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August , 2017
Thursday

Deadline to ride bus, 6.26.13   By Chinta Strausberg No one should ever go hungry, Sharon Tillmon, director ...
Aims to Keep Drivers Safe and Call Attention to the Consequences of Violence Towards Taxi ...
  (From the Better Business Bureau)     CHICAGO, IL - Gasoline prices have dropped for the 10th week ...
From: The Sentencing Project   Maryland House votes to expand voting rights to people on probation and parole The ...
Fundraising event for Ebony Repertory Theatre to also feature The Harold Wheeler Trio Actress Hattie ...
Community Leaders Gather to Echo Boyd Family Call for CPD to Fire Servin following IPRA ...
‘See you on the other side’   By Chinta Strausberg   Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was caught in a ...
“See Europe by Film” With the 16th Annual European Union Film Festival in Conjunction With the ...
By Juanita Bratcher Attendees at PETAL et al’s training workshops got their game on…and liked ...
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation into ...

Archive for February, 2012

Senators Collins and Sullivan honor first African-American Catholic Priest

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Father Tolton Ministered to Faithful in Quincy, Chicago

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) and State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) have introduced a resolution designating April 24, 2012, as Father Augustus Tolton Day in honor ofthe first African-American priest ordained in the Roman Catholic Church.
Father Tolton served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Quincy from 1886 to 1889, then moved to Chicago to shepherd a growing congregation of black Catholics at St. Augustine’s and later St. Monica’s.

“Father Tolton’s life is an inspiring example to all African-Americans, Catholics, and Illinoisans,” Sen. Collins said. “Escaping with his mother from a life of slavery in Missouri, Augustus Tolton still faced discrimination in his adopted state of Illinois. At the same time, he
found spiritual mentors in the Church who recognized his gift for ministry and insisted on his inclusion.”

Father Tolton attended seminary in Rome and was ordained there on April 24, 1886. Cardinal Simeoni overruled a committee’s decision to send him to Africa, saying, “America has been called the most enlightened nation in the world. We shall see whether it deserves that honor. If the United States has never before seen a black priest, it must see one now.”

“Quincy is proud of its distinction as the first community in America to welcome an African-American priest,” Sen. Sullivan said. “As pastor of St. Joseph’s, Father Tolton worked tirelessly to care for both black and white parishioners and educate the poor.”

In 1897, Father Tolton died of heat stroke at the age of 43. He is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Quincy.

Cancer Outreach Workshop targets African Americans

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Focus Is Prevention, Detection, Intervention

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Cancer and how the disease disproportionately affects the African American community is the focus of the upcoming event – Cancer Outreach Workshop: Prevention, Detection, Intervention, set to take place Sat., March 24, 9 a.m.-12 noon at the Peace Apostolic Church, Inc., 21224 South Figueroa in Carson, CA.

The workshop, which will include on-site mammogram screenings at no cost to participants, is free and open to the public.

Presented by the California Oncology Research Institute (CORI), in partnership with The Global Wellness Project, four doctors, all cancer specialists, will participate in discussions on not only the various cancers (colon, breast, prostate and general oncology), but also on prevention, detection and intervention. A question/answer session will follow.

Scheduled to speak are Dr. Ronald Hurst and Dr. Anton Bilchik, directors of CORI, as well as Dr. Jenny Ru and Dr. Thomas Johnson.

Dr. Bilchik, co-founder and Medical Director for CORI, said he started CORI because he saw a need. “I realized that we were presenting our cancer research around the world hoping to improve standards for cancer care, however this information was not getting to the people that needed it the most – underserved people particularly in the inner city,” he says. “I also realized that so many of these people are only 20 minutes from where I live.”

Bilchik, who has been honored by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons, added that there are disparities with just about every cancer.

“The outcomes in African Americans is worse for breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreas and stomach cancer to name but a few,” said Bilchik, who was recently listed as one of “Americas Top Surgeons” for 10 years in a row. “This is likely due to socioeconomic differences and lack of access to health care.”

Dr. Hurst said he designed the program with a primary focus of getting cancer information to the community.

“We do four workshops a year. Breast, colon and prostate are the three cancers we focus on,” said Hurst, the Director of Clinical Research for CORI. We use community venues to reach out to a broad cross section of Los Angeles and nearby cities. We want to make it easy for everyone to get the information.”

Hurst, F.A.C.S., specializes in breast, colorectal, melanoma, and sarcoma cancers as well as general surgery. A leader in his field, his research has focused on tumor immunology.

Hurst, who is also partnered with the United States Military Cancer Institute, emphasized that getting the word out about prevention, detection and intervention is crucial.

“The African American community should know not to be afraid,” said Hurst. “Fear becomes our greatest obstacle. Men don’t come because we think we’re invincible. As doctors, in our best state we provide reactionary medicine. We need to get ahead of cancer. We’ve got to get to the people before they get cancer.”

Hurst’s and Bilchik’s colleagues agree.

“There are about 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in this country each year,” said Dr. Thomas Johnson, an urologist since 1987. “About 20 percent are African American. Historically prostate cancer has been more aggressive in the African American community. Our charge is to try to get Black men to get screened. For some reason Black men are reluctant to get involved in the preventive aspects of their health. If nothing is bothering a guy, they don’t want to be bothered.”

Statistics show that minorities experience higher rates of illness and death from not only various cancers, but also health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, hepatitis B and obesity.

“Educating people about prevention is so important,” said Dr. Jenny Ru, an internist, hematologist and oncologist. “Prevention is the most important thing you can do. We have to make the public aware of that. When it’s detected early, it is treatable. You can survive. It’s about saving lives. Healthy lifestyles need to be emphasized. We can be our own doctors if we are aware of our bodies. Be aware of your diet and get some exercise. I also think the church has to be involved. The church is very important, especially in the African American community. It is great when they have health-related programs.”

Dr. Bilchik said CORI is committed to ending the health disparities in the minority population.

“Some of the ways we’re going to accomplish this is by engaging the community and teaching prevention and early detection,” said Bilchik, Ph.D., F.A.C.S. Chief of Medicine at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center and Professor of Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “It’s also about providing psychosocial support to patients and families dealing with cancer and providing educational material that can be easy to understand. We’re going to provide options for access to healthcare and generate funds for free preventative services such as mammography.”

“The Global Wellness Project (GWP) is pleased to partner with CORI to bring life saving cancer education to our community,” said Angela de Joseph, GWP executive director. “We are committed to bringing the highest quality of health education and free screenings into the African American and Latino communities. We have partnered with CORI, one of the foremost leaders in cancer research, to produce a series of dynamic cancer awareness workshops to faith-based organizations throughout the Southern California region.”

CORI, a non-profit, is committed to curing cancer through innovative research, early detection, novel treatments, and education through community outreach efforts.

Dr. Ronald Hurst is now available for interviews.

For more information, contact adj@globalwellnessproject.com or visit www.CORIgroup.org

Photo Caption: Dr. Ronald Hurst and Dr. Anton Bilchik, CORI Medical Directors

 

National Urban League to release 2012 State of Black America Report, "Occupy the Vote to Educate, Employ & Empower", on March 7, 2012

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 2 COMMENTS
The National Urban League will release its 2012 State of Black America Report, “Occupy the Vote to Educate, Employ & Empower” at a high-energy Town Hall Forum on March 7, 2012 at 7 p.m. ETEach year since 1976, the National Urban League has issued The State of Black America, an in-depth examination of the social and economic status of America’s African-American and Hispanic communities. This year’s report, “Occupy the Vote to Educate, Employ & Empower” examines the role of the political process in the national economic recovery. For the second year, the release of The State of Black America will be held at a high-energy Town Hall forum on March 7, 2012 at 7 pm ET, engaging distinguished leaders in the worlds of politics and government, academia, media and social justice. Visit their website for event details or to submit a question for the Town Hall!
 
 
 
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, said it’s no accident that a nationwide rollback in voting rights for America’s most vulnerable citizens is happening just as elected officials mount an unprecedented campaign to slash investments in education and economic development.”As the nation struggles toward a financial recovery, public investments in education, job training and job growth are indispensible, now more than ever. Yet those very investments are targeted for sacrifice in favor of diverting more and more of the nation’s resources to those at the very top of the economic pyramid. At the same time, a coordinated effort is under way to exclude from the political process the very citizens whose livelihoods hang in the balance.” Join the National Urban League and a coalition of civil rights organizations and political analysts including NAACP’s Benjamin Jealous, NCLR’s Janet Murgia, Hip Hop Caucus president Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Politic 365’s Jeff Johnson, Howard University President, Dr. Sidney Ribeau, Kevin Powell, political analyst Keli Goff, and radio host, Warren Ballentine as we “Occupy the Vote to Educate, Employ & Empower”.The free event will be held in the Washington, D.C. area. If you can’t attend in person, you can watch the live webcast and participate on www.iamempowered.com/SOBA2012. Join the event page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to join the conversation (#SOBA)!
 
     

 

Attorney General Madigan: Ban on phone bill 'cramming' clears House Committee

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the House Consumer Protection Committee unanimously voted to send to its full chamber a measure to ban phone bill ‘cramming,’ a scam that has left hundreds of thousands of Illinois individuals and businesses stuck with unwanted, bogus charges on their phone bills. 

“Phone cramming is a $2 billion annual business for scam artists preying on all types of telephone customers, from residential users to small businesses, nonprofit organizations to government agencies, most of who have never realized they’ve been scammed,” Madigan said. “The only way to stop this scheme is by enacting a ban on third-party charges to our phone bills.”

Madigan said House Bill 5211 would put an end to phone cramming, a problem that has persisted across Illinois and the country. Cramming is a scheme in which third-party vendors use phone numbers much like a credit card. The vendors add charges to phone bills for bogus products or services, such as identity theft protection, website design or email service, that consumers and businesses never asked for or wanted – and never used. Estimates indicate that telephone companies place at least 300 million third-party charges on their customers’ bill each year. According to a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee report, third-party billing generates at least $2 billion annually.  

“I applaud my fellow lawmakers for their support today,” said state Rep. Kelly Burke, House sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will better protect consumers from a scheme that uses their phone numbers like a credit card and has cost them millions of dollars in unauthorized charges.”

To date, the Attorney General’s Office has filed 30 lawsuits actions against crammers, representing more than 200,000 Illinois businesses and residences that were victim to these phone billing schemes. Take, for example, Madigan’s 2009 lawsuit against US Credit Find Inc., a Venice, Calif.-based operation that crammed, among other targets, a Springfield public library’s dial-a-story telephone line.

Phone cramming scams originally were perpetrated primarily through telemarketers, especially before the Do Not Call registry was established. More recently, however, the scam has flourished online. Internet users report simply submitting their phone number, among other personal information, for online prize drawings, surveys or free recipes. Weeks or months later, consumers find charges on their phone bills for unauthorized services.

HB 5211 would ban cramming – all billing by a third-party company – but include limited, common sense exceptions for legitimate services.

Attorney General Madigan has previously advocated for a nationwide ban on phone bill cramming, testifying last July before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and the Federal Communications Commission.

Shopping online? Know your knock-offs cautions the Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, Il – The online market for counterfeit luxury items is vast, bargain hunters can find everything from jewelry and perfume to handbags and sunglasses. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) offers advice on avoiding web-based rip-offs.

Online classified sites are hot spots for counterfeit luxury item fraud. Now unscrupulous vendors are setting up their own websites to fool frugal fashionistas, making it more difficult than ever to spot a scam.  

“In a tight economy, consumers are always looking to save money,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Too often, what looks to be a ‘great deal’ is really a knock-off in disguise.”

 

The BBB recommends the following advice for safe shopping online, as well as tips on how to spot fake merchandise:

  • Always deal with reputable businesses. The number one way to avoid getting ripped off when buying luxury goods is to deal with reputable businesses. When in doubt, shoppers can contact the manufacturer and verify which vendors are authorized sellers. Consumers should also check out the business with the BBB at www.bbb.org before making a purchase decision.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. One of the biggest red flags for knock-off merchandise is an unrealistic price. Extremely low prices are tempting but not to be believed.
  • Read between the lines. Some websites or online classified ads will go overboard in their description of the item in order to coax the buyer’s trust.  Overuse of “genuine,” “real” or “authentic” is a bad sign. Buyers also need to keep an eye out for phrases like “inspired by.”
  • Check the merchandise. Considering the name is a large part of the motivation for buying a luxury brand, many manufacturers spend considerable time and energy on crafting the physical label. Counterfeiters aren’t usually as meticulous.  Shoppers should look for misspelled words and brand names, poorly sewn logos and labels, etc. Some luxury goods carry an “authenticity label” with a hologram or other security measure.
  • Know the brand. Different luxury brands, such as purses, have specific hardware consumers can rely on to identify a genuine piece. Zippers, screws, clasps and stitching are usually very specific for the brand and the manufacturer often has details on their website explaining what to look for and how to spot a knock-off. Craftsmanship is king for most luxury brands.

Consumers who have purchased counterfeit luxury goods should contact the BBB and can easily file complaints online at www.bbb.org  

 

For more consumer tips you can trust before making that purchase, visit www.bbb.org  

 

Transit riders and advocates propose state legislation to improve Chicagoland transit service through better investment

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Riders for Better Transit  joined with transit riders and advocates from across the Chicago region to introduce Transit Fast Forward (SB 3236), state legislation that would improve Chicagoland transit service through increased investment and a dedicated source of funding that would grow over time.

Riders for Better Transit urges Chicagoland residents to tell their state legislators to support the Transit Fast Forward bill at www.RidersForBetterTransit.org.

The proposed legislation is aimed at addressing the inadequate funding for transit options at a time when residents are increasingly looking for an alternative to driving. The Chicago area is one of the country’s most congested regions. Strong transit service helps reduce congestion, improve commute times, save households money and enhance the region’s quality-of-life, making transit one of the wisest transportation investments available.

Transit Fast Forward would generate an estimated $11.6 million in 2013, and a projected $168 million over the first five years. It indexes the state gas tax with inflation, a move that will dedicate an additional fraction of a penny per gallon to public transportation. The end result will be better commutes for drivers and transit riders alike.

“Congressional leaders in D.C. may be talking about cutting dedicated federal funding for transit, but in the Chicago region we know that the conversation needs to be about moving transportation forward, not backward,” says Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance.

“Transit reduces congestion and air pollution, gets people to work affordably and efficiently, attracts jobs, and is vital to the Chicago region’s economy,” says Jennifer Henry of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Transit Fast Forward is an important step toward solidifying our region’s investment in transit.”

“Metra actually carries 50 percent of the commuters coming into the downtown area during peak hours,” says Samuel Smith of Metra. “Public transit is what keeps our region’s economy moving, but we need to invest in keeping it strong.”

Without Metra, 29 lanes of expressway would need to be built, while CTA alone replaces about 400,000 vehicles on regional roads each work day.

Chicagoland transit riders are organizing and speaking up to demand better transit. The first Transit Day of Action kicked off this morning. Dozens of volunteers from Riders for Better Transit passed out fliers at downtown train stations to ask Chicagoland residents to contact their state legislators in support of better transit.

About Transit Fast Forward (SB 3236):

  • Indexes state motor fuel tax to inflation, adjusted annually
  • Applies only to the six counties served by CTA, Metra and Pace
  • Directs new incremental revenue to the Public Transportation Fund; road funds unaffected
  • Helps rebuild aging infrastructure and expand service with projects like Bus Rapid Transit
  • Helps transit agencies manage rising costs due to inflation and partially offset chronic funding shortfalls that have led to service cuts
  • Estimated 2013 increase in state motor fuel tax: two-fifths of a cent per gallon
  • Estimated new revenue for transit in 2013: $11.6 million
  • Estimated total new revenue for transit over first five years: $168 million
  • Last increase in state motor fuel tax: 1990
  • Increase in CTA train fare since 1990: 80 percent

Riders for Better Transit is a project of Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans), in partnership with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Active Trans is a non-profit organization with more than 6,800 members advocating to improve conditions for biking, walking and transit in the Chicago region. NRDC is a non-profit organization that uses law, science, and the support of 1.3 million members and online activists nationwide to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

A Passport to the world: Expedia and the Passport Party Project help teen girls obtain first Passport

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Six Passport Party participants, aged 11-15, will then take first-ever trip abroad, sponsored by Expedia.com

Bellevue, WA (BlackNews.com) — Expedia.com, the world’s leading online travel agency, announced today that the company will serve as the official travel sponsor of The Passport Party Project. The Passport Party Project is a philanthropic initiative started by award-winning travel blogger and entrepreneur Tracey Friley, founder of OneBrownGirl.com and OBG Adventure Camps. The Passport Party Project hosts parties for ten girls each throughout the United States, giving teen girls, aged 11-15, the tools to obtain their first passports. The goal is to inspire these girls to use their passports to ultimately take their first-ever trip abroad.

As official travel sponsor, Expedia will host a contest for Passport Party participants after 100 girls have received their first passport. Six contest winners will earn a free trip to an international destination, accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian and Friley, where they will earn their first passport stamp.

“International travel is a formative experience, especially for young adults. Experiencing life beyond our local boundaries is the ideal way to gain perspective not only on other cultures, but on our own as well,” said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. “We are inspired by the passion of Tracey Friley and the challenge that the Passport Party Project has undertaken. Helping young women obtain their passports literally opens up a world of opportunity.”

“For these girls, passports aren’t a priority in their households. Travel is likely a luxury and not a lifestyle. Having a passport has the potential to change how a young girl views herself and her place in the world,” said Tracey Friley. “It’s as much about the possibilities as it is about hopping a plane. I’m honored to be a part of a global awareness initiative that has the potential to create explorers, and ecstatic that Expedia shares my view.”

Expedia was first introduced to Tracey Friley and the Passport Party Project at the 2011 Travel Blog Exchange conference (TBEX) in Vancouver, a conference started and run by travel blogger Kim Mance. Expedia was energized by the mission set forth by Tracey and moved to begin working together for the Passport Party Project.

In 2012, Expedia and the Passport Party Project will host parties in the following cities:

* Austin, TX – March 2012 * Miami, FL – April 2012 * Denver, CO – June 2012 * New York, NY – August 2012 * Chicago, IL – September 2012 * Washington, DC – October 2012

In the first quarter of 2013, Passport Parties will take place in:

* Atlanta, GA – February 2013 * San Diego, CA – March 2013 * San Francisco Bay Area, CA – March 2013

For more information about Expedia’s sponsorship of the Passport Party Project please visit the Expedia media room or www.passportpartyproject.org. Follow along on Twitter @Expedia or @OneBrownGirl, #PassportPartyProject.
 

About Expedia.com

Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel site, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel. Expedia, Expedia.com and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2012 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50

About The Passport Party Project

The Passport Party Project is a global awareness campaign that gifts teen girls with their very first passports and was created by San Francisco Bay Area resident and award winner Tracey Friley of OneBrownGirl.com and OBG Adventure Camps.

46th Ward officials to hold Pre-election “Meet the Candidates” Night, March 7th

Posted by Admin On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Alderman James Cappleman, Democratic Committeeman Tom Sharpe and other 46th Ward Democrats are holding a pre-election “Meet the Candidates” Night at The Spot Restaurant, Wednesday, March 7, 2012, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Attendees can meet the Democratic candidates running in the upcoming March 20th Primary. Also, representatives from President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign will make a presentation in regards to how one can help the President’s campaign this year.

46th Ward Democrats will be selecting candidates at every level of government – from the White House to the Court House.

Organizers of the event said “this promises to be a fun evening, with free appetizers and drink specials at one of Uptown’s best gathering spots.

The event will be held at The Spot Restaurant, 4437 N. Broadway – Chicago
Closest CTA Stop: Wilson Avenue Red Line

For more information contact Sean Tenner: Sean@The46thWard.org

Study: Budget Reforms Jeopardized by Lack of Transparency, Public Input

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 7 COMMENTS

 

Government needs to include public, nonprofits and foundations to succeed

 

CHICAGO, IL – The lack of transparency and public input into the state budget could derail efforts to revamp Illinois’ budget and improve government efficiency, a new study says.  Researchers at American University in Washington D.C. compared Illinois’ new budget reforms to similar laws enacted around the country, and their research warns that new laws often fail to meet high expectations without a rigorous system of public input and transparency in place.  Donors Forum, a statewide association of nonprofits and grantmakers, says the report echoes growing concerns they hear from nonprofits across Illinois.

“Engaging the public and nonprofits and providing transparency isn’t just critical to getting the budget right, it is critical for building the legitimate public support that our governor and legislators will need to make big policy changes,” says Valerie S. Lies, President and CEO of Donors Forum.  “Many of the solutions being discussed in Illinois today aren’t new, but they’ve fallen short in Illinois and in other states in the past because policymakers failed to engage the public from the beginning.”

“Getting Budgeting for Results right is critical to making Illinois a better place for all of us,” says Consuella Brown, Donors Forum Policy Committee member and foundation executive at Woods Fund of Chicago.  “Philanthropy believes in a vision of a better world. Those values aren’t possible without healthy, strong community organizations addressing needs directly and advocating for the vulnerable.”

“We have to stop funding programs that don’t work so we can protect services that are making a difference in the lives of Illinoisans while still living within our means,” added State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), Chair of the Budgeting for Results Commission.

The report recommends involving nonprofits and grantmakers in developing long-term strategic goals and the plans to implement them, as well as performance measures.  According to Donors Forum, the 500,000 nonprofit professionals working throughout Illinois today have tremendous expertise that the state lacks in strategic-planning, innovative programming, and measuring results.

 

 “Working together to align the goals, programs and outcomes measures of state government, nonprofits, and grantmakers ensures we don’t waste valuable resources on program administration that would be better spent serving the people of Illinois,” Lies added.  “If state agencies focus on the wrong outcomes while ignoring important ones, we will waste billions achieving meaningless measures.  We don’t want state government ‘Teaching to the Test.’”

Highlights from Other States

Researchers from American University’s Center for Public Finance Research compared Illinois to ten other states that have implemented similar budget changes.  While concluding that no one state offers a perfect model for Illinois, Donors Forum says they did find specific examples of reforms that will help Illinois enact major budget changes:

Broad Public Input: Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (R) created a 35-member Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget to develop ideas for restructuring, costsaving, outsourcing and addressing service needs.  The committee included leaders from nonprofits, business, health care, local government, organized labor, education and environmental groups.  Governor Gregoire held public hearings around the state to identify the public’s priorities, and an online townhall meeting drew thousands of participants who submitted, debated and voted for their favorite ideas. 

Public Transparency: Maryland’s StateStat website provides a one-stop portal to relevant performance data, strategic plans and action plans for each of Governor O’Malley’s 15 priority areas as well as detailed reports of agency outcomes, outputs, caseloads, overtime costs and other relevant management data.  The reports are accompanied by the minutes of biweekly meetings with the Governor’s Delivery Unit that highlight emerging problems and plans of action.

Nonprofit Engagement:  Iowa relies on the input of nonprofit organizations to develop performance measures.  Those measures help agencies prioritize, make their operations more efficient, and guide resource decisions to expand or contract programs.  Although Iowa began using performance measures more than a decade ago, they are still struggling to develop valid and reliable measures of education and human services.

Recommendations for Illinois

 

Donors Forum developed a Report Card for state government based on the research.  Lies, Donors Forum’s President and CEO, said that while they recognize that Illinois is just beginning multi-year implementation of the reforms – and is ahead of other states in some ways – Illinoisans should set high standards for the budget process  if we want a high-quality budget.

“We applaud the leadership of Senator Dan Kotowski in enacting ‘Budgeting for Results’ and his leadership of the Budgeting for Results Commission, as well as Governor Quinn’s commitment to pursuing the common good transparently and with public input.  We know that there is a long road ahead that will require a renewed spirit of cooperation and trust between all leaders in government, business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector,” Lies said. 

Donors Forum hopes to meet with Governor Quinn soon to discuss their recommendations, and they are meeting with other leaders from the nonprofit sector, lawmakers, business leaders, and civic groups to build support for improving public input and transparency in the coming weeks.

“We all have a shared interest and responsibility to ensure that our state is pursuing the common good efficiently and sustainably,” Lies said.  “Working together, we can not only overcome the state’s current challenges, but set a new and lasting course for prosperity for all Illinoisans and generations to come.”

The full report may be viewed online at http://bit.ly/DFStateBud.

About Donors Forum in Illinois:

Donors Forum (http://www.donorsforum.org) is a membership association through which Illinois grantmakers, nonprofits, and their advisors enjoy a range of resources for making their work even more effective. These include educational programs, networking events, public policy leadership, research, library services, publications, and more. Through Donors Forum, grantmakers, nonprofits, and philanthropy advisors connect, learn, and act together to strengthen their work and the people they serve.

About American University’s Center for Public Finance Research

Created in 2008, the Center for Public Finance Research (CPFR) offers research and education in public budgeting and finance, public financial management, public economics, and benefit-cost analysis at the local, regional, national, and international levels. To accomplish its work CPFR engages faculty from the School of Public Affairs and across American University, as well as scholars from the Washington, DC, policy community.

 

Budgeting for Results

Illinois State Government Report Card

Long-Term Institutional Commitment to Change

B

Illinois is only state to enact legislation. The Budgeting forResults Commission is a good start, but must be made permanent. The Governor should consider a cabinet levelChief Performance Officer overseeing an independent unitto assist agencies in strategic planning, and agency-levelperformance officers.

Public Input

C

The Commission needs deeper and more meaningful public input, and it should expand its membership to include more expertise from academia, nonprofits and foundations as well as geographically.

Transparency

D

Update Open Meetings Act and FOIA to ensure they reflecta commitment to a transparent and independently verifiedExecutive budget process.

Setting Strategic Goals

D

State started the process without a plan. As they move forwardstate agencies should involve third-party experts in developingmore specific objectives to avoid tendency to retrofit goals; alllevels of strategic planning should be transparent to the mediaand public.

Developing Agency Operating Plans

C-

The state should include non-governmental experts from academia, foundations and nonprofits in agency planning to: promote efficiency and innovation; validate operating plans over the objections of entrenched interests; provide transparency.

Create Valid and Meaningful Performance Measures

INCOMPLETE

Follow the Commission’s recommendation to include nonprofit expertise in developing measures to prevent agency low-balling and ensure transparency; Drop plans for relying on ROI/CBA, which is unsuitable for most “public goods.”

Align Resource Allocations with Goals

INCOMPLETE

Commission should follow through on reviewing mandated expenditures; cuts in state spending should be strategic – focused on the lowest priorities and greatest inefficiencies – not focused on the biggest programs “because that’s where the money is” or cutting across-the-board.

Independent Collection and Verification of Outcomes

INCOMPLETE

Program performance measures should be collected and reported by an independent third party, such as a foundation, not the agencies themselves; self-reporting agencies must be audited routinely by the Inspector General for performance.

Measures Impact Operations, Inform Allocations, Objectives and Goals

INCOMPLETE

Follow Maryland’s two-track approach: report both the detailed,meaningful information that program managers rely on to improve operations throughout the year as well periodic reporting of broader outcomes, all in a centralized website that is transparent to the public, media and third parties.
For more information, contact laurelosullivan@donorsforum.org                             Last updated 2/21/2012www.donorsforum.org/policy                                                                           Prepared by Donors Forum

Raleigh police attempts to pull in church…with liberty and justice for all?

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Inetta Cooper

Raleigh, NC (BlackNews.com) — On Saturday, January 14, 2012, I rented the Glorious Church, located at 725 Glascock Street in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Bishop William Spain is the pastor, to have our annual national New Year’s celebration, which fell on Martin Luther King weekend.

We were unaware that police officers sat outside during the service. There were about 100 young adults in the midst of worship. Minister Cory Wiley, 34 years old, an up and coming minister, brought the word. Then the youth, in their way, went into musical praise. It was an awesome display of worship by our young people, in their 20s and 30s, the age which we lose them.

At approximately 10:15 pm, two caucasian police officers entered the sanctuary, unsolicited. The first officer unsnapped his gun holster and pepper spray, placing his hands on his gun, ready to draw, and stopped the music, shut down the service, and ordered everyone to leave the premises.

The officer was yelling and screaming, stating enough was enough and we had to leave. We were petrified, and immediately began to pray. They actually stayed until everyone left and made sure the church was locked. No one was fighting. No one was arguing. We were just singing! They said the neighbors were disturbed by the ‘noise’ and unknown to us, there has been a campaign to run this church out of the neighborhood by constantly calling the police complaining about noise. The neighbors call, during Sunday services, and choir rehearsals. The church can’t have revivals, youth programs, musicals, and has even been interrupted by police during a funeral!

Does this mean that the constitution applies to some, but not all? I have been accused of playing the race card; well, I play the card that I’m dealt. Raleigh’s finest would never have entered the First Baptist Church of Raleigh during their youth service with guns ready to be drawn, stop the service, disrespect the congregants, and order everyone out! NEVER!!! I said it and I stand by it. NEVER!!! This officer’s ostentatious display of disrespect for the House of God, disrespect for the people of God, and disrespect for the United States Constitution, is impudent to say the least.

The police officer clearly infringed upon our Constitutional right. We have four National events per year and this was the first of 2012. This incident was totally out of line, and to add insult to injury, admitted by a high ranking officer, in a January 23rd meeting, THERE IS NO POLICE REPORT! Only a police dispatch form documenting that the neighbor called the station, and that a car was dispatched to the address. Therefore, IF it IS, WAS, or WILL BE a city “noise” ordinance, what signifies noise? Dogs barking, children playing, sirens, or a church choir? The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding (prohibiting) the free exercise of religion, This is the United States, where we have freedom and liberties, so why did this officer enter the church ready to pull his gun and why did he order us to stop service and leave the premises, and why is there NO POLICE REPORT? Total injustice. This is unbelievable that in 2012, with a Black President, you would think we’ve overcome! Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The pledge of allegiance to the flag says: “with liberty and justice FOR ALL”. Does this not apply to the little black church?

The world witnessed the importance of music in the black church during the recent funeral service of Whitney Houston. Many strengths and talents have been birthed by the Black church. We can’t let it be a thing of the past. The NPower International Ministry, Glorious Church and New Hope Church of Raleigh has formed an organization called, National Association for Religious Justice (www.NAFRJ.org). This association is interested in setting standards that will not tolerate such behavior against the Body of Christ according to the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. As long as praise & worship, is taking place in an established church building (not the home, hotel etc) law enforcement can not come into the church and ask anyone to leave unless it is a riot, fire, or threat to public safety. The National Association for Religious Justice, will fight for the rights and freedom to worship in the United States. No longer, can we (the Body of Christ), sit passively by, while the bureaucrats chip away at our right to worship. There is so much talent in the church yet to be discovered, but if we let them shut us down, that talent may never be shared with the world, ultimately bringing souls to Christ. Music is the way in which the Black church celebrates’ Jesus. Take away our music, and you impede our right to freedom of Religion.

The National Association for Religious Justice consists of the church helping the church, by fighting for the right to worship, without hindrances. The organization will pursue every legal option available, to ensure music and the Gospel is once again, free to be heard by all. The Black church is a beacon in our neighborhood and The Black church is responsible for many gifts being birthed, because of the music; Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, BeBe and CeCe, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, and list goes on. The neighbors will not allow the Glorious Church to have choir rehearsals, revivals, or any kind of evening services, and during morning services the police are called. The police has even interrupted a funeral, because the neighbors said they were too loud!!! Additionally, The New Hope Church of Raleigh NC have had their services interrupted by police, and they constantly drive by on Sunday morning. The Faith Builders Church in Burlington has been taken to City Council because residents say they heard loud noises – shouting, music and “thumping – during the week and- Sometimes it’s during the mornings – like on Sundays -…

A Pastor in Ghana was arrested because he held church services with music; This would never happen in America you say? Don’t be so sure, unless we make our voice heard now!

To raise funds, I’ve developed an Ebook entitled: “Liberty and Justice for All?” It’s a full report of churches that are being cited for noise in the United States, which you can receive for any donation via our website, www.NARJ.org

Dr. Inetta J. Cooper is the founder of NPower Ministry and the co-founder of the National Association For Religious Justice (NARJ).

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