Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Flyers For The Meet-N-Greet At Sunnyside Mall

If you want to help, tonight is your chance.

Stop by Nicks on Wilson and pick up flyers for the event Saturday. Pick up one for your building or more for your block -- your choice. Every little bit will help get the word out.

I will be there from 6-8:30 tonight. I hope to see many many people help us get the word out on this.


  1. I congratulate so many of you on trying to make Uptown a better place to live, but I have to ask, did you drive through the neighborhood before you bought? I'm sure your realtor took you through the hood on Sunday before noon, that is when they start to rise from the dead. I recommend that you drive through a neigborhood at three differnt times of the day, this will give you an idea of what is going on. And finally, there is no doubt that this is a safer neighborhood today than it has ever been.

  2. Nice that you assume everyone owns and used a realtor. Heaven forbid you think a renter might be fed up with this crap too!

  3. Remember the gangbanger aren't the only ones you need to be aware of. You should be aware of the sex offenders too. Like the one next that lives next to the Sunnyside Mall at 4502 N. Magnolia #1N. His name is Joseph Schaub and he does live at that address. He is currently Non-Complaint. If you see he contact the police. He apparently like children under the age of 13. Check his photo out at P.S. All this information is public knowledge.

  4. Same thing goes for a renter. I hoped that you researched the neighborhood before you rented.

  5. Yes, it's safer than it was 30 years ago.

    But is it acceptably safe?

    Do I feel secure walking around at 11 p.m., like I do in Lakeview or Andersonville? Old Irving Park or North Center? Hell, no.

    Two riots at the Wilson el in less than a month. A group of 50 walking down Sheridan holding baseball bats. Blood stains on the sidewalks from gangbangers who won't cooperate with the police.

    Safer? Sure. But NOT SAFE.

    I'm not willing to settle for anything less than SAFE.

    As far as your question about whether I'm a naive newcomer: I grew up in Uptown (my dad worked at Combined Insurance at 5050 Broadway when I was growing up). I lived out of state for a few years and came back to Uptown 20 years ago. I'm the fourth generation of my family to live in this community.

    I love this neighborhood, and I won't be satisfied until it's the very best it can be. "Acceptably safe" or "safer than it used to be" aren't options.

  6. I would like to welcome a member of Alderman Shiller's office for posting a comment. That first comment is a dead giveaway.
    2 thinks the status quo will try to do:
    -make this condo. owners vs. non owners (haves vs. have nots)
    -compare it to how things used to be

  7. I knew all about this neighborhood because my friends lived here and we visited them often and then moved into the same building.

    Of course back then, Helen Shiller's ward ended at Lawrence and there were no boarded up businesses in Weiss Plaza. I purposely bought in Alderman Smith's ward. I knew what Uptown was and I have no problem living with mentally ill people, homeless people and poor people as long as efforts are being made to either move these people further down paths of self-sufficiency or keeping them on their meds, etc.

    However, gun violence has increased in this neighborhood. Period.

  8. did you drive through the neighborhood before you bought?

    Because we all know that neighborhoods NEVER change or evolve.

    Only in Shillr's Uptown is the idea floated that a community is hermetically sealed forever and ever.

    In 1970, Uptown was full of Appalachian whites. Shiller's SDS buddies came here to organize them and that's how we got VOTP and JOIN. They also rebelled against and drove out the day labor companies that were exploiting the residents.

    So, not only did Uptown change, apparently Helen Shiller's ethics did as well.

    Long live change!

  9. I just stopped on and picked up my flyers what a nice guy . Younger than I expected.

  10. I think Helen was post-SDS. I think she arrived on the scene after activists and locals had decided to get more aggressive & militant in the wake of the Old Man Daley's Democratic Convention bloodbath and after SDS in Chicago began to fall apart.

    It will forever be a source of confusion to me how she could have fought so hard against Old Man Daley but she allowed herself to be co-opted by the modern day democratic machine. I guess she realized that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. This may have ensured her survival but I can't say the same for people of Uptown.

  11. truman square neighbor - I'm with you! I grew up in Uptown and I've lived in Chicago my whole life. We should all want safe - renters, owners, rich or poor.

  12. I was told at a CAPS meeting (by a woman running it) that I should carry extra dollar bill$ so that I could hand them out when approached by creepies asking for money.

    For real.

  13. Anon 5:14 pm -

    What does "driving through the neighborhood" have to do with this?! So, are you saying that it's ok that there is crime as long as it was there before?

    What an asnine position to have. Please tell me, I'm begging you, what's wrong with wanting to reduce crime? Please answer me.

  14. Thanks to everyone who showed up last night to grab some flyers for their building / street I met a few of you when I stopped by. Regardless of what some say if you feel that violence is unacceptable this is the kind of thing that can make a statement. It is to bad that not everyone who lives in the community has a problem with all the violence, but that does not mean that anyone who does have a problem with it is wrong. Regardless of where you live no one should ever have to deal with violent acts in their community. The neighborhoods that refuse to except it are the ones that get rid of it regardless of who their Alderman is.

  15. I also stopped by to pick up some flyers last night; however, I think it is important to understand that this is a "meet and greet" so that we can get to know our neighbors, theoretically, all of them, including bangers. The way the flyer that the police made was worded ("Take back Uptown...") was needlessly inflammatory and has the potential to incite some major trouble. I don't think it's wise to actively piss off the gangbangers, which is exactly what a flyer like that will do if they see them. I wanted to actually pass some of them out to the kids that hang out on my block as I am right by the Sunnyside Mall. They are our neighbors, too. A hostile flyer that says we are taking something back is not even really true. We aren't taking anything back. They all lived here first. Flyers worded like that will solve nothing except potentially aim the violence specifically at us, the "evil gentrifiers" that they see us as however unfair we think that is. We don't want to create a more hostile environment. Violence is bad no matter who you are, what color you are or how much money you make, whether you own or rent. The goal is for all of us to band together as a community to make it safer.

  16. I agree with your sentiments, anon 9:43. What do people think of offering some kind of food or drinks to the people who gather? Maybe some drinks and cookies? I don't live anywhere near the Sunnyside mall but I would be willing to donate my portable table and a tablecloth. Maybe some other people can take a trip to Costco to get some drinks and snacks?

    If the weather holds out, what a wonderful way to get to meet some neighbors. Everyone should feel welcome.

  17. Wow... where do I begin? First off, I doubt the gangs even read the flyers. (I'll resist the temptation to make a snarky comment about their reading skills)

    Second, "They all lived here first" Are you serious? Lots of law abiding folks "lived here first" too.

    The gangs care about making money by selling drugs, end of story. They aren't going to read a nicely worded flyer and stop their felonious behavior. Get real.

  18. Saskia - maybe we can offer free gun cleanings for the gang members too?

    "Cookies for gang members" (smacks self on forehead) of course, that'll work!

  19. Colin, I am not advocating "cookies for gang members." Please don't insult my intelligence like that. I was merely suggesting that if a group of people in the community are going to have a "meet and greet," food always brings people together. Maybe somebody will wonder what is going on and stop on over. Maybe some good conversations will happen. Who knows? There are certainly some forceful things that people can do to deal with gangs but I don't advocate vigilantism. Cops are best equipped to deal with law enforcement. Citizens can work on being neighborly and holding their elected officials accountable.

  20. I don't advocate vigilantism either. My only point was that the tone people have about "engaging" gang members or using nice words is crazy talk.

    Sorry if I misunderstood your posting. If you didn't mean that, then I apologize.

  21. When I spoke to the guy who's organizing all this last night at Nick's, he mentioned several activities to take place at the meet-n-greet. I'll defer to him detailing them, but I'm sure it's more than standing around the mall chatting... nothing wrong with that, though!

  22. Ok, I'm sorry. But I don't want to make nice with the gang bangers in our community. That is the same thing as accepting that their behavior is ok. That is like the indulgent parent that tries to be their kids 'friend' and when Junior gets caught shooting his classmates, wines to the TV crew, "My baby is a GOOD BOY!" Please. Crime is UNACCEPTABLE. I don't care where you live. The only reason why certain neighborhoods fall apart and become violent slums is simply because the residents of that neighborhood become complacent, or they get fed up and move out, leaving it for someone else to deal with it.

    -Being poor is not an excuse to be a violent gang banger.

    -Being uneducated is not an excuse to be a violent gang banger.

    -Being the product of a broken home is not an excuse to be a violent gang banger.

    I don't care who you are, what circumstances you deal with, no one has the right to break the law, harm another human being or animal, or damage public/private property. That behavior has never been, nor should ever be, acceptable.

    Coddling and making nice with the gangs and drug dealers in our neighborhood is not going to make this community any safer. It is an open invitation for more gang bangers to hang out here.

    I see nothing wrong with the message of 'Taking Back' our community. That is what needs to be done. You want to deal drugs? You want to beat up senior citizens because its funny? You want to harrass a woman walking her dog at knifepoint? You want to spray paint your 'mark' on a historical theatre? YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE. Period. The sooner we make that clear, the better Uptown will be.

  23. Seems like I should take a step back from the conversation because people are taking my comments as a "soft on crime" stance. The sunnyside meet-n-greet isn't my thing and I should probably let the people who are organizing it talk more about the tone they want to set there and what their goals are.

    The only thing more I have to say is that obviously no one wants continued violence on our streets. There are many tactics that can be deployed toward reducing the violence. Police work is key, but I believe that Uptown residents have a lot to gain by reaching out in any direction they can in order to find others who have the same goals. "Making nice" with your neighbors (some of whom may have quite different views on the police than you do) isn't the same thing as "making nice" with gangbangers.

    As I have frequently said on this message board, the complexity of these issues and the varying opinions are why we need some true leadership coming from our elected officials. Silence will only get us more of the same.

    I am sorry if some people have taken my comments to mean that crime is somehow acceptable. I have children. Do you think I want them to be an innocent victim of gang violence? Do you think I want that grief for any other mother no matter how different they may be from me?

  24. Saskia, I totally agree with you. Plus food does bring people together, it has for centuries & hopefully more to come. Getting to know people even the "bad ones" does help. As Calvin once said to Hobbs- "The possibilities in life are endless" in what can happen with this meet & greet. It's far better than NOT trying!

  25. From farrell:
    Saskia, my comment was directed at the anonymous poster who commented that the flyers might anger the gang bangers, and that we should try to 'reach out' to them too.

    I am willing to work with any neighbor in the Uptown community who is tired of crime, tired of being afraid. Regardless of their economic standing, or their personal views on the police. That is not an issue here.

    But no, I have no interest in working with the gang bangers, whether they live her or not (many do not, they just do business here). Obviously they have no vested interest in Uptown, because their business IS crime. They should be dealt with as the lawbreakers they are.

    I took no issue with your suggestions on hosting a food event in order to garner interest in community improvements, I was an active participant in the first block club party that was hosted two years ago. I provided nametags, bought cases of water, pop and juice, provided coloring books, games and prizes for the kids, and brought VHS tapes for the kids to watch in the synagogue when it started raining. So yes, I agree that food and refreshments garner interest.

    But I do take issue with the poster who felt it was wrong for the flyer to state 'take back Uptown' and the concern that it might anger the gangbangers. If it puts them on alert that this community has had enough of them, and their unlawful ways... so be it.

  26. "I'll resist the temptation to make a snarky comment about their reading skills." Please do, Colin. Condo owners aren't the only ones who check this blog. Your comments, while I can respect your right to air them, are judgmental and condescending and do not speak to the actions of gangbangers which is really the issue here. If this is indicative of a general attitude held by others who are going to be at the "Meet and
    Greet," I want no part of it. I think it will be a potential disaster just as anon 9:46 posited. I am in no way a fan of gangbangers and the violence they bring, and am the last one to "make nice" with a criminal element, but what I'm not going to do is announce that from the top of a mountain with insults added for good measure. Violence is all around bad and we need to do something about it no doubt. I think what anon 9:46 and saskia were trying to allude to was that a certain cautious respect be shown to our neighbors, bangers and non-bangers alike.

  27. I agree that food and soft drinks would be nice. The point of this initial meet and greet was to.

    1. Meet your neighbors.
    2. Get together to plan the next get together.
    3. Start flexing the community muscle.

    To say that this would be nice or that would be nice to have at the event is great if you would like soft drinks or food bring them.

    The short time frame involved in setting this up, yet the communities overwhelming interest in having one of these, led me to the conclusion that anything that brings people in the area together would hopefully spark help for the next get together.

  28. Colin’s condescending response to anon’s comment that “They all lived here first,” only makes me wonder exactly when Colin moved here from Utah. Anyone who is from Chicago knows that Uptown has been loaded with criminal activity for years. We all knew this when we moved here, yes, but that isn’t the issue. I should be able to live where I want to and it should be safe. Who doesn’t want that? I suspect that even low- and no-income people want to be safe. This whole thing is about gentrification. 15 years ago when I lived on Maulden, it was crack central, open and unabated, kind of like today but worse. Before the P. Stone Rangers of today, it was the Gaylords and before them who knows. This is the reality...but so it gentrification. People who have the money to rent or buy property at market value have the right to expect safety. No one should ever tolerate anything less. People who think like Colin, and want to Rambo their way to a safer neighborhood, make no sense to me. Having no dialogue even with bangers, combined with an oppressive attitide, simply doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked for the Bush administration in dealing with Hamas, and it won't work for us vs. the P. Stone Rangers. I am much more about establishing some kind of communication but without taking any shit either. And while we are at it, how about some of that TIF money being thrown into more social programs for kids to keep them off the street? With few programs in place to help the poor try to get on their feet, keeping them “corralled” in high rises for DA MARE, and looking the other way while people get killed left and right, is in my opinion, one of Shiller's biggest crimes. Her urban experiment has been a disaster.

  29. With all due respect to the last anonymous - please don't even mention TIF money and social services in the same sentence. Nice thought, but not while Shiller is in office and has control of the TIF $$$. That would be even more disasterous.

  30. To Anon 4:00 pm... we're probably closer to agreement than you think.

    I don't want to Rambo anything. I want what you want. "I should be able to live where I want to and it should be safe."? Couldn't agree more.

    I fail to see how "getting to know" or "engaging" the drug dealers and gang members will help. If I'm just a dumb hick from Utah (or wherever) please educate me.

    If talking to them and asking them to stop or do their stuff somewhere else works, fantastic, I'll be the first to step in and do just that. But I hope you understand why I'm so skeptical?

    I fail to see how expecting people to not break the law as an "oppressive attitude". I want to be very clear, my beef is ONLY with criminals and has nothing to do with condo owners vs renters or whatever demographic you'd like to insert.

    I refuse to show "cautious respect" for any criminal, sorry. I'll shut my mouth, fine, but give respect? No chance.



  31. From Farrell:

    I'm sorry, but for those that are jumping down Colin's throat. He made no distinction between condo owners/renters, etc. at all. His beef is directly with those that engage in criminal activity in our neighborhood. And you will take issue with that?

    To Anon, and the anonymous poster that followed, you claim that 'no tolerance' doesn't work with dealing with gang bangers. Please educate the rest of us. What does? Like Colin, I will be first in line to offer beverages and hugs to a gang banger if that means that I don't get woken up at 10:00 p.m. by gunfire outside my bedroom window (which happend a few months ago when one gang member shot another gang member in the gut.)

    Regardless of your political issues (your position on the Bush administration is irrelevant here), the argument is NOT about the haves and the have-nots on this message board. It's about dealing with crime, period. Do you really think that there are gang bangers on this message board, curious to know what we are doing to improve the neighborhood? Do you think that they would hesitate for ONE second to shoot you in the face for $5? I doubt it. Why then, do you think that they deserve ANY respect at all? Obviously you are advocating that we give them respect by attempting to engage them for positive use in our community. I would love a front row seat for that conversation... I wonder how long before the gang banger stops laughing long enough to steal your wallet?

    It is obvious to me that those like Anon and the Anonymous poster think that tip-toeing around gangs and drug dealers, giving them a cautious wave and a how-doya-do, is the way to go, because they are afraid of the ramifications of what might happen if they say or do the wrong thing. You know what's wrong with that? It accomplishes nothing. You just keep giving them the power to keep doing business unimpeded.

    I will never understand those that make excuses for law breakers and think we should coddle them. You must also think that child molesters can be rehabilitated and should be let around children because they are people too, and they just 'made a mistake.' You are great advocates for criminal activity... that is until someone you love gets murdered by one of these heartless wastes of human flesh. I'm sorry, but I've had enough of it. One of my neighbors was physically attacked by these hoodlums, and I will give them the same consideration they gave him -ZERO.

    On this issue, I'm with Colin. I have absolutely no interest in coddling, working with, or supporting gangs in our neighborhood out of fear of them, or fear of not following the rules of some liberal PC guidebook that relieves criminals of personal responsibility for their actions.

  32. By statute, TIF funds may be used for job training. I don't think any TIF funds have been set aside for job training programs, although we will have $10 million for a parking garage!!!

  33. I also would like to point out that the flyers did not contain anything "inflammatory"

    This Positive Loitering Event is not a demonstration it is not a meeting. It is an opportunity for people to meet each other.

    This discussion is ludicrous.

  34. PB is right - the flyer was not inflammatory in the slightest, and the 5:11pm post criticizing it is one of the most bizarre instances of PC taken to the ludicrous extreme that I've seen in a long, long time.

    How someone can read that flyer and get the idea to BOYCOTT the meet & greet boggles the brain. Completely wrongheaded.

  35. Maybe I am being simplistic, but I thought the meet and greet was just a step in doing something, anything, other than sitting at home reading about crime in Uptown and posting comments anonymously on blogs. It's doing something. The people at Crime Blotter put a time up to bring us together in the real world rather than the virtual world. Great - now we have a time and date and place. If it's just walking to the Mall on hopefully a nice day to say hello to others who feel the same way, then I'll take it. Doesn't change have to start somewhere? I'll be there, cookies or not. I hope you will be there too.

  36. There are people who simply want to disrupt good intentions for neighbors meeting neighbors, that's what community building is all about. Ignore them.

    When neighbors come together in a positive way, the problems disappear.

  37. I have never really understood or seen direct benefit from Positive Loitering. I mean the the time and place is posted and advertised for all to see........counter productive?

    Call me silly; or stupid, but I have watched these Positive Loitering events done in one spot with food and drink and honestly they dissolves into a social party for the few and being a spectical for those you are trying to "shoo" way.

    I would like to organizing neighborhood group walks or if you must Loiter, do it in smaller groups in several places on a particular evening.

    As posted earlier today, I am all for neighborhood patrols with fellow dog owners. Personally, I can supply 4 dogs! We would walk routes that we decide on that evening. You still can stop by Starbucks (if you must) snack, chat and we can still bitch about Shiller.

    But, the result is much better, broader reaching and actually productive. You cover ground (hot spots), get seen by more people, good ones and bad ones.

    With the added benefits of getting exercise, the dogs get walked (you have to do it anyway), neighbors who are experiencing problems may give tips on problem areas that we can hit on other evenings or make passes through on you own dog walks just to make a presence.

    The point is to be seen.

    Maybe your one of those people who want a dog and can't have one, it is a great way to get that dog fix!

    And who knows, maybe the community members will even bring cookies and beverages out to the sidewalk to us along the way.

    Just my two cents.

  38. Farrell & Colin:

  39. Last I looked there is no:
    "Be nice to your gangbanger neighbor" day.

    Or a bumpersticker reading:
    "Have you hugged your gangbangin neighbor today?"

    Or, how about this:
    "Break bread with your local gangbanger and maybe he won't break a baseball bat over your head."

    And finally,
    What do Shiller and Gangbangers have in common?
    Being nice to them DOES NOT WORK.

    Nice will not work.
    Please wake up.