Saturday, December 6, 2008

Letters To The Editor

This week's edition of the News-Star included several letters regarding Uptown issues:

News-Star out of touch with reality: Having resided in Uptown and Edgewater, I have experienced the homeless issue in both wards ["Our Views," News-Star, Nov. 6]. To me, to comment on Ald. Mary Ann Smith and Ald. Helen Shiller's response to the homeless in the same paragraph in your editorial shows you are completely out of touch with reality.
I am very impressed with Mary Ann Smith's earnest, open attitude toward helping those in need. Her sensitivity to the impact of bringing the homeless into a neighborhood is refreshing compared to the 46th Ward where the alderman checks with the paid organizers in the area, who have much to gain from "Over-concentrating of the North East." They never consider that over-concentrating mentally ill people with substance abuse problems is detrimental to a neighborhood.
Until you can tell me you don't mind parking in the alley while men are urinating. Until you can tell me you don't mind picking up empty beer cans, whiskey bottles and walking by piles of human excrement as well as having your garbage strewn everywhere, not to mention the daily missing newspaper. I don't feel you should make any of your naïve comments. Furthermore, I would think as someone who has covered the political scene in Chicago, you would understand how having a lot of obedient homeless people in your ward on election day is a frightened politician's dream.
Remember, even a lifeboat has its limitations if it doesn't want to sink and so does a community dealing with the homeless and other housing issues, especially Uptown.
Judy Pier, Edgewater

Who you callin' NIMBY?: Rather than accuse residents of being NIMBYs ["Our Views," News-Star, Nov. 6] homeless providers might be taken more seriously if they focused on being better neighbors in the community. A good start would be a commitment to work with residents at their local CAPS beat meetings each month.
James Cappleman, Uptown

Labor Ready would have served a niche: I work in Uptown assisting people in finding employment ["Labor Ready delays opening in Uptown," Nov. 6]. A sizable number of the people I work with would benefit from Labor Ready being in our neighborhood. The fears of people loitering around the Labor Ready office are pretty weak because there are already people hanging around there. At least they could get some work. Why sex offenders would flock to a day labor office is unclear.
Employment is crucial for addressing the very social problems the opposition is concerned about. Day labor is not the best solution for employment, but it serves a niche.
Karen Harlander, MA, Vocational Counselor, Mercy Housing Lakefront, Uptown


  1. "Employment is crucial for addressing the very social problems the opposition is concerned about. Day labor is not the best solution for employment, but it serves a niche."

    I respectfully disagree with this statement, but the courts have made their decision so there is really nothing more to say about it at this point.

    I also disagree with tuning a blind eye to prostituion in the Mercy Lakefront Housing buildings "because it's the world's oldest profession."

    I also disagree with calling what they provide "Transitional Housing" when people live in these buildings for 30 years or more. At some point what they do becomes a tax funded commune.

    Mercy Lakefront Housing hardly has a stellar reputation in Uptown. Casting stones at "the opposition" is probably not the best approach to keep the valuable lifeline of public funding flowing. "The opposition" pays her salary and the services that her corporation provides.

  2. "Why sex offenders would flock to a day labor office is unclear."

    Maybe this will clear it up: Ineffective screening procedures, corporate tolerance of loitering outside the building, and a grade school and a Boys & Girls Club right across the street.

    Seems like a perfect place for those who are child predators to "flock to."

  3. Zesty! You are right on target!
    Day laborers are carted around to do jobs with no benifits then return to the "office" and must cash (for a fee) their checks.

    Karen's, the "Vocational counsoler," hypocracy is too much to bear! The residents of her sro's never leave. They remain unemployed yet she continues to cash her pay check. It would be interesting to hear her "Counseling" the hookers at the Miriam. Good job, Karen!

  4. A sizable number of the people I work with would benefit from Labor Ready being in our neighborhood.

    You know which sizable number of people would benefit by NOT having Labor Ready in our neighborhood?

    A majority of the residents.

    Why sex offenders would flock to a day labor office is unclear.

    Might it be that having a sex offense conviction on your record might make it difficult to find a job?

    Day labor is not the best solution for employment, but it serves a niche.

    So, we should promote inadequate solutions simply because they fill a temporary need?

    If that's the case, I have some parking meters I'd like to lease to you.

    Karen, really ... is this the type of critical thinking that you bring to work?

  5. Did you have to use the name "hookers" buenapk? It makes it seem so cheap and tawdry.

    How about "Day Laborers" instead? Or, I guess you could call them "Night Laborers" too.

  6. Let's face the reason Labor Ready didn't come was because the lawsuit.

    That should be a lesson to all us that care about Uptown that we need to continue to raise funds for FWY and for future lawsuits since our elected official don't care about us taxpaying citizens concern for Uptown.

    Shiller is only here to enrich herself and her cronies like Holsten that is why she takes advantage of the people she says she cares about to get the votes.

    I for one will be making future contributions to FWY and other worthwhile causes that are looking out for the taxpaying stakeholders in Uptown.

  7. Karen should be happy that her job is recession proof. As long as we pay our taxes and charities who through money rather that cures at problems she is sitting pretty. She and the alderbeast are in the catbird seat, for life.

  8. yo,

    "So, we should promote inadequate solutions simply because they fill a temporary need?"

    isn't that what most people on this blog do?

    homeless people exist in Uptown. some people feel a need to not have to see them and the shopping carts that carry all their belongings. so we call the police on them, try to get them moved out of the neighborhood, hope the shelters will close down. there is no real solution that is worked on to get to the root of the problem of homelessness. even a discussion about it and the economic system we have makes many people too uncomfortable. and to talk about mental illness and that many homeless people are veterans who returned from war and were abandoned by the government that sent them there is just enabling them, and makes one a "shiller troll" nonetheless. just move the homeless people elsewhere.

    some young people are selling drugs. the answer to that is to villify them, call them savages and good for nothing pieces of trash, and things much worse (although most people don't actually know any of the people they throw these slurs at) and try to get them all locked up, as well as anyone who looks like them or makes them uncomfortable, or seems "suspicious." that is a great solution to that problem! it has worked wonders in this country, a country with the highest per capita prison population in the world!

    i honestly hope that you can let down your emotional response for a second and think about this rationally and do some critical thinking of your own. it would be beneficial if you and others applied the logic of your comment above to the rantings and ravings and proposed "solutions" to problems that many people put forth on this blog.

  9. There are plenty of social services to take care of these people if they really want help.

    And plenty of meds if they are crazy for that matter as well.

  10. ron durham
    there is no real solution that is worked on to get to the root of the problem of homelessness.

    Please tell us the root cause of homelessness, your real solution for curing it, and how it will effect the community. Please let us know how you plan on finding funding to put mentally disabled people into homes. Please let us know how you plan on motivating people that live off the state into working for an actual paycheck and spending it wisely. Please let us know how we should treat people that are breaking the law and creating a hostile environment in our neighborhood.

    When a gang sells drugs in our neighborhood, that creates a hostile environment. Gangs fight over areas and fire weapons without caring about innocent bystanders. You are right, I personally don't know these people. Something tells me that if I walked over into a group of gang members, I would not be treated too kindly though.

    Please stop an think critically about your own posts. The situation has nothing to do with race or wealth. It has to do with culture. You assume that we are a bunch of white wealthy condo owners that are afraid of the poor black people. Those attributes have nothing to do with it.

    There are black and whites, rich and poor, that treat each other and their neighborhood with respect. There are blacks and whites, rich and poor, who feel that everything should be theirs and can do whatever they want. The hostility that you feel pervades Uptown is not based off of race or class, it is between people that want what is best for their community, and those that want what is best for themselves.

  11. To Ron Durham -

    I agree with Wilson Ave Watcher. There are many of us who want to have a safe and multicultural community where we all treat each other with mutual respect.

    I happily work with many black and Latino coworkers and clients, and I find it simplistic and offensive to be portrayed as a dogmatic racist who simply wants to run all poor and/or black people out of my neighborhood.

    Those who commit crimes should not be excused. I don't care what color any of these people are - I just don't think that criminal behavior should be tolerated. But at CAPS meetings, you and your colleagues spend time implying that we are merely engaging in blind racial profiling.

    Drug dealers are violent, do not care about the community, and prey on the mentally ill, who as you know often have associated substance abuse problems. Is this really OK with you? And if not, how do you propose to get them to stop?

    After all, they are victimizing other people for whom you also have sympathy - dealers are drawn from the South Side to the SROs daily and especially on check day, to sell to those who are trying to overcome addictions.

    Proposing that we simply stop policing or trying to prevent overt drug dealing, gun violence, public disorderly conduct and so forth is not constructive.

    I understand that the solutions to these problems are complex and not even known yet - but at some point, a sense of personal responsibility has to come into play and is often utterly lacking, judging from the behaviors I observe. Why do you ignore this?

    Please stop portraying me and others like me as the root of the problem.

  12. Ron has had these conversations many times before. He is unable to let go of his premise that all condo owners are focused on their property values and little else. If he let go of his illusion, his make-believe world would collapse.

    We can hope that Ron settles down and maybe start a family. Once saddled with some responsibilities he might mellow a little. However, it didn't work for jp so my hopes aren't too high. People who play the victimization card everywhere they go at the expense of calling for any ounce of accountability probably have some serious issues with their own families. Maybe when he figures out he's not going to get anywhere with most people he will get some help for himself.

  13. Has Ron ever been outside walking his dogs when shots are fired?

    I have on more than one occassion.

    My issue is with my personal safety, I could care less how much my home is worth if I'm not alive to enjoy it.

    Ron do you even live in Uptown? If you do can you please explain the positives of people randomly shooting at each other in broad daylight.