Sunday, May 20, 2007

Moore v. Stone in Coffee to Coffee Combat

Blow up the coffee cup balloons; let's win one for the sippers. What's with urban planning at Western and Howard, anyway? First, we had 'pharmacy wars' and now its dunking for dollars! Biscotti or donuts? Good, bad, or ugly? Time will tell, but where is the love? Or the City of Chicago's commercial planning department? Perhaps, they have 'O-D-ed' on latte at Starbucks!
Retail stores that bring jobs and tax dollars to the 49th are good, even if it is Starbucks. I'm tired of jealous pedantics reaming success; if you don't like it, open your own coffee joint. Yes, a few may love to hate Starbucks with frustration that unions cannot find a way to turn a successful business into a closed shop.
Unions need to support those who cannot organize particularly those who are unlawful; they are the ones in need of collective bargaining with our Government, let alone, an employer. If you don't like Starbucks, you can vote with your dollars and hike to the Common Cup, among other independent Rogers Park coffee klatsches.

Product, demand, service, and/or location is all that it takes to make a local or national shop a success, 'go IPO,' or get bought out. Why is 'big' bad, when it reasonably serves a community? You don't have to work there or even put down a red cent for a single purchase. Of course, I am trying to digest "Rich Dad Poor Dad," (yes, I have read the John T. Reed analysis), but I am in one of those Milton Friedman "Free to Choose" moods and inspiration is a good thing.

I did not understand the inner workings of Starbucks, so I headed to its website to see how franchising, if any, works. Starbucks does not franchise to individuals. However, "in situations in which a master concessionaire or other company controls or can provide improved access to desirable retail space (such as an airport), the Company may consider licensing its operations to such a company." This is why the Gateway Dominicks has union workers manning its Starbuck's kiosk. Unfortunately, the service is inconsistent and uninspiring. Where is a reasonable union steward when you need one. Hopefully, this has changed.

Of course, Dunkin Donuts is Bernie's Stone's cholesterol ladden competitor on the Southwest corner. It also contains a Baskin Robbins and Togos (now part of Dunkin Donuts, et. al.). The location established itself several years ago. DD is sometimes a franchise opportunity, but too common for those into Italian Roasted Coffee beans; which is stronger or more bitter than DD Coffee depending upon your opinion. Contrary to a few extreme Democrats, this is not a partisan matter.
DD has given some the opportunity to secure relative independence. Albeit, the National gets its royalties. Starbucks simply expands and adds layers of management, since it has snowballed into the near monopoly Coffee Klatsch for the middle class in most U.S. suburbs, downtown regions, and shopping malls.

I have a certain caffeination to see a real Starbucks, Peets, Argo, or some independent establish itself farther southeast deep in the heart of the 49th in some neighborhood shopping strip experiencing blight. However, the corner of choice for a Starbucks would have been Ridge, Rogers and Touhy at the former Roberts Bike Shop, among other underdeveloped areas just east. Development can change things, but 'land banking' often perpetuates disfunction.

Many cyclists bike south down Ridge. Imagine a coffee shop, any coffee/tea shop, that satisfies both cycle clubs on the road and sobers up the locals. We might even get a few of Chicago's Finest to stop by, as well. Of course, that corner is known to have a rare challenge with local yocals and young suburbanites, who also drive under the influence of testosterone and may suffer from bouts of Thanatos. For those who remember, Roberts did not renew its lease on their second location after some idiot drove his/her car into their store front about six years ago. More sensitive street light signals and a coffee shop could deter abuse and encourage bikers.

My opinions about the newer store front medical operation that replaced Roberts is guarded optimism. However, I digress out of the need for caffein or some sort of non-caffeinated tea outlet on that corner. There are locals who want to listen to jazz, play chess, and leave the condo, townhouse, or home for a moment. Some of us don't hang out at "the Lampost" or "the Ho." Of course, Starbucks will definitely be seen at Western and Howard. On the other hand, there is not a single Dunkin Donuts in Seattle [Starbuck's genesis] based upon some reports. In the mood for a French cruller, now or do its Massachusetts roots make you bitter?
Well, you can always brew your coffee at home, avoid the Latte effect, and eventually become a millionaire according to some Oprah fans! I think that I will stick with home brewed tea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Howard Terminal, A Kingdom without a Bathroom? CTA to J. C. Decaux?

A kingdom without a bathroom? The ongoing dilemma at CTA terminals continues. Does the ongoing concern create a resistant variety of intransigent CTA legal beetles? Does the fear that a passenger might get a 'whirly' hover supreme over these legal nitwits? Do they think that riders prefer the smell of urine on the escalators and elevators to a small enclosure? Large isolated CTA terminals need a place for reasonable people to relieve themselves. All excuses seem lame.

I feel like the trustees of our transit legal conscience are picking petals off a daisy; CTA will get sued . . .. no CTA won't get sued . . . . CTA will get sued. . .. no CTA won't get sued. . . CTA will get sued . . .no CTA will get sued . . .CTA will get sued. . . I will lose my pension . . . . no bathrooms .. . . forever!

Can we encourage CTAs legal department to actually take reasonable risks for this public trust. Cases against the CTA based upon negligence should be eventually dismissed as a matter of law. Nevertheless, I understand that Metra outsourced a public bathroom at a Chicago CNW Station to a private concern for public use. I guess that subway riders are not good enough for the CTA Board. Will it help to repetitively complain to Ask Carol! Try it!

This does not solve the fact that when many of us need to let loose, Moore's Staff suggests that we use Dominicks or Marshalls. The mens bathroom at Dominicks usually stinks beyond belief and is ladden with graffiti. It is one of the most poorly maintained bathrooms among the so-called respectable Rogers Park businesses.

Strangely, Our city blows it when it ignores one of the most well known European providers of high end pay toilets, J. D. Decaux. Yes, not only does Decaux make 'street furniture,' it also makes some of the best European pay toilets equipt with timers, among other amenities. Decaux, who already helps make Chicago work with CTA shelters and News kiosks has yet to be given the nod by the CTA to handle the bathrooms dilemma. Decaux already provides bathrooms to San Diego, among other Cities across the U. S. and Canada. Why has it taken so long to create an appropriate accommodation for CTA ridership? Ask Carol Brown! Ask Ron Huberman!

I would rather be timed on my bathroom use and have to keep a quarter or two handy. I don't treasure those moments, when I look like my eyeballs are going to pop out as I am futile in suppressing my inner impatience with the need to pee. It is not exactly an ode to joy leaving the platform for the out of the way bathrooms on outer perimeter of Gateway Shopping Center.

Rogers Park to Obama - Tea Gets Bitter when it Seaps too Long.

This e-mail follows up your need and organizational meeting for support in the Forty Ninth Ward and its residents.

Senator Obama, we realize that you feel obligated to harness 'the Machine,' but in doing so, you may be better off evaluating the parts that need purer oil, not simply abrasive and offensive mean spirited muscle that 'may' grease a path to perpetual demands for political favors. An Obama Campaign meeting was likely best scheduled outside the ‘lions den’ on more neutral territory.

We need Alderman Moore to be a reasonable representative, not merely a poser ready to pounce on Schakowsky's Congressional Seat. We don't support activity that appears contrary to full and fair elections. The actions by again incumbent and now re-elected Alderman Joseph Moore's camp demonstrate some of what can appear embarrassing to the community. He does not seem to share credit with others, who work hard for this community.

Most of us are progressive, but not cannon fodder. We feel that the incumbent Joseph Moore, his staff, and/or supporters heaped a negative glut of innuendo, fear and dis-information upon the electorate who were unable to study the other candidates. We hate to see your campaign run on that plan.

Moore's supporters referred to a thirty year active Rogers Park resident named Don Gordon supported by Democratic Progressives as a Republican, among other inappropriate labels. Many believe that facts about Gordon were presented untruthfully for the sake of seeing 'what would stick to the political wall.' The innuendo and disinformation seemed ‘McCarthy-like’ in scope. You cannot create a cohesive political party on divisive political comments geared to defame and misrepresent another candidate. Moore's people divided Democrats in our Ward.

Our Ward will support you, irregardless of Fagus and Moore, but you should not depend upon what some view as political thugs who take credit for something that you are likely to earn on your reputation, alone. Many of us have concerns about Fagus and Moore, among others, who we feel have lost the trust of the community, yet depend on our support as residents, voters and professionals. We distinguish how Chicago works from how this City should work.

I admit that I once entered Hyde Park and campaigned in the projects when Al Raby ran against Charlie Hayes and Bobby Rush. I worked on the candidacy of one of the elected candidates. In hindsight, the most credible deserved, but failed to win the election. His legacy is part of Chicago and he remains one of our unsung heroes in my opinion.

My digression demonstrates that we, as well as the SEIU, should study before we capitulate to tow the political line for any incumbent. Box box is a Statewide issue, not a Chicago one; people shop in the suburbs and Chicagoans also work there, as well. Yet, in our Ward, the Harringtons, Gordons, Adams and countless others have been mislabeled to discredit them in order to re-elect an incumbent without jurisdiction to create an effective big box ordinance. Yet, each opposing candidate had one thing in common; an understanding that our Ward has become 'Moore's Ward' deserving of our attention and concern.

We need a leader, who will pay attention to the real challenges and frustrations that result in violence and violation if not addressed and defused. We don't need politicians who look pretty, attend our children’s funerals and kiss babies. Politicians should come up with a plan to stop the violence at its genesis. It does not take much for someone to try to encourage our Alderman to listen to us. This election does not seem to have done it. It seems questionable to me to claim that Moore be given credit for each and every project that was completed over the last fifteen years.

Tea gets bitter, when it seaps in the teapot too long. Moore needs to pour some of our wisdom. Don't let the dome continue to ferment it. Otherwise, any political party can help create division and scandal. We need an alderman with the audacity of hope, not a blurred vision, inattention and arguable arrogance. There is no shared credit in this administration according to Moore's Website on public works projects.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Does DFA = Dense Foolish Aggitators? Pathetic DFA E-mail throws salt in wounds.

Earth to DFA of the 48th Ward . . . let the court decide! This is a democracy. Moore's antics are all over the internet in living color. He cannot hide behind an electronic fig leaf! He has yet to accept it and neither has "Moore's machine."

For those who really know Don and have witnessed what he has done, the smear tactics should make it tougher for Moore to get 'street cred' if Schakowsky vacates her Congressional seat. If Evanston picks up on Moore's persona and pals, any political romance should not last long. For those who researched, voted, and celebrated Gordon's candidacy on Jarvis, we felt a sense of accomplishment in the face of labor union ignorance.

Unfortunately, Labor is so absorbed with 'Big Box' that it would plow down a community to plop their castle down upon Rogers Park residents just to secure an irrelevant spokesperson or council vote. Silly Rabbits, labor unions will win or lose based upon whether disenfranchised immigrants are legalized, so that they can be unionized. Unions have historically come to the aide of disenfranchised immigrants. Big box is for simple minds.

The Gordon Movement is a democrat thing. You don't peddle petty politics and throw slime at good neighbors. The scum factor on Moore's antics seemed to go off the O'Reilly/Franken political Richter scale. This is at a time when nepotism and incumbency trends reach historic highs. Where do we start? When does it end? When will Aldermen learn to "Move on" and not create fiefdoms when the community gives them enough of a hint?

It is disappointing that many perceive Moore's supporters as a bunch of misfits, transplants and outsiders who spent a few hours or weeks in Rogers Park choosing to sell their 'funky spunk' about Gordon to lesser educated voters. Where were we, well, many were 'hoping' others already got the message. 'On incumbency?' This does not smack of Mill!

The Moore folks never had the objectivity to discover who Don is and what "he" stands for. Don's no Republican. It was great to see Harrington and the real heroes of Rogers Park stand tall at the runoff. There was no better place for me to be than on Jarvis Street celebrating Gordon's candidacy.

Perhaps, Moore's depositions and testimony demonstrate to the electortae and some unbiased judge what Moore did. It forces Moore to face up and "may" create the basis for a grand jury. Then, again, Moore may also have his day in court to clear the air.

If Moore's 49th Ward antics were 'street legal,' then only candidates, supporters, and the Aldermen can create more ethical elections. Frankly, I wish I got a 'Gordon button' with that banana! I hope that the assigned Judge changes venue if he ever worked with Joe at the Corp Counsel's office or knows/worked with Joe in some other inappropriate capacity. This should be disclosed so that future speculation ends. The arguable lack of credibility that Moore demonstrated in this election echoed through his acts (axe?)and campaign literature.

I wish that Moore knew how to tone it down when the chips are down. Ultimately, we are stuck with the lesser of the two candidates. Frankly, I would fear Fagus More. Pun intended.