Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot called out Chicagoans to share ideas for making Chicago better. Amongst the many submissions, the NLCCC/NLEN memo policy was picked and highlighted in the following WBEZ article.
I had an opportunity to attend the November 14, 2016 CTA Board meeting and testify during the public hearing on the 2017 budget. There were 5 people from the NLCCC in attendance including myself. Three of the 5 were from the Transportation Subcommittee, and 2 were from the Economic Development Subcommittee. I didn’t have the opportunity to prepare written testimony, but I will share my recap below.
I introduced myself as a member of the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, a group charged with facilitating community planning for the North Lawndale community. I indicated that this was our first comprehensive plan in 58 years, and that transportation is an integral part.
We are working with CMAP, and that, while we have not yet begun planning in earnest, we have received a draft of our existing conditions report. Data gleaned from the report suggest that between 2010 and now North Lawndale ridership on the Pink and Blue lines increased at a significantly faster level than the citywide average. North Lawndale ridership on the Pink Line increased by 26.2%. Blue Line ridership from North Lawndale increased by 19.4%. Citywide, ridership increased by 14.6%. In spite of the fact that ridership in North Lawndale grew faster than city averages, 9 stations were closed on the Blue Line east of Austin, 5 of which serve North Lawndale, Austin, East Garfield Park and West Garfield Park. (Figures on closed stations from Thom Alcazar, a local business owner who is looking to open a new grocery store on the West Side). CTA has effectively created an express line where they “fly over” predominantly African American communities on the West Side, while providing local service to communities beyond ours to the east and in the Western Suburbs. We admonished the CTA Board that, while they lobby for increased state and federal funds, they also address the apparent inequities in their transit service to local communities.
We respectfully requested that the closed stops be restored, particularly in light of our planning process, and the Mayor has designated one of our industrial corridors as a Manufacturing Growth Zone. You can’t attract employers that will hire locally if local residents can’t access public transit near work in their own communities.
North Lawndale is more dependent on public transportation than the average community in Chicago. While bus ridership declined system wide, our bus ridership has been steady on most lines, with a few lines losing ridership. Even when we lost ridership, it hasn’t been as low as city averages. (Bus ridership citywide has decreased 10% while bus ridership for North Lawndale has declined 3%) Yet, the Ogden bus stops at California, and doesn’t go further into the neighborhood. About 2 miles of Ogden Avenue between California and City Limits has no bus service. (This is essentially the width of the community from east to west)
There have been a number of developments along Ogden Avenue that were not in place when the service was cut. Impacted businesses and institutions include local schools (Collins, Crown, Legacy), Mount Sinai Hospital, Cinespace, Lagunita Brewery and Lawndale Christian Health Center. Residents have been cut off from efficient and safer routes to work, school and recreation. We respectfully requested that the Ogden bus line is restored to where it was before it was shortened. This would mean that the bus would run as far west as Pulaski, and turn around at the Pink Line Pulaski stop on 21st and Pulaski.
We expressed thanks and appreciation for programs like Second Chance, that provides training and employment opportunities at CTA for ex-offenders. (NLEN is a partner). However, we requested that CTA work with local community organizations to create opportunities for adults who would like to re-tool their skills and change careers. We also asked them to work with local schools to develop a curriculum and training programs to prepare our youth to work for CTA upon graduation from high school.
We noted that CTA is hosting a large scale city-wide procurement fair on November 15th at the Chicago Cultural Center Downtown. We asked the CTA Board to host a similar event in North Lawndale and offered to help coordinate it. We indicated that we wanted our focus to be employment (for people including ex-offenders, college graduates and career changers); procurement for small businesses and opportunities for local artists to have their work commissioned for bus and train stations.
In closing, we asked for a meeting with staff to share our plans and how we can incorporate transit into our strategies.
We were referred to Jeffrey Wilson, who works with CTA Intergovernmental Affairs. After the meeting, we were approached by Rev. Johnnie Miller to discuss our concerns in more detail.
I will debrief with members of the Executive Subcommittee and the Transportation Subcommittee, and set up meetings with Rev. Miller and Mr. Wilson.
Valerie F. Leonard
Valerie F. Leonard
Chair, Transportation Subcommittee
Member, Executive Subcommittee
We thank Charles Paidock, of Citizens Taking Action for Transit Dependent Riders, for the following announcement.
Regional Transit 2017 Budget – Public Hearing
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
Wednesday, Nov. 30th, 4:00 to 6:00 PM
175 W. Jackson Blvd., 16th Floor, Chicago
Copy of the Budget Summary:
Summary of 2017 Proposed REGIONAL BUDGET AND CAPITAL PROGRAM CTA, Metra, Pace, ADA Paratransit, and RTA 2017 Budget Impact on RTA Customers The Service Boards …
Public comments may be submitted by email to email@example.com
From Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders:
A citizens advocacy group for transit dependent riders in the Chicago, IL metropolitan area.
Photo Credit: RTA
A 10-year-old girl has been missing from Lawndale since Saturday, police said.
Nariyah Wilson was last seen in the 1400 block of South Karlov Avenue wearing a white shirt, black leggings and black and white shoes.
She is a black girl standing 5 feet tall and weighing 120 pounds, police said. She has brown eyes and brown hair and a scar above her left eye.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call detectives at 312-747-8380.
We thank Rochelle Jackson, a member of our education and transportation subcommittees, for sharing the following information regarding JPA, one of our partnering organizations.
JPA congratulates Executive VP, Stephen Budde, Ph.D. and Akadia Kacha-Ochana, MPH, JPA’s Research and Quality Improvement Specialist, who were invited to present on their work “The Psychiatric Rehospitalization Outcomes for Children in Substitute Care” at the prestigious annual American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo, held earlier this week on November 1st, 2016, Denver, CO.
Way to go, Steve & Akadia!!!
The Cook County Commission on Social Innovation and the Social Enterprise Alliance, Chicago Chapter, teamed up to host a technical assistance session at the Sankofa House in North Lawndale. Michael Hyzy, Creative Director with Nutricio, was the moderator.
The session opened up with a presentation of the Social Innovator Award to Valerie F. Leonard by Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, Chairman of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation and Attorney Marc J. Lane, Vice Chairman.
Mark Mulroe, Vice President of A Safe Haven Foundation, stressed that nonprofits must diversify their resources and begin to generate income other than grants. He shared insights on how nonprofits can start social enterprises and used examples from his organization, which operates a number of for-profit businesses, including landscaping and property management.
Marc J. Lane, Founder of the Marc J. Lane Wealth Group, shared various legal structures for social enterprises, with an emphasis on the L3C, while explaining the pros, cons and tax implications. Click here to view an excerpt from Attorney Lane’s discussion.
Photo credit: Norvell Tolbert. Left to Right: Angelique Orr, Mark Ferguson, Valerie F. Leonard, Rodney Brown, Dr. Dennis Deer.
Valerie Leonard was honored by the New Covenant Community Development Corporation
By Igor Studenkov
This was one of the several awards that were given out by the Homan Square-based New Covenant Community Development Corporation at its third annual Game Changers for Economic Impact gala.
The event was held in Austin’s Columbus Park Rectory, 5701 W Jackson.
The awards usually go to innovative North Lawndale businesses, but this year, the NCCDC decided to add an award to recognize those who work hard to improve the community. As the NCCDC officials readily admitted, there was never any real question as to who this year’s recipient would be.
Leonard has been working to help North Lawndale for the past few decades. According to the bio on her official website, she founded the Lawndale Alliance, which has advocated for school improvements, fairer Tax Increment Financing fund usage and aid to homeowners affected by the 2008 mortgage crisis, among other initiatives.
Most recently, Leonard became one of the three co-founders of the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, which is working to create a comprehensive development plan for the North Lawndale community.
Dennis Deer, a fellow NLCCC co-founder, serves as a NCCDC’s president. As he explained in the opening remarks during the gala, the organization has been around since 2012. The money raised from the gala, Deer said, will allow NCCDC to offer classed provided by its Small Business Development Center for free.
“[The center] provides small business consulting services, business advisory,” Deer said. “We teach people who desire their own businesses how to have them. [The program includes] entrepreneurship classes, one-on-one advising [and] consulting services.”
NCCDC also launched the North Lawndale Chamber of Commerce. Deer said it wasn’t the first time someone tried to create one, but this one has survived the challenges so far, and he was optimistic about its future.
“We have 15 to 20 members already who are having a unified voice in the development of the community,” he said.
As NCCDC director Angelique Orr explained during the gala, the Game Changers awards are meant to do more than recognize local businesses.
“Every year, we have an opportunity to celebrate exceptional entrepreneurs,” she said. “They’re there to change game and they’re game-changers. You stepped out of nothing and made something happened – you changed the game.”
Deer said that NCCDC wanted to give Leonard an award to recognize how she changed the community, even though she isn’t a business owner.
“[We gave her the award] because of all the work she’s done in community organizing and community advancement, all of the work she did in order to [create] a better community,” he said. “She is very, very deserving of those accolades, even though she doesn’t like them very much.”
NCCDC Vice-President Rodney Brown offered his own praise.
“She has the hart and passion for making sure things get done for the people who need it,” he said of Leonard. Deer said that Leonard wasn’t told she was getting the award until she arrived at the gala. When she came up to the podium, she found herself at a loss of words.
“I’m having an Oprah moment,” she said. “I’m speechless.”
The procession of honors for Leonard, however, won’t end with NCCDC. On Nov. 2, she’ll be recognized by the Chicago Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance for her work in social enterprise during a session held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sankofa House, 4041 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Entrepreneurs who won the awards this year included Katros Consulting firm founder and CEO Lynn Sutton; Landon Williams and Jason Diggs, co-owners of Against the Grain Designs accessories maker; Elliot Porter, owner of the Grade A Car Spa car wash; and Michelle Sharp, owner of the It’s-Sooo [sic], an all-natural clearing products company.
The Law Project’s Allegra Cira Fischer
Discusses the Pros and Cons of Community Benefits Agreements
Allegra Cira Fischer, Staff Attorney with The Law Project, will be a guest on the Nonprofit “U” radio blog talk show on Monday, November 7, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nonprofit “U” is an online forum where nonprofit stakeholders can discuss the latest developments in the sector and increase their capacity to serve their clients and build sustainable communities. Valerie F. Leonard, an expert in community and organizational development, is the host. The show will stream live from http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nonprofit_u/2016/11/07/benefiting-communities-through-mutual-agreement. The archived podcast will be available on BlogTalkRadio, Valeriefleonard.com/NonprofitU, iTunes Podcast Chart, Blubrry and Stitcher.
Fischer will talk about what community benefit agreements (CBA’s) are; the pros and cons, and some of The Law Project’s work in supporting local community based coalitions in their quest for greater democracy in development. There will be opportunities for listeners to call in with questions and participate in live chats. Nonprofit professionals, community advocates, developers and other community stakeholders are especially encouraged to call in and share their stories. The live call in number is (347) 884-8121.
“At the end of the day, I’d like listeners to walk away with a clear understanding of what community benefits agreements are, and have realistic expectations regarding the rerwards and challenges of negotiating CBA’s”, Fischer said.
DATE: Thu, Nov 3, 2016
TIME: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
PLACE: 2621 W 16th St
Did you know that at least nine major TV programs current seasons were filmed in Chicago? This includes well known programs such as Chicago Fire, Empire and Sense8. Film and Televisioin are big business in Chicago.
Join us at Cinespace Chicago Studios, home to these shows and learn more about the industry firsthand from these local experts.
We’ll be joined by the heads of the Chicago Film Office, Illinois Film Office and Cinespace.
The event is a joint production of the Michigan Ross Club of Chicago, the U of M Club of Greater Chicago and the Independent Filmmaker Project Chicago.
Networking starts at 6pm with the panel starting at 630pm. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are $20.
Panelists:Christine Dudley (Director Illinois Film Office), Rich Moskal (Director Chicago Film Office), Alex Pissios (Founder/CEO Cinespace Chicago Film Studios)
We thank Charles Paidock of the Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders, for sharing the following announcements.
Opportunity for Comments to CTA Board
Chicago Transit Authority – Proposed 2017- Operating Budget
A public hearing will be conducted on Monday, November 14, 2016 at 6:00 P.M. at the CTA headquarters located at 567 W. Lake Street, second floor conference room, Chicago, IL
|Building on 70 Years of Service – transitchicago.com
2016 Operating Budget Performance Summary……………………………………………………… ………………………… 23. 2016 Operating …
Monthly Meeting of Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders will be on Monday, Nov. 7th at 7:00 PM, at Wendy’s, Clark and Madison Streets, Chicago
|Citizens Taking Action for Transit Dependent Riders
A citizens advocacy group for transit dependent riders in the Chicago, IL metropolitan area.
Photo credit: CTA