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We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

I was honored to appear on the CAN TV show “Chicago Newsroom” with veteran journalist Glenn Reedus. We talked about the first round of the race between Mayor Rahm Emanuel, challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and others as well as the contests for the Chicago City Council. Click above to check it out.

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We The People Media ED Guest Hosts “Chicago Newsroom”

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

I was honored to stand in for Ken Davis as the guest host of “Chicago Newsroom” with my guest, veteran journalist Glenn Reedus. We talked about the African American community’s critical role int he upcoming mayoral and aldermanic elections. Click above to check it out.

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We The People Media In The News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

I was honored to appear on the CAN TV show “Chicago Newsroom” this week with the intrepid Angela Caputo from the Chicago Reporter. We talked about Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential campaign, assessed Mayor Rahm’s performance and drilled down to housing in Chicago neighborhoods. Click above to check it out.

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CHA Chiefs Come and Go as Plan Stalls

by Mary C. Piemonte 

 

New CHA CEO Michael Merchant at a Nov. 19 CHA Board meeting in the ABLA Homes public housing development. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Michael Merchant, previously the city’s buildings commissioner, recently became the fifth CHA CEO since the inception of the Plan for Transformation, a multi-billion dollar effort to overhaul and redevelop family and senior public housing stock into mixed-income communities that began in 2000 and is now projected to conclude in 2015.

Merchant told RJ after the Nov. 19 CHA Board meeting at the Fosco Park Field house in the ABLA public housing complex that he was confident he would complete the Plan during his tenure.

“I have every intention of being here to finish out the Plan,” Merchant said. “With respect to the fact that there has been turnover in this position, there’s still consistency within the staff, consistency with what the mission is, and what the goal is. Our goal is to make sure that we have vibrant communities and safe and affordable housing. So, I’m here to push full forward.”

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Another CHA Chief Bows Out

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA CEO Charles Woodyard listening to residents’ comments at a CHA Tenant Services meeting on August 8, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

For the second time in two years, a Chicago Housing Authority chief announced his resignation even as the agency’s multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop its family and senior public housing remains incomplete.

In June 2011, a month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated into office, Lewis Jordan resigned from his 4-year tenure as CHA chief while city officials investigated his and others’ alleged misuse of CHA credit cards to purchase dinners at expensive restaurants and pay for red light tickets, among other items. 

Now Charles Woodyard, former CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority in North Carolina, who was appointed CHA chief by Emanuel in September 2011 to replace Jordan, is calling it quits as relocated residents continue to wait to return to replacement housing in mixed-income communities.

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We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

I was honored recently to guest host “Chicago Newsroom,” the weekly public affairs show hosted by media legend Ken Davis and broadcast over the CAN TV network. My guests were the estimable Chris Robling, vice president at Jayne Thompson Associates and a frequent Republican commentator, and Dave Lundy, principal at  Aileron Communications and a frequent Democratic commentator. We discussed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s tenure so far as well as state politics and the upcoming governor’s race. You can watch the show by clicking on the photo above.

By coincidence, the same day, I was also a guest on “Morning Shift” over WBEZ Chicago Public Radio discussing the arrest of two community leaders on charges of lobbying for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. You can listen to the show here:

 

 

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Inside the Teachers Strike

by Mary C. Piemonte 

cialis onlinehttp://wethepeoplemedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Mary-9-10-12-Teachers-Robeson-HS-300×225.jpg” alt=”" width=”400″ height=”300″ /> Teachers at Paul Robeson High School protest on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike Monday, September 10. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Interviewed on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union’s first strike in a quarter-century, Ron James, a history teacher at Hyde Park Career Academy, said he was out picketing because “We need to be out here.”

“I’m a teacher with a classroom full of kids that don’t have enough books,” James added. “We don’t have enough desks. Our kids are sitting around in chairs sharing books as I’m trying to teach them. I do the best with what I have and you want to cut what I have already. It’s asinine.

“We’re out here fighting not just for ourselves but for our brothers at the police department, the fire department and all other public workers.”

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Rally against NATO, War and Poverty

by Mary C. Piemonte 

A protestor at the anti-NATO demonstrations. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

“No to the NATO/G8 war makers! No to war and austerity!” chanted the massive crowd who gathered around the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park on May 20 to protest the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO that was held at McCormick Place this past weekend.

With officers from the Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lining the march route, local, national and international speakers from various ethnicities and coalitions around the world, including Germany, Pakistan and Egypt, joined forces in solidarity, calling for the end of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and for the troops to be brought home. Justice for immigrants and all oppressed people everywhere. Economic justice and jobs for all. Money for effective education, health care, housing and the release of political prisoners such as the Cuban 5, who were imprisoned in Miami and charged with spying for Havana, according to members of the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five.

Some speakers talked about the need for more money for environmental issues and work pensions, while others cited statements from local advocacy groups saying that “billions spent on NATO and its wars are not only attacks on people abroad but on the lives and living standards of the 99 percent at home.”

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Parents Protest CPS Turn-Arounds

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Walter H Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which is slated to be closed under a new plan announced by the Chicago Public Schools. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

A South Side community group “fed up” with the Chicago Public Schools closing and turn-around process in low-income areas of color brought their protest to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office this week.

“CPS’ top-down school actions in North Kenwood and the Greater Bronzeville community have caused spikes in violence and destabilized schools, and not improved student outcomes,” reads a statement from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, also known as KOCO.

KOCO members, along with parents from North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville neighborhoods, rallied outside Emanuel’s office on December 1, and called on him to partner with them to implement “The Bronzeville Global Achievers Village,” an alternative school transformation plan they’ve developed over the past 18 months.

KOCO member Shannon Bennett told Residents’ Journal shortly after the protest that members from his organization and several community parents, along with representatives from the Centers for New Horizons and the Grand Boulevard Federation, first met with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard at their office on November 21 regarding KOCO’s plan to counteract CPS policies concerning school closings, phase-outs and turnarounds. Brizard said he would get back to them but did not, according to Bennett. “So that’s why we have gone around him, and go to his boss,” Bennett explained.

Bennett said members from KOCO delivered a letter to Emanuel through one of his staff members, and added that members of his organization are particularly upset about the phasing out of Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which KOCO noted in their press release is the only neighborhood high school in Kenwood-Oakland. Sending students to Wendell Phillips Academy High School, 244 E. Pershing Road in the Bronzeville community, will result in increased violence, he argued. In 2005, Bennett said he personally experienced a spike in crime in Kenwood-Oakland after the closing of two schools, the Jackie Robinson and Price elementary schools.

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Charlotte Housing Authority Chief takes CHA Position

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's choice to head the Chicago Housing Authority, outgoing Charlotte, North Carolina, Housing Authority CEO Charles Woodyard. Photo from Charlotte Housing Authority website.

Carlos Ponce, interim chief of the Chicago Housing Authority is out, and Charles Woodyard, the CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority since 2002, is in. Woodyard will govern CHA’s family and senior housing stock, and oversee the Plan for Transformation, which calls for 25,000 units of fully rehabilitated or renovated housing by 2015.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Woodyard’s new position begins on October 24, and he added that Ponce will remain as a senior advisor “to help ensure a smooth transition.”

Ponce was put in place after former chief Lewis Jordan resigned after it was discovered that he and other CHA staff members were frivolously using credit cards for things not pertaining to the general operation of the public housing stock.

Emanuel said that Woodyard “has proven management ability and a history of innovation in public housing, and is the right man to lead the CHA to the successful completion of its Plan for Transformation and beyond,” stated Emanuel in a press release. “Throughout his career, Charles has focused on sound financial management and has dedicated himself to providing residents with affordable, sanitary and safe housing. In Charlotte, Charles was able to successfully integrate public housing into communities, a crucial element of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation. He has built strong partnerships with community groups and encouraged private sector investment in public housing, and we look forward to his leadership here in Chicago.”

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