Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Transit Group Concerned About a CTA Credit Card

CTA will pay Cubic Transportations Systems a monthly fee plus a fee per “tap” or paid fare" - "over the life of the 12-year contract"

Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders
For Information: Charles Paidock (312) 714-7790, (312)
Kevn Peterson (773) 896-8126
Citizens Taking Action, an organization of transit dependent riders, is concerned about implementation of the CTA's new "open" transit fare system, using a debit/credit card, which was simply announced last September as a press release, without any public hearings.  CTA apparently simply approved an agreement with a private company at a monthly meeting of their board.  The contract will pay the company a monthly fee plus a fee per "tap" or paid fare, over the life of a 12 year contract.

CBS 2’s News reported that "one of the companies behind the new card gets an F rating from the Better Business Bureau."

The transit group has affiliated with Privatization Watch: Illinois (PWIL) which works to expose the dangers of, and to stop the spread of, public-private partnerships (PPPs) such as this, as well as Mayor Emanuel's plans for an infrastructure trust.

PWIL points out that when other transit systems that have entered into such pubic-private partnerships, the results were disasterous.  In England, the London Underground’s PPP, for example, is called "biggest transport fiasco of our time."

Charles Paidock, Secretary of the group, stated:  "It is very, very dangerous to allow a private company to have access to the fare box on each bus, and at each el station, which is what CTA is doing.  These companies like nothing better than to have a "steady revenue stream" of money coming in each day.  On top of this, CTA gives them money up front to set in place this operation, apparently $454 million.  You're letting a private company collect passenger revenue, and it doesn't put one bus on the street, or a train on the track.  I thnk we're only beginning to see the start of this story."

Keven Peterson said:  "You are expecting us to trust CTA with access to our personal banking information, our credit cards, our debit cards, and expect nothing bad to happen?  Leave it up to CTA pick the worst company to partner with.  There were no open pubic hearings about any of this.  It's just the status quo with how CTA operates.  Are we expected to just trust them to all do their jobs?  And when something bad happens we're all supposed to be surprised, and CTA will not have seen it coming.  Do you trust CTA with all your personal banking information?  I don't."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" comes to Humboldt Park

Puerto Rican Cultural Center reports:

Over 700 people crowded into Roberto Clemente Community Academy's auditorium last Friday, February 1 to see a chapter of Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznik's "Untold History of the United States". Principal Marcey Sorenson welcomed those present and after the film, a short panel discussion ensued with Stone, Prof. Kuznik and Prof José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

The panel fielded questions from the audience via index cards filled out after the film. The panelists took turns addressing the questions and all of them talked about the possibilities of the future of struggle in the US. The activity like the press conference and Meet and Greet the next day were part of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center 40th Anniversary series.

To end, both Prof Kuznik and Oliver Stone were gifted mementoes of the occasion, a poster of the Puerto Rican flag and to Oliver Stone, a Free Oscar López t-shirt, a fitting gift from a community of struggle.

We Are One Illinois Statement on Governor Pat Quinn's State of the State Address

The following statement was issued by the We Are One Illinois coalition in response to Governor Pat Quinn's 2013 State of the State speech:

"Governor Pat Quinn presented a false choice today between funding pensions or funding vital services, like education and public safety. We present a different choice. Our plan would generate billions in revenue, share in the sacrifice, and should not be overlooked. Public workers and retirees alone cannot solve decades of the state's pension under-funding.

It would be irresponsible for the state to walk away from the pension debt owed for past services performed by employees. Our Illinois keeps its promises to those workers and retirees who taught our children, protected our families, and paid their fair share for a secure future, even as the state failed to generate sufficient revenue to do so.

We are ready to be part of the solution, and we look to renew this commitment at our summit.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Come home, Mr. President

Rainbow PUSH Coalition

February 4, 2013

Chicago is in a state of emergency. Lives are being lost. Fear is growing. Local officials, ministers and community activists are working diligently but cannot break the cycle. We’re seeing more than one funeral a day. Our children are traumatized. Many are afraid to go to school.

In this crisis, we need the president’s leadership. President Obama can provide the knowledge, vision and inspiration to bring us together to address the crisis. He can speak to the children to calm their fears.

Mr. President, as you know, last week, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student who performed in your inaugural ceremonies as a majorette, was murdered, slain when a gunman shot randomly into a group of kids gathered in a neighborhood park less than one mile from your home.

Last year in Chicago, more than 500 lives were lost to gun violence, 175 of those lives under the age of 18. As you know, Mr. President, we don’t make the guns here, they are imported — just as the drugs are imported and the jobs are exported. Children are at risk as a result. Eyewitnesses are too frightened to cooperate. Police brutality has eroded trust. Even those with strong families and strong discipline like Hadiya’s are too often the victims of this emergency.

The threat of violence accompanies the blight of misery. Less than 10 percent of low-income, minority teens in Chicago are employed. The wages of those who have jobs are not keeping up. Hadiya was attending the elite Martin Luther King College Prep High School and headed to college. But too many children are devastated by poverty and dropping out of school, headed to the streets.

The recession has destroyed homes as well as jobs. With mass foreclosures, plywood boards replace windowpanes. Abandoned homes shelter not families, but the desperate. Neighborhoods decline with the loss of hospitals, the closing of schools.

Mr. President, you inspired America with your inaugural call to honor the promise of Martin Luther King. In Newtown and in your gun-violence proposals, you have shown the courage it requires to lead.

After Hadiya’s shooting, more police were pledged to patrol the streets. But as you know from your time on these streets, Mr. President, you cannot police poverty. You cannot police broken dreams or shattered aspirations. Chicago has strong gun laws, but it cannot stop the flow of guns and drugs coming in and jobs going out.

You can issue the summons to America to face this challenge. You can reassure these children that America cares for them and values them, knowing, as you said in your inaugural address, that we are “true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”

We know the fierce resistance you face in Washington, where powerful lobbies already are lining up to block gun-violence reforms. Yet, you have moved forward on gun violence, knowing that the summons to Americans is the first step toward overcoming those standing in the way.

So, too, it is with the crisis of Chicago and our cities. The resistance is clear. But by summoning the country to act, by showing the children that this country cares, you can make the first step toward action. You can ensure that Hadiya’s tragic death contributes not to a continuing spiral of violence, but to the first steps of renewal.

Come home, Mr. President, your city needs you.