Patricia Brown was driving back from the bowling alley with her team mates in August, when the conversation turned to her daughter, Patrice. They wanted to know: Would Patrice be interested in subbing in for the team the following week? Brown remembers thinking that it would be fun, confident that her 17-year-old daughter, who managed to maintain good grades while juggling jobs and extracurricular activities, wouldn’t mind spending a Friday night at the bowling alley with her mama. The next moment, she got the phone call. Then everything sped into fast forward.
This summer marks the oneyear anniversary of a veto from Gov. Rod Blagojevich that cut more than $6 million of state funding for CeaseFire, a community outreach and violence prevention initiative. The veto meant that state funding for 11 out of 15 Chicago communities where CeaseFire had been operating at least since October 2006 was completely cut off by the end of August 2007. Behind the news:
A Chicago Reporter analysis of crime statistics provided by CeaseFire shows that the total number of shootings spiked during seven months following the funding cut in the 11 communities where CeaseFire ended its operation, compared with the same period the year before. Between September 2007 and March 2008, 130 shootings occurred in the 11 communities. During the same period the year before, there were 100 shootings.
Renters finding themselves evicted when their landlords go into foreclosure are having a hard time finding new housing in an already-saturated rental market, particularly if they are poor, experts said. Chicago has an 80,000-unit shortage of rental housing that would be affordable to households who are renting and earning less than $20,000, according to a Chicago Reporter analysis. The Chicago median income of $43,223 as of 2006 represents a 7.5 decrease since 2000, said Kevin Jackson, executive director of the Chicago Rehab Network. Already, nearly half of the renters in Chicago are cost-burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30 percent of their household income towards rent. And everything is going up now, from gas prices to the cost of groceries, so that takes away from the amount of money available to be spent on rent, said Phil Ashton, assistant professor in the urban planning and policy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Flashing neon signs and solid red taillights signaled another start of construction season on the Edens Expressway. Behind the news:
This year, the city will head to the local streets, spending millions to repair potholes. According to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter, the communities with the most potholes repaired per acre are on the city’s West Side. The Reporter analyzed 2007 pavement maintenance records through the Chicago Department of Transportation, which spent $10 million on pavement maintenance projects in 2007, filling over 270,000 potholes. Edgewater, the Loop, and West Garfield Park had the highest rate of potholes filled–more than 3.3 potholes per acre each.
In February, the Chicago City Council honored the 100th birthday of former alderman Leon Despres, who’s known for his independence against the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. Behind the news:
Decades after Despres’ tenure on the council, aldermen still vote with the mayor most of the time. But there’s a sign of new independence, shows a Chicago Reporter analysis of aldermanic voting records and mayoral proposals. Of the 446 ordinances that current Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed in 2007, 400, or 89.7 percent, passed unanimously. Five proposals either are in committee or have failed, the analysis shows.