Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

MSI deters usage by Chicagoans? Resident Rates Nearly Same as Non-Residents

What follows, below, is an open letter to the Museum of Science and Industry from a resident. Our Museums and Recreation facilities give everyone except actual Chicago residents a good deal on admission. In most situations, there is no charge; the reverse is not true in the suburbs.

To see what the writer is referring to, go to http://www.msichicago.org/info/admission/prices.html

In most large Cities, residents get significant discounts to museums. Chicago Museums do little to encourage museum usage by Chicago Residents. The reason; they really don't want residents to go to the museums. Finally, the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library RARELY HAS MSI or Field museum passes (as well as must others).
What good are museums when only the suburbanites and out of town tourists can afford to visit them on a reguolar basis. Our property taxes pay for this. If you don't like it, e-mail ward49@cityofchicago.org and msi@msichicago.org. Let the Alderman know that this is an issue of concern. Let MSI know the reasons few Chicago go to the Museums as frequently. They think that they can get free passes that are never available.

Here is an open letter to Alderman Moore. Feel free to cut, paste and e-mail to both MSI and Alderman Moore, with the writers permission. We have discussed this on more than one occasions. If you want to get creative look for the Chicago Tribune's article in its archive or go to the University of Chicago's web site and see if you can find the article on low use of Museums by Chicago Residents. I hate to usurp this appropriate correspondence. This sort of concern is long overdue.

Now, the letter.

This follows up the Chicago Tribune article from the University of Chicago’s Research on Museum usage by City residents. I told the U of C researcher that I thought that the query was flawed. We are extremely disappointed that as Chicago Residents, our taxes pay more than many suburbanites for the museum campus system. A one dollar discount for residents is a slap in the face. It does not add up. MSI Passes are rarely available in Rogers Park, as well.

Instead, we wait patiently for the Chicago Public Library to release free MSI passes, which is the equivalent of Waiting for Godot. Interestingly, there is no reciprocity and City of Chicago residents must pay unreasonably higher fees to use suburban beaches and pools. The suburbs, like Highland Park and Skokie, don’t care about Chicagoans. Those Chicagoans 'who can' travel get slapped by the suburbs for beach, golf and water park fees. Suburbanites and non-residents pay nothing to use our beaches. Some suburbs even have mutual reciprocity. This is sad and a political solution is long over due. We managed to get to use one MSI pass for one trip in the last six years.

The City should work on reciprocity with Museums like the MSI. Requiring non-residents who often have more money to pay a fee that is higher. Residents deserve a $4-5 dollar discount per family member, when the fee is more than $10 per person. When we use the Highland Park, Schaumburg, and Skokie pools, we never get reciprocity (like some cities) and must pay significantly more to use those beaches, greens, and pools. We hope that our Alderman looks into this situation, so I am cc-ing Joseph Moore the information.

We used to be MSI members, but avoid it for several reasons. First, the cost went astronomical for a Family membership. Now, residents have to pay the same as non-residents for membership. Second, we lost free parking rights in many of the memberships categories. Third, we don't go that often, anymore. Fourth, we remain disgusted with how Chicagoans are treated by MSI, when contrasted with comparable “resident fee” charges for membership or use of museums in other major Cities and the suburbs. Perhaps, the difference might come with contributions at fundraisers!

Furthermore, If your local Chicago Public Library runs out of passes, as most do, then you have to run around the Library System looking for a pass. This can prove futile since many are unavailable, lost, or always out. If you find a pass, then you must return to a Branch like Austin to return them. We live in Rogers Park. There are NO MSI Passes.

We will pay for limited exhibits, but how can Chicagoans pay for it if cannot get in the door at reasonable fee. Chicago residents would if they could, but many can't or are disappointed so they don't. We feel like the suburbanites run the museums. Perhaps, if you treated Chicagoans with more respect, they would show up to the MSI and volunteer more, as well. The current fee structure is a great disappointment.

Sincerely and Regrettably,

Rogers Park
49th Ward

Friday, July 20, 2007

Beat 2424 CAPs meeting this Thursday 7/26 @ 7pm

Next - CAPs meeting -

Beat 2424 CAPs Meeting

July 26 at 7:00 pm

Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse
7340 N. Rogers


Murder of Evanston Resident at 2300 W. Jarvis - Any developments

Gooning and trespassing unanswered in spite of e-mail in early June. Inattentive Officer on cell phone.

better liaison for oversights and misunderstandings since OPS does not work

speeding down Ridge over the 25 mph limit

Loitering and concerns at J&K Rogers Pantry

DUIs and the dumpster crasher at Rogers and Touhy fork. Any way to better protect bldg at Touhy and Ridge?

Drinking and trashing of Pottawotomie Park on weekends; any options?

Any other concerns? Post before Thursday!

Anyone want to hit the Lamp Post afterward?

Monday, July 16, 2007

DevCorp Mural Dropping; Local Proposals, Anyone?

For those who have not read the Broken Heart, apparently DevCorp suddenly had this brilliant idea. It would encourage what appeared as some to be an Afrocentric mural in one of the more blighted viaducts. The mural was to be allegedly created and designed by artists and children from other areas of the city. Some claim that the work ignores the message of "diversity" that many neighbors hold near and dear.

A valid point is that there are likely a lot of kids who want both recognition and praise in our community. They see these murals day in and day out, because they live here. Giving them a chance to admire their own work is a good idea. Armstrong, Gale, Jordan, Sullivan or some other local school should get a chance to help design and re-do the mural just east of Pottawatomie Park, as an example. That is all. Any objections?

I am not suggesting that all murals be products of RP artists or children. However, I think that 'Deadcorpse' could have solicited ideas rather than dropping this brilliant conclusion of theirs on locals foreheads. What appears to some as poorly announced knee jerk projects feels like the Chinese Water torture dripping suddenly, slowly, and uncontrollably.
The meeting and a mural is made to appear as a done deal. Perhaps, some regularly maintained, calm less than busy walls are not such a bad idea either! Will Moore or Streets and San pull out the paint to make the pigeon plastered peeling painted walls a more inspiring yet acceptable solid color? When murals peel they just don't look that attractive, anymore.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jay Medicar@7204 N. Rogers, Mitzvah unfufilled?

The Jay Medicar garage at 7204 N. Rogers used to house Pulse Ambulances. Now, the building is nearly a graveyard by comparison. During the week, the garage doors periodically stay open. As the neighbors know, the Jay Medicar parkway is full of garbage and rising weeds. The seed pods open and exact their toll on neighborhood yards for blocks. Those who walks or jogs the north side walk of North Rogers know that it is a mess that invites an allergic reaction or criticism.

The building hosts two video cameras that focus on the weeds and garbage below. A sign requests that neighbors not litter, among other things. Yet, no one at Jay Medicar bothers to reasonably clean up, cut the weeds, or maintain the grass. It is likely that months, if not years, of trash remain in the weeded space between asphalt and sidewalk. Who knows how many dogs have left their business in the weedy knoll. Maybe there is forensic evidence waiting for some CSI. When will Jay Medicar respect its neighbors?
A few photos help to refresh those who pass by. This area is next to three homes, one of which looks like the owner has lost hope or found dementia in my opinion. The balcony on that home is without railing and it looks like it begs for a Chicago Building Inspector. This is disappointing, since we need more single family homes in this area. Each time a home is lost, condos or townhomes replace them. In in doing so, there are fewer parking spaces, among other disadvantages.

It seems like some want to hold onto the properties until there is no value left in the neighborhood. These examples, among others, keep me wondering, where are the building inspectors? Where is Streets and San? Where are we as neighbors? Do we expect the City to act on clarvoyance with its rendition of the Mod Squad? If they do not react, what are our options? The more who know about a situation, or begin to think about it and do something, however small, the more likely that these situation will be eliminated.
I can only wish that a few politicians really give a crap and their purpose as community representatives given that there is not much of an alternative.

For those who want to follow up on the Jay Medicar complaint, it is 07-01307503. Add your name to the complaint at 311 or 312-744-4000, as well. You can also try to reach Jay Medicar at the last known number is 773-287-0440. The internet telephone number leads to the Torah Network, so don't bother using it.
No one will bite the handset that complains. If something happens, it is likely that it is a random act, so there is no need to be paranoid. Perhaps, if enough complain, someone will do something about it, including Jay Medicar; G-d won't forbid it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

7308 N. Rogers - New shade of brown, but no facelift.

This is an update. Perhaps, someone paid a little attention to a recent post. Perhaps, there was a tag team effort by Craig Gerhardt, a formal City complaint, and an attentive civil servant or two. Maybe the landlord decided to do something or Joe decided to put some pressure on a conceivable campaign contributor. There is now a consistent shade of 'diarhea brown' on the wood paneling with two particle boards that cover the plexiglass excuses for windows. The pepto bismol pink is gone, but the useless telephone numbers remain. You still can't rent from these folks; the number is disconnected.

The new particle board panels obstruct the view into the world of the decrepid office space at 7308 N. Rogers. However, this rehab/teardown still lives and empty Malt liquor and Budweisser cans enhance the weeded landscaping job. What will it take to create some accountability or attention? I admit that the Jay Medicar Garage just west of Damen is not much of a view, either.

I wonder whether the landlord would allow this to happen in his neighborhood? Would his neighborhood, perhaps in the suburbs, launch a lawsuit to enjoin what they consider a nuisance? Would the Chancery Court in the Daley Center consider the complaint and enjoin? Does the city have an interest in the indoor property or care? I hope that the landlord begins to care. Does the landlord really want to rent the space or are they landbanking for an unreasonable buyer to pay more than its market value?

How much longer will it take for this building to be rehabilitated or removed? The next door neighbors probably wonder? What does it look like next door? Here is a photo to show the contrast. This is a photo from where the razed Chinese Buffet once had its parking lot. As some of us know, the restaurant owner's son was unable to attract enough customers, so the property is now a series of townhomes, photographed below.

Does the landlord at 7308 N. Rogers live in some posh corner of the universe near Ravinia Park or the Wilmette Lakefront? What would this landlord think if someone allowed a home or commercial property near their residence to remain in this pathetic condition for an extended period of time? Do they have any sense of the effect that they may have on the people who comment as they drive or walk past 7308 N. Rogers? There is likely brick or some sort of tile under the warped wood paneling begging to be pulled off the exterior and cleaned up. This paint and particle board job looks like a reaction to a city warning.

The nearby graffiti can be removed with a little elbow grease. The boarded up windows have been the victim of layers of paint, so what is another coat of paint or a call to Graffiti busters? The challenge is likely a combination of the landlord and some tagger. Many of us in the neighborhood will clean up our property, perhaps clean up others property, as well. Yet, we appreciate that there is an inconsistent mix of landlords, some more vigiliant than others, some of whom troll lower than others for tenants who really don't care.

The city claims that it needs money, yet it refuses to work with or fine those who create and tolerate blight in the community and violate the law, perhaps unintentionally, as stated. Why ignore blight? Why not come up with reasonable ways to stop vandalism and indifference? How? Well, the city has video cameras, so it becomes a battle over vandalism versus privacy, among other things.

How can the city and its neighbors handle their challenged kid or neighbor's kid when they believe that they are tagging the neighborhood? How can we spend that extra hour setting an example for others? How can we change our surroundings and the attitudes around us. Property values will not spiral upward simply because a few people care. The grass will always seem greener in some other pasture and those who don't know the potential of Rogers Park will graze elsewhere.

Some of my neighbors have pointed out that some of our Alderman's better supporters rent property and live outside the neighborhood. We also know that some of his better supporters are union members who have chosen 'not to live' in the 49th Ward, but like to influence it. If the SEIU has members who can make a difference, then I can only hope that they make their presence known, not simply by trying to pursuade us to vote one way or another.