February 28, 2006

Break Time

What’s Your Reaction Time?

Illegal Signs in the Hood

Let's see if I read the email correctly:

The neighbor wrote to the alderman (in part):
"Persons unknown are posting illegal signs in our neighborhood. These signs are red and white in color approximately 2' x 2' and are promoting a 'Home Phone Service'. They are being attached to trees and street & alley light poles. If you see any of these signs, please call 311 to report the location. You should also call the Alderman's office at 773-339-5796 to make a report and request removal. Please spread the word".

Joe responded:

"I have asked our Ward Superintendent, Mike Erickson, to look into this.

Alderman Joe Moore"

My thoughts:

And may the politicians become tree huggers and stop polluting the hood too. If we can't get notifications, we don't need the campaign junk mail, don't need the signs in store windows.
Mike, et al.,

This e-mail is from my Ward Superintendent, Mike Erickson regarding the illegal signs. He can be reached at 312-744-0940:


Joe Moore

Womens Self-Defense Workshop

All interested women, don't forget to attend.

Womens Defense Workshop In News

The time was edited incorrectly. Please note: 11:30 am to 1:30pm March 25

February 27, 2006

Bosworth-Jonquil Zoning Changes

I heard about this yesterday, Sunday 2/26/06. I looked through the mail, all of it, but I did NOT receive this notice. My downstairs neighbor did NOT receive notification of this upcoming meeting either. So if you reside within the distance outlined in this letter, you may want to attend.


Neighbors residing a few blocks away recieved this letter, but I must presume my letter was lost in the mail. Some wonder if it's being done out of genuine protection or if there are ulterior motives, including some occupant/owners of those townhouses. Hummm

Here's another Another Not Too Well Announced Zoning Meeting.

Proposed Safe Home Ordinance aka Slumlord Law

Safe Home Ordinance

Executive Summary

The Problem

Countless building code violations go uncorrected throughout the city of Chicago. While most building owners make a good faith effort to maintain a safe and healthy environment in their buildings, there are some building owners whose negligence and failure to correct building code violations pose a threat to the buildings’ residents, guests and the community at large.

The Solution

The proposed ordinance will help induce compliance among building owners who have failed to correct building code violations on their properties by preventing negligent owners from accessing city funds and contracts. With the passage of this ordinance, the city will cease rewarding property owners who do not maintain safe and habitable residential buildings throughout the city.
Proposed Safe Home Ordinance Highlights

§ The city offers a variety of financial incentives and contracting opportunities, including: grants, loans, tax credits, and service contracts. A building owner will either be unable to access or have limited access to such opportunities if any of his or her buildings are in violation of the building code.

§ The ordinance requires that all buildings owned by the borrower or bidder for city funds or contracts be in substantial compliance with the building code.

§ Funds specifically marked by the city for the correction of code violations or funds marked for the alteration of existing buildings in order to make the buildings accessible to the disabled community are exempt from this ordinance.

§ A conviction under the Illinois Criminal Housing Management statute will also render city funds and contracts inaccessible.

§ The ordinance establishes a baseline in order to target building owners and developers who maintain properties with truly egregious violations. It defines “violation” as:
a) any judgment under the building code which is a dangerous and hazardous threat to health, safety and property, or

b) any building that has any type of pending receivership case or has had any type of receiver appointed, or

c) any building with 30 or more listed violations, or

d) any building in which an essential utility is provided by the building owner and has been shut off.

For more information, contact: Doug Schenkelberg, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, 312-347-7600, ext. 19, dschenkelberg@sbcglobal.net or John Bartlett, Metropolitan Tenants’ Organization, 773-292-4980, ext. 224, johnb@tenants-rights.org
Every taxpayer in the City of Chicago should be urging his/her Alderman to approve this ordinance. Make a list of the buildings in your area and do their homework for them. It's pathetic that we pay taxes enabling slumlords to abuse low-income tenants, and ruin neighborhoods with their lack of management skills. But 'at the end of the day' if you say nothing, do nothing, you too, are at fault.

It doesn't take long to dial 311, lodge a complaint about a bad building, a building that is not up to code or doing construction without proper permits, etc. You can request that it be routed to the appropriate divisions, the department of buildings, your mayor, and your alderman. You may also request your anonymity to protect yourself from retaliation from the slumlords.

Be sure to get the reference number to each of your complaints for follow-up.

Port Paddling

Happy Monday

Port Cartoons

Port Paddling

February 26, 2006


Only DP World could have an executive spokesperson, named MICHAEL MOORE to deal with the mounting pressure on the ports deal!

February 25, 2006

Debate This

Mayor Daley and Members of the City Council: Please note we taxpayers are mighty beholden to you for promoting the Slumlord Law. It would behoove you to pay another visit to the small area known as North of Howard with your City Inspectors. A proposed ordinance is relatively useless unless it’s approved and enforced. (My apologies if it has been and I couldn't find it on the city website.)

To refresh your memory, here are the links to the ordinance you should have passed. Now, with an election on the horizon, every voter in every ward should make it a point to review all of their elected officials agendas. When any slumlord is a favored friend of any elected official, it should be a red flag. Stop contributing to slumlords with your tax dollars.

The Ordinance

The Reasoning For The Ordinance

Ald. Bernie Stone's comments and reports from the newspaper are in this link:

Crack Down On Slumlords

Today, a long time resident sent me an email that included the website of one of NOH's most notorious slum landlords. I had received it some time ago, and at his request will re-blog the comparison(s). Posted on this sunny Saturday post, the photos exhibited were taken today 2.25.2006 for comparison. You may notice nothing much has changed. More than one long time resident has informed me that Jay Johnson is part of the Ward 49 Zoning Committee. Don’t you think these rundown, tax funded eyesores should be a big campaign issue? Don’t you feel that future debates should be centered upon and revolving around just such slumlords? It isn’t news here, but it’s certainly good fodder if one is serious about cleaning up a downtrodden neighborhood. If CIC is pounding away at the former IMC Property Management to grab up their properties in Chicagoland, what’s keeping them from a visit to this neck of the woods?

JayJohnsonMoreBoardUps JayJohnsonBoardUpForRent
Is this where government social agencies will send some family just to put a roof over their head? Is this the best we can do? Why not gut the place and SAVE TAX DOLLARS AND PROVIDE DECENT LOW INCOME HOMES?
It's visionary in comparison to throwing away tax dollars on SUBSIDIZED SLUMLORDS. Rather than railing to the cries about providing low-income homes, how about creating decent, safe, cost effective low income living units? The same applies to the Howard/Ashland Lerner Properties. Take it into receivership and put back what has been taken, don't just let the city grab it. Do something for the low income people instead of using them as political tools. No one is getting any relief from using those tactics. Any developers with futuristic, open minds reading this?

These two huge dumpsters are in a 'construction area' that is not secured. The side door on Juneway is often unlocked, open to squatters and other illegal activities.


Anyone who can read this faded building permit may want to research what it is permitting and if it is up to date.
JayJohnsonJuneway.Fldg Permit

By the labor of law, the porches are slowly beginning to take shape. That's the main construction activity noted by the neighbors and the camera.

JayJohnsonBackPorches JayJohnsonCIG 004 JayJohnsonCIG 003 JayJohnsonCIG 006

Marshfield/Jonquil still looks the same, has the same no lock on the gate, and the front door is still not locked.
JayJohnsonCIG 011 JayJohnsonNoLock7700Marshfield

Any repetitious interlinks merit the number of comparisons and posts made to these properties. Rather than becoming bored, may I suggest that you contact someone who can do something about the problem?

February 24, 2006

How Many Plans?

From One Who Knows

Rush Hour

State Street at Washington Red Line entrance, 5:00PM, Friday, February 24, 2006 – nothing on the news, anyone know what this was all about? There was no visible smoke, no apparent auto wreckage. Was it an exercise at rush hour?

StateStreet 003 StateStreet 002

Yellow Hummer Hits NW Student

Contributed by neighbor and friend, Anne:

A yellow Hummer H2 was involved in a serious hit and run accident in
Evanston on 2/16. The driver blew a stop sign and hit a Northwestern
student who was riding to class, throwing her from her bike. She flew
over 10 feet through the air and hit the pavement hard. She is in the
hospital recovering from multiple fractures. (see story links below)
Witnesses were not able to get a license number on the fleeing vehicle.
A database search of records at the Secretary of State's office is not
yet complete, so the Evanston police do not yet have license numbers
and registration numbers for yellow Hummers in the area. There was a
press conference in Evanston this morning, and Channels 7, 9, and 32
were there.

If you see any yellow Hummer H2s in your travels around the area,
especially if they show any evidence of a collision, please note the
license number and contact the Evanston police at 847-866-5000. If you
have a camera phone or regular camera with you, take a picture. Any
information we can give the police may help them to find the
responsible driver. Thank you!

Yellow Hummer Sought In Hit and Run

Yellow Hummer Hits Student

Dubai PortSpin

“Dubai Ports is lining up powerful supporters to persuade skeptical lawmakers the deal is a good idea. Even before the controversy erupted, the company had hired Bob Dole’s law and lobbying firm, Alston & Bird LLC, to win approval for the deal. The Albright Group, led by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also has been trying to speak with members of Congress on behalf of the company. Dubai Ports is lining up powerful supporters to persuade skeptical lawmakers the deal is a good idea. Even before the controversy erupted, the company had hired Bob Dole’s law and lobbying firm, Alston & Bird LLC, to win approval for the deal. The Albright Group, led by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also has been trying to speak with members of Congress on behalf of the company.”

As The Ports Spin

Straw Buyers

Low income housing has been an ongoing debate on 24/7 and other blogs since their inception. The subject has fueled many firey diatribes and comments concerning condo conversions and the who, when, how and where to build them. Connecting the dots from low income tenants to drugs and crime is quite easy when there’s an inattentive, or absentee landlord involved. During one of the forums at the United Church of Rogers Park, one forum speaker stated ‘they must take low income housing wherever they can’. The only unfortunate lack of vision or planning is providing and maintaining a civilized atmosphere.

Being poor is not a sin. Using poor people for financial gain is a definite ‘pass Purgatory and go straight to Hell’ kind of sin if there was a board game for it. But it is a board game in a sense. Certain tax exempt organizations draw in the federal dollars by providing subsidized housing. That’s not a problem for me until it becomes apparent that the properties are merely ‘roofs over heads’. There’s nothing written into the lease stating certain behaviors are prohibited and punishable. There are no regulations on creating a safe environment for the inhabitants. HUD has these rules, but if the landlord/management company is ignoring them, what else is one to believe? One begins to assume that it’s all about money…and it is. Subsidized or just low rent, there are certain safeguards an owner owes his tenants and the community.

Let’s liken it to planting a garden. We spend a lot of money on bulbs, plants, tools and the like. We spend hours digging and planting. We stand back, take a look and think ‘well, it’s done’. No, it’s only the beginning! Then the real work of maintaining it begins. The weeds must be pulled so the expensive flowers aren’t strangled or shadowed from the sun. There won’t be any blooms if we don’t water the sprouting plants. You know the rest of the analogy.

Mortgage Blog

Mortgage Fraud In Illinois

Certain buildings change ownership NOH every two or three years, and are not improved or upgraded. Other buildings are listed as 'condos' but are mostly rental units. Do you think that skews the zoning map? It does if you know about the skew. The tenants are not properly screened because it’s just money in an absentee landlord’s pocket. A guaranteed federal income. We’ve been watching CCRD for one such building for a few weeks now. It was allegedly sold, but the same owner has been seen there. The same tenants with less than community-minded attitudes are still living there. So we shall wait and watch and see if the ‘exchange’ of the property was to a long, lost relative, or a friend, aka a STRAW BUYER.

Straw Buyers are front buyers so the less than desirable organization or real buyer can obtain the property and do what he/she will. Usually maintain the status quo and contribute nothing to tenants or community. Like the garden analogy, the weeds take over and the flowers fade away.

Does anyone want to know how our decent, low income neighbors feel when they are afraid to walk to the store at night? Does anyone really want to listen when they discuss high traffic and dealers in their building.? But if/when one of these buildings or subsidized condo rentals pop up on your street, perhaps you’ll re-think how the decent low income people often live in fear thanks to the greed of an absentee owner.

Fear is a pretty universal emotion.

February 23, 2006

Didn't Predict A Firestorm

"The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.'

What’s it all about, Georgie?


Where’s the other guy?

Stats and ER's

Yesterday the The Hellhole Readers played tennis matches between crime stats rises and drops, and where to send people in need of emergency care. To my knowledge, whether one is shot or has a heart attack shoveling snow, the 'victim' is taken to an emergency trauma facility. I've heard pros and cons about St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, but same praise or argument may be applied to many hospitals. St. Francis is the closest trauma center for the far north side. Depending on the trauma, a person likely won't be headed to a clinic. Expediency in treatment, being a factor in transporting to the nearest facility, is a given. Knowing my dislike of ER's, I'd rather not be hauled all the way from here to Illionis Masonic on Wellington, or downtown to Northwestern if given a choice.

Two years ago I had my first allergic reaction while at work. I started to resemble the Goldie Hawn character in First Wives Club after her collagen injection! It was almost 5pm so my physician said I could drop in the ER at either of the hospitals he was affiliated with. NW being one of them. I chose the smaller one in Lakeview, was treated and on my way home in about an hour. I've always wondered if I'd turned into Goldie earlier in the day if I could have settled for an office visit. But without that insurance card, I'd have been hanging out at Stroger for 2-3 days waiting for my name to be called.

Here are the links I've received from the CPD recently on crime stats and one press release on recovered weapons. The stats headlines are like a roller coaster.

CPD Year-End Briefing

CPD Seize Weapons

Jan06CPD Crime Release

February 21, 2006

While You Were Out

While many were on Jarvis listening and/or protesting Connie Abel’s Tower, a proposed 7-storey experiment to break the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, this was going on in our back yard, front yard, around the corner in our neighborhood NOH.

100_0879 100_0881

Three of us traversed this street not long after Shawn Johnson was shot in the buttocks like Forrest Gump. Gump, at least, was a fictious character in the service of his country in a fictious story. We are real live humans who could have also been hit while in the service of this neighborhood. Allegedly, people saw a man running away from the incident carrying a gun.

Johnson, between 27-30 years old, was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He will survive and hopefully not suffer any spinal injuries. He was wanted on a warrant so will no doubt be recovering elsewhere after his initial hospital stay.

So the update on the Field House, the purpose of our being out in the dark on that depressing street is very little. Tricia Lombardo has not returned anyone’s phone calls. We’re not sure if she’s on vacation, or ill, or what. The FHP project manager had not been informed that FHP had been awarded the contract until Eva contacted him. Eva will continue to call Ms. Lombardo as well as the new PBC commissioner who was appointed in 2/14/06 prior to the announcement of the Gale Field House project in the monthly meeting.

A motion was put forth to not have any more political groundbreakings to commemorate Gale Field House. We only want to see earth moving machines. The vote carried with all in favor of the motion.

Follow-up is to be made on the status of the zoning issue in Triangle Park which is in the court of Hispanic Housing. No doubt, it’s a small issue compared to a 7 storey tower on Sheridan Road, but it’s a big issue to owners who were promised a parking space years ago.

The official sign to commemorate the official name of the Harold Washington Memorial Playground is being prepared for placement at the park.

On the walk home, the police still had Jonquil and Ashland closed taking photos of the crime scene.

Just thought you should know what happened while you were out.

Low Tech Rumsfeld

Could Washington please enter the 21st Century?"

February 20, 2006

More Strange Sightings

One Dud

Another Dud

A little test

Pizza and the Pill

Historical Denial?

When I was very young, there was a TV show that depicted World War II. It was pretty frightening for a child. I'll toss this bit of information out there for your reactions on David Irving who claims to be a historian.

February 19, 2006

Defend Yourself


Women don’t have to be victims of sexual predators and muggers. We’ve been stereotyped as the ‘helpless little woman’ for so long it’s been allowed to become a part of our subconscious reality.

A young woman was assailed on February 12, 2006 while walking on the 1200 block of West Farwell. She was threatened with a weapon and sexually assaulted. On February 11, 2006 a woman living on the 6700 block of North Lakewood was the victim of a home invasion and could easily have been a victim of rape. The assailant gained entry by raising a kitchen window and reaching in and unlocking the back door. The victim awoke when the assailant entered her bedroom. According to the police report, “a struggle ensued and the offender fled through the back door”

These incidents are all too common and frequent around college campuses, in parks, even downtown. Rape is a crime of hate. A predator will attack any woman, any age, if his rage is in control. I'm concerned by the manner some of us walk around with those cute little purses dangling from the shoulders, eyes darting around showing fear. Fear is just what a mugger or rapist is looking for.

That's why there will be a Self-Defense Workshop for Women on March 25 at Loyola Park from 11:30am-1:30pm. It's not to learn kung-fu or any other kick and kill techniques but more of an overview of being aware of one's surroundings, aware of self and others around. I'm certain simple self-defense techniques will be taught. It's free to all Rogers Park women and their daughters.

Leslie of IMPACTCHICAGO did a great abbreviated workshop during a CAPS meeting in the spring of 2005. Afterwards, Eva and I discussed having a workshop for women only to raise the comfort level therefore the learning value. Following the November, 2005 abduction of a young woman on Howard/East Lake Terrace, it became apparent that we needed an education on protecting ourselves.

Special thanks to Cary Steinbuck of RPCC's Victim Advocacy Support Program and Alderman Joe Moore for co-sponsoring the event. Please spread the word to all women in Rogers Park to attend this free workshop. You may contact me at toniduncan7@aol.com if you would like an adobe or powerpoint of the flyer, or if you would like a sign-up sheet to circulate. Please drop me a note to let me know you will be attending. (I’ve received several to date) The number of registrants will determine which room the Park District will provide for the workshop.

None of us should be a victim.

We Survived the Cold

Special thanks and acknowledgements to the brave souls who came out for tonights monthly neighborhood walk! In spite of the wind chill, ten people, three dogs, and one good-natured police sergeant walked and chanted through the North of Howard neighborhood tonight.

Some children on their way home joined us, learned the our chant of the moment, and made it a real neighborhood safety walk. The children made the outing in the bitter cold worth it.

February 18, 2006

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid

Last night I received an email from a Power member whereby he/she expressed a curiosity about ‘whom’ I was referring to yesterday as the woman in health care who had been ‘pushed out’. The writer went further and used that old familiar phrase ‘I’ll be happy to discuss…’ and expressed his/her surprise to read about it on the blog.

The reference TIF funding for job-training was more or less denied by stating that to ‘my knowledge’ nothing has been received or awarded and would let me know if that changes. Of course it hasn’t been awarded yet! I heard from those who were there…it will happen after the election! But it is in the planning, it has been presented for consideration, it just can’t and/or hasn’t been made TOO PUBLIC for this very reason: The possibility of creating voter outrage.

Well, folks, there’s a saying that applies to anything dangerous:


If you don’t know the origin, do a google search on ‘kool aid death” and you’ll stumble across the stories. In no way am I implying what some may want to interpret either; it’s merely a cautionary slogan to beware or the alternative is to fall into the ‘pit’. Many of us were approached to ‘drink the kool-aid’ a year ago. I sniffed the cup and little nerve ends stood up on the back of my neck. I said ‘no thank you’ as did my neighbors. The cup pusher kept emailing, calling, insisting that I meet again and take a sip. I kept declining and at one point blatantly responded to an email that it was almost at the point of harassment. The cup pusher angrily took me off the list of desirables, put me on the ‘watch and git list’ and moved on to others. Unfortunately, some intelligent, sincere, people such as the health care person I wrote of yesterday took a sip as did other friends.

A teeny sip isn’t lethal, but to the cup pusher, it’s a non-written, non-verbal binding contract to ‘do as I order and you and your ideas are now MINE’. That type of ‘contract’ isn’t all that unusual…we take a job, therefore the company owns us and we do as ‘they will’; we join an organization and we do as ‘they will’. We involve ourselves for many reasons. We are employed to provide for ourselves and/or our families. We are told to have goals to get up the ladder, so we follow the bread crumbs. We usually do community work to improve a neighborhood. Sometimes though, there are other incentives involved in 'community work' and that's where the roadblocks usually change our thought processes. Humans of varying levels of intelligence will always stumble over roadblocks with these contracts because we also have a right to exercise some form of free will and examine our consciences.

That examination of consciences was exercised in December 2005 somehow in a Power Meeting. The internal rifts had been building for sometime. Some had grown weary of being ordered around. Others didn’t appreciate being ‘bullied’ by an ‘outside agitator’ at an earlier seminar who insisted that the only way to change this neighborhood was to get the poor people angry. Essentially, this was to spur some kind of revolt. Revolts are healthy when done properly, and in this country revolts are usually done without sword and shield. When the dissenters voiced their opinions the cup pusher angrily said "SHUT UP" in a public meeting.

I had the opportunity to hear this much of this same rhetoric from another non-neighborhood nonprofit. The language divides, agitates, excludes, points fingers, and in general detracts from the purpose of making change on the specific subject. The example I refer to was a woman who kept referring to the ‘white condo people who are going to take over your homes'. She rattled on, referring to a couple of us who are hard working activists for NOH as ‘outside agitators’ even though we LIVE HERE. She continued by asking people about their heating bills, and pointedly inquired if I paid for my own heat. Duh. While she was poking, prodding, empathizing and sympathizing, this magic word accidentally fell from her tongue.


She slipped when she remarked that the higher energy costs had raised her ASSESSMENT. Until that point, she had always implied that she was a hardworking tenant like the most of the audience. So there stood a condo owner, director of a nonprofit, apparently earning a salary that enabled her to afford a condo. (Granted, she may have a rich spouse, aunt or uncle). But at that moment in time, there stood a fingerpointing agitator probably making money from the signatures on the sign-in sheet.

The word fell loudly on everyone’s ears, renters and owners alike. Before us was this person trying to stir up anger and hate in a meeting where we were supposed to be working together be rid of the greed, anger and hate that results in unfairness and crime. We were supposed to creating a resolution for the fair treatment of certain low income people. Instead, everyone got the spin that 'certain people here tonight are condo owners - therefore, don't trust them, believe me instead! That’s the method of the cup pushers. Create anger and hate at any cost, point fingers, spread untruths if necessary. But opportunity knocked and my truth came out LOUD and CLEAR. My message to any and all resembling her mentality:

Yes, I own a condo. A condo purchased in part with some of my inheritance from my late father, a farmer, a steward of the land. His life work was difficult, uncompromising yet very rewarding. He was passionate about his work. Above all, it was an honest living. He was the boss, the employee, the instructor, the gofer, the responsible, law abiding taxpayer. He reaped what he sowed, and on a bad weather year it was a dismal harvest. He would cry when he had to put an animal down. That is a bond few city dwellers could possibly understand. He helped cows with difficult births and brought the newborns in to warm up by the furnace. One cold January morning he brought in a little guy who was born overnight. His ears were frostbitten. Like all of our animals, he was named appropriately and this one to the circumstances surrounding his arrival – Zero.

Sometimes I’d wake up to a box of piglets to bottle feed until their mother acclimated to her new role. One by one, Dad would re-introduce the piglets to their first time mother so she could learn to nurse them and not accidentally roll on them. He would stand watch until Mother Pig and babies bonded.

To alleviate any counter arguments, many of the creatures were sold to provide food for the rest of the country at a small profit for Dad. That is the life of a farmer. The Wall Street boys made a helluva lot more money on cows, pigs, wheat and corn than my father did. But until such time as this is ruled illegal, farmers will continue to feed the rest of the nation.

What has come to me through my fathers' HONEST work was not made by grants and salaries derived from the pain and strife of poor people or from misleading the taxpayers. Nor is it prudent or visionary to promulgate socio/economic/racial hatred and anger in a troubled neighborhood. As my Dad was to his land and creatures, we too are stewards to our neighbors and neighborhood.

Examine the INTENT of those who may offer you Kool-Aid. Safeguard yourself and your neighbors so your time and energy is not spent ensuring the paychecks for non-resident agitators or to update resumes. If/when their proposed revolt comes these people will be tucked away in another neighborhood safe from the swords and shields. These swords, like random bullets, do not discriminate.

One very ancient law of the land is to replace what you have taken.

Taxes created and disbursed by greed that do not fulfill the provisions by which they were originally granted are not - in most citizens terminology - considered honest governing.

February 17, 2006

Gale Field House - Official Press Release

PBC Approves Contract for Construction of Community Center on City's North Side


The Public Building Commission of Chicago today approved a $5.9 million contract for construction of the Gale Community Center on behalf of the Chicago Park District.
PBC board members voted to award a contract to FHP Tectonics Corp., which will serve as the general contractor for the project.

The Gale Community center will be built at 1620 West Howard in the Rogers Park community. It will feature a competition-sized gymnasium, with two full-sized athletic courts that will accommodate basketball, volleyball and other activities. At 18,325 square feet, the facility will also include a fitness room, a spacious club room that can be divided into two smaller rooms, two administrative offices and men's and women's locker rooms with showers that will be fully accessible for people with disabilities.

The building will also include environmentally friendly features, such as low-consumption water fixtures, and a partial green roof, which will capture rainwater and return a portion back to the atmosphere.

The PBC manages construction and renovation projects for the Chicago Park District as well as the City of Chicago and its other sister agencies. Mayor Daley serves as the PBC's chairman.

Other actions taken Tuesday by the PBC board are listed on the PBC’s Website

The Politics of Healthy Yelling

March 21 will soon be here and we all get to pick and choose the lesser of two or three evils. So will it be the taxing, caring Stroger or the alleged heartless android Claypool? Will it be about real health care or greed? From the link to the Chicagoist, it appears the proverbial race card is being loudly played. Don’t they know that all races are a little exhausted with this ‘card’ when the bottom line is about stealing money from their paychecks?

Does Stroger really care that much about the sick and the poor?

A waitress downtown doesn’t have any health insurance from her workplace so has no choice but to seek healthcare at county. She has a heart problem, circulation problems, and she’s diabetic. She’s told me stories of standing in line for hours only to be turned away. “Come back tomorrow” they’d tell the long line of people waiting to pick up prescriptions. It took my friend months to get test results but multiple missed workdays to wait only to be told her name was called but she wasn't there. She was there missing out on much needed lunch tips. She finally got the results on a CD of her heart tests and came to my office to take a look. She didn't have a doctors review for months after that.

Another time, she went to pick up her insulin and syringes only to find she'd been short-changed on the latter. She was forced to re-use the disposable syringes until a prescription was issued and filled. That took three weeks.

There are 3 pharmacists at the pharmacy, one totally dedicated to prescriptions for those 65 and older, leaving 2 more for the rest of crowded room that spill into the hallways. The media investigated these allegations as well. So, make your choice, smoker, or not, how many more taxes will you allow Stroger to extract from your pocket? He and his cronies will find a new backroom excuse to add to this County Budget.

Stroger vs Claypool

Stroger Overtime

Another Version on Overtime


On a health care note closer to home, I found this article in the News Star. It’s a noble effort but inconclusive reporting aka error of omission by those interviewed. My disgust in the reading is that the woman who has been pushing for services on the northside for years was not mentioned. She’s been in the health care services for years, she went to meetings at Northside Power thinking it was a progressive movement. Sadly, one too many temper tantrums with the local ‘organizer’ yelling shut up was too much for the mild mannered woman. She faded from the scene and her work was taken on as their idea, a term I call mental plagiarism. You think of it, you do the work, you speak of it, they steal it - -
for their resumes and the grants. I find that totally appalling.

Thankfully, she’s only left their scene and is still working toward health care for the north side beyond the yelling and demanding.

Stroger and Claypool and a Community Organizer yelling, yelling and we're paying, paying.

Future Green Savings

There are several links that make developers more money for doing Energy Efficient Development. Rogers Park is also a target neighborhood for the Tax Smart Loan Program from the City of Chicago Web Site.

This product can be wrapped with an Energy Efficient Mortgage EEM and other programs at EEM.

Here is the start page for EnergyStar. It is very interesting that with all of the high fuel bills this year, and all of the Federal, State and City money to the consumer for purchasing an Energy Star Home or Condo we do not have any in RP. Here is the link for additional savings for everyone that is involved in the development of the units.

Are the new home and condo owners happy that they are paying $300.00/month or more gas bills when they could pay $60.00/month and then take a Federal Tax Credit of $2,000.00/year for the life of the loan?

I wonder?

Does RP Have a Plan for the redevelopment of the ward? Does any one have any interest in the City of Chicago's Environmental Action Agenda? I have e-mailed it out before, there are even more cash perks for developers, of new and existing buildings.

Here are the tax incentives for developers and home owners.

Contributed by George Sullivan

February 16, 2006

Second Community Police Alert

This community alert was received today, so please heed the police warnings and recommendations. It could be totally unrelated to the Februry 13 assault, but two women in a state of fear may have described the same person based on their perception at the time. Just be wary and aware and safe.

Home Invasion on February 11, 2003

For more information on crime in the area, here's the News Star Police Blotter

February 15, 2006

24th District Blood Drive 2/16/05

Please note the time I received in the email differs from the photo. 24th District blood drive 10-8pm tomorrow 16 Feb 06


Please call the number in the poster to verify time if you can donate.

February 14, 2006

Community Alert from Chicago Police

This just came in my email from the Chicago Police Department.

Police Description

Please be aware.

Gale Field House Update

I arrived at the Daley Center about 2:45 thinking that Gale Park would be somewhere ‘into the meeting’. As it was, Eva and Johnna were exiting the board room on the second floor. Eva shared her notes below.
Originally Pacific gave the lowest bid, but the board felt that Pacific Construction Services had a full itinerary of upcoming projects. Consideration of approval to award contract #1336 to FHP Tectonics Corporation for general construction of the Gale School Community Center located at 1620 W Howard, Contract amount $5,974,000.00 was given.

The Board felt Pacific would be non-responsive on Gale contract due to overcapacity. Pacific was #1 low bid.

The board did not want to approve Pacific for Gale because they are already working on 3 projects. The Board voted yes to the recommendation to ask Pacific to withdraw their bid for Gale. Pacific has 3 contracts already, Westinghouse HS being one.

Board approved the recommendation to the 2nd lowest bidder, FHP Tectonics Corporation.

FHP was voted upon and approved by the Board.

Both Eva and I left messages with project manager, Tricia Lombardo regarding construction timeline. Will update readers when Ms. Lombardo responds.

Additional Information on:

FHP Tectonics
Public Building Commission

A Sensible Development Plan for the FUTURE

My friend and neighbor, George sent the following email to the main players in Rogers Park who have the power to implement change in an ecologically, environmentally sensible manner. It may seem futuristic to many but that’s how ‘suggestions of change’ are handled by many people. As an FYI – the City of Chicago demands green buildings in ALL NEW TIFS if a developer is using TIF money.
Green Roof Matrix

That includes the ones we haven’t really heard about yet.

And, YOU, the residents and taxpayers, renters or owners are players and victims in this game of paying outrageous energy bills. So you should have a chance to digest these various urban design plans too. As you will read, the studies have already been done. I've edited just to insert the meaning for ND which is Neighborhood Development and TOD which is Transit Oriented Development, which was to have been the purpose of the Gateway Mall. We were to have been able to exit the train or bus and make purchases on our way home. As it stands, the Gateway opens it welcome arms to the suburbs with it's back to the neighborhood. Entering is not convenient for anyone dwelling North of Howard. But on to the futuristic plan.....
I wonder how RP would do on the new rating system LEED for Neighborhood Development, I know that there is a major discussion in RP, this offers a tool to measure progress and required changes.

US Green Building Council

It would be an interesting review project of the existing community, the lack of planning, and plan implementation.

The City of Chicago is currently looking at requiring LEED Neighborhood Developments for a number of new projects across the city. A number of retail developments that I am working on now want income numbers that are focused to with in a 20 minute walk, along with a major focus on Transit Oriented Development. Another good site for Neighborhood Development is the Congress for New Urbanism, Illinois Chapter Congress for the New Urbanism,Illinois Chapter they are looking for a ward to study.

George D. Sullivan
Eco Smart Building
P. O. Box 4154
Chicago, IL 60654

Interesting interior links: It’s a long but worthwhile read

Use the drop down arrows to select a plan. You will find many choices to suit Ward 49’s many needs, including high density and affordable housing. You will also find Habitat for Humanity included in many of the works.
Plans and Resources

If you prefer not to post but want to be heard, George's email address is above. You may email me at toniduncan7@aol.com.

February 13, 2006

Business In The Fief

New business in the fief. Quizno’s decided to open up in the bus area. Grand Opening signs faded in the window on the Evanston side of Howard where they planned to open two years ago. It appears the shop got a better deal to open up in a new facility.


The controversial storage facility has it’s Grand Opening Sign up too.

A surrealistic view of an indoor storage lockers within a glass window.

With more surrealistic storage facilities to come on both sides of the bus strip toward Rogers.
Whole Strip of Life Storage

Even though there are no loading dock areas in the mall, (with the exception of Dominicks off Clark) it must have been in the plans to share with the bus traffic?

Meanwhile, in front of one of Lord Higiwil’s empty storefronts, the recessed doorway gives just enough protection from the blue light for ‘business as usual’. Play Here!
Play Here! Residuals of Play Here
Get your plastic wrapped goodies here!

February 12, 2006

The Fall of Lord Higiwil

Once upon a time in a middle sector of the kingdom of Ogacihc, there were two super lords who were very close to the king. Both had acquired many castles and moats and the king helped them keep many secrets. These two lords were known throughout the kingdom as Lords of the Poor whilst dwelling in new castles with beautiful towers and knights to protect them.

Lords Higiwil and Heizle had amassed their extensive fiefdoms by acquiring smaller castles through the laws of low hovels and receivership. They proclaimed their concern for the poor and made many promises for the scribes to send throughout the kingdom. Thus receivership was created to replenish the rundown castles and hovels for the peasants. Oft they were re-thatched and new hewn logs replaced the rotting ones to fulfill the contract of receivership. The peasants were mighty beholden and some became lesser knights of the villages. The lesser knights formed alliances around the hovels proclaiming them to be their lesser fiefs. They plundered, killed and demanded shield money from the poor, hardworking peasants. There were many uprisings between the lesser knights that instilled a constant fear in all who lived in the fief.

As with so many laws, the concept of low hovels and receiverships came from a larger law whereby the nobility sought to hide their wealth from the Higher Kings so their homage and fealty wouldn’t be too expensive. It became a tangled web of investments by the nobles to shelter their gold coins. Meanwhile, the hovels and older castles frequently remained dingy and rundown. Life there was bleak, dangerous and oft short.

Lord Higiwil was one of the first of all the land to create the low hovel way of life. The nobles so liked his theory that many 'invested' their gold coins in his low hovels. Lord Higiwil’s low hovel fiefdom grew to fifty or more hovels and castles. Higiwil was also a vicar so no one thought to doubt his motives. It all came tumbling down around him after many years. Many lesser nobles began to protest in the courts about the appalling conditions of low hovel life and the terror the lesser knights instilled in the fief. Whilst the lord tried to soft talk his way through the strife of the fief, the truth was seen. Fable has it that the nobles learned of the courts and the scribes engravings of low hovel conditions they were investing (hiding) their gold coins into. Ashamed to be connected to Lord Higiwil, the nobles quietly had him dismissed and his fiefdom was dissolved and turned over to Lord Heizle.

February 11, 2006

Bring Your Light

Here's the neighborhood event for February. Copies will be distributed to NOH agencies and if anyone wants to help, let us know. Northpoint neighbors will help poster the neighborhood. And I'm sure the agencies will too. Please feel free to join us with the light of your choice. We will meet at the usual point, the entrance to Gale Park on Howard by the pod.


We can gather later for a hot cup of coffee or cider and get better acquainted. Maybe the Lakeside Cafe or Jamaica Jerk.

February 10, 2006

CAPS Review for January

Beat 2422 CAPS report for the month of January 2006
Beat Wide

Contact Cards 331
Case Reports 92
Arrests 90

Arrestees from 2422: 74

Translation, 331 case contact cards were written. Of the 92 case reports 90 arrests made. A good month for the CPD - not a good month for the lawbreakers.

Priority Area


Domestics: 1
Simple Battery: 3
Vice (other than Narc) 18
Quality of Life: 30
Narcotics: 28
U.U.W. 1
Theft 6
Robbery 0

Jargowood Area: 5
Birchwood/Greenview 14
Triangle Park Area 1
Bosworth 5
Clark 2
Jonquil 4
Juneway 2
Marshfield 7
Rogers 5
Sheridan 7
Howard 37

Noteworthy Incidents/Arrests:

Cannabis AR 30 gr 77xx N. Marshfield
Tactical Unit ID’d several narcotics dealers via cam pod

Group discussion was held on working together as eyes and ears of Beat 2422
Ideas included: ‘meet and greet’ on a weekend morning with coffee/donuts by neighbors on blocks or in parkway in front of homes to get to know neighbors better. Create safety watches and groups of walkers and positive loiterers. Several people and groups volunteered to start up. If you are interested, contact Eva at 773-495-8725 or Toni at 773 306 6034 or email me at toniduncan7@aol.com.

Bad buildings and locations were discussed and the Abandoned Buildings excerpt was printed and turned over for future discussion.

Upcoming 2422 Events:

Candle Light Walk, Saturday, February 28 at 7PM at entrance to Gale Park
North of Howard Parks Advisory Council Meeting, Tuesday, February 21 7pm-8:30 pm at the Howard Area Community Center
Self-Defense Workshop for Women, Saturday, March 25 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Loyola Park Field House.

Flyers for the Candle Light Walk and the Self-Defense Workshop were available, will be posted on the blog soon, distributed to the local media, and distributed by co-sponsors RPCC Victim Advocacy Support Group and the 49th Ward office.

February 9, 2006

TIFS On Our Minds

TIFS in the morning, TIFS in the evening, TIFS at suppertime...or so it seems. I discovered FirstCity and dug on the history and some of the 'laws'. For your reading pleasure or displeasure, I hope you find the dissertations from 1994 in comparison to current day intriguing.

1. Low-Income Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District
According to the 1994 annual report of the City of Chicago's Department of Housing, the city created its first Tax Increment Financing district for the development of affordable housing. This project located at 45th and South Martin Luther King Drive created 96 units as part of the Phase V development of the Paul G. Stewart Homes. The TIF allows the city to use the money generated from the tax increment on the vacant lots for development within the ( TIF) district. They are then able to use this money to do such things as write down the bonds or provide additional financing for the project. (Contact: Department of Housing)

Any check up data on item #1?

2. Chicago Abandoned Property Program (CAPP)
CAPP is a program created due to the outcry of community residents concerned with the abandoned buildings in their neighborhood. The program was initially run by the Department of Buildings but then was transferred to the Department of Housing. This Program outlines a process whereby abandoned buildings can be acquired and transferred to individuals, private and non profit developers interested in rehabilitation for affordable housing. The program focuses on vacant 1-6 unit buildings and requires that the buildings be tax delinquent, open and unsecured to qualify for the program. A list of CAPP eligible buildings is published each quarter and interested developers fill out applications requesting the buildings.. The applications are reviewed by a mayor-appointed sub-committee who makes recommendations to the City Council for their approval. The process from application to receiving clear title from the City takes 12-18 months. Community groups who have used CAPP are concerned about the length of time it takes to obtain ownership of these buildings. Since 1991, 133 CAPP buildings have been acquired and transferred to an owner who plans to rehab the property. There are another 220 properties in the process of being transferred. There has been 49 vacant lots transferred from City ownership to an eligible buyer. (Contact: Department of Housing; Developer Services Division)
Abandoned Housing Act

Again, we have the abandoned Broadmoor East burnout and Jay Johnson's big bad on Marshfield/Juneway. Why isn't someone utilizing this 'law'? Is it still in effect?

3. Tax Reactivation Program and Special Sales
The Tax Reactivation Program provides a mechanism for the City of Chicago and Cook County to return tax-delinquent buildings and vacant land to the tax rolls and provide affordable housing. In this program, the City makes a non-cash bid to the County for tax delinquent property on behalf of a developer who is applying for the building and/or the vacant land. The County issues the City a Certificate of Purchase which can be converted to a tax deed once the owner's period of redemption has expired. The deed is then transferred to the pre-identified developer for rehabilitation or new construction on the vacant site. The Tax Reactivation Program has a formal application that developers must complete before being selected and the process generally takes between 18-24 months. It is up to the developer to investigate and find those vacant parcels or buildings, usually with 7 units or more, which are tax delinquent. Once this task is completed they can then begin the formal application process. Since 1989, 161 properties have been transferred through the Tax Reactivation Program and another 35 properties are still in process. In addition, there have been 81 vacant lots transferred through this process. (Contact: Department of Housing, Real Estate Services Division).

Pretty much the same question as above.

Low-Income Tax Increment Financing Districts in other Cities
Tax Increment Financing districts have been used for many years in California to create low-income housing. Once an area is designated "blighted," then property tax increases are caught by a Redevelopment Agency which must spend at least 20% of the money on low-income housing creation. In Chicago, when the city names an area "blighted," the Department of Planning and Development then has authority to (1) acquire land and property in the area, using the power of eminent domain if necessary, and (2) sell off land and property in accordance with its redevelopment vision for the area. There are no guarantees written into the law that assure a certain percentage of the development will benefit indigenous or low-income people.
In San Francisco, low-income TIFs have generated $40-45 million in affordable housing production in the last five years. Only not-for-profit CDCs are eligible to use this source of financing.
Chicago Examples: Last year, the City of Chicago used, for the first time, a low-income TIF to create 96 units of low-income housing. Other TIFs, such as the $104 million one implemented in the South Loop contain no guarantees that existing or low-income residents will benefit.

Now is this true in 2006? Was/Is it really 'legal' to create a TIF under the pretense of creating low income housing and sliding by with 'no guarantee'? Any Californian's reading?

1994 Data From This Source
Interpreting and Using Housing Court

February 8, 2006

Lipstick on Pork: Trompe L'Oeil Rogers Park

One exciting innovation breaking the monotony of another Moore info-mercial was the creative use of paint described at the Pivot Point meeting. Moore continued his audacious practice, introduced recently at the Abel's info-mercial, of introducing his constituents to the developer's lobbyist, euphemistically introduced as a "zoning attorney," but the next speaker was the project's exterior painter. We could tell he was a great artist because he badly needed a shave. The painter described a special paint, brought all the way from Germany, in EUROPE, which he described as both innovative and new and also in use for hundreds of years in Germany without ever having pealed. It was explained to us that the paint will not peal, and, even if it did, the developers had generously agreed to place a legal covenant on the property, making it the problem of our new neighbors in the Pivot Point condos to maintain the paint in perpetuity. Thanks, guys!

Most of the following discussion in the Pivot Point meeting, lead by Moore plants, focused on the legal mechanism by which we can stick it to the condo association, rather than on the assault to our neighborhood.

Kopley said he had to remove the terra cotta panels on the exterior of the Pivot Point building because they were "hazardous to the public." Of course it's not the terra cotta that's hazardous, it's the terra cotta falling that's hazardous, and of course we neighbors have been treated to looking at the scaffolding around the Pivot Point for a decade. Techniques for safely affixing terra cotta to buildings are well-known, they are just too expensive for Kopley, too fancy for our neighborhood. Rather than restore the exterior, Kopley plans to PAINT it on.

As our real estate developers race to the bottom in their never-ending quest for cheaper ways to throw up condos, the technique of slapping a coat of sealant over poured concrete is becoming more and more widespread, particularly in unsophisticated neighborhoods were the citizenry doesn't know any better. The developers draw the neighbors into a discussion of the color scheme, and so a feeing of participation is instilled.

Here's a picture of the City of Evanston - Bristol Development project planned for across Howard

Like what you see? Don't be confused by the contrasting colors shown in the drawings. The browns and beiges in the drawing are not the result of two different styles of brick chosen to add visual interest. They are not even contrasting choices of concrete block. The colors are paint - paint on poured concrete.


Excerpt from the transcript of the testimony of Bristol Chicago Development L.L.C. before the Plan Commission of Evanston:

Commissioner [Albert] Hunter: Did you consider other surface materials ... other than painting the concrete?

Mr. [Jim] Curtain[, Solomon, Cordwell, Benz and Associates Architectural Firm]: Actually on this one the painted concrete works out very, very well .. We can get a lot of articulation within concrete.

Commissioner Hunter: I'm thinking also about the weathering and the elements with respect to painted concrete.

Mr. Curtain: The paint is ... actually a weather seal. It actually preserves the concrete. ...

Commissioner Hunter: This is not to me something which is an outstanding piece of architecture.


Trompe l'oeil

Trompe-l'œil (French for "trick the eye" from tromper - to deceive and l'œil - the eye; pronounced as "trom ploy") is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects really exist.


Here's a prominent Chicago example from N LaSalle on the near north side:

The use of tromp l'oeil technique is an exciting development for those interested in preserving some small hints of our neighborhood's history. These techniques could have much more wide-spread use. Perhaps when he is done with the Pivot Point building, Mr. Kopley could lend us his exterior paint artist for other projects in Rogers Park and beyond.

Perhaps we could ask Loyola if we could paint their Granada Center (recently renamed "Fordham Hall" in a further denial of our neighborhood's heritage by our good neighbor Loyola)

... to look like the Granada Theater

Perhaps we could paint Aldermanic pal "Chad" Zuric's massive condo project on Clark:

... to look like the Adelphi:

Perhaps we could paint the "rotunda" of Gateway Mall, just a few feet east of the Pivot Point building ...

... to look like the Affiliated Bank building, designed by Jens Jensen in 1930, which was demolished by DevCorp North and their partners in Gateway Mall, demolition funded by public property tax money from the Howard TIF.

When Aldermanic pal Jay Johnson lobbied the neighborhood for TIF funding to gut the Howard Theater, he pledged to restore the façade. Once his public taxpayer funding was secured, he decided it would be too expensive. Perhaps we could ask Jay to PAINT the light bulbs on.

Perhaps we could paint University Park to look like Maxwell Street.

The possibilities are endless.

February 7, 2006

Pivot Spin

Very brief overview of a not so well orchestrated meeting:

The circa 1928 Pivot Point building was to be demolished in plans long ago. The Pivot Point Company begged and pleaded to stay and avoid eminent domain. Joe Moore granted their stay of the wrecking ball and a year or so later, the Pivot Point Company relocated leaving that poor, decrepit building high and dry and totally empty. Along comes the developer to save the day. Many different angles were looked at, commercial and residential. The final decision was commercial on the first floor and residential above. The studies leaned toward the building being too outdated for dentists, doctors and such, so go residential.

Due to its isolated spot in a commercial area, it’s considered to be non-conforming use, close to the buses and CTA. The highlight was the change in zoning administrators and the change in zoning laws that occurred after the development began. These obstacles, according to attorney Graham Grady, precluded the developer being legally required to provide parking as they occurred after the rehab began. Now that the other stories are up, I’ll just link to Craig and Uncle Crabby. The alderman and others had answered questions on the 10% set aside of low income condo’s on the CPAN program and jobs created by the TIF. So out of 37 condos there will be 4 ‘low income’ condos but no price was available. The others had prices ranging from $169.9K for a 1BR to $224.9K for a 2BR. If new owners have the additional expense/luxury of a vehicle, they can park it in the CTA garage for 125/month, on the street, or possibly after hours in the Mall lot. Or ride a bicycle.

Something more interesting caught my thoughts. The discussion took a minor detour when the subject of the Lerner building and its presentation a couple of years ago came up. We gave approval, after years of disapproved designs, the land is still sitting as it was 3 years ago, and more years for many of you. Apparently, since the developer has made no move, the property is, or soon will be, on acquisition (sitting in a TIF area) by the city which would give them power of eminent domain.

Another interesting turn was a statement about receivership of rundown, mismanaged buildings rather than eminent domain. So, there you are folks, since the alderman admitted several rundowns went into receivership, were rehabbed into affordable housing why are we not attending meetings from that type of sympathetic developers? One embarrassment of Ward 49 are the outrageous Jay Johnson buildings NOH. They’re in disrepair, they’re deplorable, yet where’s the receivership for them? That’s how he got them, so what are the politicians waiting for? It’s an election year, so get those Broadmoors, and CIG rundowns into receivership. I heard recently that several of the former IMC rundowns were to be placed into receivership. No word on the Broadmoor yet and Broadmoor East. And while we're at it, how about getting Coe's Crib on the 'receivership' list too? He's left a gaping hole on Morse and a gaping row of empty stores on Howard.

If the City is taking the Lerner building and properties on acquisition, then why not build low income condos with all that TIF money, the CPAN program? But it has to be an honest, sincere, properly managed development. Then some of the dust could settle between the factions who for years have fought to keep NOH low income and development nearly everywhere but NOH. And, what better way to spend tax dollars? They could create a neighborhood with proud homeowners who would contribute to it rather than destroy it. I’d rather see tax dollars spent on productive, well-designed buildings where young families could have a start-up or those reaching retirement age having an affordable place. That's an extra $60K-$80K for the people, not to a four week GED crash course. dc ads 002
Howard Area's job program has been there for years and the cost saving is almost $60K-$80K.

Now does any of this sound logical and sensible? An alderman can do almost anything with TIF dollars.

February 6, 2006


I received the following message regarding the Loyola TIF:

If people like us do not make our views known, the City of Chicago is going
to approve a $46 million tax subsidy (Tax Increment Financing, TIF) to
Loyola University for rehabbing tax-exempt campus buildings.

Click here to tell Loyola and the City to
Drop This Plan

TIFs have become a $330 million "shadow budget" in Chicago, and have been
subject of criticism on many grounds. The Devon-Sheridan TIF ($69 million)
and the S&C Electirc TIF ($48 million) are two of the more recent north
side TIFs. Nearly 1/3 of all the assessed property in Chicago is now in a
TIF. There are many reasons to call for TIF reform, perhaps a moratorium.
The "shadow budget" diverts resources from public schools, parks and
services, accelerates property assessments and favors those with an inside
track to power.

For now, we can take a stand on this proposal, which does not address
economic development or poverty reduction goals.

Though Loyola is an important asset to the Rogers Park and Edgewater area,
we do not believe this subsidy plan deserves approval by the City Council.
Most of the community is opposed, as are many Loyola students, faculty and
staff. Even Loyola's student newspaper article was headlined "TIF:
Neighbors dislike plan." A separate column by editor-in-chief Whitney
Woodward opined: "it's hard to find any evidence of Loyola's expressed
commitment to the little guy."

Read Ben Joravsky's story at:

Public Funds,Private Windfall

This specific project is not yet a "done deal," but it will be if we do
not tell the Chicago Plan Commission, and City Council what we think. On
click can send your email to multiple people: Ald. Mary Ann Smith is on
the Chicago Plan Commission. This project is in Ald. Joe Moore's ward, so
his stance will be crucial. Ald. Burke and O'Connor are on the Finance
Committee. Michael Garanzini is Loyola's President.

So please, take two minutes and voice your concern.

February 5, 2006

Howard St Development Community Meeting




7:00 PM


Press release

For background information: The Pivot Point story in press clippings

Neighbor on WGN 9pm News 2/6/06

WGN TV shot a story for the 9:00 PM News Hour which will air on tomorrow, 2/6/06. The spot covers the growing trend in Green Building, and what makes it different. The segment was taped in late Jan. of 06, the segment will include the following; Kirt Fox Ecobroker, Informed Energy, Wilbrink Architechs, and neighbor, George Sullivan.

13 Years Later

For those who haven't burned out from the public meeting run around, here's some homework to prepare you for the next meeting. The Pivot Point Meeting, and whatever else is to follow. Many of us didn't reside here in 1993, and those who have been actively seeking the truth since they moved will find these documents enlightening. The Pivot Point was to be retained according to the pre-DevCorp group, before they changed their name, and it stayed. Both studies dwelled on the Gateway Mall. In fact, the Gateway was the equivalent of the center of the universe. One study suggested a commercial strip where Gale Park is; a paved parking area across the street that isn't. The first study wants egg in its beer. They planned to keep social service areas intact - look who was on the board - while speaking of 'revitalizing' that strip on Paulina. This is a neighborhood, not a social experiment folks.

The Scoping Study had the temerity to point out the challenges in revitalizing this neighborhood by placing the problematic area between Bosworth and Paulina and Howard and Jonquil. That's a huge chunk of census tract 101. The number of absentee landlords and owners who were in building court was a large problem North of Howard. We still have buildings in court. The lack of definition of a neighborhood with 'mom and pop' stores and shops is another sorely missing marker.

While the SSA#19 will clean 7 days a week, we now have fewer stores on Howard than when I moved here in 2003. There's been little change in 13 years. The Mall remains mostly empty thanks to poor design and vision. Who wants to pay Lincoln Park rent and not have a loading dock? So the mall remains the center of the universe of white elephants.

Does anyone know what happened to the Scoping Study? It is bold, honest, challenging and apparently was ignored. Why? Because it was done by professionals?

There's still hope. And that hope may come from the most unexpected place.

February 4, 2006

7 Days A Week

dc ads 003

For those who have complained about Howard SSA, here's news for you. Please note the SSA is a Member in the growing business membership list.

SSA#24 why aren't you voting? Any 7 days a week down south?

February 3, 2006

Virtual Interactivism

Have you enjoyed the parallels of the Laws Of The Land? Virtual Suburbanites comment won my imagination. Shall we call the upcoming proposal 'The Wardia Chronicles'? Other titles may be submitted too.

Having been given a very brief historic overview of feudalism, having read the pros and cons over many political and human issues on various blogs, how about an interactive story? The only rules are that posts make reference to values in the Law Of The Land, parts I, II and III when referring to episodes in our lives today. And outrageous profanity will not make it into the storyline. I'll copy/paste pertinent comments into the main story and see where our imaginations take us. Are you ready?

Once upon a time there the kingdom of Ogacihc ruled by the King of All Lands. The King of Ogacihc was often a very funny king, laughing as he stumbled over his own gaffes. His held many celebrations in his kingdom with parades and ribbon tournaments. People would flock to Ogacihc to see the great glass towers and the river of green. As with all kingdoms, Ogacihc had nobles and peasants – and there became an overabundance of homage and fealty to build towers and keep the river green.

There were times when the king would wipe tears from his eyes in sadness. His kingdom was divided into fifty fiefdoms run by his 50 contracted lords of the fiefs. Those fiefs were subdivided into lesser fiefs to help the lords manage their lands. When the king held court the barons gathered to plan the method to collect homage and fealties from the people. There were great debates among the lords accusing one another of taking more than their fair share for their fiefs.

Within the kingdom was a lesser kingdom of Drawoh. The Baron of Drawoh ruled over the vassals and serfs there. There were so many people to please, to appease, to keep in line, it was an exhausting job.

There were good knights and knights with very little concept of chivalry, morality or humility.

There were many bishops, priests and vicars in as many churches and cathedrals as well. So many people, so many taxes, so little time.

February 2, 2006

The Law Of The Land - III

Knights in Tarnished Armor
Knights lived and breathed the code of chivalry which essentially meant to loyally serve their king and his god. Born into rich families, the knights were usually not the firstborn son so did not receive an inheritance. By this inferiority they were destined to become warriors to fulfill their need for power. To honor the code, however, they were to be humble, not braggarts. They were to defend the weak, (especially all women). The dichotomy of this code is that the knights were trained as men of war. The weak did not include the vast majority of the population which were serfs or peasants. Weak, by feudal definitions, was limited to women and children of nobility.

The preparation for knighthood began when the boy was eight. He trained as a page at a neighboring castle learning to ride horses and fight with spears and swords. He had to pass the test of riding a horse and fighting wearing 40-50 pounds of armor. Social skills were also part of his training. He was schooled in French and Latin and learned the proper etiquette of the king’s court. At fifteen, the page was promoted to squire status where he entered servitude to a knight. He helped dress the knight, served his meals and cared for the knights weapons and horse. The squire accompanied the knight to tournaments as well as into the battlefield. If he survived four or five years of servitude he was eligible to be knighted.

To become a knight, the lord of the fief would hold a ‘dubbing’ ceremony if he felt the young squire was worthy. The night before the dubbing, the squire dressed in white and red robes and fasted to purify his soul for his future vocation. The bishop, priest or vicar blessed the young man’s sword that lay upon the altar. Before dawn, the squire bathed as a purity ritual and dressed in fine clothes. At dawn, he confessed to the bishop, priest or vicar and ate. The ceremony was held outdoors with his family, his friends and nobility of the land as witnesses. He knelt before the lord of the land who tapped the squire on each shoulder and proclaimed him a knight. In earlier times the lord would hit the squire hard enough to knock him over. This act conveyed the message of a knights submissiveness to the power and will of the lord.

So, at the will of the king or the lords of the fiefs, the knights captured villages and cities plundering and killing as they went. They destroyed what had taken decades to build with one brutal sweep of their axes and torches. Their brutality to the commoners was ignored because they were part of the upper class by birthright. If a lord felt threatened by a rival lord, he sent his knights and foot soldiers to trounce any possible conquest of his fief. By the same token, the knights and soldiers were sent to thwart any form of a peasant revolt. There were no boundaries to the evil deeds the lords allowed their mercenaries to real and imagined threats. All in the name of greed. That was the law of the land.