Monday, March 17, 2008

Uptown Business Partners Announce New Executive Director, Upcoming New Website

70 comments:

  1. Is this who is replacing Lynn?

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  2. their official name is

    BUSINESS PARTNERS, THE CHAMBER FOR UPTOWN

    the blurb mentions "chamber" 3 times

    "chamber" is most people's minds conjures images business getting together, a dues-funded organization

    BP is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(6) business league, and with the state of Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation

    but lest anyone be confused

    it is important to recognize BP is a creature of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) of the City of Chicago

    BP gets less than 1/3 of their revenues from members, and more than 2/3 from an annual grant from DPD

    BP is a "delegate agency" of DPD

    BP is the Uptown branch office of DPD

    When BP testifies or submits a letter of support for a City-supported project, it is the City testifying in favor of itself under guise of community support

    GuideStar

    Vendor, Contract and Payment Search

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  3. So can you explain what the point of having Uptown United and Uptown Business Partners would be, Hugh? Are there other neighborhoods in chicago that have 2 such entities?

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  4. Uptown United is also a delegate agency of DPD, also primarily funded through the City, from local property tax district known as the "Special service area" or SSA.

    so again, when Uptown United testifies or submits a letter of support for some City initiative, it is the City testifying in favor of itself masquerading as community support

    of course, they never mention they are primarily City-funded in their letters or testimony

    There is considerable overlap of officers & directors.

    Uptown United

    Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown

    Uptown United in contrast is a 501(c)(3) public charity. This is the best status for applying for grants, in particular private money.

    having one of each c3 & c6 means they can grovel more widely

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  5. So how was it that Uptown United was allowed to offer testimony against Labor Ready if Shiller and Daley want it so bad?

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  6. was UU's subsidiary, BP, in the sheave of papers Shiller wafted?

    keep a close eye on them both

    they will speak for you if you don't speak up

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  7. I don't believe so, no. And, I am done with this business of everyone else getting a say around here besides residents. We should form an uptown consumer's union. it is like everyone is assuming that if they bring it...we will come. yes, we are starved for quality commercial establishments in the area but i will not spend a red cent in this neighborhood if these businesses don't work in partnership with local residents. they have to stop taking our patronage as a given or just assuming that development is, by definition, all good.

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  8. I think she came from Gene Schulter's ward. I am not trying to disparage Ms. Hahn in any way but I hope she won't be bringing any of that eminent domain mess with her. We have enough problems.

    So, for now I guess the only neighborly thing to do is say, "Welcome to Uptown, Christie!"

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  9. Hugh, how many chambers are formed as for profit corporations? Quit trying to spread negative. I don't recall any marching orders from the city or the Department of Planning and development. Have you ever been to a Chamber event? Do you know any Chamber board members? We are hard working business owners who are trying to make the community a better place.
    I am a Chamber board member. Christie is a great addition and brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position. For the record, both Uptown United and the Chamber sent letters against Labor Ready. Get your facts straight Hugh.

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  10. "I don't believe so"

    an anonymous poster with inside information on who was and who wasn't in the stack of letters Shiller waived at the zoning board hearing?

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  11. " ... both Uptown United and the Chamber sent letters against Labor Ready ... "

    sent letters where?

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  12. I am a Chamber board member

    what's with the anon schtick?

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  13. "For the record, both Uptown United and the Chamber sent letters against Labor Ready. Get your facts straight Hugh."

    I never said they didn't

    I stand the posted facts

    and I put my name on them

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  14. The last 4 executive directors have been fired. The last 3 have had a rather short time in their positions before they were fired. This isn't counting Lynne who was also fired.

    Now, either the Chamber is facing a lot of bad luck or something's up. The Chamber is also rather naive to think the residents don't notice this. It only further damages their credibility which was never that great in the first place.

    They need to be very serious about making this work with Christie or perhaps remove the one person in charge of doing the hiring.

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  15. I made the "i don't believe so" comment. Uptown United sent their exec director to testify, which she did. Presumably, a letter was sent as well. The Chamber may or may have not have sent a letter. They did not send anyone to testify and they did not make any other resources available to residents working to oppose Labor Ready. They may have sent a letter but the broader community did not know about their opposition.

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  16. Wouldn't it make more sense for a business person to head a "Business Partners" organization?

    I'm sure all of that administrating of non-profits really puts her in the right frame of mind.

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  17. To anon 9:42, Hugh is not spreading the negative. If you have been on this blog for a while you will realize that Hugh posts often and usually contributes a lot of useful information that can can be attributable to facts, rather than opinion.

    Sometimes he may bark up the wrong tree and that could be viewed as negative to some people. On the contrary, I see it as the efforts of someone who is clamoring for answers and doing some work to get them. He seems to respect facts, so if he is wrong then just set him straight.

    In addition, he does make his points and he does stand by him with his name rather than as anonymous. That is important.

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  18. "I think she [Christie Hahn] came from Gene Schulter's ward."

    "Christie is a great addition and brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position."

    Hahn organized a pub crawl in Lincoln Square! woo hoo!

    Derby Daze Pub Crawl

    Uptown retail is in good hands

    Lincoln Square to Uptown, one taxpayer-funded faux "chamber" to another? OK, I get it, Hahn is a close personal friend of UU board member Brad Leibov, former Lincoln Square Chamber E.D. turned so-called "SSA consultant", and Chicago's Johnny Appleseed of using property tax increases to turn neighborhood voices into astro-turf

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  19. Could the poster of this statement...

    "For the record,...the Chamber sent letters against Labor Ready."

    ...please contact info@stoplaborready.org? We would like to speak with you to understand the Chamber's position (we never heard from any businesses or saw any letters from the Chamber). That is not to say that you didn't send any letters, we just weren't aware of them. We would very much like to speak with business owners. Thanks!

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  20. UU, BP:

    show your solidarnosc with the community

    post your letters on your websites

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  21. come on UU, BP:

    LET YOUR FREAK FLAGS FLY!

    post your letters of protest on your websites!

    what are you afraid of? you're already on the record against Labor Ready, right? you "sent" them, right? so what do you have to lose? and think of all the new fans you will make in the neighborhood

    show us you are not beholden to Shiller or Daley just because they fund you!

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  22. A few points of clarification:

    The executive director of Uptown United attended the hearing and offered testimony. People in the community have seen Uptown United's statement of opposition against Labor Ready. That letter was presumably sent to the zoning board. These facts sufficiently demonstrate that Uptown United has taken the position of being opposed to Labor Ready.

    The only matter that is unknown at this point is if BP, The Chamber for Uptown, submitted an additional letter as well. One may have been sent, but Stop Labor Ready is unaware of it. Stop Labor Ready has also had no communication with BP or any of their member businesses. Since they are generally concerned about development radiating from the intersection of Broadway and Lawrence, it was surprising that they did not contribute resources to us or make their opposition more widely known. However, it is not too late for that to happen and we would welcome it.

    Maybe Uptown United was always going to be the umbrella for both groups on this matter and the previous poster did not realize that.

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  23. Hugh, would you like to get together for lunch? Would you like to attend the next chamber event at Agami this Thursday? Would you like truthful answers to your posts BEFORE you post them as facts?

    I will try to keep this short. Blogs tend to get a bit wordy. If anyone would like to discuss this further I can be reached in the late afternoon at 773 972-5619.

    First off, Business Partners did vote against Labor Ready. Our letter against was presented by the executive director of Uptown United in person at the one place it counted, city hall. You can believe me or post more opinions, it really doesn’t matter, it’s there.

    A majority of our funding comes from dues. Uptown is full of businesses that want something done but will not do anything but complain until someone else does it. If 50% of the businesses would care enough to join the chamber, a lot more could be done. As a dues driven organization, we can only do what we can afford to do. It is really simple math. We are not a branch office of DPD

    Uptowns chamber is celebrating its 85th anniversary. We are one of the oldest chambers in Chicago. This will be a simple explanation: Many years ago Upcorp was formed to work with the chamber. It was a development corporation. As the non-profit sector filled the many spaces of Uptown, the chamber board was destined to become heavy with business owners from the non-profit sector. In recent years, our business climate has changed. In order to get the chamber heavy again with for-profit businesses but not leave out anybody, Uptown United was formed. United is formed with three separate heads: Business, Development and Community. The development partners and the community partners now fall under the United branch and Business Partners is the Chamber for Uptown. We are three groups working very hard to accomplish the same goals.

    The SSA was brought about by Uptown United and the Business Partners. We had to outlay the funding to bring the SSA to Uptown. If the SSA would not have passed, all of the work and money that went into it would have been gone. With great relief it passed and you can see the results every day. United is a pass through for the funding to get to the SSA. The city requires it. We do not make a profit on the money and we did not hire an alderman’s niece. The job was posted in many places and many candidates were interviewed. The SSA has its own board of commissioners. The commissioners are all volunteers that live or own property or businesses in the SSA area. Their position is non-paid, just like all of the people on the other three boards. Any qualified party was welcome to apply. The job is a lot of work with a lot of responsibility with absolutely NO pay.

    We are not bloggers and naggers; we are hard working people that go that extra mile to make Uptown a better place.

    Paul Collurafici
    President, Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown

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  24. Paul----I don't know where to begin.

    You were not at the Labor Ready meeting.

    The Executive Director did not read a letter from Business Partners.

    If such a letter exists, publish it.

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  25. The Executive Director of Uptown United provided testimony against Labor Ready at the ZBA. The central point was that members of Uptown United were asked to weigh in with their opinion by the alderman, they discussed it and they voted and they decided that it would have a negative impact on the surrounding community and on the commercial space of Sheridan Road. Since a large amount of space on that part of Sheridan is currently boarded up, their organization agreed that it would harm efforts to fill those spaces with businesses to serve local residents.

    There were also private discussions that people related to Uptown United had with key leaders concerning the viability of Labor Ready as a way to address chronic unemployment in Uptown.

    Stop Labor Ready thanks Uptown United for being a supporter of our cause. Since Uptown United's members are social service agencies, businesses and developers, it represents a broad community perspective and should have been weighted heavily in the ZBA decision. The ZBA says they will publish their decision soon.

    In order to extricate "Stop Labor Ready" from whatever issues this blog would like to discuss relating to BP, we'd like to say that we consider it a relatively minor issue as to whether or not members of BP thought they sent a letter separately from Uptown United. As noted above, there were lots of good reasons for them not to. An "uptown united" against Labor Ready is a stronger statement than merely from the business community.

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  26. would you like to get together for lunch?

    no, thanks

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  27. "Our letter against was presented by the executive director of Uptown United in person at the one place it counted, city hall. You can believe me or post more opinions, it really doesn’t matter, it’s there."

    it's where? City hall is a big building, lots of City & County offices. where did you "present" your letter? the hearing? to the alderman? the mayor? the Zoning Board of appeals?

    are you saying Uptown United's letter was also the "chamber's" letter? was there 1 letter or 2?

    are you trying to confuse people, conflating Uptown United and Business Partners?

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  28. "A majority of our [Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown] funding comes from dues."

    2004

    total revenue $170,016
    membership dues $24,503, 14%

    2005

    total revenue $102,116
    membership dues $25,725, 25%

    2006

    total revenue $113,733
    membership dues $32,871, 29%

    GuideStar

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  29. Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown AKA Uptowns Chamber of Commerce is primarily TAXPAYER funded.

    2004

    total revenue $170,016
    government contributions $91,604
    54%

    2005

    total revenue $102,116
    government contributions $60,158
    59%

    2006

    total revenue $113,733
    government contributions $63,770
    56%

    you can look it up

    GuideStar

    facts can be so inconvenient

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  30. You are right Hugh. You got us. But you will never find the money! It is being guarded by Jimmy Hoffa, behind the grassy knoll, near the studio we used to film the fake moon landings.

    Paul Collurafici

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  31. Paul, Hugh has been making some valid points. I'm delighted there's a chamber but I also appreciate transparency. If there's any conflict of interest, it needs to be brought into the light.

    Even you must admit that there's been a lack of honesty and transparency from the people involved with Wilson Yard. We're not paranoid to be a little suspicious about anything remotely involved with Helen. Given our experiences, there would be something odd if we did whole heartedly trust what has been told us.

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  32. I agree with the the previous poster. To the extent that we may appear to be a bunch of uninformed obstructionist conspiracy-theory loving elitists, it is only because we have been lied to and tricked repeatedly.

    Truth, transparency and respect will set us all free so that we can work together for the betterment of this community.

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  33. Another city funded community group operates in Ravenswood. See their front webpage to see that they get their funding from the Dept of Housing, Dept of Planning, and Dept of Aging. http://www.ravenswoodcommunity.org/

    They are not allowed to displace the local Chamber of Commerce or community groups, such as UpRave in the Ravenswood community.

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  34. One of the longstanding problems is that the 46th Ward has no voice of its own. It is either dominated by the Lakeview organizations or the Edgewater based organizations. For the twenty years I have lived here there has been an issue with the 46th Ward Uptown area having its own identity and agenda met. It needs its own separate chamber dedicate to its own needs.

    Edgewater is part of Uptown but conciously decided to create its own identity by rebranding itself with a new name. Perhaps it is time for the area North of Irving Park and South of Lawrence to adopt its own identity and its own organization dedicated only to its agenda. Then we won't been anyone's step child or basement Cinderella any longer.

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  35. " ... the 46th Ward Uptown area ... needs its own separate chamber dedicate to its own needs."

    If you think Uptown needs a chamber of commerce, you should form one. What you have now is a branch office of Daley, Inc.

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  36. isn't that nice?

    Business Partners and St. Augustine College host luncheon for Alderman Helen Shiller

    On September 19 [2006, months before the election], St. Augustine College welcomed Alderman Helen Shiller of the 46th Ward at a luncheon sponsored by Business
    Partners. The students of the college cullinary program, supervised by Chef Pérez, served a
    lovely meal in the historic Charlie Chaplin Hall on the site of the former Essanay Studios at 1333-45 Argyle.

    Alderman Shiller spoke about recent neighborhood developments, City Council actions and her vision for
    the area in the future. A question and answer period followed.

    Many thanks to Alderman Shiller, Dr. Z. Clara Brennan, President of St. Augustine, and liaison Ricardo Magallanes for a wonderful luncheon.

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  37. Yes, we had a luncheon for Ald. Shiller. Yes, it was nice. We also had one for Ald. Smith. I think that one was nice too. We host alderman lunches every year for the 46th and 48th ward. We also have them for the commanders of the 20th and 23rd police district. Everyone is welcome. This is a really good way to meet the people who serve Uptown.

    Hugh, it’s how you present the truth that continues to show your true negative meanings. To the un-informed, you look like a dedicated servant of the people. To those that continually get involved in a true working man’s fashion, you are a bore.

    I don’t think I myself can be any more open than how I have been. I post with my full name and cell number. I am willing to talk to anyone that has Uptowns best interests at heart. We have nothing to hide and you making it sound that way is immoral and insulting.

    Paul Collurafici
    773 972-5619

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  38. Paul - as I recall you are a huge proponent of Alderman Shiller's current Wilson Yard plan (i.e. the WY community meeting in 2004 when you all but bowed down and worshiped Helen and her pathetic plan with all it's "surprise" changes). There goes your credibility...

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  39. "I don’t think I myself can be any more open than how I have been. ... We have nothing to hide ... "

    -Paul Collurafici
    President
    Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown

    for the record let's list the unanswered questions

    Did BP write a letter of protest against Labor Ready (separate from the Uptown United), and if so, where was it sent?

    Was it submitted and did it become part of the record of the Zoning Board of Appeals, currently considering the special use?

    "A majority of our [Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown] funding comes from dues."

    Why did you say that when it is not true? Is it important to you that people not know you are taxpayer funded?

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  40. and new questions

    As a publicly-funded not-for-profit, what resources were used to organize a luncheon for a political candidate months before the election?

    Did one of your many former taxpayer-salaried executive directors participate in organizing the event?

    Were BP computers, mailing lists, or e-mail lists used to help publicize the event?

    Was a member luncheon held for each candidate?

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  41. "The last 4 executive directors have been fired. The last 3 have had a rather short time in their positions before they were fired. This isn't counting Lynne who was also fired."

    I think I'd rather drum for Spinal Tap

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  42. All good questions, Hugh. I am especially concerned about the element of a tax-payer funded organization holding a private meet'n'greet with incombents so close to an election. It seems a bit too cozy. Such a lunch is appropriate AFTER the election. It is not like the issues would change substantially by waiting.

    However, I am not sure how a fruitful discussion can occur here. There should be a better forum. Perhaps BP should take the lead in having a meeting so that we can help them and the can help us.

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  43. Paul, owner of the Tattoo Factory, I frequently watch your hour-long late-night TV program, which tours your new Tattoo facility at 4441 North Broadway. It is a helluva lot nicer than the hole in the wall that you used to have across the street.

    How much of my real estate tax dollars did our Wilson Yard TIF pay you to relocate your business across the street? Enough to double the size, quadruple the quality, and pay for advertising for a year? I just want to know what I got for my tax dollars.

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  44. Truman Square NeighborMarch 21, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    I'm not Paul, but attacking him for having a growing business in the Wilson Yard TIF area seems a little weird.

    I mean, isn't that the whole purpose of the TIF -- to stimulate retail and help businesses grow? And bring much needed retail dollars INTO the community? I for one welcome the chance to spend my money in my own community, and the (very small) portion of TIF money that the alderman is actually using for that purpose is cool with me.

    I have a lot of issues with my TIF tax dollars going into bringing more housing for the poverty-stricken into Wilson Yard. I have problems with it bringing meth clinics to Uptown (VIP or not). I have a huge problem with it funding a community college parking lot. I have problems with it going into rehabbing Section 8 housing.

    What I do NOT have a problem with is it going to business owners to improve their businesses.

    Really, let's keep focused here. Attacking everyone who posts here makes us look like villagers with pitchforks and torches.

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  45. I'm not attacking Paul for growing his business. I'm just agreeing that Paul Collurafici is the President of Business Partners, i.e. the Uptown Chamber, which really is a delegate agency of the Department of Planning.

    Hugh is challenging Paul saying that the Chamber is not a true independent business chamber, it is a delegate agency of the Department of Planning and receives the bulk of its funding from the city. Thus, Hugh questions whether this Chamber really acts as "poser" community org when it really represents the city.

    I am saying, the Dept of Planning also runs the Wilson TIF. Not only does the Chamber that Paul is President of receive the bulk of its fund from the Dept of Planning, but Paul also personally received substantial funds from the Wilson TIF, which is run by the Dept of Planning. Thus, I question Paul's independence and sudden business wealth.

    I believe Paul is also on that Wilson Yards Council we've heard but never seen. I don't think there is anything wrong with tracking the money and questioning the close ties among these players.

    John Kass does it all the time.
    And why can't we have business growth and transparency at the same time?

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  46. And why can't we have business growth and transparency at the same time?

    And why can't we have business growth and transparency at the same time?

    I second that.

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  47. I am starting to feel the heat from the torches. As soon as the points from the pitchforks get close, I’m outta here!

    “bowed down and worshiped Helen and her pathetic plan”
    I only bow down to one person, and it’s his weekend now! The alderman put together a series of charrettes asking everybody what they wanted. My voice was but one among many. The 1500 people that attended seemed pretty much split between affordable housing and big box retail. We got both. If it was up to me I would have wanted all retail but half of something is better than all of nothing. If I am a ‘huge proponent’ of anything it would be to get started on building something there. Whatever it is will be better than what we have now.

    “Did BP write a letter of protest against Labor Ready (separate from the Uptown United), and if so, where was it sent?”
    Here is a copy of the letter sent to the alderman’s office. We did piggyback our letter on with United’s.
    January 28, 2008
    Ald. Helen Shiller, 46th Ward
    4544 North Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
    Re: Labor Ready
    Dear Alderman Shiller:
    Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown met on January 9, 2008. At this meeting the Board of Directors considered Labor Ready’s request for special use at 4830 North Sheridan Road for the purpose of opening a temporary help agency. Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown Board voted against this proposal.
    Although the Board supports the concept of assisting individuals in obtaining jobs, several other factors that could inhibit the healthy growth of retail business outweighed this.
    Please feel free to call anytime if you need further information.
    Sincerely,
    Wm Van Howe
    Executive Director
    Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown

    “Hugh says: March 21, 2008 10:51 AM and new questions. As a publicly-funded not-for-profit, what resources were used to organize a luncheon for a political candidate months before the election”
    We are a non-political organization. We have had luncheons for both aldermen and both police commanders every year for many years. We will have them again this year and again every year. Stop spinning the truth. If Hugh were to run for alderman and win, we would have one for him also.

    "The last 4 executive directors have been fired.”
    Are you a chamber member? Do you know something I don’t? Two of the people were ‘interim’ directors while we searched out a permanent person. Our last director left on his own. He found a job better suited to his talents.

    “BP should take the lead in having a meeting”
    Our executive board meets every month and the whole board meets every other month. Members are welcome to attend.

    “a helluva lot nicer than the hole in the wall that you used to have across the street.”
    How do you think I felt? My store needed a remodel very much. Would you spend on a remodel when the thought of eminent domain hung over your head? Instead I waited and used my time wisely. I saved and planned for a new store that would be grand by comparison. Any money I received was due to the ‘Illinois relocation act’. I was reimbursed for anything that was comparable to what I already had but lost due to the taking of the building. I did not receive any more than I was entitled to. And all of it was a reimbursement. Not a loan or assistance.

    “Thus, I question Paul's independence and sudden business wealth.”
    I didn’t know I was suddenly wealthy. I wonder why I work 60-70 hours a week. Let me pose this to you; the tattoo law recently changed from 21 to 18. There are four TV shows dedicated to tattooing. My artists are truly the best in the business. I advertise heavily to promote this place. I am a hardworking businessman that takes my job seriously. I am good at what I do. Really good!

    Again, I have tried to answer all of your questions to the best of my abilities. Again, I have signed my name to it and not posted in the cowardly anonymous way. If you insist on thinking the sky is falling, there is really nothing more that I can do.
    Good day to all.
    Paul Collurafici

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  48. These posts have gotten distressing. We've got a lot of issues that need to be worked out but this message board isn't the best place to work them out.

    Paul is not BP or Mayor Daley or the Dept. of Planning or Helen Shiller. There are some real questions we can ask about BP, but is this really the forum and is it fair for us to entangle the questions about BP with just one man's business?

    It seems to me that by returning with information Paul is attempting to engage in a conversation. That is a good thing. We need a lot more of that around here. But Paul, please realize that our skepticism is borne out of the fact that we have been repeatedly hoodwinked and lied to. This has to stop because we now have a community which doubts practically everything!

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  49. angry & frustratedMarch 22, 2008 at 4:02 AM

    These posts have gotten distressing. We've got a lot of issues that need to be worked out but this message board isn't the best place to work them out.

    Agreed. But there is no other forum so this is by far the best. This blog has gotten extremely popular because it has become the best way to get news about Uptown, our community that we love.

    Paul, you are a huge proponent of anything in the Wilson Yard based on what is there now. I disagree. I'm sick of low standards and I believe we deserve better. If the new Aldi is any sign of what's coming, I'm really scared.

    I don't believe Helen's lie that the process for decision making at the Wilson Yard was one of the most inclusive processes for a TIF. Holding charrettes and ignoring their input is not an inclusive process. Holding TIF task force meetings during week day mornings so that residents have a difficult time coming is not an inclusive process. Not having any formalized and transparent process for decision making is not an inclusive process. Refusing to post minutes from these meetings is not an inclusive process. An alderperson's refusal to hold community meetings after vast changes have been made is not an inclusive process.

    Paul, have you ever observed such angry people in a community before? Either for some odd reason only angry people flock to Uptown or something is up. I suspect something is up. If BP is not part of the solution, they are part of the problem. I hope they want to be part of the solution but I can't tell yet. These days I have learned to quit believing so easily.

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  50. Paul you can't argue that these processes are open. Here is your quote from an article discussing the Wilson Task Force:

    "Yeah, I'd like to wake up tomorrow and see Target there but you can't go at an old building with a bulldozer. Everything has to be dismantled, which takes awhile," said Collurafici, who is also a member of the Wilson Yard Task Force, a group of 46 constituents chosen by the alderman to help oversee the project. "It took me a year to move my tattoo parlor,” he said. “How long do you think it will take to design and build a Target?"

    Notice that the Wilson Task Force, which gives input into the Wilson Yard development is made up only of those persons whom the alderman chooses. Just like the Department of Planning Surveys that originally justified the TIF and called for housing developments in the TIF were sent to a mailing list comprised only of names chosen by the alderman.

    Can you not see that this is not a Democracy but instead a closed off system run by a chosen few?

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  51. " We did piggyback our letter on with United’s. ... Re: Labor Ready Dear Alderman Shiller"

    Thank you to BP for taking up the issue of this special use permit, thank you for taking it to a vote, thank for for your letter to the alderman, and thank you for posting it.

    May I ask, what did you mean by "piggyback"?

    "Our [BP's] letter against was presented by the executive director of Uptown United in person at the one place it counted ... "

    The "one place it counted" is that the alderman?

    Do I understand that BP did not send anything to Zoning Board of Appeals which is currently deciding the issue?

    thanks again

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  52. In the post you were referencing, Hugh, "the one place it counted" was clearly referring to city hall/ZBA. It seems pretty clear to me that BP opposed this, told Shiller and then sent Uptown United to speak against LR. Those facts shouldn't be in dispute.

    However, it is interesting that BP knew about all of this sometime before January 8th, 2008 so that they could hold a meeting and offer their input. Many residents in the Sheridan Grande building never received notification and had to learn about it from their neighbors.

    It is overwhelming clear that certain parts of this community were given an opportunity for input and others were ignored even though these people live right next door! It is time that some of the organizations that are deemed worthy of input by Shiller should acknowledge that they are often used whether they know it or not. As all of the uproar here reveals, it may eventually cause the community to turn against these organizations. And, if there is any dirt to be found, it could get pretty bad.

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  53. "the one place it counted" was clearly referring to city hall/ZBA.

    that's not clear to me at all

    my impression from what we know so far is BP sent a note to Shiller

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  54. Right. It seems to me that he is saying BP sent a letter to Shiller (which was clearly ignored)and then Uptown United spoke on their behalf at the hearing ("the onle place it counted").

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  55. "BP opposed this ... and then sent Uptown United to speak against LR."

    "Uptown United spoke on their {BP's] behalf at the hearing ... "

    this is not clear to me

    if the neighborhood "chamber of commerce," even a faux chamber, voted to oppose a special use permit, that might be consider a significant event

    but it is not clear that the "chamber's" position was communicated to the ZBA in testimony or in writing by BP, the alderman or Uptown United

    has anyone seen Uptown United's letter? does it mention the "chamber" or its vote?

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  56. "if the neighborhood "chamber of commerce," even a faux chamber, voted to oppose a special use permit, that might be consider a significant event

    but it is not clear that the "chamber's" position was communicated to the ZBA in testimony or in writing by BP, the alderman or Uptown United"

    I did not have to answer any of your questions. I chose to in good faith.
    Hugh, you must just enjoy this game. Me, I find it a boring waste of time. As long as I dragged myself into this mess, I might as well play like you do.

    I am going to ask you a question. You MUST answer yes/no. Any answer other than yes or no will cast a shadow of doubt upon you.

    "Do you still beat puppies?"

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  57. angry & frustratedMarch 23, 2008 at 5:03 AM

    Paul, your measure of frustration and feeling of judgment comes no where near to what we experience every single day with Helen Shiller. The difference is that you get to go home to the suburbs. We live here. This is our home.

    The community is asking for a little input, not a lot, into matters that directly concern them. We ask not to be lied to. Again, that's not a lot but we learned to keep our standards low around here. Why, that's our motto: Uptown, where standards are kept low!

    Huge bonus points if there is a touch of transparency. That is the only objective way we can measure the little bit of truth we crave.

    It would be icing on the cake if we got what we asked for in the charrettes for the Wilson Yard, but we understand the powers that be won't allow it. But that would still be nice and we can dream, can't we?

    Now Paul, you have a choice. We're asking that you work with us in our feeble attempts to raise the standards for retail throughout Uptown. If you can't, that's okay. Just don't get in our way of trying to make Uptown better. How's that?

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  58. Paul, most of us who read your posts probably appreciate that you answered questions and you signed your name. (Some people have said as much.) Most of us can also see that you feel backed into a corner as thanks for your efforts.

    But as angry&frustrated said, you get to go back to the suburbs. As both a Chamber member and a voter in your suburb, you've got a chance to have input at your business AND with your home. Since being part of the democratic process is the normal course of events for people like you, it isn't surprising that you don't understand why we are so angry.

    Surely you don't get your way every time, but at least you are valued enough to be invited to sit down at the table. What we get is "concensus around a guided [read: Helen's] set of principles." When we show up at the table after sleuthing around on our own to find out what is happening, we are greeted with lies and half-truths designed to keep us out for good. We are treated like half-wits who should be prevented from making decisions for ourselves.

    Reading comments and posting comments might be a "boring waste of time" for you, but for us it is our Common Sense.

    As angry&frustrated said, please work with us towards are common goals or please get out of the way.

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  59. So, the bottom line is that Uptown Business Partners never opposed the locating of a Labor Ready day worker office across the street from our elementary school at the zoning hearing, either in person or in writing.

    Uptown Business Partners knew about Labor Ready's proposed siting across from the school before the community had to be officially notified two weeks in advance of the zoning hearing, but did not communicate anything to the community. Uptown Business Partners did take an internal vote saying that they opposed it and sent a letter to the alderman, who was totally free to ignore their letter.

    Thus, the actions taken by Uptown Business Partners were ineffective.

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  60. Seems to me that we don't know, until the ZBA reveals their ruling, what actions were effective and what weren't.

    There's a lot of anger here, but is it properly directed solely at Uptown Business Partners?

    We've all been upset at UBP not opposing the alderman and her self-styled juggernaut toward making Uptown the North Side's one and only hub for social services. I share in that anger.

    But it seems out of place to be dumping on Uptown United and Uptown Business Partners in this instance for actually opposing the alderman's wishes. I commend them for it, however late it was in coming.

    If the ZBA does rule in favor of Labor Ready, then EVERYTHING was ineffective, including the StopLaborReady web site, the hundred or so residents who showed up at Zoning hearing, the articles in the News Star, UCC, etc., etc.

    Do I blame any of those organizations or residents for being "ineffective" should Labor Ready get their zoning permit? No. Nor do I blame Uptown Business Partners.

    The one person I completely hold responsible sits in the alderman's office and ignores every opinion that doesn't conform to her own.

    If UBP and Uptown United have come to a point where they won't be a rubber stamp for the alderman's "plan" for Uptown, I welcome them to the table.

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  61. If Uptown Busines Partners sent nothing to the Zoning Board and did not attend the hearing or testify against Labor Ready at the Zoning hearings, I believe we can safely assume that UBP's (in)actions were ineffective toward the Zoning Board.

    Let's visualize:
    0+0+0=0 not someting >0

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  62. "Are you a chamber member?"

    this might have been a valid point IF BP were a membership-funded provate organization

    "I did not have to answer any of your questions."

    as a taxpayer-funded not-for-profit you are responsible to me and every other taxpayer in Chicago

    if you are not comfortable with that you should have thought of that before you transitioned your organization to the public dole

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  63. "... it seems out of place to be dumping on Uptown United and Uptown Business Partners in this instance for actually opposing the alderman's wishes. ... Do I blame any of those organizations or residents for being "ineffective" should Labor Ready get their zoning permit?"

    Yes, if the "opposition" was for show, designed to play in the 'hood.

    "The one person I completely hold responsible sits in the alderman's office ..."

    Here the BP apologists are playing on the popular conception of alderman as Czar. "We sent a letter to the alderman, what else do you want?" In this view the alderman is the "only place that matters."

    It is inconceivable that a local business person, owner and operator of a tattoo parlor no less, and President of the local "chamber of commerce" no less, would NOT understand the critical role of the ZBA in a special use process.

    It is inconceivable that such a person would assume a Chicago alderman would forward the note as appropriate.

    If BP did not take time to testify before the ZBA or communicate their vote in writing, then yes, absolutely, they may be criticized for being deliberately, crassly ineffective.

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  64. a hundred area residents understood how important the ZBA hearing was, but a local business person, the owner and operator of a tattoo parlor, and the President of the local "chamber of commerce" did not?

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  65. I don't think this is a game, I think this is very serious

    the issues we are discussing in this thread are EXACTLY the front-line issues of self-determination in community development in Chicago's neighborhoods

    you look around, you see one bone-headed decision being made after another, and you wonder WHY? HOW can this happen?

    I believe a major contributing factor to the lack of community voices is that the administration uses our tax dollars against us, they bulk-purchase all the grassroots support they need, they literally don't need us

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  66. the alderman apologizes to the Board for the unfortunate ruckus from the gallery, "those are my political enemies" and waves a stack of letters written by organizations funded by the City

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  67. "those are my political enemies" --- you heard her say that? (I am not challenging you, I just didn't hear her say that.)

    Her constituents are her political enemies? Mary Ann Smith's constituents are her political enemies? The McCutcheon LSC is her political enemy? Staff members of the McCormick Boys & Girls Club are her political enemies? Uptown United and UCC are her political enemies?

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  68. "Not only does the Chamber that Paul is President of receive the bulk of its fund from the Dept of Planning, but Paul also personally received substantial funds from the Wilson TIF, which is run by the Dept of Planning."

    continuing our commitment to FACT-based blogging

    some FACTS from the June, 2006 Wilson Yard TIF annual report (the report for the 2005 calendar year), submitted by the City of Chicago to the state of Illinois:

    LAND ACQUISITION

    In a controversial transaction in the 2005 calendar year, we the property taxpayers of Cook County spent $5M to purchase the WY property for Holsten, including an absurdly low $2.65M to the CTA and $2.35M to other land owners. Here is a list of those other (other than the CTA) property owners who shared in the $2.35M:

    Broadway Montrose Building, LLC
    Roberta Whitebloom
    Marvin Ganek
    Naresh Kumar
    Jose Lopez
    Southwest Bell Mobile Systems, Inc. dba Cellular One-Chicago
    Azusa Liquors, Inc.
    Uptown People's Law Center
    Arifa II, Inc.
    Paul Collurafici
    Melina Luu
    Young Kim
    Esther Kwarteng
    Warsame Abdulphi
    St. Augustine's Center for American Indians, Inc.
    Joseph Osei-Bonsu
    Maria Pappas
    David Orr

    No further break-down of the $2.35M is provided.

    The payments to Maria & David are presumably back-taxes, which we the taxpayers of Cook County "ate" by paying them off out of the TIF.

    TENANT RELOCATION ASSISTANCE

    In addition, in 2005 we property taxpayers of Cook County spent an ADDITIONAL $445,894 RELOCATING tenants out of the WY project footprint, over & above what we spent to buy their property. Here is a list of the 2005 WY relocation derby winners:

    Khador Ghawi $122,230
    Beckwith Enterprises $10,900
    Northwestern/Loyola Students $5,350
    Abdullhi Warsame $20,000
    ONYX General Contractors $5,700
    Fox & Fox Services $5,400
    St. Augustine's Center $20,000
    Ester Kwarteng $58,314
    Jose Lopez $48,881
    Paul Collurafici $121,613
    Hee Daj & Young Hee Kim $20,000

    The big winners appear on BOTH lists: reimbursed by the property taxpayers of Cook County both for their property AND for moving expenses.

    Note well the "reimbursements" to Mr. Collurafici were not made to a corporation but paid to Mr. Collurafici personally, as per the City's official annual report.

    TIF has been very, very good to the President of the "chamber."

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  69. Hugh-
    Keep up the good work. You take the time to dig up facts that many Uptown residents choose to ignore and it is appreciated.

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