Thursday, July 16, 2009

Suddenly, An Open Meeting

Oh, how the news changes hour to hour. Public outrage wouldn't have anything to do with this abrupt 180-degree turn, would it?

Alderman Shiller will convene a meeting of the Wilson Yard Task Force to discuss the upcoming amendment to the Wilson Yard TIF.
WHEN: 8am, Thursday, July 23
WHERE: Truman College, Faculty Cafeteria, 1145 W Wilson Ave.
This meeting is open to the public. You are welcome to attend.


  1. It is still held at 8AM on a Thursday making it largely convenient for all the non-profit firms in Uptown to attend and difficult for all the residents that work far from Uptown.

    This meeting should be held either on a weekend or at a typical 6 or 7PM start time.

  2. Earlier I was led to believe that Shiller was trying to pull a fast one and hold a public meeting on a important issue affecting the whole community without letting anyone know about it, which led me to question her integrety. Then it turns out that that wasn't true at all and it was intended to be a private meeting with a smaller group of people from a variety of ward organizations. That seemed fair enough, elected officials cannot and should not be expected to have all of their meetings open to the public and there is no need to publicize such meetings. So I was back to having no problem with Shiller on this. Now we find out, perhaps or very likely due to public pressure, she is scheduling a public meeting on the issue. To me this is very commendable of Shiller and shows positive leadership. Now lets keep open minds and see how the meeting goes. But I have no doubt there are those who have and will absolutely demonize Shiller at each stage evolving story. I encourage those to keep an open mind and give credit where credit is due. I am not saying Shiller is all wonderfull now or that I would support her if she sought reelection but give her credit for holding an open meeting on this and take back the insinuations that she was up to no good before.

  3. LOL ... Make sure we ask for the meeting minutes of any past meetings Shiller has had as is the law per the Illinois Open Meetings Act... They must provide them...

  4. Please. I'll at least grant the wish not to insinuate anything.

    SHE WAS UP TO NO GOOD. She got caught and then she's paying the price with an open meeting.

    No credit due to her for doing the right thing eventually.

  5. Kevin, so you are saying Helen should not follow the law? That it is OK to discuss taxpayer monies in a closed door session... which, again, is against the law? And that an educated electorate saw this as breaking the law, called her out on it, which forced her hand to make the meeting public...and you are giving her credit for that?


  6. Kevin, I wonder if you would have to encourage people in any other ward not to demonize their alderman? Why is it only in the 46th Ward that there is so much frustration that blogs get created to give voice to it?

    I guess it must be the fault of the residents who only live in the 46th Ward, right Kevin? Why does just the 46th Ward have the bad apples? That's what Helen says so it must be true. Helen wouldn't lie. Would she? Well anyway, we are so lucky in our ward that Helen deems us worthy to hear about her decisions that she's already made. Maybe if we are really nice to her she will let us pick out the color on the building's awning!

  7. ... or name the fish.

  8. Helen did, finally, make the right decision.


    And I agree with Kevin that not every.single.meeting needs to be public; but this one did.

    I wholly disagree with Kevin on the point of leadership.

    This meeting becoming public is not a sign of leadership, it's a sign of weakness and vulnerability.

    Even in the smallest of terms, her power base is shrinking and she can longer do as she pleases without some level of retribution.

    It's a lovely thing to watch because she can't do anything to stop it.

    Even if/when she fills up WY with a solid packing of supporters (which was her piece of the pie, was it not? Cuz, she sure as hell doesn't care about people who can't do anything for her).

    She's still got a few more minor victories to revel in down the road, and may even survive a little longer than we'd all like; but, the fact remains, the war is lost, and she is not on the winning side.

  9. I for one am thankful that Alderman Shiller is holding a public meeting.

    I for one have some fish related questions and will bring the spirit of this song with me to the meeting.

  10. While we're on the subject, during this meeting, someone needs to be reminded to ask Helen her thoughts on Senate Bill 1990

    Amends the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act in the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that annual revenues in excess of the budget for a redevelopment project area must be returned to the affected taxing districts. Provides that all redevelopment project areas must be approved by a majority vote of each county board and the governing authorities of the other taxing districts with boundaries that overlap the proposed redevelopment project area. Requires a municipality to create a citizen review panel for any redevelopment project area created by a municipality. Provides that a municipality must seek the advice of the citizen review panel concerning the budget and goals for redevelopment project areas.

    And, yes .. I wholly believe in coincidences.

    I just don't believe in them, this time.

    Is she trying to amend the WYTIF before the State turns off the tap?

    Greg/Heather .. as our voices in the Legislature, care to comment?

  11. Ok, I'm not a math wizard, but I am a CPA. Will someone walk through this math with me and explain sumthing?

    You get $112,000,000 to grow fishes.

    Divide that over 10 years time.

    That's $11,200,000.

    Now suppose you can grow 250 tons of fish per year. (That's 500,000 lbs for those who like big numbers).

    If you divide 500,000 by $11.2 million, that works out to approximately $22.50 per pound.

    Now if this swimming pool, I mean fish farm only grows 50 tons of fish per year (100,000 lbs) it would work out to approx $112 per lb.

    Hmmmm. But if this fish farm can only grow 10 tons of fish per year
    (20,000 lbs / $11.2 million) it would equal $560 per lb.

    That's a lot of sushi my friends.

    How big of a whole in the ground will it take to grow all these fish?

    Sounds worse than Wilson Yard. And, mighty fishy.

  12. Dale, you've proven my point.

    Uptown superhero..I don't know the letter of the law, but I would not expect and do not think that every alderperson should make every meeting or conversation they might have open to the public. I have no problem with any elected official having a closed meeting to solicit input from a group of people. Which is not to say there should not also be open meetings or that important decisions should be made exclusively by those in the closed meeting. It just doesn't make sense to me that whenever any alderperson wants to meet with and solicit input from one or more of their constituents, they should have to open it up to absolutely every other constituent they serve.

    Just wondering...I'm sure there are other alderpersons who get heat from their constituents, I am just not following them or searching for any other blogs about them. And I would not say it is the fault of the 46th ward residents at all, there are legitimate complaints about Shiller's behavior. But I also think there is a unique dynamic going on in Uptown that is fueling a lot of this. Specifically there has been a significant migration of middle to upper middle class people into this ward in the last 15 years that has clashed with the pre-existing culture. For the newcomers, Shiller has come to personify the pre-existing culture and has become the focal point of their anger and opposition to it.

    Yo...I would think that Shiller could have several meetings about the TIF, both public and private. I think it would be cool if she met privately with each individual neighborhood organization or block club to hear what they had to say and offer her thoughts to them. Those type of meetings would be much better private, as large open to the public meetings can become very disorganized and non-productive (yeah, I know, fat chance Shiller would do this, but to me it would be ideal). Also you proved my point about people tending to interpret anything about Shiller in the negative. Hey, her actions can be interpreted any which way. I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt, others prefer to interpret them as negatively as possible.

  13. Kevin, I'll agree that there's a hair-trigger dislike for Shiller; however, her behavior hasn't warranted anything better, unfortunately.

    Not attending the public safety meeting this year; and hardly participating in the meeting last year was unacceptable.

    The attitude and behavior of her staff - unacceptable.

    The craftiness of the cherry-picked referendum she applied to the ballot in Nov '08 still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many.

    If she wanted to hold a town hall meeting where she would address any issue that people have with her .. that would be a sign of leadership.

    I, for one, would be able to attend such a meeting with an open mind and wade through the noise and static that is the anti-Shiller frame of mind; but, when residents gave her notice that they would go to her office, upset that a man was gunned down in front of her office, and looking for her thoughts - she was nowhere to be seen, and never even made a comment on the matter.

    She has shown zero leadership, and zero tolerance for opinions that might challenge her own, and she treats her constituents like crap.

    Sucks, but true.

    She has the power to change the perception but has historically refused to do so.

    That's her fault, not ours.

    I don't like being angry with her; but put all of the above together and slap on Wilson Yard and the obvious TIF abuse on top of just those things from the past few years, and it's hard not to be.

    I appreciate your input, and would love to give her the benefit of the doubt; but it boils down right to the fact that she sacrificed the benefit of the doubt and has made absolutely no effort in earning it back.

  14. Kevin, just an FYI... I've been a resident of Uptown for nearly 25 years. I was a confirmed Shiller voter for many of them.

    Even with the examples Yo has given, I still kept giving her the benefit of the doubt. Over and over. After all, she was our paid representative and had our best interests at heart.

    That all ended when my neighbor had a meeting with her about the constant drug dealing and drug use that was taking place in an empty building across the street from our home. The meeting was, btw, set up by one of my neighbor's good friends, a Shiller staffer at the time. Ald. Shiller knew that her staffer was friends with my neighbor, and my neighbor went in with all good faith that this matter would get the attention of the alderman and a solution would be reached.

    Meeting started. Neighbor cites numerous examples, times of 911 calls, and brings out a video shot from her window of the drug use and dealing.

    This was the alderman's reaction: "I knew when I approved condos in that location that all I would get was complaints and here you are - complaining! Get out my office now!"

    My neighbor left in shock, Ald. Shiller's staff apologized and said she didn't know why the alderman had reacted that way, and the drug dealing and use continued in that building until we, as an association, had many meetings with Meg Gillman of CAPS, who finally bullied the owner into securing the building.

    Problem solved. No thanks to the alderman. And none of us "complainers" have voted for her since.

    When you marginalize people, belittle and ignore them, but continue to take their tax money and say they support you, you end up with an angry group that feels disenfranchised and powerless. Ald. Shiller is reaping what she has sown.

    Remember, this is from someone who voted for her in many elections. It's up to you and your conscience about giving her the benefit of the doubt. I, for one, won't be fooled again.

  15. And I gladly did so Kevin.

    You took the facts and timeline of her "decision" and said great job Helen. I took the same facts and timeline and said same old Helen. Both reasonable conclusions. And like I said I didn't insinuate anything. Your welcome for more than just proving your point. ;)

    I am interested in hearing more about the "Culture" she is protecting/promoting.

  16. I hear y'all. You've shared a lot I did not know about her. I have long advocated for term limits for alderman and other politicians and Shiller's behavior demonstrates why....the longer one has power, the more they feel entitled to it, abuse it, and disregard those who don't have it.

    And Dale, it is not so much about the culture she is protecting/promoting but being the figure head for. I don't have time to get into it now, but it is more of a sociological view of what happens when groups of people migrate to a new (to them) area and enevitably clash with the established culture. And before anyone says anything, I do not mean to suggest that all the Shiller opponents are newly arrived to the 46th.

  17. While every meeting does not have to be open to the public, every meeting should meet the following conditions.

    1) The meeting time and date should be publicly disclosed
    2) All invited parties should be disclosed to the public
    3) All the minutes from the meeting should be disclosed to the public

    Any official that received taxpayer money should disclose all activity conducted on or with that taxpayer money.

    The public then cannot interfere with a meeting, but can review it, ask questions after the meeting, and update their neighbors on what the stewards of their tax money are doing with it.

  18. TSN,I just read your post about Helen's reaction to your neighbor and am stunned. That can not even be explained away. I too at one time had high hopes for Helen, no more though. The idea as I recall was to give a hand up not out. I believed in Slim too.

  19. I may go Thursday just to witness how it is conducted if I can juggle my schedule. I am not a property owner,unfortunately.If I do make it I'll have a black vest on with a Lincoln penny pinned over my heart. I realized years ago my father died on the day Lincoln was born and was born on the day Lincoln died. Odd. My father was a very honest man as was Lincoln so it's said.Say hello.

  20. Kevin, the root of the problem with this: Shiller hand selects those who are lucky enough to be invited to these meetings. And there is NOT a fair representation of what's living in the Ward. Period.

    Until that changes and she walks her talk, no, she cannot be trusted.

    She's a liar.

  21. I don't have time to get into it now, but it is more of a sociological view of what happens when groups of people migrate to a new (to them) area and enevitably clash with the established culture. Kevin

    I agree but in the 46th Ward, Helen divides rather than unites. Every ward, some more than others, has gone through vast changes in the last 15 years. It's only this ward that has been widely regarded by the press to be polarized. Helen wants you to blame it on the bad apples. I don't hear that from other aldermen, do you?

  22. holey moley...I agree Helen is not a uniter and appears to treat some of her constituents contemptuously.
    I haven't, however, paid attention to or otherwise noticed anything in the press about the 46th being a polarized ward nor have I paid much attention to the relationships of other Alderpersons to their constituents.

  23. I was at the meeting this morning. Once again the questions asked of Shiller were never completely answered. She skirted around her responses--she could not or would not give an accounting of where the first $58 million dollars has been spent or encumbered (committed as she said).
    TIF programs were designed to bring business to the community--increase revenues. Very little of this has happened. The original document said mixed income and mixed use buildings would go into the Wilson Yards--yet low and very-low incomes are Shiller's definition of mixed income.
    The community has changed in the 30 years I have been here--most dramatically in the last 10-12 years. The objectives or goals of the TIF need to be revisited and revised to meet the current diversity of the neighborhood. These plans or "mission statements" are supposed to be "living" documents that should be modified as changes and requirements of the community occur.