Sunday, December 11, 2011

Helen and Brendan Shiller: Protectors of Gangs

In light of the recent gang violence in Uptown, Chicago Magazine could not have picked a more relevant time to publish their investigation of Chicago politicians and their connections to gangs. In the recently released January 2012 issue, the article details several different Chicago alderman and their connections to gangs, in addition to publishing a map of gang territory in Chicago.

The 46th ward is featured prominently in this article. Former 46th ward Alderman Helen Shiller is the one of the primary aldermen featured in the article. The article spotlights Helen's connection to twin brothers, Rahiem and Rahmon Ali, two leaders of the Gangster Disciples. Rahiem had over forty arrests before his death. What attorney was defending him in court? The former 46th Alderman's son, Brendan Shiller.  [In a comment on UU's Facebook page, Brendan Shiller says, "I never represented either of the twins in a substantive criminal matter (although I would have in a minute)."]

Yes, you read the last part of that excerpt correctly. Alderman Shiller helped pay for a gang member's funeral out of her political campaign fund. The article makes a clear connection between keeping the gangs on her side and keeping her political power in the 46th ward.

The article also cites Denice Davis, Helen Shiller's former Chief of Staff, who would frequently intervene when the police were trying to arrest and/or charge gangbangers. Sadly, police officers got the message, and a retired officer indicated that arresting a gang member "brought trouble" from the 46th ward office.

Several readers have contacted UU over the years about former Alderman Shiller's connection to the gangs in Uptown, but without documented proof, we did not feel responsible publishing those connections. We are grateful to Chicago Magazine for highlighting the connections that continue to burden our community.

We are publishing this post since we think it is important to all Uptown residents, both old and new, to know why we are still dealing with gang violence. At least five separate shootings in the last week, including one murder, is unacceptable, and we hope that all of us will work towards a peaceful solution to the end the gunfire in our streets.

Note:  You can see the entire article online at Chicago Magazine's website, here:  Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance


  1. Thank you Chicago Magazine...thank you...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. God lets stop trying blame Helen here.. She has been out of office for a year now and it is Caps duty as Alderman to fix the problem.. Im glad that she is gone but too say she supports Gangs because she supported a grieving mother in a time of need is not only incorrect but heartless!

    1. Let's call a spade a spade...this was ALL Helen's fault. If people working in her office made it difficult for the police to do their job by defending these gang thugs, Obviously, Schiller wasn't interested in protecting the interests of hard working, honest people who lived in her ward.

      Thanks to Chicago Magazine for exposing Schiller for the corrupt idiot she was.

  4. You guys rock!! Good job for exposing the hypocrites for who they are!! Not surprised!! I've heard the rumors myself for years!

  5. You think this is about "blaming" Helen? This is about uncovering the truth and disclosing a disturbing and instinctual relationship our former alderman had with the same local gangs we are fighting today.

    This article makes me nauseous. This article is about an elected official who put the lives of many at risk to protect a few. I deserves to be reported on. If the article was JUST about her supporting a "grieving" mother than so be it but it was much, much more.

  6. I have been aware of this reporter and his story for a at least two years. He has been working on it a long time, making sure that the facts were right and getting people to open up to him.

    When he started, Rahiem Ali was still alive and Helen was still in office, presumable planning to run again.

    Hat's off to Chicago Magazine for their research and courage in revealing the stranglehold that the gangs have on Chicago and who has been helping them.

  7. R u guys serious? Wat does this prove?? $2oo? Wat an outrage! To bury somone that is not a ward of the state cost atleast $1o,ooo so wateva shiller did contribute was a minor showing of assistance that some would may never recieve from ol cap...i personally voted for shiller once of the 16yrs that ive stayed in uptown and actually wished it was more because atleast with shiller in office there was less chaos as far as the broad day violence now we have the answers all tge police,media attn,and firepower but less control,cappleman better get cool with these young individuals and bring some peace to our community,if not we're all on the "highway to hell"

  8. As many bridges as the former Alderman and her son burned during her 20+ year career here, I find it hard to belive that she didn't burn just as many bridges with gang members and their families as she did with so many others in the ward.

    Regardless of the current situation, I still believe we are MUCH better off without the polarizing political tactics of the last 20+ years.

    That being said . . . To those who truly know ways to improve our community and bring about positive change, there is no better time than now to step forward. Your emerging leadership would be a welcome and refreshing contribtuion to our diverse and "battle weary" community.

  9. let me get that shocked look on my face... who didn't doubt that dou*he-bag of an alderman we suffered under for 20 years was a banger... along with her son... it's no surprise that now that she's out of office uptown has turned into a war zone.

  10. well that's just rich….thanks for sharing UU.

    And for those people out there that continue to say, "you think the Alderman can stop the shootings," --consider yourselves served.

    She enabled this shit for years. She gave them a spot to squat, kept quiet and watched this Ward turn into a war zone.

    And we're paying that slag's pension.


  11. What does it prove? are you serious? the $200 means little. the fact that she played interference with CPD on behalf of the gang members and helped them stay out of jail speaks volumes. Cappleman doesn't have to get cool with the gangbangers. That would be a huge mistake. He just has to keep doing what he's doing. Keep working with the CPD, community and section 8 building owners to keep the pressure on.

  12. This post is much-needed, but makes my sick just thinking about it. Thank you UU. I'd love to know what that b**** has to say for herself. I doubt she even still lives here; she probably fled the crime infestation she helped create.

    Uptownwiseman96, you completely miss the point. Any amount of money to honor a known criminal and gangbanger who terrorized the neighborhood is an abomination. The money is tacit endorsement of the dead loser's activities, and useless mother's activities (or inactivity, in terms of her failure to raise her children and her failure to correct their wrongs).

    The rest of us law abiding citizens pay for our own funerals, our own housing, and your housing. You, any other gangbangers (dead or alive), deserve no additional handouts, from the citizenry or the alderman.

    And you have outed yourself as a gangbanger or a gangbanging groupie. You want our Alderman to "get cool with" the gangs? I think not. What our Alderman should be doing (and our previous Alderman should have been doing) is working to eradicate the cancerous gangs, irrespective of their breed. There's no way in hell it is the role of the Alderman to "get cool with" the gangs. The Alderman needs to "get cool with" our various law enforcement personnel, including cops, housing court, and judges.

    Your second statement that outed you as a gangbanger or gangbanging groupie: you "stayed at" Uptown. I noticed this turn of phrase some time ago. You don't live here, you don't reside here, you don't have a home here, you probably don't pay rent here, you merely "stay" here. I really do wish that at some point in your life, you had made the choice to become a member of your community and take up residence, wherever that may have been. Since you're an idiot and chose poorly, all I have for you is an invitation to go suck an egg.

  13. Thank God she is outta here! What a lowlife.

  14. Beehive... that is what I am going to suggest Cappleman use as his symbol for the next 3.5 years... He came in and, with the help of our Police, is smacking the Beehive of the gangs... so right now, they are lashing out at each other, attacking,getting thrown in jail, coming out, attacking again.. etc, etc.. BUT...if you keep on knocking at the beehive and throw some good old pesticide on it, the Beehive gets destroyed, crumbles, the bees have all moved on or taken themselves out...Beehive my good neighbors, Beehive... keep calling 911, attending CAPS meeting, etc and knock it to the ground...

  15. Disturbing and completely plausible. Any idiot that wants to defend a Chicago politician, most of which are crooked, are probably on the take themselves. I hope with the growing string of governors getting put in the pookie it trickles down to this level. Also hope Rahmbo manages to get the number of alderdums cut down hurries up.

  16. Shit, back in the 80's, prior to her elected aldercritter, Shiller's "Heart of Uptown" compatriot Slim Coleman was accused by Ed Vrdolyak of being "the funeral director for the nazi party".

    Coleman is now a Protestant minister and Vrdolyak recently got out of Federal prison.

    Life is amusing sometimes.

    Accusations of Shiller and people around her having ties to gangbangers are older than her ever winning office.

  17. @uptown superhero_great idea!Beehive! Thats an approach I havent saw in the 16yrs ive ben STAYIng,residing,living,sleeping and eating in uptown at the same residence with no "assistance" from ray and the ray ray funding group....
    This is no shot @the superhero obviously and no sarcasm towards his idea I really do think its original and may work efficiently....
    But as I was sucking on the egg that my ol friend ray laid,i realized the word teen means gangbanger in uptown so may I please be more frank(or ray)
    The current alderman NEEDS to be in touch and communicating with the teens living in Uptown so that there can be some type of connection....
    So many of us complain about "housing" these kids and "dealing"with them when youre not interacting with them as far as community activities...I know it can be a challenge especially engaging with ppl u may have ben raised not to deal with,but they actually ppl as far as the gangerbangers mee and my buddy ray loves so much,if u catch em bookem,but dont presume this is going to change Uptown into Paradise Dr.immediately...there are much bigger things to pay attn to...say..crummy politians While they are in office eh?
    I think I may write a book on the hidden life of some politicians in office rite now ...
    Its called "The Gangbangers Aid"
    Featured on the cover would be me and Ray in front of my Prime Property holding my deed...

  18. Can anyone decipher that? I didn't tell anyone to suck an egg.

  19. "God lets stop trying blame Helen here.. She has been out of office for a year now and it is Caps duty as Alderman to fix the problem." crimegottastop

    Could you explain how the role of the alderman differs from the role of the police commander? Would this mean that the alderman's boss is the Police Superintendent? It's sounding like you believe the 2 jobs are one and the same. I'm just wondering.

    Maybe you're suggesting that we get rid of the commanders and the police superintendent and have the aldermen be in charge of public safety? I guess it would save money but I'm not sure if I feel sold on the idea.

  20. What fascinates me most about this article is that it was willing to say something negative about Helen at all. For decades, the Chicago media types were a big part of Helen's base. Although (because?) they didn't live in Uptown, they routinely painted her in a positive light in their articles (even recently, the Trib gratuitously called her a "noted budget expert"). So if the journalists are now willing to stop protecting her, her legacy will be toast.

  21. Nugatory: She didn't even live here when she was in office. She lived in Andersonville. My guess is she still lives there, far away from the troubles she helped create.

    Anyone who doesn't see the relevance of this article shouldn't waste our time with posting their opinion. The policies and actions laid down by former politicians always affect the area involved. This article merely points out that Shiller's policy and light stance toward gangbangers is the reason we're in this mess.

    So, thecrimeisgottastop, yes it's Cappleman's duty to fix the problem, but it was Shiller's horrible policy-making and indifference toward the gangs and the crimes they commit that created the problem in the first place; or at the very least exacerbated the problem.

    Your argument holds no weight, and it even makes me a little ill to think there are people in Uptown who can view our current predicament that way.

  22. I did a little research on Aqueela Ali, the mother who brought us gangbangers. Listen to her rail against gentrification.

    And in an article, "Aqueela Ali . . . said there are 72 different ethnicities represented in her building alone. She credited this for shaping the way her children learned to appreciate different people." Too bad she couldn't raise her kids to contribute to society. She makes me want to puke.

  23. Later in that article:

    Ali said there have always been gangs in Uptown, but they have become worse. In the 1980s she and other parents mobilized against them, and still work to find other activities to occupy neighborhood children. “It’s not acceptable to us either,” she said of older residents.

    If this who is fighting against gangs, no wonder we have the problems we do.

  24. Ray my apologies....
    The rant was towards "nugatory" ....
    Gosh...waist of a rant...that sucks.

  25. Nugatory--did you notice the first item in the google search of Aquella Ali? It is nice to know she takes an interest in the political process even after Shiller declined to run.

    CHICAGO, IL 60640

    AQUELLA ALI received a total of $ 500.00 in .
    All Expenses to AQUELLA ALI for Friends of Molly Phelan gave $ 500.00 to AQUELLA ALI on 4/5/2011 for Election/Overhead Expenses.

  26. That level of self deception on display in that video essay is astounding.

  27. During the prior aldmerman's reign, her ability to "get cool" basicially meant when thugs got hot in the ward, she had them tone it down when the locals got angry over crime. In return, when her gang buddys got arrested, she & son pressured the cops to lay off the heat. (There's a ying/yang)

    Now that Shiller is gone, and Cappleman is not acting as the gang protectors, the gangs have no reason to "get cool" with each other and we have an all out gang war on our hands.

    Sorry, it may take years to clean 'em out. Cappleman can't fix 20 years of politically sponsored gang enablement overnight. It may even get worse before it gets better.

  28. Beacon Bandit,

    Not sure what you are implying but anybody that denies that both candidates paid gangbangers to help with the campaign is just lying.

  29. It's good to now have Ms. Ali's name out in the spotlight. The more of these protectors of terrorists that we unearth, the better. These are the people behind the scenes creating misery for the masses under the guise of helping the neighborhood while celebrating its diversity... bull@!#t...

    @ Nugatory,

    thanks for the links..Aqueela saying she has helped fight against gang violence yet having RAISED two violent gang members is hilarious. WTF goes through the mind of someone as disillusioned as she is?

    My Christmas wish this year is for a new dawn of social activism to take root in Uptown where more of us are active in ways that produce results. That this new wave of activism works with social organizations/churches/non-profits to identify problem buildings/areas/and people and to get them the hell out of not just Uptown, but Chicago.

  30. @ Media Critic,

    Then find a link with Cappleman and let us know.

  31. Media Critic, what evidence do you have that Cappleman paid gangbangers to work for him? I'd be surprised but not terribly so if he did, but wonder if you have anything to back up your assertion.

  32. How much did son of Shiller earn from legal fees from repreenting the gang members? Out of one pocket and into another?

  33. Media Critic--Really? Go search that website and once you find a local gang banger or associate who received money from Capplemans campaign let us know.

    Now I would guess Ali hooked up with the Phelan campaign through Mark Kaplan and that the campaign knew nothing about Alis gangbanger sons. All that shows is how entrenched the bangers are in local politics.

    Now if you volunteered for Capplemans campaign like I did you would know that many of the people he hired for election day were hired through craigslist as day workers. Many of them were at his victory party at Nicks.

  34. OK BB. Whatever you say.

    Don't get me wrong, I like James and think he is doing a great job.

  35. So Media Critic, are you admitting that you have no factual basis for your claim that Cappleman paid gangbangers to help with the campaign? Just checking.

  36. I used to be part of the problem in uptown during the late 90s. CVL when it was at its strongest. Back when we would be 100 deep at all times on Windsor and Hazel. Since then Gator turned FED rat and had Fred and other leadership locked up. We grew old, and realized we had futures past 20. I make a point of not going back to uptown now. nothing but trouble there. I just started looking at this blog when the stand off situation was going on last week. I Can see that you guys want to do something to change your community for the best. Here is a few of my recommendations.

    A. Do what Andersonville did. 15 years ago, the Latin Kings dominated Clark street. A young black male wouldn't be caught dead on Clark. Clark was the north side's 26th street. 1 king would turn to 50 in a matter of seconds. Now though It's like lincoln park over there. no gang bangers, or at least nothing like it was.

    B. Encourage local businesses to hire ex-felons that live in the community. 99% of gang bangers will get a felony when they turn 18 and never look for a job again, thinking no one wants to hire them. If an uptown business hires a felon and puts him in a position where he interacts with people, he will start to care a little about those people. If you went to subway and saw a troublemaker behind the counter. If you left a positive impression on him, maybe new his name, it would go a long way. you may even be comfortable enough to say hi to him by name outside of the job.

    C. stop complaining, stay positive and progress forward. Harping on gun control is useless. criminals will find ways to get guns. more control will just cause them to cost more on the street. Which is nothing when in the hood. a gun represents power and endless opportunities. They will buy a gun first, car, rent, everything after the gun. How do they get the money? They will sell fake crack to hypes to raise $120 to buy an eight ball and go from there. your not going to stop the drug dealing, your not going to stop the gun purchasing. you might be able to shut down the sec. 8 gang buildings. But you can teach the "follower" thugs to care about the community and their future. The "leader" thugs you cant do anything about. that is resolved with good police work or them killing each other off.

    Caution: vigilante police is not the way to go. 15 years ago, dick boys used to plant crack on people, exchange guns for freedom, and do everything some of you hope they would do. This just leads to an Us vs. them mentality and only ads to the problems. You can see the results in uptown it hasnt worked. vigilante police end up being greedy, robbing dealers and reselling the drugs and even becoming part of the problem. Feel free to Visit the 4 Corner Hustlers open drug market at 290 and Independence (BP gas station) and thank god that isnt uptown

  37. Thanks CVL. I think you really have given some viable solutions!

  38. Thanks for the words, CVL. But regarding your first rec -- do what Andersonville did -- what did they do? All you said is there were gangs and now there aren't.

  39. "So Media Critic, are you admitting that you have no factual basis for your claim that Cappleman paid gangbangers to help with the campaign? Just checking."

    My factual basis is that gangbangers worked on the campaign.

    Please, you people are making me tired. The Capplemanics are kind of like Fox News commentators I swear. Two words come to mind, "Plausible deniability."

    This is a non-issue anyway. Employing some local kids who are bangers is a far cry from what Shiller was involved in.

    Politics is a dirty business. Especially in Chicago.

  40. Toto probably has a lot right. If Cap is serious about taking on crime he isn't going to pursue the same sweep it under the rug style methods of his predecessor.

    As the political landscape changes and the community becomes a more unwelcoming place to do business, the gangs are going to get especially violent in claiming what remains of their an animal backed into the corner.

    Re: the Andersonville point made's a poor analog. Andersonville never had the same concentration of clinics, SROs, large high rise public projects, etc. The scales have just been tipped so much in the gang's favor here. Clearing out a handful of bad buildings is one thing, but we're talking about numerous large banger factories that aren't going anywhere.

    As for businesses hiring felons...screw that. Uptown has been a social experiment and dumping ground for the cities losers for too long with disasterous results.

  41. Media Critic,

    Quit while you're not really ahead.

    "My factual basis is that gangbangers worked on the campaign."


    MY factual basis that the sky is blue is because the sky is blue. Oh, and my factual basis that stops signs are red is because they are red.

    No disrespect, but your scientific skills of inquiry could probably use a little sharpening.

  42. HI CVL!

    My impression from being here 14 years and growing up in gang infested south side is that the "gang bangers" are kids who are fooling around.

    I don't think they are involved in massive drug dealing outside of selling to individuals on the street and nobody is getting rich from that.

    They are playing tough, getting a gun ( not weaponry) and talking shit and occassionally doing something that causes problems.

    I don't think most of them are "drug dealers" ...not seriously drug dealers...or burglars or robbers. Only once a year maybe.

    But everybody is doing something on occassion like physical fights, threats, small time destruction to property etc.

    They are teens. They grow out of it eventually. And some do serious time.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    What I would like to know is what makes a leader a leader in these gangs.

    What's an average day like, and average week like.
    What does an "gang member" have to do to stay in the gang, look good, outside of shooting.

    How many of the people you were in a gang with grew out of it or went to jail for long periods.

    What are the most typical felony convictions that gang members get.

  43. I jst got the Alderman's email blast, it appears to me that he is taking the necessary steps to get rid of these people.

    Uptown Action.... is the sky not blue?

  44. Between this post and especially the UU Facebook page I can see the banger and banger apologists are out in force.

    Let's see if forcing some of their enablers out of their subsidized housing will have a postive effect on the neighborhood.

    The concept I'm thinking of is:

    : in order to encourage the others —said ironically of an action (as an execution) carried out in order to compel others to obey or submit

    It comes from the French and I hate two things. Illinois Nazis and Romance languages. However, I hate bangers more.

  45. Mr. Pirate~

    I hope that Capp is able to say, "Veni, vidi, vici" by his next campaign. He's is off to a good start IMHO and it will get worse before it gets better...especially if he starts smoking out the angry little bees in their subsidized hives.

    Vive la Resistance!

  46. IP, not all bangers are horrible. And some bangers are actually really good, deep down. For example, how can you fault bangers and mash. mmmmmmm, tasty.

  47. @alek
    there is only 2 ways to help the gang situation. Cops being hard on them isnt sure fire, cause as you know they dont stay in jail long.
    1. somehow get rid of the sec. 8 towers.
    2. pick up where their parents left off. The community needs to help steer these potential criminals away from crime. i know it sucks, cause you didnt ask for this responsibility. but thats the way it is with gang bangers. Money cant fix this problem, the cops can only do their job so much.. but listen to a scanner some time. Cops don't have the manpower to discipline AND raise these kids.

    Also, you would be surprised how many ex-felons Jewel hires.

    "I don't think most of them are "drug dealers" ...not seriously drug dealers...or burglars or robbers. Only once a year maybe.

    But everybody is doing something on occasion like physical fights, threats, small time destruction to property etc. "

    your pretty right on here. The point i guess i was trying to make in my earlier post is that most members of a gang (85%) are "followers" they are only in it because their family lives in the territory or they think its cool or they have friends in it. THIS 85%, you or someone has a chance at turning around on to a better path. The other 15% are the heavy duty dealers and violent members, the guys that brag about the way the blood poured out of a victim, the psychopaths.

    Unfortunately the 15% instigate a lot of the violence. when one of the 85% might complain that some guy in school disrespected him in front of his girl and probably will never do anything more than complain. It's the 15% that will hand him the gun and say "what are you going to do about it" so does he get called a p*ssy the rest of his life or shoot someone? the latter most often. This mindless violence the 15% use as a distraction for the cops to move around the hood and make their money un-bothered.

    your other Qs:
    - A leader is often someone that had an older brother or father with rank before him or was close with a previous leader. Or the mid level dealer that fronts the wanna-be dealers drugs to sell.

    - avg. day varies greatly. but the 15% have a months worth of drama happen to them in a weeks time.

    -Gang members dont have to do much to stay in other than not f*ck up

    -People that grow out of gang activity usually move to a quieter neighborhood, then grow out of it. usually the mom moves or they meet a girl from a different neighborhood. The 15% never stop committing crimes, they just get less reckless as they go to jail more or get older. Most that I know moved from uptown because the cops knew them as bad guys and the opposition knew them as targets. so they moved elsewhere to commit crimes elsewhere where they weren't recognizable.

    -unfortunately its usually the 85% that get caught for murders. the 15% usually go to jail for extended periods of time for 3rd strike weapons charges or 3rd strike drug charges.

    -The biggest problems with gang members is that they feel they have no other option to make money in life after they get their first felony other than to turn back to crime. most 18 yr olds first felony is a drug possession, gun possession cause he feels scared walking outside of his territory, or assault charges cause 10 of them were beating up someone (critical cond.) and the cops happen to grab him out of the 10. Not saying that they dont deserve to get arrested, but unless there is a way out of the life after their first mistake this crap will never end.

  48. @Lambertgotjobbed
    I dont know what andersonville did. I was not on your side of the fence. I just know that it was real bad and now its good. somehow? CVLs didnt have to interact with the kings much as there was often a truce with the faction that used to occupy agatite and hazel. That section was run by King Fredo. A big shot dealer that used to drive a white Lexus with giant rims. Always stood on the corner with a big crown tatted on his chest, pit bull at side. Vigilante policing scared him off. Leaderless, apartments changing to condos shipped the rest of those kings out. I don't know what happened on Clark street though.

  49. @ cvl there's a lot of truth in your comment. Does wiseman hit home?????? Yes yes we know all too well.

  50. Well, the article's a bit late given that we've had a new Alderman in the 46th for more than a few months now.

  51. How long must the Shiller bashing continue? 5 years? 10 years?? It seems to have been a motivating factor in the creation of UU, so I'm guessing the party will go on. Blamed while in office, as well as in retirement:

    "It's no surprise that now that she's out of office uptown has turned into a war zone."

    Nonsense. If anything, wouldn't there be more gangbangers in jail because she's not around to protect them?

    Should she be called back to help smoke out the beehive? Geez, Louise.. MOVE ON.

  52. TS,

    you may have noticed that Chicago Magazine published the story. UU just linked to it.

    In fairness Shiller is hardly the only politician who allegedly had/has ties to gangs or organized crime. Can you say Fred Roti? I knew you could.

    I refuse to hyperlink as Roti's memory is unworthy.

    Both Mayor Daleys were "alleged" to have links to organized crime.

    Hell, Daley's brother John married the daughter of a an alleged "hood".

    Again no hyperlink because John Daley is actually uglier and dumber than his more famous brother.

    Here is the Tribune headline from the time:

    "Daley's son to wed hood's daughter."

    Just by pure coincidence John Daley's brother in law Cosmo Briatta used to head up land sales for da city.

    Google his name for all kinds of fun facts.

    I could go on and on and on and on.....but I won't I won't I won't.

    Let me end with a pretentious sentence:

    Criminals and Chicago politicians are locked in a grotesque embrace of mutual convenience.

    Gawd, I shoulda been a big time columnist.

  53. @IP

    I, for one, have always assumed you were!

  54. I wish there were a Facebook-type way to "like" the comments here. Against all odds, there have been some very good ones. "+1" to CVL in particular, and also Stu and IP.

    Unfortunately, it's easy for me to believe that in a pinch, an alderman might go to a gang member they happen to know and say "tell your guys to cool it for a while--it's hurting me politically--and I'll help you out later. " That has to be a serious temptation, especially near election season. Low-grade systematic corruption that's nearly impossible to prove and even harder to root out. That to me is the real killer accusation against Helen in this article, not that she chipped in some petty cash for a funeral.

  55. True Story...for YEARS! Helen built a HUGE pile of horsecrap.... and it will take YEARS to shovel it out... Hurricane Katrina was years ago and there is still massive damage left.. just because a human disaster zone,aka Shiller, has left does not mean the disaster zone went with her.. it just means those of us left living in it get to pull out shovels and get to work... so True Story..she was in charge for over 20 years so I am guessing her half-life of a disaster is at least 10 years..hope that answers your question~!

  56. Jon,

    You get a "Like" from me! There is so much power an alderman has. The fact that gangs are less pretected means more are going are indeed going to jail so the ones left are fighting for what space is now left open. So unlike what someone else said, things are going to get worse rather than better in the short term.

    It has been years since the Alderman allowed housing court, city inspectors and the police to do their jobs and help clean out the public housing in the area. That also will take time to get back on track. So the former Alderman is gone yes, but her misdeads will remain for years to come. But our current alderman sure is working dam hard to speed that up! Good for him and anyone else who is using their energy to help out!

  57. jon can you please tell us what Uptown was like in the years, lets' say, a decade, before Shiller was elected? I wasn't here, so I don't know

  58. Objectively, the only connection Shiller had with gang members was in giving money to the mother of one to help with funeral expenses. The rest is speculation.

  59. WBEZ also has a story about the Chicago Magazine piece.

    Click and listen. It's the first story. It doesn't have a separate audio link yet.

    I'm listening to it now.

    I don't know if our beloved Helen, may her memory last a thousand thousand years, is mentioned.

  60. No direct mention of Shiller in the WBEZ audio interview.

  61. "Objectively, the only connection Shiller had with gang members was in giving money to the mother of one to help with funeral expenses. The rest is speculation."

    Uh, no Sean. Directly from the article:

    "Officers working in the 23rd District say Shiller and her chief of staff, Denice Davis, frequently came into the station after certain Uptown residents were arrested to try to defuse things. Police say Davis’s interference on behalf of gangbangers and the Alis—whose mother, Aqueela, was part of the alderman’s political organization—had a chilling effect on their policing efforts."

  62. Direct link to the WBEZ story up now:

  63. True story I think the shiller bashing will continue unti her legacy has been dismantled and uptown becomes a respectable neighborhood. She was in power so long that we can quote long gone Mike Royko, alot of younger peeps dont even know who he is.

    I follow this blog because Im 38 and I grew up in this city and I never understood why Uptown is still how it is, now I know.
    I grew up in Lincoln Park when it was just a regular place, and it has really stumped me why Uptown remained so seedy.

    Her (shiller) legacy has affected the entire city, northside, and lakefront. The city couldve been so much more than it is if it wasnt for her.

  64. In my opinion, to me, I think Sean is actually Jon Trott using a psuedonym....

  65. what kills me is this view that gang members are constituents too and able to "vote".
    Seems to me your privilege as an American citizen to vote should be forfeited upon conviction of criminal acts, particularly those resulting in felony sentences.

  66. In Illinois, convicted felons can vote once they've been released from prison.

  67. @ Yo

    Just curious, not sure...

    Is there a state in the union where a felon cannot vote once released from prison?

  68. AL, AZ, DE, FL, KY, MS, NE, NV, TN, VA, WA, WY are the states where felons wil permanently lose their voting rights - though, conditions exist where that might change (date/type of offense, etc).

    Maine and Vermont are wide open to felons voting, even if still in prison.

    All of the other states are kinda in the middle.

    Some states prevent voting while in prison, on parole, or probation.

    Illinois is one of 13 states, and DC, that allow felons to vote once released from prison - no restrictions (ie - had Derrick King been out of prison for the election, he could vote).

    Obviously - and in light of the Chicago Mag article, this might be a good subject to bring up to Greg Harris and Heather Stearns. IL may (should?) consider tightening the rules on voting considering their ripe for political abuse.

  69. Michigander'11 said...
    what kills me is this view that gang members are constituents too and able to "vote".
    Seems to me your privilege as an American citizen to vote should be forfeited upon conviction of criminal acts, particularly those resulting in felony sentences.

    The trend has been in the opposite direction.

    "Since 1997, 800,000 persons have regained the right to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement reform in 23 states..."

  70. Thanks Yo...that was one solid answer.

    Polling booths IN prisons...good grief....

    I wonder how they would vote in local elections, would it be the district of the jail or their last address before sentencing? Really doesn't matter as Vermont and Maine just have their own ways of doing things....

    Losing voting rights for life seems pretty severe and counter-productive to rehabilitation/assimilation....except in extremely serious cases.

    Voter disenfranchisement is concern, especially with some of the latest cornball "voter ID" laws coming out of a dysfunctional congress.