July 28, 2005

The Does' Woes II

Here are photos from the story on John and Jane Doe, tenants at Northpoint. These were taken at their previous apartment with the urine ritual tenant above them. Surely leaky water pipes can’t follow a senior couple….for two blocks, in two different buildings. Could there be more?

It started in the ceiling and ran behind the wall.

OtherWall1

It stretched and wrinkled the paint.

Other Flood1

The fluid mixture gathered in a surrealistic bulge.

Wall2 AbouttoBurst


Here’s the gaping hole after the ceiling collapsed in John and Jane's other Northpoint apartment.

TheHole

Would you want the stress of moving only to find the past repeating itself?

July 24, 2005

Subsidized Slumlords I

To further support the theory that certain government subsidized slumlords should be reimbursing the taxpayers, here’s a sample reason:

7717 N Ashland - Johnson Building

Many long time North of Howard residents have seen messes like this for years. Young Mother lives in one building at 7722-34 North Ashland location and had no idea this filth was near her. She looked in the vacant apartment through the open, windowless storm door at the buckled floor, the water dripping from an uncapped pipe protruding from the wall, etc.

Young Mother is relatively new to this building, has three young children and bugs, lots of bugs, she said. Well, the perfect breeding ground is right here in this waterlogged basement apartment. The growth speed of mold in the walls is another issue.

Mold Cockroach heaven

She had no idea that she could call 311 and report the problem. I loaned her my cell phone and she got the report number. That’s a start to solving the problem, but there’s more. This is the building which appears to be only partially populated. Johnson had a crew of workers shoring up the condemned back porches yesterday.

Shore up that porch A couple of nails will hold up a porch

Allegedly the porches will be replaced, and that will happen only because the city is finally involved. That’s the positive part. If the city inspectors didn’t inspect the interior of this building, they should. This basement mold project is another code violation.

An inside source claims that this benevolent landlord is going to relocate current tenants to his infamous building at Juneway/Ashland.

So when certain people want to doubt my sanity or credibility, take a good look at these pictures and realize this is only ONE instance of slumlord disrespect (inhumane treatment) in one of his subidsized buildings to low income tenants therefore a neighborhood. While Young Mother may need a roof over her head, she and her babies have a right to a clean, safe home. Johnson is taking Young Mothers portion of the rent and collecting the rest from the government. And the contract with the government is probably paying for the roaches in the moldy garden apartment too. It’s your money.

So when groups want to maintain that North of Howard must follow the set agenda of providing low income, high density apartments, they need to develop strict guidelines for background checks of the owner before the contract is granted. It should be mandatory to do background checks on tenants once the contract has been signed and have recurring inspections of these buildings.

Slumlords have not and do not provide a remedy to low income and poverty and all of the associated socio-economic problems. Slumlords magnify the associated problems and diminish the quality of life for everyone living North of Howard.

July 23, 2005

Future Plans Part II

North of Howard has 12 NorthPoint subsidized buildings with problems, 3 subsidized IMC Properties with problems, several Jay Johnson subsidized buildings with problems, the Jonquil Hotel. There's the party alley in the 7600 block of Paulina and numerous dubious properties here. These combined locations are home to many good neighbors, and many who are not so desirable. These multi-unit properties have created a density overload in a small area blatantly ignoring HUD’s guidelines with the influx of these non-scattered sites.

Enter the faith-based groups and not-for-profits that too often create the illusion of help and hope. But at the end of the day, many of these people commute away from this pocket to another ward entirely. Like the less than honorable absentee landlords, those who literally fight to keep NOH down and out don’t live here, they only seek control and soap boxing here. The resulting concentrated poverty has deprived everyone but the recipients of the rent checks, government grants/subsidies, SSA’s and TIF’s. That’s pretty sinful.

So where is the hope for the law abiding, hard working low income people? They’re treated as property of the government, servants to bad landlords, and ultimately become victims of an environment created a few decades ago from a ‘vision’. My vision is to move the undesirables from NOH to Kenilworth, Winnetka, and Highland Park, the Gold Coast and Denver, CO to be near the visionaries. The close proximity would facilitate these people to have the downtrodden in their back yard, so they can do their altruistic work without commuting. Surely their neighbors would understand.

For years, many people have struggled to take back this neighborhood and create a positive environment. It’s been a long difficult process filled with roadblocks.

What is the point of having a home for recovering addicts/alcoholics next to a 24/7 drug house? It’s far too tempting to go out there and get high. There’s less time to consider the ramifications if one only has to step over the threshold. Is this humane treatment of people who are literally struggling for their life? To say ‘here is a place for you to stay until you get on your feet’ is labeling these people and possibly ensuring their failure in the name of ‘caring’. Enabling the less fortunate by holding them captive in a pathetic environment, ensures the neighborhood will not vary from the set agenda. Low income people provide lucrative financial and political opportunities. That’s why we frequently attend meetings to approve a low income condo building right? The back room boys just mollycoddle taxpayers with the 15% solution!

What’s the point of enabling Link Card recipients to sell cards for cash because there’s free food available? The circle comes back around again. Some who are getting assistance play the system and remain in a glass jar under control. Everyone is ultimately affected.

What’s the point of touting ‘low income’ without providing quality, pride and hope for residents in low income buildings? Placing good low income neighbors with felons, dealers and other system abusers is dangerous, disrespectful and apathetic. These are concerns of many NOH renters and owners of varying tenure here.

The word ‘transient’ usually brings negative thoughts to the surface NOH due to the overload of high-density, low-income buildings that have been populated without a long term plan to help people get to the next step.

Problems NOH remind me of the recent story about the developer who was in a rush to tear down and build. Neighbors argued with his plan but the decision was made long before they were invited to publicly air their concerns. The result was demolition workers busting a gas main because they obviously didn’t do their homework. Then a wall collapsed leaving a hazardous mess for everyone living near the site.

The result was more time, money and energy being spent to clean up the dangerous result of a poorly planned vision. That's why 8 squads and a couple of unmarked cars were swarming outside a while ago. Their task is to clean up this cess pool while the slumlords slumber.

July 22, 2005

Future Plans Part I

Apparently my concern about the sale and future plans for 7625 Bosworth has gotten the interest it may merit. It seems there was a meeting recently and a gentleman from Good News Partners said I was spreading untruths about the intentions of the building. That’s their perception. My reality is what are the plans and can their boss do the communicating? It’s zoned RT-4 so anything is possible.

A woman I don’t know sent me an email introducing herself as an employee of Good News Partners. I’ve removed certain items (names, phones, committees) and have replaced with x’s but have left my hurried cut/paste mistakes intact.

“…I'm a new employee at Good News Partners…. I would really like to get to know the people in the community and since you seem to be very vocal it would be great if we could meet. You could tell me your concerns about GNP and I can see what I can do to address them. I can also tell you a little about what I know about us and our plans for our property's and residents. Please e-mail me or call me at 773-xxx-xxxx so we can set up a time to talk. I look forward to hearing from you.”

I responded:

“You may email me information on plans for 7625 N. Bosworth if that involves you. If you are a member of the xxxx xxxx and have been given the task of recruiting me, you should know it has been attempted before by a co-worker.
As you state, you are 'new' so on the ladder of 'power', there would be little you could accomplish by talking to me other than to report what I say to the group. I have had my reached my quota for 2005 on one/one meetings thanks to the method utilized by some individuals. Obviously, since you state "you seem to be very vocal" to me, I'd like to know who supplied you with my email address.
If you have any specific questions you want answered, email them. If I have an answer or feel obligated to respond, I will. Unfortunately, the platform that has been presented by certain individuals is rather demanding, far too personal, and appears to be something other than what it is.”

Bingo! It was reported to the group. By the next day, the young man was stating that I was spreading ‘untruths and was unwilling to meet…’. My preference is to get ‘the truth’ and preferably in writing from the soon-to-be-owner who is the ultimate decision maker and planner for the property. The day of same meeting, a message was left on my cell phone by yet another GNP employee. These are employees (two which are relatively new) being sent to do the job their boss should be doing.

We are all acutely aware of promises made in this ward, city and country that are not kept. If police bring up the topic in a CAPS meeting and express concern, then neighbors have a right to know from the new owner what the plan for the future is. The only one who can be accountable for that response is the owner, not underlings who don’t hold the title to the property. If we are cleaning up a neighborhood, we’re all responsible to one another to make sure it happens.

Stay tuned for Part II

July 17, 2005

Urine Rituals?

John and Jane Doe have lived in North Point apartments for several years. Like many residents, they’ve been relocated during the rehab. This last move has been bittersweet. They didn’t get their apartment of choice as promised, but one similar. At least they had moved away from an upstairs tenant who practiced rather bizarre religious practices. They settled into their new rehabbed space that was freshly painted, newly carpeted and fixtured.

We became acquainted a few weeks ago through a mutual friend. To their dismay, they discovered North Point mismanagement had placed their old nemesis upstairs again. The story at first seemed too disgusting to believe. They called this morning and asked me to come see for myself. Not only could I see, but I could smell.

How could a new ceiling buckle so quickly?
Bubbles

Apparently their upstairs neighbor is up to the old practice of drilling holes in baseboards, floors, and under cabinets. The next step in the process is to pour urine down these holes to saturate the walls below. To mask this, a follow-up with pine cleanser is administered. At the old apartment, John and Jane’s bedroom ceiling collapsed after enough doses of urine were flushed out with a water hose attached to the faucet! Even though numerous police reports were filed, even though officers allegedly witnessed dripping urine, the problem had to be deferred to the management office to deal with.

NorthPoint not only had to repair the Does’ collapsed ceiling, but had to clean up the filthy apartment this person allegedly left behind. They had the good business sense to write out another lease to this person. Again, our tax dollars working for us.

Yes, there are yellowish markings in the ceiling.
Cracks

Either the water pipes aren’t properly hooked up (which has happened in several of these ‘rehabs’) and toilet sewage is seeping through, or indeed their upstairs neighbor is up to their allegations. But on my first visit, their apartment smelled like fresh paint, now it smells like a combination of pine cleanser and dirty cat litter. Their bathroom was spotless but had a pungent odor as did other areas of the apartment. Unless the upstairs floorplan is configured differently, this ceiling is not beneath a bathroom.

Thankfully, a team of city building inspectors toured some of these rehabs last week. Let’s hope there’s relief for the Does’ in the near future.

July 15, 2005

Coming Soon - Jonquil Hotel II

Coming soon Jonquil Hotel II to y/our street.

JGD

A neighbor told me a few weeks ago that the owner of the famous Jonquil Hotel was purchasing this building on Bosworth. I asked his source. He replied the current owner and seller was his high school teacher from Evanston. She told him she was tired of tenants getting behind in their rent, damaging the apartments, the losses incurred while evicting, you know the rest of that story.

She claimed she didn’t know at the time of purchase that she would have to leave it as an apartment building for two years before she could condo it. Is there such an obscure law? It sure doesn’t seem to apply in other parts of Ward 49. So enter Mr. Bud Ogle. Now Bud owns several properties in Rogers Park and most are co-ops. There are two on the 7600 block now. Now Mr. Ogle can’t handle letting this neighborhood get on its feet, it must remain low-income. These messages are from the olden days of spreading Bad News to a declining neighborhood.

So his plans are to turn this building into a transient home similar to the Jonquil Hotel. Even the police expressed concern about this at last night’s CAPS meeting. While they stated a similar residence on Hermitage did not give the neighborhood too many problems, they did not refrain from telling it like it is about the Jonquil Hotel.

For someone who cares so much about people, it’s a pity Bud doesn’t have a real vision of a vibrant neighborhood where people have stores to shop in and safe streets to walk on. Pity his team of paid real estate researchers can’t find another property in another area to prey on. Pity he can’t maintain the buildings he owns properly. Pity the City of Chicago lets taxpayers pay for trash pick up for tax-exempt religious foundations.

Good News Partners North of Howard allegedly has 43 employees, reports annual sales of $1,200,000
dba
“Jonquil Hotel The"
"New Life / Good News Builders"
"Phoenix, The"
"Hope House"
"Bos Co-Op"

The SIC code lists it as: CHRISTIAN MINISTRY PROVIDING HOUSING EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES HEADQUARTERED AT 1600 NORTH JONQUIL, CHICAGO IL

We have more than enough with North Point, IMC, Jonquil Hotel I without adding another bad potion to the sickening mess. Neighborhood in transition?
Looks like it’s going the wrong way. What’s that saying about the road to hell?
It’s paved with good intentions.

July 13, 2005

When Hell Freezes

Took a stroll through Gale Park this morning before work.


Looks like we get to purchase two more picnic tables with our tax dollars huh?

JGD 003

JGD 004

And some swing seat replacements for these severed ones.

JGD 005

And some graffiti remover…possibly before snow falls?
JGD 006


JGD 008

One of the street regulars said there was a fight, so down came the window of Jay Johnsons vacant store.

With Mr. Jay’s track record, it will be boarded up till hell freezes over or the building collapses.

So until the heavy hitters with the real clout want to deal with the real issues head on, this is what we get for our buck. Not much eh? Just more board-ups to give the ‘blighted appearance’ and more undesirables from the mismanaged buildings.

Thanks to all the bleeding heart liberals from the suburbs and the non-resident landlords.

Parkway Menaces

BoJo walkers again noticed many of the street lights on Paulina were not lit Friday, 7/8/05. We also noticed this possible menace – two steel posts approximately 18 inches tall imbedded in a cone of concrete. These unanchored bludgeons are in front of 7649 N. Paulina.

Grace 010

The chain gives the appearance of being attached, but it isn't.

The alleyway had no lit street lights either. We called 311 for both problems.

Is it part of the city’s power saving program to have dim yellow bulbs lit on one side of the street only? Unfortunately, we aren’t a quiet, relatively peaceful neighborhood, so what is the reasoning in the ‘glow’ lights North of Howard?

Parkway beautification is honorable, but safe, proper maintenance is a must here.

July 12, 2005

Equal Coverage?

As everyone who reads this blog knows, the community and good Broadmoor tenants held meetings with IMC Property Management about this long time problem building.

January, February, March and May.

I don't see any of these North of Howard problem meetings (with the exception of May) held at Moore's office getting a write-up on this one! Not even one short paragraph.

While Mr. Fagus may live on Lunt, I thought he represented ALL of Ward 49 and at election time that includes us NOH people/voters.

To my friends in the Lunt area, good luck, and keep up the pressure!

July 11, 2005

Ivory Tower

A friend did a zaba search for Higgy, one perpetrator of the poor quality of life issues NOH. It was a beautiful day as we approached the one and only City of Chicago listing for him. The other two are in suburbs. It looms like an Ivory Tower on the shore of Lake Michigan. What a beautiful view.

The Ivory Tower

The View

So we thought we would compare the amenities of Higgy’s abode to the abode of his tenants at the Broadmoor. Prices on the lower floors up to level 6 start around $650,000, and include:

Private Parking (Lake Shore Drive)
Private Parking

Do it yourself (Broadmoor)
ParkingLot

Parking Attendant (Lake Shore Drive)
Parking Attendant1

The Broadmoor doesn’t have an attendant with the exception of the dude who parks in front of the sign and gate. But he’s allegedly one of managements pets, so it’s OK.

Broadmoor Parking

The Doorman and Security
The Doorman

I had just entered the lobby and my friend was still in door when asked “May I help you?”. We inquired about condo sizes and if there was a model to look at. We were told we could inquire with Koenig & Strey.

Behind his shiny wooden desk was a nice color security monitor with 5 views across and 5 views down for a total of 25 views at various areas of the building. There was another employee, maintenance and general assistance, behind us. Both men helped tenants with car doors, building doors and packages. You can see the brass luggage cart to further assist tenants and guests.

Broadmoor Doormen/Security

The palm print portal. (This is the reason the police couldn’t get in when called.) Once the palm has been read, the code entered, hopefully the door on the right will work and the tenant can gain entrance.

Broadmoor high tech palm

The 911 caller would have to take the chance of being caught as the snitch to go open the door on the right.
Broadmoor portal door
The door on the left is the infamous ‘emergency door’. The alarm sounds every time it’s opened. Transients and insiders put wedges in this door for easy entrance in case the cops come!

After meeting with IMC at Joe’s office, good tenants and community finally got live security guards from 8PM to 4AM which has helped. Wonder if security at the Ivory Tower was demanded or just an amenity? Do rich people have more rights to a secure home than low income people? Grace didn't get any options did she?

Doormen?
PartTimeCamera

These cameras allegedly work 24/7 and are monitored in Texas. They’re hooked to the loudspeakers outside that squawk at people. They seldom squawk simultaneously when the cameras view improper activity but up to 45 minutes later! Delayed reaction, therefore useless. Besides, everyone knows they’re ineffective and ignore them. They are good for disturbing the peace of all the neighbors, not to mention what it must do to a tenant whose window is near a speaker.


These problems were pointed out to Higgy and his manager, Pearl in May 2005. They proudly announced that all 40+IMC buildings have these squawkers. Therefore, 40+ neighborhoods in Chicago are suffering through the noise. Pearl said they wouldn’t squawk after 10PM. We’ve heard them after midnight on several occasions.

So money talks and poor people and taxpayers are taken advantage of, and this little neighborhood suffers the consequences of it all. The good tenants are intimidated by the bad ones, the neighbors are automatically included. It's disturbing to know the wealth to live in an Ivory Tower was gained at the expense of the less fortunate or a method known as 'low income housing'.

Has Quality of Life just become another catch phrase?

July 9, 2005

Grace

Grace and Wesley were sweethearts. She lived at the Broadmoor and he spent as much time with her as he could. One evening a few years ago, Grace was brutally attacked and robbed. Wesley (the anglicized version of his Polish name) kept calling her from work and getting her answering machine. Somehow he got a message that Grace was in the hospital. Not knowing what had happened, he drove to the hospital with candy and flowers for his ailing sweetheart. When he saw her, he dropped the gifts and fainted.

In his broken English, as tears welled in his eyes, he said ‘there she lay on the bed with tubes in her nose, in her throat and stomach and a machine was going up and down making her breathe’. The left side of Grace’s skull had been crushed. She was in a coma for two months. Grace is now partially paralyzed, has brain damage, and is lucky to be alive. Grace is also lucky to have her sweetheart Wesley to watch over her. He picks her up daily and brings her ‘home’. Wesley returns her to a nursing home on Lawrence in the evenings. He keeps a photo album of happier days in a pouch on the back of her wheelchair. He shared a photo of an attractive, vibrant, Grace before the thugs tried to kill her for her purse. They were never caught.

Grace 003

Not having a grasp of the English language nor a clue of how the system can work, Wesley doesn’t seem to know much about lawyers and liability and SSI. Or has he been intimidated by IMC Management or just given up? One would think the Broadmoor would automatically be held responsible for such a hideous act being committed on their property. One would think such a righteous landlord as Higgy would have done everything in his power to help this woman, his tenant.

Grace 001

I watched as he struggled to push the wheelchair from the sidewalk into the gravel parking lot. The BoJo walkers were gathering so we said our goodbye’s and he picked his Grace up and put her in the car.

Here’s the story, and I’m but one person writing a blog exposing quality of life issues in a downtrodden neighborhood. You are the people who know the legal aspects, the public aid aspect, can you step up and help Grace and Wesley?

Please email me at: howardwatchers@aol.com if you can help.

July 5, 2005

IMC Harboring Criminals?

The following is an excerpt from a neighbors email:

"The IMC building at (Marshfield and Jonquil) had a resident GD shooting at a rival gang banger last Wednesday night in the alley between Ashland and Marshfield. Four shots were fired. The cops got the shooter but could not find the gun. Observers have also spotted the GD guard at the front and alley gates watching the building. The GD's were packing, one could spot the guns tucked in their backs, I think that they have taken over control of the building, due to the lack luster management of IMC."

The above is all too true. The back wrought iron alley gate remains unlocked for easy access, the $5 hooker does a lot of service there too. Great way for the good families to have to 'live' just to make ends meet isn't it? Great way to raise a child isn't it? Great way to manipulate tenants into thinking they should be grateful because they're 'poor' right?

Well, folks, having met the illustrious minister, pioneer of the low income resident apartments, none other than William W. Higginson, this is a sad reality. He enjoys taking our money so he can reside in the safety of the Gold Coast. I doubt if he has GD guards in his building. If there are hookers in his building, I'm sure they're costly Gold Coast girls.

But he's going to get his soon. His flock of 'faithful minions' is jumping off the sinking ship of IMC. One of his 40+ buildings is in court every Monday and Thursday. His minions, who refer to him as 'god', refuse to allow the city inspectors inside one building and IMC is allegedly paying a $13,000/day fine for their secrecy. Wonder what there is to hide?

Higgy is a smooth talker. After all, it's not his fault his buildings are in rack and ruin; it's the fault of the police. Yes, he expects the police to be his personal security system. One cop bluntly pointed out to IMC that the 70+ inaccessible apartments in the Broadmoor would be equivalent to policing part of a neighborhood with 70 single homes. Higgy tried to convince Broadmoor residents and concerned neighbors that his squawkbox megaphones hooked up to a 'camera' were state of the art. He also tried to convince the tenants they should call 911 and report bla bla bla. Sure Higgy, these intimidated people can't even buzz the cops in. That state of the art door requires that the tenant go downstairs and give entry to anyone they invite to the place. Now how many people are going to dial 911 and then go out and announce they're the culprit while they await the police? None.

Why then don't these state of the art cameras see GD guards toting guns? What's there to hide?

Come on Higgy, stop pretending you don't know who and what your 'mismanagers' are renting to and why. It's called cash cow money.

And the greedy little person always allows the residuals of NorthPoint relocations and rejections to stop in and stay in his buildings. What the heck, the taxpayers are footing 70% of the bills. The building on Marshfield/Jonquil probably has a few ex-NorthPoint boyz living in there as I type.

Folks, we need to more people to attend these court dates and make a presence. It's OUR neighborhood, not Higgy's, not GD's unless we allow them to just take it.

Your thoughts?

July 2, 2005

NorthPoint Drugs

Get your 4th of July holiday crack at NorthPoint!

Neighbors called about seeing a drug stash being made in a NorthPoint gangway stairwell. I dropped everything and ran to see for myself...and got this photo before the TAC team showed up. Neighbors who stayed behind heard the TAC team found not one bag as pictured, but a second one for a total of $2,000-$3,000 on the street.

NorthPointDrugs 002

Will update readers on the surveillance outcome when I hear. So the police and observant neighbors did their part tonight, now it's time for the landlord, AIMCO to do their part...without any more excuses.

UPDATE
I just called to inquire about last nights event. One arrest was made at the address of this NorthPoint stash.