Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NIMBY's Corner: Rabid NIMBY Infects Bat on South Harper Avenue

posted by chicago pop

Bat Infected with Harper Avenue NIMBYism

Apparently, there's a bat problem on South Harper Avenue. According to this week's Herald headline, at least. But I think the Herald got it backwards, and is giving the bats down there a bad name. If anything is rabid, it's not the bats.

We've already covered our good neighbors' sensible fear of bar mitzvahs, and a general phobia of life being enjoyed by other people, as eloquently demonstrated by NIMBY's Corner repeat guest Allan Rechtschaffen: "There is concern about late-night noise from groups of alcohol-fueled merrymakers leaving hotel functions." (Hyde Park Herald LTE, September 10, 2008)

Now, we admit that parts of Harper Avenue, especially those closer to Vista Homes, are about as near to a graveyard as you can get, and aside from the seismic rumble of 2AM freight trains, are known as a place where local bats can slumber in peace while the Social Security checks fall like snow.

But let's not be ninnies: cities make a little noise, and if you can't deal, you should move to Wisconsin. In fact, I recommend that Alderman Hairston establish a TIF set-aside to purchase Wisconsin land for Hyde Parkers displaced by late-night bands of drunken historians.

Seriously, a few blocks south people worry about stray bullets. You're worried about drunken gastroenterologists?

But getting back to the "merry-makers": it should be noted, for the record, that when the tradition of Liberal Hyde Park activism settles upon a fear of public urination as its greatest principle, things have really bottomed out.

How is the Big 10 Frat Boy these folks are so scared of going to find his way all the way down Stony Island, then around and back up Harper Avenue, before deciding to urinate on the lawn of some multicolored Victorian home? Maybe the bar mitzvah revelers will lead him there?

Late-Night Merry-Maker Off to Harper Avenue

But there are still more serious questions, Mr. Rechtschaffen insists, and he already has the answers for them, and wonders why White Lodging hasn't done the studies to confirm what he already knows. "Parking will be a disaster" we're told. So forget the parking study. "All available street parking will be taken before drivers pay for hotel parking or use distal sites." You still want that study?

"Do we need such a large hotel?" the reader is asked. This expresses the concern that Mariott can't possibly be planning to make money by renting the rooms in its 17 stories. This would involve the "profit motive," and that doesn't function in Hyde Park outside the walls of the GSB.

With 2 million annual visitors to the MSI, thousands of professors, students, and staff associated with the University visiting every year, and no major hotels south of Roosevelt Road to service the south side of America's third largest city, there is no possible economic rationale for a 17 story hotel on Stony Island and 58th Street. Bats, look out!

I say scratch the hotel. What we need there is an executive, 24-hour helicopter pad.

Park it Next to Vista Homes, Please.


Anonymous said...

Now look how tall that building in the middle is compared to those around it. The city's going to hell in a handbasket, I tell ya what.

edj said...

From the look of tht photo, it looks like the skyline circa 196 when the Prudential Building was the tallest in the city and it had that skydeck. If only Chicago had followed the model of Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo, we'd be in great shape just like them.

How about a slogan for the neighborhood? Hyde Park - The Next Detroit!

Peter Rossi said...

slight correction-

if downtown Chicago had followed the model of Hyde Park, there would be nothing left except an abandoned Prudential Building.

Is Mr. Rechschaffen going to lose any sleep if the election takes place and it passes even if WL does everything he wants (which appears to be to build a hotel with 2 rooms with a bar that serves 3.2 beer only between 2pm and 4pm daily).

Famac said...

There was also a letter from some knuckle head claiming the Point hasn't deteriorated signifigantly.

And they printed that.

The Herald really is an enemy of the neighborhood by an reasonable definition. Its just a mouth piece for a bunch of crazy liberals.

(That photo looks familiar.)

Famac said...

I can't believe its September 11th again.

chicago pop said...

Here's a newsflash for our guerrila homeowners in the 39th precinct and their plans to screw the entire neighborhood so they can preserve their entitlement to free street parking at the City's expense: even if this measure passes, your day is done. Eli Ungar is quietly changing the neighborhood faster than you can come up with legal dodges and alternative plans. Keep fighting the University, your old nemesis from the 70s -- they are kind of slow, but this will keep you distracted while the real change happens. And it will help keep your property value low, which will make it more of a deal for me to buy your house when you move into the nursing home. I hope you're taking good care of it
for me.

Anonymous said...

Famac, I don't think they're liberals. Actually, I know they're not because I'm a liberal and I think they're loony toons.

The folks in question are a separate brand of person entirely who base their decisions on the idea that nothing should change, ever. "It worked 50 years ago when I went to Lab School and we performed a play about it, so it should work fine now." These folks would probably love Prypiat, Ukraine, where absolutely nothing has changed since 1986. Well, maybe a bit more rust and radioactivity...

Elizabeth Fama said...

Forget the bats and the batty neighbors...I'm just abnormally fascinated by what a college football player's body looks like in the buff.

Raymond said...

Hey, you are gonna get me in trouble at work, what with risque pictures on the blog.

cjb said...

quote: "Is Mr. Rechschaffen going to lose any sleep if ..."

Not sure if you meant the pun, but the guy is actually a sleep expert:

This whole thing is so over the top -- is there anything we can do to help defeat the petition to go dry? Leaflet against going dry outside polling places? I urged a university person to send someone to challenge the signatures, but I don't think he is going to follow my suggestion.

Peter Rossi said...


a frat boy is not a college football player.

cbj, yes that was supposed to be a joke

it looks like they have both valid and invalid signatures but enough to get on the ballot. We are going to have to get the facts out and show folks in the 39th precinct how they are being cycnically used .

chicago pop said...

Don't have a heart attack but I consider myself a Liberal too.

NIMBYism transcends party lines. In fact, it originated in the suburbs, those conservative/Republican hothouses of American politics. It more or less correlates with home ownership, and takes on the generational and political traits of its various environments, which add different flavors to its fundamental bass-ackwardness.

A true liberal would understand that fixing education is not about penalizing ghetto schools because they are ghetto schools and have to deal with way more dysfunction than suburban schools, but that the best learning environment is one with students of a range of incomes, a plurality of which are middle class.

In Hyde Park and the south side, you get that by building more middle class housing, a lot in fact, which horrifies NIMBYs because once they own a home they become senile. You'll have more middle class families with kids at local public schools, and this will help lower income kids with learning, and everyone with diversity.

That's liberalism I can believe in.

All the gas from the Rechtschaffen-Spicer combine is fundamentally conservative, not liberal. They think it's liberal/progressive because it was -- 30 years ago when they last stopped to think about it.

chicago pop said...

I made a comment above regarding nursing homes that was out-of-line. My apologies -- I can't fall into the generational warfare trap.

edj said...

Speaking of generational warfare....

I am sure that many of the NIMBYs are very well meaning. They are trying to protect someting that they built when they were younger and raising their families. They had and took the opportunity to build a neighborhood into something that was theirs.

What's frustrating to me is that they are now trying to prevent those of us who are trying to build a neighborhod that is not just theirs, but ours as well. They are working very hard to prevent us from having the same opportunity that they had when they were younger.

It's as if we have to live in their neighborhood rather than all of us living in our collective neighborhood.

By trying to preserve the status quo, these latter day Rip Van Winkles ensure decay. It ain't coming back as a hospital, so it will remain empty and not sufficiently maintained.

Why people in this neighborhood like living next to abandonded buildings is beyond me.

Stephen said...

Did anyone notice in the Herald the letter regarding the "dry" petition? Two things struck me - (1) the admission the petition is intended to block the hotel, not necessarily because of alcohol, but because of parking and other issues; and (2) people from Evanston !? were part of the group gathering names. My guess, the NIMBYs have aligned with the labor unions to block White Lodging.

I've been really angry over this, and am willing to join in any leaflet drive to let people know what is really going on.

chicago pop said...

I've been really angry over this, and am willing to join in any leaflet drive to let people know what is really going on.

Great. Stay tuned, we may have some work for you.

Peter Rossi said...

It is likely thAtunite-here financed this petition drive and provided some of the labor. More on this in the few weeks.

Elizabeth Fama said...

I'm worried about categorizing the people who oppose change in Hyde Park. It's too simplistic to say they're older, or they've raised their children already, or they own homes. Lots of home owners and seniors are not NIMBYs. And we know for a fact that Mr. Spicer and Mr. Lane have a lot of young acolytes.

In many cases it's really misinformation --which sometimes goes hand in hand with deliberate misguiding on the part of activists -- that's driving the opinions of residents.

Hyde Parkers often inadvertently support "NIMBY" causes because they want to do what's right, but they don't have full information, or they don't understand what the real issues are. The Point fiasco is the best example of that. The error for these people is in adding their signatures to a cause without gathering facts. They need education; we need them as our allies.

I can imagine lots of Vista Homes residents signing the dry precinct petition because "(1) here's Allan Rechtschaffen at my door, and he's my neighbor, (2) I don't necessarily have to vote for it at the polls, right?, and (3) anyway, I'm not sure what's happening with the parking issue..."

By adding their signatures, they did more damage than they realized on the spot, but we can still try to educate them.

chicago pop said...

Good points, Elizabeth.

David Farley said...

I'm having trouble feeling sorry for anybody involved in this fiasco. As readers of this blog will remember, Alderman Hairston quickly and quietly rezoned the Vivekananda site for many of the reasons now espoused by the concerned citizens of the 39th Precinct (noise, parking, views, density, malaise), and saved East Hyde Park from an onslaught of bawling babies. Now the bawling babies have all grown up and turned into alcohol-fueled merrymakers, and the same objections are being used to torpedo a project Alderman Hairston actually wants to see happen. Hoist by one's own petard comes to mind.