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Closing the CTA Red Line

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CTA CEO Forest Claypool (left) speaks to activists including Willie “Jr” Fleming. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Train commuters recently expressed grave concerns about the Chicago Transit Authority’s plans to completely close nine South Side Red Line ‘El’ stops for five months in spring 2013:

“I want guarantees that our voices will matter, as opposed to you opening up your ears for this evening and then doing whatever you want to do anyway,” declared one woman who attended the first public hearing on the CTA’s plans at Kennedy-King College Gymnasium at 6343 S. Halsted St., on June 21, 2012. This woman was one of a small but determined group of community residents who came out and voiced their opinions to CTA Chairman Terry Peterson and CEO Forest Claypool.

The woman speaker added that the CTA’s Green Line reconstruction some years ago was “a fiasco” in which promised services were never delivered and some stations were never restored. “We were promised one thing and got another,” she said.

During the 5-month closure, crews will work on the stations as well as the tracks from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan, replacing ties, rails, third rails and the drainage systems. The CTA’s rationale for completely closing the Red Line for this time period is to avoid the additional expense that would come from doing the project incrementally as well as inconveniences such as additional commuting time for riders, crowded trains, frequent schedule changes and multiple reroutes. CTA officials also indicated that an extended project would have fewer community jobs and no extensive shuttle bus service.

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Update: Questions Linger, Contributions Dwindle

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

Well over one-half of the contributions to a political fund closely linked to Chicago Housing Authority CEO Terry Peterson came from CHA contractors, affiliated companies or their employees and officers, according to an analysis by Residents’ Journal and the Better Government Association.

Over 60 percent of the itemized individual contributions to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization in 2005 came from CHA contractors and related sources, according to a comparison of records filed with the Illinois Board of Election Commissioners with lists of CHA contractors. The overall total of contributions to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization dropped dramatically in 2005 as compared with previous years after three straight years of increasing totals. The 17th Ward Democratic Organization saw its donations drop to their lowest level since 2001.

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Victory at Bridgeport Homes

by Mary C. Piemonte Editor-in-Chief

For years, the resident leaders of the South Side CHA Bridgeport Homes public housing complex said that Legum and Norman, the private property management firm for the public housing site, were poor managers.

The resident representatives at the complex often reported to the CHA officials the concerns and problems they were experiencing with the management company. Residents’ complaints range from long-standing work orders that were not addressed, to poor roofing work done in a rows of units housing seniors during the winter, to allegations of mismanagement of public funds by former property managers of the company, to one manager’s alleged violation of federal rules by granting a prison inmate permission to live with his sister at the CHA site currently under rehabilitation. Because of the residents’ continued complaints about the private property management company, Legum and Norman, a Virginia based company, also came under scrutiny for their campaign donations. Legum and Norman’s only business interests in Illinois seem to be in Chicago and the company made their only political donations in Illinois to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization, where there is no public housing or redevelopment activity. “A Questionable Connection,” an investigation done by Residents’ Journal in collaboration with the Better Government Association and published in the last issue, detailed an analysis of the Illinois State Campaign Contribution Disclosure Forms and CHA contract agreements which showed that Legum and Norman gave before and after receiving contracts from the CHA. But they made no campaign donations to any other wards since working in Chicago. The 17th Ward is currently home to CHA CEO Terry Peterson, who was also the former alderman of the ward. Current 17th Ward Alderman Latasha Thomas confirmed in “A Questionable Connection” that Peterson remains actively involved in 17th Ward affairs.
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Categories: Investigative Reporting Uncategorized

A Questionable Connection

by Residents Journal 

Investigation by: Residents’ Journal and Better Government Association

An 8-month investigation by Residents’ Journal and the Better Government Association has found that dozens of contractors for the Chicago Housing Authority have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a political organization linked to CHA CEO Terry Peterson.

Residents’ Journal and the Better Government Association found that many companies gave to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization – a political entity linked to Peterson – just before or just after they were awarded contracts from the CHA. One firm gave a $2,500 donation to the 17th Ward Democratic Organization the same day the firm was awarded a construction contract worth $3,292,095.
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