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Candidates weigh in on affordable housing. (Keeping Current).

Gubernatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Rod R. Blagojevich and illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan both agreed on June 25 that state government needs to take a more proactive approach toward easing the Chicago region's affordable housing crisis, but disagreed on the specific steps needed.

They laid out their competing visions at the annual meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based research and advocacy organization.

Ryan, a Republican, said he would assign a senior staff member to head up a housing committee, which Illinois currently lacks. Blagojevich, a Democrat, said a committee would not be as effective as strong leadership from the governor, including pushing legislators to act.

Both candidates agreed the state should offer incentives to build affordable housing. And while Ryan "wouldn't necessarily favor making [affordable housing] mandatory," he said he would help business leaders bring jobs to areas with affordable housing.

In its June issue, The Chicago Reporter found local zoning codes were preventing the development of affordable housing in the Chicago suburbs with the most significant job growth over the last decade. Neither candidate responded to requests to be interviewed for that story.

The meeting drew a crowd of nearly 800, including state Sen. Steven J. Rauschenberger of Elgin, a chief Republican sponsor of a bill that would allow the state to give grants to local governments to develop comprehensive affordable housing plans. It passed both chambers and is awaiting Gov. George H. Ryan's signature. Blagojevich said the bill was a "good start" and referred to it as "a blueprint for the future."

The terrorist attacks last September have changed the way Americans feel about the racial profiling of suspects, according to the results of a survey published in the June issue of American Demographics magazine.

Although 52 percent of Americans do not oppose racial profiling, three-quarters support its use to target suspected terrorists, the survey showed. Among African Americans, 64 percent objected to racial profiling in general, followed by 51 percent of Latinos and 44 percent of whites. But a majority of blacks--61 percent-agree that racial profiling is useful in fighting terrorism, as do 76 percent of Latinos and 77 percent of whites.

The survey was conducted online and via telephone in February by Harris Interactive, a Rochester, NY-based market research firm, and recorded responses from 3,052 adults.

A federal judge in New York has ruled it is unconstitutional to remove children from their mothers solely because the mother is a victim of domestic violence. And his decision is reverberating in Chicago.

Life Span, a Chicago-based agency that provides legal services to battered women, is looking at the possibility of filing a law-suit against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said Denice WolfMarkham, Life Span's executive director. She said DCFS has removed children from abused mothers on the grounds that their living conditions are dangerous.

Kim Broome, public information officer for DCFS, said the department has never had an official domestic violence policy but is in the process of writing one.

In Nicholson vs. Williams, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that children could face greater harm from being taken from their mothers than witnessing domestic violence. Experts testified that such separation often causes fear, anxiety and despair.

Like Illinois, New York did not have an official policy of removing children from domestic abuse victims. But attorneys were able to prove that this was the regular practice of New York City's Administration for Children's Services, said Richard Wexler, executive director for the Alexandria, Va.-based National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. The practice of taking children from domestic violence victims has become a common problem across the country in recent years, Wexler said.
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Title Annotation:Attorney General Jim Ryan; Rep. Rod R. Blagojevich
Author:Karp, Sarah
Publication:The Chicago Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Previous Article:Letter to the editor.
Next Article:Tilling urban soil. (West Side Farmers).

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