Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ald. Mary Ann Smith: 'I Never Would Have Put It There'

Uptown Residents Sue Zoning Board
Complaint Alleges Error In Labor Ready Decision
By Lorraine Swanson

Read All About It Here


  1. THANK YOU Mary Ann Smith!!!

  2. Well put, Ms. Smith. Simple, direct and correct.

    As for the 46th Ward alderwoman, not even the usual, "No comment." I wonder if Ms. Swanson has just given up seeking comment from th 46th's office. Why bother, right?


  3. I meant it's ridiculous for the Schiller's office to never comment. Not Ms. Swanson not seeking a comment. That's not ridiculous. It's efficient.

  4. don't get too carried away thanking Smith, let's keep our perspective here

    her brave stand comes weeks after Labor Ready got their variance approved, now it's just a politician's words, sorry

    it's in her ward, she could have stopped it with a word or two a month ago

  5. now neighbors are raising money to pay lawyers to fight what she could have killed with a few words too much

  6. The complaint comes on the heels of one filed by Lincoln Park residents against the Chicago Park District for allowing Latin School to take over part of the park for a school soccer field. "The underlying message is that communities are demanding that their input be heard and solicited by the city," Anderson said.

    G-d bless the News-Star, but really, why is this not newsworthy for the Tribune and the Sun-Times. It is not like they were not notified repeatedly throughout the process that this was going on. Someone also told me that a reporter popped by the ZBA hearing. This wasn't an oversight. Someone decided it was not newsworthy. Why?

  7. "it's in her ward"

    It is on Alderman Shiller's half of Sheridan Road. When residents brought up that fact the ZBA's acting chair said something to the effect of "we've heard enough of that now...what else do you have to say?" They know they are a kangaroo court and that they are supposed to rubber stamp the alderman's wishes.

  8. One of Mary Ann Smith's office staff, Nancy Meyerson (I think), testified at the ZBA hearing, identified herself as such, and said she was there with Ald. Smith's knowledge and approval.

    There's the long tradition of aldermen not going head-to-head against each other's projects, but I think everyone in the room got the message loud and clear. Mary Ann Smith may have said it outright to the News-Star, but, believe me, it was communicated during the hearing as well.

    Ald. Shiller's scorched earth policy during what is probably her last term in office is coming along fine.

    We shouldn't worry about the next election in 2011 -- we need to worry about what she's doing NOW to screw over Uptown and the "bad apples" in the time she has left in THIS TERM.

    By looking at 2011, we're giving her permission to give as much of her own peculiar version of "help" to the 46th Ward as she can. Look at the NOW.

  9. "It is on Alderman Shiller's half of Sheridan Road."

    ok, thanks for the correction

  10. "One of Mary Ann Smith's office staff, Nancy Meyerson (I think), testified at the ZBA hearing, identified herself as such, and said she was there with Ald. Smith's knowledge and approval."

    ok, but it's not quite the same is it?

    did Smith have a conflict?

  11. My thought is you have to look at this in context- alderman almost NEVER speak out publicly against other aldermen in Chicago, some sort of unwritten code (doesnt mean its right, but just the way it is in Chicago)

    So in that context it is a HUGE statement in my opinion that Nancy testified and that Ald Smith spoke to the paper againts shillers plans (and it wouldnt be surprising if she was working behind the scenes as well, and then went public because Shiller wouldnt even listen to her opinion more privately)

    So lets not confuse who the problem is- its cetainly not ald smith, she involves and even lets local block clubs vote in HER ward on zoning decisions- the issue strictly lies with the other alderman, who has no problemn going against the wishes of the community and putting this potential nusance/danger across from the schools, boys and girls club, and neighborhood residences

    One look at the type of business mix and beutification across the boudaries of the 46/48th ward says it all- ie look at whats going on on Broadway north of lawrence vs. south of lawrence and north clark st vs south clark st. says it all as to who the difficult alderman is likely to be-

    Just my two cents-

  12. "When Helen Shiller first became Alderman she detailed a vision for the Ward that included bringing in more government services, attracting more private investment, and improving the commercial opportunities for area residents, all while maintaining the ward's affordability and diversity.

    Twenty years later, the 46th Ward has become a model of balanced development."

    This is a direct quote from the 46th ward website.

  13. The real question you should ask is where the f*** is Daley? He is all over Reilly's ward like a bad rash saying that an alderman shouldn't have absolute power to decide what goes in and what stays out when you've got underprivileged childrens' futures at stake (or so he says). Yet as he is tromping around the city bad-mouthing the "bad apples" in the 42nd ward, he is conveniently forgetting the poor children of the 46th and 48th wards. I've got an idea: why don't we stop blow-harding about "the children" and actually equalize conditions and resources for ALL children across Chicagoland. Why spend so much time talking about a playland downtown when the neighborhood resources for Chicago kids are so unequal?

  14. "it is a HUGE statement ... Ald Smith spoke to the paper againts shillers plans"

    ok, yeah, one alderman criticizing another on a "local" issue like this is noteworthy, and, i would even say, highly commendable

    but, i think, when you say...

    " ... the issue strictly lies with the other alderman ... "

    ...this is a little too strong

    what the local alderman thinks about local issues is NOT the only issue

    our aldermen are supposed to function together as a COUNCIL

    in letting Smith off the hook too easy for not speaking out earlier you may be tacitly endorsing the "Little Mayor" conception of Chicago aldermen which is at the root of a lot of our problems in Chicago

    I think we would all be better off with 50 pairs of eyes on every issue, city-wide or local

    I don't think my right to local control in my neighborhood is threatened by 49 2nd opinions, that's the myth, I think it is strengthened

    we need to expect ALL our aldermen to do their jobs and give careful consideration to ALL matters that come up

    if across the street from something is another alderman I expect them to take a stand and speak out

  15. In principle you are right, Hugh. However, Shiller is a menace and her ward zigs and zags all over the place. Clearly she is not above being obstructionist and it appears with all of the zoning changes you yourself have uncovered that she may be pursuing a scorched earth policy. She is out for blood and although I have been frustrated with how this all went down, it isn't unreasonable to want to approach her with a bit of caution.

  16. In other words, I'm suggesting Smith shirked her duty to her constituents by not speaking out when it could have made a difference

    if she cites "tradition" or "local prerogative" or whatever you want to call it as her excuse, maybe you can accept that, but to me it's just an excuse

    this "tradition" is not written down anywhere

    lots of City depts. have "traditions" of not doing their jobs, that doesn't mean we taxpayers have to go along with them

  17. "Shiller is a menace ... she is not above being obstructionist ... She is out for blood ... it isn't unreasonable to want to approach her with a bit of caution."

    are you suggesting Smith kept quiet out of fear of Shiller?

    well, if so, that's very sad, isn't it?

    do you conceive of little ole Helen somehow being a potential problem for Smith?

    this is the standard argument in favor of the "Little Mayor" idea - you go along with whatever a local alderman wants in another ward cuz you don't want them meddling in yours

    "Shiller is a menace"


    if you support your local alderman, for example if you are a hook-ed up campaign contributor developer, you tend to support the "Little Mayor" theory, because you like the one-stop shopping

    myself, more often than not, I find myself on the opposite side of issues with my local alderman (how about you?), so I find myself wishing & hoping for a day when more pairs of eyes look at more things, I'm not threatened by that

    to switch to the Grant Park encroachment example, it's not just up to the 42nd ward alderman, I expect a majority of the aldermen to vote their conscience and find that Grant Park is for all of us, free & clear

  18. I have to agree with Hugh on this one. I love what Smith has done for the Lawrence/Broadway area even though Shiller's blight is so close - but, she should have been more vocal about Labor Ready. Enough of the playing nice with other alderman. It was wrong for Shiller to allow it, and Smith should have said something.

  19. Mary Ann Smith used to be more critical of Helen but later became much more cautious. The problem is that many aldermen go into self protection mode to stay in office.

    All the more reason for term limits. If aldermen can't complete what they set out to do within 3 terms, chances are they won't do it in another 3 terms either.

  20. "Enough of the playing nice with other alderman."

    thank you

    sometimes it seems the aldermen are more worried about getting along with each other than with their own constituents

    don't let our alderman define collegiality as never having a sincere disagreement on an issue

    Sorry MAS, no applause from me

    standing ovation if you had spoken your heart at the hearing