WBEZ | Jody Weis http://www.wbez.org/tags/jody-weis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Former Chicago police Supt. Weis blasts new gaming bill http://www.wbez.org/story/weis-blasts-new-gaming-bill-90077 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/weis getty Tasos Katopodis_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In May when lawmakers approved five new casinos in Illinois, organized public opposition to the bill was virtually nonexistent.</p><p>But several groups, including the Chicago Crime Commission led by former Police Supt. Jody Weis, are starting to come forward.</p><p>"When you expand gambling by nearly 40,000 positions and you don’t add one person to ensure the regulatory and compliance issues are adhered to, we just think it’s not just a desperate measure, it’s disastrous," Weis said Wednesday during a commission press conference at the downtown Union League Club.</p><p>Weis said the bill doesn’t do enough to beef up the Illinois Gaming Board, which makes sure contracts for casino construction and operation are clear of organized crime. The legislature should have approved more money to handle any increase in gambling facilities.</p><p>Lawmakers did approve more money for the gaming board last year, but the board was waiting for an Illinois Supreme Court decision on video poker before embarking on a major hiring binge, according to board member Eugene Winkler. The court's decision upholding a video gaming law came last month.</p><p>St. Sabina Catholic Church Pastor Michael Pfleger, who joined Weis, said he opposed the bill on moral grounds.</p><p>"Thirty years ago I closed Bingo at St. Sabina Church because I could not stand seeing people and mothers and grandmothers walking out of Bingo Thursday nights crying because they thought that was going to be the thing to pay their mortgage or pay their rent or buy food for their family," he said.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn said he will take the group’s concerns into consideration. The bill has not yet reached his desk due to a parliamentary maneuver by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 18:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/weis-blasts-new-gaming-bill-90077 Emanuel's pick to head police department lays out crime fighting strategies http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuels-pick-head-police-department-lays-out-crime-fighting-strategies-85993 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-03/IMG_0434.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The man picked to be Chicago's next police superintendent is already laying out his tactics to fight crime.</p><p>Garry McCarthy won't get to become police superintendent until the new City Council gives him the ok. But at a news conference with Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, McCarthy laid out some of his own priorities. McCarthy said he won't have much time to get settled into the job before crime starts to go up - as it tends to do with warmer weather.</p><p>"I guess the place to start is with the number of guns being recovered in the city," McCarthy said at a news conference Monday.</p><p>McCarthy told reporters it's important to trace where guns are coming from to reduce gun violence.</p><p>He also said Chicago's gangs have more of an organized hierarchy in place than what he's used to seeing in New York, where he was a cop.</p><p>"In some cases, it might make it easier to do bigger cases on those folks because of their affiliations in their hierarchies," McCarthy said.</p><p>McCarthy also spoke in favor of a crime fighting method that uses statistics to try to prevent crimes from occurring.</p><p>McCarthy has most recently led the Newark, New Jersey police department.</p><p>If approved by Chicago's City Council, he would replace a police superintendent who struggled to overcome morale issues among the rank-and-file officers.</p><p>The head of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police said he's open to McCarthy leading the department, but increasing the number of officers should be the top priority.</p></p> Tue, 03 May 2011 12:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuels-pick-head-police-department-lays-out-crime-fighting-strategies-85993 Chicago's Silent Watchmen Guard School Route http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-03-23/chicagos-silent-watchmen-guard-school-route-84170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/passage_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Like a lot of parents, Gretta Campbell worries about her 17-year-old daughter, a senior at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy High School on the city's South Side — especially right after school.</p><p>After all, one of the most dangerous times of day for teenagers is after school and that's especially true in the gang-infested neighborhoods of Chicago, where police and school officials are using federal stimulus funds to try to better protect kids on their way to and from school through a program called <a href="http://www.cps.edu/Programs/Wellness_and_transportation/SafetyandSecurity/SafePassage/Pages/Safepassage.aspx">Safe Passage</a>.</p><p>"My daughter ... walk[s] up and down these streets and I'm really concerned about the crime and the violence that's happening these days with our youth," Campbell says.</p><p>Campbell notes that it's not just mom who's concerned — her daughter is worried, too.</p><p>"She knew a little boy that was shot and killed here and that really hit hard," Campbell says of her daughter. "That really got next to her after her friend was killed here, so she does have a lot of concern walking back and forth to school."</p><p><strong>A New Look At An Old Problem</strong></p><p>Hyde Park Academy Principal Thomas Trotter says he's sensitive to what his students are going through.</p><p>"If you're a kid growing up in Chicago and you travel from Englewood to Woodlawn, you go through different gang territories, so they're a little bit alert or on edge in terms of making sure they get here safely and get back home safely," Trotter says. "That's always a concern."</p><p>And such concerns are nothing new — they actually date back decades. Getting to and from school in Chicago and other cities has sometimes been perilous for young people, but after-school violence began to increase a few years ago in Chicago after school officials closed several dozen schools and students began having to go through different neighborhoods to get to new schools.</p><p>Then, in September 2009, a brutal after-school street fight between teens from opposing neighborhoods was captured on cell phone video. The video showed the beating death of honor student Derrion Albert, and it soon went viral. After that, Chicago police and school officials ramped up the Safe Passage program.</p><p>"We've established unprecedented relationships with the Chicago Public Schools," says former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, who stepped down earlier this month.</p><p>Weis says high school principals and other school officials now meet regularly with their area police commanders and call police right away when they see trouble start.</p><p>"If the school officials notice that there's a problem brewing in the school," Weis says, "that information is passed informally, immediately over the telephone to our command staff and then we can take those measures necessary to curb the violence should that problem continue on out into the community."</p><p><strong>The Security Surge</strong></p><p>School and police officials have also beefed up security, especially at the end of the school day.</p><p>At 2:36 in the afternoon, the dismissal bell rings and most of the 1,800 or so students at Hyde Park Academy head for the high school's main exit under the watchful eye of at least a half dozen security guards.</p><p>Once outside, the students are greeted by a heavy police presence, including a handful of blue and white Chicago Police SUVs, squad cars, and close to a dozen police officers who keep them moving along to their buses, waiting rides or walks home.</p><p>A police helicopter often flies over potential hot spots for after-school violence around the city, and tactical police units can be moved to certain schools or neighborhoods in anticipation of possible fights or shootings based on tips from gang- and school-based intelligence.</p><p>But ex-Superintendent Weis acknowledges that such a heavy police presence can be jarring, especially in communities where many kids don't trust police.</p><p>"We don't want to live in a police state," Weis says. "I think whenever we can gain the cooperation of the community working with the police, we have a very viable deterrent to gang violence."</p><p><strong>Local Veterans Lend A Hand</strong></p><p>Chicago Public Schools is spending nearly $5 million this year on contracts with community groups and other nonprofits to provide people to stand guard along the routes students take to and from school in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.</p><p>About an hour before dismissal time, a group from the organization <a href="http://www.leavenoveteranbehind.org/">Leave No Veteran Behind</a> gathers in an unused Hyde Park Academy classroom. Group leaders go over the locations the dozen or so teams of two will be dispatched to. They run down any information they get from school staff or police about what they need to be watching out for — from certain gang tensions to suspicious vehicles — and they're handed two-way radios so they can quickly communicate trouble if they see it.</p><p>Retired or out of work veterans, along with a few parents, are paid about $10 an hour to stand watch on corners and side streets, looking for signs of trouble for a few hours before and after school.</p><p>The group's Safe Passage coordinator, Herman Rainey, leads the band of mostly middle-aged and older veterans through the school's hallways and out the front door about 15 minutes before the bell. Once outside, they fan out along the routes the students will be walking, to various corners and potential trouble spots, including a long railroad viaduct along 63rd Street.</p><p>"You know, you can get mugged in broad daylight in here," says veteran Bernard Cooks, who is posted at one end of the viaduct. He watches younger children coming from a nearby elementary school cross paths with the teenagers coming from the high school.</p><p>Cooks says his job is to simply observe and report. Those who work on Safe Passage at Hyde Park Academy and other high schools across the city are advised not to get physically involved if trouble breaks out, but there's little doubt some of these veterans could, if necessary.</p><p>Cooks served four years each in the Army and the Air Force in the 1980s, but he says he's not there to be part of a show of force. Instead, he says, they let the kids know they're there and they've got their back.</p><p>"We're here faithfully; we've been here since day one," Cooks says. "Our intention is to be here until the last day so kids can figure out that, 'Hey, there's somebody that actually cares about our safety,' and they can feel confident going up and down these streets."</p><p>There are concerns that responses such as Safe Passage — which promote a heavy police or adult presence in some areas — only push violent activity further away and address the symptoms of youth violence while overlooking the causes.</p><p>But Principal Thomas Trotter says the kids <em>have</em> taken notice. He says the number of after-school fights and other incidents around Hyde Park Academy have dropped substantially since the veterans started working for Safe Passage.</p><p>And besides, he likes the quiet, calming presence provided by the guys from Leave No Veteran Behind.</p><p>"They don't say a lot; they just watch. They don't get in the way; they just watch. And it's amazing because in the mornings I come early and I see those guys there and it's almost like they're there, but they're not there," Trotter says. "I think there's some power in silence." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300941127?&gn=Chicago%27s+Silent+Watchmen+Guard+School+Route&ev=event2&ch=132934991&h1=Youths+And+Gun+Violence%3A+Chicago%27s+Challenge,Around+the+Nation,Education,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134798564&c7=1013&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1013&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110323&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=132934991&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 19:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-03-23/chicagos-silent-watchmen-guard-school-route-84170 Emanuel wants new police superintendent his first day in office http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police/emanuel-wants-new-police-superintendent-his-first-day-office <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Rahm testifying residency - Getty_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says he hopes to have a new police chief ready to go the first day he takes office. Earlier this week, Jody Weis quit as police superintendent when his contract expired. Emanuel said he's working with the police board to pick a new superintendent.</p><p>&quot;But my goal is the police board that we can move on this - very important, in my view - because we need to not miss a step when it comes to public safety,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel said he also wants to have a new head of the Chicago Public School system ready to go on day one. Emanuel is scheduled to be sworn in May 16.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 03 Mar 2011 21:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police/emanuel-wants-new-police-superintendent-his-first-day-office Mayor: Weis did a 'very, very good job' http://www.wbez.org/story/alex-keefe/mayor-weis-did-very-very-good-job <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/jody weiss kate gardiner_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Richard Daley on Wednesday said the city's police superintendent abruptly resigned this week in order to pursue other job offers.<br /><br />Jody Weis' resignation Tuesday - the final day of his contract - came as a surprise to the Daley administration. The mayor had indicated as recently as this week that he wanted Weis to stay on until the end of his term, rather than go through the trouble of hunting for a new superintendent who may only serve until mid-May, when Daley leaves office.<br /><br />Daley said Weis had been considering whether to stay past his contract for the last couple of weeks.<br /><br />&quot;He was undecided whether or not he wanted to stay,&quot; Daley said. &quot;He had offers coming in, and he just saw fit to do it.&quot;<br /><br />The mayor praised Weis for lowering the city's crime rate, taking the lead in prmoting anti-gun legislation and cleaning up the Chicago Police Department after some high-profile scandals.<br /><br />&quot;He came in under that cloud,&quot; Daley said. &quot;And he did a very, very good job.&quot;<br /><br />Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who's indicated he would replace Weis once he's in City Hall, had nothing to do with Weis' departure, Daley said. The mayor also said pressure from the police union, which has been sharply critical of Weis' policies, wasn't a factor.<br /><br />&quot;Morale is good,&quot; Daley said. &quot;You know, we're public servants. And you select the job. You don't have to stay on this job. ... There're jobs out there.&quot;<br /><br />Former superintendent Terry Hillard, who served under Daley from 1998 to 2003, is leading the department on an interim basis.</p></p> Wed, 02 Mar 2011 19:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alex-keefe/mayor-weis-did-very-very-good-job What Jody Weis' departure means for Chicago Police Department http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-02/what-jody-weis-departure-means-chicago-police-department-83242 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/weis getty Tasos Katopodis_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>News that <a target="_blank" href="https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath">Chicago Police Superintendent</a> Jody Weis has resigned came as a surprise to many. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel made it a campaign promise to replace Weis. But most thought Weis would stay in place through May, when Mayor Daley steps down. During his three years holding the post, the Superintendent generated both controversy and acclaim. Stepping in to replace Weis short-term is former top cop Terry Hilliard. A new superintendent will be appointed by Emanuel. So, what&rsquo;s in store for the CPD? Who might next lead the department? And how will Weis&rsquo; tenure be remembered?<br /><br />To help shed light on those questions and more, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to Frank Main, crime reporter for the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.suntimes.com/"><em>Chicago Sun-Times</em></a>.</p></p> Wed, 02 Mar 2011 14:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-02/what-jody-weis-departure-means-chicago-police-department-83242 Weis out at CPD, effective immediately http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police-department/weis-out-cpd-effective-immediately <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Weis-AP M. Spencer Green_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>Terry Hillard takes over Wednesday as Chicago's new interim Police Superintendent, one day after Jody Weis stepped down.</p><p>Weis' three-year contract expired yesterday but many expected him to stay on the job to finish out the last couple months of Mayor Richard Daley's time in office. In fact, as late as monday Daley said he hoped Weis would stay on.</p><p>Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel had said he would replace Weis but Tuesday afternoon the superintendent beat him to the punch. In a written statement, Weis says he's looking for new career opportunities and believes it would be selfish for him to stay on the job while doing that.</p><p>Daley also released a statement thanking Weis for assuring that the conduct of police officers is meeting the highest standards. The mayor hired Weis, who was never a Chicago cop, to clean up the department in the wake of several police scandals.</p><p>Terry Hillard will now run the department on an interim basis. It's his second time in the position. He was police superintendent under Daley from 1998 to 2003.</p></p> Tue, 01 Mar 2011 22:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police-department/weis-out-cpd-effective-immediately Top cop: Chicago won’t redraw beat maps anytime soon http://www.wbez.org/story/beat-realignment/top-cop-chicago-won%E2%80%99t-redraw-beat-maps-anytime-soon <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Jody_Weis_by_Getty.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago may not have enough cops in its highest-crime neighborhoods, but police Supt. Jody Weis says the city won&rsquo;t redraw patrol maps anytime soon.<br /><br />Realigning the city&rsquo;s 285 beats would shift officers and cars to where they&rsquo;re needed most, an idea popular with some aldermen on the city&rsquo;s South and West sides. Weis himself had been talking it up for two years.<br /><br />But aldermen in low-crime areas voiced fears that they would lose protection. And the Fraternal Order of Police said its contract constrained where the city could assign officers.<br /><br />Now Weis is talking about a different approach. At a Chicago Police Board meeting last Thursday, the superintendent said the city would not redraw beat maps, at least for now. &ldquo;We certainly don&rsquo;t intend to do that until the wards have been redrawn,&rdquo; Weis said, according to the meeting <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Chicago_Police_Board_public_meeting_20110217.pdf">transcript</a>.<br /><br />What do political boundaries have to do with policing? WBEZ on Tuesday asked Weis spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane, but she didn&rsquo;t answer.<br /><br />The police department, meanwhile, is sticking close to the status quo. In a written statement, Biggane said that includes sending mobile units to high-crime areas &mdash; an approach she calls less costly than realigning the beats.<br /><br />&ldquo;None of these methods entail realigning districts or beats,&rdquo; Biggane wrote. &ldquo;However, the process is continual and fluid. Additional data, including recent Census Bureau figures, will be taken into account as the process moves forward.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/beat-realignment/top-cop-chicago-won%E2%80%99t-redraw-beat-maps-anytime-soon Crime issue boils in some ward races, simmers in others http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/24th Ward forum 2cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans who punch cards for their favorite aldermanic candidates might have the issue of crime on their minds. But depending on where they live, they will have heard more&mdash;or less&mdash;about crime from their candidates. Talk of crime is loud on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, where there&rsquo;s relatively little violence. And some say there&rsquo;s complacency among candidates in West Side neighborhoods, where there&rsquo;s more crime. Two WBEZ bureau reporters, Odette Yousef and Chip Mitchell, look at this mismatch between crime and election talk. We start with Odette on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.<strong><br /></strong><br />AMBI: Ready? Front! At ease.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Thirty or so police officers from the Rogers Park police district are on hand for an outdoor roll call. They&rsquo;re at Warren Park on a freezing night.<br /><br />AMBI: Twenty-four oh five, Twenty-four twelve...<br /><br />YOUSEF: Normally, police hold roll calls inside the district station. But 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone asked them to do it here this time.<br /><br />STONE: On behalf of the entire 50th Ward, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do for us.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Usually, shows like this only happen when a jarring crime rocks a neighborhood. The police and community all come out to show criminals that law-abiding citizens still own the streets. But no major incident has happened recently in this police district. Ald. Stone is running for reelection. One of his opponents thinks that&rsquo;s the real reason he called this show of force: A little politics before a scheduled CAPS meeting. CAPS is the city&rsquo;s community policing program.<br /><br />MOSES: I was very disappointed in Ald. Stone trying to take CAPS and make it a political event. CAPS and politics do not mix.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So candidate Michael Moses leaves after the roll call. But he&rsquo;s the only one. The other four candidates all stay through the meeting. It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly how residents and politicians in the Rogers Park police district should feel about crime, because the stats are kind of all over the place. In 2010, general &ldquo;violent crime&rdquo; in the district fell more than 5 percent from the previous year but murder went up 75 percent. In another North Side police district, murder increased 400 percent. But consider this: That&rsquo;s from only one murder the previous year. So, we&rsquo;re talking about five murders in one North Side district in 2010. But some West and South side police districts saw dozens of murders last year. Still, crime is one of the top issues in North Side races.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: Too often the media and everybody in this business, we talk about violent crime rate in Chicago. And the reality is that crime is more complex and neighborhood disorder is complex.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Dennis Rosenbaum. He&rsquo;s a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosenbaum says even when violent crime may be low, residents feel fearful when they or their neighbors are victims of lesser offenses, like graffiti, car breakins, and auto theft. And, that fear translates into politics.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: In times of fear and external threat, we tend to turn to authority figures to give us guidance. So it&rsquo;s a way of taking control over issues.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Rosenbaum says it&rsquo;s little wonder North Side politicians are talking about nonviolent crime&mdash;after all, their constituents take it seriously. But there&rsquo;s another reason why North Side candidates are talking crime and safety. For two years, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has advocated so-called beat realignment. It would involve redrawing maps of where cops patrol, so there&rsquo;d be more officers and cars in high-crime areas. One fear is that the North Side would lose officers to the West and South sides, where there&rsquo;s more violent crime. Previous efforts to realign beats have fallen flat, but there are rumors Weis is still trying to make it happen. Weis declined to confirm those rumors for WBEZ this week, but here&rsquo;s what he told us a couple months ago.<br /><br />WEIS: What we think by moving people around from districts that are not necessarily the quietest districts, but districts that have an abundance of police officers, we think we can move them over to the districts that are shorter, we can start attacking the whole image of Chicago.<br /><br />YOUSEF: The future of beat realignment in Chicago is unclear. For one, the two frontrunners in the mayoral race are against it. And they say they want to dump Supt. Weis. Still, North Side aldermanic candidates continue to talk about realignment and run against it. One of them is Michael Carroll. He&rsquo;s running in the North Side&rsquo;s 46th Ward. He&rsquo;s also a cop.<br /><br />CARROLL: As a police officer, I know, absolutely, putting more police officers in high-crime areas to bring down the crime rate works. However, I have a very hard time sending our police assets from our community, when we have a clear problem with gang activity and violence somewhere else.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Carroll says his ward has pockets of violent crime that are just as bad as parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West or South sides. He fears losing cops on the North Side would make those places more dangerous. Carroll&rsquo;s opponents are pretty much of the same mind. Most want the city to hire more officers, rather than shift existing officers around. But those same candidates concede that could be tough because the city&rsquo;s faced with a $600 million deficit. Not many have detailed roadmaps for how they&rsquo;d overcome that tricky problem. But in the 48th Ward, one candidate does. It&rsquo;s Harry Osterman.<br /><br />OSTERMAN: What I&rsquo;d like to try to do is see if we can modify state law to use dollars for public safety. There&rsquo;s a surplus in TIF funds for the city of Chicago, and potentially using some of that to hire police officers is something that I think would be worthwhile.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Osterman&rsquo;s goal of hiring more police is popular on the North Side. But using TIFs to get there may be less so. Tax increment financing districts have a bad reputation for being slush funds. So, maybe it&rsquo;s telling that Osterman wants to use them. On the North Side at least, the debate about crime and safety is so loud that candidates will turn to whatever tools are around to ensure police resources stay put. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell at WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau. The political talk about crime is a lot different in this part of Chicago. Not many aldermanic candidates are hollering for more patrol officers. There are some loud voices on the issue. They&rsquo;re regular folks or community activists, like a woman named Serethea Reid. She moved into the Austin neighborhood a couple years ago.<br /><br />REID: There were people on the corner, drinking, selling alcohol out of the trunks of their cars&mdash;partying, loud music&mdash;two blocks from the police station.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): So what have you done about it?<br /><br />REID: I started by calling the police. We&rsquo;d call, wait 10 minutes, call, wait 10 minutes, call. And the police were not coming.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid started attending local meetings of CAPS, the community-policing program. She soon noticed a stronger police presence near her house, but she wanted more help for the rest of Austin. So, last summer, Reid formed a group called the Central Austin Neighborhood Association. It meets in a church.<br /><br />AMBI: Today, I wanted, I was going to start with reviewing and sharing what our mission is....<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid&rsquo;s group shepherds Austin residents to Police Board meetings, where they demand better service. She&rsquo;s writing various Chicago agencies for data to see if police response times are slower in Austin than in other neighborhoods. And Reid wants information about that beat-realignment idea police Supt. Jody Weis talks about.<br /><br />REID: All the responses I&rsquo;ve gotten were that it was going to take a few months before he&rsquo;s done: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not finalized. We can&rsquo;t talk about it because he&rsquo;s working on it.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid says she feels like officials are giving her the runaround. She says her alderman isn&rsquo;t helping much either. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that it&rsquo;s election season, when politicians tend to speak up about nearly everything. So I&rsquo;ve been checking out West Side campaign events to see whether aldermanic candidates are pushing for police beat realignment.<br /><br />AMBI: I want to say thank you to each and every one of you candidates. Let&rsquo;s give them a round of applause.<br /><br />MITCHELL: This is a high-school auditorium in North Lawndale. Sixteen candidates crowd onto the stage to explain why they would be the best 24th Ward alderman. The forum lasts more than two hours, but not one of the candidates brings up the idea of realigning police beats or other ways to bring in officers from lower-crime areas. After the forum, I ask incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon why.<br /><br />DIXON: I can&rsquo;t answer that question for you, but that is a very good question. I can&rsquo;t answer it but it certainly should have been on the radar here, seeing that Lawndale is a high-crime area with lots of homicides and drug activity, etc. So that should definitely be a concern.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve reached out to aldermanic incumbents in five West Side wards with a lot of crime. All of the aldermen express interest in shifting police to high-crime neighborhoods. But none is trying to organize any sort of campaign to make it happen. In the 29th Ward, Ald. Deborah Graham points out that any organizing would meet resistance from people in low-crime areas.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Some of our aldermen on the north end [of the city] are fearful of losing their police officers.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Graham wishes police Supt. Jody Weis would lay out his plan and build public support for it.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Having a clear understanding of why we need the realignment&mdash;to ease their discomfort of possibly losing squad cars&mdash;would be very helpful.<br /><br />MITCHELL: But there may be another reason why so few West Side candidates are pressing the issue. 24th Ward challenger Valerie Leonard says many constituents don&rsquo;t want more officers.<br /><br />LEONARD: Talk to younger people, especially on the street. They say they&rsquo;re scared of the police. They say that the police are always picking on them and...<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): It&rsquo;s not a winning campaign issue.<br /><br />LEONARD: That&rsquo;s true, given the history.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The history includes a point in 2003, when Mayor Daley was running for reelection. He promised to realign police beats. That riled aldermen of lower-crime wards, including some on the North Side. After the election, Daley backed away from his promise. Instead of realigning beats, his administration set up elite police teams to rove across large swaths of the city, from one crime hotspot to another. That way, the low-crime areas didn&rsquo;t have to give up patrol cops. One reporter called it the path of least resistance. But Chicago police SWAT officer Erick von Kondrat points to a downside.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: These teams out there&mdash;whether they&rsquo;re area gang teams or some of the other citywide teams that move from district to district on a need-by-need basis&mdash;they don&rsquo;t have that opportunity on a day-to-day basis to make the connections that are really going to bolster the trust between the community and the police department.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Officer Von Kondrat says distrust in the police partly explains why West Side aldermen don&rsquo;t campaign for more beat officers. But he says there&rsquo;s another reason. He noticed it when he was a 24th Ward candidate himself (before a challenge to his nominating papers knocked him off the ballot).<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: A lot of these incumbents, because Mayor Daley is leaving, they don&rsquo;t really know what they&rsquo;re going to be stepping into at this point in time.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Again, the mayoral frontrunners don&rsquo;t support beat realignment. So, Von Kondrat figures, no West Side alderman can afford to be on the new mayor&rsquo;s bad side.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: Going against that force is probably not in your best interest. It wouldn&rsquo;t make much sense to bring that issue up.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The beat-realignment idea has stalled, time and again, since the 1970s. The alternative would be to hire more cops for high-crime areas. That&rsquo;s basically what the top mayoral candidates are suggesting. In this economic climate, though, it&rsquo;s not clear what option the city can afford: financing a larger police department or shifting around the cops it already has. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others The Long Weekender: A January 10th-17th political roundup http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/long-weekender-january-10th-17th-political-roundup <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Quinn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 465px; height: 316px;" alt="" title="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-17/Quinn.jpg" /></p><p>Who knew Fridays could be so short? Better late than never, we&rsquo;re here on a holiday with your weekly digest of the best game in town. <br /><br /><strong>Mayoral race shapes up</strong></p><p>We start, as usual, at the top of the ticket: Early on last week, the race for Chicago mayor was whittled down to <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/01/its-down-to-six-candidates-on-chicago-mayoral-ballot.html">six candidates</a> as James Meeks and Danny Davis were officially dropped from the <a href="http://www.chicagoelections.com/dm/general/document_3259.pdf">Board of Election Commissioners list</a> (pdf) and a few lesser-known candidates were knocked off. A <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2011/01/rahm_emanuel_grows_lead_in_tea.html">new poll</a>, conducted January 4-6 and released last week, shows Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s lead growing to 42 percent. Carol Moseley Braun is coming in second at 26 percent, followed by Gery Chico at 10 percent and Miguel del Valle at 7 percent, with a margin of error of 4 points. Despite their trailing positions, Chico and del Valle remained adamant that neither plans to drop out for the purposes of presenting a Latino <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/african-american/mayoral-candidates-could-split-chicago-vote to voters">consensus candidate</a>. Chico may have gained an extra edge with <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/3228983-417/gutierrez-chico-chicago-gery-candidate.html">an endorsement</a> early in the week from Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and then there&rsquo;s the matter of campaign cash&mdash;Chico flexed his money muscle with his first <a href="http://www.gerychicoformayor.com/gery_media.aspx">television ad</a> buy. <br /><br />Now, if polls and TV ads don&rsquo;t satisfy your desire for information on the candidates, never fear! We learned more on the issues last week as well. The Chicago News Cooperative got <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/emanuel-says-he-favors-reduced-pensions-for-current-city-workers-not-just-new-hires/">a scoop</a>, finding out that Emanuel, unlike the other major candidates in the race, favors a reduction in pension benefits for existing city employees. In contrast, del Valle, Braun, and Chico all say they would go for a two-tiered pension system, with existing employees keeping their full benefits and new employees starting with reduced retirement plans. <br /><br />Emanuel also let us in on his <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/01/emanuel-wants-more-cops-but-opposes-shifting-district-resources.html">anti-crime plans</a>: he says he&rsquo;d add 1000 new police officers, for starters. He wasn&rsquo;t the only one talking crime&mdash;Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/patricia-van-pelt-watkins-fewer-shootings-mayors-race-20110110">promised</a> a 20 percent drop in shootings if elected mayor.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Editorial board season</strong></p><p>Braun, meanwhile, got <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&amp;plckController=Blog&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;plckPostId=Blog%3a1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost%3a3a31a72b-b07c-4304-8dc4-32e07f6c7d4b&amp;sid=sitelife.chicagobusiness.com#axzz1B9WXn4Tk">down to business</a> with the<em> Crain&rsquo;s</em> editorial board. She told them she&rsquo;s more interested in a third airport than O&rsquo;Hare expansion, and suggested she might re-do the city parking meter lease deal once she un-does the current one. Braun also visited the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/3265248-418/braun-doing-race-mayor-chicago.html"><em>Sun-Times</em> editorial board</a>, telling them it&rsquo;s not so important to elect a black mayor as it is to elect the best mayor.<br /><br />And then there was the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-chicago-mayor-race-0115-20110114,0,6885768.story"><em>Tribune</em> editorial board</a> meeting Friday (<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-ed-board-video-mmg,0,7490509.gallery">video here</a>)&nbsp;with not just Braun, but Chico, del Valle and Emanuel as well. The headline from the unofficial debate held there was &ldquo;Emanuel&rsquo;s rivals gang up on him.&rdquo; The quote of the day came from Braun, who at one point insisted, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s talk about tampons&rdquo; in reference to a comment Emanuel allegedly made while working in the White House as President Obama&rsquo;s Chief of Staff. Also Friday, Emanuel was a hot topic at a forum held by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights, where panelists questioned his commitment to immigrants. The <em>Christian Science Monitor</em> <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/2011/0115/Chicago-s-Latinos-get-an-earful-on-Rahm-Emanuel-s-immigration-record">explored both sides</a> of that debate.</p><p><strong>PAC-ing City Council</strong></p><p>Another question for Emanuel last week: how connected is he to a new <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/new-pac-may-counter-union-push-in-election/">political action committee</a> that claims to have $1 million in the bank? Not very, <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/emanuel-not-tied-to-new-political-group-aide/">says an aide</a>, though Emanuel&rsquo;s former congressional campaign manager is leading the group, called <em>For a Better Chicago</em>. According to the Chicago News Cooperative, the business-backed group seems poised to counter an <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/labor-laying-ground-for-gains-in-council-races/">upcoming union push</a> for aldermanic votes. The brewing battle should be interesting to watch in the weeks ahead.</p><p>Regardless of who is backed by either camp, two candidates scored some political points last week when Mayor Daley <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-daley-interim-aldermen-20110112,0,1175143.story">appointed them</a> to occupy vacant seats in the council. Timothy Cullerton is in the 38th ward; Jason Ervin in the 28th. Shirley Newsome was appointed to the 4th but she&rsquo;s not running for election. The new appointees are subject to Council approval.<br /><br />Also in City Council business last week, a proposed ordinance to use TIF funds for affordable housing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/open-meeting-act-thwarts-affordable-housing-ordinance">was delayed</a>; the measure has been in play for over a year. Meanwhile, Alderman Joe Moreno (1st) introduced a <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/3295396-417/convicted-appeal-moreno-chicago-corruption.html">new ordinance</a> to prevent city employees who are convicted of corruption from receiving a paycheck while awaiting sentencing. Earlier in the week, the <em>Sun-Times</em> r<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/3154022-417/convicted-employees-john-resa-says.html">eported</a> that nine former city employees had been paid even after being convicted of corruption. <br /><br />In other city news, Mayor Daley <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/daley-keep-weis-after-contract-expires">announced</a> that Chicago Police chief Jody Weis would stay on the job after his contract expires in March, at least until Daley&rsquo;s term ends in May. No longer overseeing the City Council Police Committee is Alderman Anthony Beale (9th)&mdash;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/3297585-418/police-committee-beale-ald-council.html">word is</a> that he angered rank-and-file police officers with a number of measures, including a plan to reallocate police resources. Alderman Michelle Harris (8th) is the new Police Committee chairman; Ald. Beale now heads the powerful Transportation Committee.</p><p><strong>Lame duck business</strong></p><p>Easily rivaling the mayoral race beat this week was news from Springfield. Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in to a full 4-year term and not long after, he <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-01-13/news/ct-met-quinn-signs-tax-hike-20110113_1_tax-hike-tax-rate-income-tax">signed a bill</a> to raise the state's personal income tax rate by 67 percent. The problem is, it&rsquo;s not enough&mdash;both <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/analysis-why-67-tax-increase-doesnt-end-illinois-budget-problem">outside analysts</a> and the governor&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&amp;plckController=Blog&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;plckPostId=Blog%3a1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost%3a55245237-f111-4569-8fae-3505609a3feb&amp;sid=sitelife.chicagobusiness.com#axzz1B9WXn4Tk">budget director</a> warn that a pretty substantial hole remains. At least for now, an <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110111/news/701129731/">expansion of gambling</a> won&rsquo;t help to fill it.&nbsp; That proposal never made it to the House floor. The tax hike has some folks upset enough to <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/governor-quinn-recall-tax-hike-113536369.html">try for a recall</a> of the governor. Most of the <a href="http://progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2011/01/13/save-del-valle-and-watkins-mayoral-wannabes-dont-tax-deal?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ProgressIllinois+%28Progress+Illinois%29">mayoral candidates</a>, by the way, are also not too happy about the hike. <br /><br />Whether Quinn signs or vetoes a bill repealing the death penalty, he&rsquo;ll be sure to ignite passions on one side of the controversial issue. The Senate <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/3261946-418/death-state-illinois-penalty-senate.html">passed that legislation</a> early last week. The lame-duck legislature also sent the governor a bill to <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/01/lawmakers-vote-to-roll-back-free-transit-rides-for-seniors.html">scale back</a> the program that provides free transit rides to seniors&mdash;if Quinn signs it, only lower-income riders will now get that perk.</p><p><strong>Look ahead</strong><br /><br />That&rsquo;s the past week in political news&mdash;let us know if you think we missed something. And get ready for another week full of action: tonight&rsquo;s the first televised <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2011/01/wttws_chicago_tonight_hosts_fi.html">mayoral debate</a>&mdash;on WTTW Channel 11&mdash;and the first debate where Emanuel will participate. Tomorrow, <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/bill-clinton-chicago-campaign-rahm-emanuel-113495764.html">Bill Clinton is in town</a> to campaign for Emanuel. And later in the week, Chinese President <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-china-visit-0113-20110112,0,5599198.story">Hu Jintao</a> will be in Chicago.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/long-weekender-january-10th-17th-political-roundup