Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wilson Yard 8AM Meeting On Twitter

Follow the bouncing $112,000,000 MoneyBall!

Reader "Yo" will be tweeting the meeting about doubling the Wilson Yard money for fish farms and parking lots. Follow him on Twitter:, hash tag #WYTIF

Update: A reader sends in a photo from today's meeting. The top photo shows (left to right) Ald. Shiller, a representative from Friedman & Associates, and Paul Collurafici, owner of the Tattoo Factory.


  1. Thanks for keeping an tabs on it for us working stiffs, yo.

  2. thanks so much, yo! this is great for those of us stuck in an office!

  3. thanks, yo! your tweets are great. wish I were there in person!

  4. does anyone know if the media showed up? i'm sure there's got to be some great video/photo ops right now.

  5. #wytif helen: people want tif towards affordable housing, some people don't.

    Rigged Ballot Measure Missile Deployed!

  6. So is it true that we have to agree to give Shiller the money before she's allowed to plan how to spend it? That's possibly the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

  7. GO YO GO!
    Thanks for the updates!

  8. Isn't the primary purpose of a TIF to stimulate retail in order to increase the tax base? Helen, please tell me again how subsidized housing does that?

    She has absolutely no clue and I can't think of anything crazier than a woman with no clue running the ward like a czar. Get that woman out of office.

  9. I agree holey moley - but I think she knows exactly whats she's doing. She could give a damn about stimulating retail. Forget about looking at the big picture and the jobs it would bring to those in need. All she is programmed to do is jam in more low income housing. That's all she gives a rat's ass about.

  10. I have a new found respect for Twitter....Thanks Yo!

  11. I was there till around 9:30...just before it got good, apparently..
    Bottom line...she's gonna get what ever she wants, but at least there was a room full of people who could show some opposition. She feels obligated to spend ANY extra funds she finds...damn the other city services that really need the funding!!!
    Best line of the morning...Helen admitting she wont be around in 22 years.

  12. been following some the tweets out there, a bit thank you to all....great recaps for those of us who couldn't be there....

    and a bit shout out to Molly!


  13. I was also there until about nine thirty. Nice to have these tweets as some shorthand notes of what happened both before and after I left. Thanks!

  14. Thanks for the tweets Yo,,, I look forward to having the video link once someone has had an opportunity to upload it...and any additional comments from those that were there so those of us that were unable to come because of the insane hour can see what exactly happened

  15. Marathon Man, There weren't any tv cameras there. Not sure about written media other than maybe Lorraine Swanson. One guy near me had a personal video camera. Several people took pictures with their personal cameras.

  16. i was there but don't live within the defined "wilson yard tif district" so I couldn't ask any questions.. that was Helen's rule.. nevermind I live only a few blocks away...

    The Chi Town Daily News was there as well as Lorraine.

    It was a really interesting meeting and the first time I've ever seen Helen in public or at a public meeting.. so I found her rhetoric very interesting. She just kept babbling and not answering questions accurately, skipping around subjects. Then implementing rules of who could ask questions and then FAKED that a class had to the use the room at 10AM, and I stuck around to see the aforementioned class come, but they never did.... BIG SURPRISE..

  17. ChiTown Daily News was probably there covering it.

  18. I just want to thank UU and Yo for this info/tweets! My first time on Twitter, Yo broke my Twitter cherry! LOL

  19. See, y'all? I told ya' twitter was a wonderful tool.

    More and more politicians are using it. Get on it, get active.

    Anyway - to address a few points:

    - other than Lorraine Swanson, the media did not show up. I counted 3 video cameras, so there's footage out there. Me? I forgot to bring tape (cuz I'm a moron, I know). Though, @Suntimes gave me a shout out.

    - Marc Kaplan mentioned the results of the referendum and received shouts of "cherry picked", "depends on what side of the street you live on" and "it's a trust issue". Literally shouts.

    - The way the Wilson Yard TIF is written, affordable housing is part of community revitalization. I don't know if I agree with that, but that's how it's written.

    - Shiller mentioned Target producing more sales taxes, which the city gets a cut of. Again, I wonder if we wouldn't get more value out of tax dollars, directly, but that's me.

    - lots of legalese and hair splitting going on, but the fact remains that this is not the 3rd amendment, it's the first amendment to the body of the TIF. The previous amendments were to redevelopment aspects or, sub-TIFs, if you will.

    Shiller went out of her way to address that issue with Lorraine -- well, to address the issue that Lorraine was wrong and wanted to know the source (how's that for unsettling?)

    I will admit that my view of Helen has changed, ever so slightly.

    I no longer see her as a demon run amock.

    Rather, I honestly think that she's gotten consumed and absorbed by the machinations of Chicago politics.

    Her choice of words, the lack of brevity and directness, and her general demeanor are all tell tale signs of someone who's got way too much to consider if they're on record.

    I almost feel bad for her. I think at one time there were some commendable traits to the woman, but that's all changed, and she's little better than any other alderman (see Toni Preckwinkle's comments on permit parking at the Reader).

    In short: other than the likes of hot-headed Marc Kaplan, and whatever the hell Denise Davis is, Helen exhausted any political capitol she had with the changes to Wilson Yard (and subsequent lawsuit, which is obviously taking a toll on her), and she's bleeding support.

    In short: karma's a bitch.

  20. Oh, almost forgot, Uptown Girl was working the sign in table.

    While I don't have an issue with someone from the alderman's office working the comments section, and would support more direct input from any elected official, not disclosing that little fact skews trust.

    And like someone shouted at at the meeting, "it's a trust issue".

    Amen to that brother.

    Um .. as for cherry popping ... dude.

  21. Who was the fellow that Denice Davis asked to step outside?

    What was that all about?

  22. Thanks Yo for the hard work and tweeting. Very helpful...
    A few questions: On balance, was most of the crowd in favor, against or neutral on the amendment?

    Any word on who owns the current properties and why it would cost so much to acquire and put in parking?


  23. thanks all for the info on media - sad that there was not more covering this story.

  24. Thank you Yo, your coverage was fantastic. I really wish I could have taken off of work to be there. We owe you!

  25. Yo - who said "This is our meeting, not yours"?

    Denice Davis is certifiably insane. No people skills at all. Helen is unwise to hold onto her as chief of staff. Un-be-lievable!

  26. When can we start to sue to stop this non-sense and stealing of tax payers money.

  27. On balance, the crowd was overwhelmingly against Shlller.

    From my vantage, this was as much an anti-Shiller rally, as it was an anti-TIF contingent.

    Regarding who owns the property, no specifics were given (a recurring theme with this meeting); however, Shiller did say that locating/getting in contact with some of the property owners was a difficult task (which is understandable).

    TSN - I'm not sure who said that. Actually, I heard a couple of people say it.

    Per Denise "Medusa" Davis asking the gentleman into the hallway, it was straight up bitch.

    He had made a few stinging comments directly to Helen, and it appeared that Denise was simply protecting her source of income.

    What was hilarious was watching Denise walk into the hallway and the guy didn't even move.

    Whomever he is, he's my new hero.

  28. Added: per the comment about Helen only taking questions from people within the TIF district: as frustrating as that may be to folks not within the district; and those folks are affected by this as well, don't get me wrong, I will say that on a point of order, Helen was correct in what she did.

    The meeting was running extremely long, and the scope of the meeting was not aimed outside of the district.

  29. Yo, you're our hero today.

    It is understandable to sometimes feel a little compassion for Helen and her "cause" but I still love the comment you posted in a topic below the other day:

    "Add to all of that, her being a complete bitch about how she conducts her business ... that's what gets peoples' dander up."

    Ain't that the truth...

  30. Appropos of all this, Fix Wilson Yard filed its second lawsuit last week to stop the insanity. If you can donate, please do. It's obvious that nothing except a court order will be able to stop Helen and her rolling juggernaut from bankrupting the 46th Ward property owners and insuring that Uptown remains blighted for the foreseeable future.

  31. I disagree with you, yo. Her actions and decisions affect all of us in her ward and the surrounding wards. I think the aldermen should have a checks and balances system between them when it comes to the TIFS, so that everyone is informed about the things going on in other communities. Being that her decisions to fill our ward with low income housing affects the surrounding wards, I believe everyone should've been able to ask questions regardless of where you lived.

    If she had more of these meetings and was actually clear about her intentions and followed through with her word, there would not have been as much hostility or questions to ask.

    On another note, Mark Kaplan sucks.. what an opportunist and kiss ass.

  32. Marc Kaplan, Denice Davis and all the other ShillerFolken are the holes in the donut. When the donut that shapes them is gone, they're literally just air and nothingness. I hope they've got good retirement plans or that they've been buying up little Florida homes, because when Helen's outta here, they will be -poof- just air and memories.

  33. I suppose it is worth checking out the maps, but I am pretty certain the ballot survey question did not ask all the residents that live in the precincts that are within the Wilson Yard TIF map.

  34. I couldn't make the meeting, and yo, you're my first experience of following twitter. I have a hunch it won't be my last.

    Just as many people & experts in housing may not agree with Ald. Shiller's use of the term "mixed-income" housing, so might people also have a different understanding of the term "task force".

    From what I've heard so far, it's not clear any decisions were made by this task force. If it was like the first WY Task Force, it, too, was not allowed to make decisions.

    As it stands now, there is absolutely no real checks & balances because our current system discourages it... all in the name of keeping power...and we wonder why Chicago's budget is in such financial straits.

  35. Living4theNow,

    I hear ya', brother-man. And a responsible alderman should conduct a larger scale, more comprehensive town hall style meeting that allows for every affected party to be heard.

    Regardless of how many meetings have happened in the past, more meetings are obviously needed.

    However, the overall war will be won/lost on a keeping a disciplined eye on technicalities (re: FWY and laches), and she held the trump card on this one.

    Emotionally, you're 100% right.

    It's within the realm of protocol where your point runs out of gas.

    We can play her game, and we certainly can play it better than she. The times when she stammered and lost her train of thought proved that she's weak.

    We re-empower her if we improperly attack on matters of protocol.

    Brennan - Kaplan held up the map and was met with cries of "cherry picking".

  36. Helen said that there have been public hearings all along in this process...we must all have been collectively sniffing glue at the time!!!
    Brennan, there was no ballot survey question on my ballot. I live in the Truman Square "hood"... voting at 4848 N. Winthrop. I was looking specifically for it.

  37. Because there is no checks and balances explains exactly why there are two wards, helen's and mary ann's with the highest density of mentally ill people in the ENTIRE chicagoland area. There are wards with 0 mentally ill, and then there are two, next to each other with very high populations.

    With a checks and balance, maybe these situations wouldn't arise and all wards would be held responsible and then helen wouldn't be on her low income housing crusade.

    i do agree that once Helen is gone, marc kaplan will disappear.. YAY.. I can't wait for the day.

    Does anyone know if Helen's green center is going to be modeled after the Green Center for Technology? I know that was a successful center but primarily because they had a large laid off work force from a factory closing in the area.

  38. Granted, I only hung around until 9:30, but here’s basically what I got out of the meeting in terms of actual facts about the TIF:
    For an additional $54 million dollars…
    1 – Some local business want private parking and an alley to access their buildings, so these private businesses will get private parking.
    2 – We’ll get a relatively small (1000 square feet) food market featuring food that was grown in a building that was originally designed to allow for extra floors to be built on top of it (why this was part of the discussion, I have no idea). Nothing about whether there will be expansion upwards, but it’s possible. The rest of the building will grow food and fish in water for local schools and teach kids how to do it.
    3 – There is money allocated towards public works improvement to the tune of about $23 million. The CTA and other organizations have not yet opted to take advantage of that money to match it with their own funds to fund improvements to the Wilson Red Line station which is why it hasn’t been spent yet, but apparently, there are proposals or plans to do so that will cost $180 million and move the station south of Wilson.
    4 – The Uplift school needs a new cafeteria - no mention of whether they’ll actually get it.
    5 – There is a proposal for an additional TIF for Maryville (which if you ask me generated the biggest gasp/groan while I was there), but there is a (verbal) guarantee that there will be no funds from the Wilson Yard TIF with the possible exception of improvements to Clarendon Park.
    6 – A “Green” specialist and architect have volunteered PRO BONO! to assist with brainstorming on the project and there is an opportunity to be part of the brainstorm if you signed up on one of the sheets that were sent around. I assume that volunteering to participate will also get you shout outs for your pro bono efforts.
    7 – There’s about 2 million dollars designated for day care. That’s it. Just daycare.
    Two seemingly positives that I haven’t seen mentioned in the comments so far
    About 15 local placements on the Wilson Yard construction have taken place.
    100% of the first graduating class from Uplift are headed to college. And proud we are of all of them.

  39. there was no ballot survey question on my ballot. I live in the Truman Square "hood"... voting at 4848 N. Winthrop. I was looking specifically for it.

    4848 N Winthrop is outside the Wilson Yard TIF map.

    If this is wrong let me know. Lawrence is the north border.

  40. Marc Kaplan effectively defeated himself, today.

    With his hot-headed partisan jack-assery he demonstrated that he holds people with differing opinions in an inexcusable level of contempt.

    I don't think Helen was terribly thrilled with him as he and Molly locked horns.

    He's now a major political liability and she'd be well served cutting him loose.

  41. It appearred that Shiller did state that the Wilson Yard TIF funds won't go to help fund the Maryville Academy affordable housing at Clarendon/Montrose. If her word can be trusted (BIG IF).

    The interesting point was that she also stated that this parcel could be removed from the current TIF (since its a non-profit and generates no tax dollars for the Wilson Yard TIF anyways) and used to help create a new TIF. Based on the TIF map she provided this would inlcude only the areas south of Montrose to help fund this new "project". I'm sure those residents in Buena Park will love that use of their tax dollars.

    The sad thing was that this was only an informational meeting and that she simply has to get the approval of the City Finance Committee (rubber stamp). Hell, she should ask for 500 million and build fish farms and hydroponic gardens in all of the vacant buildings in the TIF district.

  42. About the Wilson stop being moved to the south.... The engineering firm I work at did plans for that station about 2 years ago. We did the structural and architectural drawings up to about 30% until the CTA ran out of money. If they change their mind on this, that's a waste of a few hundred thousand right there. All the better if they move it south, but I can't see the CTA just throwing out what they already have done.

    Some other news..... our firm was awarded a project by CDOT to redo the Wilson and Lawrence bridges at Lake Shore Drive. Earliest I can see for construction would be about 2 years, but more than likely it will take years longer than that. We still have yet to recieve the scope of work from CDOT to my knowledge.

  43. Ned:

    "2 – We’ll get a relatively small (1000 square feet) food market featuring food that was grown in a building that was originally designed to allow for extra floors to be built on top of it (why this was part of the discussion, I have no idea). Nothing about whether there will be expansion upwards, but it’s possible."

    I think her point about the strength & stability of the building was only made to suggest that the fish tanks wouldn't have to be limited to the basement floor. Not sure, just my guess.

  44. "Isn't the primary purpose of a TIF to stimulate retail in order to increase the tax base?"

    not so much stimulate retail as enhance the property tax base

  45. "So is it true that we have to agree to give Shiller the money before she's allowed to plan how to spend it?"

    is Shiller prohibit by law from detailed planning before the additional property tax allocation is approved? of course not. herself or the city could draw up a plan to any level of detail they want.

    in the thru-the-rabbit-hole world of TIF, when a TIF district is established, state law requires a "plan", and the City by tradition draws up only the most broad-brush, non-committal thing that could possibly be considered a "plan," meeting the barest legal requires for "plan" but unrecognisable to anyone but a City lawyer as a "plan"

    Shiller apparently believes the same lack of accountability should be extended to her & her fish farm

  46. "was there but don't live within the defined "wilson yard tif district" so I couldn't ask any questions .. that was Helen's rule"

    herself is not keeping up - this myth has been debunked by the Illinois appellate courts - anyone in Cook County has standing with respect to a TIF anywhere in Cook County

    when a TIF re-directs property tax revenue to an alderman's developer pal, that money takes away from the County, the schools, libraries, and the forest preserve district, and the County, schools, libraries, and forest preserves need to take more from everyone else make up for it to fund local govt

  47. probably if you could get a list of herself's TIF task force I bet they don't all live w/i the boundary

  48. She wants parking for the Cubs, folks and she has business people that will buy up the lots once she gets them(maybe even her Son).

    And some campaign contributions will be made a long the way.

    Private parking is in demand now the City Raised Parking Meter rates.

    All business are suffering.

    A lot of what she says like the fish farm are just to placate the Marc Kaplan's.

  49. "probably if you could get a list of herself's TIF task force I bet they don't all live w/i the boundary"

    Helen HERSELF doesn't live in the TIF District!

    She's the Ultimate NIMBY - no low-inocme housing near her home. No shelters, except Tree House Cat Shelter. No TIFS to pay into.

  50. "the fact remains that this is not the 3rd amendment, it's the first amendment to the body of the TIF. The previous amendments were to redevelopment aspects or, sub-TIFs, if you will."

    that's right

    we all need to understand the distinction between:

    1. the plan adopted at the time of TIF district establishment (the "TIF plan" or more accurately "tax increment financing redevelopment project area plan" or RPA plan)

    2. a redevelopment agreement (RA) with a particular developer within that district, for example the agreement with Holsten, also unfortunately often refered to as the "WY plan"

    (I would not call the latter sub-tifs)

  51. Marc Kaplan and Denise Davis both rent in the building on the corner of Montrose and Racine - on the west side of the street.

    According to the WY TIF map, the East side of the 4400 block of Racine is in the TIF, but the West side is not. Therefore, according to Shiller's made up rules, he shouldn't have been able to open his mouth.

    The whole WY TIF district was cherry picked anyway. A building here is in it, but not that one next to it, etc...

  52. how much discretion do individual Chicago schools have over food procurement?

  53. i don't believe that they don't know who the owners of the lots are, and i don't believe they don't know who the NEW owners will be

    i'd like to take a crack at it, can someone get me started w/ some addresses?

  54. Speaking to her point about Target sales tax... by my simple, not taking into account time value of money, Target's first 2.6 Billion in sales will recover the TIF. Of course, there's the perpetual tax credits to Peter and Target to add in. So... the neighborhood gives Peter, Helen, and Target $58 million; Target gives the city 2.25 cents on each sale.

  55. Hugh: The apparent lots are 4420 N Sheridan, 4424 N Sheridan, and 4430 N Sheridan.

    Quick math on any propsective Cubs parking facility.

    81 home games, 40 parking spots(low estimate), $20 a spot over a 15 year period would yield $972,000 in gross revenue. The properties are reportedly for sale for $249,000 each. Gross profit over the 15 years would be almost $200,000.

    This is without even bargaining in a down real estate market.

    Private parking for Cubs games doesn't need TIF support.

  56. The netting around this old Salvation Army shelter was there because of some building code violations. Now who was issued this code violation?

    Who did Salvation pay their rent to? Who pays the real estate taxes? Either she's not bright or she's stalling. Something's not adding up here.

  57. (I would not call the latter sub-tifs)

    Indeed. My bad, I meant sub-agreements.

  58. It was interesting looking up the properties on the Assessor's and Treasurer's office yesterday. No tax bills in the past two years and no names associated with the properties.

  59. The proposed fish building is located at 1025 W Sunnyside. Go for it Hugh.

  60. 1 correction... 2.25 cents on each dollar of sales.

  61. Brennan, Truman Square is within the Tif district, but our polling place is north of Lawrence....go figure...

  62. where are the 2 "parking lots"?

  63. "Target's first 2.6 Billion in sales will recover the TIF."


    that's some serious single store revenue!

    (ha! that's a way fun back-o-the envelope! I love it)

  64. A little more "back of the envelope" fun... given Target Corp's numbers of Revenues (65B) and Stores (1.7K) the average store would take 67 years to hit thet number.

  65. Has Target even confirmed they are coming?

  66. I'm starting to believe they'll come... but for how long? A weekend like their store on Michigan Ave? A year? Five years? Have they committed to full 67?

    Helen can you hear me?

  67. So what does anyone know about this Friedman and Associates Company?

  68. 4420 N Sheridan
    4424 N Sheridan
    4430 N Sheridan

    looks like there's 2 PINs involved

    14-17-225-021 (4430 N SHERIDAN)
    14-17-225-032 (4420 N SHERIDAN)

    can someone pls check my work so far?

    it looks like 4430, -021 includes a wierd skinny gangway thru to Broadway, can someone confirm?

  69. SB Friedman and Associates are a real estate and development firm that serve the City's planning and development department.

  70. Friedman is a TIF consultant. NCBG lists the consultants in each TIF profile if you want to see which ones they worked on.

  71. Hugh,

    it seems like you're right. Without a plat of survey I can't be sure.

    Is anyone going to be posting video of this meeting?

    I brought my video camera, but apparently the batteries were dead from that whole lingerie model shindig I had in my place last week.

    I'd like to see if I'm on video somewhere that doesn't involve porn.

  72. There's a lot going on here. I have to admit that I'm over my head on a lot of the issues and people involved. I know that I could go out and do a lot of research and figure out what the issues and definitions are on a lot of these things, and who the relevant people, properties and problems are, but I'm wondering if there's some kind of existing Uptown Wiki that has this?

    For example, just within this thread, I've heard a few names I'm not familiar with. I don't know who Marc Kaplan is. How can I find out objectively what his relationship to this issue is without a lot of the, um, commentary that this site provides?

    Not that this site doesn't provide a great service for the neighborhood, but I kind of feel like I need information I don't have to follow the conversation on a lot of the issues.

  73. looks like -032 has been divided?

    14-17-225-021 4430 N Sheridan, 43,450 ft2
    14-17-225-039 4424 N Sheridan, 31,454 ft2
    14-17-225-040 4420 N Sheridan, 19,309 ft2

    95K ft2 on Chicago's N side

    blocks from El, lake, beach, park

  74. 95K ft2 on Chicago's N side

    What does that mean?

  75. Helen has always used Marc to do some of her dirty grunt work but sometimes he does get into a little trouble now and then. Today despite his behavior he was still better behaved than usual.

    Check out this from the Clerk of the Circuit Court that mentions Marc as a defendant in a $250,000 lawsuit for libel and slander.

  76. Love the photo at the start of the story.
    She looks rather flustered. Who are the somewhat elfin guys to her left?

  77. Ned - type "Marc Kaplan" in the search box at the top of the blog in the upper left-hand corner. You'll get commentary for sure, but you can see when and how he's been mentioned here for the past couple years.

  78. Uptown Update has most of the details about all the players in Shiller's plumber crew.

    Try google. Use this query.

    [search term here]

    Here is an example

    There really should be a Wiki for Uptown. COURAJ might still exist. I doubt it. It's probably morphed into Northside Action for Justice. They really need funding from some organization to keep them running. Even with the 787 billion dollar stimulus, acquiring this money has been rough. You actually need to perform something that stimulates the economy other than Liberation Theology.

    The short story of Marc Kaplan is that he's been the primary purveyor of the rigged ballot survey question that asked voters non-binding questions using language pulled directly from liberation theology style guides. This ballot question only polled hand selected precincts where Helen's base is heavily concentrated. It was about the Wilson Yard TIF, but it did not poll all the precincts that are in the Wilson Yard TIF boundaries.

    He's a poor man's Marxist. The good ones actually use math with factual data and metric analysis to leverage their philosophical capital.

    You might notice that Helen Shiller has no data at all to support her plans, amendments, and proposal for future "prosperity". Just one heaping pile of "trust me, I'm a professional". Look at her task force. One member is on the SB Friedman payroll(conflict of interest). Another is a Tatoo parlor owner that's received Wilson Yard TIF funds to move his store(conflict of interest).

  79. Anyone can find information on the usual suspects in Helen's Uptown gang by using Google. Type in any of these names:

    Marc Kaplan
    Brendan Shiller
    Pamela Barton
    Karen Sandler (Marc's gf)
    Rae Mindock
    Denise Davis
    Maggie Marystone

    There's a bunch more. Just type in Uptown Chicago after their name. You'll get tons of history on them from various sources.

  80. Let's put together a petition to recall Shiller just to show her how many people would sign it.

  81. 14-17-225-021 2nd 1/2 2008 payment of $3,226.34 due 03/03/2009 was paid early 02/17/09

    the 2nd 1/2 2007 payment on -032 of $3,799.55 due 11/03/2008 was paid late, last week, 07/21/09

    strange, -032 has a 2008 tax bill of $0, weird, it's not exempt,

    14-17-225-032 was divided into: 14-17-225-039 & 14-17-225-040

    but the land has not been billed under the new PINs -039 and -040, either

    anyway, as recently as March and last week, somebody was paying the property tax bills on these lots, they are not abandoned or orphaned properties looking for herself to take them under her wing

  82. The three PINS are (14-17-225-021, -039, and -040) are classified by our assessor as 1-00 "vacant land"

    Cook County RE classification codes

    Surface parking lots are classified 1-90 "vacant land with minor improvements"

    BOTH 1-00 and 1-90 are assessed for tax purposes at 10% of value. So herself's plan makes NO contribution to our tax base. Now if you could perhaps incentivize someone to actually BUILD something on these lots, that might actually be considered progress. But using public TIF dollars to PRESERVE land at 10% is IMHO an abuse of TIF. TIF dollars are not supposed to be used to shoot ourselves in the foot. If our aldermen or mayor will not stop this seems to me a judge with 1/2 a brain should. If this is allowed than anything is allowed and we might as well throw in the towel on TIF, resistance is futile.

  83. About the only thing herself could to that's WORSE than her current plan is to turn the land over to a tax-exempt org like the fake "chamber" UU/BP, which might operate the parking lots for the benefit of the local business community but would take the land completely OFF the property tax roles. The twitter feed & the Lake Effect News article document her intention to turn the land over to a PRIVATE owner, and the Lake Effect News article documents her intention to conduct a "bid" process. But private taxable or private tax-exempt? A key question is if a tax-exempt organization might be permitted to purchase the lots. That would be criminal.

  84. Brennan says, "He's a poor man's Marxist. The good ones actually use math with factual data and metric analysis to leverage their philosophical capital."


    I think I am crushing on you a bit, Brennan! But what do you have against liberation theology?

    As for Hugh (another of my faves) what do you think is going on with those properties? Shouldn't the spector of the city wanting to buy them for parking make them valuable on the open real estate market thus defeating the "they're blighted and only the government can put them to use" argument?

  85. Similarly, the Salvo bldg is currently tax-exempt of course, and herself's plan is to use OUR property taxes to KEEP it that way. Presumably herself's fish farm will be operated as a NFP of some flava.

  86. But of course, we're not allowed to talk about the plan. There is no plan. My bad.

  87. "what do you think is going on with those properties?"

    1. short to medium term, herself is transferring wealth from the property tax payers of Cook County to her fan club UU/BP in the form of a land endowment

    2. medium to longer term, they have their eye on the whole block across from WY, call it Son of WY. Perhaps Target insisted on a commitment to cleaning up the immediately adjacent neighborhood across the street as a condition of purchase of their chunk of WY last fall. Assembly & sale to a developer of the wedge-shaped portion of the block south of the Salvo bldg, south of the alley, at which point UU/BP/Tattoo cashes out a jackpot, cha-ching.

  88. what we are witnessing is that TIF redevelopment in Chicago is preceded by a period of sharp-elbowed jockeying for position in the foot-print of the project that determines the winners of large cash prizes

    why should some bozo land banker get the big TIF payout? somebody's gonna win big, might as well be our pals

  89. Perhaps Target insisted on a commitment to cleaning up the immediately adjacent neighborhood across the street as a condition of purchase of their chunk of WY last fall.

    Perhaps such conditions are in the letter of agreement, and that might explain why it hasn't been released.

    Perhaps. Dunno for sure, but rumors fill the gap where information should be, and this one sounds as good as any other.

  90. I don't know but I can well imagine a few years back Holsten and Shiller and the City wooing muckety-mucks down from Minneapolis, trying to walk them thru a quick site visit, Holsten waving his hands at their grand plan, but the esteemed visitors can't help looking over their shoulders, "um, guys, you're working on across the street, too, right?" Oh, yeah, sure, we're working on it. Years pass and Target gets closer to closing and the east side of Broadway looks exactly like it did years ago, and it comes up again.

  91. While we're entertaining speculation on the thinking behind these recent developments, permit me to terse out another possibility.

    In 2005 AND 2006, we taxpayers spent literally millions relocating businesses out of the footprint of the WY development, including many businesses no one had ever heard of and no one knew were in there. Here's some notes:

    Wilson Yard Annual Report

    Some of these like the Tattoo Factory owned by Paul Collurafici, major Shiller campaign contributor, lead WY TIF cheerleader and President of the local fake chamber Business Partners, and Azusa Liquors were moved across the street, receiving hundreds of thousands of public dollars for their troubles. It is possible they were told the move was temporary - that after WY was completed they could move back across the street into the beautiful WY retail mall.

    The agreement Target signed with Holsten last fall includes extensive restrictions on the types of roommates Holsten can rent to, and my first read at the time was that liquor stores were prohibited, but body art emporiums were not specifically prohibited.

    Target-Holsten Operating Agreement

    But maybe Target got wind of tattoo parlor idea and said whoa! Not prohibiting tattoo parlors was an oversight. The only version we have of the operating agreement is the version recorded last fall; it may have been amended by mutual agreement of Holsten and Target since, or maybe nixing the tattoo parlor was handled off-the-record.

    Collurafici gets wind and says, "Wait, you mean I'm stuck over here? But you PROMISED!" So to get out of political bind Shiller lights a fire under redevelopment of the east side of Broadway.

  92. oops, I should have thrown in failed candidate for mayor of River Grove

  93. Interesting piece of speculation, Hugh.

    How much did the Factory get to relocate across the street? Perhaps this is the business model - just keep having to relocate within the TIF district and collect "reimbursement" for the troubles.

    Much easier to make a few hundred grand that way than to do business the old fashioned way.

    BTW, shouldn't the Factory have to provide itemized expense reports so we know the true cost of relocating? Or do you just submit an invoice and a check comes in the mail?

  94. Tatoo Factory received $200,000 to move across the street.

    Anyone know who owned the property that Tatoo Factory moved into? And beyond that, I'd wonder if the same property had a finance deal with Bridgeview Bank.

  95. In 2005 the taxpayers of Cook county bought him out of WY and paid relocation expenses, and Paulco LLC bought into the footprint of "WY, The Sequel" at 4441 N Broadway (PIN 14-17-225-009) for $400K, from Tomás Bissonnette of Spanish-Speaking Bookstore and Rita Simo of the Youth Orchestra Uptown (YOURS) Project (doc # 0504133173), financing provided by Uptown's very own Bridgeview Bank (doc # 0504133174).

  96. So what you are saying is that when emanate domain was looming over the business that feeds my family’s head, I bought a building across the street. BUT… when I did not have the money to buy the building outright, I went to a bank and got a mortgage. Now here is where the real sneaky part comes in; I actually went to a local bank for the loan. A bank that my family has been doing business with for over thirty years!

    You got me Hugh, you got me. I hope I am not looking at prison time. Where do I turn myself in? I am here to confess. I bought a building with borrowed funds. Now please do not tell anyone else, but I am only paying 6.5% on the loan. There is some other un-heard of words like amortization and balloon but you already know that. Please don’t let anybody else in on my secret.

    Hugh, get a life. I wonder if it is fun Googling people’s names. I would like to try it. What is yours?

    We have been through this before. My name is Paul Collurafici. I own the Tattoo Factory. I am the president of Business Partners; the Chamber for Uptown. I co-chair the Broadway Merchants Association. I am also a Mason and a member of the 100 Club. My home is in River Grove and I proudly serve on the zoning board of that town. I worship my family and would do anything for them. I have a seven month old son named Peter Ralph. I enjoy motorcycles and airplanes and am licensed to operate both. I am also a licensed engineer.

    What’s your story? What’s your name? This is still the United States. I have a right to face my accuser. Come clean Hugh; give your BS some validity. Stop being an ass.

    I would be more than happy to meet with anyone that wishes to talk Uptown. My cell number is 773 972-5619. Uptown is more than a place to run my business. Uptown is more important than my hometown. Uptown is the catalyst of my financial survival. You can move if you do not like it here, I cannot.

    Hugh, are you retired? Self employed? On welfare? Where do you get the time for all of this? Are you stealing this time from your employer? Do you have no life? Put your time to good use. Volunteer at a local hospital, take a walk, join a club. Get out of the house and away from your computer and enjoy life. Adopt a puppy.

    Until then, GFY.

  97. In a few years, when the WY TIF pays you to relocate a 2nd time, you will secure your place in Chicago TIF history. You are a playa.

  98. Paul, his name really is Hugh. I know you don't like what he has to say and its true that he has been harsh on you in particular. Hugh may be wrong sometimes/frequently/all-the-time but maybe you might admit that there should be a place for people to use the internet for dissent? If it weren't you on the short end of the stick, what would you say in general about this new use of technology and people finding compatriots this way? Just a thought...

  99. The problem with Uptown Update is that it is entertainment only. Most of the people I know read it for a laugh. And we get plenty everyday! Now, I’ll be the first to admit, Uptown Update could be a very valuable tool for all of Uptown. Whoever runs it is really quick on the draw. Where ever you are getting your news, it is usually quick and near right. But then… it gets ruined by all of the Shiller bashing.

    Let me put this into perspective. First off, it really does not matter if you like Helen or not. She won and is the Alderman. Period. Don’t you think it would be better to work with her? At least for three and a half years anyway. If there is a better candidate out there, they would have won. That’s politics. All is fair for the last 6 months of anybody’s term. Gloves off and dirty, it doesn’t matter. BUT WHEN THE ELECTION IS OVER, IT’S OVER. As Americans, we should look forward to three and a half years of progress, not crying and fighting.

    I did not vote for Obama. I didn’t like him. Not that McCain/Palin would have been better, but I did not like Obama. Guess what? He won. It’s over. He is my president and I will support whatever decisions he makes. I will still use my USA NUM 1 plates on my Ford and I will never buy a foreign car. This is my country and this is what makes it great. Is the USA perfect? No. Are all of our elected officials great? No. But it does not matter, he won and we should support him. At least for the next three and a half years.

    Now let’s talk about OUR alderman. The names you people call her sound like after school bullying. In any other country you would be jailed or worst. Without getting into what an alderman does, I would like to let you know what one does not do; she is not a police officer. She does not have a blue and white car and a gun. She does not build train stations. She lobbies for improvements to the ones in her ward, but she does not build them. The CTA does.

    The list can go on and on. Most of you blame her for everything that does not make you happy. It really does not work that way. Cat calling from the peanut gallery really makes you guys look stupid. You can’t always get what you want. No one gets everything. No one. As Chamber President, I am so happy with the new Aldi and Target! The thought of thousands of square feet of available retail is so exciting. Plus a Target and a brand new Aldi! I would have loved all retail. Some in the neighborhood would have loved all affordable housing. We got both! I never like to be in an all or nothing situation. You run the risk of getting nothing.

    As far as Hugh. I have called him out. I have proved him wrong so many times that it is starting to bore me. The guy needs a life. Or maybe a job. Posting useless accusatory assumptions gets us nowhere. The Illinois Relocation Act is what covered 20% of my move. I had to document every item and was reimbursed AFTER I proved every expense. Actually, I made more money and had fewer headaches across the street. All I had to worry about then was rent. Now I have a mortgage and a tax bill. I pay for all repairs. I have to keep up with the mechanicals. All out of my pocket.

    If you have ever been inside the Tattoo Factory, the thought of moving again is hilarious. Does anybody really think I would have put so much money into a temporary location? Does Hugh know something I do not know? Am I getting kicked out again?

    Come on Hugh, you’re an ass. You prove it every time you call the Chamber fake. After 86 years, we are the oldest Chamber in Chicago.
    Sorry for going on and on, I get that way sometimes. Bottom line is that blogs are good when ALL sides are represented fairly. Uptown Update is entertainment. Great entertainment, but still just entertainment.

    I have nothing to hide. My cell number is 773 972-5619. Set up a time and we can get together to talk. Drinks at the Spot? On me? The offer is good for anyone, including Hugh. Especially Hugh.
    Anonymous is fun. The truth is undeniable. I have always stated the truth and signed my name to it.

    Paul Collurafici

  100. Paul, I appreciate your post but I do have some disagreement with you. Shiller bashing occurs for a reason and while outsiders who don't live in the ward understand it, those who have had personal experiences with her and her staff are tired of being insulted, lied to, and sold out. (2 lawsuits have been filed against the city due to her direct action which had the community raise around $100,000 in legal fees). If other wards had such a dishonest and disrespectful alderman, I'm sure a blog would pop up there as well.

    Yes, Helen can't build a new CTA station on her own, but you wouldn't have known that in every campaign she's had since the mid-1990's when she promises her voters that she will get that new L station for us.

    You like the new Aldi entrance? Did you ever speak up about putting the entrance into the back of the store? Why didn't you stop her as the chamber rep? You know she wouldn't listen to her constituents who live inside the ward. This WY Task Force? Does this task force make any decisions or do they go along with Helen's charade of "community input?" If you are not part of the solution, you're a part of the problem.

    You are right about Helen in the last 6 months of her term, though. She is very dirty. Well, she is paying the piper now. I think it's very rare in Chicago history to have such a large faction be so openly angry with their locally elected representative. You may want to dismiss us as people who flocked to Uptown because we needed an outlet for our unresolved childhood anger but we will interpret your action or lack of it as you sucking up and enabling a person who has caused irreparable harm to our community all in the name of holding onto power. Screw this notion of being a public servant.

  101. I just want the drug dealing and violence to stop, and to not have to step over feces and urine on my way to a dilapidated train stop.

    Is that so much to ask?

  102. I think that the real problem here is that she takes responsibility for NOTHING but low-income housing. Wouldn't a person that's good at her job want to go above and beyond? Even if she can't control some of the issues, shouldn't she want to hear the concerns of their constituents to see if there is anything she can do? Rather than saying the Wilson stop is a problem for the CTA to solve and crime is a problem for the police to solve, she can say, what can I do to help this problem? If she can't do anything, she can say, I hear your concerns and here's who can help...

    Passing the buck and pointing fingers shows a lack of responsibility, maturity and judgment. It also shows that someone has been in their job WAY too long when they start saying things that sound like, "that's not in my job description." I work in HR and people that say things like that usually end up getting fired for poor performance. Those people are also usually in hourly, low-level positions, not 100K salaried positions! It may take time and be painful for all involved, but the firing does eventually happen. Helen - take some responsibility for the problems in your ward or you will be fired by the voters of the 46th ward next election.

  103. Everyone on this comments page has been illuminating. Full disclosure for me;I have not been a full time Uptown resident for quite awhile,that is about to change.I have decided to leave Florida in winter and stay in Uptown.I was almost killed leaving the Wilson L stop 19 yrs.ago[I was followed down the alley at Leland&Beacon,jumped and had my throat slashed}I should have died. I too would like the violence to stop.I went through PTSD counseling at the bank building and can still cringe at the thought of the blood shooting out of my throat.I've always loved Uptown though.It was beautiful once and can be again.Working together means everyone's opinion matters and then consensus is found.Paul I'm going to call you, middle ground must be found.

  104. Paul - most of us live in the neighborhood and have to deal with the repercussions of Helen's actions/inaction on a daily basis - 24/7. That gives us a right to voice our dissent - whether on UU or directly to her office - for her whole term in office.

    It is clear the Chamber or the WY Task force aren't going to do it, so someone has to.

    I also don't think a chamber should be respected on how long its been around, but rather how effective it is.

  105. Aldi was asked and begged to place the entrance on Broadway. Bottom line is that it is their building and they wanted the entrance by the parking lot. Aldi did not want to secure two doors and they wanted the only door by the parking lot.

  106. Paul,

    before you post next time I suggest you think before you "publish".

    This whole GFY thang you have going makes me think you've got too much ink on the brain.

    Channeling "The Departed" doesn't impress anyone.

    Now Hugh, and if you search you can find his last name, can be a bit obsessive at times. Even a pain in the ass. That's his thing. His comments about the tax money you received are true. Right?!! Perhaps you don't like the fact he posted them. Too bad. I personally could care less if you used your own money to hire hookers. Now if you use tax business. Did I just suggest you might be hiring hookers? I guess I should GFmyself.

    I always endeavor to work "hookers" into my posts. It's my thang.

    Now you took the relocation dollars and invested them across the street. I'm not a tattoo kinda guy, but your business seems like a decent neighbor to me. I don't even begrudge you the "moving money" from taxes. Government causes you a "loss" you deserve to be compensated.

    As for your comment that Uptown is more important than your I see why you lost your mayoral race...........or maybe it was the hookers. Damn, I have hookers on my brain today. I want to make perfectly clear that I have no knowledge of Paul have anything to do with any hookers. Although he does consort with politicians and ran for office. The hookers don't seem that bad now do they?

    Hookers...........there I said it again.

    Anyway, your comment about the Aldi being "begged" to put an entrance out front strikes me as BULLSHIT. The city, read Alderman Shiller, had the authority in various statutes to require a front entrance if she truly wanted one. TIF money is a wonderful thing and many requirements can be attached to it. I saw this exact thing on Judge Judy and I know.

    Can we get back to hookers now?

  107. Bottom line is that it is their building...


    Nodody stood up to them and said, "this is a deal breaker"?

    People begged that they do the right thing, but caved in anyway because they said "no".

    I think people would be happy with the Aldi had they put the entrance on Broadway, and I think people would actually have been happy with Helen, UU/BP, WY Task Force, etc if they had made them do the right thing.

    Helen could have turned this into a huge victory for herself, but she didn't.

    She could have been the hero.

    The same could be said for a multitude of issues regarding not only Wilson Yard, but the entire ward.

    She could have been the freakin' HERO TO EVERYONE!

    But she chooses a different path, over and over again.

  108. IrishPirate; you are the reason I read Uptown Update.

  109. Bottom line, Aldi was given a brand new building to replace their old one that was in disrepair. Ald. Shiller had the power to force the issue and we both know that all aldermen have that power. They have more unchecked power than God.

    Where was the WY Task Force in all of this or were they even contacted? Why did the public only find out about this by watching it go up?

    But you know what Helen said? She told us the drawing of the WY project that's taped on her office window showing people touching a door handle in front of Aldi was actually a drawing of them "touching" the glass on a display case.

    So if it is true that Aldi was begged, then Helen again lied, just as she lied about the Uplift cafeteria funding, the lie about the mixed income housing, the lie about the community involvement with the WY planning, the lie about the Labor Ready support, the lie about the upzoning on Beacon Street, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on.

  110. Paul,


    There are many better reasons to read Uptown Update than my silly comments. At least four better reasons. I may be the fifth best reason to read this site.

    I just did a quick search and found that events at YOUR business have been mentioned a few times.

    The Velvis and Tura Satana events are just two.

    So GFY and thank UU for posting about your business.

  111. A GFY from the Pirate. I am honored. Thank you so much, I really do feel special today. July 29th will now be considered my second birthday. If I could, I would get you a hooker.

  112. Now go back and read the comments under the Tura Satana event.

    I invite all of Chicago for a free event. Have food and drink for free also. You get to meet a movie star from 1960 and one of the artists from LA Ink. I put spot lights in front of the store to further promote Uptown (and myself).

    Uptown Update was one of the many places that published the event. As did the Reader and the Tribune. I am glad for every mention. Thank you.

    But... go back and read the comments section. That's pure one track entertainment.

    I wish I could get you two hookers.

  113. All I am saying is... "give peace a chance..."

  114. Paul,

    to find a hooker walk out the front door of your business. Turn right. Cross the street. Enter the Alderman's office. Ask a staff member for a "hooker referal".

    If the office is closed continue walking north until you reach Leland Avenue. Call out "I need a hooker".

    Stand back and try to avoid being run over in the rush.

  115. Paul, there's a ton of corruption in Chicago, Crook County, and Illinois. It came up in the presidential election and the world laughed at us when Blago got arrested.

    Helen has contributed to the corruption in Chicago and most especially in the 46th Ward. I'll give peace a chance but I won't tolerate corruption to bring about peace because in the end, it's not real peace.

  116. Paul,

    you need to thicken your skin up a bit. If you are going to publicly support a politician folks are going to attack you. Perhaps losing that Mayoral race was best for you.

    You don't want to act like a balding hairy version of Sarah Palin. By the way Sarah and her silk underwear wearing hubby can GF themselves.

    I notice in the Satana and Velvis threads that I was supportive of the events. Others were one trick ponies who attacked you for supporting Shiller.


    That's what freedom is about. In those instances I would prefer to focus on the business and attention you were bringing to a desolate stretch of Broadway while others preferred to focus on your support of Helen Shiller.

    Now since you claimed to have supported McCain over Obama and support Shiller I don't want to be too hard on you. I imagine the sense of ennui and cognitive dissonance that causes could cause a man to drink. Or find a hooker.

    Thankfully the Uptown of 2009 does provide both opportunities for drinking and finding "whoreizontal" entertainment specialists.

    Now please to everyone out there reading this:


  117. "whoreizontal"

    Pirate, I like you. We should get together for a drink. If we were trying to one up each other, I bow to the master. Your "whoreizontal" beats my GFY any day.

  118. Paul and Irish Pirate I hope you two get together.Uptown needs progress and meetings of the minds, and in your case IP, twistingly hilarious ones.I always wondered about the door at Aldi's,we need to keep the stretch under the L tracks free of intimidation. Paul I'm going to come in and introduce myself,I'm willing to bet we know some of the same tattoo artists.I'm glad you're still in the ward as you bring traffic and hip people.{not to mention people with disposable income} The more people out and about the less chance the thugs have to harrass.

  119. Sassy, a member of the community you claim to serve, asked a question, and I answered it to the best of my limited ability.

    Brendon, a member of the community you claim to serve, asked a question, and I looked up the answered and posted it.

    You could have but you didn't. I'm sure there are a lot of questions that come up here that you might have unique insight into. Please consider toning down the profanity and pitching in.

    Here's a question to get start with:

    Will the "chamber" "bid" on the "parking lots" on Sheridan once the City acquires them through "emanate" domain?

  120. You seem to be aware that at least some people in the community do not support Shiller. If your "chamber" were a legit business league, supported by pooled resources of the membership, I would have no problem with you supporting a politician as part of your activities, but your "chamber" is funded almost entirely by property tax dollars; membership dues are only a very small portion of your income. I was raised in an era when publicly-funded organizations eschewed politics. Perhaps you could consider expressing your gratitude toward the taxpayers that make your organization possible and demonstrate your respect for the entire diverse community you claim to serve by laying off the cheerleading. Pick one: public money or politics.

  121. The Chamber will not be bidding on the parking lots.

    My spell check changed eminent.

    The Chamber does not take any position on any candidate, we can't. Our members can support and oppose whomever they want. Then we gladly work with the incumbent.

    The Chamber has monthly networking events and all are invited. It really is a great way to find out what is going on and ask any questions you may have that you feel we can answer.

    Or, I will be glad to meet you for lunch. I can't be any more open or agreeable than that.

  122. I'm glad we can have this little dialog bridging the "givers" and "takers" of Chicago TIF.

    Uptown United, then? If Uptown United wanted to operate the parking lots, you would support that, right? Or if someone like Uptown United or the City wanted to donate the parking lots to the "chamber," you guys would take it, right?

    Sure, no one wants to move. But you wouldn't want to stand in the way of progress, would you? Wouldn't you hope that eventually, sometime in the next two decades of the WY TIF, they'll get around to the E side of Broadway? And if they made it worth your while, well...

    Pick one: call me a douche bag or buy me lunch

  123. Lunch. I'm buying. When? I do work nights so the later the better. How about dinner at the Spot this Friday? Call me.

    As far as me having to move... I didn't want to the first time. I hope I never have to again.

  124. This thread went to epic about 30 posts ago. Well done folks.

  125. I put spot lights in front of the store to further promote Uptown (and myself).

    I think you have this backward.