Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Helen Shiller: Trendsetter

From the Sun-Times:  "Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) is the first Chicago aldermen to publicly declare her decision not to seek re-election. But, she won't be the last. [...]

... at least eight more sitting aldermen may not run next year to avoid an anti-incumbent tidal wave sweeping the nation and a local electorate livid about everything from the parking meter mess, service cuts and corruption scandals to rising crime and property taxes. ... This time, it looks like a lot of aldermen are thinking about jumping to avoid being pushed."

Read the entire article here.  Another of Uptown's three aldermen, Mary Ann Smith, is mentioned as being on the fence about running again.


  1. I think the saddest part of Helen's reign is the fact that she would pit one group against the other.

    She could have been a leading force in this city if she could have managed to build bridges instead of burning them.

    Imagine what Uptown could have been if for the last decade Helen could have shown the city how to make people of all races and income work together to make a better ward.

  2. But Toto....she wouldn't have been able to stay in office. Fear mongering is her #1 tactic to re-election. Pit the people against each other and play the Robin-Hood for one side. Genius.

    That is, until they figure out that your playing them for fools.

  3. Wouldn't this be an amazing time to start talking about what we want instead of what we never got.

    I for one would LOVE the following out of my new alderman. Just a few thoughts.

    1) At least one community safety meeting per year, advertised well in advance and attended by the alderman and open to residents of the entire ward.

    2) A pledge to work to stop ALL crime including minor offenses within two blocks in any direction of the alderman's office. Sheesh.

    3) A functioning website updated weekly at a minimum with information about community services, events, programs and crime/safety updates.

    4) Transparent monthly updates about the status of any active TIF incomes and expenditures with any PIN in ward boundaries.

    5) A plan to fill 10-20% of the vacant retail property in the ward within their first term and to fill at least 50% of the retail property (some of which has only gravel flooring) in the new Wilson Yard"s"

    6) Regular appearances at CAPS meetings by the alderman or their staff

    7) A pledge to respond publicly within 48 hours of any freakin' MURDER in the ward about the status of the investigation and the position of the alderman on crime in the ward.

    8) For the love of all that is holy, please have a plan for the Wilson El stop.

    8) Considering all the emphasis in the exit interviews from the existing alderman - an investigation into the status of our sewers.

  4. I hope Denise has her resume in order and the rest of the slugs crawl away. I hear Denise is becoming a stylist. After all, It isn't college sweeties.

  5. Ned, I too look forward to improvements in the ward communication. I know some Alderman, such as Reily, maintain a large group of interns who are responsible for logging/responding to every single constituent communication and then following up with a letter detailing what actions were taken. Hell, he tells the interns to keep an eye out for anything that needs to be fixed in the ward. Imagine the possibilities.

  6. Sorry meant to add that they're unpaid interns. I know how tight our budget is...thank you TIFs/Daley

  7. In between shots of whiskey I've been pondering the events of the last four years that led to Shiller not running again.

    Ultimately, I think it's simply the relentless pressure of the "damn bloggers", the money raised by the Fix Wilson Yard lawsuit, the non stop campaign of James Cappleman, and thousands of people who read Uptown Update or the Facebook page daily. Any semi coherent person would have to realize that Shiller faced a difficult, if not impossible campaign to retain her seat.

    Based on Nowotny's support so far it's relatively clear who the Shilleristas are now supporting. They had to look at the three other credible candidates and realize that Shiller's days in office were numbered.

    To be Continued in next comment:

  8. The amazing thing is how stupidly Shiller and her Shillerista supporters reacted over the years. Posting video of the last campaign debate against the express rules of the League of Women Voters. Posting stupid videos of Shiller speaking which whilst as stupid as my videos lacked any creativity or humor.

    Then top it off with Holsten's attorney issuing a subpoena against the Update of Uptown, the Buena Park Neighbors Board, and the defunct What the Helen blog. That's stupid with a capital F.

    Did they really think that was going to work? Did they really think that people were going to be so intimidated that all the opposition would quiet down?

    That stupidity just emboldened the opposition. It brought money and publicity to the "vive la resistance" resistance. It might have temporarily intimidated a few passive aggressive people, but when you're dealing with aggressive aggressive people like me it just feeds directly into my quest for moving up Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

    Here's a photo showing me partaking in another quest of mine.

    In the end, I think Helen Shiller realized what Johnny Cash sung best regarding her opposition "I(they) won't back down."

  9. GREAT comments NED. Let's start talking about what we WANT for Uptown instead of how much we hate H.S. I'm over the slander and ready for change.

    I hope the candidates running for the position feel the same way. Let's move on!

  10. I think you're also underestimating the diminishing value of being an Aldercritter. All of her financial deeds were being reported publicly. Every single sweetheart deal her son gets is posted on the web for the entire ward to see. She could no longer pay lip service to the poor, while at the same time funneling money to her cronies.

    The last four years may have been hard, but the next four would have been an absolute disaster. The fish farm could have caused a near riot in the yard.

    Given all that strife, and the fact that she's 62, and the fact that she'd have an extremely difficult road to hoe to get re-elected, why even bother trying? Bowing out was an extremely rational decision.

  11. I wonder how a lot of things will play out.

    What will happen now to the "fish farm" building and the Maryville site. Hopefully the Salvation Army building is sold privately and the first floor can be some type of retail. Unless Helen grabs it in her remaining months as alderman.....

    Can Maryville be "un-TIFed?" I doubt it. Too bad.

    Suppose its also too late to pull the funding on her Clifton and Magnolia low income apartments. Nice move Helen.

    Will the new alderman clean up the Wilson Men's Hotel or get it closed all together?

    How the hell are we going to deal with the on-going gang violence?

    Will O.N.E. continue to bully more low income housing into the area now that Helen is gone? Will a new alderman pander to them? Hope not.

    The list could go on and on...

    And Helen told CBS that she is leaving the new alderman "a very well-kept house." Was she trying to be funny?

  12. I think she meant in the same way that animal hoarders leave a clean house.

  13. Steve Rhodes of The Beachwood Reporter had some commentary on Shiller today.

  14. There is that saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

    - Helen you can’t lead!

    - Helen you can’t follow the example of good Chicago Alderman.

    - Let me thank you for getting out of our way!

    My you be forgotten quickly so that Chicago's Uptown Neighborhood may move forward!

  15. Thanks for linking to the piece by the Beachwood Reporter, Irish Pirate. There is a lot to chew on there and I highly recommend it as a read for people who may not understand the full history of Uptown and Helen Shiller.

  16. Crazy! We need to just forget about her and deal with the problems left to us...A neighborhood in California did a very interesting thing. 15 neighbors filed small claims cases against the owner of a nuisance house and won. The owner appealed and lost. There are a few articles about this case. If anyone is interested, just google California small claims court case against nuisance house and articles from the New York times and various other sources will pop up...Just an idea...