Thursday, July 24, 2008

Community Town Hall Meeting About Public Safety

State Sen. Heather Steans and State Rep. Greg Harris have announced a community Town Hall Meeting to address the issues of public safety. It's in response to the community's concerns and anger over the recent violence and gun battles in our streets.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, July 30th, at the Truman College Cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.

23rd District Commander Kathleen Boehmer will be present. Ald. Helen Shiller has been invited, but it's not certain whether she can attend. (Note: The meeting conflicts with Ald. Shiller's scheduled appearance on CAN-TV.)

Cmdr. Boehmer confirms that there have been eight warrants issued and six arrests made at the problem building at Magnolia and Wilson already. There are two outstanding warrants.

We urge everyone who read and comments on this blog to attend the meeting. Posting here helps build a sense of community and helps make people aware of the problems and joys of life in Uptown, but it's no substitute for action, and activism.

Let's have a huge turnout at this meeting to see what we, as citizens who are fed up with living with fear and crime, can do to create a community that's safe and healthy.

UPDATE: Here's a flyer for the event. We strongly suggest you print it and distribute it to your neighbors who may not be aware of the meeting. The more of us who are aware and active, the stronger a statement we make.


  1. oh noes! July 30th is a Wednesday.

    And I would not expect much from the CAN-TV appearance. The callers appear more like fluffers for the guest than actual residents of the ward with real concerns that haven't been addressed.

    If possible, we could get the CAN-TV footage in the cafeteria watch the charade together. :)

  2. Please come to this. I spoke with Rep Harris today, and he does agree that we have a huge problem right now. Sen Steans and Rep Harris I feel are here to help.

    Also we all need to get to CAPS meetings more often. Im guilty of this as well. I spoke with CAPS last night, and I feel that that is the right direction.

    Also, all building should be looking in to getting cameras. We are, and now that the city is trying to plug in to them, it could relly help.

    This is the first non-band aid step I feel in the right direction.

  3. Oh, I forgot, how cool would it be if we called from the meeting. "Yes Helen this is your Ward calling..yup all of it..yes the whole Ward...."

  4. Helen should drop the tv appearance and get her butt to the meeting, where she belongs!

    I'm trying to change my flight schedule so I can get back into town in time.

    I'm a little concerned that a state rep indicates that buildings should get cameras.

    He's right - but it's kinda' like having your parents tell you that you're ugly.

    If that's the case, maybe the state, or better yet - the city, should offer buildings an incentive, or tax relief, if they install cameras.

    If the city did a better job in keeping the streets safe, we wouldn't need the cameras.

    No reason we should have to foot the entire bill, ourselves (especially if the city wants to go Big Brother and plug into our systems).

  5. Sorry Yo, didn't mean to confuse, but the SEN never said to get cameras.

    That was Uptown Diggity Dads suggestion. My soap box. Of course I need to rob a store to pay for it so it kind of kills the stopping crime theory.


  6. UD - copy that. My bad.

    Still- thanks to you, and to TJM, for putting the hammer down and getting our reps involved.

    We all owe you cats a beer.

  7. If the comments here can't rise above the name-calling and third-grade level that I've been deleting, the comments option will be turned off.

  8. Uptown dad (and whoever else helped) thank you for putting this together! I am so sad that I will be out of town. I hope that you will post detailed information on the meeting and any follow up information that we can use.

  9. Thanks for the flier UU!! I'm printing copies for my building now.

  10. Hi everyone. I have been scheduled to attend an Obama platform meeting this evening, the subject of discussion being Obama's plans for URBAN POLICY. Oddly enough, upon reading the campaign's ideas on the subject in preparation for the meeting, Chicago's Ceasefire was mentioned, and how he plans to refund this and similar projects whose funding was cut under the Bush admin. You may want to take a look at their Anyone familiar with the recent lack of funding and how this may have affected recent crime rates?

  11. >>"Cmdr. Boehmer confirms that there have been eight warrants issued and six arrests made at the problem building at Magnolia and Wilson already."

    I'm surprised the building mentioned was Magnolia and Wilson (unless they mean the big building next to the strip mall south of Wilson on Magnolia). All the action as of late has happened on Malden/Leland, Malden/Wilson and Sunnyside/Magnolia. Can anyone confirm?

  12. Hi Folks, I cannot make it this evening because of a previously scheduled thing, but if someone could PLEASE share that it seems some of the dealing has moved the past 3 days to two corners...Sheridan and Leland and Sheridan and Lakeside.

    We in this part of Uptown sure would appreciate it. Thanks!

  13. Based on a recent audit which uncovered some issues with how Ceasefire runs its operations, I doubt that any cuts on the Federal level has had any affect.

    What I'm not sure is if their funding was cut by the administration, or they simply lost it due to mismanagement (I'm leaning toward the latter, but, when I'm done reviewing the audit performed on the group - which is not complimentary - I'll let ya' know).

    Additionally, Ceasefire has been having issues getting their funding restored due to those same operational concerns.

    So, yeah ... it is odd that a national candidate would mention an organization that's in a bit of self-imposed financial disrepair as part of a larger plan.

    Beyond that, URBAN PLANNING needs to start at the grassroots/local level, not at the federal level, IMHO. Especially when one considers what happened on the south side in February, '07.

  14. Will it be addressed that these problems are the result of 2 sets of 20 unit low income (row houses).....and only the tip of the iceburg once are TIFs are used to bring in hundreds of more Bangers/Users/Dealers!!! What are we gonna do once their's 10x's as many units in a concentrated area? ..ahheemm besides run for cover!

  15. Isn't Obama a Socialist? My understanding is he's going to increase spending in these areas?

    PLEASE no attacks ... thoughtful answers are welcome. :)

  16. Good to see our representatives reacting to the concerns of constituents.

  17. I am no fan of Cease Fire. I have seen them take credit for what CAPS has done to get their funding. They went to one public loitering event and only showed up for the food afterwards. Besides, I never see them involved with CAPS.

    They work a lot with O.N.E. which tells me immediately to be really leery of them. They are one of these organizations that take money and show little results. Good riddance.

  18. ag'd with nickname unavailable. unfortunately, i'll just be wrapping up day 2 of the bar next wed...

  19. Ceasefire is just a band aid that treats the problem after the fact. Please don't blame Bush for our increased violence.

    I'm not a huge Obama guy, but his speach about parents acting like parents was SPOT ON. No gov't program or amount of money will replace what good parenting does.

  20. El said...
    [I'm surprised the building mentioned was Magnolia and Wilson (unless they mean the big building next to the strip mall south of Wilson on Magnolia). All the action as of late has happened on Malden/Leland, Malden/Wilson and Sunnyside/Magnolia. Can anyone confirm?]

    In speaking with Sen. Steans I got the impression that it was whichever was the really problem building on Magnolia near Wilson that had received so many complaints from neighbors living around Sunnyside Mall...

    RE: Malden & Leland, both Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris have a list of 4 problem buildings at the corner of Malden and Leland. They are speaking to the alderman about the problems stemming from these buildings and following up with management of these buildings (one of these buildings is the Leland House owned by Cornerstone/JPUSA).

  21. I just want to mention that a representative from Greg Harris' office was at the meeting last night and he was genuinely helpful and interested in making Uptown a safer place. If you're on this board, forgive me because I don't remember your name, but you're a great link between Greg Harris and the community.

  22. Ceasefire comments. Hi. I may have misspoke about where the cuts to Ceasefire initiated. Someone at the Barack meeting informed me that they may have been due to Blagovich's cuts, not from Federal cuts. Either way, I don't claim to be an expert on Ceasefire, but the little I do know about them does reveal that they utilize former members of gangs to talk down gang violence before it occurs. This may be a "band-aid", but I don't see how it can hurt as PART of a solution to gunfire in the streets. Additionally, the CEASEFIRE funding idea was one of 50 points made in Barack's Urban proposal, but one that I thought made some sense. There are several proposals that he makes that are very detailed and some based on projects that took place in Harlem with urban chilren, that have shown to work in the past. To the person who asked me if he was a socialist--only you can answer these questions for yourself. Educate yourself on politics. Go to the parties' websites. Find out what their action plans are for taking care of urban blight. At least Barack Obama has VAST experience in this area when he worked in the South of Chicago. So, I'm willing to look at his ideas. I'm not saying they're all perfect, because to have perfect solutions to the problems we have in Uptown would be political suicide for politicians--but they're the best I've seen so far...

  23. Actually, to have some little solution for crime in Uptown would be a great shot in the arm for any politician. We fully understand low standards when it comes to Uptown, so a little effort by Helen really isn't much to ask.

  24. No offense, but can we steer clear of the presidential campaigning, please?

    I'd hate to burst your bubble by pointing to the fact that the violence and blight on the south side are considerably worse than what we're seeing in Uptown (ask someone in Englewood about the blight issue) - which might lead one to wonder how effective the one-time state senator's policies were (not to mention how relevant his VAST experience was), and to what extent is it helpful, or progressive, or even positive, to involve an organization that may have some criminal liability with regards to their book-keeping into the mix of a "solution".

  25. I second yo's thoughts, lets stick to local politics, like kindly pushing Mr. Greg Harris to support Helen's Opponent in the next election.

  26. The governor cut ceasefire and is offering his own program instead. This is an issue to talk to Steans and Harris about since it is at the state level. If there are state funds available for anti-violence/anti-gang programs, I say let's try them here.

    Here is a link to a trib op-ed which discusses ceasefire. A northwestern study found that it reduced murders. I don't know if the misappropriations were known b/c I didn't read the whole 200+ ppg.

    Blago & Ceasefire

  27. CeaseFire Audit

    Note: there were Federal dollars going to CeaseFire, as well as Cook County dollars; however, it is correct to say that the state stopped their funding ..., due to the audit which demonstrated accounting irregularities.

    Whereas these liabilities may not be criminal in nature, as I had mentioned (though, they may be), those liabilities do indicate a serious breach in ethical conduct with regards to public funds (unheard of Illinois, I know. I was shocked, too).

    And here's a counter to the article saskia posted (nothing personal), from the Chicago Justice Project.

    Additionally, here's the Zorn article saskia referenced, but with comments.

    Quoting "John Birch" from the above link:

    Hiring Northwestern to do this study is like hiring McDonald's University to study the health benefits of Big Mac's

    ... having graduated Hamburgler-cum-laude from that fine institution, I whole heartedly agree.

    Overall - Ceasefire has problems which IMHO should be rectified before anyone turns to them for assistance, starts giving them any more tax dollars, or goes so far as to include them into any longer term social planning.

    Like everything else, political, around here, the icing may look tasty, but the cake sucks.

  28. No offense taken, yo. There were just some questions about it so I decided to further the discussion by linking to an op-ed I had read. I had no idea all of the hoopla that existed surrounding the Zorn op-ed and the NWU study. NWU is usually such a credible shop. I do thank you for posting the links. I am eager to check all of this out when I have more time over the weekend. Thanx.

  29. To Windycity and yo: I don't think it is appropriate for you to censor people's ideas and comments on this site. I am not campaigning on this site, and that was never my intention. I brought national politics to the fore because I happen to be attending an Obama Urban Platform meeting in which he mentioned Ceasefire (which is tied to Chicago). I asked others' thoughts on it. Someone else attacked Ceasefire as a strategy by calling it a band-aide, and I responded by stating it was merely a fraction of Obama's overall Urban strategy. However, if you think that national and local politics are mutually exclusive, talk to the family members of soldiers in Iraq, look at the homeless schizophrenic on the street who ten years ago was not homeless because his mental condition was controlled before federal funding to state mental clinics and institutions in the 60640 zip code was cut in half. (and yes--you CAN thank Mr Bush for his). If you don't believe me--I'll give you a phone number to about 5 psychiatrists, 10 social workers, and an administrative manager of 2 mental health clinics who will tell you how these cuts have affected this community.

    As far as the Ceasefire article to which you provided a link, I understand the concern for the lack of scrutiny in the media regarding Ceasefire's effectiveness, etc. However, I still do not see where anyone has pointed to the fact that CEASEFIRE DID NOT, IN FACT, deter gang shootings when they were in the streets.

  30. The huge numbers of mentally ill in this neighborhood has a lot to do with the huge numbers of shelters and social services here. The mentally ill did not all come from Uptown.

    No one is saying they don't need to be treated with compassion and respect. Enough is enough when it comes to all the shelters and housing in this neighborhood. The rest of the city doesn't need to do its share because they know Uptown will step in.

    Cease Fire doesn't work with CAPS and that says plenty.

  31. melissa, breathe. You've completely missed the points I was trying to make.

    1 - UU has made note on several occasions that discussions should steer clear of national politics.

    I'll leave the accusation of censorship by the way side, thank you very much.

    2 - The media scrutiny wasn't the point of the article I was trying to highlight.

    You ask for concrete proof that CeaseFire doesn't work, I countered by stating there isn't concrete proof that it does.

    3 - Local/fed issues aren't mutually exclusive - you misunderstood my angle and made an incorrect assumption - but there is a level of immediacy required, today, to help curb the violence. Involving Uncle Sugar into the mix, regardless of effectiveness, won't help us, now, when we need it.

    Even if your candidate gets the opportunity to engage his programs, nothing will even begin to happen until January '09.

    How many folks need to get shot while we wait?

    The injection of Bush/Iraq and the like is simply irrelevant (not to mention inciting) to the discussion and might threaten to distract the commentariate from the topic, at hand. See point #1.

    Finally, it's bad form to assume that bringing up a candidate into an open forum won't raise the cackles of others.

    Whereas your passion is admirable, not everyone is as enamored of your candidate as you are.

  32. Meow! Meow! Stop the campaigning and name-calling, please. I think we all agree that nothing short of significant change at many different levels will improve the situation.

    I'd like to know what politicians at any level think about the funding for crime-stopping initiatives, not to mention the fact that a recent class of police officers was canceled; the disastrous public schools in Chicago where students can't learn effectively to even get basic skills; the parents who may not be around or, if they are, do not raise these kids to respect learning and try to get an education; the unsafe housing where a few tenants can make life dangerous for those who are trying their name it!

  33. My finaal counterpoints to Holy and Yo: If you would have actually taken time to closely read my post before jumping in with your own comments, you would have understood:

    1) again, I explained how the Obama Campaign issue initially came up as a topic. Additionally, YO, I never expressed to anyone on this site who I was supporting, rather that I was attending a platform meeting (ask me if you need a definition of "platform meeting").

    2) you are, as far as I know, not in charge of the UU, and thus, you ARE attempting to censor people's discussions

    3) you did not provide evidence showing that Ceasefire did not deter violence when it was funded, rather, just that there may have been accounting irregularities that were not followed up-on by the media. You further went on to explain that Ceasefire is not connected with CAPS, and therefore, supposedly, not dredible????? I hate to disappoint you, but there are many who believe that CAPS has been nothing but a PR campaign by the police to cover why nothing's being done to reduce crime rates. Therefore, to me, and many others, this comparison means nothing.

    Additionally, having worked with hundreds of hospitals, doctors, psychs, and LCSW's for the past 10 years, I understand that uptown has the most mental health clinics in the city. In fact 60640 has the largest schizophrenic population in the entire US of A because of this. This occured over thirty years ago my friends. My point about the schizophrenics was regarding HOMELESS schizophrenics (those who no longer have their meds and thus become HOMELESS )after the budget cuts to the mental health facilities about 7 years ago.

    Please read people's posts carefully before responding.

  34. You missed the point. The homeless came here because of all the social services. Social services are great but there comes a time when there's too many. There's too many. There are global reasons for the problems of mental illness in the U.S. Uptown cannot fix what Reagan did. We can fix the horribly run and enabling social services in Uptown that are magnets to perpetuate homelessness in the area.

    Cease Fire bears wants the funding, so they are the ones that bear the burden of proof for their effectiveness, not the state of Illinois.

  35. holey moley--please distinguish between mental illness social services versus other types of social services. The 60640 mental health facilities are actiallu some of the best run in the world given the funds that they have to work with and the severity of illness of their clientele. You probably have no idea that in order to keep YOU safe, these dedicated facilities, along with some area police, actually have a system to track down homeless clients in order to try to get them to take the meds they were once compliant with, so that they do not get violent. They do this on their own time, as they are not allowed to work over a certain amount of hours due to cuts on their facilities. In fact, as a result of these cuts, many of these patients became non-compliant in the first place, because it was too risky to reschedule them as patients if they were late for appointments, etc. (This threw off the feds mandate for amount of patients who had to be seen by psychs/social workers per day in order for these people to keep their jobs).....

  36. Let me say it again. There are way too many of any type of social services in Uptown, and most especially ones for the mentally ill. It appears in your eyes, there can never be enough in one area. Perhaps every other building in Uptown should be another mental health facility. Give me an f'n break. NO more. Nada. Nit. Non.

    We wouldn't have a huge number of mentally ill clients in this area if we didn't have a huge number of mental health facilities. Don't tell me you never thought of that.

  37. AMEN holey moley - too much of anything is a bad thing...remember folks, our dear mayor thinks we need to spread it out, concentration is BADDDDDDD unless of course you live in Uptown...

  38. To Holey Moley: effective communication of any kind entails not assuming anything about anyone, and then following up with an irrational, angry discorse regarding the same. You have done so throughout this entire blogging session--assuming which presidential candidate I'm supporting, assuming that because I mentioned that mental health budeget cuts created more homeless schizophrenics, and that the facilities with which I'm familiar in uptown are GOOD medical facilities, that I CAN"T get enough of mental health facilites (or better yet, that I never stopped to understand WHY they're are here). The fact remains--I don't care. It doesn't affect my opinions regarding them either way; and, it's not going to change the fact that they're here.

    I will tell you this, schizophrenic patients do not bother or scare me. Homeless people do not scare me. I find these people rather benign. That may or may not be because I've lived in many different cities, and have dealt with many professionals who have had these individuals as patients, and they've educated me on the subject. You seem to have a less educated, more limited worldview, and I can understand that you may be frightened of that which you do not know.

    What does frustrated and frighten me, are those who do have their faculties, and aren't teaching their children any better. Those parents who, instead of encouraging their children in education, they allow their children to get caught in the cycle of violence and ignorance.

  39. Actually, I support Obama and I never said more mental health clinics create more homeless schizophrenics. They just bring them here.

    Yes, there is a crisis. Your solution is global. Uptown's problem is local and while I want better services for the mentally ill, I also want world peace, no more poverty, and no more hunger. I don't want to wait the many decades you will need to get it fixed.

    Many parents do teach their children to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of those who need help. Mine did a very good job of it. I have no problem there at all.

    I want the children in Lincoln Park, Edgewater, Lincoln Square, Rogers Park, Lakeview, Old Town to get the chance to learn what children in Uptown have been forced down their throats many times over.

    You may not be scared of someone pulling down their pants to crap in your alley or giving someone a blow job. I'm happy for you. I'm just thinking that children aren't as brave as you and there's just so much tolerance that parents can teach their children when they don't feel safe in the process.

  40. "You seem to have a less educated, more limited worldview, and I can understand that you may be frightened of that which you do not know."


  41. Hey everyone, I'm a big uptown fan and I thought I might pop in to offer a quick opinion on the subject of CeaseFire. Let me first say that I personally worked for CF for two years. In that time, we saw homicides in Albany Park drop from 9 the year before we started, to 4 after the first year and ZERO the after the second. It was indeed successful, but I would in no way give all the credit to CF. Our CF was different from others in that we worked closely with CAPS (and all of CPD 17th Dist) as well as literally dozens of other community groups. We did it how it should be done, not how it was being done in many neighborhoods.

    Since losing CF, we have had four homicides this year, including one last night.

    CF is most certainly flawed. In other neighborhoods there were ACTIVE criminals working the streets, so things may have gotten quieter, but not better. The answer lies in groups like this, the Uptown Update neighborhood, people who live there and care about what is happening. The behavior of your alderman is deplorable and I don't admire the uphill battle you've got in front of you.

    So the truth of CF is that it was cut ONLY by Gov. Blag. and that the decision was purely political. I lost my job and the neighborhood lost a great service. We were working intervention, yes, but also prevention with lots of phenomenal groups. We now have a Peace Project running a very similar program, connecting parties who can have impact and creating change at every level. I don't believe that CF is the answer to your troubles, but if it is run well, it can certainly help.

  42. First I am hearing about this. Haven't seen the flyer before. Anyone in the neighborhood that can post and distribute? We need to get as many people as possible!