Monday, August 31, 2009

Goal: 3,000+ Signatures In A Week

From the folks at Fix Wilson Yard and Uptown Neighborhood Council:

Citizens of the 46 Ward and Cook County keep pushing to be heard on controversial Wilson Yard TIF plan. They are poised for the next round when Ald. Shiller goes before the CDC next Tuesday asking for another $54 million of taxpayers' money.

A new Wilson Yard TIF petition is up and ready for signing. The petition has 2 goals:
  • Deny the $54 million TIF monies
  • Retire the Wilson Yard TIF in 2011
Our goal is to collect thousands of signatures and a strong show of support for the meeting on Tuesday, September 8. You can help make that happen now. Please sign the petition now. Please forward the petition to your neighbors and ask them to sign and forward it on.

We want a government that listens and responds to its citizens!


  1. My only regret is that I have but one signature to give for my country!

  2. You may have one signature to give, but such limits do not prohibit you from telling the WYTIF story to your fellow residents of Cook County, the City of Chicago, and the 46th Ward to urge them to adjoin your vote with a supporting vote.

    Spread the word.

  3. I emailed the petition link to a slew of friends, neighbors and others.

    Over the last 20 minutes, I've seen the signature list go from 15 to 95.

    Aye, per Brennan, spread the word.

    Our voices only count if we use them.

  4. Oh, and let's not forget that Helen doesn't live in the WYTIF district.

    Nor do a slew of those who are most vocal about their support for the amendment.

  5. Signed, sealed and delivered. I am telling as many as I can to sign it now..............

  6. By 2:00pm, there are a shade over 500 signatures.

    1,000 by midnight would be sweet.

    And, for those keeping score - there are signs of diversity in the signatures, and interesting comments.

  7. The petition introduction says that it's limited to rsidents of the 46th Ward only. Is that correct? We're affected via being part of the larger tax pool, but I wouldn't want to contribute to anything that might lead to accusations of inflated numbers.

  8. I live in the TIF district.. and unlike Helen, who limited debate to only those living in the TIF district, this affects everyone, in my humble opinion, that lives in Chicago, because the money taken away for a TIF causes everyone elses taxes in the city to go up to cover it.... just my thoughts...

  9. The petition states that it was created by citizens of the 46th ward and Chicago. The introduction to the petition references the citizens and taxpayers of Cook County, so it appears to be pretty broad.

  10. Hal,

    We, the citizens and taxpayers of Cook County, strongly believe the current Wilson Yard TIF amendment requesting an additional $54 million does not serve our best interests and should be declined.

    I hear ya' man, but the wording of the petition appears to open it up to any/everyone.

    Which only seems fair since sucking more money into this TIF will pull money away from the city's general revenue.

  11. Got it - I read just the first part of "Eligible signatories: Residents of the 46 ward and Chicago" and missed "...of Chicago."

  12. We need a movie to go along with this.

    "Upglorious Basterds".

    "Each and every Uptowner owes me one hundred petition signatures... and I want my signatures!"

    I of course will be playing the role Bradd NoPity.

    Being that I haven't seen the movie it is based on I still haven't figured out my love interest though. There might have to be multiple love interests.

    I do know that the movie will feature some unnecessary sex scenes and Mayor Daley's head exploding when Chicago doesn't get the Olympics.

    Let me make something clear. There will be no sex scenes involving Mayor Daley. This is not a comedy.

  13. Good response to the petition so far!
    This will be interesting...
    Funny, I hear how in California, the state is going bankrupt because ballot initiatives are voted for...but no one wants to be taxed to pay for it. In Chicago, elected officials create the City's agenda. Taxpayers get limited input and we are forced to pay. Officials vote themselves pay increases...we pay for it.
    Great system...huh...

  14. Hal:

    As Hugh has already mentioned, the courts have ruled that anyone living in Cook County has standing.

    TIF money is skimmed from the county and redirected to the city, so the petition is actually narrower than it should be.

  15. Anyone notice the number of "friends" on the Uptown Update Facebook?

    Mere weeks ago it was about 500. It was about 700 three days ago. Now it's over 800.

    Now the smell of fear coming from Shiller is easier to understand.

    The Folk Song Army.

    Now this may be the type of song we need.

  16. "...the TIF district, this affects everyone ... that lives in Chicago, because the money taken away for a TIF causes everyone elses taxes in the city to go up to cover it..."

    it's up to the authors who they want signatures from, but just sos ya know...

    A Chicago TIF also deprives the County & forest preserve districts of property tax revenue, and so causes everyone elses taxes in COOK COUNTY to go up.

    Everyone in Cook County has standing to speak out on every TIF in the County.

    Recall the County theoretically sends a rep to a Joint Review Board (JRB) that carefully reviews each Chicago TIF.

  17. sometimes I think we might make more progress on TIF reform in Chicago were we to talk to the secessionists in NW Cook than talking to our own neighbors in Chicago

  18. Does it matter if we live outside of the TIF area? I'm an Uptown resident but am thankfully just outside of the 46th ward.

  19. My Facebook page is lighting many people have linked their status to the petition. That's a great way to get the word out, beyond the friends and neighbors I passed the word to. Everyone, keep up the good work!

  20. Does it matter if we live outside of the TIF area?

    No. It does not. As Hugh explains, the TIF takes property tax revenue from the county which in turns causes your taxes to go up if the TIF funds are not allocated prudently.

    You have standing in court to sue. So you have standing to sign the petition.

  21. Even though I live closer to Andersonville, the death grip of the 46th ward goes over my block. Petition signed.

  22. Based on the number of petitions that have been signed already, I think Helen will find herself "digitally challenged" ...

    Online petitions

    She's outnumbered, that's for sure!

  23. I have signed and passed the info on to people I know. Since others outside of the 46th ward can sign the petition has it been forwarded to other blog and community sites sot they can get the word out as well and get more people to sign and send a strong message?

  24. Helen......hello (is this thing on?)

    I hope your paying attention. I know your cronies are watching the count on the petition.

    I hope this is viewed as a sign to come should you decide to run for office again.

    Lets also hope Mayor Daley notices as well.

  25. I'd imagine there are several parties interested in those numbers - especially as they teeter on the brink of 1,000 in less than 24 hours.

    Another number I'm sure is garnering attention is the UU hit counter as it bubbles up to 2,000,000.

  26. Keep up the pressure,,, add links to sites like Yelp, Lakeview 911, ask Edgewater Crime Blotter, etc.... this effects EVERY citizen in Chicago... lets keep the momentum going!

  27. At 8:40a: 1050 signatures.

    .. oops, make that 1051.

    Sorry, 1052.

    Hey, Helen ... can you hear us, now?

    1053, 1054, 1055, 1056, 1057 ...

  28. I posted the petition on Yelp. Picked up a few signatures. I updated it last night during an insomniac break.

  29. I thought I would share with the rest of my neighbors on the uptown update an open letter to Alderman Shiller that I emailed to her. I was walking past the Wilson Yard development and regarded the exterior design choices and thought of the following: (abriged)

    Dear Alderman Shiller,

    I was wondering if the 46th Ward or Holsten Construction company will be hosting an open-house for the public once construction is completed on the Wilson Yard development? I am asking because I, as a property owner, am really interested in seeing what interesting architectural and design touches are being used for the development, given the fact that this government housing project’s cost per unit are running higher than the market value for my 3-bedroom home that was designed by world-renowned Chicago architects.

    I am imagining imported bamboo floors from Brazil, maybe bathroom hardware from Restoration Hardware or Community Home Supply, inlaid floors, granite or Corian countertops, remote-controlled blinds…I mean, at that rate ($400,000 PLUS for each unit), I can imagine the luxury that is being afforded to those who have no means of supporting themselves! And I, the taxpayer (AKA “the client”), would love to see Holsten’s accounting and how much he is charging me, the client, for what can only be top of the line furnishings in these units. I would really love to be inspired by what I am expecting to be top-notch craftsmanship so that I can:
    1. work harder to make more money so I can—
    2. pay more taxes for more of this housing that I will never benefit from so that--
    3. with whatever I have leftover, I can renovate my home so that it can be up to Wilson Yard Standards!

    Given the fact that the exterior architectural aesthetic is clearly “Cabrini Chic”, I am really excited to see what gems lie in the interior spaces.

    .... Please in an effort to reach out to your constituents, I suggest you publish the invoices from Holsten Construction company on the ward website, so that perhaps we can see exactly what is being spent. Remember the Pentagon charging the taxpayers $500 for a hammer??

    In the past, I have been very pleased with the responsiveness of your office regarding minor ward business, such as alley maintenance, street cleaning…so I would be more than pleased with the same level of attention to this inquiry.


  30. So, 10:10am and 1144 (1145 - 1 for a spambot).


    I've also been eyeballin' the names, and I'm seeing that some 46th and 48th ward business types are getting on board.

    Also encouraging.

    Wait ... 1148

  31. I don't think signature 1112 is gonna fly.

  32. I don't think signature 1112 is gonna fly.

    There are others, of course.

    The paranoid in me would think that it's more political chafe being tossed out from nefarious sources to dilute the message.

    But, that's just paranoia, I know.

    It's not like Helen's supporters would ever try to pervert a political message.

    Would they?

  33. Great news!
    Petitions Online (the host for the petition) has listed the Wilson Yard petition at #2 in their list of most active top 10 petitions.

  34. Signature 1112 is a spam message. There are several of those in the list already.

  35. A link to the petition is up on our site as well.

  36. Just a picky comment...I noticed inconsistencies in the brickwork on the Broadway facade of the Wilson Yard building. 2 areas where they just ran out of white stone were simply bricked in??? A simple aesthetic oooops...but if they cut corners on the facade, what else are they skimping on???

  37. moderator, please bring this story back to the top it's Wed and we only have 1,700 signatures.

    people, please pass along to anyone you know in the effects any cook county taxpayer

  38. If you look at the top of the page, it's at the top of the sidebar and will stay there until the 8th.

  39. I'm look at buying a condo on Racine and Montrose. At first I was concerned about moving so far north, but the new condos being built around the new Target put my mind at ease.
    Now I'm reading that these are actually part of something called the Wilson Yard Projects?
    I don't want to live near public housing. My GF and I were meeting with our realtor this weekend to submit an offer, now I don't think we will, unless there is a chance this won't be public housing.

    Could this project be changed into condos? Is there a way to force the developer to sell off the units as condos instead of renting them?

  40. David you're so wrong...ask Helen or Peter. The concentrated poverty of Wilson Yard will actually increase your property value.

  41. David,

    You really need a new realtor if you're being told that project is going to be condos.

    It is, in fact, going to be Cabrini-Green North...full of only low-income/no income Section 8 people and a future slum with all the crime and negative aspects that entails.