Re the Heartland Café Site Redevelopment

The redevelopment of the Heartland Café site is a singular opportunity to get community benefits and community-centered development right. The current proposal by the developer, AGE LLC (AGE) falls short by a wide margin.

The purpose of zoning laws is to regulate land uses to ensure those uses serve and protect the public interest. When a change in zoning is contemplated, the first question should be: what is the compelling public interest to change the zoning?

AGE LLC proposes to build a predominantly high-market rate apartment building on the former site of the iconic Heartland Café at 7000 N Glenwood.

Over 125 residents attended a June 5 meeting to hear from AGE about their plans to build a 60-unit apartment building on the former Heartland Café site, for which they need zoning relief. The zoning relief requested by AGE represents a significant benefit to their project, with far less community benefit in return. In fact, the “benefits” identified are largely what is required by law if the zoning relief they request is granted. The triggering event for their request is not a compelling public interest, but AGE’s private interest in maximizing the site’s profitability.

Alderwoman Maria Hadden introduces AGE LLC development, led by Sam Goldman (second from left)
Alderwoman Maria Hadden introduces AGE LLC development, led by Sam Goldman (second from left) at a June 5 meeting attended by over 125 people.

Alderwoman Hadden was elected on the premise that she would put community benefits at the center when making a decision on these sorts of projects. We believe she is 100% justified to decline to support – if not oppose outright – the zoning relief requested. That is what we encourage her to do. Whatever commitments her predecessor might have made to AGE or whatever calculated risk AGE made when purchasing the property and demolishing the Heartland – those are not her commitments or her calculated risks. It’s a new day.

Alderwoman Hadden should continue to solicit community feedback as to what would be the highest and best use for the property and invite AGE to come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to pursue the necessary community support and subsidy to execute a plan that the community can be proud of for years to come.

We understand that AGE could decline and pursue a strictly by-right development plan.So be it.

We do not expect Alderwoman Hadden to set a precedent for her aldermanic administration that replicates the same minimal commitment to community benefit that we experienced under her predecessor, nor do we want any future developer to come to the community seeking similar zoning relief in exchange for simply doing what is required by law.

Our analysis and general recommendations can be found here.  

Powerful Tool for Justice

Network 49 Applauds Progress on Police Professionalism with Consent Decree

By Michael Harrington, Co-Chair, Network 49

advocates speak on the consent decree that would govern police reform.

Immanuel Campbell, lead plaintiff for the Campbell Plaintiffs, discusses the need for a consent decree for Chicago police at a press conference this spring.

Network 49 is excited about this week’s federal court ruling to approve & oversee a Chicago Police Consent Decree. After almost two years & 1000s of hours of volunteer time, this marks a real victory for the people of Chicago who have fought tirelessly against unchecked police brutality.

This historic development came about ONLY because of the work done by The Campbell Plaintiffs, members of a class action lawsuit which includes Network 49 & nearly a dozen other community groups and individuals who have also been most impacted by CPD racist violence. Network 49 members Ted Miin, Emile Junge, and I have been proud to represent our organization in this work.

We are grateful for the Court’s recognition of the need for federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to address years of civil rights abuses that have disproportionately targeted Black people in Chicago. While the decree is far from perfect, it is an historic step toward addressing the CPD’s ongoing civil rights abuses.

Attorney Craig Futterman, who is on our legal team, noted, “As we knew from the beginning, a consent decree is not a cure-all for the CPD’s decades of unchecked abuse. But it is a powerful tool that we’ve never had before in a larger fight for justice. Under the decree, we won a victory never won by anyone before in one of these government decrees: the right of community-based organizations to enforce the decree in court. That’s a really big deal.”

NEXT STEPS
The Court hasn’t yet entered the actual decree. The federal court judge acknowledged that this Decree did not go as far as we had advocated, but said it can be modified over time as needed . The judge also acknowledged that the Decree is only one tool in the struggle for change. We’ve got more work to do.

Update on the January 15 Aldermanic Debate

As of today, Maria Hadden and Bill Morton have accepted our invitation to participate in a January 15 aldermanic candidates’ debate. Joe Moore has been invited – by email, phone, and a letter mailed to his home – but has yet to respond to the invitation. We remain hopeful that Alderman Moore will agree to participate.

Network 49 extended invitations to a number of organizations to co-sponsor the event, including the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward. Our invitation to all invited organizations remains open, provided they agree to abide by the League of Women Voters’ rules and respect the implicit neutrality and objectivity of the event. At present, the co-sponsoring organizations include Network 49, Rise 49, Protect RP, and Jane Addams Senior Caucus.

The rules of January 15 debate were adopted by the organizers and approved by the League of Women Voters and subsequently shared to all candidates ahead of time. Under the rules:

  • Our moderator is a representative from the League of Women Voters of Evanston. The event rules prohibit the moderator from being a person who lives in the ward, or who is involved in any of the campaigns. This is to ensure the moderator is neutral and able to perform her role effectively.
  • Questions from the co-sponsors, students, and audience members will be gathered and shared to the moderator, who will select which questions to ask. Neither the moderator, nor the candidates, will be provided questions in advance of the event.
  • Each candidate will receive equal time to respond to each question and time will be closely monitored by student timekeepers and the moderator.
  • There will be time for opening and closing statements.
  • In the event only 1 candidate is present, the format will convert from a debate to a moderated forum. Questions will be shared to the moderator, who will decide what questions to present to the sole candidate.

The League of Women Voters rules allow League-sanctioned forums with only one candidate in the event that other qualified candidates do not participate, thus denying voters in a competitive district the opportunity to attend a moderated event.

We will continue to provide updates about the event as it draws nearer, including updates on what candidates are participating.

Also, if there is sufficient interest in the community to hold additional debates, Network 49 would be pleased to offer its assistance to that effort, provided that events observe the neutrality and objectivity demanded by the residents of the community.

For questions about the event, please contact Katy Hogan or Michael Harrington, co-chairs of Network 49, at contact@network49.net or (773) 828-9539.

The Arc of History Just Bent a Little Toward Justice

Today, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found GUILTY. Network 49’s Ted Miin, who is on our consent decree team, notes that this conviction does not mean that the system “works,” or that true justice was served. The jury found Van Dyke not guilty of official misconduct, meaning he was acting in accordance with official police procedures.

Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald was killed by police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was convicted of aggravated battery and murder in the second degree on October 5, 2018.

There is a preponderance of evidence that Van Dyke shot LaQuan McDonald – without thinking, without justification, and clearly without fear of accountability. Had video of the shooting not been captured and not surfaced, McDonald would be just another dead black teen and Van Dyke would be in uniform and on patrol.

Our hearts break for McDonald’s family and the city as a whole, who have yet to experience real justice.
Van Dyke’s conviction is not cause for celebration. There is no victory in receiving the least we should expect. That it might be a cause for celebration is an indictment of how rotten this city is when it comes to safety and accountability.

Let’s not forget the infamous video that led to Van Dyke’s trial also led to the investigation of CPD, which led to a lawsuit and negotiations for a strong federal court consent decree to achieve better police accountability. Network 49’s Ted Miin, Emilie Junge and Michael Harrington all spent – and will spend, countless hours to ensure that the consent decree leads to real change. The verdict does not change that.

We should remember the video was withheld by Mayor Emanuel, until a judge forced him to release it.
We should remember the cover-up was supported by compliant public officials and police leadership that knew of its existence and its contents, yet hewed to the line that McDonald’s shooting was justified. Justice awaits for those people, if justice is to be served.

Van Dyke’s conviction not does not remove the fact that police leadership and the political establishment all conspired to obstruct justice. We have much work to do.

Network 49 Stands with Seniors at Levy House

Levy House offers 56 affordable 1-bedroom apartments at 1221 W Sherwin.

Network 49 learned that 1221 W Sherwin, a 56-unit senior housing property known as Levy House and owned by non-profit Council for Jewish Elderly, may be in final negotiations to be sold to a for-profit developer. The sale would put the homes of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities at grave risk. While we continue to seek more information about the sale, sent the following to Mr. Dan Fagin, CEO of Council for Jewish Elderly, and Mr. Kal Wenig, Council for Jewish Elderly Board Chair. We are seeking a commitment from CJE to sell the property to responsible developer/operator of affordable housing.

***

Dear Mr. Fagin and Mr. Wenig:

We write on behalf of Network 49, a membership based resident-led organization in Rogers Park that is concerned about balanced development, community safety, and quality schools. We were recently made aware of the possible sale of Levy House (1221 W Sherwin) to BJR Properties. We wanted to let you know that:

  • Network 49 and its 100+ members, plus network of 800+ allies, wants to support yours and others’ efforts to maintain affordable housing in Rogers Park for seniors of low incomes.
  • We see the potential loss of 56 units of affordable housing at Levy House (1221 W Sherwin) as a major loss in our community.
  • We feel strongly that the seniors need to be heard and protected.
  • We understand that CJE wants to receive proper compensation for its property.

We ask CJE to suspend negotiations of the sale to BJB or any other buyer who is not fully committed to preserving the affordability of the units for the seniors.

We further ask CJE to allow interested parties reasonable time to organize the appropriate resources, including capital, to execute a sale that all can live happily with, including most importantly, the seniors.

Sincerely,

Katy Hogan and Michael Harrington, Co-Chairs, Network 49

Thom Clark, Chair, Housing and Community Development Committee

www.Network49.net

(773) 828-9539

Proposed city/state Police Consent Decree draft misses key reforms

Network 49 calls on members to speak up for safety

Network 49 has reviewed the proposed consent decree released by the City of Chicago/State of Illinois as part of the ongoing effort to reform the Chicago Police Department. We find the document leaves out critically important protections that community organizations fought for and which can be found in similar reform decrees in other cities. We need all our members to take action TODAY. Here’s how:

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL

Attn: Civil Rights Bureau
100 West Randolph St., 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Fax: 312.814.3212

We have included a sample comment below, which you can simply copy and paste in the comment box. Be sure to add your contact information when you do.

 

***

Hon. Lisa Madigan
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL
Attn: Civil Rights Bureau
100 West Randolph St., 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601

August 12, 2018

Dear AG Madigan:

The State of Illinois and City of Chicago released a proposed consent decree regarding the Chicago Police Department. The proposed decree is incomplete and lacks critical provisions in order to provide meaningful protections against police violence and bias. The final consent decree must include the following:

1.    Ensure transparency and public accountability and provide meaningful opportunities for community feedback on CPD related plans and policies.  The Consent Decree must explicitly provide the community with the opportunity to provide feedback on plans, analyses and reports related to CPD operations and all of these items must be made public.  Further, CPD must be required to make public comprehensive data related to complaints, uses of force, and other law enforcement activities implicated by the consent decree.

2.    Address hostile police-community interactions by developing diversion programs, ending the financial incentives CPD officers have to make arrests and reducing arrests for minor, often pre-textual offenses. Rather than funneling people into the criminal-legal system, CPD must create diversion partnerships, including restorative justice and community mediation. Successful diversion requires that officers receive supervisory authority prior to making minor (often pre-textual) arrests, and prohibits trolling (escalating incidents at the end of a shift).  These efforts will help decrease racially discriminatory policing and reduce the number of minor incidents that escalate into uses of force.

3.    Ensure that people harmed by CPD and their families receive support and information. CPD must provide accurate information on the whereabouts of people injured as a result of police action, and CPD must immediately contact an injured person’s next of kin and/or emergency contact.  The City must provide police-violence survivors and their families with psychosocial supportive services independent from CPD.

4.    Strengthen protections against unlawful use of force by mandating de-escalation, restricting foot pursuits, lethal force and the use of Tasers and ensuring accountability.
•    Limit exceptions to mandatory de-escalation: The decree authorizes officers to take action (or refrain from action) when “safe and feasible.”  This term should be defined ensure that de-escalation is the rule and not the exception.
•    Ensure that officers are not penalized for using de-escalation tactics: Officers should not be penalized for taking sufficient time to resolve an incident without using force.
•    Prohibit officers from escalating incidents: Officers must be prohibited from using tactics that escalate an incident, including but not limited to by taunting, humiliating or threatening individuals and using racial or gendered slurs.
•    Prohibit the un-holstering of firearms unless lethal force may become necessary. Officers must not un-holster and display a firearm unless there is an objectively reasonable belief that lethal force may become necessary.
•    Require reporting every time an officer points a gun or Taser or observes a use of force: CPD has to file a report each time an officer points a gun or Taser at a person and each CPD member who observes a use of force must file a separate report.

5.    Impartial policing—meaningfully address the police violence and misconduct targeted at Black people, women, Latinx people and people with disabilities:  The proposed decree does not contain any data-driven efforts to identify and root out bias, or address gender- or disability-bias in policing.  CPD should develop and implement, with input from the Monitor and the community, a comprehensive strategic plan to eliminate racial profiling and discriminatory policing, including an express prohibition on racial profiling.  Community feedback must be incorporated as to all policies related to impartial policing.

6.    Gender: CPD must protect people who are gender-non-conforming from harassment and transgender people from invasive searches, and CPD policy on sexual misconduct should be defined clearly and adhere to professional-accepted standards. The Monitor—with community input—must conduct an assessment of CPD policy and practice to determine impact on women and girls. COPA’s jurisdiction must be expanded to encompass sexual assault, not just misconduct.

7.    Disability: Use of force training should include the importance of considering whether a subject may be noncompliant due to disability, a medical condition, behavioral health crisis, etc., and CPD must not assess dangerousness based on an individual’s disability.

8.    Protect the rights of Children and Youth, including in Schools: CPD should not station officers in schools. But to the extent that CPD officers continue to be assigned to schools, the decree must ensure that it addresses the school-to-prison pipeline, including by: mandated de-escalation tactics for school officers, prohibitions on using handcuffs and force in schools except in exigent circumstances, a prohibition on carrying firearms, a duty not to intervene in incidents on school grounds (absent a real and immediate threat), a prohibition on interviewing and interrogating youth on school grounds, and a prohibition on collecting law enforcement data on youth in schools. In addition, Taser use in schools should be prohibited, and parents and guardians must be notified immediately if their children are arrested, on or off school grounds.

9.    Ensure that CPD hires officers who reflect Chicago’s diversity and can police in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Decree. Require that CPD recruit a diverse police force that, through extensive testing and evaluations, has demonstrated the ability to police in a way that is non-biased, where officers are capable of de-escalating encounters with community members and using diversion resources.

10.    Develop and implement officer performance metrics based on measures of non-biased policing, diversion and de-escalation.  Provide incentives to officers who refuse to use excessive force, de-escalate and solve problems without resorting to arrest.  Make promotions dependent on these variables.

Sincerely,

Cassidy, Biss, Kaegi Top Vote Getters in Network 49 Straw Poll

Network 49 held its first regular membership meeting on January 24 and the March 2018 primary was top of mind. Our organization wants to help residents make informed political decisions and work for progressive representation, so we invited candidates to speak and then conducted our first straw poll of the current campaign cycle. We intend to use the result to guide our upcoming political activism.

Network 49 general membership meeting.
Network 49 members and guests at January 24 general membership meeting.

Local favorite State Representative Kelly Cassidy (14th) was the top vote getter on Network 49’s straw ballot for the Illinois March primary, conducted during its regular membership meeting at Willye White Park, 1610 West Howard, Chicago, Wednesday evening. She was the unanimous choice. (36 ballots were cast and some voters did not identify a candidate in all races).

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss attracted the second highest votes with 31 of 35 votes cast. JB Pritzker tallied 3 votes, with the other candidates getting 0 votes.

Network 49 general membership meeting 2
Network 49 members speak on behalf of candidates at the January 24 meeting.

In the Cook County Assessor race, Democratic challenger Fritz Kaegi – who appeared at the meeting after fellow Assessor candidate Andrea Raila – collected nearly all the votes cast. Kaegi and Raila are hoping to unseat incumbent Joe Berrios, who is also the Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle also polled strongly, getting all but 1 vote (which went to challenger Bob Fioretti), while Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas was favored over challenger Peter Gariepy more than 3-1, with quite a few voters selecting “None.”

Long-time incumbent Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (13th) was favored with about 63% of the vote over newcomer Bushra Amiwala, who received almost 40%. Despite the loss, Amiwala was viewed positively as someone to watch for future races and many members spoke enthusiastically in her favor.

The most spirited race was between the eight candidates seeking to replace the retiring Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The results were much tighter and members spoke in favor of their preferred candidates prior to the voting. In the end, Aaron Goldstein edged Sharon Fairley 17-12, with 3 other candidates dividing 4 votes.

Network 49 will share the results of the straw poll to its members to help inform their decisions in the March 2018 primary.

Network 49 Shares By-laws and Endorsement Process for 2018

At its November 15 General Membership Meeting, Network 49 shared its inaugural bylaws and membership structure, and proposed candidate endorsement process. These materials have been developed by resident leaders on the Steering Committee and working committees. 25 residents joined at the November meeting and paid their $30 annual dues. A membership form for those who could not attend the meeting is available here.

Kathleen Dillon presents the Network 49 bylaws at the November 15 meeting.

 

 

At its January 2018 meeting, Network 49 will welcome nominations to and then elect members to serve on a new Steering Committee AND make endorsements for the March 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Primary, as well as other races that will be decided in March.

All of these activities are part of our work to create an independent, progressive, and resident-led organization for promoting progressive policies and elected leadership.

Network 49 OPPOSES KEYS Charter School Application

Network 49 is a resident led community organization representing more than 750 residents and focused on improving education, safety, and community development in the 49th ward. We have considered in detail the application submitted by KEYS to CPS Office of Innovation to open a new charter school in Rogers Park. After carefully considering the application in its entirety and based on our close involvement with the existing neighborhood schools, Network 49 OPPOSES granting a new charter to KEYS for the proposed KEYS Nineveh charter school.

We encourage KEYS and its supporters to work with our existing CPS neighborhood schools to improve their programming and address deficiencies KEYS may have identified, if any. Our reasons are outlined below. You can also Network 49 Position on KEYS Charter School Application (102 downloads) of the statement we have provided to CPS Office of Innovation and Incubation and to Alderman Joe Moore.

Network 49 Questions Re 1710 W Lunt and 1730 W Greenleaf

Email sent to Alderman Joe Moore June 13, 2017:

Dear Alderman Moore:

We are writing on behalf of the Housing and Community Development Committee of Network 49. Our committee is comprised of residents of the 49th ward who are interested in promoting balanced development and improving and expanding the process for resident participation in zoning and land use decisions. We are part of the larger Network 49 membership organization, with which I believe you are familiar. (www.network49.net).

Our committee met Saturday June 10 to review the announced redevelopment of 1710 W Lunt and 1730 W Greenleaf. We learned of these developments on June 8 through an email announcement from your office. We drafted a set of questions, which we will bring to the community meeting on Wednesday June 14 to share (See “Re 1710 and 1730.docx”) N49 Questions re 1710 W Lunt and 1730 W Greenleaf - 6-13-17 (178 downloads) . We thought it would be constructive to share questions about the projects to have share with David Gasman ahead of time. Would you please pass along these questions to Dave? We do not have his contact information, but would be happy to connect to Dave directly or to meet with him and your staff to discuss our questions at a future date.

We also had questions for you about the process of these community review meetings, which our members though it would be constructive to address to you separately. These are also attached (See “Re 1710 and 1730 – Qs for Alderman.docx”) (included in the previous download).

In sharing these questions to you and Dave Gasman, we acknowledge that the information we have access to may not be the complete picture. Our views of the project may evolve or new questions may arise, once we have a chance to hear the complete presentation. Given the short notice of the June 14 meeting, it was the best we could do. We hope this is a process of dialogue and discussion, not a one-shot opportunity to weigh in.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or Thom Clark, co-Chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee. We look forward to the meeting tomorrow and to learning about these projects.

 

Sincerely,

Brian White and Thom Clark

Co-Chairs, Housing and Community Development Committee of Network 49