Sunday, February 03, 2008

Boulevard of broken windows

A pane of glass at the entrance to my home. Broken Saturday night (Jan. 26) by a reveler on Lincoln Avenue. This is the fourth or fifth broken window in the past year.

What makes this one unusual is the fact that it held a sticker from when we belonged to the Lincoln Park Conservation Association, a long-dead organization that was once a forum for dealing with issues just like this one.

I asked Alderman Vi Daley three years ago to help with the problems of public drunkenness on Lincoln Avenue, including security, noise abatement, and keeping De Paul students from using our walls as a urinal.

Vi didn't help with these things, but she soon rewarded me for my public efforts: she very quietly increased my taxes and rents, and those of all of my other neighbors on Lincoln Avenue (through the Lincoln Avenue SSA). Then, she used that increase to put decorative planters and Christmas ornaments along the street. (She also reduced police presence on the block. See other posts.)

What's worse, when I formally asked Vi's cronies on the SSA commission (hello, neighbor Susan Keegan and the very wealthy Sam Sanchez of John Barleycorn, both commissioners at the time) at least to spend some of the $150,000 a year on repairing windows broken by the drunks, they ignored me and spent it on fancy promotional things. (So much for "Why don't you help us by coming up with ideas instead of complaining all the time?")

Businesses (including the largest bars on the block causing the problems, hi again, Sam) pay less into the tax than we residents do. When I tried to complain about this, to raise public awareness about the problem and to call people to the public hearing, Vi Daley had me ticketed.

The SSA hasn't stopped the violence on the block. In fact, by the stated intent of the SSA (to promote additional commercial traffic in this "blighted" area) it is presumed to have increased the potential for this violence.

Update Sunday, Feb. 3, 4 a.m.: I have a guest staying in my living room, which fronts Lincoln Avenue. I am sure he is awake by now. Abraham is asleep. Two guys are talking loudly and peeing right on my bedroom window. I knock loudly from the inside. "Dude, was that someone knocking from inside? Wow." 4:10 a.m.: More yelling, presumably from other people getting out of The Apartment. 4:20 a.m.: More yelling. 4:35 a.m.: Still yelling here and there. 4:55 a.m.: A woman and man yelling loudly. Lots of chanting now, and car horns blaring. And to think it's 26 degrees outside. Consider what it must be like when the weather is beautiful and we're trying to sleep. 5:45 a.m.: Still not asleep, but someone just trudged up to the wall and started peeing. Thanks, Vi. I hope you're sleeping.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are the one who chooses to live on a busy street w/ lots of bars and restaurants. If the neighborhood has changed since you first moved here, that is just life. As unfortunate as it is that your window was vandalized, that just comes with living in a city nieghborhood with a lively nightlife. Maybe you could consider putting bars up in your windows like lots of the other neighbors do? Maybe you would feel more ocmforatable if yolu moved into a quieter neighborhood/suburb? It just seems unlikely that the entire mood/livelihood of the neighborhood is going to change simply bec. you 'don't like it'.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it the city's problem someone is pissing on your window? Perhaps you should sell the piano that you got out of the garbage and install a motion detector light on your wall. No, that would be a solution. I remember in the 70's Lincoln was a nice quite street where bar patrons walked hand in hand, wispering and giggling so as not to disturb the neighbors. Right...

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see your problem, and I have a couple of suggestions. You can buy a motion sensor light at home depot for about 20 dollars. the flood light will at least discourage people from peeing on your window. As far as the noise goes, you have every right to call the police when people are disturbing the peace. If the cops are called on these people with enough regularity, it should stop... as far as your problem with those in power who should be prevented- no one's ever gonna fix your problems until you make them theirs. Think about that!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Peter Zelchenko said...

I know about the motion sensors; Vi Daley has refused to install one. In other wards, they give them away.

The point here is that they are taxing residents to abate these problems, not bars.

And as to the first comment, I see no reason why bars should not be good neighbors. Yes, we moved here a long time ago. Things do change, and we (obviously have to) accept that. Do we not have a right to a peaceful life?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Clifford said...

I know living in Lincoln Park can be nice I live near Sheffield & Armitage and I only have to deal with the train and Kinkades.

I travel around town and have visited almost every bar in the Lincoln Park area. I know people are loud but I would call the police right away I know this is taking time out of your sleep but there isnt going to be a way to stop all the noise.

First thing I would do is get motion sensors ASAP. This will definently stop a lot of future deficators and public urinators. Thats just my 2 cents.

3:53 PM  

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