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Campbell Police Reform Plaintiffs Announce Proposed Consent Agreement

Network 49 joined representatives of other Campbell lawsuit plaintiff organizations to announce a proposed consent agreement regarding reforms to the Chicago Police Department. The reforms aim to curb police violence and improve police accountability. Read a summary of the proposed agreement here Consent-Decree.pdf (41 downloads) .

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Plaintiffs announce the proposed consent agreement over reforming the Chicago Police Department.

WGN TV News covered the press conference. See footage here. The proposed agreement was also covered in the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune.

Attorney Sheila Bedi provided an overview of the consent agreement at the May 16 general membership meeting. A video of that meeting’s presentation is here.

VOTE THIS WEEK FOR YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES!

VOTE THIS WEEK FOR YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES!
Parents & community residents in each CPS school boundary eligible.

The elections for all of Chicago’s Local School Councils are today Wednesday, April 18 for elementary schools. High school LSC elections are Thursday, April 19.

The resulting councils not only have the power over some of the most important decisions made by each school, but are a gathering of activists who often advocate citywide for goals from equitable school funding, to an elected school board, to an end to charter-school expansion.

We are proud to announce that a number of Network 49 members have stepped forward to run for parent or community seats on our local LSC’s!! They are running along with several dozen other dedicated neighbors, and we urge you to read the statements of all candidates – which are publicly posted inside each school. Most of all, we urge you to vote! (Details at end.)

NETWORK 49 MEMBER-CANDIDATES:

Sullivan High School – 6631 N Bosworth
Esther Mosak (Community)
Amy Shuffleton (Community)

Gale Elementary – 1631 W. Jonquil
Joanna Su (Parent)
Carol Lauhon (Community)

Field Elementary – 7019 N. Ashland
Kandie Alter (Community)
Rebecca Weinberg (Community)

Kilmer Elementary – 6700 N. Greenview
Stefanie Cirillo (Parent)
Will Igoe (Parent)
Dawne Moon (Parent)
Betsy Vandercook (Community)
Natalia Vera (Community)

New Field – 1707 W. Morse
Annie Gill-Bloyer (Parent)
David Tolen (Community)

The elections will be held from 6 a.m.- 7 pm. To vote, you must be 18 years or older, but do not need to be a citizen. You need to bring two forms of ID, at least one with an address (e.g. driver’s license, utilities bill). You must be a parent or guardian of a child in the school OR live within the school attendance area. Sullivan’s area is almost all of Rogers Park north from Arthur, and the Lake to Western. Please note that Field and New Field share the same boundaries, and you can vote at both schools if you live within that area. All attendance areas can be found at:

http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html

Community Benefits Hard to See in 1531 W Estes Proposal

Network 49 members joined ~80 of their neighbors at a community meeting to learn more about a proposed development at 1531 W Estes. The developer wants to tear down a 2-story brick building and build 5 town homes, which will sell for ~$450,000 each. The developer needs significant relief from current zoning regulations on density and property set-backs. He also needs to cut into the curb to add a driveway for onsite parking. Such relief is a private benefit granted at public expense; if not for the relief, the project does not happen.

1531 W Estes Mtg
Residents, mostly opposed to a proposed project for 1531 W Estes, crowded a meeting on February 28 (photo credit: Gabe Gonzalez).

Residents had 6 days’ notice of the meeting. Approximately 50 residents turned out. The meeting lasted at least 3 hours and residents left with as many questions as when the meeting started. And while no vote of residents was taken, residents’ questions suggest the development team was the only one really in favor of the project.

During the meeting, the property owner said a fire made the property uninhabitable. Because of a health issue in his family, the owner failed to file a fire damage claim and stated he now is unable to cover the cost of rehabbing the property. Instead, he wants to tear it down and build the townhomes, including one that he will live in himself. There are 2 brick 2-flats on the market for $565-575,000. The first question is can the owner restore the property and sell it as a 2-flat? We think the answer is yes.

Be that as it may be, 5 townhomes sold in Rogers Park with prices of $200-255,000 in the last 3 months. The developer would not share what he estimates it will cost to build, nor the size of his development fee or profit he stands to make. We also do not know if the property owner will pay for the townhome he intends to live in or is he getting that new unit in consideration for contributing his property to the project.

The project sets a clear precedent for future teardowns. To wit, if the owner of 1531 is able to tear down his home and built 5 expensive new ones, what prevents a future request from another owner who is not happy with the profit he might get from selling his single-family home? Network 49 co-chair Katy Hogan spoke to the real risk that we open the floodgates to more teardowns, spot zoning decisions and gentrification, something residents have fought against for years. “It’s not just this project we are concerned about; it’s the ones that will surely come after it, if this gets approved.”

Network 49 shared its Community Benefits Scorecard. Briefly: no affordable housing, no accessible housing, no commitment to green design, no commitment to local hiring or M/WBE participation. To summarize, the developer wants permission to build an oversized new development that will bring him significant new income and offers nothing to the community in return. The developer also made clear; he’s not doing any community benefits agreements.

Sounds like an easy one to turn down.

Network 49 Asks – Where’s the Community Benefit on 1531 W Estes Proposal?

February 27, 2018

 

Alderman Joe Moore

49th Ward Aldermanic Service Office

7356 North Greenview Avenue

Chicago IL 60626

 

Dear Alderman Moore:

We write on behalf of the members of Network 49 as co-chairs of its Housing & Community Development Committee. We received notice concerning the proposed redevelopment of 1531 W Estes on Thursday, February 22 via email. We could not find record of this having been presented to the 49th Ward Land Use Advisory Committee, since the committee’s schedules and agendas are not published. We note that the co-developer Rich Aronson continues to serve on that committee and we ask whether he recused himself from any deliberations the committee may have held.

Network 49 favors a balanced development approach and encourages that any granting of private benefit to a developer demonstrate community benefit offsets. Examples might include a commitment to affordable or accessible housing, expansion of green space, or commitments to W/MBE contracting and employment.

In the case of 1531 W Estes, the various zoning variances requested represent a public benefit of considerable value. If not but for the variances, the development could not be built. We believe a clear community benefit should be provided by the developer, before you approve granting requested variances/relief/etc. In the materials you have shared, we see no evidence that the developer is providing a benefit to the community. The community is being asked to accept a major zoning change to accommodate a private owner’s personal business decision. This is a bad precedent, especially given the size of the project. Additional concerns:

Continue reading “Network 49 Asks – Where’s the Community Benefit on 1531 W Estes Proposal?”

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.

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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 N49-Position-on-KEYS-Charter-School-App-Summary-1.pdf (56 downloads) of the statement we have provided to CPS Office of Innovation and Incubation and to Alderman Joe Moore.

We Challenged Charter Expansion in Rogers Park – and WON!

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CPS’s Office of Innovation and Incubation held a hearing on Monday, August 21 to consider CMSA’s request for an additional 100 student seats. After hearing from so many opponents to charter school expansion, including dozens from Network 49, they decided NOT to recommend approval of the request to the Board of Education. In other words, we won.


Victories against school privatization are hard fought and don’t come often.  It’s why we are pleased to share the news that charter school Chicago Math and Science Academy’s request to expand by 100 seats next year was NOT recommended by CPS or even included as an agenda item at the most recent August 28 Board of Education meeting.

Network 49 and its allies have been clear that we do not want any charter school expansion in Rogers Park – no new schools, new campus buildings, and no additional seats. We organized a ballot referendum in 2016 and 63% of voters sided with us. So did State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, State Senator Heather Steans, and US Rep. Jan Schakowsky. Only Alderman Joe Moore has consistently been in favor of new charters coming to our neighborhood and expansion of existing charters.  Despite our community’s clear and unequivocal position, but perhaps feeling that the Alderman would swing CPS in their favor, CMSA advanced a proposal to expand by 100 seats.

As we did before and as we will continue to do, our resident volunteer leaders mobilized to stop this expansion. Dozens of our members joined in sending letters to CPS and hundreds acted on Facebook to support our campaign, which received over 8,000 views. If you were one of the people who stepped up, Thank you for YOUR advocacy!

Charter schools divert students and resources from neighborhood schools. Study after study shows that charters educate no better than neighborhood schools, while being less transparent and less welcoming of special needs students and English language learners. These are NOT the schools we need in Rogers Park’s diverse community! Our local neighborhood schools are much improved and are growing, with Sullivan HS and Senn HS in Edgewater boosting enrollment by 100 students apiece. (By comparison, CMSA reported to the Chicago Board of Education they are 40 students short of filling their current capacity!).

Network 49 believes that all our public schools should offer high quality educational opportunities that meet the diverse needs of students in our community. We are opposed to privatization schemes like vouchers and charter schools and we will continue to fight for our schools. We are glad that you are with us in this fight.

For more information, contact Carol Reichel at carolreichel@sbcglobal.net

Network 49 Stands with Victims of Police Misconduct

Have you – or any other 49th Ward/Rogers Park community resident you know – been physically abused or subjected to racist acts by the police, particularly in the last couple of years?

In June, Network 49 was invited and agreed to join in a class action lawsuit as a plaintiff with several other Chicago community organizations and individuals who are concerned about the need for improved Chicago police accountability and the many issues related to that. The City of Chicago, the Police Department, and individual officers are defendants in the case. The aims of the lawsuit are to get a federal judge to:

  1. Enjoin the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from use of excessive use of force
  2. Enjoin CPD from use of force in a racially discriminatory manner
  3. Appoint a CPD Monitoring Team that reflects the diversity of Chicago
  4. Oversee a transformation in CPD policies and practices related to use of force, accountability and supervision, discriminatory policing, data and transparency, and support services for survivors of police violence and misconduct.

Along with Network 49, the other class action lawsuit plaintiffs include Black Lives Matter Chicago, Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Urban League, Justice For Families, Black Lives Matter, Chicago NAACP, Women’s All Points Bulletin, and 411 Movement For Pierre Loury. Attorney Sheila Bedi and other lawyers affiliated with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law are representing us.

Network 49 is looking for any neighbors who fit this description and would be willing to share their stories to help support our organization’s participation in a class action lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. Declarations from residents in the 49th Ward/Rogers Park community served by Network 49 will be very important in surviving upcoming moves by Chicago’s law department to get the lawsuit dismissed.

Please ask any residents described above to call Network Community Safety Task Force Chair Michael Harrington at 773-971-1215 or email Michael.

Residents Questions Benefits of 2 TOD Projects; Network 49 Secures Commitment from Developer to Negotiate Community Benefits Agreement

At a well-attended community meeting called to consider two large transit-oriented developments, 175 people, including a large contingent from ISKCON Krishna temple located next to 1710 W Lunt, raised numerous questions about how much benefit the community stands to get. The proposed developments require a substantial zoning change and relief from the city’s current parking requirements. After residents voiced numerous concerns and asked developer David Gasman to commit to specific changes, Network 49’s Brian White asked:

“Will you commit to sitting down with the community to negotiate a written and binding community benefits agreement?”

Gasman’s response: “yes.”

~175 residents came to hear about 2 newly proposed transit oriented developments at a meeting June 14 at the Ethiopian Community Association. Developer David Gasman (in shorts) speaks to Alderman Joe Moore prior to the meeting, as attendees read Network 49 materials.

 

 

 

An unscientific scan of the audience suggests the community is not at all ready to say “go”, for a number of reasons, so negotiating specific benefits is likely to help win support.

The main opposition expressed is over the lack of parking and the anticipated negative impact on the temple. Other strong objections were raised about the lack of affordable housing units, the size and number of units, and the likely precedent that the developments might set for transit-oriented development in the community. Many also asked why such dense TOD projects were being proposed now, while Clark Street was in the middle of a planning process.

Network 49 passed out informational handouts and Community Benefits Scorecards to help residents evaluate the projects. From the scorecards we collected, people are supportive of the projects as presented.

Residents study Network 49 handouts as they prepare to evaluate 2 proposed projects
  • “Parking not provided is a big issue, when people visit those units or businesses in the area.”
  • “David didn’t present convincing arguments with any of the questions/concerns raised. Looks like he has no solid plans.”
  • “At this point none of the vital points for the community are considered.”
  • “I am against this project.”

Some of things residents asked for in their comments:

  • Set aside more than the minimum number of units (10%) as affordable units
  • Preserve the historic character and key elements of the buildings, including the facades
  • Add more units that can accommodate families
  • Add or secure more off-street parking for building residents and guests
  • Commit to contract with women and minority owned businesses
  • Commitment to add green/open space and green elements, like a green roof or solar panels
  • Commit to give back to the community
  • Commit not to demolish either building, even if the proposals do not get approved
  • Commit to work with members of the Krishna temple to adjust the 1710 W Lunt development proposal to reduce the potential for conflict between the temple and residents likely to live at 1710
Nachi Lolla, President of ISKCON Chicago temple, addresses the concerns of his community to Alderman Moore and developer David Gasman.

Given the numerous concerns raised and questions presented, for which firm answers and commitments have NOT been made, Network 49 asked Alderman Joe Moore, who holds the ultimate decision:

  1. “Would he convene an additional community meeting for residents to hear about Gasman’s modifications to the developments before any decision was made?”
  2. “Would be allow residents to attend/observe any follow-up meeting of the 49th Ward Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC), where the revised proposals might be considered?”

Despite his oft-touted commitment to participatory decision-making, Alderman Moore emphatically REFUSED TO ALLOW THE PUBLIC TO ATTEND OR WITNESS THE LUAC MEETINGS. He demurred on a second community meeting as well, which many residents interpreted as a sign that he has already made up his mind. That remains to be seen.

Network 49 will convene a meeting of interested groups, including Preservation Chicago and ISKCON, to draft a Community Benefits Agreement to present to David Gasman.

We will also ask Alderman Moore to hold off on any decision until the community and Gasman have had time to develop the agreement.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view the development proposals on Alderman Moore’s website and click these links to see Network 49’s information handout and community benefits scorecard.