Illinois State Representative Mike Boland (D-Moline) announces his plan to provide eighth grade students with one year of free college tuition if they meet his challenge to complete high school, maintain a “C” average and good behavior. Under the plan unveiled during a news conference Monday, March 23, at Chicago State University, Boland, chair of the Higher Education Committee, said the students would receive a scholarship equivalent to one year’s tuition at an Illinois community college that can be used at any public or private institution throughout the state. “This concept, which I call ‘Challenge Scholarships,’ will not only benefit the student involved by having a year of free tuition at a community college, or the equivalent amount at a four-year private or public college, but also help prevent the type of self-destructive behavior that hurts young people and costs taxpayers a huge bundle,” said Boland.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Video games with violent content and adult themes like the Grand Theft Auto series has a mother of five boys turning back to family friendly games like Frogger and Pac Man.
Adult situation media has influenced youth to mock these images and have caused an increase in youth violence. Games have become more realistic, depicting images with blood and gore, and show disrespect for the law.
Violence in games is causing concern for parents like Angela Campbell, a foster parent of five boys who had to take away Grand Theft Auto from her sons because the game showed a lack of respect for the police and promoted prostitution. Campbell, who mentors teens, works with a parents group where they discuss violence in video games.
“This is why some children are disrespecting police and women,” Campbell said. “I don’t want them to think they can do these kinds of things in life.” Campbell said she is also concerned about her sons playing online with other children they may not know.
Dr. Mitchell Glaser, child adolescent psychiatrist, said there has been an increase in violence in all areas of society. The increase in violence comes from more than just video games,” he stated. “I don’t think a parent should let their children play those kinds of games if the child has a behavioral or emotional problem,” he said. “I think it would increase the likelihood of those things occurring.”
Glaser said violent video games bring the idea of violence to a child’s mind. “It increases the idea that the child would think of it. It would be on their mind more. I don’t think it is a good idea for young children to be exposed to those games,” he said.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Governor Pat Quinn recently met with doctors and other medical staff at Mercy Hospital to discuss health care and the state budget.
Quinn said he supports veterans care especially for soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who will need education, jobs, mental and physical healthcare services. Soldiers coming back with post-dramatic stress disorder have made people more aware of how important mental health is, he said.
There are 3,000 National Guard troops from Illinois with the largest deployment in Afghanistan. Twelve
soldiers have been killed in action since Quinn has been governor.
He also said he supports funding for KidCare, a program that provides all children in Illinois with health care. “We want every new child to know that this state has reform, is honest, and that every dollar is [being] spent the proper way.”
With a deficit of $11.5 billion, Quinn addressed the need to raise revenue to pay for health care bills
and said the state had to borrow money in order to pay medical workers.
“We were able to borrow over a billion dollars very quickly and have done several more transactions from the federal government for basic safety net hospitals here in Chicago and all over Illinois,” he added. The idea of this budget is to pay the bills over 30 days, he said.
There are nursing homes in every county of Illinois and if they are not paid in the next six or seven months, it does not help our economy, he sated.
The governor, who was born at Mercy Hospital, said he plans to only keep $150,000 of his salary and
will give the rest back to the state, charities and non-for profit groups.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
At an evening Sunday service at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, U.S. Senator Roland Burris told the congregation that he refuses to resign while at the same time, Rev. Stephen J. Thurston said he wants people to leave Burris’ family alone.
Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-1), Rev. Thurston, Rev. Albert Tyson, Bishop Tavis Grant II, and other ministers and elected officials joined in their support of Burris. Burris sat in the pulpit with ministers during the service.
Rev. Thurston mentioned how Burris is carrying out the vision that President Barack Obama had when he served in the U.S. Senate. “We should pray for him as he continues to do his good work. We support him in response of allegations that have been made concerning him. We are committed to him. We believe that he is the right man in the right place.” Rev. Albert Tyson, treasurer of West Side Ministers Coalition requested, “that the calls for his [Burris] resignation cease.” He mentioned that it was not right for his family to be attacked.
Rev. Janette Wilson, general counsel for Broadcast Ministers Alliance Chicago, talked about the lack of respect for Burris as senator. “You are treating the U.S. Senator as if he committed a crime,” she said. “We only have one seat [meaning African American] in the United States Senate. We understand what the power of that seat holds. We are not going to give that seat back and we are not going to force our senator to resign.
“Stop asking him to resign,” she continued. “Ask him about senator matters. Ask him about the stimulus package and how it is going to benefit Illinois…provide for the citizens of the state of Illinois.”
“We see Senator Burris as a treasure,” said Bishop Tavis Grant. He mentioned Burris’ uncorrupted record as Comptroller and Attorney General. “The same people who attacked John Stroger on his death bed are the same people who attack Todd Stroger. Many members of Illinois in Congress and the Senate do not have cameras following them. We are praying for his strength and mental ability of our senator,” Grant said.
“I have not heard or seen this kind of outcry for resignation,” Rush said. “I have seen senators [in reference of Ted Kennedy] who got drunk; drove off a bridge and people died, but heard no outcry for those senators to resign. Here is a man who did nothing wrong.
“Since Roland has been in office this past month, he has passed more bills than any other senator,” Rush continued. “The state constitution works for him [Quinn] and it works for Roland.”
Burris mentioned a bill he signed to make sure that the armed forces are equipped and have the best of services. “Last week we moved the stimulus package,” he said. “This week the Senate passed the voting rights bill, which gave the District of Columbia the right to have a congressman in the United States Congress. There are 600,000 residents in DC, mostly African American, who do not have representation in the House or the Senate.
It is the duty of every democracy to make sure the residents are represented equally,” he said.
Burris added that he cosponsored a bill to recognize slaves who built the White House. “I was proud that my fellow senators passed the bill quickly and swiftly to honor our forefathers who were slaves. We will place a plaque at the wall of the capital building so that residents and school children will fully understand their history,” Burris added.
“We are going to pray for him, because prayer will fix it,” Rev. Thurston said. “We will not let the devil rob us of his ability.” In reference to some of the negative attention to Burris, Rev Thurston urged, “Get off his block. Leave his family alone.”
by Lesley R. Chinn
After Congressmen Bobby Rush, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., and Danny Davis discussed President Barack Obama’s stimulus package at a series of town hall meetings, they met at the Quentis Bernard Garth Foundation headquarters last Saturday with members of the Chatham Business Association’s (CBA) Small Business Development, Inc.’s group to discuss how entrepreneurs can benefit from the economic recovery package.
Invited CBA members spoke with all three Congressmen about issues ranging from neighborhood revitalization; social services, and business contracts resulting from the stimulus. Joe Caldwell, CBA vice chairman, said that with the economy deteriorating, many small businesses are just trying to "hold on." While noting the CBA represents more than 800 small businesses within the Chatham area, Caldwell said that there needs to be some "clarity and understanding" about how entrepreneurs will benefit from the stimulus.
Congressman Rush said Obama just recently signed the stimulus plan. He added that the money will flow from the federal government to the state and local governments. Some of the funds will come in the form of grants directly distributed to the states.
The Citizen asked about Illinois’ stimulus portion. Previous reports indicated that Illinois was expected to receive between $3 and $33 billion. Congressman Rush said he was unsure about the exact number and called the package a "work in progress."
However, what is known so far is that 95 percent of working Americans and their families will receive a tax cut. The plan will provide for an additional $400 for individuals and $800 for couples and will be spread out in their paychecks over a period of time, according to Jackson.
Questions were asked about what constitutes "shovel-ready" projects that create and grow jobs in the Black community. Jackson read off a list of top priorities that included addressing the foreclosure crisis; repairing and building roads and bridges including the Bishop Ford and the I-57 Expressways, and addressing banking and credit issues.
The group was also urged to inquire about oversight of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)’s minority infrastructure funds and to find out more informa- tion from Governor Pat Quinn who the next secretary will be.
Keith Tate, president of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, Eleanor Porter, CBA housing chairman, and Phyllis Logan, housing chairman of the Westside NAACP pointed out that the economy won’t become stable if homeownership remains at risk. Logan said she hopes funds from the stimulus will assist homeowners in getting loans at better interest rates. Right now, the problem, she added, is dealing with sub-prime lenders who refuse to modify loans. Tate added that Chatham has seen more than 121 foreclosures. He asked how people are going to get funds to help solve some of these problems.
As for social services, Dr. Felicia Blasingame, president/CEO of South Central Community Services, wanted to know how agencies like hers can benefit from the stimulus.
Congressman Jackson said that the $787 billion stimulus package will not be the last infusion of dollars injected into communities and added that more funds will come later. "If people don’t see some relief fairly quickly, there will be some consequences at the polling places for everyone including the President," Jackson stated. "He said he wants to be measured by the quality of his administration instead of the quantity and right now, he is offering up the whole kitchen sink right now as opposed to running cautiously to get re-elected."
Tracking stimulus dollars was also an item of interest to CBA members. Congressman Rush told the group they could visit a stimulus transparency website called www.recovery. gov. Rush, Jackson, and Davis also said the group and other citizens like them, should hold their state and local officials accountable to ensure that stimulus funds are properly distribute.
Posted on 23. Mar, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
Last week, the Chicago Sun-times published an article about Senator Roland Burris’ son’s $34,163 tax lien and the foreclosure suit filed on his home.
The paper seized on an opportunity to disclose financial information and tied together the story about Roland W. Burris II’s hiring, his credit woes and recent calls for his father, Roland Burris, to step down.
The revelations come in the middle of a Senate ethics probe and perjury investigation targeting Sen. Burris that stems from testimony he provided to the House panel that drafted impeachment charges against former Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was removed from office on Jan. 29, the Chicago Sun-times reported.
The scandal with Blago is bound to get juices flowing among some members of the press but the question becomes when does the feeding frenzy stop? In some situations, scrutiny is justified, in others, it’s a little over the top.
Take former First Lady of Illinois Patricia Mell Blagojevich, the former governor’s wife, who was fired from her $100,000 a year fund raising job after controversy regarding alleged taped statements placed her in the national spotlight. But that publicity was generated in part by her own statements and well, some might say—she really had it coming.
In this case, what did Burris II do to be thrown into the media spotlight? Facts about where he works and information relating to his credit history unnecessarily became public when the
Sun-times report was published. Here are the facts as reported by the paper:
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) where Burris II works as a lawyer said he was hired based on his qualifications.
"Although the IHDA’s mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income homebuyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives," the paper also reported that it is not a practice of the agency to request financial information from any of its applicants. So essentially, Burris II was treated like any other applicant and apparently credit history was of no consequence in getting the job.
Separately, the paper wrote, "federal authorities have been investigating hiring decisions by Blagojevich’s administration." (But here’s the kicker) — "Authorities, however, have not expressed any interest in Burris II," the Sun-times report concluded.
So here’s the question. If Burris II was hired based on his qualifications, if submission of his financial information was not a requirement of the job for any candidate and most importantly— if he’s not a target of the federal investigation, then why waste the ink by making financial information related to his credit history public? This past Sunday, Burris met at a South Side church with ministers and friends who offered prayers for him in facing adversity in weeks ahead. We support the ministers who are calling for the media to respect the rights of family members who happen to be private citizens.
Private citizens, unlike public officials (unless private citizens knowingly place themselves in a public light) have a constitutional right to privacy. Right now, Roland Burris’ status as a public official is a burden he carries alone and attempts to feed the media’s voracious appetite for news, becomes a slippery slope.
Unless otherwise justified, the media should respect the rights of all private citizens and insinuations without justifications on the record, only amount to sensationalism, "he said-she-said journalism," speculation and innuendo.
Otherwise, if you work for the state or if you are looking or a job, you’d better get ready to make your financial information, including your credit history, a part of the record and a matter for public spectacle, even if the motivation behind digging up credit history has nothing to do with getting the job and is targeted towards someone other than the person applying.
Posted on 20. Mar, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
“Phenomenal Me”presented by KeeP’n it Real was an event to raise awareness and to create the
conversation about HIV/AIDS in the African American Community by joining together community and entertainment. Over 340 students attended on March 10, 2009, at the W.E.B. Dubois Academy (1135 N. Cleaver Rd). “Phenomenal Me” was a family and community-oriented event with emphasis placed on educating women and girls of color.
Diane Beasley hosted the event and guest speakers Marilyn McBride, HIV Health Educator and Case Manager and Yaa Simpson, Community Epidemiologist on health with the Chicago Department of Public
Health (CDPH) spoke to the teens about the seriousness of HIV/AIDS among young women and the truth about the disease. Nationally renowned comedian Kellye Howard, Poet Ra and Magician David Shareef all entertained the guests. This event also provided educational supplies, giveaways, free HIV Testing, lunch, The FACES of AIDS and an endless array of education. The Illinois Department of Public
Health presented an Avatar presentation to teach girls and women how to conduct themselves while
on dates. Reverend Green of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Doris Turner of the Illinois Department Public Health both served as Honorary Chair members of this event.
“We cannot keep our mouths shut and stand by as this disease strips our little girls of their youth. I
created this event as my contribution to my community,” says George. Transportation was coordinated for females from transitional correctional facilities, domestic abuse shelters, recovery homes, alternative schools and homeless shelters. It is important that our audience is able to connect
to real life individuals who can and have walked in their shoes. We had an HIV positive female who spoke about living with HIV.”
According to a 2008 study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “one in four (26%) female adolescents (aged 14-19) in the United States has at least one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.” The study goes on to say African American teenage girls had the highest prevalence. In Chicago, these statistics are mirrored wherein HIV/AIDS incidences are considerably higher among Black females. Our community is dying. As individuals, we are learning
more about this epidemic that is affecting everyone in our society, explains Lisa George, of LFC &
Associates, event creator.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Dorothy Brown, clerk of Circuit Court of Cook County, Denise Dixon, executive director of Action Now and a group of other elected officials want banks that received federal bail out money to start modifying more loans to prevent foreclosures.
Brown sent letters to President Barack Obama, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and U. S. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid for help to end the foreclosure crisis in Cook County.
With a spike of files in the Cook County Courthouse, banks that received federal funding are steadily pushing homeowners into foreclosure as opposed to modifying loans, officials said.
Cook County endured a record 43,726 foreclosure case filings in 2008, which is a 338 percent increase over ten years. There were 4,672 mortgage foreclosures filed in February 2009, and 1,114 cases filed the first week of March 2009.
Brown is urging Governor Pat Quinn to sign Senate Bill 2513, which allows troubled homeowners to obtain a “substantial workout plan,” while prohibiting legal action against them.
“Foreclosures up to January 20 were 171,” Brown said. “The day after Obama’s inauguration, the numbers were 214,” she added. After March 4, foreclosures continued to rise, she stated.
“Banks are selling foreclosed homes to other people,” Brown continued. “Banks are issuing more loans. Banks are not issuing more modified loans. In order for the president to get a clear picture, we have to tell him what is going on,” Brown said. The staggering number of foreclosures represents families and not just numbers, said Dixon. “Those people are being turned to the streets.
They have come to the end of the rope and don’t know what to do, so they call us.” All levels of government need to work together to get banks to modify loans instead of foreclosing on homes, she said.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Dixon continued. “If ever there has been a natural disaster in Illinois, this is it. We are looking for federal legislation to come from President Obama.
“When we get homeowners to come to us for help, we have to play the role as intervener. We talk to the lender to get a modification for those loans. Sometimes we have to sit in offices for days. It is a very slow process, doing one house at a time,” she stated.
“With the crisis…we know that there has to be some legislation passed in order to put an end to it. That is why we support the Philadelphia plan that says the borrower and the lender have to come together to talk about the loan before the house can be foreclosed on. It can be done with chief county judge [Timothy C.]
Evans signing an executive order that says that is what his judges should do. We are in support of the moratorium [on foreclosures] coming from Obama,” she stated.
“Some of the loans have been chopped up into so many parts that we do not know who has the loan,” she said. “We worked with ShoreBank on getting people loans…having them buy the loans for people in trouble. They are small banks and cannot do all of this. The larger banks [that] have received bail out loans, need to step up to the plate and make sure that they are not putting people out of their homes,” she added.
by Lesley R. Chinn
While President Barack Obama announced a $15 billion package to help small businesses, he eprimanded insurance giant AIG (American International Group) on Monday for recklessness and greed.
The issue gained attention and questions arose about whether AIG should break contracts or hand out
$165 million in bonuses to top executives after taking billions of dollars in federal bailout money.
Dr. Kenneth Johnson, professor of management at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University said in general, most organizations make bonuses contingent on the organization’s financial health.
“If the bonuses would jeopardize the financial health of the organization, they would not go into effect. In a case where the U.S. Government provided funding so the company would not fail, it would seem this would qualify as a situation where employee incentives would be null and void,” he said.
While he stated that it is unethical for AIG employees to accept the bonuses even where the contracts were entered into before the bailout last fall, he noted conditions should have been attached but time was of the essence.
After news of the AIG bonuses came last weekend, Obama ordered his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to block AIG from awarding them to executives. Promoting his stimulus package, Obama made a speech about protecting taxpayers against greedy, failing corporate giants.
“For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste – it’s a bad strategy – and I will not tolerate it as President,” he said in a Sun-Times report.
According to the Associated Press, AIG used $90 billion-plus in federal aid to pay foreign and domestic banks, some of which were the recipients of multibillion-dollar federal government bailouts. But AIG
reported company losses this month at $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year.
The recipients included Goldman Sachs at $12.9 billion and three European banks – France’s Societe
Generale at $11.9 billion, Germany’s Deutsche Bank at $11.8 billion; Britain’s Barclays PLC at $8.5 billion. Merrill Lynch, which is also reportedly undergoing federal scrutiny of its bonus plans and now part of Bank of America, had received $6.8 billion as of December 31. Other recipients included Citibank at $2.3 billion and $5 billion to UBS of Switzerland. The money went to banks to cover their losses on complex mortgage investments, as well as for collateral needed for other transactions.
by Lesley R. Chinn
A month before the International Olympics Committee (IOC) is scheduled to visit Chicago to analyze the city’s file and to make onsite inspections, a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee updated the Chatham Business Association (CBA) about the summer games and how they can get involved.
At a CBA meeting held Tuesday at South Central Community Services, Gyata Kimmons, Chicago 2016
community relations director, said the Committee’s bid book was submitted last month to the IOC.
Last December, Chicago 2016 announced results of an independent study outlining how Chicago could
benefit economically just by hosting the games. The study found that the games are expected to generate more than $22.5 billion in Illinois. Of those funds, Chicago is expected to generate $13.7 billion during the 11-year-span from 2011 through 2021. More than 315,000 jobs are expected to be created during this period in Illinois while officials anticipate 172,000 of those jobs will be in Chicago, Kimmons stated.
The proposed 2016 Olympic event venues include: Washington Park; Douglas Park; Grant Park; Jackson
Park; Northerly Island; Monroe Harbor and Lincoln Park. The cornerstones of the bid’s plan also includes the United Center, Soldier Field and McCormick Place.
Since Washington Park will be at the heart of the proposed Olympic Games, questions were raised about how existing events such as the Bud Biliken Day Parade and Picnic; the African Arts Festival, and UniverSoul Circus would be impacted. Kimmons said alternative locations for these events are currently being determined.
By working closely with the Chicago Park District and the community, Kimmons stated that Chicago 2016 will ensure that every park that is used as a venue will be left in better shape after the games.
In October, the IOC will pick a city to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The announcement will be made at the 121st IOC Session in Denmark. If Chicago is selected, Kimmons estimated that the games will provide a $450 million surplus for Chicago. More than 500,000 tickets will be distributed to youth. In addition, 51 percent of tickets to the games will be priced below $50. The current operating budget for the Olympics is $3.8 billion. The budget is 100 percent privately financed.
While Chicago competes for the Olympic Games against Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Kimmons said there have been numerous events hosted citywide in Chicago to help promote the Olympics.
Kimmons showed CBA members a brief video presentation about aspiring Olympic athletes who talked
about their dreams of going for the Gold. After showing the video presentation, Kimmons addressed how the CBA, which is comprised of more than 800 businesses in the Chatham and surrounding area, can get involved.
Kimmons said the games are for everyone to enjoy and now is the time to get a business plan together. If businesses wait until the last minute, he said they will miss out on opportunities such as construction contracts, vendor services and creating jobs.
Other items of interest:
Eddie Rasul, affirmative action compliance officer for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, encouraged businesses to take advantage of contracting opportunities, while Mary Avent, Exelon senior investigator of corporate security, informed CBA members to beware of individuals stealing electricity from companies and homes. To inquire about contracting opportunities at the Water Reclamation District, call (312) 751-4037. To report electric theft, call ComEd at 1-800-550-6154 or
Cook County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-535-7867.