Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brady may be Elitist, But you have to prove "racist"

By now, the entire world knows and has heard State Senator Rickey Hendon's tirade against state Senator Bill Brady. If you are one of the few who missed it, here is what Hendon said in introducing Gov. Pat Quinn at a rally last Saturday.

"I've never served with such an idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic person in my life. If you think that the minimum wage needs to be three dollars an hour, vote for Bill Brady. If you think that women have no rights whatsoever, except to have his children, vote for Bill Brady. If you think gay and lesbian people need to be locked up and shot in the head, vote for Bill Brady."

When I spoke about the issue on the radio show I co-host every Sunday night (Garfield Show, WRLL 1450-AM, 10 till midnight), I was taken to task because quite a few audience members were in agreement with the comment. Many verbally attacked me because they assumed that my calling for fair reporting and that "every coin has two sides" was an endorsement of support for Brady. Had they listened, they would have learned that my goal in taking an opposite position was to get them to think and to see the other side of the issue. For the most part, it didn't work.

The most common response I heard was that Hendon had the "right" to say what he did.

Now having the right doesn't automatically give one the license to so do - especially when the comments aren't accompanied by examples of what made Hendon call Brady a "racist." That is a very strong term to use. It labels someone and without substance to back it up, it then becomes mere conjecture and not reality.

Now had Hendon called Brady an "elitist," that is an adjective easier to prove and even easier to apply. Brady is a millionaire and his wealth alone is not in question. When one struggles to gain wealth, they know they've earned every dime and are reticent to buy into social programs that come off the taxes on their earnings. I've always said if you want to turn a black person into a Republican, let them come into a whole bunch of money. Suddenly the idea of giving 30-40 percent of your money to the government isn't an enticing idea, especially if you see the money wasted more than serving a true purpose. My favorite example occurred years ago when someone who was on welfare won the lottery and balked at the idea of paying back the money he had received from the state. The man felt he was "entitled" to that state money.

When politicians stand true to their convictions, they will be attacked. One of the things each of us must look into is the reason why politicians don't support a particular bill. For example, the Democrats in Congress added a provision to give citizenship to foreign nationals, here illegally but who came as children, onto a major spending bill for the military. The Dream Act is a very contentious issue and to add it to a bill about military spending guaranteed that the bill would fail. So when politicians who are opposed to granting citizenship to those here illegally stand by their convictions and voted down the bill, it would be very easy to label them "anti-military" when in reality the issue was the addition to the bill and not the bill itself.

I like to see people given all sides on a candidate and an issue. Then, based on what they learned, they make a decision to support or not support a candidate. What I don't want is for us to continue blindly supporting a party that gives us nothing until the next election, where promises are made and always broken.

This Sunday night, Gov. Pat Quinn has agreed to come on Garfield's show. I have not been a big supporter of him and have criticized some things he has done. If you're like me and haven't made up your mind about who to vote for, tune in Sunday night. Be prepared for hard questions and to hear if he has answers. Then base your vote on who will serve you best.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Here Today....Gone Tomorrow! What Gives?

On Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010, Frances Funches got a phone call. Her two-flat frame building at 1132 N. Parkside had caught fire. She was in the process of having the building rehabbed and only had electrical service hooked up. The fire was put out and Frances began the process of having her insurance company begin to adjust for the fire and the damage to the property.

The property was secured and boarded up. The wrought-iron fencing in front would keep people off the property until the insurance company could fully appraise the damages. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Frances stopped by the property to check on it and everything was in order. In fact, she was expecting the insurance adjuster to come by the next day. On Thursday Oct. 7, the adjuster did stop by the address. The adjuster then placed a call to Frances and asked her where the house was. Frances gave her the address but was shocked to learn that the house was no longer there. Somehow, an order had been signed within 11 days of the fire to have Frances' house totally demolished.

In the past, Chicago was known as the "city that works." But when that city works so fast to take down a building on a block with numerous boarded-up houses, one has to question why Frances' building was deemed such an imminent danger over all the others.

As I stood at the press conference held this past Monday evening in the empty lot where her house once stood, memories of Meigs Field came to mind. One night we all went to bed and had a wonderful little airport on the lake, and the next day it was destroyed. Frances had a house one day and a vacant piece of land the next. Even worse, the city wants Frances to pay $21,000 for the demolition.

As I looked at pictures of Frances' house taken before and after the fire, one thing struck me as very interesting. If the next door neighbor's house to the south was barely singed by the fire, and the garage of the neighbor to the north wasn't touched by the fire, why did the demolition company tear down Frances' garage too?

In the past, the city has torn down structures that were deemed too dangerous to remain standing after an incident. But if the fire were arson, wouldn't the building be considered a crime scene? I watched the television news report done later that night with interest. One reporter mentioned that the city response is that it has the right to take down dangerous structures. The Channel 2 news report also claimed that the city was unable to find the owner. But little ol' me did nothing more than put the address "1132 N. Parkside, Chicago" into Google and the first thing that popped up was BlockShopper. I clicked on it and scrolled down to the address for the property and the name F.W. Funches. But the city, with all its resources, ordered an immediate teardown of someone else's property and couldn't find the same information? Give me a break.

In speaking with the owner, I also learned that all the wrought-iron fencing that once surrounded the front of the property is now missing, making me wonder if someone is getting a kickback from metal scavengers because it takes a lot of nerve to remove fencing facing the street on private property.

What happened to Frances Funches should outrage every one of us living in this city. I didn't see a single elected official at the press conference and now must wonder what Ald. Deborah Graham, state Rep. Camille Lilly, state Senator Don Harmon, Cook County Commissioner Earlene Collins, and Congressman Danny K. Davis will do to sponsor a law to prevent such actions on the city's part against a private landowner.

And This One Pleads Guilty Just Like The OTHER ONE!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Hmmm..."NOT MY CHILD" Pleads GUILTY to murder

Gregory Brooks pleads guilty.

I wasn't polite about calling Gregory Brooks Jr a thug and hoodlum when this crime first occurred. I feel even stronger now in my words that the little fool has plead "guilty." A strategic move to save his butt from the Electric Chair. But hopefully he will become a "girlfriend" in jail and get what he deserves.

Judge Leo Holt talking about Howard Morgan

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Everyone knows that a defendant is "innocent until proven guilty." What goes hand-in-hand with that thought is the ability of a defendant to make bail. Bail is the great equalizer during the criminal justice process. Most of us are aware that the constitution gives us the right not to be subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment." An additional caveat of the 8th amendment to the constitution gives us the right to not have excessive bail or fines placed upon us.

The vagueness of that amendment gives judges a lot of leeway. A judge can set a reasonable bail based on the seriousness of the crime. The amount of the bail is not a measure of whether or not a person can afford it. Rather three major factors -- uncertainty, risk and overcrowded jails -- go into a judge's decision according to the book "Criminal Justice in Action" by Larry Gaines and Roger Miller. If there is a concern that a defendant will commit additional crimes, then bail can be set so high that the defendant cannot possibly afford it. There are even federal laws that allow judges to simply deny bail.

A defendant able to make bail can work, be with their family, and have access to sources to defend themselves. When determining the bail amount according to the Gaines-Miller book, a judge in Illinois is required to take 38 different factors into account. Fourteen of those factors involve the crime itself; two relate to the evidence gathered; four to the defendant's record, nine to the defendant's flight risk and immigration status, and nine to the defendant's general character.

An "incident" occurred on Feb. 5, 2005 involving four Chicago police officers and a man who would soon become known as the defendant. That man was a 54-year-old Chicagoan, married, property owner, former Chicago police officer. He has numerous plaques and accolades that line his walls and is currently a railroad police officer licensed to carry a weapon. During the course of the "incident" two Chicago police officers were wounded and the defendant was shot 28 times by the four police officers who he encountered.

Now that wasn't a typo you just read. Howard Morgan was shot 28 times and lived to tell about it. Lying in his hospital bed with 28 bullet wounds to his body, shackled to the hospital bed as if he could escape, Morgan was charged with four counts of first degree attempted murder of the police, three counts of aggravated battery and discharge of a firearm. With 28 bullet holes piercing his body and his stellar background, the judge who handled the Morgan case had the right to set a bail that would show fairness towards the defendant based on the "alleged" crime. Yet Judge Kathleen Mary Pantle set an outlandish bail of $2 million for Morgan.

When Morgan's attorney, retired Judge Leo Holt learned of the amount for bail, he immediately became incensed. Back then this is what Holt had to say, "In my years as a practicing attorney and the 18 years that I sat on the bench, I've never seen a bond like it. People charged with murder were out on less bond."

Morgan's wife was eventually able to secure $12,000 in donations for the bond. Morgan spent almost an entire year in Cook County jail unable to post the entire 10 percent of the bail amount until an anonymous donor gave the remaining $188,000 so that Morgan could be free. Remember people, this man had been shot 28 times. His flight risk if he could flee would be minimal.

It is not often that the black community can send a message to the legal system in a manner it can understand. But come Nov. 2, election day, we can send a strong message to the criminal justice system by voting 'No' on retaining Judge Pantle on the bench. Her decision to impose such a high bail on Howard Morgan is reflective of the basic unfairness of the criminal justice system when with the exception of race, all things were equal with him and the other police officers. It can only be the race of Howard Morgan that would have allowed him to be subjected to a bail higher than what a killer would have gotten. Punch 297 and tell everyone you know not to retain Judge Pantle on the bench. She deserves to pay a high price, the same as she asked of Morgan and his family. Only she'll pay by losing her role on the bench.

Friday, October 08, 2010

I attend a lot of meetings all over the city. I do it not only to be able to report to those who read this column or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or my blog, but also because I enjoy following the political antics of this city. Following politics is a good way to see the world through a variety of spectrums. When I go to the polls to vote, I want to vote for the candidate who is offering to represent my best interests and not what some people say.

Part of the problem with listening to already elected officials who spout the party line is that good candidates who are on the ballot don't get any press. For example, most folks have only heard of the Democratic and Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Very little press has been given to the Green Party candidate, LeAlan Jones. Why? Because we are being led to believe that Mark Kirk as a Republican or Alexi Giannoulias as a Democrat are the only options.

Who is LeAlan Jones? Well to start, he is a very intelligent, young, African-American man who has been slowly gaining more percentage points as voters have become disenchanted by the other two candidates. LeAlan Jones is a native Chicagoan, who came to the public's attention at the tender age of 13 when he, along with another young man, Lloyd Newman, and a radio producer, David Isay, made a NPR documentary "Ghetto Life 101." At age 16, he followed up that successful report with an in-depth investigation into the death of Eric Morse, the 5-year-old who was dropped from the 14th floor of the Ida B. Wells housing project where Jones was a resident.

Now if this is the first time you've heard about LeAlan Jones and his run for the "senate seat of Barack Obama," that is not surprising. Candidates who are not of the top two parties are relegated to the oblivion of "no news coverage." That's why small newspapers like this are so very important. We report on the news, people and events that the big papers don't consider worthy of their ink. Jones has been out campaigning and trying to get press, but the mainstream media has been blocking him. The U.S. Senate candidates are scheduled to do a Meet the Press debate on Oct. 10, but Jones hasn't been invited to participate. Why not? His numbers are growing and he is on the ballot. The media doesn't have a problem telling us daily about the Tea Party and its shenanigans. But a Green Party candidate who is also a young, highly qualified black man doesn't warrant a chance to speak on the issues.

Jones has taken some very interesting and astute stances on the issues. When asked to comment on the political process, he responded, "When people ask me if I am a spoiler candidate, I ask them: 'How do you spoil something that's already rotten?'" Now that's a refreshing answer. On fixing the economy, Jones says, "I want to finish what the New Deal started and create a sustainable economy with good, green jobs by moving our money out of big banks and Wall Street." On the state of education in Illinois: "If the economic meltdown taught us one thing, it is don't trust Wall Street. So why are we trusting for-profit companies with the education of our children and turning our public schools into corporate factories run by the mayor's hand-picked CEO?" His position on health care: "Nobody should make a profit when you get sick. We need a single-payer health care system that is accountable to patients, puts prevention first, and ends inequality."

LeAlan Jones is a young man who shouldn't be ignored in his quest to go to the senate. His website is Take the time to learn more about this young man and on Nov. 2, don't be scared of going Green. A fresh new voice and choice may be exactly what this state needs.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rob'Em Manually Films his Announcement In Washington

Wow. The man is truly showing his lack of knowledge about this city. First he announces his intentions via video and films it in...CHI...HELL NO NOT IN THE CITY HE WANTS TO REPRESENT......BUT IN WASHINGTON DC.

Then to top it off, he says he going to visit bowling alleys? How many bowling alleys does Chicago have? Less than 20. Yeah that's really going to give him a fanstastic insight into what is needed in this city.

So Rob'Em Manually Wants to be Mayor?

First he tapes his annoucement in Washington DC.

Now he's getting into a car without a city sticker? A CAR WITHOUT A CITY STICKER IS political suicide! The man and his team don't have a clue?