The Greater Chatham Alliance(GCA) meeting was held today at St. James Lutheran Church in Chatham. The crowd turnout was greater than expected and the meeting had to be moved from the basement to the Sanctuary. After going over organization business, Alderman Roderick Sawyer was given the floor to address two issues. The opening on a Methadone clinic and the recent ward remap.
The Alderman confirmed that a Methadone dispensing center had opened in the Chatham Medical Building at 230 E. 79th Street. The crowd silence voiced their displeasure. The clinic was discovered as a result of residents visiting the center's other doctors and reckless behavior they had noticed going on near the center. The Alderman stated he wanted to have the representatives from GCA and the other community organizations visit and meet with the management of the center and discuss the issues. The Alderman explained that the center had been in the ward before but at another location.
The main issue of the day and why most individuals came out was to hear what happened to the 6th ward as a result of the remap process. Alderman Sawyer stated that he initially supported the black caucus to keep as many African American ward in the City of Chicago. He also stated he did not want to lose any of his ward but understood that he would probably have to do so. After a series of meetings and public hearings a compromise was made. The 6th ward would end at 87th street and the entire communities of Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights would go to the 9th ward under Alderman Anthony Beale ad Michelle Harris. After this agreement was made, Alderman Harris stated she changed the map because she did not want Richard Wooten, a former candidate for 6th ward Alderman and current candidate for 6th ward committeeman and 34th district state representative, in her ward. Alderman Sawyer stated that Alderman Beale stood by and supported Alderman Harris rogue move. Alderman Sawyer stated that even senior members of the city council could not understand the audacity of Alderman Harris and Beale. Alderman Sawyer had some heated words with Harris and Beale while the leader of the Black Caucus Alderman Howard Brookins stood by and did nothing but remap a small portion of Chatham into the 21st ward. His feeble attempt was designed to get his taxpayer supported bridge built. This bridge would alleviate the traffic congestion that will occur when Fellowship Missionary Baptist church builds their new church at 85th Vincennes along with the new Walmart.
During the questioning Alderman Sawyer was grilled as to why did he think that his previous relationships with members of the black caucus would mean anything. He was also grilled as to what some characterized as a nonchalant attitude and not showing he was mad as hell. Others chastised him for not being more vocal at the public hearings.
Then there were the Rodney King comments"can't we all just get along". The answer was NO by some who felt this was all concocted by Alderman Howard Brookins as payback for not backing his Walmart project. But, there were several surprising comments with one coming from Richard Wooten who chastised Alderman Sawyer and the other African American alderman for not communicating with constituents and not being more vocal on the remap process. Then Mr. Wooten stated that Alderman Harris and Beale changed the maps to avoid him. He stated a representative from one of their offices contacted him and stated they felt Alderman Sawyer was running from a battle with Mr. Wooten in 2015 by allowing West Chesterfield to be remapped in the 8th or 9th ward. Mr. Wooten characterized it as cowardliness by Alderman Beale/Harris for gerrymandering to avoid a fight and was disrespectful towards the residents of the City of Chicago. Lastly, former 21st Ward Alderman Niles Sherman, now a 6th ward resident, chastised the community for not being more vocal. He stated that this was in the works for years to dismantle strong African American wards. He clearly stated that if the audience was not up to a dog fight then it was no reason to continue to discuss the remap issue. He made it plain that the community needed to vote in the March primary and bring their A game because they were going to play with the big boys in a remap challenge. He also commented on Alderman Howard Brookins Jr leadership of the Black Caucus. " A leader is born not made".
So what will the community do? Can the factions all come together and agree to fight the remap? Will Alderman Michelle Harris continue to be a coward and avoid Alderman Sawyer and the residents of Chatham? Will Alderman Beale be around in 2015? He had a great week with his daughter accepting a scholarship she didn't deserve and his wife coming under investigation by the Secretary of State.
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Tags: 21st ward, 6th ward, 83rd street, 87th street, 8th ward, 9th ward, alderman, alderman brookins, alderman harris, anthony beale, black caucus, candidates, chatham, chesterfield, chicago state university, city council, city of chicago, committeman, election, Fellowship MBC, greater chatham alliance, howard brookins, mayor, michelle harris, park manor neighors, Rahm emmanuel, richard woote, richard wooten, roderick sawyer, roseland heights, secretary of state, State street, Walmart, ward remapping, west chesterfield