.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Proviso Probe

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama is a big deal in Africa

IvyTodd (Daily Kos) posts an essay about his/her take on Obama from the perspective of a "White" traveling in Africa.
Almost too often, as I spent my two weeks in Tanzania, people would, upon finding out I was from America, say "Obama." It wasn’t merely a noun, or an exclamation, but a statement. Children would cross the street, the oldest would ask if I was from America, then the whole group would shout "Obama!" An older man, would ask the same, calmly state "Obama" and nod. Obama. Obama! OBAMA!!! I felt like the coolest kid in school, that all those years of being an unnoticed nobody at Kopachuck Middle School were all reversed. All because I came from America, the place where Obama was from. One of John McCain’s many campaign boo-boos was the ad mocking Obama for being the biggest celebrity in the world. Now, Obama is.

A hundred miles from the nearest electrical outlet, even further from the nearest high-speed internet line, a camp attendant in the middle of the Serengeti wanted to talk with me about Obama. I often asked, what does Obama mean to you, a few would try to give sophisticated answers, but it was that he was African. He looked more like him than I. The most powerful man in the world is not white, his relatives live in a village that hugs the equator, his name isn’t Christian.

I don’t know if the pride that so many Tanzanians feel about Obama is because he is a role model, or for the first time in the modern age, the most powerful person in the world, was not white. And I don’t know if this gives so many of them hope, if not the courage to tackle the incessant problems that ill much of Africa. Or if it will even change a damn thing.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Anthony Bruno indicted

Anthony Bruno has been indicted for tax fraud. See Sun-Times (Frank Main and Carol Marin).

While the charges are relatively minor, Bruno has been paid to work on a number of projects in Proviso, including in Bellwood and Forest Park. The Forest Park Review coverage of the Forest Park work suggested at least some of it was suspicious. When then-Commissioner Theresa Steinback asked about a $3,000 per month payment going to Bruno's company the payment was stopped.

Chicago Tribune (Ray Gibson):
Bruno was disbarred for creating phony court documents purporting to show he had successfully litigated cases for clients when in some cases he had never filed a lawsuit, records show.

Paul Esparza, formerly a political operator in Proviso Township, claims he was one of the clients deceived by Bruno.

Labels: , ,

a zoning hearing for Commissioner Mark Hosty

The video shows citizen-activist Steve Backman attempting to hold Mike Boyle accountable. Boyle is the village employee who oversees zoning matters.

The person blocked-out of the video is Forest Park Commissioner Mark Hosty. Hosty has a history of getting preferential treatment from the village. For example, when Hosty did work on his previous house his department (commissioners are department heads as well as legislators) gave Hosty permission for a curb cut. To obfuscate the signature granting Hosty permission was illegible and to my knowledge the village never identified which village official gave Hosty permission to act. There were also questions about whether Hosty was living in a unit zoned residential. So the guy has a history of appearing to get preferential regulatory treatment by the village.

Rawrahs (Rehctaw) and Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has the back story for what's happening in this video.

One of my concerns is that Cherryfield is the biggest developer in Forest Park. Cherryfield applies for the most permits and exceptions to zoning ordinances. It seems logical for Cherryfield to do work on Hosty's building below cost in exchange for Hosty being supportive of Cherryfield developments. Having the largest developer in Forest Park do major construction work for a commissioner creates the appearance of conflict of interest.

BTW, Boyle is a real gem. Bill Kircher formerly sat on one of the commissions that had to do with zoning. Kirchner pointed out to the village that a local business was doing construction that needed zoning review. Boyle's response was to come give Kirchner a ticket for the work Kirchner is doing on his home.

The conspiracy theory of Forest Park zoning is that the village changed the zoning code in such a way that about 50% of properties in Forest Park are "non-conforming". To do work on these properties, in theory, the owner has to make the properties compliant with the zoning code. This forces about 50% of Forest Park property owners to need to grovel to the village, including elected officials.

And the council led by Mayor Anthony Calderone greases the skids for friends and uses the power of the village to punish their enemies.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sun-Times pulling plug on Proviso Herald

Chicago Public Radio (Ammad Omar) reports that the Proviso Herald will cease to exist as of January 15. The Sun-Times Media Group is cutting costs.

h/t Capitol Fax Blog (Mike Murray)

My opinion is that Forest Park Review does a better job with the stories it does cover, but the Proviso Herald is more comprehensive. It aspires to be the paper of record for the local communities. Forest Park Review focuses on Forest Park.

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (like Forest Park Review, owned by Wedneday Journal, Inc.) is also good, but while Brookfield is half in Proviso Township, the Landmark doesn't cover Proviso issues normally.

The other print outlets (Suburban Life, West Suburban Journal, Neighbors and the various village propaganda outlets) sometimes write a good story, but they have shown no ability or inclination to fill the void that will be created by the demise of the Proviso Herald.

Democracy needs effective journalism to work. And losing Proviso Herald is a big blow. (Remember, Proviso also lost "Viewpoints From the Other Side" when Arnie Bryant died.)

Ideas for what comes next in Proviso journalism?

Labels: , , , ,