Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The street lights between Ashland and Paulina are out again they seem to go out quite frequently. I am interested in finding out the cause of these outages and have sent a letter to the Aldreman's office in hopes of getting the issue resolved.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A new business is coming to the Gateway. A Quiznos sandwich shop is going in across from Chinalite. I think this is exactly the type of business we need in order to get some of the commuters that come through each day to stop and spend a little money in our hood.
The new streetlights up and down Greenview between Howard and Jarvis are a welcome sight. There were several lights before but the light was often obscured by tree branches and they were so high the light was too widely dispersed. The new posts have 2 fixtures, one to illuminate the street ad one for the sidewalk. They also look quite nice. I am investigating whether or not this is a program that will move to to other streets as well. I think these types of fixtures would be great in our local parks.
Many of you may have received the gift of a new phone book over the last few days. Our building was given more than its fair share. One delivery person decided to spare those on his route the trouble of disposing of them on their own and dropped 2 tons of yellow pages in our dumpster. If anyone knows of this happening in other locations or has seen any similar activity please let me know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My wife and I are having a bunch of people over tomorrow night and we plan on ordering pizza. We usually order from Leona's but it just isn't very good any more. I think their sauce is bland. Aside from Carmen's, (which I also think is mediocre) does anyone have any suggestions on a good place that delivers up here? I like a kind of spicy sauce if that helps with recommendations. Thanks!
Hi everyone. I was recently turned on to a free interenet phone service called Skype. It allows you to create a profile much like AIM with voice and talk to other registerd users but it's completely free. It will also dial real numbers all over the globe for those folks you want to reach out who are not registered users if you subscribe to that service. Pretty cool. Here's the link to their site: http://www.skype.com

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A few thoughts on the recent smoking ban. I quit smoking about 5 years ago now and when I go out to places that allow smoking it really bothers me but I plan for it. I try to get a table by the door/window and wear clothes I don't mind smelling like an ashtray for 3 washings. if it gets too unpleasant, I go home. I have lots of friends who smoke and I would not want them to stay at home or be forced outdoors every time they wanted/needed a cigarette. Perhaps it is not always the case but smokers tend to be people with a more cavalier attitude towards life and in my opinion are often the life of any party.

The argument has been made that this will protect the bartenders and waitresses in these establishments from second hand smoke. I think that is somewhat logical but is really just an argument used to break down the opposition's argument that people can choose to go to a bar or resatauant that allows these things or choose to go to a place that chooses not to allow smoking on their own. The idea being that the employees do not have a choice. Fact is, they new they were going to be working in a smoky environment. Drinking and smoking go hand in hand. I know many people who only smoke when they drink and others who chain smoke when drinking who usually smoke very little. Anyone who does not expect a smoky environment when they apply for work at a bar must never have been in a bar in Chicago.

I also wonder how this will effect other businesses aside from bars. One in particular is the obligatory smoking lounges at funeral parlors. I know it is a little grim to think about, but can you imagine having to tell a grieving person that they need to go outside to smoke in the rain (15 feet away from the building no less) when a loved one has just passed? I would not have the nerve to do it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hi everyone. I know I have been a bad blogger lately but I have been spectacularly busy and lazy recently. I am writing today to ask if anyone knows what all the activity was this afternoon on Paulina. I was walking home from the grocery and noticed flashing lights several blocks south of Fargo. It seemed that it may have been the roving group of police SUVs you sometimes see around. I was particularly concernedas it was right around the time kids were getting out of school. I was carrying groceries home and could not investigate.

Also, I wanted to make an announcement that I am going to change the content of this blog somewhat. I was going to start another blog that is not so "community only" focused to share with family and friends but decided that having a blog that just covers anything I might be interested in would be easier to maintain. I will still post about community issues when I have news or an opinion.

Finally, you may have noticed the new police camera that went in on Ashland and Howard. As much as I appreciate that these cameras might provide additional security in the areas in which they are located, I wonder what effect it has on businesses and investors. Do they think it is an added security or do they think, "I am not going to move my business to an area that needs a police camera."?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'd like to share a little info surroundng what was once a very troubled little strip that has really improved recently. The problem was booze and the solution also was booze.

At the Jarvis stop there were always dirtbags hanging around. Then they closed the liquor store and many of them went away. A little while later the bar that was there was replaced by a new bar with big windows that faced the street. The presence of people sitting near these windows at night who can witness any sort of shady activity going on led to even less loitering, pan handling, robberies, etc..

I used to visit chicagocrime.org and find that people were robbed near that stop almost daily. Now the area is starting to attract businesses again. This all happened since the spring of this year. An amazing turn around. There's still crime but it is greatly improved from what it once was.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hello all. I apologize for not posting much in a while but I have been quite busy and got myself involved in a rather boisterous conversation in another blog. As a result, Craig, the administrator at morsehellhole.blogspot.com has indicated that he will now censor any of my postings. This is quite funny to me as all I do is take him to task for posting half truths an innuendo. A practice that he regularly attacks others for. He even recently took another blogger to task for censoring his comments. In any case, I think it is funny. I will continue to try and expose this site which gets so much attention for the Michael J Harrington campaign rally that it is.

That aside, you may have noticed that the van is till their. The property owner continues to lie about what they intend to do with it. I am looking for ideas for further actions to take on getting it removed. If you look at the rear of the vehicle, their is evidence that the floor is rusted out and that animals may be living in the van. I plan on trying to get the department of health involved. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I have been out of town for several days so forgive me for not posting in a while. I would like to thank those of you who elected me to represent you as part of the condominium association board of managers. I will do my best to serve the owners and try and build better relationships with our neighbors in the coming months. I'll also do my best to keep you all informed of issues/proposals before the board through this blog and other postings.

Please feel free to contact me through this forum if you ever need any information or have an issue you would like addressed. If you do not already have my email address, I plan to post it in the building.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I know I do not usually post about National Issues but this portion of Dan Savage's "Savage Love" column from this week's onion caught my eye and I agree with his statements.

-There were two disturbing developments in the battle over straight rights last week. First, we know that Target fills its ads with dancing, multi-culti hipsters giving off a tolerant, urbanist vibe, and runs hipster-heavy ad campaigns positioning Target as a slightly more expensive, more progressive alternative to Wal-Mart. Well, as John Aravosis revealed on americablog.org last week, Target's politics are as red as their bulls-eye logo. The chain allows its pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control and emergency contraception to female customers if the pharmacist objects on religious grounds. What's worse, the company claims that any of its employees have a right to discriminate against any of its customers provided the discrimination is motivated by an employee's religious beliefs. Read all about it at americablog.org and plannedparenthood.org.

Second, more troubling news from Tucson, Arizona, where a 20-year-old rape victim called dozens of pharmacies in town before she found one that stocked emergency contraception (EC). "When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections," reported the Arizona Daily Star. Emergency contraception, the story continued, "prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. The sooner the emergency contraception is taken after intercourse, the more effective it is."

Don't just sit there, heteros. Defend your rights! Don't shop at Target, and write 'em and tell them why you're going elsewhere. (Go to target.com and click on "contact us," then "Target Corporation.") As for Fry's Pharmacy in Tucson, the shop that wouldn't dispense EC to a freakin' rape victim, the fundamentalist pharmacist claims it's her "right" to not do her fucking job. Well, you have a right to free speech. Call Fry's at 520-323-2695 and ask them why the fuck a pharmacy that won't dispense EC keeps the drug in stock. Do they do it just to torment rape victims? ("Oh yeah, we've got EC—but you can't have any. Don't you know that Jesus wants you to bear your rapist's child?") Rise up, straight people, and demand your rights!
Someone asked me, in a different forum, what I envision this bike path/park development would look like. Apparently, they thought I was for expanding LSD. That is not true. I am not trying to break down this myth so that we can build another highway. What I would like to see is similar to what you see in Evanston. A nice gently curving path that winds along the lakefront with a well kept park with modern facilities. Why can't we do that? Show me a study that says building such a park would decrease property values or destroy wildlife habitat. Would you really rather maintain a massive stretch of rubble along Loyola's lakefront and the private beach rights of a handful of properties? Explain to me how that serves the community.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'd like to ask a few questions about the referendum that gets so much lip service around here. According to an article in last week's Reader:


The referendum asked this question:“Should local, state andfederal governments allowextension of Lake Shore Driveor establishment of any otherroadways, marinas, housing orcommercial structures as partof any lakefront expansionfrom Hollywood Avenue toEvanston?” If this is the actual language used, then I would suspect that people voted against expansion of LSD first and foremost and not development of the lakefront overall. If this is the language used then the referendum is a joke. Who drafted this referendum? What purpose did they intend it to serve? It would seem to me that it is designed to block all development of the lakefront even if it were for park space.

Using LSD expansion paranoia to block all development on the Lakefront does a disservice to this community and makes us all look foolish. Responsible development of the Lakefront is a great way to bring much needed resources to Rogers Park. I am concerened that certain members of the community are more concerned with the well being of fish or possibly their own lakefront property than they are about their neighbors and the well being of our neighborhood.

Monday, October 31, 2005

An interesting article from The Reader:


Is Don Gordon working in the best interest of the community or are he and others scaring people to further their own agenda?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An update about the van issue:

I just received a call from Wayne at Alderman Moore's office. He sounded upset that the owner of the property had lied to him once again. He informed me that the next step is to send the building inspector to her property which will surely be found to be in violation of one code or another. Hopefully, this escalation will get something done. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I am interested to discuss what type of coalition we have with Evanston's 8th ward in regards to development of property, policing, children's programs, and community activism on or near the Chicago/Evanston border? In a conversation I was having with neighbors this weekend, it was suggested that police jurisdiction may play a role in why it has been historically difficult to apprehend suspects in the area. Much like the old Dukes of Hazard episodes where they would stand on the other side of the county line and taunt Roscoe and the gang. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Another note to the Ward office in regards to issues with the owner of the building on the northeast corner of Greenview and Fargo:


We have had correspondence on the issue of a van near the corner of Fargo and Greenview on 2 occasions. In both instances, you have been very quick to respond to my concerns and I appreciate that greatly. Unfortunately, it seems that the owner has simply told us what we wanted to hear with no intention of doing anything about the vehicle. It is very disappointing. She doesn't seem to care much about what goes on inside or outside of her buildings.

Are there any laws on the books that can be used to compell a bad landlord to take better care of their property? A neighbor of mine has contacted her a few times but she has done nothing but give us lip service such as she has to you. This building's lawn was flooded most of the summer when we were in the middle of a draught because a sump pump from the basement was continually pumping into the yard. All the grass in the parkway is dead and the yard is filled with weeds and junk. I believe she owns the building on the northeast corner as well and its yard is in the same poor condition. I've also seen evidence of drug dealing going on in front of this building on more than one occasion.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help resolve this issue. Thank you again for all your help.

Thank you,

Michael K

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Here is an update on the van at the northwest corner of Fargo and Greenview. Wayne called me yesterday to inform me that he had called the owner again and she again told him that she intended to donate the vehicle to "musicians." She stated that the van would be removed within 3 days or at least fixed up and cleaned so as not to be an eyesore or a home to rats. Wayne stated that he would encourage her to donate the vehicle to the city if she does not have it removed soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Last night on my way home 3 boys assaulted another boy on the train. The victim appeared to be asleep or trying to sleep when the 3 others approached from behind and began punching the victim in the head and face. The fight was quickly stopped by my fellow passengers. Several people called 911. When the train reached the next station it remained in the station until police arrived. The boys were aware that the police had been called and tried to evade arrest first by moving to another car and later by running down the stairway while police were coming up the other. With the help of people calling 911 who could see where the kids were headed from the platform, the 911 dispatcher was able to direct officers who finally caught them. All in all I was quite impressed with the response of the police, the CTA, and especially my fellow riders.

The boys in question seemed to be 12 - 13 years old . Hopefully, they are punished and they change their ways before they end up in jail or worse. There are too many kids who run wild without fear of reprimand these days. If more folks take responsibility for raising all of the children in this city and not just their own, we can make these incidents a thing of the past.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A note sent today to the Ward 49 website:

Good Morning,
Several weeks ago I sent a message in reference to a van that that has been rotting in the driveway of the building on the northwest corner of Fargo and Greenview. I received a prompt response from a memeber of the ward staf who spoke with the owner and was told that they planned to donate the vehicle to charity and that it would be gone within a few weeks.
As of this morning, the vehicle remains.

I don't know if there is any additional pressure or actions that can be taken to have the vehicle removed. There is no license on the vehicle, it is sitting on 4 flat tires, and I am concerned it will become a home to rats, mice or other pests. This building owner does not seem to care for the condition of their property which is shameful as it has the potential to be a jewel in the neighborhood.

Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do to support this effort.

Michael Kaszynski

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A note sent to the CTA today. This was sent to an email address found under the Adopt-A-Station program. I will keep this posting updated with any additional information.

Good Afternoon,

A group of people in my Rogers Park neighborhood have expressed an interest in conducting some sort of beautification/clean up project at both or either the Morse or Jarvis El stations. Any information you can provide on how to take first steps and what types of scheduling issues we might face would be greatly appreciated.


Michael K
During a rather animated discussion about drugs and gang activity it was suggested that the best way to get rid of the gangs is to get rid the people who solicit them. Sounds pretty good, get rid of the source of income and the dealers will move on. Makes perfect sense until you ask the question, "Where will they go?" They won't simply vanish off the face of the earth. They'll just be driven into another community and become someone else's problem. That's how many of the dealers, gangs, and junkies ended up here. My question is this, "Has there ever been an effective way of cleaning up a neighborhood in which the undesirable element was not simply pushed into another neighborhood?" Can we save our community without putting another in peril? If not, is it immoral for us to look after our community first and worry about the impact of our actions on other communites second? I am torn. I deeply want RP to be a better place to live for all the of the upstanding citizens in RP to the point where I sometimes think, "Let someone else deal with it. Just get it out of my sight." I am sure many here have had similar thoughts. Sometimes it is easier not to worry about things that are not in our control. I would hope that we could find a solution to better our community without simply passing the "hot potato" to let someone else juggle for awhile. Maybe there isn't a better way. Maybe these problems will always be with us and over time each comunity will have to share the burden of these travelling terrors. I hope that is not the case, but to be sure RP has carried it's fair share of this weight for far too long. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Some people in the neighborhood have expressed concerns with DevCorp North and believe they are doing a disservice to this community. It is my feeling that many of these people are acting in a very reactionary way or perhaps have an agenda of their own . I have yet to see concrete evidence of malicious activity.

I would like to begin a conversation that is based simply on facts dealing with programs that DevCorp has begun and whether or not they were successes or failures. I believe it is important to have a true discussion without getting bogged down in petty details or conspiracy theories. We cannot improve this community by constantly breaking it down. We need to be realistic in our goals and create a culture that understands that people trying to improve Rogers Park will sometimes falter. Learning from these failures while still holding those in power accountable when we are dealing with issues of incompetence or negligence is paramount. It is possible to do these things without being inflammatory or vulgar. Actually, it is the only way to be effective.

Monday, October 10, 2005

This was sent to me in response to a previous post. Thanks to Carol for sharing.

From Carol Goldman

The federally funded H-RAIL program provides minor modifications for safety, security and accessibility, enabling seniors to "Age In Place". It is available to the owners of single-family homes or condos. All work is done by licensed bonded contractors.

I administer the H-RAIL (Home Repairs for Accessible and Independent Living) program for the Rogers Park Community Council under a grant from the Department of Housing, City of Chicago. H-RAIL provides FREE minor repairs to income eligible seniors (60 years and up) in Rogers Park and West Ridge (40th, 49th, and 50th Wards). The program guidelines are generous, the income limits for single seniors are no more that $40,250 total income in a 12 month period, for a 2 person household $46,000, etc. I am presently taking applications for next year's program, which will begin approximately March/April 2006.

This program addresses problems in the interior of the home only; no exterior work is included in the guidelines.

For instance the program can provide grab bars, hand held showers, bath benches, non-skid tile floors, minor plumbing repairs, handicapped accessible toilets and other modifications to make life safer and accessible.

It can provide minor window repair or replacement, lock storm doors, replacement doors to make life more secure.

Please share this information with any seniors you think might need the services of H-RAIL.

For specific information they can call me, Carol Goldman at 773 743-1752 and talk with me about the modifications/repairs you need. I will tell you if it can be done by the H-RAIL program.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

OK. I know I am setting myself up, but I looked at the proposal for Edgewater Harbor and it looks GOOD. It adds more beach and park area and adds restrooms, showers, and concessions that we do not currently have. Provided there are not major ecological ramifications (and please don't start telling me how it will destroy the ecosystem unless you have some solid numbers) I can see no reason to oppose it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

My office is located in an old factory building just south of the North and Clybourn area. It is an area where wealth and poverty; the well to do and the criminal come together in a rather abrupt manner. Crossing Weed Street on the way in to work this morning, I came across an item that perfectly illustrates the forces at play in the area. Lying on the ground next to a recently rummaged through trash can was a Crate and Barrell invoice with blood all over it. How I wish I had my camera.
I was walking down Sheridan last night and noticed that someone has set up a pumpkin stand just north of Pratt on the east side of the street. I really appreciate these kinds of roadside stands and encourage everyone to get over there and buy some pumpkins. I like to roast mine up with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Serve hot with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I was looking through DevCorp North's retail development plans and came across this:


The 17 story apartment complex is apparently to be built and managed by Bristol Development. I took a quick look at there website (bristoldevelopment.com) and I was very impressed by images of previous projects.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I was recently in a discussion about the poor state of repair of many single family homes and their properties. One point that was made is that many of the long time residents of Rogers Park are getting on in years and may no longer be physically or financially able to maintain the property. It made think of a moment in my own past.

My father is/was disabled when I was very young and was unable to maintain our family home as it should have been. After years of neglect and shoddy repair work, the house was in a bad way. Luckily, there were neighbors who lived in the community who were able to get charitable donations of labor and materials made to repair some of the home. They replaced the rotting front stairs, repaired a sagging floor, patched leaks in the roof, pruned trees and bushes and many other things.

Is there some sort of comunity program currently inplace that might allow us to assist those who currently are in the same boat? One home that comes to mind is on the southwest corner of Sheridan and Fargo. It's a beautiful old place and I have seen the owner just a few times. He seems to be in poor health.

Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Here is the note I sent to DevCorp about Gateway development and the rather sad response:

Good Afternoon,

I live near Fargo and Greenview and I pass through Gateway Center's bus terminal every day going to and from work. Recently, I noticed that there has been a great deal of activity on the lower level in the southwest wing that faces the bus depot. I am quite interested to know what businesses are setting up shop. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I initially tried to send this note to info@devcorpnorth.org but it was returned accounting to the mailbox being full.


Michael K

Dear Michael -

Thanks for the email and follow up. I'll make sure that the info account gets cleared so others don't get that error message in the future. Based on a recent email from the leasing agent for Gateway, this is what I know:

An ordinance approving the vertical subdivision of the 3-story commercial building at Gateway Centre Plaza was passed at the September 14 city council meeting. Upon obtaining a recordable document, the closing will be scheduled for the sale to Life Storage Centers. Life Storage Centers is an upscale operator of environmentally controlled public storage space that will occupy approximately 104,000 square feet on the Paulina level of Gateway with their main office and retail sales at 7524 N. Paulina facing the plaza. Anticipated opening is January 2006.

On September 2, 2005, Spirit Halloween Stores opened for business in the 10,000 square foot space between Marshalls and Dominick's. This is a temporary lease through November 15, 2005. The leasing company is trying to identify a permanent tenant for this space.

There are currently three (3) leases and one (1) letter of intent currently under negotiation for space at the Gateway Centre and Gateway Centre Plaza.

The construction of the pedestrian walkway which will connect to the new Howard Street Terminal with the Gateway Centre atrium will be coordinated with the CTA during construction of their new building. Depending on the CTA timeline, the leasing agents do not foresee this construction beginning until 2007.

Hope this helps


A storage facility? That's the best we can do? I thought we were trying to increase foot traffic and retail sales. Long term storage isn't the kind of bustling pedestrian business we need. If we're serious about attracting better business to this area we need to do far better than this. No wonder there are no "Coming Soon" signs. Noone wants to be Evanston's closet. What a joke.
It has come to my attetnion that there is a planned station clean up for the Thorndale El stop that has been organized by the Edgewater Community Council. I believe they intend to do a deep cleaning as well as painting, and perhaps some general repairs. I have asked for details as to how they were able to organize this effort as I believe that the Morse and Jarvis stops could really benefit from a similar effort. The sights and smells are currently unacceptable. The stairwell on Jarvis smells so strongly of urine that my wife and I hold our breath and run down the stairs. I will keep you abreast of details as they become available and would appreciate any guidance from anyone with previous experience with these types of projects.
There has been a lot of talk about some of the negative aspects of gentrification lately. The most troublesome being buildings that are being converted to condos and displacing the current residents especially where it is thought that the building is a desirable rental property. It seems to me that a good landlord will probably be less likely to sell their property so long as they are making money. If the property is well maintained and the landlords don't rent to transients and drug dealers then they can collect fair rent and be profitable. There are a few buildings on my street that are in poor shape which is a real shame because you can see that they were once beautiful. They are at 1456 W Fargo and 7450 N Greenview. The yards are filled with trash and there is no grass. Plants are growing wild and unmaintained and drug dealers operate out of the buildings. They are owned by the same person and they have recently been put up for sale. I couldn't be happier. Whether they are turned into condos or simply turned into better maintained apartments, I'll be elated so long as the place is cleaned up.

My question is this: How can we encourage people to come in and buy these types of properties? Is there an incentive we can give to buy the properties we want developed as opposed to properties we would like to remain intact?

Friday, September 30, 2005

I almost forgot, it's my birthday today! Just thought I'd let you know as I am the kind of person who needs constant attention.

And presents.
Can anyone tell me what effect zoning has on how a building is used? I am curious to know how it is that many grand old homes are being used as offices and business space. Shouldn't they be zoned as residential? I think it is important to attract more families to the area but by having many of the area's most desirable properties occupied by businesses could hinder that. Please educate me.
Good Morning,

I received a voice mail message from Wayne at Alderman Moore's office today. He told me the following:
  • He walked past the van and that he agreed that it should be removed.
  • He called the owner of 7450 N Greenview and they also agreed it should be removed.
  • The owner claims that they are donating the vehicle to charity and it will be removed in 2-3 weeks
  • Wayne indicated that I should contact him if it is still there after that time period has elapsed.

Hopefully, the owner follows through and has it removed. It is on private property so the city cannot simply remove it but we can continue to put pressure on the owner to have it removed.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

A note sent to the ward 49 office today:

Good Morning,

First, let me thank you for your efforts regarding issues you addressed with Arbour Health care. I have noted that many of the issues seem to have been resolved. It is very encouraging. However, you may soon tire of hearing from me now that I have found this resource.

Another issue that I am concerned with is a van that seems to be abandoned or at least being left to rot in the driveway of the building on the northwest corner of Fargo and Greenview. Aside from being an eyesore, I fear it will become a breeding ground for all manner of vermin. It has been there sitting on flat tires since at least April and probably much longer. I don't know who owns it but I would think that the building owner would be responsible for it. I know the building is for sale and can't imagine why they would keep such blight on the property.

Please let me know what action can be taken. Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.



Wednesday, September 28, 2005

There have been a lot of people discussing a new proposal to build what will essentially be a marina "near Loyola" to be called Edgewater Harbor as well as other locations throughout the city to accomodate a desire for more boat slips. Apparently,they are very profitable for the park district. Details seem very hard to get. There was a posting on morsehellhole.blogspot.com detailing events at a meeting held on the south side last night.

Although I greatly appreciate that the blogger at this website goes to meetings regularly and reports back with news, I am afraid that he is often moreconcerned with bashing the alderman than communicationg accurate information. According to a person who spoke with a park district official, Joe Moore was made aware that the park district was planning to discuss a marina among other projects but did not work with the park district to develop said plans. The plan is still in its infancy and will probably take a few years to even begin.

I know that not everyone has had the same experience that I have, but I have actually gotten the ward to take care of a few problems for me involving problems with a mismanaged nursing home (read loony bin) that neighbors my building. I think that by acting in a calm, rational manner and asking direct questions while letting them know you plan to document everything (If they call me to tell me what they are going to do, I don't answer and I save the voicemail) you get more results than inflammatory comments. To play devil's advocate for a second, I don't generally believe that the alderman has been malevolent but perhaps simply ineffective in some cases. I think that perhaps he may have an agenda that does not always click with the wants and needs of the community. That said, go ahead and slam me. I can take it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I have noticed a great deal of activity at the Gateway Center over the past few days in the southwest area that faces the bus terminal. Does anyone have any ideas as to what is going in?
I have learned that there is a movement to save the Adelphi theater property from being developed. I would like to see this building (at least it's facade) kept intact because I think if it is properly restored it would be a lovely building. However, are we fighting the development here to simply keep the building as is or is there some viable alternative? Is there funding to restore and improve the building to make it a viable business again? I wouldn't want it saved just so it can sit vacant for ten more years like the Uptown only to have millions of dollars spent on keeping it standing without having come up with a use for the space. When it comes to these kinds of projects, many people's hearts get wrapped up in nostalgia. I understand that, but can we get this building swimming again or are we just keeping it from drowning?

Friday, September 23, 2005

It has recently come to my attention that one of the biggest points of contention among those folks who attend neighborhood planning meetings is that many of the long term residents of the neighborhood who own single family homes or those who were some of the first to buy condos up here is that they are concerned that the neighborhood will become overdeveloped - driving up taxes, creating a lack of affordable housing, or conversely creating a glut of affordable housing that will sit empty, etc...

Many of these arguments to slow the progress of development may be valid, but my worry is this: In a neighborhood that has been "The Next Big Thing" year after year, only to see development fall far short of projections, maybe these people are impeding the process for the wrong reasons. Maybe they don't want the population to increase because they don't want to share the parks, beaches, and parking. Maybe they they are worried their property taxes will go up. Maybe, they don't want to look at a new building filled with condo units that middle class families can actually afford to buy. I am not saying that these aren't legitimate beefs. I just want people to be honest about it.

People can be greedy and selfish sometimes, myself included. I'm not proud of it but I am not going to compound my flaws by lying and hiding behind a facade of being the social conscience of the neighborhood. If I drove, (and I know many perople up here that do) I'd probably complain about parking too. If I had a single family home with a yard, I'd probably be upset if someone built a huge development right next door. My property value might go up and I might have to pay more in taxes. It sucks. But let's face it, it's happening everywhere.

I lived in Lincoln Square for several years and when I went to buy of course I wanted to buy in the neighborhood I already called home. Problem was, once I got married and started looking, I was priced out! So we searched and searched and searched and finally found a nice place on a nice street up here that we could afford. When I see other buildings being converted and hear people complaining about gentrification and development, I am torn. I was priced out of my neighborhood and here I am doing the same thing to folks even less fortunate than myself. It makes me feel guilty sometimes but hopefully with sound planning we can preserve a diverse community here in Rogers Park.

We need development here. Before any development had taken place back in the early and mid 90s I lived on Eastlake Terrace between Howard and Rogers. I was harassed by gang bangers and drug dealers were everywhere. I had to drive everywhere I went. I would never have considered buying back then. Thanks to some folks more adventurous than myself who did choose to buy here and renovate and develop, things have changed for the better. Now some of those same folks want it to stop. They probably feel entitled a bit since they weathered the rougher days. I can understand that, I felt that way when I left Lincoln Square.

What I am trying to say is this: Change is sometimes painful. Noone will argue that, but change is also the only thing that is going to make this neighborhood a better place to live. If you want less crime, increase the number of home OWNERS who have a vested interest in the property and will call the police on drug dealers and taggers. If you want more police, increase population density a bit and we will get more officers to patrol the streets. If you want more shops in the vacant eye sore that is the Gateway center, attract more middle class families to the neighborhood. People don't open shops until they have done market research to see if it is lucrative to do so. Let's face it folks, it may not be the best system but it's the way the world works.

I think we need increased development that is well planned to best benefit the majority of the citizens who live here. I don't think we have to run everybody out of the nighborhood and start from scratch to do that but there are going to be challenges. We can't isolate ourselves from the rest of the city and expect city hall to take care of all our problems. They know how the system works and when the majority of the city is on board with that program they aren't going to change it for us.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Documents in regards to correspondence between the 49th Ward office and myself in reference to problems/concerns at Arbour House:

Sent on September 12th:

Good Afternoon,

I am not certain to whom I should send this complaint and would greatly appreciate it if you could direct it to the appropriate department.

I live at ???? W Fargo Ave in Chicago, 60626. My building is neighbored by Arbour Health Care. Since my wife and I have moved in earlier this year we have noticed many activities that raise concerns about the facilities ability to care for and supervise its patients. Initially we had hoped that these would be isolated incidents but recently it has become clear that there are chronic problems at the facility including serious crimes committed within the facility as is evidenced by Citizen iCam.

On more than one occasion we have noticed the sale of drugs to tenants over the fence. One patient was seen smoking illicit drugs (crack) in the alley behind the building and engaging in acts of prostitution. One patient has been seen at least twice walking on the front lawn after having taken his pants down in front of women passing through the neighborhood. Another mentally handicapped patient has tried to forcibly enter our building at least twice that he has been caught. Another female patient has been found lying on the sidewalk directly in front of the building in a disoriented state repeatedly striking herself in the head. This same woman has been seen pan handling in the parking lot of the strip mall where your offices are located. These are just some of the things that my wife and I have witnessed since moving in and we have only been here since May. Other neighbors have seen similar activities and have asked the operators of the facility to address them but nothing has been done. A few weeks ago dozens of old lockers and dressers appeared behind the building providing a breeding ground for rats and nesting places for wasps and bees. Complaining to the management has gotten us nowhere. Several members of our building have decided to escalate the matter by always reporting issues to the police. We have tried to be understanding thus far as we understand that many of the residents have mental handicaps and limited resources. However, since it has been brought to my attention that some of the patients are registered sex offenders I worry for the well being of women and children in my neighborhood when such poor care and supervision is being provided at the facility.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.


Michael Kaszynski

  • After sending this I was contacted by Wayne stating that the Alderman's Chief of Staff would be contacting the buildings management on September 19th upon his return from vacation.

Sent on September 20th:

Good Morning,

I contacted the ward last week in regards to issues concerning Arbour Health Care. I received a voice mail message indicating that the alderman's chief of staff would be contacting the building's management to address these issues on Sept. 19th. Could you please provide me with any details you have in regards to these issues?

Since my letter last weekend, the board members of our condo association drafted a letter and delivered it to the management of Arbour and I have not seen any action taken to correct these problems. The old cabinets in back of the building remain and there are still issues with some of the residents acting inappropriately while in front of the building without supervision. Just this morning I witnessed a resident smoking marijuana on the patio.

If this matter is not soon resolved I believe it would be appropriate to escalate the matter to the appropriate regulating body. I am sure that the current conditions are far from being within compliance of codes and regulations for a health care facility.

Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Michael Kaszynski

  • After sending this letter I received a call from Kevin stating his actions which I detailed in the following email to people in my building.

Good Afternoon,

I received a call from Kevin at the 49th ward office a few minutes ago. He told me that he had spoken to administrators at Arbour and received the following response to issues that were brought to his attention:

Old cabinets in parking lot.

Administrators claimed that they originally had hoped to donate them to the salvation army but were never picked up and had planned on breaking them down a few at a time and putting them in with the regular trash.

Kevin told them this was unacceptable and that they would need to get a construction dumpster and have them removed at once.

Gentleman who tries to open doors.

He is taken to a work program during the day and drivers were leaving him in front of the building.

He is to be brought inside the premises by the drivers and never to be allowed outdoors unsupervised.

Woman seen engaged in acts of prostitution.

She has been discharged from the facility.

Gentleman who exposes himself.

Apparently, they were well aware of the problem as he exposes himself inside the facility as well.

They are trying to have him discharged but his parents are fighting it. Will follow up as needed.

Drug dealing on the premises and use in public areas by patients.

Management is aware of problems both in and around the facility.

Administrators claim that they are looking into adding additional surveillance cameras to alleviate the problem.

I hope that the operators are true to their word and make the necessary improvements. I thanked the folks at the ward office for working on this and I am hopeful that we will make continued progress in improving our neighborhood. Please let me know if there are any other questions or concerns that you may want addressed whether it be about Arbour or any other problem. I will be more than happy to include them in future correspondence I have with the ward office.


Michael Kaszynski

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This is my first posting. Forgive me if I do not use proper blog etiquette (if there is such thing) as I am new at this. The intention of this blog is to document actions in my Rogers Park neighborhood both positive and negative hopefully to better the neighborhood for all who live here.

Of primary concern are the following:
  • Drug dealers operating with impunity on our streets.
  • The many elder care and health care providers providing real care and being accountable for the actions of their patients. This is directed primarily to a building neighboring mine (Arbour Health Care) that is grossly mismanaged.
  • Holding local government accountable for poor planning such as building the Gateway Center without having buy in from businesses thus creating a massive void in what could be a very prosperous area in the community. I cannot believe that funds for its development were squandered without more private funding.
  • Ensuring the safety of all residents but especially children and the elderly who for the most part have no input as to where they live.
I am of course wiling to discuss all other issues that affect the community and its residents. Once I have the hang of this, I hope to update and add valuable content whenever possible.