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Pastor Collier is praying for his safe return By Chinta ...
Citizens Police Data Project quadruples in size, adds shooting and use of force history From: The ...
Got your property tax bill yet? I did. It went up $1,000. Did Chicago ...
  By Wade Henderson   African-Americans have long been targets of financial predators, but a new agency that ...

Archive for the ‘News and Blogs’ Category

Advocates Call for a Moratorium on Expressway Expansion in Chicagoland

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Data shows Chicago region is growing more car dependent amid failed attempts to relieve congestion by building and expanding roads

Chicago, IL— For decades, regional planning leaders have urged cities and villages across metropolitan Chicago to build communities in ways that reduce driving and increase walking, bicycling and public transit ridership. But a new analysis by the Active Transportation Alliance shows that the region has only grown more car dependent.

The analysis demonstrates the region’s inability to build its way out of traffic congestion. Between 1996 and 2015 alone, the region spent billions of dollars to add more than 1,000 miles of new roadway that was purported to reduce congestion. The data is consistent with research showing that roadway expansion in urban areas only exacerbates traffic congestion in the long run by inducing more driving that over time fills in the additional roadway space, with congestion rebuilding to previous levels.

For these reasons, Active Trans is calling for a moratorium on expressway expansion.

“The region should stop wasting money on roads that don’t relieve congestion beyond the short-term and spend the money instead on effective strategies like walking, biking and transit that are also healthier and more sustainable,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Shared-use and autonomous vehicles will largely replace the inefficient and deadly practice of relying on 3,000-pound single occupancy vehicles to move people in urban areas, so we need to plan for how to repurpose roads and parking spaces, not expand them.”

Despite relatively slow population growth and the construction of new roads, traffic congestion in metro Chicago has become much worse. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average Chicagoland commuter lost 31 hours per year to traffic congestion in 1982 and 61 hours in 2014.

A larger percentage of Chicagoland residents are driving to work today compared to 1980, and the total amount of driving in the region has grown approximately four times faster than the population since 1980. While the region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

This rapid growth in driving has led to comparatively more traffic congestion, crashes, injuries and fatalities, as well as more air pollution, flooding and chronic disease due to physical inactivity. It also has made it more difficult for people to access jobs and other destinations without a car, worsening economic hardship for low-income residents.

The Active Transportation Alliance’s 2018 Regional Mode Share Report analyzes commuting trends in the city and suburbs, breaking down the data by transportation mode, county and demographics.

For suburban residents, the percentage of work trips by car increased from 84 percent in 1980 to 86 percent in 2016, while the percentage of suburban work trips by walking, biking and transit decreased from 14.1 to 8.1 percent over the same period. In the city of Chicago, 58 percent of residents drove to work in 1980. The number increased to 65 percent in 2000 before falling back to 58 percent in 2016.  Walking, biking and transit accounted for 40.4 percent of Chicago work trips in 1980 and 36.5 percent in 2016.

Another problem with building a region that requires a car to get around is the hardship it creates for people who cannot physically drive or cannot afford a car.

“The region’s continued investment in car-dependency and underfunding of other travel modes discriminates against the poor and people who cannot physically drive by making it difficult to reach jobs and other destinations without a car,” said Burke.

Active Trans sent a letter to the region’s planning agency, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway Authority (ITA) calling for the exclusion of expressway expansion projects in the new comprehensive regional plan called “ON TO 2050” and in IDOT’s and ITA’s roadway plans.

Active Trans asked each agency to adopt a policy acknowledging that expressway expansion leads to more driving that offsets congestion relief. The regional advocacy group is also urging the state and region to instead prioritize lasting, cost-effective congestion relief strategies like better public transportation and rush-hour demand management such as converting travel lanes to carpool lanes during rush hour.

While more two-income households have contributed to the growth in driving, the analysis finds that the main cause is that most people don’t have an effective way to get to work and other destinations without a car, especially in the suburbs.

Active Trans notes that, even if roads are expanded with car pool lanes or tolled lanes as proposed by the Illinois Department of Transportation for I-55 and I-290, the result would be more driving and cars, not less.

Investments in transit, biking and walking carry greater long-term benefits at a much lower cost. The planned expansions of I-294, I-290 and I-55 would cost a combined $7.4 billion. In comparison, Chicago added 100 miles of new bikeways from 2011 to 2015 for $12 million, and converting expressway lanes to carpool lanes is inexpensive.

The Active Transportation Alliance is partnering with peer advocates and community-based organizations across the region to fight for these changes in the development of the regional plan and beyond. Active Trans’ Walk and Roll the Vote campaign will highlight these issues by educating voters and candidates in the upcoming 2018 statewide elections and 2019 municipal elections.

NAACP Committed to Countering Disenfranchisement of Voters in Wake of Husted Decision

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP Committed to Countering Disenfranchisement of Voters in Wake of Husted DecisionBALTIMORE — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court Decision to uphold the Ohio Supplemental Voter “List Maintenance” Process:

“The NAACP is disappointed in today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Ohio’s supplemental voter ‘list maintenance’ process, but is likewise determined to protect infrequent voters of color from being disenfranchised through Ohio’s process and similar processes used by other states.  In today’s 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Ohio’s program does not violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by impermissibly targeting persons who have not recently voted for possible removal from voting rolls.  The NAACP filed an amicus brief to the Court in this case, which was cited by Justice Sotomayor in her dissenting opinion, which states:  “In concluding that the Supplemental Process does not violate the NVRA, the majority does more than just misconstrue the statutory text. It entirely ignores the history of voter suppression against which the NVRA was enacted and upholds a program that appears to further the very disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters that Congress set out to eradicate.”

“This decision demands that the NAACP and like-minded organizations redouble their efforts to ensure that voters of color are registered and prepared to vote in this fall’s elections,” said NAACP General Counsel Bradford Berry.  “As we reflect on the life and legacy of Medgar Evers, who was assassinated 55 years ago because of his voter registration work in Mississippi, we call on our members and supporters to engage their state and local officials to focus their efforts on increasing voter participation in this fall’s elections, rather than targeting the most vulnerable of our citizens for removal from the voting rolls.”

 

Attorney General Madigan Reacts to Federal Administration’s Inhumane Immigration Policies

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued the following statement in response to the federal administration’s recently announced immigration policies that separate families at the border and turn away survivors of domestic violence:

 

“It’s painful to think of anything more barbaric and unforgiving than tearing children away from their parents, especially when they are seeking a better, safer life in our country. Turning away survivors of domestic violence is no less merciless. The federal administration’s complete disdain for women and children betrays American values.”

 

 

State Reps. Welch, Harmon Fight to Bring Greater Protections for Immigrants, Stand Up to Trump’s Extremism

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In an effort to fight back against Donald Trump’s hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is partnering with Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, to make Illinois a welcoming state to immigrants by enacting new safe zones.

“People need to stick together in these tough times instead of trying to divide and turn us against one another,” said Welch. “So when our president uses hateful words to describe immigrants as murderers and rapists, he is trying to make them out to be the enemy of our nation when that couldn’t be more false.”

Welch and Harmon are working to establish greater protections for immigrants in Illinois, given the continued rhetoric and action currently coming from the White House. With threats of deportation to rip Illinois families apart, Welch and Harmon are working to pass Senate Bill 35.

The measure directs the Attorney General to develop model policies for the Immigrant Safe Zones Act which include protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, requirements for warrants based on probable cause and any other relevant constitutional protections. If enacted, the numerous public entities, including schools, libraries, courts, health care facilities and more, would be prohibited from engaging with Trump’s federal agencies with the intent to help facilitate deportations.

“I believe the current political climate has left immigrants feeling horribly vulnerable.  I hope this legislation gives them a sense of security in the state they call home,” said Harmon. “Immigrants in Illinois are hardworking people who contribute to our communities.  They have built their homes here. They are raising their families here. They should be treated like human beings, not taken away like criminals when they drop their children off at school.”

Bail Bonding Company Owner and Former Employee Admit to Tax Fraud

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – William W. Seelbach, of Fort Meyers, Florida, and Jolynn Gilchrist, of Wheeling, West Virginia, have admitted to tax fraud, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Seelbach, age 68, owner of W&S Bail Bonding, doing business as A Bail Bonding by ABC of Wheeling, West Virginia, pled guilty to  one count of “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States—Impede the Internal Revenue Service,” and one count of “Failure to File Individual Income Tax Return for Tax Year 2012.” Seelbach admitted to impeding the IRS in its collection of taxes, and failing to file a federal income tax return for 2012 to report $144,030 in income to the IRS.

Gilchrist, age 49, former employee of ABC, pled guilty to one count of “False Tax Return.” Gilchrist admitted to filing an inaccurate federal tax return for the 2015 tax year.

Seelbach and Gilchrist each face up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Shawn M. Adkins are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations, and the West Virginia State Police investigated.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Seibert presided.

Source: FBI

Basham, Madigan to Bolster Human Resource Staffing as Part of Ongoing Effort to Change the Capitol Culture

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and new chief of staff Jessica Basham announced they will begin conducting a thorough search to hire a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer to promote a fair, equitable, and unbiased work environment for the 200 employees of the Speaker’s office and advise supervisors and oversee investigations related to discrimination and harassment.

These hirings are a direct result of conversations with lawmakers and staff. Acting in consultation with the Speaker, Basham is already meeting with lawmakers and staff and will conduct regular meetings with groups of legislators and staff to update them on the office’s efforts to continue changing the culture within the Capitol. Meetings will be conducted throughout the summer to maintain an ongoing dialogue and solicit additional ideas.

In addition to the hiring of a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer, Basham and Madigan are considering numerous additional steps to change the culture in the Capitol, including:

  • Conducting performance reviews on all current directors and supervisors, which will include input from staff.
  • Requiring all directors and supervisors, including the chief of staff, to participate in new management training programs this summer.
  • Meeting with staff members within the Speaker’s office to solicit suggestions for changes to personnel policies and manuals. These policies and manuals will subsequently be updated, based on the feedback received.
  • Creating a confidential process for employees to anonymously register complaints or make suggestions.
  • Researching the availability of additional harassment prevention training which all staff would undergo on a continuing basis.
  • Reviewing and revamping the organizational structure of the House Democratic Staff and Speaker’s Office, in order to incorporate suggestions from staff and members and bring transparency to the roles and functions of staff.

Basham and Madigan will continue to consider additional steps based on the outcome of these conversations.

Candidates interested in the human resources manager position or equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer should send a resume and cover letter to:

Office of the Speaker

Attn: Jessica Basham

300 State House

Springfield, IL 62706

For More Information:

Steve Brown

847-922-5361

 

Attorney General Madigan Applauds Passage of Legislation to Strengthen Employment Protections for Service Members

Posted by Admin On June - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan  applauded Illinois lawmakers for passing legislation to clarify and strengthen laws to ensure that Illinois service members’ employment and rights are protected while they are fulfilling military requirements.

SoldiersMadigan initiated Senate Bill 3547, the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA), to strengthen and simplify current state laws designed to provide employment protections to service members. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Tom Cullerton and Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, passed the Illinois Senate and House unanimously and will now be sent to the governor.

SB 3547 simplifies existing Illinois law by consolidating all of the provisions, including employment protections for Illinois service members. In doing this, SB 3547 seeks to make it easier for employers to understand and follow the law. The legislation also gives Madigan’s office the authority to file civil lawsuits to enforce ISERRA and requires her office to create the position of ISERRA Advocate to provide training and information to employers and service members. The advocate will be responsible for investigating complaints and drafting the required notice of rights and duties for employers to post.

“When military service members undertake their job to serve our country, they should not lose their civilian jobs at home,” Madigan said. “This legislation strengthens service members’ employment protections, provides training and enforces the law’s requirements to ensure that service members do not return home to find themselves without a job.”

“Service members and their families make innumerable sacrifices for our country, but their non-military employment should not be one of them,” Chapa LaVia said. “Strengthening employment protection laws and helping employers understand how to comply with those laws is just one way we can thank service members and their families.”

Madigan’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau advocates for service members, veterans, and their families and investigates and pursues cases of fraud committed against them, including unlawful advance pension lenders that target veterans and their pension benefits and annuity sales that are misrepresented as effective VA benefit claims assistance. Military service members, veterans and their families can contact Madigan’s Military and Veterans Rights Hotline for help at 1-800-382-3000 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY) or through Madigan’s website.

The Military and Veterans Rights Bureau also provides assistance to service members, including mediating landlord-tenant disputes for service members facing Permanent Change of Station orders that conflict with lease agreements; mediating financial transaction disputes, such as fraudulent credit report entries or erroneous debts; and seeking to obtain compensation owed to veterans or service members on military leave from their primary employer for annual guard/reserve training.

 

Valerie Jarrett: Say You’ll Vote in 2018

Posted by Admin On June - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

From: Valerie Jarrett
Former Senior Advisor to President Obama

 

President Obama often says that “if you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

It’s not always easy. It’s far from guaranteed that you will be able to make as much progress as you want. There are days when we’re reminded so clearly that we have not yet reached our destination, and that is why we have to work every day to treat our fellow citizens with dignity and civility.

The culture that we’re creating and the interactions we have with our fellow citizens each day are influenced by those who we elect to represent us.

When we elect people that continually demean others — those of another race, or religion, or gender, or identity, or sexual orientation — and reach for an America in the past instead of one in the future, the results hurt us all.

That’s not who we are — and we can’t ever stop saying so.

We have a responsibility to demand better of our elected officials. We have a responsibility to vote in 2018.

Voting isn’t a magic and immediate solution to every problem we face.

Fixing this will take a willingness to listen and respect one another. It will take a level of empathy towards people who have different opinions than our own, and an effort to understand why they ended up feeling the way they do.

But here’s where we can start: At the ballot box.

Who we lift up to represent us speaks volumes about whether we treat each other with compassion and civility — and it’s time to demand better.

Our government will be as good as we make it. Say you’ll vote in 2018:

 

I will vote

 

 

State Rep. Harper Pushes Measure to Require Greater Accountability on Currency Exchanges, Works to Lower Fees on Consumers

Posted by Admin On June - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Currency exchange customers could see lower fees under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago.

“Many people rely on currency exchanges for the basic and necessary service of cashing checks,” said Harper. “Unfortunately, the folks who rely on currency exchanges find themselves stuck with extremely high fees and they are often the ones least in a position to be able to afford them. My legislation will hold currency exchanges accountable and help to ensure that these fees are reasonable and consider the impact on consumers.”

Harper’s Senate Bill 2433 modernizes current Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) practice by requiring the agency to take into account new fees and how those fees will disproportionately impact communities of color when setting the maximum fees that currency exchanges can charge.

“Too many currency exchanges are taking advantage of people who lack access to banks and credit unions by charging unreasonable fees on those who have no choice but to turn to these businesses to cash their checks,” Harper added. “This legislation provides added protection for consumers, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and help guarantee equal access to vital financial services for everyone regardless of income.”

Harper represents the 6th District, which includes all or portions of Armour Square, Bridgeport, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Gage Park, Back of the Yards, Canaryville, New City, West Englewood, and Marquette Park.

House Speaker Madigan on Bipartisan, Balanced Budget: Budget Holds the Line on Taxes and Spending

Posted by Admin On June - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Thursday after passing a bipartisan, balanced budget:

“For the second time in as many years, House Democrats have worked alongside our Republican colleagues in the Legislature to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget. As House Democrats have said throughout the past four years, when we can work together in good faith we can accomplish great things.

“Our budget holds the line on taxes and spending, and creates a $15 million surplus that will be used to pay down old bills. We cut government bureaucracy like high-paid consultants and duplicative IT systems at state agencies to invest our finite resources in critical services, provide $350 million in new funding for public schools, and reverse the governor’s cuts to education programs, health care, child care and senior services.

“While there is more work to be done, this compromise budget shows yet again that when extreme demands are not preconditions to negotiation, Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature can work together to move Illinois forward.”

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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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