January 30, 2008

Caution - Falling Ice

A familiar Chicago scene – yellow cones warning pedestrians to beware of falling ice. There are codes for porches, the height of exterior fences, interior fire sprinklers, electrical and plumbing, but nothing requiring thermal coils to melt accumulated ice on the slick exteriors of buildings.

1.30.08 004 1.30.08 003

Ten years ago this winter, I wrote the Mayor a letter asking why there weren’t any ‘thermal’ codes for all new construction. Every year, certain buildings are notorious for falling ice that hits people and vehicles. Often it requires closing the street until the fa├žade clears.

In a matter of time, I did receive a response. However, upon reading the contents of the response, the author informed me the city was investigating the problem of falling mortar.

In those ten years, how many outrageously tall and/or oddly designed buildings like this have passed the city's test? As this construction was underway, it seemed like a real set-up for falling ice with the jutting angles over the sidewalk. Looks like my observations were correct. The City has missed an opportunity to make money by not requiring thermal codes to gently melt ice. Apparently a few maimed or dead taxpayers or vehicles is an easier write-off.

Giving a straight answer to a direct question is really difficult for politicians.

Larry Isn't Bothered, Are You?


Larry Suffredin -- a self-styled reformer running for Cook County state's attorney -- lobbied for a landfill controlled by Fred Bruno Barbara, a businessman once charged with extortion and implicated in the mob bombing of a restaurant, the Sun-Times has learned.

Suffredin, a Cook County commissioner (D-Evanston), has come under attack by rivals for his work as a lobbyist on behalf of casino and drug-company interests. State records show he also lobbied for Kankakee Regional Landfill LLC -- a company tied to Barbara -- in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The words of the legal mind who would be States Attorney:

“Suffredin said he saw no problem with representing the Barbara-controlled company. "He's not been a client. He's been an owner of a client that I worked for ... If I had directly represented him, it'd bother me," Suffredin said.”

So does it bother you?

January 28, 2008

Another Woman's Opinion

Interesting Post from Tom Mannis at “The Bench”

Belts aren't or shouldn't be necessary tools for discipline, but Tanya does put forth some valid points about parenting. It will be interesting to see how the 'liberal' posters will swallow her statements on spoiling kids or their lack of parenting knowledge! Note the comment about lunatics rather than the substance of her post!

Perhaps they'll 'get it' if it's written by someone else? I hope the uber-libs catch the remark about the shoes costing more than a mortgage! She didn't spare the parents much slack on their lack of skills either.

from Tanya: "Children have no respect for adults and/or authority and they grow up to be adults who have no respect for authority. Thus a cycle has been created."

January 26, 2008

Bird of Prey

Saturday, January 26 at 10am.

Looking out of the back door of my house, I saw a large bird on the fence
next door. It turns out that it was a falcon eating a pigeon.

100_4622 080126FALCON-1A5021copy

More and more wildlife is returning to the Chicago area. For years my
back yard has been visited by deer, raccoons, possums and skunks during
the evenings. There have been reports of coyote, yet none in my yard that
I know of. Now I have seen a falcon. (maybe this will take care of the
pigeon population!)

Just sharing.

A Neighbor

Dumpster Diving Anyone?

A neighbor took out the trash last night. Sometime overnight my neighbors' city garbage can was moved in the alley to accommodate this:

100_4610 100_4615 100_4611 100_4612

This mess is behind 1546 W. Jonquil. It has been a high-turnover building with tenant issues over the years. Anyone in the dumpster diving mood might find a carpet bargain.

No Apologies

Royko Would Be Proud

States Attorney material?

January 25, 2008

Why People Lie

Many consider the RedEye to be an expensive waste of paper and ink. I found this interesting tidbit online.

Don't you love it when someone smiles at you while telling you an blatant lie? When the truth does come out, and it nearly always does, you have to wonder just what was the point of lying in the first place. Do some people enjoy testing how far they can go before they get caught - or is that the point - to get caught?

"There are four types of lies, according to Lewis: Lies to protect people's feelings ("You do NOT look fat"); to avoid punishment ("I didn't see the speed limit, officer"); to deceive ourselves ("I didn't like him anyway"); and to hurt others ("She doesn't love you anymore")."

These examples are terribly simplistic when compared to some of the whoppers we hear!

Tree Trimming Con Artists

January 24, 2008

Go Red Campaign

From a co-worker on the east coast:

Campbell's Soup is sponsoring the “Go Red Campaign’ this year to raise awareness for women's heart health. They have asked designer Lisa Perry to design three dresses and the voting is now on to see which design the public likes best!

Toni Braxton, Campbell’s spokesperson, will wear the winning design on The View on February 1st, which is National Wear Red Day.

For each vote cast (you can vote once per day), Campbell’s is donating $1 to the American Heart Association, and you can vote as often as you'd like! Here’s where you can cast your vote. Note, there's also a heart health evaluation in English and Spanish.

Spread the word to your family and friends, vote often and get a "sneak peek" of this year's dresses - Click now

Together we can fight heart disease - the #1 killer of women.

Take A Flying Leap


More Reasons Why - From The Living Room

Cartoon by local cartoonist - Tim Jackson

January 23, 2008

Could It Be True? Scoop From Crimefile

Oh my, talk about news!

Crimefiles Scoop

From Second City Cop and Crimefile. I have witnessed the big black limo waiting for Ed to saunter out of City Hall. Perhaps it delivers Ed to St. Peter's on Madison for a quick noon confession and mass.

This Formula Applies to Politics Too

With the bummer news here's a little levity for the night!


From a strictly mathematical viewpoint it goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever
wondered about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We
have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over
100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these

If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

is represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+1 8+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%


1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that, while Hard Work
and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there,
it's the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.

The Senate Forum Rundown

No, I didn't attend Saturday's 7th District Senate Forum. But our local neighborhood reporter, Lorraine Swanson from the News Star, braved the bitter cold to report to us. I found the campaign contributions and the 'pay to play' portion of the article very interesting, so should any taxpaying voter.

"Steans said she voluntarily limited the size of her campaign contributions to comply with federal campaign guidelines.

"We do need to end pay-to-play politics. Once you put limits (on campaign donations) we can move toward public financing of campaigns," Steans said. "I also believe that we need lobbyist reforms. Lobbyists would have to record not just what they're giving, but also their activities, the same that's required from the federal government and the city of Chicago."

Later asked about the campaign contributions totaling over $750,000 to national, state and local elected officials given individually by Steans' husband, Leo Smith, or in both their names, Steans called the figure "overblown." (The actual figure donated between 1998 and 2006 is $758,613 according to the Illinois Board of Elections' campaign disclosure statements.)

"I've reconciled that by putting caps on donations to my own campaign," Steans said.

Both candidates advocated for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reform, including itemizing the amount to TIF districts on property tax bills, and amending the Illinois statute regulating TIFs to tighten the definition of blight."

January 22, 2008

A Must Read From Kheris

Here is a well-written, well-researched and thought provoking post from Kheris at The Living Room. To ID or Not To ID

To vote early requires a photo ID while regular voting does not. Could this process be a dichotomy?

If you registered to vote by mail after January 1, 2003, and you did not submit a copy of the required identification with the application for registration at that time, and you will be voting in a jurisdiction for the first time, then you will be required to submit a copy of one of the following:
A current and valid photo identification
• Utility bill
• Bank statement
• Government check
• Paycheck
• Government document

If you use a photo ID, and the photo ID has an address, it must match the registration address. If a photo ID is not used, the document must show your name and address. It must be presented to the election officials before being permitted to vote. If you do not present a required form of identification, you may vote a Provisional Ballot.

Vote a Provisional Ballot - Except in Ward 49 in a certain precinct where judges stated Provisional Ballots were ‘being phased out’. But I digress.

The argument against Photo ID is allegedly to protect the lower income voter by preventing disenfranchisement while the flip side would be or should be proper identification to deter voter fraud. Flagrant voter fraud as many witnessed at the primary and, specifically, the run-off election in April 07.

Let’s focus on the people in Illinois who are eligible to apply for assistance from Circuit Breaker, or LiHeap, or the Link Program, and check out the ID requirements for RTA Reduced Fare Cards.

With voters participating in these government assisted programs, anyone falling into the category of the potential disenfranchised, low income, or disabled or senior voter should be cross-referenced in the various databases. And, it would seem that if the government entities are able to provide these grants of assistance, they would want to prevent fraud in their programs. Why then would it be so difficult for a voter database of those qualified to participate in these programs to be cross-referenced? Name, Address, Social Security # etc.

When people write ‘ask for photo ID’ on the back of their credit cards, they’re protecting themselves against identify theft since most checkout persons don’t bother with this tiresome procedure. Let’s not think that our government doesn’t really care to abolish voter fraud because it’s a tiresome procedure.

On a side note, about a year ago I swiped my CTA card but the turnstile locked me out. I had just put $10 on it a few seconds before. Just a little outraged, I mentioned it to a CTA worker who in turn became outraged that I would dare question the CTA, their machine, her, or her authority. She entered her little protective barred box and asked for my photo ID and continued with her power trip as she copied my personal information on a sheet. Another CTA worker called to her and she stepped out of her box leaving her keys on the counter locking herself out.

I managed to get my hand under the opening and pulled her keys out with her pen. After all, my photo ID was locked inside too. She issued me a temporary pass, I went home and checked my card on another machine and it showed the $10.00.

January 21, 2008

A Very Personal Choice

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is tomorrow. A woman’s right to choose. In my opinion, abortion is a highly personal choice, not to be taken or dismissed lightly. Aspects of religion, moral and ethical arguments have always intervened in Roe v. Wade. Suicide is considered ‘wrong’, immoral and not acceptable. I’m surprised the government and various ‘life’ groups haven’t intervened in legally authorized, written DNRs as loudly and violently.

Abortion is a personal issue between a woman, her god and her doctor. It’s her business, or rather, it should be. The decision to limit family size through birth control is a personal choice. I do not condone abortion as a method of birth control but do consider it as an option to an unwanted pregnancy.

We still see ‘babies having babies’ and we continue to see grandmothers raising second families whether they really want to or not. What we don’t hear much about is responsibility. Education rather than enabling is the answer to many of society’s problems. Or it should be. Yet there are limitations on what an educator may or may not say about 'sex' in a classroom. Unfortunately, many parents avoid the subject of sex education. But most kids know more about manipulating the system than we give them credit for. Where did they learn that?

How many young women have children just to have someone to love? How many of these young women are ready to face the financial and emotional responsibilities of motherhood or marriage? For that matter, what about the responsibilities of these young fathers?

Let’s also consider the children of women, who allegedly suffer from postpartum depression, who continue to have children and the tragic result is murder? In the Texas case, the children ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years. Was it depression or a way out? Only the courts can decide the answers to these questions.

From the MSBC Article Who is Getting Abortions?

"Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a black physician who is Planned Parenthood’s national vice president for medical affairs, said the allegations of “black genocide” do not help women meet day-to-day challenges.
“These actions take attention away from medically proven ways to reduce unintended pregnancy — comprehensive sex education, affordable birth control, and open and honest conversations about relationships,” she said
Looking beyond racial dividing lines, Cullins views the right to abortion as an important component in the ability of all American women to determine the right size for their family.

“Groups that become assimilated in U.S. culture and experience economic opportunities naturally decide to limit family size, because they want to take part in the American dream,” she said. “If you’re a single mother, achieving the dream is all the harder, so it makes sense to limit family size so you can shower as much support as you can on the children you have.”

More insight from the article:

Martha Girard, on the other hand, says she’s appalled by the notion that women should lose the right to choose.

A hospital ultrasound technician from Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and a mother of three, Girard had an abortion two years ago, at the age of 44, when she mistakenly thought she was too old to get pregnant.

Having been through three difficult pregnancies previously, and coping with a mentally disabled eldest son, she felt abortion was the prudent choice.

“I knew that this pregnancy would end up badly — I could feel it — and we’ve already got enough problems with the mentally ill son,” Girard said.

“I was very sad and depressed the first week,” she added. “But because it’s hard on you emotionally and some women regret it, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, that someone else should decide for you.”

The right to choose has many arguments for and against. I’ve spoken to women who chose to keep an unplanned child and I’ve spoken to women who chose abortion rather than have a child they couldn’t emotionally and/or financially afford to care for, or a child who would have been born with serious disabilities. It was a choice only they could make. A very personal choice.

January 18, 2008

Lobbyist Suffredin Slammed in States Attorney Debate, Sunday @ 4

Although Cook County Dems deadlocked, local corporate lobbyist & part-time Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin was the near-unanimous choice of the hopelessly out-of-touch, dangerously inbred patronage flunkies who think they lead Democrats in the 49th Ward, the same pathetic dim bulbs who endorsed Todd Stroger and Joe Moore. But Suffredin's character and candidacy do not hold up under even the most cursory public scrutiny. What were they thinking?

Suffredin's lobby work questioned in debate

BY Sun-Times Criminal Courts Reporter ERIC HERMAN

Cook County State's Attorney candidate Larry Suffredin's work as a lobbyist took center stage at a ... debate among candidates for the Democratic nomination, with Suffredin's opponents skewering him over his work for "special interest groups."

"Suffredin has an inherent conflict of interests. How can someone stand up here that he's a reformer, that he's a progressive, when he's spent the last 30 years of his career making money off of special interest groups? ... Mr. Suffredin is nothing more than a lobbyist in progressive's clothing."

-Anita Alvarez, chief deputy state's attorney

"Suffredin ... has never prosecuted a crime in his life. Not once. To Larry, this is a rung on his political ladder."

-Robert Milan, First Assistant State's Attorney

"I agree with Mr. Suffredin that he fights for justice --- as long as somebody pays him to do it. ... There you go again, Larry, talking like a lobbyist. He's been doing it for 25 years. It's the only way he knows how to communicate. ... He's trying to brainwash us, I'm the reformer, I'm not the establishment. Come on. It's ridiculous."

-Ald. Tom Allen (38th)

"Suffredin is an insider, not a reformer."

-Tommy Brewer, criminal defense attorney

Watch the debate NOW online ... or catch it 4 PM Sunday 1/20 on ABC 7

7th District Senate Candidate Forum

Rogers Park VOTER
Voters Organized for Truthful Election Results

Rogers Park voters have a long list of tough issues that concern them. We will have an opportunity to ask the candidates what they think when Rogers Park VOTER hosts a candidates forum this Saturday, January 19 at 1pm at United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave., Chicago, IL. Illinois Senate 7th District candidates Suzanne Elder and Heather Steans will participate in the Q&A forum. We hope to see you there.

Some of the things Rogers Park voters want to know include:

1. The issue of Indiana’s strict voter I.D. law—that is, voters must present a current state issued photo I.D. card in order to vote—will go before the Supreme court soon. Where do you stand on making this a requirement in Illinois?

2. As you know, transit funding is a critical challenge. What would you suggest to begin solving the fiscal problems faced by the CTA, RTA, Metra and Pace?
3. You’ve both suggested that education funding for Illinois public schools requires reform. Can you tell us what you would do to raise revenues for school funding that would result in a demographically fair solution?

4. On October 13, 2007, Mayor Daley’s budget passed by a vote of 29 to 21, raising property taxes by $86.5 million. With regard to property owners in the 7th Senatorial District, where do you stand on this issue?

5. Finally, the topic of ethics in government is a much discussed concern. What are your thoughts about ethics and values for local government and state officials?

January 17, 2008

Community Notice of Elections

At the monthly NOHPAC meeting 1/15/08 we acted upon the mandated creation of separate park advisory councils for all three parks north of Howard. The Chicago Park District informed us that prior to (or as close as possible to) the opening of the Community Center that all three parks must have separate councils rather than the umbrella council. The targeted opening date is mid-February upon successful completion of inspections and installation of exercise equipment.

At the meeting, attended by Mr. Loll of the Chicago Park District, we voted to amend the name North of Howard Parks Advisory Council to Gale Park Advisory Council and apply it to the recently revised by-laws. Therefore, new park councils must be created for Harold Washington Memorial Play Lot and Triangle Park. Per the Chicago Park District, the elected officers for these new councils may be from the Gale Park Advisory Council but new elections must be held to fill the council seats. It is our hope that interested residents will get involved, submit their names for an office and that two new councils with new officers will be in place prior to the opening of the community center.

The two new councils may adopt the current by-laws and amend accordingly or go through the process of creating new ones.

The elections will be held at the regular February 19, 2008 meeting of the Council. This information has also been distributed to the ward office, neighborhood organizations, Touhy Park, our neighborhood newspaper, News-Star and forwarded to the appropriate departments at the Tribune and Sun-Times.

The elections will be held Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 7PM at

Howard Area Community Center
7648 North Paulina
Chicago, IL 60626

For Triangle Park and Harold Washington Memorial Play Lot Councils.

Advisory Councils are open to anyone who is interested and committed to working towards improving and helping to maintain and secure Triangle Park, the Harold Washington Memorial Play Lot and Gale Park for safe play and beautification.

January 16, 2008

Hey, Alderman! Congrats on the Raise!

Alderman Salary $104,101/year - and Climbing!

In all the hubbub of holiday activities last week, family, friends, food, and football, you may have missed the most recent recurrence of an auspicious annual event in Chicago:

The Annual Automatic Aldermanic Salary Increase!

Recall that in a cowardly display of avoidance of accountability, astonishing even by Chicago alderman standards, on July, 26, 2006, our brave City Elders awarded themselves automatic, no-additional-vote-required, cost-of-living increases, from 2006 until the end of time!

The automatic, no-additional-vote-required, cost-of-living increase idea was spear-headed by Alderman Bernard L. Stone, Chicago's oldest living alderman and self-appointed leader of the City Council regressives. Stone, of course, voted in favor of it. And, in a rare display of 49th-50th Ward glasnost, so did seat-mate Alderman Joe Moore, self-appointed "leader" of the City Council "progressives" (just ask him).

The latest City budget, for calendar year 2008, approved by our Village Elders November 15, 2007, includes the latest, cost-of-living-adjusted salary figure for Chicago Alderman:


But probably a lot of you reading this were also able to award yourselves automatic cost-of-living increases unrelated to your job performance last week, too, right?

So if you see your alderman, don't forget to congratulate him on his latest merit increase!

January 15, 2008

Deeper and Dirtier

I guess this is the answer to my question!

There’s a nickname for the state of Massachusetts and apparently Illinois AND Chicago, Cook County of Illinois are vying for the title. Tax-achusetts. One new name we could adopt is ILL-taxes or Tax-ILLs. Its amazing how quickly Ald. Munoz jumped on the ‘seniors should ride free’ bandwagon. Chicago, the Un-Affordable City.

Will some of the realtor-dependent alderpeople suffer for their 'yea' vote? Asking for campaign contributions is going to be tough if they vote for this!

Meanwhile, the master of bandwagon jumping is making a not too believable attempt to do Democratic damage control on the subject of ‘racism’ in his Sun Times column.

Surely he’s heard of the Ward 49 games? They get livelier and nastier with each election cycle. Come on up and preach to your Dem leaders in 49 Jesse since a lot of voters are fed up with the bait. Even though it was Jesse Jr and his alderperson wife, the message was still the same – us versus them. How progressive was that?

January 14, 2008

There's Gold in Those Phones

Cell phone pollution isn’t necessary, at least in Rogers Park. You can donate your cell phones and chargers to CAPS beat facilitators and block clubs for neighborhood walks or to school and park council parent watch groups. Or if it’s beyond use for simple 911 calls, recycle it.

If you have problems opening the above linked article to the New York Times, registration is free.

Recycle the 3 old computers and monitors, 2 TV’s, 2 dead boom boxes and toasters stuffed in the closet. Search for 'electronic recycling'.

Perhaps instead of another dollar store, shoe store, liquor store or pawn shop, we could have a North Side electronic drop off center? It could be a sensible, green start-up business to offer some jobs.

You Can Vote Early Beginning Today

Just passing on the information from the Tribune since our head honcho ward committeeman Fagus hasn't updated his site since September. The ward 49 dem site tells me who to vote for (in no uncertain terms) but an update is in order to communicate early voting.

We know they're busy campaigning for their boys and girls but there's another part of the job that is always left behind until the last minute.

Some of us don't like procrastinators.

January 11, 2008

Beat 2422 January 2008 Minutes

Check out your NOH neighborhood CAPS news. Click on Beat 2422 on the left column, and Click January under the header 2008 Minutes. Below is the first subject in the lengthy minutes. Many neighbors have complained about activity at this building. It's the yellow brick building that fronts both Rogers and Greenview.

Information on Problems and Concerns from previous meetings included an update on 7603 – 09 N. Greenview. Phil Collins, the Police Area 3 Housing Officer has been working on bringing this building into the DGHES Program, (Drug and Gang House Enforcement Section) and into the Troubled Buildings Initiative.

Within a years time, November 06 to November of 07 there have been 60 calls for service to this Greenview address. Since 1991 to the present 40 arrests have taken place on the premises. Some of the arrests include: assault, domestic battery, simple battery, robberies, narcotics, possession of firearms, gun fire, damage to property, criminal trespassing, various quality of life problems, gambling, drinking, prostitution, etc.. Since 1991 to the present 66 people who have been arrested in other parts of the city of Chicago have given 7603 – 09 N. Greenview as their place of residence. The property is owned by G. Milic Marjanovic.

Complaints over the years have done little to get the owner of 7603 – 09 N. Greenview to clean up his act. The property has been a public nuisance for too long and it is time to put more pressure on Mr. Marjanovic and get him into court and/or get the building out of his possession into the hands of a more responsible owner.

Inspectors were assigned to come out and investigate building code violations.

January 10, 2008

TANSTAAFL Nor A Free Bus Ride

So the aldermanic/mayoral election is over and the Machine is rolling on to the 7th District Senate Seat being vacated by Carol Ronen. It’s rolling on to promote Suffredin for States Attorney, and of course, Barak Obama for President. And, we're still suffering from another Stroger's total ineptitude.

And Huberman? Does he or his 'board of ministers' have a clue on the impact of removing the 147 bus route? Does he even care? Take a good look at the bus lines they're proposing to chop.

So, what the hell is the Machine doing about the bus cuts that will impact those of us fortunate enough to work for a living? They’re busy collecting millions for political candidates apparently! They've been too preoccupied to inform prospective voters about registration until two days before the deadline. Prepare yourselves for more glossy tree killers in the weeks and months to come because that’s about all you’re going to get from this bunch. Oh, did I forget the taxes with a freebie catch?

In a few years when I reach that magical ‘senior citizen’ status, I’d rather pay for a bus ride than get financially ripped off all year with puffed up ‘taxes’.

TANSTAAFL or a Free Bus Ride.

Joggerboy must have overlooked the stats on the Boomer Loomer of the majority of us riding for free! He apparently missed business 101 in Pepperdine didn’t he? He really belongs as a roadie with Hanna Montana. It suits him better.

If ya’ll plan another post card mailing, one of my favorite colors is chartreuse OK?

ATM Thefts

Unfortunately, some of the wealth of knowledge gained by the wrong type of person on the Internet can be a socio/economic nightmare.

Have you seen this man?

Anyone with information about the recent crimes should contact Belmont Area detectives at 312-744-8263.

January 9, 2008

Candidate Forum for 7th District Senate

Pundits Missed In New Hampshire

Here’s bits of news from the the Sun-Times and the Pioneer Press News Star:

Don’t you love pundits? Now they can defragment their computers, analyze their opinions and prepare their arrows for South Carolina. Like her or dislike her, Hillary, the woman, won in NH. And Huck and Chuck didn't.

There is finally a Democratic challenger for Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The latest buzzword of ‘change’ could also be interchangeable with ‘choice’.

Obama’s unknown neighbor and client has a lawyer doing the
discrimination thing. Poor ole Tony Rezko put a lot of people at risk, misused taxpayer money, but that’s not the point. He’s Syrian and therefore, the jurors who are ‘American’ will be biased against him. He had a choice and (pocketed) made it.

Then there’s the Lincoln Square issue to make a ‘choice’ on. The alderpeople should be looking at eminent domain as a very last resort in ‘blighted’ areas. Lincoln Square may not be yuppified enough for some but it’s not blighted. Also noted in the article is the zoning for big box stores! Interesting huh?

Meanwhile, Starbucks is reorganizing, stocks are down and may not open any new stores until the dust settles. So buy a coffeepot, drink at home, save money and read the Crime Is Down Report.

January 8, 2008

January 7, 2008

Is God Democrat or Republican?

From the Sun-Times

“Mr. Suffredin seems to be labeled as the progressive, as the reformer. Well, I think the public needs to have the full story," Alvarez said.

“Suffredin said he has lobbied for Penn National Gaming and MGM and that he earned less than $50,000 in the last year for the work.”

Larry wants to be States Attorney so Jackson the younger has decided to support him. A Jackson involvement hints of one thing: Machine Politics to change the subject from lobbying to “progressive reform’.

If public corruption is such an acute problem Larry, then why did you support and rally around Todd Stroger? Why have you continually aligned yourself with those progressive reformers who have rather dubious track records?

Locally, there will be a Candidate Forum for the 7th Senatorial District on Saturday, January 19 at 1PM at the Untied Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Avenue. The two candidates vying for Carol Ronen’s senate seat are Suzanne Elder and Heather Steans.

And on the national level here’s an interesting insight on the Presidential Races.

The historical evolution of Christianity and voting rights according to Father Greeley is interesting but the words that ring out for attention are ‘separation of church and state’.

“The separation of church and state as enshrined in the Constitution does not mean that faith has no place in public life. It means rather that a candidate's religious perspective should have a cautious, discrete, nuanced influence on his political orientation.

A wise voter does not trust a candidate who proclaims that God has told him what to do and there is no room for disagreement with him.

Rather, the voter is inclined to trust a candidate -- and a president -- who can say honestly, ''I might very well be wrong.''

The Huckabee’s and Jackson’s (Jesse Sr.) and Sharpton's need to make a career decision and decide if they want to be politicians or preachers and stick to it. Using God as an excuse is not only cowardly - it’s insulting.

January 5, 2008

Lafew's Point of View -

A Rogers Park Attorneys' Opinion

Lafew is one of two intelligent attorney’s in Rogers Park I’m aware of. I'm sure there are many more, but the old rule is write what you know. One attorney I know and the other is a mystery person to me. Meet Attorney Lafew.

I like his writing style. Since my fellow bloggers are ‘all over’ that Eastlake Terrace Beast, I’ll promote Lafew’s overview on the recent State’s Attorneys forum. Don’t misinterpret this as condoning the Beast of the Keys actions either. Like so many foolish people with framed degrees on their walls, I’m not impressed.

I’m just not in the mood to water the weeds.

January 3, 2008


Just a little shout-out:


First the gas hikes, followed by electric, supported by the servants of the taxpaying public who foot all their bills. Take a look at all the line items on your bills! Everyone's bottom line including the government is being fed by us. It only takes a few seconds to voice your opinion on the proposed phone tax. You have a choice be heard or gripe after the fact.

Suff n Stuff

Catchy phrase From Lafew at Rogers Park Inconsistent blog!

January 2, 2008

Practice Law On These WHERASes


Congratulations! First and foremost, I want to thank you for your commitment to helping save the Lincoln Square businesses from eminent domain for private development. It is because of the incredible outpouring of support from community members like you that Alderman Schulter has introduced a substitute ordinance, removing most of the Lincoln Square businesses from the "involuntary acquisition" list. This means that Chicago Soccer, The Dental Corner and Decorium Furniture can't be condemned for a private developer if the owners don't sell.
For now.

As you may suspect, the fight is not over. Five parcels of property, including the Walgreens corner, still remain subject to eminent domain. This sets a troubling precedent for the 227-acre Western Avenue North Tax Increment Financing District, as well as for property owners in the over 150 TIF districts across Chicago. If we allow the city to condemn that corner for private development, there is nothing stopping them from coming back at a later date and condemning Chicago Soccer, The Dental Corner, Decorium Furniture, or any property in the greater TIF area - nothing stopping them except for you.

While this initial victory is a huge step in the right direction, it is essential that we continue to pressure Alderman Schulter and the City Council to completely remove eminent domain from this substitute ordinance. Save Lincoln Square is a force to be reckoned with, and the city needs to know that we will not rest until property owners across Chicago are safe from eminent domain for private gain.
Substitute Ordinance: This Thursday, January 3, 2008, the Committee on Housing and Real Estate will vote on the new ordinance, which I have pasted below this e-mail. We encourage you to attend and voice your opposition to the authorization of eminent domain against any business or home for private development.

Committee on Housing and Real Estate
Thursday, January 3, 2008 @ 11am
City Hall
121 N. La Salle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Room 201-A

If this ordinance passes out of committee, it may go before the full council at its next meeting on Wednesday, January 9, at 10am.

If you can't attend, please contact your alderman and Alderman Schulter and tell them both that you oppose the use of eminent domain for private development against any properties in the Western Avenue North TIF. Alderman Schulter and the City Council think the battle is over. Far from it. We need to let them know that we will not tolerate this abuse of power in Chicago.

Alderman Gene Schulter
773-348-8480 (fax)

You can find your alderman's contact information here:

If you would like to pass out flyers about this hearing, please respond to this e-mail and I will send you a PDF.

Committees: As we discussed earlier this month, we are establishing committees to support the Lincoln Square business owners' efforts to keep their properties off the chopping block and to prevent future abuses of eminent domain in Chicago. Below are some of those committees. If you are interested in volunteering, please respond to this e-mail with how you would like to help and I will be in touch with you over the next week with further details.
- Fundraising
- Advertising
- Events
- Council Watch (monitors City Council action)
- Outreach (reaches out to other individuals and groups in community and across the city)

If you don't have time to volunteer, you can donate to Save Lincoln Square by advertising your business on their flyers or website, contributing free services to events and passing out flyers at your store. The opportunities are endless, and no amount of assistance is too small!

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me or Imre Hidvegi of Chicago Soccer (ihidvegi@chicagosoccer.net) if you have any questions, and remember to visit www.SaveLincolnSquare.com.

Thank you and Happy New Year!
Christina Walsh
Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320
Castle Coalition

12/10/07 Preliminary Draft

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago (“City”) is a home rule unit of government by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution of the State of Illinois of 1970, and as such, may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to an ordinance adopted by the City Council ("City Council") of the City of Chicago (the "City") on January 12, 2000 and published at pages 22394-22494 of the Journal of the Proceedings of the City Council (the "Journal") of such date, a certain redevelopment plan and project (the "Plan") for the Western Avenue North Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project Area, (the "Area") was approved pursuant to the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, as amended (currently codified at 65 ILCS 5/11-74.4-1 et seq.) (the “Act”); and

WHEREAS, pursuant to an ordinance adopted by the City Council on January 12, 2000, and published at pages 22495-22508 of the Journal of such date, the Area was designated as a “conservation area” redevelopment project area pursuant to the Act; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to an ordinance adopted by the City Council on January 12, 2000 and published at pages 22507 and 22509-22522 of the Journal of such date, tax increment allocation financing was adopted pursuant to the Act as a means of financing certain Area redevelopment project costs (as defined in the Act) incurred pursuant to the Plan; and

WHEREAS, the Plan and the use of tax increment financing provide a mechanism to support new growth through leveraging private investment, and helping to finance land acquisition, demolition, remediation, site preparation and infrastructure for new development in the Area; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Planning and Development (“DPD”) has determined that it is necessary to acquire the parcels of property located in the Area listed on Exhibit A to this ordinance (the “Acquisition Parcels”), in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Plan, including, without limitation: facilitating the assembly, preparation and marketing of sites; assisting private developers in assembling sites suitable for modern development needs; and encouraging the development of appropriate uses along the North Lincoln Avenue and North Western Avenue corridors; and

WHEREAS, the City shall only acquire Parcels 1 through 11 of the Acquisition Parcels (the “Voluntary Acquisition Parcels”) if it can do so through a voluntary, negotiated acquisition of such parcels; and

WHEREAS, the City shall also seek to acquire Parcels 12 through 16 of the Acquisition Parcels (the “Involuntary Acquisition Parcels”) through a voluntary, negotiated acquisition of such parcels, but, if such voluntary transaction cannot be consummated, shall also have the authority to exercise its power of eminent domain as to such Involuntary Acquisition Parcels;

WHEREAS, by Resolution No. 07-CDC-79, adopted by the Community Development Commission of the City of Chicago (“Commission”) on September 11, 2007, the Commission recommended the acquisition of the Acquisition Parcels; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds such acquisitions to be for the same purposes as those set forth in Divisions 74.2 and 74.4 of the Illinois Municipal Code;

WHEREAS, the City Council further finds that such acquisition and exercise of power of eminent domain as to the Involuntary Acquisition Parcels shall be in furtherance of the Plan, which was first adopted in 2000 in accordance with the Act, as recited above, and was in existence prior to April 15, 2006; and

WHEREAS, the City Council further finds that prior to April 15, 2006, the Plan included an estimated $9,000,000 in property assembly costs as a budget line item in Table 2 to the Plan, and also described property assembly as a part of the redevelopment project for the Area, including in Section 1 (Executive Summary) and Section 4 (Redevelopment Project and Plan); and

WHEREAS, the City Council further finds that the Involuntary Acquisition Parcels were included in the Area prior to April 15, 2006, that there has been no extension in the completion date of the Plan and that the Involuntary Acquisition Parcels are not located in an industrial park conservation area; now, therefore,


SECTION 1. The foregoing recitals are hereby adopted as the findings of the City Council.

SECTION 2. It is hereby determined and declared that it is useful, desirable and necessary for the City of Chicago to acquire the Acquisition Parcels for public purpose and for purposes of furthering the objectives of the Plan, and DPD is hereby authorized to acquire and accept such Acquisition Parcels on the City’s behalf.

SECTION 3. The Corporation Counsel is authorized to negotiate with the owner(s) for the purchase of the Acquisition Parcels. If the Corporation Counsel and the owner(s) are able to mutually agree on the terms of the purchase, the Corporation Counsel is authorized to purchase the Acquisition Parcels on behalf of the City for the mutually agreed price and terms of purchase. If the Corporation Counsel is unable to agree(s) with the owner(s) of the Voluntary Acquisition Parcels on the terms of the purchase, then the City shall not have the authority to institute and prosecute eminent domain proceedings on behalf of the City for the purposes of acquiring fee simple title to the Voluntary Acquisition Parcels; any purchase of such Voluntary Aquisition Parcels must be voluntary and on mutually acceptable terms. If the Corporation Counsel is unable to agree with the owner(s) of the Involuntary Acquisition Parcels on the terms of the purchase, or if the owner(s) is or are incapable of entering into such a transaction with the City, or if the owner(s) cannot be located, then the Corporation Counsel is authorized to institute and prosecute condemnation proceedings on behalf of the City for the purpose of acquiring fee simple title to the Involunary Acquisition Parcels under the City’s power of eminent domain. Such acquisition efforts shall commence with respect to the all Acquisition Parcels within four years of the date of the publication of this ordinance as to the Acquisition Parcels, which are improved parcels. Commencement shall be deemed to have occurred within such period upon the City’s delivery of an offer letter to the owner(s) of the Acquisition Parcels.

SECTION 4. The Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development is authorized to execute such further documents as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this ordinance, subject to the approval of the Corporation Counsel.

SECTION 5. If any provision of this ordinance shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the invalidity or unenforceability of such provision shall not affect any of the other provisions of this ordinance.

SECTION 6. All ordinances, resolutions, motions or orders in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.

SECTION 7. This ordinance shall be effective upon its passage and approval.

Be Safe On The CTA

The party is over for 2007. It’s time to head back to work until the impending January 20 CTA Doomsday. I prefer CTA trains to CTA buses but now and again, the destination requires a bus ride. There are some angry or else nutty bus drivers out there.

A week ago, the 147 almost flew by without stopping on Howard. The driver had the attitude from hell. Saturday, I hoped to speed up my arrival time by catching the 22 at Belmont. Even though the driver saw me approaching, she slammed the doors shut as one woman exited. Thanks lady! The woman who exited told me ‘believe me, consider not getting on that bus a blessing - the driver was nuts’.

Monday, the 97 driver kept missing requested stops for passengers. That’s when I noticed the canned announcement that was playing over and over. It was the January 20 CTA Doomsday message about route cuts, (job cuts) transportation problems and to call our political representatives to keep the CTA going. Great way to get the message to the masses and a surefire way to depress or anger the drivers. It’s insensitive of the CTA to not consider the hundreds of drivers behind the wheel being assailed by a form of psychological warfare. Can you imagine going to work today and hearing a message over and over that you may lose your job in three weeks? How productive would you be? How pleasant to your clients and co-workers would you be?

Huberman, Blago, Daley et al, this isn’t safe for passengers, CTA clients, and its apparently having an adverse affect on CTA drivers. The article doesn’t mention the nature of the citations but there are usually two sides to the story. Was the driver reminded continually for 8 hours that his/her job was in jeopardy? Was his/her mind everywhere but on safety?