Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lincoln Avenue SSA commissioners

Last week, Alderman Daley gave me the names of her slate of commissioners for SSA #35: Sam Sanchez, Cary Stamp, Joseph Quartana, Susan Keegan, and Neer Patel. It appears Mrs. Daley has eroded the effect our input was supposed to have. ALARM's proposed slate may look very similar — the only difference being that we preferred independent Lincoln Park native Joe Vartanian (MaxBar, Crobar) over Sam Sanchez (John Barleycorn) and wanted Don Reidelberger over Joseph Quartana — but the subtle changes Mrs. Daley has made would shift control squarely into the hands of the chamber's adherents: three of the five nominees are chamber members; furthermore, Sam Sanchez was the chamber's biggest booster for the tax and Joe Quartana is also gung ho on it. There is no non-chamber business owner and there is no residential renter, and these together comprise the largest constituency on the strip. This is a profound shame. Keep in mind that our original agenda was to have this SSA commission use its power to spend its first year reviewing the premise of the tax and its source, and spending only a minimum on necessities. I have questioned the lack of community process from the very beginning (see, e.g., Ben Joravsky, "Are You Taxing Yourself?", Chicago Reader, Nov. 4, 2005, p. 8, "Stop Lincoln Ave. SSA," Inside, Nov. 2-8, 2005, p. 9-10, and "Lincoln Avenue SSA gets tentative approval," Inside, Nov. 23-29, 2005) and I am afraid this is more of the same blind boosterism.


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