Monday, June 20, 2011

Positive Loitering, Family Style

The Uptown Parent's Network's 2nd Positive Loitering Playgroup will take place at Broncho Billy Playlot this coming Tuesday evening at 6:30pm. The Uptown Parent's Network would like to invite all families, children, and concerned community to attend, play, and meet other community members.


  1. And bring a TV or radio so you can keep up with the Cubs/Sox game while watching the kiddies!

  2. I'm a little confused here. According to the alderman's last newsletter: "The Broncho Billy Park is still open for children twelve and under and their adult guardians."

    While I don't agree with the sudden change of policy, especially with limited community input, and question its legality, I have another question.

    Does this mean you have to be the guardian of a child playing in the park to be in the park? Are only adults whose children will be present invited to attend this event tomorrow night?

    Legally this is kind of a sticky situation. I hope double standards based on age, race, class, etc. won't be created by the police, alderman or anybody else to determine which adults are allowed to be in the park without directly supervising children and which adults are not.

    I don't think I can make the event tomorrow night but am interested in being a positive presence in the park in the future.

  3. It amazes me how the scumbags have left that park since the hoops went down. It is totally peaceful there now.

  4. Wow you stay up late at night trying to find a negative spin on anything not supportive of gang bangers, addicts drunks and pedophiles?

  5. We all lose with the us-versus-them attitude.

    Let's agree that it wasn't a good idea to put a regulation sized basketball court smack in the middle of a childrens' playlot.

    Does that mean that every teen that used that basketball court was in a gang?

    The truth is that the basketball court served both the gangs and the teens looking for someplace to hang out with their friends.

    So how do we, we the community, come together to make Broncho Billy a place for small kids and families?

    And how do we help create a place for the tweens & teens? Is it a club? Is it an organization? How do we encourage the parents of the neighborhood tweens & teens to participate in creating something positive and constructive?

    I've watched too many of the young kids grow and get sucked into the gangs, and often wondered, what can we do to change this vicious cycle?

  6. Ron, you should try to make it. Don't forget your video camera though! I am sure you will find something to whine and cry about that will need to be caught on tape. Possibly families with their children enjoying a peaceful night in the park? What a crime!

  7. Bring your kids, and tell them to bring a skateboard, ITS GO SKATEBOARDING DAY!

  8. The recent statement by the alderman , the removal of the basketball rims and this particular event inviting adults to the park prompted me to wonder what the actual deal is with the park and who over 12 years of age is allowed in. That's all.

    I'm afraid that a double standard might emerge very quickly as to who over the age of 12 is allowed in the park and who is not. If the community or the alderman want further restrictions on who is allowed in the park other than the age restriction and the acting as a guardian for a child restriction then they should work on implementing those, legally. But if the restriction is only based on age and supervising a child then anyone who violates this should be held accountable, not just a certain segment of the population.

    Or even better in my opinion, the basketball court should be maintained as a much-needed recreation space for teens and adults. I don't think there was much community input on the issue and I don't think it is set in stone that the recreation space will be lost. As I'm sure some of the people at the event right now can attest to, it is nice to have that space available to socialize at.

    Based on some of the comments, it is clear that not many people here wanna engage in a real dialogue about the issue!

    It's a good night to be outside though, that's for sure.

  9. I was the first to be thrilled about the bb hoops coming down. However, the park has not been peaceful. Yesterday, shortly after 5:30 the police kicked everyone out and there slews of police cars driving around it. Today shortly before 6:30 it wasn't a place that anyone would want to be loitering. By 7, it was better and two police cars were stationed out front. We couldn't make it tonight but I give a lot of credit to those loitering there tonight.

    As a parent on this block, I would love to see this being for children and their guardians. This isn't based on race or class. It's based on the fact a PLAYLOT is for kids 12 and under (which at that age are required to have a guardian with them). Any race or class can be there.

  10. Based on some of the comments, it is clear that not many people here wanna engage in a real dialogue about the issue!

    What issue?!

    If you were to present a decent issue that wasn't already addressed, or easily addressed with a the application of a wee bit of common sense, I'm sure you'd find people willing to engage.


    Does this mean you have to be the guardian of a child playing in the park to be in the park?

    Why else would you be there? It's a park designed for children.

    If any adult, regardless of race, creed blah blah blah were in there without a child, I'd be highly concerned.

    Are only adults whose children will be present invited to attend this event tomorrow night?

    Seriously ..., did you read the post?

    Here let me help out: The Uptown Parent's Network would like to invite all families, children, and concerned community to attend, play, and meet other community members.

    You would be considered part of the "concerned community", no?

    Legally this is kind of a sticky situation.

    Actually, it's not sticky at all.

    You're upset that the hoops were taken down, we get it. Noted.

    But now you're moaning about .. whatever ... just hoping someone looks in your direction so that you can poke them in the eye. It's weak tea ... , and excruciatingly boring.

  11. @ Ron although I do not agree with you. You do make a good point about it being a potential sticky situation. If I were king I would allow everyone to use the park. I would also have two police offices at the park to enforce a no drugs, no weapons, no fighting, no cursing, no drinking policy. With being king I would allow the offices and general neighbor people to be judge, jury and enforcer on the spot for any violations. I guess it good I am not king.

  12. So, let's have a dialogue - who exactly is "the community" that is invited to this dialogue? If it's people that are impacted by these hoops (people on this block and those with kids under 12 in the area) I'm pretty sure the overwhelming vote is no hoops.

    If those not living here want the hoops, I am wondering if their vote would be different if this was next to their home. We are not talking about some teens playing basketball - we are talking about drug dealing in a PLAYLOT. If this PLAYLOT is only open to children and their guardians and that minimizes drug dealing and people getting shot in front of my home, then I say let's do it. Something has to be done and given the amount of police here last night and tonight (and the fact they closed the park at 5:30 last night)- even without the hoops - there is an issue here. If the gangbangers think they are being discriminated against, let them take it to court.

  13. What Would Bronco Billy Do?

    That is the question. In a sense.

    I think Bronco Billy would, if he were here among us, like to see the park bearing his name dedicated to the little kids.

    Talkin' about Bronco Billy....

  14. seems like this issue will not go away. As I said before, this is a ban-aid over a bullet hole. There is nothing preventing violence even with the hoops gone, all they can't do there now, is play basketball.

    The community is turning a blind eye to the gang situation, by simply thinking that it will just go away over some hoops. I wonder why Compton, Watts, and the south side of our own city haven't figured this out yet.....

    no matter what, the court is still there, and will be for some time, baskets or not. I think the bigger issue is the lack of CPD's interaction with these kids.
    I'm not suggesting that they profile, or abuse anyones rights, but I'd like to at least see the known gang members ejected on site, as to discourage them from interacting with the children and peaceful adults who have the right to be there.

    There are always police riding around in this neighborhood, but I've never seen them out over their car unless a crime happens right in front of them.

    The gangs are full of kids who are de-sensitized by the constant police roll-bys, and simply ignore them. CPD needs to be more diligent to prevent loitering, and all of the other crap that goes on over there. THIS COURT NEEDS SUPERVISION, OR IT NEEDS TO BE TORN DOWN. And judging by the city's finances, re-building that area probably wouldn't be in the immediate plans. I hope that some of you can grow some fortitude and make the correct choice. We have to make our community safe. Hoping it disappears will not work.

    In the meantime, I am getting my own rim, net and ladder. When I do, rest-assured that you can find me out there, inviting every kid I can find to come ball. And by all means, feel-free to discuss this with me in person.....


  15. Seriously, I cannot see any "sticky situation" here except that a rule that hasn't been enforced is now going to be. That must be maddening to the gang bangers that routinely use the park to deal their drugs, curse loudly, intimidate kids and barbecue on the sidewalk just out side of it in the evening once in a while. (I'm not making that up.) I applaud Mr. Cappleman for trying to affect change so directly and immediately. But after last night--I live on Magnolia close to the playlot--it's clear that this change is going to be met with tons of resistance. I don't think this summer is going to be pretty. The message to gang bangers couldn't be clearer though.

  16. Alex - No one thinks this is going to make the gangs disappear. We are hoping it helps make our homes and street safer. And after the last few nights it is obvious just taking down the hoops isn't the whole solution. The police have to enforce the under 12 and guardian rule. Kudos to you for putting up hoops at your home. We'll have the police direct them over there when they kick them off the playlot.

  17. No Trishers, I'll be at Bronco Billy with my rim....

  18. AlexV, you're just trolling now.

    If you're serious about bringing kids over 12 into the playlot, expect to get to know that Beat 2311 beat officers really, really well. I'm sure they appreciate you giving them notice to look for you.

  19. I'll be bringing my friends kids to supervise, (They like basketball too). I'll be also be exercising my right to peacefully assemble in a public place. I'll be using my property as well. I wish they would arrest me for playing basketball, that would be hilarious.

  20. The conversation here echoes the one that occurred at the playlot last night. The two camps seem completely unwilling to listen to, empathize with, or make concessions to one another. Folks, this is not a productive step in reducing gang activity in our neighborhood.

    After listening to everyone last night, I have respect for both sides. One side sees the playlot as a resource for parents and small children where they can feel secure and not have to worry about violence, shouting, swearing, drug use or other 'adult' behaviors being exhibited in front of their kids. As a parent of a toddler, I understand the reasoning that keeping unsupervised 12+year olds out means my kid can play safely. Just last week, I felt forced to leave Clarendon park because a group of pre-teens who had been playing basketball hopped the fence into the playground, were chasing each other around on the equipment where my small son was trying to play, and ultimately started a fight in which a couple kids were hitting and kicking one kid. I yelled at them, but was clearly not an 'authority' figure to them and was ignored. I did not feel safe being there with a toddler, nor did I want my child to witness the behavior.

    On the other hand, another portion of the community sees the playgrounds as a place for kids of all ages to congregate and be relatively protected. I get this too. If I am still in Uptown when my son is a teenager, I would dearly hope there would be a place for him to safely play sports with his friends. The fact that most educated, affluent residents don't remain in Uptown for their children to experience adolescence here means that those who do remain have somewhat of a stronger claim to our parks district. They need to figure out where their kids can go to play for many years, not just a few.

    I think the biggest problem therefore is the integrated court in a play ground. I know some residents feel strongly about mixed age levels all being able to play together, but I hope a lot of people can agree that encouraging socialization between 12 and 17 year olds is just as bad an idea as allowing wildly running and roughhousing 12 year olds to play on the same equipment as the 2 year olds.

    I also hear that many of the youth in particular feel that even gangbangers have enough respect not to have a shootout at the playground, but I would like to remind them of the shooting in Avondale 2 weeks ago in which a 2 and a 7 year old were shot when a banger was trying to shoot a kid at the baseball field adjoining the playground where the kids were playing.,0,4134579.story

    What would be awesome would be if people could think of viable alternatives so that everyone can feel safe, instead of griping and refusing to listen to others' perspectives.

  21. I wish they would arrest me for playing basketball,

    ... at a children's play lot.

  22. After the last few days of activity, I think the playground should just be closed.

    Our need to have a playground is dwarfed by the amount of illegal and life-threatening activity in the neighborhood. If getting rid of the playground all together eliminates one place for gangbangers to loiter and do business, the resulting feeling of safety would be so much better than having a park next door.

    We can go to a playground in a safe neighborhood.

    Alex - It's nice of you to support hoops when they're in someone else's backyard but not yours.

  23. For the record, when that lot was desingned years and years ago after the community took on the task of cleaning up what was basically a dump, it was clear that it was intended to be a place of recreation for teen and adults. Since then the basketball court has been, at least legally, considered separate from the kids playlot, thus allowing teens and adults to use it. So to say the rule excluding adults from the basketball court was ignored for years is a misrepresentation.

  24. FYI, the gangbangers seem to be moving over to the Astor Playlot (again 12 and under) on Kenmore.. tonight I walked by around 7pm and there were 13 adults and 1 child.. let me put it this way 11 of the adults were not even close to the kids and smoking and drinking (yes, a can in a paper sack is an assumption I am willing to make).. I hope the police move in on this quickly.. it has NEVER been a problem until the last week or two..when suddenly hoods seem to be taking over that playlot