March 28, 2005

No CTA Shortage Here

Found this interesting scoop online after noticing the construction of a fancy, new granite walkway on the State-Lake subway stop downtown last week. Granted we need a nice looking subway system for our tourists. We want them to feel secure in on their first steps toward the $500 million monster aka Millennium Park. But Howard El is a 'hub' too. Those poor suburbanites cringe when that roof leaks, walk as fast as they can across slippery wet boards to their yellow and purple line trains. Those who park and drive must join the rest of us traipising down the stairs, dodging the pushers and shovers, and the overhead leaks as well. And, they pay taxes just like we do.

Dont' you love it when politicians talk about prioritizing? Since when are tourists more important than local taxpayers?

March 26, 2005

Over-Extended Families and Leases?

The big excitement of the early afternoon was an alleged threat between males and females starting on Damen Avenue and ending where else? It ended with 4-5 squads, an undercover car and a paddy wagon in front of the Broadmoor. A young woman was apparently moving her personal items, a television, stereo, and clothes into her boyfriends’ mother’s apartment in the Broadmoor. She, and her belongings were stuffed into a yellow cab. An altercation began between males and females, physically striking one person and another woman threatening to kill one of the three men arrested. This happened either on Clark and/or Damen. The police stated one street, she stated another. After several 911 calls, this scene was the end result. Three young men were taken away in a paddy wagon.

100_0253

The story isn’t so much about the threats and the big dramatic squad car show, but the simple fact that too often these low income housing properties become sublets to friends or extended families. There are supposed to be certain qualifications to obtain a low income apartment. As soon as the lease is signed, which is the generic city of Chicago lease, too often everyone else moves into the apartment too. There are ordinances stating how many people can occupy a certain square footage in apartments, but no one seems to enforce them.

In this instance, the young man who was taken away in a paddy wagon, had a mother arguing with police from the steps of the Broadmoor about ‘her baby’, the young man in handcuffs. The young woman was not taken into custody and was allowed to unload her belongings from the cab. After the police left, the older woman who was complaining about her son being detained proceeded to help the younger woman move in.

So the point and question is…how many people are legally allowed to reside under one lease? Who’s enforcing this influx of density in David Orr’s and the CHA’s little dumping ground known as North of Howard?

March 24, 2005

Update on the Field House Demand

Yes, we did meet. Yes, we have a plan or two, or three. Stay tuned.


NOHPAC Minutes
3/15/05

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 by President Eva McCann. In attendance were John Jaffe, Sr. Cecelia, Emily Gruszka, Toni Duncan, Kim DeLong and Amy Hill from the Injury Free Coalition. Eva first reported on the trip to the Board of Commissioners meeting. Approximately 25 community members joined with Eva and held signs made by Toni to express the community’s frustration to the board. Ald. Moore attended and spoke, saying that he stood with the community and shared our frustrations. Tim Mitchell responded that this would get built and indicated his commitment to both the April 4th meeting and the community meeting.

We gave an update on the progress for the meeting on April 4th. It is our understanding that Perkins & Will, the PBC, Judy Martinez, Gia Biaggi, Jim Chronis, and Tim Mitchell (all CPD people) are attending. We agreed that we need to remind them several times about this meeting. Eva will call and email each of these individuals to make sure they will be there. Emily will call Rep. Hamos and Sen. Ronen to make sure that they or a representative will be there. We agreed that Eva will speak first at our meeting and we will all join in as necessary. We will demand 1) the final plans with an explanation of all of the changes, 2) a written timeline for completion, 3) the foundation laid in or by September, and 4) completion in or by May 2006. We want to ask them about the internal cost estimate and who made that estimate?

We discussed possible steps to take if we are unhappy with the meeting on the 4th. We discussed walking over to the Mayor’s office, holding a press conference, and other ideas. Ultimately, we decided that we will see what is presented to us and then launch into action. We will definitely make the community meeting on the 13th a press event and we may hold a press conference before that date if necessary.

Next we discussed the Harold Washington Playground Build Day. Sr. Cecelia reported on the activities of the committee. The committee is working to close off Paulina to make the build a festive community event. Eva is requesting a canopy and tent from Special Events for the day. John is working on getting music donated. We have several places to hold activities for children but someone needs to coordinate this. We have the use of the Good News Community Kitchen from 10 am until 3 pm for food. Mike has secured some donations of food and John agreed to take Eva’s list of previous Gale playground build day donations and work on securing more. Amy Hill discussed the need for waivers and name tags with us. We agreed that as each person registered in the morning, we will have them sign the waivers and issuance of a nametag is proof of having signed the waivers. Amy also told us that Allstate would like a ribbon cutting during the week for PR purposes. To recruit volunteers, Emily will contact RPCC, RPBG, Rogers Park Rotary, and DevCorp. Cecelia will contact Good News Partners and Abundant Life. John will contact some churches and Kim will email churches on Family Matters’ list. We discussed contacting April Bailey from Starfish about the Starfish Clowns as well as Alicia Lopez from the Alderman’s office regarding food donations and games. John will look into the Heartland Radio Special as an avenue of advertising. We will use our community meeting on the 13th as a recruitment tool as well.

Emily announced her resignation as NOHPAC secretary. Sr. Cecelia mentioned the Friends of the Parks Earth Day Clean Up. John moved to adjourn the meeting and Toni seconded the motion. We adjourned at 8:30.

Emily Gruszka

March 23, 2005

Laughing All The Way To The Bank

After three monthly meetings with IMC Property Management, good tenants, community members/leaders at Joe Moore’s office this memo was distributed 3/21/05.

The tenants received this memo after Joe mellowed out on poor Jeff Frankwick, Brenda Whitman and Pearl Barbour of IMC. The CAPS policeman played ‘devils advocate’ to explore the possibility that prostitutes and other 'criminal' elements have friends and relatives to 'visit' and have rights too. Granted everyone has 'connections' but do they have the right to enter a building, say hello to their friends/family and proceed to do business in the hallways? And the topping on the cake was Frankwick's statement that the Broadmoor 'is what it is'. We think he meant the tenants are ALL cut from the same cloth. He put all of his tenants in a box and labeled them.

3.21.05Memo

How can a Chief Operating Officer, a Vice President, a building manager, an alderman, and a CAPS officer all come to this meeting of the minds? Did the rest of us miss something? This is a low income tax credited, federally funded building with big money 'investors'. This is a progressive democratic ward that bleeds for the downtrodden and those less fortunate. Yet who is really there for those who do work hard, do abide by the law of the land, but are just downright poor?

If IMC was concerned about security (as they should be) then they wouldn't allow such a door to be a temptation. Common sense would have prevailed over cost savings and the community wouldn't have had to demand security. It would have been in place years ago.

Some of us did not miss the 'point' made by Frankwick, Joe and the policeman. The point is: IMC once again has reluctantly made a half-hearted attempt to correct what they allowed to go wrong in the first place! Are they going to slide by just one more time in how many years? IMC then had the audacity to blame and label all tenants as being 'what they are'.

Who hands out the leases? a. the tenants b. the community c. IMC

Isn't it fraudulent to 'allow' a drug dealer making hundreds in cash per day to occupy a federally funded, low income apartment? He/she should be able to afford better. Enabling the elements is the BOX and the LABEL reads "IMC Takes Federal Tax Dollars to the Bank".

March 21, 2005

Affordable Homes!!

The Chicago Reader published a front page story on the Sullivan’s building, Friday 3/18/05, . The web site is up and running on the building and the garden. George and Susan were on ‘Live from the Heartland’ on 3/05/05.

George is doing the first green/energy star new construction commercial/residential (mixed use) building in Chicago, The condos will be offering EEM Financing (Energy Efficient Mortgages) which are 0 down and 0 points and allow you to finance more money because your energy bills are 20% or less of the same size condo, i.e. if your current gas and electric bills are $1800/year for your house or condo an energy star house or condo would be $180.00 to $260.00/ year so if you own one you would (save or make) $1,620.00 to $1,540.00 per year how about that for affordable homes and or condos!!!!

Do we have any of them going into RP? This question should be directed to DevCorp, the alderman and his team of developers who appear to be bent on not creating commercial space or 'low income' new developments.

The developer for the property on Sheridan/Rogers proposed a green roof. Do we have any others to report?

Are there developers out there willing to take the time to construct energy efficient buildings here? What a vision! Rogers Park does something new and innovative instead of the same old, same old. Think about it, the Mayor would be very pleased. He might be happy enough to help with the missing Field House dollars.

March 18, 2005

The Priveleges of Exemption

One can’t help noticing this eyesore in the 7600 block of North Bosworth.

Evicted

This poor soul either didn’t pay the rent, ran out of the systems excuses or really angered the landlord. So the remains of a home lay strewn on the sidewalk area, so typical of the city services North of Howard. This eviction happened sometime on March 15 (Beware the Ides of March) and is still there today, March 18, three days later.

Upon calling 311 last night to report reference number 0500395886, I asked who is responsible for communicating evictions from one government agency to another. The dispatcher was clueless and gave me the number to call evictions. The woman answering at evictions was amazed and told me no one had ever asked this question before.

She in turn gave me the number of the sheriffs department 312-603-3054 so I could find an answer. But it was St. Pat's and after hours.

Now this eviction was bad news for the former tenant, but now has become ‘our problem’ even though we had nothing to do with it. I’ve also been told that it’s the landlords responsibility to contact the appropriate agency to pick up the remains of a home within 6 hours. To spare us this view, couldn’t these rough and tough sheriff’s department and eviction officers carry the remains to the alley? Or would that require another government permit?

Then it was brought to my attention that the Jonquil Hotel, 1600 West Jonquil Terrace, is an exempt building since it’s owned by a ‘religious’ organization. Guess what? They pay for commercial dumpsters to haul their trash. But the city picks up the Jonquil Hotel’s ‘remains of tenants homes’ every Wednesday. Now isn’t that sweet? One hundred percent free City trash pick up and we pick up the tab in our streets and san bills. I just happened to be in the Jonquil Hotel alley one morning and asked the garbage men if they did indeed pick up furniture and such for the Jonquil. One was hesitant to speak, but did suggest I contact a supervisor. He did state that the ‘supervisor’ has them pick up these ‘remains’ for the ‘church’. Now isn’t that priveleged treatment?

Again, I ask, what happened to the separation of Church and State? We have several of these ‘exempt’ buildings up here, and utilizing our contributions to streets and sanitation to pick up their trash is outrageous. Not once in awhile, but on a weekly basis. Then we hear the City is short on money.

Additional Information: I just called Streets and San to ask my questions. The dispatcher laughed and referred to 1600 Jonquil as "The Jungle Hotel". When I pressed for information on just WHO is to communicate these evictions for trash pick up, it is more or less dumped back on the taxpaying neighbors to call it in. When asked who directs this sloppy mess, it was referred to the leader of the City of Chicago. So the aldermen, not the taxpayers, vote themselves raises, the religious groups get perks at the taxpayers expense at the mayors directive, and we taxpayers are to 'clean up' our streets of trash and undesirables. We're to be blindly ordered to accept TIF's and SSA's and keep on donating to developments that don't promote commerce.

We're to be on call, watching, and reporting. So we call 911/311 and wait and keep watching and keep calling. Only catch is, we have nowhere to send our invoices. Perhaps we should vote ourselves as an exempt group as the church of free people. So what's the purpose of having this government anyway if we're the underlying foundation that is ignored except for election time?


We're the financial aid folks who contribute to other peoples bank accounts.

March 17, 2005

Ivory Tower Folks

January, 2005

Community leaders, concerned Broadmoor tenants and IMC Property Management met at Joe Moore’s office.
We demanded timely repair and maintenance for tenants.
We demanded live security during the night for the safety and security of tenants and neighbors.
IMC had to go ask Big Bill in the Ivory Tower at 1 East Superior Street.

February, 2005

Most of the same crew met at Joe’s office.
IMC attempted to initiate a paper flow on work orders that were previously called in to the answering service. This left little latitude on follow up by tenants. Weeks would pass before maintenance would make repairs.
IMC stated they couldn’t afford our demand of two security guards from their federally funded budget. Upon further pressure, and proof of criminal activity in their building, they stated they would provide security from 8pm to 4am.
This was more or less initiated at the end of the month.

March, 2005

Per IMC no work orders were placed in the past month.
Per IMC the poor security witnessed in the past two weeks has been replaced. There is to be one guard from 8pm to 12 midnight and a second guard is to join from 12 midnight until 4am. So the latest version is that the Broadmoor will have two live security guards from 12 midnight until 4am.

IMC did agree to issue warnings to any tenants using the emergency door to enter or exit. There will be a 10 day warning of eviction for anyone caught using the emergency door. Enforcement of this agreement and the presence of guards will be monitored by the tenants and community. Only tenants have hand prints to enter through the portal. The bad elements have been entering behind tenants opening the emergency door.

Jeff Frankwick, COO, stated there is a $1.2 million loss per year to maintain the building and IMC is losing money on the Broadmoor. Brenda Whitman, VP chimed in with her support to the statement. Pearl Barbour, on site manager had very little to say at Whitman’s directive.

Joe Moore stated the building would hopefully sell within the next two months. Joe stated the building will either sell or go into foreclosure and Jeff Frankwick nodded in agreement.

Joe will be held accountable for this hopeful remark.

Jeff Frankwick stated that the Broadmoor is a problem building because of the tenants. What an insult to law abiding, low income people. It’s highly doubtful that a tenant did this! IMC is the problem here. IMC ladles out the leases and looks the other way. IMC collects the rents from agencies and tenants and looks the other way.

IMC copped out years ago with a remote technical security system in the state of Texas so they could save our federal dollars.

IMC Lack of Property Management is the problem here.

Joe and Jeff are accountable to the community until that place cleans up or closes up.
We’re tired and angry, and we’re just not taking any more federal fraud from the Ivory Tower folks on Superior Street.

Any suspicious persons or activities in or around the Broadmoor, should be reported to 911.

March 16, 2005

Regarding Coe on Howard

If this wheeling dealing Coe person wants to build on Howard Street, he’d best instruct his architects to include commercial space in the design, start courting bookstores, coffee shops and the like so we, the community of taxpayers, can approve it. Terzakis finally got his condo/townhome plans approved late last year by the community for the Lerner property and the vacant lot next to Wisdom Bridge. It took him a few trips to the drawing board to get our approval but not our trust.

Where do these ‘visionists’ plan for the influx of property buyers to wine and dine? Without safe streets and commerce, these imports will jump in their cars and run to Evanston or Lincoln Park, not the Subway or the Chicken Joint. They’re not going to grab chicken wings, hang out on Howard and toss bones in the planters.

People with enough money to buy $300,000+ homes are not about to shop in dollar stores or wear hip hop garb and Nikes to work. So where will their clothing dollars be spent? Anywhere but here.

We don’t need any more imported people up here to park in their garage, hide inside, and not participate in the community. That may be an unfair demand, but to have outsiders/developers deprive Howard Street (or any other street) of commerce is equally unfair. Yes, we will have something to say about NO commercial space in the plans. Our tax dollars will be accounted for, as well as any person or entity attempting to manipulate our money. Accountability. So give us some decent commerce so the imported ones will spend their money in their new neighborhood. Get a vision folks!

We've been burned too many times by the fast talking, land grabbing types like Terzakis, his pal Mulder, the charity, SSA#19, and TIF dollars which resulted in our mostly vacant Gateway Mall. We'll save the missing CTA dollars and the missing Field House money Pal Mulder stole for another jab.

As for the 3/15/05 NOH Parks Advisory Council meeting last night, well, just stay tuned…….

The Sullivan Residence: A Green Building Case Study

Saturday, Mar 19th at 10am - 12pm
Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento



George and Susan Sullivan, residents of Chicago's far north side and
green general contractors, renovated their 4-flat home using the latest in green building technology. George will talk about his holistic approach to green renovations from project planning, energy efficient strategies, building selection, material selection, construction recycling, reducing the building footprint on the urban environment, and other lessons learned from this project. This course is eligible for the Green Tech U certification program.

Pre-registration is required; please call (312) 746-9642 or e-mail greentech@cityofchicago.org.

Here are two shots of the roof garden on the garage, the third shot is of the roof of the building without the deck and green roof.

Here are two shots of the bath green house and part of the master bath.

George Sullivan, will be doing the presentation on the 19th, and is also working with a Senior Project Architect, USGBC-Chicago Chapter Board Member to make her home more energy efficient.

The USGBC is also working on a pilot program for home owners.

March 15, 2005

IMPORTANT COMMUNITY MEETING TONIGHT

The following is a message from Hugh Devlin:

United Church of Rogers Park
1545 W Morse (Morse at Ashland)
7 PM
Tuesday March 15

I think we need to the raise the issue of how we set priorities in our neighborhood.

In recent months, we neighbors have been asked to accept cut-backs in the plans for the Howard EL station and the Gale Park field house. It was explained to us that the cut-backs were necessitated by a lack of funding. How is it we are unable to find funds to complete the Howard EL rehabilitation and the Gale Park field house as planned, but suddenly we have money to build Dev Corp North a new home?

If we have discretionary cash at our disposal, doesn't our community have other priorities, like parks or infrastructure, priorities other than developing and buying commercial real estate in a neighborhood that has a demonstrated glut of commercial space, as clearly evidenced by the high vacancy rates?

Where is Dev Corp North getting the money to develop and buy more commercial real estate in our neighborhood? Can't Dev Corp North get themselves a great deal on some vacant space in their own mall, Gateway Mall?

How did new construction for Dev Corp North become a priority in our community?

Surveyors on Howard

Surveyors were seen Monday, 3/14/05 in the 1500 block of Howard. They were sent to survey the Chicago Discount Cleaners and Laundry building. They said it had been sold and would probably have condo’s built there. A search of the PIN number, 11-29-300-0000 yields two addresses, one on Howard and one at 7542 N Rogers. According to a longtime resident, there is a 3-flat behind the laundry that finally went into bankruptcy and never completed construction.

The address on Howard covers the laundry and Little Mel’s fast food joint and loiterer hangout, and possibly the Tire Shop. If the surveyors claim that condos and possibly some commercial space would probably be built there, will it be be a reason to lament? Or will it be a reason to celebrate that there may possibly be commercial area built onto Howard with little room for the loiterers?

Resident Artist

Here are the latest cartoons from our resident NOH cartoonist, Tim Jackson. Don't let Tim's quiet demeanor fool you, he's always watching and, as most creatives, finds humor everywhere, even in the bizarre.

dijo and support group

Check out more of Tim's work at CreativeLicenseStudio

March 14, 2005

Three Month Leak

Did any of you notice a constant strip of wet pavement in front this store on Howard? Sometimes you could see the water moving but the source of the leak wasn’t obvious. It wasn’t from melting snow, it didn’t appear to be flowing from under the door, or melting from the roof. The mystery river.

For about three months people had to tread with caution in spite of the rest of the sidewalk being ice free. It was a three month leak that took allegedly four hours to repair or at least band aid. It took three months of calls to the office (the building owner aka the owner of the Howard Theatre) and finally calls to RPCC to get the four hour fix.

March 12, 2005

Eva McCann Demands This For The Hood

The Parks Commissioner’s Meeting was about speaking our demands to the board as they presided in a group.
The Parks Commissioner’s Meeting was to air our frustration and anger to them personally rather than through emails, phone calls, and the general method of dealing with bureaucracies. It was not about sidestepping anyone.
The Parks Commissioner’s Meeting was a stand of solidarity from community members, students, North of Howard Parks Council members and yes, we were joined and supported by our alderman.
After Eva spoke, Tim Mitchell agreed to meet with the council within the next two weeks. Mr. Mitchell also acknowledged Joe’s presence, to which Joe responded by briefly speaking of his support on our demands. Perhaps that action could be misconstrued as ‘breaking into the line, or using one’s clout, but on the flip side it also could be perceived that we were a community with aldermanic support on this issue.
The Parks Commissioner’s Meeting was not about liking or disliking, trusting or not trusting the alderman that day. It was about being heard, of reminding them of broken promises, and of being accountable.
And, we were very appreciative that Joe Moore made the effort to speak in support of our demands.
There may have only been a few of us at that meeting. More people will follow our lead as this small victory becomes a stepping stone to the reality of pressuring the Park District to meet our demands and keep their promise.

Here are Eva’s words verbatim. Please note revised in that she had 2 minutes to speak and had to quickly revise her prepared 5 minute speech.

To the Chicago Park District
3-9-05
Revised

1. Good afternoon. My name is Eva McCann and I am the president of the North of Howard Parks Advisory Council

2. I came before this commission several years ago to thank you for the approval to build a field house at the corner of north Marshfield and Howard

3. I stand before you today with members of my community to ask you where is our field house and to let you know that we are angry.

4. We are angry because our field house has been ten years in the making and still is not there.

5. A generation of young people have grown into adults, many with children of their own and still there is no field house for their children

6. We have been through 5 park superintendents since discussions began on this project in 1995 and still we have no field house.

7. In 1999 construction finally began on a park and a now empty PLOT of land that sits where a field house was promised

8. A street and an alley were closed off in 1999 for the building of this park and empty PLOT of land where a field house should be standing.

9. Commercial buildings on a commercial street were torn down in 1999 to make way for our park and a field house

10. In the spring of 2002 we finally got word after many promises of building dates that construction would finally and definitely begin in the fall of 2002

11. Fall of 2002 came and we were told Spring of 2003 because there were problems getting the land from the board of education that needed to be resolved

12. Spring of 2003 came and went and still no field house. We were told for sure in Fall of 2003 there should be no more hold ups everything was ready and set to go

13. Fall of 2003 came we were told there were zoning issues that needed to be dealt with. The area where the park and our vacant PLOT of land sit, that was once a commercial strip, needed to be zoned park area.

14. Why wasn’t this done in 1999 when the commercial buildings were torn down and it was being turned into parkland?

15. We were then told for sure in Spring of 2004. Well another problem sprung up, the part of Ashland Ave. that was closed off in 1999 for the park had not been closed off in city records and the zoning and approval for that needed to be dealt with first.

16. The field house was put off yet again until Fall of 2004. Very hopeful and again to the community’s dismay another zoning problem arose from something that should have been taken care of in 1999.

17. In fall of 2004 the alley that was once between Marshfield and Ashland that is now part of the basketball courts needed to be zoned park area and needed to be approved before construction could begin.

18. And the price of steel went up from the contractors original bid and they could no longer build the facility at their original cost.

19. We are at a point where the project needs to go out to bid again.

20. It is now 2005, again we were told construction would start in Spring of this year.

21. As of two weeks ago we have now been informed construction will begin in the fall of 2005

22. The community has been patient and has tried to believe the excuses, but there have been too many excuses. (It has reached the point of being ridiculous)

23. Surely when they built Millennium Park, the newly designed Soldiers Field and the Museum Campus it didn’t take this long with this many delays and this many excuses.

24. And if there were zoning troubles, land transfer problems and permit issues the Chicago Park District built these monuments simultaneously while solving these problems. Because the Park District wanted these projects to happen.

25. Well, you have a community, that stands with me today, that has waited 10 years to have our project happen. We don’t want anymore delays, we don’t want anymore excuses.

26. What we do want is for you to bring in bull dozers and break ground this spring. Not this fall, not next spring, but spring of 2005

27. If there are any other problems, work on them while you are working on the construction of our field house.

28. Give the Public Buildings Commission permission to start digging a foundation for our field house.

29. We have had 3 ground breakings for this building. We now want the Chicago Park District and the Public Buildings Commission to bring your shovels to Marshfield and Howard to start digging

30. Why should our community have to suffer any longer for the oversights of disorganized bureaucracies?

31. We hope that Tim Mitchell is committed to meeting with us in the next few weeks.

March 9, 2005

Help Make It Happen - Gale Park Field House

Help Make It Happen Today – Gale Park Field House

Please join the North of Howard Parks Advisory Council TODAY, Wednesday, March 9 at the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners Meeting. Last week, the council created a three point plan.

TODAY is the first prong - voicing our 'demand'.
You can voice your opinion or be part of the group making this demand:
Keep Your Promise
, we want our Field House,
NO More Excuses.

Stay tuned for the other two points or come to the next council meeting on March 15, 7:00PM.

March 7, 2005

Window Beautification Program

Flyers and Vacancies

The remains of Wisdom Bridge stand as though embarrassed to be seen this way. It’s been vacant since it closed in 1991. Held hostage by John Terzakis, this once grand building is crumbling from disrepair.

How can a building be held hostage? After Rudy Mulder disappeared, Terzakis, by default became owner of this building, the vacant lot next to it on Howard and the Lerner Building. After many unsuccessful attempts to gain community approval on proposed building projects, Terzakis refused to sell Wisdom Bridge to a group hoping to restore it as an arts/cultural workshop. Instead, he allowed it deteriorate while he schemed and produced one failed project after another. Finally, in 2004, a plan that was somewhat acceptable to the community was passed and should be in the hands of the City by now. Part of that plan was to finally sell the Wisdom Bridge building to the Wisdom Bridge Arts Project.

That hope for the Wisdom Bridge Arts Project is doubtful now. While Wisdom Bridge was being held hostage, layers of mold have grown over the interior thanks to water seepage through the roof and weakened mortar in the walls. Remediation would be more expensive than the physical work of restoration. There is little hope that the Wisdom Bridge Arts Group will be able to salvage this work of (m)old.

Stage Center: Enter the Howard Street Beautification People

Through the dingy window, beyond the remains of ripped away flyers, water termination notices, what is ‘stored’ within the entranceway? One can see an old desk, a city garbage can stuffed with signs from a meeting, binders, owned by whom? Oh no, not those people again.

Back Stage:

That politically inclined charity group who looks upon North of Howard with disdain is absolutely and positively using this vacant space as a storage area or dumping ground. That’s right, the same folks who put out expensive planters, were too slick to buy flowers and mooched from you! They knew better than to spend money on plants that would used as trash receptacles. Do they realize their storage/dumpster deal with Mr. Terzakis only degrades Howard further?

Around the corner, it’s the same ugly mess in another window facing Howard. These are the same folks who hold long, drawn out meetings to convince people they should contribute millions to SSA's and TIF's. These are the same folks who try to convince people elsewhere in the city that SSA’s are good for them too. They haven’t convinced many of us of anything other than their hypocrisy.

Right, let’s give these folks more money so they can help keep this street vacant, help provide the appearance (perception) of blighted, trashy, vacant storefronts so they can plead for a TIF? No doubt Terzakis is paid rent for the trash in the windows, but where are those window beautification dollars being spent? Obviously not to hide their own trash!

March 4, 2005

Another Shattered Perception

Many thanks to Cathy Gerlach for sharing her extensive labor of truth seeking.

Theatre and DevC 006
So, are all the circles where the promised lights should have been?

Theatre 003

Restored to its’ original state? How much did that 'tuckpointing' cost?

If you’re bored, read the comics. If you care about what’s been happening to your neighborhood, what the future may or may not hold for YOU and your vested interest North of Howard,follow the breadcrumbs.

For a slightly different version, TryThis

Only you can determine what OUR approach should be to future attempts to gain financially at the taxpayers expense. Are you going to allow yourself to be 'set up' for another TIF, more excuses and a big tax burden to carry for people like Johnson?

Theatre and DevC 003

March 3, 2005

The Vision (continued)

Per my source, a DevCorp project manager provides and assists on paperwork with the façade rebate program which is processed through them not the City. So there was a million dollars set up by ‘someone’ to re-develop the theater through the City through DevCorp via the façade rebate
program

For your convenience here is a copy/paste from today's cityofchicago.org with a search on 'facade rebate program':

Objective:
Facade improvements for neighborhood businesses through financial and technical aid.
Qualifications and Restrictions:
Applications are available from local neighborhood business organizations. Applicants must install a minimum of $2,000 in facade improvements to be eligible for the program. New construction is not eligible.

Please note the city website states ‘applications are available from local neighborhood business organizations’. Would that, could that be perceived as a ‘chamber of commerce’?

So that’s the story on how the money was allegedly set up and how $250k was ‘appropriated’ up front. Or you may want to check out IDHA Loan ML-250 for $2,800,000 and Mortgage#1 and Mortgage #2 dated the same day, or one entity owned by same person selling to another entity owned by same person, i.e. Mr. Jay.

Look up the word restore. A simple MS Word Thesaurus search will yield such synonyms such as: re-establish, reinstate, bring back...you get the drift by now right?

But back to more on the paper trail. It seems that once upon a time there was a local real estate lawyer who now refuses to do work in this ward due to some ‘irregularities’. It seems when Peoples Housing had over-extended itself and was crumbling in it’s own financial ignorance, this lawyer discovered someone - - either Peoples Housing or a certain bank had shredded a lot of important documentation.

Enter Mr. Jay, and a few other players at this bank to get the city to finance this project with federal dollars as a façade and restoration/re-development program. As stated, in the beginning, this was to be an ‘artist colony’ that somehow ran short of funds, became Section 8 apartments with a shoe store in the old lobby. But one agenda was presented to the city, another agenda was executed. That's why the neighborhood was a little steamed, if you recall.

So if developers and/or banks shred documentation, could it be possible that there is no paper trail left on this as well? Somewhere along the way, the TIF came through, Devcorp and Mr. Rudy and Mr. Jay began the plans for the Gateway Mall too. The rest is truly old but intriguing news. Jay un-partnered himself from Rudy, Rudy was /is still on the lam, and somewhere along the "save the Gateway program" it appears that DevCorp became a partial owner of at least 5% of the Gateway Mall.

New facades? What happened to ‘restore’? Where are the lights, the huge windows, what happened with the tuckpointing? What happened? It didn't get restored, therefore, no longer qualifies for landmark status in the City of Chicago. It is acknowledged, but not landmarked.

In case the City's site is still experiencing technical difficulties here's the link:

http://w16.cityofchicago.org/landmark/SilverStream/Pages/landmarkresult.html/

or simply go to the city site and search for landmarks...

March 2, 2005

The Perception Of Vision

The Perception of Vision

Wasteland 016

The Howard Theatre would have qualified for landmark status had it not been for the feeding frenzy that surrounded the Howard TIF and Gateway Mall. Our infamous friend of the buy-up of Peoples Housing to Holsten properties, Jay Johnson, grabbed this historic building and proceeded with its permanent disfiguration.

Once the Howard TIF was pushed through, Johnson allegedly took a nice $250,000 ‘developers fee’ from the top of the project, or before the project even began rather than after completion. Finding himself a tad short on money along the way, the building and the neighborhood got shortchanged too. Take a look at what is housed in this once grand building…a shoe store for the multitude of ‘walkers and runners’ North of Howard. Many of today’s problems stem from the CHA and other entities' lack of foresight and planning years ago. So in the midst of the wasteland now known as Howard Street, we are semi-awed at the half-baked restoration of a vintage hallmark building.
Pity we will never see it on this website.

This historic landmark was to have been restored to its original state. The façade rebate money from DevCorp certainly wasn’t applied to the building. It didn’t happen. Take a close look at missing pieces the next time you’re out. Look at the theatre lights that were not replaced, just covered up. How aesthetic is the flat, tin panel covering the arch? Note the mismatched, bricked up spaces, the open area behind the columns in the archway. Wonder if that up front $250k developers fee would have saved the appearance and balanced the façade?

Wasteland 015

Another broken promise was the unified signage for the store fronts. That didn’t happen either.

The building was redeveloped into studios and one bedrooms for students and artists (that was Jay's pitch to the builders group north of Howard) of which several of people opposed the project plan but were over shadowed and told they were nay sayers. According to one long-time involved neighbor, Johnson felt he had been personally/publically attacked when the question was put to him as to how much of Johnson’s personal money was being put into the re-development. Johnson refused to answer.

According to the long time resident, none of Johnson’s money was going into the project. He was allegedly taking a large sum of money out of the project to put it in his pocket as well as others in the ward. One could ask "Where are the builders group members that supported this project? Why are they not listing the great redevelopment of the Howard Street Theater building on their web site?" with a picture of the building before the "redevelopment" and the artist representation of "post redevelopment" to a photo of the actual building "after redevelopment", as well as the number of "students and artists" that live in the building.

While the rear 'apartments' of the theatre were rumored to have been turned into condos, another rumor has it these ‘apartments’ are Section 8. This seems more likely in keeping with more half-baked non-visions of the CHA and other ‘entities’. One is completely boarded up, leaving one’s mind wide open to wonder.

So we have this North of Howard landgrabber who has allegedly dug himself into such a financial hole, owns several of these buildings that will keep NOH in that CHA mentality. While neighbors to the south are grumbling over upzoning, condo blocks and the great debate on contributions of asphalt to the ecology, we're under government lockdown contracts up here. As history has proven, it’s difficult and costly to buy one of these government subsidized buildings. So our omnipotent leaders allow these buildings to fall victim to slumlords then to receivership to more slumlords keeping the cycle of non-gentrification alive and deadly.

We need a progressive, liberal judge who will order slumlords to live in their own hellhole buildings.

Many thanks to the non-visionaries who started this mess, David Orr, the CHA, certain 'entities' and all the slumlords of NOH.

March 1, 2005

Defend Yourself

Simple Self-Defense Techniques
That can keep YOU from becoming a VICTIM.
Thursday, March 10th, 7:00 p.m.
Gateway Senior Apartments
7450 N. Rogers
Community Room

defend

The March 10th Beat 2422 will have a guest from IMPACT Chicago giving a demonstration on Simple Self Defense Techniques.

IMPACT Chicago, a not-for-profit women's organization does workshops
throughout the city, will give a 45-60 minute demonstration showing women how to defend themselves in case of a rape attempt or an attack.

If there are enough interested people, Eva McCann,CAPS Beat Facilitator 2422 will make every attempt to arrange for IMPACT Chicago to do a series of more in-depth workshops here.

The beat flyers will be posted later this week.

We need to get an early start on the goonings and other attacks that
have already started.