Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Plot Thickens

Contributions made to Citizens for Gregory Harris

Holsten Mngt as Agent for Bryn Mawr-Belle Shore
1333 N. Kingsbury
Chicago, IL 60622 $1,000.00
6/6/2007 Individual Contribution

Wilson Yard Development LLC
1333 N Kingsbury Street
Suite 305
Chicago, IL 606427039 $1,000.00
7/26/2008 Individual Contribution


  1. Not ONE dime, folks, to Harris until he explains and/or sends it back.
    How about Steans purse? Anything interesting?

  2. $1,000 in legal campaign contributions is chump change. Anyone can look at campaign contribution information.

    Am I missing the illegal/immoral part somewhere here?

  3. Yes John, you are missing something.

    This is a very controversial TIF and it's obvious that Holsten wants Greg to look the other way when it comes to TIF reform on the state level. I don't like it.

  4. I would suggest you contact Mr. Harris if you feel so strongly about TIF reform on the state level.

    Pointing out tangential relationships over small campaign contributions doesn't really help anyone.

    What's Harris position on Wilson Yard anyway? (Forgive me as I have only been collecting bits and pieces of information.)

  5. I have written rep.Harris 6 or 7 times in the last 4-5 months inquiring his stance on WY, still waiting on a response. I took this as a bad sign awhile ago since his office is spot on getting back to me on other topics.
    My stance is you pay to play in Chicago and he's one of the people you potentially could benefit from paying. All his and Steans rhetoric on safety will be flushed away if this goes ugly (difinitely has potential) for UpTown and they choose to do nothing but look the other way.
    To me his and Steans lack of disclosure or opinion has been next to disheartening.....Historicaly it's sad I mean is it really necessary that all illinois and chicago politicians turn out to be hand jobs at some point??

  6. He says:
    "I will work hand-in-hand with our block clubs, community organizations, chambers of commerce and business groups, hospitals, schools, senior organizations and our Aldermen to prioritize our needs and set policy"

    Even the concept of 'working with our Alderman' is frightening, to say the least

    Surely he must realize the WY is Uptown's 911?

  7. I love the Internet... no one is safe...

  8. Holsten tosses contributions to a large number of political types. He must assume he gets something back. Just like me and hookers. So who is the "john" and who is the hooker in this political monetary relationship?

    Seriously, I don't read that much into it. Many developers toss around contributions freely to any politician in areas they work in.

    My guess given his actions on other issues is that Harris opposes Wilson Yard, but keeps his mouth shut to keep the powers that be, Daley, happy. Look at the city budget. The vote of the aldercritters was 49 to 1. Harris ain't the only critter out there who goes along to get along.

    He is out of the 48th Ward organization and those folks have no love for Helen Shiller, Labor Ready, and just her general pain in the ass attitude toward residential and business development. There is a reason Mary Ann Smith has the stretch of Broadway beginning at 4700 North. It was too important to let Shiller screw it up.

    If you walk by Harris' office on the 1900 block of Montrose you will notice a rainbow flag. Remember when Governor Blago the Magnificent mentioned "testicular fortitude"? I guess Harris' version of the rainbow flag doesn't include standing up and doing what is right. He lacks that thing Blago talked about and lacks also. Although, if my memory is correct Harris did have a flyer in his office window for a protest of California's Proposition 8.

    It's easy to be against the idiocy in California. It would take a leader to stand up to Daley on Wilson Yard.

    I'm not holding my breath that Harris or any other current "critter" is that leader.

    "Critters" fear Daley. They wouldn't have to if they stood up and did what was right. Daley ain't a genius.........just look at his use of grammar......or minee for dat matter. He survives because his would be opponents are sillier and likely worse than him. Jackson? Guittierz? Dere's my spelin agin.

  9. I'm certainly not surprised. Developers donate to politicians when construction is planned within the respective sphere of influence. gee, i guess i'm just reiterating 'pirate here.

    GOOD developers will also give attention to neighborhood impact, neighbor attitude and open communication therein. uh, no need to qualify that statement.

    I'm not convinced that Harris is a 'bad guy' in this whole mess. He's a politician; a person who represents the masses. A simple concept that isn't ideal for equal representation. Harris won't likely pick a hard edge on WY because when a politician picks one side over the other, they reduce their constituency.

    And if you think he's going to return the funds: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! don't be stupid

  10. If Holsten really cared about the people who will become his tenants, he should have given the $2,000 to REST, Chicago Food Depository, etc. Go figure.

  11. I'm a shade confused as to why a guy who ran unopposed in the last election would need campaign funding.

  12. Yo said:

    "I'm a shade confused as to why a guy who ran unopposed in the last election would need campaign funding."

    Then you're more than a shade confused about politics.

    Even running unopposed takes money. Sometimes it takes a lot more to remain unopposed :) And I'm not even implying anything illegal but it takes a strong organization to stay unopposed.

  13. It takes a lot of money to remain unopposed? Not necessarily. An apathetic, disengaged or ill-informed electorate is just as effective. So are the numerous rinky-dinky election laws that make ballot access an Olympian event, especially here on the north lakefront.

    Rep. Harris does not have to "pick a hard edge on WY" as Uptown Unity said. One can be "for" more affordable housing and "against" the botched and abused processes that have rendered the current iteration of WY.

    No, what Rep. Harris and other elected officials must do is champion the neglected principals that are now the impetus for TIF reform--transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility.

    To borrow a phrase, they need to be like Mike (Quigley that is, not Jordon ;-)))

  14. "$1,000 in legal campaign contributions is chump change."

    it's $2K

  15. "$1,000 in legal campaign contributions is chump change."

    I'm always amuse by the apologists who jump on reported campaign contributions as too small, "You think pol X can be bought for THAT?"

    ask your fav unsuccessful challenger if $2K might a come in handy down the stretch

  16. I do think even 2K is chump change. It's not about being an apologist, it's about recognizing that businesses have legitimate concerns that they want addressed by their representatives just as much as you do.

    If you can show me that money has changed hands between Holsten and Sen. Harris in excess of the legally allowed limits then I'll change my tune. Until then, this is all just hyperventilating over very little.

  17. Ok, John, "legally allowed limits"? Did you mean to be funny? Illinois has no limits on campaign contributions. That's one reason why voters are primed to correlate contributions to the subsequent decisions / actions of elected officials.

  18. it's about recognizing that businesses have legitimate concerns that they want addressed by their representatives just as much as you do.

    ... or, that business could simply ASK.

    Does money have to be involved?

    Isn't Harris already being paid to be a representative?

    Are zoning laws applied differently, to different entities, based on financial support?

    See? What it's about is that nasty little bugaboo known as "public perception."

    Harris is a public official and the perception of him taking money from a business who has been handed $52M in city tax money should be of monumental concern to him.

    He and his staff read this blog, so they'll soon be aware that people are now concerned.

    I can't imagine that they would be so ignorant as to not supply an unsolicited response to such a politically charged issue as this (as minor as it be).

    I mean, it would be downright fool-hardy and ... well, stupid, to stay mum on this sort of thing.

    Can't imagine that he'd want to take up valuable time during the next town hall meeting discussing his connections to Peter Holsten.

    Would he?

    Guess we'll find out.

  19. I suggest Mr. Harris make a $2,000 contribution to Fix Wilson Yard with his Holsten "pay-to-play" money and attend the next fund-raiser at Nick's Uptown. That would be a huge message to his actual constituents that "he gets it" and wants to take a leadership role in tough community issues and not just play politics as usual.

    I applaud Greg on his taking some initiative on public safety issues in Uptown (which after all he clearly states as being one of the issues on his platform, and as you can see at public meetings is an easy "win-win" issue to get involved in--EVERYONE is concerned about public safety...well, except for Shiller and those in her office).

    Make no mistake though, he has made every indication that he is supportive of Helen and Peter's Wilson Yard "project" ... both by comments he made at the 1st public safety meeting and by his inaction on the HUGE mess and TIF abuse in his own backyard. This appears to be just more typical political BS, and a disregard to his constituents' wishes.

    Greg gets a B on public safety and a F on TIF abuse and all the issues related to Wilson Yard.

  20. Perhaps Greg will say something. He knows UU well enough to expect it to surface again before his next election and given the readership of UU, he will not want them upset.

    The hands off WY because it's not his job means little when he's also doing Helen's job with these public safety meetings. Like others have said, he endorsed Helen so he needs to be held accountable for his endorsement.

  21. " All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing"

    ~Edmund Burke

  22. You know, John, for quite some time the residents of Uptown ignored the small stuff and had faith in the good name of our alderperson, whomever it was at the time. That good name and good faith has been squandered and squashed underfoot. We will now examine each little thing done under the utmost scrutiny until those in elected office in our little burg snap to attention and realize that it is US for whom they toil. Greg Harris is fairly new here so it is imperitive that we teach him from the start, he's not above our scrutiny. If a politician wants to accept money from those working in our piece of Chicago paradise, they will need to understand that we all will find out. And we will question. We've received our 1,000 spankings and are now ready to fight back. Two thousand dollars is chump change only if you're a chump. Uptown is no chump. Not any longer.