Meeting Minutes ~ December 14, 2022

Action Ridge General Meeting December 14, 2022.  Meeting began at 7:10 pm. Nan welcomed attendees and Tara Dabney, Director of Development and Communication for the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago.

Membership Report- Kate Kerin

The Membership team met in November and are very happy to report that all current leaders will continue on in 2023.  They are still looking for a Secretary to organize a team to take minutes at meetings.  There are four members who will alternate taking minutes at general meetings.

Gun Violence Prevention Report- Members are urged to complete a witness slip to support House Bill 5855.  See recent Action Ridge emails for more information and a link to complete a witness slip.

Nan reminded members to send letters in support and attend the D64 Board meeting on 12/15.  See recent Action Ridge emails for more information

The Book Club will be meeting on 1/25/2023 to discuss, “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of our Bodies and Hearts” by Resmaa Menakem. 


Tara Dabney gave an excellent presentation about the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago.  Their goal is to reduce shootings and homicides by providing services in the following neighborhoods: Austin, West Garfield Park, Back of the Yards and Brighton Park.

They connect with communities and individuals by offering a variety of programs, including outreach and conflict management, case management, victim services, nonviolence training, and community organizing. They collaborate with local organizations, the Mayor’s office and police.   They also partner with Northwestern and the University of Chicago Crime Lab to evaluate their programs and ensure that their programs eliminate violence in the areas they serve.

Their guiding principle is that healing is possible when we support, uplift, and empower one another. By standing united to bring Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community to life, we can build a more peaceful and just Chicago for everyone.

They currently have a holiday toy drive and Action Ridge members generously contributed over 50 gifts.  We were invited to help wrap gifts on Friday December 16 at 819 N. Leamington St. Chicago starting at 10:00 AM.

For more information about their programs or to make a donation, go to their website:

Meeting concluded at 8:15 PM.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Kate Kerin

Meeting Minutes:  Coffee with the Chief ~ Dec. 5, 2022

Location: Park Ridge Public Library

Meeting Moderator:  Alissa Goldwasser

Guest: Chief Frank Kaminski, Park Ridge Police Department

Attendees:  Noreen Gayford, Joan Bludeau LaVelle, Nan Parson, Ginger Pennington, Chris Parson, Liz Swanson, Lee Joosten, Bill Baty, Shel Neuman and Caroline Kubzansky (reporter for the Herald-Advocate)

Start Time:  2:05

Chris Parson opened the meeting by asking the Chief for his thoughts about the Resolution to ban assault weapons that is being brought forward by the Northwest Metropolitan Conference (NWMC) and was to be discussed at the Park Ridge City Council that evening.  The Chief feels that the Resolution needs further work and clearer wording.

The Chief said that his opinion depends on the final, exact wording, of the Resolution. He thinks that, in general, legislators do not engage in sufficient collaboration with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders during the drafting of legislation, using the Resolution and the Safe T Act as two examples.  He said that the Chiefs of Police are frustrated by the lack of clarity.  The Chief said he had spent the morning reading the trailer bills to the Safe T Act but he had yet to study the Resolution. There’s lots of confusion about both.

Regarding the Safe T Act, the Chief said that he has no problem with the no bail part of the bill. But he would rather that Illinois had followed New Jersey’s example. He believes that their bill is much clearer. The Chief wishes more time had been spent considering the impacts of the bill and wishes that there was a 6-month delay to allow more details and procedures to be worked out before implementation.

Ginger Pennington pointed out that various aspects of the bill were discussed with multiple stakeholders, including Chiefs of Police, over the last 5 years—beginning with the Illinois Supreme Court and a Task Force. The Chief replied that some aspects were discussed but noted that various confusing aspects still needed to be changed, for example, the provision on tazor use, which conflicted with safety instructions from the manufacturers.  He stated that, early on, the Park Ridge Police Department had been considering provisions that are now in the bill.

Each community/Circuit Court District does things differently and the Chief finds this very confusing, as well. He wishes there could have been a chance to do dry runs or to implement the bill in sections. It’s been overwhelming, he said.  He noted that the precise paperwork changes/forms have not been provided for our district.

Alissa Goldwasser asked the Chief to comment on how things were done in Park Ridge before the Act and how they’re done now and how the Act will affect the future. The Chief said that previously the police were the “gate-keepers” during police actions; but now, if a perpetrator isn’t dangerous, isn’t committing a felony, he/she should be released. The local departments have less decision-making power.  For lower-level offences (Class B and C misdemeanors and petty offences), Officers are to issue a ticket at the site rather than bringing offenders into the department. He does not understand how fingerprinting is to be handled for Class B misdemeanors or exactly what counts as proper identification under the new law.

Liz Swanson summarized the problem as being complex, with a lot of vague verbiage. The Chief talked about the problem with trespassing, for example. Now it’s been clarified that the police can bring someone in, if there is a danger to the public or the perpetrator has obvious mental health issues or if they continue to violate the ordinance. He said that this clarification has helped. In the past, the officer tried to deescalate a situation and only take someone in if necessary. This is still the case.

Also, he said that there was so much confusion, since the bill was passed, regarding who can be detained and who can’t. If there’s clarification, the Chief will be happy with trailer bill #3. He still doesn’t understand about press releases, however. Now the police are not allowed to talk about what happened in court. The Chief isn’t clear why there is this limitation and when and if they can issue press releases.

Some departments are concerned about the 3 phone calls requirement. Police Departments worry that the calls could jeopardize a case. Departments often want to delay the process till things can be cleared up; but now an arrestee can call three people right away, perhaps warning others, etc.

There’s also concern about having enough staff to implement this bill. For example, if the police are going to charge a person with a felony, the State’s Attorney’s office must approve the charge (felony review). The Chief said that he has no problem with felony review, that checks and balances are necessary. However, there were once local offices that could be contacted to do the review; but now the office is centralized in Chicago and staffed by people the local departments don’t know. This centralization makes felony review more difficult. Also, there are a lot of inexperienced State’s Attorneys now. The Chief said that checks and balances are good; but we need good people to do it. He worries about inexperienced attorneys having so much responsibility.

Alissa asked how the Chief expected things to go once anonymous complaints against police officers are allowed under the SAFE-T Act as of January 1, 2023. The Chief said that they have always been allowed and still are in Park Ridge. But now that requirement is codified. There is sometimes a need to limit frivolous complaints so sometimes departments have not allowed anonymous complaints. Now all departments are required to allow them.

Noreen Gayford asked how a robbery is handled. She gave as an example, someone robbing a gas station. The Chief said that nothing has changed in a situation such as that. The robber is detained, and a judge decides if the person should continue to be detained, pre-trail. When there’s harm or potential harm to other people, the police are clear that the person will be detained.

Chris Parson asked about the FRO (Firearms Restraining Order)—how has this bill affected that? The Chief said that there hasn’t been much use of the FRO in PR., partly because restraining orders often require the removal of a firearm; so the bill has not affected the use of a FRO in Park Ridge.

The Chief agreed that a person should be 21 in order to be issued a FOID card at the State Level and everyone should be finger-printed. There should be portals for FOIDs and they should be shored up more. Someone asked who’s responsible for removing FOID cards and guns? The Chief replied that removing the card and guns creates a volatile situation. Police do it, if necessary; but it’s risky.

Bill Baty asked if we can prevent people from buying a gun. The Chief said that it’s hard if a person has a FOID card in Illinois. People often go to Indiana to get guns, where the requirements are less strict. That’s why there should be federal laws controlling gun sales. Many states require nothing in order to buy a gun.

The Chief accepts the Act but doesn’t like the lingering points of confusion and speed at which they are required to make changes. Ginger Pennington asked if the difficulties with clarifying the bill, the negative rhetoric, and the spread of disinformation regarding the bill, have created problems for the police and the public at large.  She pointed out that multiple stakeholders have been negatively affected by the vitriol and disinformation that has been spread. 

Also, someone asked whether these caused potential applicants not to want to be policemen and women? The Chief said that the negative rhetoric has caused dissention in many ways and has hurt police recruitment. He and others in the meeting expressed worry about technology taking over if we don’t have enough personnel and if they can’t be safe. We could have “Robocops” someday. Many agreed that the shortfall of not having enough police will not go away. This is a long-term problem.

Ginger said that it would be a win-win situation, for everyone, if there could be less divisive rhetoric and more communication and cooperation among responding agencies (police and other social services). Getting everyone to a center position is tough, however.

The Chief said that he’s proud that the Park Ridge PD is fully staffed—very lucky at the expense of other communities, he realizes, who have more difficulties recruiting candidates. He’s also very happy with the cadette program. Police officers want to come to PR for a variety of reasons, one being because it’s less dangerous than Chicago, particularly.

Shel Neuman, of the Fire and Police Board, talked about why police officers want to work here and how much easier his job is now that the PRPD is fully staffed.

Lee Joosten brought up whether the department conducts safety checks and active shooter drills for officers, schools and other institutions. He cited what happened in Uvalde, Texas as an example of needing to have safety drills; so police are clear about protocol in potentially violent situations. The Chief assured the group that the Park Ridge Police Department does conduct those drills.

The meeting ended on a high note with agreement from the Chief that the Safe-T-Act, once it’s clarified and less confusing, can bring about positive change in law enforcement.  The Chief reiterated that he supports many aspects of The Safe T Act, that his main issues are with the processes.

As the meeting concluded, all in attendance thanked the Chief for taking time to talk to the group and address our questions.

Meeting ended at 3:15

The date of the next Coffee with the Chief is TBD.

Respectfully submitted by Nan Parson, Alissa Goldwasser and Ginger Pennington

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ Nov. 28, 2022

Date: November 28, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:02pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Marilyn Novak, Melani Kaplan, Kathy Rolsing, Kate Kerin, Julianna Lopez de Philbrook, Pat Lofthouse, Molly Phalin

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.
    1. The PZC is discussing Land Use in the Uptown B4 district.  The next PZC meeting is December 13th.
    1. Nan and Kristin met with Mwende Lefler on 11/19 and gave her the AH information sheets.  She was receptive to our thoughts about AH in Park Ridge.  We plan to meet with Alderpersons Biagi and Sanchez, and eventually the mayor in the new year.  Gail Wilkening has apparently chosen not to run again so there will be a new alderperson for the third ward.
  • Action Ridge joining the Chamber of Commerce
    • Cynthia Kater designed an ad for the Chamber newsletter, and it appeared in the latest issue.  Meeting dates will be posted in future issues.
    • Nan, Kristin, and Liz Swanson will meet with Anne Scallon, Chamber Ambassador.  One topic will be to discuss how the Chamber can help us gain visibility in the community.
  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging
    • AH Fact Sheets.   Discuss further revisions.

The Salaries Table will be revised to list the occupations in order of the annual salary, lowest to highest.

  • Collection of written stories of those in PR that need AH.

There was a suggestion to try to find residents that hold jobs listed in the Salaries Table to tell their stories about the difficulty of finding housing they can afford in Park Ridge.  Melani suggested making a video that highlights the stories of need.  It could be made in a way that does not reveal the full identity of the storyteller.  Kathy noted that the Center of Concern can offer help and resources to those living in substandard conditions and others who need it.  There is a full time social worker employed by the city who also might be able to help if people feel comfortable sharing their situations with her.

Kristin will research city code to find out what the regulations are around who and how many people can live in a single family residence.

  • Upcoming Events
    • AR General Meeting December 14th at the Community Church at 7:00pm.  AR will be hosting the Institute for Non-Violence Chicago on Wednesday 12/14.  The Institute for Non-Violence has an approach to ending violence that is hyper-local, restorative, trauma-informed, and rooted in principles of nonviolence.  Our friend Tara who has joined our meetings in the past and some of her colleagues will be with us on the 14th.  Join us on 12/14 to learn more about what the Institute is doing and bring a new toy for children newborns on up to age 17. The Institute is also hosting a wrapping day for those toys, and we are invited!  Be sure to save the date of Friday, 12/16 and look for more details about carpools to the wrapping party.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  We will be meeting on January 25th to discuss “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of our Bodies and Hearts” by Resmaa Menakem . From Goodreads, “In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.” 
  • Time meeting adjourned:  8:23pm
  • Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, January 5th at 7:00pm via ZOOM

Meeting Minutes ~ November 16, 2022

Action Ridge General Meeting

November 16, 2022

Meeting began at 7:10pm.

Nan welcomed the students and sponsors from SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism) and gave a quick overview about Action Ridge. In attendance were three SOAR students from Maine South, two faculty advisors to the Maine South SOAR group, and one faculty advisor to the Maine East SOAR group.

SOAR educates the student population about racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of identity-based discrimination. SOAR also helps students navigate different identities (intersectionality.) They discuss how to address derogatory language, microaggressions, and students using the n-word. The group emphasizes that it is not enough to be “not racist”; the school community needs to be anti-racist.

Maine South SOAR has about 20 members in all. Several recently made a presentation to the School Superintendents Association and the group has been invited to speak at a conference in New York. The groups have interaction with peers at other local schools and recently attended a retreat together.

Maine East SOAR has 8 to 10 members. They enacted change at the school by advocating that students receiving free lunches shouldn’t have to stand in a separate line, which could stigmatize them.

All students at Maine South receive lessons on diversity, equity, and inclusion once a month in their “advisory” group, which meets weekly. The SOAR students did not think that the delivery was particularly effective, though. Smaller groups may be more appropriate.

There is a district equity leadership team (DELT) and each of the schools has a building equity leadership team (BELT). A group of parents/community members has also organized to support the equity initiatives at Maine South (Maine South Community for Equity).

The students shared examples of teachers and students using racist language or behaving in ways that discriminated against students of color. An adult attendee who has a child at Maine South talked about a racist incident that happened at the school to his son who is Black. Both the parent and the students talked about incidents of harassment of students with autism by other students.

The SOAR group had specific examples of how Action Ridge members and other adults in the community can help work towards equity in Park Ridge. They include 1) interrupting biased language or discriminatory actions when they happen, and 2) gathering data about racist incidents in the wider community. The students believe that having this data and presenting it

to the school community would lend weight to their efforts, particularly if it was presented by authoritative figures like elected officials or the police.

There are different layers of teacher training in Maine Township and they are school specific. At Maine South, there is regular training—at the school and department level—about how teachers must act to foster diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, all new teachers go through dedicated training on social and emotional learning and equity. Teachers can opt-in to be part of SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) training, a longer-term in-depth program. However, the amount of training that is mandatory for experienced teachers is limited, due to logistical hurdles and structural barriers. Some teachers are not invested in making change.

Teacher training at Maine South, while robust, could be improved by having champions of DEI represented in more spaces and trainings to disperse the learning. Also, it is most effective and appropriate to have white teachers and teachers of color working together to bring about change.

The school representatives strongly believed that more equity training for teachers is necessary during school hours. The best way community members can advocate for this is to go to school leadership and the school board. In addition, they would like to see more resources (people, space, time) shared across the three Township schools.

Meeting concluded at 8:45pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ October 27, 2022

Date: October 27, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:03pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Marilyn Novak, Melani Kaplan, Kathy Rolsing

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.
    1. We have been told the following by Drew Awsumb:
  2. The city has commenced meetings with both the P&Z Commission (comp plan) and the MMC/IHDA/CMAP team (housing plan) in September and is making some incremental progress.
  3. COMP PLAN | The P&Z Commission started with B-4 district zoning and basically downtown planning for the Uptown area. We’re looking at land use shifts and how that aligns with both our goals, as well as existing B-4 zoning. That was on the agenda in August and September, and it’s on the agenda again Wednesday night.
  4. HOUSING PLAN | We are organizing next steps on MMC’s ( Metropolitan Mayors Caucus) effort, which we anticipate some public presentations and perhaps focus groups. The State of Illinois’s Affordable Housing Planning & Appeal Act requires that the City cannot adopt their affordable housing plan without holding a public hearing, so there will be opportunities for public input, regardless.
  5. I would anticipate the timeline for both projects extends into January and February, and because they are iterative planmaking processes, perhaps into springtime. But they both remain top priorities for the City.
  • The PZC is discussing Land Use in the Uptown B4 district.  A list of potential uses was distributed to the commission.  Nursing homes and assisted living was on the list but not AH per se. 
    • Scot Karstens appointed to the PZC.  Ginger Pennington and Chris Parsons submitted applications but not appointed.
    • Meetings with alderpersons, commissioners.  Bring Fact Sheets.

There was a discussion about the extended timeline for the Comp Plan, but at least the PZC has started talking about it.  Kristin will communicate with the commission about including AH as a permitted use in B4 -perhaps as Supportive Housing, as suggested by Melani.

Nan has offered some dates later in November to the newest alderperson, Mwende Lefler, for a meeting to introduce Action Ridge to her.  The group talked about including the mayor in the list of those to meet with.  Nan and Kristin met with him years ago, but he refused an invitation a couple of years ago when the Comp Plan was under discussion.

  • Action Ridge joining the Chamber of Commerce
    • AR Leaders agreed to join the Chamber.  AR can always resign if there are negative consequences.

Nan submitted the CoC application, and it was accepted.  She was contacted by Ann Scallon, the Chamber’s Ambassador, to see how the Chamber can help AR.  Nan received a copy of the online newsletter which features ads from businesses.  The group talked about what type of ad AR could design for the newsletter.

  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging
    • AH Fact Sheets.   Discuss further revisions.

The Housing Affordability 10.20.22 sheet will be finalized with the addition of Park Ridge’s Affordability Share number as calculated by IHDA, which is 8%.  A sentence in red will be added under the paragraphs about the AHPAA.  The Salaries sheet will be revised to include only 1 teacher salary (that for Elementary Teacher), and additions of administrative assistant, municipal employee, and grocery store worker.  Columns will be added for the rent amount and home price each worker category can afford at 30% of their income.

  • Collection of written stories of those in PR that need AH.

We will continue to collect brief written stories from those looking for affordable housing in Park Ridge.

  • LWV representative’s 2nd meeting on Monday 10/24 to address local housing needs and initiatives.
    • Each attendee is to report back with 2 goals to locally move the needle on AH forward.  Goals for LWVPR:
      • Park Ridge filing a Housing Plan with the state
      • Language in the Comprehensive Plan that encourages the expansion of housing options in Park Ridge and the inclusion of clear objectives to increase diversity in housing options.

Kristin gave a report on the second regional LWV Housing Coalition.  Each attendee talked about AH issues they face in their towns.  Like Park Ridge, some other towns are revising their Comp Plans, others are looking for ways to increase AH, even in those municipalities that have over 10% AH.  The LWV Glenview points out long waiting lists for the AH they do have and would like to see developers pay into an AH fund to help finance additional AH.  Funding could come in the form of a tear-down fee or donation of land.  Besides multifamily AH, communities could buy small homes and put them into a Land Trust, making them available to those with lower incomes.  We also talked about further strengthening of the AHPAA by making the enforcement mechanism by the Attorney General more explicit and possibly come up with a state formula that looks at cost-burdening rather than only a percentage of total housing units (the current formula).  Kathy Cortez (Palatine) will look into this further with legislative reps such as Ann Gillespie, State Senator from the 27th District, who sponsored the latest revision of the Act.

The group encouraged Kristin to talk to local officials – whoever is in the position of getting something done for AH and supported our decision to wait until AH is on the PZC agenda before circulating our petition and other informational materials to the public.  Everyone agreed that collecting stories from those who need AH is key to persuading those in power to act.

Kathy created a Google Drive for the members to post progress and share information.

The next meeting is January 9th on ZOOM.

  • Upcoming Events
    • AR General Meeting November 16th at the Community Church at 7:00pm.  There will be conversations with the SOAR groups from our local high schools. 
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  We will be meeting on Wed., Nov. 30 to discuss “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery across America” by Clint Smith.  Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks, ”those that are honest about the past and those that are not” that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.
    • Donate to Asylum Seekers.  There is a city-wide effort in Des Plaines to collect donations, and there is one at Maine West High School specifically to support new families there. The list of items needed and locations to donate to can be found at:  Please help these newly arrived families!
  • Time meeting adjourned:  8:30pm
  • Next Meeting Date:  Monday, November 28th at 7:00pm via ZOOM

Meeting Minutes ~ October 12, 2022

Meeting began at 7:07pm

Nan welcomed the attendees and introduced Michael Rabbit and Leon Reed, presenting on their recent visit to the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Museum and Memorial opened in April 2018. The project was spearheaded by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Lynching maintained white supremacy. As a country, we don’t talk about it. The memorial was designed to document the terror and to remember the thousands of Black people who were murdered for alleged acts that were seen to challenge white power in even the most trivial of ways.

More than 4,000 people were lynched between 1877 and 1950. Hanging was common, but people were lynched in other horrible, highly-visible ways.

Michael and Leon shared photographs of the Memorial and talked about the powerful impact it had on them. Participants engaged in small-group discussions to reflect on questions evoked by the experience of the Memorial: What do we know about lynching? Why were we not taught this history? How is racial terror present today? How do we heal? What is our call to action?

As part of the Memorial’s mission, communities across the United States are encouraged to memorialize the people who were lynched on their soil with a site marker and a larger monument housed in a place conducive for reflection. In Cook County, a man named William Bell was lynched in 1924 on property now owned by UIC. The County is working with UIC and the DuSable Museum of African American History to be part of the Remembrance Project.

Michael showed the following videos during the presentation:

Why Build a Lynching Memorial?

Photographing the Memorial

Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration

Meeting ended at 8:20pm.

Minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ September 29, 2022

Date: September 29, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:03pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Jeanne Wells, Kathy Rolsing, Kate Kerin, Chris Parson

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.

There was a discussion about the delay by the city to begin work/hearings on the Comp Plan and Housing Plan (to be filed with the state).  The last correspondence with Drew Awsumb (July 2022) noted work with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) was to begin in September, with other preparatory work ongoing.  There has been no mention of this in public meetings.  We want to start talking with officials about AH sooner rather than later.  Two action items came out of this:

  1. Kristin will email Drew Awsumb for the latest updates/timeline and confirm that 2 people can meet with 1 official at a time and it will not violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA).
    1. Nan and Kristin or other members of this group and Action Ridge will meet with officials, especially the newer ones, to introduce them to the principles of Action Ridge and providing educational resources and information about AH.
  • Action Ridge joining the Chamber of Commerce

Most of the group is in favor of Action Ridge joining.  Chris Parson stated that there could be times when the Chamber might oppose what we are advocating for and that could set up an unfavorable situation.  Kathy mentioned that the Chamber rarely takes a formal position on issues so it should be a moot point.  She pointed out that John McNabola, ED of the Center of Concern, is on the board. Kristin stated that there are other nonprofits, community groups, and churches that are members, not just businesses.

Reasons to join include:

  1. Higher visibility for AR within the community
    1. The Community Guide is mailed to every household in PR
    1. Access to the member email list
    1. New residents could find AR as they are looking for engagement opportunities
  2. The Chamber puts out a weekly newsletter that AR could advertise events in
  3. Alerts and updates on the Chamber website
  4. Networking opportunities at lunches, events that gives AR a chance to talk to other community members about issues important to us

It was decided that Nan will ask the Action Ridge leaders to discuss the issue and come to a consensus on whether or not to join the Chamber.

  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging
    • AH Fact Sheets.   Discuss revisions.

The group went through the fact and information sheets distributed prior to the meeting and made some edits.  The Park Ridge Housing Facts will be reduced to 1 page with a couple of the US facts from page 3 combined with page 2.  The first page has been converted to a pdf and will be a stand-alone for Park Ridge specific information that will continue to be updated.  The Salary information sheet will be edited to include hospital workers such as medical technicians, and teachers at Kathy’s suggestion.  Kate suggested Glassdoor as another source to obtain salary information (besides Ziprecruiter).

We agreed that personal stories that we have gathered are especially important and that we should begin to get them in writing.  The most effective presentation will be if the residents will speak at a public meeting, but some may, understandably, be reluctant to do so.

  • LWV representatives met 8/15 to discuss the possibility of creating an informal coalition of our local leagues to address local housing needs and initiatives.
    • Each attendee is to report back with 2 goals to locally move the needle on AH forward.  Proposed goals to LWVPR:
      • Park Ridge filing a Housing Plan with the state
      • Language in the Comprehensive Plan that encourages the expansion of housing options in Park Ridge and the inclusion of clear objectives to increase diversity in housing options.

The comment was made that it is very positive to have AH issues discussed and promoted by multiple regional groups.  Kristin will attend the next meeting on 10/24 and report back.

  • Upcoming Events
    • AR General Meeting October 12th at the Community Church at 7:00pm.  Michael Rabbitt presentation.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is October 26th at 7:00pm on zoom.  The group will be reading “Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America” by Ryan Busse, suggested by Noreen Gayford of the Gun Violence Prevention Committee.
    • The next Coffee with the Chief is October 18th at 2:00pm at Beer on the Wall.
  • Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:12pm
  • Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, October 27th at 7:00pm via Zoom

Nan Parson Urges City Council to add Affordable Housing, DEI Training, Restorative Justice, and more, to the Park Ridge Strategic Plan

Letter to the City Council

August 15, 2022

Dear Council Members, Commissioners and City Staff, thank you for reading this letter and including it in the city’s record.  My name is Nan Parson.  I have lived in Park Ridge for 52 years and am strongly invested in the well-being of my city. 

I’m writing to encourage our city officials to include wording in the Strategic Plan which will enable Park Ridge to become a more “beloved community” where all feel safe and included.  I suggest that this wording focus on increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Park Ridge and on finding just methods of dealing with acts of violence and hatred in our community.  These two efforts are closely linked.  Where Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are valued, people behave more positively; and a community is a safer and more welcoming place to live.

It should be clear, currently, that our city is not immune from acts of violence and hatred and that people of color sometimes feel unsafe here.  The recent assault of a young, brown teenager by an off-duty policeman is an important example that violence can happen in our town.  There have also been instances of abusive language and destruction of property in our city’s businesses, recreation facilities, schools and library.  Park Ridge is not always the peaceful community that we want it to be. 

The Public Safety section of the plan states that the city will seek to “harmoniously mitigate large, disruptive youth gatherings in the city’s economic centers”.  This is a good beginning.  I hope the “co-champions” assigned to this task will work to discover the causes of these disruptive gatherings, not only in the economic centers but throughout Park Ridge and consider using restorative justice methods to deal with them.  

The Plan’s Mission Statement reads that the city will “enhance..the quality of life”; but no mention is made that the quality of life should be enhanced for all races, creeds, levels of income, ages and abilities. 

The creation of this Strategic Plan offers the opportunity for Park Ridge to show that violence, both physical and verbal, and intolerance for others are not welcome in our town. By assigning city staff to study and make recommendations about these issues, Park Ridge will make clear that we take them seriously.  I recommend that they suggest the following:

  1. Increase affordable housing, which can often enable members of minority groups to live here.
  2. Provide DEI training for all City Staff, elected and appointed officials, residents, and businesses.
  3. Use restorative justice methods to get at the root causes of disruptive physical and verbal attacks and to deal with such behavior.
  4. See that the off-duty policeman who assaulted a young teen-ager be brought to justice.
  5. Plan for more diversity in recruiting and hiring city employees, slating elected officials and in appointing individuals to commissions.

In conclusion, before finalizing and approving the Strategic Plan, I hope the city will add the goals of increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Park Ridge and of finding just methods of dealing with acts of hate and violence throughout the city. 

Once again, thank you for considering my suggestions.

Nan Parson

Co-founder and Chair of Action Ridge

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ August 22, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Marilyn Novak, Jeanne Wells, Melani Kaplan, Beverly Copeland, Bob Burkhart, Mary Elsner

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.

There was a discussion about meeting with elected and appointed officials and what is allowable under the Open Meetings Act.  If one or two people meet with an official to discuss general issues and policies such as housing, it should be ok as long as there is no specific discussion about an item before the commission or council.  There may be some meetings scheduled with the purpose of providing educational resources and information.

  • Mwende Lefler was appointed as 7th Ward Alderman on 7/18/22.
  • Nan’s Letter to City Council regarding the Strategic Plan 

Nan plans to read her letter referencing DEI issues at the 9/6/22 City Council meeting.  Points include: DEI training for city staff; statement that Park Ridge is an open and welcoming community;  there is a need for more AH.

  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging

The group discussed the 2 fact sheets, one with general facts about AH and one more specific to Park Ridge.  Both will be used.  Kristin will work on shortening and formatting the information.  These can be distributed to the public and to city officials as part of an education process.

Action Ridge does not have a formal mechanism to back a “consensus” position but can and does offer educational resources.

  • LWV representatives from regional LWV groups met on 8/15/22 and talked about the current AH issues in their communities.  Resources will be shared among the group and members are tasked with coming up with 2 goals to move the needle forward in their towns.  The next meeting is 10/24/22.
  • Upcoming Events
    • AR General Meeting on September 14th at 7:00pm at the PR Community Church.  Agenda items include: establishment of a Nominating Committee for officer elections in January;  a plan for upcoming elections.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is September 28th at 7:00pm on Zoom.  The group will be reading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. The topic is environmental justice.     
  • Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:16pm
  • Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, September 29th at 7:00pm via Zoom

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.


  • 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

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.