Monday, June 28, 2010

Don Nowotny On Latest Broadway-Wilson Shooting

June 28, 2010 - What are the politicians in Chicago's 46th Ward have to say about last night's double shooting in Uptown? Virtually nothing, that's what. Chicago's Uptown is all abuzz with talk of last night's senseless shooting. Around 9:25 p.m. on Sunday, a man fired a pistol into the intersection of N. Broadway and W. Wilson, the scene of many shootings in the past. Two men were injured, one with minor shoulder wound but another with a serious bullet wound to his abdomen. Uptown is notorious as one of the most violent neighborhoods on the northern lakefront of Chicago. The issue of violence - especially gang violence - is guaranteed to be a major issue in the 46th Ward in the February, 2011 aldermanic election. The only aldermanic candidate who returned my phone calls today was Don Nowotny. Alderman Helen Shiller's website has nothing about the shooting (as of 8:45 p.m.). Shiller's website does not even have a "news" section (most aldermen's websites do.) James Cappleman's aldermanic campaign website has nothing (as of 8:45 p.m.), nor did his Facebook or Twitter pages. Cappleman's partner, Richard Thale, is the CAPS facilitator on police beat 2312 and leader of a small group of "positive loiterers." As such, one would think that both he and Cappleman would have been aware of the shooting within minutes of it happening last night. Both men are gay, so it's hard to believe that neither would have anticipated the mass exodus after the big Gay Pride party in nearby Lincoln Park last night. That would have been the ideal time to have their "positive loiterers" loitering at Broadway and Wilson. But to be fair, even if they had been there last night, could they have - would they have - pounced on the shooter as he pointed his gun? Neither Cappleman nor Thale ran the two short blocks from their home to the scene of last night's shooting to see it for themselves. Did nobody call either of them? I know for a fact that both men were aware of the shooting by 11:00 p.m. last night. Why no public statement yet? My 5:00 p.m. voicemail to Richard Thale's phone today has still not been returned. This evening, at 7:00 p.m., about a dozen of Thale's positive loiterers were standing with their dogs at the intersection of N. Broadway and W. Wilson, the scene of last night's shooting. Why? To deter another shooting? While hundreds of people passed through the intersection last night in a peaceful and orderly fashion, acting in effect as positive loiterers, a lunatic opened fire into the crowd. Do James Cappleman and Richard Thale really believe that twelve people are a deterent to crime on that very troubled corner? Or is it just political opportunism in play, a chance to get out there to show the world that they care so much about that corner? (If they care so much, why did it take them 22.5 hours to walk over there after the most recent shooting?) I walked up to the group and hung around from 7:12 - 8:00 p.m. Thale and Cappleman both saw me. Both men know me. We made eye contact, nods were exchanged. I took their photos. They said nothing to me. In fact, they did their best to ignore me. Don Nowotny is also running for alderman in the 46th. He was good enough to return my phone call early this evening, even though he was at "an event." Like Cappleman and Shiller, Nowotny still has nothing on his website, Twitter or Facebook pages. Unlike Cappleman and Shiller, however, he has a good excuse. As the 46th Ward Superintendent for Streets and Sanitation, Nowotny gets up at 4:30 a.m. to be at work by 6:00 a.m. Because of his schedule, he was in bed before the shooting. He said that he learned about it around 5:15 a.m. when he read a news story online. Being in a hurry to get to work, of course, he did not pause to post something on the web. "Shootings are something that everyone in the ward is outraged by," Nowotny told Chicago News Bench by phone. Amongst other things, he said, "we need to work together to eliminate the gangs." "Police cameras, CAPS, the alderman's office and the 19th and 23rd police districts are all very important," Nowotny said. "Safety is at the top of my issues in my campaign." There is currently no police camera at the intersection of Wilson and Broadway. "I would put a police camera at every corner where there is know to be gang activity," Nowotny said. The Cappleman-Thale Loiterers were gone by 9:00 p.m. this evening. Had a gang gun battle broken out, which is not unusual for that corner, could they have - would they have - pounced on the shooters as they pointed their guns? Had the local television news crews shown up tonight, would Cappleman-Thale have declared that they had made that corner safe?