Friday, January 18, 2013

Whoa.... Aldermen Go After Conditions In Cubicle Hotels

According to an article in the Sun-Times, Brendan Reilly and James Cappleman say that cubicle hotels, such as Uptown's Wilson Men's Club, are archaic relics of another era, and unfit for humans.

They are looking for improved conditions in the only two cubicle hotels left in the city, or else closure.

* * * * * *
"Cubicle hotels — the last vestiges of Chicago’s “Skid Row”-era — would be forced to shut down or improve living conditions “not fit for human beings,” under a crackdown proposed this week by a pair of aldermen.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose newly re-drawn ward is literally on the border of the Ewing Annex Hotel, 422-26 S. Clark, and Ald. James Cappleman (46th), whose Uptown ward includes the Wilson Club Men’s Hotel, 1224 W. Wilson, want to eliminate the archaic section of Chicago’s zoning ordinance that somehow still allows cubicle hotels."
We urge you to read the article describing the conditions inside the cubicle hotels:  chicken-wire ceilings, plaster board partial walls, one toilet shared by 20 people, no air conditioning.  It's horrifying.   Reilly says, "Average Chicagoans wouldn’t want to house their dogs in this type of facility" and Cappleman adds,  "For some reason, these two buildings escaped having to abide by the same standards as the rest of the city. It’s just not fair. I want them to have the same standards as the rest of the city."

Read the article.  It's our opinion that people demanding more affordable housing in Uptown, as ONE is, would better serve those whose causes they champion, if instead they demanded that the owners of the existing affordable housing provide humane and safe conditions for their clientele.

Perhaps Wilson Club owner Jay Bomberg saw the handwriting on the wall, and that's why he commissioned a study of "alternative uses and exterior upgrades" from local architects MDT?


  1. Hey, ONE, I have a video for you to learn from. Just think of Cappleman as Colonel Chamberlain. You and your dwindling band of supporters are headed for the dustbin of history. Not only in Uptown, but throughout the north lakefront.

    We, and yes there is a mouse in my pocket, have the high ground both politically and in terms of good public policy. You're running out of ammo and supporters.

    It's amazing what an involved alderman can accomplish ain't it? While the battle against gang violence will continue into the foreseeable future, the smaller battles are being won ONE by ONE. ONE building at a time so to speak.

    Every domino counts.

    Every small victory leads to larger victories.

    To continue the Civil War analogy think of this as 1863 at a small town in Pennsylvania. The line has been held, the battle won, and the ultimate outcome is no longer in doubt.

    Think of ONE, the dwindling band of beleaguered Shillerista supporters, and perhaps even JPUSA as the modern Uptown descendants of the Japanese soldiers who held out on small Pacific islands after the end of World War Two. They refused to live in the present and longed for a past that no longer existed. A past that should never have existed.

    I leave those folks with a song from my misspent "yute".

    Then after doing an exhaustive two minute search for "Gay Anthems" I leave all of you with a song that our happens to be gay alderman may or may not appreciate. I have no idea what his musical tastes are.

    ONE of the things that annoyed me about the last election was the idea that a gay man wasn't tough enough to deal with Uptown's problems. Really? I'd argue that exactly what Uptown needed and needs is an alderman who spent a lifetime dealing with dysfunction as a devout Catholic Monk and social worker. A man who dealt with his sexuality at a time when others were hiding in closets or airport bathrooms. Let's face facts we live in a dysfunctional ward, but as time goes by it's becoming less dysfunctional. It's time for Uptown to be less "dys" and more "fun".

    Every once in awhile the right individual is in the right place at the right time. At Gettyburg it was Chamberlain at Little Round Top. In Uptown it's Cappleman at Cricket Hill.

    Yes, the comparison is overwrought, but so what? Those of us who've been here for decades deserve an in your face moment with the forces of regression. So march on developer's homes ONE. March for your definition of "social justice". Get used to marching because one of these days you'll be marching out of the ward.

    Now here's the "gay anthem". Considering the lyrics and the opening it's perfect. To paraphrase: "We're not alone. We're with Cappleman".

    Right, ONE?


  2. Here's the Shillerista reply I expect will be posted in one form or another regarding Cappleman trying to improve Uptown. It makes as much sense as the arguments against a changing and improving Uptown.

    I prefer this little number made famous in the movie "Ghost World".

    Or something regarding the "Circle of Life". Life, death and rebirth. Something joyous. Something donuty.

  3. Screw them go Cap!!! Did I call this or what! Get rid of this place but don't mess with Cornerstone they are ok.

  4. Jason--otherwise known as Irish-like Pirate,

    Do you work on coming up with stupid comments or does it come naturally?

    I'm guessing you come by it naturally.

    Me, I have to work at it.

    Cornerstone and JPUSA are like parasitic worms living in the anus of Uptown.

    Now that I think about it that could also describe your contribution to the comments here.

    By the way that parasitic line comes from Werner Herzog's "Encounters at the End of the World".

    As for JPUSA and Cornerstone one of my neighbors is a former JPUSA member, escapee, and she maintains some friendships with our Wilson Avenue betters. She claims JPUSA is having some serious problems with retention and recruiting. Apparently the music festival they organized annually to recruit damaged youth is kaput.

    I'm hoping, dare I say praying, that JPUSA implodes over the next few years. I wouldn't bet on it, but I wouldn't be surprised if their impact and presence on our fair neighborhood is lessened as time goes by.

    They seem to be suffering a crisis in leadership and dare I say "faith".

    That of course calls for an IrishPirate Youtube link.


    Because like Suzi Q "I'm the Wild One".

    Goodnight Sweet Prince(Jason).

  5. Some of ONE's supporters for the year ended June 30, 2011:
    Illinois State Board of Education - $233,000
    US Dept of Health and Human Services - $65,000
    Chicago Public Schools - $53,000
    Illinois Violence Prevention Authority - $387,000
    UIC, Cease Fire - $95,000

  6. While I agree with many of the comments made by Irish Pirate, I am not sure why you continue to allow him to post. Most of his comments attack others with differing opinions followed by an attempt at humor. If he wants to create a blog that inflates his ego more and rips apart those he feels are beneath him then so be it. However, I don't think this is the correct forum. Thanks for all the work you guys put into this. I really think you are making a difference.

  7. @xavi: If I may be so bold, I'll attempt to answer your post as the innocent bystander I am.

    First, I believe that UU is moderated by a group of Uptowners. Some of those moderators are more open to freedom of speech than others, and whether particular posts get approved depends upon who gets to it first to approve it. For the most part, I think that there are very few posts to UU that do NOT get approved. The more controversial posts get lots of replies, and no one gets a "free pass" to insult others--insults are based on facts, or insults get responses in-kind. We're big kids here and take care of ourselves.

    Secondly, Irish Pirate is a long-time and prolific contributor to UU who does his homework and who writes nothing that isn't substantiated. He's either loved or hated by readers of UU, but few can deny that he brings a history and perspective about Uptown and its always-changing cast of characters that really no one else does. You may not like his satire and humor, but you've got to respect that he includes links (OK, most of them lately are to YouTube) to back up what he writes--he prods people who richly deserve prodding because of their actions, says things the way things are, and doesn't talk out of his backside the way some contributors to UU can do.

    And finally, IP loves this neighborhood. Most of his posts reflect that, and he motivates discussion and discourse. I think he understands better than most that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I personally am happy to have him reminding us all of the history of this neighborhood--and why it sunk as low as it did--in the hopes that Uptown learns from the mistakes of the past.

  8. It is rumored that drug dealers will move into that hotel at the beginning of each month. The drug/alcohol inside that building is horrible. Also, they tend to loiter around outside at all hours.

  9. IP, since I know you're a fan, maybe you can convince Carrie Fisher to come finish the task she started. Just be sure not to let anyone grovel in front of the building.

  10. Before I make a longer comment a "quickie" for Americanlt.

    How does Mister Poochy react to the shenanigans at the Wilson Men's Hotel?

    Does he take doggie meds to calm his nerves?

    Do you have any left over I could buy or sell at the hotel?

  11. Next, may be a whole lot of things, but innocent ain't one of 'em.

    Spevvy...I think your line may become my new tagline for awhile:

    suck it bitches, change is coming...for the better.

    That should be put up on signs at each corner of the neighborhood.

    Xavier_Swordsman....lighten up man. This isn't the first time you've criticized me and it hopefully won't be the last.

    On occasion UU has not posted my comments. When that happens I always remind UU of a certain soiree I organized after Shiller announced she wasn't running for reelection.

    Let's just say I have photos and video of all the UU moderators in various states of undress or "dress". It's like a remake of "Caligula" from 1979 only with fewer togas and more leather/whips. CHeck the movie out. The 1979 movie that is to get a flavor of what I speak of. Malcolm McDowell and Peter O'Toole give outstanding performances.

    As did "Caring Neighbor" and a few others in the Uptown version.

    Seriously, if you don't like my comments don't read em.

    As Bear said people generally either love me or hate me, but to really annoy me you just need to ignore me.

    Aye dere's da rub.

  12. I think JPUSA is unfairly judged on this site. I know they are a little weird but they have done some good things.

  13. I received services from Ezra and sort of fell in with them and O.N.E. from peer pressure back when I was a Lawrence House victim, I wish I could unload the full story but I completely disagree with them and don't really feel they have our best interests in mind, others have tossed around terms like "petite bourgeoisie communists" in regards to them and Lakeview action coaltiion, I don't think I'm quite ready to go that far yet, but it's approaching the truth.
    Whenever I see one of their acolytes in their brightly colored "gimmee" t-shirts, i lecture them on how their efforts are actually cheapening our neighborhoods, not helping it.
    The final straw was when I had an argument with somebody at Ezra because a young man, clean shaved and nice clothes was panhandling right in front of my building's entrance and she was fine with that, and told me I was wrong to not want that happening. That "he belonged" in my neighborhood.
    That kid tried to assault me two months later and got a few free meals and a place to sleep downtown.

  14. Cappelman is a brave man to confront the owners of these seedy SROs. This guy truly is the finest alderman Uptown has had in 50 years and is one of the finest leaders in the city.

    These places have "outlasted their time" by decades for a reason, and that reason is that they are obscenely profitable for their unprincipled, predatory owners.

    Think about what it takes to be a good landlord... my landlord runs a beautiful courtyard in Rogers Park, which he maintains well. The halls are well decorated, clean, and smell good, the lawn is a showcase, the building has been tuckpointed, re-wired, has new gas pipes, new windows. As apartments occupied by the same tenant for decades are vacated, they are substantially remodeled. And all of this in a 4 or 5 room apartment that is beautiful and moderately priced.. and priced only a couple of hundred a month higher than a reeking SRO room with a shared bath, obscene vermin infestations, filthy conditions, dangerous wiring, and the scum of the planet roaming the place.

    Who do you think makes more money? We can be grateful that most landlords take pride in their property and want tenants they aren't terrified of, because the SRO owner makes a lot more money with a fraction the investment per square foot, even when you factor in his legal expenses. That's why the only way to improve these places is to go after the owners and shut the places down. Force is the only thing that works with the greedy scum who operate these holes.

  15. I'm glad that a lot of you agree with me on these so-called "activists", because I have had arguments with social workers, angry, foaming at the mouth arguments about O.N.E. and Ezra, in which I was called "ungrateful" by people who really should have chosen another career.

  16. ONE has an invested interest in keeping people in bad situations. I know some people may think they are here to help the poor and disadvantaged, they are not. They are here to keep you right where you are, poor and disadvantaged. You don't believe me just look at who volunteers to help with their causes.but when its time to hire someone, they wil not offer the positions to the volunteers. Without people living in poverty and staying in poverty, ONE would cease to exist.

  17. To Mr. Cappleman, IP and all the others who champion the end of SRO's - BRAVO! I've always said that the controversy about gentrification was contrived to keep the "help the poor stay poor" industry in Uptown alive. Even if there were any benefits to these organizations for the poor, it would have made the most sense for them to sell their properties when the real estate market was flying high, buy in a neighborhood that wasn't as desirable for redevelopment as Uptown, and spend the balance of the sales proceeds on helping the poor. This would have been a win-win for all. Instead, we had a nasty, stressful "civil war" as IP put it in which one side is losing badly. I have zero sympathy for those organizations and will dance on their graves once the inevitable happens.

  18. I have been inside the Wilson Men's Club and agree that the living conditions there are horrible. These places are basically one step up from homeless shelters - which are worse - in that they offer some personal space people can use 24 hrs a day and keep their possessions in, as opposed to having to be on the streets from daybreak until 8 p.m. or so and taking all their belongings with them everyday. And the bathroom to resident ratio is also much worse in most homeless shelters. But the fact is these cubicle hotels do serve a need and if the people living there had the means to obtain better housing, they most likely would have. My point is, if you shut these cubicle hotels down (which I don't oppose), where do the aldermen propose the people living there go? And I realize most people posting here couldn't care less as long as they leave Uptown, but if you take away one option for housing they can afford, as deplorable to us as that housing may be, what do the Aldermen propose as alternatives? Most of the guys living in these cubilce hotels live on less than $700 a month. The supply of housing that could be afforded by someone with that income is already horribly outmatched by the demand, which is a big reason why these cubicle hotels have so many renters. So to me the plan to shut these hotels down is not complete until new options for housing that the current residents can afford are created.

  19. It's a fair question to ask. Where do we house people who are a combination of unintelligent, mentally ill, functionally illiterate, substance addicted, unemployable, disabled, and have no family support? (or have burned the bridges of family support, often as a result of mental illness, etc.) It's either facilities like these, or state-run institutions. And we don't seem to be willing to pay tax money to house these "freeloaders" at this point in our history. The streets are the default option. I'm not a fan of many of the poverty pimps of Uptown, but I don't have an answer for the alternative either.

  20. Seans... it is NOT Uptowns sole responsbility to house every single indigent, homeless person, mentally ill person, drug addict, recently release felons and sex offenders, drug addicts and welfare cheats. Spread the joy around the city. The concentration of it in Uptown is ridiculous, unhealthy, unsafe and inexcusable

  21. Everything and I mean everything is fleeting.

    The days of Uptown having a dysfunctional alderman leading a dysfunctional coalition for dysfunctional goals are over.

    This of course calls for an IrishPirate pretentious English poetry link.


    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.[1]

    Seems fitting, huh Doc?

  22. "Seans... it is NOT Uptowns sole responsbility to house every single indigent, homeless person, mentally ill person, drug addict, recently release felons and sex offenders, drug addicts and welfare cheats."


    Sean never said that.

  23. Make no mistake, many of these so called "Activist" organizations all over Chicago are actually poverty pimps and have no real interest in solving problems.

  24. Alek, Sean is asking what the alderman is going to do to find housing for these people who will have to move out of the Wilson Men's Club. This is not the first time that Uptown has been appointed as the community that needs more affordable housing; the Maryville TIF is the latest example.

    Perhaps the real question is why do some people feel it only the responsibility of an Uptown alderman to fix the affordable housing crisis for all of Chicago? It's time for others to do their share.

  25. I was bored today and decided to utilize some news sources and do a simple breakdown of Uptown shootings and homicides in 2012.

    Bon apetit!

  26. Holey and uptown, you both seem to accused me of having opinions or feelings I neither hold nor have expressed here. Why is that? I don't believe it is Uptown's or Uptown's alderman's responsibility to find or provide decent affordable housing for those at the margins of society. I just believe that if you are going to take away a needed housing resource from a segment of society that doesn't have the housing resources adequate to their needs as it is, you should also be working on creating new housing resources to replace what you are taking away. That is all. I could care less where replacement housing is created. I just don't see how making more people homeless and putting them on the streets helps any of us.

  27. Sean, did you get any indication from the alderman that he was going to have these people live on the streets? Have you asked the alderman?

  28. Holey why do you presume to ask me a question here when you ignore mine? Seems pretty arrogant. But to answer the question, I have no indication one way or the other from either alderman mentioned here where they intend to have the current residents of these buildings live if their buildings were to be shut down (which is why I have posted what I have), other than Cappleman saying that he would have them referred to "case managers" to help them find other housing. Referring them to already overburdened (due to ongoing state and federal budget cuts to mental health and human service providers) case managers is not the same has putting them into housing and it also does not create new housing stock for a population that is only losing affordable options in a market that already can't meet the demand for them. And by posting here I am indirectly asking the alderman as I know he and his advisors read and often post here. So to reiterate, I support the aldermen's efforts to get these buildings up to code, but I do not think any plan to close them is complete until it includes a plan to create new affordable housing options (which wouldn't have to be in Uptown for all you whiners) to replace what would be eliminated.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Sean, the Mayors Office, call your State and Federal Representatives... but dont try to hold Uptown hostage by keeping a fire trap and sex offender/drug user haven open until there is a replacement... FYI, Why do you not also call the other 49 Alderman and ask them if they can build it... the faster it closes, the safer for my children and let those that stay there call ONE and ask if they can bunk at their headquarters

  31. Sean, the good thing about all these hard working guys staying at the Wilson Men's Hotel is that with minimum wage, they're taking home around $250 a week. Right now they're just paying 1/4 of their earnings on rent! It may have to be on the Southside, but these guys can live a lot better by paying just a little more and they get to avoid homelessness after all.

    Still, I have to wonder if perhaps some of these guys have a few problems that keep them stuck in a minimum wage job for years and years. Hey, maybe there's some issues with alcohol or drugs or perhaps some mental illness. If that's the case, maybe it's a good idea to get them hooked up with a case manager after all!

    But you're right, if they're all just hard working law abiding upright citizens, their minimum wage employment will now at least get the something much better than having chicken wire for a ceiling.

  32. If you guys knew how Ezra in conjunction with O.N.E. brainwashes and uses its clients to further their political agenda, you would be protesting them with flaming torches and pitchforks.
    A lot of these people are either slightly developmentally challenged or their mental health conditions do not really lead them to understanding that they're being used as pawns for a agenda that they couldn't possibly understand.