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Pfleger: Give more money to anti-violence programs despite audit

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014

* Pfleger does have a point, but the governor’s anti-violence program is in definite need of a thorough legislative examination

South Side activists denounced “cul-de-sac” critics Monday and called for more cash — not less — for anti-violence programs such as Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger and former state Sen. Alice Palmer were among those who appeared at a news conference at The Ark of St. Sabina in the Gresham neighborhood to support the now disbanded program that was assailed in a blistering audit last month and is now facing a steady drumbeat of negative headlines. […]

“It angers me when people from Lemont and Palatine and Springfield, and suburbs all around Illinois, love to launch their attack on programs that seek to reach the most at-risk youth in our city,” Pfleger said. “It also bothers me that they never come to the South Side or to the West Side to say, ‘What can we do? How can we help? How can we stop this carnage of blood in our streets?’”

Pfleger and others shared troubling statistics — 216 school-age children killed in Chicago in 2010, 92 percent of black male teens unemployed in 2012 — and said success stories within the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative are being ignored, including “thousands of lives that were saved.”

* More

“There are good and bad things about every state program, but why must we always concentrate on the bad when it involves youths on the South and West Sides?” said Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham. “I am sick and tired of people who do not live in our community and have never been to our community telling us what’s good for us.” […]

“Across the state 85 percent of black teens are unemployed. Across the city it is 89 percent,” said Jack Wuest, executive director of the nonprofit Alternative Schools Network, citing a January report by his organization. “Young blacks males in the city living with families earning less than $20,000 a year are 95 percent unemployed. This is an epidemic that has to be addressed in a broader fashion.”

* But

Alice Palmer, a community activist, worked with 80 South Shore youths in programming supported by the initiative in 2010, including some who went on to get further training.

“These young people were well-received by businesses because they brought a positive message,” she said. “We have one young lady who is in nursing school thanks to the training and motivation she received from the neighborhood program.”

* According to an internal e-mail exchange posted by the Sun-Times in its original story, Ms. Palmer apparently knew the guy who allegedly killed his cohort during an alleged home invasion

In a 2012 email, Betts identified Alice Palmer as his organization’s point person in the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative’s Mentoring Plus Jobs program for South Shore, of which Brown and Bufford were a part.

Palmer served in the Illinois Senate, involuntarily relinquishing her seat in 1997 to Barack Obama after being knocked off the ballot because her nominating petitions were insufficient. While Betts would not do so, a Quinn administration source confirmed the woman Betts referred to is the former state senator. Messages left at multiple phone numbers tied to Palmer were not returned Thursday.

“Dr. Palmer has first-hand familiarity with the youth involved in this tragic incident,” Betts said in his Aug. 8, 2012, email response to Barbara Shaw in which he promised to develop a “more formal response strategy” to the murder.

It would be nice to see her testify about this mess.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


45 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    “Thousands of lives that were saved”…

    Seems that statement is in need of an audit.

    Wonder how much Pfleger’s groups have gotten?


  2. - Soccermom - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Father Pfleger is a good man, but I am not a fan of his “class wars” rhetoric.

    Even in Lemont (where I am right now), there are lots of good people of good conscience who deplore violence and believe that we need to invest in our communities and our youth — all of them. But blowing $50 mm on a project that can’t prove any results — that helps no one. (And Pfleger is not doing the Governor any good by fanning the flames on this one.)


  3. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    “Palmer served in the Illinois Senate, involuntarily relinquishing her seat in 1997 to Barack Obama after being knocked off the ballot because her nominating petitions were insufficient.”

    Some say Palmer was knifed by Obama; Obama was a member of Palmer’s organization who was supposed to be slotted for the State Senate Seat provided that Palmer won the nomination for Congress in a special primary election; Palmer lost the special election and her former protégé refused to withdraw from the State Senate race and objected to Palmer’s petitions when she tried to seek reelection.


  4. - Rod - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Father Pfleger may be throwing gasoline on the fire with his attack on “people from Lemont and Palatine and Springfield, and suburbs all around Illinois” who are raising questions about the anti-violence program. As Rich says Pfleger has a point, but so do those that question the program’s validity. The biggest question of all based on the audit is that there never was an analysis conducted to see if the expenditures resulted in any meaningful decline in violence in communities it was based in.

    Also since these are state funds all Illinois tax payers have a right to say their piece about how money is spent. Pfleger should have used a lighter touch and he could have made the same points.


  5. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Actually, perfect Jedi mind trick… Back to reality, NOT one cent should go toward anything closely resembling this effort… Until a complete audit occurs. Then the good Father can protest to the Governor how he squandered 50 mil… It’s offensive to hear him minimize this… Especially knowing that a real problem exisits…Where is that outrage?


  6. - so... - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    ==Wonder how much Pfleger’s groups have gotten?==

    $1.2 million in the first two years, by my reading.

    http://www.auditor.illinois.gov/Audit-Reports/Performance-Special-Multi/Performance-Audits/2014_Releases/14-IVPA-NRI-Perf-Full.pdf

    page 115


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    ===Until a complete audit occurs===

    There was a complete audit.


  8. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    I apologize… I misspoke. …..Every dollar is accounted for… It has not.


  9. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Sorry, if an answer is to toss more money at a problem when money has not proven to be effective, then to vilify people in the ‘burbs because they question where all the money is going, you don’t win any points with me.


  10. - Irish - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    “love to launch their attack on programs that seek to reach the MOST AT RISK youth in our city,” Pfleger said.”

    Uhhh,… Rev Pfleger? The most violent neighborhoods got nothing.


  11. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    In yet another alternate universe that is Illinois politics, What are the odds that this is the cheapest General election in history? It may only cost salary plus banjo strings until the new governor is sworn in… Sorta snark… But the farmer had no chance right?


  12. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    Remember celebs die in 3’s… And Illinois Gov’s goto jail in 3’s…. Have a great day… I got nothing else…


  13. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    Those cul-de-sac critics are the ones writing the checks. Don’t they get a seat at the table? If not, why even bother - just confiscate the hard earned income of folks and forget all that other silly stuff - like audits. What chutzpah!


  14. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    ==Don’t they get a seat at the table?==

    They already have an outsized one.


  15. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    ===The Rev. Michael Pfleger and former state Sen. Alice Palmer were among those who appeared at a news conference at The Ark of St. Sabina in the Gresham neighborhood to support the now disbanded program that was assailed in a blistering audit last month and is now facing a steady drumbeat of negative headlines.===

    Could we maybe conduct an independent evaluation of the program before we spend more money on it? It may or may not be as effective as it could be. Why on earth would we continue to spend this kind of money if we don’t know the program works?

    And I agree 100% that young African American men need jobs. Using anti-violence funds to give them skills and some work experience to put on a resume is fine, but it isn’t a long-term solution.


  16. - mp - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    I think they already paid UIC to do an evaluation that had no findings produced.


  17. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    There are always unintended consequences of things like this. The total disparagement of anti-violence programs is it in this case. We shouldn’t condemn anti-violence programs in general simply because of the Governor’s screw up.


  18. - Pete - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    “I am sick and tired of people who do not live in our community and have never been to our community telling us what’s good for us.”

    __________________________________________

    I am sick and tired of people who accept tax dollars to help their community and have never developed their own community tax base telling us tax payers that we should fund their community programs.


  19. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Pfleger is not a good man. He’s a radical activist that’s part of the corruption that plagues Chicago.


  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    ==telling us tax payers==

    ==just confiscate the hard earned income of folks==

    Two more victims heard from.


  21. - John Boch - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Father Pfleger is a farce.


  22. - Montrose - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    *Pfleger is not a good man. He’s a radical activist that’s part of the corruption that plagues Chicago.*

    Quite the statement. Any proof to back up him being not a good man and part of the corruption? He would probably agree on the radical activist bit.


  23. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Montrose… I think his history speaks for itself..This comment he said today inspires unity how?


  24. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Success stories? Give us some real examples. The full audit gave little indications of success. I am not against spending money in these troubled area, but not as a political sham.


  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===The full audit gave little indications of succes===

    Audits look for problems.


  26. - Montrose - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    *Montrose… I think his history speaks for itself..This comment he said today inspires unity how?*

    No. It doesn’t. Tell me specifically how he is a bad, corrupt man. I am not saying I agree with all his tactics and stances, but saying that someone is corrupt because you don’t like what they have to say is a bad path to go down.


  27. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    He is a bad man because he spends more time dividing people than bringing them together. Today is not his first rodeo… Try the Google for many examples….I am not saying he has not done any good..The ledger speaks for itself for the good…And yes…Bad.


  28. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Also, the story is not the Father…Although it is what he does, incites…It’s the no answer from the Gov… How long will this last?


  29. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===I think they already paid UIC to do an evaluation that had no findings produced.===

    Hmmm. I know of another Chicago university that had a contract with the Chicago Area Project to evaluate some of its anti-violence projects. Heard their grantees weren’t cooperative and CAP wouldn’t help get them to respond. Apparently it all hit the fan last fall and CAP still doesn’t have any good data or an evaluation for the millions they spent on anti-violence programs.

    Why wouldn’t they want to know if these programs worked? Oh, right. Nevermind.


  30. - OneMan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    == Audits look for problems. ==
    Audits look for compliance and sadly too often in various state entities, find non-compliance.


  31. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    Expecting Father Pfleger to guide us on these issues, is like listening to a surgeon tell us how we should design our cars to prevent accidents.

    The man is an expert in his church. Once he leave it - he is a whack job who means well.

    He should be completely ignored.


  32. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    One Man -
    ==Audits look for compliance and sadly too often in various state entities, find non-compliance.==

    Much of the non compliance deals with lack of staff, which makes it impossible to to achieve an auditor’s Holy Grail - Segregation of Functions.


  33. - Mason born - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    I think Mr. Pfleger’s heart is in the right place however it strikes me that he is assuming that the problem is that any money was spent. I am fine with using some of my tax money to help with violence problems however why is it too much to ask that it be used wisely? Mr. Pfleger seems to miss the point that this was a royal cluster of a program which none of us should be happy with.


  34. - Harry - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    Well, on the whole it is the people from “Lemont and Palatine and … suburbs all around Illinois” who PAY for those programs that Pfleger uses to build his power base. If those programs can’t show that they advanced their stated purposes along the way, why should they keep paying?

    People say Pfleger has done some good… I haven’t seen it, but I am not in St. Sabina, maybe I’m just not aware. But in any case, that doesn’t mean he should get a pass on THIS program.


  35. - Empty Suit - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    The audit was for fiscal year 2011 and 2012. Can’t wait for the sequel 2013 & 2014, Father Pfleger better hang on to his rosary!


  36. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    ==Audits look for compliance and sadly too often in various state entities, find non-compliance.==

    That’s usually because there are about a gazillion mandates agencies are stuck with and they don’t have the staff to fulfill them. I hate audits because the findings are usually blown out of proportion. That isn’t the case with this audit. Don’t misunderstand me. But non-compliance with some mandate isn’t necessarily the end of the world. It needs to be used for opportunities to see if those mandates are even necessary anymore.


  37. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    We need to patch the holes in this leaky bucket before pouring more water into it.

    Father Pfleger’s comments are irrational in this case. He is skipping the first steps in this process and jumping straight to the demands for the last ones.

    His recipe is one for additional stories and problems just like the ones reported in recent days.


  38. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    It’s not the intention of the program that is the problem but the implementation. It was rushed to provide the most political benefit instead of the being thought out and providing the most neighborhood benefit.

    I sympathize with the anti-violence advocates who now see the Republicans trying to do the exact opposite that Quinn did…which is kill it for political reasons.

    I would like to see all involved take a breath and try to create a program that works but that isn’t going to happen in Illinois at election time.


  39. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Yeah, taxpayers complaining about $50 million dollars on a wasted program claiming to be victims. Yep, we are victims alright.

    What’s your point, Demoralized. Still upset that the “stupid election year politics” are causing a problem? Who is the victim of that?


  40. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    @dupage dan:

    Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing. You should try it sometime. I was referring to the “takers” mentality exhibited by those comments. Nobody is “confiscating” money from anybody. That’s just absurd. Oh, and bite me.


  41. - John A. Logan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    Pflager is a disgrace to the clergy and the state of Illinois. Anything he says should be categorically rejected on its face. The man is the worst example of someone that cares little for the people he claims to advocate for, and entirely about his own ego being stroked by the media. Only in Illinois is someone of his nature given the time of day.


  42. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    Perhaps you should read my comments, as well. I didn’t say anyone was confiscating anything. My point was that if taxpayers are to have no say so in the matter (cul de sac critics being denounced) then you may as well confiscate. It’s called a metaphor. Words have meaning.


  43. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Can someone please clean up the administration of Chicago State University as well while we are at it?

    The court just upped the amount they must pay to the whistleblower.

    CSU students deserve the opportunity for a good education and effective administration just as much as those at any other school. This has been dragging on far too long, and those kids are being shortchanged.


  44. - DuPage Dave - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 5:23 pm:

    Most longtime observers would agree that Pfleger is publicity seeker who usually comes off as a blowhard.

    But really, John A Logan, you can look into his heart and tell that he “cares little for the people he claims to advocate for”??


  45. - Logic not emotion - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 5:58 am:

    Pfleger has long history of illogical arguments, divisive rhetoric, and self promotion. I’m surprised the church allows him to behave in such a way. It is a disgrace to the position.


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