Monday, May 4, 2009

3rd Uptown Public Safety Meeting

We heard from Rep. Greg Harris's office today:

I wanted to pass along a notice for the third Uptown Public Safety meeting hosted by Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans. The meeting will be one week from tonight, Monday, May 11th at 7PM in the Truman College Cafeteria.

The meeting will be comprised of 2 portions. The first portion will be an introduction from Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans, updates from the leaders of the working groups created at the last meeting, an update from a representative from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on the soon to be re-opened Northside Community Prosecutions Office and possible remarks from local police officials and representatives from the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

The second portion of the meeting will be a social service agency fair. Local social service agencies will have booths set up around the cafeteria with information on their services. This is both to familiarize residents with the services and clientele that these providers work with and to increase awareness of the services available to residents in need.


  1. OH my god, Shiller's name is on it! Is she going to speak? Will she actually grace us with her presence? Oh it will be a red letter day!

  2. And the third portion of the event will be a fundraiser for the elected officials campaigns.

  3. Now my hesitation with this is that our dear grass roots effort from last year has now lead to a political platform for representation on the verge of loosing a seat at the big boy table.

    I think I will stay for the Police and States Attorney and come back and listen to Steans and Harris when they at least acknowledge the problems that face Wilson Yard.

    How is that for a protest? Everyone walks out after the police talk.

  4. I have to attend, just for entertainment purposes!

  5. That would be great to leave after the Police. Show respect to people who have at least earned it.

  6. Okay, I've just got to vent.

    Why are we having a social services fun fair as part of a public safety meeting?! I'm not the least bit interested in hearing all the neighborhood agencies tell us, oh so sincerely, about all the good they do, but that they just can't get the dangerous paranoid schizophrenics off the street unless they request service.

    Yes, it's wonderful that Uptown has Inspiration Cafe, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but are homeless moms with kids REALLY the reason Uptown is dangerous? Are the people who seek their services the reason we have muggings at gunpoint? I think any Uptown pedestrian can tell you that it's the chronic homeless with mental diseases and/or addictions who are the reason our streets are unsafe at times ... and we've been told again and again that there's not a damn thing that can be done for these people by the SS agencies unless they actively seek help. We all know that's not going to happen in most cases.

    What's being done about the street gangs? The dealers fighting over their turf? The same-gang killings? Can the social service agencies prevent the gangs from dealing drugs from a storefront on the 4600 block of Broadway (Da Spot clothing store) and shooting each other at the McD drive-through or from bikes?

    I want a public safety meeting that will address and help situations where kids like Timothy Pittman are killed on busy Uptown intersections in broad daylight. I want a public safety meeting that will help put an end to warm Saturday nights being dreaded rather than enjoyed. I want a public safety meeting that will prevent more innocent victims from being caught in the line of fire, like the woman who was shot in the back on Christmas Day.

    I don't believe that a parade of social service agencies telling us about how they serve those who are willing to accept their services has anything to do with the greatest public safety issues on Uptown streets.

    Okay, rant over. If someone can show me how this is relevant, I'd love to be proven wrong.

  7. Okay, rant over. If someone can show me how this is relevant, I'd love to be proven wrong.You're not wrong.

    It's only relevant to demonstrate that the folks who are charged with the duties of social services have run out of ideas.

    It is politically expedient, though.

    What you'll hear during the meeting will be something akin to:

    Hey, we can't do anything to help public safety unless people sign up for these services - so, we brought those services to this meeting.

    See? Aren't we awesome?
    And the response should be: No. No you're not.

    Why? If the folks who need, but won't sign up for, social services aren't signing up for them already, they aren't going to attend an public safety meeting to do so.

    What it will do, though - is pack the house with Shiller supporters and provide very thin political cover for the other "elected" officials in attendance.

    It's disgraceful.

    As for Chip's idea of walking out after the cops speak .. be careful with that.

    Adding the social services fair indicates to me that this is little more than a dog and pony show and I'm not going to hear anything more than I did last year - and that wasn't much.

    Shiller won't speak.

    She's a coward.

    She won't put herself in front of an audience and expose herself to the barrage of criticism she so sorely deserves - unless, of course, she's able to pack the house and she feels confident that her supporters will shout down dissent.

    Remember, this meeting's origins are based in her silence on the violence in the ward, last year.

    She didn't sit on the stage. She sat in the front row, with her back to her constituents and didn't say a word (could she possibly send a clearer message to everyone?).

    At the transit meeting, recently, she only came to "listen", and then left early.

    Then you have Harris and Steans.

    Greg seems like a good enough guy, and has done some good things; but, his endorsement and financial support of Helen aren't good things.

    Had he not run opposed, last year, I may have very well voted against him.

    Steans voted against putting the recall amendment on last Nov's ballot - and that's all I need to hear from her.

    Steans has interesting connections to Blago, by the way.

    Having said all of that, if no one shows up, or leaves early - that's political gold for Helen and she knows it.

    She'd like nothing more than more ammunition to use against the "bad apples". If no one shows, or leaves early - expect to hear about that.

    Leave if you'd like, but that will only send a message if everyone leaves.

    And even then, there would be issues.

    The better idea would be to turn your chairs around when the "elected" officials start to speak.

    Or, if Helen speaks, stand up and turn your back to her.

    (no shoe throwing!!)

    Also - one thing I'd suggest for those who will be attending: don't go in mad.

    If you decide to speak, calm down. Don't be nervous. Think about your words, and be straight forward and "matter of fact".

    Too many folks last year let their emotions interfere with their message.

    Getting visibly upset and "bitchy" is the easiest way to be dismissed.

    If you're calm, cool, collected and to the point, it's harder to be ignored.

    (sorry for the length)

  8. I'm guessing the only reason there is going to be a "social services fair" is because Helen made it a stipulation of the meeting. If only she would represent revenue generating businesses in the ward the same way.

    I like the idea of walking out after the police and states attorney finish speaking.

  9. I think the "staying and turning our backs on the elected officials" idea is a better one than leaving. They have let us down and we should show them what it's like to have those you need turn their backs. It's exactly what they do to us after they are elected. Leaving en masse would only look as though we don't care what else is happening but turning around en masse is an image the press would grasp and, hopefully, write about. "Uptown residents turn their backs on their elected officials in Safety Meeting." Others would understand there is a meaning to this, too.

  10. Question: from various meetings that I've attended, what I understand is that a large amount of the drug trafficking is due to "guaranteed" sales to residents of the various SRO's and halfway houses in the area. Those residents get a monthly stipend of some sort (social security, disability) then use it to score "rock" (as it was put to me). They get food and lodging from the SRO/Halfway Houses, but their money they can do with as they please. Usually after spending it all the residents resort to panhandling - I've seen the regulars at the place on the corner of Argyle and Sheridan buying drugs, trading drugs with one another, and begging - sometimes aggressively - around the Argyle L stop.

    Are the owners/operators of those facilities supposed to be monitoring their occupants activities? My guess is no, but shouldn't they at least be checking on contraband, etc? Each time I've brought this up at meetings, its sort of like the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. I'm thinking of bringing this up at the Safety Meeting, but I want to have a better understanding of how this is all setup beforehand. I would like to think that if the government is subsidizing the SROs/Halfway Houses, they should have a greater responsibility in controlling those who reside there, as its a huge public safety issue that they draw large amounts of drug trafficking to the area.


  11. I'm disappointed that so little information and no updates about these 4 committees have occurred over the past 10 months. I will try to go with an open mind but the social service fair has me VERY cautious. Social services are not the answer to our safety issues, but their participation with residents to address the problems of their clients must occur. That had been sought for many years and it has been skirted by Helen since her early years in office. Helen won't change. Will Sen. Steans and Rep. Greg Harris? I'm waiting to see.

  12. "soon to be re-opened Northside Community Prosecutions Office"

    This is interesting. Does anyone know what it means?

    P.S. After the JJ Peppers robbery, maybe the owner of that one will come? it'd be nice if they employed some private security...

  13. "If only she would represent revenue generating businesses in the ward the same way."

    How about the consumers of said merchants represent them at the meeting?

    How about inviting some representatives from Baum Realty and Hunter Properties? Perhaps they can tell the community about the present obstacles in renting vacant commercial space on Wilson Ave.

  14. "I would like to think that if the government is subsidizing the SROs/Halfway Houses, they should have a greater responsibility in controlling those who reside there, as its a huge public safety issue that they draw large amounts of drug trafficking to the area."

    This is actually a rather large spoke in the wheel of Uptown problems. The addicted, the jobless, the friendless, the homeless know where to go to meet their needs. They go to Uptown.

    "Northside Community Prosecutions Office"

    Has anyone ever heard of this? I've placed a call with the Cook County State's Attorney's office to inquire about the office. I'm told it is being re-opened by request from Anita Alvarez. It was previously cut out of the State's Attorney budget. Apparently now it is back in.

  15. One point to make about the Social Services. While some of the problems we encounter in the neighborhood are a result of the concentration and poor planning of the Social Services, the real reason for this meeting, which is a continuation of the previous meetings is the gun violence.

    This series of meetings is a result of the several gang related shootings and Murders that occured in the neighborhood last year.

    By drawing the Social Service organizations into the meeting they are camaflageing the issue, by saying that it is not a gang problem it is a problem of unfortunate disaffected people that have no other place to go.

    This is not the case, I think many residents could look the other way on some of the problems that come with the social services if they knew that they were not going to be gunned down, because they were too busy avoiding someone urinating to see the people about to shoot one another several feet in the opposite direction.

  16. Whoa. Hold everything.

    Helen's inaction or inability to deal with the community is the whole reason the community went to Heather and Greg about the gangs taking over Uptown last summer.

    Now Greg and Heather are trying to make Helen part of the solution for those problems and those residents?

    Is this a joke? Bad move, Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris.

  17. Now Greg and Heather are trying to make Helen part of the solution for those problems and those residents?They don't have a choice. It's her ward. She has to be included in things like this.

    It's a shame and a waste of time, I know. But, it is a necessity.

    Don't be upset with Greg and Heather over that.

    There are plenty of other reasons to be angry at those two.

  18. "A social Service agency fair" will there be a petting zoo, cotton candy, some rides, and maybe a dunking booth?

    If so how much are tickets, for the attractions?

  19. Greg and Heather will be there. If Helen is on the stage you should ask Greg and Heather what conditions they met to get Helen on the stage.

  20. Its just a bunch of talk. What we need is to contact the Guardian Angles at their website and get them to spend time walking the uptown streets. They have done wonders in many cities cleaning up the garbage thats in our streets of uptown night and day.........

  21. Barryfishing: We had the Guardian Angels in Uptown in the 1980s. From what I saw, they made an impact. The neighborhood was hot back then, really hot. Nothing like today. Oddly enough, some people were upset that they came; they viewed them as interlopers. I credit them, and a nearly cowboy style of policing employed then, with putting an end to the summer of bullet hail ('86). I'd love to see the Angels return to Uptown.