Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Still Making Up Your Mind, Ald. Clay? Seems Like The Fix Is Already In

Angela Clay has been adamantly assuring residents of the 46th Ward that she's still carefully considering whether or not the FLATS Bachelor Hotel at Wilson and Clifton should be turned into a men's housing shelter (the fourth homeless shelter in a one-block area). 

She said she will announce her decision, after carefully considering the viewpoints of stakeholders and residents, by the February 13th sales deadline set by FLATS, the current owner of the property. 

But it seems the published Zoning Board of Appeals agenda for Friday, February 16th, tells a different story.

The agenda for the meeting (see above) has the City Council voting on the issue just a few days later ... and we all know nothing hits the City Council floor without first going through, and gaining the support of, aldermen in committees.

So, was there even a question of an open mind, or was this rubber-stamped as soon as her aldermanic eyes saw it? She is the prodigy of Helen "Concentrated Poverty" Shiller, after all.

There are plenty of reasons to find a different location for the "proposed" shelter:

  • The middle of a burgeoning business district, where existing locally owned businesses will most definitely be affected. We have it on very good authority that the coming of the shelter will mean the departure of 2 Bears Tavern and Downstate Donuts, at the very least. 
  • Concentrated poverty is a real thing, and it's a bad thing for everyone. Can anyone come up with any other city in the entire country that has four homeless shelters in a one-block area?
  • The other businesses in the area have opposed it in the middle of the commercial district.
  • Not a single one of the surrounding block clubs supports this proposal, and have been vocal in letting the alderman know this.
As we predicted, this seems to show that in the first major decision of her term, Ald. Clay is a carbon copy of her mentor and supporter, Ald. Shiller. In other words, give lip service to being open to what the residents want, and go ahead and ignore it.

We sincerely hope that Alderman Clay is true to her promises to listen to and heed the community's opinion. Packing a meeting with clearly imported supporters, including JPUSA residents, to create the illusion this is popular, and then ignoring the input of residents and businesses most affected by the change does not give us confidence. 

Our bet is she will announce her decision as part of a Friday evening newsletter dump, a trick learned from her mentor, our old friend former Ald. Helen Shiller, to garner the least amount of attention. 

We're certainly not holding our breath as we await the "decision." This one seems as organic as that one.


  1. After moving to Uptown in 2003 and watching Uptown slowly improve, I'm dumbfounded why anyone would consider this a smart decision? Shiller kept Uptown in the "social services business" for years as people moved north and south of the Ward to escape the mess she made. We made huge positive strides under Cappleman. He carefully balanced the needs of future development and important services in his Ward. What a smack in the face to see our Ward go backwards and concentrate more social services in one Ward AGAIN! Clay is a joke. She only got voted in because people did not Vote to maintain this trajectory. We only have ourselves to blame for allowing Clay to walk our Ward backwards. Great job Uptown! Once again we're the dumping ground of Northside Chicago. This is why voting and being informed is so important. The loss of businesses on Wilson will be the clear indication of this poor decision. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. We did this to ourselves. Next time...VOTE!

  2. Can Aldermen be recalled? I notice that california has recalled several high profile pols like the State Atty and Governor (he won). But Chicago seriously needs to start thinking about recalls.

    1. You lack a search engine, Lianna, but nopey nope nope
      IL is not CA
      CA has unusually low petition signature requirements for recall, and that is why they "recall" statewide pols, and why it always fails.
      You should get Google. It is helpful.

  3. This sounds like Helen Schiller's way of doing things in 46th ward for over 20 years. I put up with it for 10 years (2005-2015) and that was enough. Everything happens magically under the table and decisions are discussed and made in secret, all the time. It's exhausting, but nothing ever changes.