WBEZ | Back of the Yards http://www.wbez.org/tags/back-yards Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en There in Chicago (#19) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-19-104670 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-2012-51st-Bishop.JPG" title="51st Street at Bishop--view west" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/01-10--1952_0.jpg" title="1952--the same location (CTA photo)" /></div></div><p>How well did you find your way around 1952 Chicago?</p><p>We are in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, on 51st Street a few blocks east of Ashland.&nbsp;In 2013&nbsp;the ribbon commercial strip is mostly gone, with many of the lots vacant. Meanwhile, the city has spruced up the streetscape a bit by planting trees along&nbsp;the sidewalk parkways.</p><p>The main clue to the location is the trolley bus.&nbsp;&nbsp;Only two trolley bus lines ever operated on the South Side--the other was 47th Street. In the distance, the steeple of the former St. Martin Lutheran Church is also visible.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-19-104670 The Stock Yards http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/stock-yards-104621 <p><p>Carl Sandburg called Chicago the &ldquo;Hog Butcher for the World.&rdquo; He wrote those words in 1916, celebrating the city&rsquo;s great stock yards. The yards were the place where live animals were slaughtered, so that they can be turned into packaged meat for consumption.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-3--Drovers%20at%20Stock%20Yards.jpg" title="Stock Yard drovers, 1904 (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>During&nbsp;the 1850s Chicago was becoming a railroad center. That made our city the final destination for the cattle the cowboys were driving to Dodge City and Abilene and Wichita and all those wild towns you used to see in the Western movies. At first there were many little stock yards around Chicago near the different railroad lines.</p><p>In&nbsp;1861 the Civil War broke out. Meatpacking boomed. With the industry outgrowing those small scattered sites, a group of railroads got together to build a consolidated facility. They settled on a location near the edge of the city, at Halsted and 39<sup>th</sup> (Pershing).&nbsp;</p><p>The Union Stock Yards began operations on December 25, 1865. The holiday date was not planned. Christmas Day happened to be when the first shipment of hogs arrived.&nbsp;</p><p>After&nbsp;the yards were established, Swift and Armour and the other packers opened plants in the area. Meatpacking became the city&rsquo;s biggest industry. At one time, it employed one out of every five working men in Chicago.</p><p>Conditions on the job could be miserable. In 1906 Upton Sinclair published a novel about a working family in the district titled <em>The Jungle</em>. The book created a national sensation, and spurred reform legislation.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-3--Stockyards%201947--Natl%20archives_0.jpg" title="The Yards, 1947 (National Archives) " /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The&nbsp;yards eventually took up almost an entire square mile, and there was even an &lsquo;L&rsquo; branch that ran right onto the property. The neighborhood to the southwest became known as Back of the Yards. When sophisticated travelers visited Chicago, they usually included a stop at the Union Stock Yards on their itinerary.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">By the 1920s over 15 million animals were going through the yards each year. With that many animals in one place, the air would get pretty ripe. Sox Park was only a mile away from the yards, and during the summer, when the wind came out of the southwest, the odor was unbelievable. I always thought that smell was one reason the Cubs had more fans than the Sox.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">After World War II the meatpacking industry changed. Large central slaughtering facilities became obsolete. The Union Stock Yards closed in 1971. Today the site is an industrial park.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Maybe it&rsquo;s not a tourist attraction any more. But it sure smells a lot better.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/stock-yards-104621 Lost Landmark: St. Basil's Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/lost-landmark-st-basils-catholic-church-98845 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-16--St.%20Basil%27s.JPG" title="St. Basil's Catholic Church, 1840 W. Garfield Blvd." /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bulldozers recently claimed the historic Anshe Kenesseth Israel Temple on Douglas Boulevard. As I followed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-03-19/after-shepherds-demise-whats-next-citys-other-sacred-ruins-97450">the story on Lee Bey&rsquo;s blog</a>, I was reminded of another lost house of worship on one of our boulevards &mdash; St. Basil&rsquo;s Catholic Church.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The parish was founded in 1904 to serve Irish and German Catholics in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood. Masses were celebrated first in an abandoned blacksmith shop, and later in a combination church-school building. The permanent church was not completed until 1926.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">It was worth the wait. The parish&rsquo;s patron saint had been a bishop in Asia Minor. The new St. Basil&rsquo;s at 1840 West Garfield Boulevard was built in the Byzantine style, along the lines of the famous Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">St. Basil&rsquo;s Church was not very large, with seating for about 1,200 people. What made it impressive was the décor. Granite columns rose from granite steps on the portico, and the interior contained frescoes and mosaics in bright colors. Topping it off, 100 feet up from the floor, was a 61-foot-wide dome.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As time passed, the original families moved out of the parish, and were replaced by Poles and other Eastern Europeans. Later St. Basil&rsquo;s added a significant Hispanic population.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">During the 1980s the neighborhood around the church became predominantly African-American. The Catholic population shrank. St. Basil&rsquo;s closed in 1990, and the parish was consolidated with Visitation parish. Shortly afterward, the Byzantine landmark on Garfield Boulevard was demolished.</div></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/lost-landmark-st-basils-catholic-church-98845 There in Chicago (#8) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/there-chicago-8-99826 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/44--2012--Ashland-47th%20St.JPG" title="Ashland Avenue at 47th Street--view south" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/44--1935%20%28CTA%29_0.jpg" title="1935 (CTA photo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">How well did you find your way around 1935 Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One clue is the wide street. Another is the Goldblatt&#39;s department store on the southwest corner of the intersection. At the time of the older photo, Ashland and 47th was one of the larger outlying shopping districts in the city. The Chicago Stock Yards were only a few blocks away, so this was truly &quot;Back of the Yards.&quot;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 Jun 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/there-chicago-8-99826 Chicago ward remap hearing draws thin crowd http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-ward-remap-hearing-draws-thin-crowd-95639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/Hearing2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Most of the North-Grand High School auditorium was empty Wednesday night as Chicago aldermen held what could be their final hearing in an effort to redraw the city’s ward map.</p><p>The 150 people who showed up did include 15 aldermen who heard complaints for almost three hours about a map backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>One of the complaints came from Robert Davidson, a tenant leader of the Chicago Housing Authority's Lathrop Homes. “Why would you cut through a public housing development and have people separated when we are a family in this development?” he asked.</p><p>Most of the hearing focused on the Northwest Side’s Logan Square, the South Side’s Back of the Yards, and Ald. Nick Sposato’s 36th Ward.</p><p>Some residents asked why aldermen held the hearing after their leaders said they had united behind a map. “Why do you do the work and then come to us when it’s done?” Davidson asked.</p><p>The up-to-date version of that map hasn’t been made public. But the council could vote on it as early as Thursday.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 10:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-ward-remap-hearing-draws-thin-crowd-95639 Mexican Christmas tradition alive and well in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood http://www.wbez.org/story/mexican-christmas-tradition-alive-and-well-chicagos-back-yards-neighborhood-95093 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-22/3327007263_4e0e833112.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Posadas are a Christmas tradition that is celebrated in Latin America, mainly in Mexico where it originated. In its simplest form, posadas are a reenactment of the journey Joseph and a pregnant Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. Traditionally, they are celebrated for nine consecutive nights beginning December 16th and culminating on Christmas Eve.</p><p>Given the Chicago area’s sizeable Mexican-American community, it’s no surprise that over <a href="http://www.archchicago.org/Immigration/pdf/Immigration/advent2011/PosadaDirectory2011.pdf" target="_blank">80 churches in the Chicago Archdiocese</a> have posadas planned for this Christmas season.</p><p>Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in the Back of the Yards neighborhood is among them. Parishioners there have volunteered to host a posada since the church began to organize them over 20 years ago.</p><p>On the second night of this year’s posada, Holy Cross had some 200 people attend, which is typical even for weekday nights. Participants arrive at the home of the person in charge of hosting the night’s posada. In this case it was the Garcia Rodriguez family, who've been volunteering to host for over 10 years now.</p><p>Shortly after 6 p.m. Father Bruce Wellems of Holy Cross started things off by introducing Mary and Joseph, or rather the boy and girl that volunteered to dress up and play the parts. Mary, Joseph and the rest of the participants huddled on the sidewalk, singing “pido posada” or asking for shelter. The Garcias responded in song that they could not let them in for they could be scoundrels. Father Bruce then gave a short blessing, leading the crowd in a prayer before everyone, including the Garcias, headed down the street to the next house on their list.</p><p>Although it's cold and dark the procession is joyful. As they walk the participants sing about marching to Bethlehem. The procession stops at six more houses, every time they are denied shelter and the group must continue on. Sometimes small bags with candy are given out to the many children that are participating in the posada. Traditionally the procession ends at one of these homes and everyone is welcomed inside for food and drinks. But a group this large would hardly fit in a home or even a backyard, so the procession makes its way instead to the hall adjacent to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Here, after asking for posada one last time, the group is finally welcomed inside to the tune of "entren santos peregrinos" or "enter holy pilgrims."</p><p>This is also where the posada leaves behind some the religious symbolism and becomes more of a big family get-together. The church’s marimba ensemble plays Mexican Christmas songs or “villancicos” along with American Christmas carols. The Garcias feed the hungry crowd “pozole” a Mexican stew, and the children take turns breaking a piñata filled with candy. Before they leave for the night each child gets to take home a softball sized piñata, which is handmade by the Garcias.</p><p>For Teodora Garcia the posadas she helps organize at Holy Cross remind her of those her mother and sisters hosted in Michoacan, Mexico. Though Teodora is definitely the lead organizer of this tradition in her family, her husband and five children, ranging in age from 29 to 12, also help out. And now Germain Garcia, one of Teodora’s sons, is thinking about continuing with this tradition. That is if his future family helps out as well.</p><p><a href="http://www.archchicago.org/Immigration/pdf/Immigration/advent2011/PosadaDirectory2011.pdf" target="_blank">For a list of posadas in the Chicago area click here.</a></p></p> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 22:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/mexican-christmas-tradition-alive-and-well-chicagos-back-yards-neighborhood-95093 Venture: Mortgage fraudsters hatch post-bubble schemes http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-mortgage-fraudsters-hatch-post-bubble-schemes-90567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-13/IMAG1092.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A lot has changed since the housing crash began. But one thing's still the same. Even though banks have tightened lending, and new regulations are in place, scammers are still finding ways to cheat the system.</p><p>Emilio Carrasquillo is giving me a grim kind of tour in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.</p><p>CARRASQUILLO: Another foreclosure across the street. So you have what, three, four, five foreclosures on this one block.</p><p>This South Side neighborhood is dear to Carrasquillo. He heads the local office here for the non-profit Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. He keeps an eye on real estate listings, and last year he started noticing something strange.</p><p>Buildings were selling for crazy amounts of money.</p><p>In a neighborhood where banks were unloading properties for $20,000 or $30,000, all of a sudden, buildings were going for 10 or 15 times that. Like this one: A bank sold this boarded-up, graffiti-tagged two-flat for about $35,000 in February 2009 and then:</p><p>CARRASQUILLO: It was sold in November of 09 for $315,000 and it went into foreclosure right away, seven months afterwards.</p><p>But wait: This round of sales and foreclosures happened after the housing bubble burst. Are banks really falling for this all over again? Turns out Carrasquillo is as surprised as I am.</p><p>CARRASQUILLO: How can this be happening again? Who did the appraisal on this? How is it worth $355,000, $370,000, $350,000, $345,000? Where are these prices coming from?</p><p>So his housing agency turned over the suspicious transactions to the authorities. People like this guy.</p><p>PAUL HOLDEMAN: Paul Holdeman, supervisory special agent with the FBI.</p><p>Holdeman won't comment on the cases Carrasquillo discovered, but says loan fraud like what occurred during the housing boom has definitely continued since the crash. People find straw buyers who submit fake employment information to banks to qualify for big mortgages. Appraisers jack up the values of buildings and once one sells for an inflated amount, it's easy to justify other ones in the neighborhood at similar prices. The straw buyers never make a payment and the place goes into foreclosure, keeping it unoccupied for months or maybe years.</p><p>But I asked Holdeman to tell me about new schemes his agents are seeing.</p><p>HOLDEMAN: Now with the downturn in the market, we also see foreclosure rescue schemes which people are taking advantage of individuals in dire straits. And we also see things like short sale frauds, where people are finding themselves underwater, trying to get out of that property so going back to the banks and selling the property for less than what they owe on the mortgage and engaging in fraud schemes there to again extract money from financial institutions.</p><p>GROSS: So what are they doing? How does short sale fraud work?</p><p>HOLDEMAN: With a short sale fraud - oftentimes they'll go to a real estate agent to help them sell the property. The real estate agent may get certain offers. Let's say they have 3 offers. Let's say they get one for $150,000, one for $175,000 and one for $200,000. They may go to the bank that holds the original mortgage note and tell them, hey, we have an offer for $150,000, that's the best we have. So the bank says, we'll review it, all right we'll go ahead and sell it for $150,000. Then that agent knows they have someone who wanted it for $200,000, they can turn around and work it out to sell it for that after the fact. It all involves deflated appraisals, inflated appraisals and kickbacks behind the scenes and essentially individuals who are not exercising their fiduciary duty and making false statements to the banks.</p><p>GROSS: So in that case the bank is not putting out a lot of money in a mortgage - they're accepting a lot less money than they're due?</p><p>HOLDEMAN: Exactly. That's exactly what's going on.</p><p>I asked Holdeman why he thinks banks would fall for overinflated appraisals nowadays. They've made it harder for your average Joe Schmoe to get a loan, so what's going on? He says it's often out-of-state banks that make decisions based mostly on appraisals and loan applications that may be fraudulent, but look good enough to pass muster.</p><p>I called Wells Fargo, the bank that made the $315,000 dollar mortgage on the rundown property Carrasquillo pointed out to me. I asked them, what were they thinking? Why did they make that loan? They wouldn't say.</p><p>But they said they reviewed it earlier this year and found a number of problems with the paperwork on that property. So they told the authorities.</p><p>And there are a lot of authorities working on mortgage fraud - everyone from the FBI and the Department of Justice to the Illinois attorney general and the Cook County state's attorney. Matthew Jannusch, an assistant Cook County state's attorney assigned to the mortgage fraud unit, described some other kinds of schemes they're seeing. One that seems surprising in its audacity involves people submitting fraudulent title documents for bank-owned properties to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Then they break the lock and rent the place out, collecting rent until the bank finally figures out what's going on and gets the paperwork fixed.</p><p>Here's an excerpt of the conversation with Matthew Jannusch on the new kinds of post-bubble schemes they're seeing:</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483594-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-13/jannusch-edit.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><br> <br> For his part, Emilio Carrasquillo of Neighborhood Housing Services says he's just tired of watching his communities manipulated like some kind of monopoly game. He says, look at that woman over there who's mowing her grass. She loses out because the buildings around hers are vacant and falling apart all because some people are using them to bilk money out of banks.</p><p>CARRASQUILLO: You look at all these regulations and restrictions they've put on everyone from banks to loan originators and yet this continues to happen. Obviously something is wrong, something is amiss.</p><p>Law enforcement may be making some headway, though. A new mortgage fraud risk report by a company called Interthinx says, in recent months, for the first time in more than a year, none of Chicago's zip codes were among the top ten most at risk for mortgage fraud in the country.</p><p>Still, Paul Holdeman of the FBI has no illusions his job is done. He says real estate is one of those areas where people will always be dreaming up new ways to exploit the system.</p><p>And now for this week's windy indicator, where we take a road less traveled to evaluate the economy.</p><p>Today: Hostels, that low-cost lodging for travelers.</p><p>Mike Haney&nbsp; runs a real estate investment company called&nbsp; Newcastle Limited. He says the lodging industry was thriving when his company bought Getaway Hostel in Lincoln Park four years ago.</p><p>HANEY: End of 2007, beginning of 2008, of course, as the financial crisis really started to unfold, we found that business dropped off here as it did for all lodging properties in Chicago and elsewhere.</p><p>But in 2010, things started to turn around. He says in the last year, more people are traveling - an early sign they're feeling more confident in the economy, even if companies aren't.</p><p>HANEY: We saw an uptick in our business before hotels saw an uptick. Individuals who make decisions to travel can make those decisions much more quickly than businesses typically do.</p><p>Haney says bookings at Getaway Hostel are up 40 percent since early 2010. The day I was there, backpackers seemed to check in constantly and groups of Spanish, German and Asian travelers sat around chatting.</p><p>Mat Meadows, the guy who manages the hostel day-to-day, says the spike in activity includes some atypical guests, like families and professionals in town for conferences. About half of them forgo the bunk beds and spring for private rooms.</p><p>Next week, the windy indicator goes to the opera.</p></p> Mon, 15 Aug 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-mortgage-fraudsters-hatch-post-bubble-schemes-90567 Chicago Democrats clash over Illinois House seat http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-03/MendozaCityHallcrop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A top Chicago official is criticizing the way her party is filling her former Illinois House seat.<br> <br> Susana Mendoza resigned as District 1 representative last month to become city clerk. To replace her, the district’s Democratic ward committeemen chose Chicago police Sgt. Dena Carli.<br> <br> Party insiders say the plan is for Carli to exit the seat this summer, once a long-term replacement establishes residency in the district, which spans parts of several Southwest Side neighborhoods, including Little Village, Brighton Park and Gage Park.<br> <br> The sources say Carli’s replacement will be Silvana Tabares, a former editor of the bilingual weekly newspaper Extra. Tabares graduated last year from the leadership academy of the United Neighborhood Organization, a clout-heavy Latino group.<br> <br> UNO chief Juan Rangel says he doesn’t know anything about the plan but praises Tabares. “She would be, by far, the best candidate to fill the seat,” Rangel says.<br> <br> Mendoza doesn’t think so. She pushed for her replacement to be Evelyn Rodríguez, an aide to U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Illinois.<br> <br> “Neither Carli nor Tabares is qualified,” Mendoza says. “The citizens and the residents of the First District were completely shortchanged in this process.”<br> <br> The Illinois constitution requires state lawmakers to live in their district for two years before their election or appointment.<br> <br> Tabares, listed at 4335 S. Spaulding Ave., says she’s lived in the district for “about two years” but claims she can’t remember the month she moved in.<br> <br> Tabares says she’s eager to serve in the seat but says she knows nothing about the plan for her to take it. She referred WBEZ questions about the plan to two of the committeemen: Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, Ward 14, and State Sen. Tony Muñoz, District 1.<br> <br> Burke and Muñoz didn’t return the station’s calls about the seat. Neither did Carli.</p></p> Fri, 03 Jun 2011 21:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 Latino youths organize for control of Radio Arte http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/Zavala1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some young radio producers are organizing for control of the Chicago area’s only noncommercial Latino broadcast outlet.</p><p>They’re upset about plans by the National Museum of Mexican Art to sell the building and license of WRTE-FM Chicago (90.5), a youth-run station known as Radio Arte that airs music and public affairs content in English and Spanish.</p><p>Transmitting at 73 watts from Little Village, Radio Arte reaches several other Latino neighborhoods of the city’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs.</p><p>The station also trains hundreds of volunteers a year and puts dozens on the air each week. Some have formed a group to try to keep the station in their community’s hands.</p><p>Many of these volunteers share a bond: They don’t have papers to be living in the United States.</p><p>“Radio Arte helped me learn to fight back,” said volunteer Adriana Velázquez, 20, who arrived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood from Mexico at age 11.</p><p>Velázquez graduated from Benito Juárez Community Academy in nearby Pilsen and dreamed of going to college. But her immigration status disqualified her from most financing.</p><p>“So I felt like all I had done all these years in high school — being a good student, a good member of the community — was not worth [anything] to people,” she said Thursday.</p><p>Velázquez said her life changed in 2008, when she started working on a Radio Arte show, <em>Salud: Healing Through the Arts</em>. “That summer was when I started really talking about my status and sharing that with other students who were also going through my situation,” she said.</p><p>“It was kind of a relief to feel [at] home somewhere, not feeling ashamed that I was undocumented,” said Velázquez, now a music-performance student at Northeastern Illinois University.</p><p>Velázquez and the other volunteers want control of Radio Arte’s name, license and transmitter. But they haven’t won over museum officials.</p><p>President Carlos Tortolero said the volunteers were making too much of the museum’s plans. “Radio, to a lot of funders, is old school,” he said. “And we can still do radio classes without a radio station. A lot of people are streaming now online and podcasting.”</p><p>Tortolero said selling the building and radio license would free up resources for projects in other media such as video and computer graphics.</p><p>The Radio Arte volunteers counter that terrestrial radio signals still reach much bigger audiences than web streaming and podcasting do. “That’s especially true in immigrant and low-income communities,” Velázquez said.</p><p>The license’s market value is not clear. Radio Arte staffers say the museum paid $12,000 for it in 1996.</p><p>Tortolero said the museum hasn’t received any offers yet but adds he’s talking with potential buyers, including DePaul University and California-based Radio Bilingüe. He has also met twice with Torey Malatia, chief of Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ.</p><p>Interviewed Wednesday, Malatia said his organization would not have cash for the license at this point. But Chicago Public Media is preparing a proposal to “help with operations and costs,” he said.</p><p>“We deeply respect Radio Arte’s mission,” Malatia said. “If we get involved, we would keep the tradition alive.”</p><p>Malatia said Chicago Public Media would connect Radio Arte to WBEW-FM (89.5), a youth-oriented station known as Vocalo that transmits from Chesterton, Indiana. Vocalo Managing Director Silvia Rivera worked at Radio Arte for more than a decade, including three years as general manager.</p><p>If the Chicago Public Media proposal were accepted, Radio Arte likely would continue broadcasting student- and volunteer-run shows, while “primetime blocks would be simulcast” with Vocalo, according to Malatia.</p><p>“As this story gets out,” Malatia added, “it puts pressure on DePaul and [Radio Bilingüe] to close the deal, and probably will pull some religious buyers into the mix.”</p><p>The building, 1401 W. 18th St., houses Radio Arte’s offices and studios as well as Yollocalli Arts Reach, another youth program of the museum. The wedge-shaped structure has two stories and a partly finished basement. Tortolero said the space totals about 11,000 square feet.</p><p>The museum had a real-estate appraiser look over the building this month but Tortolero said his team has not yet set the asking price.</p><p>The building stands on the corner of Blue Island Avenue and 18th Street. The intersection includes a Mexican-themed plaza that serves as a cultural anchor of Pilsen, a neighborhood whose Latino population has been shrinking.</p><p>The volunteers say they won’t try to buy the building.</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 West Side Aldermanic Races http://www.wbez.org/story/12th-ward/west-side-aldermanic-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/1_morfin_6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 10:40 p.m.&nbsp; </em>New numbers from West Side wards, where runoffs seem likely in the 24th, 25th, 36th and 38th wards.</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 12</strong></p><p>24 of 24 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>George Cardenas, (i) 2,680 - 55 percent</p><p>Jose Guereca, 911 - 19 percent</p><p>Jesse Iñiguez, 796 - 16 percent</p><p>Alberto Bocanegra, 321 - 7 percent</p><p>Maria Ortiz, 137 - 3 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 21</strong></p><p>70 of 74 precincts - 95 percent</p><p>Howard Brookins, (i) 8,004 - 56 percent</p><p>Sheldon Sherman, 2,797 - 19 percent</p><p>Patricia Foster, 1,706 - 12 percent</p><p>Sylvia Jones, 1,537 - 11 percent</p><p>Jerome Maddox, 309 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 22</strong></p><p>29 of 29 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Ricardo Munoz, (i) 2,793 - 65 percent</p><p>Neftalie Gonzalez, 1,536 - 35 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 23</strong></p><p>54 of 54 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Michael Zalewski, (i) 8,581 - 53 percent</p><p>Anna Goral, 5,511 - 34 percent</p><p>Chuck Maida, 2,231 - 14 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 24</strong></p><p>56 of 56 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Sharon Dixon, (i) 1,783 - 20 percent</p><p>Michael Chandler, 1,197 - 13 percent</p><p>Vetress Boyce, 841 - 9 percent</p><p>Valerie Leonard, 697 - 8 percent</p><p>Shavonda Fields, 606 - 7 percent</p><p>Chauncey Stroud, 605 - 7 percent</p><p>Julius Anderson, 482 - 5 percent</p><p>Wallace Johnson, 477 - 5 percent</p><p>Wilbert Cook, 459 - 5 percent</p><p>Sondra Spellman, 435 - 5 percent</p><p>Melissa Williams, 369 - 4 percent</p><p>Frank Bass, 346 - 4 percent</p><p>Regina Lewis, 309 - 3 percent</p><p>Jeffery Turner, 203 - 2 percent</p><p>Donielle Lawson, 137 - 1 percent</p><p>Larry Nelson, 113 - 1 percent</p><p>Mark Carter, 44 - 0 percent</p><p>Jimmy Lee Lard, 37 - 0 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 25</strong></p><p>31 of 31 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Danny Solis, (i) 4,291 - 49 percent</p><p>Cuahutemoc Morfin, 2,451 - 28 percent</p><p>Ambrosio Medrano, 2,025 - 23 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 26</strong></p><p>61 of 63 precincts - 97 percent</p><p>Roberto Maldonado, (i) 5,885 - 82 percent</p><p>Devon Reid, 1,263 - 18 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 27</strong></p><p>59 of 59 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Walter Burnett, (i) 6,606 - 71 percent</p><p>Tom Courtney, 2,056 - 22 percent</p><p>Gevonna Fassett, 655 - 7 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 28</strong></p><p>60 of 61 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Jason Ervin, (i) 5,557 - 85 percent</p><p>William Siegmund, 1,007 - 15 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 29</strong></p><p>44 of 49 precincts - 90 percent</p><p>Deborah Graham, (i) 4,884 - 52 percent</p><p>Thomas Simmons, 1,147 - 12 percent</p><p>C B Johnson, 1,075 - 11 percent</p><p>Mary Russell Gardner, 899 - 10 percent</p><p>Jill Bush, 636 - 7 percent</p><p>Beverly Rogers, 299 - 3 percent</p><p>Roman Morrow, 279 - 3 percent</p><p>Oddis Johnson, 168 - 2 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 30</strong></p><p>40 of 41 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Ariel Reboyras, (i) 4,506 - 75 percent</p><p>Stella Nicpon, 595 - 10 percent</p><p>Chester Hornowski, 526 - 9 percent</p><p>Doug Cannon, 368 - 6 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 32</strong></p><p>52 of 52 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Scott Waguespack, (i) 8,704 - 66 percent</p><p>David Pavlik, 2,290 - 17 percent</p><p>Bryan Lynch, 1,465 - 11 percent</p><p>Brian Gorman, 770 - 6 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 34</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Carrie Austin, (i) 9,170 - 65 percent</p><p>Henry Moses, 2,123 - 15 percent</p><p>Shirley White, 1,533 - 11 percent</p><p>Burl McQueen, 659 - 5 percent</p><p>Michael Mayden, 618 - 4 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 35</strong></p><p>36 of 36 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Rey Colon, (i) 4,451 - 51 percent</p><p>Miguel Sotomayor, 2,174 - 25 percent</p><p>Nancy Schiavone, 2,117 - 24 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 36</strong></p><p>55 of 55 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Rice, (i) 6,709 - 48 percent</p><p>Nicholas Sposato, 3,346 - 24 percent</p><p>Jodi Biancalana, 1,964 - 14 percent</p><p>Brian Murphy, 656 - 5 percent</p><p>Thomas Motzny, 650 - 5 percent</p><p>Bruce Randazzo, 628 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 37</strong></p><p>40 of 43 precincts - 93 percent</p><p>Emma Mitts, (i) 4,779 - 58 percent</p><p>Maretta Brown-Miller, 1,982 - 24 percent</p><p>Shanika Finley, 390 - 5 percent</p><p>Minerva Orozco, 389 - 5 percent</p><p>Steven Pleasant, 332 - 4 percent</p><p>Tommy Abina, 328 - 4 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 38</strong></p><p>53 of 53 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Timothy Cullerton, (i) 5,795 - 48 percent</p><p>Tom Caravette, 2,699 - 22 percent</p><p>Bart Goldberg, 945 - 8 percent</p><p>Carmen Hernandez, 723 - 6 percent</p><p>Mahmoud Bambouyani, 704 - 6 percent</p><p>Sheryl Morabito, 672 - 6 percent</p><p>John Videckis, 402 - 3 percent</p><p>Ed Quartullo, 237 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 39</strong></p><p>47 of 47 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Margaret Laurino, (i) 7,735 - 76 percent</p><p>Mary Hunter, 2,392 - 24 percent</p><p><em>Updated At 9:38 p.m</em>. Incumbent 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis will likely face a runoff to defend his seat. &nbsp;He won 49% of the vote with all precincts reporting.</p><p><em>Updated At: 8:55 p.m</em>.&nbsp; Incumbent 24th Ward Ald. Sharon Dixon is leading a tight race that is headed towards a runoff. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Dixon has a slight edge over her closest competitor Michael Chandler.<strong><br /></strong></p><p>Here's a look at some of the races WBEZ is focusing on:</p><p><strong>12th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. George Cárdenas&rsquo; campaign staffers predicted a victory without a runoff, but the two-term incumbent looked nervous. During this month&rsquo;s blizzard cleanup, Cárdenas spent thousands of campaign dollars to bring in snow plows. He festooned them with reelection placards.<br />&nbsp;<br />This Southwest Side ward, mostly Latino, covers parts of Brighton Park, McKinley Park, Back of the Yards and Little Village. It&rsquo;s struggling with overcrowded housing, foreclosure filings, struggling schools and rising crime.<br />&nbsp;<br />Cárdenas won his first aldermanic election in 2003 with help from the Hispanic Democratic Organization, a roving campaign army that eventually dissolved amid a federal probe into patronage hiring by Mayor Daley&rsquo;s administration. Cárdenas won his 2007 reelection handily.<br />&nbsp;<br />But this year&rsquo;s race was tougher. The strongest of four challengers appeared to be Streets and Sanitation worker José Guereca, a former Army soldier who received tens of thousands of campaign dollars from State Sen. Tony Muñoz, the ward&rsquo;s Democratic boss. Muñoz, a former Cárdenas ally, was a fellow HDO beneficiary. Guereca also got support from Teamsters Local 700 and the Chicago Firefighters Union.<br />&nbsp;<br />Another tough challenger was coffee-shop owner Jesús &ldquo;Jesse&rdquo; Iñiguez, head of the United Southwest Chamber of Commerce who ran poorly against Cárdenas four years ago. This time he got help from Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd Ward) and County Board Commissioner Jesús &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; García (7th District), making the race a skirmish in a decades-old war between Southwest Side progressives and regular Democrats. Other important support came from the Service Employees International Union. Iñiguez campaign staffers predicted they would advance to the runoff as Cárdenas and Guereca competed for the same machine voters.<br />&nbsp;<br />But Iñiguez himself lost some votes to the Green Party&rsquo;s Alberto Bocanegra Jr., who raised a lot of money for the race. Bocanegra had backing from water district commissioner Frank Avila and immigrant rights organizer Jorge Mújica.<br />&nbsp;<br />Also on the ballot was María &ldquo;Chula&rdquo; Ortiz, a suburban bus employee with little money or visibility.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>24th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon struggled to build a strong political organization after narrowly winning her seat in a 2007 runoff. When Chicago police officers arrested her on drunken-driving charges in 2009, some residents of her ward smelled blood. Seventeen got on the ballot to challenge her, making the contest the most crowded of any Chicago ward race in two decades.<br />&nbsp;<br />A judge determined the officers had no probable cause to arrest Dixon and, last month, she filed suit against three of the cops, saying they wrongly accused her. These developments didn&rsquo;t seem to give her big boosts. The mostly African American ward, which includes North Lawndale and parts of other West Side neighborhoods, is struggling with poverty, abandoned lots, unemployment and low high-school graduation rates.<br />&nbsp;<br />Three challengers seemed to have the most support or credibility. One, Ald. Michael Chandler, lost his seat to Dixon despite support from Mayor Daley. In the rematch, Dixon said Chandler ran straw candidates to help force her into a runoff. Chandler denied that accusation. Another strong challenger appeared to be Melissa Williams, a real-estate attorney who has worked for neighborhood housing groups and ex-offenders. She had backing from State Sen. Rickey Hendon. The third was Valerie Leonard, who uses her finance background to help social-service agencies gather government funding. She founded Lawndale Alliance, a community group focused on affordable housing, community development and quality schools.<br />&nbsp;<br />Several other candidates also seemed to have a decent shot: Wallace &ldquo;Mickey&rdquo; Johnson, a former NBA player and former Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s deputy who has a West Side business; Wilbert Cook III, who heads a nonprofit that works to reintegrate ex-offenders into the job market; Chauncey Stroud, who once served as chief of staff for former Ald. Jesse Miller (24th); Donielle Lawson, a Cook County Jail teacher and union delegate; and Frank Bass, who lobbied in Springfield for John Stroger, the late Cook County Board president.<br />&nbsp;<br />The weakest candidates seemed to be Martavius &ldquo;Mark&rdquo; Carter, Sondra &ldquo;Sam&rdquo; Spellman, Vetress Boyce, Julius Anderson, Shavonda Fields, Jimmy Lee Lard, Regina Lewis, Jeffery Turner and Larry Nelson.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>25th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. Daniel &ldquo;Danny&rdquo; Solís has been Mayor&rsquo;s Daley&rsquo;s closest Latino ally on the City Council for years. In 2007, nevertheless, Solís barely avoided a runoff. This year the incumbent seemed to have an even tougher race.<br />&nbsp;<br />Daley appointed Solís to the seat in 1996 to replace Ald. Ambrosio Medrano, who pleaded guilty in the Operation Silver Shovel scandal and served more than two years in federal prison. Solís was a player in the Hispanic Democratic Organization, Daley&rsquo;s most powerful campaign army until federal authorities started looking into City Hall patronage hiring. Solís also co-founded the United Neighborhood Organization, a group that now runs charter schools.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís now chairs the council&rsquo;s powerful Zoning Committee. In that post, he helped broker a deal last year that could lead to several new Walmart stores in Chicago.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís helped open gates to development and gentrification, which angered some residents of Pilsen, one of Chicago&rsquo;s oldest Mexican neighborhoods. The ward also includes Tri-Taylor, Chinatown, and an area near the University of Illinois at Chicago.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís also took shots for withholding support for proposed city regulation of emissions from two coal-fired power plants, one of which stands in the ward.<br />&nbsp;<br />One of his challengers was Ambrosio &ldquo;Ambi&rdquo; Medrano Jr., a city Department of Transportation worker and son of the former alderman who went to prison. Medrano had backing from organized labor. The other challenger was construction contractor Cuahutémoc &ldquo;Temoc&rdquo; Morfín, an immigrant rights activist who came within a dozen votes of forcing Solís into a runoff in 2007.</p><p><strong>26th Ward</strong></p><p>The 26th ward has one of the youngest candidates on the ballot. 18-year-old Devon Reid is a studying at Wright College to be a high school history teacher. He says his love of history leads naturally to a love of politics. He's going up against an experienced politician, Roberto Maldonado. Maldonado spent 15 years on the Cook County Board of Commissioners before being appointed 26th ward alderman by Mayor Richard Daley in 2009. This is Maldonado's first election for alderman but he's got $200,000 to spend on the race. Reid has raised about $3,000 in cash and in kind contributions. He says most of that has come from his foster family.<br /> <strong><br />32nd Ward</strong><br /> <br />Scott Waguespack was elected to the city council in 2007 and was considered part of a group of new independents who would question and challenge the policies of Mayor Richard Daley. There weren't that many challenges, but Waguespack is one of the aldermen who voted against the now largely reviled parking meter deal. Waguespack says that deal crystalized for voters all the ways city hall isn't working. He says aldermen have focused solely on their wards to the detriment of the citywide issues.<br /> <br />Waguespack is facing a challenge from David Pavlik who currently works in the governor's office of management and the budget. Pavlik is getting support from 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell. That's a little awkward because Mell sits next to Waguespack in the city council. Mell says he likes Waguespack, whom he refers to as a &quot;young man,&quot; but Pavlik's mother used to work for Mell so Mell gave her the okay to siphon off any of his political workers who wanted to help her out. Mell's seat is safe because he has no challenger. Mell says he's also dispatched workers to the 41st and 43rd wards, and he's supporting Rey Colon in the 35th. In addition to Pavlik, Waguespack is also trying to fend off challenges from Brian Gorman and Bryan Lynch.</p><p><em>Chip Mitchell and Robert Wildeboer contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 23:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/12th-ward/west-side-aldermanic-races