April 30, 2005

The Scoop on Trash

This is the ‘management office’ of North Point on N. Paulina. If they can make arrangements and coordinate multiple moves of tenants with Mayflower, why can’t they make arrangements for trash removal immediately after the move? A Mayflower truck was in front of the Ashland by Gale Park building Thursday. The boxes remain in the alley on Saturday. People were relocated into the south half of the building. Due to the fire in February, the north half is still undergoing ‘renovation’, so the relocated tenants can listen to the noises of rehab. To quote the blogs anon friend(s) ‘who cares’? 70% is 70%, money is money, and greed is ‘good’. Why be a good neighbor? The owners are in another state.

NorthPoint trash 004

NorthPoint trash 001

NorthPoint trash 003

April 29, 2005

Speak Out Against CTA Doomsday Plan 4.30.05

As part of the Chicago Transit Coalition, Rogers Park Community Action
Network (RPCAN) is helping organize a town hall meeting with State
Legislators to press to save and improve our public transit system.
We want both adequate funding AND accountability and service.

Saturday, April 30, 2:00pm
Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn.
2 blocks from the Red Line - Harrison stop

Rep. Julie Hamos, Chair of the State Transportation committee and other
legislators have promised to be there to hear from people.

The CTA has approved its "DOOMSDAY" plan, which would eliminate many bus
routes serving the north side and drastically reduce Red line train service.
Our community, our city and our economy need first class public transit.

If you cannot make the Town Hall Meeting Saturday, send an email to our
reps by going to the following link

The Chicago Transit Coalition would like to keep track of how people heard
about the Town Hall Meeting, so if you can make it Saturday afternoon,
please sign in that you got the word from RPCAN.

Also, if you would like to get more involved in the effort for better
public transit, please call the RPCAN office to let us know.
(773) 973-7888

April 27, 2005

Capitalism Or Greed?

"Good for them, looks as that is what america is all about, capitolism."
Posted by Anonymous at 4/27/2005 08:03:01 AM
"who cares"
Posted by Anonymous at 4/27/2005 08:01:58 AM

Capitalism (correct spelling) aka entrepreneurship or private enterprise is part of what founded America (names are capitalized). Defrauding taxpayers doesn’t appear anywhere in the Founding Fathers Plans. I’d like to thank the anon poster for opening the door to further push the North Point issue. These AIMCO CEO’s, VP’s etc. are real estate developers, and property managers of a larger scope than most of the clique that seems to have our alderman’s attention.

AIMCO is like a folder on your C: drive with multiple subfolders, just read through the listing of subsidiaries. They buy up, link up with HUD, and make the grand gesture of providing low income housing. They’re lining their pockets with our tax dollars and the so-called progressive Democrats allowed at least 15 of these buildings to be placed in a 2 x 6 block area. HUD didn’t object either! North Point has 12 buildings and IMC Property Management has three working buildings and one burned out tax write off.

AIMCO is providing a semblance of a ‘home’ to low income people, but not at much expense to them. North Point is a haven of drug dealers infused in a safety net provided by management who claims they ‘do their best’. So is pointing out the people who call 911 by management and/or security to the drug dealers doing their best? It’s the best North Point management is capable of. The rules of HUD and Section 8 are consistently broken and allowed to be broken while North Point management looks the other way.

Management gives tenants 5-day notices even though the rent has been paid. Could this be considered bad accounting or attempted extortion? Or how about the story of one North Point resident on a fixed income who was told the ‘utility allowance’ was being raised from $74 to $114? Why don’t those noble-minded Mile High upper management fellows tell middle management to leave these poor fixed income folks alone? Wouldn’t it be truly noble to take that extra $40 from their 70% cut from HUD? That’s not private enterprise, that’s greed.

For the most part, middle management takes directives from upper management. If this isn’t the case at North Point, then the Mile High boys have a real problem they are going to have to deal with. To spend/invest $10-$15 million for the rehabbing of 12 buildings or 304 apartments is, at best, a cosmetic paint job and a few hinges. How does this tie into being a community enhancement? It doesn’t. It ties into ‘bottom line, end of the day’ numbers at the bank/stock market. Very simple. So AIMCO takes the low income persons 30% of the rent check and the other 70% is doled out by HUD. If anon wants to look in the mirror and tell the reflection that this is ‘right’, then he/she is delusional. Taking 70% and putting the bare minimum into a neighborhood is common greed. There’s nothing noble about greed. There’s nothing legal about harboring participants in illegal activities. The only difference between the drug dealers and the politicians and developers is the level of education and finesse in their dealings! NOH has been plagued with the low-income dilemma in the small area some of us call our neighborhood. That’s not free enterprise, free government or any similar concoction of verbiage.

This area is plagued. NOH is plagued with an unbalance of scattered housing. NOH provides a total unbalance of low income properties to purchase. NOH is home to a charity pretending to be a chamber of commerce that does virtually no new business recruitment for Howard Street. And NOH is plagued by the favored developers who can’t afford to turn these buildings into decent homes for purchase by the ‘common’ person. They can’t and won’t let go of that fine opportunity to rake in 70% of the rents.

What’s so ethical about stealing? What’s so ethical about keeping a certain area depressed? It’s all about money, power, and greed and the taxpayers foot the bill.

Spanish version

April 26, 2005


Please meet your invisible neighbors: The Owners of North Point. With their salaries, $15 million might buy them a vacation, but it's allegedly being divided by 12 buildings up here to 'rehab'. I think these fine folks should get an invitation by NOH to spend a few nights in each of their great HUD buildings at our taxpayer expense don't you? Maybe they could be persuaded to re-think the concept of creating real affordable housing for those who deserve it. Wonder if they could sleep with boom boxes and gunshots? They can bring their own body guards and plastic mattress covers.

AIMCO Properties, L.P.
4582 S. Ulster Street Pkwy., Ste. 1100
Denver, CO 80237
Company Type Private - Partnership
Fiscal Year-End December
2004 Sales (mil.) $1,468.9
2004 Employees 6,800

Who’s Who at AIMCO
Terry Considine, Age 57
Chairman, President, and CEO, $29,171 salary
Company Title
American Land Lease, Inc. Chairman and CEO $60,000
Apartment Investment and Management Company Chairman, President, and CEO Salary $300,000 Bonus $1,000,000
AIMCO Properties, L.P.
2002:, $200,000 salary, $510,000 bonus
1994: Chairman and CEO
American Land Lease, Inc.
2003: Chairman and CEO, $180,000 bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2003: Chairman, President, and CEO, $29,171 salary
2002: Chairman and CEO, $200,000 salary, $510,000 bonus
2001: Chairman and CEO, $100,000 salary, $875,000 bonus
2000: Chairman and CEO, $275,000 salary
Commercial Assets, Inc.
Last position held, Chairman and CEO

Jeffrey W. (Jeff) Adler, Age 43

EVP, Conventional Property Operations
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP Conventional Property Operations
Apartment Investment and Management Company
Title held until 2004: SVP Risk Management

Harry G. Alcock, Age 42
EVP and Chief Investment Officer, Apartment Investment and Management Company
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP and Chief Investment Officer
United Investors Growth Properties EVP, United Investors Real Estate
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2001: EVP and Chief Investment Officer, $200,000 salary, $397,500 bonus
2000: EVP and Chief Investment Officer, $200,000 salary

Miles Cortez, Age 61

EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel $250,000 $400,000
United Investors Income Properties EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel, United Investors Real Estate
VMS National Properties Joint Venture EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel, MAERIL
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2003: EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel, $200,000 salary, $100,000 bonus
2002: EVP, Secretary, and General Counsel, $200,000 salary, $360,000 bonus

Lance J. Graber, Age 43

EVP, AIMCO Capital Transactions-East
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP, AIMCO Capital Transactions, East $250,000 $400,000
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2003: EVP, AIMCO Capital Transactions, East, $200,000 salary, $100,000 bonus
2002: EVP Acquisitions, $200,000 salary, $360,000 bonus

Paul J. McAuliffe, Age 48

EVP and CFO, Apartment Investment and Management Company, $200,000 salary, $100,000 bonus
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP and CFO $447,830 $100,000
United Investors Growth Properties EVP and CFO, United Investors Real Estate
United Investors Income Properties EVP and CFO, United Investors Real Estate
VMS National Properties Joint Venture EVP and CFO, MAERIL

AIMCO Properties, L.P.
2002:, $200,000 salary, $360,000 bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2003: EVP and CFO, $200,000 salary, $100,000 bonus
2002: EVP and CFO, $200,000 salary, $360,000 bonus
2001: EVP and CFO, $200,000 salary, $457,500 bonus
2000: EVP and CFO, $200,000 salary

David Robertson, Age 39
EVP; President and CEO, AIMCO Capital
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company EVP; President and CEO, AIMCO Capital $275,000 $120,000
Apartment Investment and Management Company
2003: EVP; President and CEO, AIMCO Capital, $200,000 salary, $100,000 bonus
2002: EVP and Head of Affordable Properties, $200,000 salary, $360,000 bonus

Thomas M. Herzog, Age 42

SVP and Chief Accounting Officer
Other Company Affiliations
Company Title Salary Bonus
Apartment Investment and Management Company SVP and Chief Accounting Officer
Springhill Lake Investors Limited Partnership VP Residential and Chief Accounting Officer, Three Winthrop
United Investors Growth Properties SVP and Chief Accounting Officer, United Investors Real Estate
United Investors Income Properties SVP and Chief Accounting Officer, United Investors Real Estate
VMS National Properties Joint Venture SVP and Chief Accounting Officer, MAERIL

2004 Sales
$ mil. % of total
Rent & other property revenues 1,401.6 95
Property management 32.5 2
Activity fees & asset management 34.8 3
Total 1,468.9 100

Income Statement
Dec 04 1,468.9 Revenue($ mil.) 293.1 Net Income($ mil.) 20.0% Net ProfitMargin Employees 6,800
Dec 03 1,394.7Revenue($ mil.) 177.9 Net Income($ mil.) 12.8% Net ProfitMargin Employees 7,300
Dec 02 1,266.9Revenue($ mil.) 206.2Net Income($ mil.) 16.3% Net ProfitMargin Employees 7,500

April 25, 2005

Another Loud Summer?

This is a query for Beat2422Crimes from Citizen I-Cam for the allowed dates of April 2 to April 15, 2005.

This is a query for Howard Crimes from Citizen I-Cam for the allowed dates of April 2 to April 15, 2005.

It will be interesting to see what the numbers look like after last week's warm weather. Did anyone hear gunshots in the early morning hours last Wednesday?

There was a no hit shooting at Paulina and Howard last Wednesday afternoon. I know it appears that it's 'not my problem' but it is. It's everyone's problem and we need to take some steps to make sure the noise doesn't overwhelm us this summer. BoJo (Bosworth-Jonquil) Neighbors met with Commander Rottner recently. He asked for and was given a list of problem buildings and hotspots and the anti-social activities we see/hear. Without sounding like one of 'them', just bear with me for a moment. We can do several actions that will start the ball rolling, or we can drive home, park the car, and draw the blinds. What goes on outside will only continue and will assuredly get worse.

Neighborhood organizations sponsor walks during the summer months. However, most occur at times when many of us are in transit from work. We need later evening walks around NOH. We should do a little demonstrating at the residence or workplace of non-resident slumlords' to bring attention (embarrassment)to the problems they're allowing to happen. We can all dial 911, but we may have to go one step further and sign a complaint to ensure something is done.

Most NOH readers know the hotspots, the bad buildings, and the hangouts. The police know them too. So let's help them out. We can take pictures to prove what we see, we can take license numbers, we can 911 till they're sick of hearing our voices, we can sign complaints until they run out of paper. We can walk and sit and ruin the hot spots for awhile. We can be proper little pests just like mosquitos. If that's what it takes to have a quiet summer, then is anyone ready to do something?

E-mail me at aquariant4@aol.com if you are interested in evening walks. It's a 2 x 8 block area and doesn't take long to cover. We may have missed a bad building or a hotspot, so send it along. Let's make the challenge to everyone out there, from the drug dealers to the police and demand some peace and quiet this summer.

Yes, there will be picnics in Gale Park again! We will celebrate summer again this year.

April 24, 2005

Cook County Cash Cows


County workers hit OT jackpot
One nurse's overtime tab: $187,500

By Mickey Ciokajlo and Todd Lighty
Tribune staff reporters
Published April 24, 2005
Cook County officials have long promised to rein in runaway overtime costs, but payroll records show that more than 100 county workers were each paid $50,000 or more in overtime last year, with one industrious nurse pulling down $187,500 in extra pay.

Oak Forest Hospital nurse Usha Patel, who earned the overtime on top of her regular $92,700 salary, also led county employees in overtime pay in 1996, when the Tribune last totaled up the tab.

Since then, the annual county government bill for worker overtime has ballooned from $32 million to $76.7 million.

Patel's total pay package meant she earned more last year than most doctors who work for county medical facilities. Her paycheck also was a lot fatter than the one for her ultimate boss, Cook County Board President John Stroger, whose annual salary is $170,000.

When she wasn't on vacation or taking personal days, according to hospital officials, Patel, 57, was working 16-hour shifts.

Patel declined to comment.

Stroger, who learned Friday about Patel's 2,746 hours of overtime in 2004, said he was concerned about her grueling workload.

"It's not legally criminal, but it's criminal," said Stroger, referring to Patel's double shifts. "She loses her effectiveness at some point."

Stroger said no nurse should work 16 hours a day continuously, and he has instructed the chief of the Bureau of Health Services to make changes and to curb overtime.

Two of Patel's fellow nurses at Oak Forest Hospital also made more than $100,000 in overtime in 2004, according to county payroll records.

The records show that 57 county workers, most but not all in health service jobs, doubled their salaries thanks to overtime pay, including six security guards and two ward clerks at Stroger Hospital, and a janitor at Provident Hospital whose total income reached $80,000.

County government officials for years have bemoaned the amount they pay out in overtime, yet they have failed to get the spending under control.

Excessive and unexpected overtime costs strain the county's budget because employees are typically paid 1 1/2 times their normal hourly rate.

The overtime expenses are highest in the Bureau of Health Services. The county's medical system, which serves as a safety net for the poor and uninsured, runs Stroger, Oak Forest and Provident Hospitals, a network of neighborhood clinics and the Department of Public Health.

Last year, overtime accounted for more than 10 percent of the more than $500 million in wages earned by workers in the health bureau.

Nursing shortage blamed

Officials often pin some of the blame for high overtime costs on the nation's chronic nursing shortage. At the same time, the county spends more than $9 million a year on temporary workers to supplement its staff.

The county has struggled in recent years to stave off budget deficits, adding to pressure to rein in overtime pay. In 2004, overtime expenses accounted for 6 percent of the county's total $1.35 billion payroll for its 26,000 employees.

"The numbers themselves point to a real need for the county government to develop and publish a policy related to overtime and how it's awarded," said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a local government watchdog group.

The county routinely underbudgets for overtime, only to later transfer money earmarked for thousands of unfilled jobs, Msall said. "It raises questions about the county's staffing practices. Either they are not appropriately budgeting for positions ... or there's some technical shortage in that field and they're overworking the people they do have."

Frankie Nelson, a custodian supervisor at Provident Hospital, makes a little more than $35,000 a year in regular pay. But 2004, she said, was a good year. Records show Nelson supplemented her salary with almost $45,000 in overtime.

"I worked around the clock--16 hours a day, 7 days a week," Nelson said. "My husband was getting really upset. I was spending more time at the hospital than with him. He said I should have married the hospital."

Nelson said a chronic shortage of janitorial supervisors in 2004, when one supervisor was off because of major surgery and two others had extended illnesses, led to the huge amount of overtime she racked up. But the previous year, she made almost as much in overtime, $44,587.

Six figures for security officer

One security officer at Stroger Hospital, Edwin Hernandez, made more than $123,000 last year, including more than $76,000 in overtime, payroll records show.

"Why the interest in me and my overtime?" Hernandez asked. "Why don't you go after the doctors? They make twice what I make."

In 1996, only 13 county workers made more than $50,000 in overtime pay, compared with 103 workers last year.

Oak Forest Hospital nurse Patel was the overtime leader in 1996, too, raking in an extra $73,000 above her regular pay.

Patel declined to comment about her 2004 workload. But when asked eight years ago about her hours, she replied: "I don't keep track of the time I work. I have the stamina to work, and I love my work."

John Karebian, associate executive director of the Illinois Nurses Association, said there are no federal or state regulations limiting the hours nurses can voluntarily work.

Though unfamiliar with Patel's specific circumstances, Karebian said that generally nurses work extra hours because they are concerned about patient care and because of frequent nursing shortages.

"They're not doing it for the money, they're doing it because somebody has to pick up those chips," Karebian said. He said his organization supports placing guidelines on overtime when mandated by employers, adding that nurses know best when they are fatigued.

`Clearly there's a problem'

Cook County Commissioner Gregg Goslin (R-Glenview) said he understands staffing problems caused by the nursing shortage. Still, Goslin said in some cases the overtime paid by the county last year was excessive, especially considering the high number of workers who more than doubled their wages.

"Clearly there's a problem," he said. "There's only so many hours in a day somebody can work. I think those kinds of cases are at the extreme end of the spectrum, but that's troublesome."

Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston) said that overtime payments are a continuing financial challenge confronting the county.

"There are significant abuses of overtime because we do not have good management controls to alert managers when they're violating, significantly, their budgets with overtime," Suffredin said.

Suffredin predicted that budget troubles would worsen next year, saying county politicians have failed to break the financial cycle of an inefficient government.

"To survive in the future, we're going to have to be extremely efficient," he said. "The standard of county work has not been about efficiencies, but rather to carry on as in prior generations."

Overtime costs have not been the only challenge for county officials as taxpayers beg for tax relief. Earlier this year, the Tribune reported that 1 1/2 years after Stroger ordered a hiring freeze--exempting only critical public health and safety jobs--the county added 2,700 workers, or about 10 percent of the payroll.

Many of the new hires were doctors, nurses and jail guards, but county officials also found jobs for their relatives and the politically connected. Stroger hired two administrative assistants, a $59,000-a-year human resources aide and a $78,000-a-year special events coordinator, among others.

OT cost jumps at jail

Though the health bureau accounted for about 70 percent of all overtime dollars paid to county workers last year, records show that other departments have significant overtime costs.

Overtime at the Cook County Jail grew from $2.4 million in 2002 to $7.4 million last year. According to payroll records, 25 correctional officers made at least $25,000 each in overtime in 2004.

Sheriff Michael Sheahan has complained for years that the jail is understaffed, a problem officials are addressing in the current budget.

Stroger said overtime expenses, particularly at the health bureau, have long been a concern for him.

In fact, Stroger said one of the first things he discussed with Dr. Daniel Winship, who replaced Ruth Rothstein as the bureau's chief last year, was controlling overtime costs.

Stroger said the county was working to cut overtime expenses, in part, by recruiting additional nurses. The county last year entered into an agreement with City Colleges to help train nurses who would then work for the county.

Winship agreed that the nursing shortage must be alleviated but said nurses like Patel, an advanced practice nurse, should be applauded for their dedication.

Patel is a highly skilled nurse "who is always willing to step up and take another shift when the requirement is there, frequently at the last minute when no one else wants to do it," Winship said.

Limiting the hours a nurse may voluntarily work is an issue that would be subject to union negotiations. Winship said he has spoken with county labor negotiators about raising the issue during contract bargaining.

In the last 30 days, the health bureau has put in place stringent new rules designed to reduce overtime hours, Winship said. While those rules are being refined, each institution must now stay within its budgeted overtime amount, he said.

"We're working real hard on it," Winship said. "We're making some progress here."

April 18, 2005

Cash Cows

Twelve North Point buildings reside within the small pocket known as North of Howard. This pocket is bordered on the south by Howard, on the north by Juneway, on the east by the lake and on the west by Paulina. It also includes the area in Triangle Park.

Now owned and operated by Aimco, a private company, North Point has been in the process of spending $10 million to ‘rehab’ these buildings. According to the Tribune’s 12/31/03 records, a ‘sale’ of 7628 N Bosworth was made to North Point Preservation LP from Trust 10329, LaSalle Bank NA. That sale amount was recorded at $15,881,000.

The $15M transaction was for 3 properties:
11-29-105-002 7639 N Ashland, location of the fire in February 2005

11-29-105-001 7651 N Ashland Ave, red brick building just north at the SE corner of Ashland & Jonquil

11-29-105-012 7638 N Bosworth, behind 7639 N Ashland, across the alley
Sold 12/04/2003 to Northpoint Preservation Limited Partnership

(thanks Hugh)

These low income apartments are under contract as project based Section 8 buildings. These apartments are ‘market rate’. So if a two bedroom apartment would normally rent at $1,000/month, someone with a Section 8 voucher would pay 30% of $1,000 or $300 and HUD picks up the tab for the remaining 70%. North Point has 12 buildings in this small area with 304 apartments.

However, Illinois Department of Housing is no longer recognized by HUD according to this portion of HUD’s website

HUD’s mission statement: “HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships--particularly with faith-based and community organizations--that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level.”

So, when do these 12 buildings open up for "homeownership” and put action to the words “support community development”? When does the community finally stand up and say enough? There is no community pride exhibited by many of the North Point residents and their extended families nor from Aimco. To give a hand up rather than a hand out, why not ask Aimco to turn half of these buildings into low income condos or co-ops? And, can North of Howard afford any more ‘faith based’ organizations owning exempt property?

It appears that by allowing the placement these 12 buildings in such close proximity is in total opposition to HUD’s mission statement and politicians have permitted it for years. It’s time to open discussions on this point. The community needs low income housing, and low income people should have the opportunity to purchase and preserve a home. Since condo’s are the latest trend, let’s see the politicians put their feet down on the proliferation of poverty and demand that some of these buildings be turned into low income condos or co-ops.

Tenants at the North Point sign a regulation generic City of Chicago lease. However, there are multiple extended families residing in many of these apartments. What does management do about this? There are rules about non-lease holders living in apartments but little is done to stop it. What will management do about maintaining these ‘rehabbed’ apartments once the money is spent? Allow bad tenants to trash the places and do yet another rehab/cosmetic job?

For example, the steel ‘security’ gates on the Bosworth buildings do not lock. Some are so out of alignment they don’t even close. No rehab money was spent on securing exterior gates on these completed buildings.

In February, a fire damaged the vacated North Point building on Ashland across from Gale School.

Not much has been done to further secure the building while rehabbing is in progress. North Point does however, hire security guards who patrol the area from vehicles. So rather than securing the steel gates properly, North Point aka Aimco prefers to spend money on manned security. It’s a start, but just not good enough.

These buildings should be properly utilized to house those who need and deserve the apartments. As it is, these buildings are cash cows to Aimco and again, North of Howard is strapped with 12 out of control, mismanaged buildings.

How much is enough?

April 13, 2005

Field House Unveiled

Two students from the Alternative High School gave an impressive Tae Kwon Do demonstration before the meeting began. The young men are students of neighbor Louis Linsmeyer, a champion Tae Kwon Do instructor. Their training began in January, and as exhibited tonight, they have been attentive students in their art.

North of Howard Parks Advisory Council President, Eva McCann spoke to the benefits of the field house in giving young people a chance to participate in positive activities as Tae Kwon Do in the facility.

The floor was given to Mr. Chris Ghent, Deputy Director of Planning and Development of the Chicago Park District, to present the revised renderings to the community. To preserve the design and allow cost savings, Mr. Ghent presented this revised floor plan.

Floor Plan

The field house will contain a club room, fitness center, full size 9000 square foot regulation gymnasium, locker and toilet facilities, and staff office. There will also be a pantry area for community meetings utilizing carry-in food. An agreement has been reached with the Board of Education to provide the required parking spaces near the outdoor basketball courts.

To summarize the changes in the exterior renderings of the new plan, Mr. Ghent explained that the gym ceiling will be lowered from 26 feet to 22-24 feet. The green roof will be moved to the lower level over the club room area from the lobby roof and solar panels will be placed on the upper roof level in place of the previously planned green roof. This design will allow additional levels to be built if warranted.

Revised Rendering

The timeline and schedule discussed at the April 4 meeting with Chris Ghent and Jim Kronis of the Parks Commission, the Public Buildings Commission and the North of Howard Parks Council was set forth as follows:

Perkins and Will Architects will move forward with finalizing renderings – approximately two months. The approved renderings will be turned over to the Public Buildings Commission for bids which will require around one month. Once all bids have been received, it will be presented to the monthly board meeting in August or September for approval with construction beginning in September or October. Several of us who attended the April 4 meeting reiterated the years of broken promises and our hope would be to push this forward with no further delays, including winter weather.

Some questions from the community included:
Security to which the response was additional mobile units will be added to the park budget to patrol park areas when the field house is completed. (Need clarification on which parks these units will cover...will update)
Programs which currently only include basketball. A request was made that the park district present the park council with more diverse programs.
Green Roofs were explained to the group as were solar panels.

The most important question from the group was the timeline and the importance of keeping this promise.

At the close of this portion of the meeting, John Jaffe announced the community build-out of the Harold Washington Playlot on June 4. A $60,000 Allstate Insurance grant and a $200,000 aldermanic donation will enable the build out to proceed. It will be an 8 hour day beginning at 7:30 am with breakfast and lunch being served. We need community volunteers for child care, entertainment, food and drink distribution, and of course, the manual labor! Please contact Eva McCann for additional information. A sign up sheet will be available at the CAPS meeting tomorrow night.

Sister Cecilia Fandel explains the playlot renderings to a neighbor.

Harold Washington Playlot Buildout

And at long last, here’s the story, and MizAli wants Mom to turn off the computer and play catch.

Theatre 001

April 8, 2005

Gale Field House Community Meeting April 13

Gale Fieldhouse
Community Meeting


Wednesday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Gale School Auditorium
1631 W. Jonquil

Hear the Chicago Park District’s presentation on the status of the fieldhouse. Ask questions and find out the construction timeline!

Meeting sponsored by the North of Howard Parks Advisory Council
For more information, please contact
Emily Gruszka at (773) 465-6011 x114


Junta Comunitaria sobre la caseta del Distrito de los Parques de Chicago por Gale


Miercoles, 13 de Abril a las 7:00 p.m.
En el Auditorio de la Escuela Gale
1631 W. Jonquil

Escucha al propósito por el Distrito de los Parques. Habría preguntas y respuestas y encontrarámos el horario por construcción.

Junta por el North of Howard Parks Advisory Council
Por más información, llame a
Emily Gruszka a (773) 465-6011 x114

April 7, 2005

The First Warm Night

Oh, the first warm night is always full of the sights and sounds of summer! A dispute in Triangle Park, a domestic in North Point, drunken revelers, a paddy wagon and squads cruising. The number of squad cars was impressive.

Looks like the summer of 2005 will be hosting a replay of last year’s “hot spot” unless neighbors start calling 911 and reporting these parties at 7650 and 7652 N. Bosworth. Surely I’m not the only person up here with open windows am I? Do you live across the street yet hear nothing? I’m on the other end of the block and the noise blasts through the night.

FirstWarmNight 002

The owner of 7652 doesn’t want to admit this is happening, right Leroy of ReMax? The owner claims no partying happens behind his Section 8 rental unit, right?


It appears that this is private property, otherwise, there wouldn’t be Lincoln Towing signs. Check it out…but do it on a warm night. If the alley is blocked with a congregation of North Point residents and guests, pick up that cell phone and complain. Be a good neighbor and ask others in your building to call too.

April 5, 2005

It Will Be Built

It will finally happen. Jim Kronis of the Park District began the meeting by discussing the over-budget immediately, presenting the cost of steel, construction prices, etc., that we've heard before. Our sympathies with his budget woes were not deeply touched.

Unfortunately, as was pointed out to the Park District just one more time, that's not our problem. The field house and community have been held in limbo, while bureaucrats do what they do. Not our problem.

We were presented with the original plans with certain modifications to save money. Plan A.
Computerized before and after sketches were presented to save even more money.
Plan B.

We opted for the most we could retain of the original plan. It will save Perkins & Will architects time at the drafting board, will speed up the paperwork process so real groundbreaking can begin. Groundbreaking with big machines.

There will be a community meeting to present and approve this plan on April 13. More to come.

The subject of our $4.5 million that's been sitting for a few years was brought up. Apparently Rudy Mulder's promise was a verbal token only, no surprise, right? He benefited from the TIF. Discussions turned into grants and private funding, and the Park Districts daily efforts to obtain private funding.

Thought for today: Every business and property owner in Ward 49 who has benefited from TIFS might consider a hefty donation to this project.

It's called a tax write off in business terms.
It's called giving back what you have received in karmic terms.

April 3, 2005

Spring Gymnastics at Gale Park

This is a common warm weather scene in Gale Park. These energetic youngsters drug the mattresses from the alley into the park creating their own outdoor gymnasium. In the past, we’ve seen as many as 4-6 mattresses in a long row in the park and the kids are quite skilled. But are they safe? No.


This is how kids North of Howard do gymnastics in Gale Park without a Field House. Ingenious kids, with makeshift tumbling mats. They are forced to play like this because the government agencies couldn’t communicate, and the politicians had more important agenda items than the Field House for ten long years. What’s more important than keeping children safe?

Tomorrow, April 4, the North of Howard Parks Advisory Council will meet with all agencies involved in this ten year fiasco of broken promises. Would they want their children or grandchildren playing on some strangers discarded mattress? Would they want them playing unattended with dubious characters in the park?

These are common problems here. Children need activities and guidance. Since the politicians and the CHA and other agencies have designated NOH to be the Section 8 capital of Chicago, they have unknowingly created a very compelling argument for keeping their field house promise.

If the Mayor wants the community to patrol the streets, then he should be willing to provide a field house where kids like these can play safely. He should be willing and compassionate enough to go to any length to help a community help the children before they grow into dubious characters.

As it is, unattended children are in the park until quite late at night. The socio-economic problems here have yet to be properly addressed by the powers that be. Those powers have an obligation to address the well-being and guidance of these children before they are lost to gangs and drugs. The time is past due for those powers to think beyond their manipulations of taxpayers money and invest time in planning neighborhoods instead of delegating blame back at us. NOH cannot prosper with the sorely missing nurturing we have in place currently. We don’t need any more agencies to pick up the slack. We need the field house, a safe haven, for kids to learn how to interact properly in society. If they don’t learn it at home and/or at school, then the city needs to promote programs that will offer guidance not lip service.

April 2, 2005

Broadmoor Security Flatlines

An inside source called Wednesday and Thursday to inform me that there were no security guards at 2:00am and 2:30am both mornings. Security was part of the agreement from IMC to community demands for Broadmoor residents and neighbors. Apparently, security flat lined for a couple of evenings. Do we give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they were ‘patrolling’ the 6 floors when they couldn’t be found two early mornings in a row?

About 11pm tonight (April Fools) the spirit moved me to take a stroll to the lobby and see what was happening. I was relieved to see that security had been resuscitated, and live guards were in the building.

One guard called to me as I was crossing the street. I obliged him and responded who I was and why I took a picture. Amazing to think that I appeared a threat or a violator of someone’s rights when tenants and non-tenants still use the emergency door to exit. We won’t mention the drug dealers or prostitutes. Please revisit this as a reminder of IMC’s latest attempt to appease us. While I was engaged in relating the causes and effects that provided the guard a job tonight, one very inebriated man exited the emergency door. Now someone isn’t communicating the rules. Don’t make them if you don’t communicate them. The guard didn’t seem to be aware of the new rules. Exiting the emergency door can result in eviction.

He is aware of the rule now. The wobbly gentleman was sent back to his host or hostess to be escorted out properly through the portal. I can only hope this enforcement continues after tonight and wasn’t for my pacification.

The last meeting at Joe Moore’s office was unsettling. Too many people, including Joe, appeared too conciliatory toward IMC. Allegedly a caller to Moore's office was told that IMC hired the guards as a favor to Joe! I beg to differ. Community members and tenants instigated the meeting and the demands, not Joe.

Why walk on eggshells with people like IMC? Could it be that Mr. Higginson has clout or that he is an ordained minister or taught business ethics at DePaul?

IMC hasn’t earned any form of appeasement until they comply with the rules and ensure they are enforced. Does Higginson and Co. have the right to cage people and harbor anti-social elements in our neighborhood? Do business ethics include scamming the federal government and taxpayers? Ms. Whitman claimed she had recently spent a lot of time watching activity in/around the building! Cheers for Ms. Whitman! She hasn’t earned the watchers badge like neighbors have for the past several years. IMC has had ample warnings and time to be rid of the bad tenants, secure that building, and be a good neighbor. Their demeanor toward the tenants, community and police remains one of derision.

Special thanks to Max Seigle, a grad student from Northwestern who had the courage to tape a documentary on life in the Broadmoor and its effects on a neighborhood. He did the job networks (and newspapers) downtown have avoided doing – investigative reporting and exposing to the truth. The documentary appeared on WYCC on March 18. All paid reporters should review it and renew their raison d’etre.