Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Secret Meetings, Public Housing Project, No Public Announcements, Mexican Neighborhood, Arch in Little Village

          SECRET MEETINGS: As President of the Little Village Community Council, I have been asked by many residents, homeowners and local business people in Little Village about a rumor. The rumor is that a public housing project is proposed on the northwest corner at 26th St. & Kostner Ave. in Little Village. The question is why hasn’t Alderman, Ricardo Munoz [22nd], informed the community?
          MY INITIAL RESPONSE was I have not been contacted by Ald. Munoz or anyone involved with this project. I am unaware of it and, more importantly, there have not been any public announcements about the project.
          AS OF THIS DATE, Alderman, Ricardo Munoz [22nd], has not held any public meetings to inform the community about this housing project proposal.
           WHAT I’ve heard is that meetings are being held in Little Village with a select group of people; and the owners of the property are Mercy Housing Inc., based in Denver, Colorado. Also, Linda Brace, Mercy Housing VP of Real Estate Development, has been meeting with members of Enlace, Erie House organizations and others. They are non-residents, non-homeowners and non-business people who are meeting with Brace to gain support for Mercy’s housing project.
          AGAIN, I emphasize, there has not been any public announcements about these meetings by Ald. Munoz, Mercy Housing, Enlace or Erie House; nothing in the Latino newspapers or media. The Little Village Community Council, LV 26TH St. Chamber of Commerce, Manuel Perez Jr. American Legion Post 1017, the Universidad Popular organizations have not been invited to participate in any of these discussions. The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization has expressed some concerns regarding asbestos in the old buildings located on 26th St. & Kostner Ave. property and contamination of the grounds. This location is considered a Brown field site and the correct clean-up is required.
          LIVING in Little Village are predominantly Mexicans. This is a fact, and it cannot be disputed. Little Village is the largest Mexican neighborhood in Chicago and in the Midwest. It is also a fact that Little Village has a viable commercial business strip down 26th Street. Thriving Mexican businesses stretch from Sacramento Ave. west to Kostner Ave. on 26th St. and overflowing onto surrounding streets. Mexicans have an entrepreneurial spirit. The concern of the residents and businesses is the preservation of our Mexican culture.
Historic Mexican Arch in Little Village
          ON WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6, 2013, Alderman Munoz was scheduled be at a Little Village Community Council meeting for the purpose of reporting the housing project to the residents. Munoz never made it to the meeting; a meeting he had committed himself to a week earlier. An hour before the meeting Munoz called me and said he might not be able to attend. He told me he was at an immigration rally downtown and would probably be arrested. I asked him if he was arrested, Munoz said, “Yes, but I will call you back within a half-hour”. He did not call back. Later I found out he was not arrested.
           THE 25 people who anxiously waited for Ald. Munoz at Wednesday’s evening meeting were Little Village residents, business owners, homeowners and others. They all wanted to hear about the Little Village housing project. Even without Munoz’s presence, people expressed their concerns about safety, property value, residency and crime. At the meeting, I read a letter I sent to Linda Brace informing her the position of LVCC; LVCC advocates home ownership.
           PRESENTLY, Little Village residents continue to be in the dark. I heard Ald. Munoz is saying that this issue is “political?!” In reality, this issue is about information and the lack of it. Every homeowner and every business owner in Little Village must always protect their property and investment                 POLITICALLY. As the Alderman, Munoz has an obligation to inform his constituency about this huge project. A project he proposed for the ward. He must not keep this project a secret, but be honest and tell Little Village residents everything he knows about it.
          THE LITTLE Village Community Council wants to host a Public Forum in order for Ald. Munoz to report on the housing project to all of the residents of Little Village. We await Munoz’s reply.

          TO contact Ald. Ricardo Munoz call 773/762-1771.