March 31, 2008

The Cousins Dog & Pony Show

The taxpayers comments summarize the lack of pity for Donna and Toddy.

The only structural deficit is the dysfunctional firing of the cousins' synapses. Raise taxes, spend more and whine. It doesn't fly anymore kids.

Give ‘em Hell Tony Has Something To Say About It Too!

Noah's Ark -

Rumble On Howard Street

Most of you have probably read or heard all about Friday night’s Howard Street Rumble as Tom Mannis reported on The Bench. I dug in the archives and wanted to offer up photos of the alleged real problem – Noah’s Ark on the west side of Paulina.

Properties 007
West Side of Paulina = HACC, Women’s Shelter Garage, Chucks Barber Shop, Noah’s Ark

Paulina 002
West side of Paulina

These photos are from the summer of 2006 - Noah's Ark may have changed it's red and white window dressings since then.

Starting in January 2007, the manager of the Jonquil Hotel who attends beat meetings as a representative of Good News has been asked for building updates. One follow-up that was asked monthly concerned more lighting in front of Noah’s Ark which is across the street from the Alternative High School. Neighbors have long complained about kids hanging in front displaying loud, often obnoxious behavior. They're teenagers and it often goes with the territory of being young. Changing that behavior should be the goal of a youth club rather than ignoring it because the music inside is too loud to hear what's happening on the sidewalk outside.

Lighting or not, responsible sponsors and chaperones (if there are any) should not be holding events beyond curfew. And responsible adults should ensure that their club attendees are not behaving in a disruptive manner on the public way. This seems to be another problem in the long list of rule-breaking by Good News. With two teens shot in Chicago this weekend alone, why create an atmosphere that may be unsafe after the kids leave the ‘club’? That is equivalent to letting a friend drive drunk – the responsibility is two-fold and is another case of enabling with no foresight to the consequences

March 30, 2008

Cell Phone Drivers

Today’s big adventure led me to Target in Evanston. As I waited for the 215 limousine to bring me home, another woman and I did some driver watching. It’s a risky trek just crossing Howard to get to the bus stop since there’s no traffic light.

I gasped as she attempted to cross the busy street. A man in a vehicle pulled up from the south and popped open his cell phone. To get a clear vision of oncoming traffic from both directions, he eased out onto Howard to look. As she was halfway across, he noticed all was clear and stepped on the gas to make a left turn. He didn’t even notice a pedestrian when he was checking east then west for vehicles. Cell phone in his ear, he was driving with one hand – illegal now. He slowed down and allowed her to cross finally. Drivers seem to think pedestrians should run to accommodate their driving ‘courtesies’. It was a little edgy for a couple of seconds, he could easily have hit her if he hadn’t started paying real attention.

Another driver came rolling up to the same three-way intersection. Out pops the cell phone and she was dialing and talking and attempting to drive. There was also a large dent in her front left bumper. We had to wonder if the dent was the result of cell phone driving or a legitimate fender bender.

Another woman went flying around the corner with both hands on the steering wheel but had that cell phone sandwiched between shoulder and ear. That’s not easy.

How did people ever survive a Sunday drive without being connected?

March 29, 2008

A Birthday Celebration?

Articles from the Sun Times 3/29/08

Celebration for Maya or for Wright?

The retired Wright, Obama's spiritual advisor for years, has laid low ever since his fiery, past sermons became political fodder in the presidential campaign.
Obama has condemned remarks from Wright that denounced America for allegedly racist and genocidal acts. Wright recently scrapped plans to receive an award in Texas, and to speak at churches in Houston and Tampa, Florida.

No record of an apology

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the senator's remarks did not imply that Wright has expressed misgivings about his statements. ''Sen. Obama was clearly saying that were Rev. Wright not retiring, he would need to be assured that Wright understood why what he had said had deeply offended people and mischaracterized the greatness of this country,'' Burton said.


***
Two radical religious men do not a country make…but it happens all the time. Perhaps this is one good reason why many stay away from organized religion of any brand. As children, we’re supposed to learn to love not hate, but as adults, the pulpit too often can be used to encourage hate rather than offer stepping stones to a healing process.

The event at St. Sabina’s was supposed to be in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou’s upcoming 80th birthday. So where's the story on Dr. Angelou's life and work? Instead, the event appears to be all about poor Rev. Wright. Wright is not going to apologize, and I doubt that he considers his rhetoric inflammatory.

Father Pfleger is always seeking a media outlet so kudos to him for staging a rather pretentious event. There are probably thousands in the metro area who love Dr. Angelou but were not invited.

How about this scenario: The event could have been presented as a healing gathering to let go of some of the anger and hate. A gathering to find a new, more positive direction. Perhaps Wright could have joined in reading one of Maya’s healing poems? After all it was an event to celebrate her life - but that would be too much along spiritual lines. There’s an immense gap between religion and spirituality.

So the media highlighted the Wright factor and not the Angelou factor.

As long as people are offered hate in a package of historical wrongs, they’ll probably purchase it. And the saddest contributors to the package of hate are the politicians who keep it alive. No win situations for people of certain socio-economic, educational and ethnic backgrounds are still being created in backrooms. Its similar to insurance actuaries crunching numbers on our lifestyle to determine how much to charge for premiums. In politics, it’s the fear, hate and control formula. It’s the political actuarial table that assures the next round of broken election promises and the retention of the status quo.

We may as well forget teaching the little ones to love and not hate because they’re going to learn sooner or later. The circle is complete.

March 27, 2008

Get Your Gloves and Rakes

Join the Rogers Park Garden Group and Metra neighbors to clean up the site of the soon to be Metra Garden on Sunday, Mar. 30 at 1 p.m. Bring enthusiasm, rakes, and gloves to remove trash and litter to help prepare the site for planting later this spring. Neighbors will gather at the Metra steps at Greenleaf & Ravenswood. It’s a huge project (3200 square feet) and will need a lot of people to join in the efforts.

Oct2007001

For more information visit Rogers Park Garden Group

March 26, 2008

The Iron Will of The Chicago Park District

Greg Hinz – Crains Chicago Business 3/26/08

Do you have an Opinion about the Park Districts Proposed Rules? Let Greg Hinz at Crains Chicago hear it!

Since the proposal is still in draft form, I’m free to write, I’m not being interviewed by anyone other than by me, myself and I. So the bureaucrats want a criminal background check on us for fear we’re pedophiles or thieves. Hummm! At that point, all councils should ask to see not only criminal background checks on these park district soldiers but also request tox screens. As they say at work when someone makes a dumb suggestion, ‘what have you been smoking?’ Hinz use of the word blather is on the mark!

Who knows what a little citizen digging might uncover - more Eliott Spitzers, George Ryan's, Blago jogger boys and their Rezko pal types with fingers in council cookie jars?

Such egotistical tremors are likely to have repercussions. Chicago has been TIF’d and taxed to the hilt, foreclosures are not slowing down, the economy is stagnant. And, the economy will probably remain unstable until the presidential election circus has its final curtain call. The fat lady may sing then ride into the sunset on the elephant leaving a nice circle of dead grass behind. For the little North of Howard Council(s) or ‘club’ as our ward bureaucrat called us, not having to fundraise may be a blessing in disguise!

So the bureaucrats essentially want park councils to fundraise in lieu of more taxes. Good, fine, dandy, but here’s the catch: "Any money you raise for that new swing set must be approved in advance by the Chicago Park District, which retains the right to spend the money on something besides swings."

Now this could be interpreted many ways, especially for those councils in high end neighborhoods. Funds raised for a specific project might be allocated for another project in another park is one way to interpret the legalese. Old timers would call it ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’. Did Hinz not refer to money being the root of all evil? Whose evil, ours or theirs? Remember, this is Chicago with its intricate system of cronies pulling strings - taxpayers purse strings! Isn't the 'intent' as dastardly as the 'action'? It takes a lot of bureaucratic nerve to point fingers at volunteers as possible thieves in this town!

If all this hoopla is indeed, about those blessed Olympics, check out the city maps and if we’re hell bent on having the games, build up the vacant land instead of gobbling up green park space for monstrous buildings. On a side note, are the Olympics really big money raisers or fiscal drains?

I agree with Hinz, this iron-willed bunch needs to re-convene at the drawing board and remember the taxpayers and the City that’s supposed to work.

Dear IRS:

A joke sent by a friend:


Dear Internal Revenue Service:

Enclosed you will find my 2007 tax return showing that I owe $3,407.00 in taxes.

Please note the attached article from the USA Today newspaper; dated 12 November, wherein you will see the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is paying $171.50 per hammer and NASA has paid $600.00 per toilet seat.

I am enclosing four (4) toilet seats (valued @ $2,400) and six (6) hammers (valued @ $1,029), which I secured at Home Depot, bringing my total remittance to $3,429.00.

Please apply the overpayment of $22.00 to the ' Presidential Election Fund,' as noted on my return.

You can do this inexpensively by sending them one (1) 1.5' Phillips Head screw (see aforementioned article from USA Today newspaper detailing how H.U.D. pays $22.00 each for 1.5' Phillips Head Screws).

One screw is enclosed for your convenience.

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.

Sincerely,

A Satisfied Taxpayer

March 25, 2008

Updated Cook County Salary List

Give 'em Hell Tony Peraica has updated the Cook County employee/salary list.

The updated Salary List of Cook County employees


SUFFREDIN, LARRY
County Commissioner, Office of the County Commissioners 12/2/2002 $85,000


FAGUS, DAVID Chief Operating Officer Cermak Health Services of Cook County 5/10/1988
$117,114

Up, Up and Away! But that was a happy song by the Fifth Dimension. This is a pathetic drama of greed and patronage. Did our boys get a raise from our tax dollars?

Thanks to Larry for ‘brokering the tax deal’ for Todd’s family and friends.

Thanks to Tony for the data!

The Gallup Daily

March 24, 2008

Suckers!

How many people in Chicago and across the US are doing extra work for one salary? Plenty and in this economy with increased TAXES making Chicago the HIGHEST in the nation – here’s where some of your Cook County Taxable money will go.

A 12% raise is a big jump. I suppose Toddy will dodge the earlier statement that she’s coming on board for less that her predecessor. He’s snickering; “But suckers, I’ll give her a big raise as soon as I get MY tax increases through. Yeah suckers, I’m hiring family and friends and paying them real good. And suckers, like the CTA, I’m coming back next year and demanding more our of your meager 2-4% raises.”

It’s time for a Cook County Tea Party.

March 23, 2008

Easter In The Snow

The formula that determines the date of Easter

Easter is a floating religious Christian holiday based on the resurrection of Jesus. It's also based in part on ancient pagan traditions or folklore as some would have it. It was always a holiday of mixed messages, from the religious aspect to the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and hat contests.

Childhood memories: I could understand the gift of the new white shoes and new pastel outfit but not how I landed in a muddy park looking for eggs dressed that way. The egg hunts were always held after church with kids in their Sunday best. And those kids were not practicing any special Sunday manners elbowing and grabbing those eggs either!

I revered the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus but not Easter’s muddy melee as the final highlight of Lent and the sad stories of the man who died. Not to mention the difficulty in imagining a rabbit running around leaving baskets of candy and eggs.

This year, Easter is untraditional with snow on the ground, a threat of ice pellets and winter temperatures. I’m sure a few brave ladies will don fancy pastel hats in spite of the weather! Whatever one’s religious beliefs and traditions may be, enjoy the day.

March 20, 2008

Sooo, Is Crime Really Down?

Is this contradictory to the Crime Is Down Rhetoric?

By Angela Rozas | Tribune reporter
6:03 PM CDT, March 20, 2008


Chicago had 54 murders in the first two months of this year, seven more than in the comparable period in 2007. Statistics also showed upticks in seven of nine other categories of crime, including robberies, burglaries and aggravated assaults.

But sexual assaults showed a 20 percent decrease. Theft of motor vehicles also fell.

Cuello blamed some of the increases in what she said were a few "unseasonably warmer" days in the first part of the year and said some of it may be attributable to gang conflicts.

But she said spikes like this aren't unusual and have occurred in recent years. Crime statistics kept by the department do show similar spikes in crime in recent years that leveled out over the following months.

Still, the city had more murders in January and February than in the first two months in each of the last three years. However, there were more murders in the first two months of , 2001 through 2004.


Let's hope Cuello and the stats are correct and they level out - in other words, flatline crime. Even though I grew up in another time and place, I had to be home before 10pm on weeknights and 11pm on weekends.

The Turnstile Chat Room

It’s the first day of spring! We have the possibility of six inches of snow to look forward to as a reminder. But that won’t be until later tonight. So while the sun shines today, we can expect Howard Street to entertain the usual day-to-day street business.

One problem area is the entrance to the Howard El Station. After dodging the spitballs on the sidewalk, one must maneuver through the bodies loitering out front. God forbid they move out of the way for CTA passengers. If it’s raining or cold, they move their conversations inside apparently with the CTA’s approval. Again, one must dive through them saying ‘EXCUSE ME’ or walk around the huddle.

There’s no excuse for this - so perhaps Mr. Ron can take a ride up here one early morning and observe for himself. He might see his CTA employees on an extended break joining in the ‘block the door and turnstile’ chatroom.

It’s our tax dollars at work!

March 18, 2008

Slow News Day

We hear this after the tax increases
by Fran Spielman

So do we get as a tax rebate if this mega buck deal goes through?

I know, dream on.


Which Opinion Are You? A or B?
by Neil Steinberg

March 16, 2008

Close Encounter

Speaking of call girls and prostitutes…from The Bench

I experienced a case of mistaken identity, I think, last Thursday about 6:45pm. It was still daylight and I was rushing to the CAPS meeting. A horn blared on Howard and I looked up to see a man smiling from a red van. I stopped to observe what he’d do. He pulled into the alley behind the Broadmoor and stopped. So curious me couldn’t resist walking back to take a photo of him waiting, watching from his rear view mirror.

3.13.08 001-1

I asked him what he wanted and his smile disappeared. I asked him what his name was and he mumbled Roberto. So I asked, ‘What do you want here?”

He claimed he was trying to find his address, so I asked what that might be. He could have been lost - we know how difficult it is for men to stop and ask for directions! He gave me an address on Sawyer which is not anywhere near Howard. He denied being on the prowl but was told to get out of town. When I told him of my destination where at least 6 cops might be waiting for his license plate he hit the gas and zoomed down the alley.

My favorite prowler is the senior gentleman in a big gray blue sedan. He prowls on Rogers and Howard. He stopped me on Rogers one cold Saturday and asked where I was going! He claimed he was just offering me a ride to keep me from the cold. At his age, more power to him I suppose.

Since the snow has melted, one can see where 'car encounters' have occurred. Beer cans, bottles, half pints and used condoms are all over the parkway. We'll save the dog poop for another day.

March 15, 2008

Get Your Tracker Number

For the proactive neighbors who call either 911 or 311 to report possible drug/gang activity in certain buildings here's another back-up. The advantage of doing it online is that you immediately get an email with a tracking number - it's easy to forget to ask for one when you call 311. Remember, there's power in numbers, so have your neighbors who witness these problems file online as well as contact the police.

Report Problem Buildings here

If you care to share, we want to start our own tracker sheet with date/problem/tracker report for Beat 2422. Email to me or Eva, the 2422 Beat Facilitator, elm@clstoons.com.

One Less Problem Enterprise

Most neighbors are aware of this fast food joint on Howard. It’s JJ Fish with the famous bullet proof shield between staff and customers. It was closed down a couple of summers ago while repairs were made. It’s a loitering point for many people who are not waiting for any bus.

3.13.08 003-1

I suppose they can still loiter there but no orders for greasy food will be filled anymore. It’s been closed down by the Sheriff. RIP JJ FISH, many of us will not miss you.

3.13.08 002-1

March 14, 2008

Impure Thoughts!

Let’s Invite Our Politicians To Dinner

Maybe the union crane operator could take a very long break. Tax-Break anyone?

The Rat Pack Chicago Style

Apparently, Stuart Levine had his fingers in everything and they’re now pointing to everyone!

From today’s Chicago Tribune


Sing a song of sixpence,
a pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
the birds began to sing.
Wasn't that a dainty dish
to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house,
counting out his money.
The queen was in the parlour,
eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
and pecked off her nose!

March 13, 2008

CAPS Beat 2422 Meets Tonight

Beat meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Gateway Senior apartments, 7450 N. Rogers in the Community Room on the 1st floor at 7:00 p.m. That’s tonight neighbors!

Meeting dates can be found here

Shakeup? Letter of the Law? humbug

Is Todd making more room for family and friends? Major shakeup? It depends on how shakeup is defined in Todd’s mind! We’ll see. Sun Times Article

A co-worker emailed the phone petition to me yesterday. Apparently Tom Mannis at The Bench received it too! Take 60 seconds and participate. Now all we need to discover are the true phone results! How many nays? The Sales Tax Poll

More viewpoints on the North Shore School demolition.

From The Broken Heart

March 12, 2008

Give Us Transparency

Yesterdays green email explained almost everything about the demolition of the North Shore School. In fact, in typical corporate type lingo, it attempted to put the ball in the residents court. Where were we the past few months? Well, for one thing, most of us are employed and that alone takes several hours of our day. We are required to be at our place of employment not gallivanting around campaigning for a presidential contender.

Then some of us are involved in our neighborhood in other organizations and that requires some or a lot of our free time. Then, if no one minds, most of us like to enjoy family, friends, hobbies etc, but that’s not a fair excuse to certain individuals. The meeting of July 2007 was slammed on our computer screens. Only 30 people attended even though that magic button was pressed and over 4000 ward residents were made aware that they should jump or forever hold their peace.

I just couldn’t find any follow-up emails updating us. I couldn’t find anything in the ward 49 zoning club minutes because none have been posted lately. Nothing was on any of the agendas and minutes posted for the Chicago Planning Commission either. When information that should be public isn’t readily available, one can’t help but entertain suspicions, especially in Ward 49.

And for that strange blogger who hates Don Gordon so much, what happened to him? Where has he been? He joined a park advisory council, sat in, listened, and gave his legal opinions on by-law revisions, witnessed our election of officers and then disappeared! Could it be that he had other things to do, or that his mission for the leader was completed? Or perhaps he has a life in his own neighborhood to attend to. Whatever the excuse or reason is, the strange one is just as guilty as the neighbors his finger is pointing to.

Sure, it would be just peachy if people would band together for a common cause. It does happen but too often that old divisive ploy rears its ugly head and people stay home enjoying their lives. Some stay home if the ever competing agencies get involved and the bickering begins – again it seems to be part of the mission. Exclude the neighborhood if at all possible. There’s usually only room for one star in our neighborhood movie instead of many! Who needs to spend free time chasing down the facts that should be public knowledge and just a computer click away? That’s the alderman’s job we pay the high salary for. It’s part of the transparency we’re still waiting to look through. So the ball is back in the alderman’s court.

March 11, 2008

Letter To The Commissioner - Chicago Department of Planning

By Fax and Hand Delivery



Mr. Arnold Randall
Commissioner
Department of Planning
City Hall, Room 1000
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

March 10, 2008

Re: Violation of the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance; Imminent demolition of historic structure at 1217 W. Chase Avenue, Chicago

Dear Commissioner Randall:

A demolition permit has been approved to tear down an historic building in the Rogers Park Community. This building, located at 1217 W. Chase, was formerly the North Shore School and before that the Birchwood Country Club, erected in 1906. This building is located within the Lakefront Protection district. The new owner intends to demolish the building to construct a parking lot for the use of the building she owns next door at 1201 W. Chase Avenue.

According to Section 16-4-150 (194B-5.1) of the ordinance (appended) it is unlawful for any physical change to occur without first being approved by the Chicago Plan Commission. No such approval was sought or given.

According to Alderman Joe Moore’s office, demolition of this building will occur within the week. A construction fence was erected around the building on or about Friday March 7, 2008.

We urgently appeal to you to immediately stay the demolition so that a hearing may be conducted regarding the destruction of this building.

Sincerely,


Donald Gordon
fit4life@the-gordon-family.net

Carla A. Tomino
carla60626@yahoo.com


cc: Friends of the Parks

Stupid Citations - Waste of Tax Dollars

From The Chicago Reader

Chairman Berny Stone led the City Council’s committee on buildings through a lengthy, often testy debate Wednesday over whether certain condominium owners should be required to post their names and phone numbers on the outside of their buildings, as apartment managers are—and why city inspectors have been ticketing people for failing to do so. In the end Stone reached the same conclusion you probably have if you’ve read this far:

“The building inspector should be hung up by his toes for issuing a citation. I think the whole thing is stupid, and we’re sitting here already for a half an hour arguing over the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The item was held and within seconds the meeting was adjourned.
**********
I agree with Berny, it is very stupid but a wonderful way to waste time and our tax dollars. There are a lot of condo buildings, large, medium, and small that don’t have a ‘management sign’. The argument may be that they are rental condos, therefore akin to an apartment building. Therefore, police etc., need to have a contact entity in case of emergency. It's also a citation used by inspectors in the Gang Task Force on bad buildings. Well, what about single family dwellings or two flats? What next?

Perhaps the players could have been wisely spending tax dollars focusing on enforcing the Lakefront Protection Ordinance instead of inspectors issuing stupid citations over signs. Ditch the invasive, discriminating sign 'law' and move on to the abusers who bend the rules for a contribution or two.

March 10, 2008

Does Chicago's Water Contain Drugs Too?

Perhaps this provides an excuse for the politicos of Chicago being so nutty.

We could be ingesting other peoples recycled drugs – legal and non-legal and Chicago doesn’t test! Could this be propaganda spawned by bottled water companies to sell their product to protest the new tax? We’ll see if our leaders respond to the headline news beyond today's quotes.

Is The Demolition In Violation?

A message from Don Gordon:

On Monday morning, March 10th, I am going down to the Department of Planning to determine whether the demolition of the North Shore School can be stopped because the demolition appears to be in violation of the Lakefront Protection Ordinance.

I'm seeking to intercede on behalf of many residents who would like to see the building preserved and put to better use than being yet another parking lot on our lakefront. My perspective on this is as much to insure that we not allow the Lakefront Protection Ordinance to be violated as it is to protect the property.

Anyone wishing to join me, please email me at fit4life@the-gordon-family.net and I'll give you details on time and place.

If you have a blog, web site or email list please post.

Also, if you have the opportunity, don't forget about this coming Thursday
evening at Loyola Park:

Thursday, March 13: Park planning charrette for lakefront from Devon to
Howard, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Loyola Park sponsored by Friends Of The
Park

Thanks,
Don

***********
Here's an Interesting Twist from The Bench, especially if you don't believe in coincidence. Nor do I hear any rumbles about a protest to save the building for low income housing. Whether or not its architecturally significant, it's a building with land that could be utilized for something other than a tear down for a private parking lot on the lake.

March 8, 2008

Where's the Approval to Demolish North Shore School?

There is Nothing in the Planning Committee Minutes about North Shore School and Ward 49

Initially appointed in 1909 as one of the recommendations of the Burnham Plan for Chicago, the Chicago Plan Commission is one of the city's most well known and respected agencies. The commission is staffed by the Planning Department's zoning division, which provides technical review and recommendations. The current 18 commission members are appointed by the mayor and must approve, disapprove or defer any proposal by a public body or agency "to acquire, dispose, or change any real property within the territorial limits of the city" on the basis of whether or not the referral complies with the city's long range planning goals and objectives. The commission also reviews land use proposals in Tax Increment Finance Redevelopment Plans, Planned Developments, and Lakefront Preservation matters. The commission does not have the statutory power to enforce its decisions, but its recommendations have always had an unofficial and usually effective sanction. Meetings are held in City Council chambers, City Hall, except where noted by * below. See individual agendas for more information.


Did someone utilize the right to not respect the commissions lack of statutory power to enforce its decisions? Did someone disrespect its recommendations? Which commission or committee did approve this?

Whatever is wrong with this darn computer?

March 7, 2008

You Are Hereby Notified

Remember the slow boil over this?

We receive email blasts about the new attitude on transparency in government. We can't have permeable pavers, but how about those Greening Ward 49 emails on composting and light bulbs while yet another parking lot will cover Mother Earth? What's wrong with my computer?

************************

An email tonight states:

Michael Land confirmed that the North Shore School Building will shortly be demolished.

According to Mr. Land, a permit was applied for about 6 months ago. The alderman's office put a hold on the permit, seeking another school to occupy the building. Nothing materialized and the permit was issued 30 days ago. According to the property owner, Swanette Triem, demolition will occur sometime with the week.

According to Mr. Land, the demolition company only has to notify buildings within 250 feet of the demolition. The alderman's office does not have to provide any notification.

According to the email, Land was asked if the Park District had been contacted about utilizing the property and his response was that the Park District wasn’t interested in it. It went on to state that Land said he had mentioned it to Joe Moore who in turn claimed to have mentioned it to Tim Mitchell. Mitchell, allegedly stated the Park District didn’t have any money for that.

Another email:

From: "Joe Moore" ward49@...
Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 05:26:42 +1000
Subject: Community Meeting Announcement
Wednesday, July 11th, 7 p.m.
49th Ward Service Office, 7356 N. Greenview

RE: 1217 W. Chase (site of the former North Shore School) Parking lot (no zoning relief required)

Swanette Triem and her architect will present plans to demolish
the former North Shore School building at 1217 W. Chase and
construct a landscaped parking lot for use of the residents who
live in her apartment building immediately to the west of the
property. The lot is zoned RT-4. Parking lots are permitted
under residential zoning classifications. North Shore School
closed last year, and no other school has expressed an interest
in the site. The Chicago Landmarks Commission reports the
building is not architecturally significant and is not included
on any protected building list. The provisions of the Lakefront
Protection Ordinance do not apply since no new building is
being constructed.

Very truly yours,
Joe Moore


Yet another email:

I'm not sure where he's getting that interpretation, but the ordinance specifies in Section 16-4-150 (Approval Required - Exemptions)...

It shall be unlawful for any physical change, whether temporary or permanent, public or private, to be undertaken... within the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection District... without first having secured the approval therefore from the Chicago Plan Commission as provided in Sections 16-4-100 through 16-4-140...

The approval mentioned in 16-4-100 through 16-4-140 requires the completion of a 13 page application submitted to the Chicago Plan Commission, who in turn posts notice of a public hearing on the matter. Failing this, the recourse that the City has is detailed in Section 16-4-170 (Penalties Not Exclusive)...

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 160-40-160 hereof, in the event any structure or building, landfill, excavation, impoundment, mining or drilling has been undertaken in violation of this chapter, the City of Chicago may institute appropriate legal equitable proceedings to prevent the completion or maintenance of said unlawful undertaking.

By the way, the "exemptions" listed in 16-4-150 which are exlcuded from seeking CPC approval are:
1. improvements adopted prior to the effective date of the ordinance
2. accessory buildings
3. repairs and rehabilitation which do not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the replacement of the existing structure
4. additions which do not increase the site coverage or the height of the structure
5. residential structures containing not more than 3 dwelling units

Demolition and parking lots are not exemptions.
****************************

This is from the Friends of the Parks website

To discuss park development from Devon north to Howard, two meetings have been scheduled for March 8th and March 1 3 th (details below):

· VISIONING SESSION
Saturday, March 8, 2008: 9:30am -12:00.
Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf)


· DESIGN CHARRETTE: North Lakefront Devon to Howard
Thursday, March 13, 2008: 6:00 - 9:00pm
Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf)

Contact: Eleanor K. Roemer, Friends of the Parks
roemere@fotp.org; 312-857-2757 #12

The Happy News-Star Meeting

Does anyone have a problem with this?

Apparently one person from DevCorp did – she thought the first piece in a new paper shouldn’t have been dated. Please, don't mess with the curmudgeon. Reading these essays is good for everyone who cares to know what Rogers Park was like once upon a time. Of course, the young lady is also under the delusion that there isn’t a blue light on Morse Avenue anymore.

Does anyone have a problem with a police blotter being in the paper or what page it’s on? One person did, the moderator. If anything, the general consensus from the audience was to see more coverage on neighborhood crime. The moderator suggested that citizens partake in the paper by writing CAPS summaries from their beat meetings. It’s already done by many beats and posted on this site. Dan Haley, the publisher, reminded us that in order to avoid ‘slander or libel’ facts must be checked.

Blog note: Citizens need certain credentials to walk into a police department and look through the crime logs.

The ‘happy news’ did surface. Lorraine Swanson reminded everyone of her coverage of the Rogers Park Garden Group’s endeavors. She also reminded us that she is ‘here for the neighborhood’ and if she can help an individual or group who has been ignored by the leaders she will. She’s willing to help, that is, if she’s given some facts to work with. The speed bump story was one example. She reiterated that she tries to check both sides of a story but doesn’t always get her calls or emails returned. (imagine that!) If the other side hasn’t responded by deadline then it’s noted ‘no response was received by XX’ and the story may hit the press. So if the alleged negligent party doesn’t respond there’s no justifiable right to call and threaten the paper. No more yelling alderpersons, et al, OK?

Another example was the Lincoln Square eminent domain issue that was ignored by mainstream media until she brought it to the printed page! Once it hit the mainstream it became a big story - was credit given to the News-Star? People were urged to send email tips on news, events, etc. and letters to the editor.

The Rogers Park mantra of ‘diversity’ began later in the meeting when the Chicago Journal News-Star was asked if they planned to publish in Spanish. The response was no, it’s not in the current planning stages. It’s not only a software translation issue but the issue of dialects that would have an effect on the perception of the ‘read’. No one dared mention ‘well, perhaps English could be a helpful language to learn’ or that organization leaders could conduct more classes to teach English.

Attendees mentioned various topics that they’d like to see as regular entries or columns such as health issues. Again, Mr. Haley reminded everyone that this is a local news paper that covers issues in a localized area. Health issues, like movie reviews, have several online and offline resources specializing on the topic that offer up to date information. On the flip side, human interest stories such as a neighbors struggle with a certain disease or a fundraiser to help a person or family financially would be appropriate for a local paper.

It was good to see and hear the new members of our local paper. But we already know Lorraine, we see her at nearly every meeting. If there was an ulterior motive, which seemed to pop up now and again, I hope it’s understood that the News-Star is a local news paper and publishers and editors decide which stories are published. Mr. Haley said there may be 20 stories by deadline and we have to choose which ones to publish. I think that’s the nature of the business don’t you?


Blog note: The moderator also claimed that he doesn’t read the blogs! That’s funny, really funny. That’s sliding into the old boy zone days when I would get an email from Fagus or O’Neil stating ‘I heard that you wrote X on your blog’. No dear, you didn’t hear it, you bloody well read it, so stop directing and try dancing instead. Even if it was copied/pasted into an email, it was read not heard

March 6, 2008

More On The Power Of The Press

Poor Dr. Simon is upset about the damage to his reputation! Well, doc, so are the taxpayers of Cook County. Had it not been for inept management and patronage, Chicago wouldn’t be the laughing stock of the nation.

Just one source: Over the weekend, Chicago lifted itself to the top of a tax dishonor roll – by the Wall Street Journal

Is it now somewhat fair to say that without the investigative power of journalists, newspapers and other media that nothing would have been done about this smidgen of corruption? We citizens can fuss and moan but it usually takes the media to expose the source(s) of the BS. Simon abused his office and taxpayers dollars – he’s free to move on and we’re tied to the taxes to pay for him and those like him.

On a more hopeful note this is in the Metro Briefs section of the Sun Times:

Want to recall pols?

In a clear jab at Gov. Blagojevich, a House panel Wednesday unanimously approved a measure that would ask voters this fall whether they want power to recall politicians they believe aren't doing their job. Sponsored by Blagojevich critic state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), the legislation must pass both chambers of the General Assembly by a three-fifths majority before it could be put on the ballot for voters in November.

As some of our Ward 49 politicio’s would say ‘Bring It On’. Let's see if our taxpayer paid representation in Springfield has the guts to vote 'yea'!

Come Meet the Chicago Journal News-Star

Come Meet Chicago Journal’s Dan Haley, managing editor Helen Karakoudas, and our local reporter, now editor, Lorraine Swanson

Be grateful for your local paper, The News-Star, that has been saved! Thank you Dan Haley. So, do you want news or do you want PR pieces? Let Dan Haley, Helen Karakoudas and Lorraine Swanson know tonight.

I’m in favor of the news and insights, from the gem about ‘hands free’, to the more serious issues such as eminent domain takeovers. Lincoln Square’s recent battle on eminent domain was covered by our local paper long before the mainstream media would touch it. It became quite a political/legal issue didn’t it? That’s the importance of a local paper - to bring the issues to the people or follow-up on readers tips. Our local paper reports on many events Rogers Park neighbors would never read about in the larger papers.

No doubt some of the sponsors would like the local newspaper coverage to be upbeat and happy like a PTA newsletter. Everything is great! Our students and teachers are doing great! We have no problems, we have no drugs or gangs, absolutely no high absenteeism or drop out rates – we’re just great!

Well, the statistics report otherwise and other media outlets print the facts. Rogers Park isn’t one big PTA meeting. We have our highs and lows like all communities. At news time, the media informs us what has happened locally, nationally and globally. A newspaper’s mission is – or should be – to report the news, do investigative reporting, and to inform the public of what’s happening in and to their neighborhood. News Star has retained a reporter who has spent hours getting to know the people, the issues, as well as the leaders. Lorraine’s on a first name basis with many people in Rogers Park. Now we have the opportunity to meet Dan and Helen too. Hopefully many will come out tonight and show their support – past, present and future.

Rogers Park Organizations have many websites to promote themselves, their events and their missions. That’s good and it’s also part of their task at hand. However, one task is not to tell a newspaper what it can or cannot report on.

As for our local paper: Let’s leave the cheerleaders in the proper place – on the sports page.


Thursday, March 6, 2008
6:45 pm – 8:45 pm
Rogers Park Chicago Public Library,
2nd floor Community Room
6907 N. Clark Street, Chicago
(312) 744-0156

March 5, 2008

Listen Up Alderpersons

From the Chicago Journal News-Star

Two of the good points our alderpersons should copy, print and tape to their ward office desk, city hall desk and notepad for city hall meetings:

4. Fifth grade civics tells us your seats on the City Council belong to your respective constituents. It is they, after all, who elected you to public office and whose tax money pays your $104,101 annual salaries.

That, dear alderperson(s) includes anyone who opposed you in an election, or anyone who campaigned or voted for an opponent. That inclusion will prove to us that your intent is to maintain that state of egalitarianism each of you used in your campaign rhetoric.

And,

5. Residents aren't always wise to the inner workings of Chicago government. Guide them and respect them, even when they disagree with you. Don't criticize them for providing too much or too little information.

Heaven forbid there are those who see through the manipulations and make a stink! Rise above the ego and serve them. In other words, just do your job.

March 4, 2008

A Walk Along The Lakefront

Sunday was another great walking day. Join me along the way as I retrace my route north on Sheridan along the lakefront. The dog on Juneway Beach was enjoying his outing too.

3.2.08 005 3.2.08 008

The lake in her icy majesty.
3.2.08 009 3.2.08 010 3.2.08 011 3.2.08 012 3.2.08 014 3.2.08 015

In due time, this beach will be filled with bright umbrellas, children building sandcastles, and people enjoying warm summer afternoons.

March 3, 2008

Shall I Compare Thee To A...

From a friend and neighbor:

A Coopers Hawk devouring a pigeon on my deck…..Really amazing, I had no idea that the Hawk would stay around for over an hour and a half dining on the pigeon….Virtually nothing left

CoopersHawkdevouringapigeon

The photo brings images to mind of Todd and Larry filling Cook County’s belly on us, the pigeon. The only difference between the hawk and the politicians is that they dine on our bank accounts, not us.

Disclosure: The hawk is doing us a favor; it's in the genetic blueprint. Todd and Larry are robbing us to pay the bloated patronage system. Is there a genetic blueprint for crook county thieves?

Don't forget your Stroger Donation is due tomorrow if you own property.

March 1, 2008

Light A Match - Flatulence Abounds

“The swing vote to pass the budget was set to come from Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who campaigned for state's attorney on a boast that he had "stood up to Todd Stroger's tax increases," and as of Friday night, his website still quotes him as saying "at this point, I see no need for any increase in taxes."

But Suffredin's willingness to deal came after Stroger agreed to give up control of the county hospital system - a patronage dumping ground for decades' worth of politicians - to an outside panel of professionals through 2010, sources said. Sun-Times Article by Steve Patterson

Amusing how a candidate will promise you anything for a vote isn’t it? Although Suffredin didn’t win his bid for States Attorney, he’s still mighty beholdin’ to the Daley machine. The photo of Stroger and John Daley is precious. One can call this 1% a ‘negotiation’ or a back room deal but it still emits a foul odor. It reeks of the flatulence of greed and mismanagement to most nostrils. In the usual manner of ‘liberal’ thinking, don’t fix the problem, add taxes, then pass some more gas.

Does this smell to you?

“The influx of money will likely help Stroger avoid having to seek a tax increase in 2009 and possibly in 2010, when he's up for re-election.” Smells like more gas is building!

So what are those commissioners who blew hot air and deflated at the last minute going to do about Toddler and pal’s excessive spending? Are these 9 of 20 nominees as future members of the governing board getting paid? If they are, then why have that Simon character around? If Todd gets to chose them, we know what will happen and Larry and crew will approve them after more bickering.

If a hospital (or any entity) administration is so corrupt or incompetent that the result is the creation of a special governing watchdog panel then we have more gas, please light a match. Smells like lobbying to me. The only way to clean house is a good purging. Toddler wants to hire his 4th PR pal, so isn’t that still patronage Larry?