Lack of will or lack of clout?

29th Ward meeting generates debate about Ald. Taliaferro's responsiveness

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By Igor Studenkov

Contributing Reporter

Galewood residents who live along Normandy Avenue won't have to put up with late-night truck noise much longer.

Pam Moore, 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro's chief of staff, told the people who attended the Oct. 19 community meeting, held at Rutherford Sayre Park fieldhouse, 6872 W. Belden Ave., that signs instructing the trucks not to use the roadway will go up in a few weeks.

For Lesley Stephens, a retired City of Chicago employee, this wasn't soon enough. He told Moore that he complained about the situation in August, and, based on his experience, he expected it to be resolved within a month, not two.

Stephens said that the trucks that serve the nearby Mars candy factory regularly use the stretch of Normandy Avenue, where he and his wife live. Stephens said he called Ald. Taliaferro's ward office and spoke to Moore back in August, but that he was still waiting for the situation to be addressed.

Moore said that she got calls from other Normandy Avenue residents complaining about truck noise, and that she was taking the situation seriously.

"I had a meeting with the [Chicago Department of Transportation] today," she said. "The signs will be up in six weeks, they told me. Everything has been approved, the signs will go up."

Stephens wasn't mollified, saying that, based on his experience working for the city, it shouldn't have taken that long.

"I could have had those signs put up in a month," he said, adding that he also wondered why it took Moore so long to talk to CDOT.

"I said I had a meeting with CDOT today," Moore noted. "I didn't say that was the first conversation. Let me just say this, if there's something you can do to help us, I'm open to it. You've been with the city for 35 years, and I've only been with the city a year and a half."

"Your office should have had access to the same people I do," Stephens responded. "I'm retired. I'm 71 years old. I'm just questioning what's taking so long."

Stephens said things got done much more quickly under the powerful former Ald. William Banks (36th), who represented Stephens' portion of Galewood from 1983 to 2009, before the 2011 ward remap pushed the area into the 29th Ward.

Banks, however, wielded considerable clout. He chaired the City Council's zoning committee. Taliaferro was elected last April.

For another Galewood resident, who declined to give her name and who spoke in defense of the new alderman and his staff, the slow sign installation process was just another example of the 'Chicago Way' at work.

"It's a matter of who you know. That's how things work," she said. "And we all know that nothing happens overnight."

Contact:
Email: igorst3@hotmail.com

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