Thursday, December 13, 2007

Alderman Shiller: $1,000 Fines And 6 Months In Jail For Feeding Pigeons

By Fran Spielman - Chicago Sun-Times

Mary Poppins once sang about the old woman who exhorted people to "Feed the birds. Tuppence a bag."
Aldermen Danny Solis (25th) and Helen Shiller (46th) are so serious about cleaning up pigeon droppings caked on monuments, bridges, sidewalks and plazas, they want to throw the book at those who feed the birds -- with fines as high as $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Solis claimed that every well-fed pigeon dumps 25 pounds of fecal matter each year.
"It doesn't look good to have all of this fecal matter around a very beautiful monument" at 18th and Blue Island, Solis said.
It's "causing damage -- not only to property, but to health. . . . Whenever they overfeed them, rats gather around the statue. That's another health problem."
The ordinance that Solis and Shiller introduced at Wednesday's City Council meeting states, "No person shall purposely provide food -- including, but not limited to grain, seeds, greens, bread crumbs and miscellaneous food scraps -- intended for pigeon ingestion on public property or property subject to the city right-of-way."
Punishment would include fines of "not less than $100 or more than $1,000" and up to six months in jail. Each day pigeons are fed would constitute a separate offense.
Solis stressed that he's not talking about enforcing the law immediately. "We're going to try to have people get informed or get [two or three] warnings before anything happens" he said.
A plan by Southwest Side Ald. Lona Lane (18th) to throw chickens into the same coop was postponed at Wednesday's meeting.
The delay might have something to do with Mayor Daley, who sounds as if he's against the chicken ban.
"Let's be realistic. A lot of ethnic people do keep chickens. If you grew up in Chicago, you know that," he said.


  1. Wonder if this would be enforced right outside her office on the corner by Popeye's? Probably not.

  2. Can you imagine what our neighborhood would be like if we were as hard on real criminals as our Alderman wants to be on people who feed pigeons? Picture it. Public urination...BAM! 6 months in jail. Public intoxication...BAM! $1,000 fine. The possibilities are mind-boggling.

  3. Let's get this straight.

    Under Shiller's rule bird watchers "chumming" with bread and grains to get birds to come closer can get fined up to $1000 if they can't prove that they intended to attract a rare gull instead of a pigoen.

    Meanwhile the two trolls screwing in the bushes in front of the birdwatchers "get off" with no police enforcement. That should keep them cumming!

  4. Human defication and litter also attract rats. Shiller has done nothing about this in her own Ward. Where is this woman's head???

  5. The laws are in place for public urination and drinking on the public way. The problem is with judges that don't empose the fines and/or jail time.

  6. Hey, maybe she's slowly working her way towards other improvements.

    Regardless of her shortcomings and the fact I can't stand her, I have to agree with her on this one. Pigeons are just winged rats any way.

  7. Ahhhh...... as I took my morning walk to the Wilson L stop I was relieved to know that Alderman Shiller is putting her efforts to good use. No more pigeon crap? That's fantastic news, I was thinking. Then I tripped over a homeless guy and fell into a pile of garbage. So good to know that she's got her priorities straight.

  8. How would we know if the judges ever imposed fines in the 46th Ward when the Alderman demands that the police ignore pubic drinking and public urination so that there are never charges that come before the judges?

  9. Let's see Helen Shiller’s full-time staff:

    Assistant to the Alderman - Denice Davis - $65,388.00/year
    Staff Assistant to the Alderman - Michilla Blaise - $47,388.00/year
    Staff Assistant to the Alderman - Yvonne Odell - $54,960.00/year Equals $167,736 for Helen's Full time staff. Not to mention her outside contractor budget and $300,000 office expense budget.

    I bet for that kind of money Alderman Shiller should be able to resolve people and pigeon poop issues at the same time. What do you think?

  10. I've lived near Wilson and Broadway for going on 20 years and I have yet to see anyone feeding pigeons in the 46th Ward other than at the Montrose (and Jarvis 44th Ward) bird sanctuary areas. Why the heck is Shiller wasiting her legislative efforts on pigeon feeding issues when there are critical issues to be addressed in this Ward.

    Here's some that she should be attending to:
    Weiss Hospital was again ranked as one of the worst hospitals in Chicago, yet 911 requires city ambulances to transport us their if we live closer to it than Thorek.

    Our local parks are dominated by city wide programming and do not serve our local community.

    Even before the CTA crisis, Uptown bus lines have always been allotted the oldest buses in the CTA system making them the most likely for breakdown.

  11. I see it this way no matter what Shiller does you will have problems with what she isn't doing.

    I can see why Shiller would not work with you on your issues.

    As a JC voter I have to say I am so sick of the comments on Helen Shiller no matter what she does you beat her up for and I have done my share as well but you all are not moving the ward forward by the "concept" every Helen does it bad. So you won't support her on anything.

    Helen's office has helped me recently with a Developer/Resident issue at my condo and done a good job with it.

    Also I called Helen's office some time back requesting information on "is it illegal to feed the pigeons and her staff called me back and read me the current law but it didn't say specifically pigeons at that time I requested that she does something to address this. I also called Maryann Smith's office as well since I am on the border of both.

    Frankly, I am sick of all the Helen bashing and I am starting to like her because all I hear is how evil and bad she is.

    You are all having the opposite effect on people by continuing to be nasty about her and turning some non supporters into supports.

    Bottom line is she won the election fair and square and if she didn't you all should have addressed it then if it was sham.

    Go Helen what a great idea a Pigeon feeding ordinance.

  12. "No matter what Helen does, you have problem with what she isn't doing."

    Yes, that is true. Alot of what Helen spends her time on is national or regional activism to the exclusion of the things that aldermen typically do for their Wards, that is deliver city services. I want an alderman who is willing to do the Alderman's job. Not one that uses the office as a platform for special interests group lobbyists or who trades her votes for causes that do not affect our ward.

  13. RHB sounds like a broken spirit.

    She's bad. Seriously. Good that she helped you out - which is her job - but her job also consists of keeping the ward from becoming a festering pisshole.

    Wilson Station?

    Wilson Yard?

    How 'bout a grand old hotel being turned into an SRO flophouse?

    There's a one reason, and one reason only, why a once vibrant ward, with three major sites for entertainment I might add, is taking so damned long to turn around.

    She's the face of political karma. Treat your constituents like crap, and you will have the favor returned.

    As for the election - just because it wasn't challenged doesn't mean it wasn't a sham.

  14. Well if it was illegal and challengeable I am sure you would have challenged it. If you could prove it that is a no brainer.

    She can't control the ward like it's Mayberry other parts of the City have issues too.

    This is a City if you don't like it move to Schaumburg.

    If you are so against Uptown why the hell would you stay? Or why did you move here in the first place?

    She has faults lots of them but I can see why you that so anti turn off people that can think with an open mind when it comes to things.

    Bottom line she is the 46th ward Alderman and you have to work with her.

    From the way you approach her on the blogs I can see why she won't work with you on anything.

    Have any of you ever worked for a major corporation where you have to figure a way to work the political system and pick you battles?

    I don't think Tunney to the South is any better but you have to work with them. You don't see people bashing him every chance they get.

    As a supporter of JC this last time you are really starting to make me think those against Shiller are part of the problem not the solution.

    Do you seriously want people feeding the Pigeons?

  15. I suggest something a little more proactive.

    "Pigeon Killing Shiller"

    Even sounds like the alderbeast.

  16. We got legal advice about whether or not to challenge, and were told it wouldn't work. It was very close, but very close does not win an election. I will be in a much better position the next time around.

    I would agree there's a ton of Helen-bashing going on and it's not always productive. It's rare to see so much bashing of one alderman, although there are a few other unpopular aldermen who come to mind.

    As a family advocate at a children's hospital, much of my job has me speaking with upset people. There's a way of addressing these concerns that can de-escalate the anger so that people can talk with one another and resolve their differences. On the other hand, I've watched people make the situation worse and cause all kinds of further division.

    Helen is a strong advocate for people experiencing oppression. I consider myself a strong advocate as well. The difference is the approach. One alienates, and one unites. I believe Helen Shiller is experiencing the results of her actions with others.

    We just saw Gene Schulter experience a lot of division in his own ward. At times it got very intense. However, look at the results and notice the angry division stopped when people felt heard. People want to feel heard and they want to be treated with respect. If they don't get it, there will be a negative reaction. It's human nature.

  17. Well I think it's really pre-mature at this point and crazy for JC to be gunning for run next time and turns me off and I voted for him and got others to sign the petition to get him on the ballet.

    I can honestly say I am keeping and open mind until it is time to consider the Alderman Election.

    A lot can happen between then and now. Perhaps she steeps down and we get someone appointed by Daley that is really good.

    Perhaps Shiller or JC get run over by a bus. God I hope not either of them. Perhaps I get run over by a bus.

    But it is real stupid to keep bashing her and WY it's a down deal.

    I personally think all the Alderman suck and so does Daley but no one seems to give us better options. I don't call Cook County Crook County for the heck of it.

    Also JC never got any endorsements from anyone if I remember. Sun Times/Tribune/Windy City Times and other Alderman.

    Move on folks concentrate on things you can make happen.

  18. Apologies for my long-winded rant, ahead of time:

    I wasn't living here at the time. And I'd moved here in order to help the neighborhood - with a hopeful upside on an investment return, if possible.

    I guess I didn't realize that being an "up-and-comer" was going to get me chastised and ignored by my alderman.

    She didn't ignore you, and you find yourself defending her.


    Certainly a challenge wouldn't work. How in the heck are you going to verify all of those questionable registrants within a time frame that wouldn't cause more harm than good?

    I do see your point, and Jim's point about the diminishing returns of over-gripe. I think the cruxt of that one is that the people want to see a safe, sound, and progressive community.

    Not a way-station for the questionable, and certainly not a mecca of illicit activities and random, unsolved murders.

    And, yes ... all of this stuff exists everywhere, but it certainly feels like some of this could be avoided.

    It's not like we're asking her to change the world. We're simply asking her to do her job. Put special interests and personal agendas aside.

    Considering that she understands how divisive she is, it's her duty as the alderman to be the harbinger of unity.

    If she wants to be viewed at a higher moral standard, she needs to behave accordingly.

    She'd score big points with the public if she even bothered to show a little enthusiasm for getting lights turned back on, or a festering L stop cleaned up.

    Or if she didn't bamboozle her constituency with the big promise, little or no return gambit.

    And when the issues are brought to her, she can't generate a direct answer.

    I've worked in the corporate world, and your analogy is incomplete.

    If you had an employee that acted as her, you'd fire her. Plain and simple. You'd bitch about her forever, then you'd fire her.

    We don't have that option. There is no course for recall.

    I'd be very interested in the results of a recall election, with proper election judges.

    But, again, you're right. She is our alderman. But, she is our employee. She shouldn't be looking to ignore, alienate and disenfranchise those who actually pay for the world that she wants to save.

    Sure, there's bitching and griping. Too much so, at times - of course.

    And, yeah .. it's easy to do so anonymously.

    But the fact remains that we're sitting in a glorious part of a world-famous city; right on the lake, gorgeous theaters abound. A ward that could really be something special; be all things to all people (if you'll allow me to over-romanticize) and we see absolutely no progress in that direction, whatsoever.


  19. So let's get back to the issue at hand: pigeon poop. We have plenty in the 46th Ward but it isn't coming from people feeding pigeons. For those who object to what they believe is a stupid discussion, remember that it is stupid mainly because we don't have anyone feeding pigeons in our ward so there is no reason for Shiller to be wasting our legislative resources (and blog time) on this issue. Now cleaning up the pigeon poop by the Wilson El, would be nice but I doubt that she will follow through on that.

  20. Some of you folks don't get out much. My neighbors throw bags of bread crumbs on the street almost every day to feed the pigeons, gulls, etc... We also have a huge rat problem on my street. I might add that there is a sign posted right outside my neighbors building that explains that it is illegal to feed the pigeons to a fine of $500. Still they feed the birds...and the rats. So, I, for one, welcome the proposal, although I'm sure it will not be enforced.

  21. Some of you folks don't get out much. My neighbors throw bags of bread crumbs on the street almost every day to feed the pigeons, gulls, etc... We also have a huge rat problem on my street. I might add that there is a sign posted right outside my neighbors building that explains that it is illegal to feed the pigeons to a fine of $500. Still they feed the birds...and the rats. So, I, for one, welcome the proposal, although I'm sure it will not be enforced.

  22. Give me a location. I want to see this for myself.

  23. Ah, so your neighbor is feeding pigeons and gulls at the same time, you say. Now, how is that neighbor supposed to prove his mental intent to feed a gull versus the pigeon that stole the grain in order to avoid the $1000 fine?

    Thought Documentation. According to the article, that is what Shiller's law would requlre. Is that dumb or what? Or in Shiller-speak... It's STRANGE....

  24. If the sign says there is already a law against feeding pigeons, and it doesn't work, then why do we need another one. Isn't this just an enforcement issue?

  25. "A lot can happen between then and now. Perhaps she steeps down and we get someone appointed by Daley that is really good." another anonymous anonymous

    You don't get it. Daley is the reason why Shiller is allowed to pull this crap on us with the Wilson Yard. The LAST thing we would want is to have Daley appoint her replacement. As a matter of fact, it's a total sham when any elected official steps down to get another buddy appointed. Daley has appointed over 20 aldermen and they all vote just the way he wants. I just hope there's not many people who think like you in this ward.

  26. Agreed. It is clear that the city will not allow this community to function as its own community.

  27. If this were to pass, would Shiller get arrested or fined? She's the biggest pigeon in the 46th Ward who shits on everyone, everyday.

  28. The real question is who keeps feeding the Shiller Pigeon? It's not her constituents that keep her here.

  29. Pigeon Man Killed

    Chicago's famous pigeon feeder at Western and Lawerence was killed in a car accident today. See the Tribune story link below. Then wonder why 47th Ward Ald Gene Schulter wasn't the sponsor of this proposed pigeon ordinance instead of 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller, where we have no pigeon feeding problem,0,1843122.story?coll=chi_about_custom_events_printersrow_xpromo