Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Notes from Neighborhood Meeting Monday June 4,2012

As we head into summer, East Ravenswood Neighbors met last week to discuss a some items for the season the notes are below…

1. Block Parties: An excellent way to have fun and get to know your neighbors! I passed out petitions so that neighbors could organize their block, if you’d like to do so please go to the Ward office to pick one up or contact 65% of the block needs to agree to the event because of the street closure. Once you have that then you can the Ward fill out an application for the party. They ask that you plan a month ahead of time. For more detailed information please click here.

If block parties aren’t your thing, you can organize a garage sale on your own or with some neighbors. However, a permit is also required. You can find more information and apply by clicking here or by contacting

2. Senior Council: In addition to the Ward Council, the 47th Ward is creating a Senior Council to address issues concerning the seniors in our Ward such as creating a phone tree and making the neighborhood more accessible for this growing population. Area 5 is looking for a representative. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dara at

3. State of the Neighborhood Association: People seemed generally happy with the the blog, emails and frequency of the meetings. I will give more notice of meetings so that people can plan for it. The reason we always do Monday nights is because All Saints graciously opens their doors for us.(Thanks All Saints) If Monday night is extremely inconvenient I can find another space to mix it up. But most importantly, we need Volunteers! The number of canvassers to flier the blocks to let neighbors not on our email to come to meetings and join the email list have dwindled and less people are knowing about the blog and meetings. Please help spread the word! And if you’d like to write something for the blog about our awesome neighborhood please don’t hesitate to let me know. We have so many exciting things in our community from Lillstreet to All Saints Church (the oldest wood frame church in Chicago) to the American Indian Center, let’s celebrate it by sharing the story with everyone!

Another thing people have noticed is the rise of rats in our alleys. If you see one please contact 311 and the ward office. The more people who tell them there is a problem the more likely they are going to do something about it.

4. CAPS: Another way to get involved in the community is by going to CAPS meetings which will now be held monthly at Chase Park. Please refer to the previous blog post for the schedule and the sidebar to the right of this post to learn more about CAPS. The more people that know about what is going on with the police and crime in our neighborhood the more we can look out for one another. 

5. Mariano’s and Lawrence Avenue Streetscape: The Mariano’s developers are still waiting for the green light from the City’s building commission. The Lawrence Ave. Streetscape is slated to start this summer.

6. Lycee Francais: They are going to begin demolition of Ravenswood Hospital in July. They will be starting from the inside and working outwards. They won’t begin construction on it for awhile, but they want to free up the lot and relieve it of the vandalism and trespassing that was occurring in the space. They are hoping to open the school in the Fall of 2015.

7. Montrose Construction: Will be going on until mid July. In addition to repaving it, Metra is reinforcing the retaining wall at that intersection. There are two seasons in Chicago: Winter and Construction. I know it feels inconvenient but our neighborhood will be stronger for it:) If you have questions please contact You can also check the website to see a more up to date schedule.

8. Things to look forward to: It was suggested at the meeting to invite the Alderman to attend one of our neighborhood meetings. We’ll nail that down for our next meeting in the early Fall.

9. Have an excellent and safe summer and please spread the word of the blog and email list at the block parties!!!


CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) meetings are going to be monthly, Yay! So go if you can, meet our local police officers, learn what crimes are happening in our area and how to add more eyes and ears to our community. They need our help.

For East Ravenswood, which is in BEAT 1912 (covering Irving Park to Lawrence, Clark to Lincoln), our meetings will be held at CHASE PARK (4701 North Ashland Avenue) at 7pm on the following dates:

June 19
July 17
August 21
September 18
October 16
November 20
December 18

If you do not live in East Ravenswood, you can find the schedule by clicking here and contacting your district police office .

Below is from Alderman Brendan Reilly’s website, I think it gives a good understanding of CAPS and why it is important to attend meetings.

“CAPS is a partnership between police, community leaders, business owners and local residents and is the foundation of the City’s community policing philosophy. CAPS brings together the police, the community, and other city agencies to proactively identify and solve neighborhood crime problems, rather than simply reacting to problems after the fact. Problem solving at the neighborhood level is supported by a variety of strategies, including neighborhood-based beat officers; regular Beat Community Meetings involving police and residents; extensive training for both police and members of the community; more efficient use of city services that impact crime; and new technology to help police and residents target crime hot spots.

With CAPS, police officers continue to enforce the law and respond rapidly to serious crimes and life-threatening emergencies. But CAPS recognizes that the police alone cannot solve the city’s crime problems. It takes a combined effort of police, community, and City government working together.”

To understand more how CAPS works, please click here.

Permit Parking Consolidation and Ward Council Meeting Minutes #6

It’s almost time for new city stickers and that means, Permit Parking Consolidation. When purchasing your 2012 City Vehicle Stickers from the City Clerk’s office, please be aware of the following permit parking zone consolidations in our neighborhood:
Zones 1394 and 126 are consolidating into Zone 62. Zone 62 will remain 62.
Car owners in these areas need to be sure the new zone number is printed correctly when purchasing their new city sticker.
II. Ward Council Notes
I was unable to make the 6th Ward Council meeting this Wednesday May 16th, but it was attended by Area 5 Alternative Representative, Linda Wilson. Thanks for the great notes, Linda, here they are:
A. Report from the Alderman:
1.  Infrastructure trust
This has been covered extensively in Pawar’s newsletters.
– it’s the right thing to do
– it was messaged and presented in a way that guaranteed opposition
– there are limits to what can be done with municipal bonds
– he supported the amendments and all but one of the Aldermanic changes were accepted by Emanuel
– he would have voted for the alternate proposal but it wasn’t stated in a way that was legal, so he didn’t
– as with all political decisions there were lots of aspects to consider, compromises were made.  Look at the extremes that were said about the issue and the truth is somewhere in the middle
2.  Speed cams
Alderman Pawar voted against it.
3.  Clark Park Stadium
The funding has passed and the next step is the legal documents, then the ground-breaking.  The funding is a combination of money from Cubs Charities (1M), Kerry Woods and his wife (1M), Turner construction ($750K), Park District ($500K) and TIF money (didn’t get the amount).
It’s a flagship project, first of its kind, will be completed sometime this year.  He’s worked with the Clark Park Advisory Committee on this.
B. Questions and Answers:
1. Have any other projects been described yet?  None other than the one on retrofitting public buildings.  This will be revenue neutral, reallocating monies that would have been spent on energy to the developers with the plus being jobs for tradespeople in unions, which have high unemployment rates.
2. Is the revenue used for debt service too?  Yes, that’s the cost
3. Has anyone compared the cost of this system to the cost of municipal bonds?  Not able to do so because the cost of bonds (and the cost through the trust) vary project to project.
 Final statement:  The trust is a shell with subject-matter experts.  He saw the way aldermen stood up and succeeded in changing it on the floor as a positive.  He’ll put out more information in an e-mail.
4. Was there any further information on NATO?  Check the web site for OEMC and sign up for “Notify Chicago.  Sure, there will be protests – most will be a good thing but they may be some provacateurs.  He said no big, the United nations is in New York and they handle protests daily with no issue.

C. Ward Council Discussion:

Dara took the stage and handed out pads of paper and slips with questions on it.  We broke up into small groups to answer them.  Dara and Jim collected the responses and are below.
The questions were:
What are the most useful/best elements of the Ward Council Meetings?
What are the least useful elements?
How would you like to see the Ward Council meetings develop from here?
Are there any issues that you would like to see included on the Ward Council Agenda?
What role should delegates/alternates have in the Ward Council?
Are there presentations from any organization you would like to have at the Ward Council?
How often do you think the Ward Coucil should meet – monthly, every other month, or quarterly?
The representatives enjoys the “tour of churches” throughout the ward that the Council meetings have given us and would like the local neighborhood group to “host” along with giving a short presentation about their area, schools, highlights, etc. General consensus was hearing all the inside stuff from the Alderman and the transparency of the process is the best thing, meetings can get too bogged down in reporting to us as a passive audience, lots of suggestions for different organizations (but these may be different meetings), and monthly meetings are too frequent but quarterly meeting aren’t frequent enough.  Figure every 6-8 weeks (next one will be mid-July at Addison Community Church at 2132 W. Addison, exact date TBD.
The discussion also asked about what are the two or three things the delegates to the council should accomplish, and what is the mission statement. This is independent of all the committees and working groups Dara is working to set up.
The alderman ended the meeting with saying the terms on the Zoning Advisory Committee are coming to an end (they go for one year), and anyone interested in serving on that group to contact the office.

D. Suggestions from the Small Group Discussion (emailed by Dara this week):

• More presentations/education (CPS, Police, Parks, etc.) – topics could be: how the ward and city work, how a successful Neighborhood Group is organized. Some of these could be outside of Council Meetings and be part of what the Ward Council sponsors.
• Coordination of local projects which the audits will help.
• Agenda on the website
• Create working groups; environment, recycling, safety, CPS & parks in the ward, etc.
• Role of the delegates and alternates: what is their mandate? Communicate with
neighborhood group and neighbors, be involved with committees, get to know the
other delegates.

The Council discussed their purpose and tasks. Jim spoke of supporting one another, organizing their neighborhood group and informing the alderman of what’s happening in their area.

Additional recommendations: Members would like to be informed in advance of major city ordinances which would be posted to the website and accept comments, discussion of menu expenditures.

Ward Council Members will now take this back to their respective Neighborhood Groups to discuss these issues and what they would like the Ward Council to be moving forward. So…

III. Our next neighborhood meeting:
June 4th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Hermitage and Wilson. Please come to meet your neighbors and discuss the above and other items that are of concern for our neighborhood. The agenda will be posted on the blog. I hope to see you all there!

East Ravenswood Neighbors Meeting, Tonight 2/13

Hello All,

I wanted to send out a quick reminder that Bill Higgins, the 47th Ward Transportation Specialist will be joining us for our neighborhood meeting tonight: Monday, February 13th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Wilson and Hermitage (please enter on Wilson).

He will be there to discuss residential permit parking and the petition process for changing or adding permits. We will also be discussing the Block Audit. The Alderman’s office has asked neighbors to evaluate every block in the ward to find trends and areas for improvement. In the meeting we will discuss how best to facilitate the survey. Click here to view it so you can start thinking about your answers to these questions. It will be a great tool for making our area the best in the ward.

We’ll also get an update from the latest CAPS meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you tonight!

Ravenswood Station & Nov. 21 Meeting Notes

Two of the issues that neighbors brought up at last week’s meeting were (1) parking issues due to Ravenswood Metra commuters and (2) the redevelopment of the Sears lot at Lawrence and Ravenswood. Well, Alderman Pawar announced today that there will be a series of community meetings about the proposed Mariano’s grocery store project at that corner, which is sure to affect East Ravenswood. The first meeting is during this Thursday’s monthly Ward Council meeting. If you have time to attend, please come out and share your thoughts. The meeting will be held in our area at All Saints Episcopal Church, 1757 W. Wilson Avenue, 6:45pm. If you can’t make it, feel free to take a look at the developer’s presentation (click here for a pdf). There will be additional meetings on December 15th and 19th. Let me know if you have any questions and concerns you’d like our Ward Council alternate, Linda Wilson, to share with the Alderman on Thursday. (Unfortunately, I have a prior engagement and have to miss it.)

Thanks to East Ravenswood’s Secretary Ray Ballard, we have minutes from last week’s Area 5 meeting. Click here (EastRavenswood_Nov21 Minutes) to download the recap as a formatted Word document, or read it below. If there’s anything we missed, please let us know!

Area #5 East Ravenswood Meeting Recap

Nov 21, 2011
4550 North Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

1. Attendance and Introductions:

a.   Over 20 people attended the meeting and were introduced

b.   Rebecca Zemans, our Area #5 Representative provided her background.

2. Agenda:

a.   Review Alderman Pawar’s October 27th Ward Council meeting.

b.   Discuss current “Issues” to bring to December Ward Council meeting.

c.    Brainstorm “Fun Ideas” for Area #5.

3. Review of Ward 47 Council Oct meeting:

a.   Rebecca provided an overview of the Ward Council meeting, as well as the City Budget Town Hall. Both reviews may be found on the East Ravenswood Blog (

b.   There are 22 areas in our ward; ~1500 people in our area.

c.    Important to continue expanding the membership of each Area group.

d.   The budget town hall was heated, with approximately 20 attendees.

4. Issues in Area #5:

a.   Issues are to be “big picture,” not “nit-picking” at small items (potholes, etc.) unless it is a widespread problem.

b.   Permit Parking:

i.     Streets were re-permitted across the area recently. Several ideas were discussed:

1.   Weekday 9-11AM permitting to necessitate permits for commuters parking near the Metra station

a.   This had mixed reviews. Some felt it would alleviate the parking misuse by Metra users while allowing neighbors and guests to use temporary permits if need be.

b.   Several said this would negatively impact neighbors with atypical work schedules by necessitating they spend money on the permits to park. Complaint that temporary permits expire so quickly it makes planning difficult.

c.    Would this help with winter parking when snow is present? Snow parking (people reserving spots) is an issue.

2.   The neighborhood relationship with the Romanian Church on for residents of 4400-4600 N Paulina is very strained.

a.   Parking permit rules not followed and need enforcement. Parking is never available. Law enforcement reluctant to ticket church goers. From their perspective: This is the only Romanian church in the city, 2500+ families go there.

3.   What is happening with the Sears parking garage (out of Area #5)?

a.   Unclear what it is used for. Could this be used for commuter parking for the Metra?

c.    Rats:

i.     Rats were an issue that many recollected with no clear resolution.

d.   Tags/Graffiti

i.     A clear distinction was made between “tags” and “graffiti”

1.   “Tags” are considered (illegal) artwork or artist signatures, while “Graffiti” is gang/crime related.

2.   Recent reports of spray paint were “tags” but are still illegal

ii.     With city budgets for spray paint (tags/graffiti) removal in decline, able residents are encouraged to use turpentine (and other methods recommended by the city) to remove it in a more timely manner (wait time for city removal is significant).

e.   Crime

i.     In relation to the “tagging” and other crimes, residents complained about the significant lack of police presence

ii.     Several residents recollected robberies, particularly of vehicles

iii.     CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) meetings

1.   Only a few residents attended the last CAPS meeting to discuss issues with police officers, but different officers attend each quarterly meeting making accountability for improvement very difficult. The Alderman should request the same officers attend each meeting.

2.   Officers put the accountability for safety back on residents because we lack a clear list of issues with firm neighborhood support.

3.   More organization is needed in our CAPS meetings

4.   Mary Stamler is our representative, but needs others to boost attendance

5.   A safety committee may be formed to better organize in alerting residents of recent incidents, as well as following up with CAPS meetings.

6.   Next CAPS meeting is February. We should be prepared.

f.     Senior Audit

i.     We will be planning a method to determine where seniors live in our area so we can better serve them in severe weather.

1.   Grocery and medication shopping for seniors during snowy weather was considered a possibility.

ii.     The Alderman would like to find ways to keep them in our ward.

iii.     It was suggested we use our new flyer communication network to visit houses. We will consider how to do this better.

5. Fun Ideas

a.   Block parties and rummage sales in the spring

b.   A “Winterfest” or “Snow Saturday” to collectively shovel following a snowstorm.

i.     City budgets for snow removal will be down. This could be a more fun way to collectively improve the streets.

ii.     Encourage kids to set up hot chocolate stands, shovel for seniors, etc.

c.    Once-a-year spring cleaning and planting day would be fun.

6. Roles

a.   Rebecca Zemans is our Representative, Linda Wilson is our Alternate representing Area #5 to the 47th Ward Council

b.   Ray Ballard has been acting as Secretary and will continue to serve that role

c.    A leader to plan a large block party on Ravenswood (with a concert?) on would be great in the summer

d.   Safety committee names will be solicited

7. Wrap-up/Club Actions

a.   Meetings will likely be monthly on Mondays, 7PM at All Saints. The location worked well for all attendees.

b.   Gary volunteered to be the flyer distributor for his block.

c.    Future meeting could discuss zoning

i.     for the (likely delayed or cancelled) 4-story building proposal for Ravenswood and Wilson, as well as zoning of the to-be-build mansion in the Area. Discuss zoning with Alderman to understand his preferences?

ii.     Perhaps urban farming/gardens could be built?

d.   A Safety Committee will be formed and members solicited

e.   A Senior Audit will need organizing to better determine senior needs

f.     A “Winterfest” or “Snow Saturday” leader may be solicited

8. Adjournment

CAPS meeting Recap, Beat 1922

There were about 10 citizens in attendance and two officers. The officers handed out a lot of brochures regarding safety and crime prevention. Here’s what the officers of beat 1922 had to say:

Out of the 9383 arrests in the city, 45 were made in our beat since the last CAPS meeting in August.

All crimes are down this year except for robbery and theft. The officers said that with the holidays coming and the economy continuing to be down, we need to exert extra awareness and common sense. Have packages mailed with a signature confirmation helps prevent theft from porches.

Use your eyes and ears. Don’t assume someone else is calling about the crime. Even if they are you should call, too! The more tips, the more the police are aware. They would rather get 20 calls than none.

Ways to tip the police:

  • Call: 311 for police non-emergencies like filing a police report after a crime has occurred and the offender is gone. For example, if your bike was stolen or if you discovered someone has vandalized your house or garage while you were out. Also call 311 to report other service needs as well such as garbage cans, potholes and alley lights.
  • Call 911 only when the there is an emergency or if you see a crime in progress. If you wish to remain anonymous to the police when calling 911, you must request it to the dispatch every time you call.
  • Text: The CPD created the TXT2TIP program so that citizens can anonymously and safely help rid our community of crime by sending information directly to the department via a text message from a cellular phone.

Here’s how to text CPD:

1. Make a new text or SMS text

2. Enter 274637 (CRIMES) in the “To” line

3. In the message box, type the word CPD, a space and then your crime tip information.

4. Hit “send”

CPD offers cash rewards of up to $1000 for information leading to an arrest.

Another tip for crime prevention: The police were able to clear 25 theft cases by people engraving their information in an inconspicuous place on TVs, computers, and other expensive household items with a license number. You can borrow one from the police station. They said you’d be surprised how often things turn up.

The new district office will cover Lake to River Fullerton to Lawrence with it’s headquarters on Halsted and Addison. There will be 400 officers, which is the combined force of the two districts.

Tagging is part of living in the city. With budget cuts, Graffiti Blasters will be slowing down their response time. The officers suggested trying Goo Gone, turpentine, or other paint removers. Depending on what surface material the vandalism occurred, different procedures may be necessary.

The next Beat 1922 CAPS meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 15th, 2012. Meetings will be held quarterly. If you have any questions or concerns before the next meeting please contact the Community Policing office at 312.744.5574. If it is an emergency or  there is a crime in progress please call 911.

CAPS meeting tonight and Notes from Budget Town Hall on 11.2.11

Join us tonight to make our neighborhood safer. There is a CAPS meeting at CHASE PARK 4701 N Ashland @ 7pm. To learn more about how CAPS works, please click here.

Notes from Budget Town Hall Meeting 11.2.11

Nothing is final til the council agrees Dec. 31. Pawar wants to come up with consistent practice standard in budget and spending. Sustainability issue, what does it look like?

Ideally the Alderman is looking to go for mulit-year budgets with reductions and additions. Looking at trends instead of annually and trying to keep up every year and having only a few weeks to decide yearly There were two main issues on the table that night: the library and police redistricting.

The general sentiment from the Aldermans was that there’s not that much money left from the parking meters and not enough to go around. E.g. Library building from tif funding and general obligation bonds is for construction not for capital and admin staff because of the bylaws it is funded differently. There is no federal funding for local libraries, even the superintendant of the library thought that’d be nice. There focus of TIF money is to be used to solve long term problems, band aids only work so long.
Library is giving lots of ideas to
the council.
Someone asked, what are other avenues to help the library? Foundation? Volunteering?

Reply: $10 for one child for summer, rebalance workforce, and new operating costs. Volunteers need to be approved by union.


71% goes to public safety. Every interest group needs to take a haircut.

Everyone wants to protect their own.

One constituent got up to say lived here his entire life. He said we have a la la land. 20 years ago gangs were all over the ward. Pulling the police district is the worst possible idea. He’s worried about a spike in armed robberies and gang violence. It’s what people will hang over Pawars head if he lets it happen. If it doesnt get fought for now, we’ll lose it forever.

To paraphrase Alderman Pawar response: “I’m not going to jump up and down. District 23 is closer to most of the ward than 19. Combining admin will have more beats on the street. Police do not respond from the building only from the street. Buildings don’t protect. An attachment to the building doesn’t mean better service.”

The police in attendance continued…”Police Districts 19 and 23 will be consolidated. It will have the third most personnel in the city. They will be combined not removed. All they’re doing is putting more police on the street.
The 19th district building that will be used, just differently for detectives and other operations.”

For more information about the police redistricting, I go into detail in my first post on this blog in the notes from the ward council meeting.

Other ways to save money?
Taxes won’t be enough…

1. Green alleys: Layer sediment on permeable surface in midline of alley. Flood damage and cost can be mitigated. Pawar wants citywide program, Chicago Innovation fund is getting started to consolidate many of these issues.

2. 20 million goes to long term savings, state law dictates surplus must go to education but it goes citywide. Pawar wants to partner TIF funding with schools in ward.

3. Garbage to grid system. Changing it will be more efficient centrally managed and not lose money when the trucks are waiting. Losing about $100 a ton which will add up to 20 million dollars of savings.  Condo associations…

4. Cell phones have made tax revenue gone down from less land lines use.

Someone asked about Teen programs? After school matters, etc.

Pawar: How can it be sustainable? The money for those programs is going to shrink in the next 5-10years

Someone mentioned the American Indian Center. Nonprofits have to start paying for water, a subsidy that the city can’t afford. 50 kids go to after school program saving society a lot of money by helping them stay in school, go to college. 90% very low income with single parent household. Not graduating high school is more detrimental to society in long term. Why not give money to make them more successful?  Just moving money around doesn’t fix anything…

Are the cuts sustainable?
$606 million deficit

$400 million in cuts and structural changes, refinancing of debt and TIF surplus.

$80 million from where?
A few other ideas.
Suburbs that havent been paying their bills for water.

Not using long term reserves to pay.

Property 2015 property tax increase because of pensions.

Union negotiations coming up too which will hurt.

Layoffs? Union negotiations make it difficult. People who make more than $100,000 should be giving some back.

Pawar: “Everyone needs to come to the table, everyone needs to take a hit”

Pawar, will the collective bargaining units come to the table? There are serious legal implications.

Someone else asked about the Recycling Rebate. The alderman said that it is probably going to be chopped for condo buildings. They’re always behind. Some things we pay a la carte for things like private school. It will be $11-12 million to cover it, probably unlikely to remain…It was a Vrdoliak and Burke legislation he’s not sure where its going.

To conclude:

Pawar said,
“This has been coming for 20 years. Where have we been? With parking meters, skyway…We have to live within our means, not worried about long term political gains, he wants to make the city more sustainable.”

He continued, “Hold your elected officials accountable. Contact them, be vocal. It may look good outside but it came at a cost to others, now we’ll be paying for social services for the rest of the city.”

The Alderman said, “Thank you for coming out, it helps us know where everyone is so we can move forward. Its okay to be upset with me, that’s what I’m here for.
Please be in touch with the office so they can know how these cuts effect you. Getting involved will protect the community the most…

So I say please join us tonight for the CAPS meeting:)