Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A New Uptown Gateway

Courtesy News-Star:
Christie Hahn, the new executive director for Business Partners, The Chamber of Uptown, featured in this week's "Five Minutes With," revealed plans for a new digital gateway that will be launched on the organization's Web site in early summer at

"It will be the digital front door for Uptown, with lots of information for business and restaurants," the effervescent Hahn said.

This is good news for Uptown, considering that the neighborhood chamber's digital gateway probably won't smell of urine like Uptown's other gateway, the Wilson Avenue CTA El Station.


  1. fresh out of school

    doesn't live in the neighborhood

    no significant relevant prior experience


  2. "doesn't live in the neighborhood"

    Um, if this is a qualification to have an opinion on the way Uptown is run, Hugh, you're in trouble.

  3. I'm concerned that this gateway will only reach people on one end of the "digital divide". What percentage of Uptown residents have regular internet access and the means to 1) learn about this site, and 2) visit it regularly? Using a communications method that only a portion of people have regular access to will further divide the community.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm a big proponent of elevating the level of safety and quality in Uptown, but I want to do it with as many people on board as possible.

  4. You can build bridges, or you can build walls. Christie is trying to build a bridge. I thank her for that. Let's try and work together and imagine what can happen.

    Remember that old quote, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Don't let that happen.

  5. Lest anyone get the mis-impression the "chamber's" currently vapor but SOON to be unveiled FABULOUS new website is "brought to you by the hard-working business persons of Uptown" ...

    Dear fellow taxpayers,

    I hope you REALLY, REALLY like the "chamber's" fancy new "digital gateway" - when you see it - because YOU paid for it!

    The $64K pay-off from the City to the "chamber" includes in the contract a $7K line item for "Professional and Technical Services" including in the description "web and tech"

    "Create and maintain a dedicated organizational website" is a required performance in the work program in the contract.

    you can look it up

    Vendor, Contract and Payment Search

    (tip: search on vendor name bus.*)

    funny how the City pays for websites for some not-for-profits and not for others

    funny how some organizations hold pre-election luncheons for incumbent aldermen and others don't

  6. Hugh,

    Your criticism of Ms Hahn is really unfounded. She worked for the Lincoln Square chamber before taking this position. That seems pretty relevant to me. And seeing that Lincoln Square commercial area is much more vibrant than Uptown, I'd bet she has some good ideas for Uptown.

  7. hopefully not thru eminent domain!

  8. "She worked for the Lincoln Square chamber before taking this position."

    Hahn was the Executive Director of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce? for how long? what were her accomplishments? why did she leave?

  9. "Lincoln Square commercial area is much more vibrant than Uptown"

    that was her?

  10. Don't think she was ED, but then every ED had to get promoted to the position at some point. Thats probably why she left. Most people leave their jobs for better ones.

  11. Hugh's mantra is"

    "Everyone connected with any form of government is evil. Any receiving money from any form of government is evil. Anyone who associates with anyone receiving money from any form of government is evil."

    As with any fanatic, attempting to reason with him is fruitless.

  12. Oh, come on, anon 1:12. What Hugh said yesterday wasn't cool. However, unless you are saying that the Chamber has not received public funds and that after 3 requests of one particular poster (not me) who has asked you to discuss what you have done, then you're not being fair.

    You guys lose credibility when you avoid transparency by saying that you refuse to answer the questions of fanatics. For goodness sake, just spend some of the tax money on a glossy brochure detailing all of the terrific initiatives you have short, what you have done because we can't see it. Be our guest, prove us wrong! Many of us would be happy to put our tails between our legs and say, "boy, we were really barking up the wrong tree on that one..."

  13. No your attacking fund raising efforts? It was a fund raiser, so the organization can do more of its mission. For instance: promoting and encouraging economic development in the neighborhood.

  14. Hugh, your still a coward and a liar. Do I have to follow you to every post? Stop it already! I have better things to do with my time.

    Don't forget, I will be having dinner alone today at Crew from 4:45 until 5:30. Then going over to Agami for a Chamber networking event. I do hope to see you there, 'o' great and mighty man behind the curtain...

  15. Paul, forgetting about Hugh for a moment, it appears that quite a few people here are curious to know more about what either organization has done in the past few years with the funding they'ved received. This has been asked in this and other threads at least four times now. Can you tell us?

  16. Please remember, anonymous posting on a blog is fun, but that is all it is. I don’t know who this Hugh person is or if he owns a business in Uptown or is even a resident. The wonder of anonymous posting is that the poster could be anyone or anywhere. Some people have demanded a meeting. With who, an anonymous web board? I also have a duty to my members. Any official information needs to come from the board, not me.

    As you can see, I love to talk about the Chamber and am proud of what we have been able to do with the resources that we have. This is just not the forum. Any comments seem to inspire exaggerated negative responses. Once posted, no matter how true or false, carry on to the entire World Wide Web. You can thank Hugh for that. If given enough time, he will have us responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the assignation of President Kennedy. I have worked too hard for that to happen.

    I must leave now. I am planning on having dinner at Crew from 4:45 until 5:30. If anyone wants to join me…

    Paul Collurafici

  17. you remind me of another brave, brave man, Jose Canseco on Nightline, "the timing is not right"

  18. " ... just spend some of the tax money on a glossy brochure ... "

    for god's sake, please don't spend any more taxpayer money on self-promotion, Uptown's legitimate needs are desperate

    just post ONE thing the "chamber" has accomplished, that won't cost anything

    the 1st one will be the hardest

    it will get easier

    come on, you can do it!

    you must be able to point to one or two things off the top of your head, right?

    after all, we're talking half a mil over the last decade

  19. you are President of the Board but you need Board approval to boast on your org?

    come on, make one little claim

    take credit for something

    tell us one positive accomplishment of BP

    how hard can that be?

  20. I'll start

    the banners

    your turn!

  21. Well this is fun, isn't it.

    Hugh does make some legitimate points. If you take taxpayers money you should publish what you do with that money. In fact your whole budget should be published because the use of taxpayers money frees up other money for other uses.

    People shouldn't have to sit down with you for dinner at CREW to find out. Hugh also shouldn't suggest you be lined up against a wall and shot right after being allowed a final smoke. Personally,I want a final hooker before I am lined up and shot. I'm not talking some street hooker.......I want a Spitzer type hooker......and I want the taxpayers to pick up the tab. Sorry, Hugh.

    Hugh is a true believer and while he finds lotsa great information he tends to go more than a wee bit off the deep end very often. "Beyond the Pale" as the English used to say of the Irish living beyond "civilized" Dublin. Hugh basically feels that any spending by any local government agency is filled with waste,theft and fraud. He ain't that far off, unfortunately.

    This whole "sit down with me thing" is a dodge.

    That being said I still wish the Chamber well. I have little doubt that Paul does wish Uptown business to prosper because if it does he will make more lovely cash himself. Greed and self interest are not necessarily all bad.

    I don't have any tattoos, but I still hope his business does well. The storefront looks good and he seems to be a good business neighbor. I'm sure a few bars and restaurants on Broadway and a new EL stop would please him greatly.

    The main idea should be making Uptown a better place to live, work in, shop and find dine/drink/entertainment in.

    My FIRST choice to make Uptown better, not including an obvious political change, would be a new EL stop at Montrose linking directly to the proposed Target and directly or indirectly to Truman College.

    That would be a wise use of tax money and would likely add to my property value. There's that whole greed thingie agin'.

  22. Hugh, I missed you for dinner. I don’t know how anyone could turn down the baked beans at Crew. Oh well, your loss. After reading Irish Pirates post, I kind of wished he would have joined me. On a side note, I have a pirate that works at the studio. Her name is Dawn. While I don’t understand the pirate thing, I thought he might like to know he’s not alone in Uptown. Arrrr.

    I need to start with a disclaimer. “Anything read here is true to the best of my knowledge. If after reading this, Hugh does his usual spin and slams it, sorry.”

    OK everybody, fasten your seat belts and return your seat trays to their uppermost position.

    $64000 dollar CDBG grant (which will be cut another 5% next year) does not go into my pocket. If there are any business owners on here, figure it out. Executive Director salary. Rent. Phone. Postage. Electric and heat. Web hosting. Internet service. Stamps. Etc. If it were not for dues, we would be out of business.

    What have we done? Let’s see, helped Agami with liquor license, loading zone and permits are a few. Pretty much the same thing with Demera. Sent letters of support and stood and testified in council chambers for many other similar items for businesses throughout Uptown. Even letters against in the case of Labor Ready. With the help of United we brought the SSA to Uptown. Worked continually with Argyle Street to clean up their image and have tried with little success to get them to take down the burglar bars. Hosted annual lunches with both alderman and police commanders that are not only fun, but include question and answer sessions along with the latest news from the ward. We brought the banner program to Uptown. The neighborhood would look great if every pole had a banner but we cannot force people (and block clubs!) to buy them. Corridors of Vision. GSI mapping. We have helped new businesses find locations and property owners find good business tenants. Sit on the Wilson Yard Task Force. Held many meetings with business owners and the streetscape department. If your business has an outdoor café and the new streetscape places a planter in front of you space, no outdoor café.

    I’d like to break off a minute on that one. There are many rules you must follow to have an outdoor café. Bike racks and street poles and garbage cans need to be a certain number of feet away and you still need six feet of un-obstructed sidewalk after you are done. If your space does not fall into that category, you don’t get one. With the new streetscape coming, coordinating all of that has been difficult but the end result will be beautiful.

    The Chamber hosts monthly networking events to keep our business owners and clients informed of happenings in the hood and also encourage the togetherness that most small businesses lack. An informative business guide distributed to 12,000 households in Uptown. A free Christmas party in the beautiful Bridgeview Bank rotunda with a hat and glove collection for the neediest of children. Small business improvement guide. SBIF. Strategic planning sessions. There are many more things but the fingers are getting tired.

    Many posts or threads back someone said that if the Chamber is not willing to help then we should just get out of your way. I would never tell you, the consumer, to get out of our way. We need each other. I would like to let you in on a little tip. For every person that preaches we need more retail in Uptown, look in the mirror and ask yourself what you have done to help this. Here is an example; everyone says they want small little boutique ma and pop places. When is the last time YOU have shopped at one? The Urban Tea Lounge went out of business last year. Why? Ask anybody who was ever inside the UTL how the place and food and service were. It was great. The only thing missing was YOU. The neighborhood preaches it wants this type of business but failed to patronize it. There is another tea lounge still in Uptown. If you do not go there regularly and encourage your friends to go there, they may be next. Every time someone wonders why there are so many hair braiding places the answer is simple, people shop there! Remember that the next time you order a Venti Tazo Chi Cream Frappuccino.

    To continue on with my shameless self promoting ways, this Friday and Saturday from 7 until 10 some Chicago artists along with the artists at the Tattoo Factory are having a gallery show in my available space next door at 4443 N. Broadway. It is free to look and small horderves and soft drinks will be provided. Why not get away from your computer, come in and look around and then end the night at the Spot next door? If Hugh shows up, I’m buying! Same to you, Pirate.

  23. Paul,
    Perhaps there's a little cognitive dissonance going on here. We look at what is happening in Andersonville, Bryn Mawr, and the Southport Corridor that were all in the pits 20 years ago and have gone through some vast changes. There's a reason why it didn't catch on in Uptown. The communities there didn't organize themselves 20 years ago to make themselves shop in the area to revitalize it.

    Where is the friggin report that assesses what types of businesses and social services are already in the area? I don't want this to be us squabbling with one another. Perhaps it would help if the Chamber encouraged businesses to join their local block clubs and attend their local CAPS meetings. That would be a start, but get that friggin business assessment done and throw it on a website.

  24. I am encouraged by this new turn in the discussion on Chamber events. Thanks for the Chamber Update, Paul! Keep the information flowing. Some will challenge you on various issues and the extent to which you may or may not be Helen's or Daley's instrument, but that is part of being a community and it should not be feared. If you go for honesty and as much transparency as possible, you'll be able to weather the storm. Your critiques of consumer behavior around here are also justified. So, I think the answer to all of this is closer collaboration which can be created by finding a way to incorporate some kind of "consumer's auxiliary" as I have suggested before and perhaps Chamber businesses getting more involved in CAPS and block clubs. While it was nice for you to invite us to last night's networking event, that is not the same thing as a more ongoing integration of the community into what you are doing as a Chamber. Thank you, FINALLY, for sharing what has been going on recently at the Chamber.

  25. "Sent letters of support and stood and testified in council chambers ... "

    will you please post same on your taxpayer-funded website?


  26. Back to the original topic of this post, BP's website, I have a question. I am having trouble finding where you acknowledge the source of your funding. As you know from your contract, you are required to do so. Can you help me find the contractually required acknowledgment on your website? Thank you.

  27. excerpt from BP's contract with taxpayers:


    You will conspicuously acknowledge the co-sponsorship of the City on all promotional materials including, but not limited to, brochures, flyers, written or electronic public notices, news releases, public service announcements, acknowledgments at any special events intended to promote the Services, or solicitation of the private sector.

    When issuing statements, press releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations, and other documents describing projects or programs funded in whole or in part with federal money, you will clearly state

    i. the percentage of the total costs of the program or project whcih will be financed with federal money;

    ii. the dollar amount of federal funds for the project or program; and

    iii. the percentage and dollar amount of the total costs of the project or program that will be financed by non-governmental sources.

  28. If the contractually required acknowledgment is not there, please add it. Maybe it's a small thing, but it would mean a lot to me and my neighbors in terms of BP recognizing your accountability to the community. I'm sorry, but by terms of the contract you signed you simply are not permitted to make out like everything you do is "brought to you by the chamber." Think of it as a first step in a return to minimally acceptable transparency.

    It's a easy change, I think you could get it done next week.

  29. I thank Paul for his posts and comments. Now I knew that immediately after, Hugh would demand something. There is no way to satisfy this guy.

    Hugh's immediate dismissal of Christie is another example of his modus operandi. He immediately dimisses everything that he can and never gets off his computer to actually do something. It is very easy to sit at a keyboard and bitch.

    If you had come to Agami last night you could have met Christie and learned more about her experience and ideas. She is going to be a great asset to the community. One of her goals is to build a relationship with neighbors to help support chamber efforts and improve the neighborhood. She worked on this in Lincoln Square and it resulted in hundreds of people from the neighborhood working WITH the chamber to make Lincoln Square better. Hugh - wanna sign up, or is it easier to sit back and bash...

  30. " ... sit back and bash ... "

    no, this is the exact OPPOSITE of sitting back

    looking around, year after year, eventually you start asking questions, why does nothing change?

    the answer is complex of course but it is clear that part of the problem is the meager public resources that are allocated to business development are ineffective

    you desperately want to make this personal, it is not personal

    Uptown has problems, Business Partners has been given taxpayer dollars to address those problems, Business Partners is accountable to the public, it's a place to start

    start by simply acknowledging in plain text on your website that you are publicly funded and accountable

    it's easy, it's a contractual requirement, it would mean a lot

  31. Everyone wants transparency and accountability...especially from organizations that draw upon public funds. If the goal is to formally integrate the community into BP's objectives, many of us here will get involved and we will be an advocate for making sure that BP follows their requirements. This must be done. However, if the underlying issue is that local business organizations should not be supported by governmental funds, there is really no way to resolve that issue around here. That concern needs to be addressed in congress where the money is getting appropriated. Our job in Uptown is to make sure that whatever money finds its way here is spent appropriately and that the organization conducts itself without bias and in a transparent enough way so as to prevent bias. Let's try working together first.

  32. Paul, Thank you for posting that information. It is nice to know the Chamber is there to help local business establish themselves (Agami and Demera, I'll assume there are others you haven't cited). It gives them an opportunity to thrive. Plus, it's good that you, as a business owner in Uptown, belong to the Chamber.

    Some of Hugh's statements are accurate and true. Transparency is something we residents crave from ALL organizations in Uptown, from the Chamber to the WY Task Force and everything in between (I've been in Uptown for nearly a year now and I quickly learned how things operate here).

    Also, as residents, it is OUR responsibility to promote, frequent, dine, etc at Uptown's established stores. That includes Paul's shop, the Spot, the BOB, Crew, Agami, Taco Loco, help me out I'm running out, etc. Go to Dollop for coffee or the place on Sheridan whose name I forget now. We need some quality retail. Do we even have something like a flower shop here? It's BS some of the things we DON'T have but if small business owners (or others) see this are is a place to be successful, they WILL come. As the Pirate said, greed and self interest aren't always bad.

    The Chamber and other organizations have responsibility back to us, as well. If they receive taxpayer money, they should show their budget on the website.

    And please, I love Uptown Update and the lively discussions but let's keep it civil. Sometimes, it's like reliving high school.

  33. " ... if the underlying issue is that local business organizations should not be supported by governmental funds, there is really no way to resolve that issue around here."


    but the immediate issue is NOT whether they should or should not be publicly funded, it's that they currently have an unmet contractual obligation to acknowledge front & center the FACT that they are accountable to the public

  34. There are plenty of social services on the Chamber and their clients are causing tons of problems. When we try to enlist the help of these agencies, they throw their hands up in the air and say there's nothing they can do. How about the Chamber putting pressure on these social services to be better neighbors to the community. Who knows, we might feel safer to shop in the area!

    Look at what is going on outside the Wilson Men's Club. What is the Chamber doing to encourage Jay Bomberg to be a better neighbor? He might listen to the Chamber but he sure as hell won't listen to us.

  35. Hugh, go to and click on the fall news letter.

    ACTUALLY READ the top of page three.

    Stop the lies, shut up and go away.


  36. thank you for your reply

    ok, using the zoom feature in Adobe Reader i was able to find the fine print in your Fall, 2007 publication your newsletter that acknowledges that BP is publicly funded, that's good

    but I was asking about your website

    can you please direct to where on your website you fulfill your contractual obligation to acknowledges your accountability to the public?

    thank you again

  37. "Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown and Uptown United thank and acknowledge the generous underwriters of this newsletter: Combined Insurance, Weiss Memorial Hospital and City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development."

    the fine print in your newsletter acknowledges the taxpayer contribution to the publication of the newsletter, but does not mention the significant taxpayer contribution to BP in general, or to the website in particular, does it?

    and it doesn't quite express the contractually obligated percentages and dollar amounts (see above), does it?

    how about the "About us" page on your website? doesn't that seem like a real natural place for you to express your profound gratitude to the taxpayers who help make all your fine programs possible?

    It would really mean a lot to me and my neighbors if you could make this simple change to your website

    I know you are busy, thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important issue

  38. "Here is an example; everyone says they want small little boutique ma and pop places. When is the last time YOU have shopped at one?"
    "The neighborhood preaches it wants this type of business but failed to patronize it."

    Sounds like you're making a justification for focusing on chains. Or blame the community for the lack of retail.

    In Andersonville, these "ma and pop" places seem to do very well and local businesses are specifically part of the development focus. Yeah, they have a Starbucks and Einsteins, but those are the exception. And Kopi is often packed to the gills.

    If developed properly, they can be quite successful. Why did UTL go out of business? Well, I never went there because it was surrounded by crappy buildings and pockets of agressively panhandling homeless (by the Dearborn parking lot) and completely cut off from what marginal pedestrian space we have around here.

    Trying to pin UTL's issues on a fickle community is disingenuous. Business aren't charities. A well-developed (and that includes location) and executed business will succeed.

  39. "Well, I never went there because it was surrounded by crappy buildings and pockets of agressively panhandling homeless (by the Dearborn parking lot) and completely cut off from what marginal pedestrian space we have around here."

    You've heard it before. Let us help you conduct a local consumer survey so we can document this concern and get it up higher on the food chain. Almost EVERY street in the "corridors of vision" raised this issue, yet no money has been directed towards addressing this concern. Sidewalks are public spaces...they are open to all...the haves and the have nots alike...we shouldn't have to fight so hard for more cash to improve the pedestrian thoroughfares.

  40. so

    Is your position that that fine print acknowledging the City contribution to the newsletter, buried in a PDF posted on the website, satisfies your contractual obligation to "conspicuously acknowledge" the City and federal funding you took for your organization and your website?

    Hmm. I'm not so sure. I can tell you, as one of your funders, personally I'm not feeling the love.

    I wonder what HUD would say? I'm curious about this, and if I don't hear from you I'm thinking of writing them and asking.

    But I probably won't get to it 'til middle-late next week. Of course, before I send anything off, I'll check the "about" page on your website, and if text were to appear satisfying your contractual obligations, while expressing sufficient sincere gratitude, I probably won't bother, I have other things I can do instead.

    Thank you again for your commitment to transparency.

  41. Hugh,

    nice threat there. Being an asshole has its limits. Trust me I know. Why not give them some time to develop their website and get the info out. That's before you line everyone up who doesn't meet your standards and shoot them.

    Better yet since you teach computer science why not develop a sideline working with non profits in developing and maintaining websites.

    I'm serious. That way I have little doubt the requirements of the law would be more than met. You get cash and I suspect the non profits would get some kick ass websites. Everyone wins. Perhaps you can start trying to improve things more directly than just being a critic.

    Paul does seem to be trying to better Uptown. Later I will post some ideas of how we can better Uptown.

    Simple idea. Using Uptown Update to spread the word of good local businesses. I never would have walked into Express Chicken on Wilson if not for the mention of it on Uptown Update. That would be a loss for my palate and for that hardworking business owner.

    As for Paul's comment about me I am better on the internet than in person. Just ask my hookers.

    I'll post some ideas later about some creative people developing flyers to download that can be used to spread the Gospel of Uptown Update. Assuming the ruffians behind Uptown Update are for it.

    I don't foresee thousands of people going to the Chamber website, but I can foresee Uptown Update becoming a stop for thousands of people daily.

    Wait, my throw away phone is ringing. My hookers must be here.

  42. Of course people in the neighborhood need to patronize local businesses. But, I'm a firm believer that it should come by naturally. I do try to patronize local businesses over one's outside of the community, but should I do so merely because they are in the community? That's not going to be sustaining.

    I think things also have to be set in the backdrop of the fact that most businesses fail. That's just reality. Particularly in a tough environment like Uptown that doesn't have an established retail scene.

    I was stunned when Faz's bakery went out of business. I actually liked their products, even if I found them a bit too expensive on some of their per item pieces. But because I wanted something like that in the neighborhood, I'd make my way over there. Of course, many a time, they turned out to be closed. Obviously, more people didn't.

    Uptown suffers from the nebulous thing called a lack of "critical mass". How you develop it is never quite clear. But we just don't have enough people coming to the neighborhood to supplement the people who already live here to support a lot of the types of shops people want. I think the development at Lawrence and Broadway is promising, and I'm hopeful it might reach critical mass at some point.

    Bottom line, I think it's not worth it to try and pick who is at fault for why a business fails. Far better if we all just admit that developing businesses in Uptown is an uphill battle, there are going to be ups and downs, and that it's going to take more than one element to make things happen over the long run.

  43. Honestly, I don't see "one stop" website like this doing a damned bit of good. I like the intentions, but I've never seen one of these things live up to the hype.

    How 'bout the Chamber spend their time leaning on the Alderman to repair the infrastructure; restore the Wilson L stop; fix the crumbling bridges; clean up the crime and the trash?

    Y'know, put effort into things that will have a definite positive impact towards fostering existing businesses and luring in healthy businesses instead of putting a digital band-aid on a broken arm?

    The reasons why businesses fail, here, is because the environment is so shit*y.

    It's just that simple.

    Helen either doesn't realize that, or doesn't care. As a business entity, the Chamber would be well served in helping to either get Helen on track or on her way out.

    I mean, how many different chicken places do we need?

  44. You can seldom have too many good chicken choices.

    By the way a website and web-campaign are just one small part of a very complex and long term answer.

    Crime, real political "leadership", increasing density where appropriate, renovated or new EL stations and more all factor in.

    Now "YO", go get thee some chicken over at Express Chicken.


  45. A community leader posted "...shut up and go away". What kind of leadership is that?

    Hey, Paul, alledged community leader, how dare you slam Hugh in such a vicious manner. Hugh is, without a doubt, the best voice of reason that Uptown has had in years and years.

    Hugh tells it like it is, just the facts. And Hugh follows up telling it with the facts.So why can't you just post the facts that Hugh's asking for. He's asking for himself and for me and for everyone in Uptown that wants the FACTS and the TRUTH and TRANSPARENCY.

    Hugh, you are 100% correct. All controversy can be ended by just having our "leaders" give us, the taxpayers, the FACTS and the TRUTH.

    Thanks, Hugh, for all your good work.

  46. "Hugh is, without a doubt, the best voice of reason that Uptown has had in years and years."

    Which is actually pretty funny, because Hugh is a Rogers Parker.

    I admire Hugh for his passion for sniffing out corruption. He's been and remains an invaluable resource.

    But his mindset that "all government and politicians and users of public money are bad" is annoying and wearisome. So is his inability to ever answer a direct question. So is his tendency to rapid-fire 20 or 30 posts in the direction of anyone who makes the mistake of engaging him in a dialogue. And, as others have noted, he takes leaps of logic to bizarre conclusions.

    Oh, and the death threat against Chamber members. Now THAT was a hoot. Of course, I'm not a Chamber member, so they may perceive it a little differently.

    He makes Clinton's "It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is" seem moderate.

    So, yes, I admire Hugh. I am grateful he's here. But a little Hugh goes a long, long way.

  47. Hugh, is not a voice of reason. He does find interesting information, but he seems to view any type of government expenditure as fraud and waste.

    He is the George W Bush Or Taliban of local political bloggers. You are either with him or against him. You are either pure or you must suffer.

    Now I agree with him that any government expenditure should be open for public scrutiny. I agree that a great deal of OUR tax dollars are flat out wasted through theft, mismanagement and cronyism.

    I don't agree that any type of interaction between a politician and an individual or organization immediately makes it "impure". I have no problem with the Chamber holding lunches with the Police Commanders or Alderbeasts. They charge attendees so likely no public money is involved. Although I guess one could argue that if they use the Chamber phone, copier, or fax that they need to be lined up and given a blindfold since at some level those things were funded with tax dollars.

    Hugh views almost all real estate development as suspect and quasi criminal. He seems to think of profit as a bad thing. Given his name he likely has roots in the northern part of Ireland and I wonder if there were some crazed socialists in his family tree? Perhaps not. Perhaps they were crazed libertarians of a type. Or perhaps like my Irish forbears they were just overtall drunks with oversized heads and bad attitudes.

    I dunno. What I do know is that "reason" and "Hugh" do not go together.

    Life is more about doubt than facts. It is more about compromise than rigidity.

    Economic development is a long term thing. Now I happen to think Uptown as a whole has come a long way. The changes around Lawrence and Broadway are magnificent.

    The changes on Wilson are impressive. The fact that I took typing in High School is great.

    We need to figure out what we can do to make the neighborhood better. No matter what you do people will disagree. I don't have any tattoos, but I have no problem with the tattoo parlor. There are others who might feel it is too downscale or have religious objections. To them I say.......thppppppppt.

    If you take the Maryville property at Marine and Montrose and put up a condo tower some people will complain it's too tall. We have enough congestion. Where are the units for low income hookers? I don't like the design. I want a building for seniors. No, I want a building for seniors of my religion. No, I want a building for young hookers. I want more open space. I want a Treasure Island. I want batting cages.

    To them I say thpppppt.

    Those of us who actually live or invest here are all in this together. Wanting a safe, clean, vibrant neighborhood with a large variety of entertainment or retail is not just selfish. It's good public policy.

    Wanting transparency in the use of public funds or public decisions is good policy.

    In the immortal words of Rodney King "can't we just all get along"?


  48. Hugh, before anyone answers all your questions I think you should identify yourself. Who are you really. That's all I'm asking. How about a name, occupation, where you live and political affiliation. What is the expertise you have to criticize everything in Uptown. Answer these questions to prove yourself. I await your answer.

  49. “Hey, Paul, alledged community leader, how dare you slam Hugh in such a vicious manner. Hugh is, without a doubt, the best voice of reason that Uptown has had in years and years.”

    Yes, how dare I slam the person who thinks the Chamber board should be lined up and shot? I guess I owe him an apology. I’m sorry for correcting his conspiratory views of the Chamber. I’m sorry I tried to give him the answers he so desperately demanded. I’m sorry for all of the good natured people that want the same thing for Uptown as I do. I’m sorry that such a great tool like this message board could turn into a Salem witch hunt for anybody foolish enough to disagree, even if his disagreements are backed up by facts. Mostly, thanks to Hugh, I’m sorry I ever visited Uptown Update. I have better things to do with my time. You win, Hugh. You win nothing but the loss of a comrade in the struggle to make Uptown a better place, but you win. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I am a sane man. Sane enough to see that debating with you falls under this definition.

    To quote Richard Nixon; “I leave you gentleman now and you will write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know — just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have the Chamber President to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you.
    “May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead”

    Paul Collurafici

  50. So Hugh, did you accomplish your goal? Are you happy? Besides complaining on this site, what's your plan for Uptown? What are you doing to make it better? Obviously, it's not posting here. Many of your postings are derogatory and inflammatory. They don't prompt or promote good discussion, only waste everyone's time.
    We had an "in", had someone in the know on our side and you damaged that relationship.
    I hope you're happy.
    Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, your comments to Paul verge on harrassment. And as you can now see, that accomplishes nothing.
    I don't know Paul. He could be a complete idiot also, I dunno. But, at least we know he's involved with Uptown, in a positive way. We don't know that about you.
    Obviously, I'm wasting my breath with you, but your comments need to be constructive, not destructive.
    Offer a solution once in a while.
    I also hope that everyone else begins to treat you and your comments like a flea on the ass of an elephant. It's annoying, but in the grand scheme of things, it's tiny and can be ignored because there are more important things to address!

  51. I have an idea, Hugh. Why don't you just post your facts and let them speak for themselves. Dig up the inconstancies, cite where they can be found but refrain from editorializing and publicly demanding for answers. If you care about an issue so much and noone else does after a bit of enticement, then go after the issue on your own time without dragging us all into it.

    If the facts speak for themselves, someone will bite. People will start checking it out on their own and we will have more of a "peer review" process going on. Some of us like your questions and appreciate what you dig up but the implications of what you dig up often then gets out of control and goes too far. You must realize that this has a tendency to happen and that fair or not---it is not productive.

  52. "I’m sorry for all of the good natured people that want the same thing for Uptown as I do. I’m sorry that such a great tool like this message board could turn into a Salem witch hunt for anybody foolish enough to disagree, even if his disagreements are backed up by facts. Mostly, thanks to Hugh, I’m sorry I ever visited Uptown Update." Paul

    Paul, I'm not quite sure we're on the same page here and I don't mean to back you in a corner. You have come out publicly in support of the process Helen used to get the WY development going. I'll wager that most readers on this board believe Helen never had any intentions of using community input. Looking at the results of the charrettes, I don't see it, do you?

    There have been some changes in the retail in Uptown, but it has come along slowly and as much as the Chamber might want to take credit for it, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.

    Clean Slate is working great. The Chamber fulfilling its contract obligation to assess the types of businesses in the hood and making it public information would be a start. Even better would be pressuring Helen to spend TIF dollars on items that would promote a vibrant retail district. (Hint, Aldi's is not promoting foot traffic. Many of us are not in retail but we knew it. Did you? You were on the WY Task Force. How did that happen?)

  53. Masterful!


    We've gone from asking about tax payer money funding an organization and questioning how the money is spent and the effectiveness of that organization to making this an online version of of Wrestlemania.

    Granted, Hugh, who we like a lot, really stepped over the line and made it much more difficult to get straightforward answers.

    However, it would be nice to know exactly how much taxpayer money flows into the Chamber, and it would also be nice to know exactly how that taxpayer money is spent and how effectively it is spent so that we can see tangible results with regard to improving the business environment in Uptown.

    My God! What has happened to us? WhatTheHelen?! has become a diplomat.

    Look up. You might see a pig with wings.

  54. I hesitate to post, everyone is so anxious to explain what I think

    this is not about me, it is about accountability

  55. Anonymous said...

    Hugh, before anyone answers all your questions I think you should identify yourself.

    I will let the irony of that speak for itself

  56. "As a business entity, the Chamber ... "

    thing is, the "chamber" is a publicly-funded, government-funded not-for-profit masquerading as a "business entity"

    BP is a delegate agency of the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Chicago

  57. "refrain from editorializing"

    sorry to disappoint, I'm not a journalist, I'm just a dumb guy with a computer

    I posts facts and opinions informed by those facts and I will continue to do so, but thanks for the suggestion

  58. " ... it would be nice to know exactly how much taxpayer money flows into the Chamber, and it would also be nice to know exactly how that taxpayer money is spent and how effectively it is spent so that we can see tangible results with regard to improving the business environment in Uptown."

    before we can talk about the amount of money and how it is being used, I think a first step is to simply get BP to ACKNOWLEDGE their taxpayer funding

    recall this whole thing escalated when the president of BP attempted to use a comment on Uptown Update to spread the propaganda that "Most of our funding comes from our members."

  59. "You have come out publicly in support of the process Helen used to get the WY development going."

    given the President of BP's vocal defense of the WY project and process, I'm very curious to see the letters BP has submitted to the City

    "Sent letters of support and stood and testified in council chambers...'

    is anyone else curious?

  60. "what's your plan?"

    my plan is to, next week, one way or another, make at least some small progress on the issue of getting BP to simply acknowledge their taxpayer funding on their website

    to some it may seem a small thing, but i think it's important

    I'm sick & tired of my voice in the government of my home town being usurped by spokespersons paid by the City with my taxes to testify in favor of bone-headed City initiatives

    this won't fix all that, but ya gotta start somewhere

    of course i or anyone could always be accused of not doing enough, but it's something, and most people do nothing

    anyway, this is what i choose to work on

    you can join me or ignore me or deride me, or do your own thing (there's lots to do), that's up to you

  61. Did anyone else see the flea on the ass of that elephant?