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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)
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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.

Mar 13 / Neal

Ald. Sposato Endorses Taliaferro, Hosts Event

Former 36th Ward alderman, and new 38th Ward alderman, Nick Sposato has endorsed 29th ward challenger Chris Taliaferro in the April 7th election. Sposato cites Taliaferro’s area home ownership, family and his career in military, law enforcement and law in his endorsement. Ald. Sposato is hosting an open house for Mr. Taliaferro on Saturday, March 14th at 1:00 pm.  The event will be at 7158 W. Grand Avenue, Suite E.

Mar 4 / Neal

29th Ward Alderman Election Breakdown

The seven candidates running for the 29th ward aldermanic seat have be reduced to two: current alderman Deborah Graham and challenger Chris Taliaferro. Since no candidate won a majority of the votes there will be a run-off election April 7th. The winner of that election will be alderman until 2019.

In the first round of voting Graham received 40.28% of the votes and Taliaferro received 22.66%.

Galewood (generally north of North Avenue and south of Grand from Harlem to Austin) cast 2737 votes out of 10379 votes in the whole of the 29th ward or 26.3%. Montclare cast 567 votes or 5.5% of the total. Local attorney Larry Andolino won the most votes in the two neighborhoods with 1208 but fared less well in the remainder of the ward and will not be on the next ballot. For a precinct by precinct break down click here.

Galewood votes:
Larry Andolino 962
Deborah Graham 643
Chris Taliaferro 501
Bob Galhotra 371
Stephen Robinson 93
Zerlina Smith 75
LaCoulton Walls 46
Oddis Johnson 46

Montclare votes:
Larry Andolino  246
Bob Galhotra 125
Chris Taliaferro 90
Deborah Graham 73
LaCoulton Walls 11
Zerlina Smith 8
Stephen Robinson 13
Oddis Johnson 1

Feb 20 / Bryan

Rutherford-Sayre Park 2015 Baseball/Spring Classes

Registration for Rutherford-Sayre Park Youth Baseball signup and Spring after-school classes is open now. Flyers are attached below.

Mustang, Bronco, and Pony League baseball is offered (in conjunction with Bell Park) to players 9-14 years old and games start in mid-April.

After-school classes start March 30 and include a variety of sports and arts classes and a “Young Scientist” class.

Rutherford Sayre Park is at 6871 W Belden, phone 312-746-5368.



Feb 4 / Bryan

29th Ward and 36th Ward Alderman Forums

We apologize for not giving a heads-up here about the 29th Ward Aldermanic Candidate Forum organized by the Westside Branch NAACP last week (Luckily, there’s complete CanTV footage available!).

There’s another chance to meet all the candidates on Thursday, Feb. 5th at the ANDE‘s Forum on Impactful Leadership at Galewood Community Church, 1776 N Narragansett, from 7-9pm. As of Tuesday, all candidates aside from incumbent Deborah Graham had confirmed they’ll attend.

If you’re still in the 36th Ward, There’s another forum at 36th Ward Forum at Steinmetz High School at 6pm the same night (Thursday, February 5th).

If you’re undecided heading into election day, these events are a fantastic chance to hear the candidates speak and interact with each other. Generally the candidates take questions from the public, and sometimes it’s possible speak to the candidates in person afterwards.

Don’t forget that in both the Mayoral and Aldermanic elections, more than 50% of the vote is required to win, so even with well-funded frontrunners in most campaigns, it’s easy to force a runoff, so a vote for a lesser-known candidate is never a wasted vote!

Jan 17 / Neal

Wolf-Dog or Possibly Dingo Killed in Galewood

wolf-dog_headlineMrs. Owens and two small children were besieged in their home near Cortland and 63rd Street (Mobile Avenue near Amundsen Park) in July 1900 by a “savage and wild animal” reported the Chicago Daily Tribune.  The animal was described as half-wolf  and half dog and appeared from the woods adjacent to the house.  The animal had been attempting to kill a horse and other farm yard animals.  Mrs. Owens tried to scare away the animal by throwing a flat iron at it and when that didn’t succeed poor Mrs. Owens locked herself in the house until the Mr. Owens returned from work. He chased and shot the animal with a shotgun loaded with “duck” after the animal threw “Galewood into a panic”.   The animal was then “dispatched with an iron bar”.

Mr. Owens then removed the wolf’s head when he learned  a bounty might be rewarded. The County Treasurer presented Mr. Owens with a bounty when the wolf’s head was delivered to its office.  The Head Animal Keeper at the Lincoln Park Zoo “thought the animal bore a striking resemblance to the Australian dingo”.

The article also states Galewood “is in a heavily wooded bit of country, on what was known in the early days as Oak Ridge”.

If you are interested in reading the original article it can be found on the Chicago Public Library website.

Jan 8 / Neal

MLK Day Camps

Schools out on January 19th in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.  If you are interested in enrolling your child in an activity that day here are some ideas:

Galewood Area:

  • Oak Park Education Foundation, K through 8th grade get techy at BASE Camp at Brooks Middle School, Oak Park. 8am-3pm with extended care to 6pm.
  • Reggio the Hoofer combines performance and stories at Oak Park Library. 2-2:45pm.   Register in advance.




Jan 7 / Neal

Galewood in Deep Freeze / CPS Closes Schools

Winter storm Gorgon deposited Artic temperatures across most of the northern United States. The Chicago area saw temperatures around 0 degrees this morning with wind chill temperatures around 25 below. Temperatures are predicted to go below zero during the day. The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning through Thursday morning.

Chicago Public Schools are closed Wednesday and with the cold temperatures scheduled to continue Thursday schools may be closed again.

Related News:

  • SportsZone in Melrose Park is offering half and full-day Storm Camps.
  • Wonder Works is closed today due to weather.
  • Chicago Public Libraries are open.
  • Chicago Park District facilities are open however check-in regarding specific activities.
Jan 6 / Robert Perlin

Real Estate Beat: Buying/Selling Your Galewood Home in 2015

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 2014 was $223,101, compared to $196,293 in 2013. If you remove short sales and foreclosures from the mix the average price was $252,048.

The (Galewood) condo market is also doing well. The average sale price in 2014 was $91.335, up from $78,736 in 2013.
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