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.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Memorial?

Stockyards Memorial
Anyone that knows me knows that I don't have anything less than total respect for our firemen so please don't take this posting as an insult but: seeing that we already have a memorial for our firemen in the Stockyards, is it the best usage to use a large lot on Western Ave. to duplicate a memorial located just seven miles north? Or is there a better usage for that lot? Something than would enhance the area? Perhaps a parking lot? Has anyone ever been to downtown LaGrange? They had a large vacant lot and built a 3 level parking structure on it. The result has been the opening of at least 10 eating establishments during the past 3 years. Restaurants and bars tend to do better when their patrons have a place to park.

I wonder who decided to build another fireman's memorial and how much critical thinking really went into this. A parking lot could have been built with an appropriate plague on the wall.  The way this project is going now is the memorial is just filler for another vacant lot. It's an insult to firefighters and a coverup for the failings of past leadership.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flood Meeting tonight

Kennedy Park 7:00 P.M. Let's find out what the cause of the flooding is. What about those duckbill valves and intake restrictors?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Parade Meeting Tonight

A special meeting for the parade will be held tonight at Beverly Arts Center, 7:00 P.M. Go and voice your opinion.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Borders Books

The former Borders Books on 95th St.
This building is currently on the market.  Is anyone concerned about who buys it? What about all the TIF money?

Monday, August 15, 2011

PNC Bank

PNC Bank has announced that they are consolidating their operations on Western Ave. and moving everything into the branch on the corner of 107th and Western.  The building  at 10731 S. Western Ave. is not needed and will be sold.

What steps can be taken now to ensure that the next use of the property contributes to the vitality of our neighborhood?  The last thing we need is another Border's.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Bud Billiken Parade is today.

3,200 police and 175 paramedics have been detailed to this event. The cost is unknown and shall remain a state secret. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rainbow Beach

Detective Shaved has written about this topic

A new landmark will be dedicated this weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of efforts to integrate Rainbow Beach on the South Side.

During the summers of 1960 and 1961, demonstrators staged "wade-ins" at Rainbow Beach to protest segregation.

Organizers of Saturday's dedication ceremony say mobs used violence to keep black visitors from using the beach.

Protest leaders Norman and Velma Hill were seriously injured on Aug. 28, 1960 when they tried to use the beach as part of the "wade-in." The beach was integrated the following summer.

Velma Hill says the "wade-ins" inspired people across the city to work against discrimination.

A plaque honoring the demonstration will be installed on the lakefront.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flood Meetings

Below is an email sent throughout the neighborhood, by Alderman O'Shea. Please attend one of these meetings and get the facts.

In the past two years, our community has suffered through several intense rain storms. These storms bring record setting volumes of rain in a short period of time creating severe flooding problems for thousands of residents. Over the past several weeks the Department of Water Management and National Power Rodding have been working throughout the Beverly, Morgan Park, and Mount Greenwood communities cleaning, rodding, and inspecting several miles of sewer lines.
The Chicago Department of Water Management, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and Alderman Matt O'Shea will co-host two community meetings on storm water management. These meetings will give homeowners the opportunity to discuss their specific issues with the engineers and learn what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of flooding.

As flooding conditions vary throughout the ward, residents are asked to attend the meeting specifically for their area.

Mt. Greenwood Meeting (Sacramento Ave. to Pulaski Rd.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

3857 W. 111th St.

Beverly / Morgan Park Meeting (Vincennes Ave. to California Ave.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

Kennedy Park

11320 S. Western Ave.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can we bring back the Parade?

I wrote about this before.  Everyone has a parade except us. Bud Biliken, Gay Pride, Mexican Independence, Puerto Rican, Norwegian, Dutch, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Polish, Columbus, come on. Why can't we get our parade back? We pay taxes. We contribute to society. We need to insure that the achievements of the Celts are celebrated.

Thank you Skinny Sheahan for jump starting the 2012 parade.

Monday, August 1, 2011


There have been hundreds of flooded basements throughout the neighborhood again this summer. It's a problem which first became apparent during the summer of 2010. The cause of the flooding seems to be a mystery.

There has been extensive flooding in the areas around, Kennedy Park, 99th & Longwood, 104th & Hamlin, 108th & Rockwell and 113th and Central Park. What is going on? I can understand city officials being hesitant to talk about it for fear of creating liability, but this situation needs to be addressed.

Are there any present or former city employees out there with some knowledge as to what the cause of the problem could be? Would you please share your opinion. Thank You.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Latest News about the O'Hare Contract

By Hal Dardick and Kristen Mack Clout Street

4:08 p.m. CDT, July 28, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel won approval today of a 25-year deal that will replace a clout-heavy concession operator at O’Hare Airport’s international terminal with a company that’s pledged to invest $26.2 million to improve the quality of shopping and restaurants.

After the 45-3 vote in favor of Westfield Concession Management, Emanuel declared “a new future for the city,” one with more transparency and fairness in contract negotiations. Noting the prominence of the international terminal, he quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying approval was “a shot that was heard around the world.”

“For years, Terminal 5 has been operating on a month-to-month contract, costing the city and its taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue,” the mayor said. “Those are the days of the past. Chicago will no longer operate the way Chicago did.”

In the past, no one scrutinized the details of contracts, “because everyone knew what the outcome would be,” Emanuel added. “That will no longer be the rule of the day going forward.”

But the victory did not come without opposition and a small measure of controversy. Three independent-minded aldermen voted against the deal, saying they still knew too little about the details.

Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd, Scott Waguespack, 32nd, and freshman Ald. John Arena, 45th, raised the specter of the much-maligned long-term parking meter lease, which marred the reputation of previous Mayor Richard Daley.

They aruged that as with the meter deal, aldermen did not have enough time to review the details of a too-lengthy contract that paid the city too little money.

“With just two months in the council, I have a fuller understanding of just how a deal such of that could have been done,” Arena said. “I will vote no to this deal today, not because of who is getting the contract, but for the fact that they are getting it for too small a return to the city.”

But independent Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, a longtime critic of former Mayor Richard Daley and how much information he shared with aldermen, said there was no comparison.

“I can tell you that this process was different, and is different than what we may have experienced in the past.” Moore said.

“All of my questions were answered,” he added. “All of the documents that I needed to make a decision were provided. . . . I think if we are comparing where we are today to where we have been in the past, there is a light year’s difference.”

He also noted Westfield had “a track record” in airports throughout the country, while the losing company, Chicago Aviation Partners, had failed over an 18-year period to attract enough quality shops and restaurants in convenient locations beyond the security checkpoints, when passengers tend to need them most.

“It really is an embarrassment,” he said of the current state of shops and restaurants. “They didn’t get the deal because they’ve done a miserable job so far.”

Other aldermen agreed that Emanuel’s administration offered up far more information than would have been under Daley, whose reputation was marred by the meter deal.

“I can assure you, from previous experience, this has been transparent,” said Ald. Sandi Jackson, 7th. “We have an opportunity to ensure that this airport is a world-class airport that matches the global needs of a global city.”

Ald. Leslie Hairston, one of only five aldermen to vote against the meter lease, said, “I think that this is a much better proposal.”

The contract also was endorsed by United and American Airlines, the two largest at O’Hare, long one of the world’s busiest airports.

Westfield runs the concessions at eight other airports, noted Ald. Michael Zalewski, 23rd, chairman of the Aviation Committee.

“This group has been a proven industry leader, and we now have a chance to bring them here as a partner,” he said. “Westfield will make significant infrastructure improvements, add first-class amenities to terminal five, increase revenues to the airport and create 300 jobs.”

The 25-year Westfield proposal guarantees the city at least $5.1 million in annual rent in addition to the renovations.

Chicago Aviation Partners had ties to Daley, even though the recommendation to dump it in favor of Westfield was first made when he was still mayor.

Westfield, however, was not without key connections. It’s lobbying team included Tim Dart, brother of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and Demetrius Carney, president of the Chicago Police Board.

Among CAP's shareholders is Jeremiah Joyce, one of Daley's political advisers. Former Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine lobbies for the group.

Joyce testified briefly. He urged aldermen to look closer at the proposals.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Neighborhood Flood Blame

It's been a month and I'm tired of hearing about it. Matt O'Shea is not to blame for the flooding we experienced last month. In fact O'Shea was very responsive to the flood. The blame needs to be placed on his predecessor and the Water Reclamation District. I do think that O'Shea needs to shake up his staff. They were pissing allot of people off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ginger Rugai

She did her 20. You may not have liked her but she did much more good than bad. She kept the neighborhood stable at a time that many other neighborhoods were changing. Her greatest accomplishment? Either the Beverly Arts Center or the Ag School. I think one of them should be named after her. Your thoughts please.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Alderman Matt O'Shea

Congrats to you. You worked for it. You fought for it. Please do our neighborhood good and make us proud.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I went back to work on Tuesday. After lunch I was called in and told that I have been detailed so far north that I have to take the tollway. Afternoons too. I think it's a good idea if I put this blog idea up on the shelf for awhile.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicago Irish Film Festival

My vacation was nice. Too bad I had to come back to this weather and tomorrow is work. A friend asked me to post this. A great neighborhood event. Go to BAC for more information.

Founded in 2000 the Chicago Irish Film Festival is one of only a handful of Irish Film Festivals in the United States. The festival has consistently brought a truly representative selection of Irish films that embrace everything from classics to the contemporary. Each year since its inception the festival has screened features, documentaries, shorts and animation many of which have won awards and have had selected screenings at some of the largest festivals in the world including Cannes, Sundance, and Toronto. The festival has also been delighted to welcome as its guest the actors, directors, and producers that are the heart of today's Irish cinema. The CIFF is pleased to be a showcase for Irish film production that embraces innovation, independence, and creativity that is rooted in Ireland's rich cultural heritage