Monday, January 13, 2014

BREAKING: Southeast Lakeview Neighbors Votes NOT to Endorse Broadway Youth Center Zoning Variance

Vote was 41 to 21 with 3 abstentions.

UPDATE JANUARY 15, 2013: Once again, Matt Simonette at the Windy City Times generates a excellent, well-balanced report HERE.

40 comments:

  1. Take your property taxes to a ward that gives two shits.

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    1. I rented in a neighborhood for 3 years to check it out before I decided to purchase there. I was very happy for the next 10 years.

      I rented in Lakeview East and fled with in 14 months. I thought I was moving up.

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  2. Yeah, Tunney went up to the podium at the end of the meeting and stood up there rambling and equivocating about everything, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He all but told the SELVN meeting that even though the vote was clear (41 against, 21 for, 3 abstentions) that he could and probably would still speak for the BYC, especially if they agreed to/decided to put some regulations, "checks and balances," or "ways for us to check in on them" in place. He also very strongly reminded everyone present that making more services available for homeless and LGBT youth was very high on the Mayor's list of priorities, and the 5 people on the Zoning Board are appointed by the Mayor, and well, you know...they're not impartial or unaware of what the Mayor's stance is on these kind of things.

    So essentially, if you can read between the lines of his babbling equivocations, this certainly sounds like a done deal and it's already been decided. He sounded like a parent preparing a child for their pet to go live on a farm.

    I'm very disappointed in our Alderman, who is supposed to represent his constituents, but shows us time and time again that he couldn't care less what we think. I am very proud of the concerted group of neighbors and interested residents who worked tirelessly to ensure that information was disseminated to everyone possible, so that this wouldn't all just happen without anyone knowing, a la Miegs Field. And I'm proud of everyone who stood up for what they believed in, either side, because this is what a community is about - debating and discussing important issues that affect all of us.

    Next step - find a strong, viable candidate to run against Tunney.

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    1. I think it's great that making more services available for homeless and LGBT youth is high on the Mayor's list of priorIties. We're not against social services. We're saying - NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD - not in that location.
      And why is it Tunney's responsibility to speak for BYC? What does he gain? WHY is he not speaking for his tax-paying voters? For all the good these social service agencies do, they are magnets for a criminal element that we no longer have enough police to control.
      It also seems pretty well demonstrated that the increase in crime in our "entertainment district" is bad for business. How can you want to promote business and at the same time promote the element that hurts the business?
      None of this makes any sense to me.

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    2. The Howard Brown head honchos and board members have a lot more money and influence that us mere residents. That is why he will support HBHC interests over those of his residential constituents.

      We must find a viable, strong candidate to depose this paid off, lying asshat.

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    3. Even the Chamber of Commerce recognizes the detriment of BYC to local business. The Chamber of Commerce voted 'No' to the BYC in that location (I'm sure hoping they'd go somewhere else that wouldn't hurt commerce!)

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    4. It would have been nice if a representative from the Chamber of Commerce showed up to speak on behalf of the organization at the hearing on Friday. As it was, when it was stated that the Chamber of Commerce was against the BYC at that location and had written a letter stating that, Sam Toia grilled the speaker asking if it was just one member of the organization who wrote the letter, like the president or chairperson, or was it the entire organization taking that stand? Because there was no one there to clarify, that letter essentially didn't matter. It showed that it obviously wasn't important enough to the Chamber to have someone attend the Zoning Board hearing. Well done, Chamber of Commerce.

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  3. Next time Emmanuel is up for re-election and he starts sniffing around Lakeview for votes he should have his scrawny ass run right out of the neighborhood.

    This whole BYC mess was decided right from the start. I hope a lot of neighbors show up to the zoning hearing Friday to at least make it very uncomfortable for everyone involved. don't make it easy.

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  4. I think that with Tunney still going to side with the BYC that this should really be the continue down fall of him as the alderman here in the 44th ward. It is time for a change here in the ward.

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  5. Let me guess. BYC calls a group of genuine, caring residents 8 kinds of ugly names that end with "ist" or "phobic" and now they are shocked that those people decided to just say "fuck it."

    This is a turning point in the bullshit that has kept us from getting solutions for the past 5 years.

    THANK YOU SELVN for taking a stand and refusing to run scared from poisonous verbiage!

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    1. I thought the new SELVN president, Mike Demitriou did an outstanding job of not letting Michelle Wetzel, BYC's attorney, make statements that were not founded.

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  6. Everybody involved in this debacle should hang their head in shame. First they slid in to the church, claimed it was temporary. Next we had this campaign against the neighbors, hate speech, driving them out of Lakeview? Next we have the sanctimonious minister/church members getting paid $50K in rent? This is how much they (don't) care about at-risk youth. They care about the $50K. Now that we know public clinic space is available on Clark St. for only $1 per year, why doesn't the church drop out of this debate and recommend BYC move there? Imagine how many more at-risk youth could be provided medical care with that $50K wasted in rent.

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    1. Im not sure where the $1 came from, but if Rahm and Tunney cared so much for this program, they would make this happen for $1. But I guess the church is loving that $50K a year.

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    2. $50K a year in rent does sound like a pretty sweet deal. Who are the players in that one? Following the money trail usually leads to some interesting places.

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    3. Come to think of it, $50,000 rent is damn sweet. Is the church kicking back to Tunney? Great money-laundering scheme. There's a reason Tunney is so committed to the BYC and I don't believe it's just his big heart.

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  7. "He also very strongly reminded everyone present that making more services available for homeless and LGBT youth was very high on the Mayor's list of priorities, and the 5 people on the Zoning Board are appointed by the Mayor, and well, you know...they're not impartial or unaware of what the Mayor's stance is on these kind of things."

    Those are the ramblings of a fascist dictator.

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  8. Are the people in New Jersey as frightened of Christie as our alderperson is Rahm?

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  9. What is the age limit for this shelter? I am curious because I run into homeless LGBT that are on Halsted that like 21 or 22 but they seem to still make into the bars and have money from somewhere to smoke legal and illegal stuff.

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    1. 12-24 years old.

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    2. BYC told people at a prior SELVN meeting that they service clients between the ages of 12 and 24. Now considering their open door policy that does not require identification, i think it's completely irresponsible to be mixing in children as young as 12 with troubled (often criminal) adults with no separation or supervision. There should some sort of separate facilities based on age. Does anyone really think mixing at risk children in with troubled adults is a good idea?

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    3. They say their age limit is 12-24 BUT they do not check ID's so they really have no clue as to the ages of their charges. Convenient, eh?

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  10. Too bad, heading south on Broadway was a refuge. Where can I dine out now? Hop a bus down past Diversey...?

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  11. @michael, no it's a horrible idea, but that's liberal logic for you!

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    1. Thanks. Stereotypes were really missing in this discussion. We are all on the same page - tossing those types of comments out does nothing to keep the level of debate at a high level or to bolster any position you have.

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  12. OK, so we're told Howard Brown pays the church $50,000 a year in rent while they can occupy city space virtually rent free.

    Last week a group of small area churches called upon their congregations via email (with the involvement of Howard Brown and the Night Ministry) to rally in support of BYC's zoning request.

    I'm not a lawyer or tax accountant, so maybe someone else can answer my question:

    Since churches have tax exempt status can Howard Brown write off the $50,000 annual rent paid to the church to host BYC as a "donation" and that's why they'll fight tooth and nail to stay in the church rather than move into the public space on Clark for $1 a year?

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    1. Howard Brown HC is also not-for-profit. They receive no tax benefit, no benefit for the "write-off", no tax savings. That's what makes the whole payment deal so suspicious. We could use some investigative reporting. HA - that wont happen.

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  13. @Michael re $50,000 paid to a church as rent:

    I am not a tax accountant but this much I know:

    Howard Brown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. It files a 990 Federal Tax Return for Non-Profits. This tax return is available to the public online. As a non-profit, it does not pay taxes. Hence it does not have “tax deductible” expenses. Similarly, it does not have "tax deductible" donations.

    Howard Brown would benefit greatly if the City of Chicago offered rent at $1 per year. The benefit to Howard Brown is it would save $50,000 [or more] per year in rent. The $50,000 could be put back into programs benefitting the youth it serves.

    At the SELVN meeting Jan. 13, 2014, General Counsel Michelle Wetzel complained the Chicago Dept. of Public Health space at 2849-2681 N. Clark was too big. This was a strange response as they didn’t need to ask for all of the vacant space. Hence they wouldn’t need to build-out all of the vacant space. The space is huge and goes far back. But a large space would allow expansion in the future if Howard Brown expanded to meet the needs of the many newly insured under the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. And providing care for adults would help generate the income needed to give away health care to those young and uninsured. And hopefully the BYC is actively helping young people enroll and apply for Medicaid and ACA coverage.

    The possible problem with Howard Brown is, despite paying high salaries to management, they have a long pattern of hiring people without experience or training in the job required. For example, they hired one CEO after another with no health administration training or experience. Hence there are many poor decisions.

    The decision to locate at 615 W. Wellington is an example of incompetence. Zoning is not complex law. Anyone can look up a zoning map and an explanation of uses allowed and not allowed. How can it be that Howard Brown’s General Legal Counsel couldn’t handle this? ....and will there be more firings?

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  14. Last night, Tunney referenced a Lincoln Park situation where residents filed a lawsuit against a social service agency who they felt wasn't being a good neighbor and shirking accountability and responsibility for its patrons. I hadn't heard of this situation until he mentioned it last night at the SELVN meeting. I did a quick Google search and came up with this article from 2005 on the situation. Reading it, I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. Same problems and crime, same response from the police and government (crime is down), same attacks against residents (you're being elitist, NIMBYs, racist, etc.).

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-10-31/news/0510310216_1_homeless-shelter-homeless-men-episcopal-diocese

    However, it appears the shelter received their zoning permit eventually. This article comments that a committee of residents and shelter representatives was formed to "meet monthly and address conflicts." Does anyone recall this or have any input/update on it or if this committee was actually successful?

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-04-14/news/0604140284_1_shelter-clients-alleged-neighborhood

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    1. If the alderman would do what he said he would do and what his office emailed people yesterday to say that he would do — — listen to his constituents before making a decision — — then he would speak against the variance and there would be no problem. Hed rather conjure up lawsuit bullshit and claim 15 other crappy things.

      Even the chamber of commerce is asking him to back the residents.

      Show me the MONEY! How's it getting to his pockets???

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    2. It looks like the Lincoln Park Community Shelter mentioned by Tunney is trying to whip up support for the BYC zoning variance hearing, complete with talking points. http://www.lpcsonline.org/whats-new

      If the zoning hearing is anything like the SELVN meeting in November, we can probably expect lots of finger-snapping and outbursts from BYC supporters who have no stake in the future of our community.

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    3. What's Tunney's incentive to ignore his constituents and follow Howard Brown? My guess is multiple forms of campaign donations and endorsements.

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    4. Anonymous said: "Show me the MONEY! How's it getting to his pockets???"
      I say start by looking at the $50,000 Rent Howard Brown is paying the church. It shows up on HBHC books as Rent Expense, then the Church pays a portion to Tunney. HBHC books are very public audited documents. The church's should be public too, but who's going to look, and the church is not audited. The church could easily slip Tunney the money.
      Just my guess..................

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  15. Did anyone else hear Tunney mention something about the Affordable Care Act with respect to the Lakeview Health center on Clark? It was a quick remark toward the end of his speech that went kind of unnoticed. Is there some other agenda the Mayor is pursuing for the Lakeview Health center location?

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  16. I smell a rat and its name is Tunney. His remarks after the vote last night made it clear he is going to come up with some sort of neighborhood agreement that lets the BYC stay in place. Time to call Orkin!

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  17. One of Chicago's greatest treasures, TimeLine Theatre, performs at the Wellington Church. Have they expressed any opinion on the BYC's relocation there? I'm worried if an increase in crime there might discourage people from attending the theater.

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  18. If they successfully put the BYC at that church, I will boycott the TimeLine Theatre. We should all launch a boycott of the theatre and the church!

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    1. Hey, be reasonable! TomeLine is not the landlord, it's a tenant, and, I'm sure has no say whatsoever about whom the Wellington Church chooses to rent to.

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  19. And they STILL are running an illegal operation, no membership agreement, as far as Howard Brown and BYC is concerned the host community is racist, transphobic, ableist, classist and..wait for it..homophobic. Never forget this, folks. This is what your LGBTQIACIAFBI "community center" thinks of you.

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  20. Latest Good Neighbor Agreement bypasses the neighbors completely. SELVN is not even listed on the agreement...just references to the "the community"

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9rZb0dNgkznd0s3SVdBdWJaWlU/edit?pli=1

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  21. And Tunney and Emanuel won big in the ward. They think they are invincible. Look at how they act.

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