Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shit II & III

(Well, it's certainly not the second and third time I've had to clean human excrement from my Lincoln Park alley -- it's the second and third time I've publicized it online. The first time, I got shit for it from Chuck Eastwood... The first image here is from March. The second is from this weekend. At least the second time they wiped themselves with napkins.)

I went to the 1812 CAPS meeting last week (Armitage to Fullerton, Clark to Sheffield). Residents on the 900 block of West Webster were complaining about the nearby State nightclub. The owner is a cousin of State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, whose bank's business ethics have been questioned. Costa somehow magically got a liquor license over the unanimous objections of neighbors, who are now living in a hell that begins to bear some similarity to what we have experienced on nearby streets like Lincoln, Halsted, and Armitage. One woman has already complained about scraping unconscious drunks off of her front stairs. Naturally, there is shit in their future.

At the meeting, I showed video footage of the drunkfest that happens on the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue three to four nights a week. Thousands of screaming, puking, urinating, defecating, vomiting, window-breaking drunks, from around midnight until 4 a.m. during non-blizzard conditions.

Can this be managed? Not by 18th District police, who say they are understaffed. I know that they can do a better job, but I've been told that their priorities are skewed, to put it mildly. The responsibility rests on the commander and his lieutenants, and yet they also need more resources. I'm recommending a new way to look at Special Service Area taxes, where bars pay the majority as a percentage of liquor revenue, and a large number of area residents pay a tiny amount (let's say about $20 a year per household) over and above their property taxes. This revenue would go toward managing this nightmare in Lincoln Park. But this implies amending the current SSA's in the area, of which I've already written plenty, not only here (see below) but also in the papers.

Related shit:
Boulevard of broken windows
The beginning of the end?
Hypocrisies of new Lincoln Avenue tax increase
While Vi slumbers (Part II)
While the alderman slumbers on her cozy Old Town sidestreet...
Lincoln Avenue SSA commissioners
Reader SSA Article

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cops in 18th need new school supplies for area kids

From Alds. Brendan Reilly and Vi Daley: 18th District Police will be accepting donations of new school supplies from July through September 5. Collection boxes will be located in the 18th District Near North Station located at 1160 North Larrabee.

Let's not forget the kids in the Cabrini-Green area whose parents' lives are often so troubled that they can forget or can't afford something as simple as pencil, notebooks, and backpacks that the good cops of the 18th District will help them out on that. I've heard some compelling rumors lately about racism and protection rackets among certain 18th District cops, but I also know many genuinely wonderful cops in our district. Take the time to get to know these people.

Oriental 33 Masonic Lodge (formerly located at the Cathedral) also collects funds to buy these same kids Christmas presents every year. It's never too early to be generous. Contact me for details.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Children's Museum vote passes 33-16

A bad way to run a city is for a powerful mayor to coerce perfectly reasonable aldermen to totally disregard the obvious facts of an issue through threats and pressure. You are hearing the sound of 33 aldermen ignore the basic fact that Grant Park is hardly the only proposed alternative for the Children's Museum. A few highlights:
  • Ocasio: It's the back yard of our city.
  • Shiller: "It belongs in the center of Chicago." (That's surely an option. Even Brendan Reilly acknowledges the possibility. Just not in Grant Park.)
  • Fioretti: It's irrelevant. What's important is that kids are being killed and we need to stop the violence. (Nonsequitur.)
  • Ed Smith: "If you give your word, you've got to stay with it." (Even if you witness debate that should make you change your mind? That's interesting.)
  • Cardenas: The media has caused this division in our council. They should stop the spin about how we're taking green space away.
  • Balcer: Isn't this a great country?
  • Lyle: If everyone else is using their clout, why shouldn't the Chidren's Museum? Arguments against it are "not intellectually sound."
  • Burnett: Was hoping that we'd be able to "just stay out of it except to just come down and vote, the way we do." (The inveterate feudal lord also sucks up to Daley: "I commend you" for letting us change the name of the park from your dad's park to the Children's Museum park.)
  • Carothers: Reilly's got to be crazy for turning down a children's museum in his ward! (Distracting us from the main point. It's already in his ward. Reilly probably wants to keep it in his ward, just not there.)
  • Jackson: "Saddened" that it's leaving Navy Pier, but also that they're spending so much time on this issue instead of the violence. (Diverting the debate.)
  • Burke: Ward decision rules for an "unobstructed view" of the lake. This does not obstruct the view. (The only rational counterargument of the bunch - but he's still purely motivated by politics, as he has always been one of Daley's greatest allies. The rest of his commentary was on Burke's charming cop-turned-pseudointellectual historian, and also on boasting about his wife's power as a Supreme Court justice.)
  • Banks: "Land grab" is nonsensical and it doesn't make any sense, since the Park District still owns the land. We're on "firm legal footing."
The two most powerful and dangerous characters on the City Council are Burke and Banks, who know the law and always construe it strictly or liberally, depending on how it may accrue to their political advantage.

Any emotional appeal about kids deserving their share of downtown is irrelevant, since nobody is disputing that. In fact, many alternative places downtown have been proposed. This is foremost about Grant Park's and the lakefront's special status.

Any discussion about aldermanic privilege is not important either, and it never should be. All we should be talking about is reason and fairness. And that's not what we were hearing today.