Monday, March 17, 2008

'Hardly...Any Changes At All' In The Wilson Yard Plan

Vacant Lot Magazine has a new article (Wilson Yard: Decisions and Divisions) on the long and ongoing saga of What To Do With Wilson Yard, looking at the history of the project and interviewing both Alderman Shiller and Katharine Boyda of the Uptown Neighborhood Council.

Read it for yourselves, but this is our favorite part so far, quoting the alderman:

She was not shy in highlighting her quest to bring, in her own words, community control with justice.” When confronted with the question of what changes have been made to the plans for Wilson Yard, she responds that “There have not been many changes. In fact there have hardly been any changes at all. You’ve read a lot of stuff that has confused you.”


  1. "I believe in community control but I believe in community control with justice. If there is a group of people in a community and the majority has a racist point of view, I’m not going to go along with that…That’s why I strive for getting a consensus around sort of guided principals.”

    In other words, it is my warped view of economics and social justice or you are a racist. Wow.

  2. We pointed out the subtle playing of the race card with the "young girls with beads in their hair" comment regarding the cocaine baggy incident.

    But this is in-your-face race baiting.

    The woman needs some mental help. Thank goodness she's here in Uptown and has access to all its services.

  3. Helen has gotten into such a horrible habit of lying and she doesn't realize that these days with blogs and access to past newspaper accounts and government records that she can get caught lying.

    She either must not be bothered with being viewed as a liar or she is so caught up with lying that she lost the ability to tell the truth. She will only continue to make a fool of herself.

    Could you imagine Daley giving this type of interview, or any state rep or senator? The press would be all over them. Ironically, Helen has such low expectations for the poor and the press has such low expectations of Helen. So low they don't ever directly challenge her on her constant lying.

  4. "hardly been any changes at all"

    1. $15M, 12% increase in the project budget
    2. $7M, 28% increase in public taxpayer subsidies
    3. movie theater deleted
    4. add 8000 sq. ft. retail
    5. underground parking deleted
    6. we suspect the green roof has been deleted or reduced
    7. construction costs for senior building double
    8. project stalled so long IHDA loan funds availability expired
    9. aldermanic menu money added


    what did I miss?

  5. "Part of the problem may be that ten years of frustration has led to an inability to listen to one another."

    if there is some truth in that, and I think there is, it is on Shiller

    she is the elected representative

    the burden is on her to keep talking and build consensus

    she can't give up, it's her job

    instead she goes her own way and justifies it by convincing herself her constituents are bad apples who are impossible to communicate with

  6. "Kerasotes ... scrapped its plans to build a 12-screen complex due to terra cotta in the building foundation ... "


  7. "hardly been any changes at all"

    10. Aldi's turns its back on Broadway; no pedestrian entrance on Broadway as shown in drawings

    11. phases on plan shuffled

    12. start dates & completion dates retreating into future

  8. "This publication was spun off of a two quarter long journalism research project connected to an Investigative Reporting course ... "

    be cool, stay in school kids

    and study hard

    "In fact there have hardly been any changes at all."

    the anonymous students print a quote from a Chicago alderman without even a cursory attempt to "investigate" it

    the article mentions only ONE change, the movie theater pulling out

  9. Ms. Babbitt, the reporter, has an interesting reporting style. I would call it cut-and-paste. She never contacted or spoke with me about Wilson Yard. Every quote she used was cut-and-paste from previous articles written on Wilson Yard.

    Wonder if she really spoke to Shiller? From the quotes in the article, I'd say yes.
    Katharine Boyda

  10. That seems like very lazy journalism. I'm just a layman, but seems like quoting you so extensively and giving the impression that they interviewed you when in fact they never even contacted you - that has to violate the journalistic code of conduct (or whatever their ethics guidelines are called).

  11. I agree. Ms. Boyda, you might want to consider giving the dean a call over at Medill.

  12. I don't think the dean at Medill cares much what Vacant Lot Magazine prints.

    I just LOVE that name in relationship to an article on Wilson Yard! Truth in advertising.

    Plus, some of the best Shiller quotes in recent memory.

  13. For years we waited for the newspapers to be our voice. They let us down.

    We have found our voice. UU has given us that voice! Thank you for that!

    Now, how do we grow and build what UU has started? Today, you can change by a very simple step.

    Today, send 5 people an email with a personal note. Tell them about www. Ask them to read the blog and if they like it, send it on to 5 or more people. Today, you can change the world, starting right here in Uptown.

  14. Those are good thoughts and ideas anonymous 7:57. However, it will take a LOT more getting involved than checking in with a blog.

    People will need to physically go to meetings and stay angry but focused. People will need to give up their time and their money and also find real live ways to connect with each other across both wards of Uptown (and maybe across the north lakefront). They will need to find friends, take on issues that don't directly effect them, and then create appropriate tactics and rhetoric against those who would stand against them.

    This is all very hard work and the few resident-led community organizations that exist are bloodied and tired from this process. For some strange reason, Uptown doesn't have the will. People seem to think that it will be done for them. People look at a new development or a new restaurant and think the tea leaves are telling them that things are changing for the better. When they do this, they just show how they don't understand Uptown or their part in it.

    No one can REALLY take away your voice unless you let them.

  15. Would it be possible to add a calendar of events like Uptown Chicago Commission has?

    It could have everything from zoning meetings to APS meetings. A one stop place to see every event and meeting that has to do with Uptown.

    This might help keep people aware of upcoming important meetings that we all need to attend.

  16. Jo-
    Looks like they added "Upcoming Uptown Events up on the right side of the page. It lists 2 upcoming meetings. I'm sure they will add CAPS as well.

  17. When I lived in Lakeview near Diversey and Broadway, long, long ago, the retail wasn't the greatest on Broadway. Peep show place, a few used book stores, lots of liquor stores and a night club that had many reincarnations.

    I asked the ED from the Chamber what changed Broadway into the happening bustling street it's become? He said very simply, "It was the people from the block clubs that changed it all."

  18. I received a very nice email from Lauren and Stephanie with Vacant Lot magazine. They reminded me that I did indeed speak with them some months ago.

    I forgot,plain and simple, so please excuse my earlier comments. Vacant Lot did present a fair assessment of the controverial Wilson Yard debacle.
    Katharine Boyda

  19. Someone in Uptown is willing to admit a mistake and is apologizing in order to set the record straight? Gosh, I hope this is contagious!

    Seriously, though, thanks.

  20. "Vacant Lot did present a fair assessment of the controverial Wilson Yard debacle."

    ok, they talked to you, so maybe their quotes are accurate

    but I would hardly say the post was a fair assessment of the WY debacle