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Archive for May 4th, 2010

Commissioner Berrios: “Claypool 10/25 Ordinance” affecting thousands of homeowners

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

LETTER TO EDITOR         

Commissioner Joseph Berrios, Candidate for Cook County Assessor 

Today, (May 3) Cook County Board of Review commissioners held a press conference asking for Assessor Jim Houlihan to roll back home market values in 10 townships. Two board members in attendance criticized the Assessor for implementing the unvetted Claypool 10/25 Ordinance.

Board Commissioner Joseph Berrios, the third Board of Review commissioner, was in Springfield, advocating for emergency residential relief from the effects of this ordinance.

“When he announced his run for assessor last month, Mr. Claypool said he would put taxpayers first. However, as chief sponsor of Cook County’s 10/25 Ordinance, Mr. Claypool did not stand up for taxpayers – in fact, he failed them horribly,” Berrios said.

The “Claypool 10/25 Ordinance” is hurting more real people than Mr. Claypool can imagine. It is obvious he did not understand the assessment process, nor did he have the homeowners’ best interests in mind when he rammed this ordinance through the voting process. Either way, the “Claypool 10/25 Ordinance” is going to raise homeowner’s taxes unless something is done to correct it, Berrios said.

“Mr. Claypool worked with his ally, Assessor Houlihan, on the Ordinance, which was not clearly thought out, nor was it fully studied by a blue-ribbon task force,” Berrios said. “Now Cook County residential owners are suffering the consequences.”

A property tax task force met eight times, and was chaired by Don Haider of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Haider recently wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Chicago Tribune voicing his concerns because the task force was never allowed to finish its work.

“We were satisfied that the proposed change in residential valuations – to 10 percent of fair market value from 16 percent – would work,” Haider wrote. “But we received no data from the assessor or others to validate the proposed new 25 percent levels for commercial and industrial properties.”

Haider wrote that the task force wondered if the 10/25 Ordinance would unfairly burden homeowners, but it couldn’t make that determination because the Assessor never turned over the needed information. The board approved the “unvetted” ordinance, even though the task force hadn’t completed its work.

The Board of Review also sought information from Assessor Houlihan, but to no avail. Our review board raised its concerns regarding the 10/25 Ordinance to the County Board last fall. In a Nov. 3, 2009, letter to Board Commissioners, the panel stated its fears:

  • The Ordinance would cause an unjust shift in tax liability to homeowners.
  • A voluminous increase in appeals would cause the second installment of the 2009 tax bill to be “the latest in history.”
  • That by backing into market values, which is not supported under widely accepted appraisal practice, the Assessor has created a new basis for appeal where taxpayers are seeking “restoration” of prior year fair market values.”
  • Successful appeals will reflect such significant changes in value that there will be an unjust and disparate shift of tax liabilities.

“We’re seeing many of our fears come true,” Berrios said. “Instead, he is providing the legally minimum amount of information required on the notice. He knew he was raising everyone’s market values, but opted not to tell them.”

The tax burden is being shifted to the homeowners because commercial and industrial properties are receiving large reductions in assessed value because of the Claypool 10/25 Ordinance, he said. 

“The ordinance is the law and the Board of Review must follow the law. Our hands are tied. It is our duty as a government board is to determine market value and apply the legally required level of assessment,” Berrios said.

As chief sponsor of the “10/25 Ordinance,” it was Mr. Claypool’s job to make sure this ordinance was thoroughly vetted by the task force before he pushed it through into law.

“Mr. Claypool has created an undue hardship on thousands and thousands of homeowners across Cook County,” Berrios said. “If immediate action isn’t taken, it will also create a disastrous economic effect on townships, including school districts, across the county.”

Berrios promised that one of his first actions as Assessor would be to reconvene the property tax task force to complete its study.

“And that’s something Mr. Claypool should have made a top priority,” Berrios said.

American Blues Theater presents “Tobacco Road” by Jack Kirkland

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On May - 4 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 “Tobacco Road” at Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, May 21- June 20

 
CHICAGO, IL – American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second oldest Equity ensemble company, continues its 2009-2010 season with “Tobacco Road” by Jack Kirkland, directed by Cecilie Keenan May 21- June 20. Press opening is Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. All performances take place in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 
 
“Tobacco Road,” adapted by Kirkland from Eskine Caldwell’s 1932 novel, is the second-longest running drama in Broadway history having amassed 3,182 Broadway performances to its credit. When it subsequently toured the country, it was declared obscene in many places, including Chicago where it was closed down, but reopened after a lawsuit.
 
American Blues Theater is thrilled to revive this sharp, steamy, unrelenting, wickedly funny story in anticipation of the celebration of their 25th anniversary July 12, 2010. “Tobacco Road” examines the extreme lengths people will travel for survival.  In a rural shack in Georgia during the Great Depression, the dysfunctional and desperate Lester family faces eviction from their own land. The patriarch Jeeter struggles to keep his farm’s deed, feed his starving family and arrange suitable marriages for his children despite no money, no seeds and no foreseeable way out. The Lester family shows brutally honest truths and emotionally shocking decisions, both outrageously humorous and horrifying.
 
The cast for “Tobacco Road” features award-winning ABT Ensemble members Matthew Brumlow (Dude), Kate Buddeke (Sister Bessie), Dennis Cockrum (Jeeter), James Leaming (multiple roles), Suzanne Petri (Grandma), Carmen Roman (Ada) and Gwendolyn Whiteside (Ellie May); along with Laura Coover (Pearl) and James Joseph (Lov). Joining director Keenan on the artistic staff are ABT Ensemble members James Leaming (scenic and lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design), and Lauri Dahl (dramaturg); ABT Artistic Affiliates Sarah Ross (costume and properties design), Marty Higginbotham (incidental music, choral director), Jaclyn Holsey (stage manager), Mercedes Rohlfs (assistant dramaturg), Steve Key (special effects) and Sarah Burnham and Brian Claggett (production support). Fight choreographer is Joe Foust.
 
Throughout the run of “Tobacco Road” American Blues Theater is proudly partnering with the Illinois Farmers’ Bureau, Lincoln Park High School Farmers’ Market, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Smile Train. They will honor one family farm per performance, raise awareness for the LPHS Farmers’ Market, run a food drive, and sponsor a cleft-palate surgery and supplies.
 
American Blues Theater presents “Tobacco Road” May 21 – June 20 in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Previews are Friday, May 21 – Sunday, May 23. Press opening is Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m.  Performances are Thursdays at 8 p.m. (5/27, 7 p.m.), Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. (5/29, 6/5, 6/12, 6/19 only) and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are as follows:  previews, $20; press opening, $50; post opening, $32 for Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees, $40 for Friday and Saturday evenings.
 
Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 27 beginning at noon. For tickets or more information call the box office at 773-871-3000 or visit victorygardens.org.
 
American Blues Theater was founded in 1985. Between the years 1998-2009, the Ensemble was known as American Theater Company. In 2009, the Ensemble again embraced its original name, reforming as American Blues Theater. ABT is an Ensemble of inherently collaborative theater artists. Their mission is to re-envision great American classics and reach out to the Chicago theater community to create new work that reflects mid-western roots and celebrates the diverse American character. ABT dedicates each production to the working people of the region and partner with social service and community organizations. 
 
American Blues Theater celebrates their Ensemble’s 25th Anniversary on July 12, 2010.
 
“Tobacco Road” sponsors are the Bruce B. Boyd Foundation, the CME Foundation and The Grand Central. American Blues Theater is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit arts organization. For more information call 312-725-4ABT (312-725-4228) or visit americanbluestheater.com. 
 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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