Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wilson Yard TIF Amendment Meeting July 23

Want to attend a meeting about Ald. Shiller's proposed amendment to raise the Wilson Yard TIF tap-in to $112 million (from $58 million)? About 68% of your property taxes paying for multiple parking lots and parking structures (but not for public transportation or non-compliant el stations)? About your property taxes going towards a "green" Uptown fish farm?

Being an early riser helps! Here's a listing from the Truman College online calendar that a sharp-eyed reader sent in:

Wilson Yard meeting, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
8:00 AM-10:00 AM, Thursday, July 23rd
In the 1947-55 Faculty Cafeteria (Alderman Helen Shiller)

Meeting with community reps about the Wilson Yard TIF amendment


  1. How convenient for those of us who work a normally 9-5 schedule. I am sure that wasn't on purpose.

  2. Take a voluntary furlough day!

  3. How convenient for me, who doesn't work in an office.

    I'm there. Me, and my myriad of recording devices.

    Also, I love how you can find this posted on Truman's site (which I rarely visit), tucked away on the calendar ... blah blah blah, while there's absolutely NOTHING on Shiller's site regarding this.

    There's puh-lenty of info pertaining to the activities of Helen's pets, but nothing on her site regarding something which has recently appeared in the news and she knows darned well that it's a hot button issue.

    And here I thought she said she was going to be more transparent regarding TIFs.

    Not as though we needed yet another example of what an absolute piece of crap this woman's policies/practices are, but here we have it.

    We all owe a round of drinks to whomever came across that wonderful nugget of Helen's (and by extension, Helen's biggest pet, Truman College) sneaky little bit of shenanigans.

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting of her.

  4. UU, how exactly did you come across this meeting announcement? Is it true that it was buried on the Truman website and that is how it was found or did someone email it in?

    Given all of the difficulties surrounding the WY TIF, Alderman Shiller's TIF data dump and public statements about the need for transparency, I am shocked that an upcoming meeting would be handled like this. Please reassure me that a good faith effort was made by her office??

  5. Damn that's A-Rod money!

  6. Too bad but those who really care about the area and can attend lets show our views to this bad decision maker SHILLER lets go and let her know we care and will not let her do as she pleases......I WILL BE THERE!!!!!!

  7. TRUMAN SQUARE NEIGHBORS are having their annual Block Party this Saturday...I hope that they pass out fliers at the event and make sure all the folks know... I will do my best to advertise this as well..

  8. Sassy, someone saw it on the Truman College online calendar and emailed us, thinking it might be of interest to our readers.

    We thought it might be. :-)

  9. Thanks, caring neighbor. So, a good faith effort was not made to let the entire community know about this important meeting.

    C'mon, Helen. Stop making a mockery of your ideals. Some of us out here are still pulling for you...still holding out hope that things can turn around in Uptown and bridges can be crossed...that you will use your time as alderman to be a true leader...

    You're making it awfully, awfully hard to keep hope alive.

  10. I just sent this email to the Alderman - I suggest everyone take a few minutes to send one as well:

    Dear Alderman Shiller,

    A resident of the Ward (1407 West Argyle), I recently was made aware of this upcoming meeting:

    Wilson Yard meeting, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
    8:00 AM-10:00 AM, Thursday, July 23rd
    In the 1947-55 (Alderman Helen Shiller)
    Meeting with community reps about the Wilson Yard TIF amendment

    I urge you to change the date, or at least the time, to after 4PM as I (and most of the people I know) work during the day from 9AM to 5PM and cannot attend to give their input. Please take this into consideration when scheduling these meetings; holding a meeting like this during a time that virtually guarantees that most of us cannot attend and silences a large portion of the community.

    I will follow up with a phone call tomorrow.

    Thank you,

    Fred Mowery

  11. $20 bucks says that since the jig is up, and people know about the meeting, it will be rescheduled for another date and time, and that rescheduling will occur at the last possible moment.

    This is the modus operandi for the alderbeast.

    There is no way she's going into hostile territory on this subject.

    If, by some miracle, the meeting is not canceled, I'd suggest a nice little protest rally in front of Truman from 7:30 AM - 7:50 AM. Make signs and alert the media.

    20 minutes is just long enough for TV types to get the footage they need, and you downtown and Mich Ave 9-5ers can participate and still make it to work on time via the lovely Wilson L stop.

    Good luck to all.

  12. I know I am going to get a tremendous amount of sh*t for this comment- but I'll say it anyways...

    Interesting that this meeting is when the working part of the Ward is unable to meet. I would bet that Shiller rounds up a few of her "favorites" and strategically places them throughout the meeting.


  13. If you can't attend, what would you like asked?

    What would you like asked? A few people could twitter the meeting in real time. People could perhaps view this from work and twitter back questions.

    This should all be videotaped by multiple parties.

  14. "It has always been my philosophy that the best way to resolve conflicts and to 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."

    - Helen Schiller

    Thought you all might like a good chuckle before bedtime.

  15. I want to ask if the fish farm will be catch & release

  16. There are studies that document where residents of an area are going outside their neighborhood to spend their money and on what types of items they often buy. That information is used to ascertain what types of businesses to attract to come into the neighborhood.

    I have a hunch that a fish farm wouldn't be high on the list.

  17. Just got the e-mail from Shiller's office about upcoming events with no mention of this meeting. Shocking.

  18. Just got an email update from Ald. Shiller's office. Lots of great stuff ... if you want to hear about "The Muppets Take Manhattan" on Cricket Hill or about LV-2 parking during the concerts at Wrigley Field.

    Sorry, Alderman, I'd rather hear about how you want to spend $112M of my property tax money on insane projects. THAT's newsworthy.

    But I guess that's all a big ol' secret from us lil meaningless taxpayers.

    This bullshit is getting old, particularly from the "TIF Transparency" poster child.

  19. In all my years here, I've often noted that the only goods/services that I WOULDN'T need to leave the immediate area for are hair braiding and Thai food...
    Slight improvement over the last year, but I've never wished that for a fish farm in walking distance.

  20. Well, I did want to hear about the Muppets Take Manhattan on Cricket Hill. However, that $112 million was a close second. :P

  21. I tend to think that Shiller gets too much blame for the social ills in this community, but I am disgusted that there is nothing about this meeting on her website that I could find.

  22. Blown away that Muppets trump $112 million in taxpayer money in Shiller's email blast. It's like a publication from the Ministry of Truth in 1984.

    I wish I could be at the meeting on the 23rd. Many thanks in advance to anyone who is able to attend.

  23. How much you want to bet that it is either postponed or no one from her office shows?

  24. Just wait Kevin. Why don't you take a vacation day to attend this meeting and experience Helen's version of community input. The task force is already stacked to rubberstamp what she wants, a trick she learned from her master, Darth Vader Daley. When people start asking probing questions, it will turn into a committee assigned the task of communicating her already made decisions.

    If not enough of her troops can make the meeting, it will be canceled with almost no notice. This is one experienced alderperson I tell you.

  25. OK so I just called Shiller's because I was thinking about taking the morning off of work on the 23rd to talk about the real necessity of a fish farm in Uptown.

    I played the confusion card as to why it wasn't posted on Shiller's site, but yet was posted on Truman's site and wanted to know if the meeting was in fact happening.

    According to "Makayla" don't bother taking the morning off. It is a closed meeting (SHOCKER!).

    According to her, Shiller's office invited "representatives from the community" including the chamber of commerce, block clubs (she specifically mentioned Truman Neighbors), Uptown United, ONE, neighborhood organizations I hadn't heard of, and the city.

    She said that the information was posted on Shillers site, but when I asked her where it was located because I was on Shiller's site at the moment she couldn't tell me where to go and then said "well we must not have posted it yet, it would be on the front page" and "it would get posted next week sometime"... even though the meeting is scheduled for Thursday of next week.

  26. Oh, so then all of the block club presidents in the WY TIF (at least) were notified and invited, right? That is what Shiller's office is saying? I suppose it is ok to have a closed meeting of community leaders---general meetings can lose focus--- provided that all community leaders are properly notified and given ample time to send a prepared representative. I'd be interested to hear from the block club presidents themselves. Does this story hold water?

  27. I lived on Magnolia last year, and am now looking to buy a place in the area. However, the area directly around the Wilson Red Line station is not exactly "nighttime friendly".

    Even during the daytime I find myself rolling up my passenger side window when driving west on Montrose past Broadway so someone doesn't try to grab stuff out of my car while I wait for the light to change (this has been attempted twice now).

    If the Wilson Yard is indeed going to be all low to extremely-low subsidized housing, I'm most likely going to look somewhere off the Brown Line. There is already so much low income housing over by the Wilson Red Line, I can't imagine it is good for the neighborhood to bring in more.

    I'm going to go in to work a bit late that day to attend this meeting to see if Helen can address my concerns. See you all there?

  28. I am curious. Do people posting here feel that their views about WY TIF will be represented by the groups or block clubs mentions by Schulter Side of Dover?

  29. A closed meeting? Alert the press.

    Time to alert the press. The TIF Transparency Ordinance is just a gesture. They are actually meeting in a taxpayer funded building and telling the public it is "closed".

    I no longer live in the 46th Ward so I don't have any stake in the events there, but if you do live there I would go to the meeting and seek access. Organize and show up as a whole.

  30. So it is -- off the calendar? How did we get the information that it is closed? This could very well be a violation of the Open Meetings Act, depending upon who is involved.

    The Illinois Atty General has a very handy guide to the Open Meetings Act here: This is something you do not need an attorney for necessarily. It's written for use by anyone.

  31. Would not the Sunshine Law be in effect, that all meetings involving Public Funding are to be open to the public... is their an attorney in the house that can address that?

  32. Sunshine Law in Illinois:

    Open Meetings Laws in Illinois
    Note: This page covers information specific to Illinois. For general information concerning access to government meetings see the Access to Government Meetings section of this guide.

    The Illinois Open Meetings Act provides the public with a right of access to the meetings of a large number of government bodies at the state and local level. The law also entitles you to notice of these meetings and gives you the ability to inspect meeting minutes. For more detailed information about Illinois open meetings law, please consult the Illinois Attorney General's Guide to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Open Government Guide: Illinois.

    What Meetings are Covered?
    What Government Bodies Are Covered?

    The Illinois Open Meetings Act covers all "public bodies." The term "public body" includes

    all legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the State, counties, townships, cities, villages, incorporated towns, school districts and all other municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees or commissions of this State, and any subsidiary bodies of any of the foregoing including but not limited to committees and subcommittees which are supported in whole or in part by tax revenue, or which expend tax revenue, except the General Assembly and committees or commissions thereof.


  33. Good question Kevin... I know there are a lot of readers of this site that surely have to be part of the organizations she listed.... has anyone actually gotten invited?

    I have a feeling, after getting transfered to the lady I finally spoke to, she was rambling anyways.

  34. I am a director on a block club that was invited to this meeting. An email was sent to our general email address on July 8 from the 46th ward offices. It stated that "a representative" of the organization was allowed to RSVP. I have had conflicting thoughts on whether or not I should attend the meeting. On the one hand, this is an opportunity to make our voices heard on a very controversial and important topic. On the other hand, I don't feel that I can properly represent my block club area when only 8-10 people show up for our general meetings. To date, we have tried to avoid taking political stances and we've instead focused on positive activities and events to encourage community. All that being said, I would most likely attend, if for no other reason than to hear the information that the Alderman has to present.

  35. "All that being said, I would most likely attend, if for no other reason than to hear the information that the Alderman has to present."

    This meeting will be moved to another location. It is imperative to attend it wherever it is held. The conditions for the meeting are probably going to be laid out at the meeting.

    Shiller will use this meeting as her "community outreach" excuse. It's campaign fodder.

    Make sure someone from your block club attends. Two people are better. Shiller's staff will likely tell you only one representative is welcome. You will want to note all of the groups and the representatives that are there on their behalf.

  36. Why don't we all just show up anyway? The meeting should be open.

  37. Chas, could you keep us posted on the time and whereabouts of any change in the meeting? I appreciate you commenting here about your invitation.

  38. Open Meeting?


    ...nor does the Act apply to meetings of an informal advisory committee appointed by, or made up
    of, public officials, but not appointed by or accountable to a public body. This principle was set
    forth in Pope v. Parkinson, 48 Ill. App. 3d 797, 799 (Fourth Dist. 1977), a case involving the
    University of Illinois Assembly Hall Advisory Committee appointed by the university chancellor.
    In holding that the committee was not a "subsidiary body" of a public body for purposes of the
    Act, the court stated: "the Committee is an internal committee within the University whose sole
    function is to advise University administrators on matters pertaining to internal university
    affairs," and "is not formally appointed by, or accountable to, any public body of the State."


    You're falling right into the trap.

  39. Why do they need to build a fish farm? Why not just use the Truman swimming pool? They could teach fish farming, hydroponic gardening and not have to spend the big bucks! But fish farming and hydroponic gardening aren't what this doubling of the TIF is for, is it? It's because her other WY projects are over budget -- the Truman parking lot and the Shiller Memorial Apartment Complex. And because she wants to build more low, low income housing at the Maryville site. Just remember, everything she says is suspect until proven otherwise!

  40. I am going, I don't care if its close... I will just claim ignorance... it seems to work for all of them.