When the phone rings at 7:30 AM, it’s never an invitation to a rock concert in this neighborhood. Na, it’s usually a neighbor calling about something shaking on the streets. This time it was on Jonquil where several squad cars had gathered and the neighbor said one had a rifle and entered the red brick building, 1542 Jonquil. So I walked a roundabout way to the el the morning of July 15, 2010.
While watching from a distance, a man walked past so I inquired what was happening. He stated he was the resident manager for the yellow brick building, 1546 Jonquil next door, of Wells Street Management fame. Apparently, two youth were taken into custody for shooting at windows in his building with a BB gun from the Myers building, 1542 Jonquil. The front door of 1546 had two new bullet holes in the glass the week I was putting up CAPS flyers! For those of you who don’t’ attend CAPS meetings, the matter was brought up…a woman mentioned kids shooting and killing a mother raccoon and her four babies in the Jonquil/Bosworth alleyway.
Both are problem buildings…the Wells Street building was the scene a few weeks ago of the two characters ordering pizza and robbing the delivery persons. They were finally caught in the act and arrested. The delivery person gave a positive ID and hopefully will follow through when it’s time for court.
Then the email blast came out after all the wild spring and summer North of Howard that a task force is going to get rid of graffiti in Ward 49. I’m not a fan of graffiti, but this big blast seems to be more of a PR attempt to treat the symptom instead of the disease. Part of the disease is pretending these issues aren’t really happening and are just heat-related and will go away. Well here’s a newsflash - problem buildings are up and running all year. Until such time that the alderman faces the facts instead of prefabricated fiction, problem buildings will take over like weeds in the many undeveloped spots on Howard Street and elsewhere.
Then we all know what comes next – it’s up to the police and the ‘good’ neighbors to clean up the problems! Some neighbors do their part…we’re a split neighborhood thanks to politics. Many subsidized tenants are either afraid to dial 911 or are part of the problem. Too many homeowners drive into their garages and stay inside except to walk the dog. So we have two groups of people ignoring what’s happening outside until it lands in their front door. Then the hankies fly and the cell phones come out. Oh, FOUL….
Then we have the outsiders with 630 prefixes touting the usual rabble rousing hate noise that those homeowners are going to drive the poor out of their homes. The rabble rousers who don’t live here, don’t hear gunfire, (or have bullets fly through their windows) don’t see kids getting abused, being left alone…the usual social issues we see day in and day out. Please…the damn 30 year Northpoint contract doesn’t start until the current one expires in 2013. Put that on your bullhorns and election flyers.
In the meantime, if you’re out on Howard Street, you may hear certain people calling neighbors and cops every name in the book…. just like statements from this Sun Times article.
Where were the ward graffiti blasters last Monday night around 7 PM? They could have blasted the young women yelling across Howard Street about knifing each other. One woman had her toddler in the car – so what’s the future of that child? That’s the disease – the graffiti is the symptom.
I hope the alderman has a great birthday bash and Friday night beers with the constituents. Perhaps he can put my May request to discuss certain buildings arrests and calls for service on his agenda. That request was made as a beat co-facilitator – not a blogger just so there’s no confusion.
It would be highly political if the disease instead of the symptom was taken off the back burner and made a top priority. I’d like to think that little girl who heard her mother and the other women threatening to have a knife fight has someone brave enough to break that pattern.