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The North Lawndale Community News
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Chicago Illinois, 60612
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Isaac Lewis, Jr. Executive Director
Strategic Human Services / North Lawndale Community News
A Community-Driven Planning Process to Revive North Lawndale
North Lawndale, Chicago. The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) will kick off the second phase of its comprehensive community planning process by hosting its first Annual North Lawndale Community Planning Conference on Saturday, April 16, at DRW College Preparatory High School, 931 S. Homan Avenue, Chicago IL 60623. The conference will start at 11 am and go until 3 pm. Over 200 community stakeholders are expected to participate, including elected officials, heads of public agencies, local residents, leaders of community-based organizations, students and educators, business owners and faith-based leaders.
This is the first comprehensive planning effort for the North Lawndale in over 50 years, and the community’s very first planning conference ever. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) will provide an overview of the comprehensive planning process as it relates to the physical environment, and then will facilitate a workshop to guide the community through a discussion of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that the planning process could bring. Members of NLCCC will facilitate breakout sessions to identify community needs and develop very high level goals and objectives within various quality of life sectors. There will be activities for children ages 3-12; youth ages 13-18 and adults. Admission is free event and lunch will be provided.
To register for the conference, or for more information, visit http://nlcccplanning.org/register, or call Dorine Poole at 773-826-1636.
The North Lawndale Coordinating Council is a group of North Lawndale stakeholders, including community-based organizations, business owners, elected officials and individuals that have come together to guide comprehensive planning and implementation in North Lawndale (Community Area 29). The group develops innovative solutions to improve the built environment and to increase the capacity of local organizations to make a positive impact on the community.
CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP developed and now guides implementation of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan. To address anticipated population growth of more than 2 million new residents, GO TO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies that help the region’s 284 communities address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.
At 7:00 in the morning, Harmony Church Bottled Water drive secures donated water loaded by volunteers with Senior Pastor James Brooks, 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott Jr, UIC Public Health students and other volunteers.
Harmony Community Church’s bottled water drive coordinated by Senior Pastor James Brooks accumulated into hundreds of cases of bottled water to be donated and delivered to Flint Michigan on Friday, January 29., Harmony Community Church, located at 1908 S Millard was the dropping point for donated bottles before heading out to Flint Michigan.
Driving the water to Flint was Wells Global Logistics Trucking taking the five hour drive from Chicago. Assisting in the initiative was 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott who not only donated lots of cases but was up early around 7:00 am and helped load the truck. Students from University of Illinois School of Public Health and Harmony Community Church members were up early help load the truck. Even NLCN’s Isaac Lewis helped load water in between taking photos. In addition, water donations came from Lawndale Christian Health Center, 10th District Chicago Police, Wells Trucking, Westside Cultural Foundation, UCAN, World Dominion Church, and Kappa Alpha Psi (MWAC)
The story behind Flint Michigan’s lead-contaminated water crisis is horrific with stories of kids having skin irritations and rashes from drinking water that has been classified as toxic. A complaint was filed in US district court by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the ACLU of Michigan, the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, and Flint resident Melissa Mays, who claims each member of her five-strong family has been adversely affected by lead seeping into the water supply.
Flint residents began to complain that their tap water was “discolored, laden with sediment, and foul smelling” shortly after the city switched water supply to the Flint River in April 2014, the lawsuit states. Over 8,000 kids and a large percentage of the 99,000 Flint residents are impacted.
Flint, Michigan is 57% black and 40% are in poverty. General Motors which once touted 88,000 employees but now has around 8,000 and is largely blamed for polluting the river for decades.
Along with humanitarian efforts like Harmony Community Church, and Chicago firefighter Eric Washington who has been on major news shows, Flint has been granted $80 million from President Obama, $26 million from Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, and there is proposed legislation to provide up to $400 million in federal funding to resolve the water issue, also $200 million to address health issues of children and adults exposed to lead. GoFundMe states that $393,206 has been raised by 100 campaigns with 9,058 donors.
Attorney John Marzelek
By David Tenorio
With the upcoming presidential and local elections looming in the near future, voters find themselves bombarded with a plethora of reasons why they should vote for a particular candidate which makes it hard to choose the right candidate for office. Attorney John Marszalek, candidate for election to Cook County judgeship, is running on a platform that supports more freedom of choice for individuals who pass through the judicial system and he has the experience and first-hand knowledge to support this belief.
A native of Chicago’s west side, Marszalek has been a practicing attorney for more than 40 years handling mainly personal injury, workman’s compensation and disability cases in Cook, DuPage, Kankakee, and Will counties as well as the Central and Northern U.S. Federal district court systems. Through this vast experience, Marszalek believes that the court system has developed a pattern of disallowing petitioners a fair judicial ruling by taking away individual’s constitutional right to a jury trial.
“I’ve found many judges taking cases away from a jury trial and instead handling these cases themselves. I understand that this is an attempt to speed up the judicial process which is overloaded, however, it is an individual’s constitutional right to have a jury hear their case if he, or she, so desires.” Marszalek stated. “Individuals who file against large corporations should have the opportunity to have their case decided by a jury of their peers as is everyone’s right”.
A 1976 graduate of John Marshall School of Law, Marszalek began practicing shortly after graduation and feels that many of the candidates running for judgeship as well as current presiding judges, lack in-depth experience and the practical judicial knowledge to adequately handle individual cases themselves. If elected to judgeship, Marszalek says he will be more open to allowing jurors to handle and make judgments on cases that may come before him.
One of the other areas of judicial improvement that Marszalek supports is the idea of establishing a separate division of the court system that would handle bankruptcy and credit card cases.
“The courts handle hundreds of credit card debt cases daily and the system is overloaded with these kind of cases which places additional pressure on judges.” Marszalek said. “These cases are filed mainly by banks and large corporations and are extremely time consuming thereby reducing time that a judge or jury might devote to handle other individual cases. A separate division to address these type of cases would be extremely beneficial to reducing the current overload of cases in the judicial system.”
Running as a Democrat against four other candidates, Marszalek is virtually unaware of the others seeking office save for current circuit court judge Daniel Patrick Duffy. Appointed to judgeship to fill an existing vacancy, Duffy has been under a legal microscope lately for his involvement in an U.S. appeals court case and was recently taken to task publicly by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown who wrote “The last thing Cook County needs in a judge is someone whose idea of being a good lawyer is figuring out ways to game the system.”
“I don’t know judge Duffy personally,” Marszalek stated but it’s always been my belief that judges are not supposed to involve themselves in personal cases when there could be too much a credibility issue because of his association with other judges. Judges are supposed to be impartial and not be influenced by politicians or corporations or for their own personal benefit when deciding the outcome of any case.”
If elected Marszalek vows to maintain an open judicial office free of any outside influences and a court room where he will strive to give plaintiffs more opportunity to have a jury decide their case instead of one individual.
State of Illinois Senator, 5th District Patricia Van Pelt speaking on injustice by Police Departments and explaining legislation on Police Accountability.
State of Illinois Senator, 5th District Patricia Van Pelt held a press conference to announce legislation addressing police accountability at the First Baptist Congregational Church 1613 W. Washington Blvd. Van Pelt (D-Chicago). In a long list of actions being taken to resolve and prevent injustices arising from the shooting of Laquan McDonald and other police involved misconduct.
After Father Larry Dowling of St. Agatha Church led the event with prayer aimed at police accountability, the press conference and what the legislation represents came Rev. Robin Hood, who works with high risk youth and is on the Local School Council at Moses Montefiore Public School where Laquan McDonald attended. Hood stated, “kids like Laquan McDonald and kids that go to schools like Montefiore and schools in our community are in fear.” Hood also introduced Van Pelt and thanked her for leadership in presenting state legislation to improve police accountability.
Van Pelt is sponsoring legislation initiatives directly targeting that lack of accountability: SB 2210, SB 2231 and SB2233. The package of bills pertains to creating an independent police review board, retention of police misconduct records and FOIA requests detailing police misconduct.
“Accountability has been a major issue throughout the City of Chicago, specifically as it relates to policing. Introducing and passing these measures are a strong step in the right direct,” Sen. Van Pelt said. In the past year, Illinois has seen numerous efforts from the General Assembly to pass measures for policing reform. Most notably, Senate Bill 1304, a measure signed into law by the governor after passing both chambers, establishes wide-ranging rules for body cameras, largely prohibits chokeholds, introduces bias-free policing and demands more data collection on arrests.
Local area Pastors, ministers and political leaders gathered for breakfast at the JLM Center to show support for Dorothy Brown to be re-elected for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Despite not receiving the support of the Cook County Democratic party leaders, the campaign being ran by incumbent Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown is running strong and picking up steam. In support of her being re-elected, local area Pastors, ministers and political leaders convened at a breakfast sponsored by Clerk Brown. It was held at the JLM Center on 2633 W Jackson Blvd on Thursday January 28. The event was well attended with all giving strong support for Clerk Dorothy Brown both verbally and financially.
The event began with prayer by Rev. George Henderson, President of the Westside Baptist Ministers Conference and Pastor of Greater Garfield Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Johnnie Miller, Pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, where services are held at the same location, introduced Rev. Marshal Hatch of Pastor of Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church as the MC for the event. In attendance, that spoke was Rev. Spiller, Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist, who stated, “we can do so much more together than we can apart.”
Reverend Jeffrey C. Mullins from the South Suburban Minister’s Association stated this a county effort…On behalf of the South Suburban Minister’s Association, I remember when she first ran, she came to the south suburbs, she ran on integrity, she ran on her church based strength, she ran and said she was going to be a people’s person. We don’t let the media dictate our candidate. The south suburban ministers also hosted minister’s a breakfast in January.
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown has received the endorsement of Congressman Danny K. Davis and 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin, along with the recent endorsement of West Suburban Mayors of Cook County. Said Cong. Davis, “Dorothy Brown represents the best of our struggle…..I never had the endorsement of the political bosses. The only political boss who ever supported me was Harold Washington. The whole time I’ve been elected for office, the people elected me. Dorothy Brown has demonstrated a level of independence…. I don’t know anybody in the United Stated of America holding the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office, who is both a lawyer, a certified public accountant, and holds a Masters Degree in business Administration. Stated Ald Jason Erving, “Let’s make sure that we turn up and turn out because this is about taking control of our community. I’ve known the clerk all of my political career and when she first ran for office, we were one of the two organizations in the county to support her. We are going to continue to support her.
Running on the foundation of her campaign slogan “unbought and unbossed,” Brown is overcoming the federal probe, stating that “I have my cell phone back” (issued by Cook County) is further proving that she has done nothing wrong. The Cook County Democratic Party leaders, originally endorsed Brown during the summer of 2015, later withdrew their support because of the probe after hearing that her County cell phone was seized by the FBI, and switched their support to Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward). Brown is leading both remaining challengers by double digits according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll with 47 percent of voters still undecided.
“I went to the church first, said Brown when she first began her political career. Brown is well respected for her devotion to faith outside of her political career. Brown, when she spoke talked about several advances in technology at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. There are only three clerk’s of the Circuit Court in the entire country that has a mobile app where you can actually look up your cases on your cell phone and we’re one of them. She also mentioned the surplus of money from mortgage foreclosures fund. Extra money left over from foreclosed properties that were sold by banks for more than what is owed them and the extra money belongs to the person who lost the property. She also stated that one homeowner received $18,000. The fund has paid out $83 million dollars of this fund since I’ve been in office, said Brown. The fund currently has gone up to $23 million waiting for people to make claims. Brown also mentioned workshops and trainings to help with the effort.
At the end of the event to support her campaign, Brown talked about her mobile app to support her campaign. It can be found at friendsofDorothyBrown.org. She made a plea to those presents to help her promote the app. “We don’t have billionaires. I am not Donald Trump.” The app is a grassroots effort to raise a little money from a lot of individuals.
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