...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon


Some Get It Right - Some Get It Wrong


Lerner Columnist Marcella Tardy Got It Right!

In her "And by The Way" column of April 5, 2000, Marcella said that several people came to a down-zoning meeting to hear Alderman Joe Moore answer a question asked by community resident David Stahr.

She's right!

The question was about $57,100 contributed by developers and real estate interests to the Alderman's recent campaign and about the $105,218 borrowed from various other Democratic political committees and from his father. Mr. Stahr asked if that would make Alderman Moore beholden to developers and real estate interests. A handout flyer distributed at the meeting states "special interests give campaign contributions to gain access and influence the decisions of elected officials." Mr. Stahr asked whether attempts to repay the loans would open the Alderman to a serious conflict of interest in development projects in the 49th Ward. (To read electronic filings of contributors go to www.elections.state.il.us/CDS/Pages/FiledDocList.asp?)

The question was ruled "out of order" by the facilitator, an affable gentleman who I have known for many years. He is the immediate past president of the New Rogers Park Community Council and is their representative on the Alderman's Zoning Advisory Committee.

It grieves me to say that in fact it was the arbitrary decision that was out of order. At no time was there any statement or declaration that the meeting would be held in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order or any other parameters.

The facilitator was obliged to let the question stand. Then the Alderman could choose to respond or not respond. Alderman Moore is perfectly capable of defending himself, as he did in Marcella Tardy's column, albeit out of the public glare with no opportunity for rebuttal.

Many people did come to the meeting to HEAR Alderman Moore instead of READING it in the Lerner Newspaper.

They deserved no less!

It used to be, during the term of Jimmy Carter, that I believed some government officials were beyond reproach, but since Larry Bloom and the goings-on at City Hall and the Secretary of State's Office, I can no longer hold that opinion.

In days gone by, community organizations and block clubs would act as ombudsmen and a sort of "loyal opposition" up and down the governmental hierarchy. Today, for reasons best known to only a few, they seem to act not only as shields, but shills!

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The News Media Continue to Get It Wrong

If you grew up in Chicago, you knew that you lived in a certain neighborhood. There is Rogers Park, Lakeview, Belmont-Cragin and Roseland. If you were Catholic there was even a further delineation; you lived in Rogers Park in St. Jerome, St Ignatius, or St. Margaret Mary parish, with a sub-division, if you were a kid, such as "the Patch", "Vienna" or "the Blacktop" (but that's a different story).

There are 77 distinct neighborhoods in Chicago, from Rogers Park, designated on city maps as Area #1, all the way to Edgewater - Area #77, even though it is the neighborhood area immediately south of Rogers Park.

Last week a newscaster on WGN-TV referred to a fire at 6144 N. Winthrop as occurring in Rogers Park. That address, however, is in Edgewater. It is a fact that Edgewater (Area #77) begins at Foster Avenue (5200 North) and runs along Lake Michigan and the east of Clark Street, ending at Devon Avenue (6400 North). More often than not, the media makes this error in stories dealing with fires, murders, rapes, muggings and more. Often phone calls to correct these errors are met with hostility and derision together with an attitude that "We can't possibly be wrong, we're reporters."

Well they are wrong and they are guilty of some pretty sloppy research or they using antiquated information and figures which do not show Area #77 (Edgewater). Some time ago (perhaps 20 years), Community Area #1 was divided. One portion was Rogers Park (Area #1) and a new area was created, designated Edgewater (Area #77), thus the non-sequential numbers. Census information from 1980 might still show Area #1 extending south to Foster Avenue (5200 North), as do some outdated maps.

One other inexcusable possibility is that they are using the police station designation.

The officers came from the 24th District whose headquarter building is called the Rogers Park Police Station. Their domain goes from Juneway Terr. (7800 North) to Thorndale Avenue (5934 North) on the south. Then it gerrymanders westward along Elmdale and Peterson (both of which are 6000 north).

Part of the problem is that so many media people have not grown up in Chicago. They come from out of town and move into the suburbs or the high rent section of Lincoln Park, the Loop or Near North.

The importance of all this is that many neighborhoods, and Rogers Park is one, are trying to rebuild, renew and attract a healthy income mix. The continual erroneous reporting of the location of even one bad news story tends to create a negative perception; one which multiplies itself, causing irreparable harm to the diligent efforts of so many people.

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

Send me your e-mail address or those of others who would be interested and I'll add them to my rapidly growing distribution list.


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