20
November , 2018
Tuesday

Email This Post Email This Post

“Don’t play games with our children’

By Chinta Strausberg

Defending Gov. Pat Quinn’s embattled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) being probed by the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission (ILAC), Father Michael L. Pfleger and Elder Kevin Ford Wednesday called for an end to the political fighting that has the ILAC dead locked on minor details while children are still getting shot in Chicago.

At a press conference held outside of the Illinois State Bilandic Building, 160North La Salle St., Pfleger, who heads the Saint Sabina Church, and Elder Ford,who is executive director of the St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries, referred to the Fourth of July’s weekend of violence where 82 people were shot and 14 killed.

“To add insult to injury, we are saturated with the plague of hopelessness, abandonment, addiction and crime.” Ford told reporters.

“But when Democrats took the lead in trying to solve these social maladies, Republicans used the youth program as political fodder and of course without a viable plan,” he stated.

While upstairs in Room 600 C, the ILAC was meeting over the 2010 but now defunct youth program, outside where Pfleger and Ford were holding a press conference there appeared two men dressed as clowns including one impersonating Pinocchio symbolic of someone who is lying.

Outraged, Father Pfleger referred to the U.S. Justice Department’s saying the hearing would impede their criminal investigation of the youth program and had asked the ILAC to stand down and allow them to do their job.

Referring to Republican Bruce Rauner, Pfleger said, “I understand Rauner put out some stuff this morning” he said was not true. Pfleger, who held a folder full of receipts of checks where he sent back more than $180,000, voiced outrage at thet wo men in clown’s attire accusing them of playing politics with the lives of children.

Ford added,“It is imperative that our elected officials stand together, Democrats and Republicans, to create programs to restore, enrich, enhance, and create sustainability for our troubled youth. We are here today taking a stand to improve the quality of life for our young people. “

Upstairs a the meeting for the next seven-hours, the ILAC members remained deadlocked ove ra motion on how to handle federal prosecutors requests to stand down for90-days until they have completed their investigation.

Their arguments were sharply divided along political lines and often had the twoco-chairs, Senator Jason A. Barickman (R-53rd) and Rep. Frank J.Mautino (D-76th) butting heads over minor details on how to proceed with their probe without stepping on the toes of the feds who twice told them to ack off for 90-days until their investigation is completed.

Mautino said the feds specific request was that “they be the lead investigating agency.That’s what they are. We are the legislative support group and we are designed to fix things going forward…. I am hopeful we get an agreement….”

During them eeting, Mautino took a proverbial beating from Senator Jim Oberweis (R-25th)who accused him of not understanding his motion on how to proceed with thei nvestigation without violating the feds request to delay the probe for90-days. Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) took several swipes at Mautino and also complained that all but one witness showed up. Barickman often quibbled with Mautino who stood his ground saying he was not going to interfere with a federal investigation.

Rep. Rober tRita (D-28th) questioned why were they proceeding with thei nvestigation when U.S. Attorney James Lewis asked the commission not to call witnesses because it would compromise their own investigation. When Senator John Mulroe (D-10th) tried to be the peacemaker, he was quickly shotdown by the Republican faction.

After an eight-hour meeting where the commissioners often huddled and took several recesses, when Barickman was asked what is wrong with getting a green light letter from the U.S. attorney’s office before proceeding with the hearings, he told reporters, “I think the concerns are that that is not the normal procedure of the U.S. attorney’s office.

“They don’t give you a letter that says please proceed with what ever you were working on.They tell you when they would like you to defer. They’ve made that communication readily apparent to us today. We anticipate that in 90-days that the U.S. attorney’s office investigating this failed Quinn initiative determine that more time is necessary they have told us they would communicate that to us then.”

Barickmana dded, “They (the feds) want us to defer for 90-days if they want less time or more time, they will tell us and that we should act accordingly. There are concerns raised by certain members here they are not sure what happens in 90-days. The U.S. attorney’s office has made it very clear if they need more time they will let us know.”

Mautino told reporters “We are not going to interfere with a federal investigation…. What we’re arguing about is I think that the chairman and I should give the feds a call 10-days before (the 90-days) and if they say we’ve completed our investigation go ahead, then we can go back.

“I was concerned about the other motions that were made because if the feds are not done and ask us for additional time or say you can’t have these witnesses, then you get to witness what you say today,” Mautino said referring to the admitted frustration of not passing a motion. “We have to comply with the feds,” Mautino said.

He reminded the commission they are not investigators, the feds are. Mautino told reporters, “If I can keep everyone focused on what the audit actually is. This is an audit violence prevention authority which the governor dissolved two-years later and sent over to the Criminal Justice Information Authority.

“The program is not a failed initiative,” Mautino said. “It was badly managed. It’s got some very important pieces…mentoring…educational programs…..

“The audit itself has five areas where I believe we need to change the law to make sure this doesn’t happen again…RFP Request For Proposals so you won’t give contracts out to your friends. One of the big problems here these guys have the money, didn’t turn in their reports and got more money. We don’t require quarterly reports before you get your next set of money.”

Mautino said while overall crime is down “there are pockets in these communities where you get extreme violence. Some of these programs help. They were mismanaged on the front side and the feds are looking at it. We ought to step aside. I have no problem bringing those issues back,” he said.

Unable to get a vote on the motion on how to proceed, Rep. Fred Crespo, who also chairs the Appropriations Committee, asked how much is this hearing costing taxpayers. He was told the cost was $3,985.00.

When Mautino told the commission this could have been resolved between Barickman and him, they finally agreed to resume the meeting today at 9 a.m., in Room 600-C, 160 North LaSalle St. At 9:02 a.m., Mautino, Barickman and the four lawyerswill call the U.S. Attorney’s office for clarification then resume the meeting.

However, at 9:30 a.m., Pam Bosley, the violence prevention manager for The Brave Youth Leaders of the Ark of Saint Sabina, is holding a press conference outside of the building challenging the commissioners to come down and talk to the youth who were some of the beneficiaries of the $54.5 million NRI program and who want to tell their stories on how those grants helped turn their lives around.

Bosley, who lost her son, Terrell, 18, on April 4, 2006, to gun violence, said, “The grants they are talking about were in the urban community. The people on the sixth floor (of the 160 North LaSalle Building) did not come out to see what has taken place.  We know they did not visit Saint Sabina. They did not come out to see the positive things at Saint Sabina. They are judging us without seeing the facts.

“They are playing a political game with our children’s live. We’re upset, mad and we want them to come down and meet and talk to some of our youth. They can meet the real humans they are fighting over. They have put our children in a political battle and they already have enough to deal with,” she said referring to the daily shootings that are taking place in Chicago.

While upstairs in Room 600 C, the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission (ILAC), composed mostly of downstate officials, was meeting over the 2010 but now defunct youth program, outside where Pfleger and Ford were holding a press conference there appeared two men dressed as clowns including one impersonating Pinocchio symbolic of someone who is lying.  Outraged, Father Pfleger referred to the U.S. Justice Department’s saying the hearing would impede their criminal investigation of the youth program and had asked the ILAC to stand down and allow them to do their job.  (All photos by Chinta Strausberg)While upstairs in Room 600 C, the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission (ILAC), composed mostly of downstate officials, was meeting over the 2010 but now defunct youth program, outside where Pfleger and Ford were holding a press conference there appeared two men dressed as clowns including one impersonating Pinocchio symbolic of someone who is lying. Outraged, Father Pfleger referred to the U.S. Justice Department’s saying the hearing would impede their criminal investigation of the youth program and had asked the ILAC to stand down and allow them to do their job.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

(All photos by Chinta Strausberg)Father Pfleger strongly objected to the presence of the clowns hogging the cameras during his press conference. He accused the GOP of playing with the lives of children who are at risk of gun violence.Father Pfleger strongly objected to the presence of the clowns hogging the cameras during his press conference. He accused the GOP of playing with the lives of children who are at risk of gun violence.Rev. Paul Jakes, who is with the Quinn campaign, scurries to remove the clowns but they simply came back until the camera went upstairs to the hearing.Rev. Paul Jakes, who is with the Quinn campaign, scurries to remove the clowns but they simply came back until the camera went upstairs to the hearing.At a press conference held outside of the Illinois State Bilandic Building, 160 North LaSalle St., Pfleger, who heads the Saint Sabina Church, and Elder Ford, who is executive director of the St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries, referred to the Fourth of July’s weekend of violence where 82 people were shot and 14 killed.  “To add insult to injury, we are saturated with the plague of hopelessness, abandonment, addiction and crime.” Ford told reporters.  “But when Democrats took the lead in trying to solve these social maladies, Republicans used the youth program as political fodder and of course without a viable plan,” he stated.At a press conference held outside of the Illinois State Bilandic Building, 160 North LaSalle St., Pfleger, who heads the Saint Sabina Church, and Elder Ford, who is executive director of the St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries, referred to the Fourth of July’s weekend of violence where 82 people were shot and 14 killed. “To add insult to injury, we are saturated with the plague of hopelessness, abandonment, addiction and crime.” Ford told reporters. “But when Democrats took the lead in trying to solve these social maladies, Republicans used the youth program as political fodder and of course without a viable plan,” he stated.“We all remember one of the bloodiest Fourth of July’s in the history of Chicago—82 shot, 14 killed, according to the media,,” said Elder Ford.   “To add insult to injury, we are saturated with the plague of hopelessness, abandonment, addiction and crime.”“We all remember one of the bloodiest Fourth of July’s in the history of Chicago—82 shot, 14 killed, according to the media,,” said Elder Ford. “To add insult to injury, we are saturated with the plague of hopelessness, abandonment, addiction and crime.”The Illinois Legislative Audit Commission hears testimony in the ongoing investigation of Gov. Quinn's Neighborhood  Recovery Initiative anti-violence program.The Illinois Legislative Audit Commission hears testimony in the ongoing investigation of Gov. Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative anti-violence program.Rep. Robert Rita asks, "why are we here when the feds told us to stand down"?Rep. Robert Rita asks, “why are we here when the feds told us to stand down”?Senator Bill Brady was upset with the lawyers who represented witnesses. Only one witnessed, former Ald. Billy Oasio,  showed up. Brady said to one lawyer, "By what authority do you have to tell a client not to appear" before his committee?Senator Bill Brady was upset with the lawyers who represented witnesses. Only one witnessed, former Ald. Billy Oasio, showed up. Brady said to one lawyer, “By what authority do you have to tell a client not to appear” before his committee?Rep. Sanback questions witnesses as well.Rep. Sanback questions witnesses as well.

LikeLike · · Share
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

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

Recent Posts