City is anti-business, grocer’s son says
Columnist John Kass addresses UBAM members
By Steve Metsch
John Kass, whose father and relatives built a grocery business with hard work, knows about the pressures facing business owners in Chicago.
The city is not doing enough to help small businesses, the former Chicago Tribune reporter and columnist recently told a gathering of Southwest Side business leaders.
Kass spent years covering City Hall. He knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. He knows the inner workings of the fifth floor, also known as the mayor’s office.
Now self-employed, Kass is a shop owner of sorts.
But instead of selling prime cuts of meat as did his father, Kass weighs in on a favorite game – politics – on his “The Chicago Way” podcast and his columns at johnkassnews.com.
On March 9, Kass was guest speaker at a United Business Association of Midway luncheon at the Red Barrel Restaurant in Archer Heights.
Kass was asked what can be done to help businesses owners on the Southwest Side.
“I’m thinking as a shopkeeper like I was and am,” he said. “Get the government off businesses’ back. Cut their taxes. … How can you have a business with (such high) taxes?”
He dislikes the city coming down hard on businesses.
“Don’t sic inspectors on them every day. ‘Why don’t you have the third sink?’ Know what I mean? ‘I’ve been cutting vegetables in this sink for 20 years, now you tell me to get another sink?’ That kind of thing drives people crazy,” Kass said.
He sees Chicago’s rising crime rate as a deterrent to business.
“How do you have a business when your customers think they’re going to get shot on the way to your business?” Kass asked.
He was very disappointed with Mayor Lightfoot when she endorsed Kim Foxx for re-election as Cook County State’s Attorney in 2020.
Lightfoot, he said, had told him she’d never endorse Foxx. “Three weeks later, she endorsed Foxx.”
“What message is the Democratic Party sending?” Kass asked regarding crime.
“Gangbangers on ankle monitoring cap another person in the head. Gangbangers driving around, on electronic monitoring, but the monitor is plugged into the car.”
He said a person very familiar with politics told him “the Democratic Party is saying ‘get the blank out.’ It’s the truth.”
He will not support Lightfoot if she seeks re-election.
“Give me a law-and-order candidate,” he said. “You want a minority? Paul Vallas. Paul Vallas is a minority to me because Greeks are a minority. We weren’t even white until Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.”
He recalled writing a column saying then-Mayor Richard J. Daley signed an executive order on the wedding day that Greeks were white. “People believed it. Satire is a bad thing,” Kass said smiling.
After the meeting, Steve Rosenbaum, president of Hoyne Savings Bank and a former Oak Lawn village trustee, said Kass was right about businesses.
“One of the biggest aspects we encounter is fees placed upon businesses, whether it be a driveway inspection fee, a sign inspection fee and the like,” Rosenbaum said “When he touched upon that, that’s what came to mind, fees added on with no service provided,”
“That’s why a business association such as UBAM serves as a real conduit to elected officials. We can have an exchange of ideas,” he said.
UBAM Executive Director Anita Cummings has been impressed by “the spirit of our people” battling crime and the pandemic.
“John re-emphasized the beginnings of success. Hard work,” Cummings said. “That’s how our businesses are. And, they’re in this organization to promote everybody’s economic development.”
In 2022, UBAM hopes to add more gardens, expand to Bedford Park and work with the city to beautify Cicero Avenue from the Stevenson Expressway to Midway, she said.
Say man killed little sister with ‘ghost gun’
Chicago Lawn slaying called an accident By Tim Hadac A 15-year-old Chicago Lawn girl was shot in the head and killed by her 20-year-old brother as he reportedly assembled a ghost gun in the family’s third-floor apartment in the 2400 block of West Marquette Road. Shaniya Daniels was struck in the forehead by a bullet…
Charge man with murder in birthday party shooting
Guest of honor shot in the head By Tim Hadac A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and aggravated battery in connection with a double shooting at a backyard party in Back of the Yards. Jorge Espana, who police said lives in the 3500 block of West 73rd Street, allegedly shot and killed 37-year-old…
Ploggers coming to West Elsdon
By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Are you ready to go plogging? Yes, plogging is a combination of jogging and picking up garbage. If you live in the area of 54th and Avers, next Saturday, Aug. 13, bring a garbage bag, gloves and/or…
These folks know their lawns
By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Have you driven or walked around our neighborhood lately? I have seen so many beautiful flowers and shrubbery. Residents have certainly been busy planting and landscaping, mowing and weeding. There are some lovely gardens and green lawns. West Lawners seem to know a thing…
Back to School sales tax holiday kicks in on Friday
With the start of a new school year fast approaching, state Rep. Fran Hurley is encouraging parents to take advantage of a state sales tax decrease on school supplies, clothing, shoes and other items over a 10-day period from Aug. 5 through Aug. 14. “Back-to-school shopping can sometimes be a real hit on a parent’s…
Area Sports Roundup: Costa and Busker named top athletes at Trinity; St. Rita’s Talty to kick for Tide
By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Former Richards volleyball standout Alex Costa led the NAIA with 508 kills and 613.5 points last season. Not a bad season for the Trinity Christian College sophomore. It gets even better. Last week, Costa was named TCC’s Male Athlete of the Year. The Oak Lawn native also had top numbers…
Pro Soccer Report: San Diego rookie Shaw, 17, scores lone goal in 1-0 win over Red Stars
By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The pregame attention went to 32-year-old Alyssa Mautz. The postgame attention – and surely a lot more attention to come – went to 17-year-old Jaedyn Shaw. Mautz announced that last Saturday’s game against the San Diego Wave would be her final last for the Chicago Red Stars. She has accepted…
Moore shows concern for constituents
By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last Thursday, 17th Ward Ald. David Moore met with some of his constituents that will no longer be a part of the 17th Ward due to the city remapping. The meeting took place at the Marquette Park fieldhouse.…
Bobby Frasor steps down as coach at Brother Rice
By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The wins. The mosh pits. The jokes. These are just a few of the things that will be missed by Bobby Frasor, who stepped down last week as the basketball coach at Brother Rice and is leaving the world of hoops. Frasor was a star player for the Crusaders who…
Citizens, cops fighting crime
‘National Night Out’ events set for next week By Joan Hadac Hundreds and perhaps more than a thousand Southwest Side men, women and children are expected to take a public stand against crime at the Chicago Lawn (8th) Police District’s annual National Night Out Against Crime celebration, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2 at…
Regulatory work behind 1 million EV push in full swing in Illinois
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Ten months after Illinois lawmakers passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act which set a goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on state roads by the end of the decade, state agencies are engaged in a flurry of regulatory planning aimed at meeting those goals.…
10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday and lasting through Aug. 14, the state will reduce its sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent for certain clothing items costing less than $125 and school supplies. The “tax holiday” was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s “family relief plan,” one prong…
Pritzker highlights Rebuild Illinois funding for Cahokia Heights sewers, Rend Lake Resort
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinoi [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – When state lawmakers voted on bipartisan lines in 2019 to double Illinois’ motor fuel tax and raise several driving-related fees, it laid the groundwork for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the largest in Illinois’ history and the first in nearly a decade. The plan, spanning six…
CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats choose Hernandez as new party chair
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – The vote for state Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez as the Democratic Party of Illinois’ first Latino chairwoman was unanimous and uneventful Saturday morning – the drama had occurred in the days prior in a power struggle of some of the state’s most prominent Democrats. Hernandez was backed Gov. JB…
Pritzker: Monkeypox disaster declaration will aid in vaccine distribution
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker issued a public health emergency declaration and declared Illinois a disaster area in response to the monkeypox virus Monday, a move his office said would help mobilize resources. The governor’s office said the proclamation will aid in moving vaccines to the most impacted…
Dems seek unity as new, former chair take no questions from media after party vote
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The vote for state Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez as the Democratic Party of Illinois’ first Latino chairwoman was unanimous and uneventful Saturday morning – the drama had occurred in the days prior in a power struggle of some of the state’s most prominent Democrats. Hernandez was…
Democratic Party chair bows out in re-election bid, paving way for state Rep. Lisa Hernandez
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A contentious race for leadership of the state’s Democratic Party appears to be down to a single candidate ahead of a Saturday morning vote after the party’s current chair pulled herself from the running Friday. State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, backed by Gov. JB Pritzker and House…
State announces plan for $760 million in opioid settlement money
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced plans Friday for how the state will distribute its share of funds from a national settlement with opioid companies. Illinois expects to receive approximately $760 million over 18 years from a $26 billion national settlement with three…
Thompson Center sale finalized with Google to be building’s lone occupant
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – After years of failed efforts that spanned multiple administrations, the state has finalized the sale of the controversial James R. Thompson Center in Chicago to a company that will make it the new Chicago home of tech giant Google. Gov. JB Pritzker made the announcement during…
CAPITOL RECAP: Illinois Democrats hoping to host 2024 nominating convention
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Democrats are vying to make Chicago the host city for the Democratic National Convention in 2024. Officials for the Democratic National Committee were in Chicago on Tuesday as state leaders, including Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, called a news conference to tout the city as…