8-31-2017-12-25-11-PM-3416040

Burke vows action after Aviation chief a no-show

More homeowners report defective, possibly toxic, windows

The

dean of the Chicago City Council has vowed to take action to address the

failure of Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans to abide

by a Council order to appear at a public hearing at Hale Park.

Speaking

at a joint hearing of the City Council Committees on Finance and Aviation, a

visibly perturbed 14thWard Ald. Edward M. Burke began his

remarks by walking directly in front of Evans’ representative, CDA Deputy

Commissioner Aaron Frame, and asked him to read from the final section of a

measure passed several weeks ago by the City Council:

“Be

it ordered by the City Council of the City of Chicago: that the Commissioner of

the Chicago Department of Aviation appear before the City Council Joint

Committee on Aviation and Finance to address the issue concerning windows

installed pursuant to the Residential Sound Insulation Program at Midway

Airport, including testing locations, findings, and plans to abate and prevent

any potential risk.”

The

hearing, attended by about 100 Southwest Side homeowners and others, was held

to address concerns about defective windowsÑwhich are emitting fumes that may

possibly by poisonous–supplied to homeowners in recent years through the

Department of Aviation’s Residential Sound Improvement Program.

Some

of the homeowners have been diagnosed with cancer in the years after their

windows were installed. They continue to wonder if the odors coming from their

windows are toxic or simply an aesthetic annoyance.

Burke

noted that Frame read from a statement that said that CDA considers the matter

“a very important issue,” and followed it up by saying, “Apparently, it’s not

important enough for the Department of Aviation to have its commissioner comply

with an order of the City Council to be present. Is that correct?”

Frame

responded that it was his understanding that Evans had a prior commitment that

took her out of town.

Burke

shot back, “Does she think her prior commitments are more important than the

safety and the security of the good people who live out here and worry about

the air that their children and their parents and their spouses are breathing?”

Burke

was not specific about what consequences Evans might face, but vowed that her

failure to appear would be “taken up by the Council” in the near future.

The

absent Evans also was criticized by some of the seven other aldermen in

attendance, most notably 13thWard Ald. Marty Quinn, 23rdWard

Ald. Michael R. Zalewski (chairman of the Committee on Aviation) and 15thWard

Ald. Raymond Lopez, who said he found it amazing that Evans, the highest paid

official in all of city government at $400,000 a yearÑaccording to a published

reportÑcould not make time to be at a hearing she was ordered to attend.

The

hearing, which normally would have been held at City Hall, was held in the

neighborhood to better accommodate Southwest Side homeowners, Burke’s press

secretary said.

Many

in the audience greeting Burke’s comments with applause and similarly expressed

incredulity about Evans.

“She

makes more than a thousand dollars a dayÑa thousand dollars a dayÑof our money,

our tax dollars, and she can’t be bothered to show up and see us face to face,”

said Clearing resident Sam D’Amato. “What kind of arrogance is that?”

Garfield

Ridge resident Jennifer Gorszewski said she hopes Evans is held accountable for

her absence.

“I

find it interesting that [Frame] did not say where she was or what she was

doing,” she said. “I don’t live in Burke’s ward, but I know that if you

publicly play games with him, if you blow him off in front of the people he

represents, you do so at your own risk. You have to be quite powerful or quite

foolish to cross Alderman Burke.”

The

anger over Evans’ absence almost over shadowed the ongoing concerns over RSIP

windows. After the elected officials vented, a string of homeowners offered

testimony about the windows in their homes.

The

number of homeowners reporting problems continues to grow. Since the issue was

first reported exclusively by the Southwest News-Herald in early June, the

number has grown from four homeowners in the Chrysler Village section of

Clearing to more than 80Ñin Clearing, Garfield Ridge, West Elsdon and West

Lawn.

According to the CDA website, homeowners with questions

about the sound-insulation windows and doors they had installed through the

program should call (773) 838-5632.

(Editor’s Note: More news coverage and photos in

the print edition of the Southwest News-Herald, available on local newsstands.

Or better yet, call 708-496-0265 during weekday business hours and order

convenient home delivery for about 50 cents a week.)

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