April , 2019

As national civil and human rights organizations and leaders committed to the protection ...
Group Slams Governor Bruce Rauner’s Non-Budget Address for the 3rd Year in a Row On Wednesday, ...
A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ...
Skyscraper Snapshots Added to Chicago Architecture Foundation Options   The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan, has ...
Presents Proclamation to Reverend Evans CHICAGO, IL – Governor Pat Quinn attended Reverend Dr. Clay ...
Attorney General Releases Data Showing Dramatic Increase in Consumer Worry over Impact Data Breaches & ...
By Scott Whitaker Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- As the corporately controlled media (ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, ...
By Chinta Strausberg Allegedly fired for refusing to change the conclusion of his police ...
The White House is lifting its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours.  ...
  (From The Better Business Bureau)     CHICAGO, IL - It's almost Mother's Day and whether ordering flowers, shopping ...

Archive for April 24th, 2018

Setting the Record Straight in Response to 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris Statement to a News Reporter About my Actions

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Setting the Record Straight in Response to 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris Statement to a News Reporter About my Actions

This article is to set the record straight. What the 8th Ward alderman said is misinformation.


By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine


I’ve been an Author, Publisher, Journalist and news reporter for 42 Years. I don’t usually make statements to the press because I am the press. I do investigative stories and ask questions of others.

Recently, a news reporter interviewed 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris about the low income Section 8 Senior building that is proposed to be built at 9329 to 9429 on Stony Island Ave. The building will consist of 134 units, 7 story tall.

Harris told the news reporter that she had met with “your group” for a year and there is nothing she can do to change your mind about the low income facility because “your group” is against her.

Let me make it very clear, Harris has never met with me or anyone I know. I do not have a group. That’s something she created in her mind. I do communicate with neighbors, friends and residents that live in the 8th Ward. Most good neighbors and friends do that all the time. Certainly, I am no different.

However, this is my response to the news reporter:

“Here we go again! Alderman Michelle Harris got it wrong again, as she always does. I do not have a “group.” I attend meetings that other residents or organizations in the community sponsor and write articles about what happened at those meetings. That’s what the media do. I am a media person. Shame on the alderman for not getting anything right. Or maybe she deliberately gives out misinformation to those who don’t know what is going on in our community, her ward. I know what is going on because I am active in my 8th Ward community. Sometimes I wonder does she purposely give out wrong information.

In an interview with a local newspaper, she claimed that it was a “small group” of people in opposition to her bringing in the low income project, that they don’t support her. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. There were about 200 people that came to an already canceled meeting at St. Ailbe Church on a rainy cold night to protest the building coming to the area. It was canceled because someone called the church and reserved the room under false pretense, pretending to be a woman that many at the church were familiar with. Her name was falsely used and when the woman found out that someone had falsely used her name, that she never reserved a room there, the meeting was canceled. That was not my meeting. I never scheduled any meetings. I attend other people meetings of concern.

I live in the 8th Ward community and want to preserve the integrity of our community. I make no apologies for that. I have no idea who put the meeting together but I attended the meeting after receiving a flyer in that regard, just like most people who attended. The alderman keeps saying that she has a lot of support from the community to bring the low income housing for seniors in. She does not! There are more residents in opposition to this building coming in than supporters. And I’m sure she knows that already.


A Land Grab in the 8th Ward?: It Appears That the Alderman is Selling Out the Pill Hill Community

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on A Land Grab in the 8th Ward?: It Appears That the Alderman is Selling Out the Pill Hill Community

27th Ward Alderman said Alderman Harris doesn’t have to answer to the community…really?

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

Proposed site for 7 story low income senior housing projectThere were 12 plus speakers from the 8th Ward who made firm, challenging presentations at the Chicago Development Committee meeting April 19th in City Hall against a proposed low income Section 8 Senior housing coming to the Ward.

Nonetheless, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. took it upon himself (he doesn’t live in the 8th Ward or the Pill Hill area) to rudely interrupt a community speaker while she had the floor. No apology came from the 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris. 27th Ward Ald. Burnett stated that Harris  does not have to answer to the community. Say What? Really? Maybe if she is defeated in the next election, February 26, 2019, that statement will play itself out.

27th Ward residents would be wise to question Burnett’s mannerism and tactics if they think of him as a leader. How can someone in the 27th Ward feel that they can make decisions about what is best for the 8th Ward? When he offered to take the building in his ward he got shouted down by the audience, telling him to “take it!”

Interesting enough though, there were 12 plus people there who opposed the project, stating that they lived in the affected area where the proposed low-income senior housing project will be built; and a few others that wanted the $38-million, 134 unit, 7 Story building to come into the ward, never made known where they lived (if they did) in the area even after being asked. Obviously, they didn’t live in the area. One man mentioned that he built a $250,000 property next to the low-income housing on East 78th Street and claimed that his property value went up.  Not sure how that’s possible when homes in the area go for a lot less now. A visit to any real estate site will reveal this.

Realtor.com states in a “Property Overview” that the median sales price for the Far Southeast Side area is $76,000. The $114,077 estimated value is 3.73% less than the median listing price of $118,500 for the Far Southeast Side area.

Nearby schools include Avalon Park Elementary School, Shabazz International Charter Schools and Hirsch Metropolitan High School.  That is certainly no comparison to Pill Hill homes that go for twice that amount and is in a much more desirable area.

During one of the meetings, it was mentioned that the property values can go down for those owning properties in the area, and that crime and taxes increase when you build such structures nearby.

Have you ever noticed that there is always a lust for land near highways and waterways? Think about it! And certainly, it’s not hard to figure out why South Shore property is in demand and being bought up for pennies on the dollar. That huge lot on Stony Island Ave. (9329 to 9429) where the senior home is proposed to be built was sold for a mere $800,000 but is worth much more now. Try buying that much land up on the North side near a major highway (if you can find one), and see the difference in cost.

In a meeting where 8th Ward staff attended, community activist Marcel Bright asked about a marketing study that was done about the area which allegedly showed a need for low income senior housing. To date, he, nor anyone else affiliated with the Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward has been provided a copy of the study. It was also said by an audience member that all of the land being grabbed up by developers today was mostly in black communities.

While the battle continues to save the 8th Ward from negative influence, it is obvious that those who don’t live in the community are trying to buy up and sell-out the community in an effort to eventually force people out with more crime and rising property taxes.

Why the Pill Hill community? Why now?  All of these going-on, and the 8th Ward Alderman has yet to meet with residents that would be most affected by this project.

The Chicago Plan Commission, consisting mostly of Caucasians, made a decision about a black community they do not know anything about or live in the area. Yet, they are strongly supporting the development being imposed on Pill Hill residents and their community.

Linda Hudson, a candidate for alderman in the 8th Ward, made some valid points that were somewhat unsettling, including that the 8th Ward alderman’s organization had taken donations from the developer who wants to build the low-income senior housing project in a business district, and that the zoning would have to be changed to B3-3! That opens the door for other like businesses to set up shop on Stony Island Ave.

What the 8th Ward Alderman is doing is contributing to the decline of the Black Community in Chicago, allowing land to be sold to non-black developers. She is taking away the hope of young blacks looking to stay in the community and build their businesses on Stony Island. Blacks are being excluded from the recovering job market in an attempt to force them to the South where all of a sudden there is plenty of work for them. It’s called reverse migration.

Unfortunately, the 8th Ward and 27th Ward Aldermen do not have the leadership skills and abilities, nor do they have the experience or economics background to understand how all of this can play out in the end. Their lack of experience or knowledge is just plain ignorance and is costing the community in a big way. What was obvious to me and others was that after the meeting those in the crowd felt that the 8th Ward needs a new Alderman. “It’s time for change!,” they said.

Elect Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman

Only African Americans Arrested Under Mississippi Gang Law: Race & Justice News

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Only African Americans Arrested Under Mississippi Gang Law: Race & Justice News

From the Sentencing Project


Gang Enforcement

Only African Americans Arrested Under Mississippi Gang Law


From 2010 through 2017, everyone arrested under Mississippi’s gang law was black, reports the Jackson Free Press. According to the Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators, 53% of verified gang members in the state are white. However, the Administrative Office of the Courts confirmed that all 97 individuals arrested under the gang law between 2010 and 2017 were black. State Public Defender Andre de Gruy suggested that the state would benefit from a racial impact analysis of the existing law: “[A] provision could be crafted to review the racial impact annually.” A recent bill to increase penalties for gang-related crimes and gang recruitment, Senate Bill 2868, failed to win approval in a Mississippi Senate Committee in part due to concerns about its disparate racial impact. State Senator Brice Wiggins, the bill’s sponsor, dismissed concerns about racial disparities, saying: “It’s not a Republican, Democrat, black or white (issue).”


Columbus, Georgia Prosecutors Excluded Black Jurors from 1970s Death Penalty Cases

Columbus, Georgia prosecutors routinely excluded African Americans from juries in death penalty cases involving black defendants in the 1970s, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Describing them as “slow,” “ignorant,” “con artist” and “fat,” these prosecutors marked a “B” or an “N” next to prospective black jurors’ names on the jury lists. Whites were identified with a “W” and ranked as more desirable jurors. These practices were revealed in a motion filed on behalf of Johnny Lee Gates, who is now serving life without the possibility of parole for a 1976 rape and murder. Gates’ legal team is arguing for a new trial because these discriminatory practices prevented all four African Americans in the jury pool from being selected in his case, just as they excluded most black jurors in the six other death penalty cases involving black defendants in the 1970s.

(Prosecutors’ notes from Gates’ 1977 trial show that all four black prospective jurors, marked with an “N” in the notes, were struck. Each name also has a “1” to the left of it, indicating that prosecutors scored them as the least desirable. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

“Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to a fair trial that’s free of race discrimination…Mr. Gates’s trial was undermined by race discrimination from the start” said Gates’ lawyer, Patrick Mulvaney. The Muscogee County District Attorney’s Office has argued that Gates’ claim should be rejected because he is relying on just seven capital cases and is not showing systematic exclusion of blacks “in case after case, whatever the circumstances, whatever the crime and whoever the defendant or victim may be.”

Black Defendants Disproportionately Convicted by Louisiana’s Non-Unanimous Juries

On average, Louisiana sends one person to prison every five days on the decision of a divided jury—a practice that disproportionately impacts African Americans. The Advocate’s analysis of nearly 41,000 prospective jurors in nine of the state’s busiest courthouses found that jury pools were whiter than their communities, with juries picked from them being whiter still. What’s more, the 10-2 rule for jury decisions—requiring only 10 jurors to reach an agreement for a conviction—systematically disadvantages black defendants. Among 933 felony trial convictions across six years, 43% of convictions came over the objections of one or two jurors when the defendant was black compared to 33% of convictions for white defendants. African Americans accounted for three-fourths of the convictions examined. “In a justice system dominated by plea deals,” reporter Jeff Adelson and colleagues explain, “thousands more Louisiana defendants take deals minimizing their prison time rather than risk the often massive consequences of a guilty verdict.”

The Louisiana Senate recently passed a bill that would place a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot for voters to determine whether to maintain the practice of non-unanimous juries. The only other state to allow split verdicts in felony cases, Oregon, demands unanimity for murder cases.


Jails in Indian Reservations Provide Inadequate Healthcare

Many federally funded jails in American Indian reservations lack in-house nurses or other medical staff, leaving corrections officers scrambling in emergencies “to determine whether to send an inmate to the hospital, or provide basic care themselves—sometimes with unfortunate consequences,” reports Mary Hudetz of The Associated Press. For instance, authorities at a jail in Tuba City, AZ (in the Navajo Nation) booked an individual with tuberculosis without a proper medical screening, which triggered an outbreak at the facility. When the jail was constructed, Lynette Bonar, the chief executive of a nearby hospital, recounts being told that “there were no federal dollars available for caring for them in house.”

For over a decade, the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has urged the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to arrange for the Indian Health Service (a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services) to post nurses inside the jails. The BIA, which manages about a quarter of all jails on reservations, and the tribes that have federal contracts to operate the rest all rely on Indian Health Services or tribal health clinics to provide medical care. Currently, “People aren’t really getting health care, and they’re not being screened for communicable diseases,” explained Bonar.

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Scammers target Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Scammers target Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund

By Drew Johnson
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Consumers are reporting a new imposter scam — this time the callers are pretending to be with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). According to reports, the callers are telling people they may be entitled to money, and they are asking people for their personal information to determine if they are eligible. It’s a scam.

Currently, the callers are using spoofed phone numbers with New York area codes. They are asking for information ranging from Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, and bank account numbers, to medical histories and proof of whether a person worked in the 9/11 exposure zone.

If you get a random call with questions about your claim with the Victim Compensation Fund or your potential for eligibility, hang up immediately. The VCF may call you, but it will never ask for your full Social Security number. If you are uncertain whether a caller is from the VCF, hang up and call the VCF directly at 1-855-885-1555.

If you encounter a similar call, hang up and report it to the FTC. And spread the word to your friends, family, and community. It may help someone avoid a scam.

Illinois Is 2018’s 9th Most Gambling-Addicted State – WalletHub Study

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Illinois Is 2018’s 9th Most Gambling-Addicted State – WalletHub Study
From:  Diana Popa

With Americans losing over $100 billion through gambling each year and the Kentucky Derby soon to kick off, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Most Gambling-Addicted States along with its Kentucky Derby Facts & History infographic.

In order to call out the states where gambling addiction is most prevalent, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 19 key metrics. The data set ranges from presence of illegal gambling operations to lottery sales per capita to share of adults with gambling disorders.

Gambling Addiction in Illinois (1=Most Addicted, 25=Avg.):
  • 25th – Gaming Machines per Capita
  • 21st – Lottery Sales per Capita
  • 9th – % of Adults with Gambling Disorders
  • 1st – Gambling-Related Arrests per Capita
  • 5th – Legality of Sports Gambling

For the full report, please visit:

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a phone, Skype or in-studio interview with one of our experts. Full data sets for specific states from the Most Gambling-Addicted States report are also available upon request.

Diana Popa
WalletHub Communications Manager
(202) 684-6386

More from WalletHub


OP-ED: Amidst Black Homeownership Crisis, a Mortgage Leader Rises Up to Teach

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on OP-ED: Amidst Black Homeownership Crisis, a Mortgage Leader Rises Up to Teach

By Hazel Trice Edney

Lois Johnson, founder/CEO, United Security Financial Corp

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As America commemorates the 50th year of the Fair Housing Act, the unfortunate numbers have been repeated often: “The gap between White and Black homeownership is wider now than it was in 1960,” PBS reported earlier this year.

The reasons vary. In a nutshell, redlining, credit issues, and plain old race discrimination have been blamed for the homeownership disparity that partially results in the median net worth of White American families being 10 times greater than Black Americans, according to the New York Times.

But America does not lack those who, not only monitor such statistics, but those who feel a charge to bring fairness and equality to the unjust situation that the numbers reveal. Lois Johnson, Founder/CEO of United Security Financial Corp, is one of those people who recognizes the crisis in Black homeownership and are determined to do her part to rectify it.

The former real estate sales agent and full time accountant for the United Parcel Service believes a deficiency in financial education is a large part of the problem. She came to this conclusion after she found she could not acquire loans for people to whom she had sold a house without having to “put up a fight”. And on top of that, she couldn’t get a loan for her own church.

“I was a member of Faith Temple Pentecostal Church here in Salt Lake City, Utah and I was the business manager for the church. And we ran into a problem just trying to get a commercial loan for the church. And I said, ‘Well, that’s it.’ I said, ‘I think I’ll just try doing this myself.’ I became a loan officer. I got really good at it,” she said. “And I was able to get more people loans so I just took it from there and here I am today.”

Lois Johnson speaks on homeownership during the recent Stateswomen for Justice Luncheon at the National Press Club. PHOTO: Roy Lewis

More than 30 years later, Lois Johnson is among the leading independent home mortgage lenders in the nation. Licensed to operate in 49 states, she is the country’s only African-American Ginnie Mae lender and is also an issuer of Fannie Mae, which is a conventional lender. But even after working in the homeownership industry for 38 years, she still sees a plethora of problems.

In her decades of experience, she has come to believe the Black homeownership crisis is still existent due to information about home buying and mortgage lending being withheld from African-Americans. And she’s decided to do something about it. In the following conversation with the Trice Edney News Wire, Lois Johnson answers key questions about issues that hinder home ownership:

Trice Edney: Why should homeownership be the centerpiece for a strategy to build legacy wealth in the African-American community?

Lois Johnson: Because a house is usually the largest item that will create wealth. Just think about it. If you buy a house and you stay in that house for a period of time, that house is going to become worth a lot more than what you paid for it. If you keep that house long enough the value of your home will grow. Then you can pull cash from your home and buy another home and still have value in it. On the other hand, big ticket items such as cars and boats depreciate and sometimes can’t be resold or can only be sold for a lot less. But when you sell a house, you might get two, three or more times as much as you bought it for.

Trice Edney: What is the minimum credit score (or FICO score) required to purchase a home?

Lois Johnson: The FHA [Federal Housing Administration] will take it at maybe 540. Most lenders won’t go any less than 620. That’s about the lowest FICO that the average lenders will take – including Gennie Mae and Fannie Mae lenders. If we get too many low FICO scores it could cause our ratings to go down which could cause us to lose our Gennie Mae licenses. That’s why Gennie Mae issuers and Fannie Mae issuers don’t like to take low FICO scores. They’re putting themselves in jeopardy. Now, on the flip side of that, there are ways in which you can increase your FICO (credit) score.

Trice Edney: What is the best way to repair and increase one’s credit score?

Lois Johnson: You may go to a credit repair agency or your lender can also tell you what to do. Then there are things that you can do on your own. For example, if you have a charge card and your limit is $1,000, your balance should never be any higher than 75 percent. In other words, you should never charge over $750, which is 75 percent of your loan limit. That will maintain your FICO score. Also, there may be collection items on your credit report that may be removed with a vendor settlement. That will increase your FICO Score as well.

Trice Edney: What are some of the greatest obstacles to increasing your credit score and what can be done about them?

Lois Johnson: Child support. Communicate with the child support recipient to make sure the amount on your credit report is accurate. If it is not, the recipient can draft a letter correcting the information that’s in the bureau. The agency then has to correct the information that’s been reported. This will increase your FICO score.

Also, always pay your bills on time. Some people think, well, if I pay it a day late, then that’s not bad credit. But that’s a late payment. As long as you pay that bill before the next payment is due, then that company will not report you as late.

Finally, if you have student loans and every last one of them are late, that pulls your credit score down. Whatever agency you’re paying for the student loan, have them combine them into one loan. Then have them make an adjustment on the payments. This will lower your debt ratio and enable you to make your payments on time. This will certainly increase your FICO score.

Trice Edney: What are the psychological impediments to homeownership?

Lois Johnson: You shouldn’t listen to everything that people say. For example, it is said that you must have at least a 20 percent down payment to purchase a home. That’s just hearsay; in fact, you may purchase a home for as little as 3.5 percent down payment on an FHA loan or 0 percent down on a VA loan. And you may pay 3 percent or 5 percent down on a conventional loan. Also, there are many lenders who offer down payment assistance, such as United Security Financial (for more information, call 1-800-373-4186).

Trice Edney: What are some of the special mortgage programs for people who are buying their homes for the first time?

Lois Johnson: There are down payment assistance programs as we indicated above. Then, there are lower down payment programs such as FHA, VA and Fannie Mae loan programs. There are also state financing programs available to first time home buyers.

Trice Edney: How long should a person wait to apply for a mortgage loan after bankruptcy?

Lois Johnson: That depends on whether you’re applying for a Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs or a conventional loan. In most cases it’s 3-5 years.

Trice Edney: If somebody wants to apply for a home equity loan after they secure their first mortgage, how long does it take them to qualify for a home equity loan?

Lois Johnson: If it’s an FHA, VA or conventional loan, in most cases it’s six months after you purchase the home.

Trice Edney: Is a refinance the same thing as a second mortgage?

Lois Johnson: No. With refinance, you pay off your current mortgage and acquire another first mortgage. In other words, you have a new first mortgage.

Trice Edney: What is the difference between getting a second mortgage and reorganizing or refinancing your home?

Lois Johnson: A second mortgage is an additional mortgage that you place on your home and you still maintain your first mortgage. A second mortgage is obtained to take cash out of your home. In most cases, you will receive a higher interest rate on your second mortgage.

Trice Edney: What is a really good HUD-certified, home counseling agency that you know of?

Lois Johnson: Marcia Griffin at HomeFree-USA. You may also contact HUD and they will give you a list of home counseling agencies in your area.

Trice Edney: What is the average time it takes to close on a mortgage loan?

Lois Johnson: The average time is approximately 30 days.

Trice Edney: How does a homeowner modify their payments?

Lois Johnson: If you are gainfully employed and making money, then a modification program is out there. The government has approved that. The problem is getting the information to the people. There are loan modifications through Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae. The homeowner must contact their lender and apply for a loan modification. If you’re having problems, you may contact USF and we will assist you with that modification process. Homeowners really don’t have to lose their homes. There again is the lack of knowledge. We’re not getting the information to the public.

Trice Edney: How many cosigners or coborrowers can you have on your loan?

Lois Johnson: You may have several borrowers on the home. However, it depends on the qualifications of each borrower/co-borrower.

Trice Edney: Can you use a part-time income to apply for a mortgage loan?

Louis Johnson: Yes, you can use a part time income so long as you have been working that part time position for two years. And it doesn’t have to be the same part time position. You just have to establish a track record that says you have actively worked part time for two years and filed it on your income tax return.

Trice Edney: So why is the homeownership crisis still lingering in the Black community?

Lois Johnson: The number one thing is lack of knowledge. But, it’s people of all backgrounds who have this lack of knowledge – not just African-Americans. I’m finding out a lot of this because I’m in a lot of states and I’m finding out that it’s more African-Americans who don’t own homes than it is other nationalities. I’m available to all people. The problem with our people is that we often don’t have all the information we need. Yet, the lenders and the bankers they go to are more willing to give others what they need to help them. I watch this. When I started a career in mortgage banking, I saw so many minorities being turned down. And they have the same qualifications as Caucas

People ask mortgage and homeownership questions after Johnson speaks at the recent Stateswomen for Justice Luncheon. PHOTO: Roy Lewis

ians who didn’t get turned down. Probably some of them got approved who should not have gotten approved, but it was because of the help that was given to them. They were told what to do. So, within the guidelines, we should provide our people the information that’s needed to acquire a loan and refer them to the right agencies that can help them.


Trice Edney: Any final advice for obtaining a home?

Lois Johnson: Yes. Make sure you go to a good experienced person. And even if they turn you down, go to another one. Go to housing counseling like HomeFree-USA, let them give you advice and get you prepared for home ownership because you’re going to run into obstacles. I wouldn’t be where I am today except for the grace of God and persistence. I kept going and going until I got what I was after. And I’m still pressing.

Processing of Second Installment Property Tax Bills

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Processing of Second Installment Property Tax Bills

Some questions have arisen in recent days regarding position reductions in the Board of Review and the ability of the Board of Review to complete its tasks so that second installment property tax bills can be distributed on time. Please find below information and context. As needed, attribute to me as chief spokesperson for the Office of the President.


Cook County has been able to produce property tax bills in a timely basis for the past six years. It is the obligation of all the property tax agencies — the Assessor, Clerk, Treasurer and Board of Review — to ensure that this continues. Recent reports that the Board of Review may not be able to meet this obligation are troubling. A Board of Review spokesperson is quoted as stating the agency’s staffing was cut by 20% in FY 18 and that as a result, the Board of Review may not be able to meet its deadlines. The actual reduction in positions was 14.6% and was a direct result of the revenue lost from repeal of the Sweetened Beverage Tax. Further, most of the position reductions swept from the Board of Review were vacancies. Those positions swept amounted to 11 out of more than 1,000 vacancies that were swept county-wide due to the revenue loss; layoffs at the Board of Review amounted to eight out of 328 layoffs county-wide.


We made it very clear to separately elected officials that the loss of about $200 million in revenue, without a replacement, would result in staffing reductions throughout Cook County. That these staffing reductions took place should not have been a surprise. Almost six months have passed since the beverage tax was repealed, plenty of time to make any needed adjustments to meet deadlines for timely release of the tax bills. We trust that all the property tax agencies will continue their good faith work to meet deadlines and ensure tax bills get out on time. 


-Frank Shuftan

Director of Communications

Office of the President

(312) 603-3323—desk

(312) 343-6480—mobile



Attorney General Madigan Files Lawsuit Against Suburban Express

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Attorney General Madigan Files Lawsuit Against Suburban Express


Attorney General Alleges Transportation Company Engaged in Discrimination, Harassmentand Invaded Privacy of Student Customers  


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against a transportation company for discrimination and harassment against customers and their families.


Madigan filed the lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois against Champaign, Ill.-based Suburban Express Inc. and owner Dennis Toeppen, alleging that Toeppen and Suburban Express discriminated against customers on the basis of race, national origin and religion, harassed customers with public shame and ridicule, and intentionally compromised customers’ personal information. Suburban Express is a company that provides bus services to students at colleges and universities in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana to the suburban Chicago area and Chicago airports.


According to Madigan’s complaint, Toeppen engaged in discrimination against customers, including a December 2017 mass-marketing email to customers that touted bus rides with, “Passengers like you. You won’t feel like you’re in China when you’re on our buses.”


Madigan’s lawsuit also alleges Suburban Express encourages its employees to avoid certain students who appear not to speak English when distributing coupons for bus services. The lawsuit also alleges Toeppen posted a video mocking students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, complaining that English is not the primary language spoken in one of the undergraduate residence halls offensively imitating an Asian accent.


“Suburban Express and Dennis Toeppen have engaged in illegal discrimination and harassment against college students and their families,” Madigan said. “I am asking the court to take immediate action to prevent further harm to people who have been targeted by Suburban Express and its owner, and my lawsuit seeks to shut this company down for good.”


According to Madigan’s complaint, Toeppen goes to extreme lengths to ban and publicly shame or embarrass customers who have posted negative online reviews, mistakenly tried to use the wrong bus ticket or offended Toeppen in other ways. He responds to negative online reviews by ridiculing and insulting customers, sometimes encouraging potential employers to avoid hiring them or universities not to enroll certain students. Toeppen also publishes web pages attacking individual customers and has published full credit card numbers, bank account numbers and other personal information.


Along with her lawsuit, Madigan also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order asking the court to take immediate action to force the owner of Suburban Express to stop publishing customers’ personal financial information, stop harassment toward customers, and stop forcing them to accept unfair contract terms. Her lawsuit seeks to put Suburban Express out of business.


The case is being handled by the Attorney General’s Special Litigation Bureau and Civil Rights Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau enforces state and federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination in Illinois and advocates for legislation to strengthen those laws. Madigan encourages people who want to file a complaint to do so online or by calling her Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.


Bureau Chief Jeanne Witherspoon and Assistant Attorneys General Thomas Verticchio, Elizabeth Hady and Matthew Chimienti are handling the lawsuit for Madigan’s Special Litigation Bureau. Assistant Attorneys General Jeffrey VanDam and Alison Hill are handling the lawsuit for Madigan’s Civil Rights Bureau.


Former North Carolina Police Sergeant Charged with Using Excessive Force Against an Arrestee

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Former North Carolina Police Sergeant Charged with Using Excessive Force Against an Arrestee

The Department of Justice today announced that Robert George, a former sergeant with the Hickory Police Department (HPD), has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of using excessive force against a female arrestee, and for obstructing justice.

The indictment alleges that on Nov. 11, 2013, George assaulted a female victim, identified in the indictment by the initials C.D., by slamming her face-first to the ground, causing her to suffer bodily injury. The following day, George allegedly wrote a false police report to cover up the offense.

George, 45, of Hickory, North Carolina, was arraigned on these charges in federal court.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Department of Justice Assistant United States Attorney Kimlani Ford and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel.

Source: FBI

Paul Marinaro and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra to Rrecreate Sinatra at The Sands, One Night Only, Saturday, May 12 at the Studebaker

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 Comments Off on Paul Marinaro and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra to Rrecreate Sinatra at The Sands, One Night Only, Saturday, May 12 at the Studebaker
CHICAGO, IL – A CJO Salute to “Sinatra at the Sands” featuring
Paul Marinaro is the Chicago Jazz Orchestra’s highly anticipated 2017-18 season finaleat Chicago’s historic Studebaker Theater, Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Sit back and enjoy this live recreation of the famous 1966 “Sinatra at the Sands” performance, long considered to be the definitive live album of Sinatra’s career, performed in order by acclaimed Chicago jazz vocalist Paul Marinaro and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of artistic director Jeff Lindberg.
The Studebaker Theater is located at 410 S. Michigan Avenue on the first floor of Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. Single tickets are $35 (balcony) and $45 (floor). For tickets and information, visit chicagojazzorchestra.org.
“Sinatra at the Sands” is the unforgettable live album by Frank Sinatra accompanied by Count Basie and his orchestra. It was conducted and arranged by Quincy Jones, and recorded live in the Copa Room of the former Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1966. It was Sinatra’s first live album to be commercially released, and contains many definitive renditions of the classic songs most commonly associated with Sinatra’s “Rat Pack” era. Signature tracks include “Come Fly with Me,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “One for My Baby,” “Luck be a Lady” and “My Kind of Town.” The album is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Don’t miss this chance to travel back in time, one-night-only, to revisit a true classic. Channeling Sinatra on the Studebaker stage is CJO guest vocalist Paul Marinaro, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as having “one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business today.”
Backing Marinaro for this one night only, live recreation of “Sinatra at the Sands” is the CJO ensemble boasting the top jazz musicians in all of Chicago: Scott Burns, Jerry DiMuzio, Bill Overton, Eric Schneider and John Wojciechowski on saxophone; Art Davis, Victor Garcia and Doug Scharf on trumpet; Steve Duncan, Tom Garling, Luke Malewicz and Michael Young on trombone; Dan Trudell on piano; Dennis Carroll on bass; George Fludas on drums; and Michael Pettersen on guitar.
Founded in 1978, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra is the city’s oldest professional jazz orchestra in continuous operation and one of the oldest jazz repertory orchestras in the country. As recently as 2015, Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich cited the CJO as “one of the best big bands in the country.”
Paul Marinaro has become one of the most in-demand and respected male vocalists, taking “his place among the top five male jazz singers active today” (Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene). Earlier this month the Tribune’s Howard Reich also singled out a 2013 Jazz Showcase performance by Marinaro as one of the 40 most unforgettable shows he has covered in 40 years.
He frequently plays sold-out engagements in Chicago’s world-famous venues, including the Joe and Wayne Segal’s Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, and at his highly acclaimed debut appearance at The Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park. His have been named as the “Best Performances of the Year” in the Chicago Tribune in both 2013 and 2014, and his performances sold out on both his west and east coast debuts.
In 2013, Marinaro celebrated his widely acclaimed debut album Without a Song, a carefully crafted concept album stemming from and inspired by his father’s unfulfilled dream to have been a professional singer. Without a Song has gone on to receive widespread acclaim and national airplay, and was named among the “Best of 2013” in the Chicago Tribune. His first live album, One Night in Chicago, was released in 2015.
Swing to the opening number of “Sinatra at the Sands” – “Come Fly with Me”
Click here or the image above for this photo of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra (chicagojazzorchestra.org) strives to develop and promote an appreciation for and understanding of music for the American jazz orchestra as it was originally conceived, performed and recorded by jazz master composers and soloists.
When Jeff Lindberg and the late Steve Jensen first came up with their big band concept in 1978 (founded as the Jazz Members Big Band), they could not have predicted the remarkable metamorphosis that has turned a group of first-call musicians into what is now known as the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece premiere jazz ensemble that has garnered both national and international recognition.
Click here or the image above for this photo of CJO Conductor and Artistic Director Jeff Lindberg.
Conductor and Artistic Director Jeff Lindberg is one of the foremost transcribers in jazz. As a result, the orchestra’s repertoire draws upon his vast library including the works of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Oliver Nelson, Ray Charles. Because the CJO has its own transcriptions of the original recordings, much of the music in its concerts cannot be heard anywhere else. The CJO also performs compositions and arrangements by CJO members, including Associate Artistic Director Charles Harrison.
The CJO served as the resident orchestra for the Kennedy Center Honors Supper Dance for more than 25 years. In 2006, the Orchestra performed before a sold-out audience at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. The CJO has toured Europe twice, including performances in Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. The Orchestra has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Jack McDuff, Kenny Burrell, Roy Hargrove, Marquis Hill, Walter White, Joshua Redman and many more.
The orchestra performs at a wide variety of top venues across the Chicago area, from The Green Mill, to City Winery, to the Spertus Institute. Merit School of Music is the orchestra’s educational partner, including day-long clinics that culminate with students performing alongside members of the CJO, master classes led by renowned guest artists and open rehearsals. The CJO also provides complimentary concert tickets to underserved public school students and their families.
The CJO’s recordings include Clark Terry and Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra: George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Americana Music, 2004), nominated “Jazz Album of The Year” by the Jazz Journalist’s Association, and a rare “Five Star” rating by DownBeat magazine, which also named it one of the top recordings of the previous decade. It also made the annual “top CD’s” lists of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Times and Jazz Education Journal. To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2013, the CJO released Burstin’ Out with vocalist Cyrille Aimée performing classic and original jazz arrangements. The CJO’s newest release is the 2017 compilation Live from Space, with live recordings from the summer of 2016.
CJO’s 2017-18 season finale, also at the Studebaker, is A CJO Salute to “Sinatra at the Sands” featuring Paul Marinaro, Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Sit back and enjoy this live recreation of the famous 1966 “Sinatra at the Sands” performance, long considered to be the definitive live album of his career. The Chicago Tribune hailed CJO guest vocalist Paul Marinaro as having “one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business today.” Don’t miss this chance to travel back in time, one-night-only, to revisit a true classic.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra’s 2017-18 season is supported by The Stare Fund, The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Joseph B. Glossberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and The Saints of Chicago, with media sponsorship from WDCB 90.9 FM, DownBeat Magazine and Chicago Jazz Magazine.
For more information, visit chicagojazzorchestra.org.

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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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