local government

Free, Discounted Rain Barrels For Cook County, Illinois, Residents

Shortly after I moved to my new residence in the Chicago suburbs, I started looking into rain barrels for use around the property. I came across the following program for free/discounted barrels from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (District), “an independent government and taxing body encompassing approximately 91 percent of the land area and 98 percent of the assessed valuation of Cook County, Illinois.” From the MWRD website:

Rain Barrels are a type of green infrastructure, a new approach to managing stormwater by keeping rain on the property and out of the sewer system. We provide rain barrels at cost to Cook County residents. $58 (plus tax) includes a flexible connecting elbow to attach your barrel to your downspout, a linking hose to connect it to a second barrel, detailed instructions, and free delivery to your home…

Some lucky Cook County residents might even qualify for FREE rain barrels. From the site:

Some Cook County municipalities are also partnering with the MWRD to offer free rain barrels to residents who meet certain requirements. See the list below or check with your municipality to find out if they are participating and if your home meets the requirements of the program.

Village of Bellwood
City of Berwyn
City of Blue Island
City of Calumet City
Village of Crestwood
Village of Forest View
Village of LaGrange Park
Village of Midlothian
Village of Oak Park
Village of Riverside
Village of Stickney
Village of Stone Park
Village of Wilmette

Head on over to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago website here for more information about their rain barrel program.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Sunday, March 29th, 2015 Preparedness, Supplies, Water No Comments

Proposed Niles, Illinois, Gun Shop And Range Back In Court On April 14

Sorry about the delayed posting this week. While I would have liked to have celebrated an extended St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in the Chicago area (and wrote), a number of personal matters required my attention instead.

Speaking of the Chicagoland area, remember when I blogged last summer about that gun shop and range possibly opening up around my old stomping grounds on the Northwest Side? Last I heard, the proposed facility at 6143 Howard Street in Niles was being sued by a gun “control” group calling themselves People for a Safer Society. I noted on November 13:

As for the new gun shop/range? Alex Hernandez reported on The Bugle website on October 24:

People for a Safer Society are suing to block Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy from opening in Niles.

“The area immediately surrounding [Sportsman’s] is replete with schools, religious facilities, children’s recreations facilities, and other non-gun-related businesses and entities, many or all of which are within walking distance of the Howard Property and the proposed gun range,” said the suit filed by People for a Safer Society last Friday.

Back in July trustees voted 4-1 to grant Sportsman’s a special use permit to open an 1,800-square-foot firing range and 2,500 square feet of retail space at 6143 W. Howard St…

The suit claims that if Sportsman’s opens the business would endanger Niles by allowing “easy access for buying a gun for anyone in or near Niles and the surrounding villages and communities,” that Sportsman’s gun sales “would result in the feeding of crime guns to the City of Chicago,” and finally a fear that the store could increase the risk of suicides and mass shootings in the area…

That’s the last I heard of the Niles gun shop and shooting range- until this afternoon. Tom Robb reported on the website of Journal & Topics Newspapers (northwest Chicago suburbs) last week:

A significant ruling, in the case of anti-gun activists challenging Niles village trustees’ approval of a gun shop and shooting range, could come next month. It could end the case, send it to trial or add another party to the lawsuit.

At issue in a ruling, expected Tuesday, Apr. 14, is whether the challenge to the special use permit would be “facial” or “as applied.”

Robb explained later in the article:

In their motion to dismiss the suit, Niles attorneys wrote, “An applied challenge represents a plaintiff’s protest against how a statute was applied in a particular context… while a facial challenge represents a plaintiff’s contention that a statute is incapable of constitutional application in any context.”

Because the case could not withstand a facial challenge, village attorneys say in their motion that the case should be dismissed.

People For A Safer Society attorney Anthony Hind said he believes the standard in the gun shop case should rest on the “as applied” standard, based on long-standing state law, and that it should move forward…

There’s more to this legal stuff, which you can read over on the Des Plaines-based paper’s website here.

Survival And Prosperity wishes 6143 Howard Partners Inc. the best of luck on April 14.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago City Council Budget Chair On Property Tax Hike: ‘I Believe We Can Truly Say That It Will Happen’

Back when I was an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, there was one cardinal rule to be followed when communicating with constituents:

Good news comes from Paul, bad news comes from his assistants.

With that in mind, last night my girlfriend and I were watching the Chicago news on TV when the following story appeared. From the WGN Web Desk this morning:

A Chicago property tax hike could be on the way.

That wasn’t announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It was said by an alderman who is trying to help him get reelected.

Several of Emanuel’s allies held a press conference Monday to question how challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia would pay for the promises he’s making on the campaign trail.

That’s when 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin, the City Council budget chairman, said property tax increases may be needed to cover Emanuel’s spending plans.

“I believe we can truly say that it will happen, but it’s all in the ‘how much,’” said Austin. “Nothing is off the table, and I think we should be honest with the people to let them know that everything is being considered.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering the event was organized to attack mayoral challenger Jesús “Chuy” Garcia and this City Council routinely carries water for Emanuel, I initially thought “The Rahmfather” was trying to kill two birds with one stone here- blast “Chuy” and have Alderman Austin start conditioning Chicagoans for the looming property tax hike I’ve been warning about for some time now on this blog.

Good news Rahm. Bad news City Council budget chairman.

But then I thought more about how Rahm obviously realizes talk of tax hikes is one of the “third-rails” of politics- particularly before a runoff election that’s only a few weeks away (April 7) and where “Chuy” is not too far behind in the various polls.

Plus there’s this from Hal Dardick about the incident on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

Austin, known for speaking off the cuff, quickly tried to qualify her property tax hike comment, saying she meant only that “everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Maybe this wasn’t orchestrated by Rahm?

Oh well. Smooth move or gaffe, I see it as yet more evidence of a property tax hike being just around the corner.

Plan accordingly.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Mayor Emanuel Ally: Property tax hike likely.” WGN News Desk. 10 Mar. 2015. (http://wgntv.com/2015/03/10/mayor-emanuel-ally-property-tax-hike-likely/). 10 Mar. 2015.

Dardick, Hal. “Emanuel ally: Property tax hike likely in second term.” Chicago Tribune. 9 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-emanuel-ally-says-property-tax-likely-in-second-term-20150309-story.html). 10 Mar. 2015.

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes No Comments

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Yet Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Chicago’s financial health is still pretty bleak in 2015.

Almost one year ago to this day, I blogged about bond credit rating giant Moody’s Investor Service downgrading the City of Chicago’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3 billion of GO and sales tax debt. I added last March:

According to Moody’s, “Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

Just before the weekend, Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating yet again. The Global Credit Research division announced on the Moody’s website under “Ratings News” Friday:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Baa2; maintains negative outlook

Baa2 applies to $8.3B of GO debt, $542M of sales tax debt, and $268M of motor fuel tax debt

New York, February 27, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 the rating on the City of Chicago, IL’s $8.3 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt, $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt, and $268 million of outstanding or authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt. We have also downgraded to Speculative Grade (SG) from VMIG 3 the short-term rating on the city’s outstanding Sales Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds, Variable Rate Series 2002. The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative…

“The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative”

Kind of hard to get excited about the “Windy City’s” prospects after reading that.

To be fair, some are suggesting the credit rating downgrades are being influenced by City Hall in order to avoid meeting certain financial obligations (i.e., Chicago’s well-publicized public pension crisis).

“We ain’t got it.”

You can read the entire Moody’s press release on their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Are Expandable Batons Legal In Chicago, Illinois? (2015 Update)

On January 19, I started reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools for the new year. That day, I blogged about the legality of pepper spray in Chicago.

Today, I’m going to look at if collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons are legal in Chicago, Illinois.

Like with that pepper spray post, let’s start at the top. Looking at the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Criminal Offenses, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, “ARTICLE 24. DEADLY WEAPONS”:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or
(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character…

No specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But there’s also this:

13) Carries or possesses on or about his or her person while in a building occupied by a unit of government, a billy club, other weapon of like character, or other instrument of like character intended for use as a weapon. For the purposes of this Section, “billy club” means a short stick or club commonly carried by police officers which is either telescopic or constructed of a solid piece of wood or other man-made material.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From my research on this subject, I’ve encountered instances where collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons have also been referred to as “billy clubs” (like above) and “bludgeoning devices.” Keep that in mind going forward.

Since Chicago is part of Cook County, let’s next look at the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Part I- GENERAL ORDINANCES, Chapter 58- OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS, ARTICLE VI. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE, Sec. 58-172. – Disorderly Conduct:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly…
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle…

Once again, no specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But “bludgeon” makes an appearance.

Finally, let’s see what the City of Chicago has on the books regarding these batons. From the Municipal Code of Chicago, TITLE 8 OFFENSES AFFECTING PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE, CHAPTER 8-24 FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS, 8-24-020 Sale or possession of deadly weapons:

(a) No person shall sell, offer for sale, keep, possess, purchase, loan or give to any person any bludgeon, blackjack, slung shot, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles, or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, switchblade knife or ballistic knife; provided that this subsection shall not apply to the purchase, possession or carrying of a black- jack or slung shot by a peace officer.

Nothing specific. But there’s “bludgeon” again.

So are collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons legal in Chicago?

While not mentioned specifically in the Illinois Criminal Code, the Cook County Code of Ordinances, and the Municipal Code of Chicago, should the authorities want to prosecute an individual purchasing, possessing, selling, etcetera a collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic baton in the city of Chicago, it should surprise no one if the device is equated with a “billy club” or “bludgeon.” In which case, that individual could be in a lot of trouble.

Next time, I’ll be discussing knives in Chicago.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

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Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 Legal, Non-Lethal Weapons, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago Reader: Did Rahm Emanuel Deliver On Public Safety Campaign Promises?

The Chicago Reader has done a terrific job lately of keeping a tab on public safety in Chicago. And yesterday, the Reader website ran an article entitled “Did Rahm live up to his campaign promises on public safety?” Mick Dumke wrote:

During his first campaign for mayor four years ago, Rahm Emanuel kept talking about police.

He noted as often as he could that his uncle had been a cop on Chicago’s north side. He boasted of his role in crafting the Clinton administration’s 1994 crime bill that funded the hiring of 100,000 police officers nationwide.
And, as the centerpiece of his public safety plan, he vowed to find the money to add 1,000 more officers to Chicago’s force. He said this would prevent crime and improve relationships with the community.

“Police officers will become a presence in the neighborhood rather than only available in response to emergency,” he said.

But within weeks of taking office, Emanuel stopped talking about hiring cops. Instead, over the course of his first term, the number of officers on the force dropped from about 10,900 to 10,600. And the mayor responded to violent crime not by investing in community policing but by calling for stricter gun laws and blaming legislators who balked.

The result after four years: crime totals have fallen, as they have across the country. But Chicago still has more violent crime per capita than New York or Los Angeles, with an average of seven people shot every day…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A real insightful piece, which can be read in its entirety on the Chicago Reader website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 Credit, Government, Gun Rights, Public Safety No Comments

Is Pepper Spray Legal In Chicago, Illinois? (2015 Update)

Last Wednesday, I blogged that I’d begin reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools starting this week.

Even though Survival And Prosperity addressed the subject of pepper spray or OC spray (from “oleoresin capsicum”) some time back, here’s a question I still keep hearing asked:

“Is pepper spray legal in Chicago, Illinois?”

To find out, let’s start at the top- meaning the State of Illinois. Looking at the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Criminal Offenses, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, “ARTICLE 24. DEADLY WEAPONS”:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(3) Carries on or about his person or in any vehicle, a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any object containing noxious liquid gas or substance, other than an object containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry in the state of Illinois- so long as the individual carrying it is “18 years of age or older.”

Now let’s turn to Cook County. Here’s something I was just made aware of recently. From the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Part I- GENERAL ORDINANCES, Chapter 58- OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS, ARTICLE VI. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE, Sec. 58-172. – Disorderly Conduct:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly:
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry in Cook County, Illinois- so long as the individual carrying it is “18 years of age or older” (per the State of Illinois), does not carry it “in a threatening or menacing manner,” or “conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle.”

That last bit about concealing about the person or vehicle is bound to raise some eyebrows, I’m guessing.

Mace Pepper Foam

Finally, here’s what the City of Chicago has on the books regarding pepper (OC) spray. From the Municipal Code of Chicago, TITLE 8 OFFENSES AFFECTING PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE, CHAPTER 8-24 FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS, 8-24-020 Sale or possession of deadly weapons:

(e) No person shall carry on or about his person or in any vehicle, a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any object containing noxious liquid gas or substance, other than an object containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older; provided that this subsection shall not apply to any person listed in section 5/24-2(a)(1)-(14) of the Criminal Code, 720 ILCS 5/24-2(a).

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this under 8-24-045 Noxious gas or liquid:

(a) No person shall use any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined in Section 8-20-010 of this Code, engaged in law enforcement activity. As used in this section, “noxious gas or liquid” means mace, pepper spray or any other substance that is intended or designed to cause irritation to the eyes, nose or mouth, or to cause nausea.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So Is pepper spray legal in Chicago, Illinois?

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry- so long as the individual carrying it:

• Is “18 years of age or older” (per the State of Illinois)
• Does not carry it “in a threatening or menacing manner” or “conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle” (per Cook County)
• Shall not use “any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room” (per the City of Chicago)

Next time, I’ll be looking at expandable/collapsible/retractable batons and their legality in Chicago.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

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Chicago-Area Legality Of Self-Defense Tools Revisited

“That’s why my attitude has changed to, fuck the citizens.
When you need help people, call a protester.
My check will still come every 1st and 16th of the month.”

-Comment left on Second City Cop blog post, December 24, 2014

In the future, I see a myriad of problems for Chicagoland residents when it comes to police protection. The source will be economic in nature, with the “thin blue line” getting stretched more than most can imagine as Chicago-area police agencies see their budgets slashed significantly with the next financial crisis.

I’d argue this situation has already arrived. Look at the Chicago Police Department and all the spin that’s being deployed and goal posts being moved by City Hall because of financial difficulties in achieving/maintaining a fully-manned police department.

I predict work conditions will also steadily deteriorate. De-policing and work stoppages could very well accompany this slide as law enforcement officers inevitably take stock of their situation.

Police activity could also decrease if certain politicians, race agitators, the mainstream media, and other self-interested parties continue to support and spotlight the police haters in our society. Just to give you an idea of how much attention is being given to these “squeaky wheels making lots of noise,” the Rolling Stone magazine website ran a piece on December 16 entitled:

“Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World”

And under the headline was this:

“It’s time to start imagining a society that isn’t dominated by police”

“It’s time to start imagining…” That pretty much summed up the piece right there.

Anyway, the point of this post is to announce that in light of what I see coming down the pipeline regarding police protection in and around the “Windy City,” I will be reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools.

Regular readers may recall that I pulled up information on the legality of such personal protection devices as expandable batons, knives, firearms, and pepper spray in Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois starting around Halloween 2013. But seeing as new laws keep being added to the books, and in light of the personal safety challenges I think are ahead of us, now is the perfect time to revisit this material.

We’ll get started next week…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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‘Earthquake Lady’ Lucy Jones Helps L.A. Prepare For ‘Big One’

The first time I mentioned Dr. Lucy Jones- aka the “Earthquake Lady”- on this blog was back on December 12, 2013. Back then, the U.S. Geological Survey seismologist was warning whoever would listen that when the “Big One” hits Southern California (59 percent chance of 7.8-magnitude San Andreas earthquake in next 30 years), the damage could be much greater and last much longer than most might imagine. But over the past year, Jones was busy helping the City of Los Angeles prepare for such a tremblor. Andrew Romano reported on the Yahoo! News website on December 12, 2014:

Her name was Lucy Jones — and as the driving force behind [L.A. Mayor Eric] Garcetti’s report, she may one day be remembered as the crusader who did more to save the earthquake-prone city of Los Angeles than anyone else. First by showing people like [L.A. Councilman Gil] Cedillo that the Big One could be 1,000 times worse than they think — and now by showing them that it doesn’t have to be.

“We can never make L.A. perfectly safe,” Jones tells Yahoo News. “But if we follow all of these recommendations, I think we will have avoided the economic collapse. I think we’ll be able to get the city up and running pretty quickly after the big earthquake. And that’s all I want.”

Jones pauses. “I’ve been looking at these problems for a third of a century,” she finally says. “This is the biggest step I’ve ever seen.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve been meaning to share this piece with Survival And Prosperity readers- particularly those in Southern California- for a while now. It’s an insightful read about Dr. Jones, what Los Angeles is doing to prepare for the “Big One,” and how devastating a quake of that magnitude could be for the region and country.

You can read the entire article on the Yahoo! News website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago, Cook County, Illinois Residents: ‘Sacrifice’ Looming

A lot less government services. Much higher fees, fines and taxes.

An outcome I see for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents down the road.

And based on comments made by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday, our destination is in sight. Governor Rauner said in his inaugural speech Monday:

We have an opportunity to accomplish something historic: to fix years of busted budgets and broken government; to forge a path toward long-term prosperity and a brighter future; to make Illinois the kind of state others aspire to become, a national leader in job growth and education quality.

To achieve that will require sacrifice. Sacrifice by all of us- politicians and interests groups, business and labor, those who pay for government and those who depend on government’s services. Each person here today and all those throughout the state will be called upon to share in the sacrifice so that one day we can again share in Illinois’s prosperity. We all must shake up our old ways of thinking…

The 42nd governor added later on in his address:

Illinois is our home- and right now our home is hurting. But home and family are worth sacrificing for… worth fighting for. Together, let’s do the hard work to rebuild our home…

“Sacrifice.” Call me crazy, but something tells me the burden of bailing out the “Land of Lincoln” won’t be falling upon the backs of the rich and powerful.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also gave a speech yesterday in which she hinted at county residents having to make future sacrifices. John Byrne reported on the Chicago Tribune website Monday:

Preckwinkle gave a speech to the City Club of Chicago about her first-term achievements and laid out a blueprint for her second four years in office. Asked afterward about the likelihood she will be forced to raise taxes, Preckwinkle said only that it will be “a challenge” to meet the county’s financial obligations.

“We have significant challenges, both around the spike in our debt obligations and our pension obligations, and my charge to our chief financial officer is that he has to do everything he can to be creative in figuring out how to address these problems,” she said…

Preckwinkle crafted a $4 billion budget for 2015 that includes no new taxes, fines or fees. She has warned that the 2016 budget will be far trickier to balance because debt payments will increase and the county could need to come up with $144 million more to pay into the county workers retirement system if she gets the pension fund changes she has asked for from the General Assembly.

“I can’t predict now, because we don’t even have a pension bill, how much it’s going to cost or what it’s going to take, but it’s going to be a real challenge, I’ll say that,” she said Monday.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Coupled with Chicago’s financial issues, all I can say to Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents at this point in time is- better start figuring out a way to cope with less government services and higher fees/fines/taxes from local and state government in the coming years. The politicians can only kick the can down the road so far.

You can read Governor Rauner’s entire inaugural address on the Chicago Sun-Times website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Byrne, John. “Preckwinkle details 2nd-term plans for Cook County.” Chicago Tribune. 12 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-preckwinkle-second-term-agenda-met-0113-20150112-story.html). 13 Jan. 2015.

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NotifyChicago: The City Of Chicago’s Emergency Alert Program

Back when I was living in Chicago I remember reading that the city had a system in place where residents could receive alerts about emergencies going on.

I never signed up for the program, but if I were still living at my old pad on the Northwest side today, I’d give it a try.

Enter NotifyChicago. Via the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications web page, under “Notification Program Overview”:

NotifyChicago

Notification Program Overview

Welcome to NotifyChicago, the City of Chicago’s tool for providing residents with direct emergency and non-emergency information. NotifyChicago is a city service that supplies residents with text messages and/or e-mail alerts for incidents/conditions such as severe weather emergencies, hazardous materials, traffic impacts, etc. Preparedness and being informed is key in an emergency. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) urges residents to subscribe to receive alerts sent directly to mobile phones or email accounts to stay informed. Signing up for NotifyChicago is FREE. However, depending on your service plan, you may be charged for messages and data on your devices. Contact your mobile service provider for details on costs in your plan.

How Does Notify Chicago Work?

In the event of an emergency, the city’s designated personnel will send text messages and/or e-mail alerts directly to the registered phones or email accounts using this NotifyChicago system. Non-emergency alerts may be issued for traffic disruptions to keep public informed of related major street closures or events impacting traffic. Those registering for texts/emails can choose to receive both emergency and non-emergency notifications or just emergency notices. Once registered, alerts will be sent to the mobile phone/email address designated as situations arise…

NotifyChicago sounds like a terrific tool for a Chicago worker, resident, and visitor to have access to during an emergency. I tried to find out if Cook County and the State of Illinois had similar emergency alert programs, but didn’t see any advertised on their respective web sites (I plan to investigate more).

Interested in finding out more about NotifyChicago? Head on over to the program site here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Project Prepper, Part 32: Security First

Back in Project Prepper, Part 9 (dated February 27, 2013), I talked about the 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness efforts for this series of posts would focus on. Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast (the originator of this list of needs) had “Food” at the top. I wrote:

My gut feeling tells me right now I should be focusing on “Security” before other needs. Why’s that? Because this latest push for more gun “control” that’s going on in America right now could end up limiting my access to a number of tools and other accessories that I could use to construct an effective security setup.

The push for more gun “control” in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting was substantial. And certain firearms, ammunition, and accessories fast became scarce. That being said, federal legislation calling for ammunition magazine and gun bans did not become law. Even so, the availability of certain items (.22 LR ammo comes to mind here) is still affected here at the beginning of 2015.

Regrettably, I believe that another mass shooting on the level of Newtown will happen again here in America. After which, there will undoubtedly be another significant push for gun “control,” and shortages of certain guns and ammo will take place once again. Taking into consideration that I also suspect firearm availability/ownership will be seriously curtailed when the nation’s “financial reckoning day” arrives (along with major civil strife), readers might understand why I’ve made “Security” my top “innate survival need.”

Now, gun “control” is a phenomenon that I am all too familiar with. When I wrote Project Prepper, Part 9, I was living at “ground zero” for gun “control” in America at that time- Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

Regular readers know that I’ve since moved out of the city and to the suburbs.

However, I still reside in Cook County (for the time being, at least), and as such, am subject to its considerable firearm restrictions.

Despite the setbacks of 2013 and last year, anti-gun sentiment remains strong in the county and in this part of the state. While the relentless push for more gun “control” has been somewhat quiet after the November 2014 election and through the holidays, activity will no doubt pick up again soon. And the next time a major mass shooting takes place in America, I expect legislation banning particular semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines to be introduced in the Illinois General Assembly probably before the smoke has even cleared. Trust me- it’s ready. While such a state-level ban wouldn’t mean a whole lot to me (Cook County already has an “Assault Weapon” Ban and 10-round ammunition magazine restriction in place), who’s not to say the County goes even further in the wake of such a tragedy and attempts to ban the future acquisition/possession of semi-automatic firearms, for example? Maybe there won’t even be a grandfather clause, and all semi-autos would now be illegal?

Yep. “Security” remains numero uno on my list of “innate survival needs.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 79

Not really surprised to hear of the following coming out of the “Big Apple.” Larry Celona, Shawn Cohen, and Bruce Golding reported over on the New York Post website last night:

It’s not a slowdown — it’s a virtual work stoppage.

NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety, The Post has learned…

Angry union leaders have ordered drastic measures for their members since the Dec. 20 assassination of two NYPD cops in a patrol car, including that two units respond to every call.

It has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A number of observers claim Bill de Blasio ran his campaign for Mayor of New York City on an anti-police platform.

And he was subsequently elected.

It’s also been pointed out that anti-cop sentiment could be found among/around de Blasio staffers. Chuck Ross reported on the Daily Caller website on December 23:

Kicy Motley, the director of the Brooklyn community affairs unit working for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, has a history of making anti-cop statements, and Rachel Noerdlinger, the former chief of staff to de Blasio’s wife, lived with a convicted killer who has expressed a deep dislike for police officers…

I guess it could be argued that the New York Police Department is merely providing the kind of policing a number of de Blasio supporters and residents have been asking for- in a sense.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure the majority of New Yorkers don’t support the cop haters (it’s one thing to peacefully protest against perceived police brutality- it’s another to foster, promote, and carry out violence against law enforcement officers).

In the case of NYC, I think it’s a matter of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Although New York’s Finest might emphasize a different saying with respect to the ongoing work slowdown:

“Elections have consequences.”

Indeed they do.

Should make for an interesting New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Hope the bad guys/terrorists don’t take advantage of the situation though…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Celona, Larry, Cohen, Shawn, and Golding, Bruce. “Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage.” New York Post. 29 Dec. 2014. (http://nypost.com/2014/12/29/arrests-plummet-following-execution-of-two-cops/). 30 Dec. 2014.

Ross, Chuck. “FLASHBACK: De Blasio Aide Tweeted ‘F***. The. Police,’ Another Dated Anti-Cop Ex-Con.” The Daily Caller. 23 Dec. 2014. (http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/23/flashback-de-blasio-aide-tweeted-f-the-police-another-dated-anti-cop-ex-con/). 30 Dec. 2014.

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Chicago On Track For Fewest Murders In Nearly 50 Years, But Concerns About Crime Grow

As each year draws to a close, the Chicago media routinely compares the city’s crime numbers to years past. At the end of 2014, the talk is all about the murders- or lack thereof. Michael Lansu reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website this morning:

Chicago could record its lowest murder total in nearly five decades for the second consecutive calendar year, despite an increase in shootings in 2014.

Chicago Police reported 390 murders through Dec. 20… There have been at least 10 additional homicides and one fatal police shooting since then…

The numbers represent a 2 to 4 percent decrease in killings from 2013, and a 19 to 20 percent decrease from the unusually high 2012, when there were 504 murders. It would be fewest killings in any year since the 397 slayings in 1965…

“While the data shows Chicago has seen the fewest murders and lowest crime rate in decades, the ultimate measure of our success is how our residents feel in their communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “The ultimate measure of our success is how our residents feel in their communities…”

So how do Chicago residents “feel” in their communities?

David Heinzmann and Rick Pearson analyzed the results of an August 2014 Chicago Tribune poll of 800 registered Chicago voters and wrote on the Tribune website on August 16:

Concern about crime was represented by an increase in the percentage of voters who said they consider their neighborhood less safe since Emanuel became mayor. A total of 27 percent of voters said they considered themselves to be less safe where they live, compared with 20 percent a year earlier. The percentage of those who said their neighborhood was the same as before Emanuel dropped from 68 percent to 61 percent

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s possible such sentiment has changed in the four-and-a-half months since that survey. But I doubt it considering the regular reports of city-related crime these days on the local evening news and elsewhere.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Lansu, Michael. “Chicago’s 2014 murder total on track for another low, but shootings rise.” Chicago Sun-Times. 27 Dec. 2014. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/7/71/237495/behind-line-chicagos-2014-murder-track-another-low). 27 Dec. 2014.

Heinzmann, David and Pearson, Rick. “Emanuel hounded by crime issue.” Chicago Tribune. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-rahm-emanuel-crime-met-0817-20140817-story.html#page=1). 27 Dec. 2014.

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Sunday, December 28th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

‘Multiple Fights’ Close Chicago’s Navy Pier And Winter WonderFest

Just saw the 10 PM news broadcast on Chicago’s Channel 7. Looks like the area’s feral kids were out enjoying the nice weather tonight- and stirring up trouble. According to the ABC affiliate’s website:

A brawl broke out at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest on Chicago’s lakefront Friday night, with at least one person taken to a local hospital.

Police are offering few details, but witnesses described complete pandemonium around 8 p.m. before police and security told everyone Navy Pier was closed.

Witnesses said there were multiple fights breaking out among multiple groups of teenagers and then people started running for the exits…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Brawl at Navy Pier”
Channel 7 Video

According to the latest reports coming in from the various Chicago news outlets covering this breaking story, as many as 200 individuals may have been involved in the fracas.

Several have been arrested, and one juvenile has been hospitalized.

It’s one thing when this nonsense is taking place on downtown streets.

But it’s another when the actions of these youths actually close down a major tourist venue like Navy Pier and an event like Winter WonderFest, billed as “Chicago’s biggest and best indoor winter playground.”

Like I wrote on this blog back on May 4, 2011:

If City Hall “loses” downtown to the bad guys- or, in this case, bad boys and girls- you lose the tourists, their money, revenue… you get the point.

You listenin’ Rahm?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Brawl Breaks Out At Navy Pier’s WonderFest.” Channel 7. 26 Dec. 2014. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/brawl-breaks-out-at-navy-piers-wonderfest/452065/). 26 Dec. 2014.

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Friday, December 26th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments


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