Thursday, November 17, 2016

THE BIG FIB: Despite Public Assurances, Local Service Agency No-Shows In Court. A LOT.


During our reporting, we’ve occasionally mentioned The Center on Halsted’s policy of not appearing in court when someone is charged with a crime against the Center or one of its workers. When victims don't show up, the court is forced to throw out criminal charges.

The Center, or COH, is a massive social service agency headquartered at 3656 North Halsted that bills itself as a “center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons,” even though many of its clients are none of those.

One of its core policies is the use of “restorative justice”—-essentially banning someone from COH property, then flooding them with rainbows and unicorns until they decide to behave.

Or, as The Windy City Times describes it, “Restorative justice is an approach to handling supposed wrongdoing that aims to provide alternatives to punishment. It looks at the experiences of people involved and attempts to heal those afflicted rather than discipline an alleged wrongdoer.”

Upon learning of the center's court no-show policy, some area residents raised the issue at local community policing (CAPS) meetings.

Neighbors drilled COH Director of Public Relations Peter Johnson at the August CAPS meeting, but he never actually said that the Center goes to court, despite being asked directly.

Fortunately, Boystown bar owner Stu Zirin was there to help him.

“I’ve spoken to [Center on Halsted Chief Executive Officer Modesto] 'Tico' Valle about this," Zirin offered."He said they do go to court. You know, if it’s something serious."

Two months later,  Johnson was back at the October CAPS meeting.

“If anybody does commit a crime, we prosecute,” Johnson told the crowd. “We always send a representative to court when we file [criminal charges]”

“That’s not what we’re reading,” an apparent CWB Chicago reader fired back. “Do you prosecute every case?”

“Yes,” Johnson said, “that’s what I’ve been told.”

At this point, we’ll let the court records speak for themselves.

Over the past six weeks, we have compiled and cross-referenced records from the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Our goal was to identify criminal cases that took place at 3656 North Halsted in which victims were identified as the COH itself or one of its employees, agents, volunteers, or contractors.

We found 26 such cases since 2013.

The COH showed up for exactly one case, according to court records.

They no-showed the other 25 times.

This grid lists every case that we found, a summary of the allegations, and the court disposition.

Peter Johnson initially offered to meet in person to discuss the Center's policies and practices, but he has not responded to multiple subsequent requests to correspond via email.

Center CEO Modesto “Tico” Valle did not respond to multiple inquiries about this story.

#DateChargesVictimAllegations SummaryResolutionAccused History
11/14/2013AssaultModesto "Tico" ValleA Black Disciples street gang member was asked to leave the facility after Valle saw him selling DVDs in the COH. "[The accused] told Valle, 'I'm gonna get my banger. You'll see.'"COH appeared in court. Accused was sentenced to 10 days.Accused has a long criminal record that spans 25 years for weapons and narcotics violations. He currently has another narcotics distribution case pending in Chicago.
22/5/2013AssaultUnknown female COH representativeCOH rep told police that she had a verbal altercation with the accused who became angry and shouted, "I'll kick your mother fucking ass." COH detained the man for police.Complaining Witness Not In CourtNone
32/12/2013Criminal trespassingCOHN/AComplaining Witness Not In CourtAccused has subsequently been arrested twice for battery at COH. One victim was a client of the Center and the other was a neighbor. Neither qualifies for inclusion in this chart.
46/7/2013Assault, criminal trespassingUnknown male COH employee and COHIn a gang-related incident, a Gangster Disciple, refused to leave the COH, began flashing gang signs, and told the COH employee, "I'm gonna come back here and kick your mother fucking ass."Complaining Witness Not In Court. (Separately, the state filed and won a conviction for violation of probation.)Five months before this incident, the accused was charged with robbing a man at Belmont and Sheffield. His two co-defendants received prison sentences, but he was given probation.
56/10/2013Battery, criminal trespassingCOH security guard and COHThe accused entered the COH despite knowing that he was barred from the property and having a previous arrest for trespassing at the COH. A COH guard asked him to leave and he kicked the guard in the leg. The accused claimed to be a Latin King street gang member.Complaining Witness Not In Court
611/22/2013Aggravated assault of protected employeeCOH security guardN/AComplaining Witness Not In CourtThe accused has a lengthy violent criminal record that includes prison sentences for attempted murder, armed robbery, narcotics, aggravated battery and burglary.
71/20/2014Aggravated assault of protected employee, criminal trespassingCOH security guard and COHN/AComplaining Witness Not In CourtThe accused was a convicted felony theft offender at the time of the incident. Same defendant as case #14.
81/23/2014Criminal trespassingCOHN/AComplaining Witness Not In CourtNone
91/30/2014• Battery (2 counts)COH security guardAccording to court filings: a man was asked to leave the second floor of the COH because he was not enrolled in any programs. He then began hitting the guards repeatedly in their heads and bodies with closed fists. Seeing that, the second man screamed "Get off my man!" and jumped into the fray.Complaining Witness Not In CourtAt the time of the incident, the second man had recently concluded a prison term and parole for using a 5-pound chain to beat an Irish tourist during a robbery at the Belmont Red Line station.
104/12/2014Assault, criminal trespassingCOH security guard, COHThe accused entered the COH after being told that he was not allowed on the property. After being told to leave, he told the security guard that he was "going to knock his head off and slap your Bluetooth out of your ear."Complaining Witness Not In Court8 minor cases and 2 domestic cases prior to this incident. Currently facing felony charges of manufacture-delivery of narcotics on Boystown's Halsted bar strip.
114/15/2014Criminal trespassingCOHThe accused re-entered COH despite being "banned and ordered several times not to return to the premises." He stated, "I don't give a fuck about the center. I just want free shit."Complaining Witness Not In CourtMinor cases.
126/7/2014Criminal trespassingCOHN/AComplaining Witness Not In CourtNone
137/22/2014Criminal trespassingCOHThe accused was asked to leave COH after causing a disturbance. He returned a short time later and COH called policeComplaining Witness Not In CourtAt the time of the incident, the accused was on parole for a 2011 robbery in the 3300 block of North Halsted. He is the same person listed in incident #22.
1410/1/2014Criminal trespassingCOHTwo COH security guards flagged down a passing patrol car for assistance with the accused who "had been permanently banned from the premise and has been advised of this order by them multiple times."Complaining Witness Not In Court. (Separately, the state filed and won a conviction for violation of probation.)The accused was a convicted felony theft offender at the time of the incident. This is the same person who is accused in incident #7.
1510/20/2014BatteryCOH case workerVictim tried to separate an escalating altercation inside the COH. The accused ignored requests to leave and pushed the victim "with great force." Suspect was detained by COH security.Complaining Witness Not In CourtThe accused was a convicted robbery offender at the time of the incident.
161/5/2015Criminal trespassingCOHA COH security guard detained the offender and signed a trespassing complaint after he refused to leave following a disturbance.Complaining Witness Not In Court25 cases dating back to 1994 at the time of this incident
171/16/2015Criminal trespassingCOH representative (Same victim as incidents #21 and #23)COH rep signed complaints after the accused refused to leave and threw garbage cans inside the facility.Complaining Witness Not In CourtNo priors. Currently on 2 years probation for felony shoplifting from a Boystown boutique.
181/20/2015Assault (2 counts), criminal trespassingTwo COH security guardsA COH guard woke the accused man up and told him that he could not sleep in the Center. When security attempted to escort him out, the man swung his fists at the first guard and lunged toward the second guard. The accused pointed his finger in the second guard's face and said, "If you touch me, I'm going to come back and kill you." to police.Complaining Witness Not In CourtAt the time of the incident, the accused was a convicted robbery offender. Same offender as incident #19.
192/11/2015Aggravated assault with a deadly weaponCOH InternThe accused appraoched the victim and stated, "so you got my peoples locked up!" before brandishing a "black and silver combat knife," causing the victim to flee the scene and call police. An unknown person recovered the knife from a snowbank near the COH and it was turned in to police.Complaining Witness Not In CourtAt the time of the incident, the accused was a convicted robbery offender. Same offender listed in incident #18
205/25/2015Assault, criminal trespassingCOH security guard, COHThe accused was asked to leave several times, but she refused and then swung at security officer who tried to escort her out.Complaining Witness Not In CourtNone
217/30/2015AssaultCOH representative (Same victim as #17 and #23)During a verbal altercation, the accused told the COH employee, "when you get off work, I'm going to kill you."Stricken by judge.Accused was convicted of robbery in 2011 and served 3 years. He was charged with robbing a man on the playground behind the COH this summer. Iowa authorities have also said that he is connected to a murder/robbery/home invasion in their state earlier this year.
2211/14/2015Criminal trespassingCOHThe accused, a Gangster Disciples street gang member who is barred from the Center, refused to leave.Complaining Witness Not In Court. (Separately, the state filed and won a conviction for violation of probation.)This is the same person accused in incident #13.
2311/20/2015Assault, criminal trespassingCOH representative (Same victim as #17 and #21)COH rep asked the accused to leave after a disturbance. He refused, telling the employee, "I will slit your throat, you fucking faggot."Complaining Witness Not In CourtThe accused is currently on parole after serving a fraction of a 3-year sentence for aggravated battery to a police officer.
2412/26/2015Criminal trespassingCOHCOH staff saw the accused drinking alcohol on the premises. He was arrested when he refused to leave.Complaining Witness Not In Court1 minor case
251/27/2016BatteryCOH security guardThe accused, barred from the property, was asked to leave by security. He "stood up from his chair and pushed" the guard before fleeing.Complaining Witness Not In CourtThe accused did prison time for a 2011 robbery in the 1000 block of West School. He has been arrested numerous times in our neighborhood and is currently jailed awaiting trial for aggravated battery to a CTA employee at the Addison Red Line station.
264/4/2016Criminal trespassingCOHBarred from COH approximately 2 years earlier for exposing himself, the accused returned to the property twice in one day.Complaining Witness Not In CourtAccused man's court record included 54 cases since 2008 at the time of this incident.

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47 comments:

  1. They need to change their name to POSOH

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    1. Excellent comment! And I agree. My guy and I make a lot of money (together) and have been talking about upgrading from our LSD condo, maybe buying a duplex or three flat....but as sad as it makes us....we can't imagine pumping all that cash into this dangerous area. I NEVER wanted to leave the area....but we may just well. :(

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    2. Realtor friend of mine just told me, thanks to Rahm's and the state's latest tax increase announcements, chicago's real estate market has virtually come to a dead halt. With the number of units available, only a fraction are selling--and many buyers end up changing their minds at the eleventh hour when they realize it's just too risky to buy in the city. You would have to be determined to spend the rest of your life in Chicago if you buy there. If you wish to escape the city and can't sell even close to what you purchased it for, rent your pad to one of those spoiled rich college students--200,000 strong in the city. The rich parents will give you a crazy amount.

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    3. I fled as a renter when they even hinted at yet ANOTHER property tax hike. Not paying one more NICKEL to live there. No how, no way.

      Best Regards.....

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  2. Nice work, guys! Hopefully the COH takes notice, their relationship with the community seems to be on thin ice.

    #CWBforPulitzer

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    1. I think the ice melted a long time ago. Does Wholefoods have the same practice or do they pursue prosecution of wrong doings?

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  3. Nice work, as usual. I'll just skip indignation and enjoy the quality reporting.

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  4. Pathetic. Should be shut down for destroying a neighborhood.

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  5. This information needs to make it in the "real" papers (of course, we know CWB is the only real paper around, but since they're getting paid to report news...). How can we get your great work to them? This is shocking stuff! People need to know what is really going on at the COH. So do the Rickett's and others who donate money. Many donate because they think they're doing a good thing for the community, but they are in the dark about the truth.
    Thank you, CWB people. You really are amazing.

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    1. The "real" news papers won't report on it because it doesn't fit the narrative. CWB is not biased toward the liberal snowflakes in this city thus this is why you'll only see the truth about COH here. Thank you CWB. I wish all news agencies reported like you.

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  6. What I'm seeing here is that the safety of the dedicated staff at the COH doesn't warrant any representation in court, further putting them at risk by not actually deterring repeat offenders. Unless it directly involves Tico/Modesto (whatever his name is).

    So that seems to be the message here. You can batter, assault and threaten all COH staff except for Tico.

    I have seen and experienced the amazing things the COH does for our community (LGBT & Straight alike), but I feel that policy and especially leadership needs to change.

    Leadership controls the message provided by public relations, leadership controls and enforces policy, and leadership controls if anyone is going to show up in court.

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  7. If you all could only circle around this place and demand the sign be removed like you did at the Trump Tower, you might actually have a nice place to live and/or be able to sell your "condo" for what you paid for it a decade ago.

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    1. It's too dangerous there, you'd be assaulted and conveniently no one would show up to court. The sign we need is "Will accept donations to destroy your neighborhood"

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  8. Lol. I remember meeting one of the "directors" of this farce called COH about 7 years ago. We're both middle aged and had close cropped or shaved heads. He told me that he shaved his head because he "wants" to, not because he "has" to like me. Anyway, you could see his George Jefferson hairline even in the dark. This is how distorted these COH people are. He was trying to get wit me. I, I just couldn't even.

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  9. Change of regimes in Washington, but expect status quo here in Chicago. I was listening to the radio a few days ago, and suddenly this strange man with a droning voice came on speaking about radical left wing ideas. I thought the dial had somehow shifted so I turned it. The same man was speaking on that station too! And then another! I thought, OMG! Someone has hacked in all of Chicago's radio stations and is broadcasting radical garbage. Turned out I was right. It was Rahm Emmanuel giving the state of the city address. In it, he invited illegals offering Chicago as a sanctuary city, while saying taxes will go up for legal residents--this was after the state also said taxes are going up. Gee, I wonder why "you know who" won? Must have to do with bigotry, right? I guess I'll join the anti-that orange haired guy, because Lord knows I'm not interested in my personal safety or fiscal freedom.

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  10. COH=Crime on Halsted. I believe Chicago has a nuisance property ordinance 13-12-145.

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    1. Given the history of crime at COH, I think Whole Foods could loose its liquor license. That could be the first step to closing down this mess.

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  11. You can thank staff like the infamous Tico and their questionable security firm who masquerades as real cops, but mostly comprised of police impersonators security officers, who profits with big, big $ like W----h Security for wasting tax payer money and 19th district police resources for signing complaints and "conveniently" no-showing in court in dozens and dozens of times, like more than 90% of the time, courtesy of your tax paid money flushed down the toilet. After all, you would think W----h security company director would know better considering he is running a private business enterprise where he is a tax-paid policeman in the Caps office in the police station a block away. Working for the public, or working for personal financial interests, which one is it? Just keeping it real, somehow everyone (everyone!) turns a blind eye to this obvious serious ethical issue that is borderline illegal. Just look at the facts, you can't dispute them. Just because someone is a "nice" guy doesn't make their registered business legit and legal, or does it, in delusional Boystown? In Boystown… law and order, and what is right and wrong don't apply, even to certain individual cops who profit from COH client's illegal behavior by their management, operation, and disgustingly profit from the influx of COH client's crime, along with certain alderman (TT) who support their behavior. I implore COH to really write about this in the future because the facts don't lie.

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  12. Like many LV residents, this was my neighborhood long before COH showed up. And the damage this place has done to our area is significant. My family has to actively avoid the blast radius of Halsted and Waveland, or risk getting threatened, jeered at, or involved in violence as bystanders (as happened to us in a rather severe way). When you look at the "wall of donors" inside the center, you see why they do not want to commit to prevention of violence in the neighborhood. Because if the criminals get put away, who shows up for "services"? And if no one shows up, what photos and copy go into the funding appeals that pays the COH salaries? It's a sad, self-serving institution, more of a job factory for COH staffers than a social service center. I wouldn't expect much resolution from them. But thanks to CWB for the thorough reporting. So many of us just have to sigh and square our shoulders as we accept what has become the new reality for LV.

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    1. "blast radius". LOL. I can laugh now because I fled that state.

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    2. And the best part is I know of of the residents around there that was gay bashed and he's not even gay.

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    3. "Because if the criminals get put away, who shows up for "services"? And if no one shows up, what photos and copy go into the funding appeals that pays the COH salaries? It's a sad, self-serving institution, more of a job factory for COH staffers than a social service center. "

      Sadly, that is a good description of virtually ALL Social Service organizations - especially in Chicago.

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    4. I'm curious what sort of issues you encounter personally at the center. I've shopped at the Whole Foods there frequently, and walk past the center almost every day on my way home. I periodically see sketchy, boisterous, or possibly troublesome individuals, but none have ever harassed me openly. The worst I've seen in the last four years (aside from police/ambulances responding to incidents I did not witness) was a man making incredibly lewd remarks at a woman he passed.

      PS: Thank you so much for this article CWB. Fantastic research.

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    5. Hey "I'm curious": It just hasn't been your turn yet. If you continue to "walk past the center almost every day," sooner or later it will be your turn. Since you are so clueless, be sure not to whine about it when you are mugged for your phone and wallet.

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    6. Even when CWB documents the evidence of the crimes occurring at the CoH and puts them in a fucking spreadsheet, there are STILL neighborhood residents who are "curious" as to what sort of issues occur there. Some people are so out of touch with reality that they cannot face it even when it hits them in the head. Then they vote for Hillary.

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  13. Great work CWB! Absolutely great work.
    Now....what we'd really like to know from Valle AND FROM JOHNSON is this: Why did you lie? What did you, on multiple occasions, in a public forum, lie about what you do?

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    1. Art Johnson is trying very hard to send medicine to Tico's relatives in Cuba as we speak. Leave him outta this. Poor guy just got caught up in the middle.

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    2. It's Art Johnston. All their care about is money and notoriety. Typical self serving do gooders. They are arrogant jerks.

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  14. I'm sure these were all crimes of survival and that we're all just big meanies.

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  15. You don't even know how many times the Police are called to handle their bullcrap, yet they still hide people with warrants within their doors, "it's a safe haven after all". Yep, safe from the Police so that they can keep committing crimes in the neighborhood, keep paying your property taxes chumps.

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  16. "I don't give a fuck about the center. I just want free shit." kinda sums up the whole place.

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    1. "I will slit your throat you fucking faggot". Never heard anything like this in the vicinity of Detroit gay bars over the course of 20 years. My how Chicago has progressed. At least you had a grand civil union ceremony.

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  17. Their annual not for profit papers are public, including donor list. A community effort to boycott the donors until a meaningful commitment to deal with the crime issues raised here might work. We would have to be careful that it not been seen as an anti-GLBTQ effort obviously, but an anti crime effort.

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    1. Most of those opposed to COH are gay. I was opposed to it the moment I heard of its construction. I knew it was a tax drain and bad idea from the beginning. Gay community center my ass.

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  18. New commander for you all to break in this week.

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  19. I spoke to the Director of Behavioral Health at a party recently. When I mentioned crime at the Center, he said he was not familiar with any crime at the Center. I wanted to knock him out. Then he defended the criminals because they are from poor backgrounds. Excuse me, not all people from poor backgrounds are violent or criminals. This is the nonsense we are up against.

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    1. Yes, I met in-person another one of those meat heads. Bottom line.....they're just protecting their lavish paychecks.

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    2. Your local business owners and bartenders always spewed the same nonsense when I lived there. They must all be in a club and have a weekly treehouse meeting to keep all the BS consistent.

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    3. Oh, just wanted to say....I was invited to one of their parties and pretty much inducted into the club but as a gay male with standards I just couldn't participate. You shouldn't either. And one no longer lists COH as his employer in his FB page, only his "former" employer although he's been at COH since it's inception. It must be terrible being ashamed of how you earn your cheddar. Even whores have no problem telling you they're a whore.

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  20. This is a GREAT article! The research that went into putting the facts and statistics into it is truly amazing!
    My hat is off to whomever was involved.....and my tip will go into your jar. GREAT WORK!!!!!!!
    It is so simple when you think about it . The victims would most likely loose their jobs if they showed up in court and also who wants the retaliation that might come your way when Buba gets out of jail. The current system here is not working. If government subsidies are involved, they need to dry up.

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  21. The center on Halsted employees should be arrested for Disorderly Conduct/ False reports!

    Time to turn the legal tables on this operation!

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  22. Thank you for your work on this story. It really drives home what a disconnect there is between COH, CPD and CAPS.
    Time and time again, issues at COH are routinely dismissed and it's pretty obvious as to why. I agree with the comments above, what we really need is a story about this...

    http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/m/APPredirect.php?AID=40876






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    1. RE The WCT article:
      1) It's from 2012
      2) Anybody know if Walsh Security is licensed yet?
      3) Are there still officers on site (as security) at COH, and do they wear anything identifying them as 'Police'?

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  23. Good question about the Whole Foods protocol on crime at their store. I think we assume they are a better neighbor.

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  24. These days it is easy to call people like #centeronhalsted out on social media.

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  25. Thanks for the fantastic reporting CWB! The community was already pissed about COH and your reporting makes it easy for us to become a squeaky wheel.

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