Monday, November 24, 2008

Meaningless Town Hall Meeting Tonight in Rogers Park

THE If it's anything like the two Town Hall Meetings in Update earlier this year, tonight's Town Hall in Rogers Park will be just as worthless. The two meetings in Uptown were in response to some particularly spectacular shootings in broad daylight. As News-Star noted, "At July's first town hall meeting, more than 400 Uptown residents packed the Truman College cafeteria after a rash of neighborhood shootings. Only half as many attended the follow-up meeting on Monday night [Nov. 10]. Attendees were asked to sign up for working groups to address public safety in Uptown." Crime continues unabated in Uptown, despite the lies told by cosponsors Illinois Representative Greg Harris and Illlinois Senator Heather Steans (left). Chicago’s 49th Ward is the site of tonight’s “Town Hall Meeting on Public Safety in Rogers Park.” If recent history is any guide, the meeting will involve a lot of posturing by politicians, ranting by local residents, and procrastination by the police at tonight’s meeting. It will be held at the United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse (at N. Ashland). There, you will be presented with the spectacle of elected officials pretending they care about crime and that they know their heads from their asses. Steans is the only player in tonight's Rogers Park meeting who also participated in the Uptown meetings. If it's anything like the two Town Hall Meetings in Update earlier this year, tonight's Town Hall in Rogers Park will be just as worthless. The two meetings in Uptown were in response to some particularly spectacular shootings in broad daylight. As News-Star noted, "At July's first town hall meeting, more than 400 Uptown residents packed the Truman College cafeteria after a rash of neighborhood shootings. Only half as many attended the follow-up meeting on Monday night [Nov. 10]. Attendees were asked to sign up for working groups to address public safety in Uptown." Today, crime continues unabated in Uptown, despite the lies told by cosponsors Illinois Representative Greg Harris and Illinois Senator Heather Steans. The Uptown meetings in July and November were, ultimately, admissions of failure. Failure of the police department to be able to cope with enormous volumes of crime every day. Failure of Alderman Helen Shiller (46th Ward) to cooperate with police to embrace CAPS to give it at least a chance to work. Failure of 40 years of bad government policies and bad public housing. Failure of our public schools to instill civic values. Failure after failure after failure has piled up year after year after year, yet people still flock to so-called Town Hall Meetings with some misplaced hope that maybe, just maybe, if the right phrases are repeated enough times, and if enough people sign up for "workshops," and perhaps a neighborhood walk is organized, maybe by some miracle the bad guys will suddenly stop being bad guys. It's never worked, not permanently and not on a large enough scale, yet the same bad experiment is repeated time and again. In other words, the gathering at the United Church of Christ at 1545 W. Morse Avenue at 7:00 p.m. this evening will be a complete waste of time. There are two strong precedents for believing this: A similar meeting in the 46th Ward in Uptown in July and a “follow up” meeting in early November. Both of those meetings were co-organized and featured State Senator Heather Steans. Both meetings produced zero tangible results. The follow up meeting attendance was about half that of the first. Tonight, in Rogers Park, they will try to repeat those sorry performances. If you’ve ever been to a CAPS meeting, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the two meetings in Uptown, just a couple of miles south of Rogers Park, were essentially CAPS meetings on steroids. Like CAPS meetings, there were those neighbors in attendance who played the roles of complainers, questioners and bestowers of wisdom. Like a CAPS meeting, the police pretended to listen very carefully. Like most town hall-style meetings, the politicians pretended to care. Like a CAPS meeting, the neighbors left feeling that something had been accomplished. Like most CAPS meetings, the officials in charge of the fiasco had a good chuckle or two once they were out of earshot of the departing neighbors. The flyer for tonight’s meeting asks you to “Please join State Rep. Harry Osterman (photo, left), Ald. Joe Moore (photo, below left), State Sen. Heather Steans, Chicago Police Comm. Steven Caluris.” (Osterman, Moore and Steans are Democrats.) The stated goal: “Public Safety in Rogers Park.” Apparently, Osterman and Steans feel they know more about public safety in Moore’s own backyard than he does. Caluris is probably there in an advisory capacity, but they might feel the same way about him. (In any case, Ald. Moore has done nothing in the way of … well, I was going to write “in the way of crime,” but he hasn’t done much in the way of anything. Unless, of course, you count leaning on developers for campaign “contributions” and micromanaging interns as they assemble dossiers on local bloggers.) Failure. The reason for this meeting is failure. The fact that it's being held is an admission of systemic failure, from Alderman Moore - in office for 17 years - to Congress to public schools to lousy parents. The meeting is like the prayer of a dying man. It's worth a try, perhaps, but the odds are that even his most poetic pleas to God Almighty will not change the fact that his time is coming. Two wards south of Rogers Park, the Uptown neighborhood has seen its share of gun play and murder this year, particularly in Alderman Helen Shiller’s 46th Ward. Shiller (photo, left) is notorious in her ward for her open disdain of the police and her resistance to police cameras at bad intersections. Shiller is openly opposed even to CAPS, claiming that it only harasses the poor and non-white (a major portion of her power base there). She seems to ignore the fact that gang bangers, pick pockets and rapists do more to harass people - intentionally - of all races and socio-economic backgrounds than CAPS ever will accidentally. Steans places this meeting low on her list of priorities, so low in fact that she has not bothered to add it to the “Community Calendar” on her web site. Follow the links to November 24 and you’ll see that the only entry for November 24 is something called “Mom and Tots Playgroup.” (That, however, sounds more productive than the Town Hall Meeting.) However, there’s also “Upcoming Events” on the Steans web site. Click on that and we see the following, with no indication of the date. We see the time, but no date. Written by Administrator Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:46 UPCOMING EVENTS!! Rogers Park Public Safety Meeting Please join State Senator Heather Steans, State Representative Harry Osterman, Alderman Joe Moore, and Chicago Police Commander Steve Caluris for a town hall meeting on public safety in Rogers Park. The meeting will run from 7PM to 9PM at the United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse, Chicago, IL 60626. All are welcome to attend. Steans cares so little about tonight’s Town Hall Meeting in Rogers Park that she let an apparently incompetent “Administrator” write it. Steans, who writes bills and votes on laws far more complicated than a simple event announcement, apparently did not bother to check it for accuracy. Or, worse yet, she did check it but missed the glaringly absent date. Steans is not big on detail. On the home page of her web site, there is a translator from BabelFish. The site is in English, and so the translator should be set to translate from English to other languages. Nope, not on the Steans site. Click on a flag to translate, and in every case it tries to translate from French to English, French to Spanish, French to German, and so on. Has Senator Steans ever looked at her web site, or checked it to be sure it’s updated, accurate and working correctly? Does she pay this kind of poor attention to the legislation in front of her in Springfield? Rep. Harry Osterman was not at the two Town Hall Meetings in Uptown. That’s outside of his territory. Steans was joined on those occasions by Greg Harris, another Illinois legislator. Harris, unlike Steans, is detail oriented. Unlike Steans, Harris typed up and published an online report of the meetings. Like Steans, however, Harris is steeped in New Think and cannot see the forest for his ideology. On November 12, 2008, Harris delivered his “Uptown Public Safety Town Hall Minutes” via email blast. He deserves kudos for making what is probably a sincere effort to document and inform. Unfortunately, politician that he is, he just couldn’t keep himself from lying, diverting and mashing the facts up in a twisted Hegelian stew. His email, in its entirety, follows. I challenge anybody to find any significant, meaningful solutions or proposals in Harris’s email. He uses a lot of mushy New Think phrases such as “feeling of faith restored,” “people enjoy diversity,” “youth programming and empowerment,” and so on. No ideas that have not been tried over the past 30 years were proposed. Nothing, in the nearly half year since the first meeting, has had any real effect. Good people who attended the meeting want to help. Good people in the communities want to help. Problem is, folks, the bad guys have no interest in helping, and they sure as hell aren’t signing up for the workshops. The bad guys, people, will not be planting petunias for peace. Wake up. Uptown Public Safety Town Hall Minutes From: "Rep. Greg Harris" Date: November 12, 2008 Subject: Uptown Public Safety Town Hall Minutes Reply-To: Rep. Greg Harris - 13th District November 12, 2008 Uptown Public Safety Town Hall Minutes Senator Heather Steans opened the meeting with a greeting and thanked everyone for attending. After this past election, Sen. Steans noted that there seems to be a feeling of faith restored in the community and all across the nation. Hopefully this sense of faith will help us in our efforts to work on the public safety issues in Uptown. Senator Steans highlighted a study from DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development that named Uptown as the most Diverse neighborhood in Chicago. The study looked at stable, integrated neighborhoods in the city and sought to determine what factors allow these neighborhoods to work so well as a diverse community. The findings of the study were that three factors had the most effect on the ability of neighborhoods to thrive in diversity. They are location of the neighborhood, the amount of assets in the area, and the fact that people enjoy diversity. The study, entitled "A Kaleidoscope of Culture: Measuring the Diversity of Chicago's Neighborhoods" can be found here: Senator Steans mentioned the success that block clubs in the area are having using positive loitering, a process in which community members gather together to make a positive presence at an location that has been identified as a problem area. Representative Greg Harris next explained what had happened since the first public safety meeting in July and what the four working groups set up to handle community driven solutions would be asked to do. Rep. Harris thanked everyone for attending the town hall meetings and began to talk about the town hall held in July. At that meeting, every segment of the community was well represented and offered up a wide range of solutions for crime and problem buildings. After the first town hall, Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans met with community stakeholders from area businesses, social service providers, block clubs, citizen groups, elected officials and the Chicago Police Dept. to work on how to take the testimony from the first town hall and create action and change. Through that meeting, four areas to work on that did not compete with existing structures (such as block clubs, CAPS, etc.) were identified. The four areas are: public policy and advocacy, communications, business issues, and youth programming and empowerment. Each area will have a working group, which will have specific tasks to work on to make Uptown a safer community. Four facilitators for these working groups were identified and were asked to speak about their working group. Rev. Randall Doubet-King, facilitator for the Public Policy and Advocacy working group, outlined the expectations for the group. The group will work on community driven solutions to identify and address city ordinances, state laws, and government organizations that need to be improved. Uptown has a rich network of people who can affect change and raise policy issues and identify allies in order to improve policy. Judy Gall spoke on behalf of the Youth Programming and Empowerment working group. Judy has met with young people, providers and businesses to gather ideas on issues. The group will focus on identifying key issues regarding youth and public safety and identifying barriers and policy issues that need change. Jay Bomberg spoke for the Business Issues working group. This group will identify the challenges businesses in the neighborhood face. The business public safety committee for Business Partners: the Chamber for Uptown identified three focus areas for the working group to address. The three areas are: increasing the amount of private and police security cameras in our business corridors, creating business block clubs to foster better communication between neighboring businesses, and creating a "Safety Fair" for community residents and business owners. Cindi Anderson is the facilitator for the Communications working group but was unable to attend the town hall meeting. Rep. Harris spoke on her behalf. This group's task will be to focus on existing structures in the community like block clubs, CAPS, and the Court Advocacy Committee to make sure new residents are invited to work in these existing structures so they are informed and know where to go with problems they face. The group will seek to break down barriers in the neighborhood where information does not travel freely from groups like block clubs to groups like business associations. Each working group will set their own schedule for meetings and those who have signed up to be a part of the working groups will be notified about the next meeting. If you were unable to attend this past meeting, but would like to be involved in one or more of the working groups, please contact the offices of Rep. Harris at 773/348-3434 or Sen. Steans at 773/769-1717. Paid for by Citizens for Gregory Harris Click here to Unsubscribe. To unsubscribe via postal mail, please contact us at: Attn: Unsubscribe 3635 Ruffin Road, Third Floor San Diego, CA 92123 BENCH NOTE: Nice of Rep. Harris to use an out-of-state web service, eh? It's a shame that there are no services like that in Illinois. RELATED ARTICLES: Heather Steans, Miracle Peddler Joe Moore: Like Rodney Dangerfield Alderman Shiller's Bloody Hands Alderman Shiller On Deathbed