Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poverty in the Chicago Area

The Chicago Tribune published statistics for Chicago area poverty rates. The numbers are staggering.

Chicago Area Poverty Statistics

Campaign Update September 28, 2010

Volunteer Training/Meet and Greet

We will be hosting a new volunteer orientation on Saturday, October 16, 2010, at 9:00 a.m., at a location to be announced once we confirm. We will give an overview of the campaign and issues, solicit volunteers and provide training on petitions and phone solicitation. Be prepared to circulate petitions and begin phone banking for 2 hours immediately following the training.

Video Clips from the Campaign Kickoff

I thank Robert Pairs and Keith McDonald for covering the Campaign Kickoff. Here are the videos.

Photo Montage


Kickoff Video Part I


Kickoff Video Part II


Kickoff Video Part III


24th Ward Public Opinion Poll

As I walk through the Ward I hear story after story about how the current Alderman has lost touch with the very people who put her in office. The issues that are near and dear to our hearts are pushed to the back burner. I don't want to make the same mistake. Will you please take 15 minutes to complete a public opinion poll? Your answers will be kept confidential, and will be used to help prioritize issues that voters think are most important. Click onto http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K9BGQB2 to get started. We will post the results the first week of October.

From Progress Illinois

Check out this article on Progress Illinois' blog. They will be tracking candidates for Mayor and Alderman in real time.

Turnover On Chicago's City Council: A Real-Time Candidate Tracker Progress Illinois
Some analysts think up to 20 of the city's coveted aldermanic seats could switch hands in next year's elections. Our simple database includes all of the latest news and rumors. (I am included in the database)

Check Out My Online Candidate Profile


Photo Montage from My Campaign Kickoff

I thank Robert Pairs for producing the attached photo montage from my campaign kickoff.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Here is a story that cbs2 Chicago did on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program back in February. At the time, the City only made 2 invesments in North Lawndale, and none in West Garfield. The City got $55 million in Round1; $98 million in Round 2; and $168 million is expected soon. It will be interesting to see if we get any funding from Round 3. http://cbs2chicago.com/local/North.Lawndale.foreclosures.2.1507122.html

Chicago Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Here's a video clip for the abc 7 news story on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). This story includes coverage of a public hearing on the Neighborhood Housing Program. I worked with a coalition of community leaders around the city to request the hearing to get an update on the rate of investment in communities like North Lawndale. At the time we (Chicago Citizens for Neighborhood Stabilization)called for the hearing in February 2010, only 2 investments had been made in North Lawndale, and none in West Garfield. The City will be getting $168 million more. It will be interesting to see if North Lawndale or West Garfield get any of the money.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Survey for 24th Ward Residents

As I walk through the Ward I hear story after story about how the current Alderman has lost touch with the very people who put her in office. The issues that are near and dear to our hearts are pushed to the back burner. I don't want to make the same mistake. Will you please take 15 minutes to complete a public opinion poll? Your answers will be kept confidential, and will be used to help prioritize issues that voters think are most important. Please respond by Monday, September 20, 2010. Click here to take survey

Feel free to forward this message to others who may be interested in completing the survey. They must be 24th Ward residents to be eligible. I thank you in advance for your time. In the meantime, if you have any questions, call me at 773-521-3137 or e-mail me at valeriefleonard@msn.com.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Come Out to the City's Budget Hearing

The City of Chicago will host its second public hearing on the budget tonight at Westinghouse College Preparatory High School, 3223 West Franklin Boulevard, at 7:00 p.m. You should arrive at 5:30 if you want to testify.Find out more about the hearings and budget at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/obm/provdrs/city_budg/alerts/2010/aug/2011_preliminarybudgetpublichearingsrescheduled.html

Come Out to Congressman Davis' State of the District Town Hall Meeting

Come out to Congressman Davis' State of the District Town Hall Meeting on Friday, September 10, 2010 from 5:30 pm -9:00 pm, and Saturday, September 11, 2010, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at Malcolm X College, 1900 West Van Buren. I will be facilitating a workshop on Saturday on how to start a tax exempt organization (501(c) 3). Guests will include representatives from the IRS and CEDLP. The workshop is free.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Experience and Heart

Check out my unique qualifications to become the next Alderman of the 24th Ward.
Experience and Heart

Campaign Update September 2, 2010


I just want to say thanks again for your show of support for my work in the community, including my campaign to become the next Alderman of the 24th Ward. We are off to a great start. We had our kick-off event on August 24th and it was was very well attended, with over 130 people present. We circulated petitions and planted seeds for fundraising. Indeed, we thank you for your financial, in-kind, moral, spiritual and other support.


The first day for signing petitions was Tuesday, August 24th. We will be circulating petitions on Saturday, September 4, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. We will meet in front of Homan Square, 3333 West Arthington, and circulate in the surrounding community. We would be honored to have you join us. The only requirements are that you be a citizen of the United States and be 18 years old. If you are unable to join us on Saturday, but would like to circulate within your own schedule, please e-mail or call me and we can drop petitions by your home. My phone number is 773-521-3137, and my e-mail is valeriefleonard@msn.com. If you know of students, or others who may be interested in joining us, please bring or refer them. We'd be happy to have them. We would also like to thank those of you who have already begun circulating.


We will be taking our show on the road, reaching every corner of the Ward. If you know of events that we should be a part of, or attend, or if you know of groups of people, organizations, churches, individuals, block clubs, or other stakeholders with whom we should meet, please let us know and we will include the events on our schedule of meet and greets and mini-fund raisers.


Our website is under construction and should be ready the day after Labor Day (or sooner). The state of the art website will provide an overview of our issues and platform, and will provide visitors with opportunities to review campaign news and events, schedule appearances, volunteer and make contributions on line, and provide a mailing address to which to send contributions. The URL for the website is http://vote4valerie.voterspace.com/. We will notify you when the site goes live.


We need volunteers to make phone calls, organize special events, write press releases, take pictures, stuff envelopes, get out the vote (in February, 2011), register voters, perform light office work. if you are interested, please respond to this e-mail. We will make sure you "get in where you fit in".


Our campaign is about returning government to the hands of the people. We are now accepting campaign donations from friends, family and residents of the 24th Ward. The proceeds will be used to fund things like office space, printing, marketing, copies and general campaign operations. We are accepting donations by mail, in person and through the website when it is operational. We will notify you when the website is done. In the meantime, Please send checks to

Citizens to Elect Valerie F. Leonard
4111 West 21st Place
Chicago, IL 60623

The maximum donation for an individual is $2,300. We will accept cash and in-kind donations of any amount, starting at $1.00.


Wilbert Cook and I were interviewed by Congressman Danny K. Davis on his Politics N Real Time internet talk show. The show streamed live on Friday, August 27, 2010, from Starplanettv.com. The show will be available for one week by logging onto www.starplanettv.com. We will archive the show on our website within about a week.



As you may recall, the Lawndale Alliance and North Lawndale Community News held the annual Community Awareness Series in June. A couple weeks ago, we shared with you air dates for the meetings o n CAN TV. We just got word of additional air dates. If you weren’t able to make the meetings, you will have other opportunities to catch up. The meetings will air on CAN TV as follows:

Stimulus Package/Neighborhood Stabilization Program Town Hall
Wednesday, September 1st, 12:30 PM, Channel 21

TIF Town Hall
Friday, September 3rd, 8:00 AM, Channel 19
Thursday, September 9th, 12:00 PM, Channel 21

You may also download handouts from the meetings at http://lawndalealliance.blogspot.com
Contact Valerie F. Leonard at 773-521-3137 or valeriefleonard@msn.com

Austin Weekly News

West Side activist makes bid for 24th Ward alderman

North Lawndale Community News

The North Lawndale Community News covered the Campaign Kick-off. They are expected to run a story this weekend.


What are Judges of Election?

The judges of election are the officials responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place. The judges of election are the backbone of the electoral process. Their jobs are challenging, interesting and personally rewarding.
In each precinct, the judges share in responsibilities, duties and authorities that include:
(1) Opening the polling place and setting up voting equipment at 5 a.m. on Election Day;
(2) Conducting a fair and impartial election in the precinct polling place, allowing voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(3) Tabulating the vote totals for the precinct and transmitting them to Election Central after the polls close at 7 p.m.
The Judge of Election application for the term that ends with the 2012 Primary is available here. (NOTE: This form may not be used for those participating in the High School Student Judge program.)


If you know of others who may be interested in this update, please feel free to pass it on. Your assistance, as always, is most appreciated.

My Decision-July 27, 2010

First of all, I would like to thank each of you for the support you have shown me over the years. Some of you are family, friends and neighbors. Some of you have been nonprofit clients. Others of you are former employers. Some of you are loyal readers of "In the Loop" and follow the "Staying in the Loop" blog. Others of you have been allies (or even adversaries--) working on a number of issues and projects, including North Lawndale Votes; TIF reform; the impact of Renaissance 2010 and school closings; equity (or lack therof) in community development; the Olympics; the need for greater equity in the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program; capacity building for nonprofits; the need for equitable access to healthcare for all people; the creation of community wide strategies for youth programming; the need to structure the State Capital Budget to address the needs of "the least of these"; advocacy for community based alternatives for ex offenders, etc. Regardless of how I know you, I appreciate you.

After careful thought, prayers and consideration, I have decided to follow that "Still Small Voice" and enter the race for the Alderman of the 24th Ward.

Pictures from the Campaign Kickoff August 24th, 2010