What is the Cook County Just Housing Amendment ? If you are a Landlord or a Tenant you should be Aware of Your Rights and Obligations

So What is the Just Housing Amendment?

On April 25, 2019, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an amendment (Ord. No. 19-2394) to § 42-38 of the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance (“Ordinance”) to

  1. Prohibit housing discrimination based on an individual’s covered criminal history; and
  2. Require landlords to perform an individualized assessment of an otherwise qualified individual’s criminal conviction history prior to denying them and application for housing.

Below are frequently asked questions for applicants and the general public to help navigate the Just Housing Amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance. PDFs of this FAQ and a FAQ for landlords, sample language for notices to applicants, definitions, and an outline of the processes and individualized assessment tool are available to download here:

Frequently Asked Questions for Housing Applicants

Why did the Cook County Board of Commissioners pass the Just Housing Amendment (JHA) to the Human Rights Ordinance? 

In most cities, people with any kind of criminal record, even just an arrest, can be unfairly denied housing. The JHA was passed to help these individuals access safe, stable and affordable housing. 

The JHA: 

  1. Prohibits landlords from denying a housing application based on juvenile or adult arrest records; and 
  2. Requires landlords to perform an individualized assessment prior to denying any application for housing. 

What is an individualized assessment? 

An individualized assessment is a questionnaire that considers all relevant factors from an individual’s conviction in the previous three (3) years. The following list of factors can be considered. This list does not include all factors that a landlord can consider: 

  • The nature and severity of the criminal offense and how recently it occurred. 
  • The nature of the sentencing. 
  • The number of criminal convictions in the past three (3) years. 
  • The length of time that has passed since the applicant’s most recent convictions. 
  • The age of the individual at the time the criminal offense occurred. 
  • Evidence of rehabilitation. 
  • The individual history as a tenant before and/or after the conviction. 
  • Whether the criminal conviction(s) was related to the applicant’s disability. 
  • If the applicant is a person with a disability, whether any reasonable accommodation could be provided to lessen any risk. 

When does the JHA go into effect? 

The JHA went into effect on January 1, 2020. However, the Cook County Board of Commissioners has delayed enforcement of the Amendment until February 1, 2020. 

Who does the JHA apply to? 

The JHA applies to real estate transactions. Real estate transactions include the sale, rental, lease, and sublease renewal of residential properties. 

Can having a criminal background result in automatic denial of a housing application? 

No. A landlord cannot consider criminal history that is more than three (3) years old, and a landlord mustconduct an individualized assessment of any criminal history that is less than three (3) years old.   

Are there any exceptions to the Just Housing Amendment? 

Yes. A landlord may deny an applicant for a new lease or lease renewal of residential properties based on any of the following: 

  • The applicant or a household member is a current sex offender required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (or similar law in another jurisdiction); 
  • The applicant or a household member is a current child sex offender under residency restriction; or 
  • The applicant or a household member has a criminal conviction from the past three years. Before denying the application, the landlord must first perform an individualized assessment, and show that denial based on a criminal conviction is necessary to protect against a clear risk to personal safety and/or property. 

Are landlords required to conduct criminal background checks? 

No, the JHA does not require landlords to conduct criminal background checks. 

If an applicant was arrested but not convicted in the past three (3) years, can the arrest be a basis for denying the housing application? 

No. Arrests and convictions are very different. An arrest without a conviction cannot be considered when evaluating rental applications. 

What does the JHA tenant screening process require? 

Once an application fee is accepted, the Just Housing Amendment requires landlords to engage in a two-step tenant screening process. 

Step One: Prequalification 

  • During this step, a landlord may screen a tenant to determine whether the tenant satisfies all the application criteria such as income, rental history, credit score, pets, etc. Criminal background checks cannot be performed during Step One. 
  • When this first step is completed, the landlord must either 1) pre-qualify the applicant based on all criteria except those related to criminal history; or 2) deny the application based on failure to satisfy the prequalification criteria. 

Step Two: Criminal Background Check 

  • Only after the landlord prequalifies an applicant may a landlord conduct a criminal background check. 

What happens if the criminal background check reveals a conviction from the last three (3) years? 

The JHA requires the landlord to complete an individualized assessment before denying housing. Landlords cannot consider convictions more than three (3) years old.    

Is the landlord required to consider evidence of rehabilitation when completing an individualized assessment? 

Yes. The following are examples of evidence of rehabilitation: 

  • Completion of a returning citizens program. 
  • Job readiness training. 
  • Supportive services that assist with the transition back to society. 
  • Completion of a GED or other education programs. 
  • Report from correctional facility. 
  • Employment. 
  • Personal recommendations. 

May a landlord verify any evidence of rehabilitation? 

Yes, however, a landlord must still complete the evaluation and then approve or deny a housing application within three (3) business days as required by the JHA. 

Does an applicant who is denied housing have the right to dispute the information contained in the criminal background check? 

Yes. The JHA includes Conviction Dispute Procedures as described below: 

  • Within five (5) business days of receiving a criminal background check, the landlord must deliver a copy to the applicant. A copy of the background check can be delivered in person, by certified mail, or by text or email. 
  • Once the applicant receives the results of the background check, the applicant has five (5) business days to provide evidence that disputes the accuracy or relevance of information related to the criminal background check. 
  • The landlord than has three (3) business days from receipt of the dispute information to accept or deny the application. 

Is a landlord required to hold a unit off the market while an applicant disputes the background check? 

No, a landlord does not have to hold a unit off the market. 

How does a landlord provide notice of its final decision? 

The landlord has three (3) business days from receipt of the dispute information to accept or deny the application. 

Any denial of a housing application or continued lease based on a conviction must be in writing and provide the applicant with an explanation of why the application denial was necessary to protect against a demonstrable risk of harm to personal safety and/or property. 

What are the penalties for violating the JHA? 

For complaints investigated by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights, the penalties for violating the Just Housing Amendment may include complainant’s compensatory damages and attorney fees and Commission fines.

Posted in cook county, Crime, Finance, Illinois, Just Housing Amendment, Pritzker, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, sexual harrassment, Social Media, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schiller Park Crystal Creek Is Not So “Crystal Clear”

At 25th and Rose Street by Schiller Park Fire Station 2 an unknown material was pouring into Crystal Creek this afternoon at about 3 pm further contributing to the Crystal Creek pollution issues.

No one seemed concerned that this unknown pollutant was being discharged into the creek from an unknown pollution source.

Who at the Village of Schiller Park is responsible to follow up on the polluting of Crystal “not so crystal clean” Creek ?

Posted in #taxation, capital projects, Crystal Creek, Diaz, election fraud, Elections, garbage, Health, health risk, Illinois, illinois politics, Leyden, political satire, politics, pollution, Pritzker, Rep Welch, robert martwick, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, Schiller Park Commentaries, senator durbin, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Schiller Park Village Election Update—Join the Schiller Park Community on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 8 pm on ZOOM for a Conversation to Discuss the Issues in the Upcoming Municipal Election.

Mayor Caiafa and Mayoral Candidate Diaz were both out in full force with their fellow candidates canvassing Schiller Park all weekend presenting themselves to the voters.

No one has agreed to a debate for the Voters to hear the candidates discuss their positions on the issues and their view of the solutions, therefore, for the good of the spirit of democracy in Schiller Park it is time for a community conversation on the issues The intention is that this will be a civil and probing discussion of the needs and concerns of the community to both enlighten the voters and the candidates as to where the community’s priorities should be focused and how the community should come together to collaboratively pursue a future vision.

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 8 PM, join a Schiller Park Community Wide Conversation to discuss the issues in the upcoming municipal election. This will be hosted by this Blog and is open to the community as well as all of the candidates to dialog in a Town Hall meeting type of format to hear what the community feels about the issues which are now being circulated by the candidates for political office in Schiller Park.

Here is the link

Roy F McCampbell Blog is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Schiller Park Community Conversation On Issues in the Upcoming Municipal Election
Time: Mar 14, 2021 08:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 850 0236 2568
Passcode: 779259
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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/koGpu3Wbk

Numerous issues have been been raised by residents including:

What is the future plans for Sexton Land Fill ?

What are the facts about the Village finances ?

Do the Schiller Park Taxpayers really owe the Police and Fire Pension Funds over $50,000,000 as the tax bills portray ?

What are the facts about the legal work costs for the Village of Schiller Park ?

Who benefited from the construction of the Senior Housing on Irving Park Road ? Did this help or hurt the Schiller Park Seniors ?

What are the facts behind the labor negotiations for the Schiller Park Fire Department ?

What is going to be done to resolve the flooding issues south of the Senior Housing in the residential areas ?

What are the future plans for the redevelopment of Irving Park and Mannheim Road ?

These are just some of the topics that will be explored in the upcoming community issues discussion …………

Please add additional topics to be discussed in the comments section of this post.

Posted in #taxation, capital projects, Corona Virus, Covid-19, Crime, Diaz, Economic Development, Economy, Education, Elections, firemen, gangs, garbage, gasoline, gun, gun control, Health, health risk, Illinois, Illinois Pensions, illinois politics, legal services, Leyden, Mayor Caiafa, Medical, medical marijuana, mike madigan, murder, police reform, political satire, politics, referendum, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, Schiller Park Commentaries, schiller park police, Social Media, Taxation, teamsters, Union, vaccines, vaping, vote, wages, weed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Governor Pritzker Has Signed HB 3653, the “Criminal Justice Reform Bill”

Governor Pritzker has signed HB3653, the “Criminal Justice Reform Bill” .

Nobody is surprised that he would sign this legislation, but there are multiple problems with this Bill. Here are some, but not all, of the lowlights to remember:

  1. Officers will be mandated to wear body cams. This is something that I wholeheartedly support. However, The legislation also dictates that officers cannot view their bodycam footage before writing a report. The equivalent to this would be having a professional sports referee having instant replay available to get a call right but being told he can’t use it. The bill also creates a new crime, specifically citing that officers can be charged with a Class 3 Felony if their reports do not match their body camera video. The entire intent of this part of the bill is to make officers jobs harder, make their testimony harder and allow more offenders to be found not guilty while putting officers in a compromising situation. How many of you feel a NFL referee should face jail time for getting the wrong call ?!
  2. Class B and Class C misdemeanors will now be cite-only and not arrestable offenses. Someone peeping in your window while you take a shower? Here’s a ticket and the officers leave. Someone refusing to leave your property after being told to do so? Here’s a ticket and the officers leave. Someone making hundreds of obscene phone calls to you, giving you anxiety and terrorizing your life? Here’s a ticket.
  3. Removes the crime of obstructing a peace officer as a stand alone offense. If a police officer tells you to do something, a lawful order, you can now just say “nope” and do whatever it is that you want to do and law enforcement cannot arrest. It literally cuts police officers authority at the knees. This means, as just some examples, officers cannot control crime scenes if people want to walk through them, or order a husband to move from the doorway so officers can check on his wife after reports of her being battered.
  4. Allows for anonymous complaints against police and dictates that all complaints will remain part of their permanent record, whether they were found guilty or not. So, a person arrested who is found not guilty can have that arrest taken off their record, but a police officer can’t have a complaint taken off?
  5. It eliminates cash bail, specifically citing the presumption that all offenders will appear in court. This even applies to felonies and even serious felonies. It leaves a a requirement for the State to have to prove that an individual is dangerous to a specific person or group of people in order to be held without bond, not just dangerous to society in general, which most career criminals are.
  6. It prohibits using non-lethal or less-lethal weapons on an individual’s back. Remember Tasers? The device everyone always cites as the miracle tool for police being able to safely stop someone? A taser is a less-lethal device, and it is specifically designed to be fired into a person’s back to prevent permanent injury, or even death, if it is fired at the front of a person, possibly striking them in the eyes, neck, breasts, or groin. This portion effectively makes it illegal for officers to use Tasers. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

These are just a handful of things from the almost 800 page bill. With many more laws of similar confusion in it.

If some of these things sound odd to you, it’s because they are. It’s because no professionals in the field were included in the drafting of this bill, and it’s because it was written by people who have no idea of the realities of police work. This is what happens when laws are drafted by sensationalism, and not real research and experience. And also when that law is snuck through the legislature at 4:30 in the morning, while Illinois is asleep, after it’s name is changed twice in order to shake citizens off from following it’s progress.

Remember this Bill the next time your senator or representative are up for election. Remember this bill when crime sky rockets. Remember this bill when we have less qualified and competent people wanting to get into law enforcement, and officers are retiring, resigning, or leaving the state.

Remember this Bill when you’re the victim of a crime, and don’t ask yourself “why didn’t the police do more?”

Thank you Gov. Pritzker.🤬

I’m hoping all Illinois residents will wake up soon and when election time comes up it don’t matter Republican or Democratic.

I prefer to call it the “anti-police bill,” a term that the bill’s sponsors object to. But the bill unfairly targets officers and attempts to punish them, not just make them accountable. Just one example: One provision that says officers cannot review their own body-camera video before writing a report. That is “gotcha” language. That would be like saying television reporters cannot review any video they shot before writing a story for the airwaves. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Need more evidence? A letter from a former Illinois chief that was posted on Facebook on Friday, predicting a significant departure of officers from Illinois if the bill is signed, already has been shared more than 3,100 times and has had more than 58,000 “engagements” by social media users. That is well beyond what a reasonable person would see as a hot topic, and it demonstrates grave concern about the negative effects of this bill on their careers.

A Law Enforcement Coalition statement sums it up well: “This new law is a blatant move to punish an entire, honorable profession that will end up hurting law-abiding citizens the most.”

Posted in #madigoon, black lives matter, gun, gun control, Illinois, Illinois Pensions, illinois politics, lobbying, police reform, politics, Pritzker, Rep Welch, rioting, robbed, robert martwick, Roy F. McCampbell, Social Media, state representative | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Statements You Can Use To Explain Concerns About HB 3653: Fact vs. Fiction

Just got this from the Illinois Chiefs of police association. Worth reading!

Special Alert: Statements you can use to explain concerns about HB 3653: Fact vs. Fiction

ILACP Executive Director put this statement together to help you understand and identify the problems with HB 3653. It describes specific concerns and includes the page numbers in the bill for your reference. This statement is long and so it is attached here as a PDF that you can download.

This is Major Update #2 from the Illinois Chiefs. You can access our comprehensive Police Reform Bill Resource Center here. Today’s statement follows:
Summary of major concerns about HB 3653:
The Illinois Chiefs support law enforcement modernization that enhances the safety of citizens and communities. We support reform, but too much of the language in this bill is flawed.
This bill would endanger communities and individual citizens and embolden criminals.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Bill proponents say we are “blatantly wrong” in saying that, so please read on. Refer to page numbers in the bill for more details.
Citizens would no longer be protected by some routine police activity to stabilize tense situations such as removing an unwanted person from a residence or business. Page 326.
We all promote and train de-escalation, but this bill unreasonably restricts the use of less-lethal options such as Tasers, rubber bullets, and OC spray (commonly called pepper spray). Page 288.
Some sections of the bill target individual police officers in punitive ways:
It creates a new felony offense against officers for failure to follow body-worn camera laws and policies. Page 307.
It allows the attorney general to impose a penalty of up to $25,000 against individual officers for “pattern and practice” violation of rights. Page 46.
It prohibits officers from reviewing their own body-camera video before writing a report. This is “gotcha” language. (NFL referees are allowed to review video from multiple angles to get a call right. So why not police officers, who make split-second decisions in violent situations while protecting and rescuing citizens in danger?) Page 82.
The Illinois Chiefs have been leaders for decades in advocating for ongoing training and professionalism in law enforcement. Suggestions that law enforcement is resistant to change and improvement are utterly false.
In support of police reforms
Our association has been a leader in promoting advancements in law enforcement to increase officer accountability and professionalism. It is false to say that law enforcement always opposes change and reform and always pushes back. Just a few examples:
In the 1950s, we recognized the need for more law enforcement training and worked with the University of Illinois to establish the Police Training Institute on the U of I campus. PTI is still thriving.
In the 1990s, we established the Voluntary Police Chief Certification Program, designed to provide benchmarks of professionalism for chiefs.
In the early 2000s, we pushed the Illinois General Assembly to establish “licensing” for police officers, but we could never get a hearing.

In 2008, we established the voluntary Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP), which requires police agencies to meet up to 180 standards.
In 2015, we participated fully in the new Commission on Police Professionalism, chaired by then-Senator Kwame Raoul and then-Representative Elgie Sims.
In 2017, we provided our own national expert to suggest a very progressive use of force policy for Illinois agencies.
In 2018, we adopted Ten Shared Principles in collaboration with the NAACP Illinois State Conference. These include treating everyone with dignity and respect, community policing, procedural justice (voice, fairness, transparency, and impartiality), de-escalation by all, and more.
From 2018 to 2021, more than 260 local police agencies have “adopted” these principles as their own, often in high-profile local ceremonies. So has the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives at the national level.
In 2020, our Law Enforcement Coalition developed a 15-point Plan for Safe Communities and Police Modernization.
Why Illinois citizens should be concerned about HB 3653
There is language in the bill that will endanger our communities and make citizens in towns and cities of every size feel less safe. For example, if this bill is signed:
If you call the police because an unwanted person is peeking in your windows or standing in your yard or place of business and you don’t want them there for a legitimate reason, you can call the police, but the police will not be able to physically remove that person. All they can do is issue a citation (like a traffic ticket). Then, if the unwanted person still doesn’t leave and is not being threatening, the police will have no authority to arrest them or get them to “move along.” This applies to all Class B and Class C misdemeanors. Page 326.
The amount of “force” an officer can use will be limited in ways that will cause danger to innocent people and victims of crimes. This will cause citizens to wonder why the police have stopped pursuing obviously violent people. Pages 286-87 and 326.
Consider this scenario: The police respond to an armed offender that just committed a crime with a gun running towards a schoolyard with children. Under current law, they would be authorized to use deadly force to stop him. Under the new definition of “imminent” however, they cannot stop the subject and would have to wait for him to actually get to the schoolyard and threaten the children and potentially shoot one before they could use deadly force to stop the subject. See page 286.
Major concerns of the Illinois Chiefs (in addition to citizen concerns above)
Use of force language also restricts force while making an arrest if an officer reasonably believes the person cannot be apprehended at a later date. Almost anyone can be arrested at a later date. See pages 283-284.
We are pleased that chokeholds were banned by Illinois law in 2015, but this bill further restricts the definition of chokehold, too narrowly, by prohibiting “direct pressure to the throat.” Page 287.
Body camera language that (a) makes it a Class 3 felony for an officer not to comply with laws and policies requiring the use of body-worn cameras, page 307, and (b) that does not allow an officer to review their own body cam video before writing a report. Page 82.
The idea of removing qualified immunity, one of our biggest concerns, is still on the table with the creation of a task force to study this topic and present a report to the governor by May 1. Page 12.
Language about use of force seems to prohibit aiming a Taser at a person’s back, which is the recommended target. This prohibition reduces the apparent desire for officers to use “less-lethal” methods and tools. Page 287.
The bill prohibits of the acquisition of certain military surplus equipment, which some people mistakenly believe to be primarily armored tanks. Such surplus equipment can also include weapons that local agencies cannot otherwise afford. It is ironic that the week this bill was passed, the state of Illinois collaborated with local law enforcement with a major military presence to protect the State Capitol in Springfield. Page 53.
The “three phone-call requirement” is still in the bill. It requires three phone calls for detainees within three hours of being in custody. There are occasions where this is not possible, and this could make it more difficult for law enforcement to solve crimes. Page 411.
New authority given to the Illinois attorney general allows a penalty to be imposed against an individual officer of up to $25,000 and up to $50,000 for a second offense. This would be for an alleged “pattern and practice” of violating a person’s constitutional rights. Instead of this, the Westchester-based Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency (IRMA) says that “pattern and practice” cases focus on systemic police misconduct, and therefore, “true reform” would have such cases directed at agencies, not individuals. Page 46.
Language allows for anonymous complaints against officers, without a sworn affidavit. The “sworn affidavit” requirement was put into law because before that, departments and officers were victims of numerous frivolous and unfounded complaints. We prefer the “confidential complaint” language in the final section of the bill. That way, a person could file a complaint confidentially, but at some point, if the review process continued because it was a legitimate complaint, the person filing the complaint would be revealed. Pages 95 and 702.
Unintended consequences and misleading statements
One of my biggest concerns about the bill is unintended consequences. I am especially concerned that too many will say this is the Black Caucus vs. law enforcement, or even worse, black Illinoisans vs. law enforcement.
It is clear to me that black legislators and the black community want criminal justice reform, and it is just as clear to me that the police support changes to modernize policing, make communities safer, and get rid of bad cops.
The Black Caucus and the Illinois Chiefs want the same thing: justice for all and safe communities. In fact, they all want safer communities and all individuals to feel safe.
The trouble is, legislators put law enforcement on the defensive by introducing this bill at this time in this way, and some of the legislators who voted for it are now on the same script and very much on the defensive themselves. Rather than everyone being on the defensive, it would be far better for us to continue to engage in productive, honest conversations. It is noteworthy that today [February 2], a “Fact vs. Fiction” webinar promoted in northern Illinois includes no invitations to people with my perspective on this bill.
Behind the scenes and in public, I will be the first to listen more and speak less. The bill’s sponsors know this.
Now I want to address some of what I’m hearing from those who are critical of law enforcement’s response to this bill:
“The bill was not rushed through and it does not have ideas that have not been vetted. It was the result of 30 hours of testimony in nine hearings last fall, plus some language that has been around for years as the result of decades of concern about police practices.”

Ed’s response: At the nine hearings last fall, each one ended with no agreement about what should be done with the concepts that were discussed. They were subject matter hearings, not debates about bill language. That means there was no movement toward agreement, just a presentation of ideas followed by questions from legislators. Such hearings are valuable, but they are not enough. For example, in the hearing on qualified immunity, different people testified about the pros and cons of diminishing qualified immunity, but it was never clear what might or might not be in the bill.

The final language of the 764-page bill first emerged about 4 a.m. on Wednesday, January 13. The Senate passed it by 5 a.m., and the House passed it by 11:30 a.m. the same day, with a half-hour to spare before the lame duck session ended. Law enforcement had not seen the final language until it appeared in the middle of the night. The only part of the bill on which we had “agreed language” was the final section on police certification, and that language had been successfully negotiated by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, not the bill’s sponsors. That language was unexpectedly added to this omnibus bill in the middle of the night.
“The bill is a compromise, like a lot of legislation is, and so it must be an acceptable outcome though not agreeable to all.”

Ed’s response: Some legislators who were on the fence say they voted for the bill because some of the most egregious language, like eliminating qualified immunity and eliminating financial penalties to municipalities, were taken out of the final bill. But these same legislators are silent about the serious problems we have found in the bill.

The fact is, there was no compromise on numerous sections of the bill. Compromise is a part of the legislative process, indeed. But it is also part of the process to make sure that enough time is given for real debate on controversial language.
For example, we gave the sponsors language to fix the state’s body-camera law. We had presented these same ideas at the hearing last year. Not only did the final bill ignore our language, but it added different language, described above, that makes the body-camera law much worse, not better. We also asked them not to make body cameras mandatory, and if they do, make sure to provide the adequate funding for the cameras, storage, and manpower to implement the equipment properly. The mandate is in the bill, but not the funding, which will be problematic for most Illinois municipalities, counties, and other units of government such as universities, park districts and conservation districts.
“The time is now for reform. Vote for this bill.”

The bill’s major proponents used this language on the final day of the lame-duck session. The truth is, the time is always right for reform. That is why the Illinois Chiefs have been leaders in reform since at least 1956. It is why we endorsed the six pillars of the 2015 President Obama Commission on 21st Century Policing, and, in 2018, our own Ten Shared Principles.
The suggestion in Springfield earlier this month was that if you want criminal justice reforms, you vote FOR this bill. YEA means you want reforms; NAY means you are stonewalling and opposing any change. So said the proponents.

A third way was and is possible: Continue discussions that began in the fall. That will lead to a much better Illinois. We don’t have to start over. There is a lot to build on. We know the Black Caucus wants reforms, and we know they understand many of our concerns. Let’s keep talking. We believe in reform, but not in the language contained this bill.
“This bill should be signed because it’s a ‘good start.’”
People who say this is a “good start” forget too much history. They forget that Illinois is already a leader in police reforms and has required since 2015 some very progressive training – on cultural competency, procedural justice, and much more. We totally embraced community policing in the 1990s, and we have ever since.

The truth is, we are on a long journey together, and we each have our own place and time in history to make a difference. The discussion about the bill is not a “start,” but a part of a journey that we all share.

To say “just sign this bill because it’s a good start” totally dismisses our specific, legitimate concerns about language that could be improved.
“Law enforcement always opposes change and still opposes police reforms.”

I have already addressed this and proved it is wrong – historically wrong – but it isn’t stopping people from saying it.
“We included every suggestion of the Law Enforcement Coalition’s 15-point plan for police modernization,” translated in a Sun-Times article as “We included every suggestion made by law enforcement, so they should not be complaining.”
That is not accurate. In collaboration with our Law Enforcement Coalition, we did indeed promote a 15-point plan for Safe Communities and Police Modernization, but we never got to the legislative table for a deliberative discussion of these ideas. For example, we all agreed that the time is right for a standardized statewide use of force policy. But there wasn’t enough time in December and January to arrive at that language, and it’s not in the bill.

Also, we made a lot of suggestions at the subject matter hearings last fall on the concepts under discussion, but those concepts and the ones in the bill go way beyond the topics in our 15-point plan. So it’s inaccurate to say that every law enforcement suggestion can be found in the bill.
“Why do the police sound like they are against body cameras?”

We support the use of body cameras, but there is a good reason that fewer than 10% of agencies have adopted their use since the law passed in 2015. There are required processes in the law that make body cameras too expensive to launch, and difficult, from an operational and manpower standpoint, to implement. The legislators know our concerns and seem willing to fix them, but that did not happen in this bill.
Closing observation: This is not us versus them
When I went on the popular black talk radio station WVON in Chicago two days after HB 3653 passed in the Illinois General Assembly, host Matt McGill began the conversation by saying the black community believes these police reforms are necessary and law enforcement does not, and so he wants my perspective. As soon as I could, I said I want to reframe that. I explained why we were totally supportive of the bill’s language that will help departments get rid of bad cops. I also explained that the Illinois Chiefs have adopted Ten Shared Principles with the NAACP Illinois State Conference. These principles include much of the black community wants from law enforcement. I lamented that the conversations so far this year have degenerated into “us versus them,” and I offered some perspectives to modify that narrative. Samantha Joseph joined Matt McGill in hosting this interview. You can listen to it here.
“You are way more reasonable than I thought you were going to be,” McGill said toward the end of the interview.
I consider that progress.

Posted in Illinois, illinois politics, Leyden, police reform, political satire, politics, Pritzker, Reopen Illinois, Rep Welch, rioting, robbed, Roy F. McCampbell, schiller park police, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schiller Park Faces a Contested April 6, 2021, Municipal Election

Incumbent Mayor Nick Caiafa is being challenged in the Spring election by one of his own Trustees, Moses Diaz. They are both heading full slates constituting a Village Clerk Candidate as well as three trustee candidates. 

Municipal Election are April 6, 2021

The candidates have yet to present a platform, but with this being the only municipal election contest in Leyden Township, it has the potential to be a spirited political contest.

Caiafa, the incumbent candidate, for Village President, is a former Leyden Township Trustee. He and his slate will be running on their past 4 year record, including a current contentious labor negotiation with the Fire Department as well as past real estate tax levy increases. Moses Diaz, the challenger for Village President, has clashed with the incumbent over a past tax levy adoption and raised great concerns over the direction of economic development in the Village. 

The candidates positions will be more clearly defined as the campaign season progresses. Hopefully, each Village President candidate will schedule several town-hall meetings on ZOOM to assist the Schiiler Park voters to learn the issues and hear their positions.

It would be ideal to schedule several debates on ZOOM between the two political candidates for Mayor. 

The voters of Schiller Park could begin to define the issues by posting their concerns in the comment section on this blog. 

I, for one, will be following this political contest closely; and posting updates regularly. 

In fact, as I close this post, I offer to host at least one debate between the candidates as moderator. 

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Good By 2020, It’s About Time !!!

Dear 2020,

The novel coronavirus overshadowed nearly every aspect of a year whose iceberg of anxiety, uncertainty and unrest had many tipping points.

It’s now time to say goodbye to 2020. For many, it will be good riddance to a year of unfathomable loss and turbulence. Some managed to find silver linings in its cloudy skies. Amid darkness, candles of kindness, heroism and innovation—including new vaccines—offered light.

Quite honestly, those numbers haven’t sounded as good together since Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters were a Friday night staple. A lot of us had high hopes for you this year, 2020. We were going to tackle new adventures. We were going to travel more. We were going to take a new risk and maybe step outside our comfort zone a little bit.

Instead, we spent most of you hearing the terms, “Coronavirus,” “COVID,” “pandemic,” “social distancing,” “six feet apart,” and “election.” You took our loved ones. You kept us at home. You exhausted us. But there was something you forgot about while unfolding your universal masterplan.

The perseverance of human kind.

See, you thought we would just lie down and accept what was happening. You forced us to quarantine in our homes for 2 weeks at first, then longer. You thought you won. You thought you robbed people of their birthdays. Of holidays. Of seeing their loved ones.

You overlooked the fact that when we need to step up for people, we do. You didn’t plan on the fact that we would start turning what should’ve been birthday parties with fun, games, and cake, to birthday parades with people safely in their cars driving by a birthday boy or birthday girl and showering them with love from afar.

You didn’t think out the fact that we would still gather for meals with our friends and family, maybe not all huddled around a table, but instead a socially distant picnic with everyone showing up with their own meals spread out far apart. You didn’t realize that friends would use vacant parking lots to all park in with their friends, set up chairs or open their truck beds and just hang out and talk from across aisles of spots, did you?

You thought you could take out all of our small businesses? You didn’t expect them to adapt and change like they did. You didn’t think that curbside pick up would be a thing, or that restaurants would offer takeout. You didn’t plan for them to build outdoor dining areas where they could and take advantage of all the space they could.

And you thought you could hit us most where it hurt — charitable endeavors. You thought if you put everyone possible out of a job, no one would give a dime to anything. But what you didn’t realize, is that WE call the shots on when WE decide to give or not. And it turns out that a lot of charitable events that happened this year, even though altered by what you brought us at the start of you — a lot of those events set records for donations.

So, see 2020 — you might’ve knocked the wind out of us, and maybe even knocked us down. But you did a terrible job of keeping us down. Because not only did we and do we still work on persevering, but now we’ve learned to pump the brakes on rushing through life a little bit. Now we’ve learned to focus not so much on what you took away from us, but to appreciate what you didn’t.

You took jobs away from some of us — and some of us saw that as a blessing. It was our sign to go back to school or to focus 100% on a side project we were starting on. It was an opportunity for some of us to move back from where we originated from. Again, you knocked some of us down, but you didn’t expect some of us to get back up quickly, and see it as an opportunity instead of a failure.

I saw a meme the other day that said something to the effect of how we’ll be pronounce the year that it’ll turn into at midnight as “2020 Won.”

But you didn’t win, 2020. Your dumpster fire self is gone at midnight. We’ll still be here at 12:01a.

Good riddance, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and also — thank you. For helping a lot of us re-prioritize a bit, become creative, and appreciate more of what we have as opposed to stew over what we don’t.

Posted in Covid-19, Economy, mental health, New Years, News, political satire, politics, Pritzker, Roy F. McCampbell, Smollett | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Eviction Moratorium in Illinois Continues Through January 9, 2021

As of December 11, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration extended a version of the statewide ban on residential evictions until January 9, 2021. This reprieve is welcomed by certain Illinois renters facing severe financial shortfalls due to the economic displacements caused by Covid. Landlords might view the modified extension as a limited reprieve, also, as it places certain wealthier tenants outside of its protective reach. In contrast, the eviction moratoriums from March through October applied to all tenants, regardless of financial circumstance. This compromise is intended to recognize the financial impact on landlords, who often depend on rent collections to pay their own obligations to creditors.

The November eviction moratorium provided protection only to those tenants or residents that are “Covered Persons.” A “Covered Person” is one who meets all four of the following metrics: “(1) the individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment pursuant to Section 2001 of the CARES Act;” and is (2) “unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;” and (3) “the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other Non-Discretionary Expenses;” and (4)  eviction would likely render the individual homeless . . .”.

Landlords must give tenants an opportunity to demonstrate that they meet this four-part test. Specifically, landlords must provide a Declaration form to the resident or tenant at least five days prior to the notice of termination of tenancy.  If the tenant can establish that he/she/they meet all four requirements of the Covered Person test, the eviction case will fail unless the “person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”

Some landlords will be pleased to learn that they may initiate new eviction cases against those who are not Covered Persons. But landlords, take note: the November order (as incorporated by the December order)  directs law enforcement to delay enforcement of valid eviction orders “unless the tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of the residential property has been found to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”  As such, a valid eviction order is of limited utility in the short term.

The executive orders explain that evictions necessitate in-person interactions between residents, law enforcement, movers, and the family or friends that take the evicted renters into their homes.  The continued pause on residential evictions is intended to avoid those in-person interactions, and, in doing so, slow the spread of the virus. Covid case counts, not surprisingly, have risen in the colder months as more Chicago and Illinois residents stay indoors. As these trends coincide with the rescheduled termination of the CDC’s eviction ban in late January of 2021, public health advocates are strongly in support of Governor Pritzker’s renewal of the modified eviction ban to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus in Illinois communities.

When Will Evictions Resume in Illinois? 

The Illinois eviction moratorium prohibits the filing of residential eviction actions and the enforcement of residential evictions until January 9, 2021. Previous executive orders related to the filing of evictions in Illinois, such as Executive Order 2020-55, also clarified that nothing in the moratorium shall be construed to relieve renters of their obligations to make rent payments or otherwise comply with their leases. 

 It also clarifies that it does not extend to circumstances where “the tenant has been found to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants, an immediate and severe risk to property, or a violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation.” In other words, the temporary eviction ban is designed to protect only those tenants who would be evicted due to nonpayment of rent, as opposed to other lease violations.  Some landlords grumble that the eviction moratorium is encouraging renters to skip their rent payments — but nothing in the moratorium forgives a tenant’s obligation to pay the rent.  It merely provides renters with stable housing until the moratorium elapses.
Governor Pritzker extended the eviction moratorium in August following Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s August 20, 2020 letter to Chief Judge Evans and the Governor’s administration urging COVID-19 relief for renters and landlords alike. Sheriff Dart noted that approximately 250,000 households in Cook County could face evictions. As the Sheriff is charged with enforcing legal eviction orders, Dart shared a concern about the likely spread of COVID-19 if evicted renters were crowded into shelters or into the homes of family and friends.  
The Trump administration has also framed the eviction crisis as a likely accelerator of the spread of the novel Coronavirus. On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control issued a temporary eviction moratorium through the end of the calendar year with sweeping protections for certain renters nationwide. Unlike the CARES Act, which provided a temporary moratorium only for those properties secured by mortgages backed by the federal government (including mortgages held by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the CDC’s order purports to extend to all residential properties (regardless of whether they are secured by federally backed mortgages) that are occupied by renters who meet certain income thresholds, have applied for government assistance, have lost income due to the pandemic, and would be rendered homeless if evicted. Renters must sign a declaration in order to qualify for the relief.  The declaration is included as “Attachment A” to the CDC’s order, and it clarifies that the tenant’s obligation to pay rent is not modified or superceded by the eviction ban. The CDC order does not apply to jurisdictions like Illinois that have in place a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the CDC’s order — but if Governor Pritzker decides not to renew the Illinois moratorium after it elapses in mid-January, the CDC’s moratorium will provide a stopgap for qualifying Illinois renters for a few more days.
Landlord rights groups have already begun to challenge the constitutionality of the CDC’s order. The New Civil Liberties Alliance filed a motion for a preliminary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to challenge the CDC’s eviction moratorium as an unconstitutional taking of property rights.  The court heard argument on the motion on October 20, 2020. 

Eviction Moratorium Chicago Protection Ordinance Provides Additional Protections to Renters

Chicago City Council approved a COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance in its mid-June legislative session. This new ordinance requires that landlords extend a seven-day “cooling off” period if tenants respond to the five-day notice with a Tenant Notice and can prove unpaid rent stems from financial losses that are caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Ordinance clearly intends to prevent conditions leading to a loss of shelter, even as it protects landlords by requiring tenants to pay rent and providing exceptions to the general rule. For example, landlords may file eviction proceedings if “a tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants, an immediate and severe risk to property, or a violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation.”

In case landlords are thinking about performing a DIY eviction, here’s the deal: don’t do it. Lockouts are illegal in Chicago apartments. Chicago’s landlord-tenant law also heavily favors tenants in cases of retaliatory conduct. Landlords may end up in legal trouble if they even hint that they’re willing to circumvent the eviction legal process and eviction moratorium. Expensive fines and legal fees await landlords who attempt to perform self-help evictions in Chicago.

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“Teacher Bashing“ Was It Invented To Deflect Criticism and Avoid Personal Responsibility ?

I have had enough with the canned reference to “teacher bashing” and the connotation that any negative comment regarding teacher behavior is in some way “bashing”.

“Reprinted from the Blog: Parents for Progress“

The concept “teacher bashing” seems to be jargon invented by the teachers union to deflect criticism and avoid personal responsibly. Let’s be clear, teachers are one of the foremost influences on our children’s development and forming the adults they will become. From my standpoint, they need to be held highly accountable for their actions, words and the examples they are setting. 

My mother was an educator and my personality, opinions and values are due, in a large part, to the teachers who I had in my youth. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Manning taught me about tenacity which has been a huge influence on my work ethic. My 6th grade teacher Mr. Henderson taught me about literature and poetry which has formed my love for reading. My 8th grade teacher Mrs. Wagner taught me about writing and public speaking which has served me well throughout my entire life. However, my third grade teacher Mrs. Kamis taught me that, teachers can be bullies, abuse their power and destroy a kid’s desire to go to school. Mrs. Kamis also taught me that holding teachers accountable is critical to a child’s development and who they will become.

The COVID pandemic has given some teachers license to “phone in” their lessons and use technological ineptitude as an excuse to provide a less than ideal work product. It is our jobs as parents to hold these teachers accountable.

Teachers pay the teacher’s union a part of their salaries for representation. That creates an affiliation to a powerful organization that wields that power, at times, to the detriment of the students. As such, teachers should be held accountable for the action of the union that they pay dues to. Teachers have a choice to not be a union member and can op out. Organizations such as teacherfreedom.org exist to help. As long as teachers continue to choose to be affiliated with the union, they are responsible for the union actions and should be held accountable for them.

Responsibility and accountability are the fundamental components of integrity. Any effort to deflect or obscure these values should be met with fervent opposition. The generic reference to “teacher bashing” helps no 0ne, especially the teachers. All professions have good actors and bad actors. The danger arises when shining a light on bad behavior is universally met with a subjective, all encompassing club to the head. This serves as a disincentive to hold bad actors accountable and becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy that results in all teachers being painted with the same brush. The same holds true for union affiliation. Certainly there are teachers who object to the heavy handed initiatives of the union. Until these teachers stand up and speak out, they will continue to be painted with the same brush as the union whom they voluntarily pay for collective representation. 

The children are watching, the children are listening, and the children are learning during this pandemic. We should be concerned what lessons they are being taught.

Posted in #taxation, Chicago, Corona Virus, Covid-19, East Leyden, Health, health risk, Illinois, illinois politics, Leyden, Leyden High School Dostrict 212, Mayor Caiafa, Pennoyer School District 79, politics, Pritzker, Reopen Illinois, Rosemont, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, Social Media, Special Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could St. Maria Goretti Have Been Saved?

It’s a bright, early and sunny morning in west suburban Schiller Park.

The neighborhood surrounding St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church comes to life. Church bells ring. Parishioners step out of their cozy brick bungalows and cross the street to the church. This chilly January morning did have a certain uneasiness in the air. It wasn’t […]


Posted in Cardinal Cupich, Chicago Archdiocese, Illinois, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, Schiller Park Commentaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment