Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hand-Picked Precinct Referenda Courtesy Of Couraj

Wonder why only certain precincts in Uptown are being given the chance to vote on the special ballot referenda asking about adding even more subsidized housing, and preferential hiring practices in Uptown? Wonder who sponsored them?

Well, now we know at least the "who" -- Helen's favoritest friends of all, Couraj! You know, the folks who believe condos are "destroying our community", lives and families. The same folks who think CAPS and phone trees are "campaigns waged against the homeless, youth and residents of low-income housing." From the News-Star:
Northside Action for Justice, a merger of the Rogers Park Community Action Network and COURAJ - Community of Uptown Residents for Affordability and Justice - has fielded two advisory referenda on public subsidies. The first asks if the city should allocate 40 percent of TIF funds to preserve and produce affordable housing for persons at or below the community median income. Such measures would include acquiring vacant or foreclosed-upon properties, rehab projects and new construction.
A second referendum proposed by Northside Action asks voters if the city should adopt a policy in which beneficiaries of public subsidies (including TIF) with more than 15 employees should give local residents first chance to apply for jobs and certify that workers receive a living wage, including a pledge to honor workers' rights.Voters in precincts 8, 12, 20, 22, 23, 26, 32, 38, 41, 42 and 47 in the 46th Ward, virtually all of which fall within the Wilson Yard TIF District, will be asked to vote yes or no on both measures. Depending on the outcome, the social action group hopes to spur policy changes within the City Council affecting how public subsidies are allocated in redevelopment projects.


  1. Thanks RON!

    It amazes me that one alderman and a few usless non for profit organizations can manipulate not only a system of government but also the same people they pretend to protect.

    For all smoke and mirrors these groups put up where are the success stories?

    A few painted garage doors and yet the citizens they "protect" still live with the same poverty, the same crime rate, the same drug addictions, the same abuse, and the same government who keeps them there for their own gain.

    Thanks RON!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You know Chuck your right. If the bloggers of UU don't get out and vote to shoot down these measures then shame on them.

    That being said I am hessitant to use bloggers and innaction in the same sentence. Seems to me the bloggers of UU have put together quit a few events in the last 6 months be it Town Hall Meetings, Funraisers, Crime Prevention Meetings, Positive Loiterings, Neighborhood Clean Ups, ect.

    We could only hope that Helen and Her Non For Profits could be so active towards a better Uptown, but then again thats no their goal now is it.

  4. Well no wonder she can’t return phone calls, letters or attend community meetings on safety! She has another election to manipulate and those things take time. Maybe afterwards she will have some time to disrupt a CAPS meeting or have a “public” meeting where no one is allowed to ask questions. But right now she has her priorities.

    By the way Helen remains in office because people DO NOT go out and vote. So if you regularly read and post here please plan on voting during every election this city has.

  5. No surprise that Couraj is behind this. With the hand picked precincts, its more than likely to get a majority of "yes" votes - unless a ton of "evil" home owners get out and vote.

    The funny thing is, if it gets a majority of yes votes, Helen will act like she had nothing to do with the referendum, but will spin the results to try to concentrate more and more poverty every chance she gets.

  6. These are only advisory referendums right? So, is there any real, practical change it creates? Seems almost like an opinion poll.

  7. Sneki, it's only "advisory" when Helen chooses to make it part of her reality.

    She used similarly skewed referenda as justification for the 100% low-income housing in Wilson Yard.

    The referendum where the residents voted against having taxis park on Uptown's residential streets was just plain and simple ignored by her.

  8. Read it VERY carefully. It is written to confuse.
    Sneki! It may not be binding but it will reappear over and over be used to advance the beast's agenda. It will become "The voters have told me...." Did you read any of the Ray Coffey articles? They still hold true.

  9. There have been several references to this only being an advisory referendum. That's true and it is a non-binding referendum. Honest, ethical voters and politicians understand that. Then there is Helen Shiller.

    She uses these referendum votes to get her pet projects passed in City Council and at the Zoning Board of Appeals. She did it for the failed State of Ilinois building at Wilson and Magnolia and she did it again for the passing of the Wilson Yard project. She stood in front of City Council and stated that she had overwhelming voter support for these projects. She forgot to mention that they were advisory referendums. She lied in front of her colleagues and I'll bet dollars for donuts she'll do it again.

  10. Yes, chuck. People need to get out and vote and also need to figure out what they can do as individuals to make Uptown a better place. But, as Chip mentions, there is no denying that we have a lot of people who pick up litter, attend meetings, support local businesses and develop a positive relationship with the local police.

    I think what you may be lamenting is that many Uptowners are not getting involved in the ways that YOU feel would make this place better. I have got to say that it is very hard for people like me to make a difference in this community in the ways you might think I should because I do have many personal responsibilities and because anything having to do with Uptown's less fortunate is "either HER way or the highway."

    I spend a lot of time on here trying to engender discussion...but after all of this time my efforts and others' haven't really gone anywhere with the pro-Shiller factions. You can't repeatedly degrade, insult, dupe and shut out a group of people and expect that there would be any more energy for them to keep responding charitably. (How ironic that argument should fall on your deaf ears!)

    This community is badly broken. You know how the vote will be turned out to support these referenda---the usual class warfare stuff will be trotted out. While it has long been effective in serving a political purpose it has been like napalm on this neighborhood. It disgusts me that leftist groups are doing just about everything they can to destroy Uptown's promise as a successful socio-economically mixed neighborhood.

  11. This community is badly broken.

    I disagree. The current leadership may be broken, but the community as a whole is doing just fine.

    And this referendum wouldn't bother me if the results were always presented as "A majority of the residents in eight hand picked precincts in Uptown favor more affordable housing"

    Instead, they'll just say "A majority of the residents of Uptown", which is clearly untrue.

  12. "I disagree. The current leadership may be broken, but the community as a whole is doing just fine."

    Okay, John McCain

  13. Okay, John McCain

    I don't get the insult. So, since I'm actually happy with the members of my community I'm John McCain?

    Does that mean you're mocking McCain because you think he's the kind of person that likes his neighbors?

  14. They have left out a number of Section 8 housing developments on Kenmore, which I find interesting. This might have been on purpose considering the number of condo owners on these blocks. Oh, no, mixed income for the hills!!!

  15. I was being sarcastic..... don't take it personally. When I read your comment it made me think of the qoute from john mccain saying that the fundamentals(workers) of the economy were strong. Which I happen to agree with. That's all. I agree with your statement completely.

  16. Agreed. The official leadership is definitely broken. And I didn't mean to slight some of the terrific attempts that have been made as of late. (Tuesday's meeting being one of them.)

    However, I do think that every time we go through a cycle of this-or-that zoning dispute or this-or-that referendum "mandate" divisions are created. You just can't grow a diverse community on meals of half-truths, lies and deception. I've looked at what we've ended up with after these cycles and called it broken. Hopefully I am wrong and it is not that bad.

  17. The thing that cracks me up the most about a lot of people on UU are the blanket terms used to describe its residents, and the categories into which a lot of you place others, which is of no help in finding solutions. For example, one of you made reference to COURAJ (an organization which I despise), as a leftist org., etc. There seems to be a lot of republican v democratic, balck and white views on the site, and this creates the inability to rationally view solutions to situations. For example, I am a registered democrat, with a lot of conservative views on criminal punishment. I absolutely would not categorize COURAJ as a leftist organization, but rather a radical, extremist, parasitic, opportunistic, organization. I also believe that we do have to support the police, but in doing so, we have to listen to them when they tell us of their plight, explaining the things that are getting in their way of fighting the increased crime, without fearing that discussing these issues will make them look weak. The only way to find real solutions to these dilemmas is to look at all sides of the problems, from an unbiased lens, not a democratic lens, not a republican lens, and until we stop labeling each other, it can't be done.

  18. I absolutely would not categorize COURAJ as a leftist organization

    Not to get into the politics, but isn't COURAJ basically as far left as you can get? They're socialists. Thats the justice they seek. You can call them radical and whatever you want, but they're definitely leftists. Its like Che without the guns and murder.

  19. Um radical leftist? Is that better? I suppose I was being sloppy because I figured that most people here knew where I stood...what I have previously written about, etc.

    The only way to find real solutions to these dilemmas is to look at all sides of the problems...

    I feel that most of my comments have tried to explore the radical left-left-left/center continuum on Uptown issues in order to find common ground. I leave the "right" to Chip and Windy City (amongst others) and look forward to what they have to say. Maybe what is in my mind isn't what comes across. That wouldn't be surprising.

  20. Sassy I think your "fair and balanced."

    I think Couraj is about as far left as they come. I feel they are dangerous and foolish. When those two combinations form a lunaticus bond with our elected official it creates a scary proposition.

  21. I think Couraj, is pure myopic poison, and they know it. Coasting lazily on the ugly status quo our Alderman stands for, is such a cop-out.

  22. "Thats the justice they seek. You can call them radical and whatever you want, but they're definitely leftists."

    To even contend that they're an organization that "seeks justice" laughable. By placing their "organization" on the spectrum of left or right leaning policy is giving them far too much credit as a legitimate, thinking organization. Couraj is made up of nothing more than a few disgruntled rich kids from the suburbs who have no other way of making a name for themselves but to feed off of urban squalor, creating a false war between the "haves" and "have nots". They have no intention of really helping children in the inner city, but rather keeping their conditions of violence, drug abuse, and lack of education exactly as it is, as long as they can go back to the suburbs at night. The Couraj people are actually quite predatory in nature to further journalistic careers, and the argument can be made, they have a capitalist mentality in teh cloak of a liberal agenda. That being said, my point was that when people start lumping all democrats (or "liberals") into the same field as the poor excuse of a public servant known as Shiller, Daley, groups like Couraj, which Ive seen people do on other threads here), please think twice, becasue there are a lot of us out there who think of these people as predators, not public servants, and do not align ourselves with their way of doing things.

  23. "and the argument can be made, they have a capitalist mentality"

    Melissa I agree with a ton of what you had to say but to label COURAJ anything close to capitalist is way off. Capitalism is an economic system. Fascism which COURAJ falls under is an ideology.

    With all due respect I walked with the police officers tonight..that is my F U to groups like COURAJ.

  24. I paid close to $75,000 less for my Uptown 2br/2ba vintage condo than similar in Lincoln Park ten years ago. Maybe it was because of "leftist groups" who kept the neighborhood edgy and scary and "diverse," or maybe it's that you never get something for nothing, I don't know.

  25. Capitalism is an economic system. Fascism which COURAJ falls under is an ideology.

    Jeezus, Chip, turn off FoxNews and read a book.

  26. I think this is the sentence that seems to have generated your comments, Melissa: "It disgusts me that leftist groups are doing just about everything they can to destroy Uptown's promise as a successful socio-economically mixed neighborhood."

    I can see how you might have read this as an attack on the left or unfairly lumping this group with the left side of the political spectrum. As I have said many times before, I am sympathetic to many of the principles that Shiller and her supporters have. However, I am highly critical of the dogmatism that often causes them to trample over their opponents' civil liberties. I am especially ticked off when what they do serves to divide rather than unite this mixed community. A diverse community with a healthy civic life is hard enough to maintain and nearly impossible when power is concentrated in the hands of someone fanning the flames of class warfare.

    I believe that you can have democracy AND social justice. Uptown has "The Chicago Way" + Helen's way as an inferior substitute.

  27. "Jeezus, Chip, turn off FoxNews and read a book."

    Thanks Kenny from Helen's office! That is your best argument yet. I picked up "Faust in Copenhagen" yesterday.

    Please do tell Helen Chip says Hello. I missed her at the police walk yesterday.

  28. Chiodouglas-
    "With all due respect I walked with the police officers tonight..that is my F U to groups like COURAJ."

    Then you saw us there.

  29. "Then you saw us there."

    I saw you following behind taking notes, not participating. Big Difference. I even had a few laughs at your expence with the fine officers. So thanks Mr. Davis!

    Sad life you choose to live, just waiting to disrupt progress.

  30. Nathaniel, please post the time and place of the next COURAJ meeting. I mean, it's only fair. Since you and your comrades feel that you need to come to every single event of "the enemy camp" to monitor what's going on, I think it's only right that we have the same privilege.

    BTW, I loved that you guys didn't bother to clap when the guy who saved the baby's life was honored. It doesn't seem very COURAJ-eous to dis heroes, but it was rude.

  31. tygerkub

    I'm sure you won't believe me but I personally did clap for Baby Wilson's hero...

    We had a very long conversation with a police sergeant. One that lasted for most of the walk. Also I'm glad that COURAJ could bring some laughter to your cold heart.

  32. Hi Nathaniel or Ron - could you share with us all why COURAJ feels it is necessary, and beneficial, to pack Uptown with as many low-income people as possible? Do you really think Uptown can handle it? Where are the jobs and opportunity for a better life here? Don't you think this neighborhood is already doing far more than any other neighborhood on the north side in terms of housing and treatment? How many times has COURAJ worked with surrounding alderman to assist with the problem?

    I ask these questions in all honesty because I am dismayed at the fact that it appears your group wants nothing more than to spread hatred at tax paying homeowners, the majority of which actually give a damn about EVERYONE - all races/incomes - in this community, as well as the police. And quite frankly, without our tax dollars, a lot of the "pet projects" that Helen has pushed through would not exist.

    I can't speak for all, but I want everyone to have a roof over their head, and the opportunity to better themselves - but I honestly don't see how Uptown alone can take on this city-wide problem - especially with some of the divisive and polarizing tactics that COURAJ and our alderman use. Why the constant us vs. them? It doesn't have to be that way.

  33. Couraj people, Jesus people, Shiller-pillers...

    Can you fire-up you're own blog? I'd like to see what kind of content you would provide.

    You're current web presence is soft to say the least.

    Which leads me to believe that you don't have much hard eveidence to substantiate any of your claims / battle cries / acid trips.

    If all you're going to do is talk out of conjecture ---- please have the decency to at least post you're referendum for everyone in the ward to vote on.

    Slimy. Slippery. Scum.

    There's bad karma for folks with those descriptors.

  34. Gosh Nathaniel! That was really super-duper that you and your buddies came out last night to walk with the police and the community. I feel safer already.

    Could you explain to our loyal readers why you felt the need to videotape everyone who attended? Boy, you sure showed those coppers who is in charge! I bet they were shaking in their boots!

  35. Super duper
    "Could you explain to our loyal readers why you felt the need to videotape everyone who attended?"

    The mission of copwatch is to monitor and record police interaction with the public in public places. We heard that there was going to be a heavy police presence at Wilson and Magnolia and that they would be interacting with the public. We felt that it would be interesting to see the way that the police interacted with a very large group of people loitering and blocking the "public way" in a designated gang hotspot.

  36. Gee Nathaniel, were my questions too tough for you to address?

    Maybe you can ask Marc Kaplan to answer them....

  37. We felt that it would be interesting to see the way that the police interacted with a very large group of people loitering and blocking the "public way" in a designated gang hotspot.

    That is so inflammatory. See, the "loitering" was organized with the knowledge and cooperation of the police. Why don't you organize a gathering of people you know and ask the police to come? If it is planned ahead of time---and the purpose is for the police to peacefully interact and discuss neighborhood safety---then I am sure they will agree to come.

    You're making a spurious argument if you want to say middle class property owners "blocking the public way" = no problem seen by police.

    IMHO, you guys are merely agitating and failing to persuade people to come around to your viewpoints. I may even go so far on this blog as to say you are right in that law & order in this country serves capital's interests. HOWEVER, the petit bourgeois of Uptown are hardly your true enemy. No one responsible for upping sentencing guidelines, cutting prisoner re-entry programs or increasing the number of non-violent offenders in prisons is paying attention (unless you count us voters). If we are your audience, you are doing a piss poor job of making any salient points that would get people to demand a new approach from their elected representatives. Especially when your average cop is cautious of being stuck with a lawsuit, how much are you really accomplishing when you challenge the fairness of so-called "gang dispersals" and what-not?

    I second that idea about a COURAJ blog. I'll come and visit but what I really want to know is what does fair policing really look like and how would you implement it? It seems to me that even your average cop wants to know because they might be more effective in their job and less likely to have to battle a lawsuit.

  38. "We felt that it would be interesting to see the way that the police interacted with a very large group of people loitering and blocking the "public way" in a designated gang hotspot."

    By definition,what occured was not loitering. the purpose of the gathering was accounced.

  39. My dyslexia is showing..."announced". Moreover, there was a clear purpose and activity plan. If the druggies and gang-bangers would post similar announcements, it would be appreciated.

  40. Sheridanparkparade-

    Actually, Jon Trott from the JPUSA has nearly one dozen blogs of his own. His primary one is called Blue Christian on a Red* Background (* would "Red" imply Communist? ) Just Google "Jon Trott" and it's the first link. Do an internal search of "Helen Shiller" or other Uptown issues to see what he has written.


  41. Ok, it's by precinct. I thought I was going crazy because I couldn't see this item when I early voted today.

    My only revolt was saying "yes" to the measure to be able to recall the governor.

  42. I think Trott's "Blue Christian on a Red Background" statement refers to his being left of center in a religious world that is mostly right of center. Think of the "red states and blue states example".

  43. As an aside -- you should note (if I missed it in the original piece, I apologize) that if you vote early you won't get the referendum on your ballot. I voted downtown and wasn't given the option.

  44. I early voted at Truman and got the referenda (I'm in one of the selected precincts). Jack, are you sure you're in one of the precincts cherry-picked for these questions?

  45. Truman Square Neighbor -- where in Truman Square are you? I didn't get the referendum...

  46. To NATHANIEL DAVIS and any other COURAJ member reading this POST: Glad to have finally found someone from your group. Been looking for a way to contact you for a few weeks now to express to you how your tactics do nothing but hurt the uptown residents you claim that you want to protect. You give your cell phone numbers to gang members and teenage kids to call on command whenever a "rich homeowner" such as myself calls the police upon reporting violence, so that you can come out with your cameras and show how the "rich homeowner" are praying on these poor victims. (I say rich homeowner in jest, as I am currently no longer employed with a full time corporation but making ends meet working for myself in the day and part-time in the evening). I also volunteer teaching illiterate minority adults with disabilities how to read, volunteer on the Obama campaign, and will be picking up another part time job tutoring financially at-risk children after school in November. I look after my street in uptown, along with a few of the adults in the public assisted housing building that sits across the street from my condo. We look out for one another. Yet, a few weeks ago, when a group of teenagers proceeded to vandalize cars on the street, punch each other, scream about raping the girls, and one of the kids picked out a brick from the sidewalk and smashed anothers' head in with it, (which led that youth to have to be taken in to the emergency room)--all within striking distance of 3 and 4 year old children at 9 oclock at night, your Group decided it was time to play social justice. The only problem is, I happened to have called the police about 3 times before the brick was thrown to try to stop the violence, and caught the action on camera. I was trying to assist the individual who claimed he was not the one who threw the brick by showing my video, until 4 mothers threatened my life becasue I asked one of her daughters (politely) to quiet down while I was talking to the officer. By the way, the video was taken inside of my apartment, and my 911 calls were on it. By the time the ambulance drove away,a gang of 15 teenagers/gang members (who continuously called me white bitch)and 4 mothers were threatening my life, and your group "videotaped" the threats. What you fail to realize, is that you have a person who has volunteered and worked my whole life for the rights of others, no matter what their economic or social status, I was there that night to try to help the situation, only to have my life threatened, and you think because the teenager called you, you're somehow doing them a service. By treating this behavior as justified, you are doing this girl and her friends a grave disservice. It's not OK that this area remain a violent, horrible, crimehole, where noone cares that a 3 year old is standing next to a guy whose head is bashed in by a brick. It's not OK that her parents stand up with three other parents and threatened my life because another adult asked her daughter to quiet down while she tried to help the police sort out what happened. It's not OK that the parents are letting them roam the streets with drug dealers, violent kids, with their 3-4 year old brothers in tow, and scream out racial epithets to other people on the streets. Wise up Couraj. By pretending it's OK to make someone like ME the enemy, these residents of uptown aren't going to have too many friends left.

  47. To COURAJ and their Catholic Worker contingents: Your promotion of victimization is not promoting social justice.

    I've thought about this some because although your behavior is mostly irritating, it's also intriguing to observe your actions. Most of you come across as having a horribly wounded past.

    I fully understand the wounded healer approach you're taking, but it gave you an inflated ego in the process and your cause is getting lost. Those of us who share the value of promoting social justice aren't impressed with what has become a self-promotion of yourselves.

  48. Do we know how these two ballot questions were placed on the ballot? Do I just need to get courage to sign on to my question and then get them to get Alderman Shiller to put it on the ballot?

    News-Star tells us who wanted these questions on the ballot, but that is only half the story.

  49. Meghan, I'm in the 38th precinct, south of Leland.

  50. Melissa,

    I feel your pain. COURAJ has brainwashed these poor people, and is a true source of evil.

  51. Funny how the Couraj members have little to say. We would love to hear your thoughts. Either that, or provide a forum where you can be contacted, so that you can get all sides of the story.

    Better yet, instead of spending your time trying to keep Uptown embedded in crime and filth, why don't you join me in volunteering to teach illiterate people how to read. Help me to get the Clarendon park district to suppport an after-school educational tutoring program for kids who want to learn. Why don't you help me get mentors together to come into these communities show some of these kids that they have more to look forward to in life than selling drugs for some washed out gang member; how they can be productive members of society, instead of hate-filled, poverty-stricken kids that you prey on. Oops--you're too busy taking a 13, 14 , 15 year old kids' phone calls after they threatened to kill, rape, or steal from each other, or someone else (like my neighbor who was threatened two weeks ago). Sounds like you have a much better plan for the residents of Uptown.

  52. melissa,

    i'd be willing to talk with you. but your comment that "we would love to hear your thoughts" flies in the face of most of the responses i receive from my posts!

    i remember the event you are talking about and we were NOT called by anybody about what was going on (not that it would matter if we were). when we arrived, we documented what was going on in case that info was needed later. we did not participate in the shouting match that was going on and nobody from CopWatch insulted you. we were trying to make sure that a mother of one of the young people arrested would be able to find out where her son was taken before she had to run back to work (someone apparently called her while she was at work to tell her that her teenage son was arrested so she ran over to the scene).

    none of us from CopWatch were happy about the whole situation. but we do believe that it's important for everyone's rights to be respected by the police, even people who commit crimes. i'm sorry that you were threatened and insulted and that you feel like our presence contributed to the hostility you felt. we were there to document police activity and to assist people in knowing what their and their friends'/relatives' rights are.

    as far as your invitations to help you tutoring and getting mentors for kids, i think that is a good idea. All of us from CopWatch are already very involved in the community with young people in an effort to reduce violence and tutoring is something some of us have been involved in in the past and something some of us are considering. contrary to the opinions of many on this blog, it is possible to work on reducing violence in the neighborhood while also working to ensure that the police respect people's rights.

    and in the interest of dialogue, i'll ignore some of your inaccurate assumptions about what we do and the young people we "prey upon."

  53. "just wondering,"

    as someone who shares "the value of promoting social justice," what do you think is the best way of confronting police misconduct in Chicago and preventing it, or at least limiting it, in the future?

  54. and just one more thing to "just wondering" and others if it applies...

    "Your promotion of victimization is not promoting social justice."

    this is applicable to some people on this blog as well. it seems like there is a lot of promoting of one's own victimization that consistently goes on here!

  55. Ron, I don't care what side you're shooting from, promoting victimization doesn't help anyone. By all means, I believe in helping others but honestly, you need to take that superman cape off and join the human race.

    I say get a really trusted friend or clergy member to give you some honest feedback because there's no way you're going to hear it from anyone on this board. You've got some past alienation that probably goes way back to when you were a kid. Until you deal with it, you'll keep pushing your attitude onto some vulnerable kids in the neighborhood. How sad for them.

  56. *we were there to document police activity and to assist people in knowing what their and their friends'/relatives' rights are.*

    What qualifies you to give such advice? What backgroung? What advice do you give?

  57. I just voted and this referendum was NOT on my ballot. I live in Uptown and Shiller is my alderman.