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Mar 31 / Neal

Sen. Harmon To Discuss State Budget

harmon_townhall_2015_04_06_thumbSenator Don Harmon and Representative Camille Lilly will host a community meeting to discuss Illinois budget issues at the Elmwood Park Library on April 6 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm. The Elmwood Park Library is located at 1 Conti Parkway, Elmwood Park (next to Village Hall on the circle). All are invited. Parking available or Pace Bus 307.    Questions?  Call 708-848-2002.


Mar 30 / Neal

Galewood March to the Polls

Mar 26 / Neal

North Avenue Business Association 2105 College Scholarship Program

The North Avenue Business Association has released the following information regarding their annual scholarship program.

The North Avenue Business Association (NABA) awards a $1000.00 scholarship to two graduating high school seniors, planning on attending a college or university, majoring in business or in a related field.

Students applying must reside in the Village of Oak Park, River Forest and the Chicago neighborhoods of Galewood and parts of Austin.  Chicago resident boundaries include Armitage (2000 North) to the north, Division (1200 North) to the south, Austin (6000 West) to the east and Harlem (7200 West) to the west.

Eligible students must rank in the upper 20% of their class, have a 3.00 GPA, a combined ACT score of 21 and demonstrate financial need.  Students must complete an application, write an essay, provide a copy of their academic transcript, and two letters of recommendation.  A complete list of criteria is included with the application.

The application deadline is April 7, 2015.   Recipients will be notified in writing. 

Please send the application to:
North Avenue Business Association Scholarship Program,
c/o Sassetti LLC
6611 W. North Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302.

For more information email:

2015 Scholarship Criterion

2015 Scholarship Application

Mar 25 / Bryan

March to the Polls to Vote Early

marchpolls.lovett300With the Tuesday, April 7 runoff election falling over Spring Break, when many parents, teachers, and school staff are out of town, some Sayre Language Academy and Lovett Elementary parents and educators will lead a one-mile walk to Amundsen Park on Monday, March 30, to encourage early voting. The walk starts at Sayre Sayre Language Academy (1850 N Newland) after at 3:30pm and will regroup at Lovett Elementary (6333 E Bloomingdale) at 4:00, continuing to Amundsen Park (6200 W Bloomingdale) for early voting. (flyer).

Early voting is underway now. at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale (29th Ward) and at West Belmont Library, 3104 N. Narragansett (36th Ward). Voting will be open Mondays-Saturdays 9am-5pm from March 23 through April 4, and on Sunday, March 29 from 9am-3pm.

Mar 25 / Neal

Watch the 36th Ward Debate

For our friends and neighbors in the 36th Ward we recorded a debate between the two candidates in the April 7th runoff election. The debate was organized by the Bel-Montclare Community Organization. The candidates are Gilbert Villegas and Omar Aquino. The moderator is Alonso Zaragoza. The candidates met for a debate on Monday, March 23 at the Narragansett Church of God, 2254 N. Narragansett Ave.

The first video is the main portion of the debate.  There was a brief break in the proceedings and then each candidate gave their final statement of the evening.

Mar 23 / Neal

Beat 2513 CAPS Meeting March 24

The 25th District CAPS office has scheduled the next three meetings for Beat 2513.   Beat 2513 covers the area between Austin Ave and and Harlem Ave and between North Ave and Armitage Ave. The meetings will be held at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Blomingdale Ave. at 6:30 pm.  The meeting will last approximately 1 hour.


Mar 22 / Bryan

More Runoff Debates as Early Voting Begins

Last Wednesday’s first debate between 29th Ward runoff contenders Chris Taliaferro and (incumbent) Deborah L. Graham (well-summarized by Austin Talks here) was quickly followed by a second debate Saturday the 21st at the Third Unitarian Church in Austin. Two more debates are scheduled: Thursday March 26 at 6pm at Sankofa Cultural Arts and Business Center (5820 W. Chicago Ave.) and Tuesday, March 31 at 6:30 pm at Austin Town Hall (5610 W. Lake St.).

Each candidate has secured a major newspaper endorsement for the runoff, with Graham getting the nod from the Sun-Times and Taliaferro earning the Tribune’s endorsement. Graham appeared at a meet-and-greet Saturday morning at Sayre-Rutherford Park and walked the ward campaigning with Rahm Emanuel.

Early voting begins tomorrow, Monday, March 21. Early voting in the 29th ward is at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale. Voting will be open Mondays-Saturdays from March 23 through April 4 from 9am to 5pm and on Sunday, March 29 from 9 am to 3 pm. Voting early is encouraged, since Election Day is Tuesday, April 7, during CPS spring break.

(Watch this site for more information regarding a non-partisan march to the early voting polls on Monday, March 30th.)

Mar 22 / Bryan

Real Estate Beat:
Gearing up for the Spring Real Estate Market

What a great year 2014 was for Galewood real estate values.

According to MRED (Midwest Real Estate Data) the average sale price for a (Galewood) single family home in February 2015 was $264,667, compared to $225,000 a year ago (an increase of 17.6%). The number of remaining short sales and foreclosures is down significantly, only accounting for a few recent sales

Mortgage rates are still at historical lows. This is great news for both buyers and sellers because buyers can afford more and as a result buyers can get higher prices. If mortgage rates increase, buyers will be able to afford less house which normally results in lower prices for homes.
read more…

Mar 20 / Bryan

36th Ward Runoff Debate Photos


Below: photos from Wednesday’s 36th Ward runoff election debate at Redeemer Church between Deborah L. Graham and Chris Taliaferro, moderated by Bob Galhotra. (All photos ©2015 Bryan Bedell,, All rights reserved)
read more…

Mar 20 / Bryan

Deborah Graham Meet and Greet at Sayre Park

Graham+meet+&+greet+3.21.15Incumbent Alderman Deborah L. Graham is hosting a meet-and-greet at Rutherford-Sayre Park Fieldhouse (6871 W. Belden) this Saturday, March 21, 2015, between 11am and 12:30pm. Remember, early voting starts Monday, March 23, the runoff election is Tuesday April 7 (during CPS Spring Break).

Mar 19 / Neal

Graham Mailer Attacks Taliaferro: A Closer Look

Alderman Deborah Graham’s campaign is going negative.  Three mailers were recently sent to neighborhood residents attacking challenger Chris Taliaferro for his ownership and participation in a law firm and his campaign contributions.   The mailers make a number of allegations which would benefit from further investigation.

The mailers allege Taliaferro will “be a part-time alderman who will keep making money for his private law firm” will alderman.  The mailer cites an IVI-IPO questionnaire in which Taliaferro wrote he will spend “a minimum of 45 hours weekly” on aldermanic duties and “will transfer from the day to-day managerial and operational demands of my law firm and transition into a more management role.” Mr. Taliaferro will also take a leave of absence from his position in the Chicago Police Department according to his campaign manager.    (Ald. Graham did not submit an IVI-IPO questionnaire.)

The ability of a person to have a position or stake in a private enterprise and hold an elected office is a good question.  Many of Chicago’s alderman and Illinois representatives and senators do have a law practice or other interests in private business. Our own state Sen. Don Harmon, and Alderman Graham benefactor, is a partner at the law firm Burke, Burns and Pinelli, LTD.  Rep. Michael Madigan is a senior partner in his own firm and Alderman Ed Burke represents clients in property tax appeals.  Clearly there is a precedent here for having a private business while serving as an elected official.

The mailers further contend that Mr. Taliaferro will use his clout so his law firm Nexus Legal Group, P.C. will “make big money”.   According to Mr. Taliaferro’s campaign manager the firm “practices family law: adoptions, divorces and wills. What does the city do that he could steer to his law firm?”  Here again we can compare Chris Taliaferro to Sen. Don Harmon, President Pro Tempore, of the Illinois Senate.  Sen. Harmon “practices in the areas of corporate and municipal law serving both private and public sector clients.”  Additionally he deals with “land use and zoning matters”.  Does this mailer imply Sen. Harmon uses his public office for personal gain? The areas of law which he practices are more suited to private gain from public office than adoptions, divorces and will.

Ald. Graham herself received wages from another job while serving in the Illinois General Assembly from 2003-2010.    While earning more than $60,000 per year and receiving a $111 per day stipend as a state representative she also earned a salary while employed by the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

Finally the mailer asserts Taliaferro accepted a donation from a pawn shop and downtown contractor.  A $500 donation was made by Crown Royal of 6120 W. North Avenue.  Also, a $1000 donation was made by Infrastructure Engineering.  Mr. Taliaferro’s campaign also received $8,500 from Citizens for Davis (I assume that means Danny Davis) and several contributions from Mr. Taliaferro’s personal savings.

Citizens to Elect Alderman Graham received $1,500 from Crown Royal.  Yes, the same pawn shop which donated $500 to Taliaferro.

Ald. Graham too has received contributions from a variety of sources.  In this election cycle alone a $1,500 donation was made by PLS Financial Services whose business includes check cashing and title loans. A $1,500 donation was made by downtown construction company H. W. Lochner, Inc.  A $1,000 contribution from Prestige Food and Liquors of 5439 Madison St. Also, a $1000 contribution from the owner of Sunset Liquors at 5921 W. Division St.   Liquor seems to favor Graham.  The Associated Beer Distributors gave $2,500 and even Anheuser-Busch gave $1000.  Infamously Ald. Graham received a $2,000 donation from convicted drug dealer Frederick “Juicy” Sims prior to Sims receiving a six-figure public grant for a liquor store on Madison.

Citizens to Elect Alderman Graham received more than $50,000 in contributions from Sen. Harmon this year alone.

Chicago politics is a rough game and if you get into it you have to know you will get a little roughed up.  It’s up to the citizens of Chicago to look closely at all campaign advertising. Let us encourage both candidates to present their visions for Galewood and Austin and their plan for achieving that vision.

(Ald. Graham and Sen. Harmon were contacted regarding this article and did not responded prior to publishing).

Mar 14 / Neal

Debate Between 29th Ward Candidates Planned

29thwarddebateThere will be a debate between the two remaining aldermanic candidates for 29th ward on Wednesday, March 18th, at 7 pm.  The hour long debate will be moderated by former 29th ward candidate Bob Galhotra. The format will consist of an opening statement, questions from the moderator, opportunities for the candidates to pose questions to one another, and quick, rapid fire yes/no questions.  Candidates will have an opportunity to make a closing statement.  The debate will be at Redeemer Church, 6740 W. North Avenue in Chicago.

Click on the flyer for more information.