Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zaleski and Horvath Market Cafe

posted by Elizabeth Fama

It's not every day that bright, young, enterprising people open a totally hip, yet essentially retro, business in Hyde Park/Kenwood. But by some miracle it has happened, and on 47th Street no less, at the Z&H Market Cafe (named for the owners' grandparents). How to conjure an image? Think of an old-world neighborhood grocer, with a mix of fresh and canned goods -- except add refrigeration and a high-tech espresso machine. Think of a diminutive Dean and Deluca, only 785 miles closer. Think of a scaled-down version of Chicago's Fox and Obel, but with customers who've had no cosmetic surgery. The new Z&H Market Cafe has a bit of everything you need: high-end goods, a deli, superb coffee and tea, bread that's to die for, and even a little nook where you can sit and watch the world go by while you sip hot chocolate from a bowl.

The two business partners, Tim and Sam, who man the store themselves with a frugal amount of staff, are so passionate about their new place it's both fierce and heartwarming.

"Do you want to try a cup of coffee made in our new Clover single-cup commercial-grade coffee brewer? It's a patented Vacuum-Press system, and there are only 2,400 of them in the country!"

"Well," I say, "can it be an iced coffee?"

"Sure, we'll make you a single-brew iced latte, and from now on we'll call it The Elizabeth!" (super delicious, and highly recommended).

If you live nearby, one of the neat things about Z&H is that it's not just fancy dried and canned goods: you could pop in there at the last minute to buy dinner. There's a small supply of fresh Amish chicken (breasts and whole fryers) in the back fridge, and they soon hope to have fish from a local (sustainable) fish farm. There's a limited but fresh selection of produce, lots of dried pastas, and perfect, chewy baguettes from La Briola. They even have a handful of pre-roasted Amish chickens available for purchase. If you can't make ten easy gourmet dinners from what you find in this store, I'll eat my hat.

My mom, my daughter, and I, always hungry for imported Italian foods, traded canned-tomato expertise with Tim, purchased many items including raw honey and chocolate hazelnut gelato (I know, staples, right?), and ordered a sandwich, soup, and two panini from the deli. The soup was amazing: coconut lime chicken curry, made from one of the Amish chickens that they had roasted on site. The panini ($7.50) and sandwich ($7) were good (the sliced prosciutto was like butter) but the dainty side of potato salad needed a little lift (balsamic or rice vinegar would do no harm, plus some ground pepper). We bumped into a dear friend of ours, chatted for ten minutes, as you do in a real old-fashioned neighborhood, and went home with our loot...

The owners admit they need a little time to work out the kinks. For example, it's not that easy to stock just a few heads of fresh unwilted lettuce, but they're getting the hang of that sort of inventory problem as every day goes by.

Go to Z&H Market Cafe as soon as you can. And don't forget to ask for a fresh-brewed Elizabeth!

Zaleski and Horvath Market Cafe
1126 East 47th StreetChicago IL 60615
ph: 773.538.7372
fax: 773.538.8151
daily 7 AM - 7 PM
(Two other local blog reviews of Z&H are here: http://reallyboring.net/ and http://sulali.blogspot.com/)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ding Dong, Orisha's Dead!

Bobcat S250 Skid-Steer Loader with HB1180 Hydraulic Breaker in action.

Some residents along 55th Street near Harper Ave. were awakened at 7:26 AM on Saturday morning by the sound of heavy machinery. But this cacophony was welcome, because it heralded the long-awaited end of a neighborhood eyesore.

Straddling the border between the 4th and 5th wards, Orisha Wall was erected in 1986 by artist Muneer Bahauddeen, via funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for "Community Development Block Grant activities." Not a handsome piece to begin with, Orisha was built with unsuitable materials for the outdoors (concrete covered with glazed ceramic tiles), and quickly began to crack, chip, and crumble. Despite pleas from residents, neither alderman seemed willing or able to remove the sculpture. To read all about how Hyde Park Progress inspired Irene Sherr to doggedly seek the sculpture's removal (at a ridiculous DOT price tag of $18,600), read this post.

Ah, progress! Break out the bubbly.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Calling the Dry Referendum What it Is

posted by Elizabeth Fama

November 6, 2012. Memorize that date, because if the 39th Precinct votes itself "dry" in 11 days, then four years from now is the soonest they'd be able to vote themselves "wet" again. Not only that, it would require putting a "wet" referendum on the 2012 ballot, which means hiring a lawyer like Michael Kasper to file the papers again (will Unite-HERE pay for that?), gathering close to 160 signatures on a petition by going door-to-door on Blackstone, Harper, Stony Island, 57th, and 59th Streets, and then campaigning in the neighborhood to encourage people to vote. Somehow I don't see the current crop of activists going through all that trouble to bring in a new developer. Do you?

That's the little secret that our Born Again Teetotalers, Greg Lane, Alma and Ray Kuby, Jack Spicer, Hans Morsbach, and Allan Rechtschaffen aren't telling you when they say this referendum is a reversible "negotiating tool." But I'm calling them on it. This action is so hard to reverse, and so discouraging to future developers, it's a blocking tool, pure and simple.

An article in today's Chicago Tribune ("Precinct may voting [sic] itself dry," 10/24/08) reports that the judge has dismissed the challenge six residents brought against the dry petition. The challenge was based on signature irregularities and signature-gathering mistakes. As it turns out, the petitioners (some of whom work for Unite-HERE) knocked on an awful lot of doors, and honest intent was the standard the judge used, so not enough signatures could be discarded to remove the referendum from the ballot.

In the Tribune article, precinct resident Ray Kuby says,
"...if you [the university] want to negotiate with us, we do have negotiating power....This is direct democracy. We don't have to go through placating our alderman or anything else. We will just vote ourselves."
He goes on to say that referendum was "not a way to block the project, but would simply put the decision to proceed into the hands of the residents most likely to be affected by the hotel's presence." We've heard that argument before in a few convoluted Hyde Park Herald letters to the editor.

Not blocking the project? Not opposed to all future development? I'm sorry, but that emperor is so naked.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting (Recht) Schaffted

posted by chicago pop

Dr. Rechtschaffen Conjures NIMBY Armies From His Tower

Rechtschafften; early 21st century American English (a) v. to destroy in disproportionate retaliation. (b) To conjure an army to serve the dark NIMBY Lord

To Rechtschafft something means to prevent it from happening using all sorts of arguments that don't necessarily have anything to do with one another, that sometimes contradict each other, and sometimes just get crazy, like when Hans Morsbach opposes a hotel in one neighborhood but makes money off a restaurant near a Marriott in another.

Or, you may oppose a hotel at Doctors Hospital for global ideological reasons that are not clearly related to the present issue: "[A]sset securitization resutl[ed] in the Doctors Hospital bankruptcy in August 2000." (Alma and Ray Kuby, Herald, October 22, 20o8).

a person is akin to whipping out a handgun in order to settle an argument on the basketball court. "Dude, don't Rechtschafft; we can work this out." To Rechtschafft is to consider employing tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield, in full confidence that both the atmospheric and political fallout can be contained to a single precinct.

You may Rechschafft an object by bringing it to a standstill, by reveling in its inertia, and by feeling the surge of triumph when you preside over the ruination of adjacent structures that can no longer feasibly be developed.

Dr. Rechtscaffen Working Late on Neighborhood Project

As an adjective, Rechtschafftlich refers to a deliberately sought-out resemblance to post-Soviet chic, of the sort that for a few brief years in the 90s lent a sooty charm to Prague and Budapest, and -- at the extreme, East Berlin -- when cityscapes full of old stuff that doesn't work were a tonic for those disenchanted with the chrome-and-glass spectacle of Northside affluence and Wrigleyville. "My, Stony Island is so very Rechtschafftlich these days."

The substantive Rechtschafftlichkeit is the state of all-knowing obstructionism attained by those who frequently read and meditate upon Hans Morsbach's collected letters to the Herald. It is also the name of a microbrew lager beer that we intend to make lots of money selling everywhere EXCEPT the 39th Precinct of Chicago's 5th Ward, and Hans Morebucks' downstate beer hall across from a Marriott Convention Center.

Lastly, to Rechtschafft is to attempt to pull the wool over someone's eyes by appealing to their amour propre, self-interest, or simple nativist desire to Screw the Man. If someone tries to tell you that they are open to persuasion though various proposals and studies, but already has their mind made up, it is common to reply, "Man, you tried to Rechtschafft me!"

Look Into My Eyes, and Vote Dry!

Example: You already know that there's no possible market for a hotel at Doctors Hospital. "Many have questioned why we need a 380 room hotel. Surely it is more than we need for university and community purposes. The answer again was that this size favored profitability." (Allan Rechtschaffen, Herald, August 2007).

Or: You request parking studies, but claim to already know how a hotel will affect neighborhood parking: ""Parking will be a disaster"; "All available street parking will be taken before drivers pay for hotel parking or use distal sites." (Allan Rechtschaffen, Herald, September 10, 2008)

Hyde Parkers, don't get Rechtschaffted!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Calling Our Alderman

posted by Peter Rossi

5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston is in a very tight spot on the Doctor's Hospital hotel proposal. Some of this is her own doing and some of this is the result of some cynical political maneuvering on the part of local NIMBYs.

Let's review the record. Elected in 1999, the alderman is in her third term. Throughout most of this tenure, development has been booming in Chicago. Countless condos have risen all over, including marginal neighborhoods such as the far south loop. Hundreds of restaurants and boutiques were not far behind.

In the 5th ward, however, development has been at a standstill (unless you get excited about a Starbucks opening on Stony Island). There has been only one project that has even gotten as far as the drawing board - Solstice on the Park (a 26 story midrise at 56th and Cornell). However, the recent economic downturn casts a real shadow on this project. I hope it will fly in the face of the collapse of our financial markets, but there is every reason to worry.

Alderman Hairston has nothing to show for the last nine years. One would think that the hotel project would be manna from heaven -- jobs for her constituents, a much needed hotel for the neighborhood, and real evidence of major development progress, some $90,000,000 worth.

Instead, the Alderman has followed an erratic course. When it was announced that the U and White Lodging proposed a hotel for the site, she scheduled a series of "community meetings" without thinking through the possible objections. Special interest groups, including a hotel union and power hungry NIMBYs, crowded in. Clouds of noise and unverified assertions were produced but little progress.

Instead of seeking answers to the legitimate concerns and cutting short the objections without merit, the Alderman proclaimed "It would be best if White Lodging went away" and "the concerns of the community for preservation must be addressed."

The Alderman's rejection of the original project put the whole process on hold for almost a full year. At the August 5th meeting, some progress was made. It became clear that preservation was not possible and that there were many who thought these ugly old hospital buildings should be torn down. Even the union was taken to task for interfering in local politics. Things began to look up for the project.

Unfortunately, since this meeting there have been 3 new challenges:

1. the dry referendum which would kill any hotel proposal
2. local 1, Unite-HERE visited the alderman to apply political pressure
3. the mortgage and credit markets collapsed.

We can hardly expect the alderman to fix the credit crisis. However, we can expect a firm stance in favor of development. She is on record as calling the dry referendum a "dirty trick." She knows that this will cast a pall on development in her ward. She knows that the people behind the referendum are simply against all new development and do not represent her constituents. However, she has not come out publicly and urged 39th precinct residents to vote against the referendum.

We know that representatives of local 1, Unite-HERE went to the alderman's office. I can only speculate on what happened there, but I'm sure it involved threats to mobilize union manpower in support of the alderman's future election opponents. This is scary for someone without an organization and few funds, but it's time for the alderman to think about doing the right thing for the community.

We are at a turning point for the 5th ward, the only possible development in the foreseeable future is the hotel at Doctor's Hospital. This means that the alderman will be held responsible if she doesn't pull this off. It is well within her political abilities to do so. She needs to calm the residents of Vista Homes and move forward aggressively against those who oppose change and pose a threat to her legitimacy as an elected representative.

She should worry less about a few union stiffs working for some mope who runs against her next time. She should worry a lot more about Hyde Parkers and South Shore residents asking, "what have you done for us over the last 10 years?" and "why did you shoo away jobs?"

If you agree, please email or call the alderman and urge her to come out publicly against the dry referendum. Her coordinates are:

• Ward Phone: 773-324-5555

• E-Mail: lhairston@cityofchicago.org

Where have all the Developers Gone?

posted by Peter Rossi

Many NIMBYs are fond of the theory that there is a long line of developers begging to build hotels on the DH site. Whether this is borne of ignorance or an incredibly inflated sense of self worth, it is an absurd fiction.

The fact is that there is only one developer, White Lodging, with any interest in DH. The current "white knight in the wings" is supposed to be Eli Ungar who is thought to have a limitless source of funds. Well, Mr. Ungar has a very full plate and needs to bring home his own Solstice, Shoreland, and Village Center proposals. He is on record as stating that he has no interest in this project at this time.

If you need any further evidence of how tough the climate is for development now, you should be interested to know that White Lodging has laid-off Scott Travis, who has been overseeing the DH proposal. In addition, White Lodging has put on indefinite hold ALL of its hotel development projects. However, they have made an exception for the DH project. This is due to the personal commitment that the owners of White Lodging have made to the University. The owner's father was treated at U of C Hospitals and this is the source of some affection for the old U.

Get real, this is the only chance for development in HP for some time to come.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Unite HERE Drops Jobs, Picks Up Architectural Criticism

posted by chicago pop

Following on Peter Rossi's deconstruction of the latest piece of propaganda against hotel plans at Doctors Hospital, it seems worthwhile to look back and see how Unite HERE has changed its direct mail strategy. So I'm re-posting a riff on some direct mail we received from Unite HERE at the beginning of the current drama about a year ago.

In the initial mailing, sent before the dry option nonsense took hold, jobs were mentioned upfront.

Those days are over. That line clearly was not going to help Hans Morsbach or Dr. Rechtschaffen rally the troops. Too remote from the conservative NIMBY heart.

In the latest specimen of preservationist "Willie Hortonism" (see direct mail reproduced below), we see that the Karl Roves of the world don't limit themselves to the political Right, but are happy to preside over the illegitimate marriage of middle class NIMBYs and outside union reps.

(Stay tuned for a deconstruction of the "Axis of Foolishness" from this week's letters to the editor!)


Local Notables Shill For Outside Lobby (originally posted October 8, 2007)
Is Hyde Park outsourcing its activism?

Such would seem to be the case, based on the document I have before me, signed by 5 local notables and requesting recipients to call Leslie Hairston and ask her to block the University's proposed hotel project at the site of Doctors Hospital.


Chiefly on account of the troubled track record of labor relations at White Lodging, the hotel management company. The letter came in an envelope with a return address "Local 1" on Van Buren Street. The stamp and mailing were paid for by Unite Here! a union representing industrial, textile, and service workers.

Now, the fact that a number of respected and senior neighborhood folks signed this letter, each likely recruited on the basis of presumed "thought leadership," does not lessen the fact that the letter is moderately incoherent, and comes across as hijacking a local issue for the benefit an outside interest group.

I'm not against unions. What I am against is something that is unique to the history of labor: building a movement by driving jobs away. Historically, labor has organized and fought over jobs that already exist. The fight was often between the folks that had jobs, and the ones who wanted them. But first you needed to have jobs. That's how you get leverage in a union -- you start by being able to sit down on the shop floor.

With this strategy, on the other hand, the union has no leverage. It doesn't even have a potential source of new recruits. It has nothing, and leaves the 5th and surrounding wards with deep reservoirs of poverty and no more jobs than they started with. But it does have publicity, and can lend it to a few cranky people who are worried about loosing their views of the Lake. Neighborhood politics make strange bedfellows -- high-rise dwellers with lake views and single family home owners on one side, together with chamber maids and busboys on the other. Do you smell a marriage of convenience?

The Spice Girls and Boys were probably right not to tackle the University head-on with this one, because they would surely lose, just like Unite Here! is going to lose with this campaign. Hairston voted against the Big Box Ordinance in 2006, stating clearly that her constituents would rather she bring some jobs to her ward, even low-wage ones, rather than none at all. That stance probably hasn't changed.

So whose "community" is being lobbied here? Folks interested in what the ever-shifting and opportunistic "community" thinks in this case should reflect on Hairston's statement of why she voted against the Big Box Ordinance:

"I will vote the way my community told me to vote last night,” she said. “And they told me to vote no. "

That community, the one that wants jobs and currently doesn't have enough, must not be the same community as the one this letter was sent to, with the high-profile signatories, who so earnestly want to protect the jobs that the other community doesn't have.

But let's move on to the clumsy attempts to splice this union campaign onto the trunk of local grievances. "Our message is simple: Respect our neighborhood, respect our values, respect the workers."

Translation: respect our entitlement to park for free in front of our house; respect our obstruction of every project that would bring property-tax paying businesses into the school district; and respect the workers who I would rather not make noise and disturb me in my back yard.

In the end, this petition, while highlighting labor issues that are legitimate, hooks them up to a boilerplate set of NIMBY gripes that have much less to do with labor than with middle class dyspepsia. The hotel will benefit the neighborhood in many, many ways, but it will be a change, and change is what NIMBYs are allergic to, even if it benefits the rest of us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Propaganda, NIMBY Style

posted by Peter Rossi

Residents in Hyde Park have received propaganda mailings on the Doctor's Hospital Dry Petition. Opponents of development at the Doctor's Hospital site have been made many public pronouncements about their interest in open debate and obtaining the facts. The mailing is anything but this. A blatant fear tactic, the mailing is chocked full of distortion and outright misrepresentation.

The most egregious lie in this little gem is that by voting "YES" residents will buy time to "get what the neighborhood deserves." By voting yes, residents will insure that no hotel of any type will ever be built on this site. If you vote yes, there will be a law prohibiting sale of alcohol on the books and all development ceases.

The leaflet would have you believe that the Doctor's Hospital could be restored into something like the Blackstone Hotel. This is a direct insult to Hyde Parker's intelligence. We all know that Doctor's Hospital was a former HOSPITAL not a former luxury HOTEL. Anyone who thinks that Doctor's Hospital looks like the Blackstone hotel needs new glasses. The Doctor's Hospital buildings are ugly and unimaginative institutional architecture that can't be converted to other uses.

A picture of a Marriott hotel, taken from the street level to show ugly overhead electrical wires and a neighboring used car emporium, is supposed to represent what is being proposed for the site. Sorry to break the news to the script-writers on Kimbark Avenue, but the Doctor's Hospital is across the street from a beautiful park and surrounded by other residential structures. This is Stony Island Avenue not Western Avenue.

The truth is that a design for this site has not been finalized. At the last community meeting, this was emphasized many times. By foreclosing any discussion, opponents of development at DH are simply refusing to consider any proposal from White Lodging.

Finally, the handful of NIMBYs behind this can't convince their fellow Hyde Parkers to help fund their efforts so they went to Local 1, Unite-HERE to fund this leaflet. The leadership of Unite-HERE couldn't care less about our neighborhood but simply want to punish White Lodging for not being a Unite-HERE shop. Whatever your views regarding labor union organizing, this should have no role in whether or not there is a hotel on Stony Island.

Hyde Parkers are a pretty smart and independent bunch. This sort of simplistic propaganda is apt to blow up in the face of our NIMBY princes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dry Petition Challenged

posted by Peter Rossi

Residents of the 39th precinct filed a complaint in Circuit Court challenging the petition to vote that precinct dry. Opponents of development at the Doctor's Hospital site gathered signatures to place a measure on the Nov 4th ballot which would make the precinct dry. This measure would effectively halt all mixed development in that Precinct and, quite possibly, in Hyde Park in general.

Under the law, a valid petition must gather signatures from at least 25 per cent of the registered voters in the precinct. The 39th which is bounded by Stony Island and Blackstone Avenues on the East and West and 56th and 59th Streets on the North and South has some 609 registered voters. This means that any valid petition must contain at least 152 valid signatures.

The complaint includes an exhaustive analysis of all signatures on the petition and alleges that over one half of the signatures are invalid, specifically that there are:

1. Signatures of non-registered voters
2. Signatures of Persons who reside outside of the 39th precinct.
3. Duplicate Signatures
4. Illegible signatures that do not appear to be signed by the appropriate registered voter
5. Improper signatures (initialed or printed entries)
6. Signature entries filled out by the circulator

In total, the complaint alleges that there are sufficient signatures to invalidate the petition and calls for the measure to be removed from the ballot.

In addition, the complaint alleges that there are "pervasive inconsistencies" in the petition and there is evidence that the some circulators perjured themselves by submitting incorrect addresses and incorrect affidavits. On these grounds, the complaint asks the court to strike the entire petition as invalid.

The legal support for this complaint was provided by the University.

This concludes the news aspects of this post and now for the "news analysis."

Sometime ago, I posted a spoof about Hyde Park NIMBYs exploding a neutron bomb at the Doctor's Hospital site. As per usual, fact is stranger than fiction in Hyde Park.

Planned by long time anti-development NIMBYs, this dry petition is a very nasty spot of blackmail that will do just that. If this measure passes, Doctor's Hospital will remain abandoned for the foreseeable future. But it is much worse that this, these irresponsible folks know that they are plowing salt into all future development in HP. Why would you open a restaurant or a hotel or a shopping area in HP when you know there are dedicated fanatics who will yank the carpet out from under your profits?

These people don't really care about preservation (Jim Peters: haven't they made a fool of you?). They exploit the concerns of Vista Homes residents to the end of personal power. That's right, folks. This is all about one or two people who want to have personal veto power on plans for Doctor's Hospital and other future development in Hyde Park.

We must defeat this petition soundly. Hats off to those residents willing to oppose this dirty trick and to the U for taking this seriously. This is not the way to resolve concerns about development. It is time to stop people who seek to destroy our neighborhood for their own personal political gain.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

MAC Request for 55th St. Zoning Change

posted by Richard Gill

Roughly 20 people attended Alderman Hairston's informal community meeting on Thursday, October 2, at 1621 E. 55th Street. The purpose of the meeting was to explain a request to re-zone the building on the south side of 55th Street between Cornell and the railroad embankment, and to let local residents express their opinions.

MAC Realty, the building's owner, is the requesting party and is acting on behalf of restaurant owners in the building, who initiated the request. The present zoning, B.1-5 would be changed to B.3-5. The change would allow the restaurants to apply for liquor licenses; if the licenses are granted, the restaurants could serve alcoholic beverages along with meals. In theory, the change would also allow the building to house a tavern, but that would require a further special approval process.

Under the revised zoning, veterinarians would be allowed to operate on the property. I found this interesting (although not necessarily indicative of future activity), in light of recent news coverage of Dr. Wake's need to relocate his veterinary clinic out of Harper Court.

Peter Cassell, of MAC, and the Alderman presented the zoning request as a step toward enhancing the retail options in Hyde Park, by helping to improve the business climate. The attendees at the meeting seemed generally in favor of the change, and Cassell said a number of the building's apartment residents were in favor.

One resident, however, worried aloud that there would be noisy drunks staggering out of the restaurants at all hours. Oh, c'mon. In response, it was noted that the restaurants presently allow diners free BYOB privileges, so drinking already takes place on the premises and no problems have been reported. Further, a restaurant can limit the amount of alcohol sold to and subsequently consumed by individuals; limiting consumption under BYOB is much harder.

Someone else said the change would exacerbate the "parking problem," and the meeting then lapsed into the classic Hyde Park "parking problem discussion." C'mon again. Those restaurants are largely patronized by people who arrive on foot, and anyway there is no reason to expect that more people will drive just because they can have a cold beer with their meal.

After a while, the Alderman simply laid it out (yet one more time): She said we live in a crowded city, and there are more cars than will fit at the curb. She said that all the studies and committees are not going to change that fact. She said further that there is no place in the neighborhood to build large-capacity off-street parking, and experience has shown that people don't want to pay to use it. My (uncharacteristically caustic?) comment to the group was, "Free parking is not a God-given right."

Hairston then returned to the zoning question and said, in effect, "Look, folks, everyone complains about having to leave the neighborhood in order to spend their money. This proposal is a way to change some of that."

I'm glad Hairston came on strong on the parking and zoning issues.

The process will probably take a few months;there has to be a formal application, notice to people living within 250 feet of the property, consideration by the city zoning committee, approval by the full city council. Then the proprietors have to obtain liquor licenses (which can be revoked in the event of abuse or inappropriate customer behavior).

This, by the way, is strictly a zoning request; it has nothing to do with wet/dry precincts under "local option."

That's the essential content of the meeting, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes. One more interesting tidbit did come out: Under both present and proposed zoning, the building could be up to 100 feet high; it isn't even half that tall.

Friday, October 3, 2008

ALERT: Sculpture on 55th Near Harper in Danger!

posted by chicago pop

Why is this person dancing? Because the wrecking crews were out this morning tearing up everything around Orisha wall. Or, last time we checked, everything except the sculpture itself.

But don't worry, we checked with the responsibles, and we can assure you: it's coming down. The city has its own way of doing things, but it will happen.

So our reaction is: Yay! Finally! Happy dance!

I hope nobody is too shocked: we announced the doom of this sculpture back in May 2008, where the tangled history of the case is laid out. But of course, not everybody reads this blog, which is why it was good of the Tribune to run the story, too ("Hyde Park sculpture to come down without controversy," June 11, 2008).


Fair Housing Conference October 7 2008

On October 7th, the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) and Jane Addams Hull HouseAssociation are acknowledging the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act of l968 by co-sponsoring aconference, "The Next Forty Years of Fair Housing: Developing an Agenda for Integration for the 2lst Century". The event willtake place at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) campus in Student Center East at 750 S. Halsted Avenue.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was not only about protecting individual rights; it was also about fostering residential integration. The conference will focus on research, policies, and programs that move beyond issues of enforcement of anti-discrimination to examine the barriers to integration. We are bringing together researchers, policymakers, and community leaders from universities, government, and non-profit organizations across the country and throughout the city to work towards an action agenda for the future. The conference is organized around four sessions: (1) Government Policy and Housing Integration; (2) Individual Behavior and Housing Integration; (3) Policies and Programs Promoting Integration; and a final workshop session where participants will focus on "developing an action agenda." The conference has been fashioned to promote and benefit from active audience participation. As such, we hope that attendees can participate in the entire conference, including the final sessions during which we will develop an agenda and set in motion concrete "next steps" for research, policy, and grassroots organizing. Please see the attached brochure for the full agenda and further information.

The event is free of charge and is open to all interested individuals and agencies. Pre-registration is required by email (igpa@uillinois.edu), phone (1-866-794-3340) or via the web (www.igpa.uillinois.edu) by Friday, October 3rd.