Meeting Minutes ~ September 14, 2022

Meeting began at 7:00pm

Nan welcomed the attendees and those bringing guests introduced their friends.

Committee Updates

Affordable Housing – Kristin Berg and Nan Parson

  • The Affordable Housing Committee has met monthly since 2021.
  • They have produced materials including draft petitions, infographics, social media flyers, and educational fact sheets to be ready for moments when affordable housing is in the spotlight.
  • Representatives from the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus have not been available yet to work with Park Ridge on the comprehensive plan according to an answer at the recent Planning &Zoning Committee meeting.
  • The strategic plan is a tactical blueprint for developing Park Ridge that guides City staff. The comprehensive plan is meant to be a vision for the whole city.

Book Discussion Group – Karen Banks-Lubicz

The group is reading The Overstory by Richard Powers for the next book discussion. Noreen Gayford suggested Gunfight by Ryan Busse for the following book.

Human and Civil RightsCynthia Kater

Cynthia is interested in organizing a group to march locally at the same time as the Women’s March in DC on October 8.

Nan mentioned that Action Ridge will host students from local high schools’ Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) groups in an upcoming meeting. Michael Rabbitt will also be back to talk about the history of lynching and the effects of racial violence through the years until today.  Several members of Action Ridge are also involved in the Maine South Community for Equity (MSCE), a group of committee members that support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Maine South.

Environment

  • A committee rep was not available to speak, but Amy Bartucci discussed the VOTE YES coalition to strengthen Cook County’s forest preserves.
  • The referendum would mean that property taxes would increase by about $20 annually for an average household.
  • More about the effort is at https://www.voteyesforestpreserves.org.

Gun Violence Prevention – Noreen Gayford , Joan Bludeau Lavelle, and Mimi McInerney

  • Noreen and Joan have been involved in many gun violence prevention initiatives since this summer including organizer calls, a WTTW community news conversation, a meeting with Senator Laura Murphy, and a Moms Demand Action post card campaign.
  • The meeting with Senator Murphy helped gain insight into how legislation develops and how important witness slips are to the process.
  • A vote on a measure to ban assault weapons will come up soon; more information to come.
  • One Aim (formerly known as GPAC) has a new mission labeled “Halt the Assault”, need 71 in the House and 36 in the Senate to pass the bill. The GVP team will let us know when to take action in support of the bill to ban assault weapons.

Policing and Criminal Justice – Alissa Goldwasser and Kristen Olson

  • The Coffee with the Chief on July 19 featured a discussion about the Park Ridge Police Department’s response to incidents involving mental health crisis. Geri Silic talked about her role as the Department social worker.
  • The incident involving an off-duty Chicago cop kneeling on the back of a Park Ridge teenager in early July has resulted in felony charges against the cop.
  • District 64’s Board briefly revisited the idea of engaging school resource officers (SROs) for the two middle schools. Community members objected to the lack of information and opportunity to community conversation. The Board ceased discussions at this time.
  • Members of Action Ridge worked with others to begin organizing a workgroup to look at the reasons and possible solutions for the spate of youth-involved nuisance/criminal incidents this year. The effort did not move forward but might be addressed in some way through City government.

Voting and Elections – Pat Lofthouse and Chris Parson

  • Pat overviewed the concept of ranked choice voting and talked about how several municipalities and Alaska have recently used the method in elections.
  • Senator Laura Murphy has sponsored a bill to introduce ranked choice voting in Illinois.
  • If you have moved or need to register the deadline to vote is October 11 by mail, October 23 online, and November 8 (election day) in person. 
  • The Park District referendum for redeveloping the Oakton property is $33 million, which would pay for renovating the ice arena, building a new studio rink, and an indoor turf area. (Chris’ post-meeting edit: The renovation and construction would cause 32 mature trees to be removed.)

Nan announced that Action Ridge is looking for people to form a nominating committee to develop a slate for 2023 officers.

Meeting ended at 8:20pm.

Minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

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