18
June , 2018
Monday

By Christopher Jack Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- I stepped up to the plate. I heard my buddies ...
In Observation of National Minority Health Month, Author/OB-GYN Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway Sheds Light on a ...
  Chicago, IL – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady announced that the Party will host a ...
Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Civil War   Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) -- The National Veterans Coalition recently ...
  Tamika Catchings, six-time WNBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medallist and President of the WNBA Players’ ...
Gave away 10,000 toys, turkeys in a week By Chinta Strausberg Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) and State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) ...
Poll will take place in all 102 counties Springfield, IL - In front of hundreds of GOP ...
Letters to the Editor   The open letter below expresses the dismay and disappointment that many individuals ...
Nearly $5 million awarded to 239 schools for 2013-14 school year   SPRINGFIELD, IL — The ...

Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

U.S. Has One Justice System for the Wealthy, and Another for the Poor and People of Color

Posted by Admin On May - 1 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
From: Marc Mauer
Executive DirectorThe Sentencing ProjectI

 

 

want to bring your attention to some of The Sentencing Project’s newest resources on criminal justice reform:

  • In a new report to the United Nations on racial disparities, we explain how the United States essentially operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and people of color. By creating and perpetuating policies that allow racial disparities to exist in its criminal justice system, the United States is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure that all residents—regardless of race—are treated equally under the law.
  • For nearly 20 years the Justice Department has sponsored a research fellowship program around race and criminal justice in the name of noted sociologist and civil rights leader, WEB Du Bois. In an op-ed for the Guardian, I call attention to the troubling news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has diverted this program towards issues that would make a student of the Du Bois legacy shudder.
  • More than 5.7 million American kids have experienced parental incarceration at some point during their lives, writes Kara Gotsch, Director of Strategic Initiatives, in the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare’s annual CW360 degrees report. The essay outlines the negative impacts mass parental incarceration has on families and communities, and provides recommendations to reduce our prison population and to support the various needs of children with justice involved families.
  • In the American Constitution Society’s blog, Kara also explains why the Trump Administration should address the urgent opioid crisis by prioritizing investments in treatment over incarceration. Ratcheting up already tough sentences for people with drug convictions will produce little public safety benefit while carrying heavy fiscal, social, and human costs.

We hope these materials will be useful to you in your work.

Sincerely,

Marc Mauer
Executive Director

“The City’s Gift of a Trojan Horse”: Low Income Housing Project in the Pill Hill and Calumet Heights Area Will Tilt the Scale and Structure of the 8th Ward Community

Posted by Admin On April - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago's Trojan Horse to the Pill Hill Calumet Heights CommunityBy Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

Despite several studies that reveal low income housing high rises never made the cut, and that the city of Chicago has torn down many of these low income housing high rises all across the city, the 8th Ward alderman and the city are hell-bent on bringing the Montclare low income Section 8 housing project into the Pill Hill and Calumet Heights community, an affluent middle and upper middle class neighborhood. The studies found it was a plan that failed (low income high rises).

The alderman and city want to erect a low income high rise housing project consisting of 134 units, 7 Story, in the Pill Hill and Calumet Heights area, one of the most affluent black communities in the city of Chicago. It is believed by many that this is a continuing effort to run Blacks out of the city. Two city agencies – a commission and committee –  approved the low income housing for the 8th Ward and are pushing to deliver the 7 story, low-income Trojan Horse to this middle and upper middle class black community which will be located at 9329 to 9429 S. Stony Island Ave. It’s not so much about the senior low income housing project, but they have the audacity to take away a much needed business real estate that could  economically empower the community.

When I thought about this proposed housing project, I felt that the supporters of this plan are trying to squeeze a very unattractive square into a round peg off on the neighboring community, giving the impression that it is a gift to low income seniors in the community.  But a Trojan Horse immediately came to mind. I did a web search to see did others see it that way, and they did.

There are many buildings being built in downtown Chicago. And surely, there are market rates and low income units that could be used in developments downtown as well. Many residents in the 8th Ward are wondering if this proposed building they want to bring to the South Side is an attempt to keep Chicago segregated. The market housing in the low-income units will displace people in the community as rents and taxes will go up. It’ll start with this one bad idea and will balloon out of control.

And because 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris lacks foresight, the community has to take the reins on this and try to keep the Montclare housing project out of the ward. The community will have to save themselves from this catastrophic idea that she would allow to take place.

Nearby beaches, highways, Indiana, and with the Obama Library coming, the South Side of Chicago has it going on. The Pill Hill community residents have built and beautified the Calumet Heights area, and now strangers want to capitalize on their hard work that was done over the past forty plus years and walk away with it. Shame on them, shame on the alderman for not having the insight to see what is taking place, and shame on residents who’ll sit idly back and let it happen.

By the way, usually on these types of projects “25-30” percent of the units go at the lower rates and the rest are market rates when developers take on projects such as this. The proposed low-income senior housing in the Pill Hill area would be just the opposite. It’s a fact that most of this type zoning is done in black communities and most of the time Blacks lose out because of it.

In areas comparable to the Pill Hill community in non-black areas that oppose rezoning, downzoning takes place instead of upzoning? The bottom line is, the new building will cause taxes to go up, rents to go up while really only accommodating a 134 unit building. These projects are normally used to strong-arm areas that reject unnecessary rezoning. Low income communities of color are aggressively targeted for purpose of gentrification. The only person that will profit from these catastrophic affects this will bring about is the developer and those that they have made deals with.

To be continued:
Zoning board meeting is May 9, at 10:00 am
City Council Chambers
City Hall, 2nd. Floor

 

Linda Hudson for Alderman of the 8th Ward

Did Mayor Rahm Emanuel & Alderman Michelle Harris Conspire Together to Bring a Low Income Section 8 Senior Building to the 8th Ward?

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold Bailey

President & Founder of Probation Challenge

& The PCC Network

Did Mayor Rahm Emanuel & Alderman Michelle Harris Conspire Together to Bring a Low Income Section 8 Senior Building to the 8th Ward?

That’s what I’m being told by several sources who strongly believe that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris, conspired to bring the proposed Montclare low income Section 8 Senior housing project to Pill Hill, a prominent, middle and upper middle class section of Chicago’s  8th Ward.

The proposed development would be located at 9329 to 9429 S. Stony Island Ave.,  which consist of 134 units, 7 Story tall; a strip of land where 8th ward residents earlier were successful in running out Street Prostitution/Pimps and other undesirables who sought to take over a community of hard-working taxpayers and organized home-owners.

Just recently, 8th Ward residents blocked a marijuana facility and pawnshop from coming into the ward, projects supported by Alderman Harris.

Allegedly the proposal was conceived months ago without residents being made aware of downtown’s intents.

Another ‘hush venture’ in the community was to have medical marijuana dispensed close to a school but the project was shut down. This project was also at the direction of Alderwoman Michelle Harris.

It’s understood that any venture in Chicago regarding construction must be approved by the City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. For certain, what’s done in the dark will surely come to the light.

 

To be continued:
Zoning board meeting is May 9, at 10:00 am
City Council Chambers
City Hall, 2nd. Floor

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

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
 

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.

OP-ED: I Say No to a Starbucks Boycott

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By Jerroll Sanders

Jerroll Sanders

Starbucks has proven to be one of America’s most responsible corporate citizens. In 2014 following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, by Officer Darren Wilson, then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz took action when other corporations remained silent.

Starbucks launched its national “Race Together” campaign that encouraged Starbucks’ baristas (workers) to write “race together” on customer coffee cups to spur conversations about race within Starbucks locations. Months later in 2015 following the shooting of Walter Scott, Starbucks CEO Howard D. Schultz was again venturing into the arena of race relations while appearing on stage at Spelman College-a historically-black women’s institution-as part of a panel discussion on the book titled, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

Again and again, Starbucks has been at the forefront of corporate America when it comes to cultivating a society where all people matter.

As President and CEO of ONUS, Inc.-a national organization committed to Resolving Longstanding Problems that Seem Too Big to Fix, I firmly believe in the power of boycotts. Following the killing of Michael Brown, ONUS conducted one of the most effective and long-standing boycotts in Ferguson, MO, against Sam’s Club and Walmart.

Both stores routinely called upon Ferguson Police to arrest Black men who verbally challenged managers’ decisions. Unlike Starbucks, Walmart, Inc. doubled-down in support of its employees’ hateful actions and made no apology for saddling good citizens, who happened to be black men, with unwarranted police records. Walmart then relied upon its deep purse to vigorously defend its deplorable actions.

Starbucks is no Walmart. While I firmly embrace boycotting as an effective tool of free speech, boycotting cannot and should not be Black America’s one retort to offensive acts carried out by individual employees representing what has proven to be a good corporate citizen. I do not mean to imply that Starbucks is perfect; I surmise that Starbucks still has internal issues related to race and diversity.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the steps Starbucks’ CEO and Board of Directors have and are taking in response to the incident in Philadelphia, such as the swift issuance of a public apology, public rebuke of the offending employees’ actions and the planned shutdown of Starbucks outlets nationwide for diversity and customer service training. Starbucks is demonstrating that its promise to do better is far more than a mere gesture designed to quiet a public uprising.

Starbucks has earned what millennials refer to as “street cred.” Consequently, the Corporation deserves grace when employees make missteps or engage in discriminatory actions rooted in personal perspectives. While I am confident Starbucks will make right with the young men who were wrongfully arrested in Philadelphia, I urge its leaders to again take the corporate lead by helping to revamp policing in America nationwide.

The Uniform Reporting Law Enforcement Improvement Act (URLEIA) is the solution to America’s policing problem and will effectively revamp policing from the ground up. Corporations, like citizens, have a responsibility to ensure policing nationwide is guided not by the whims of individuals and powerful conglomerates but by the constitutional and humane application of law.

Learn more about URLEIA by visiting www.ChangeIsOnUs.org. Learn more about Jerroll Sanders who is a business executive, author of The Physics of Money: If You’ve Got My Dollar, I Don’t, diversity expert, and strategist by visiting www.jerrollsanders.com.

8th Ward Alderman Ignores Pill Hill Community Concerns and Proceeds to Let Low Income, Section 8 Senior Building Come Into Ward

Posted by Admin On April - 12 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

The 8th Ward community overwhelmingly oppose the 7 Story, 1-2 Bedrooms low income Senior Housing facility proposed to be built in the 8th Ward near Pill Hill Homes, but the alderman is ignoring their wishes

concerned_citizen_no_to_low_income_senior_housingBy Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

As I observed the Community Development Commission meeting yesterday in City Hall, I realized that the 8th Ward alderman was more of a facilitator than an administrator.  When she read the items in her notes one by one, it felt as though she was giving a report to her supervisor instead of selling the idea of why an oversized, low income senior housing development should be allowed to be built in the Pill Hill community.

And as quickly as the vote was acted upon by the Commission, it came across as a predetermined decision, that the committee knew beforehand how they would vote before the meeting started. Obviously, the committee wasn’t interested, didn’t care, or wasn’t concerned about what the community had to say. The 8th ward alderman took the mic and proceeded to say that 99% of the ward supported the Calumet Heights project.  Not so!!!! And her remarks were immediately met with “not true” criticism from several people in the audience. A large part of the 8th Ward community is angry and insulted that she would even make a move to bring the low income, Section 8 housing into their middle-and upper-middle-class neighborhood.

Secondly, the alderman has not met with the immediate community about this Senior Housing Project, the ones that will be most affected by this low income, 7 -story building with 1-2 bedrooms, with a “100-person waiting list”, down from the 400-500 person list her staff mentioned last week in a community meeting. The alderman did hold a developers meeting last week at a Senior Housing development on East 78th Street, pitching the project to what appeared to be a room full of its residents, and she told them there was a “200-person” waiting list.

The alderman failed to attend the meeting at St. Felicitas Church or at St Ailbe Church where 200 angry residents showed up for a meeting only to find it had been canceled. Many of the residents learned about the project through word of mouth, from other residents who had heard that the alderman was trying to bring it in. And believe me, they were not happy campers when they got the news. They were fiercely angry.

And although, about 8 or 10 people stepped up to the mic to express their opposition to the 7 story 1-2 bedrooms low income housing at 9329 to 9429 S. Stony Island Avenue, the Community Development Commission members – who do not live in the community, sided with the alderman.

The Community Development Committee, a small apathetic committee of folks that aren’t familiar with the area, to the horror of most in the audience, continued to vote in the face of a majority of community opponents who unanimously did not want to allow the development to proceed. This after listening to a trumped-up presentation by the 8th Ward Alderman, ignoring earlier community member comments about their concerns for losing their privacy with the huge building over their single family homes and their property value taking a dive.

The 8th Ward alderman aggressively pushed it through, and has yet to meet with the Pill Hill community, even after being sent two invitations to meetings.

What doesn’t the 8th Ward alderman get about the immediate concerns of the community that is affected by this project? The community doesn’t want it! She went on to say that in the Montclare building, another senior building in the 8th ward, that those residents had no complaints about the building being next to their homes. What does that have to do with an area where residents in homes are concerned? Her smug mockery is why the area is losing patience with her quickly. Someone in the audience at the meeting said her “attitude reaps of someone who has been in political office for too long and doesn’t care about the community. We know how we shouldn’t vote in the aldermanic election the next time around. We hear constant lies and a lack of transparency. We want our young people to find the area attractive, and we want to live and continue to grow it.  And this will only take the neighborhood down.”

It is obvious that the alderman does not care what the community wants, as per her past and present agendas for the ward.  It appears that she’s willing to spin stories – whether factual or not – to get what she wants in the 8th Ward. One wonders if the alderman is complacent or passive aggressive when people push these ideas off for development? Or has she received a directive beyond her control to carry out at the expense of the community?

To be continued…

Next Meeting:

Chicago Plan Commission Meeting
City Hall, 2nd floor City Council Chambers
121 N. LaSalle Street
April 19th at 10:00 am

 

Time for change…

Elect Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman

Fair Housing Act: A Milestone on the Journey to Equality

Posted by Admin On April - 11 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
 Op-ED By Jeffrey W. Hicks
 
 

 

A half-century ago, the Fair Housing Act was enacted to prohibit discrimination in housing based on race, color, creed and national origin. The law also supported NAREB’s efforts toincrease Black homeownership which we believe serves to increase wealth and other economic outcomes for Black Americans.

 

We have since experienced highs and lows in the journey towards economic empowerment and Black homeownership. While sometimes challenged, we are not discouraged. And, we have learned vital lessons along the way.

 

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) has advocated for Black Americans to own their homes since 1947, and we are proud to play a leadership role in that struggle. But this is not a solitary endeavor. We must grow a “Community of Concern” by partnering and actively involving civil and human rights organizations, community-based and social service organizations, business groups, and the faith-based community-our oldest and most trusted institution. We must collaborate to create strong, viable communities that help to stabilize Black Americans and their families through homeownership.

 

In 1970, two years after the passage of The Fair Housing Act, Black homeownership was 41.6 percent. It reached its height in 2004 at 49 percent. Today, Black homeownership stands at 42.1 percent, almost the same as nearly 50 years ago. The economic downturn of a decade ago hurt many Black homeowners with high foreclosures, upside-down mortgages, and financial upheaval from which many are still struggling to recover.

 

Today, economic segregation remains a problem. Urban centers, long the home of Black Americans, are being gentrified. Many with deep community roots are being forced out by rising taxes and skyrocketing housing values.

 

While obvious obstacles like Jim Crow segregation no longer exist, we still face formidable obstacles to owning homes. Obstacles like credit scoring, which is based not on how diligently we pay our bills, but on how much consumer debt we can amass. Obstacles like crippling student debt, which impacts Black Americans deeply. Obstacles like unfair mortgage lending practices.

 

Despite these challenges, we know that wealth can be built through education, through financial literacy, through creating and growing our Community of Concern to support homeownership. This is how Black America educates its children and how we set up businesses-by using equity from our homes to invest in ourselves, our families and our futures.

 

We stand on the shoulders of NAREB founders and visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke to NAREB in 1967 about the need for “middle-class Negroes to … publicly identify with the problem of poverty which engulfs the life of the masses.”

 

NAREB’s motto is “Democracy in Housing,” and we will continue to fight for that. We must continue to be vigilant. We must continue to EDUCATE Black Americans, to ENCOURAGE Black Americans, and do everything we can to EMPOWER Black Americans to build wealth, to build stability, and to invest in our futures through that most fundamental part of the American Dream: homeownership.

Jeffrey W. Hicks is the 30th president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

 

8th Ward Alderman Evades Yet Another Meeting with the Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward About Proposed Low Income Senior Housing

Posted by Admin On April - 7 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

Once again, the alderman of the 8th ward had the opportunity to talk to residents immediately affected by the low-income senior housing she tried to sneak into the neighborhood, but she didn’t show up. Why is the alderman evading the very people she said she had the support of in the community meeting last week?

According to 8th ward staff that attended the meeting, they have been working on this development since 2015, but no one attending the meeting knew about it, except them! If you are new to this, especially Pill Hill residents, what the 8th Ward alderman is trying to do is force a private and publicly owned 7 story, 1-2 bedroom, 134 unit mammoth shadowing over your homes.

Unlike the community meeting last week, attended by what looked like most of the residents that lived in the Montclare residence on 78th street. It appeared most of the people that attended the meeting never left the building. Another interesting thing that came out about their waiting list (since last week meeting it has gone from 200 to 400-500 people according to them) was that many of the residents at that location would be coming to the proposed location on Stony Island Ave.  You can’t help but wonder how those units were issued out and have a waiting list, and no one knew about it coming in the Pill Hill area.

8th ward alderman staff representatives

8th Ward Alderman Staff Representatives

Although this 38.6 million property being developed by MR Properties, LLC, a private owned company in Des Plaines, Illinois, made contributions to several of the current 8th ward alderman’s’ organizations. (You can request a copy of the contribution list for the 8th Ward Alderman) which is approved by the Illinois Housing Development Authority on September 29, 2017. And the community didn’t know about it. When concerned citizens found out about the scheduled zoning meeting, somehow it was rescheduled and staff couldn’t give the community an idea when it would be ready. I might add that three of the alderman’s staff sent to once again attended the meeting to fill in for the 8th Ward alderman were ill-prepared and hostile when they couldn’t answer some important questions, often returning questions with personal questions unrelated to the issue.

One of the 8th Ward Representatives, when asked how much of the community property taxes were supporting the TIF money being used with the proposed development, was misinformed that TIF money only came from businesses and not citizens when it does, instead of being given an answer. They obviously showed up with no real data. An audience member also pointed out to the alderman’s staff member that she needed to curb her tone which was way out of line and disrespectful to the concerned citizens in the room.

They are also floating around mixed materials. Some say the building will only house 62 year old seniors with a maximum income of $44,250 while other handouts from the alderman’s office state “For people age 55 years and older with an annual income that does not exceed $31,680 for one person, or $36,180 for two people.”

It was also pointed out to the 8th Ward alderman’s office by an audience member that people want to protect their life investment, and they should understand it. “Something is amiss here. Something doesn’t smell right,” was also stated by an audience member. There is an obvious lack of transparency on the alderman’s part, and it was also discussed that there may be some issues with an alderman that runs unopposed to not look out for the good of the community. It was pointed out by another audience member that it was important to develop a community for young families, including the types of businesses they like to frequent to help develop the community. They have the buying power.

There was a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the alderman’s staff to keep discussing issues that had nothing to do with what the residents were there for which ate away valuable discussion time. Concerned Citizens stressed the importance of scheduling another meeting with the alderman because she did not attend the other two meetings the organization had invited her to attend, but stressed that they didn’t want the alderman to hold any more meetings at any senior housing complexes. “No career type jobs will be created so young people can continue to live in the community” said Jerry Brown.

A young man at the meeting asked why young people had been excluded from the meetings to make decisions about what takes place in the community. And the whole room was fed up with the alderman’s exclusions and lack of transparency, mentioning that the office needed to be monitored because a lot was probably going on with the community not being included.

The question was raised about eminent domain, would it  be used to seize homes to alleviate traffic issues if necessary that will be caused by cars coming off the highway from under the viaduct at a high speeds on Stony Island Avenue at 94th street.

Jerry Brown, Community Activist

Jerry Brown, Community Activist & Concerned Citizen of the 8th Ward

99.9% of people at the meeting were totally against the development coming to the community, and said they would fight it. Someone asked why the community wouldn’t be included in decisions about what comes into the neighborhood, and the answer was they were. The room was met with responses that it didn’t include the immediate community, and why would the whole 8th Ward make a decision about a part of the Ward they don’t live in, and won’t come directly in contact with?

Jerry Brown, a concerned citizen and community activist who lives in the 8th Ward community, stated that he will be paying for a precinct survey, out of pocket, for the proposed location. He also pointed out that public and private money will be used; that CHA is providing subsidies for this project, and the Chicago Low Income Trust is also providing money. Low Income Housing Trust can provide units that could be made available for homeless leaving shelters, homeless people, people leaving drug facilities, etc., to live in the building and was agreed to by the 8th Ward Alderman’s staff that it is true.

If you are concerned about these developments taking place around your homes without your consensus, the Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward is asking that you attend the following meetings to voice your concerns about this project taking place in your neighborhood without your input.

Please come out and support the people that have been fighting for you to keep your community a family and business area; and let the Community Development Commission and Chicago Planning Commission know our community is not up for grabs. There will be buses provided by the Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward for people that need a lift downtown.

Community Development Commission Meeting
City Hall, 2nd floor City Council Chambers
121 N. LaSalle Street
April 10th at 1:00 pm

Chicago Plan Commission Meeting
City Hall, 2nd floor City Council Chambers
121 N. LaSalle Street
April 19th at 10:00 am

Elect Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman

8th Ward Residents Facing Mounting Challenges Head-On

Posted by Admin On April - 5 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Concerned Citizens Organization and 8th Ward residents are facing head-on challenges in the 8th Ward

 

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”- MLK

Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward

Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward

Once again, the Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward and some 8th Ward residents have overcome tactics to thwart their activities when trying to inform the community of unwanted developments that only serve a few, but are being forced on the 8th Ward community overall. The Concerned Citizens scheduled meeting at St. Ailbe Church to inform the community of a development that many in the area don’t want was canceled without notice. Reportedly, an unknown caller had called the church sometime ago to reserve the meeting room and falsely used the name of a person several people at the church was familiar with. When the falsely accused woman called the church and complained the meeting was canceled. When attendees arrived at the meeting, and after standing in the rainy-cold for awhile, they were told by an 8th Ward alderman’s staff person stationed in the parking lot passing out brochures about Montclare, that the meeting had been canceled. It was a full-parking lot of cars and disappointed people due to the meeting being canceled. The proposed 134-unit, 8 story low income Montclare building for senior citizens is defiantly opposed by the community but very much sanctioned by the alderman. The Concerned Citizens of the 8th Ward were disappointed but not discouraged that the meeting had been canceled. They quickly relocated everyone to an alternate location because they felt it was too important to let the mishap obliterate them or stand in the way of getting the word out about what was taking place in the community, including a new seven story 1-2 bedroom low-income senior housing development without input from the community. That was quick thinking on the part of Linda Hudson, a candidate for alderman of the 8th Ward, who understands the importance of not letting a situation that some would have given up on and gone home stop her from informing the community. This instantaneous recovery shows that Hudson thinks on her feet (even in the rainy-cold).  That is why we need Hudson for 8th Ward alderman. She won’t give up on getting the community involved and empowered. Let’s hope St Ailbe learned from this and will develop a fail-safe system to confirm persons who call in to use the meeting room. Perhaps a confirmation number could be issued when a meeting is scheduled, and it would have to be used to cancel the meting or with a follow-up call. Elect Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman  

Why the 8th Ward Needs Linda Hudson as Alderman

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Project_MontclareBy Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

Smart people always know how to take the high road, not the low road. This is why it is important to not fight about things we don’t want, but focus on what we need. Many complain and voice their complaints with anger when the energy should be focused on strategy and solutions. Many lose their patience at forums that are not focused on strategy and resolution. It’s too much wasted energy being angry. Like the saying goes, “Don’t get mad. Get smart.”

I’m not going to dwell on the past when the current 8th Ward alderman tried to get a Marijuana Medical Clinic in the community stealth mode, until a woman with much more interest in the community and its preservation and revitalization was monitoring City Hall and the Zoning Department updates for the community.

I won’t talk about how the same 8th Ward alderman is now up to the same old tricks by trying to sneak another project into the community – a one and two bedroom low income housing project aligned with Pill Hill homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of those homes were built by families that still occupy them.

There were conversations detailing what could be built in the area and zoning changes put in place to maintain its environment of single family homes and businesses. However,  now the 8th Ward wants to rezone property meant for single family homes and businesses to accommodate a behemoth of a building

While I support looking out for the welfare of our seniors, taking away valuable property meant for businesses to populate Stony Island Avenue and keep it vital is deplorable. Certainly, there are other areas, especially along east 95th that are long overdue for improvement, and there are strip malls, a pharmacy and restaurants in walking distance on the business side of the street. Further, if that office is supposed to be proud of this project as stated by the 8th Ward Alderman during last week’s community meeting, I find it interesting that this is not featured on the home page of the Alderman’s website, but others are. They want to turn a quiet family friendly area into a transient community.

Project_MontclarePerhaps, it was a convenient oversight. Hmm, your most proud accomplishment you worked really hard on after 12 years of sitting in a seat unopposed, and feel people should have “a little more faith” in you with a history of lacking transparency, being deceptive and obviously some personal agendas.

While the community sleeps, deals are being made on their behalf. Hey Pill Hill, did you know there is a 200 person waiting list already for a project in your area in phase 2 for a 134 unit with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in a 7 story building for ages 62 (site currently states 55 and up) and up “but they are allowed to have guests”? This building will be located at 94th and Stony Island, prime business real estate. Some apartments (PRA) will be paying as low as 30% of their income. “A portion of this project is subsidized by CHA to assist independent seniors through the Property Rental Assistance.”

“All residents must pass a criminal background check,” but not their visitors and potential sublets don’t. The features and amenities in the building are for the residents, not the community. Phase one must have slipped under the radar. Phase 2 would have also slipped under the radar, too, if not for a very active community activist named Linda Hudson.

Wake up people! We can’t continue to let things go business as usual. If you don’t believe the community is rotting, take a look at the businesses along a once vibrant and booming avenue. Stony Island Avenue leads into Bishop Ford Highway on the South end and Lake Shore Drive on the North. What other streets in the city can claim that!? The Alderman moves under the radar unopposed making light of peoples’ fears with jokes and sarcasm, is not the answer Alderman, especially when you have a history of this. It’s like trolling the community, and it further shows the lack of recognizing valid concerns, fears and input from the community.

Is a candidate that runs unopposed necessarily best for the community, especially if they feel grandmothered into a position? Is business as usual the best for a once booming community that flourished and now appears run down with uncared for structures, many terrible pothole streets and a neglected business area. Why would a Dunkin’ Donut be allowed to build at the edge of a parking lot with traffic obstructed and backed up daily off Stony Island when it could have taken advantage of some of the vacant property on the avenue with room for expansion? The right businesses increase property value.

Project_MontclarePerhaps, businesses should have been pursued to take on the so called “swamp lands.” There were businesses there before that included restaurants and a motel.  Another concern is the public verbal spanking of black contractors the Alderman gave and why they aren’t included on jobs, and how training courses had to be given to them to teach them things they did not know. Really, Alderman?  You are going to single out Black contractors as a whole, and talk about them not being suitable? I find it hard to believe there are no qualified Black people available to take on those projects professionally.

Does that mean I should avoid giving work to any Black contractor I come in contact with in Chicago?

At your so-called informational meeting, all of this was done in front of the non-black developers and police officers in the room. Lazy, uneducated black stereotypes were being perpetuated in front of guests, the very people involved with the development of the 7 story monstrosity with a price tag of $38.6 million dollars that will be looking over Pill Hill backyards and homes.

When a concerned resident said she lived on the property line where the building was being built and that she was concerned about her privacy.  I heard someone shout. “They won’t see much.” Guess they never heard of a telescopes and binoculars. I would be very concerned if I had children living on property where people can watch them from their windows. At that height lives can be easily monitored.

Press the play button below for a sound bite from the last 8th Ward alderman meeting to hear what the current alderman had to say about “black people.”

It was also mentioned that a certain ward didn’t want the Kroc (McDonald’s!) center, and they found an alternative space in another ward. I could not help but wonder why efforts weren’t focused on pursuing that center by the 8th Ward alderman for education and business empowerment of the community to serve many, instead of a few. Why didn’t the 8th Ward fight to get the Kroc community center? The area has needed a community center for decades. Why aren’t the young people, especially teens being provided safe places to go hangout after school and during the weekends to learn things like economic empowerment, crafts, physical fitness, sports, business, etc.? They are the future of the community.

If you are a citizen concerned about an area once zoned for single family homes and businesses being changed to include this building, show up at the next zoning meeting scheduled for April.

Linda Hudson, Concerned Citizen and Community Activist

Linda Hudson, Concerned Citizen and Community Activist was in the audience asking questions.

“Energy flows where attention goes.” So I will not focus all of my energy on what people in the community do or do not want. I’d rather focus on what the community needs, and that is an 8th Ward alderman that understands the importance of transparency, honesty and really assessing what the community wants and needs without focusing on gossip and rumors, jokingly wasting time instead of easing trouble minds that have good reason to be troubled. That’s what secrecy and lack of communications brings about. We need a person that won’t make fun of their community, but inform them.

Our youth, especially the overlooked teenagers, are very important to this community. Many of them vote too. Give our young people a place to socialize and learn things about business startups, incubators, activities that include recreation, fitness, education outside of school like other neighborhoods and stores and restaurants like the ones they frequent outside of the community so they can buy and put money back into the community. They shouldn’t have to go downtown, south suburbs, north or Hyde Park to find mentors, coaches, prospective project team members, business partners, etc. and to have a good time. What can the 8th Ward provide for these young people to learn how to hold on to the homes in their community, maintain the ones handed down by their parents and provide for their future?

We need someone that knows joking sarcastically about gossip and making fun of people as a platform to stay in office is not good strategy. It makes them look petty and unprofessional to entertain rumors and have an easily bent ear. We need someone that knows that behavior and the aforementioned are unacceptable, and that is why we need Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman. “It’s Time for Change that benefits the community as a whole, and not a few!

Elect Linda Hudson for Chicago 8th Ward Alderman

Elect Linda Hudson for Chicago 8th Ward Alderman

 

 

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