Tuesday, June 3, 2008

COURAJ Hosts A Small Gathering In Uptown Community Garden

A reader writes in:
"COURAJ was called in to distract the media from Saturday's peace rally by preempting it with their own media event this morning in our Sunshine Community Garden. The protesters decided to use our community garden, created by families and residents living by Clarendon Park, an ironic choice.

Looks like the political natives are restless about the Saturday rally planned for outside the alderman's office, Marc Kaplan and the few remaining remnants from COURAJ held a press conference to talk about police brutality and Uptown youths.

The plan backfired in their face when residents who built the garden showed up and voiced their concerns about the most recent murder of a Truman student and the rash of gang shootings on the rise in the immediate neighborhood."
Check out the video at CLTV here.


  1. So COURAJ is now cleverly disguised as Clean Slate workers? Freakin genius!

  2. I swear I've seen the guy in the orange cap on Springer.

  3. couraj's last protest was at the corner of wilson and magnolia, begging people not to buy condos. all two of them were trying to disrupt the open houses that weekend. seeing this video, i don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the guy. he obviously has no idea what an idiot he comes across as when he does things like this. if it wasn't so damn entertaining, i think it would upset me that people outside of uptown have this image of our neighborhood. as people are saying lately though uptown is the most entertaining neighborhood in chicago.

  4. Marc Kaplan was sued by a police officer for encouraging neighborhood youth to issue false reports of police brutality. The case was settled out of court. The man has no credibility.

    He was at tonight's CAPS meeting and was immediately silenced when he accused someone of having the intentions of getting another alderman elected to take her place. Marc neglected to notice that many of the residents there who were concerned about drugs and gangs were African Americans and also people living in subsidized housing. He had to wince when they too were complaining about crime.

  5. Another alderman elected? Please explain Caps Attendee.

  6. Couraj is going to be out patrolling the streets with cameras and video?

    Bitchin' !

    The Neighborhood Watch can always use the help. Criminals aren't going to be so blatant when people wearing neon yellow vests and taking pictures and video are out and about. Thanks for the help, fellas! Your assistance in ridding Uptown's streets of gangs and drugs is really appreciated.

    Hugs and kisses. ;-)

  7. Marc Kaplan = One Trick Pony.

  8. Re the vests. I guess the picture of "ground breaking" at Wilson Yard wasn't so far off from the truth.

  9. So COURAJ still exists? Or is it just Marc Kaplan and whatever stupid college student he can manage to dupe for the summer?

  10. I think Mark had said- "You just want to get rid of the alderman!" to who ever was speaking at that moment.

    Well gee Mark, you love your alderman so bloody much, then explain why the over paid hag or a rep. from her office wasn't there to at LEAST show CAPS some support?! It's just an hour or so of their time. I don't think that's asking much from a "Public Servant".

    No alderman can control or solve crime or all the ugly problems, but she or a rep. can come and show concern or involvement in the local CAPS meetings.

  11. My kids and I put a lot of sweat and effort into making that garden look nice. Digging up weeds, smooshing grubs, planing flowers, etc.

    It's supposed to be a nice place for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy - a tiny little patch of beauty and nature in an area better known for gangbanging, drug dealing, and lately, shootings.

    There's a bench where the seniors from 4500 Clarendon sit in the shade of a big tree, and there's garden art created by local kids. It's a real place for community building.

    Then this douchebag, who never planted a single damned plant and never broke a sweat in creating the garden, comes along and uses it as a backdrop for his anti Cop agenda.

    What an a-hole.

  12. Why can COURAJ and it's 2 members get media attention?

    The rally on Saturday better be huge and it better get some media attention!

    At the very least COURAJ's demonstration should motivate all of us to get out there Saturday and be heard. We should be outraged that a group like COURAJ exists to support gangs, violence and drug dealing.

  13. CLTV is hardly media attention.

  14. Go to the (NW) corner of Racine and Montrose and protest Marc. That's the building where he lives.

    COURAJ gets media attention via Helen's connections.

  15. Nobody watches CLTV anyway.

  16. "CLTV is hardly media attention."

    False. CLTV is a Tribune Media company. You cannot just write it off as "hardly media attention" when whatever connections are being exercised can get you a local TV crew to cover a "copwatch" campaign of 5 people. That's remarkable.

    I am not a long term Uptown resident. I've only lived here for 11 months, but I am signing up for another 12 months right now. All I can say is bring it! It's on.

    My reading of the situation in Uptown is that it's an information contest. Selective distribution of information is rampant. Memo to seniors here. COURAJ media coverage there.

    There are some things about Uptown that are very concerning to me. The crime is getting worse, but the response from elected officials is even worse. What the incumbents need most right now is a challenger. Don't give that to them. They're desperate to have a discussion about politics. This isn't about politics. It's about the paramount variable in any society, the safety and security of the people that breathe life into it.

  17. 10:26, welcome to Uptown! We're glad to have you.

  18. Ah, look at the post at 9:52 am - Marc Kaplan does live in Uptown. Has for years, and is always causing problems.

  19. RE: not anonymous 10:44. Your post made me chuckle and made me think.

    Uptown: The Most Entertaining Neighborhood in Chicago!

    With all of the well-documented insanity (coming from all places) and our reawakening entertainment district, I couldn't think of a better tagline for this place!

  20. Criminals aren't going to be so blatant when people wearing neon yellow vests and taking pictures and video are out and about. Thanks for the help, fellas! LOL!

    Remember kids, Cops are baaad. Freaky guys carrying cameras and wearing neon vests are goooood.

  21. How many names has Marc Kaplan, Ald. Helen Shiller's political surrogate worked under?

    This is just the latest iteration of Shiller's demand that the police operate under her thumb and leave the gangs alone.

    Shiller throws the racist slurs and police brutality threats every time she doesn't get her way. And she always uses taxpayer funded and non-profit funded organizations to do it as her surrogates. She is behind it all. It traces back to her.

  22. Don't you just love these self-professed "community group" posers. Our motto for them - because we've never seen them ever do any thing in the community like a "Clean and Green" day is, "How many trees have you planted?"

    They are only here to pose for Alderman Shiller and to toss out the race card, the gentrifier "code word", and stirk up the have/have not hatred.

    Bravo Helen! You are in full Divisive mode again. Let the world see you for what you are!!!

  23. Laura Washington, Sun Times columnist, recently reported a racial divide on Halsted Street related to young, black males who do not feel welcome by the business community or Center on Halsted. Helen Shiller has been actively involved in trying to find somewhere else for these boys to go. There have been many conflics with the 23rd Police department on loitering issues and the 23rd District is using special handcards to explain the remifications of loitering to these teens.

    You will notice that Alderman Helen Shiller has not sent the Cowardly Lions of Couraj into Lakeview and Boystown to protest and call them racist gentrifiers. Nor has she turned them loose on Lakeview to file Police Brutality claim in their parks.

    Nope, that race-baiting, police-bashing, condo-owner-hating, gentrifying code-word labeling is targeted by our Alderman and her surrogates for those living North of the Irving and Montrose lines.

  24. Who is Marc Kaplan? COURAJ leader, Marc Kaplan, is Alderman Helen Shiller's political organization member who circulates her petitions to get her on the ballot. He works at the Uptown People's Law Center, a non-profit law center that is led by Attorney Alan Mills and Board Member James Chapman.

    James Chapman is a Prison Action Committee advocate for prisoner rights. He sits on an Illinois Prisoner taskforce and promotes ex-prisonor benefits and community re-entry. In prior campaigns, he loaned Shiller's campaign $20,000 interest free for many years. Alan Mills offers pro-bono legal services for which an amazing number of cases represent Helen Shiller's politicos, for example Pam Barton.

    In short, COURAJ is not at all independent of Alderman Helen Shiller. Rather, the words, "Thick as Thieves" come to mind.

  25. Does this mean that the Daley muzzle has been lifted off of Alderman Shiller now that Obama won the Democratic nomination for President last night?

    Or does it mean that Daley and Axlerod and Chicago politico are intentionally playing the race card on issues now thinking that it will activate more minority votes than it will lose non-minority votes?

    Racist and police brutality tactics have always been Shillers voter motivator so I just can't believe that this is all a big coincidence.

  26. "James Chapman is a Prison Action Committee advocate for prisoner rights. "

    Rumor has it that Chapman's name might be connected to a project at Maryville.

    Think about that, for a sec.

    Helen activities need to be monitored as she very well may be up to no good, and we're going to be the ones stuck with living with her horrible decisions.

  27. "James Chapman is a Prison Action Committee advocate for prisoner rights. "

    ... or she's preparing a response to the rally on Saturday.

  28. "Rumor has it that Chapman's name might be connected to a project at Maryville."

    What more do you know? According to Shiller, whatever is done with that property will go through a thorough community process just like Wilson Yard. (Yeah, we know...that is why the conspiracy theories are running rampant.)

  29. As a newer resident, what is COURAJ and ONE or whatever it is?

  30. COURAJ - the Community of Uptown Residents for Affordability and Justice is just another version of a long line of Shiller activist organizations that do the same thing. They say they represent the Uptown Community and demand that business development and anything other than low income housing development be eliminated in favor of low income housing. Former iterations are the former Heart of Uptown Coalition of the 1980's, the Uptown Taskforce on Displacement and Housing Development, the Uptown Learning Center, etc. Each time these Shiller controlled non-profits reinvent themselves they are run by Marc Kaplan, Shiller's Political longtime street boss.

    Shiller uses these front organizations to go before government agencies, such as HUD, the Dept of Planning, the Police Deparment, to protest and demand and to articulate "what the community wants." But these posers are not true community representatives. They are posers and activists with their onw special interest agendas that the Alderman is pushing.

    Their activities are sometimes out in the open, such as now when they are attempting to brand opponents with derogatory labels.

    But, often, they work behind the scenes as they did on the Wilson Yard project. Few know the our Uptown Broadway Bank, Apna Ghar, and Jane Adams Center leaders funneled over $20,000 through a another non-profit to Couraj to fund protests of business development at Wilson Yards. With Alderman Shiller they held meetings with City representatives in which Couraj represented the community in demanding that the business revitilization TIF be turned into a low-income housing TIF. Of course, the local block clubs were never made aware of these happenings as they occurred.

    This pattern has been repeated over and over again during Shiller's tenure.

    ONE is another housing activist organization that poses as representatives of the entire community. They span both the 46th adn 48th Ward. Along with the Jesus People, they protested the rennovation of the former Goldblatts building that now houses the Borders at Broadway and Lawerence. They tend to get as obnoxious as they can in hopes of getting funding for some project of theirs to shut them up. (Notice the brand new ONE office at the base of the newly rennovated Leland Hotel SRO).

    The number one thing to know about these groups is that although they claim to represent the community they truly represent their own agenda.

  31. Wow - well stated Anon 4:29. Couldn't have said it better myself!

  32. So, during the march, I suggest each and every one of us has a great reason to go into Shillers Office. This comes off her website. Then we can each individually ask if she is available to speak to a constituent..

    Get Your Free Lightbulb!
    Get your free Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb from Alderman Shiller's office at 4544 N Broadway!

    In an effort to mitigate climate change, improve air quality and save Chicagoans money, the Chicago Department of Environment (DOE), Northern Illinois Energy Project (NIEP) and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) have partnered to distribute 500,000 money saving CFLs to Chicagoans.

    The use of each Energy Star qualified CFL bulb saves money, uses less energy and helps improve the environment. The average household has about 40 incandescent light bulbs. If each of those bulbs was changed to a CFL, the household could save over $200 per year. On average, each CFL can prevent more than 450 pounds of green house gas emissions over its lifetime.

    CFL bulbs also:

    Use up to 66 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs

    Last up to 10 times longer

    Save about $30 in energy costs over the life of each Energy Star qualified CFL
    Contribute to a cleaner environment while saving energy, money and time
    Can be used in most incandescent fixtures already in your home.
    You may pick up your free CFL bulb from Alderman Shiller's office

  33. I'll bet they say they gave all 500,000 of those lightbulbs away already. The program started over a month ago.

  34. Few know the our Uptown Broadway Bank, Apna Ghar, and Jane Adams Center leaders funneled over $20,000 through another non-profit to Couraj to fund protests of business development at Wilson Yards.

    I didn't know that. Is Sue Ellen Long not to be trusted? I have wondered...

  35. Quick aside on the CFL bulbs - does the city let people know the risks of those things caused by the mercury within?

    IE - if a bulb should break, the area needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes. You shouldn't vacuum up the broken pieces, instead wear a glove and place the bits in a sealable plastic bag.

    The used bulbs need to be properly recycled and not thrown into the trash.

    I'm all for helping the earth, and commend the city for taking steps in that direction; but, they need to do so responsibly.

    I doubt Shiller has any clue that these bulbs can actually hurt people.

  36. Also ask for your Cook County discount prescription card while you are there. You can get them at the Bezazian library too, but why not make Shiller's staff work for us for a change?

  37. Does anyone remember the City Council hearing on Police Brutality that Alderman Helen Shiller co-sponsored on June 19, 2003? Only 2 aldermen showed up, Ald. Joe Moore and Ald. Ricky Munoz.

    Ald. Shiller didn't even appear for her own anti-police event. Now that's dedication to a cause! I guess once her Publicity Machine press releases are out she lost interest.

  38. I'm not sayin' they're all bad but I know for a fact that police in Uptown and the rest of the city do illegal stop and searches all the time. Still, I don't expect people standing around with cameras will stop it. They do it to young people who think it's normal and back off if somebody who might know otherwise or photograph it are present.

  39. What do you mean by an illegal stop and search? How can you tell? If gangs are causing most of the problems and if most of the gangs fit the description of the youth, I don't have much of a problem with it.

    At the CAPS meeting for Beat 2311, one of the police officers said that when he's called to the 4500 block of N. Magnolia and he's heading south, he sees kids get on their cell phones immediately and by the time he reaches his destination, the problem "disappeared".

    We have drug dealers who know not to have drugs on them, so instead, they do the money transaction and purposely get a minor to hand over the drug. The laws for minors are extremely lenient and drug dealers know it. The dealers are recruiting minors all the time for the purpose of being the drug handler. It's a smooth operation. So I really don't mind the police stopping the kids and searching them.

  40. If gangs are causing most of the problems and if most of the gangs fit the description of the youth, I don't have much of a problem with it.

    Illegal is illegal. And the police's gang roster is notoriously flawed and incorrect. On some of these issues you get into the proverbial slippery slope. More needs to be done but the police must follow the law and we should all expect them to.

  41. There is a way to avoid a search and seizure. You deny them the right to search. Let them take you to the station. It's a pressure game. People participating in criminal activity are aware of the risks. In fact, you could go ask the Uptown People's Law Center what you should do when approached by the police. And guess what? That's exactly what criminals do.

    They adapt.

  42. Caps Attendee, I know because I've seen it and my son's told me about it. You probably will say I'm a sap for believing him and I don't care. He does lie sometimes and sometimes I bust him. If you are a parent you will understand when I say that I usually know when he's lying. Would you allow the cops to stop you walking down the street and tell you "alright, hands on the hood" and then go through your pockets and bag without arresting you and with no explanation? Sure the gangs are a serious problem and disposing of constitutional rights when it's convenient is not the solution. What you are talking about it profiling and it's wrong. You don't have a problem with it probably because the only profile you fit is an a-hole and the police aren't profiling a-holes.
    Anonymous said there's a way to avoid illegal search and I doubt he's tried it. A twelve-year-old or a teen is not able to "deny the right to search" he'll be “resisting”, get his ass beat and then taken down to the station. It goes like this: my son is stopped and when asked to put his hands on the hood he informs the officer that he is not consenting to a search. The officer persists and my son is in no position to prevent it because the officer is, of course, an officer of the law, is much bigger than my son, and has a gun. At this point all he can do is say he's submitting to the search under protest and if you think any of this makes a difference to some of these cops then I have a petition for a new TIF that will not take money away from schools that I want you to sign.

  43. You know, the more I watch all of this take place, the more I think that Uptown will be a hallmark of how the web can work to change a community.

  44. Unfortunately profiling is a fact of life. Because it works. Stereotypes are real, otherwise there wouldn't be a such thing as stereotypes.

  45. Funny, Ron Durham is the one speaking for COURAJ in the video clip but there is no listing for a Ron Durham in Uptown. What a loser.

  46. He lives in Uptown, in Truman Square.

  47. I hope Uptown Update moves the information on the Rally on Saturday back up to the top of the blog. It is a little difficult to find if you are not a regular reader...

  48. OK, Anonymous @ 12:20, you use the phrase "Unfortunately profiling is a fact of life. Because it works" but profiling is not unfortunate to you. Your grand parents, or wife, or children will never be subjected to the indignity. You will probably never be pulled over for Driving While Black so the collateral damage from profiling is something you are willing to accept or minimize with your circular argument. You are blissfully missing the point that the anger and resentment and hopelessness that is brewed in people-young people- from being subjugated in this way poisons our community and affects their choices, their decision-making, in ways that make drug use and the associated crime seem like a viable choice and THAT affects YOU. So profiling is buying you false security. Tyranny is a fact of life because it works for those in power. Jim crow was a fact of life once but it isn't so much as it used to be. No thanks to people who reason the way that you do. I’ll pray for you.

  49. If it looks like a gangbanger, hangs out with gangbangers, and does the thing gangbangers do, it's a gangbanger...

  50. It's really funny listening to the "street lawyers" who are going to deny police the right to search them. For all of the uneducated and misinformed, look up "Terry Stop" on google for a legal explanation of what guidelines police follow to legally stop and search citizens.

    We live in a TV world, where instead of informing ourselves with useful information we watch too many prime time dramas that sensationalize all of this nonsense.

    Remember people, if you saw it on Law & Order last night, then that doesn't mean it's true!

  51. Anonymous 2:43,
    "Google lawyer" can be as funny as "street lawyers" but you, sir, are a moron. I am quite familliar with Terry Stop. The issue with stop and search being wrongly exicuted is Reasonable Cause. Next time spend more than 3 minutes on google.
    The police don't have the right to search me. I have the right NOT to be searched without reasonable cause. Reasonable cause isn't "If it looks like a duck..."

  52. John: I have been "resisting arrest" for 28 years. I educated myself on my rights. I first started to learn about my rights when I was 10. Why? I caught my teachers and school administrators searching lockers of my fellow 3rd graders accompanied by police.

    Anyone can resist an illegal search and seizure. An individual must assert their rights. "You have no right to search me. I have denied your invitation to search me. Arrest me and take me to the station. I know my rights."

    I can walk into a Communist Party meeting and a John Birch Society meeting and get the exact same advice.

    Profiling does work, just not in all of its various forms. Specifically, racial profiling does not work. But profiling based on associations with known repeat offenders does work.

  53. Anonymous: You are hiding behind semantics. "Profiling" in the context of most conversations these days means racial profiling.
    You remind me of people who start a statement with "I'm not racist, but..."
    My point is not about the meaning of profiling but about lack of reasonable cause.
    Second, your description of resisting illegal search is not always practical. My son told a police officer who thought having a skateboard and a shirt with graf art on it was reasonable cause to stop and search, that he didn't think the officer had the right to search his book bag. The officer said okay then grabbed the bag and tossed it onto the roof of a building. Hand one of these bad cops one of those cards that says you deny a search, know your rights, etc, and he'll tear it up, laugh at you and then search you. It's the bad ones I'm talking about. I have needed the police in the past and am grateful they were there. I respect people doing a difficult and dangerous job that helps keep me and my family safe. The ones I'm complaining about make the rest look bad.

  54. John, John, John......

    I am sure you have a shitload of lovely law books that you aquired while you earned your useless law degree. The rest of us peasants are forced to research laws the old fashioned way. Google.

    However, you're sort of right, Reasonable Suspicion (not reasonable cause) is required for a Terry Stop. I'm going to assume that YOU assume that all officers are not acting in good faith. Hey, you started it.

    I'm also going to assume that you believe an officer is required to articulate his/her reasonable suspicion to the person they stop.
    Also, not true.

    Who's the moron now?

    Look, we can debate the Terry Stop till we're both blue in the face. But this is a public blog, not the Supreme Court. So it's a dead end debate.

    The fact is, is that police know the laws that effect their job, just as well as you do. They know what probable cause and reasonable suspicion are and are able to articulate it in an arrest report or a contact card. Nobody likes to be stopped and searched by the police, no more than they like having to pay income tax. But guess what. There ain't shit you and your stack of law books can do about it.

    So, why don't you just try for a minute to imagine yourself in an officers shoes and respect the fact that they are for the most part hardworking, good intending people who care. Instead of a bunch of common criminals.

  55. Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous,
    You make lots of assumptions. You know what Fred Sanford said about assunptions, right? And to paraphrase Churchill (badly)- tomorow you will still be an ass. I'm not a lawyer. I called you a Google lawyer because you set yourself up for it with the street lawyer remark.
    Okay, it's reasonable SUSPICION-touche, Anon.
    You debate like a 4th grader who listens to lots of talk radio. You want to make your "Nyah, Nyah." point and then end the conversation. Did you even read the last two sentences of my post before you wrote the part about imagining myself in an officer's shoes? My point is that it's wrong and there IS shit I can do about it.

  56. You know what, John?

    This is pointless. You started this argument, and I finished it. You wanna throw out lies and generalizations, then prepare to have your points be torn apart. It's so easy to sit there as a civilian and say "you don't have the right to search me!" but you're wrong. The police do have the right to search anyone as long as they are justified. Your little sob story about your son doesn't prove the officer didn't have probable cause to search your sons bag. And based on the way you get all fired up about challenging the police, I think it's safe to ASSUME your son set the tone of that street stop. (Churchill can bite me) But I'll play along with the story for arguments sake. You think that just because an officer was rude and ignorant to your son that he forfeits his right to search your sons bag. You may not agree with the officers methods but he doesn't have to justify it to you or your son. It doesn't work that way.

    So, I'm still confused about what it is you think you can "do about it".

    You wouldn't be the first person to log a complaint against the police department for an unjustified search. And I don't know for sure, but I would ASSUME that there have been few, if any, disciplinary actions taken against these "rogue" officers. That's because these days, everything is documented, the police department has gone from "kick ass" to "cover your ass".

    So, tell me John, what would you do? Sue? Well, stand in line. If you wait long enough and shell out enough $$$ for a decent lawyer (seeing as how you're not one) then you may one day get a settlement from the city that might cover your expenses.

    Here we come, full circle to my point that there ain't shit you can do about it.

    I for one like seeing the police stopping people and searching them. And if they want to stop and search me for any reason, I will kindly oblige. I have nothing to hide.

    I don't know, maybe your sick of looking over your shoulder for some reason. Is that it? Got something in your pocket you don't want the police to know about?

    My advise to you is simple: If you don't like the police in the neighborhood you live in, then move. Your negativity might be appreciated elsewhere.

  57. 6:38...that was very well said...I bet the teachers of that kid hate him too and it's all because of his father's attitude and utter disregard and contempt for authority.

    I agree that I would not care if I was stopped and searched... I have never broken a law and have nothing to hide. Only those who commit illegal acts resent the police.

  58. The fact of the matter is that we have some pretty tough gang members with guns who are doing a lot of drug dealing in our neighborhood. John, that should concern you, but I don't think it does.

    If your son keeps getting "hassled" by the cops, you might want to reassess what's really going on there. I know it would concern me. Your son might not be the innocent little lamb that he's trying to portray himself to be.

  59. Don't think I'm not concerned about the gang problem, CAPS attendee. I'm glad people in Uptown aren't laying down for it.
    Some of the damage that extends from the whole gang crime problem is that it gets some folks worked up enough to want to dispose of our constitutional protections as this discussion has evidenced--it's the slippery slope that Anonymous June 5 8:39 AM mentioned, and that’s why I jumped in. Regarding my son, I said that I know he lies sometimes (he's a kid, after all) and sometimes I bust him. I'm not going to waste a lot of space here about all that I do to try to protect my kids from gangs but I will repeat that I have seen BS stop and search happen and "what's really going on" does include my son getting jacked up by the cops. Attending a graffiti art class does not add up to reasonable suspicion.

  60. Anonymous June 5 6:38,
    I knew sooner or later you were going to say that it's alright with you for the cops to search you any time because you have nothing to hide. That's a cleche from idiots like you. Privacy is not having something to hide, its privacy. Liberty is something to protect.(insert Ben Franklin quote here)The "ends justifies the means" argument is BS.

  61. John,

    I stand corrected. Or should I say, I misspoke. I should have said that I don't mind the police stopping and searching me if they are justified. There I go again, ASSUMING that an officer of the law has a justifiable reason to stop and search me. Silly law abiding citizen I am.

    You're right about what you said about liberty and privacy. What I meant to get across is that it's pretty sad that people are always so quick to challenge a police officer for searching them, ASSUMING that they have no probable cause. (gee, isn't it funny how you shoot yourself in the foot so often? maybe you should have listened to Mr. Sanford....)

  62. Anonymous,
    Seems to me YOU ought to have a pretty sore foot by now, Hop Along!
    Misspeaking here, having to define what you mean by profiling there.
    We agree on a lot. As much as we dissagree, you know I'm standing on the line right next to you about stopping gangs, bottom line. And I'll try not to step on your foot.

  63. Look, police behavior in a neighborhood like Uptown is one of those issues where smart and well-intentioned whites and blacks almost HAVE to agree to disagree.

    John, thanks for participating in the discussion. I wish it hadn't gotten so juvenile with your fellow debators, but that's just the nature of anonymous comments sections.

  64. From "Inside Online"

    On Tuesday June 3 at 10 a.m. at Clarendon Park on Wilson Ave. and Clarendon Ave. the Community of Uptown Residents for Affordability and Justice, dubbed COURAJ, held a press conference to announce the beginning of a community-based program of monitoring the police. Speakers at the press conference included Uptown residents and activists concerned about “rampant misconduct by the Chicago Police Department in Uptown.”

    Also, the group began its first monitoring shift of the police in the neighborhood. COURAJ has organized their “COPWATCH” program in response to “ongoing issues of aggressiveness and harassment by the Chicago Police Department which have been experienced and observed by low-income residents of Uptown for decades,” according to group spokesperson Dave Williams. The program will entail residents walking the streets together and simply observing the police when they interact with or detain people in public, Williams said. A ramped up police presence appeared visible in Uptown on Tuesday.

  65. John, I would be concerned if I had a son attending a graffiti art class. Whether it pertains to gang activity or tagging, it does send a subtle message that graffiti is cool and acceptable. Most parents of teens don't want their teens thinking that graffiti is okay. They want their children to grow into healthy and productive adults. Just a guess, but I would guess that Uplift is the only public school in the entire United States that teaches a graffiti class.

    Slippery slopes go both ways in this argument, and that's why it's a poor form of argument to rely on slippery slopes to make one's point. When one's private rights trample on the rights of the community, it's okay to raise some questions and I will raise questions just like many others on this board will.

  66. CAPS attendee,
    I don't know where to begin. You are coming off small-minded and condecending. Your lecturing about "most parents of teens, blah, blah, blah" might be funny if it was coming from the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live.

    Why you think a grafitti art class "pertains to gang activity or tagging" is beyond me. I'm getting a not so subtle message that you are you are uninformed and probably missinformed. Grafitti art is huge. It's used in art classes all over the country and has been for a long time. There are a lot of healthy productive adults making lots of healthy productive money in grafic arts and advertising by selling lots of clothes and beverages, etc, using grafitti styles in advertising.

    I use my son's interest in grafitti styles to point out how many places where graphic art and design are part of our world and explain the addage that if you do something you love for a living you'll never work a day in your life. His grandmother, aunt, and first cousin once removed are all sucessful artists. Oh, yeah-they're all healthy and productive.
    Oh, yeah, one other thing; he's sold canvases that he put grafiti art on.

    So you have a problem with me encouraging my kid to do a structured activity involving something he's interested in. Get a hobby.

    Uplift does not have a grafitti class. There is a mural club and grafitti artists have come to Uplift and worked with students through the mural club or through an art class.

    Kuumba Lynx is one of a couple places in Uptown that offer grafitti art along with poetry and dance, which are all components of Hip Hop. NEWS FLASH: Kids Like Hip Hop!

    Of course it would be niave to think no kid that goes there has ever put grafitti on a wall or L train. And my kid knows that I hope he does get arrested if he tries that and I'll let him sit in lock up all night, too.

    You talk about raising questions on a board-what board? I think you have a board stuck sideways somewhere. Here's a question for you and your board: Don't police have better things to do than stalk kids that might be grafitti vandals when there's plenty of drug dealing and violence going on?

  67. John seems like a concerned parent raising a kid in an urban environment today---not an easy task. Mural art and graffiti style art are not inherently bad. It is all in how you connect with the kids while you are teaching them. Hopefully, the kids are exploring their creativity but also learning the appropriate time and place for that creativity.

    Why is anyone spending any time picking on this parent? I really don't get it.

  68. No one disagrees with the need to let kids be creative. Like it's been said before, is there any other school in the United States that teaches graffiti? We're in a gang-infested area with lots of illegal graffiti everywhere and a school teaches graffiti. We had a mob of kids from this same school cause a riot near the Wilson L a few months back.

    You've grown used to low standards. Ask people living outside the ward if this sounds a bit weird and unsupportive of the parents' role in raising their children.

  69. Uplift does not have a grafitti class. There is a mural club and grafitti artists have come to Uplift and worked with students through the mural club or through an art class.

    Then you need to go to Uplift's website. It explicitly says they have a graffiti class, not a mural club. Kids love a lot of things.

    A school should be pointing them to things to love that will help them become better adults. Schools also want the support of adults, at least a good school does because they understand that the support of parents and other adults will open other doors for both the school and the kids.

    News flash: A class in graffiti is not helping adults feel all fired up about Uplift.

  70. Kuumba Lynx is one of a couple places in Uptown that offer grafitti art along with poetry and dance, which are all components of Hip Hop. NEWS FLASH: Kids Like Hip Hop!

    and one other thing
    NEWS FLASH! Kuumba Lynx teaches kids they are victims of condo owners pushing them out of the neighborhood and that cops are not to be trusted.

    That is hardly inspiring kids to be productive adults.

  71. Don't police have better things to do than stalk kids that might be grafitti vandals when there's plenty of drug dealing and violence going on? -John

    Sounds like you've never had property damage due to graffiti. Well, I guess it's okay to have a distain for rules that don't affect you any. You also might want to walk down Wilson Avenue and notice all the upside down crowns graffiti that's knocking the Latin Kings. If you don't see a correlation between graffiti and gangs & drugs, then you're not wanting to see it.

    Can you say "narcissist?"

  72. CAPS attendee, do you really think Uplift teaches graffiti? You must be going to the same imaginary website that Anonymous @ 7;22 AM is talking about because there's nothing about it at uplifthighscool.org. So how do you guys think the class is conducted?
    Does the teacher say something like "Today we will learn how to dis the Latin Kings"?
    Anonymous 7:31, explain where you get your information about Kuumba Lynx. Do they have a website that says "we teach you that you are victims of condo owners..."?
    Anonymous 7:56,
    Do you know how to read? I never said I don't see a connection between graffiti, gangs and drugs. I asked CAPS attendee where he saw a connection between a graffiti art class and gang activity or tagging.
    Let me walk you through this. First CAPS attendee says: "John, I would be concerned if I had a son attending a graffiti art class. Whether it pertains to gang activity or tagging, it does send a subtle message that graffiti is cool and acceptable."
    So I wanted to how he made a connection between a graffiti art class and gang activity or tagging.
    And back to you CAPS attendee,
    In the post which I just had to explain to Anon 7:56, you talk about a graffitti art class but by the end it changes to just plain graffiti class: "Just a guess, but I would guess that Uplift is the only public school in the entire United States that teaches a graffiti class."
    Then after I made it pretty clear
    graffiti style art in art class at school is pretty common and nothing new you aren't saying "graffiti art" any more; "Like it's been said before, is there any other school in the United States that teaches graffiti?". It makes it look like because I showed you that you were wrong about graffiti art classes, you are going to morph your argument to this weird idea there's some kind of class that "teaches graffiti" at Uplift. I feel like I'm arguing with people who just plain want to hate Uplift and think it's okay for my son's constitutional rights to be trampled on who, when presented with the facts and shown weaknesses in their reasoning, just change their argument to even less defendable and more strange ones.