Monday, August 24, 2009

CBS2: "Uptown Uproar Over Crime Still Dogs Ald. Shiller"

Here's a link to the CBS2 story:
Uptown Uproar Over Crime Still Dogs Ald. Shiller

And to the video.

If you want to thank Kristyn Hartman for her Uptown reports, click here and scroll down to her name.

Update: Here's the UU story about when Stef McNeely went to Ald. Shiller's office last summer, as mentioned on the video: "This Isn't Your College Campus, Sweetie"

Update 2: Rob Davis was interviewed in the CBS piece. Here's a blog report on his closing of Unique So Chique. "Uptown Violence Claims Another Victim and This Time It's a Business"


  1. Suggestion. View the video on the CBS 2 news web site. Multiple times if possible. Hopefully if it gets a bunch of hits, it will stay at the top of the 'most popular' stories list and encourage CBS 2 to keep covering the Uptown issues.

  2. Since our beloved Aldercritter Shiller is apparently in hiding I have brought in some experts to find her.

  3. With all this press about crime in Uptown, businesses leaving, and a crappy Alderman (to say the least), am I making a mistake moving to uptown? I just bought a condo here and will close next month.

  4. Perhaps only the Zombies can sing about what truly ails Uptown.

    Well, no one told me about her
    The way she lied
    Well, no one told me about her
    How many people cried

    But it's too late to say you're sorry
    How would I know, why should I care?
    Please don't bother trying to find her
    She's not there

  5. Wade,

    join the party.

    It's a going away party. Guess who's going?

    Uptown, with all its problems, is a great neighborhood.

    We got the lake.

    We got the EL and the stinky stations to go along with it.

    We have an aroused citizenry. No, I don't mean THAT way.

    It is highly unlikely Shiller will be alderman in two years time.

    Whoever replaces her will be an improvement.

    In the meantime enjoy the drama. This is only going to get better.

    Shiller is like Blago only not quite as feminine.

    Think about it. Narcissistic personality disorder. Refusal to see reality. Both dress badly.

    OH yeah, like MiloRod Shiller is not long for public office.

  6. Wade - I honestly love Uptown. It's a great neighborhood. Alderman Shiller is very focused on low income housing and social services, so she hasn't been very responsive to the other needs of the community. I hope all this negative publicity will change that.

    Here's the deal for me...pros of Uptown: on the red line, blocks from the lakefront, dog park, dog beach, tons of great places to hang out (restaurants, bars, etc.), venues with occasional good shows (Riv and Aragon) and the cons of Uptown: unresponsive Alderman, crime and homeless.

    Honestly, the pros outweigh the cons for me, but you just have to have some street smarts - don't go wandering around at 3 AM alone, don't leave valuables out in the open in your car, etc. You should get involved with CAPS if you'd like to learn more about how to protect yourself and what to do in a dangerous situation. The most crime that I have seen has been prostitution and, I consider myself fortune to not get caught up in any violent crime.

    Wade, I can't tell you if it's the right decision for you, but I can say from my experience, I don't regret moving here. Weigh out the options and figure out what's best for you and your loved ones.

    Best of luck.

  7. Wade, can you give an intersection that your new place is near? MANY of Uptown's blocks are just fine.

  8. Wade,

    Even with it's problems, many of us still like the neighborhood and the great potential it has. I've been here for 10 years and have no intention of moving. This neighborhood has many concerned citizens who are working hard to overcome our major obstacle. Hopefully you will still move here and see the good things that we also see. And don't forget to vote in the 2011 aldermanic election. That's key.

  9. Irish Pirate...This one's for you...

    Abba knows what truly ails Uptown

    "I've been cheated by you since I don't know when
    So I made up my mind, it must come to an end"

  10. "Here's the deal for me...pros of Uptown: on the red line, blocks from the lakefront, dog park, dog beach, tons of great places to hang out (restaurants, bars, etc.), venues with occasional good shows (Riv and Aragon) and the cons of Uptown: unresponsive Alderman, crime and homeless."

    I agree with this statement almost 100%. I agree with the pro's on this list, and will add fantastic bus line access for getting downtown, and fantastic access to the lakefront bike path. But the con's on my list lately have become greater concerns for me on my street. They are almost outweighing the pro's of living here. I live near Hazel and Wilson and the gang violence and fighting has been so bad on my corner that I don't really feel totally safe anymore; before I did, but not lately. The gun violence has been so sporadic lately, that I honestly don't know when it is going to happen again. Would I buy on my street, no. Would I buy 2 streets down from me, most likely. There are streets in uptown that feel like a whole different world. The access to the cities amenities can't be beat from here; but where you are going to live and how much you can stand a negligent alderman are major factors to consider before closing.

  11. Nice work, Zesty. Do you think Helen filmed that video while she has been on her imaginary vacation from her constituents and the press?

  12. Zesty,

    I've never seen "Mommy Dearest", but the "not my first time at the rodeo" line is classic.

    Alderman Dearest?

  13. Wade, it is block-to-block in this neighborhood. Some blocks are some of the best values on the north side of the city, some blocks are nasty. I would definitely ask a local what they think of your block, and also walk around your neighborhood at night a few times before you close.

  14. ...and Maybell knows a thing or two about life that Helen doesn't appear to understand...yet...

    You Can't Stop The Beat

    "You can't stop today
    As it comes speeding down the track.

    Child, yesterday is hist'ry
    And it's never coming back."

  15. Wade - I bought in Uptown a year ago and I love it. Huge place, great access, and, best of all, neighbors who give a damn!

  16. best cut that out quick. I'm the self-appointed rainbow glitter queen of Uptown Update...don't be tryin to steal my sash and crown!

  17. Good pros and cons listed by all, regarding Wade's question about buying in Uptown.
    As someone noted, it really varies block by block.

    I've been on the somewhat cloistered Montrose-to-Sunnyside part of Malden for over a decade.
    I say 'somewhat cloistered' because on Montrose, you've got the car window smash ins. And on Sunnyside.....well it's often a white t-shirt Tupperware party. (and there were the late night
    'pizza delivery' robberies earlier this year)

    Am I glad I moved here? YES.
    Am I satisfied with the elected official up here? NO

  18. You two need to stop fighting. There are plenty of sashes and gowns to go around Uptown. Hell, someone should open a sash and gown store.

    Go to 1:10 and you will understand the zen of "1941".

    What the hell do you people
    think you're doing ?

    You're acting like a bunch
    of Shiller stooges !

    You wanna put Shiller
    in the Mayor's Office ?

    The gangbangers are crawling like
    a slime all over Uptown!

    I can't believe it !
    Uptowners fighting Uptowners !
    We got the lousy Shilleristas to fight !

  19. Can Daley do anything? is there any way he or the rest of the council can get her to shape up or ship out?

  20. I am going to send a certified letter to Alderman Shiller asking for her resignation and to Mayor Richard Daley plus CC the International Olympic committee.

    How can Chicago handle the Olympics when one elected Alderman will not listen to all here constituents.

  21. Anyone else get a chill when the Mayor was saying "Aldermen need to listen to their constituents"? I felt like I was watching Godfather IV. Not defending one of his aldercritters? Lethal.

  22. is there any way he or the rest of the council can get her to shape up or ship out?

    The Mayor and Shiller's fellow council members can urge her to at the very least call her constituents back.

    There's no way an elected official can last this long while completely ignoring a huge block of their own constituents. CBS 2 is just shedding some sunlight on this major Shiller failure to communicate.

    Oh and that little Maryville whopper that it's not going to be in the TIF when now the disclosure says it is. A lie? You betcha.

  23. Where is Unique so Chique going??!!

  24. is she on record saying that Maryville wasn't included in the TIF?

  25. Wade,

    Buyers remorse is an inevitable part of making such a large financial commitment. I think everyone here has given you fair advice. This is an energized urban community filled with an exceptional percentage of fascinating people. Other neighborhoods might also have people doing interesting things but because of the dynamics here, people get to know each other.

    I do think the neighborhood is more difficult for people with children because of the schools and the street safety issue and I don't understand why it has to be that way because all young families (no matter what their income) share the same concerns. However, I know many people who have made a commitment to be here and are either able to afford private schools or have gotten lucky with the CPS magnet school process. If TIF money had gone to a strategy that increased the walkability of this neighborhood and improved the schools I think that the economic development would have followed. But, no one asked me... :)

    No matter what though, you are coming in at the beginning of a new era. Despite the recent news, I suspect you will end up being happier here than some people who ended up moving after the last election.

    Regarding the Mayor Daley thing, I have two words "aldermanic privilege." He doesn't butt in because that is how he keeps a compliant council.

  26. is she on record saying that Maryville wasn't included in the TIF?

    She said it during the WYTIF amendment meeting.

    She did mention that there might be a new TIF just for Maryville, and that brought about a reaction.

    Of course, if anyone calls her out, she'll say that's a lie.

    He doesn't butt in because that is how he keeps a compliant council.

    Unless, of course, a particular alderman makes tough times for him or any of his pet projects.

    He's already, calmly, butted in by stating that elected officials should listen to their constituents; but, I'm not sure if that was a sound bite to placate the masses, or, as IP has alluded to, there are backroom conniptions being thrown.

    We'll see.

    Remember: September 8, City Council. 1:00pm.

    Plan on being there.

  27. Uh oh...I know I'm getting out of control when IP is the voice of reason. Well, in his own special way, of course...

    I will gladly share my tiara. :)

  28.'s the story with Unique So Chique:

  29. "CC the International Olympic committee."

    Ugh. So sick of the "Olympics" BS. Why would you CC the Olympic committe to make the City look bad? You are embarrassing yourself and the City.

    New Rule: (Just my own, not UU's obviously) Anybody that brings up the "The mayor's too busy trying to get his Olympics to worry about [Insert crybaby rant of the day here]" automatically looses the arguement. It is like the Hitler rule. The olympics are going to be a great thing, and the taxpayers are not going to take a bath. Anything contrary is simply a political shot at the mayor.


    Uptown rocks. The negative press, as I tried pointing out before, can tend to have the effect on people like you that Uptown is a war zone. It is not a war zone.

  30. Perhaps when emailing Channel 2, ask them to ask questions to her office as well regarding the WY TIF expansion...and why there was a non-binding resolution voted on in the last election in cherry picked portions of the TIF, but the vote was not offered to ALL the areas paying the TIF tax...only those areas thought to be favorable..

    i.e. I know a condo building in the TIF zone with over 100 registered voters that was specifically excluded from the opportunity to vote on this...and I am sure there were many many others..

  31. If Shiller won't communicate with anyone in the ward (except a select few), but she is going to portray herself otherwise in front of City Council to get this amendment passed.

    They need to be reminded of this video on September 8th.

  32. Ms. Hartman is very responsive and interested in Uptown. If anyone has information of issues within Uptown that relate to Shiller's unwillingness to connect with the residents, perhaps CBS will run another story. Letters, e-mails, photos, etc would be very helpful to support any claims.

  33. I'm glad to hear, even in the midst of all the bad press lately, that most people still have good things to say about this area. We just closed on a condo in Buena Park and will be uptown residents in about a week.

  34. Not to derail the conversation, but...


    How could you possibly state so unequivocally that "The olympics are going to be a great thing, and the taxpayers are not going to take a bath."? I believe that item is still open to debate. I suppose one could make the argument that 500MM, 1 -2B isn't that much for the bragging rights of an olympics, but I wouldn't. That said, I agree the "I'm gonna tell the olymipic committe" is pretty week.

  35. Sassy,

    You've hit on a very key point. The Windy City Eaglette and I will be leaving Uptown in the coming year because our daughter is getting toward school age. She's currently in the Montessori school on Irving and Marine(and we love it), but those days are coming to a close soon enough, so its time to move on. Sadly there are no decent schools in the ward, so its time to move elsewhere.

    And you're also right about the safety issue. We used to enjoy playing at Broncho Billy, but the gang bangers did a nice job destroying that park, so we go elsewhere. Hopefully we'll get to see a rebuilt Chase park before we move on.

    Personally, I think this is part of Shiller's plan. If you make Uptown a great place for the WCE family, then we might stay forever, and you can't have that happening. We loved the neighborhood when we were a young married couple. We walked to Cubs games, the beach and all manner of restaurants and shows. But with the kids, those things aren't as important as safety and schools. The lack of those two items is going to drive our decision to move on.

  36. Several people took video of the Wilson Yard TIF amendment meeting. Does anyone have her on video stating that Maryville would not be included in the TIF amendment? That would be great to have that clip on video and put it out there to prove our stance.

  37. The olympics are going to be a great thing, and the taxpayers are not going to take a bath. Anything contrary is simply a political shot at the mayor.

    1- There is no guarantee that the Olympics will be the boon Daley advertises them to be. And, if he's wrong - even if it's not fault of his own, the tax payers will get routed.

    2 - 2016 is a little ways off. We have immediate needs which are being put aside in lieu of Olympic preparation:

    - schools
    - violence
    - police contracts
    - city services

    I would fully support the Olympics if Daley had his (and our) house in order.

    He does not.

    Daily, kids are being gunned down in the streets - yet, no police contract for 2+ years.

    Daily, furloughs and lay-offs are being thrown around as solutions to the budget problems (which are created in no small part by the abuse of TIFs - which is what Shiller should be fighting in her role as a legislator - but, alas, she has her own pet projects to complete, so ... well, we've covered that).

    Daily, the people of Chicago are threatened with tax increases.

    Daily, the streets of Chicago represent the streets of Kabul.

    The reason Daley is on the receiving end of political shots is due to the fact that he's put himself in front of the cross-hairs - which is where a mayor belongs.

    Pay attention to his address tonight on the south side where he'll throw out a half-hearted mea culpa regarding the parking meter lease - listen to him discuss the immense budgetary shortfalls in the city, and then come back and tell me that he's the right man to lead the Olympic charge.

    The role of the constituency is to hold to the fire the feet of those we've elected to serve us.

    The bigger the fire, the closer the feet should be held.

  38. Schiller grew up I believe in Westchester county, New York...this is one of the wealthiest communities in AMERICA.

    She is not from Chicago.

    I think she shouldn't avoid responding to anyone.

    I also hope that these gang fights don't get blown out of proportion by people who don't like Schiller.

    I don't know how I feel about her.

  39. I also hope that these gang fights don't get blown out of proportion by people who don't like Schiller.

    Too bad for her if that does happen.

    She was given every opportunity to control this message, but opt'd to relinquish that control in favor of running, hiding and making horrifically laughable excuses.

    If things get blown out of proportion (which really isn't necessary, since her recent tenure needs no embellishment to be deemed unsatisfactory), she can only look to the mirror to wonder where it all went wrong.

  40. Thanks, marathon man. Kewanee, huh? I don't know the place. Is it like Geneva with a lot of B & Bs? Maybe it will be a good place for a weekend getaway.

    What sad news. We need more people, not less, willing to open up businesses and making a long term commitment to this community. It is hard to see someone who had those intentions get burned out so fast.

  41. is she on record saying that Maryville wasn't included in the TIF?

    The Maryville property on the NW corner of Montrose and Clarendon has always been part of the current WY TIF. I think the questions were whether she was going to use some of the new $54 mil. for the Maryville development and/or create a new TIF just for Maryville and port some of the $54 mil into that new TIF which could include the parcel of land across the street on the NE corner of Montrose and Clarendon which is not currently in the TIF.

    I believe she said she would not port money into a new Maryville TIF but might use money for Clarendon Park. From what I understand she could also:
    1. Use some of the 54 mil for the parcel on the NW corner
    2. Create a new TIF for the NE corner that could include all the property south of Montrose and also along the Lake – lots of property tax revenues could be diverted for yet another boondoggle.

  42. We should show up with a signed petition saying we want to have a meeting with Shiller and she won't so we don't support the TIF Amendment.

  43. Thanks for all the kind words, I really appreciate it. It's probably is just the shock of buying my first home. I know that we made the right decision. It's a beautiful vintage condo.

    quietlyconscious: My wife & I bought a condo on Racine on the corner of Montrose.

    MarathonMan1977: I plan on attending CAPS meetins and joining my block club. We really want to be active in our community.

  44. Wade - Glad to have you here. You made the right choice! Uptown is the most purely urban neighborhood in the city. There are benefits and drawbacks to having that distinction, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Neither would any of the people who were out protesting in front of the alderman's office recently, which is what makes her staff's and supporters' charge that we are "racists" and "Nazis" ring so hollow. We are people who love our community for its diversity of ages, incomes, and races, for its amazing restaurants and nightlife, for its access to the lake and public transportation, and for its rich and still-unfolding history. There is no place in Chicago so full of poetry. Anyone who loves the city, and has a sense of romance and adventure, will find it to be the perfect neighborhood.

  45. Sassy,

    Kewanee is about 2.5 hours west of Chicago (Amtrak does stop right there), it's a rural town of about 15,000 and is about 30-45 minutes from both the Quad Cities and Peoria. One of my best friends from college still lives there, and it's a nice town. Every Labor Day they have "Hog Days" as it claims to be the Hog Capital of the World. Not far away is Bishop Hill (a preserved Swedish utopian community). Unique So Chique would be a nice addition to Kewanee.

  46. "There is no place in Chicago so full of poetry. Anyone who loves the city, and has a sense of romance and adventure, will find it to be the perfect neighborhood."

    This is the exact feeling I felt the first time I explored uptown. I've only lived in Chicago for a little over three years ago. I've lived in Wicker Park and the Ukrainian Village the whole time. I'm orginally from New Orleans, and in a very strange sense, uptown reminds me of home. It's a good feeling.

    I know it's important to be informed about what is going on in your neighborhood, but sometimes the media coverage can freak you out just a little.

    I am really excited to be joining Uptown. October can't come soon enough!

  47. Wade, you did good! The stretch of Racine by Montrose is one of the nicer spots in Uptown.

  48. your comment "We need more people, not less, willing to open up businesses and making a long term commitment to this community. It is hard to see someone who had those intentions get burned out so fast."

    I do hope you are not referencing Unique So Chique is this thought (burning out *FAST*??).

    The owner (Rob) was the very first business (along with Starbucks) to invest in the Wilson strip of Uptown --*TEN* years ago. He survived the alderman's staff picketing his business when he opened; he survived their refusal to grant him a permit for an outdoor patio; he survived years of piles of trash, pissing and defacation on the sidewalks and walls of his business; he hung on during an economic downturn....but the gang violence (including shootings on Wilson in broad daylight directly across the street from his business) and the alderman's office's demonization of any sort of gentrification or business development in the ward were final turning points in his journey here ... or at least in the 46th ward!

    If it were me, I would have moved on years ago ... why put up with all this crap here in the 46th ward when owning a small business is hard enough to manage in a better neighborhood?

    Laura mentioned an email from Rob (the owner) in her story. I've copied and pasted it in its entirity below.

    Sassy, you should go in and "thank" Rob for all he has done in bringing businesses to Wilson Ave. I daresay that without him, Magnolia Cafe wouldn't have opened on the strip next door to his original business, Unique Findings. There have been many businesses that have come and gone already since he opened (Curves, Uptown Sweets) and he continued to hang on!

    Email message from Unique So Chique:
    After almost 10 years on Wilson Avenue, Unique So Chique is leaving the Uptown community. We want to thank all of our customers who have supported us for so many years. In 2000, along with Starbucks, we attempted to pioneer the Wilson strip in Uptown, in hopes that our community would develop into a thriving business district with its own distinct identity. It was a challenge, especially in having to deal with alderman Shiller’s office, whose staff initially picketed the opening of Unique Findings (the original name and business opened in 2000), as well as who picketed Starbucks (and Borders a few years later). The alderman’s office also denied us permits to have an outdoor patio or hold an Uptown street festival which was to be sponsored by the Wilson Area Merchant’s Association (WAMA).

    As many have heard in recent news reports, Uptown is suffering from yet another year of increased gang activity and violent crime in the blocks surrounding our business. This affects businesses that depend on customers not only from outside our neighborhood, but also those who live in the community and are afraid to walk our streets. This is magnified further by this economic downturn. We are sad to go but all good things must come to an end … and begin again!!

    In preparation for this move, all retail items are dramatically reduced. We are offering 50% off all retail. We will be selling many fixtures as well. All items must be sold by September 1st, 2009.

    We are opening a new location in Kewanee, IL, so please continue to stay a fan of Unique So Chique on Facebook, and we will send you details about the grand opening in a few months!! We also hope to have a new business endeavor in Uptown, just not in the 46th ward…stay tuned for details. So when you come to shop, please provide us with your email address, so you can keep up to date with our new business ventures.

    Robert Davis
    Owner, Unique So Chique Boutique and Tea & Chocolate Room

  49. It was a challenge, especially in having to deal with alderman Shiller’s office, whose staff initially picketed the opening of Unique Findings (the original name and business opened in 2000), as well as who picketed Starbucks (and Borders a few years later).

    Spin Cycle: Your tax dollars paid to picket a merchant taking a chance on the community.

    This is a travesty. It is outrageous that your elected representatives would organize against their own constituents.

  50. Hi, tjm.

    I was referencing Unique so Chique in the "burning out fast" comment. However, I did not mean to slight Rob or his business at all. You are quite right in pointing out that the things he dealt with might have made other people close much sooner. I guess "fast" is a relative term.

    All I really wanted to say is that we need more people opening up businesses here and not less and it is sad to see someone who had intended to make a commitment to the community leave. I do understand, though.

    Sorry if my comments offended anyone. That was not my intention.

  51. I've heard Heir Alderbeast lives in Evanston- anyone know if this is true? And if it is true can she legally be the 46th Ward Alderbeast?

  52. Ha! Ms. Hartman replied to my fan e-mail within hours, but I haven't received a reply to my e-mail to Shiller from 2 weeks ago!

  53. In the interest of showing all sides of a story - does anyone know WHY the alderperson/staff were picketing these businesses?

  54. In the case of Starbuck's (which was, at least originally, one of the Magic Johnson funded stores, rather than a Starbuck's corporate store), the Ward office intervened to get management commitment to hire from the neighborhood.

    I was told this directly by Maggie Marystone when she was officially on the Ward staff. She didn't say anything about a picket, though.

    I also don't know the level of pressure that was exerted by the office either. Given the philosophy of Johnson's urban initiatives at the time, I don't think that it was an unreasonable request.

    Assuming that there were no implicit threats (inspections, licensing issues, etc), of course.

  55. The details are fuzzy, but I recall Unique's windows being covered with etching overnight and having to be replaced for beaucoup bucks. I also remember that the Starbucks' was vandalized quite a bit when it first opened, most notably by someone putting Krazy Glue in the front door lock a few times.

  56. The gist of the picketing was that there should be more subsidized housing ... not businesses on Wilson. The picketing was led by (or at least particpated in by) Deniece Davis, alderman Shiller's chief of staff.

    What a rude awakening to a young man who just sunk his lifesavings into starting a small business in a neighborhood sorely lacking in retail, only to be met with a chanting crowd outside his door, and only to learn that the alderman's office staff was involved in the chanting protest group.

    A REAL community-focused alderman would have been there with a welcome basket and a big smile and "thank you" for taking a risky investment in a neighborhood with no established businesses.