Thursday, April 10, 2008

News-Star: "ZBA Renders Decision On Labor Ready"

OK to locate in Uptown but with Conditions

The Uptown Chicago Commission has started a litigation fund in the wake of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals' decision to grant a special-use permit to a day labor agency so it can open an office at 4830 N. Sheridan Road.

Read the whole story here.

These are some of our favorite parts:
  • "We're hopeful that Labor Ready is not ready to fight another court battle, and go somewhere else where they don't have to get a variance or special-use permit, " UCC president Kathy Cook said. "As the umbrella organization for the (Uptown) block clubs, UCC is in it for the long haul."
  • [Labor Ready's hiree, real estate appraiser Terrence] O'Brien stated he was curious why residents who opposed bringing a day labor office to Sheridan Road didn't bring their own expert witnesses to the ZBA hearing. "I think the reason why they failed to so, is that no appraiser worth their salt would come out and testify that this would have an adverse impact," O'Brien said. "It's all sour grapes on their part." [Note: "Bad apples." "Worth their salt." "Sour grapes." What's with all the food analogies describing residents and taxpayers?]
  • Asked which sex offender registry Labor Ready would use to screen job applicants, Burke stated that the company was researching its options. "We don't know enough about it to know the access and turnaround."
  • And of course, the perpetual "Shiller's office did not return phone calls seeking comment."

Read the story -- add your own! Hours of fun!


  1. Bad apple, sour grapes. I think we've got our Halloween costumes decided for us....

  2. Right, Terry. The current zoning ordinance which makes no provision for day labor agencies in a B3-2 Community Shopping District shouldn't put the burden of proof on the appealing party.

    The good news is that we now know that reputable appraisers feel that day labor agencies belong within 250 feet of schools. We should probably re-write the zoning ordinance to reflect the weight of this professional opinion. I am going to look for a site across the street from the Latin School and across from Parker.

    Oh, is no chance in hell that the aldermen there would grant a special use for it.

  3. "The objectors didn't give us facts."

    Dear Mr. Konstantelos:

    You silenced us by not allowing us a prepared counsel, by not allowing us to fully cross-examine the witnesses, by not making Labor Ready fulfill their obligation to prove that they were in the public interest and by only allowing 4 people to speak.

    You are the rubber stamp of aldermanic privilege.

  4. "The greatest impact would be on the abutting property if there is a negative impact," O'Brien said. "This property is zoned for business."

    This guy is unbelievable. The abutting property is zoned "community shopping district" which is a type of zoning that does not make any provisions for day labor. Just because that is generally a "business" classification, doesn't mean that any kind of business is suitable there. If that were true, why have multiple classifications of commercial use within the zoning code? In addition, that building itself abuts a residential building.

    I guess according to O'Brien and any appraiser worth his/her salt, that so long as a property is zoned for business use any kind of business use is fair game.

  5. Excuse me. The court did not allow you, the community, to cross-examine the witness or continue the case? That can be grounds for overturning the ruling based upon a recent Illinois case.

  6. We were allowed an abbreviated opportunity to cross-examine some witnesses but within some serious time pressures and our lawyers weren't prepared because they only got to see the exhibits about 1/2 hour beforehand. Further, the ZBA didn't make Labor Ready submit all of the evidence that backed up their testimony.

    We asked for a continuance to avoid this kind of situation but we were told that they only give continuances to the applicants and to the alderman.

  7. Shiller fought against the continuance and argued that there were community meetings because that is what she instructed Labor Ready to do. She said we might as well just discuss everything at the ZBA because discussing it there is what matters anyway.

    If Shiller was willing to give us the continuance, there is no doubt in my mind we would have gotten it. She was behind silencing the community.

  8. Then she pulled her Famous Shiller Trick of refusing to speak when the ZBA asked her to, several times, explaining that she was more comfortable speaking at the end.

    That is, when no one could speak after her to contradict her.

    There were some whoppers in her statement. The one that comes to mind is her claim that Labor Ready is for stay-at-home moms who want to add some money to the family coffers.

    I'm sure there are throngs of Uptown soccer moms who are panting for the chance to send the kids off to school and then go stand in line at Labor Ready for a chance to do some light industrial work.

    There was also the sheaf of supporting papers Shiller waved, saying they were in support of Labor Ready. We found out later that the letters were 10-to-1 against it, and the supporting letters had the same boilerplate language.

    Yeah, I can see why Helen didn't want to have anyone question her.

  9. "Shiller ... said we might as well just discuss everything at the ZBA because discussing it there is what matters anyway."

    But wait, the "chamber" told us the alderman's office was the only place that matters, who's right?

  10. Duh? How do you screen sex offender applicants out of the vicinity of the school if they have to go to the Labor Ready to be screened?

    Do they think the homeless guys who work at these day labor camps will be carrying laptops to submit their applications? Or do they think they carry Blackberries these days?

  11. When was the last time you heard of a gay person driving through Uptown shooting at people on the street?? Pick your neighbors wisely and quit whining about what sexual orientation you would prefer in Uptowns businesses. The gay businesses in Uptown are actually adding some class to the place.