Hello and we’re live! This is a Alderwoman Maria Hadden and here in the 49th Ward Service Office broadcasting for our first virtual monthly town hall. So I’m going to give it a moment make sure we get everything set and that we’re sharing these links for folks to tune in from various platforms and then we’ll get started with some of the updates. The goal for trying out this format is to make sure that residents who may not be able to come out to our in-person townhall meetings or make it out to the service office can access information that we’re sharing about the work that me and the 49th Ward team are doing here for residents and in the city and also to keep a record of some of the videos so that you can conveniently watch this whenever you choose to. Hoping that folks can tune in and ask questions we’re trying out the You Tube format and knowing that not a lot of not necessarily everyone uses Facebook but hoping that this works. After this first one we’re open to taking feedback seeing what worked what didn’t trying out some different formats if we need to so give me a moment here to get everything going all right so we are a Happy Leap Day everybody! So as we’re ending this month of February we did get an extra day even though it is our shortest month of the year I can say February for me has felt even busier than January did. I felt like that we had some kind of events or activities every evening every weekend some of the positives it’s sunny outside today I’m hoping that we see a warming trend especially because tomorrow I will be jumping into Lake Michigan taking the Polar Plunge in an effort to raise awareness and money for a Special Olympics Chicago so fingers crossed! I know the air temps supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow but I think that lake is still going to be pretty freezing so Natalia will be with me not taking the plunge but absolutely taking some video and documenting it so don’t worry if you can’t attend we’ll be sure to share whatever ridiculousness ensues tomorrow. Some of the things happening in the ward this month and things that we can look forward to for next month so one this is February Black History Month some of the exciting things with plenty of Black History celebrations all around the ward Loyola Park, at the Rogers Park library, the assembly at Sullivan High School, in City Hall we had a special resolution for the kind of progenitor and main author of the New York Times Magazine 1619 Project. Her name is Nikole Hannah Jones, a fantastic author if you don’t if you’re not familiar with the 1619 Project check it out. You can type in 1619 Project, do a google search, you’ll be able to read the essays and the articles really reflecting on 400 years since the beginning of slavery in the United States or what was to become the United States and the impact that had on our country ,the lives of Black Americans, how slavery and being the ancestors of
enslaved people have impacted us even today and, what that has looked like for the rest of the country. So we were honored to actually have Ms. Hannah Jones in town in City Hall for us to be able to honor her with a special resolution also how to press conference to give some updates on the work that I’ve been doing with the Black Remembrance Project on making Juneteenth an official holiday in the City of Chicago. Juneteenth is the celebrated day, June 19th, where the announcement of the end of slavery in what was then the United States finally made it to the Galveston, Texas and is celebrated throughout the country in many different communities and a lot of Black Americans celebrate it as an Independence Day. Given the significant impact that Black Americans have had on the city of Chicago even with the founding with DuSable, we felt like it’s been long overdue and we absolutely need to recognize this important holiday. That isn’t just for Black Chicagoans, but for all Chicagoans so really excited that the Black Remembrance Project asked me to partner with them on this we are working out some of the human resources details as we try to update our policies to make a floating holiday possible so that we can add Juneteenth to the list but also we’re looking at revising a few other HR policies. In the meantime we will be celebrating downtown central location on June 19th of this year which falls on a Friday So I want to say thank you to organizers with the Black Remembrance Project and to my team for making this possible and we’ll keep you updated on that. A couple of other things for this month in City Council, we passed a climate, we declared a climate emergency through the city as well. As I know many folks saw at the end of the month of January the Mayor and the Governor proclaimed emergency disasters for our shoreline so these two things mean two separate things. So the Disaster Proclamation is something official through the state that helps us to make the case to apply for additional federal funds for a lot of the damage that we’ve seen done through our public property and open up avenues for private property owners who also gain access to some funds we’ve seen record high lakefront levels we’ve seen a lot of storm damage from wave action from different storms high winds we anticipate seeing more of this as lake levels will continue to rise through June based on current projections and we want to make sure that we’ve got more resources than the city to both do what we can to stabilize the shoreline like we saw at Juneway, Rogers, and Howard beaches and to repair the damage that’s been caused and damage that we anticipate being caused in the future so that’s what the disaster proclamations were. The climate emergency that we passed, this was Aldermen Cardenas and Matt Martin who were leads on this, it passed unanimously through City Council. This is really a value statement recognition that we as the city of Chicago acknowledge that we are living in a climate emergency and that we need to do everything within our power at local government in order to address this so a few things that are happening currently So, one the mayor has appointed in interim sustainability officer who’s been working with community organizations the policy team and City Council to identify the different areas where we can prioritize climate change so this could look like, well we’re renegotiating our ComEd contract with the city how we are trying to prioritize sustainable energy sources, this looks like evaluating our fleet and facilities capacities what can we do to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, this looks like some work that we’ve prioritized through the Progressive Caucus as well of making sure that we are divesting our city investments from fossil fuels. This also looks like what we might need to do with building codes right, like what other things for building and planning purposes do we need to do as a city to make the update so that we’re changing things for now ,but also setting ourselves up for the types of changes that we need to make for the future part of this work we’re working as well on a climate action plan so under the former mayor, Daley, the city put together a climate action plan with goals set for this year, 2020. It’s the climate action plan that came out of the Daley administration hasn’t been revisited, I
think since 2014 maybe 2017, we’re working on legislation to make sure that we audit that plan look at what targets we met and set new goals as we move forward What’s really clear and the purpose of this climate emergency declaration is that we probably already waited much longer than we should but as a city we have a responsibility not to wait any longer as we make our plans for the future It’s a responsibility we have to our residents. So that’s some exciting work that’s moving forward through City Council. We also can’t talk about climate change without talking about our lakeshore. So just some updates I know we just went through another week of really high winds and some storm action with the winter storms the lake levels don’t appear to be receding very much Many residents experienced flooding again along the lakeshore. The good news is the stabilization projects that have been completed at Juneway Rogers and Howard are holding very well the work on the collapsed alley at Loyola is near completion and both our Department of Transportation, Streets & Sanitation, Office of Emergency Management and Communications and Chicago Park District, we’re all working in strong coordination still and have a fantastic response team which many of you may have seen for this latest winter storm. You may have received what’s called a reverse 911 call. So using this system you would have received a robo call giving you warnings about lakeshore flooding about high winds about wave action with recommendations on what to do that new communication system is a direct response to work that we’ve been doing with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to have a better proactive response and communications from the city around the lake shore. So really excited to have that happen even though we were having a meeting here in the office when it did and the message definitely repeated about three times it was pretty long so for those of you you may if you got this message and you were a little annoyed listening to your voicemail, I apologize for that but I’m really excited that we are taking more proactive steps as a city and as government to make sure that residents know what’s happening and that we’re staying safe. So I’ll continue to keep you posted on what’s happening with lake shore updates again noting the weather is changing we are working with the Park District and we’ll be setting some dates pretty soon on what kind of process we’re going to go through with the community to talk about the restoration of those parks at Juneway, Rogers and Howard. So the playground will be going back in at Howard, we’ve asked them to show us plans for lake access at the beaches where that is possible so we’re looking at Rogers and Howard especially. We may not have sand at the beach anymore but we know people are going to use the lake and we want to make sure that we can do so safely. We’ll be talking about what that looks like for lifeguard plans and of course separate to that we’ve also had discussions with what are going to do to ramp up our water safety education because now more than ever I will face increasing dangers for swimmers and people in the lake because of the obstructed structures they’re going to be different current patterns because of the structures that are submerged and you know we’re working on setting those up too so that we can keep our our kids and our families safe while enjoying the lakefront this summer. A couple of other big things I know many of you may have seen news from a shooting police involved shooting at the Grand Avenue CTA Red Line station yesterday. So details are still coming out there’s an investigation ongoing but you know we’ve had some increased reports of crime among the CTA in the last couple of weeks the police department decided to put more police patrols in the CTA and and yesterday what we had was appears to be an unarmed man who was shot by police while they were trying to arrest him for crossing between train cars. So there’s still details that we’re not aware of we’re gonna wait and see what the investigation turns out but I’ll tell you that I in particular and I know many of you are very disturbed and concerned about the shooting that happened wondering you know why such force was used. The video is very disturbing. There is video out there if folks haven’t seen it and I will
definitely be asking a lot of questions and there’s questions about what type of police presence we should have on the CTA there’s questions again about use of force. This is something our department has struggled with and is one of the key subjects of the consent decree that were under and then also the Interim Police Superintendent Beck made some statements over this last week even suggesting perhaps that we make, he made some suggestions requesting that perhaps we should consider banning people from the CTA who have criminal records or convictions. I can tell you all very directly that’s something I am very strongly against we’re making such strides as a city with new leadership in Council in the Mayor’s office on decriminalizing being poor. We’re changing our fines and fees structure moving towards a more compassionate values based budgeting process putting more money towards services programs making sure that we’re helping to lift people out of poverty and we can’t go back. So criminalizing people for being poor, reducing people’s access to our public transportation system is not the answer and I feel like we’ve got the resources and the people at work we can come up with better solutions on what community safety looks like for all of us. So as this, as this story develops I’ll make sure to keep folks posted and I’ll take a pause here to make a plug that if you’re watching this currently or if you’re, whether you’re live with me now or whether you’re watching kind of the share of this later, do you receive my weekly newsletters? So every Friday we send out an email newsletter, the 49th Ward weekly Update I share little recaps of what me and the team have done for the week we have celebrations and appreciations lifting up people organizations and businesses in the neighborhood that are doing great things as a matter of fact this week’s, this week’s celebration and appreciation we had a couple. So one of our Rogers Park residents, David Tolen, so he is a great community activist in the Ward also an entrepreneur. So you’ve probably seen him around the neighborhood with his wife Katie and his adorable son Joshua. So he’s been an advocate for more equity and access to our education system for many years here in Rogers Park and has also been an active advocate on behalf of our immigrant neighbors for housing and health care and I’m really excited that he has recently accepted a position on the board of Raise Your Hand Illinois. So congratulations to David! We’re celebrating you this week thank you for your service in the neighborhood and continued service. One of our other celebrations this week was actually I got to spend about an hour or so with some of our civics students at Sullivan High School. So their teacher, Mr. Mathew, invited me for eighth period. The students had been working over the last couple of weeks around a host of issues as they are learning civics through practice. So I was excited to hear that they’re tackling issues and having discussions around things like, what ways we can best reduce violence. They were debating and talking about things like whether we should spend more money on programs and services or whether we should hire more police. They did research, they read studies, they had debates, and they presented some of those arguments to me during their session. They asked me what I thought. I’ll say they almost unanimously had decided that, based on the research and the data, it clearly made sense to spend more money on programs and services than more police. If our goal is reducing violence and that we need to invest in economic development in our communities and in our individuals living in the city. One of the other big topics they were talking about was sentencing laws for for gun related crimes and violent crimes but they also wanted to know what an Alderperson was So we got to share a little bit about what I do about what a typical week is like and also invite them to join the Youth Council that we’re starting. So I’ll say that’s just a little bit of what we share in the weekly newsletter It’s also filled with government services updates. We started sharing a bunch of information about voting. Early voting in the ward starts on March 2nd by the way you can get out there and vote early
for the primaries! We share community engagement opportunities you know we’ve got organizations, park districts the Peterson Garden Project upcoming Park District, Park Advisory Council conference on March 21st and everything. So events we’ve got news on business and development we’ve got job hiring opportunities that’s here. Updates on our schools, what kind of meetings and things might be happening. There are ways you can get involved. We’ve got some info on there now on Spring Break opportunities for your for your students and then, this week was so packed with some need to know information around the coronavirus. I know there’s a lot of news happening about the coronavirus and I’ll spend a couple of minutes just sharing That you know our Department of Public Health released the statement letting folks know that they are working very closely with state and federal public health partners they’re monitoring the situation. They’re working closely with our Office of Emergency Management and Communication as well and have been doing planning and preparedness we still have only seen two confirmed cases. We haven’t had any community spread at this point and so you know we need people still to you know be vigilant but there’s no real need for you to wear masks or cancel events or close schools at this point. So some of the things that they are recommending is just continue your good kind of health practices. Make sure you’re washing your hands you know, make sure you’re kind of taking care of yourself as best as possible you know, if you know have travel plans or if there’s something that for personal or work reasons if you have international travel plan to any of the affected regions please just check with, actually the Public Health Department has some lists of you know countries and things that you should reconsider visiting. At this time I know that some employers are making travel kind of need-to and also canceling some plans and meetings and activities in certain places but recommendations from our Department of Public Health are – you can continue business as usual be mindful, wash your hands you can carry some hand sanitizer and right now just kind of you know take care of yourself and make sure that you’re following on the news but in our region right now things are still looking pretty stable So if you want to read a little bit more about what’s happening you can visit www.Chicago.gov /coronavirus so again that’s www.chicago.gov/ coronavirus and there you can get the most updated information and local guidance from our Department of Public Health. So yeah make sure you sign up for that weekly newsletter I think we’ve got we’ll have a sign-up link here in the chat you can go to the website which is just 49thWard.org that’s 4 9 th W AR d dot o-r-g so that’s our website there you can sign up for the newsletter you can submit a service request you can find out information around parking or street cleaning or snow removal anything that you could possibly think of for city of Chicago services you can pretty much find on our website you can contact us through there but again you know newsletter sign up is pretty easy to access there so a couple things coming up this week this week have some meetings in City Hall we’re going to have a briefing around the GAPA ordinance that has been kind of in negotiations GAPA is one of the ordinances along with CPAC that community members have worked on to submit first civilian accountability boards to have more accountability and reforms in our Police Department. so I think we’re having a hearing on Thursday to hear about some of the updates of these ordinances police reform is a priority issue both for myself for many of the other City Council members who just got elected and also for the Mayor there’s still some conversations happening around CPAC which is another ordinance and I can tell I know a few folks have have called the office I’m still considering both ordinances I think what’s going to come down to what I can support and and what I what I won’t
support is how much accountability can we really build in how much strength are we building into the ordinance. I don’t think that it’s worth passing just any ordinance so that City Council can pat themselves on the back and say we passed police reform. I do think it’s very important that what we move through is an improvement to what we have and gives real community control and accountability it’s difficult it’s a difficult process some of the issues at hand are whether this community commission will have powers to do a no-confidence vote on a sitting superintendent and what kind of powers and they’ll have for drafting policy There’s a few things that were in the news this week that I think will play into discussions in the hearing that we have in City Hall for instance a similar civilian police board in Oakland this week actually voted to fire their current police superintendent and there are a lot of I think a lot of concerns coming from the administration, and this has been previous administrations, around who gets to hire and fire superintendent what kind of management we can effectively do, and what role City Council might have. So these are some of these some of the big issues that are still on the table and undecided so after we have the briefings you can look forward to some updates on what’s happening in this coming Friday’s weekly word update so we’ll keep you posted on that and then last but not least just some things to share. This is the first virtual Town Hall that we’re trying out as I mentioned earlier one of the things that we started last July we’re doing monthly town halls they were a format in person in accessible spaces in our parks and our libraries here in the ward and they were about two hours format where folks had come in get an agenda myself and the 49th ward staff would share updates Occasionally, we have a guest from an organization to speak about a few things and then we would do Q&A just about ongoing things in the ward in the city we’re gonna continue to do that format once a quarter but in response to community members wanting one some different format so that they can engage in different ways with us but to also more accessibility for maybe those with physical disabilities maybe people with different work schedules you know we decided to try adding once a quarter one of these virtual town halls and then in March we’re trying another format be our first community resource fair. So once a quarter we’re going to have an extended community resource fair you can save the date we don’t have the location finalized yet but it looks like this one will be March 28th, it’s a Saturday likely in the morning probably from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. but stay tuned we’ll we’ll announce it through social media through the newsletter and we’ll do some broad flyering for this one too But this is where we want to bring government to you so in addition to myself in our office we’ve invited folks from from the county from the state from the difference from the clerk’s office different community organizations from parent university over oh but we want to bring resources to you so we’ll have food we’ll have refreshments we’ll have some music you can come at any time during the 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. time period You’ll get some written updates and in the forms were written kind of quarterly newsletter will have interpretation available in Spanish if you or someone you know may need interpretation and the different language please reach out to the office. If you’re someone who can provide interpretation in different languages please reach out to the office you can call us at 773- 338-5796 or email us at email@example.com but the idea of these community resource fairs is to, one have people engage with one another and we’ll be signing people up for a different committee interests work so you know we have had sign ups for a community safety committee will be signing up folks for parks and environments committees arts and culture streets and infrastructure so if you’re interested in getting involved and I have we figured March physical timing because this is theoretically when springtime comes and Chicagoans start coming out of their homes again but if you’ve thought about wanting to volunteer in the neighborhood maybe you want to work on something that’s not a political campaign
maybe you’re volunteering on political campaigns but you still want to get engaged in a neighborhood activity this is going to be the place for you. So I’m really hoping that folks come out we’ll do some outreach and we’ll be setting up some volunteer asks for folks who might want to do so firing for us and help us get make sure people know about the event but that’s going to be kind of our new meeting engagement structure so once a quarter a traditional Town Hall once a quarter one of these virtual town halls and once a quarter we’ll do a community resource fair just to bring make it a little easier especially since we’re so far northeast for people to access government and different services so with that we’re at about thirty minutes here so I’m gonna wrap up If folks have questions if you’ve got comments you can definitely leave them in the video comments and we’ll be checking up on those seeing as we’re wrapping up the live feed if you’ve got questions or comments it’d be great if you would email them directly to the ward office so again that’s office@ 49thward.org or call us at 773- 338-5796 and don’t forget we are located on 1447 W Morse avenue and Wednesdays are Ward nights so from 5 to 7 p.m. I have open office hours you’re welcome to stop in the office anytime. We’re open Monday through Friday most nights we close at 5:00, Wednesdays we close at 7:00 and Fridays we close at 4:00 but stop in the office say hello. We’ve got a lot of information and flyers for community events job programs or just come in to say hi we’re right across from the Common Cup coffee shop so thank you all for tuning in thanks for trying out something new with me and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Happy Leap Day!