Berwyn's Arts Blog
Friday, July 28, 2006
City Council Meeting, July 25, 2006
City Hall will hopefully be getting a renovation. Bids were open. It should become more user friendly. That is the idea.
Applebees is no more. The BDC Director said he should have the top two or three new proposals for the block within 60 days.
The MacNeal parking lot was not voted on, but instead, sent to the Committee of the Whole for further discussion.
The Fire Department is down manpower and we are discussing hiring a Deputy Fire Chief, which is not as easy it sounds based on the Fire contract between the Union and the City.
We now have a new Public Works Director who was voted on with the advice and consent of the Alderpeople. I voted for the new director, Patrick Ryan, who comes from Lake In The Hills, Riverside and Oak Lawn. I voted with the 2nd Ward Alderman, 6th and 7th. He should be good for the City and the department.
Alderwoman Chapman, from last meeting, had wanted information of people who consulted in the transition after the election. A list of people and what they were paid, if any, and current status, if any, with the City, has been provided to the Alderwoman.
The Mayor sent a communication concerning the status of his Mayoral appointments, which has been held up in the Administration Committee. He would like the issue addressed.
The City owns a lot at 1307 S. Harvey, which the Mayor would like to sell. The matter was sent to the law department to look at.
At the last meeting, the 6th Ward Alderman had requested copies of all the blight tickets given out since May, 2005. There were 9,000 tickets issued. The Computer Director prepared a report in digital format, which still was not good enough for the Alderman. Apparently, he wants to see copies of each and every ticket, of which, if they are carbon copies, are next to impossible to copy(not to mention the time it would take). Although seemingly all the information from the ticket was on the computer information sheets, there is something else the Alderman wants to look at. He was invited to come to City Hall and look at and locate each ticket himself to look at.
The bar owners who have outdoor drinking gardens are looking to lengthen the hours the gardens are open by one hour by having them open until 11 pm during the week and midnight on weekends. This will be discussed at a later date.
As of September 1, 2006, Waste Management is increasing its price by 2%. As I have previously discussed, we are seeking bids on a new waste provider, which should be selected by December 31, 2006.
Next, are my four communications of which I already sent out notice that the Council voted 8 to nothing to hire Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. at a cost of $5,640.72 to study how to most cost effectively to silence the whistles along the CN/IC tracks that split the 3rd Ward. Riverside and North Riverside are paying the same cost. It is better strategy to piggy back with other municipalities.
Second, I am seeking to change the times bars can open. During the week, bars can open at 6 am, 8 am on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. I would like bars to open at 11 am every day of the week. I believe there are 3 or 4 bars that open up earlier than 11 am. A couple of Alderman asked why I would want to prevent people and third-shifters from publicly drinking at 6 am? The Chicago Tribune reported as follows: "Also at Tuesday's meeting, Ald. Mark Weiner proposed a new ordinance to further limit bar hours in Berwyn. His proposed change would require bars to open no earlier than 11 a.m. every day of the week. The current ordinance states that bars are allowed to open at 6 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays."I take the train every morning at 8 a.m. and often see people straggling out of bars," said Weiner. "I don't believe that is a positive image of our city." "
Third, I have received two phone calls in the past two months concerning female gingko trees in the public parkway in front of these persons' house. They smell real nasty when they bloom and flower. Washington D.C. does not allow this tree to be planted. Of course, they would be replaced. I sent this to the Tree Board to hopefully take care of the problem.
Finally, as I have posted before, we are getting very close to having automated traffic law enforcement devices set up in Berwyn. These automatically send out tickets to the owners of cars who go through red lights, and will also be configured to send tickets to those that go around railroad gates. I submitted the local ordinance establishing the sysem so we can get moving soon. Once we decide on the company who will do this system, it should be in place within 60 to 90 days.
The Library is looking to repair and fix its leaking roof and bids are being sent out for this project.
The Police Department was given the go-ahed to hire a Communications Director.
An ordinance to grant a variance for a 3 flat building on the north side was allowed by a vote of 4-3 with the 7th Ward Alderman abstaining. The Mayor said he will veto this.
Charter One Bank, located at 6201 W. Cermak, entered into a settlement with the City concerning its 2002 and 2003 property taxes owed.
The Council also voted to change the City's Worker Compensation insurance carrier, which will save the City(you)money, and, get us a better insurance company.
The Computer Director will be saving us money by changing our maintenance agreement, also to a better company at a cheaper price.

Once again, National Night Out is set for Tuesday, August 1, 2006. This is an event that is in support of neighborhood watch, and also, is supposed to get neighbors to meet one another. There will be many festivities going on at Morton West High School, including at 9 pm, the showing of the Wizard of Oz. There should also be a small fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Update Railroad Quiet Zone
I will give a re-cap of Tuesday, July 25, 2006's City Council meeting at a future date.

I just wanted to briefly state that the City Council voted 8-0 to give money, along with Riverside and North Riverside, to an engineering firm that will study the feasibility of the quiet zone on the CN tracks.

Progress at last.

Also, I want to start preaching about National Night Out, which is Tuesday, August 1, 2006. This is a national event wherein the residents are supposed to be out on their porches or in front of their house chatting with neighbors and the police. It is supposed to bring the community together.

Berwyn will have activities, also, at Morton West High School, including, but not limited to, fireworks and The Wizard of Oz, which will be playing at 9 pm.

Monday, July 24, 2006
Railroad Quiet Zone
If you are interested in establishing a quiet zone on the CN tracks that cut through Berwyn, feel free to come to the City Council Meeting on July 25, 2006. There will be an engineer at 6:45 pm whom I am hoping the Alderpeople will hire to do a study to determine the feasability of establishing a quiet zone. We are partners with Riverside and North Riverside, who have already agreed to hire the engineer.

Railroad Quiet Zone
If you are interested in establishing a quiet zone on the CN tracks that cut through Berwyn, feel free to come to the City Council Meeting on July 25, 2006. There will be an engineer at 6:45 pm whom I am hoping the Alderpeople will hire to do a study to determine the feasability of establishing a quiet zone. We are partners with Riverside and North Riverside, who have already agreed to hire the engineer.

Monday, July 17, 2006
Cruise Night
Cruise Night is Tuesday, July 18, 2006 in the Depot District from 7 to 10 pm. Come and check the cool cars. Have an ice cream at Over the Rainbow.

Enjoy the evening.

Sunday, July 16, 2006
City Council Meeting, July 11, 2006
The first item on the agenda concerned Applebees. There are now two proposals on the table from Applebees: one to buy the land for $200,000.00 and renovate the bank; two, buy the land for $1,250,000.00 and build from scratch. The matter was deferred for two weeks until the next meeting. Please remember that I have a conflict of interest concerning Applebees and I can not vote. (My partner at work is best friends with the owner of Applebees).
There was a big, long lengthy discussion on the MacNeal Parking Garage. Bottom line, this matter was deferred for two weeks for either a vote or to have a special Zoning Board of Appeals meeting to disuss the amended proposal.
We would like to implement a computer use policy for the employees of the City. Unfortunately, this matter was sent the Administration Committee. So, although the private sector and most municipalities have a policy on computer use, the matter will be studied by the Administration Commmittee.
If anyone has called City Hall, then you realize the phone system is less than ideal. Consequently, the City will be seeking bids on a new system. This does not mean that the Council will ultimately approve a new system, just that the City is attempting to find out the cost. I would like to see a new phone system put in place.
Maple Pool, up on the north side, was shut down around the 4th of July. Consequently, the Alderpeople, in a tight vote, approved to waive the normal bidding process so that repair can be done as soon as possible.
A new Visitor Parking Pass ordinance was approved. There are many, many requirements to get a visitor parking pass and they will exist for the residents and for school employees. Although we need visitor parking passes, I was the lone Alderman to vote against this new ordinance because as written, I believe, and I hope I am wrong, there are too many ambiguities in the ordinance, which was written by the 8th Ward Alderman.
Then, the tone of the meeting changed drastically and I will not write about what occurred next.

I have not preached in my City Council recaps, but the Alderpeople are out of control. We are supposed to legislate. Feel free to come to a meeting and then feel free to call an Alderperson and tell that Alderperson to start acting professionally and to mind the citizens' concerns, as opposed to the Alderperson's concerns.

The 2004 Audit is finished. It was not pretty, but it is done.
The engagement letter to hire the same firm to do the 2005 Audit was approved.

Then, more bickering, of which I will not write about.

The 4th Ward is on its way to getting the City's first speed bumps. Please, do not write to me telling me you need a speed bump. Let us see how this experiment works in the 4th Ward.
The Council approved a salary increase for the Public Works' main secretary.

In the best news of the night, the Council authorized 3 more Police Officers to be hired. These will be lateral hires, which means they will get on to the streets in one month, rather than the normal six months for rookie officers.

The City is also well on its way to the automated Red Light system, which is a system that will mail you your ticket after you are photographed going through a red light or around a railroad gate.

That is all for now. The City is moving forward. Stay tuned.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the quieting of the train whistles on the CN line(Riverside/26th), feel free to come to the next City Council Meeting on July 25, 2006, at 8 pm.

Finally, I strongly urge all residents to have a block party this summer. If you are unsure how to go about this, feel free to contact me at MarkWeiner1@Hotmail.Com

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Cartopia Art Auction

18 pieces of Cartopia Art will go up for auction on Ebay, Tuesday at noon Chicago time. These include the hoods and fenders that adorned the walls of the Carbaret Gallery and 4 of the Art Cars. Proceeds from these auctions will be used to support the arts and arts organizations in our community. Money from the sale of the cars will go back to the organizations that created them with the request that it be used to encourage participation in the arts. Money from the sale of the hoods and fenders will support the Berwyn Arts Council in carrying out it's mission of enriching our community through the arts.

To locate these items, search for "Cartopia" on Ebay.

Please pass this message on, adding your own comments as you see fit.

Bid High, Bid often....


Sunday, July 09, 2006
CARES Petition
As many of you know, I am a Board Member of a group called Citizens Aligned To Renew Education for the Students. If interested, please read below:

Hi, everyone. In case you haven't heard, there is a group here in Berwyn circulating a petition to get an advisory referendum on November's ballot. Voter's will be asked if they would be in favor of combining North Berwyn District 98, South Berwyn District 100 and Morton West High School into one consolidated district. It is only advisory, but it would mean that Cicero would not be part of the Berwyn school system. Signing the petition means you support putting the question on the ballot, not neccessarily one answer over the other.

The pros of consolidation would be separating Morton West High School from District 201 and Morton East High School in Cicero which would keep Berwyn tax dollars in Berwyn, consolidating our elementary districts to hopefully realize a savings in administrative costs and elimination of duplicative services (more money for classrooms), better buying power in terms of vendors and contracts, and a more consistent streamlined k-12 curriculum.

If you have not yet signed the petition please consider stopping by at 3329 S. Kenilworth any evening in the next 20 days between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. Encourage registered Berwyn voters to do the same. If possible, circulate a petition in your neighborhood or block. Attached is an e-mail about how you could help if you have the time any evening between July 11-31st. Feel free to contact me - or 708-703-2956 if you have any questions about this or want to get more involved in education in Berwyn. Shelley

Dear Berwyn Resident:

We are well on our way to reaching our goal of 1500 signatures needed to get an advisory referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they would be in favor of consolidating Districts 98, 100, and Morton West High School into one consolidated District! However, we won't be able to do it without your help. Here is the plan for circulating the petition from July 11th - 30th (The 20 day Blitzkrieg). Please help!!

1. Meet between 6:00 and 8:00 pm at 3329 S. Kenilworth. Someone will be on the front porch.

2. You will be given a petition kit including guidelines, a loose script, and some talking points.

3. You will be assigned one or more blocks depending on the time you have to give.

4. Return to 3329 S. Kenilworth to turn in any signatures you collected. IMPORTANT: At a later date, you will be contacted to get your petition notarized. If you are a notary public, please consider helping one evening by notarizing returning circulated petitions at 3329 S. Kenilworth.

5. You may also get a petition kit to circulate on your own if you are interested.

6. Even if you cannot help circulate, please stop by 3329 S. Kenilworth to sign the petition and encourage your friends and neighbors to do so.

7. Forward this e-mail on to neighbors, friends, and family.

Thank you.


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