Sunday, May 23, 2010

And It Continues....

The story below was sent in a couple weeks ago by a reader.  Proving his point that her life is just passing one drunken day to the next, another reader sent this photo in today:  the same woman, in the same spot, still drunk and still lying on the sidewalk.  All that's changed is the date.

What attracts her to Uptown?  We're guessing all the free meals and free needles and vans that come right to her doorstep to serve her lunch (we're looking at you, Salvation Army mobile feeding van).

How have all the social services helped her?  Well, she's guaranteed food.  But we're told over and over again that social workers can't help someone who doesn't seek help herself.  Obviously her life as a drunk, passed out on Uptown's streets, is something this woman isn't interested in changing.  How can we, as a group, help her, and ... most important, help our community become a healthy one by changing this scenario, which has been playing out for years now? 

This woman is far from alone in her addictions, and we're out of sympathy for her.  Now our sympathy lies with the kids who have to pass her each day on their way to school, the taxpayers who pay over and over again for police and paramedics to ensure that she hasn't drunk herself to death, and the businesses who have to put up with her presence, driving away customers.  We're tired of being panhandled, we're tired of stepping over human excrement on our streets and in our alleys, and we're tired of seeing her play her sad story out day after day after day.  The community has tried to help her (see post below); what's next?


  1. May you never find yourself in a situation such as she.

    If, however, you do find yourself in her situation, I hope for your sake there is not someone boldly dictating a post to their weblog that they've run out of sympathy for you.

  2. What's your solution, Mike? What do you suggest we do as a community to create a healthy environment for our retail, for our kids, and better use of our understaffed and underfunded EMS workers? Making judgments about someone who calls 911 because they're concerned about this woman isn't the answer. What is yours?

  3. Go to an AA meeting and ask the recovering drunks how many of them sobered up because of enabling and sympathy? I'm one of them, and letting me continue my drinking and saying "poor baby" didn't do a damn thing to stop it. It won't do it for Sherry, either. I give her a year if she doesn't change her ways.

  4. Do the police ever charge anyone with public intox?

    Does anyone know the laws or consequences?

    One thing we could do is be insistent that police charge drunken people when we call them.

  5. this is tragic on so many levels. sometimes in life people are just lost and as big of a drinker as she is, she is basically trying to kill herself. If the woman has been given opportunites and fails to want ot use them, then the community must protect its children first. If she is there every day can't someone tell cornerstone and see if they can evaluate her on the street. Perhaps one of the aldermanic candidates could provide us with the best least negative action.

  6. It is not illegal to be drunk on the street. It IS illegal to drink on the public way.
    These are Hellonearth's pets. These are her chattel to be gathered up and troted to the polls. I'm always amazed at those (Ex;Laura Washington) who sing Hellon's praises as the "Protectress of the poor." Too bad ther isn't one jounalist interested or smart enough to cut through the liberal pap and see her for what she is; a exploiter and nothing better than a human traffiker. Watch! She will be endorsed by both papers.

  7. I am fighting my urge to get into this debate. But then again what's the point nothing is going to change. Most of the regulars CAN NOT be helped. They are just a waist of space and air.

    I have tried to help them for 4 years with no results. There is no helping them.

  8. I have seen this lady in my area drinking and drunk behind the Maryville buildings all last yaer and the police where called numerous times. I seen her all over the area usually drunk. Today at the bus stop by broadway and Montrose drinking out of a brown paper bag. The old saying, drinking themselfs to death. Maybe thats the only answer.

  9. Mike, invite her into your home and change her life. Aparently no one else has been able to do it.

  10. This is the woman who is a regular in the doorway between Jake's and the Dearborn Wholesalers parking lot. I believe her name is Cheryl and someone here refers to her as Pookie.

    She is as bad of a train wreck as they come, but everytime I see her and make eye contact I smile and wave. She reciprocates no matter how plowed she is. Just another tragic figure of Uptown.

  11. AA is rather clear on not enabling people to drink. The problem isn't the drunk woman at all. It never was. The people to fix are the ones who keep feeding her so that she doesn't have to face her addiction.

    Anyone who says it's cruel not to feed her is fooling themselves. I say it's cruel to enable her drinking. Those are the ones who are cruel.

  12. The answer is simple.

    She needs to be forcibly institutionalized.

    Some people need to be off the streets for their own safety and the general public good.

    One of the many mistakes of the Reagan administration was dumping the mentally ill on the streets and closing asylums.

    Of course many civil libertarians agreed with that. Not realizing the larger consequences. One of those few times where both liberals and conservatives agreed on something albeit for different reasons.

    The lesson boys and girls?

    If both liberals and conservatives agree on something watch in the hole......shilleristas in the wire..........aaaaaaaaa.........arghhhhhhhhhhh.......ack..

  13. Even if Salvation Army is feeding her, there are still people who are giving her and the other panhandlers enough cash to scrape together a 40oz or a cheap bottle of wine.

    Why not a delegation of concerned neighbors petitioning stores like Jewel and other liquor establishments to stop selling the cheap fortified wines and malt liquor. It would be a public service on the part of these stores who make large amounts of money from the sale of liquor.

    I am a great supporter of the Salvation Army. They do wonderful things to help people change their lives. The lunch the gives them an opportunity to do outreach to people like Pookie.

    Can people like Pookie ever be made whole? I'd like to think so. But for the most part until they reach a crisis stage they seldom come in. And even if they do become sober for life, there is still few chances for them to achieve anything in their life except sobriety one day at a time.

    But at the same time we should not enable her behavior.

  14. I agree that people who are a danger to themselves and others should be institutionalized, but the infrastructure simply does not exist. The old ways definitely needed to be bulldozed, but they really haven't been replaced by anything! And unfortunately, I don't see any level of government working to change the situation any time soon.

    There are very few (if any) alternatives other than throwing them in jail or watching them slowy kill themselves, neither of which solves anything (besides "out of sight, out of mind").

    One thing I think we can do is to encourage people to give to charities rather than directly to panhandlers, and even that has limited effectiveness.

    At least most of those I see regularly around Montrose/Broadway/Sheridan are generally friendly, even if obviously intoxicated... Definitely makes waiting for the Sheridan bus more interesting...

  15. "Definitely makes waiting for the Sheridan bus more interesting..." Candice

    I agree it makes it interesting. My concern is that it's probably not so interesting to a parent who's concerned about their child walking past this woman everyday.

    I say stop funding any social service that does the disservice of enabling her drinking. They are being exceptionally cruel to her by all the enabling.

  16. It's not "interesting" if you are trying to walk past, with your child in a stroller!! It's unsafe. Why is this woman's "right" to drink and be publicly intoxicated on a daily basis more important of the rights of me or my child to be safe?

  17. It's pretty common to see drunks take over the bus shelter right by the Jewel. I witnessed something so bizarre I wish I had videotaped it recently. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

  18. At what point can the law step in, declare an adult "incompetent," and assign a family member or "public guardian" to be a parent-figure to the person?

  19. Ed, if this woman has threatened you or your child you must call the police and file a report. If she is, in actuality, a danger to herself or others, it is possible she can be involuntarily committed for evaluation and treatment. Illinois statute on involuntary inpatient and outpatient treatment changed recently and provides greater latitude for intervention. However, drinking oneself into a stupor, however unattractive, by itself does not qualify and I am absolutely certain, disappointing as it may be to some, that no alderman—or aldermanic candidate—is, can be or should be capable of superseding anyone’s civil and political rights.

  20. I just love reading all the "what about the children!" comments on here. Honestly, could we be more sanctimonious? The children in question could not care less.

    I was raised in a city center and learned to accept people as they are, drinking problems and all. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what helps kids learn tolerance, not raising them in some kind of sanitized bubble.

    While this is distasteful, it should not come as a surprise. This is the Uptown you moved into, the mess was here long before you were.

    She’s a drunk. She’s also a public nuisance. These are the facts of her life, sad as they may be. But lets not forget, she didn’t get here by herself. There may be a history of other kinds of abuse, lack of education or even mental health issues. Typically it’s a combination. And it’s painful to watch, since the adults understand this more than the kids ever will.

    I think what everyone is so upset about is having to watch her kill herself. Many, if not most, of us are caring souls who are raised with a sense of empathy for others in pain. If she were a puppy, many of us would scoop her up and take her home till we could find her a home. But she’s not. She’s a grown woman doing it to herself. And if you have a sense of personal responsibility, this irritates you. Addict or not, she's making the choice *not* to get help.

    She’s going to die unless something changes. But the change has to come from her. Until that time, where her behavior violates the law (FYI, @buenapk it *is* illegal to be drunk in public when you become a nuisance: loud, disorderly, urinating in public, dangerous to property, yourself or others) she needs to be held accountable.

    Call the law, it's the last safety net she has.

  21. Tunney, Schulter, and Smith wouldn't tolerate it happening in their wards.

  22. So let me get this straight--if I complain about someone drinking in the public way ILLEGALLY, and being publicly intoxicated (also ILLEGAL), the real problem is not with said drinker, but instead is me for being sanctimonious?

  23. I take it you're not a parent, Mr. or Ms. Buzz. I am. I DO care about what my kids are exposed to. that's what responsible parents do. If that makes me sanctimonious to you, then it is what it is. (Are you the same idiot who said awhile back that kids shouldn't be shielded from seeing Anna Green giving blowjobs in front of their homes? That remains the most frightening thing I've ever seen on UU) As to your other point, "The mess" (nice way to refer to other human beings, BTW) was NOT here before I moved here. I grew up in Uptown, not some vague city center. I walked to Stewart School every day. Even if Uptown was exactly the same as it is now, I don't have to accept it, do I? Here's a newsflash..... even in "city centers" things can get better when community members and concerned parents work together. In Uptown, we have 300 Arrests Anna and Pookie Public Drunkard. What about this seems okay for kids OR adults to see every day?

  24. "The children in question could not care less." Buzz

    Buzz, it's not the role of children to speak up and voice any complaints about watching grown adults piss poor drunk in public.

    It's the parents of these children who don't like this. I don't know many parents who like having their children witness an intoxicated man or woman publicly urinate in public. If your parents didn't mind it, then that might explain something about how you view life. My parents thought it was inappropriate and wouldn't have tolerated it.

    Maybe that's why we have such a horrible gang problem in Uptown. Not enough of us have given a flip about what they get exposed to.

  25. Buzz,

    In 2004 I bought a condo in the 46th ward. As a tax paying citizen I feel I have every right to work for a better community. It doesn't matter what happened before I got here, I'm here now and I expect a better neighborhood. IMO, the 46th ward is in worse shape today than it was six years ago.

    Do the people in Englewood deserve the violence they are forced to live with because it's always been this way? I doubt you would say yes. What's the difference between Englewood and Uptown? Nothing we all deserve to be safe.

    This person might not be choosing not to be helped. She might not know how to get it. With all the social service agencies in the area, one of them should step up in get involved.

  26. John-
    Come visit Smith's ward on Winthrop by Argyle.. it's allowed 24 hours a day.. that and blatant open air drug dealing... it's not just Shiller's ward. Just south of Edgewater/Foster Avenue is Smith's favorite place to dump the garbage and her least favorite place to clean up.

  27. There are more than enough social workers around somebody should approach Pookie and try to entice her to get some help.In Uptown some days, they (social workers) are the only decent people I get to talk to. It's sad, in my building I always know when somebody's a social worker because they're bright-eyed and healthy looking, I want to say "Oh, you DEFINITELY do not live HERE." Everyday I see the same crusty, zombiefied alcoholics/druggies loitering in front of my building, the lobby and the corner. It's gotten REALLY old and a lot of apathy over a long period of time allowed it to become that wayl

  28. The current model of treatment advocated is being released into a community environment. They hardly ever instituionalize anybody anymore. However, I know plenty of people who could benefit from a structured environment. They can be seen staggering through the halls of my building. I pretty much have compassion fatigue at this point.

  29. I note that not one of you yelling at me is expressing any empathy or concern for the woman, just kvetching about me, and about her and the alleged impact on little Brittney, Tiffany and Paris. Nothing about the fact that she’s sick, or that she’s in fact dying. Nope

    Are these the lessons you teach your kids?

    And yes I am a parent. 3 teenagers, you want one? :)

    And yes, my kids ask questions, and I tell them the truth, that that poor person has a lot of problems, that some of it may be more than just drinking (as noted before) and that it’s a pretty sad way to live your life. That she may have made a few bad choices and that she’s no doubt alone in the world. She’s probably passed out, and not an imminent threat to you, but that you should put down your texting for 5 minutes and call the cops. It’s a matter of empathy, civic responsibility and personal safety.

    @BooHoo I believe you doth protest too much. While I’ve only lived here since 1995, according to books like “American Pharaoh” and “Daley” the blight had set in by the late 50’s early 60’s when 1) there was a weak alderman who pissed the mayor off, 2) the factory jobs dried up, 3) the young, single people from the 40s + 50s got married and 4) the returning veterans bought cars and moved to the suburbs.

    Then Johnson dumped the "Great Society" on top due to the available housing (read Somerset) and it was all over. But let's not forget, urban blight rarely gets into the lake block, in reference to Stewart School.

    @ Mr Moley, “that might explain something about how you view life” Indeed it does. And proudly so. But blaming me for the gangs? Seriously?

    If you want to be angry, be angry at the right people. I never said what was happening was ok, you might want to get off your cross and read what I wrote. I said to call the cops. I’ve called the law before (see below) because it’s the least we can do, if only to save people from themselves, let alone each other.

    Furthermore, there’s more than enough blame to go around. She’s had frequent contact with social services and made the choice *not* to get help. She lives in a ward run by an Alderman, supposedly an advocate of “social justice,” who has failed her. And she lives in a city and state that, in a moment of zealous, but perhaps righteous, rage, emptied the treatment centers in favor of “community” settings.

    I’m not trained in this but my guess is that she has a minimal education, perhaps an unstable home life growing up and may well be dealing with prior abuse, or living with abuse on the streets. These are classic factors involved in addiction behavior of the urban poor.

    My time in the city center was by the way, spent with my mother, the minister, who worked in a settlement house. I am no stranger to any of this.

    A short story: One day, late at night, in the middle of winter, I was walking home from the Argyle el stop towards Marine just short of Sheridan when I spotted something on the sidewalk. It was a man. He was obviously drunk, passed out, face down in the snow.

    As I got closer, two people came running past me. I actually saw them, two joggers jump over him(!) and keep running. No thought for the fact that he could very well freeze to death, just that he was a human hurdle to be avoided. I was literally stunned by what I saw. I felt my eyes well up and my heart break. No matter how miserable this man is/was he deserved more, more than I could give him, but at least not to die in the street.

    So I called 911 and hung around long enough to make sure the cops hauled him off so that at least he wouldn’t freeze to death …that night at least.

    So when I hear you two piling on, you behave exactly like the joggers. She’s just in your way, and you are playing the “oh my God, what about the children!!!” card as a way to get around your obvious hypocrisy. This sad woman is no doubt going to die, either of her disease, other health factors, by violence or neglect. Pick one.

    But lets hope she has the good taste to do it out of sight of your kids.

  30. At the risk of setting this blog on fire, kuddos to Buzz. I appreciate what you have said here and how you've said it.

    UU, it might be helpful if you would explain why you removed an earlier post. Some significant portion of this thread was shaped by that hateful comment.

    As for the Uptown residents who contend that this neighborhood is worse than 2004, you are mistaking the general for the specific. Most urban areas are worse off than they were in 2004 and Uptown is no exception. Unemployment is up, state and federal funding for education is down, and it shows on the streets.

    However, that does not mean that Uptown is not improved. Your very existence here and on this blog proves how much Uptown has improved.

    I dare say that when I moved here in 1981, most current residents would not have considered it. The refrain then was the same as it is now. How could you live in Uptown? It’s so dangerous. There are so many criminals, so many drugs, so many mentally ill. But by 1986, I knew that the perception of Uptown and the reality were two very different things. So I bought a home here. I raised my family here.

    Have there been issues? Sure, but in recent years most all of them have been what the police call quality of life issues. Unfortunately, that’s what Pokey has become to many residents.

    Everyone who lives here, whether a newcomer or an old crust, has an investment in making it home and I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to make our neighborhood a safer place for themselves, their children and their neighbors. But I do think it is mean spirited folly to arrive in Uptown and declare war on the disenfranchised, the sick and forgotten, or castigate them as less than human, which is what that deleted post did and why subsequent posts may have reacted so strongly.

  31. It’s a matter of empathy, civic responsibility and personal safety.


    No offense to you, Buzz, and/or all of your Anti-Maude-Flanderesiness; but, that statement summed it up very nicely.

    Of course, I do take a shade of offense to your assumption that anyone posting on this site would name their kids Brittany, Tiffany or Paris.

    Heather, Cody, Dylan, Dermot, Jacob, Jordan, Taylor, Wesley, Rumor, Scout, Cassidy, Zoe, Chloe, Max, Hunter, Kendall, Caitlin, Noah, Sasha, Morgan, Kyra, Ian, Lauren, Qbert, and/or Phil, ... maybe.

    Seriously, though - I doubt there's much sanctimony afoot here, moreso people trying to make sense of some of life's more obscene and curious results.

    Well, that, and frustration.

  32. Suzanne, one post was deleted by its author and I deleted the "post deleted by author" remnant. To say that people are arguing about a post that no longer exists is kind of Kafka-esque. Post is gone, there are quite a few of us who check and put thru comments during the day, so there is no one "UU" who's going to explain it. It's gone, carry forward.

    I will remind people to keep this on topic and not make it a series of personal attacks.

  33. We just had to call the cops for a random drunk guy passing out in our doorway. We're in Buena Park

  34. Caring Neighbor,

    can I at least personally attack Buzz and Suzanne?


    It will make me feel better.

    First, let me start with Buzzy.

    "Brittney, Tiffany and Paris"......

    You lost me there with your sarcasm. Sarcasm is more of an "art" than a "science" and it's dangerous for amateurs to attempt. Please step away from both the keyboard and the voting booth.

    This woman, and the others like her in this neighborhood or any neighborhood, need to be forced to get help or forcibly institutionalized. Modern drugs can help many of these folks, but they have to be forced to take them. It's not pretty, or cheap, but it is necessary.

    Now I would guess that you don't subscribe to the concept of "Broken Windows", but it has largely proven to be true. Cities and neighborhoods are very fragile things and ignoring this type of behavior has destructive consequences.

    Now I've been in Uptown longer than you. I'm old enough to remember electrified buses and white gangs running down the streets. Back in my day we shoveled the snow off the sidewalks with spoons and then worked a 23 hour day before going to our second job, you young whippersnapper.


    It's "pookie" not "pokey". Pokey is a rubbery horse who hung out with Gumby. "Pookie" according to the Urban Dictionary is:

    A term of endearment and affection. It is a name akin to "lovebug", "cuddlemuffin", "babe",
    "honey", "lover", etc.

    So endeth the rant.

  35. Just to add to my last post, thank you to the hard working members of the CPD in our beat/neighborhood. We called 911 and someone was here within 5 minutes walking the guy away. He was explicitly drinking/passing out at the doorway so you couldn't even get in.

  36. I think you misunderstand both my comment and maybe Kafka. I didn't say that people are arguing about a comment that no longer exists but that the comment in question primed the thread to take a particular direction--and not a good one.

  37. Suzanne, if I lived in any other neighborhood in Chicago, I would have agreed with you. I knew there were problems when I moved to this neighborhood but I moved here because I bought a home, not an investment.

    The mistake I made was thinking this liberal alderman was an advocate for the community, including the poor, and yes Buzz, including the children in the neighborhood. The lesson I learned is that a liberal alderman can have just as warped values as those who are ultra conservative. You also have to understand that I moved here pre-Uptown Update.

    Helen taught me to be suspicious of anyone who espouses my liberal values. So you can shed your tears about the joggers who passed the intoxicated man lying face down in the snow. But it's Helen's behavior that has me understanding why it's hard to find any sense of empathy. If I lived in another ward with another alderman, it would be different.

    The way I look at it, as soon as Helen is out of the picture, I can be proud to be a liberal again. For now, liberalism equates with enabling behavior and I'm embarrassed and angry about it.

  38. Thanks Irish. I was confusing Pookie with Pokey . . . as in what the Mayor tried to do to Mick Dumke’s back side last week. Did you read that? Holy cow, that was weird.

    John, can you explain to me with some specificity what Helen should be doing but isn’t? Because here’s the thing, I don’t think people really understand what the Alderman’s job is and the limits of her authority. There are threads on this and other blogs that baffle me for their implicit—and explicit—assumptions of what an Alderman can do.

    Helen an enabler? I gotta say that’s one of the weirder labels slapped on her lately. And the idea that she’s somehow a failed liberal? What? Have you met the Mayor? Any one of a number of Democratic party leaders? The list is long—I mean really long--and I’m not even sure Helen is on it.

    What she is, I think, is low hanging fruit, an easy target. Pinning the less than attractive externalities of Uptown on Helen while at the same time allow state and federal electeds off the hook is absurd. TIF abuse? You need to see your state rep and state senator about that. Social service funding? Ditto on the state officials and then add Rep. Shakowsky and her Congressional colleagues.

    As far as warped values, I’m wondering if there isn’t an equal or larger dose of warped expectations. Buzz and I may well shed a tear now and then but my hunch is it’s because we know how little it takes to break a person, a life, a family. Posters here and elsewhere don’t seem to gonk that because they'll bemoan Pookie in one breathe AND the shelter beds, social services, and affordable housing that are needed in the next.

  39. I don’t think people really understand what the Alderman’s job is and the limits of her authority.

    Good point. You can add the alderman to that list of "people".

    The gig with that being: she does tend to paint herself as the protector of the disenfranchised.

    And while no one should reasonably expect her to personally modify peoples' lives (though she could, if she really wanted to), she does allude to her policies, and her policies alone, being much more effective than history would agree.

    Social servies will never be 100% successful, and where-ever you place agencies you will get stragglers.

    The woman in this post is a straggler; but, for all the socially sensitive bluster, many think that our alderman might be a bit more pro-active in aiding those who fall between the cracks.

    Why? Because our alderman contnually insists that doing so is the foundation of her ideological and legislative platform.

    It's that contradiction that I see a majority of people bemaoning.

    An additional factor of bemoanment being that a healthy community breeds healthier residents.

    Until very, very, very recently (in contrast to say .. the last 20+ years) what positive improvements have been seen along Broadway to better the comunity?

    That sort of development does fal directly within the province of the alderman.

    I think calling her a failed liberal is a bit absurd, as well.

    Helen is not a liberal, nor is Schakowsky.

    Both are more representative of Mao/Marx than Jefferson.

    And that holds true for nearly every democrat in IL.

    Liberalism (or rather, the representation thereof), for all intents and purposes, is dead in this state - and on a death march throughout the nation (but that's an entirely different discussion).

    If any liberals can be faulted for failing, it's the liberal voters who continue to support these frauds simply based on them dropping a "D" by their name.

    So, John, if you're waiting for Helen to leave in order to be a proud liberal again, you're setting yourself up for some deep disappointment, brother.

    As for Helen being an easy target -file that under karma.

    When someone presents themselves as the healer of a good number of societal ills, and yet those ills are still prevalent within the community ... what might you expect?

    As the old camapign poster stated: Shiller: The poor have suffered enough.

    And yet, the poor still suffer.

    And, sure, expectations might be a little out of whack; but, one thing that an elected official can do is to interact with their constituency to lay out the expectations and, to an extent, control the message.

    Letting the public control the message leads to things like being chased out of Truman College.

    Helen is not a failed liberal, she's a failing politician.

  40. Well, she could start by working with the community and the police to address crime. Gee, that would be a good place to start.

    She could stop insinuating that anyone concerned about public safety wants to get rid of poor people.
    She could stop playing victim when she’s criticized and start acknowledging the concerns that her constituents express.

    She could not put up with rude office staff.

    She could start seeking community input for TIFs rather than deceive the city, the public, and the press that a few emails constitute community-wide acceptance.

    Honestly Suzanne, I don’t believe for a minute that people in this ward are really that much different from people in other wards. You want to believe all bullies flock to Uptown so that they can get a chance to beat up on poor Helen, a victim who is hated because only she is on the side of the poor. Please.

    Yo, I’ve been a liberal my entire adult life and don’t see that changing. I view it as a label that signifies I care about those who most need our help, but it’s just a label. I really don’t care if Helen or Shakowsky are Marxists. I just want Helen to include the community in decisions that affect them.

    Sorry Suzanne, but Helen is a failed liberal. Throwing in the mayor is tossing in a red herring. Helen is not looking out for the people in most need of help. She stopped doing that years ago. She enables them to stay trapped in the cycle of poverty and she cares nothing that many of them live in unsafe housing with drug dealers. That’s a failed liberal and I can’t get any clearer than that.

  41. Buzz... Thank you for not being just another "yes man" to this blog and its readers. I appreciate it, and hope that others reading these comments will take a few minutes to at least genuinely and thoughtfully consider what you have to say – even if they don’t necessarily agree with it. Don’t be discouraged by all of the heat coming your way – It takes guts to speak up in front of those who would disagree with you.

  42. Alisha, no one is a yes man when they speak their opinions and argue in a manner that uses some matter of rational thought.

    There was some rampant alcohol abuse in my family and I learned to stop my enabling behavior. Are you now suggesting that enabling one's drinking is okay because it's better to be nice than to help? Is that it? Really?

  43. Aisha,


    Posting a comment anonymously on a blog takes virtually zero guts.

    Running the blog may take a bit of guts given the propensity of subpoenas to fly around here.

    Running for office takes guts.

    Standing with Chamberlain at Gettysburg as the Secessh horde marched up the hill took guts.

    Marching with Dr. King across a bridge or in Marquette Park took guts.

    A city employee publicly criticizing the mayor would take guts.

    Let's not exxxxxxxxxxagerate about the guts it takes to post on this blog.

    It's a blog and free speech still exists in this country.

    If I want to say Mayor Daley is a big poo poo head nothing will happe............aaaaaaaack.......whack........pow........zap....

    Thank God Batman saved me........

  44. Irish Pirate wrote: “This woman, and the others like her in this neighborhood or any neighborhood, need to be forced to get help or forcibly institutionalized. Modern drugs can help many of these folks, but they have to be forced to take them. It's not pretty, or cheap, but it is necessary.”

    Absolutely not! That’s completely illegal, not to mention amazingly unethical! Think about the slippery slope- who gets to decide who goes/gets where/what? Perhaps we could organize a mob to head down to Boystown and round up a few for some "treatment." I know, that’s extreme, but considering that it does in fact happen every day (read Malawi) we can't even afford to let that idea linger. Right now, she’s a drunk, not a criminal, per se.

    No no no no, I'm no fan of any public nuisance, but rounding people and making them *do* anything smacks of some kind of fascist state.

    And I have to ask, in reference to a mention of a comment getting deleted...did I get flamed and miss out ? Drats...

  45. Buzzard,

    three years ago four people were killed in a Wrigleyville fire set by a mentally ill woman.

    The mentally ill woman was a local and well known to many people. Were her "rights" to not be medicated or institutionalized worth the deaths of those four young people.

    Tell it to the toddler who lost his mom.

    Rights without civic responsibility are meaningless.

    Comparing that to homosexual pogroms in Africa is a real big stretch. Although, I do understand your concern.

  46. What's unethical is having some of these social services enabling her behavior so she can focus on getting more booze to stay in a constant state of drunkenness. That's what is unethical.

    Ask any recovering alcoholic who goes to AA. They will say the same.

  47. Suzzane, Buzz, Alisha...this is for you...

    Irish, PompatusofLove told me to say Pfffffffthppppppt to you.

  48. Oh, John. And after Toucan’s beautiful coda . . .

    I appreciate the specific items you offered earlier in the thread. I have a moment this morning so let’s take a look.

    Helen and her staff do work with the police and the community. Might she avoid groups in this small subsection of Uptown that castigate her as the spawn of Satan. Yeah. And you know what? Good for her. I wouldn’t put up with half of the things that she has and would seriously question the mind and spine of anyone who would. John, you may or may not know but a lot of it has been obscene, truly shameful---and none of it is justifiable.

    People can care about safety without it being an attack on the poor. You’re right. But it’s also true that many people do want to get rid of poor people in Uptown, John, so I’m not sure how this is strictly then an issue of Helen insinuating anything. Unless stating what is true is the problem.

    And you know what, there may be a case for that.

    All right thinking people are concerned about their safety, about crime in the neighborhood but it is impossible for anyone, including Helen, to address such “concerns” when they are based on statistics and accounts that have been distorted to create the impression that crime is spiraling out of control.

    The selection bias of residents and media alike lately is deeply disturbing to me and, frankly, gives residents like me reason to believe less than charitable things about the motivations for doing so.

    Helen is deceiving the community, the city, the public and the press about TIFs? I’m afraid those bits really do go on the Mayor’s resume, not Helen’s.

    I think we have all experienced the limits of Helen’s communication skills. Even in the best circumstances, her lack of clarity and specificity makes me want to grade her papers.

    Too many are willing to believe that there’s some magic policy or program that Helen could or should implement to make all the homeless, drunks, addicts, rowdy teenagers, prostitutes, loiterers, and mentally ill shape up or disappear. So yes, I stand by my original statement: people really do not understand the limits of Aldermanic authority. Forget about state and municipal funding, civil rights law, etc.

    Helen has been in office a long time and it may be time for another to assume this office. Even the best limit out at some point. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that sweeping Helen into retirement is going to change what you believe ails Uptown.

    Out for a while. Catch you on another thread sometime ;-)

  49. "Helen and her staff do work with the police and the community." Suzanne

    I'm sorry Suzanne. I didn't catch that. What specifically has she done with the police to address crime?

    If she's run out of ideas, she could ask the freshman alderman Scott Waguespack for some ideas. I heard that when those 2 women were beaten with a baseball bat, he went door to door to ask neighbors if they witnessed the incident. He also worked with others to get a self defense workshop happening. Get this, he or his staff attend all the CAPS meetings!

    Gee, I wonder why people don't yell at him? I bet it's because the only people who are hateful are the ones who move to Uptown and that's the only reason why poor victimized Helen gets picked on. Maybe she should trade places with Waguespack so that she won't get yelled at anymore. Only nice people move to that ward.

  50. Might she avoid groups in this small subsection of Uptown that castigate her as the spawn of Satan. Yeah. And you know what? Good for her. I wouldn’t put up with half of the things that she has and would seriously question the mind and spine of anyone who would. John, you may or may not know but a lot of it has been obscene, truly shameful---and none of it is justifiable.

    Indeed. Some of the feedback Helen receives is wholly beyond that pale, and counter-productive.
    Not to mention embarassing.

    Having said that: wah!

    Welcome to the world of politics.

    A good politician can deal with that.

    A bad politician runs and hides.

    When you stand up to be counted, you stand up to be counted by all, not just by those with whom you're comfortable.

    When you run for an office, you run to represent everyone - where in the role of alderman does it allow for the disregard of anyone?

    If she knowingly and willingly steers clear of any of her constituents, she's in conflict with the role of her office.


    Wonder what sort of effect we'd see if Helen were to meet with her detractors and do so in an open and honest forum.

    Remember the WYTIF amendment meeting last year? The way that whole thing was conducted/communicated lead to nearly everyone there being pissed before they even arrived.

    Who's fault was that?

    And how easy would that have been to avoid?

    Point: better communication is a powerful tool in disarming your opponents and clearing the air.

    Unless, of course you don't want the air cleaned and find value in strife.

    I’m afraid those bits really do go on the Mayor’s resume, not Helen’s.

    What? Really?

    Did I miss something where the mayor conducted "political fanangling" to secure the development at Wilson Yard?

    I saw Daley in the media following the fisticuffs last summer more than I did Helen.

    Granted, Daley did consider sticking a bayonet up a reporter's ... what have you; but, guess where he (and his curious logic) was?

    Yep. In front of the people.

    Even the people he knows darned well dislike him and have said some rather rude things to him.

    (can't beleive I'm standing up for Daley).

    But it’s also true that many people do want to get rid of poor people in Uptown,

    Of course, the converse to that holds true, as well.

    You and I don't always agree, and that's cool - cuz you can expand perspective; but, if I'm hearing you right, you're defending Helen for being an ineffective coward - and projecting some of her mishaps onto the mayor (?!).

    Of course, the atmosphere around here needs to change to be less vitriolic; but, a good leader would have taken care of that a looooooong time ago (or, at least sometime over the course of 20+ years, no?).

    Not let it fester.

    Unless, again, there's political capitol to be gained by said festering


    Seriously, Suzanne ... wtf?

  51. No one wants to get rid of the poor from Uptown.

    What we want for ourselves and for our less fortunate bretheren is to live in peace and harmony.

    Bullets flying overhead? Is it ok for poor people to live like that?

    Drug dealing? Is it ok for poor people to have to raise their children in such an environment?

    Gang fights? Is it ok for poor people to have to duck and run for cover?

    Suzanne: I don't like the way things are. I want to live with respectable neighbors. Most poor people are respectable people too. But to leave things the way they are because poor people live here is basically saying I'll throw them away too.

    Poor people live in Edgewater too and the crime and gangs are less active. Why is that? Does Edgewater just attract a better class of poor people?

  52. "Toto said... No one wants to get rid of the poor from Uptown."

    Was there a vote?

  53. That's not Pookie. Let's give Pookie credit where credit is due. Pookie has been more subdued this Spring and I hope she keeps it together over the Summer.

    The woman in the photo is going downhill fast. I've watched the regular street dwellers on Montrose stop to help her but she is in her own world.