Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gunfire At Wilson & Broadway, And Witness Is Told "Don't Talk To The Police"

A reader was a witness and photographer today:

"At approximately 2:15 today, four men traveling eastbound on Wilson stopped in the middle of the street (Broadway) and started firing shots across traffic and pedestrian traffic, to apparently shoot someone near the Currency Exchange at the SE corner Wilson and Broadway. They missed, but the Currency Exchange is closed with shots fired through its heavy protective glass window.

A woman and her children had to lie on the sidewalk under the glass window to escape the shots. She initially spoke to police until a relative told her to be quiet as there may be retaliation. No one in custody. Very busy intersection with many witnesses but great fear of being seen speaking to police."

Another reader who generally has insider info writes: "At least one bullet went through the window. The only injury was someone inside the exchange being hit with glass."

This is ridiculous - this is the fourth shooting at Wilson and Broadway in less than a year and a half. In June 2008, someone died. December 2008, an innocent bystander was shot in the back. In April, someone was hit and paralyzed. Now this. How can we get rid of the gang violence that is saturating our neighborhood?

Update: Apparently retaliation didn't take long. Yet another reader writes at 4:40 that "Reports from multiple sources to 911. Wilson and Clarendon. Four shots fired from a green Chevy Astro van at kids sitting on bleachers near the community center. Nobody hit but the van fled northbound on Clarendon. Police are heavy in their response and have notified the 20th District."

Update 2: More idiots playing Wild West on our streets: "[6:17pm] Racine and Sunnyside this time. Bunch of black kids shooting guns at other black kids behind Truman College. White hoodie with black horizontal stripes. They fled south on Clifton, then west on Montrose. 911 got about twenty calls on this one." Another reader reports the same incident: "I heard at least 5 gunshots very, very close - police were on the scene in just a couple of minutes - there were 2 squad cars coming down Malden in a matter of a few minutes."

Update 3: Read all about it, and see photos, at Lake Effect News: Bullets Over Broadway.

Update 4: Lake Effect News says the shooters at the Currency Exchange were all wearing masks. Read it here.


  1. Any news on last afternoon's shooting at Argyle and Kenmore?

    This is getting out of hand!!!!

  2. I am amazed that no one was hit. It is so busy there that with 5 or 6 shots fired no one was killed. On a side note. The 23rd district still only has one homicide in 2009.

  3. Who is interested in organizing a protest outside Shiller's office?
    Let's set a time and a date.
    We have too much to lose if we don't take a stand and fight and demand accountability of our politicians.
    How about Friday, November 6, 9am.

  4. near racine and sunnyside i heard five shots about twenty minutes ago(but no idea where they came from). there are police in the area around here now too.

  5. I was about 20 feet away from the shots that were fired at Clarendon Park this afternoon. I was walking through the park with my dog when I heard the gun shots, saw about 5 or 6 kids run for their lives from the softball bleachers (none of them appeared to be over the age of 14) and saw the green van speed away north on Clarendon. This is insane - I easily could have been caught in the crossfire if I was there just a minute or two earlier.

  6. what happened last night at Argyle?

  7. I am completely sickened by the violence in our neighborhood. It seems as though things are getting worse (maybe because gangbangers realize we have an alderman that turns a blind eye even when it takes place steps from her office).

    If a protest is planned I would like to see it take place when most people aren't at work so more people can attend - so after 5pm weekdays and anytime weekends.

  8. I e-mailed Alderman Shiller suggesting (like I'm sure many of you have) that her office sets up an outreach table near that intersection. They could even solicit volunteers from the neighborhood. Simple enough; why in the world wouldn't she?

  9. i think one problem is that the police wait to come to this area after someone calls 911 or there is activity. BEEF UP THE PATROLS, HEAVILY. Get police out there 24/7. on foot. on bikes. on horses. in suv's. in cars. circle the problem areas until this nonsense stops. the police usually come after the fact and everybody scatters so nobody is caught. this will keep happening again and again until something is done with more police presence.

  10. Jason,

    All very valid and logical points. The fundamental problem, however, is that the police really don't care about prevention. They don't show up to work and think, "How can I prevent crime and protect law abiding citizens?" They show up to work and just try to get through the day without shooting someone or getting shot themselves.

    Shiller, of course, loves this type of activity. The more frightening and depressing the ward, the better for her. She certainly does not care about citizens or safety. She cares about one thing - herself.

  11. Wish we could see your (response) next Tuesday, Helen. Maybe show it on CBS?

  12. I hope someone in the police department is reviewing the security video. They may have a hard time seeing anything since most of the lights on the Truman sidewalk between the buildings are burned out. I just used that walkway and it was pretty dark and scary.

  13. I was by the corner not 2 hours earlier and thought that there's quite few people out today due to the weather.My next thought was good,not much chance of mayhem with so many out and about.I just logged on and saw this and am stunned.The Guardian Angels sound good along with a heavy knock on you know who's door.Time CPD stationed an officer 24/7 at the corner.An idea to toss out...Use an empty storefront by the L stop as mini CPD shop.

  14. Citizen,I just saw your post and I'm in. I'll be there if you will. Anyone else free?

  15. A green astro van, eh? There was a green astro van that was a creepy recurring fixture up and down the Clarendon-Sunnyside-Hazel route around a year ago. It would often park near the park in the afterschool hours and many older-than-high-school dudes in white t's would come out of it. It was usually gone by 8 or 9 pm. The van was discussed a number of times at our CAPS meeting, and some of us gave the officers the license plate number, but they had said there was little they could do, if no crime had been committed.

  16. BTW I kept Miguel's # from the Guardian Angel's, it is 312-217-7245 if someone more established than me in the community wants to call.

  17. @Citizen

    It might be hard to plan, but we know where she (and a few other people who might listen) will be Saturday from 10-12:
    Clarendon Park Playlot Dedication Saturday

  18. This is a stone's throw from the 46th Ward office....was anyone in the office a witness??

  19. Don't look for beefed up patrols anytime soon. There are not enough police. The suntimes had a article today on how short the department is. And the fact is Uptown crime is not bad enough to warrant the roving police units. The police districts with 1 or 2 homicides a month get those units not districts with 1 homicide a year. There are districts that have at least 1 person shot everyday.

  20. I emailed the 46th ward office about this event at their intersection. I wonder if they have any baseball bats, or something to address this type of crime?

  21. Don't worry everyone the problem will be solved soon. We will have a fish farm, new luxury low income housing projects, and more parking lots for businesses. This is why there is gang violence in our ward, they are angry and pissed that they can't get a job at the fish farm, park their cars in lots, and walk home to goverment subsides 450K homes. They take their anger out through shooting, beating, stealing, drug dealing, and other illegal activities to show how mad they are that they haven't been given more handouts. Thank God almighty that Ald. Shiller has our backs and has used our TIF money to give the gang members the expensive homes, fish farm and parking they desire! All hail the wonderful Shiller!!

  22. I live at Wilson and Clarendon and I am glad to be out of town.

    I realize that many of the citizens in the neighborhood want more response out of the alderwoman, but give her at least 24 hours before you blast her for being non-responsive.

    She may not have anything to say, but i think it is a little harsh to say that Helen wants us all to live in fear and that she loves gunfire on the streets. I am paraphrasing here...

    Or maybe she does, did I hear correctly that the mayor and alderpeople are allowed to carry handguns for protection? Maybe she isn't afraid because she can shoot back.

  23. but we know where she (and a few other people who might listen) will be Saturday from 10-12:
    Clarendon Park Playlot Dedication Saturday


  24. Don't mean to sound like a broken record but just incase there are people who do not understand the following: Wilson Yard TIF is taking 112 million dollars of tax money. The City of Chicago due to poor city revenue has allowed the Police Department's open positions to expand to almost 2,000. It is not that the police do not care about prevention. I believe most of them do. But they are forbidden to talk about just how short staffed they are, and must run from crisis to crisis with no time to spend on prevention. Give the cops a new contract and fill the open positions now! I do not want a fish farm!

  25. Clearly this is all Helen Shiller's fault. If she would just follow the example of all the other alderman who have had serious gang problems in their wards and then successfully eliminated them. Clearly it just takes a modest effort by any alderman to forever end gang violence and have everybody gathering together to sing Kumbaya.

  26. No one has commented on my thought of a police sub-station by the L or a trade school rather than a fish farm.It seems to me both would be beneficial and more pro-active.

  27. Sean,

    Why do you take every single argument to the extreme? It's not all black and white. There is a lot of gray area.

    No single person has the power to change the violence in Uptown, but we all have the ability to do something about it. She has even more power and resources at her disposal as the Alderman.

    I have sent 3 e-mails to the Alderman's office requesting assistance with proactive events like positive loitering and asking what she is doing about the violence and she has ignored all 3 e-mails. I will continue to request her help, but as far as I can she is doing nothing to help the situation.

    At least other Alderman communicate with their ward and try to set up positive, proactive events to deter violence in their community.

    Sean - give me one specific thing that Shiller has done for public safety in the 46th ward. To date, she has not provided me with one specific actionable item that she has done or plans on doing.

  28. If anyone is curious as to who Helen's Chief of Staff is (Denise Davis), take a look at the photos posted on Lake Effect News. Denise is shown walking over to the scene (she is with a man, Popeyes is in the background).

    I wonder if things like this happened on her college campus?

  29. Question: How do you know when your neighborhood has crossed the @#$%ed threshold?

    Answer: People are scared to talk to the police.


    Here's a good story of what happens when you spread the YOYOYOYO/NOSNITCH nonsense around (rather than confine it to a handful of he11holes):


    It's true that concentrating the poverty and social dysfunction would condemn thousands of innocent people to horrible lives. But, why make things even worse? It's a good question... isn't it?

  30. Sean says:

    Clearly this is all Helen Shiller's fault.

    Now, you're starting to make some sense! Glad to see you're coming around.

  31. Again, Sean - the issue with Shiller isn't that anyone expects her to wave her wand over the ward and have it start raining sunshine and gum drops.

    The issue is that she has historically and consistently made no public effort to address a very serious, and very dangerous problem. A problem which is more threatening to her "fans" than to her "opponents".

    A problem, I might add, which attacks the very foundation of every decent social initiative she champions.

    The only time she's made any formal comment on any of the violence was that rambling letter she posted on her website which, like every other Chicago politician who's put on the spot, deflected from the problem and painted everything with the "it's my political opponents' attacking poor lil' ol' me" brush.

    What people expect is for her to do her d@mned job.

    She should address the problem publicly (none of this "I'm working w/CPD behind the scenes" crap), work with the community in any way that she can (positive loitering appearances would be nice - ala Tom Tunney) and continually demonstrate the type of concern any public official should demonstrate when a problem is so blatantly obvious - and, in this case, potentially deadly.

    Women and children should not have to "duck and cover" from gunfire steps away from the alderman's office.

    If they are (which they are) it's a screaming example of a failure to meet the expectations of the position she's been "elected" to fulfill.

    This isn't the first time there have been shots fired within a stone's throw of the 46th ward office - and unless (quoting the Trib article on the positive loitering events) the "powers that be" get involved, it certainly won't be the last.

    Harris gets involved.

    Hell, Steans gets involved.

    Tunney, Schulter and Smith get involved.

    Shiller? Cricket Symphony as bodies are covered and carted away, and local merchants replace bullet-ridden glass.

    Helen will of course state that she doesn't make public appearances due to the animosity which will (undoubtedly) erupt.

    What she fails or refuses to recognize is that she has single-handedly generated this atmosphere of anger and dis-trust.

    Hiding from her constituents is not a catalyst for peace, nor on any list of viable solutions that she has laid claim to knowing how to produce.

    In short: she's made her bed and appears unwilling to due anything beyond laying in it and waiting for politically protective new voters to be shipped in so that she can continue on her legacy of abject failure.

    Who cares about a new Target if there's a risk of being shot on your to or from?

    As I've stated before, no one expects miracles - people would be slightly assuaged if she would at least demonstrate a little bit of effort.

    Too bad that at this juncture, Helen demonstrating any bit of effort may very well constitute a miracle.

    That is simply unacceptable.

  32. Any news on last afternoon's shooting at Argyle and Kenmore?

    Vitaliy, do you have any info on the Kenmore/Argyle thing? I live on this block and I hadn't heard of this. Stay safe.

  33. Enough of This black White issue, Rich Poor issue.

    Bottom line, the alderman runs the ward. She alone has the power to put political pressure on the police department and she can take an active lead in this war to help reduce crime. If the gangs see that the alderman is taking a stand for law abiding citizens and makes it a campaign to "wage a war" against those who violate the law, they will be on the run.

    This problem isn't only in Shillers ward, its also a problem to our ward to the north, Mary Ann Smith. I find it inexcusable that neither alderman makes PUBLIC their combined efforts to stem the cross ward gang turf wars.

    A person can only judge another person by their actions and results. Talk means nothing. it's lip service. Silence from the aldermans office doesn't mean they are not doing anything but I would think statements backed by solid results and plans would help calm the fears of those frightened.

    I am surprised people are accepting of silence. Elected officials are to run things on a day to day basis and safety is part of their mandate ethically. We need to hold those who control power to work in the best interest of the entire ward. It is turning in a war zone with no effective leadership. its becoming apparent that Shiller does not care to take a leading role over the gangland she continues to foster.

  34. Sean, don't be an asshole. Contribute to the conversation if you want, but being a snot-nosed dipshit ain't winning you any fans. In case you haven't noticed, most of the people here are interested in solutions, not sarcasm.

    (BTW, I find it interesting that you always post during work hours, but never "educate" us on your own time. Post something constructive on the weekend or evening, when your boss isn't paying you to work, and I'll be slightly impressed.)

    As far as Helen being part of the problem -- last week, two days after the story of the 46th Ward's positive loitering appeared on the front page of the Tribune and everyone in the city could read it, someone called the Ward office to find out more about it. Shiller's office said "We don't know anything about it. We don't know when or where it's happening. Bye!"

    The person had to go to Soggy Paws and Cafe Too to get more information.

    So much for the alderman's office being part of the solution. Or even caring to be.

  35. Jason, Chicagocitizen- Get a clue. You obviously do not have one when it comes to matters such as this.

  36. Kevin,Thank you for the link,powerful.That is why a Trade school sounds better to me than a fish farm.

  37. Yo,I just read your post and dead on seems right to say.Speaking as someone almost killed in Uptown 19 years ago when gentrifying was first occurring not much has changed during Helen's tenure.She could and should be leading the charge.

  38. Who ...,

    according to Denice's son, it's 80% better.

  39. Time to get rid of Schiller...put a cop in charge of the ward -

  40. Rachel,

    While the idea of a cop running the ward is interesting, I find that declaring one's intention on their campaign site (not just on Facebook) even more interesting.

    Carroll is having a "kick off" party, and requesting donations for ... um .. what, exactly?

    Dog catcher?

    Note the word "alderman" doesn't appear on the campaign site, at all.

    Additional note: there's no "c" in "Shiller".

    If Michael hopes to garner support he needs to fully get into the game.

    Why would I want to replace an alderman with piss-poor communication skills with another?

  41. let's call the press, meet in the park tomorrow and bring the spotlight to Uptown again. The more "she" feels the heat the better. Hopefully Daly will feel some heat to knowing that we are a very pissed off and concerned community looking for immediate change. Let's make signs about anti-violence, being concerned citizens and wanting Schiller's immediate resignation and a actual qualified/concerned leader put in place by Daly. Let's disrupt the event by letting the media know about the shootings that just took place there and take a fucking stand. I believe in our productive loitering but look at when the shootings and violence are happening and where. Time of day means nothing to these people. It's a small contribution to solving our problem but unless we raise our voices to be heard by the mayor or national media, when can we really expect to stop living like this? We need to find out what we and the police can do that is actually effective. Screw Schiller, her office means nothing in my mind, it's pointless to continue complaining about her, she has proven her worth and it isn't much. Tomorrow 9:30, Clarendon Park, bring constructive signs demanding Schiller's resignation, and a end to violence. Call everyone in the neighborhood that we know and let's do something!!!!

  42. HopelessInUptown - good idea, but it would be nice to do it during Shiller's office hours...assuming she works, of course.

    How about setting up an evite, and each of us UU readers distribute it to their neighbors/condo associations.

    Maybe we plan for Friday November 6around 4pm.

    Ideas Readers?

  43. Whoa .. whoa ... easy there, Tex.

    Do not, and that bears repeating (and even some bolding, for flurrish) - do not interfere with this (or any) ceremony.

    Nothing is less productive than being uncivil in situations like this.

    This isn't an Alinsky-esque movement, and anyone behaving like a slurry of childish chanting hippie @ssholes will do more harm than good as Shiller (note the lack of "c") will be hand delivered a reason to ignore and dismiss you.

    Also - determine your goal.

    If you go in search of her resignation, you walk right into the trap of being a political opponent and will, again, hand deliver a reason to be ignored and dismissed.

    If you rally in support of the cause of public safety, and do so in a civil manner, you take the moral high ground.

    Going into this all half-cocked and pissed is ridiculously ignorant - and the tact you are proposing actually leads me to believe you have other motivations.

    A repeat of the Truman college event would be effective, if people conduct themselves properly.

    But, the line was crossed then ("liar"), and all hell broke lose.

    I'd love to see a throng of people standing across the street from this event holding up the signs that read "... Well ...?"

    Keep in mind Harris will be there, and he was at Truman.

    Steams has made appearances at the positive loitering events.

    Cullerton ... well. Phpt - he couldn't care less; but, he'll be there, too.

    Anyway - if the same folks who have been attending the positive loitering events were to stop by tomorrow morning and simply stand there, that would send a message, too.


  44. Yo-

    It's obvious that crowd behavior determains whether or not a message actually gets conveyed. Standing across the street, if that's more effective, sure, as long as we call the media, bring signs and make our presense known. No one is a chant shouting hippie here and it should be common knowledge that that approach is very uneffective as we've seen in past instances. It does nothing but provoke a similar response of anger and non-action. Thank you for offering a alternative suggestion, that is being pro-active. If we can get at least 15-20 of us there with signs, we can do a silent protest, I'll call the media.

  45. An additional idea:

    Run to the store and purchase a few rolls of red ribbon.

    Personally, I really like the phrase "... Well?" - cut up 8-12" sections of ribbons and write that on them with a marker.

    Then go to anywhere an act of violence has occurred and tie those ribbons on sign posts, mailboxes, trees, ... really, any inanimate object.

    Then, start putting red ribbons everywhere you can within the 46th ward.

    If they are taken down, replace them.

    Continue to do this until the violence goes down.

    Adding to that, wear the arm band during positive loitering events; and to Clarendon tomorrow, if you so happen to be inclined.

    Again - just an idea.

  46. The red ribbon has already been claimed as an AIDS symbol. I believe that the color for death by violence is blue. There's a church downtown that covers a tree in its courtyard with blue ribbons to symbolize this.

  47. Helen can't get involved in cleaning up the gang problems -- that would be admitting that there is a problem and that she's a big part of why we have them. Warehousing people without jobs, good schools and a future is what causes this violence. That and turning a blind eye to the "fisticufs" and street fighting that only help to raise tensions among the punks and gangs already inhabiting Uptown.

  48. Thanks gayle. I tend to lose track of all the color symbolism.

    Blue is fine by me.

  49. wear blue ribbons, that's fine. I've begun calling my neighbors to show up tomorrow morning for our silent protest. Let's bring signs and a big crowd! 9:30 am Clarendon Park spread the word!

  50. I am as frustrated with Ald. Shiller’s lack of response as many of you. I am no stranger to conflict, but I can say without doubt that I have never regretted the times I’ve remained respectful of others, including those times when it wasn’t always reciprocated.

    I’ve heard it said on blogs and I’ve been told personally that it is believed I support behavior that is disrespectful of Ald. Shiller. I want to make it clear that I don’t for a couple of reasons: one, through all the years I’ve been on this earth I have always regretted it later when I have behaved rudely, and two, it usually ends up backfiring. Being respectful, however, does not preclude me from being truthful.

    I will be at this event tomorrow because I typically did this type of thing before I ran for office, but I will maintain a respectful presence. I encourage others to do the same. We can do that and still seek real change in this ward.

  51. Protests are well and good--but where does Uptown and the spates of violence we've been seeing over the last few years fit in to the big picture of what is happening all over this city? Meaning, there was a time I recall that for all of Uptown's issues, fear of getting shot was not one of them (and that was while Shiller was Alderman as well). People whisper that what we in Uptown--and other communities throughout this city--are experiencing is the aftermath of the destruction of the projects, where gang culture was able to grow and implant itself in epidemic proportions after its predominantly poor and Black residents were isolated and segregated from the rest of the city and these places became marked as "no man's lands."

    What some of us here on the farther north side don't want to admit is that we were somewhat insulated from this sort of violence for a very long time. I have walked about in the very areas where these shootings took place, and never worried about the kinds of violence we have been seeing as of late. Yes, Uptown was gritty and had subsidized housing, etc., but it did NOT on a regular basis have street fights and shootings--those sorts of things pretty much happened "over there."

    Now that the projects were knocked down and the poor people dispersed, the gang issues have also been dispersed (so some theorize), so this gang-related violence is happening in places where once it was not thought to really occur. These gangs or cliques or whatever are jockeying for position, having incomprehensible turf wars, having a general breakdown in structure, leading to those open displays of violence in Uptown and other communities in Chicago.

    I want to know realistically what is it that Shiller IS NOT doing that she COULD BE and SHOULD BE doing to have an impact on a phenemenon of violence that had been until recently,relatively foreign to this community, and may well be a ripple effect of other larger policies at work in the city. And for the record, I see more police around (saw more around after the big meeting the prior summer at Truman, just before the shooting on Sheridan), but that does not seem to be doing it.

  52. There seems to be some ongoing gang war over turf occurring in our beloved ward.

    Gang violence is not new to this ward.

    It's been going on sporadically for years.

    The shootings on main streets in daylight is a relatively uncommon phenomena until recently.

    One gang in an area is bad. Two is exponentially worse because then the idiots start fighting and shooting at one another.

    This retaliation crap keeps going and going and going.

    Think of it as if the Energizer Bunny was drunk and had a gun and was sworn enemies with Bugs Bunny. Bugs of course is the leader of the Insane Kangaroo Wombat Killa Unknowns.

    Who Elmer Fudd represents will come later after I drink some more.

    Oh cow crap. Elmer is Mayor Daley.

  53. Please remember these incidents when it's time for beat 2313 CAPS meeting on Wednesday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m at the Clarendon Park Field House.

    We really need more people at this beat meeting as for the last few meetings there have been more police attending than residents.

  54. Uptown writer – we have a match! We agree!

    You said:
    Now that the projects were knocked down and the poor people dispersed, the gang issues have also been dispersed (so some theorize), so this gang-related violence is happening in places where once it was not thought to really occur.

    This is exactly what we’ve been saying. The only point where we differ is that you say “violence is happening in places where once it was not thought to really occur.” I would change that sentence to read “violence is happening in predictable patterns across the city where there is a high concentration of subsidized low income housing.”

    You see this was all predictable. Uptown ranks in the top 10 (out of 50communities in Chicago) as far as neighborhoods with the highest numbers of subsidized low-income housing. The other 10 are also experiencing serious violence issues. Experts understand this. HUD understood this when they made a policy not to fund developments in communities with concentrations over 20%.

    Yet Shiller ignores experts and urban planners and continues to stack the deck against the safety and welfare of this entire community.

  55. I want to know realistically what is it that Shiller IS NOT doing that she COULD BE and SHOULD BE doing to have an impact on a phenemenon of violence that had been until recently

    She could, at the very least, publicly address the problem and start putting some of her aldermanic weight behind CAPS, positive loitering and the like.

    I've already addressed the counter to her argument re: negative feedback at her public appearances.

    Or, from another perspective - she could do ANYTHING, in contrast to the NOTHING that she is doing.

    She does not participate in the community and that does not help.

    Putting aside the housing and/or social issues,the perception she's allowed the ward to see is one of a do-nothing, go-nowhere, hide from everyone except your supporters political hack who is desperately clinging to power using a "divide and conquer" strategy which is obviously having a negative impact on her ward.

    That's not productive.

    She's got a large number of people who sacrifice their own time, money and effort to do what they can to make a difference.

    She could consider some sort of reciprocating action.

    Again - she, after much badgering, posted a rambling press release which was effectively little more than a shrug and a "what do you want me to do?"

    She cast herself as the victim while the body of Francis Oduro lies in rest and another person is paralyzed.

    That ain't gonna' cut it.

    She speaks of working with CPS. How?

    What projects/endeavors/ideas/concepts has she been sharing with the police that she cannot share with us?

    Here's my suggestion to what Shiller could do:

    1 - release a statement stating - "Hey, we could all do more. I recognize that I need to do more, but we simply have to put our political differences aside, come together and work towards peace"

    That would calm the waters, considerably - as well as quell some of the criticism.

    2 - She could attend CAPS meetings, and put effort towards being part of the solution.

    3 - She could publicly lean on the management of the troubled housing. Her rep stated that they have removed a few residents from one building. Great. Now, move on to the next one.

    4 - She could stand up for the CPD in Council. Two years w/o a contract is ridiculous. If she has any influence in city gov't, she should use it to do what she can to get the CPD fully staffed.

    5 - She could lean on Streets/San to get burnt out streetlights fixed on a more expedient basis.

    6 - She could go to schools and speak to children about the dangers of gang activity.

    7 - She could show up to positive loitering events (instead of sending her minions to walk by and see how things are going).

    ... and that's just off the top of my head.

    All of those may seem like minor steps. Collectively, though - who knows? They may actually show some effectiveness.

    Sure as hell would beat what she's doing now - which, again, is nothing.

  56. Yo:

    At one time, I actually believed the Aldercreature would actually want to be involved in solving issues of crime and public safety, as well as the issues with streets and san.

    But after a few years of watching and observing the Aldercreature, I honestly believe her attitude is the shittier things are in the Uptown portions of the ward, the easier it will be to stop gentrification and keep her voter base voting for her.

    She placates the Lakeview portion of the ward with a promised "no" vote on a non-existent building safety ordinance, and she generally keeps the poor out of their neighborhood. She does her best to keep that portion of the ward issue-free and on the down-low. Hell, I'd bet more than half of 46th ward Lakeview voters think Tom Tunney's their Aldercreature, and that's just fine with Helen.

    Those Lakeview voters are one big key to her ability to stay in office.

    The other big key is to drive a huge wedge between the south Uptown and north Uptown voters. This keeps the north Uptown voters voting for her, and is generally just enough to eek out a win.

    The "do nothingness" is part of the wedge politics she plays. The "us vs them" gets them to come out and vote. The free pizza helps a lot, too.

    If Uptown had a new L station at Wilson, and the streets were brightly lit, and the violence stopped, Uptown might become a desirable place to live. But, in Helen's mind, that means displacement of her voters through gentrification and the end of her reign as Aldercreature.

  57. Except Uptown Lady, Uptown has had high concentrations of subsidized housing for decades, and has NOT had this level of violence until very recently. Do you see how there's something missing in your causation analysis? AS a resident here, it was absolutely not foreseeable that gangs would become super active in a community that had not experienced this sort of activity (even with subsidized housing) for DECADES. This is hitting a lot of communities suddenly since the gang culture has been dispersed throughout the city because everyone discovered how valuable that near north side land is.

  58. UW, as the concentration of poverty has lowered in Uptown, so has crime. If you've been here a long time, you know that.

    Increased gang activity entered the equation mainly because of CPS transferring students across gang boundaries. It's exacerbated in Uptown because for the first time, we now have a public high school, Uplift, which has kids from rival gangs coming in and warring with one another. Take the steps to prevent the crossing of rival gang boundaries and violence will go down. However, any school with a high level of poverty can expect problems. CPS knows that and that's why they track the poverty rates in the schools.

    There's nothing wrong with being poor, but it doesn't work when it's concentrated. Never has, never will. Talk to middle income parents of high school kids in Uptown and ask them why they don't send their children to Uplift. Admittedly, it's hard to find these parents to ask. Ask around to find out why.

    Ask other parents outside of Uptown why they don't live in this relatively affordable neighborhood. They seem to choose Lakeview, North Center, Lincoln Square, and Edgewater. Ask yourself why. Ask these parents why. You might be surprised. I won't be. I've asked.

  59. HM, even when Uplift was Arai (and true it did not have high schoolers), there was a high concentration of poverty. That area has NEVER been known for pulling in the middle-class, upper middle class and wealthier kids. Now as like then. I don't need to ask those parents what they're doing--they're sending their kids to the private catholic schools, Disney, other private non-denominational schools, Sullivan, Amundsen, Lane Tech, etc., because no one wants to send their kids to the "bad" school--I know this because when I was getting ready to go to 6th grade (then Arai) in that exact same building, exact same location, I was told I was going to get beat up by gangs EVERYDAY and it was going to horrible and dangerous. And guess what. It wasn't. Whatever you may have wanted to say about the environment outside of the school (and one could say a lot), inside the school was not chaotic, and we had good teachers and administrators--probably similar to what you see with Uplift today.I suppose the same kind of nervous whispering is at work regarding Uplift.

    I just don't feel it's quite as simple a line as you wish to draw betweeen "concentrated" poor people and increased shooting violence in Uptown. People have been poor here for decades before we saw this happening. And there have been gangs here before. And there have been tweenies and teens in gangs living in the community--but not this level of violence.

    I think it is more likely (and you and I may actually find some semblance of agreement here) that families have been displaced to communities all throughout Chicago (not just Uptown) because of tearing down of the ghetto and gentrification, looking for affordable places to live. And it's not the pre-existing poverty in Uptown that is the issue--it was the prior gang activity that some of these folks bring here, and elsewhere, and with it the conflicts and chaos we are witnessing. In other words--even if Uplift never existed and it was allowed to become an empty shell, I think we'd still be seeing this increase in violence--I could be wrong, but given that I'm hearing folks recount the same sort of experiences in other communities, I think it's a bit more complicated than what you suggest HM.

  60. Well, shucks .. UW, I had it all wrong.

    You say the displaced gangs from the ghettos are creating the violence (thank goodness we're putting more stacked housing into this ward so the displaced gangs might have somewhere to call home).

    Here, after being yelled at by long time residents of Uptown, I was under the impression that those dirty, rotten, gentrifying "yuppies" (with their taxable property and idiotic demands for safe neighborhoods) were the cause of all of the problems.

    I've been told a few times, from this diverse group, that I should just "get out".

    But, all along, it's been the gangs from the other failed housing models that are the real problem.


    Guess I should start to expect to see more of these long term residents, yourself included, soon get more active in the positive loitering ... which takes place right around the corner from Uplift, I might add.

    Can't wait.

    See ya' there!

  61. Yo,you ever thought about running for the seat? I've enjoyed these past months your input on Uptown and her issues. I don't know if it is viable or even an idea you've considered,yet I believe with your passion and intelligence you'd make a great candidate.I know those pesky skeletons in the closet.

  62. Interesting. Though, I think it might be a little late to get on the ballot.

  63. Yo,I was teasing about the skeletons of course and I'm certain more than one qualified candidate opted out because who wants to have every facet of their life examined by a hostile media.[Or be filmed walking into your home hours after a daylight shooting across from your office}Speaking for me,I believe you could garner quite a bit of support.We need new leadership in this city,amen.

  64. who ...,

    You're 100% right about needing a leader.

    You show me someone who understands that everything you need to know about being a successful, municipal level public servant can be pulled from an Aretha Franklin song, and I'll show you someone who can walk away with the election.

    You show me someone who can tell every group in this community that everyone's being greedy jerks, and we'd all better cool it before we all lose out, and I'll show you someone who will never need to spend a dime running for re-election.

    Show me someone with common sense and a desire to do good - rather than helplessly suckle at the teet of a system they know is corrupt, and I'll show you someone who's eventual passing will bring the entire ward to tears.

    Sure. I'm borderline ideologue; but, so what? Whatever the hell we have going for us, now, is going to drive us off a damned cliff.

    Most people would rather hedge their bets on Andy Griffith than Gordon Gecko, if given the opportunity.

    Someone needs to come by to give everyone that choice.

    People can want "hope" and "change" all they want; but what we really need is a little competency and honesty on the local level.

    You show me that person and I'll show you a true leader.

    That person could be me. It could also be you.

    Or any of us.

    If you can shop at home depot, you can be an alderman.

    The job ain't that tough, if you're true it. And to the people who you represent.

    S'all about respect.

  65. Yo,before I got to the end of your post I had R-E-S-P-E-C-T in my brain,and I believe you mean idealist,not ideologue as they can be rigid and inflexible.As for Home Depot I refuse to shop there after they gave their ex-CEO 210 million and cut the employees salaries and benefits.That's not a morale boost for the rank and file.The man wound up CEO at Chrysler with his hand out and that ain't American ingenuity as I see it.Like the Desiderata(something to consider)

  66. I did my student teaching at Uplift and would seriously beg to differ with the Ms. Uptown Writer. The violence, though more hidden, continues in the school the same as it is outside. Gangs don't unaffiliate for the daytime hours. UW - the violence lately is undeniable, you can't hide the bullets, get more involved and actually do something positive since you're obviously an Arai/Uplift success story.

  67. By ideologue, I mean that I strongly believe in the concepts of decency, respect, honor, discipline, and trust.

    Y'know ...? Those things which are the foundations of any decent community.

    Those things which seem to be consistently ignored around here.

    And I'm unbendingly adamant about the importance of those things.

    As for "Home Depot", replace that with "hardware store" and I think my point retains validity and is more amicable to your viewpoint.

    sockittome, baby.

  68. Yo,I couldn't agree more and I would love for someone with those values that you have to run.I threw out the idea of a trade school rather than say a 'fish farm' because I believe it would have long term benefits to the community. A police sub-station by the 'L' would do much to ensure a pro-active presence. The ward needs an open-minded leader willing to listen to residents concerns.You strike me as that type of individual.

  69. What might help more than a sub-station is to have more retail, lighting and positive activity that everyone can enjoy.

    As for the aldermanic consideration, I'm honored, humbled and appreciative of the sentiment.

    And who knows? A lot can happen between now and next year.

    I'm not sayin', ... I'm just sayin'.