There was an even-handed article about the recent political/social events in the 46th Ward in the Tribune over the weekend, entitled In Uptown, freshman alderman angers advocates for the needy. Challenges to Salvation Army food truck, 'cubicle hotels' split a gentrifying neighborhood. In it, the author interviewed former alderman Helen Shiller, who took the opportunity to break her silence about Uptown.
Not surprisingly, she expressed a very low opinion of her successor and the job he's doing. (Who knew that the inner Helen Shiller was really Dick Cheney?) But what really made us chuckle was the derogatory shot she took at Ald. Cappleman's proposed policy to try to reduce the pigeon population:
Shiller questioned her successor's priorities last week, pointing to Cappleman's proposal to allow for fines up to $1,000 and up to six months behind bars for anyone caught feeding pigeons. He introduced the ordinance to the City Council after a woman known for feeding the pigeons in Uptown attacked him last summer, he said.Oh, Ms. Shiller, we'd hate to accuse you of forgetfulness. Or of thinking Uptowners are stupid. Or of hypocrisy. But someone needs to remind you that Cappleman's pigeon ordinance -- the same one you're mocking -- is the exact same one that you yourself introduced when you were alderman.
"I mean, we live in the city," Shiller said. "There are going to be pigeons."
But don't take our word for it. Why not consult your own website, www.aldermanshiller.com, which you still haven't taken down nearly two years after you became a "former" and a private citizen. Right there, it says:
Pigeons. Pigeons are another story. Ald. Shiller is the co-sponsor of an ordinance that would ban the feeding of pigeons on the public way because it is unhealthy. Pigeon droppings attract rats and contribute to the spread of disease. Furthermore, bird experts agree that the feeding of any wild birds by people should be discouraged because it is unhealthy for the birds. The ordinance was referred to the License Committee where it was deferred on January 8, 2008.And the punishment you proposed for feeding pigeons, Ms. Shiller? Six months in jail and $1000 fine. Sounds familiar, maybe? Because that's the exact same punishment that Cappleman's proposed ordinance calls for. The same legislation you're mocking in the paper today.
So here's some unsolicited advice, Ms. Shiller. We're sure you won't pay any attention, as is your habit. But, frankly, we'd rather not write about you any more. So here goes:
As we said the day you left office, "Time to pass the baton, put your feet up and enjoy being one of us again." Taking a cheap shot at proposed legislation that is identical to your own makes you look petty and bitter. Despite your website, you haven't been alderman for 22 months. You live in the 47th Ward now. You're a freaking lobbyist, even (you go, girl). The 46th Ward has moved on. We'd love to see you be able to do the same.