Friday, May 16, 2008

NIMBY Chatter: Conspiracies Everywhere!

posted by chicago pop

HPP NIMBY Listening Station (Mobile Field Deployment -- Location Undisclosed)

Feel like something is missing in your life? Not getting the belly laughs you're used to from the Herald these days? Wonder if maybe things really have gotten less insane?

Well relax, because it's still pretty wacky out in the Nimboshpere, and our multiple HPP NIMBY Listening Stations can prove it. They are picking up all the chatter that doesn't rise to the level of Herald comic quality.

So without further ado, we'll give you what we in the trade call the "raw intel" and let you sort it out. Maybe you'll be scared. Maybe you'll cry. Maybe you'll wonder if the NIMBY-Establishment has finally run out of steam.

You can hash through all the misinformation yourself (yes, St. Stephens really is 7 stories tall at the top of the dome), the hysteria (they're taking away everything we love!), and the glorious, expansive paranoia (Preckwinkle + U of C + The City = SATAN!) and come to your own conclusions. All typos and such are from the original.

Date: May 7, 2008 9:31:52 PM CDT
Subject: [Good Neighbors] old church

Yikes!!! I just read today's Herald article about plans for
building a 7 story luxury condo building on the site of the
old church on Blackstone. The article said the developer had
been in contact with neighbors, but I live directly across
the street, and this is the first I or any one in my
building has heard of it. Had I been asked, I would have
strenuously opposed the plan. A seven story buiding would
dwarf other buildings on the block and cut off sunlight.
(What happened to the idea that new construction would be no
higher than the dome of the existing structure?) And the
condos start at $1.7 million!! What will that do to our
property taxes? What we need in this neighborhood is
affordable housing, not luxury condos for the super-rich! I
think we need to organize to oppose this plan. Maybe if
there is enough outcry from the neighborhood, we can stop it.
Date: May 9, 2008 1:35:26 PM CDT
Subject: [Good Neighbors] Re: old church

I agree with everything you say here and wonder if anything can be done to stop this. The issue has been "dormant" too long and perhaps people are apathetic. But it is wrong in every way you state - not to mention the parking ussues inherent with such a structure.
Date: May 14, 2008 3:55:42 PM CDT
Subject: [Good Neighbors] Re: Two big things this weekend
I agree wholeheartedly, and I wonder - How to things we value in our Community be saved? How do you plan to do this? The City, Preckwinkle, and the University constitute (if the Co-Op demise instructs us) and unbeatable combined force. I've heard rumors that plans to bring the Olympics to Chicago has plenty to do with these changes.


Anonymous said...

ooooo, the evil Axis-Cabal! It's a shame the Herald doesn't have a political cartoonist on staff. I'd get a kick out of a NIMBY-inspired political cartoon with Preckwinkle, Daley and a stereotypical faceless U of C pedagogue dressed like Mussolini, Hitler, and Tojo, glowering at the heroic, muscular, patriotic good neighbors club or whatever they call it. High comedy!

Elizabeth Fama said...

Editing your own e-mail before you hit "send" has so many benefits: you improve your writing voice; you clarify ambiguous statements, which avoids back-and-forth communications to clear them up; you won't be embarrassed when strangers post them on the Web for the whole world to see...

LPB said...

Elizabeth said it -- a little self-editing of email messages can go a long way. Or at the very least, it helps to keep one from sounding like an incoherent idiot who relies on a baboon for typing.

LPB said...

So, Kate believes that a 7-story building on the church site would "dwarf other buildings on the block and cut off sunlight"? However, as I understand from previous posts, it has been confirmed that the existing St. Stephens church is indeed 7 stories tall.

Kate apparently doesn't seem to have a problem with the existing 7-story church dwarfing other buildings on the block and cutting off sunlight. So aside from the fact that Kate is very confused, I don't understand what her beef is.

chicago pop said...

There's one issue where I'd like to back Kate up: I agree that what Blackstone needs at the location of St. Stephens church is more affordable housing.

I think a halfway house for recovering crack addicts, or perhaps a shelter for abused single women with dependent children would be perfect.

Though something tells me this isn't what the "good neighbors" mean by "affordable housing."

Dean W. Armstrong said...

Did you get permission to publish those emails? I think that's fairly rude of you to publish someone's message to a private email list without asking them if you could post it up on the web.

chicago pop said...

Sorry Dean W. Armstrong, I don't agree. Hitting the "send" and "forward" buttons in this day and age virtually amount to an electronic waiver of all privacy rights. Just ask your boss about the emails you write at work. If you want privacy, write a letter and send it snail mail; or send your email directly to another address; don't send messages that might embarrass you to lists that contain large numbers of recipients you don't know, who themselves have every right to forward what they receive. Because it will get out into cyberspace, where anyone can do anything they want with it.

chicago pop said...

Let me add another point for Dean W. Armstrong to consider: I get this junk forwarded to me all the time, unsolicited, by people who obviously receive chatter like this but don't agree with it in the least, and feel some sense of resistance to the idea of this listserve or others like it is being used for political purposes.
That, on the other hand, is what this blog is for, and why they send it to me.

Stick around. There will be more, I'm sure.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

The idea of the good neighbors list was two-way, polite communication and discussion of ideas that many of us disagree about. It wasn't designed to be a one-way portal to being mocked on web site that has taken what should be public discourse and made it into personal attacks and insults.

If you don't see how publishing email messages is rude, then I guess you also don't realize how much respect you've lost among your readers--even the ones that might agree in principle with you.

David Farley said...

C. Pop, it seems you're the one who ought to be asking Dean's boss for his opinion before posting it on my behalf. I agree with Dean.

chicago pop said...

As for the purpose of the good neighbors list, here's what's been written on that subject by Jay Mulberry in a commenton this blog:

The purpose of the group is not to create a political lobby but to give neighbors a way to keep in touch. Our discussions are usually non-controversial, concerning snow removal, where to find a good painter, upcoming events in the neighborhood, etc. The only extended political discussion I can remember concerned the closing of the Co-Op.

Evidently some members of the list felt that recent postings weren't within those lines. If this were a "one way portal" then you wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be talking, and I bet these issues will get a lot more discussion -- i.e. public discourse -- here than on any listserve you care to mention.

As for personal attacks, in a concession to privacy the full names and email addresses of the authors were removed. There are no "personal" attacks. The rhetoric is mocked.

Dean's boss: thanks for your opinion; the question rather was whether the emails you or your employees write belong to you or to your employer.

David Farley said...

C. Pop - where Dean and I work, emails are considered private, and even in cases where someone passes away, we've had to get intervention from our legal counsel to open up their accounts even to their immediate family. Same holds true for subpoenas and anything of the like. Other places may be different.

Other organizations have other rules, and we could argue about it forever, but you dragged in this red-herring argument to refute Dean's opinion that reposting messages from a private list server without permission was rude. I was agreeing with Dean that it was rude.

LPB said...

I make a huge distinction between email messages I send to named individuals from my personal email account, which I believe are more defensibly private than any message I send to the various listserves I belong to.

Messages sent to named individuals in my address book are akin to picking up the phone and having a conversation with that person or persons. I expect that the conversation is between the named parties and there is no eavesdropping (though thanks to the Bush Administration, there's probably more eavesdropping then I'd like).

On the other hand, group lists are by their nature PUBLIC communications. For messages to group lists, I *don't* know all the other people who are on the list, nor do I know who they might know. Importantly, I do *not expect* that my messages are private communications with the 150 to 400 group members on the lists I belong to. In a time when communications can become viral at the flick of a Send button, anyone who puts their opinions out there in these types of public forums are leaving themselves open to public consumption in cyberspace, from my perspective.

As for any messages sent from a workplace email address or a workplace computer, I consider all that to be the property of my employer, and again, available for public consumption.

erith1 said...

Lost respect from his readers? I highly doubt it.

I definitely agree that an email sent to at least double digit numbers of people, many of whom you obviously don’t know well enough to know they won’t forward your email, constitutes public rather than private.

I guess whether the emails should be published or not is open for debate, but if you put those statements out there man up and own it. Are you changing your opinion on things because you were mocked on a blog of all places?

It’s not like we’re talking about secret love letters or something here, sheesh. Why would you be embarrassed to have your opinions on architecture exposed to the world?

lvv said...

I'm a newer member of the "Good Neighbors" group. When I joined, I was introduced by name & welcomed to the group by Jay, something he always does. The Good Neighbors group isn't a group of strangers, but folks who sign their names. I don't always agree with the opinions stated, but it is a group that seems to respectfully moderate itself, and there seems to be no sulking when reminders about etiquette on private lists are sent.

Taking emails from a non-public list and posting them to a public blog, whether to celebrate their brilliance or mock them, seems absolutely inappropriate to me. I "own" (created & run) a half-dozen groups (not blogs, but private lists, like Good Neighbors), and when a member felt that a message could/should be cross-posted (to another list or to a blog), we've followed the rule of asking the writer if he/she approves.

I'm sure Chicago Pop and others may think I'm naive, and that my signed emails about literacy instruction and good year-end field trips should be fair game for celebrating or mocking for anyone who can hit "forward" but I think Chicago Pop and whoever forwarded the Good Neighbors emails to him/her for posting were wrong.

Lisa Vahey

chicago pop said...

The Good Neighbors group isn't a group of strangers, but folks who sign their names.

Hmm. Interesting. Which leads to:

I'm sure Chicago Pop and others may think I'm naive

No, not really, but I do think the first statement above is naive, less because it's not true, and more because it expresses a wish for something that clearly is not.

To wit: someone writes a note and then signs it "Humpty Dumpty", sends it to 200 people (that's the "private" part), and then some of those people -- people who the original author or Lisa Vahey obviously know very well -- occasionally send us a copy of what was written, especially when they find it to have been of the more distorted and ridiculous conspiracy-ridden stuff that we love.

Maybe a purge of the list is in order? Line up informants against a wall to be shot? Just depends on whether you can find a wall long enough.

Otto said...

This whole dust-up might make a bit more sense if Good Neighbors weren't set to be world-readable in the first place.

Otto said...

Well, that detail seems to have been taken care of.

Raymond said...

In my office, the rules are don't put anything in e-mail you wouldn't want forwarded to the whole world. Words to live by. Academic notions of privacy do not apply in the rest of the world.

C-pop is in the right on this one. If you want something to truly be private, e-mail isn't the way to go. He went above and beyond by not using last names.

Mike said...

I just learned a new term in a Tribune article that seems apt. CAVE people -- Citizens Against Virtually Everything.

Richard Gill said...

Thhctsssss-oooo-WEEEEE-zxck-ssss Come in, anyone..this is listening post Alpha/NIMBY/five/niner/zero ... Martian ships are land .....zxcsss--weeEEE--crgtsss ..planetary deep space ultimatum from Mars... tzxss-SS-hoooweeEEEEE...crrkkk "surrender now or we.. ULKsssOOOEEEzxckk shall improve your neighborhood".. WAKWAK... only ha...xcxttysssWUMPWUMPEEE three of your Earth days to reply.. kkkooeeEEEEE...

LPB said...

Mr. Farley is right that email privacy can vary by employer. I've got twelve people reporting to me, and one of the first responsibilities I've got as a manager when one of them leaves the company, is to trawl through all their voice mail and email on company equipment.

Assume privacy at your own risk.

nate said...

Does anybody else get a grin out of the assumption of $1.7 million condos with no parking?

erith1 said...

I came across this today and thought it was relevant:

It doesn't say what percentage of the companies read outgoing email, but it does say 40% of the companies surveyed performed an investigation based on the contents of an employees email in the past year. So you would have to assume that much higher than 40% read their employees email (80%? 90%?) and only some of them found something in the last year (not all time) to investigate.