Thursday, February 5, 2009

Read The Holsten Subpoena

The News-Star has put out a Web Extra that links to the subpoenas in the case of Fix Wilson Yard et al. v. City of Chicago et al.

Click here to read them.


  1. I wonder why some of this is redacted? Also, at what point does FWY start to subpoena Holsten and Shiller requesting contribution histories, all corporate documents, any registered users to their websites, etc, etc, etc. I am sure the attorneys are all over these things, but would be nice to see some publicity about what FWY is doing to counter these ridiculous attempts by the defense.

  2. To Matt's points, can any of the individuals named in the documents counter sue for violation of civil rights?

    It is really scary to me to see that any and all information pertaining to specific individuals being requested when the communications are concerning an elected official and the attorney is bought and paid for by a city-funded developer. Have they no shame?

  3. Citizens being threatened for sharing information.
    A sad day.
    Even more reason not to let up on them.

  4. All documents identifying information on persons who have posted, in any form, on your organization's website involving the Wilson Yard development, Alderman Shiller, or Uptown development

    In short, as part of the discovery process, Holsten's attorney is going to look under each and every stone available.

    While a zealous approach to defending one's client is part of the legal mantra, I am curious/concerned a to what will happen with that data should Google be forced to produce it.

    I'm also curious to know if the protection of the state (in this case, the city) trumps the protection of the public.

    And, since I'm sure Helen and Holsten are keeping a close eye on the responses these motions are generating, let me speak directly to them:

    This entire mess is wholly and completely of your own doing.

    There were never truly open and honest discussions regarding the planning of this development - and Helen, you and Peter know fully well the truth of that.

    I quote the City of Chicago's website autobiography on Ald. Shiller and question the validity of the verbiage (note, I have saved a copy of this page, locally - in case there are "updates" in the near term):

    Hearing all Voices

    For the last several years, she has led a comprehensive and inclusive community planning process resulting in the development of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district and development plan for Wilson Yard in the heart of Uptown. The Wilson Yard planning process has often been called the most inclusive planning process in the city. Retail development, preservation of existing low cost housing as well as the creation of new affordable housing, job creation, and support for local public schools are goals of the TIF. Construction has begun on the development and is expected to be completed in 2007. Alderman Shiller believes that the best way to resolve conflicts and find solutions to problems is to bring together all people affected, to listen to all voices, and then to create a vision that encompasses all perspectives—starting from the perspective of those most affected by the issue at hand. She has applied proven conflict resolution techniques to a variety of issues confronting her constituency, including mediating development disputes, noise problems and parking and public safety concerns.

    Nearly every attempt to engage the alderman with regards to this development (and/or any other item of issue related to the 46th ward) has been met with silence, threats, disdain and/or a combination of all of the above.

    Ald. Shiller, many of your constituents would have been served better had you simply addressed their concerns in a constructive manner that is expected of the office to which you were "elected".

    The fact that you and/or your staff have a history of either ignoring certain members of your constituency, or insulting them, is what has lead to the grumbling of public discourse which has since erupted into a law suit.

    The fact that the people of your ward were forced to go to the extreme of filing a lawsuit to get your your attention is a matter guilt which rests solely atop the desk for which we the people pay.

    And now, those people have become political targets.

    Since you have publicly supported Barack Obama and his brand of new government - to include transparency, I find your past and present behavior to be both disgusting and hypocritical.

    Again, while the subpoenas and process connected to them may very well be legal, I question the ethical argument used in this situation and point once more to you as the cause of, and solution to, this situation.

    Uptown Update has thrived in the vacuum that you allowed to fester beneath your own feet.

    This lawsuit is a direct response to whatever excuse you use to get yourself to sleep while people clammer for little more than information and the desire to be heard when their money is being utilized by a public entity.

    Might I remind you that even though you were not "elected" by 100% of the people, you are still required to SERVE 100% of the people.

    This is what happens when you deny your constituents their voice.

    In short: this is what happens when you fail at your job.

    And, Mr. Holsten - to be an eager participant in this entire affair makes you no less a hypocrite and no less a violator of the public trust.

    Speaking of violation of public trust, I know that Heather Steans, Jan Schakowsky, Greg Harris, John Cullerton and a handful of other supporters of Ald. Shiller have been contacted for a response to this issue.

    A friend mentioned to me that Greg Harris actually made a phone call to directly address.

    Jan and Heather have said nothing.

    Based on that, I have gained more respect for Greg Harris and am giving up any/all support for Jan and Heather.

    Fix Wilson Yard is a step towards wrenching control of the city and its assets away from the "elected" officials and returning to it's proper home - in the hands of the people.

    Our representatives should be supporting us in this, as well. Their silence is tacit approval.

    Think about that when they stand for re-election.

    Another friend made a wonderful comment that I wish weren't so wonderful:

    Due to the way Helen conducts her business in Uptown, people don't leave Uptown, they get the hell out.

    I am Yo.

    I am UU.

    And, I ain't going anywhere!

  5. It is really scary to me to see that any and all information pertaining to specific individuals being requested when the communications are concerning an elected official and the attorney is bought and paid for by a city-funded developer. Have they no shame?

    The defendants are picking a fight to delay the civil suit. They want you to fight these subpoenas. They're building grounds for appeal, if necessary, but the primary goal is to delay the May 5th court date.

    What we do learn from the subpoenas is that Thomas Johnson is indeed seeking information about the comments posted to these websites. The News-Star reported Johnson saying he was NOT seeking this information.

    Johnson said the subpoena is not asking for the e-mail addresses or personal information of those who leave comments on the sites.

    01/28/2009: Holsten's attorney subpoenas Google
    Holsten said that he was not aware that Google had been subpoenaed by his defense attorney for information about the blogs.

    Holsten doesn't even know what his own attorneys are doing. Not that he really cares. He knows the primary objective is delay, delay, delay, and then delay some more.

  6. Fascincating,

    Okay, I am being legel-dork but I started researching this issue and came accross some old EFF briefs and I am blown away. I was goint to try to break it down somemore but I don't have time. The ink is here if you want to read it.

    I thought this quote was particually interesting, and hit the nail on the head.

    (“People who have
    committed no wrong should be able to participate online without fear that someone who wishes
    to harass or embarrass them can file a frivolous lawsuit and thereby gain the power of the court’s
    order to discover their identity.”); see also, 140 F.Supp.2d at 1093 (“If Internet
    users could be stripped of . . . anonymity by a civil subpoena enforced under the liberal rules of
    civil discovery, this would have a significant chilling effect on Internet communications and thus
    on basic First Amendment Rights. Therefore, discovery requests seeking to identify anonymous
    Internet users must be subject to careful scrutiny by the courts.”)

  7. "Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Many of us in Uptown have attempted to speak with our elected official in the 46th ward with our redress of grievances. We have been wholly ignored and left out of the governing process regarding this TIF district for Willson Yard. I find these intimidation tactics by the city of Chicago, Alderman Shiller, and Peter Holste, et. al. to be oppression of the highest order. When citizens are denied their rights to free expression and the participation in government, democracy ceases to exist and only tyranny remains.

    I am Chuck and I am Uptown Update.

  8. I bet they want to pay off the owners of UU and other blogs to shut up.

  9. I wonder why some of this is redacted?

    the black bars are probably to protect individuals' names.

  10. UU, why isn't there a post about the EFF joining the fight? That is HUGE! I was surprised to find that information in the bottom of the News-Star article. Having the EFF in your corner is a huge advantage in this sort of case. They can gather nation wide attention!

  11. They have also brought in the ACLU on soem other cases.


  13. Yeah, but these websites aren't even party yet. I better stop posting, I don't want to give away any ideas.

  14. I just wanted to say to "Yo" that reading your post and open letter was a wonderful beginning to the day. I think you did a fantastic job of summing up so many of the frustrations of those who want an active part in the development of their neighborhood. Many public servants would be trilled to have so many people who volunteer their time and ideas to help out with community problems. However, in the 46th ward those people are looked on as "part of the problem." Well a day is coming that we will be able to voice our concerns and Helen and Peter will be forced to listen to them. That day as it stands right now is May 5th!