July 1, 2008

Extend That Detour Arrow

Hijacked Public Building
From Moore’s email blast yesterday:

“I have also facilitated meetings with the Boys and Girls Clubs and leaders from the major community organizations in Rogers Park to keep the community leadership apprised of the Boys and Girls Clubs' potential plans for the Community Center, and to afford the community leaders an opportunity to share their input on the community's needs.”

I’m not sure which community or which leaders he’s facilitated (past tense) meetings with. Perhaps he means ‘future meetings’? We know certain individuals from RPCC and DevCorp who don’t live North of Howard have their agendas in play. At any rate, he bypassed the Gale Park Council and immediate neighbors who live here and pay taxes here.

There was a recent board meeting at DevCorp to ‘talk about including all the agencies’ but how many were present at the table? The North of Howard agencies are represented on the Gale Park Council, and to my knowledge, they haven’t been “facilitated…just excluded” some more.

And, last week when I contacted Representative Julie Hamos office, she had absolutely no knowledge of the latest detour. She had not been informed of the secretive planning to turn the public building she supported into a new home for a boys and girls club. Absolutely no idea.

Neither did her counterpart, Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg.

At least it wasn’t just the immediate neighborhood that has waited for over a decade that was excluded. Representative Hamos who advocated for this community center for this specific neighborhood was excluded. Hamos attended the September, 2007 input meeting while Moore et al were nowhere to be seen.

They were probably already working on a plan to derail the project. Hence the hijacking of the August meeting, the role-playing dramas, the changed agenda, the insults by two city employees directed at the council in a public meeting. Could much of it stem from a certain alderman who considers a couple of the volunteer council members to be enemies?

That’s carrying a grudge that affects a whole neighborhood. That's why some of the North of Howard Agencies' summer programs were tabled - thanks to the physical and backroom detours. It's the parents and their kids who are affected.

That could be considered Daley behavior but no one asked my opinion!


Fargo Woman said...

What did Hamos and Schoenberg have to say about all this? I met State Rep. Julie Hamos at the community input meeting in September and was impressed with how strongly she seemed to feel about making certain the center served the entire community - young and old. I remember being surprised that no one from the Alderman's office was there and how petty it made him look (after the August Meeting debacle) especially in light of her participation. Thank you for contacting her and State Sen. Schoenberg. Can you elaborate on what they had to say about the subject?


Michael J. Harrington said...

We should definitely credit Representative Hamos, who years ago work with the advisory council and helped secure state money to support the center when that was needed. At public meetings on the project she let community residents take the lead and never show boated.

At the community meeting convened by the Gale Park Advisory Council last fall to develop program ideas, Hamos sat in the back, again letting community residents lead. I recall that she was adamant that the new facility be named a "community center" and not just a park district field house. She understood what a community center is supposed to do and the necessity for it here.

been there said...

a certain alderman that i know has one of his former challengers on his zoning committee, and is otherwise proud and happy to be working with him for the betterment of the neighborhood. a certain alderman i know has a ward democratic party president that has publicly criticized him in the past. a certain alderman has someone on his ward democratic party executive board that publicly supported a different candidate for state senator.
some people accept the democratic process, and the spirit of contest in their stride.
it's not how much you disagree- it's how disagreeable you are. there is no doubt that some people are being in credibly disagreeable. i do not think the alderman is one of them. he is just trying to get the place up and running with good programming.
this stuff going around about no programming for adults is crazy. adults do not need the kind of labor intensive programing that kids do. adults need a room to play bridge. kids need counselors, they need food, they need security, they need parent contact. they need a lot. so most of the work is in setting things up for kids.
adults can take care of themselves. we all need to take care of children. even if it means fighting the urge to act like one.

Toni said...


It shouldn’t matter who supported whom – and I agree that its important to get the building open after more than a decade. However, there are some basic planning issues that I feel were overlooked.

Regarding your constant harangue about disagreeable persons:

If you live in a condo building and missed a meeting because you were not aware of it, how would you describe your feelings if you discovered a huge special assessment had been passed and you’re contribution would be X more per month?

Regarding the litany of well known issues that kids need security, counseling for guided activities to burn energy etc., well…here’s a hypothetical situation.

Say you owned a 6 flat. Unit #1 was vacant and perfectly clean and ready to rent and large enough to accomodate to a family since it has 3 bedrooms. Say Unit #3 across the hall is smaller, and is undergoing some repairs and isn’t ready to rent yet. IF a family of 2 adults and 3 kids came to you insisting that they have the smaller Unit#3 what would you think? You might show them Unit#1, compare the square footage and sell them on the need versus the want. They want the smaller unit for their own unknown reasons but they need a home. One is larger and ready to accommodate them, the other isn’t ready to rent until repairs are complete. IF they are sensible people and you are a good salesperson, you might come to a compromise: Here, move in the larger apartment for 6 months and see how you like it and we can always move you into the smaller unit if you don’t like it.

IF, it is indeed true that the Gale Annex is a possibility, then way back when these negotiations began some big picture thinking should have taken place.

Example: The building still has repairs and can’t open as planned. School will be out on June 13. The local NFP’s who always held summer camps are being stalled because the building isn’t open. But the kids need somewhere to go – so what is the most logical thought process?

Negotiate for the larger space that is also new, open, clean and ready to accommodate the local programs AND the BGC in a school building and with the principal’s blessing. Now how darn difficult is that? Or should I write how difficult would it have been?

The principal saves the new building, the kids have a place to go, the local NFP’s are not shut out, the parents can go to work knowing their children are safe, comforted and busy.