Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ald. Shiller's Staff: 'This Isn't Your College Campus, Sweetie'

Dear Alderman Shiller,

I stopped into your office today to make an appointment with you, which I was told wouldn't happen. I told your staff what my concerns were, that I wanted to talk about the violence, and the drugs, and the trash and broken glass, the condition of the park and state of our neighborhood. Your staff told me that this was a safe clean neighborhood, and where did I think I was moving into, that there was no trash, and there were no drugs.
I was told that all I want is to kick people out of the neighborhood who don't look like me. At this point I was crying, asking them why don't they care, why don't they come walk down my street and pick up a bag of trash with me and see the kids doing drugs out in the streets. They laughed and said if I don't like it I should just move, "this isn't your college campus sweetie." I told them that is not the answer, that poor people deserve better, poor people do not deserve to live with violence, it should not be a way of life for anyone, that everyone deserves to live in a safe, clean neighborhood. I repeatedly asked them why don't they care, why don't they come out and look for themselves. What I experienced in your office was governmental negligence, and it was disgusting. I can't believe your offices' total lack of disregard for this community, for concerned citizens, for the safety of everyone in this neighborhood. We have to get you out of office. I'll run, I may not win, but I will fight for this neighborhood. I am just so sad about the negligence and your ability to turn a blind eye, to assume that anyone who wants to make a difference, to make this neighborhood better for everyone is racist, that just sickens me. Your office is totally incompetent, there is no concern about the safety and cleanliness of this community, your answer to voters complaints is to call them racist and tell them to move. You clearly do not care, but I do, and I am going to make it my mission to let the people in my neighborhood know that they deserve better, that government can care about them, that the cyclical nature of racism and poverty does not need to continue, that they deserve to live free of violence, free of trash filled streets, free of constant crime and drug abuse, that maybe their government does not care, but I do, and there is a better way. I will keep fighting for this neighborhood, and I will come by your office every day until you meet with me about the violence and drugs in this community.

Stephanie McNeely


  1. thank you so much for this.

    i've only lived in uptown for 4 months now, and i lived only a few blocks south in lakeview up until then. i don't understand why our neighborhood is so much worse, but our alderman clearly doesn't give a damn about the people that live here.

    you have my vote, no strings attached.

  2. There is obviously a lot of tension between the Alderman's office and 49% of the residents (at a minimum, and it is obviously a growing number) so it will not be an easy task to build bridges and mend fences. But, a good politician, and good civil servants would logically make a spirited attempt to close the rift. I haven't seen the effort yet.

  3. i would encourage you to send your experience to any news outlet that will listen. it seems silly that time and again this office gets to do this to people. maybe eventually someone will listen and do a story on it.

  4. Ahh - the Shiller "race card" reply. So predictable. So well-worn, so revealing of their ghetto mentality..
    So if the same amount of drugs, weapons, shootings and rampant garbage were to move into Tunney's ward, and residents complain -- do you think Tunneys going to say "you just dont like people who dont look like you."
    Hell no, he could never get away with that condescending Bull*hit.
    Congratulations Helen for crating the ultimate ghetto organization. God only knows what your morning meetings must be like:
    "Hey Shillerites, lets practice our complaint rebuttal list - 1. Hey white ward resident - you’re racist!"

    2. "Hey anyone who dares to complain: what the hell were you thinking when you moved to ward 46? Safety? Prosperity? Cleanliness? Ha! Suckers!"

    In all serious though - next time anyone walks into ther office - WEAR A WIRE / pocket digital recorder. Get it on record. Those vermin scum operate under the safety of knowing these statements will never be made public.

  5. This didn't really happen. It's a joke right?

  6. If you're wearing a wire, make sure you wear a t-shirt that says "This may be recorded for quality assurance purposes".

    Dear Stephanie,

    30 years ago a woman came to Uptown with a vision of change. She planted seeds in the community. She developed relationships with the persons in the community. She ran and lost. She ran and lost again. She ran again and won. She hasn't lost since then.

    She arrived here by way of Madison, WI and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her name is Helen Shiller.



  7. Are these people City employees? If so, can they be called to a higher authority (i.e. a city hiring/employment entity) for racism in a city office?

  8. Stephanie - thanks so much for writing this. I too would encourage you to send it to every metro reporter at the newspapers and news stations (their email addresses are on their websites), plus Rep. Greg Harris, Ald's Tunney, Smith, and of course Mayor Daley. If you need help pulling together the list of email addresses, please let me know off the boards.

  9. No, it is not a joke, this was my experience with our alderman this afternoon. It is sad, and a disgrace to everyone who lives in uptown and cares about the neighborhood they are raising their families in. She does not care about this community, she does not care about the gun violence, the trash, the drugs, the homeless, the mentally ill. She only cares about Buena Park and Andersonville. The condition of the central part of uptown has rapidly deteriorated, and she has been absent, and negligent. Our government should be out in our streets picking up trash with our citizens and showing that they care, and working with us to stop the violence. It is only a mater of time before someones child gets hurt or killed in the crossfire, it is only a matter of time before there is another shooting, before someone else has to die. If she doesn't care now, she won't care as things most certainly get worse.

  10. Stephanie,
    Can you describe the person(s) in the Alderman's staff that spoke to you today?

  11. Complaint Filing with the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General

    Nice tact would be to send a copy of that email to the Inspector General's office, directly:


    Per their website:

    Report Corruption in Chicago

    * YOU can make a difference by
    o REPORTING corruption, fraud and misconduct by
    o City officials, employees or those doing business with the City
    + TO the Inspector General's Office.

  12. Stephanie:

    You letter breaks my heart for its contents but also because when you first appeared on this blog people really pushed back on what I think was referred to your "hippy-dippy" suggestions. I see so much of myself in you and the learning curve in Uptown is brutal. As a person who shares your sentiments about social justice I think I know what your tears of sadness, frustration and outrage felt like. I am so sorry.

    I hope you do have the strength to keep going back, but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. Keep us posted if you want but also know that your neighbors will lock arms with you because there is so much good to fight for around here.

    Please take care,

  13. still thinking about this post as its very troubling to me...... stephanie, are you planning on attending the meeting wednesday at Truman? this might be worth bringing up to sen. steans and rep. harris on the side. we really need to find some recourse for this kind of behavior. it is seriously out of hand.

  14. Yes, I can describe them. The male who told me I just wanted everyone out who did not look like me and that this was not my college campus was a white male in his mid-fifties, I believe his name was George, he also told me he was going to call the police on me. There was a black women, thin who told me an appointment with the Alderman would not happen. Denise came out and told me to just move if I did not like here, what did I think I was moving into, there was no serious issue with crime here, that this neighborhood was safe and there was no trash. The was a white woman, about 30, who validated that there would be no appointment with the Alderman, to just leave. There were 2 black women, both thin in tank tops, with small tattoos on their left sholders, one was a star, that had nothing to say when I asked them why don't they care, if they don't see the problems where they live they can certainly come take a walk with me, and I can show them the trash and the kids doing drugs, they said there was no trash and pointed to the city cleaner right out side of their office cleaning up trash. I told them that no one has ever come down my street to clean up the thrash, to which Denise replied "fuck you" get out of here. She actually said that. The white man followed me & my 14 month old baby outside, yelling at me, I was crying, my baby was crying, telling me to leave and not come back and why don't I go blog about it, so that is what I decided to do.

  15. For those of you who are newer to the neighborhood, Helen did not run unopposed last time but, in fact, was given a run for her money for the first time in many years. This last time Helen was unable to carry the highrise in which her campaign manager lives, she lost this building to her challenger. Please be assured that there are concerned citizens working to get rid of her. This same opponent attends MANY of the meetings around the neighborhood so you will, no doubt, run into him.

    And Stef, the rest of us surely welcome you to the neighborhood, whatever you look like.

  16. Can UU put the letter into a printable mode? We can all help- with permission from Stephanie- and get copies in the mail?

  17. We are planning on attending the meeting, and I am making flyer's for our neighbors, so hopefully everyone in the community will be there. I would love to be able to speak to our state senators about the conduct of the alderman's office.It is my understanding that she will not be there, which again show us that this community is not a priority for her.

  18. i contacted the city clerk's office looking for guidance in filing a complaint. they replied to me quickly, however, only directed me to this website. i haven't poked around too much yet, but i thought i'd post it here in case it was useful for anyone.


  19. Send your comments to John Kass at the Tribune. I think his addy is jkass@tribune.com, but you can find his addy on the Trib site with some digging. Tunney's a good idea, too--his neighborhood's a little less problem-plagued, but he's got a good repoire with his people, and I've actually run into him just walking around Lakeview. Twice.

    Maybe our Uptown Update founder would consider a run for office...?

  20. Steph - did this happen today?

  21. His name is George Atkins, also known as "the man with the baseball bat" at the anti-violence rally.

  22. This strikes me as hitting every stereotype regarding Shiller's attitude and staff. That being said I wish I could say I don't believe it.

    I can't say that. If you wrote this in a novel no one would believe it.

    Oh well see ya in 2011 Helen. This time your opponent will have more money, have more experience, and likely win. All those council votes to hike taxes are gonna bite you in the butt. Capplemaniac in 2011!

  23. I can't believe what I'm reading on here, Stef. How could they treat you this terribly? Is this your first experience with the alderman's office?

  24. Thanks for posting this Stephanie. It only confirms the suspicions that many of us are having - that Shiller doesn't care about Uptown and that her only aim is to increase the size of her wallet and the wallets of her cronies. I applaud your efforts and will tell everyone I know in the neighborhood about Shiller's refusal to even hear the concerns of her citizens, let alone do anything about them. Shiller, like many politicians, has forgotten the definition of a 'representative democracy.' We need to do what we can to remind her that this our home, not just her playground, and that she must answer to the residents of the 46th Ward. Vote her out ASAP!

  25. This kind of response is hardly surprising. I wrote Schiller an email about a way to improve the way sidewalks are cleared during the winter months. Want to guess what kind of response I got? I would have been happy with a "Thanks for your concern..." email. But instead I got nothing.

    I guess we as a community need to start looking at potential candidates for the next election b/c I think Helen has outlived here welcome.

  26. I am so angered right now. Stef, it is testimonies like yours that can light a fire within a community. I thank you for making this public and I praise you for making a stand.

    How is it even possible for employees of an elected official to speak to someone like that?! Can't we call the police on THEM for something? We can't let them get away with this!

  27. Dawn,
    I forwarded Stephanie's letter to the Better Gov email and asked for their advice on how to address this utterly inappropriate behavior.

    Will keep everyone posted on any reply

  28. It did happen about noon this afternoon, and it was my first visit to the Alderman's office. I just couldn't sit and watch the constant deterioration of this neighborhood any longer, and I actually thought I would have my concerns be validated and that someone there would agree to to talk a walk with me and come pick up trash, and see what happens on a daily basis. I actually thought that our local government would care.

  29. Someone mentioned John Kass. Forget him, he's a hack. Try Mark Brown of the Sun Times instead. I've written him a couple of times about ideas that he actually turned into columns. Read his column in today's Sun-Times to get an idea of the sorts of things he writes about. While Kass is buys trying to crack wise and continues to try to get someone to believe he's the next Royko, Brown is actually writing about things that matter. This sounds like something he might want to take up.

    And as for getting rid of Shiller, you'd better be putting that plan into action now, i.e. finding a suitable opposing candidate (draft one if you have to), considering flooding the polling places with election judges from your groups just to make sure things are on the up-and-up and maybe looking into how one challenges the eligibility of voters (if Shiller's crew does their usual tactic of rounding up the homeless and a bangers to cast their votes for her, you might be able to knock them off the voting roles by checking the residency requirements. If they're not an official resident of the area (which i suspect a lot of them aren't), they can't be allowed to vote, right?

  30. Stephanie,

    Thank you for posting this. And thank you for going to Alderman Shiller's office and for taking the initiative and trying to communicate with her and her staff.

    You've gotten everyone fired up, and rightly so. Tomorrow's meeting at Truman is going to be an interesting one.

  31. "their usual tactic of rounding up the homeless and a bangers to cast their votes for her, you might be able to knock them off the voting roles by checking the residency"
    --------- This is no myth. Call the IL State Board of Elections (or the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners - where I worked for 3 years)
    and they will tell you they have records of THOUSANDS of complaints for this tactic by Hellhound- going back decades. She does it because it works. When you attempt challenge anyone's residency - what do they do? .. what for it ...
    they cry racial discrimination.


  33. I think we should all FLOOD this person's email ... from CAN-TV, where Shiller will be appearing tomorrow:

    Media Contact
    Czerina Salud
    (312) 738-1400

    Send links from UU and this letter.

    Demand that there be questions asked that will address this horrific behavior!

    I would hope that we can get Shiller on the record both verbally and visually to explain.

    Shiller is a disgrace.

  34. When you attempt challenge anyone's residency - what do they do? .. what for it ...
    they cry racial discrimination.

    You're thinking of the south, where the history of racial discrimiation is perceived to be much greater. But it happens all the time here. And everyone has to verify their residency. You're supposed to show some form of identification. It's not "discrimination" it's the law. Problem is, most of the past election judges in Shiller's area worked for her so they could let whomever they wanted to go in and vote. Which is why I suggested flooding the rolls of election judges with members of this board, of the various community groups who also oppose Shiller. Not to purposely reject people who they feel are a problem, but just to make sure everything is on the up and up, that other election judges are actually checking IDs and verifying residency to allow those that qualify to vote.

    The election is in, what, four years? Better get a plan of action together now. Why wait until one year before the election to field a candidate and he or she only has a few months to play catch up as far as name recogntion, familiarity with the neighborhood, etc.

  35. Perhaps we can ask Sen. Steans at tomorrow night's meeting how she can in good conscious, (knowing how he treats consituents), have George Atkins as part of her "Friends of Heather Steans' Steering Committee"?


  36. I just sent Ms Salud an email with a link to this post.

  37. This type of behavior must be encouraged for them to actually do it. Takes some stones when they know there are so many unhappy CONSTITUENTS here.

    I'm sure Shiller will never read or even see this letter. But that's not the point, I'm sure. Well done, Stef!

  38. Wow folks. This is sure a hoppin' day at Uptown Update. It is barely 5pm and we are just shy of 4700 page views.

  39. I heard that she gets the homeless people registered at the homeless shelters, that's how they get away with them voting in this ward. Then the cab drivers bring them to the polls. In exchange the cab drivers get to park on our side streets (one of only 2 wards that allows it). I think I even heard that they get a free meal for voting or something like that.

  40. I live a block north of the recent shooting and just found out about this blog...I sent a link to this page and a brief synopsis of the issue(s) to a good friend who is a reporter at the Trib. Even though he's not on the Metro desk, he knows a lot of people there and hopefully will find someone who thinks it's worth investigating.

  41. This would be even better if Stephanie:

    A) Went to Truman


    B) Was a VP of New Business Development at Target


    C) Lived in the neighborhood on Federal vouchers


    D) Was of mixed heritage

    Hmmm...real smart for her staff to start stereotyping. It's kind of ironic how her administration seems more like the Bush administration everyday.

  42. Hmmm...real smart for her staff to start stereotyping.

    Hardly just started.

    Five years ago my neighbor had a meeting with Ald. Shiller that was set up by Helen's then-staff member Nora (who was fair and efficient. Needless to say, she no longer works for the alderman).

    My neighbor was there to complain about the crack use and drug dealing in the alley by our house. She had plenty of 911 calls and videotape of the incidents to back up her description of what was going on right by our front door.

    The alderman went into an absolute rage, said "I knew when condos were built there that there'd be nothing but whining,and here you are -- whining!" and threw her out of the office.

    And this is a friend of one of her best staff people.

    The concept of "public servant" seems absolutely foreign to the megalomanics and clueless idiots who work in the alderman's office.

    Of course -- the apple never falls far from the tree, does it?


  44. This is proof that not only does Alderman Shiller not care, she actively opposes reductions in crime and violence. She sees it as a success when Truman students are shot, thats the kind of activity that she wants to keep in the neighborhood.

  45. has anyone informed the local media about the meeting tomorrow night? that combined with this incident should make for some prime media exposure.

  46. Stephanie said in the comments:

    "The white man [George Atkins] followed me & my 14 month old baby outside, yelling at me, ... telling me to leave and not come back and why don't I go blog about it, so that is what I decided to do."

    Gee -- you think the blogs are beginning to get under the skin of the alderman's staff?

    Power to the blogs.

    Let's hope Stephanie "blogging about it" leads right to some disciplinary action for racism in government for George Atkins and Denice Davis.

    As "yo" said, also in the comments:

    Complaint Filing with the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General

    Nice tact would be to send a copy of that email to the Inspector General's office, directly:


  47. I wonder what George's reaction would have been if you told him you attended Truman College...

  48. I had sent a letter to her, 'As a 16 year resident.....' last week, and of course I got no response.
    Honestly.....the people at the good-aldmeran's 'office' are nothing better than junk-yard-dogs.
    Uncaring....Mean....and out-of-sorts.

  49. Helen needs a refresher course in the Illinois Constitution.

    From the preamble ..., let's have a game out of how many violations Helen's committed in the last two weeks, alone (skipping over the religious overtones):

    We, the People of the State of Illinois - grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors - in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative
    and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity - do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.

  50. The other night, my husband was one of the first people to call in about the shooting at Leland / Malden. He had just been up to the corner with my 4 y.o. son on his bicycle, practicing riding. They had just gotten back to our gate, about 1/2 blk south of Leland, when he heard the shot.

    It scared both of us. We've lived in the neighborhood for 12 years this Oct. Things haven't changed much with the gangs, although for a while they seemed less ballsy about their drug deals.

    In the morning, near the corner of Malden & Wilson, I was putting my son in his car seat when a small red car pulled up with 4 young men in it... there was another man walking up the sidewalk. One guy jumped out of the car, ran up to the one on the sidewalk, they did a loose palm hand shake and the one from the car obviously had a bag of white stuff in his hand. I felt like my hands were tied. It was 7AM... I had my 4 y.o. with me, and they new I lived on the block. I didn't even think to get the license plate number. I felt so stupid afterward.

    This wasn't the first time. One morning about 1.5 years ago, I went out to get our paper and there were two kids sitting in front of our fire hydrant snorting coke in the car... I yelled at them, they flipped me off, and took off.

    When my husband wrote the Alderman about the shooting, we got the usual platitudes...and some fluff. But my husband had mentioned how about 6 years ago, there had been a protest in front of the empty lot across from our building. It was all about how the rich were moving in, and trying to push the poor out...and there was Ald. Shiller... clapping and laughing with the protesters.

    We weren't rich. We put 5% down on our $135K condo, 12 years ago. But we had to listen to this crap? Well, her office wrote back and basically attempted to call my husband a liar, saying that Shiller was never there... she was, we saw her, our neighbors saw her, she was pleased as punch to join these dopes.

    I pray we have the same matchup next election, I think we can get our guy elected...and I'm willing to work the campaign.

    Shiller does NOTHING for the poor, except keeps them poor and provides them an even scarier neighborhood to live in...

    Also, the offices comments about how clean our hood is... well, we live near Gooseberry Park. I won't let my son go there anymore, since the last three times we've gone I had to throw away several tallboy beer cans that were left on the big slide, or the bridge, or in the back by the swings. Yeah... we've got clean parks...

  51. People have been mentioning the idea of contacting the City Inspector General to report problems with Ald. Shiller and her staff. The City Inspector General is not allowed to investigate any alderman or any staff member of an alderman. About 20 years ago, this matter was discussed in City Council, and it died in committee.

    When Ald. Shiller filled out a statement with IVI-IPO to seek their endorsement for the 2007 election, she stated she agreed that the City Inspector General should not be allowed to investigate aldermen. She gave no detailed reason for her response. I hold a very different opinion on that matter.

    As for homeless people voting, it is my understanding that the law allows them to vote by giving a mailing address. There is no requirement that they actually live at the mailing address they provide.

    It was a very close election, and we did as well as we did with less than a third of what Ald. Shiller spent because of a lot of hard work by many residents and campaign professionals. Unlike Ald. Shiller, the bulk of the campaign funds came from residents who have a real stake in the 46th Ward.

    My team has studied the precincts where I did well and didn't do well. You can be sure that work has already been underway to make real and needed change in 2011.

  52. To a crying woman with a baby who came to the office for help:

    Denise: "Fuck you, get out of here."

    George: "Leave and don't come back. Why don't you go blog about it?"

    Hey, Helen's staff -- stay classy!

  53. That's more than negligence; that's malicious!

  54. what i don't get is shiller owns a condo? how can she join in with those who hate condo-owners? which when you stop and think about it is just crazy -- does it happen anywhere else?

  55. this is really sad.

    i'm so sorry you had to go through that.

    please do pursue getting those staff members called to account.

    there is no excuse for that sort of conduct.

  56. I called two years ago and was called a racist for the exact same reasons by her chief of staff. She said her daughter was walking around with a bullet in her head, she got on Wilson, and was "doing just fine" and I was a racist for noting the buildings where the guns and drugs were originating.
    Cappelman, please run again!

  57. I'm sorry you were treated like that Stephanie! I encourage everyone who reads Stephanie's post to do the same thing: go to Shiller's office to seriously and earnestly ask for an appointment with your Alderman. No doubt, you will receive the same totally absurd treatment. After you leave (taking names), write a post about your encounter on UU. And, call the Mayor's office.

    Recently, it was suggested that Uptown residents flood Shiller's office with calls about the situation in Uptown. Since she so obviously doesn't care, I suggest FLOODING the Mayor's office instead.

  58. hi meghan,

    hellen actually doesn't own a condo... she's much more gentrified than that! she owns a large single family home on carmen west of broadway - on a beautiful tree lined, trash free street that resembles andersonville much more than uptown.

  59. Everyone needs to let their friends know about Uptown Update because many people do not know about the crime and politics that occur. A few months ago when one man was killed and another wounded across the street from Shitters office the only place I found info was on the internet, so I urge everyone to pay attention and inform their friends or else nothing will change.

  60. hellen actually doesn't own a condo... she's much more gentrified than that! she owns a large single family home on carmen west of broadway - on a beautiful tree lined, trash free street that resembles andersonville much more than uptown.

    Why don't we all pick a date and time and collect the garbage from our streets and dump it on her lawn?

  61. Rascist? That sure seems ironic given she wants her community to live in a toilet bowl. This is just plain bad. We expect that treatment from the Uptown Post Office but if this is coming from our community representative, she's been on the job too long, apathetic, tied to her golden hand-cuffs and immersed in bad feelings for so long, I hope she has the wherewithal to admit she's tired and time to call it a day. Until then, you suck.

  62. I second dan's motion!

  63. I agree, I also had the thought to collect the trash on my street down to the park and then take it to the office and ask what it could possibly be if there was no trash on our streets. I really want to work with my neighbors to have us all get out and pick up the trash once a week, if the city does not care, and the alderman does not, that does not mean that we shouldn't care as well. Helen's office is reporting that she will be at the meeting tonight.

  64. Oh Shiller does care about the residents of Uptown, at least those who are fed and transported to vote for her on election day. And I -love- the comments of her office staff...were they directed towards a person of color said staffer would be moved elsewhere. The entire thing disgusts me, but thanks for bringing this to our attention. It's yet another reason my family and my tax dollars will be moving soon.

  65. Let's hear if for Cappelman 2011! Please try to get the word out. Have you contacted the media? I would tell anyone/everyone you can. How can she continuously get away with this type of ridiculous behaviour??

  66. FYI: here is a response I received from the Better Government Association...some interesting ideas, some of which have been discussed previously on UU.

    "Thank you for writing and for passing along that letter. We have actually not received much about Ald. Shiller’s office. That said, I LIVE in Uptown and share the exact same concerns of you and Ms. McNeely. From a BGA perspective, I can tell you this: The BGA is a watchdog. When we see things we don’t like, we do our research and make a lot of noise. I’d advise you and like-minded members of our community to do the same. Just because an elected official won’t listen (and probably never will) doesn’t mean you (general) should stop making noise. Continue writing letters to the alderman – write one a day if you have to. Send letters to the editor of the Sun-Times and Tribune.

    The BGA, as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, is prohibited from engaging in any political activity to advocate for or against the election of a candidate.

    Speaking from a wider angle, I can tell you that when a lot of people are upset, they can have more of an impact than they might think. Citizens groups can take turns writing letters, trying to get appointments with the elected official, day in and day out. If it’s clear an elected official won’t listen, make it equally clear that you, as a group, won’t stop talking. Encourage as many people as possible to pay attention to the City Council Journal of Proceedings and to write letters often relating to the alderman’s position taken on specific votes. Study the Illinois Board of Elections’ campaign disclosures database as often as possible http://elections.illinois.gov.

    When viewers are offended by what they see on a particular TV station, they complain to the station, network, and target their advertisers as well. Look at which candidates businesses in the neighborhood support or have supported in the past, and make your shopping and service decisions accordingly. Moreover, let those businesses KNOW that their political contributions informed your decision. Encourage everyone you know to do the same.

    Personally speaking, I have been in Uptown for 4+ years and try as anyone might, no one will make me feel like it is NOT my neighborhood. I call the police when I see anything suspicious. When someone tries gaining entry to the building where I live, I take photos from our security system and post them all over the building, informing other residents to call the police if they see that person attempting to enter. I call 311 every time I see street lights out, a utility problem, etc.

    As the head of the BGA’s investigative program, I liken myself to a professional pain in the butt. I make it my mission to bring my work home with me, as well ;)

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Best wishes,

    Dan Sprehe, CFE
    Chief Investigator - Better Government Association
    Office: (312) 427-8330
    Direct: (312) 386-9201
    Fax: (312) 386-9203

  67. George Atkins seems to be a POLITICAL employee of Shiller, NOT a City employee. Atkins is not listed in the BGA's excellent public payroll database as a City employee, but a George Atkins IS listed as a STATE employee.

    Contractual Worker
    State of Illinois Department Of Corrections
    salary $8,328/yr

    A George Atkins has been paid out of of Citizens for Shiller, but not recently

    Atkins, George
    2636 [W] Evergreen (near Humboldt Park)
    Chicago, IL 60622

    $7,000.00 2/24/2003 election day exp. distributed to workers

    $175.00 2/27/2003

    $450.00 3/27/2003 services rendered
    Citizens for Helen Shiller

    not clear why a non-City employee is hanging around a City-funded office

  68. does anyone know anything more about this guy?


  69. Denice "Fuck You" Davis
    Asst To The Alderman
    City Council
    City of Chicago
    salary $65,388/yr taxpayer dollars employee since 4/11/97

  70. Denice "Fuck You" Davis double-dips - working for Shiller on taxpayer dime with a bonus as campaign "consultant"


    Davis, Denice
    4400 N Racine
    Chicago, IL 60640

    $2,800.00 3/11/2003
    Expenditure Citizens for Shiller

  71. I pray we have the same matchup next election, I think we can get our guy elected...and I'm willing to work the campaign.

    So who is "your guy" and is everyone here and in the block clubs that oppose Shiller in agreement on that? A unified front would stand a better chance that one group supporting one guy and another group supporting another guy.

    As for homeless people voting, it is my understanding that the law allows them to vote by giving a mailing address. There is no requirement that they actually live at the mailing address they provide.

    The homeless, yes, but what of the gangbangers who have been used across the city to vote in blocks? I mean, there are only so many addresses where they can live and if you have 20 guys registered to vote from the same apartment, something might be fishy. Which is why I suggested as many as possible register to be election judges in the area.

    My team has studied the precincts where I did well and didn't do well. You can be sure that work has already been underway to make real and needed change in 2011.

    So are you saying that YOU are the candidate who is going to run against Shiller next election. Is everyone else in agreement in supporting your candidacy?

  72. stef, thanks for going down there. The treatment obviously sucks, and I'm sorry that happened to you. I hope something good can come of it.

    This makes me want to get my checkbook and send James C. some money and I'd recommend others do the same. I think he's in a much better position to beat her than someone who is not yet known and organized.

  73. This makes me want to get my checkbook and send James C. some money and I'd recommend others do the same. I think he's in a much better position to beat her than someone who is not yet known and organized.

    Sounds like a plan. Or everyone could just wait until Daley pits one of HIS cronies against Shiller and just sits back and waits to see who comes out on top. Just like he did last time.

  74. Can people begin to contribute to Cappleman's 2011 aldermanic campaign now? If so, Uptown Update should publicize that information immediately!

  75. Can people begin to contribute to Cappleman's 2011 aldermanic campaign now? If so, Uptown Update should publicize that information immediately!

    Not to question his qualifications, etc., but shouldn't you get a sheet or something with his positions, platform and/or proposals before signing on with cold, hard cash?

  76. I be there are lots of people who were here for the last campaign, know Cappleman's positions and qualifications, and are willing to contribute to his next campaign right now.

    Cappleman lost the last election by a very narrow margin, and his progress and accomplishments in that campaign position him well for 2011.

  77. Great. I stand happily corrected. And he worked for the Heartland Alliance. He has my vote.

    Oh, wait. I live in Edgewater. Well, maybe I can volunteer.

  78. Stephanie....how do we get into contact with you??? Our condo is having the same kinds of issues with the Alderman's incompetence and would love to join forces with you. We are sick and tired of the vagrants setting up camp behind our house and the littering and graffiti throughout the neighborhood. Im tired of my filthy "L" stop and the empty lots by my condo where thriving businesses should be being built. Please contact me at aguypt@yahoo.com.


  79. oh, dude .. this is Chicago politics.

    You can vote for whomever you want, where ever you want, any time you want and as often as you'd like.

    Don't let a little annoyance like being in a different ward stop you from voicing your concerns.

    It never stopped any of Helen's supporters.

  80. Great job Stephanie but sorry you had to deal with that.
    Does anyone know if there are ways to force her out early? Do we have to prove outright negligence or can we just start a petition and gain enough support?
    And can anyone explain to me why Schiller wants to make Uptown the next Cabrini Green? I don't really understand the motivation. I understand at first maybe she wanted to provide housing for those less fortunate...but now it seems like she's hell bent on pissing off the rest of her ward just to prove a point. What a joke of a politician...when a community feels threatened by its own leadership something is very wrong!

  81. IF she is there (and that's a big IF), the first thing out of her mouth should be an apology for the actions of her Staff, and her hired "muscle", George Atkins.

  82. I do know that James Cappleman plans to run in 2011 - he will also be at tonight's meeting. Here is a response from an inquiry I made:

    I got your message that you are concerned about crime and wondering if whether or not I will be running for alderman again in 2011. The answer is yes, I fully plan to run. I was outspent well over 3 to 1 and still came very close to winning the last election.

    I will be strengthening the base I already have, but most importantly, for the past 1 ½ years I’ve been making some strong connections in the precincts that I did not win. I’ve also made some great connections with a number of aldermen, State Rep Greg Harris, and State Senator Heather Steans. It’s looking very good, but make no mistake, it will still be tough work ahead. Planning for 2011 started in March 2007 so we’re well under way.

    In the meantime, I’m board president of UCC and we’re working on some initiatives to increase safety in the neighborhood. Perhaps if you’re able to come to tonight’s meeting at Truman College, I can see you there.

    Take care,


  83. James:

    Please take my advice on this one...

    Make a sixth entry on the menu bar for your web site. Label it "Donate Now". Point the link to your online donation page.

    Watch the results in your financials improve overnight.

    That is all.

    Carry on.


  84. We helped a little with James' campaign last time and will be doing much more next time. He has amazing credentials in working with those less fortunate from what I've been told and really has a passion for helping not enabling. He is also amazingly helpful in stearing folks (me) through the correct and most useful channels to get things done. He is all about empowering you to get it done. We will be holding fundraisers for him at our place in the near future. We'll keep you posted on that front.

  85. I am fairly new to Uptown, having moved into my condo just two years ago. (Does owning a condo automatically make me a racist?) Every morning when I want to the el to go to work I see so much litter it is disgusting. I see drug deals all the time. I hear the gunshots...so far I haven't seen any shooters but I suppose it is just a matter of time. I voted for James Cappelman in the last election. I will vote for him in the next election but I will also support him financially and volunteer to work in his campaign. We MUST get rid of Helen.
    Stef, I am so sorry you had such a trumatic experience but you were doing the right thing. I hope to meet you at the meeting tonight.

  86. Which one is George Atkins? My biggest problem is Denise Davis. She is terrible!! She literally cursed me out over the telephone.

  87. Helen doesn't even read her own emails Denise Davis does. When I had a problem with the workers in the office I shot her an email and Denise Davis replied by telephone cursing me out!!! Everybod gets treated like Sh*T in that office no matter the color, creed, education, financial situation, etc. THey are just rude as heck! And they are always in unison with each other. No body ever steps up and tells the other person that they were wrong. I was also prohibited from returning. HOwever, I don't want to.

  88. Stef-

    You are leaving out part of the story. The part where some of the staff heard you and understood your concerns about Clarendon Park. They also made sure you had a chance to talk with Helen's assistant so you could try to set up a meeting. But you rudely yelled at the assistant and called her incompetent and told her she didn't care about the neighborhood before she could set up an appointment. You wanted to speak to the alderman that same day but she was in a meeting so you became angry. You also yelled at her and told she didn't have kids so she wouldn't know what you were talking about. Well she has kids and she has lived in Uptown 30 plus years and cares about the neighborhood. You were irate and did not handle yourself in a respectful manner.

    You also yelled at me and told me I didn't care about the neighborhood. I grew up here, I organize monthly garbage pick-ups, I am "big sister" to a young girl at UPLIFT school, and teach Second grade at a local school. So next time you yell at a group of people and tell them they don't care about the neighborhood you should think twice.

    That's the part of the story you left out.

  89. Uptown Girl,
    Regardless of Steph's "disrespectful" behavior, I do not believe that a "fuck you" to a mother with child is practiced as a good behavior.. even for the City of Chicago. Remember as a city school teacher, us, Citizens, pay you daily with a paycheck.. a little respect from Schiller's employees would have gone a lot further than continuing this ward's strong dislike towards her. Is that how she teaches you treat the "racist condo" owners in the neighborhood?

    Schiller's actions and "concerns", if you can call them that, clearly resemble the trash floating past my front door. I sense a change in the wind.

  90. Uptown Girl, under "Hazardous Walking: Leland & Kenmore", you stated you were a social worker and gave the impression that you were still doing social work. Now you are telling us you are a teacher.

    What's up? Do you have a license in either one of these professions?

  91. Holy Moley-

    I don't teach in the summer. I have a summer job when school is out. I am currently working towards getting my Masters Degree in Social Work and I work part time during the year teaching Math and Science to second graders.

    Sick of This-
    I agree with you that 'Fuck You' was not an appropriate response and I'm sorry that was said.

  92. Uptown Girl, would you agree that a "Fuck You" statement from Helen's staff has a reflection on her? This is also not the first time they have responded in this manner.

    Where I work, no matter what the circumstances, saying "Fuck You" to a customer would be an automatic dismissal.

  93. Holy Moley-

    You are right. Saying 'fuck you' was unprofessional.

    I also think coming into an office and yelling at the staff telling them that they are incompetent and don't care about the neighborhood is provoking.

    She might feel that way and that is fine, but she definitely doesn't know me. I was offended by her telling me that I don't care about my neighborhood.

    I was there. I was nice and really tried to help stef out. Listening to her was my main goal. That was the reason I wrote a comment on this specific blog. I feel like she didn't tell the whole truth.

  94. "Helen doesn't even read her own emails Denise Davis does."

    Can anyone confirm this?

  95. "Helen doesn't even read her own emails Denise Davis does."

    Are you guys for real?

    That is a moronic rumor.

  96. So why when I shot her an email Denise Davis replied to my email and not Helen?

  97. Uptown Girl, Helen doesn't show up for CAPS.

    Helen didn't show up for National Night Out Against Crime.

    Helen didn't show up for Block Club University, where she was a featured speaker (no notice she'd be a no-show).

    Helen didn't show up for the 100th reunion of the Winthrop Avenue residents who survived segregation, even though she was the MAIN speaker for the day (no notice she'd be a no-show).

    So why on earth would we believe that this half-assed alderman would read her own email?

  98. "uptown Girl"

    I was never irate,I never got so upset that I was yelling back at the entire staff who was yelling at me. I did say that the office was incompetent, because it is. It is an incompetent local government agency, which becomes hostile to constituents who are concerned about the condition of their neighborhood and their safety. It is an incompetent local government agency when it calls citizens racist, and tells them to move. It is an incompetent government agency when it isolates itself from the voters whom they are supposed to represent, the voters whom in fact are their employers, the only people anyone in that office has an obligation to listen to and treat with respect are the voters and residents of this neighborhood. Quite frankly you know, I know and Shiller knows the astounding level of incompetency and corruption in that office, and should not be surprised to actually have that pointed out. There is no excuse for a resident to be denied a meeting with her alderman, when a resident walks into that office and demands a meeting, her staff needs to get out her schedule and set that meeting. The simple fact that they can't schedule a meeting for a resident is just another example of the total incompetence in the alderman's office. There is no excuse to ever treat anyone the way I was treated in that office. You shouldn't stand up for the way things are done in that office, you wouldn't want anyone in your family to be treated the way that Helen and her staff treat the residents in uptown.

    There is no sense in trying to get the alderman or her staff out into this neighborhood, to talk to the residents, to walk on our streets, to be a participant in life here, help clean it up, because they don't care and if want uptown to be a better place, than we have to do it without her.

  99. Stef-

    The simple fact is is that we did try to get you an appointment but you wanted to speak to the alderman when she was in a meeting. Im sorry you don't remember yelling at me and others. You were completely out of control. Next time you come in there (you said you were going to come in everyday, haven't seen you since) try not to lose control of yourself and yell at the staff, you might have better luck.

  100. I was in no way completly out of control, and I respected the fact that she was in a meeting, I simply asked when would she be done. No one in that office was going to get me a meeting, I was shown a bunch a of paper work that need to be filled out, and said that me being there was my official request for a meeting. I was not yelling, I was being yelled at. I can't believe your response to me. I haven't come back, because after leaving messages for Helen,sending emails, and trying to speak with her at the meeting, I realized that she and everyone in her office does not care what I or anyone had to say, and if we want something done we need to do it ourselves. It is not worth the struggle to get my alderman to care anymore, even though as a voter, I am her boss, we all are, and she has no greater obligation than to us, and our safety. You can try to justify your offices' actions, and create your own reality to make you seem like the good guy, but I know what happened in there, so do the people out on the street who heard me being yelled at, heard Denise yell "fuck you" to me, saw me crying, and asking why don't you people care, what is wrong with you. You work for the most corrupt alderman in Chicago, and you choose to do so, and ignore the larger issues in this community, cater to Buena Park & Andersonville, and ignore the center where the poverty is, where the minorities are. I see what is going on, I see how the carrot is dangled, and the looking of the other way. Your office is a disgusting racist operation, and you should be ashamed of your selves. I am in no way ashamed of trying to speak out for my community and to want to make this a better place. I don't think trying to attack me online is going to be beneficial for you, and I would expect that you would want to cut back on the harassment of residents and maybe perhaps come out into my neighborhood and try to pick up some of the trash, and the broken glass in the playlot, make some 311 calls for all of the broken fences, come meet some teens and try to mentor them, maybe encourage your boss to spend the funds in her ward in a less biased manner, there is no reason for our trash to be over flowing, and for our sidewalks to be filled with litter and our boarded up buildings to be covered in graffiti. If it is not good enough for Buena Park, and it is not good enough for Andersonville, it is not good enough for the whole of uptown.Everyone deserves to live in a clean neighborhood, not just the wealthy white people. Helen might have picked up some needles off of the sidewalk in the late 80's, but what has she done in the past 10 years for the people of uptown?

  101. Step,

    methinks you are being "played".

    Take a deep breath, walk away from the computer and work for positive change. As you surely do anyway.

    By the way Helen Shiller does not favor Buena Park. She may play one game along Marine and Clarendon with the highrise residents, but the two precincts directly south of Wilson Yard on Kenmore and Sheridan voted overwhelmingly against her. The highrise people generally voted about 54 to 46 in her favor.

    Interesting thing is that the western areas of Buena Park always seem to support the aldermanic opposition. When Shiller first ran in the 70's and won in 87 this area was largely her base. The highrises people always seem to vote for the establishment candidate.

    Now that Shiller is the establishment candidate she gets the highrises and loses the low rise non subsidized areas.

    There is less crime in Buena Park simply because we don't have the concentration of subsidized housing that other parts of Uptown do. What we do have seems to be relatively well managed. We also have a large percentage of condos on certain streets.

    If Shiller could have stopped the gentrification of any part of Uptown she would have. All she did was slow it down.

  102. UG, judging from your response here and on another thread (see shopping cart thread), your true colors are now showing. Tell me, did you learn this behavior from Helen's office or is being divisive a requirement to work in her office? It's no wonder Helen goes through staff so quickly.

    Stef now has more credibility than ever about the incident she reported in Helen's office.

  103. Well this is the first I have seen on here of this story,and while I am usually being sarcastic while trying to point to peace and unity, I must tell you the truth.I was in shillers office the day that this occurred,getting some facts for a report that I was doing for school.The woman who came in was anything but calm and polite,I thought there was something physically wrong with her,the young lady that initially helped her was more than kind and didn't even raise her voice when assaulted with verbal attacks.I understand that sometimes tough situations can bring out the worst in us but I also filled out paper work and was helped as soon as someone could get to me.So i say I don't know why you would believe someone just because and if thats the case will you now believe me ,probably not.Please understand I am a seeker of truth,that is what i'm interested in,and I WAS THERE.PLEASE DON'T EVER GET LAZY, AND BEGIN TO STOP QUESTIONING,AND START POINTING FINGERS,GET ANGRY ABOUT INJUSTICE IN WHATEVER FORM,BUT DON'T FALL VICTIM TO SOMEONE ELSES HATRED!

  104. There was no one in the office but me and the staff. So perhaps you were there while the staff was being belligerent to another citizen, maybe one with a physical handicap, which is especially great. There were a number of people out on Broadway that day, but none in her office. It was quite and everyone was on their computers.

  105. To Man on the Street. If you live in Edgewater, go blog in Edgewater. Your alderbitch is a dog, too! Do something about it! She not only doesn't read her own email, she brags about not reading it.She is never in her office and no one can get an appointment. Aldermen used to have office hours and they would stay until they saw everyone who waited to see them. So it looks like we were better off when we had a Machine.

  106. Uptown is better than Edgewater anyday. At least we have hope, we have Cappleman. Edgewater is stuck with what they got because she just knocks the opposition off the ballot.

  107. Stef

    Interesting how


    is a BRAND NEW ACCOUNT....wow!!! I believe you completely now.

  108. Having lived in Uptown more than 10 years, and having had experience with people on all political sides: I believe Uptown Girl, especially since she acknowledges that some unprofessional staff behavior took place. Stephanie sounds quite neurotic and falsely "innocent."

  109. Stef--
    Regardless of what some may or may not believe happened in the alderman's office that day it's clear that you have a lot of people who agree with your over-all statement--it's time for big change in this neighborhood. I believe that most of us are of the mindset that this is not a race issue, but rather an issue of cleanliness and safety on our own community. Even the less fortunate can take pride in a community regardless of race. It's those who don't who need to be addressed. Without an alderman who's willing to understand this, we do nothing but move backwards. Many of us complain but do nothing to remedy the situation. I think I speak for many of us when i say that it is wonderful to see someone like you who doesn't fit that mold. Someone who doesn't say "I'll just move to a better neighborhood". Someone who knows that Uptown has a lot to offer if we just pull together under the right leadership and make it happen. Kudos to you. The only way change can come about is if we believe it can. You obviously do. Thank you for that and for believing in this community.

  110. Shillers office is full of bobble heads. I questioned the desire to expand parking for the CTA and Truman College. What I got back from her office was an answer claiming adding 900+ parking spaces to Uptown would not cause congestion nor have an environmental impact.

    Mind you, that's 900+ *new* parking spaces...so that means 900 new cars, per day, in Uptown.

    Sure, Ald. Shiller...you keep your little piece of the world.

    For the rest of you, vote her out of fucking office!

  111. Helen Shiller is a career politician and her staff career lackeys. Remember, last time around she won by a VERY NARROW MARGIN. Talk to your friends and neighbors about this issue. Let's get James in that office in 2011. I've had a BIG CHANGE in my thinking after watching Sarah Palin's speach last nite and I cannot wait to vote people like Shiller, Sara Feigenholtz, and Senator Cullerton out of office!! Cannot wait to vote JAMES in in 2011 and finally get GOVERNMENT BACK TO THE PEOPLE. WE DESERVE IT, WE DEMAND IT.

  112. I'd just like to say that as resident of Chicago for 8 years and of Uptown for over a year, this kind of behavior on the part of cit of Chicago is appalling and all too typical of the corrupt and inept machine that is city government.

    I'd therefore like to volunteer to do whatever I can to unseat Helen Shiller.

  113. I want to vote Ald Schiller out. I know that it is not until 2011 but when should we start and how.

  114. I'm not supporting the alderman or her staff but... I've had many interactions with her staff, Denise Davis more than any other and I find the F-U remarks hard to swallow! Everyone sees things from one side and perhaps you have gone a little lite on what you may have said to get such treatment!! I can't say I've been satisfied with the service I've recieved nor do I believe alderman shiller is in anyway best for the job but both sides are very guilty of streaching the boundries of truth and social wellbeing.

  115. It's amazing that this was our reality at one point, or even plausible for that matter!