In my political notebook, a shout out to a block club in North Lawndale. Their West Side neighborhood has too few jobs and too many empty, abandoned homes. All too often they become havens for drug-dealing gangs and neighbors plead with City Hall to tear those buildings down.
But something went wrong last week at 18th and Troy.
Neighbors had to pull up their chairs to form a human shield to save a home when a wrecking crew showed up to demolish it. City Hall thought it had become a problem. But the neighbors say -- not true. The longtime owner died a couple years ago. The house was inherited by a woman who lives in Mississippi and has only rarely been to Chicago. Credit the Building Department for calling off the demolition once they realized how angry the block was.
Now, City Hall's Law Department tells me they're going to get free legal help for the woman in Mississippi, who otherwise would have been billed up to $20,000. The Block Club and Neighborhood Housing Services have intervened in court to stop any further demolition plans. Bobby Washington, a neighbor who's put in dozens of unpaid hours trying to preserve the property, stands ready with others to keep it secure and clean.
There are millions of people like them in Chicago. We don't see them and thank them often enough.