Tag: Isiah Brandon

Op-Ed: Maywood Is Still on the Move

Maywood is on the move

Thursday, June 1, 2017 || By Isiah Brandon || OPINION || @maywoodnews 

Ever since my election in 2015, I’ve pledged to keep residents abreast of my progress as a trustee in the great village of Maywood. For the last two years, I’ve had the honor and high privilege of serving on your behalf, but I haven’t taken anything for granted. This is just a snapshot of the work I’ve done since I last updated you about my progress in January.

Community Outreach

During Black History Month this year, I collaborated with Fire Brand Arts, a vibrant arts education group here in Maywood, to host a celebration of African American history. The ceremony also commemorated the African American present, with talented young people displaying a variety of talent — from spoken word artists to musicians.

This year, I took yet another youth delegation on a trip to the National League of Cities conference in Washington D.C. This is the second group of students I’ve taken. This year, we broadened our reach. In addition to students from District 209, we included students from Walther Christian Academy as well. And we’re already looking forward to next year. In this most recent budget, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved allocating $4,000 to the program, which makes us less reliant on private funds and means that we’ll possibly be able to take even more students the next time around.

In May, I was honored to participate in a Father Daughter Dance and a Men’s Day at Garfield Elementary School in Maywood, as well as Irving Middle School’s graduation. I also connected with our seniors during a pre-Mother’s Day celebration at the Maywood Garden House complex, an event co-sponsored by Mayor Edwenna Perkins and my employer.

Civic Engagement

I’ve always believed that with the title of trustee comes great responsibility to educate the public about what the position entails, and about the structure of our local government in general. With that being the case, I’m proud to have participated in Career Day at Walther Christian Academy, which allowed me to explain the role of a trustee, and the workings of local government, to high school students.

Public Safety 

As a trustee, I believe that we should tap into every resource that is available to protect our streets, families and business community. To that end, I’ve proposed a partnership between the village’s youth delegation, the police department and clerk’s office to target high crime areas throughout the community.

Through this partnership, young people will target four hot zones throughout the village where they will organize residents to create block clubs and to restore and reclaim their communities. The youth will also host a range of events in these areas of the community.

In addition, there will be more officers, vehicles and outside resources, such as Cook County Sheriff’s deputies, deployed to fight the recent surge of violent crime in the village.

Fiscal Responsibility

In this year’s 2017-18 budget, residents can look forward to better streets, additional resources and more youth employment opportunities. This budget allows the Village to hire a new full-time grant-writer who will be completely dedicated to finding alternative means of revenue for the village. In addition, code enforcement officers will receive extra assistance due to the hiring of additional staff members in the department. Public works will also receive some additional help.

Local Workforce Enhancement & Development 

On June 10, we will kick off our 5th Annual Safe Summer Campaign. We’ve identified additional resources to help expand this initiative, which provides programming, volunteer and employment opportunities for at-risk young people.

Maywood’s development prospects are bright. For instance, we are currently in negotiations with a businessman who is looking to open a grocery store at the site of the former Maywood Market. And I’ve also talked with other developers who are interested in doing business in the village.

In addition, a new Metra shelter on Fifth Avenue is nearly complete. This structure will only enhance the viability of our downtown corridor. It will also complement the decreased commuter times and smoother train traffic that will come with the construction of a $100 million third rail line to be funded by Union Pacific and Metra.

Also, on 4th Avenue and Randolph, the redevelopment of the old Baptist Retirement Home is back on track after having been held up for some years. Soon, this historic facility will be transformed into a state-of-the-art senior living facility and put back on the tax rolls.

In order to pave the way for this new development, the village has invested $1 million in Tax Increment Financing funds into improving our roadways.

This is just a snapshot of the progress that we’ve made in the village since January. I’m looking forward to helping us make even more in the months ahead. But we as elected officials can’t do it alone. We need the help of residents. So, what can you, as a Maywood resident, do to move the village forward?

You can create a block club, join a commission, come to board meetings and attend community events, among the many actions that you can take to help our community be what we all believe it can be — a thriving village of eternal light.

Finally, let me congratulate my new board colleagues, Kimyada Wellington and Antonio Sanchez, and my re-elected board colleagues, Mayor Perkins and Trustee Melvin Lightford. I look forward to working alongside them to move this great village forward. VFP

Isiah Brandon is a Maywood trustee. 

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Eugene Moore, ‘Maywood’s Son’ and Local Political Force, Dies at 73

Moore.jpg

Eugene “Gene” Moore during a swearing-in ceremony. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free || UPDATED: 6/17/16

Eugene “Gene” Moore, the former Cook County Recorder of Deeds who had been an established political force in Proviso Township politics for more than two decades, has died, according to multiple sources. He was 73 years old.

Sources say Moore had been battling illness, off and on, for some time, but his precise cause, or time, of death weren’t disclosed. Already, however, tributes have appeared on his Facebook page.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins said Moore was “Maywood’s son,” and that “his life will be missed.”

“Gene Moore was a good guy,” said Princess Dempsey, the president of the Lindop School District 92 school board.

“He supported me when I ran for office and he was one of my support systems, in general,” Dempsey said when interviewed by phone Tuesday. “His goal was to make a change in Proviso. He wanted to see a difference in this place.”

By the time he became Cook County Recorder of Deeds in 1999, Moore had been an established political player. His first venture into local politics was in 1989, when he was elected trustee for Proviso Township.

He would later go on to become the first African-American elected to represent the 7th District in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served three terms, and was elected to a fourth, before running for recorder.

Throughout his political life, Moore, a longtime member of the Second Baptist Church in Maywood, would cultivate a rich civic life.

According to a biography on one of his campaign websites, Moore was a football and basketball coach and mentor to youths in Proviso Township. He also served on numerous boards, including those of the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County, the Proviso-Leyden Council on Community Action, the John C. Vaughn’s Scholarship Fund, Inc., and the Community Economic Development Association.

In 2012, Moore retired from elected office, but his appetite for influence wasn’t diminished. He still talked passionately about community affairs, backed local candidates and mentored rising political figures like current Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, who said he was in communication with Moore up until the latter’s final days.

“He definitely was a great mentor,” Brandon said. “He started many young people on their way to public service and I was one of them. He taught us what it was to be an effective elected official. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been under his wings.”

Moore, a lifelong and proud Maywoodian, had three children — Dowanna, Natalie and Eric. More as this story develops. VFP

An earlier version of this post inaccurately mentioned that Moore lost a bid for re-election to his Cook County Recorder of Deeds seat. This post has since been updated. Village Free Press regrets the error. 

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Maywood Trustee Charged With DUI

Isiah Brandon speaks

Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, during a Safe Summer press conference two years ago. | File

Friday, May 20, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Isiah Brandon, a Maywood trustee, was charged with an alcohol-related DUI in Elmhurst, according to a May 20 report by the local paper My Suburban Life.

The 28-year-old was charged at 4:35 a.m. on May 13 while he was driving to Elmhurst from Maywood, the paper notes.

When contacted on May 20 about the charges, Brandon confirmed that he had indeed been charged and that the issue was still being handled in the courts.

“I was out connecting with friends and celebrating some of their college graduations when one person we were hanging out with got extremely intoxicated and wasn’t able to get home,” Brandon recalled.

“I decided that, since I hadn’t had anything to drink for a while before leaving, I would drive him to his house to make sure he got there safely,” he said. “It was a bad act of judgement on my part for doing that. I was just trying to be a good friend, but in the middle of trying to help someone else, I put myself in a bad situation.”

Brandon said he looks forward to working through the charges and noted that he was cooperative with local law enforcement authorities.

“I made sure that I worked with the police officers on the scene to give them what they needed to do their job,” he said.

Brandon was elected to his first term on the Maywood Board of Trustees last year. A week ago, he had launched the fourth year of his Safe Summer Initiative, a program designed to help area youths land volunteering opportunities and various support services.

“I continue to look forward to serving the community, focusing on creating a safe summer, and ensuring that our young people are off the streets and engaged in positive activities,” the first-term trustee said.

“There will be some folks who will try using this to their political advantage, but it will not work simply because of my heart for this community and my work that I have been doing to serve the residents seven days a week. I know a quote that is befitting of this situation. ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.’” VFP

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