Tag: Trustee Rogers

Breaking: Maywood Considers Becoming a Welcoming Village or Sanctuary City

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a Feb. 15 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees directed village attorney Michael Jurusik to provide information related to the possibility of the board passing an ordinance that would designate the village either a Welcoming Village or Sanctuary City.

The proposal was introduced by Trustee Isiah Brandon, who said he was motivated to bring the matter to the board’s attention after a sobering story about a child of immigrants who lives in a neighboring suburb.

“I was listening to a story about someone in a neighboring community, a seventh-grader, who was scared to go to school because he was afraid that his parents may not be home when he got back from school,” Brandon said. “People should not be intimidated by what’s happening nationally.”

Brandon’s proposal comes just two days after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it had conducted raids in several metropolitan areas across the country, including in the Chicago area. Agency officials said that ICE arrested 680 people across the country “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”

Forty-seven of those arrests took place in the Chicago area, with one arrest happening in Melrose Park.

Brandon’s proposal didn’t get any pushback from other board members, but some trustees suggested that the village take a cautionary approach to adopting the measure.

“What might make a lot of sense is to, in addition to whatever drafts might come forward regarding Maywood, that we start to do some study and research on any ramifications for those kinds of things,” said Trustee Michael Rogers. “I know [welcoming village and sanctuary city ordinances] can be somewhat controversial, so we need to make sure we’re careful in the way we’d try implementing something like that.”

“I don’t have a reservation about this, but I don’t want us to lock ourselves into [something],” said Trustee Ron Rivers, who, along with Rogers, suggested that village officials investigate the possible ramifications related to becoming either a Sanctuary City or a Welcoming Village.

There’s a difference between the two, Rivers noted.

A Welcoming Village ordinance is more of a symbolic, albeit formal, gesture made by a municipality indicating to immigrants who may reside in its boundaries that they will be treated as equals.

A Sanctuary City ordinance would entail protecting immigrants in Maywood from certain actions made by federal agencies, such as ICE.

For instance, enacting a Sanctuary Village ordinance could put local police in the position to decline requests from ICE officials to access local databases, “facilities, and other resources for the purpose of implementing registries based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, national or ethnic origin, or to conduct civil immigration enforcement,” according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 300 municipalities across the country have enacted Sanctuary City legislation, including Chicago, Cook County and, most recently, Oak Park. The villages of Melrose Park and Forest Park are also considering becoming Sanctuary Cities.

But village officials in Maywood, while generally supportive of the principle undergirding the legislation, raised concerns at Wednesday night’s meeting about the possible financial impact of declaring the village a sanctuary.

Rogers and Rivers expressed concerns that declaring Maywood a Sanctuary City could trigger a loss of important state and federal funding. The village would not be able to absorb such losses as well as neighboring municipalities, Rogers said.

Whether or not local municipalities would actually lose federal funding by adopting Sanctuary City legislation, however, is a matter of considerable national debate — despite President Donald J. Trump’s campaign pledge to “eliminate all federal funding from sanctuary localities.”

“Cities, counties and states with sanctuary policies get federal money from dozens of different departments, most of which are not related to immigration,” the Post reported.

“Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order asked the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold ‘federal funds, except as mandated by law’ from sanctuary cities,” the paper noted. “This is unclear wording that puzzled elected officials and municipal attorneys. Homeland Security funds could include money allocated to cities for counterterrorism.”

Jurusik — who said that his firm, Kleine, Thorpe & Jenkins, does work for Oak Park — noted that he’ll look to make sure that the village isn’t putting itself into a position to lose state or federal funding unnecessarily.

“If it’s the pleasure of the board to be a welcoming city, as opposed to a sanctuary city, we’ll look at that to make sure we can get our point across about having open borders and being a welcoming city, but without regulation that may hamstring us from being able to receive a federally funded state grant or federal grant,” Jurusik said.

Rogers recommended that board members educate themselves on the matter during an upcoming National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C.

Once that additional information is gathered by board members, village staff members, and Jurusik, the board will consider what, if any, actions it plans to take on the matter. It could be two months before any ordinance is put to a vote — if the process gets that far. VFP

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Breaking: Maywood Trustee Mike Rogers Announces Withdrawal from Race, Won’t Seek Reelection

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 5.03.56 PM.pngWednesday, January 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Maywood Trustee Mike Rogers, who was elected in 2013 while running with the Maywood United Party, confirmed his intention to withdraw his bid for a second term in the upcoming April 4, 2017 elections in a statement released today.

It had been widely speculated for weeks that Rogers might withdraw. He had filed nominating papers and had successfully secured a place on the ballot, running as a member of the Maywood United Party, before making today’s announcement. So far, it has not been confirmed who the party will select to replace Rogers.

Below is his full statement:

My Thoughts on Ballot Withdrawal

I feel I have a lot of versatility based on a range of competencies and experience.

My true interest is in applying those competencies towards building things up, making improvements, fixing things and inspiring others to do similarly. That’s why I became a professional architect, putting those features into practice for nearly 35 years. That is also the essence of why I have frequently been asked to serve in the various roles locally and across the country. I have accepted several such roles.

The first public official role was way back in 1995. I consider myself each time to be taking a turn in contributing my time and skills to enhance the community. I don’t think of it as a career. My interest is NOT and never has been politically based. Its service based. There are certain things, but ONLY certain things that heavily involve elected or appointed roles as it stands. There are many more things, impactful things, that are heavily situational or circumstantial. Some of the situations, circumstances and conditions may create significant barriers, often unnecessary barriers,  to community growth and progress, especially within political frameworks. Our community must insist on growth through putting competencies, credentials, capabilities, character, skills, talents, experience and resources over favoritism and politics.

I really favor service, roles, and a spirit that truly embraces progress for progress’ sake and leverages competencies to that end. I believe there is always a need and a place for that. So I will continue to think of and conceive multiple ways to achieve results, as architects do naturally. That is what works for me in the times ahead ….  especially with my current personal goals and my desire to really try to enjoy 2017 much more, this being the second year of my retirement.

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Maywood Officials, Blindsided by Aldi’s Decision to Leave, Draw Up a Hail Mary Plan to Keep Store Open

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The Maywood Board of Trustees during a Dec. 14 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting where a plan for retaining Aldi was discussed. | Michael Romain/VFP

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 11:49 p.m.

After Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers learned about Aldi’s plan to close its only Maywood location at 216 Madison St. by Dec. 24, he made the roughly 40-minute drive to the company’s U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Illinois armed with nothing much more than hope and the first draft of a letter written by Assistant Village Manager David Myers.

“It was a cold call if you will,” Rogers said, recalling Tuesday’s road trip to Batavia, during a Dec. 14 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting. “I drove up there basically on faith, just hoping I would be able to get with someone.”

The bet paid off. Rogers said that, after numerous rounds of bureaucratic negotiations, he was able to land a face-to-face meeting with the company’s vice president.

“A few things. The letter, which I did not share with them [because it had not yet been approved by the board], needs to go to the vice president and it needs to go tomorrow morning, if at all possible.”

That letter, which Myers addressed to Aldi, Inc. Co-president Chuck Youngstrom, channels the community’s desperation while outlining what amounts to a hail mary pass with precious few minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“Closing your store would be a negative, a negative,” Myers read, apparently going off-script from the letter’s written content for added effect, “impact on the quality of life and access to fresh, quality foods for many village residents.”

After arguing that a significant population of low-income shoppers and senior citizens in Maywood would be imperiled with the store’s closing, the letter includes a list of incentives the village would be willing to offer the company in order for it “to operate in a financially sound manner in Maywood.”

Those incentives include a sales rebate agreement, real estate property tax incentives and the use of funds from the village’s Madison St. TIF fund, among other sources of financial relief.

The letter also addresses one of Aldi’s stated reasons for closing the Maywood location. Several Aldi locations, such as those in Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park, are within a few miles of the Maywood location, company officials stated.

“Each of those towns has multiple grocery stores. Maywood only has one [Aldi],”  Myers read.

He said that village officials were “blindsided” by the news, adding that the company’s decision had apparently already been made by the time he received a phone call from an Aldi vice president announcing the closing. Myers and other village officials have noted that they still don’t quite know the full reasons why Aldi is shutting down the Madison St. location.

“They had already talked to the employees,” Myers said. “Nevertheless, I said we still would like the opportunity to speak with you. It’s disappointing that we were not able to speak with you before this.”

Myers said that Aldi had even contacted Mayor Edwenna Perkins several months ago about possibly expanding.

“I got a call [that they] were going to build. I was shocked when you called me and let me know that they were having a problem,” Perkins said to Myers during the LLOC meeting.

The letter, which Myers said would be sent to Batavia on behalf of village officials and community members, was just one action in what has been several days of desperation played out on multiple fronts ever since Aldi made its announcement last week.

Some residents have fired off phone calls to trustees, village staff members and even to Aldi’s corporate headquarters, village officials said. Numerous community members have mulled the feasibility of petition campaigns, with at least one, Maywood resident Joellen Hopson, creating a change.org petition that has garnered 72 signatures as of Wednesday night.

Trustee Isiah Brandon, who noted that he spoke with an Aldi executive over the phone several days ago, said he received a desperate call from a woman who lives in River Forest but who shops at the Maywood Aldi. And earlier in the week, he said, he visited two senior living facilities within blocks of Madison Street Aldi.

“They said we should do all we can to save that store,” Brandon recalled the seniors telling him. “I believe that residents must be activated as well because it’s a shared ownership.”

Earlier this week, the blitz of worry at the ground level had resonated with politicians like Cook County Commissioners Richard Boykin (1st) and Jeffrey Tobolski (16th), who both sent off a joint letter to Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart.

“Closing the only grocery store in Maywood on Christmas Eve is a travesty,” the letter, made public on Dec. 13, read. In a separate statement, the two commissioners wrote that they “are committed to working with Aldi to determine the availability of county resources or incentives to encourage the company to keep this much-needed grocery store open.”

On Wednesday, Boykin and U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) announced that they would be holding a press conference regarding the store closing on Thursday afternoon at Village Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave.

But during tonight’s LLOC meeting, Rogers cautioned against appearing too adversarial and taking a tone that might erode the company’s confidence in Maywood as a place to do business without controversy.

“One of the things that is important is the rhetoric,” Rogers said. “We really have to be careful. There were things that were said or read by their executives that were not helpful.”

Rogers didn’t specify the content of that rhetoric, only adding that company officials “were offended by things they read on the internet that they said were mischaracterizations and misinformations.” 

“We have to make sure that the emotional stuff be channeled in a way that does not help,” Rogers said. “We don’t want or need a fight. What we want to do is to compel a corporation to feel like it can be to their business interest to continue. That’s not a fight.”

When asked by his board colleagues whether there was some chance the village’s outreach could persuade Aldi executives to change course, Rogers struck a tone of sober optimism.

“If it was zero chance of having a reversal, I think they might have said that,” Rogers said. “I do think it is an uphill battle, but things change. Normally, corporations that are in retail, if you approach them the right way and early enough, you can be impactful.” VFP

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the correct location of Boykin’s Thursday press conference. VFP regrets the error. 

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