October 15, 2013
ALDERMAN RODERICK T. SAWYER RESPONDS TO DNA INFO ARTICLE ON 70TH AND PARNELL
Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer responds to the mischaracterizations in the DNA Info article and subsequent Fox News report on 70th and Parnell lot.
This morning my ward superintendent was cleaning the vacant lot with multiple city departments for a privately owned lot connected with 7047 S. Parnell. When I arrived in my ward office after a committee meeting I was greeted with calls and complaints stemming from a supposed statement I made to the extent that it was the residents responsibility to clean the private lot and the city would not assist them.
I was making a nuanced response about the my larger vision for the community and the role that neighbors and elected representatives must play if we are going to revitalize our community. As background, this is not the first time that my office has had this lot cleaned and it will not be the last time. But at a certain point we must acknowledge that the lot is filled with neighborhood based trash and it is true that no matter how many times we clean the lot, ticket or laydown poison, you will always have a rodent problem as long people continue to dump garage that is allowed to linger.
I remember growing up when the men on the block would never allow a senior to suffer because there was garbage sitting around in a vacant lot. In my time as alderman I have personally grabbed a group of volunteers and cleaned numerous lots. This is not an abdication of the responsibilities of the government; it is accepting the responsibilities of a neighbor. The city has a responsibility to help secure the vacant buildings, ticket irresponsible owners, and work to ensure city services are applied fairly. But neighbors have a responsibility to lend a helping hand. That is what the 6thWard has always been for me and that is what I want it to be again.
There are various reasons why a piece of privately owned property could become a problem. Whether it is a bad developer, an irresponsible bank or a senior that has gotten sick and has no family to help out, the neighborhood is the first line of defense in holding together the neighborhood. As for my residents, know that anywhere you are willing to work to clean up your lots or alleys, give my office a call and I will be there; with my work boots on.
Brian E. Sleet
Chief of Staff
Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer 6th Ward Chicago
8001 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago Illinois 60619