Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hazardous Walking: Leland and Kenmore

A reader sends us some unfortunate news and warns pedestrians to use caution:

There was a fire tonight at approximately 4:30 PM on the top floor (3rd story) of a condo building on the southwest corner of Kenmore and Leland. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured and the damage was contained to one unit. They didn't even have to water down the surrounding units (thankfully - that'd cause serious damage to the hardwood!). All the windows were blown out in the unit. There are glass shards around that area - be careful with your dogs, children, bare feet, etc...

UPDATE: Neighbors tell us that Ald. Shiller was present at the scene of the fire; some sent in photos to prove it. If this is, indeed, her reaction to the comments at Wednesday's meeting that she is an absentee alderman, we're happy to think she may have taken those comments to heart.


  1. was driving by this around 6 tonight. emergency vehicles still present. And wouldn't you know it....alderwhatever schiller standing on the corner of winthrop and leland talking to bike patrol....damnit i wish i had a camera to share it with you wonderful uptown residents...i felt as if i had spotted bigfoot

  2. Bike patrol? We got bike patrol? That was fast.

  3. She probably has some type of stake in the building, so of course she was there...... JK.

    Good for her, that is actually quite impressive, maybe she is actually taking action on the things people suggested wednesday night.

  4. I've seen the bike patrol in Uptown earlier this month, so it is not entirely a new response. Having said that, more often is better!

    As for Alderperson Schiller, her presence there shows potential concern for public safety, so she has earned another week for good behavior.

  5. Any time Helen wants to get more active in community safety, I'll be happy to sing her praises and even send in a thank you to her office.

    Having her show up at the scene; however small her impact may be, is one heck of a positive step in the right direction - especially from the stand point of demonstrating leadership.

    Kudos to Helen for making an effort.

    Now, about that whole Wilson Yard thing ...

  6. "Hmmm, I wonder how much TIF money is available on this side of the ward for my buddy HOLSTEN ? Maybe we could build a Methadone clinic with a playground on the roof in this soon to be empty lot"

  7. Whoop-de friggin do!! So she showed up to a fire. Wow... maybe we should crown her Alderman of the Year!!!

    We can all just forget the past 20 years of ineptitude.

  8. I don't think anyone is forgetting the 20 years of ineptitude.

    If her appearance at the fire scene was because she actually listened at the meeting (and it could be that, or it could simply be that she was driving by, saw the commotion and was curious), it might, just possibly, show just a slight, slight crack in enormous wall she's built to keep the concerns of the residents out.

    Time will tell. I'm not going to nominate her for sainthood for showing up, but I won't damn her for it either.

  9. Uhhh...uptown pits...if this buiding is what I'm thinking it is, there's no way it's going to be demolished for anything! 4700 N. Kenmore is a recently-built condo building (2 units still available!).

  10. It's actually the older building on the Southwest corner of Winthrop and Leland. There was only damage to the one unit, so it should not be demolished!

    Thank God - I don't really want a methodone clinic a block away!

  11. Wow.... Good Picture.. She actually looks like an alderman doing her job. Hope it's a sign that she's getting a clue and is getting onboard to be active within her ward. Nice to see her out there.

  12. There has been a bike patrol in the 23rd district since June. They patrol the lakefront mostly.

  13. From articles I've read, bike patrols are a very effective crime deterent in urban settings. A bit like foot patrols, but it gives officers greater mobility and coverage. Plus, they help officers reach out the community.

    I've seen a couple of bike patrols down the 4700 block of Kenmore the past few weeks. When I used to live in west Lakeview, they had a ton but that was mostly during Cubs games, street fests, etc. BTW, how come we don't have any street fests in Uptown?

  14. I actually congratulate Hellen for making an effort to be more visible in our community. Hopefully this is the first of many steps she takes to make uptown a safer and better place. This by no means gives her a pass on her past mistakes but can make the next few years more bearable until she is voted out of office.

  15. That is actually NOT Helen Shiller. It is an inflatable Helen Shiller doll that police supervisors in our two police districts have been ordered to carry and display at fire scenes and major crime scenes.

    It comes with its own air compressor and soundtrack.

    It takes up very little room in the trunk of a patrol car and officials are considering getting 49 other similar ones made for the other wards. Unfortunately, this secret program started in 2006 and they still have some Burt Natarus dolls available.

    I suggest they sell them at a loss.

  16. HAHAHAHA, irishpirate is great. the infamous, inflatable shiller doll. i'll take two, one to paint a face on and other to use as a voodoo doll.

  17. IrishPirate...

    That has to be the funniest thing I have read all week. Everyone carry a Hat Pin should there be another 'Schiller Sighting'

  18. To Anonanon,
    What was Helen suppose to be doing?! Putting the fire out herself?! Please you guys, why all the hate? In the end your hatred towards Helen, it's going to hurt you more than her. She's darned if she does, and she's darned if she doesn't! Carol

  19. Carol Elaine, perhaps you don't read posts that have "fuck you" in them in Friendly Towers, but you might want to read the alderman's assistant's and chief of staff's response to a mother who was concerned about crime and THEN see if you still have to ask "Why all the hate?"

    In the end your hatred towards Helen, it's going to hurt you more than her.

    I for one will take that chance. I appreciate your concern for the residents of Uptown, however.

  20. Caring Neighbor.

    "Fuck you" is nothing compared to the outrageous way a lot of people talk about other human beings on uptown update.

    While I don't think "fuck you" was appropriate or professional way to deal with someone, it's nothing in comparison to the way some of you talk about Helen Shiller. She has faults but she is human. Just like the homeless people that you guys so rudely take pictures of and talk about as if they were pieces of trash.

  21. I'm not one who hates Helen, but I believe her behavior invites all the taunting. When you set it up to be an us versus them, you have to expect to get caught in the crossfire.

    I understand that some may find it disrespectful to have pictures of poor people on Uptown Update but I think the real message is that this community is overrun with homeless and mentally ill people who come in from all over the city and that problem has been ignored for too long. When that problem is honestly dealt with, I think the photos will decrease and eventually go away. Until then, this is our only way of letting others know the seriousness of the problem. It's not the best, but it's the only thing we got at this moment.

  22. Uptown Girl, you're creating a straw man argument. Mrs. Trott asked why we hated Helen Shiller. Well, I replied.

    It has nothing to do with how people talk to each other on this blog, or whose photos are put up. Let's stick to the question without changing it, shall we?

    The subject is, why is Helen despised? Well, for me, it's because she treats those of us who pay her salary with utter and complete contempt.

    Our dollars are paying for her pet projects, which bring no income into Uptown, and she's more than happy to take our money for the next 20 years to feed her hungry, hungry TIF. Then she lies to us. She doesn't listen to our concerns. Then she says if you don't like it, move.

    Examples: Everyone -- EVERYONE -- knows that there's no letter of intent from Target. Target may actually come to Wilson Yard. But they say they're just starting negotiations now. How does that translate into a letter of intent that Helen claims she's had for two years, but refuses to show? Because it's IMAGINARY.

    Many members of the community, including Uptown United, opposed Labor Ready. Helen stood up in front of the ZBA and waved a bunch of letters she said were in support of Labor Ready. When an FOIA request revealed the content of those letters, all but a few opposed it. And the handful that supported it were all in boilerplate language. Again, treating the community's wishes with contempt. Again, the lies.

    Uptown residents have been freaking GIDDY with delight this week. Why? Because elected public officials actually listened to our concerns about our neighborhood and had a meeting to address those concerns.

    That's something that nearly every citizen can count on: having their elected representative at least make a pretense of listening. But not our alderman. Nope, unless you're one of her "oppressed" to whom she can be a "savior" -- no audience. No sympathy. No representation.

    Her actions have caused a lot of resentment, and you could see and hear the results at the Town Hall meeting. You can read the results of her actions on this blog.

    A quote Helen might appreciate: "You don't have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind's blowing."

  23. Just Wondering....

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I'm curious as to what you think an honest way to get rid of homeless and mentally ill people in uptown. It seems to me like a constant battle with no easy answer. I feel like this neighborhood does a lot to try to help. I could be wrong, but the social services seem to be everywhere.

    I think the answer a lot of people on Uptown Update would like is to 'relocate' the homeless and mentally ill. I don't think that would solve anything.

    Caring Neighbor-
    I was at the Town Hall Meeting. I too share the concern of violence in the neighborhood but in no way blame any one person for it.

  24. Well, Uptown Girl, that's where you and I are going to have to agree to disagree. I was asked a question about why I feel a certain way, and I answered. I don't speak for UU readers, only for myself.

    You don't hate or blame Helen. We differ. To each her own.

  25. I spoke with a reporter yesterday who is doing a story about blogging. The subject of photos of the homeless came up and I told her that whether it's right or wrong to post photos, the real story underneath it all is that we need some of the social services to be better neighbors to the community.

    When can an area become over saturated with too many homeless shelters? If you live in Uptown, that's a legitimate question to ask, especially because many of the homeless in the shelters are not from this area. Some cities have zoning restrictions that prevent an over saturation of homeless shelters in any one area. In the meantime, it's also fair to place an expectation for social services to be better neighbors to the rest of the community. As a social worker, I believe clients will also benefit as well.

  26. I can tell you exactly why I have a big problem with Alderman Shiller and it’s very simple. If a community is struggling with an issue; whether it’s too many sex shops, car dealerships or water parks (the chlorine is killing the surrounding vegetation) shouldn’t the local leadership work with the community to mitigate current problems and absolutely without a doubt and with no exception bring in more of the same until the current problems are under control. We are talking about balance here. I believe most who post here only want this community to be safe for everyone. Please explain how building more low income housing (using a failed housing model) for people who live outside of Uptown will be a healthy step in making this community better.

  27. James-

    I agree with you that most of us including social services could continually work on being better neighbors. As far as your 'right or wrong comment', it's wrong to plaster photos of homeless people sleeping without their consent.

    I too am a social worker and have been for years. It makes me sick and should make you sick as well to hear and see the way people treat other human beings.

  28. As a social worker, a large part of what I do is seek to understand the behavior of others and I do it without any judgment. Once I understand, I can then be of assistance with helping the person. Telling people to stop taking photos won’t do it. That’s giving unsought advice, and my experience is that unsought advice often goes ignored.

    I believe I understand what’s behind the photographing of homeless people. It’s complete frustration with a broken down system that is perpetuated with enabling behavior, poor management, and Chicago-style politics. Listening to what’s behind the frustration is half the battle. Having an elected official take the needed steps to address the underlying causes of the frustration would be spectacular and my strong hunch is that the photos would then stop.

    Until then, the frustrated people who post these photos are doing everything they can to feel heard by any elected official who may read this blog.

    I hope they are heard.