Monday, March 24, 2008

Uptown Business Partners' Banners Debut Next To Vacant Storefronts

Seen today on Wilson, and also near one of many vacant storefronts (Wilson and Magnolia).


  1. What a waste of tax-payer money! Does anyone think these ugly banners will attract business? They should have taken the money and used it to give grants to folks willing to open up new businesses in Uptown. Not on these fugly banners.

  2. Thanks for the last 30 years of blight. That's a real milestone.

  3. Consider it a little gift to those of us to whom the irony is not lost.

    It is like an inside joke you can chuckle at every time you walk by.

  4. Most likely there will never be a retail outfit in that building. There is barely any room to put some sort of retail or anything in that small amount of space.
    It doesn't help with Faz'es now closed and the empty corner space in the same building vacant for some time now.
    It looks rather sad & silly, but God forbid we complain about it without a smart-assed response to "Move to Lincoln Park!"

  5. wilsonwatcher,

    What makes you think tax payer money was used?

  6. Anonymous 11:14pm
    Do you really think the Chamber is responsible for blight? I am a member of the chamber and I opened a business in Uptown 3 1/2 year ago. I took an empty storefront and spent $300,000 turning it into my business. It is not my responsibility to fill every empty storefront in the neighborhood. How many local businesses do you support. Do you only eat out in Uptown? Do you only by books at Borders? So don't accuse the Chamber of promoting blight.

    The Chamber is made up of people who own their own businesses. I am not responsible for leasing storefronts that are too small or ill suited for the majority of businesses. Many of these new constructions have restrictive covenants on the retail that don't allow much. This board is so negative on the Chamber.

  7. 12:53, Although I can see why you feel as if this board is against the chamber, the underlying sentiment behind whatever gets posted here is that we desperately WANT to patronize local businesses. I know that I am not alone when I say that I really, truly want to see locally owned small businesses THRIVE in Uptown. I don't want a bunch of chain stores that will make this area lose its uniqueness and I want happy local business owners because I believe that you will give back to the community when you can.

    I have an idea for you. Why doesn't the chamber do a quality survey of local residents to find out how often they are patronizing local businesses and why they don't patronize them more? I know in my case almost every reason for why I do not spend more money here has to do with how pedestrian "un-friendly" our streets are. I am talking about insufficient lighting, filth, broken sidewalks, high curbs, narrow sidewalks, insufficient setbacks and a lack of enforcement of vehicular offenses like stopping at stop signs.

    Local residents are being ignored on these kinds of issues and our TIF money isn't being spent to improve these kinds of things. The Andersonville and Southport corridors are so successful because you can walk to get a bite to eat and then pop in and out of a few stores. The powers-that-be here are forgetting that it is the journey and not so much the destination that people are after when they are engaging in leisure consumption. In Uptown, my patterns are quite different. I run in and out of stores to pick up a thing or two or I visit a restaurant, eat and then go home.

    If anything I have written here rings true, you should sense why local residents are so angry when day labor agencies are placed in the middle of their shopping districts and when businesses are not allowed to have outdoor cafes. We know you want us to come and spend our money at your stores and restaurants but we don't understand why you are not locking arms with us to fight the force that is preventing all of these conditions from coming to fruition?

  8. Actually, I'm thankful the business owner spent money to fix up his store. It speaks of a commitment to help the retail in this neighborhood get better. I want more people to do the same.

    The Chamber may have good intentions but they are generally ineffective because it's overwrought with social services that pretend to be advocates for better retail. They really advocate to keep their clients here and better retail won't do it. The Chamber pretends not to know that.

    The Chamber tried separating the social services into another group, but it's confusing to most people and it never changed what the Chamber did, or really, what they still don't do. What is the Chamber doing to address the panhandling, loitering, public drinking, U-Haul, the guy selling clothing on the fence at Wilson/Broadway, the scissor gates on many of the businesses, the disproportionate number of nail & beauty salons, the lack of greenery, the horrible window displays in most of the storefronts along Broadway and Sheridan, the horrible conditions at the Wilson L, the constant feeding of pigeons at Broadway/Wilson and Sheridan/Lawrence, work with CAPS, support of neighborhood block clubs, and on and on and on and on. Why didn't they insist to Helen that the Aldi's main entrance should not be located in the back of the store? I know the Chamber can do this kind of stuff because other chambers outside of here do it. I know Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is responsible for the huge turn around there. Same with the Southport Corridor's Chamber. There was no stroke of luck there.

    I want to hope the new executive director turns the Chamber around. My real hope is that she doesn't get fired for trying to do it.

  9. Well, you should talk to your fellow chamber and business members. For example talk to
    1. Demetris Giannoulias, Chief Financial Officer of Broadway Bank
    2. Lisa Yun Lee is the Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, a part of the Hull House organization in Uptown
    3. K. Sujata former Executive Director of the Continuum of Care and of Apna Ghar of Uptown.

    They sit on the Board of the Crossroads Fund, which provided COURAJ and the Jane Adams Resource Housing Center the tens of thousands of dollars of funding to pose as the "community representatives" in private meetings and protests before the Dept of Planning and Dept of Housing. Did you know they brought in over 40 other outside activist groups with no connection to Uptown also demanded that Wilson Yards be turned from the business development engine that the Dept of Planning indicated it was going to be in 2001 to the anti-Target no-less-than 300 Low and Very-low income housing residential development it is now?

    Oh, and did I forget to mention that Marc Kaplan, leader of Couraj, has been Helen Shiller's campaign guy going back 20 years to the early Slim Colemam, Heart Uptown Coalition, and Black Panther Years? Oh, and who is on the Hull House Board in Uptown? Clarence Woods, another of her 1960 activist buddies from the old days.

    You've been had fool. Wake up and blame the right persons.

    mobilizes residents in the Uptown
    neighborhood across issues such as gentrification and low cost housing, the police, education and the schools. In an ongoing battle over the use of five a c res of vacant CTA pro p e rty known as Wi l s o n Yards, COURAJ is working to educate and organize large numbers of community residents—the out-come of this struggle will be critical in determining Uptown’s future as a place where low and moderate income people can sustain and build community.
    (773) 769-2085

  11. "I am not responsible for leasing storefronts that are too small or ill suited for the majority of businesses."

    Ok. Then work with us to identify what these properties are, why they don't work or why they might be suitable for certain kinds of businesses and then come up with a PLAN for either putting them to alternative use or trying to attract the kind of business that can utilize that space.

    Now, get off the computer, call your Chamber buddies and set a meeting to discuss this topic---an inventory of vacant commercial space in Uptown. Then, announce an open meeting to the public. Be prepared for a little ruckus but stay patient and earnest and the people who will actually pitch in productively will make themselves apparent. Then, work together to accomplish your mutual goals. Become friends. Go to each other's baby showers and bar mitzvahs. Become a community of your own and a source of strength to the larger one. And, if ANYONE gets in your way, mow them down and show them why they are unfairly treating one type of Uptown resident (who has every right to be here) and why they are hindering positive change that the community desires.

  12. Wow! These are even uglier than the other banners starting to pop up around Uptown. Drive around any other neighborhood and these banners are bright, colorful, lively, and welcoming; none have black as their background color!

  13. You are right 8:16 & 8:12. Uptown has been the pet project of suburban kids-turned-"radicals" for a long time. Even today, Northwestern students descend on Uptown when they want to prove that they are not the coddled little children of the revolution. They want to have their moment, too. So they come and fight before they have taken all the classes they need in order to understand exactly which socio-historical moment this is. Life is short, times a wastin' and it is much easier to start shouting.

    Uptown remains a fantasy for people who want to "change the world." It is important for things not to change too much here because that will require that they look further, deeper, take on new issues and abandon the hard-won POWER that they have here. Instead of searching out the voiceless and the the abused in Chicago and globally, they have planted their bourgeois-radical selves here
    where they can sit comfortably amongst their friends and wield a big hammer.

  14. residents are understandably frustrated by the pace of commercial development in Uptown

    and they are starting to understand there is an organization in the neighborhood that is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year disappear that were intended to do something about it

  15. don't say we're not doing nuthin!

    lookit the banners!

  16. "So don't accuse the Chamber of promoting blight. The Chamber is made up of people who own their own businesses."

    if the "chamber" were just a social org on the sidelines doing nothing, that would be up to them

    if the "chamber" were merely ineffective, that would be one thing

    FACT is the "chamber" takes many tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money every year, money that was allocated to promote commercial development in Uptown, and makes it disappear

    for WHAT? banners?

  17. The banners are a self-funded program. Businesses buy the banners. Taxpayer money is not used to put up banners.

    The Chamber is involved with cleaning up the neighborhood. Clean Slate and snow removal were two huge additions through the SSA. If you look at other areas like Lincoln Park or Lakeview they too use an SSA to handle these services. In fact the city requires that an SSA be in place before you can do any street landscaping and improvement.

    I agree there is a long way to go. I can only speak from my few years as an owner of a business. We've taken a chance on Uptown and made many great relationships. I just get tired of the constant digs at the Chamber and everything being a conspiracy on behalf of the Alderman.

    The Chamber did not support Labor Ready and sent a letter to the Alderman stating this position. One of our members is a tennant in this building and was rightfully concerned about the effects on her business.

    If you attended the community meeting at Kinetic it was nice to hear some positives. Yes there is lots of work to be done, but we are moving in the right direction.

  18. "I am a member of the chamber ... It is not my responsibility to fill every empty storefront in the neighborhood."

    read your contract with the City

    you're in the thick of it

    you can look it up

    Vendor, Contract and Payment Search

    for your inconvenience listed under Vendor name


    Delegate Agency Grant Agreement
    The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development
    and Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown

    US HUD Community Development Block Grant
    "Technical Assistance to Business"

    1/1/07-12/31/07 $64,646

    Work Program

    "Conduct inventory and identify potential reatil sites, storefronts, land vacancies, and abandoned buildings for the DPD sites/land inventory matrix. Thr amtrix must be accurately completed and submitted electronically on a quarterly basis to your DA {delegate agency] Liason, DPD Project Manager and Uptown United.

    Actively promote available sites to encourage timely redevelopment that meets the nneds of the community."

  19. "The banners are a self-funded program."

    ...but the "chamber" is NOT

  20. The $64,000 Question

    What did we get for it?

  21. 1/1/07-12/31/07 $64,646---What did we get for it?

    That is a good question, Hugh. For $64,000 you could produce a very comprehensive GIS map of all of the vacant properties and conduct some statistical analyses on the area. You could also conduct consumer surveys and hold a few community meetings. Since these things did not happen, what did?

    Please, Chamber of Uptown, organize a meeting so that we can stop hashing out this kind of stuff on a message board. Take it on the chin, set the record straight and then let's work towards our mutual goals.

  22. Hugh may be wrong, and for all I know he may be an a**. My request remains:

    Please, Chamber of Uptown, organize a meeting so that we can stop hashing out this kind of stuff on a message board. Take it on the chin, set the record straight and then let's work towards our mutual goals.

  23. the propaganda is "the chamber gets most of its funding from its members"

  24. go ahead - debunk that inventorying empty storefronts quarterly & encouraging retail is a requirement of your $64K contract with the taxpayers

    debunk away

  25. Okay, everyone take a deep breath and exhale. What do we want for good retail development and healthy, bustling streets like Andersonville? Le's focus on what we want to see happen.

    The ULI, Urban Land Institute, study done back in 2002 on developing the Lawrence Entertainment District had some solid recommendations. The first one was build CONSENSUS. Know I know that's the job of the alderman supposedly and Smith has been trying to do this, Shiller on the other hand probably can't spell it much less do it, so it's up to us to make it happen. And we can.

    The second recommendation of the ULI study was to create and implement a major streetscaping plan. New sidewalks, better, more attractive lighting, planters, benches where people could read the paper, or share a conversation and coffee with a friend.

    Banners simply don't work when they are the only clean new thing on a blighted, empty store front street. It's not the thought was bad, just inappropriate.

  26. Right on, Anon 6:22. We are ready to work with you, Chamber. Please invite us to join in as a consumer's auxiliary.

  27. There has not been a long trail of complaints against Uptown Business Partners. This has been a new thread of attack. Please... I like to keep my bitching track record correct.

  28. UBP should be demanding Aldermanic Menu Funds too. After all, much of the disgust of the Broadway business strip relates to neglected capital improvements that fall within the Aldermanic menu scheme.

    Or does Shiller has Shiller found a way to give all that to non-profits corporations and non-residents too?

  29. hugh, No one is debunking the facts you post, just the wild conspiracy theories you "derive" from them.

  30. "... negative on the Chamber."

    That's a perfectly reasonable reaction.

    People are frustrated with commercial development in Uptown. The visit Andersonville or Lincoln Square, and wonder, when is our turn? They look around Uptown, why does nothing change? Why can't something be done? Why can't resources be brought to bear on Uptown?

    Then they find out resources ARE being brought to Uptown: Tens of thousands of dollars a year to the "chamber," hundreds of thousands to Uptown United, public, property taxpayer money, all nominally to foster commercial development. People learn these funds are ineffective and, yeah, they get negative.

    Add a strident, vocal defense of their total lack of transparency and accountability to the public for public funds, then people learn these funds are being used for self-serving purposes, and they get angry.

    What do you expect?

  31. Banners are an optional performance in your contract with the taxpayers.

    Organizing pre-election luncheons for incumbent aldermen are nowhere in your contract.

    Since you have time & energy for optional and discretionary activities, we assume you fulfilled all your required contractual obligations for your $64K last year.

    So tell us:

    What did you do to promote retail in Uptown?

    Why don't you publish your quarterly reports on your taxpayer-funded website so we can track progress together as a community?

  32. Nice summation of your most recent posts, Hugh. I think a lot of us appreciate the work you have done to bring some of this to light. And, anger is a great motivator. So I am fine with how tense it has gotten on this board at times. My hope is that we can work through the anger and start working together to start seeing some results. Businesses want it and their local consumer base wants it too.

  33. Could anyone associated with or familiar with the either organization make the case for them? Specifically, what have they accomplished in the last two years? Is there anything concrete they can point to in the 46th ward as being at least in part the result of their efforts?

  34. I think we scared Paul off. An open meeting with the community might be a good idea...but then again, this is Uptown

  35. "what have they accomplished in the last two years?"

    how about the last decade?

    Delegate Agency Grant Agreement
    The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development
    and Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown
    DBA Uptown Chamber of Commerce

    US HUD Community Development Block Grant
    "Technical Assistance to Business"

    Year Contract $
    2007 13852 $64,646
    2006 10543 $69,888
    2005 7259 $69,888
    2004 3300 $70,000
    2003 523 $60,000
    2002 D2961205953 $60,000
    2001 D1961205458 $45,000
    2000 D0961205049 $45,000
    1999 D9961200944 $45,000
    1998 D8961200634 $50,000

    Total $579,422.00 taxpayer dollars disappeared over the last decade

    Vendor, Contract and Payment Search

  36. Hugh! You've made your points and people are interested in them. Give this organization a chance to account for itself. Give them a chance to be transparent and give them an opportunity reconsider some of their actions and make some changes. Like I said, anger is a good motivator. But anger also has a tendency to blind people as to how to fix problems. I know you'll probably say that they've had a decade to fix their problems. They should respond to that too. However, taking 'em over to Aldi's will not produce the result we want so there is no use talking in that way. C'mon now!

  37. hugh,

    You've outdone yourself! You've gone from conspiracy theories to making death threats against the entire Uptown chamber of commerce. And all without attending a single Chamber meeting or function, or meeting a single member in person. You should just retire now, while you're ahead, because it's all downhill from here.

  38. "I think we scared Paul off."

    nah, just when back to the anon schtick

    I'd put a bag over my head, too, if I was President of the Uptown "chamber of commerce"

  39. Hugh, you’re like a bully trying to pick a fight. Get over yourself. I have NEVER posted anonymously. The administrator of this board can look up the IP addresses. I know they have in the past.

    You, Hugh are a liar.

    I offered to meet you for lunch and answer any questions that I can. You turned me down and then started to attack me personally. (See ‘Chamber gets new Executive Director’ post farther down home page.) A blind fold and cigarette?

    Posting as ‘Hugh’ is as good as posting anonymously. I don’t know who you are. I will make you the same offer again. Would you like to get together for lunch? I will answer any questions that I can. If not, you can continue to post your half truths spun into conspiracy lies.

    It’s easy to hide behind a message board.

    Paul Collurafici
    773 972-5619
    President, Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown.

  40. so

    while you're here

    what did we get for the $64K?

  41. Hugh,

    Put up or shut up. Paul has invited you to lunch to talk, and answer all your questions. If you don't take him up on it, you lose the small grain of credibility you might have once had. You talk as if you are a crusader for the average citizen against the evil government, but given the chance to actually do something about it, will you take it? I think not.

    Paul, in the unlikely event that your lunch with Hugh takes place, let us know how it goes.

  42. And, if you don't want to go, maybe someone else will go. You could submit your questions to them and that person will cover the issues point-by-point and report back.

  43. if I were you i would rather talk about who goes to lunch with who than talk about the missing hundreds of thousands of dollars, too

  44. "A majority of our funding comes from dues."

    who posted that?

  45. Hugh, credibility gone. Hush.

  46. I'd still like to see someone associated or familiar with either organization tell me what they've accomplished!

    Unless the numbers Hugh's presented here and in other threads are false, it's hard to say he's lost credibility. I have yet to see anyone refute his actual points. The only negative reactions have come in the form of lunch invitations and insults - not that he's been an ambassador himself either!

    So please, someone tewll me what Uptown has gotten for its money besides alderman luncheons and banners.

  47. Tomorrow, Thursday March 27th will be a chamber network event at Agami from 5:30 until 7:00. I plan to attend. These events are just a great way to meet other business owners and socialize in a comfortable atmosphere. The event is free to chamber members and only $10.00 for non-members. Agami will be putting out some samples for everyone.

    Now, with great risk and peril to my own personal well being and maybe even my life, I would like to announce my dinner plans. I will, alone, have a bite to eat at Crew. I will get there at 4:45 and eat until 5:30 before heading over to Agami. If anyone would care to join me, my table will be open.

    Paul Collurafici
    773 972-5619

    P.S. To this board’s administrator. While I find Hugh’s suggestion that I be lined up and shot completely hilarious, you may want to check out the terms of service agreement that you have with this message board. In today’s world of zero tolerance, there is a good chance that if flagged, this board will be shut down for making threats to another person.

  48. Paul-
    We do apologize for that comment. It has been deleted. We are also sorry for any grief it may have caused.

  49. JP,
    Do you have dinner plans on Thursday?

  50. Sounds better than the spaghetti and bring-your-own-casseroles they used to serve at the Uptown People's Law Center propaganda fests I attended in the old days.

  51. anonymous @ 9:11,

    I assume you'll be going to Agami tomorrow to discuss everything the Chamber has accomplished? No, I didn't think so.

  52. I have yet to see Hugh prove any points. He just links to documents, throws out baited questions and accusations not substantiated by those documents, and has now graduated to making death threats.

    Pray tell, how has Hugh "proven" that all Chamber members are thieves and deserve to be shot?

  53. Paul is one person who I myself have been able to count on over the past 15 years I have been here. He has been putting more of his time into making the Chamber and Uptown succeed, then he has been putting into his own business. I know Paul is someone that will always answer truthfully to me and is doing the best that he can. His business is a success and so will be the Chamber. The Chamber has helped me MANY times over the years. They might not have agreed with my tactics at times but they always gave the voice of reason that I needed alot. So I for one (as a Chamber Member) can say that they have served a strong purpose and friendship to me and my endeavors in Uptown. So get another blindfold and a smoke, cause I will stand with Paul like the Chamber has with me.

  54. Jim and Paul,
    I guess it's obvious that maybe more than a few residents are dissatisfied with the retail in Uptown and when we hear that the city also gives money with some specific directions on how that money should be used, and we don't see evidence of it, some of us will get upset.

    You have both aligned yourself with an alderman that doesn't sound too popular around here. If you haven't aligned yourself, you certainly haven't shown that you have been questioning her policies that many of us believe have led to Uptown's retail to be what it is. Maybe you have to align yourself with Helen to survive, but that alignment has a consequence on us, the residents. Our history is that when the Chamber goes along with the same ole, same ole with Helen, the same ole same ole retail remains crappy.

    Do you see an ounce of truth into what we're saying? You both have to think that it's almost bizarre for residents to be attacking any Chamber. It is bizarre and it's still happening. There's a reason for it and if the Chamber is clueless about that reason, then I hope another Chamber surfaces.

    For starters, we would love to see some concrete evidence of what the Chamber has done with our tax dollars to promote retail because right now, we're questioning if you have done anything given what we see right now. Both you and Paul have done a lot. No one is questioning that. What has the Chamber done?

  55. "Maybe you have to align yourself with Helen to survive, but that alignment has a consequence on us, the residents."

    That alignment also has a consequence on you as well. Although it is unclear what those consequences are or might be, it is clear that there is a community who is ready to draw a line in the sand and demand accountability for the expenditure of public resources. There is also a community who is ready to demand accountability from those who have pushed what should be public discourse into back rooms in order to avoid the tedium of due process.

    Last time I checked, the United States was a democracy by the people and for the people. ALL people. The way to remedy past crimes and injustices is not to create a new hegemonic state and usurp the "bad" apples with the "good" apples. Why is it so hard for some people to identify that this is a strategy that has been waged in this community for decades? Can you name one Chamber of Commerce in the United States that is in the back pocket of a politician who works against economic development? And, shaking down developers and then letting them in isn't the same thing as fostering a healthy economic ecosystem where small business owners are able to earn a living and local residents are able to purchase goods and services they need.

    Given your economic interests, if you are not fighting against this it is because you have been duped.

  56. I too believe that Paul’s connection to the alderman is too tight to allow him to make objective decisions for betterment of Uptown’s business district. For instance under the UU topic "Uptown Business Partners Announce New Executive Director ...." Paul just regurgitates Shiller’s lies when he said: “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.”

    This statement is absolutely unequivocally a lie.
    I have the Charrette report in front of me, it's included in the RFQ, from the Dept. Of Planning.

    Nowhere in that report did it say that there was a vote and ½ wanted affordable housing and ½ wanted big box . There was no mention of a vote period.

    The Charrettes were round table discussions; at the end of the time allotted the 18 round tables were charged with coming to a consensus on their final conclusions and giving an account in the form of a list of consensus/recommendations.
    Here is the statistical data I pulled out of the report. A more detailed narrative follows.
    Low income housing was discussed at 17 of the 18 tables:
    66% or 12 tables made no recommendations related to Wilson Yard being the site for any form of low income housing.
    22 % or 5 tables reached consensus for low and mixed income housing including affordable home ownership and market rate rental.
    1 table’s discussion centered around the need for affordable housing in general yet their recommendation was “ acquire the vacant lots that still exist for new construction of affordable housing,” even this table made no recommendation that Wilson Yard house only low income housing to the exclusion of all other housing.

    The report summaries each table’s discussion points and sites each tables consensus/recommendations which demonstrate a wide variety of conclusions including “year-round covered farmers market”, “pedestrian friendly”, “archway or other gateway at Sunnyside”, “theme should emphasize diversity”, “affordable for purchase housing”, “central pedestrian plaza”, “multipurpose small auditorium and meeting rooms”, “focus resources on rehabbing and maintaining existing housing stock ” but NOT ONE recommendation entails 100% all low income housing stacked in towers on this site. Even the COURAJ table recommended “rental and for sale”.
    Again NOT ONE table recommended what Shiller is shoving down the community’s throat today.

    Even the table Paul C. was at made this list of recommendation in their final summary:
    “Parking needs to be addressed”
    “Support existing businesses, including relocation”
    “Attract new businesses that aren’t present currently (“destination stores”)”
    “Wilson Yard should be focused on retail, parking and green space”
    Again no mention of low income housing.

    So as you see just like the rigged surveys Shiller has spun her own kind of reality and Paul is just her pawn.

  57. Whew. Thanks, Bull Charrette! I am so happy that people are sharing their information and their expertise to expose the lies and the half-truths. Knowledge is power.

  58. This is the third time I'm asking. Could somebody please tell me what either organization has accomplished in the last two years? If there haven't been any accomplishments yet, then tell me what they are currently trying to achieve and what specific steps they have taken. It really seems like every pro-"Paul" post in this thread has dodged these questions.

  59. "Now, with great risk and peril to my own personal well being and maybe even my life, I would like to announce my dinner plans."


    you wanna do something brave?

    publish your quarterly inventory of vacant storefronts on your taxpayer-funded website so we can all track progress

    put your contract including your work plan up so we can look at it together as a community

    publish your contractually obligated progress reports to our City on your website

    we paid for them

    that would be courageous

  60. If you lit a match on this discussion link right now, it would torch the whole neighborhood. Whew!

    What are we accomplishing with all this finger pointing and it's your fault stuff?

    If we want Uptown's retail streets to blossom like Lincoln Square and Andersonville, we have to figure out a better way to do it.

    We all know that Shiller has completely manipulated the Wilson Yard plan. Like Bull Charette, I too have all the Wilson Yard documents.

    Everything (s)he said about how the charette table discussions is 100% correct. The majority of people who attended these very poorly organized meetings reached no conclusions on anything.

    They were assuming more meetings and discussions who help hammer out a good solid community plan that focuses on making Wilson Yard the primo retail center, farmer's market, public green space that we so desperately wanted.

    87% of the respondents to a later survey wanted Wilson Yard to be focused on retail and green space.
    Let's say that again, 87% of the people who filled out one of the 1,700 survey forms wanted retail!

    So now you have it. Shiller and her minions are big fat manipulative liers. The documents prove it.

  61. Hugh, you're giving a speech on courage and you don't even have enough of it to meet Paul for lunch to discuss the very things you're asking about. Pot calling kettle a chicken.

    Anonymous who has just asked a question for the third time,
    Pick up the phone, call the Chamber, and ask your damn question that way. Report back. It's that easy. I don't see why anyone would jump to answer a question posted by "anonymous", especially when being double-teamed by Hugh and his death threats. The information is out there, all you have to do is leave you keyboard for a second and do some real research. Attend a meeting or two. Go to Agami tonight. Do something! Even Hugh makes phone calls now and then, although he tends to scream rather than listen when he does so.

    I don't understand why people think that posting anonymous comments on a a single thread on an anonymous and often biased blog deserves to be treated as investigative journalism.

  62. To the last poster, no, I don't consider it an act of investigative journalism to ask a question about my neighborhood on a neighborhood blog. I don't consider it worthy of your condescension either.

    I find it telling that in every response to Hugh, there's been basically no substance, nothing actually refuting his accusations. Why is that?

  63. To the last poster (anonymous @ 6:06), you started the condescension, by accusing pro-Paul posters of dodging a question. However, Paul has offered to answer all questions. Call Paul and ask him. It's not dodging a question just because you don't want to post an exhaustive response to an anonymous poster on a blog who can't even bother to pick up a phone.

    Anyone familiar with Hugh knows that he never actually debates. If you refute his points, which has been done many times on many threads and many forums, he responds by pulling another "fact" out of his ass, and then draws another conclusion that isn't in any way proven by his "fact". He continues in this way, spinnning things in all directions until anyone trying to respond honestly to him gives up out of exhaustion. Then, Hugh takes the lack of any additional response as "proof" that they're evading the question. Hugh has been doing this for years on Buena Park Neighbors, and most posters have learned not to go there with him. Therefore, don't take a lack of response to Hugh as dodging the question. Call Paul (or someone else in the chamber), ask your question, and then if they refuse to answer you can speak of dodging. You'll find you'll get much further in your pursuit of answers if you cast off the "anonymous" mantle. People don't like to spend a lot of time giving legitimate answers to nobodys.

  64. "People don't like to spend a lot of time giving legitimate answers to nobodys."

    Well, that was awfully mean and insulting. Whatever has happened here, people are interested in the points that Hugh has raised and it would take very little for the Chamber to put some "show and tell" information up on their website. It doesn't have to necessarily be a point-by-point rebuttal of his points in order to address our concerns. Why is that so hard? Even if Hugh had never brought any of this up, the Chamber has an obligation (and should desire) to spread the word about their efforts and challenges. What is so confrontational about asking for that?

  65. "Well, that was awfully mean and insulting."

    Poor thing...another insulted anonymous poster. Soon we won't have any anonymous posters left... Listen, I'm anonymous too, therefore I was calling myself as much a nobody as you. Get over it. Don't expect anyone to take the time to answer your questions if you can't even bother to create a user id (which is still anonymous, by the way) so that they know they're addressing the same person each time you post. Everyone here expects the chamber to turn Uptown into paradise overnight, yet nobody even takes the effort to pick up the phone.

    "It would take very little for the Chamber to put some 'show and tell' information up on their website."

    Collecting the information, formatting it, and putting it up on the Website takes more than "very little" time, in case you've never tried to maintain a Website, especially one that doesn't currently have a content management system built into it. Even so, when Hugh cried a year or so ago that Uptown United had to post the SSA minutes on their Website for the sake of transparency (and they had no obligation to do so, by the way), Uptown United responded by posting the minutes. Perhaps the Chamber will do the same, but if that's truly what you want to see happen, I guarantee they'll be more responsive if you call them up and request it yourself. No organization is going to make it a priority to spend time and money to satisfy anonymous commenters on a blog, when real people are talking to them with other urgent priorities. Even if they do decide to post some information as a result, don't expect it to happen overnight, especially considering the announcement that they're in the process of re-vamping their Website.

    Again, Paul offered to sit down and answer any and all questions. How is that dodging in any way, shape, or form?

  66. To anon 8:29, these Chamber discussions are now a complete waste of time. Tell the community what you are doing with your taxpayer funded resources, and how you are complying with the conditions related to them, or not. I fail to understand why it is a bone of contention for us to say, "how ya doin'" "what are your plans?" "since you have some money, how are you spending it?" You should want to discuss these things and we shouldn't have to cajole you to do it.

    If you don't want to discuss it on a message board, you always have the option of saying, "well, we did XYZ in the last 6 months...sorry you didn't hear about it but we've got XYZ in the works for the next 6 months. Check out our website for more details! Thanks for asking, we hope we can count on you to stay involved and keeping Uptown beauuuuutiful!" No matter how many people said they wanted to get involved to help you, etc., nobody managed to say anything informative or positive back other than "come see me in person." Good luck, Chamber. You lost my goodwill.

  67. To anon 9:11 from anon 8:29,

    I don't represent the Chamber, so don't use me as basis for your Chamber hatred, although I'm sure you never had any goodwill for them to lose.

    I doubt anyone representing the Chamber is even reading this thread anymore, which is another reason they're not answering your questions.

  68. PS- In case anyone hadn't noticed, I am done with the people who have chosen to represent the Chamber on this blog. I say, we end the conversation now and if the Chamber actually does something they should inform the host of Uptown Update in order to create a news item. I won't hold my breath. As for people who want to pursue whether or not the Chamber is meeting their responsibilities as a recipient of government funds on their own time, I encourage them to do so. Anonymously yours, anonymous Uptown resident, taxpayer and consumer.

  69. To anon 9:11 from anon 8:29,

    By the way, I certainly hope you actually looked at the document Hugh originally posted before you started to bitch about the Chamber. He cherry picked one small part of a very large document (actually, I can't even find the part he took from it in the document). The document goes into great detail how the money will be allocated, and covers in great detail how the Chamber will document with the city how the money was used, and what measures of accountability will be taken. The money is a grant from the city, or course, so if you really want someone to be accountable you need to speak with the city of Chicago, not the Chamber. I don't even know if the Chamber can legally release the information themselves, since the contract states that the City owns the information.

    You did read it, didn't you, or did you just take "death-threat" Hugh's word on the subject?

    Anonymously yours, an anonymous Uptown resident, taxpayer, consumer, and business owner, who actually does their own research every now and then.

  70. " ... if you really want someone to be accountable you need to speak with the city of Chicago, not the Chamber."

    perhaps you are right

    it may have been overly optimistic to think a neighborhood not-for-profit would do the right thing just because they were asked

    but don't forget, the "chamber" is funded by federal money once removed, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), so the chamber is not only accountable to the community and the City, they are accountable to the taxpayers of the United States, and to the Bush administration

  71. You're right, Hugh. It's a good thing the contract describes in great detail what steps are being taken to insure the Chamber is accountable.