“We’ve got a 100-year-old [sewer] system, and that fills up pretty quickly. It’s designed for what they call a ‘five-year storm.’ The sewers get filled up and overwhelmed, and then any more water that is put into those sewers is going to come up into your basement. It’s going in so fast, and there’s no room for it; so it’s just squirting out wherever it can, and that’s up the private drains of your basement.”
The only way to combat the problem, LaPorte said, is through cooperation and partnership between the city and its residents; homeowners need to take steps to help reduce the risk of future flooding instead of solely relying on the city’s sewer system or the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s Deep Tunnel to do the job.
“There are two main sources of water that we’re trying to put into these full sewers. One is from the street, and the other is from our rooftops. As long as we continue to do that, we’re in trouble; we’re going to continue to flood,” he said. “So what we need to do is find new relationships with each other and the city and new strategies for keeping water out of the sewer during the heaviest rain. It’s no longer a given that the sewers are going to protect us from flooding. There simply isn’t room in them.”
Step one involves redirecting residential downspouts, LaPorte said.
“Five hundred gallons of water per hour are coming out of your rooftop, going into your gutters and, in most houses in Chicago, the downspout goes straight into the ground,” he said. “What it’s doing is connecting to your private drain. If the sewer is full and if the private drain is full, that water has no place to go except into your basement. So in a real sense we’re flooding ourselves a lot of the time.”
Reporting flooding issues to the city’s 311 center, planting rain gardens and preserving the integrity of rain restrictors—the devices that hold water on the street after a heavy rain and allow the water to drain slowly into the sewer system—are also recommended measures, LaPorte said.
If a block of residents can commit to 70-percent participation in these measures, the city will offer its engineering experience and expertise to assess a particular block’s issues and provide homeowners with specific resources and solutions.
“I have about eight or nine neighborhoods already doing this,” LaPorte said. “I would really like to appeal to you to take advantage of this; if you can get a few neighbors together, call me up and invite me over; I’ll be there. We can succeed with this, but we have to rely on each other and understand that this is a mountain for us to climb instead of just a problem to solve. I think it’s as big as rebuilding after the fire, but I think we can do it.”
LaPorte’s direct number is (312) 742-1029.
Terry O’Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, also spoke at the meeting, providing an overview of the district’s interceptor and reservoir system. Although the district has one active reservoir for storm water storage and two others in the works, flooding will continue to be a problem as long as heavy storms fill Chicago’s sewers before the water can be pushed through the system, officials said. During the July 23 storm, the Deep Tunnel was only at 25-percent capacity, O’Brien said; water backed up into basements before it reached the Deep Tunnel.
During the three-hour meeting, officials also tried to dispel the popular notion that localized residential flooding is due to an anonymous person or party failing to “open the gates.”
“The fact is that there are no gates in the sewer system,” LaPorte said. “The only gates that exist are the ones between the river and the lake. They can only be opened up under certain circumstances— when the river is higher than the lake. If you open it up at the beginning of a storm when the lake is still higher than the river, the lake’s going to come in and make everything a lot worse.”