Thursday, January 12, 2023

Warning: Aldermanic Candidate Shenanigans Have Already Begun (Sigh)

Approved plans for upcoming City Club Apartments 3636 N Lake Shore Drive

It's city election time once again! And that usually means deceptions a-plenty.

As with any election cycle, there will be candidates that will promise anything to get your vote, especially to all-important Lakeview voters who live in the 46th Ward. 

Readers sent several emails and messages reporting that one candidate, who just so happens to have run last election, is apparently promising Lakeview voters that she can "stop" projects that have already BEEN APPROVED by Chicago City Council

Huh?

Similar to what we heard, Alderman Cappleman's newsletter addresses this issue in relation to 3636 N Lake Shore Drive. 

"Some concerned residents have contacted Ald. Cappleman's office to ask if the next alderman who takes office in May 2023 will have the authority to stop this development [3636 N Lake Shore Drive]. 
No elected official on the federal, state, county, or city level has that type of authority, especially after it passed City Council on July 21, 2021.
City Club Apartments has full intentions of constructing this development, but they have not yet set a date to begin construction. Our office will provide updates on the construction timeline as we receive them. The same holds true for any development that has already passed through the City Council."

Our tipsters have gone further, telling us that the science-loving candidate is promising not only to "stop" the development at 3636 N Lake Shore, but also "stop" the Immaculata redevelopment project at 644 W Irving Park.

Seems like there are already promises being made that can't be kept, which is unsurprising given our long history watching aldermanic campaigns in and around Uptown. We at Uptown Update are trying to keep an open mind, but nonsense like this pisses us off. 

For our readers, we are planning to cover all the candidates and will vote internally on endorsing a candidate at a later date. If a run-off is necessary, we expect to make a second endorsement once the field narrows. 

For a complete list of those running for alderman in the 46th and 48th Wards, check out our post here.

24 comments:

  1. This is the very same candidate who promised voters in 2019 the ability to bypass CDOT and IDOT regulations about the required distance between entrances/exits along Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive. What the person failed to mention is that IDOT and CDOT use scientific research to determine the safest options to present to the public. They won't present an option that isn't supported with scientific research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's worth remembering that many very harmful things have been done in the past because people genuinely believed that scientific research supported the harmful course of action. For example, it's certainly arguable today that building a lakeside highway that duplicates multiple public transportation options is deeply harmful to the environment and the health and well-being of thousands of residents. And while institutions like individuals always have the capacity to grow and improve, it's worth noting that IDOT and its predecessors did many damaging things in Chicago in the past. For example, in our lifetimes, the transportation departments of the city, state, and federal government divided neighborhoods of color and destroyed immigrant communities for highways to enable US-born white people to move more quickly in and out of the city without the need to interface with communities and their residents. IDOT's recent work involves spending public money to obtain large quantities of data that arguably put the public at risk: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/08/illinois-bought-invasive-phone-location-data-banned-broker-safegraph.

      Delete
    2. It's also worth remembering Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive has been in existence for well over a century, and both IDOT and CDOT now rely on scientific research to assess ways to limit crashes and injuries. Through their scientific research, they made us aware that diverting traffic from the Drive would increase traffic on the surrounding streets. On these surrounding streets live many people of color and many different immigrant communities and they would be placed at risk for injury and/or death by the increased traffic going past their homes.

      In the age where science has now been involved with addressing COVID and the need for vaccines, and for that matter, the use of science in determining the outcome of elections from the federal all the way down to aldermanic level, it's important that we also acknowledge the science that guides traffic safety experts rather than assume the public always knows more.

      Delete
    3. Lake Shore Drive hasn't been in existence for over a century in what is today the 46th ward. I'm not sure what you mean about diversion of traffic--is that publicly available information and if so, could you please link it? To my knowledge, while many studies support the removal of urban highways, that option has not been publicly studied or discussed by IDOT and CDOT as part of their ongoing work on the Jean Baptiste Point DuSable North Lake Shore Drive Project. Personally I think that the word "North" is significant in this situation, Alderman, because if those responsible were to look honestly at the crash and injury data and truly look at righting past wrongs, the money that will pay for this north side project would be redirected to other places in the city that have long suffered far worse conditions due to chronic lack of divestment and discriminatory practice. CDOT has been looking at this data and is working on projects but they have yet to revise their strategy on the JBPDNLSD Project. I am hopeful that caring, conscientious minds will prevail in the future.

      Delete
    4. You ask a great question about diversion of traffic. Right now, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive handles 80,000 vehicles at a minimum on a daily basis. If traffic is diverted away from the Drive, it will go to other streets that go north/south and that would be a nightmare in terms of car crashes and injuries. If you have more questions about this, go directly to the experts and email the Redefine the Drive folks at info@ndlsd.org.

      You made a suggestion that funds to pay for Redefine the Drive should be used in other areas of the City where you have an opinion there is a greater need. IDOT and CDOT focused on the Drive precisely because of the scientific data that documents car crashes and injuries that have been happening there. That’s why it was inappropriate for one aldermanic candidate to do a survey that contradicted Federal Highway Administration standards when she advocated for keeping the entrance/exit ramps at the Drive for Montrose, Wilson, and Lawrence at the current one-quarter mile apart rather than one-half mile apart that has been determined to be much safer. It’s quite dangerous to assume that traffic safety is determined by opinion polls rather than scientific data gathered by CDOT and IDOT.

      Delete
    5. According to the NDLSD Project's statement of Purpose and Need, safety was not the sole reason CDOT and IDOT focused on the Drive: "The purpose of the project is to improve the NLSD multi‐modal transportation facility. The specific
      needs to be addressed throughout the study include: improve safety, improve mobility of people including those on non‐motorized modes of travel, buses and automobiles, improve facility deficiencies and improve accessibility to and from Lincoln Park, the Lakefront Trail and the adjacent communities." (https://northdusablelakeshoredrive.org/pdf/2014-12-19_PurposeAndNeed_PostedVersion.pdf)

      Technically, only the stretch of North DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Division to Grand is a designated high-crash corridor per CDOT's Vision Zero High Crash Corridors Framework Plan, which begs the question why so much more taxpayer money has been spent studying North DuSable Lake Shore Drive than high-crash corridors in other parts of the city (https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.109/8gq.ef1.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/VZ_HCC_FrameworkPlan_2018-06-15.pdf).

      Fortunately, it appears that CDOT may be changing this emphasis. It is not just my "opinion" that other parts of the city may have greater needs. As CDOT's West Side Vision Zero Initiative points out, "The West Side experiences significantly higher rates of fatal crashes and serious injuries than other Chicago communities."(see page 5: https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/CDOT%20Projects/VisionZero/VZ_West_Side_Plan-online.pdf).

      Finally, an advisory referendum that puts a question of concern to voters is not the same thing as an opinion poll. Raising awareness of concerns and asking questions of taxpayer-funded experts and members of government who are in the process of redesigning key features of your neighborhood is certainly appropriate in a democracy.

      Delete
    6. you really shouldn't be using IDOT, or to a lesser extent CDOT, as experts when it comes to safety and what is best for the community. regardless of whatever empty platitudes they hand out, IDOT's sole focus is moving as many cars as quickly as possible, everything else be damned. they're an unreliable narrator when it comes to safety because it's not their primary concern. if it was, the ugly, loud, dangerous, polluting monstrosity of a highway on the lakefront would be gone entirely.

      Delete
    7. Alderman,

      are you suggesting science and best practices should circumvent ill informed public opinion?

      Tell it to the anti vaxxers.

      Delete
    8. nkot, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but CDOT and IDOT make the determination about where they should focus their efforts, and they make such a decision based on an analysis using scientific data. You don’t get to decide where they focus their efforts. Alders don’t either. Yes, the public can certainly share their opinions about what they want for the Drive, but those ideas will be thrown out if CDOT and IDOT determine those ideas are unsafe.

      My point is that It’s inappropriate for a candidate for office to give voters the false sense that an advisory referendum regarding Redefine the Drive could influence CDOT and IDOT to override their safety standards about the distances that should be allowed on the exit and entrance ramps at Wilson. It is dangerous when anyone from any political persuasion attempts to convince people that personal opinions can ignore scientific standards of safety. It’s time for all of us to work together to end this era of fake news.

      Delete
    9. I agree we need to work together to end the era of fake news. And I think that corresponding on an anonymous blog that has masqueraded as a legit news source over many years will help with that! ;)

      Joking aside, I didn't have any false sense that the ballot referendum could influence CDOT and IDOT to override safety standards. I also think it's ridiculous to say that raising issues in a referendum, no matter who you are, is "inappropriate." The right to referendum is a cornerstone of our democracy.

      That said, I did think that the referendum might cause CDOT and IDOT to highlight access to the hospital ER because that concern was a key feature of the language:

      "Shall the current entrance and exit to Lake Shore Drive at Wilson Ave. be maintained within the North Lake Shore Drive Study Project to continue allowing efficient access to the Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital Emergency Room?"

      Although the project team said they included evaluation of emergency vehicle travel times to and from NLSD in the evaluation of the alternatives, no concrete data was presented about access to the ER in the documents, including in the summary of why alternative A-3 was "top-performing": https://northdusablelakeshoredrive.org/pdf/MWL_Top_Performing_Alternative_Highlights.pdf).

      One aspect I found concerning was that the study did not appear to include access to the ER from Uptown's venues and the Lakefront, both of which have potential to generate high ER need. I was also concerned that the top-performing alternative appears to increase traffic on Clarendon Avenue south of Montrose along a key Uptown school corridor and on the stretch of Marine leading from Buena Park and the schools to the hospital ER. I have expressed those concerns to the team.

      Delete
    10. nkot, you’re concerned about anonymous blogs, yet you don’t use your real name on your posts. But that’s a whole other matter.

      The aldermanic candidate circulated a petition to create a referendum that defied CDOT and IDOT standards of safety. I’m fine with anyone proposing a referendum, but I’m not fine with one that has people falsely believing that their opinions could override Federal Highway Administration standards. People who signed onto this referendum weren’t aware of this. We both know that was a ploy to get votes, but it wasn’t honest, just as it’s not honest now to have voters believe that an aldermanic candidate would have the power to block developments that have already been approved by City Council.

      As for Weiss Memorial Hospital, during one of the Redefine the Drive meetings, we were told by IDOT and CDOT that Weiss Hospital had no issue with the proposed plan to limit access on and off Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive at Wilson Avenue. However, I find it interesting that you’re concerned about ambulances having quick access to the hospital, and the hospital is concerned about preventing car crashes that would require the need for ambulance transport.

      Delete
  2. Sure. Just like Uptown got rid of nearly ALL of the SRO living situations which gave poor people a chance at indoor housing. For so many years, Uptown was noted for affordable housing , but the "old style" of rentals here have been pretty much eliminated in favor of condo living and those old SRO's have been redesigned and changed over to more expensive management. The old days in Uptown have moved on .... and so has the era of affordable housing. Bring back Appalachia, I say!.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’d like to address that so that voters can spot deception more quickly. There were 2 ordinances that were major contributors to the decline of affordable housing.

      1) The Life Safety Ordinance (passed in 2005) was an unfunded mandate to address fire safety issues. Building owners faced 3 options: 1) do the repairs and pass the costs to tenants with the hope that tenants could afford the increased rents, 2) sell the building to avoid doing the required rehab, or 3) file for bankruptcy. We lost many of our SROs due to this ordinance.

      2) The SRO Preservation Ordinance had the purpose of giving nonprofits first dibs on purchasing an SRO that was listed for sale. The multitude of requirements spelled out in the ordinance, along with HUD requirements to get government dollars to do required rehabs, made it virtually impossible for any nonprofit to get a bank loan. This is precisely why the Wilson Men’s Hotel was purchased by a market-rate developer.

      A number of advocacy organizations and activists then told me that I had to place a demand on area building owners to provide reduced rents, and if the building owner refused, I was to withhold building permits for any rehab work. I told them I was forbidden by law to withhold building permits because it was unconstitutional. For instance, many people and past 2019 candidates for office were upset that I did not require the developer who purchased Stewart School to set aside affordable units within the building even though they never requested a zoning change. Current federal and state laws forbid aldermen from making such demands, but to this day, there continues to be people who don’t believe this fact because it conflicts with their deeply held belief that aldermen can make any requests for affordable housing they wish.

      In addition, the Illinois Constitution spells out that elected officials within the State of Illinois can only offer incentives to provide affordable rents. Mandates are forbidden. The City’s Law Department and the Dept. of Housing Commissioner have gone on record to reinforce this.

      If you hear about candidates running for office who state they will require a property owner to go beyond what’s spelled out in the Affordable Requirements Ordinance or who will require a building owner to provide affordable housing when no zoning request is made, that person runs a risk of getting fined, and the building owner would have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the City of Chicago for this action.

      Finally, there is also a belief that new development causes area rents to rise. Two years ago, UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies published a paper entitled “The Effect of Market-Rate Development on Neighborhood Rents”. This paper looked at 6 research studies and 5 of them stated that area rents got lower when new market-rate buildings were built in a neighborhood, and the other study was inconclusive. However, this paper and many other valid & reliable research studies will not convince some who already have deeply held beliefs that any new development will cause the loss of affordable housing. Actually, not building more housing will cause area rents to go up because developers will purchase the area’s naturally occurring affordable housing and rehab the buildings for people with higher incomes if they can't build a new development.

      Along the way, I’ve learned that all of us, including me, must be cognizant of situations where valid and reliable research conflicts with our deeply held beliefs. It’s why it’s important for all of us to venture outside of our bubbles.

      Delete
  3. Does anyone want to identify this candidate??? Why dance around the issue? I need to know who to vote for!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. buildings can always be stopped. but besides, as long as we get rid of centrist democrats, I don't care what promises are being made

    ReplyDelete
  5. Let's see if I can remember how to hyperlink here.

    https://blockclubchicago.org/2023/01/12/federal-administrative-judge-palmer-house-bartender-among-candidates-vying-to-replace-retiring-ald-james-cappleman-in-46th-ward/

    Interesting story from Block Club Chicago on two of the candidates.

    If I didn't link correctly, it's 2am and I'm possibly drunk, try searching for this.

    "Patrick Nagle and Roushaunda Williams are two of six candidates running for the open 46th Ward seat." on Block Club.

    Nagle just strikes me as an overweight, Irish, pasty, government apparatchik with a bad hair transplant and expensive dental work, but perhaps there's more to him than that. Perhaps not.

    Williams is more interesting. Career bartender working her way up in her union. Probably a whole lot more fun that Nagle to sit down with. She seems to be pulling in union support.

    In fairness to Nagle some folks at his campaign announcement at a restaurant in Lakeview did appear familar with the art of being drunk in public.

    He himself appeared sober and is a fairly good off the cuff speaker.

    I'd be interested to know which if any candidate put Cortez up to run. Still no campaign site that I can find.

    Angela Clay is getting big time ground game help from what I think is the Democratic Socialists of America. I've been approached by her supporters a few times. She has an appealing Uptown story, but I won't be voting for her. I'm not nostalgic for the Shillerite past.

    The Ginger Menace, Lalonde, won't be getting my vote. She's clearly extremely bright(think math and science geek) and won't be outworked by anyone. However, like many with that type of intellect she lacks common sense and people skills. Plus her policies are just wrong.

    I see all the new development and think how far Uptown has come in the last decade. I'm old and can remember Uptown in the seventies. If burned out buildings, massive multi racial gang warfare, and despair is your thing then the sane policies of the last 12 years aren't for you--vote Lalonde!

    As for Kim Walz she's worked directly in mainstream Dem politics longer than any of her opponents. Her policies and Nagle's are probably similar, but she seems more likely to understand how to get things done than any other candidate.

    I know who I won't be voting for: Lalonde, Clay and Cortez.

    The others are more interesting in terms of policies or simply life story. I admire a bartending work ethic. Doesn't mean I'll vote for her. I can't stand the socialist former bartender congresscritter--AOC so while interesting in and of itself it's not enough.

    The games afoot!






    ReplyDelete
  6. https://blockclubchicago.org/2019/05/07/ald-james-cappleman-officially-re-elected-after-marianne-lalonde-ends-recount/

    "We may never be able to know the true winner of this election," Lalonde said.

    Remind you of anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  7. That 3636 project should have been sttudied longer---it will add an enormous amount of traffic and craziness to that corner---I hope it doesn't happen....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been on the City's Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards Committee since 2011 and probably less than 1% of all approved developments took 2 years or more from start to final approval. This development falls within that 1%.

      Because it's a planned development, a traffic study was required before it could get final approval. Not surprisingly, some didn't believe that 24-page document but the Chicago Dept. of Transportation, the Dept. of Planning and Development, the Chicago Plan Commission, and the City's Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards all did.

      Here's a link to that traffic study: https://www.james46.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/LCC-Traffic-Traffic-Impact-Study-2018.12.06-Revised.pdf

      Delete
    2. Another nitwit nimby speaks.

      Nattering nabobs of negativism comes to mind.

      I heard the same thing about the Target in Uptown. Effect on traffic has been minimal.

      Then again this is the internet and everyone is an expert.

      Don't worry at least one candidate will tell you what you want to hear. Maybe more. Still barring some unforeseen financial isues with the developer the building will go up.

      Delete
  8. I live where they're going to build that tower and I know the dog owners will hate it. There's NO where for the dogs and walkers to go. All the green spaces are being taken by the buildings. It's a beautiful space. This is sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If people don't want to walk their dog around their block as most people in the city do, there's a tunnel close by that goes under DuSable Lake Shore Drive and that would allow dog walkers to go to the Lakefront where they could walk their dogs. Another idea is they could join a group of other dog owners and purchase the property that's valued over $19M and then they would have a free and open space to walk their dogs (as long as they keep up with the property taxes). I know many other residents who would appreciate that.

      I did have some residents suggest that the City of Chicago purchase the property so that dog walkers wouldn't have to face the inconvenience of walking through the tunnel to get to the park, but my City Council colleagues, especially the ones who live in wards with extremely high rates of poverty, would all vote that down.

      Delete
    2. What a snarky reply. Glad you're not running for reelection.

      Delete