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APN 14-07-103-033-0000
Enough space to malt your own barley!

— On the neighbor message New brewery coming in 2013...
10:03 p.m.

What if different people had different weights to their thanks/nothanks? Then instead of posting the +/- count for each post or comment, you can post a vague community sentiment statistic?

Even if there's no censorship of heavily nothanked posts or comments, it opens the door to people using shill accounts for the purpose of warring with others. It's one thing to do that to try and promote something nobody really cares about, and it's another thing to do that to try and deprecate someone else. It basically allows bullies to come in and poison the well. EB needs a layer of ambiguity the same way Google needs one to combat the way people game page rank. SEO and influencing discussion forums SHOULD be HARD.

— On the neighbor message No Thanks!!
11:23 p.m.

Maybe we can just declare Winnemac Park grassy areas "dogpoop minefields" and post signs warning about loosed animals and excrement?

— On the neighbor message A Plea for the Leashless ...
10:33 p.m.

Chicago Landlord/Tenant Ordinance [CLTO]

I'm 90% sure cutting off the garbage service is against the law.

You need to talk to a lawyer. The landlord basically has rights to conduct infrastructure maintenance, but you as the lessor have the right to "enjoy" (legal term) the property, so you can't stop the work, but I think you might be entitled to prorated rent.

— On the neighbor message Tenant Rights.
10:15 p.m.

All the hype people tell you about exercise and calories in minus calories out is mostly nonsense. Exercise does improve your health, but getting fat on the American Lifestyle isn't really about the metabolic rate. It's about chronic liver toxicity of fructose, which is in cane sugar and HFCS.

Sugar produced from chemically processed corn starch is federally subsidized, and it makes things taste addictive, literally. As a result, almost all commercial or industrial processed food has sugar added to it. If you eat as much as you want, assuming you're typical, you're overloading your liver, and your weight gain is a symptom of that.




What exercise *will* do for you is improve your circulation so that eventually your muscles will act as a more efficient buffer for carbs when they hit your system, and you will notice improved buffering of not only endocrine but adrenal systems. All of this will reduce multiple stress factors which indirectly contribute to metabolic syndrome.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of what you're trying to do. It's not like you've already leveled off at ~50 pounds over your comfort level. You've been moving in that direction for a while, and without effort to reverse the trajectory, you'll eventually be 100 pounds over instead of 50. Cut the sugar. Completely. Also don't lie to yourself. Would you really be happier if you lost 60-70 pounds?

If you aren't a highly disciplined person by nature, then get a doctor to coach you, someone who is familiar with both the biochemical and psychiatric/addiction angle of morbidity diets. Fat friends? Never eat with them. Cut your time with them. Get some new friends who are succeeding in the lifestyle you want to adopt (the other positive angle to exercise: social reinforcement).

— On the neighbor message Weight loss help in the area?
9:55 p.m.

People at the community garden at Waters School use two foot high chicken wire FWIW.

— On the neighbor message Bunny rabbits eating my plants
8:49 p.m.

Well, who is going to run against Rahmbo? Nobody wants to go vote, especially in the primaries, especially for down-ballot offices. Nobody wants to give money to campaigns, to learn who you would trust to spend campaign money. Nobody wants to canvass, and nobody wants to work the phone banks, and nobody wants to get all those annoying political phone calls.

The result is that big money will do the math and realize there isn't much to stop them from literally buying public policy indirectly by buying public officials. Rather than cheering for our collective #Occupy tantrum, maybe we should ORGANIZE? I think we're all lucky that the ordinance wants to stop the mass protests. If you've got time to spend on the Occupy movement, you should be showing up for IVI/IPO.

Don't show up to vote: you get an F in Democracy. Voted? Great! That's worth a D. Talked to some people (maybe showed up at a protest), and read some stuff about who was best to vote for? Very good! You get a C. Actually got involved early, and got behind even a single candidate with either money, volunteer work, or just good word on the grapevine? Great work, and keep it up: you get a B. If you want an A in Democracy, you have to run (someone) for office.

The people who lobbied for the ordinance in the OP brought their "A" game. They can't really afford to compete against a well informed and motivated electorate, but we're not really competitive. George Bernard Shaw said "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." he got it wrong though, because it's a device that insures the lives of our children shall be governed no better than we deserve.

So all of you, in glass houses, for every measure of disappointment you cast at your elected and appointed officials and civil servants, take your own medicine and eat crow for an equal measure of shame. When you've had enough, roll up your sleeves and make sacrifices. It is time to rediscover what it means to be American.

— On the neighbor message Pawar votes for anti-protest ordinance
9:48 p.m.

It takes ~$1M to challenge an incumbent Alderman, according to Dick Simpson, about 5 years ago. As wealth continues to be more concentrated, it increases the correlation between wealth and political influence.

A relative few of us may be able to organize the 47th ward, but unless what we do can be replicated in a great majority of other wards, our man, Pawar or anyone else, will occasionally need to trade votes for support on other things. Occasionally, our Alderman will need to vote in favor of a stinker.

It sucks, but we have to live with it for as long as we have single-member-district ward representation in the City Council. It could get worse: from time to time we hear chatter about reducing the number of wards/aldermen/councilmen. If that happened, it would cost more money to run for Alderman, but the extremely wealthy would have fewer influences to buy, so it would be cheaper for them.

I think the proper strategy would be to defend our rights in court, with civil disobedience if necessary, and since we elect judges we should look at where our cases would be tried and vote for the bench we want at these trials. That means we have to start talking about down-ballot judicial politics, which almost nobody does. As a side effect, we'll be creating the kind of electorate that is resistant to big money power brokering.

— On the neighbor message Pawar votes for anti-protest ordinance
10:48 a.m.

A quick scan of the referenced article yields

"The goal is to reach a compromise on a map that can win the votes of 41 aldermen and avoid putting the competing maps to a public vote. But the version of the map aldermen tweaked behind closed doors has a plethora of opponents in communities that would be divided by the new boundary lines."

Maybe I'm glad Pawar's not getting his hands dirty in the controversial attempts to gerrymander the ward map. Maybe Tom would have some vinegar for Pawar if he did show up.

I'm blocking Tom. Smells like astroturf. Great stuff, all the discussion about the remap, and I like people's involvement in the issue, but I'm not sure any of this discussion actually gives credence to the smarmy sanctimonious accusation of dereliction that Tom's OP is making. It's just trolling, and even if you WANT to post something really good on someone else's comment, please start a new thread and stop feeding the trolls.

12:09 a.m.

I think the liquor license is to allow them to sell directly to the neighborhood. If you'd like to have a direct commercial relationship with the business, you'll either need a license or they will.

2:47 p.m.

If you're a crafty person (or if you know one), I've got a solution for you.

If you live on the north side, you need a directional antenna, ideally with a relatively narrow beam width, pointed due South, or just west of due South. Like Luci said, the problem isn't so much with weak signal as it is "multipath aggregation" caused by signal reflecting off the wall of high rise buildings on the lakefront, and then tangling up in neighborhood buildings.

If you can remember the "ghosts" that used to show up on analog broadcast TV in Chicago, the same thing is happening with digital TV signals. The difference is that the digital TV is better able to pick *just* the strongest "ghost" to give you a clear picture.

The reflected noise is nearly as high as the local TV signals. Amplified antennas affect he signal and the noise, so they don't improve the "signal to noise ratio (SNR)." I did some hardcore research last year on HAM radio enthusiast bulletin boards, and those guys know antenna design and evaluation. When they chat about how to get a clear TV picture, there's no bull and plenty of data. I looked up the digital TV channel frequency allocations, and then I searched for discussion about the equivalent analog VHF and UHF TV channels/frequency bands.

The best antenna, AFAICT, for the Chicago Northside, is the Gray-Hoverman antenna. Patent expired, nobody's making them. It's big, and is best installed inside an attic, but it is flat, and the ideal orientation for us is straight south, you can wall-mount it behind a large piece of (non metallic) artwork.

The Gray Hoverman design, especially with a screen reflector, filters out the "ghosts" better than the most popular HDTV design (CM4221), with slightly lower gain, but good performance for most channels in Chicago. I live VERY close to the El, which supplies blue sparks and what's called "Ultrawideband interference" so I can tell you even with the best antenna, YMMV.

2:36 p.m.

The white with black spots cat is probably a feral cat born under my neighbor's deck, and taught to hunt birds (very capably) in my back yard in the spring/summer of 2011. There were two other littermates, but I've only seen one prowling my back yard recently. I don't know anything about the tabby.

FYI: I used a fishing weight and a long strip of paper towel tied to fishing line to try and play with the wild cats from the second floor back porch overlooking the landscaping they liked to hide in when they were kittens. I wanted to try and draw them out into the open so I could show my 4yo daughter, who couldn't spot them in the shrubbery. When I cast my lure to the opposite corner of the yard, one kitten immediately shot out from under the shrub, crossing about 20 feet of patio, leapt into the air, and tore the paper towel strip off my lure as it fell, making the interception at about the height of the chain-link fence. My jaw dropped, and we stopped worrying about who was feeding them.

— On the neighbor message Cats in the Waters School Yard?
11:41 a.m.

I'm getting tired of Tom's trolling. This kind of contribution is annoying, distracting, ergo rude. He mis-attributed the cited article:

"THE JANE BYRNE AWARD . . . for defeating the Machine and then promptly embracing it: So many deserving nominees, so few trophies. Among the leading candidates were Sixth Ward alderman Roderick Sawyer, who beat an incumbent backed by Emanuel; 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman, who swore up and down he would crack down on TIF abuses; and 47th Ward alderman Ameya Pawar, who pulled the biggest upset of the February elections after vowing to fight budget chicanery in all forms. And the winner is—oh, just split the prize. The three of you have managed to utter the word "nay" just twice in eight months of council votes."

Jane Byrne, not flip-flopper []. It's significant.

So Tom, if you want my ear, please tell me what you would have done about the TIF money if you had to play Alderman Pawar to make good on the promise you suggest he welched. Make it good, or I'm muting you, and I urge everyone else to do the same.

6:46 p.m.

Thank this comment if you think winner-take-all districting creates corruption.

— On the neighbor message New Ward Maps!
2:28 p.m.

Ask a CTA employee at staffed train stations for estimated times to catch the Santa's train.

— On the neighbor message All aboard: The holiday train is coming!
10:06 p.m.

Only 3 days left!

9:47 p.m.

Gang Bangers have their online hangouts. Search here for "gunshots". Provide some better time / location info so that your neighbors can recognize the event. maybe they will chime in.

— On the neighbor message best place for updates on crime?
12:29 a.m.

Your property is worth the rent you could expect it to generate, maybe if you're lucky, plus a premium if you have hooked a buyer with extra cash burning a hole in their pocket. Maybe if you're unlucky, there's some maintenance costs eating into the number.

The lowball number is ~ $100K for every $800/mo. in rent, and $100K for $700 rent if you have a location with low vacancy in the area. That's the price level at which you can compel investors to swoop in.

Look at the numbers you're asking a buyer to swallow. Factor in deflation of home prices, even conservative 2%/year means that you're up against anything in the area that would rent for $4K/month.

Who has that kind of cheddar these days? Only the people who don't throw it around. Banks will flatly refuse to write nonconforming mortgages, and they'll drag their feet because they're queasy about deflation if you're too far from rental parity. You're also heading into the holiday season. Banks and buyers will both be less interested, and whoever brings the money to the table controls the terms of the transaction.

12:17 a.m.

This topic turned out to be a fake controversy, and the discussion got all scattershot--most of it looks too dubious to influence my opinions one way or the other--, and this is starting to stink like Internet Trolls. They have to live somewhere, so maybe we've got some in the 47th. I'm going to squelch it out. Please don't take my silence as tacit approval. I just don't want to feed the trolls.

FYI (in case anyone else feels like I do):
If you let your mouse cursor hover over the the text of a comment, a little "mute user" control pops up. I assume that's the EveryBlock equivalent of "You're dead to me." If you hover over the text of the original post, there's a little "Hide" control that I assume means "I'm done with this discussion."

— On the neighbor message Political "Pay to Play"?
11:42 p.m.

City ordinance violations are ticketable offenses, and you should call the police (911) and request an officer respond. It looks to me like they can ticket someone caught dumping, a tenant, or the owner, each day for $750-$1500 a pop. Our police/schools/streets&sanitation need money! Call it in.

7-28-450 Unremoved motor vehicles, ashes, refuse, waste, debris and other materials – Owner responsible for removal – Nuisance – Violation – Penalty.
"...Any owner or other person found in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $750.00 nor more than $1,500.00 for each offense. Each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense to which a separate fine shall apply..."$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_7-28-450

— On the neighbor message Ideas on trashy neighbors
11:27 p.m.

Time to put the pressure on any punks you see milling around with no real purpose.

Last summer (2010) around 2AM one morning, a gang banger rode his bike down Rockwell to the bar next to the Jolly Roger laundromat, invited a bar patron out for some fisticuffs, got stabbed with his own knife, and bled out on the sidewalk. (corrections?)

My point is that we occasionally get some very dangerous fools in our neighborhood, so it pays to react seriously.

Wrap it in paper towels and take it to a police station to see if they can ID any prints on it. That might produce a suspect for any mishaps involving a .38 caliber hole.

11:16 p.m.

Still, when I try to sort out the hyperbole from the facts, I don't see reason for alarm. I actually think it might be appropriate use of TIF funds to pay for demolition of the hospital structure if the school was willing to make concessions about public access to the facilities like soccer field and parking lot for community activities. I wouldn't even mind if good deals like that were done in back rooms so long as someone representing my (community) interests were fairly participating in the decisions.

OTOH, maybe GCG and Jim O'Toole could go camp out and "Occupy Ravenswood." Then we could see/hear all the silenced messages/voices.

— On the neighbor message Political "Pay to Play"?
5:45 p.m.

Who exactly is against the Lycee Francaise going into the Ravenswood location? I can see the controversy if legitimate opposition was blocked from the process. OTOH, if the opposition was weak, then the accusation of corruption seems like sour grapes.

— On the neighbor message Political "Pay to Play"?
4:39 p.m.

If you have a peephole in your door, practice using your cell phone or cemera to take a picture through it.

1. Just line up the little camera lens with the eye hole. Take a few pictures and get the hang of it.
2. Leave the phone/camera within arms reach of the door when you are home, and try to be quick and quiet about getting to the door so that you can get a snapshot before you answer the door.

If you have a lot of glass in your front door, consider getting one of these:
Swann SW211-DPE

9:34 a.m.

Call the police. Have a glass of wine if your nerve is weak, and deliver a clear, cold description of how they can find the driver and what they could expect to see him pull.

9:43 p.m.

Steven S: if you're going to channel anger, please by all means do it outside the neighborhood. When you're done, the collective will still be here to cooperatively approach solving the problem.

— On the neighbor message Muffler stolen from SUV
9 a.m.

Hey Nick, respectfully, if you think political movements don't have influence on local crime, I should remind you that one of the most egregious failures in social conservative policy experimentation played out ground zero here in Chicago. None of us remember, I would expect, but you only have to check out the cool speakeasy basements on any bungalow street to see how holier than thou policy creates rampant crime (local reference). Some two and three flats with finished basements have them too.

Supply siders (including Bill Clinton and kow-towing Obama) created the boom bust cycle that destroys the poor while it only bruises the well-heeled. The Tea Party is the nexus of all the tough on (everybody but self-identified middle class white guys) crime, immigrants, organized labor, and all of "their" children. Like it or not, if your government isn't effecting good Keynesian policy (guns or butter?), you'll be left to do it for your own home.

It's not off topic. Politics is not a game for talking heads to play on TV. Entrepreneurial spirit really isn't so different from a criminal mentality. You can only really tell the difference when there is parity between the legitimate and criminal options for a person to make a buck. My point in bringing this up is that Koch industries is to big business what gang bangers and catalytic converter thieves are to small business. Both need good government to ensure there's a carrot and a stick to keep copacetic.

So while we all ponder whether we can afford to leave our cars parked on the street or any of the solutions suggested in Joe's link, maybe we should put a twenty in a jar and save it for a candidate who hasn't kowed to the asinine "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." Good national policy comes from statesmen who learned to serve in local office. Making the connection between "Main Street" (in this case we could say Eastwood Ave.) and K-Street is quite on-topic.

— On the neighbor message Muffler stolen from SUV
10:37 p.m.

FYI: it's not the muffler they're after. It is the catalytic converter, which is between the engine and the muffler on the exhaust system. Think global, act local:

The catalytic converter contains platinum. Sometimes stealing your car parts is just easier than earning enough to pay the rent. Welcome to Austerity, brought to you by the Tea Party and Koch Industries.

— On the neighbor message Muffler stolen from SUV
1:17 p.m.

Chris: he's violating Chicago Park District Code VII.C.3.a (11). Ask your Alderman to work with the Park District and CPD to post a sign, even temporarily, stating that anyone violating the code is trespassing and criminally liable. This enables the Chicago Police to arrest someone and impound/confiscate contraband.

— On the neighbor message Remote Controlled Helicopter flying
11:57 a.m.

The next Beat 1911 CAPS meeting is 7:00PM - 8:00PM Tue. Oct. 25 at Kindred Hospital, 2544 W Montrose. Contact 19th district CAPS Office at 312-744-5574 for more information.

— On the neighbor message Strong-armed robbery at 2600 block of Wilson
4:29 p.m.

Dave: who said I'd be walking along with the mark? Maybe I'll be lurking like a bandit too. Maybe I won't be alone. Maybe I won't be unarmed.

— On the neighbor message Strong-armed robbery at 2600 block of Wilson
4:13 p.m.

Who besides me would be willing to take this a walk with an elder neighbor in order to make our neighbors less favorable targets? Who's *really* worried about this repeating, and who else is willing to pitch in?

— On the neighbor message Strong-armed robbery at 2600 block of Wilson
3:49 p.m.

Honda Civic and Acura CSX are popular modifying/mod'ing (hotrodding) cars so there is a strong grey market for parts. This demand supports the black market too.

Basically any car model that is popular to "mod" is a target.

3:10 p.m.

If you find yourself in Lincoln Square, please also check out Chicago Printmaker's Collaborative, then Sacred Art. Those are outlets for local artists. Also try Bloom Yoga, because yourself is art, media, and tools. Plus for Old Town School (OTSFM), and Lillstreet.

— On the neighbor message Best way to get involved?
11:13 a.m.

Peter (and anyone else who hasn't picked up on the joke):

warning: spoiler!

Does the Alderman lower temperatures? No, that's old man winter. Do temperatures contribute to a seasonal peak in crime over the summer? Yes, but it's naive to blame the Alderman for that unless you can also believe he controls the weather... or some WAY more interesting intrigue or conspiracy propaganda red herring that casts all of our leaders like cartoon heroes and villains..

8:37 p.m.

Well, I support the Alderman's effort to bring down temperatures so that hoodlums are less comfortable on the street. I'm sure this will bring crime under control pretty soon.

7:28 p.m.

It would be a real game-changer to do away with the yeas and nays.

— On the neighbor message Casino Vote Error
8:57 p.m.

Craig, I really appreciate the facts and prescient analysis you bring to this very principled disagreement. You really help draw a clearer picture of how this issue will affect real people we might actually know.

I wonder if it would be useful for business owners to get out in front of this law, and seek some kind of good-for-the-neighborhood "Fair Trade" like certification process to use compliance with this law as a competitive advantage? That, and some effective marketing would moot the law by natural competition, and might even provide a role for EveryBlock to play?

If businesses competed with each other on their hiring practices specifically, and their actual impacts on the community in general, there would be no/few cases to enforce the law, and everyone wins. Though the fines are a slap on the wrist, it really opens the door to reputation risk, which evens the information asymmetry problem customers face when choosing merchants service providers that benefit the community the most.

— On the neighbor message Human Rights Ordinance
12:07 p.m.

"True. Customers do pay the salaries of employees. However, if customers were so concerned about this, there would be no need for legislation. Customers would simply refuse to support a company that does not have a business model that they agree with."

I wonder if anyone is actually afraid of being sued because they've been using credit reports to screen the resume/application pile? Lets say for argument's sake I'm a customer of any and every business represented by any and all of the business interests expressed here in this forum. I find it curious that nobody makes the specific claims that they would be unable to distinguish between one example of a good candidate and another example of a bad candidate without continuing to discriminate primarily on credit and (un)employment history.

Since I, the customer, have no way to tell whether the hiring practices of most businesses fit my ethics, the market suffers from information asymmetry. This creates a moral hazard, just like welfare, encouraging businesses to use the most abusive hiring practices in any case where it nets a competitive advantage.

I suppose EveryBlock could help with that, but businesses would be incentivized to oppose or capture that mechanism. The process would quickly require adjudication. Notice how quickly the disagreements in this forum turned up fallacious or irrelevant arguments? What's a moderator to do? There's risk of libel! Now we're back in civil court... and at the center is who has the right to sue for what.

Nope, I doubt it's possible for customers to hold businesses accountable without legislation like Alderman Pawar's to define the terms on which the conduct must become part of the public record. After that, maybe there's a possibility of a local "Fair Trade" certification that ethical hiring businesses could acquire to incentivize good community/behavior?

— On the neighbor message Human Rights Ordinance
10:50 a.m.

"I don't see how moving a business with hundreds, or thousands of jobs, leaves any money on the table in Chicago. When a business leaves, it takes those jobs, and the tax revenues, which would be far greater in the long run than any local incentives, away from the city for good."

Business owners don't ultimately foot the bill for employees: it's the customers. If the customers aren't bringing the money to the table, this law has nothing to do with why said business is failing.

— On the neighbor message Human Rights Ordinance
5:23 p.m.

Dave, so if the principled "give them an inch..." argument holds for employees abusing employers, why wouldn't it also hold for employers abusing employees?

I stand with Alderman Pawar on this one. If one business owner can't figure out who to hire without relying on TransUnion and decides to move out of Chicago, that leaves money on the table for one who can.

— On the neighbor message Human Rights Ordinance
4:45 p.m.

Lots of our neighbors were swindled into negative equity home ownership by a massive nationwide predatory lending conspiracy. Credit scores *used* the be relatively valid, but their usefulness as job applicant screens is about to become very watered down.

— On the neighbor message Human Rights Ordinance
10:37 p.m.

What about organizing a parade covering the "hangout" on the route?

You have to pay for "city services" which of course means extra police detail and blue barricades. Go shopping for sponsors like AARP or even the Koch brothers. Be sure to invite Police benevolent associations. We could even ask the NRA to sponsor the event and bring in some pro-concealed-carry banners?

Don't *just* invite the strong-arm organizations. Invite social service and community activist organizations. The overall message has got to be that we may have our differences, but we will come together to put down the street gangs.

Kick it off at Midnight. At the end, read off the names of recently killed victims of gang violence in a memorial service.

... or maybe taking back the streets is too much effort and we should just cower in our homes?

— On the neighbor message Protection
9:58 p.m.

If anyone wants to read the censored post, they can contact me privately. Bill, I'm sorry if you thought I was calling you a name. I only meant to suggest that your arguments to justify keeping a gun at home don't stand up to objective standards of logic.

I don't condone vigilantism nor terrorism, but if you want to take it upon yourself to intimidate crowds gathering in public, the news is full of more effective ways to do so. What kind of a person thinks that is a good idea? Frustration with "the system" can be used to defend all kinds of horrible mistakes.

Oh, and Joe, without martial training, how can a 50-something pistolero solve the problems Greg noted that handgun home-defenders will have when trying to face an attacker? Your notion of martial arts is a totally inadequate misunderstanding of what I meant.

The more I think about it, the more I like Greg's suggestion of a shotgun. The best part is that you can load shells with rock salt. You can put different loads in the tube: rock salt, then bird shot, then buckshot.

Also remember that if you let on there's a gun in the house, it'll attract burglars because clean guns are easy and lucrative to fence. To steal it, they'll case your house for the best time to burglarize you, and they'll be sure to have insurance on them because they know you're a threat. If you make any kind of display, they might even brandish your own weapon at you afterwards to get your goat and intimidate you. That'll make you a target for other lower ranked thugs who need to prove their loyalty for promotions in the gang.

Bill: When all is said and done, there will be a gun in the house, bringing all the inherent risks and liabilities, and there will still be punks intimidating people on Montrose from 10PM to 4AM. Probably nobody will invade your home. Since you know what I'm saying is true, you may feel self-righteous, but you will be no more secure.

— On the neighbor message Protection
9:25 p.m.

The hard rains flood their network of tunnels. Rats on the move also might mean they are starving, sick, or otherwise stressed, especially if you see them during daylight hours. Their normal activity starts about an hour after sunset.

You can buy baits yourself. Go find their holes. Put leaves or paper or other light obstructions in the holes to see which are active. The next day, if the obstructions have been cleared, put baits DOWN IN THE HOLE. Replace the obstructions, and repeat every 3-5 days until the obstructions are no longer cleared out.

— On the neighbor message Rats?
1:49 p.m.

Advertising IS taxed. Here's a local example. Weeks ago, residents near Gene's Sausage Shop received legal notice that turned out to have the wrong address, but warned that permits were in process for a huge billboard. In fact, they were supposed to be billboard permits for the Dank Haus.

What we should learn from this is that there is already some regulation in place to govern advertising's intrusion, probably based on legal "air and light" interests of neighbors. Maybe these should be expanded?

— On the neighbor message Chicago Budget 2012 - Generating Revenue
10:37 a.m.

Speedbumps' effect on parking is psychological. People tend to park on either side, avoiding parking their car on the grade of the speedbump, wherever there is a choice. In tight neighborhoods, people learn to park on top of them. People don't like speedbumps because they are hostile to drivers. Drivers however MUST be treated as hostile to people (other drivers and pedestrians). Driving a car is a privilege, not a right, and this is all you get.

Drivers: consider yourself lucky if you don't have to slalom potholes.

— On the neighbor message Speed bumps needed 4800 N. Wolcott
10:30 a.m.

I only bike rarely these days, but I always thought speedbumps were kinda fun...

— On the neighbor message Speed bumps needed 4800 N. Wolcott
3:51 p.m.

@Hally: I would also add that Albany Park is NOT a good place for those who may or may not be "city people" to try Chicago. I hear some people love it, but y'know their approach is well tempered.

— On the neighbor message White t-shirts
3:22 p.m.

I've sent many friends to Nal's, some of them very wary personalities, and every single one of them has thanked me for the recommendation because they were both happy with the results (accounting for cost), and pleased with the experience. At times, like @SirGabriel said, Nal's can be busy: late in the week, as people take their car in before weekend trips, or to get work done over the weekend. Try dropping your car off early Monday, or just call them and tell them you can't afford to be without your car for too long, and they'll try to work something out.

There are probably some other good shops out there I don't know about because I drive an Accord (pretty reliable), and I've been happy enough with Nal's (and unhappy with other places) that I won't go exploring. I get enough confirmation from the occasional referral.

— On the neighbor message An honest car mechanic
10:41 p.m.

@yogabeast: if you see anyone doing ANYTHING enforceable by the police, whether it is a ticketable offense or arrestable offense, please CALL 911 and report it. When you see scofflaws crossing the line, mentally note their general appearance: gender, build, race, distinguishing clothing/marks (shoes and hats and tattoos are personal even if they're wearing gang uniform t-shirts). The more *actionable* reports the police get, the better. If you happen to hit on something really distinguishing, they will probably know the "perp" by name.

Enforceable stuff by example: assault/battery (fighting), display of WEAPONS (will bring swift and crushing police response), open alcohol on public ways, indecent exposure and public urination, gathering of large numbers (mob) of 8 or more people... If you think it's probably against the law report it!

Call 911.

*then* you can come to Everyblock and tell us all about it. Call 911 FIRST. Seriously: call 911. First, pay attention, then call 911 with the relevant details, and THEN ask Everyblock neighbors for their opinion. I hope I'm making an impression :)

— On the neighbor message White t-shirts
10:22 p.m.

@Matt: on the condo market, there is some CRAZY bad stuff happening, and you have to be VERY careful. "Accidental landlords" can bring in really bad tenants (roll the dice every year), and underwater neighbors who bought near the peak may just choose to walk away, leaving crushing expenses for the members of the condo association in good standing.

IMO, the *only* condos that are safe are in areas which are well served by transportation and CPS, and dominated by condo buildings where 2/3 flats and single family homes are just not available. In those places you will not find the kind of bargains elsewhere, but the market has priced in the different risk levels.

— On the neighbor message Thoughts on Ravenswood and Buying
4:39 p.m.

Welcome. FWIW, what kind of "computer geek" would you say you are? I'd buy you a beer up here in Lincoln Square to pick your brain on the Indy tech scene.

— On the neighbor message Introduction
4:25 p.m.

I think battery powered, motion activated "game camera" equipment costs ~$60-120.

9:07 p.m.

@Wendy-on-Sunnyside: Now if you want satisfaction, you're getting into very dangerous territory. There are a gazillion ways to take matters into your own hands, but precious few of them are better than the worst you can expect from gangbangers.

If you have a better idea, we're all waiting for it.. and I mean that in the most sincere way it could be taken.

— On the neighbor message gangbanger Alert
8:39 p.m.

@BonnieLuv since the shooters and the targets were acquainted, you probably have FOAFs if not outright friends on both sides.

— On the neighbor message Shooting at Montrose and Lawndale
7:59 p.m.

Always treat bicyclists as dangerous. If you feel threatened, throw one hand into the bicyclist's face, around the closest cheekbone, so that any contact will slip up into their eye.

Always remember: poke them in the eye! Devils! *spit*

Seriously, you don't actually have to DO it, just think about it. Visualise it especially when a bicyclist is approaching you. It gives you a powerful stink-eye, and avoids the hapless victim attitude. From there you have options.

— On the neighbor message bicyclists and rules of the road.
7:40 p.m.

Please: if you think you see mob action, maybe you should call 911 instead of asking Everyblock people to do it for you.

— On the neighbor message gangbanger Alert
7:24 p.m.

Have you tried giving it drip irrigation? We have a flowering pear tree that was a few years old and struggling (especially in the hottest parts of the summer) when we moved in, so I put the hose out at the trunk and opened up the spigot valve just enough to drip and dribble out for several days. Now, the roots have apparently developed, and the tree has exploded with new growth, and we have to aggressively prune the suckers from a few exposed roots.

— On the neighbor message Looking for a tree doctor
8:57 p.m.

Great! You might be lucky to have PCBs sprayed all over! They're toxic, and they NEVER go away!

— On the neighbor message Transformer Explosion
4:37 p.m.

The real big picture danger: federated street gangs of the US are like the sturmabteilung of Weimar Germany. Just wait until some Tea Party wingnuts start to play to the street thugs like on gun control issues.

Get wise: organize!

— On the neighbor message Gang tagging in Ravenswood
10:02 a.m.


In Chicago, its a patrol car filled with large plainclothes police officers. They exist to intimidate and persecute criminal influences. It's a kind of "fight fire with fire" approach to street gangs.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti & 4000 block of N. Spaulding
8:55 a.m.

@Samowl: on the street, one doesn't say "I live at <some address>." One says "I stay at <some address>." There is a subtle legal difference forged in the crucible of criminal defense law.

So if anyone knows where these animals "stay," we should make that part of our complaint to the police.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti & 4000 block of N. Spaulding
8:39 p.m.

This is somewhat outdated (authors seem to have quit), but you can find some elucidating background there.

Street gang graffiti isn't artistic, it's linguistic and only thinly cryptic. There's little difference between this graffiti and dogs marking their territory. It's social behavior of pack animals.

Here's another reference point.

Not for the faint of heart:

Time to start keeping 911 on the speed dial. If there are enough good quality reports about who's causing trouble in the neighborhood, then CPD will allocate "plain brown wrapper" patrols to your neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti & 4000 block of N. Spaulding
2:51 p.m.

@Alison: Gotta back you up here. All it takes is a few questions in your own head. This is your neighborhood. Have you seen them before? Are they with any of your neighbors? Are they moving with purpose toward a residence, business, or public place? Are they in a comfortable place you would choose if you needed to kill some time? Are they doing things that you would expect of a person who is killing time? Have any doubts raised in your mind? That's how you're supposed to feel when you watch someone behaving suspiciously.

Doubts == a reason to call 911 and report it. When calling the police about suspicious behavior, notice and report the person's gender, race, general body type, clothes, and general age. Also look around for other people who are also behaving suspiciously or share a number of descriptive features with someone who is.

Just to be clear: look for SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR, then note the person's appearance. If you make your decision to report the behavior independent of the person's descriptive features, then you're not profiling by appearance. Do profile by behavior, but you will also need to be diligent about describing people, so practice that so you can provide effective reports to the police.

9:40 p.m.

Go easy on the geezer. An attitude like that will kill ya in short time. Lesson to the rest of us: find your peace NOW, before the endorphins give out and all the pains of life start bearing down on our puny little brains.

— On the neighbor message Verbal Harassment at Montrose L stop
10:22 p.m.

Need to go after the landlord. Pressure on; pressure up!

10:18 p.m.

@Mega-Watz: one was an all-caps rant, and others were responses to it. I had them on email notifications of the discussion items, but I deleted them, and forgot exactly what they contained. Some stuff was reposted in a more civil tounge. Some stuff wasn't reiterated None of that was fit for polite conversation. That's my mile-high perspective anyway.

9:20 p.m.

Don't do it yourself. Talk to a lawyer, but do it now.

3:16 p.m.

I learned this when I was six: kink the hose; problem solved.

— On the neighbor message Sprinklers on the sidewalk
10:55 a.m.

It would be funny if Bank of America or Citibank opened a branch there.

— On the media mention Lawrence Ave. Sore Spot For Sale
10:53 a.m.

Open for lunch Friday?

10:49 a.m.

Hey @JOHN: I respect what you're trying to say about the crap that turns into hype online, and I agree people should be more responsible. Something else you wrote bothered me even more though. It sounds like you're frustrated with the gist of this thread, and that you intend to bring some offline consequences if it doesn't stop or go your way.

Let me offer a little advice: you don't know who you're talking to any more than anyone else does. Nor do any of us know who else is lurking in the background. If anyone on here had any demonstrable reason to believe you were threatening them and that those threats had teeth, it would provide a self-defense protection for them to bring offline consequences to you, even preemptively. So the general smell I'm detecting is that you're opening the door to more of the kind of behavior most of us, I expect, would like to curtail.

Furthermore, unless it's somehow libelous, even idiotic opinions about Wolcotts are protected free speech, but because what you said might be construed as threats of violence, what you said might not be protected free speech. I'm not saying this because I'm against you, but because I'm for you: maybe you should cool your jets or talk to a lawyer about how to protect yourself from criminal liability.

You make some good points in what has become a lopsided debate, and in the interest of finding the best perspective, I'd like to hear more about your side. It's just that you're on track to getting gagged, and that's unfortunate because I think it's unrelated to the substantial arguments you make.

10:40 a.m.

Margate Park is also politically gerrymandered. Residents are surrounded on three sides by completely different demographic. As a result, their Alderman's ability to deal with those influences is limited.

What's the argument about me bringing info about surrounding areas? Is Margate Park an island, or is it not an island? I think it's an island. If you want to live on an island, Margate park is a nice one. I concede that much.

— On the neighbor message Opinions on the Margate Park neighborhood?
9:53 a.m.

@Becky, and for the record, I would consider the vitriol some have brought to this discussion part of the local flavor of uptown, the sublime stress of concentrated local political polarization.

Sorry @Jeffrey if you don't like that link either. Maybe you should provide your own?

— On the neighbor message Opinions on the Margate Park neighborhood?
8:52 a.m.

Here's a book on rabble rousing to wake up local politics:

FWIW, about 10% of people who show interest online will actually show up in person to an event/meeting, and about 10% of those people will actually contribute to the effort. As nice as it is for engaging like-minded strangers, online organizing does't efficiently translate into action. I recommend you canvas your close neighbors to find a small group of 3-4 people who will canvas WITH YOU to cover the larger neighborhood. Your primary agenda should be one single point: everyone show up at a certain time and place to support taking back the neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message help!
8:41 a.m.

Local flavor:

Now, with that context, who thinks I'm racially or SES biased? I was trying to insinuate that Uptown is biased, but also that it's kinda obvious. Sorry if I touched a nerve, but hey nothing hurts like the truth. So much for soft-pedaling.

— On the neighbor message Opinions on the Margate Park neighborhood?
11:48 p.m.

My (moved away 2+ years ago) opinion? In a word: patchy. If you like to think cramped+insular is the ideal balance between urban and suburban living, you'll love it. At least before the big remodeling, the Dominicks at Foster and Sheridan sucked, and I was closer to the Berwyn and Broadway Jewel, which is actually pretty nice. Walkablity is challenged by traffic, weather, and "local flavor." Drivability is challenged by some of the worst parking contention in the city.

Uptown has a bit too much flavor for most people's taste. I'd call it "ferment" of people barely contained in subsidized high rise and walkup buildings. The flavor wafts up and down Sheridan from Irving Park to Argyle, and in some of the halfway house buildings around Argyle and Winthrop/Kenmore (historically "the corridor"). Last year Sheridan high rise residents videotaped and uploaded a crazy Sharks vs. Jets melee between rival street gangs somewhere around Lawrence. The lack of anything commercial from Sheridan to the lakeshore helps contain the wacky stuff between Broadway and Sheridan.

There's no university citadel to fend off the hordes as in Hyde Park. I see what you're saying, but I also think it's not the best comparison. YMMV.

— On the neighbor message Opinions on the Margate Park neighborhood?
9:51 p.m.

@Richie_K I have a saying that summarizes what I think you're trying to get across: Anonymity is impunity.

I'm not sure how salient the rant is though, because AFAICT, the crime was committed on the CTA Red Line. Do you suggest that the neighborhoods served by the Red Line should be as intimate as the three block radius of Bridgeport of your memory? That would be great, I agree, but impractical if not absurd, I'm afraid.

10:15 a.m.

I wanted to check him for tags, but he wouldn't let me get close enough to pet him. I did get close enough to see that he had no collar.

— On the neighbor message Lost Chihuahua Sighted
12:06 a.m.

Daytime sightings? Those rats are likely dying or moving out.

— On the neighbor message Major Rat Problem!
12:04 a.m.

If you see rats out in the daytime, then they are stressed and maybe starving and are probably not reproducing. That's a good sign: you know their traffic patterns (where to bait), and that their food/water supply is not exploding their population.

The bait used by the city is low dosage blood thinners. They are designed to prevent killing pets that accidentally eat some, or if pets kill (and eat) a rat. The rats have to habitually take the bait for it to work, and sometimes the rats carry the bait deep into their burrows and stash it where other rats will eat it.

— On the neighbor message Rats
12:01 a.m.

@DebM: If it could get better, what would you change first, next?

You may or may not get super fast response, but if you call in (911) open alcohol sightings--things the police can easily and quickly enforce without a signed complaint--when convenient they *will* roll in and rake some citation revenue up.

Cleanup? Seems like there would be lots of ways to skin that cat. Don't get mad; get organized! Maybe you could get the party moved to their house? First you take up a collection to cover the block party permit and advertising, then you canvas the event to sign people up for "win a free 4th of July bash at YOUR house" drawing.

Maybe these things you want, but not bad enough? It's okay to ask for help if you're willing to provide some leadership.

— On the neighbor message Fireworks at Winnemac Park
7:45 p.m.

Stupid teenagers don't know that an iPhone sends your location to the police?

Jail is full of stupid criminals.

4:56 p.m.

15 minute hold time... Wow. *sarcasm* The CTA really wants to talk to us!

— On the neighbor message Western Brown Line Station Falling on People
4:37 p.m.

oops... showing my age with that phone prefix.

it is actually


— On the neighbor message Western Brown Line Station Falling on People
4:21 p.m.

As these things usually go, the CPD turns a blind eye (technically exercising the legal power of discretion) to mostly safe and organized, parentally supervised fireworks in certain parks where this is traditional.

I'd say they are both family friendly, and dangerous for kids: parents have to be willing and ready to model and enforce diligence and (not so) common sense on their children and others. Go with the flow, usually there will be areas with tame stuff and areas where people are shooting off the big stuff. Look around, and you'll see the good spots on the sidelines.

Independence Day is a celebration of American individualism, so enjoy a little anarchy--all things in moderation. Teach your kids some moral authority "Yes it's against the law, but it's not practical for the police to enforce it if we do a good job keeping things safe and civilized." Even preschoolers will "get it."

U-S-A! U-S-A!

— On the neighbor message Fireworks at Winnemac Park
4:16 p.m.

That was my old neighborhood... The nice old polish lady on the corner (sold out at the top of the market for over $1Mil) used to rant about how the newspapers called the neighborhood "Infamous Winthrop Kenmore Corridor" every time news like this appeared. I never could figure out if she hated the moniker, or that it was justified.

Too many walk up buildings operated by slumlords in that little nook between Bryn Mawr, Sheridan, Foster, and Broadway keep things exciting. Every summer there's at least one freak happening that sounds like it belongs in a psychological thriller flick. IMO: its no place for children. At its best, when I was there, CPD was fervently suppressing gang activity, but every week, when the "plain brown wrappers" were at a lull, new kids wearing colors would show up trying to set up "curbside service" drug sales, and the next day cops would have them lined up face down on the sidewalk. Then there would be three days of peace. Except for all the subhumans, it was a nice place.

10:15 a.m.

Why would fewer aldermen be a good thing? You want to have even less access to your representative, competing for two ears against 2 or 3 times the voices/interests? Should it be easier to control City Council with outside money?

— On the neighbor message Getting Things Done In Chicago
2:47 p.m.

Hey... John Eischen: I think I know that guy! If so, it's good to have him involved!

So I hear there was a shooting on Kimball? How about some reporting on the actual incident?

2:03 p.m.

Due diligence: Who is objecting, and why?

— On the neighbor message West Lakeview Liquors
11:19 a.m.

He's probably on "mood stabilizers" so they won't get the desired footage of him going crazy running up and down the streets et. al.

— On the neighbor message Helicopters
2:42 p.m.

More "just kids.."

It's entirely reasonable to confront the kids' parents and ask them to compensate the damage. It's morally irresponsible to let these kids (mis)learn a sense of impunity.

— On the neighbor message damaged cars on wolcott 4500-4550
2:48 p.m.

@Sara_P: sounds like the discussion here, and maybe some extra vigilant 911 from our neighbors might be having some positive impact. Going out with foreknowledge of possible danger makes you pay attention in a way that criminals notice, and might make you a less favorable target. If you look ready, it looks risky to them.

What kind of dog do you have? Even a small dog can be an effective distraction/feint giving you the opportunity to use some pepper spray and run.

Keep up the good work everybody. Remember, we're training these youths to abide our behavioral expectations. Frequency and consistency is more important than intensity.

Good news. Keep the pressure on!

10:08 a.m.

Maybe she's just into "Urban Camping?" I've always wished there were a bio for the people living out on the streets of the neighborhood.

8:48 a.m.

rakes++, allergies--, CO_emissions--

— On the neighbor message Leaf Blowers
8:45 a.m.

I have an Apple TV 2 with no cable, and it works even over 1.5Mbps DSL. I'm getting consistently good low latency and 3+Mbps down, 1.5Mbps up on T-Mobile 4G on my phone. Maybe they have a good unlimited Internet plan?

— On the neighbor message Cable and Internet options?
4:16 p.m.

Hahahaha! I was *JUST* researching that on the FCC website. It's ComEd's fault for holding utility pole access for ransom. Chigaco is screwed. You got ComCast and AT&T U-Verse. Go with the latter if you're very near a "VRAD." (new fiber optic to telephone wire junction box installed every coupla blocks)

— On the neighbor message Cable and Internet options?
12:06 p.m.

Park District Code regulates use of parks. Excess noise is prohibited, and launch and landing of aircraft requires a permit.

VII.B.15.d: "Noise Created by Vehicles"
"It shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle which makes unusually loud or unnecessary noises."

VII.C.3.a "No person shall, without a permit"
(11) "bring, land or cause to ascend or descend or alight within the Park District, any airplane, helicopter, flying machine, balloon, parachute or other
apparatus for aviation"

— On the neighbor message Remote Controlled Helicopter flying
10:10 a.m.

How to engage? Partners?

Street gangs are an expression of the kind of tribal/pack patriarchal psychology that's latent in most of us (and our dogs). Displays of violence yield a pecking order through which control of resources from hunting and gathering flow, as well as opportunities to mate. It's a different (inferior dysfunctional) kind of extended family.

Wherever the chicas go, that's where the young lions will be sniffing around, competing for status. You gotta recruit muchas chicas calientes to hold out that carrot for the bad boys to stop fooling around. The other millstone around all of our necks is the stigma of mental illness in its most prevalent and socially cancerous forms. If normal family life were working, there wouldn't be a street gang. You'll need the lure of sex to keep them in therapy.

Never mind.. you'll just end up reinventing something pretty much like the Catholic Church.

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood "Watch"
11:46 p.m.

Overbought homeowners are mostly trapped right now. It's time to teach them how to nurture their own neighborhoods. If they pour some "sweat equity" in, they might even get up to the community pride of renters. On one side it's a lot of money, on the other: it's your life!

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood "Watch"
11:39 a.m.

People who bought in the bubble are demoralized: not good for front line in the resistance.

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood "Watch"
11:30 a.m.

I don't want to hear any more of this "kids being kids" crap. I know what you're thinking if you want to say it, so can it. You have absolutely NO idea what motivates these "kids" so your sympathy is for a fantasy.

When you see "kids," everyone look at them carefully. They're testing you to see what you'll let them get away with. It's their nature. Give them NO LEEWAY. Call them in to 911 if you see anything enforceable: trespassing (have a proprietor/manager call the cops), open alcohol, harassing other people, conducting shady street business...

If you see weapons, or you think you *might* have seen weapons, or hear talk of weapons, calling 911 with this information will bring a swift and overwhelming police reaction. The police REALLY appreciate this kind of information because it opens doors to more liberal applications of enforcement methods.

— On the neighbor message Increased gang activity in the area?
10:48 a.m.

Notes for the general public:

Uh.. Don't go tell them to leave. Call 911. If you hear someone else telling them to leave: call 911. Call early. Call often. Pay attention. How are the cops going to know who to harass? Provide details.

The proper mindset to confront people like this is "prepared to die" because you might really die. If you hear someone else acting like a fool, call the cops or you might have to read about the stabbing/gunshot injury/death somewhere within earshot of your home. If YOU won't bring the law, enjoy your lawlessness: you're part of it!

— On the neighbor message Disturbance on Pensacola and Campbell.
10:29 a.m.

OK, so it's on Yelp, but it's not really a review.

10:16 a.m.

Like @BerkeleyGirl said: POST THIS ON YELP! New victims looking for a watering hole are NOT going to come to this page before they decide to go tippling and walk into the gang's trap.

10:12 a.m.

CPD resources may be down, but you can get a "plain brown wrapper" if you and your neighbors provide enough tips to justify it. Go to a CAPS meeting and ask to be put in touch with your beat coordinator. The police MO is no different from a street gang. They roll in, assert dominance over the area, and push out rival gangs.

It's the "good people of Ravenswood" vs. the Gangster Disciples and Latin Kings and Vice Lords, yatta yatta... Your advantages are: better trained thugs on call 24 hours, but your neighborhood watch is only on shift the first part of second and the last part of third. The graveyard shift belongs to the rievers.

How are the "good people of Ravenswood" going to take back the graveyard shift? C'mon! Let's have some ideas!

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood "Watch"
10:02 a.m.

There's a trend of street crime in that area. Probably gang activity. You should be grateful that YOU have not been harmed personally, coming home late, parking your car on gang turf. Renting a garage spot is ~$100/month. That $4500 would have paid for almost 4 years of garage rental.

— On the neighbor message FYI - Car vandalism and theft
9:50 a.m.

Maybe it's West Nile virus?

— On the neighbor message Injured Pigeon
9:50 a.m.

Maybe we should plant a grove of giant sequoias?

— On the neighbor message Helen Zatterberg Playlot Park
9:59 p.m.

@Abe: try showing up at opening or closing time. You've seen the sign with the guy wearing a three corner hat? That's Roger. Look for him: you won't miss him. If that's too much, maybe you should leave a note?

— On the neighbor message What's Up with The Jolly Roger Laundromat?!
10:01 p.m.

So when you know all there is to know about house centipedes, and you *still* feel so creeped out you're compelled to squash them with extreme prejudice, now you know what it's like to be crazy. You can get better if you want..

.. and you SHOULD want to get better, because you will never in your life be more than 8 feet away from spiders (except maybe when snorkeling or diving). Indoor spider populations beget house centipedes.

— On the neighbor message Furry Weird Centipede-like Bugs
10:50 a.m.

If someone is conducting surveillance on you, I guess it's only fair to conduct surveillance on them. Take a cameraphone picture through your peephole before you open the door and then post it on Flickr or something.

— On the neighbor message condo breakin
11:24 a.m.

Homework assignment:

6:54 p.m.

@Ed H.

1) Are you asserting that because I don't present material evidence that real estate development plans spanning the whole cycle over more than a decade don't exist? I'll bet you can't think of one single redeeming reason to even have this discourse on whether WalMart should or should not be able to open a store in Lakeview.

Here's a thought experiment: since everybody knows WalMart is going in, how much has the local residential Real Estate market improved since the news came out? Care to make a prediction on how the market will decide for or against it?

3..5) You're not paying me. I'm not teaching you. Do your own homework, or continue to be ignorant of why people disagree with you. You don't really want to know.

For the record, I have to ask, would you prefer a world with more real life experiences or less? (It's an Ethical test for Kant's Categorical Imperative).

It's quite instructive that for this issue:
Real people will die without the intervening pressures of international rebuke and @Ed H. wants to talk about unverified wage data. I don't think your priorities are well aligned with the civilized world.

3:35 p.m.

1) I was alluding to the collusion that historically goes on between Aldermen and real estate development interests. I'm not really old enough to be authoritative on this. Someone 60+ will need to back me up.
2) This and that got redacted to because they were encumbered by my totally inappropriate ad-hominem attack. I apologise. You'll need to clarify if you want to earn the point independent of censor intervention.
4) Imagine a world where *EVERYTHING* is cheaper in every way.. no OBSERVE IT IN REAL LIFE. I concede, maybe you don't see anything compelling about You're entitled to your own feelings.
5) Nice try. That Change.Org link is about a corrupt supply chain management killing dissenters. When I click that link, the page which comes up for me doesn't say anything about wages.

2:14 p.m.

.. or gets threatened or bought off ..

10:11 a.m.

I smell astroturf.

9:37 a.m.

A) I'm not Anti-WalMart per se. I'm anti corporate big-box because their business model is bad economics: eating the seed corn. It's not idealism. It's pragmatic. "Stealth Inflation" is "New lower prices" with the real costs dumped on the (corporate) welfare state.

B) If your grandma's argument is salient here, then it can also be used to justify the institution of slavery. You have to admit you have no idea who you're talking to, and I or anyone else commenting on here may be smarter and wiser than your grandma. Her authority is meaningless here, and I rebuke her ghost!

C) You made no attempt beyond hand-waving glittering generalities to explain what's hurting "Mom and Pop" stores, and then you drop WalMart in as a solution. That is such an asshat construct that I think you might be a shill. If not, you're brainwashed. You're not helping people understand--only obscuring the truth.

8:42 a.m.

MY opposition to Wal Mart is grounded in Ethics and Economics. Their margin comes from externalizing costs. They're just toxic.

Then there's this..

WalMart is obviously part of the 15 year real estate baking plan to drive Lakeview property values back down to a level where developers can re-inflate it like 2000-2005.

11:43 p.m.

What we need is a way to funnel the coyotes down to Albany Park to help out with rat control.

I know they're out of style, but the old fairy tales clearly warn children that a big bad wolf will get them if they go into the woods unprotected or they stay out at dusk.

Carry a stick. If a coyote approaches you, batter-up! Snarl and growl at him and if that doesn't dissuade him, he gets into the strike zone, go for a base hit.

— On the neighbor message Animals in Paul Revere
11:34 p.m.

Are there any Political Scientists in the house?

The City of Chicago is still the only government with millions of constituents which staffs its administration by patronage. The Shakman Decrees didn't completely abolish The Machine. "Quid Pro Quo" in Chicago is still VERY much an institutional problem. These deals happen in the dark, so the halls of power are dominated by influences which are completely mystical to most people.

Demystifying local government is a noble goal, but realistically we need to understand that our wards and aldermen are not the only players in the game.

Have a look at this:

In that graph, which arrows should be biggest and heaviest, and who plays what roles? If you can't put names (or a list of names like "registered voters") on each box, then it's an amorphous anonymous "they" which retains mystical properties.

People like the Sunlight Foundation have a clear agenda for making the workings of government more visible, but to demystify it really also requires that we make it easier to understand. Even of you could get all the answers doesn't mean you'd be able to make sense of it.

Then there are the nefarious forces of evil working very hard to mystify everything... Why? Oh, it's all explained in the research awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Basically, those with the most power and wealth have strong incentives to make things complicated and difficult for people to understand because it creates economic and political underclasses which can be exploited for politico-economic gain and security. It destroys free markets and it undermines Democracy. Since most of us have very little to gain from swimming upstream in the short term, we lie down and take it. Maybe we will have the opportunity to turn the screw on someone else?

— On the neighbor message Ald. Pawar - Demystifying Govt
10:55 a.m.

I heard from a CPD officer once that the towtruck/wrecker operators that have city contracts are supposed to sweep up the detrius before leaving the scene with the wreck. I think maybe they can be ticketed for failure to clean it up. Call it in!

— On the neighbor message Car fire
8:36 a.m.

Prey drive and hunger are distinct drives. Hunger can excite prey drive, but keeping your pet (cat or dog) well fed will reduce the chance they will want to taste their kill if they do catch a rat.

Some cats and dogs (especially small terriers) have wicked prey drives and will kill for the bloodlust. It's not always a food thing.

— On the neighbor message Rats
2:47 p.m.

I had good results from my interaction with rat control. As a rule, I NEVER expect any results unless the delegates can feel somehow that I am present. However involved you are is how much everyone perceives that you care, which is as much as you can expect them to care.

Rats are notoriously smart. If they've developed a distaste for the bait that city rat control provides, then you need more help. Probably your neighbors are unwittingly providing food the rats prefer.

You can help get them inspections/advice or get them ticketed
[rat bait application]
[open garbage violation]

General info on rat control is here

— On the neighbor message Rats
10 a.m.

FWIW: Rat control is pretty much a dispatch service to bait rat holes where you find them. It's candy (to rats), laced with coumadin (pharmaceutical bloodthinner/anticuagulant with a long half life) or like drugs. It takes repeated applications of the bait. The rats can eat it for a while without getting sick. At first they don't trust it, so if they find it IN THEIR HOLE they just taste it, and all the rats in the area get some. With repeated applications many rats learn to eat it. Then if you have enough bait, and you are able to reduce other food sources (garbage, dog poop), the rats will OD on the bait.

If you see rats, you have to go looking for their holes and their food supply. Then you have to call rat control and meet them to show them the problem areas. They'll tell you to put leaves or some other light natural obstruction in the holes to see if rats are clearing them out so that they can tell which areas are "active." Then you can just call in every couple of weeks until there are no more "active" holes (ergo no rats).

— On the neighbor message Rats
8 p.m.

Bianca: no offense taken. I know this is kinda serious stuff, and people are likely to feel frustrated and powerless. As long as you *eventually* find the light side of it the purpose is fulfilled.

— On the neighbor message Shattered Glass
7:31 p.m.

This is organized. Time to deputize the homeless people on the streets. Say we get them cheap little digital cameras and pay them a token amount for taking pictures of people that look like trouble. When they come out with pictures that are really good (evidence or news), pay them well.

— On the neighbor message Shattered Glass
8:21 p.m.

Just keep a bag of rocks or brickbats on your side of Western. When you need to cross, grab the bag and carry it into the intersection as you begin to cross. Before you alk past all the stopped cars, first toss the bag up into the air about head high far enough so that it lands in the crosswalk in the middle of the turn lane. It might hit a car if you're careful and the driver of that car is not. Toss from a safe distance, and use a ballistic trajectory to avoid hitting the side of any reckless vehicles. This will reduce your exposure to flying debris. You might want to practice it a bit to perfect your technique and make sure the sack will hold up.

If nothing happens, pick up the sack and reuse it on your return trip. If something happens, it will be educational for everyone present.

Failure to yield to pedestrians is illegal. Hitting children because you are in a hurry is vehicular homicide. In a way, they are ethically both as wrong as the worst consequences because the irresponsible driver can't tell what the consequences will be.

On a slightly more serious note, maybe you want to actually try this with a sacrificial playground ball?

— On the neighbor message Belle Plaine and Western Crosswalk
8:03 p.m.

It's going to take a lot of room to accomodate all of the dancers that want to attend the OTS programs, and we won't mind them crowding into our neighborhood, shops, restaurants, festivals...

— On the neighbor message The Old Town Abomination
4:12 p.m.

If you give a candidate a dollar, and a well-heeled conspiracy comes up with two or three, your man could be bought, and your chump money is gone. The power of a political contributor comes from their ability to support a challenger.

Also just because a person runs against "the machine" doesn't mean they are free to be *your* man. Maybe there is a new machine? Maybe you'll like it better than the old one, but maybe not? For all I know Alderman Elect Pawar is the best guy any of us could hope to get in that job, but its wise to keep your priorities in order. Blind giving is a fools game.

— On the neighbor message Ameya Pewar Inaugaration Celebration
3:21 p.m.


You're great! My daughter is reading fluently at 2nd to 3rd grade level, and because she was born a few weeks after the CPS cutoff, she'll have another year at Families Together. This weekend we are doing some testing for the NWU extracurricular programs for gifted/advanced kids.

What I'm worried about is that my kid tends to intensely study something for a while, and then when she's feeling like she's mastered it, she moves on to something else and doesn't really have much tolerance for ruminating on yesterday's lessons. I'm not so concerned about her getting an advanced curriculum: at this point she doesn't appear to need much instruction for age-appropriate (and more) academic skills. I just don't want this to become an obstacle for other kinds of (social and gross motor skills) learning which frankly, she kinda struggles with and might be a little behind average.

I guess at this point whether we will be able to send her to Waters is going to depend on the distribution of her future classmates. What's the critical mass of fourth-quartile students to get the classroom/teacher to adapt? Anyone else with somewhat exceptional kids currently in neighborhood kindergarten/gradeschool with a better idea of today's student population?

— On the neighbor message Smart kids in neighborhood schools?
10:48 a.m.

Anyone know what kind of production the event is? The campaign finances? I think I like Pawar, but backfilling his campaign debt or stoking the "war chest" before he's actually done anything isn't responsible democracy.

I don't care if he's Mother Teresa. You try to elect someone you think will not abuse the power and will respond to good pressures, then you bring the good pressures. Our collective political support should be conditional, negotiable, and public business.

With that, I recommend witholding as much of the donation as possible until we all figure out the game. Pay your own way, whatever you think your share of the production costs should be, but be frugal with your money and liberal with your ideas.

— On the neighbor message Ameya Pewar Inaugaration Celebration
10:19 a.m.

Amy, I value your opinion. I had some trouble in school with boredom. I'm absolutely concerned about that. What suburb, for comparison, did you start your older son out in? We're in Waters' district. What was your impression of their ability/willingness to provide differentiation in the classroom?

— On the neighbor message Smart kids in neighborhood schools?
10:44 p.m.

When the article says "felony aggravated battery" I wonder how that could be a misdemeanor?

10:36 p.m.

Apparently Sittercity is no where near as good as a bona-fide reference from someone the parents already know. There are rumors of some shady shill-references backing up a lot of cell-phone addicted slackers and child dominating parasites. If you can really demonstrate you're a nice person, there isn't that much competition, but it's a networking game.

— On the neighbor message Anyone need an occasional babysitter?
4:13 p.m.

I thought all 14yo kids had cell phones with cameras? All they have to do is point it at these losers and press a few buttons.

4:07 p.m.

You have to take the law into your own hands. Get some of that dog repellent spray for joggers, and hide in your house. When you see a dog squat in your yard, run out and spray the dog. Scream a lot: "Why can't you respect me when I ask you not to poop in my children's yard?"

Just kidding! (well, mostly..)

How about public humiliation? If you see these people and confront them, maybe you could take pictures of them and their offending animals (in the act?) and post them on Flickr or something?

10:54 p.m.

Also try to walk the alley and see if there is a garbage problem or if there are any visible rat holes accessible from public property. Garbage problems like holes in cans can be replaced (or ticketed if they are commercial buildings), and rat holes can be baited, but you have to help the rat control patrol find them.

This is going to sound gross, but if you have cats, buy the eco kitty litter (just clay granules with minimal scent) and sprinkle it in your gangway along your foundation and areas you know have rat traffic. The scent of cat urine attracts stray cats and is birth control for rats.

— On the neighbor message Rats
9:55 a.m.

Go to Drew's.

— On the neighbor message Julius Meinl on Lincoln/Montrose closing?
12:47 p.m.

So the $99 Groupon deal is a seminar: expert instruction in evaluation of whiskey qualities and defects. Does it get scientific like exploring the changing composition of alcohol, aldehydes, and esters from the low wines to the condensate at differing temperatures/stages of the run?


[Mark, I emailed the same question to you. Please don't feel obligated to respond both ways.]

— On the business license KOVAL INC.
9:53 a.m.

Videotape yourself scooping the poop (maybe in a shovel?), carrying it down to your neighbor's, and ringing the bell.

"Sorry to disturb you, but earlier your pet misplaced something which rightfully belongs to you."

Don't say anything except "thank you" and only in response to apologies, promises, or other meaningful concessions. If necessary, you have a poop shovel to defend yourself with.

Please post the video to YouTube or similar site and give us the link!

(half serious :)

9:34 a.m.

$99 for a tasting? That'll get you almost two bottles of a certain decent single malt Scotch. Call it a fundraiser? How can they say this is worth $200? Who has paid $200 in the past to attend this kind of event? Why? (genuinely interested)

— On the business license KOVAL INC.
9:17 a.m.

Fresh distilled whisky (or whiskey if you're not in Scotland) takes years in a cask before it's fit for a real tasting. Unless you're in the business of setting up your stills, you probably wouldn't be allowed to see/taste the closely guarded infrastructure design or the proto-product.

— On the business license KOVAL INC.
9:15 a.m.

You're right Eric.. the 1997 price probably had the cost of many improvements factored in. Even at your generous estimation of 575K the asking price is 38% underwater. That's asking the buyer to shoot craps with a 160K downpayment, and the bank to shoot craps with 140K. The bank is going to tell you to take all the gamble and pay 48% down to get it under the wire for a conforming loan.

If something were to happen to make you move after taking that deal, you'd be out 383K and the bank and negative-equity home clearing process would take ALL of the $575 a prudent buyer brought to the table. If there's no buyer at $575, then you could always rent it and just pay your kids' college savings to the bank.

If you were renting the place for 3K, a 22% drop in the negotiated price is equal to a year's rent. Maybe you'd rather go $500 and a block down to 2160 W Leland Ave. The seller isn't going to rent it to you for 3K anyways. It would take ~5.5K rent per month to turn that place into an asset. They want to get rid of it, but they can't (yet) stomach the hit they're going to take. Time is not on their side.

10:27 p.m.

@Chris: ours is a 4 dimensional reality. Wait until 2012, or throw hundreds of thousands of dollars away. Rereading my comment may help alleviate some confusion, then again the seller is betting pretty hard that lots of people are too dumb to get it, so YMMV.

6:15 p.m.

Yeah.. You're either a cash buyer, or you're willing to dump your inheritance into a 50% downpayment so you can get it under the wire for a jumbo... and you know at this price you'll never get your money back out if you need to sell. If you have to rent it out, and you manage to get $2200/month the place is really only worth $314K, so at the asking price you're at risk for being 60% underwater. You'd only be able to get $2200/month, and you'd be on the hook for ~$4400/month mortgage payments, and that doesn't include vacancy, improvements, maintenance, and utilities.

If we're generously willing to throw $50K at the seller for the premium location, our generosity doesn't even get us halfway to this seller's expectations. This one is a serious candidate for a strategic default.

Even if you *REALLY* love *THIS* house.. keep looking and wait them out. Every 3.5% drop from the asking price is worth a year's rent in a similar house.

Nov 1997 @$284.5K, Aug 14 2008 @$805.5K, ~2012 @~$375K (or less).

8:32 a.m.

Call 311 and ask for the Graffiti Blasters program. Report the graffiti, and the blasters will take care of contacting the owner and/or blasting without contacting them if they fail in due attempts.

4:37 p.m.

No Sandor, but I hope to get their attention, and actually aim to be a complimentary concern. Of course Pawar's council may be representative, but it won't be independent.

I'll take the 21st precinct. I got 2 thanks and 2 comments but none are volunteering. We're eventually going to need almost 50 people. That means we're going to need to beat the 10:1 Internet lurker:participator ratio.

— On the neighbor message 47th Ward Everyblock Caucus
10:48 a.m.

I'll go a bit further than Smart Fitness and say that it's the owner that makes a dog dangerous or not. Every dog is different, and some have baggage (not too different from people), but it is the responsibility of the owner to accommodate the dog's individual needs. Some dogs require expert attention (large/strong dogs), therefore the owner must be a trained expert in handling their dog.

Here is the relevant Chicago "Dangerous Animal" law:$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_7-12-050

Maybe the dog in question was really gentle, but under stress from a painful injury or disease the owner isn't aware of? Maybe the dog had been taunted by groups of mean children? It's not for you or I to get in the middle of that, but if it happens, we need to get our public servants involved. The owner has to remedy the situation, and the law provides supervision and consequences.

— On the neighbor message Concerns about a dog in the neighborhood
10:16 a.m.

Are these guys walking around in hard hats and chartreuse high visibility mesh vests with clipboards?

— On the neighbor message Watch Out - JustEnergy Is Back
5:59 p.m.

Please call 311 and say that you would like to report a vicious dog/dog attack. There is a very clear process leading to the dog being declared vicious, wherein the dog cannot be off the owner's property except for things like veterenary treatment, requires more expensive license, warning signs must be posted...

If you want to help protect others, then you must take civic responsibility and report your incident. Otherwise you have doomed someone else to be the next victim and take your place as the first reporter.

— On the neighbor message Concerns about a dog in the neighborhood
5:54 p.m.

Lawrence is too wide anyway.

— On the neighbor message Chicago's Lawrence Ave to Get a Trim
9:20 p.m.

If your property values are sinking: blame your local elementary school! Imagine what will happen if CPS funding makes struggling schools worse? Anyone who can will flee the neighborhood and the comps are REALLY against you.

— On the media mention March housing starts can't escape cellar
9:08 p.m.

For the benefit of anyone else reading this:
Were the dogs off leash? How were the dogs allowed to come into contact with each other? You can't just pass strangers on the sidewalk if you're both walking dogs. If the dog isn't showing its handlers proper respect, then the minimum separation must increase to account for the unpredictability. It's a big city, and it takes all kinds, so you must be prepared to deal with bad dog/owner occasionally.

— On the neighbor message Attacked by pitbull on 4/14/11
8:57 p.m.

Dzt: I'm not the best teacher for this lesson. You'll have to corner someone from NOLA and ask them to point someone out who's got a southern sashay. Blues Fest and Jazz Fest are coming up soon. Odds are better there to spot them in the wild.

— On the neighbor message Pros and Cons of Living in Albany Park
4:19 p.m.

IMO, you can often distinguish between people from Chicago or other northern cities and people not long from southern cities like NOLA, just by the way they walk: especially women. I'm going to tell you that you'll probably miss the gentler southern graces. I hear a lot about that :)

— On the neighbor message Pros and Cons of Living in Albany Park
4:02 p.m.

Ashton, a close friend of mine, who lives near Lincoln and Western, is also from New Orleans. He grew up in rough neighborhoods of Chicago, but lived and worked in NOLA for a long time as an adult. He's nostalgic quite often, but from my impression of his (many) stories, your instincts from New Orleans may be more sensitive than necessary because Chicago ruffians tend to be more intense. We think it's the cold winters.

There's nowhere in the area (so far) that's bad enough to put you in jeopardy just for wearing the wrong colors. It could be a contributing factor, but IMO you'd have to be making some other mistakes for your clothes to be a deciding factor. I think you'll be OK, and FWIW, the side streets are also where the oases of quaint neighborhood civilization are.

— On the neighbor message Pros and Cons of Living in Albany Park
2:51 p.m.

Pros: relatively good access to public transportation (Brown Line, Blue Line, Buses), ethnically diverse population, variety of local business serving said variety of residents. Housing is relatively cheap. It's a good place to enjoy Chicago's cosmopolitan experience.

Cons: Ethnic diversity takes its toll on local schools' test scores. YMMV. What a lot of people like about "real" neighborhoods (as opposed to gentrified neighborhoods) can be unnerving "grit" to others. It's going to take some getting used to for most people accustomed to Aurora. I don't want to make you think it's unsafe, but full urban situational awareness is required in Albany Park. There have been a LOT of foreclosures in Albany Park in the wake of the housing crash. Some blocks have been decimated.

I always urge people, even city dwellers, to walk the blocks. You can get so much from research and talking to people, but then you come to a point where you just need to get a feeling for it. You can't learn the layout of the patchwork of ethnic sub-communities in an area, for example, any other way.

— On the neighbor message Pros and Cons of Living in Albany Park
8:39 a.m.

I liked this place for the beer selection, but the location, the pizza plus thai food, and the fact that other people agree and it was almost empty every time I went there makes me say meh.

— On the neighbor message Chicago Ale House
1:02 p.m.