February 22, 2010

Unveiling The Wisdom Bridge Theatre Plan

Frankly, the building proposed to replace the Wisdom Bridge Theatre and adjoining vacant, worn down building next door did not appear to be what the meeting was about. It was political drama – again. A veil to hide the real intent(s). Mr. Aronson stood next to an architectural rendering of his vision for a building and tried to persuade people who came out on a miserable night of his intentions. The rendering was one of the ugliest attempts I’ve seen in a long time, and many others voiced that opinion. While I arrived late I heard all that needed to be heard. This proposed building will have affordable living units in the upper levels and the first floor will be a ‘theatre and restaurant’. But (there’s always a but isn’t there?) the real intent came as Aronson explained making office space available to area NFP’s and tried to make the comparison of the ‘wonderful’ new home on Morse now occupied by Rogers Park Business Alliance fka DevCorp.

Two vacancies side by side Desolate Howard Wisdom Bridge Theatre

Then he continued by tossing out one more hint. Boys and Girls Club. He mentioned a fellow RPBA board member who does NOT live North of Howard but sits on the Cotter Boys and Girls Club and how serving the underprivileged children in the area is necessary....and how the Cotter BGC didn't get to move into the Willye B White public, taxpayer funded park facility in a secretive takeover attempt after 12-13 long years of broken promises. My god how this gang is still burning from real community input over that attempted theft!

Mr. Aronson can make his donation to the underprivileged children in this area, check payable to the Willye White Park Advisory Council. He can join our council and see that we are providing 80% discounts so the underprivileged children can attend after school winter sessions with plans for spring and summer camp too! He can join us in fundraising for these underprivileged children any time he wants to. The alderman has all of my contact information, email, work, home and cell phone numbers if Joe cares to share and build that bridge with us he wrote me about last June.

But to try and persuade people that the proposed building with living units upstairs, a theatre and fine restaurant on the ground level that will pull people from the suburbs to desolate Howard Street to enjoy an evening out is too much – when disclosing the concept of also housing the Cotter Boys and Girls Club in the same building. Sounds too busy to me. He hasn’t any strong theatre leads yet – and I sincerely doubt that there will be in the setting he described. What this sounded like was a new building for certain area NFP's and a B&GC and with affordable living units – nothing more. Otherwise, we would have heard about all the theatre/restaurant contacts and leads and less about the area NFP’s and the fellow board member who obviously will not stop until he and the forces get a new building for the west side’s Cotter Club. That’s not developing a dead street at all. As for mentioning the high number of at risk or low income population here, well, who put them here? Who went along with the plan that this 2x6 block area should be a haven for low income and social service agencies anyway? The community or 30+ years of ‘progressive liberal’ non-visionary planning?

Naturally, a new building with lights and a theatre and restaurant would fit the concept of creating life on Howard Street. Mr. Aronson stated there had been issues with squatters; he mentioned the safety/crime concerns on Howard. In spite of his statement that he lives in Rogers Park – he does not live North of Howard and the crime issues are in several buildings here! Beat 2422 has the highest crime rate in the 24th District. It’s old news. Even the Pivens exited the theatre plan years ago. There are several Wisdom Bridge alumni – William Petersen of CSI fame for one and how many other Chicago born actors have been contacted to start up a theatre? Why? Because of the demographics and the crime for starters – as well as a building that was ignored for 26 years.

Wisdom Bridge facing East at alley Snipped FenceAlley WITH speed bump facing north

Possible contamination abatement was mentioned too. Of course, just across the alley from the Wisdom Bridge Theatre is the empty hole that was the long vacant Lerner property. For years we heard the land was contaminated from the printing chemicals and also from a dry cleaners that had been on the land. Oddly, once upon a time there was a dry cleaners on the corner of Ashland and Rogers too. When Runge Auto Shop was dislocated thanks to the manipulations that created the half empty Gateway Mall, the Runge’s wanted to relocate to that corner. They heard the contamination saga and were allocated a space around the corner from the property they wanted. Somehow that contamination was abated because Howard Area now has a day care center on that very corner.

GEDC0017 GEDC0018GEDC0019 GEDC0021

Of course, I’m just a citizen journalist who’s been a quick study in the machinations of getting things done, who gets what, when and how. There was a former electrician attending who claims to be a journalist who will have his own spin on tonight – but he’s in with the crowd and also does NOT live North of Howard. But as I always say, Anything Goes North of Howard. I certainly hope I’m wrong on this one!

February 16, 2010

The Curmudgeon Speaketh

It’s always good to read a new essay from Sandy Goldman, our own Rogers Park Curmudgeon.

We all have mixed feelings about the Scott Lee Cohen fiasco – but the Dems should have vetted every candidate. Period. Now we have more power plays – remember the methods used to place Todd Stroger in office?

Did we appreciate that?

Is this any different?

Coming Soon To NOH

The North side of Howard Street is under construction. It seems AT&T is installing fiber optics. The sidewalk east of Bosworth was dug up and patched last week in spite of the cold weather. This morning, the work continued from Bosworth to the Willye White Community Center.

I must have missed that email notification. But it's a good thing, right? The workmen had fun posing for the neighborhood blog.

Fiber Optics Coming Soon Workmen Happily Posing Super High speed Internet?

February 15, 2010

Circus of Greed

If this Circus of Greed wasn’t costing us money it would almost be amusing. Bring on the popcorn and peanuts. Here we have the alleged cream of the political and educational crop raising red flags, being investigated - yet who pays for it? Put this scenario into an online game and we could enjoy and participate – but as it is, We Pay for Principal Perks …article from Sun-Times.

Just last week, Mr. Reverend - Senator Meeks did the work for the political whiners to banish Local School Councils to hopefully keep the taxpayers unaware of their sneaky little games. The comment section is full of rebuttals to Meeks proposal!

If the day ever comes when taxpayers and voters are given the respect deserved – we won’t need Reverends playing second fiddle and message person for Huberman types and whiners to cover their back sides. In fact, if it gets done right, we won’t have any Reverend Senators – it’s known as Separation of Church and State. Make the choice Mr. Meeks, et all like you, it has to be one or the other title but not both.

Blog Note: Years ago, Whitney-Young (a magnet school) sent my eighth grader a letter of acceptance. That was fine except the letter was mailed before the citywide deadline. ALL letters of acceptance were to be mailed after the deadline. So this is nothing new.

February 10, 2010

Morning Snow Journey

How many of you took part of this Journey from Rogers Park to the Loop this morning?

February 9, 2010

CAPS Beat 2422 Reminder

Join your neighbors and your beat officers at the February monthly CAPS Beat 2422 meeting at Willye B White Community Center. That's Thursday, February 11. Please note in 2010 we are alternating meetings between the Gateway Senior Residence on odd months and Willye B White Community Center on even months. All meetings begin at 7:00 PM.

2010 CAPS Beat 2422 Calendar-1

There will not be a November meeting. The date fell on Veterans Day and in observance of a national holiday we will not be meeting.

The Snow Dance

The snow shovels were dancing in the foyer when I went downstairs this morning. So I grabbed one and went for a waltz on the porch, the steps, the walkway and finally on the sidewalk

My second shoveling for 2.9.10 Come on up

We did a repeat performance tonight before the accumulation got packed down. The brick path through the front yard can wait for another time. Mother Earth is capturing the flakes, molding them as a blanket for the flowers sleeping beneath.

Streetscape from the sidewalk Buried garden path

The snow pile grew a few inches after the second round! Why take a photo? Why not? It’s a moment in time to compare with another in June when the hostas, ferns, geraniums and lilies salute summer.

My Snow Pile I My Snow Pile II

Of course, my neighbor was on his third dance with the snow. His main snow pile is in the back yard but here’s the front snow pile. Sorry Mr. P…it doesn’t compare to my mountain!

Neighbors Snow Pile

Here are some little things we seldom notice until we must stop and experience nature in her splendor.

Neighbors mailbox Fence Leetle Beety Evergreen

February 7, 2010

Cohen Exits - Next?

Please don't pass the Stupid Water again.

February 3, 2010

Machine Hacks vs The Human Connection

Factors in yesterdays dismal voter turnout pale in comparison to the tax dollars spent to hold this early election. Some election judges were embarassing and a whole lot more. Post from Lake Effect News.

24/7 heard and experienced first hand that some voters were asked for an ID as proof of residence. It should be uniform but it isn’t. It was ironic when I gave the judge my name and her response ‘I remember you’! It was funny when others at her table asked if I was going to watch polls. So if the judge remembered me, her co-workers for the day knew me, why the drama of asking for an ID? That's what the book is for isn't it? So we’ll wait and see if Mr. Fagus responds to my email about this.

One of the upshots from yesterday: Will Toddler try to veto the election?

On a bittersweet note – one candidate I met at the Howard El won my vote. While this candidate did not win yesterday he is a winner. He personally called voters and listened to their concerns; knocked on doors North of Howard and left messages yesterday for anyone he thought may need a ride to the polls. He put the real human touch into his campaign – not an automated message from some incumbent pushing the machine plow. That is the difference between grassroots and machine hacks – the human connection.

February 1, 2010

Be Heard - Go Vote Tomorrow

After listening to all six phone messages left during the day – here are the options you have tomorrow. I hope the winners call me again when it’s all over. After all, if my vote is important – my voice is even more important. So is yours. So get out and vote and then we’ll make some music or noise -

Chicago Tribune Endorsements and the Sun-Times Endorsements

If you choose incumbents…well, c’est la vie. If you choose new faces and ideas, kudos to you.