B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Chicago-esque’ Category

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DNA Chicago Uses My Photo of Casa Aztlan Mural Without Crediting Me

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Casa Aztlan
Casa Aztlan

I realize that I did not paint Ray Patlan’s Casa Aztlan mural, but I did photograph it, and now DNA Chicago and other entities are using my photograph on their website without crediting me. The author of this article is Stephanie Lulay, who I’m sure will rectify the situation, eventually. I imagine this is just an oversight, and not malicious.

For instance, in reporting the news that Ray Patlan’s mural has been painted over, but now the original muralist is willing to come back and re-paint his work:

PILSEN — After an iconic mural was painted over in Pilsen earlier this month, the developer responsible for the change has promised to bring back the mural’s original artist to re-create it.

Workers painted over the mural that adorned the former Casa Aztlan community center facade at 1831 S. Racine Ave., a storied artwork created by artist Ray Patlan and Pilsen students more than 45 years ago. The incident sparked outrage in the neighborhood known for its public art and murals.

(click here to continue reading After Casa Aztlan Mural Painted Over, Artist Will Return To Re-create It – Pilsen – DNAinfo Chicago.)

DNA Chicago uses this photo, credited to Pilsen Allian, and Facebook/Ricardo Gamboa:

DNA Chicago uses my photo without crediting me

Notice the area in red: if you make the photos bigger, you will see a white chair in front of an area being repainted.

During the time I took this photo, and uploaded to Flickr (with Creative Commons license, albeit, “Some Rights Reserved”) I did not use a watermark. Incidents like this one are so common, I started signing all my photos.

One reason this copyright infringement sticks in my craw is that DNAInfo is owned by wealthy businessman Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, owner of the Chicago Cubs, and a noted Donald Trump supporter. If the Ricketts can afford the luxury of owning a major league sports team, you’d think they could be a little more careful with copyright.

No Corporate Welfare for The Ricketts
No Corporate Welfare for The Ricketts

Bonus: a couple more photos of the mural. I’m happy Ray Patlan is coming back to recreate this iconic artwork.

Che Guevara - Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center
Che Guevara – Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center

Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center
Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center

Written by Seth Anderson

July 1st, 2017 at 7:44 am

Posted in Chicago-esque,Photography

Tagged with ,

Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank was uploaded to Flickr

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Actually, entrance to the building where The Federal Savings Bank is located. A strange kind of bank, only on the third floor, with a building security employee that won’t let you go up unless you are a member of the bank, plus won’t allow photography in the lobby.

The FSB has been in the news lately for its Trump ties, and allegedly Russian money laundering schemes with Paul Manafort.

For instance:
Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank wouldn’t comment Tuesday on a report that New York prosecutors have subpoenaed records related to $16 million in loans the institution made to former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

chief executive, Steve Calk, was an economic adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort is under scrutiny from a special prosecutor and members of Congress for his dealings with Russian interests, part of the wider investigation into ties between Russia and members of Trump’s campaign and administration.

Federal Savings Bank made about $6.5 million in loans in January to Manafort and his wife for a Brooklyn property, documents show. That came about a month after Federal Savings lent $9.5 million to Summerbreeze, a limited liability company connected to Manafort, according to 377 Union, a website run by two New York lawyers that is named for the address of the Manafort property in Brooklyn.

The combined $16 million in loans to one borrower represents nearly a quarter of the small bank’s loan portfolio and approaches the level at which regulators would start to think about imposing limits on lending to one customer.

more:
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I took Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank on May 18, 2017 at 10:02AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on July 21, 2017 at 10:06AM

Written by eggplant

May 21st, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Chicago is One of The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling

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USPS Blocking Bike Lane - Washington
USPS Blocking Bike Lane – Washington.

I’m skeptical of these sorts of rankings, especially from magazines I’m not familiar with, that said, Mayor Emanuel does seem to be interested in expanding the number of bike commuters. Too bad the Chicago Police don’t enforce parking violations in the bike lanes, and too bad the city cannot seem to afford to maintain these bike lanes once they are created. I’ve nearly died from both idiots parked in bike lanes (not so much in the photo above, that was more of an irritation), and from plummeting into pot holes the size of a petite pond. What would be cool is if certain streets had zero cars and buses, and only bikes and pedestrians were allowed to use it. Oh well, maybe if I moved to Denmark…

In April, shortly after his re-election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Chicago would build 50 miles of bikeways—many of them physically separated from motor vehicles—over the next three years. Such proclamations can come easily (and cheaply) to the lips of politicians, but during his first term in 2015, Emanuel made good on a promise to build 100 miles of buffered and protected bike lanes. “Those initial 100 miles of bike lanes cost just $12 million,” says Jim Merrell, advocacy director for the Active Transportation Alliance. “That highlights the cost effectiveness of transformative transportation projects like these.”

When its protected bike lanes are completed in spring 2017 in conjunction with its Loop Link transit project, Chicago will become the first major U.S. city with a downtown network of protected bike lanes—a major boost to the nation’s second-largest bike share system, Divvy. Further, many of Chicago’s existing bollard-protected bike lanes are currently being rebuilt with concrete curbs. This includes the state-owned Clybourn Avenue, a heavily used but dangerous corridor that the city had long pressured the Illinois DOT to rebuild. “The curb protection is aesthetically pleasing, and durable in a city with intense weather,” says Merrell. Plus, the concrete barriers also send an important message: Chicago’s commitment to safe and low-stress cycling is permanent.

The city also recently unveiled a program called Divvy For Everyone, which subsidizes bike-share memberships for low-income residents. A new 35th Street bridge, spanning a tangle of rail lines, will link the traditionally African-American community of Bronzeville to the Lakefront Trail. And the Big Marsh Bike Park, a former industrial wasteland in southeastern Chicago, will open in the fall of 2016 with flow and singletrack mountain bike trails, pump tracks, and a cyclocross course.

(click here to continue reading The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling.)

More bikes is more better…

Windy City Hard War
Windy City Hard War

Don't Care About Your Fame
Don’t Care About Your Fame

Falter At The Sight
Falter At The Sight

Never Ending Chant of Construction
Never Ending Chant of Construction

Afternoon Bike Ride
Afternoon Bike Ride

Voting doesn't work
Voting doesn’t work

Divvy and a Red Ball
Divvy and a Red Ball

Wells Street Bike Lane
Wells Street Bike Lane

Written by Seth Anderson

September 19th, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque,government

Tagged with ,

Darling Lauretta Duerrstein is dead

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Our Darling Lauretta
Our Darling Lauretta

I was randomly browsing my undeveloped photos, as I frequently do, and ran across a photo I shot at the Saint Boniface Catholic Cemetery a few months ago.1 Googling the name of “Lauretta Duerrstein” to make sure I was spelling it correctly, ran into this essay written by Julia Crowe, from 1990, that begins:

Darling Lauretta Duerrstein is dead. She died before her eighth birthday. Nearly a hundred years later I sat on her grave trying to sketch her stony likeness. She holds a headless dove on her left arm, while her right hand rests on a petrified stump. A bonnet and flowers lie strewn at her dainty stone boots. Her eyes stare beyond the shadows that shift across her long hair.

As the city’s past is torn down and paved over, I can still find remnants of its history in the cemeteries. But my pencil is too slow to trace the wind-worn inscriptions of immigrant names before they recede into the stone. I sat in the scratchy grass not knowing where to begin my drawing.

(click here to continue reading Cemetary Boy | Our Town | Chicago Reader.)

When I visited the cemetery, the grave had a fairly new toy monkey. Who put it there, I wonder? A relative? A sympathetic parent? 

Footnotes:
  1. January, 2016, to be precise []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 17th, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with ,

Soho House Developer Plans Another Hotel for Fulton Market

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Urban Melodrama
Urban Melodrama

And the real estate hits keep coming…

The red-hot West Loop/Fulton Market District’s hospitality scene is showing no signs of slowing down as Shapack Development is set to unveil a Morris Adjmi-designed 11-story hotel proposal at the northwest corner of Lake and Green Street. Fresh off the success of their acclaimed 40-room Soho House, the Chicago-based developer is upping the ante with a 165- to 171-room project just one block south at 832-850 W. Lake, a site currently occupied by a low-rise meat packing business and parking lot. According to a conversation with Crain’s, developer Jeff Shapack confirmed the new development will include ground floor retail and dining, parking on the second floor, office space on the third and fourth floors, and hotel rooms up to the building’s 11th level rooftop deck. The hotel operator has not been announced, but with both the nearby Ace and Nobu hotels also in the pipeline to meet the area’s surging demand for hip lodging, a boutique brand would be a good guess for Lake and Green as well.

(click here to continue reading Soho House Developer Plans Another Hotel for Fulton Market – Hotel Boom Town – Curbed Chicago.)

This location is slightly outside of the new Fulton Market Historic District boundaries, I wonder if that was planned.

Fulton Market District
Fulton Market District

Written by Seth Anderson

February 1st, 2016 at 8:08 am

Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio

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City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle
City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle, recording civilians when they want to.

Police who intentionally skirt civilian oversight by destroying or disabling their dashcams should be fired, plain and simple. Or at least severely reprimanded. The police need to come back to being part of society, not standing alone from it, without accountability. Serve and protect used to be the motto, but destroying evidence of police actions only serves to protect the police themselves.

Why are so many police dashcam videos silent?

Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.

Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”

A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.

Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”

Between Sept. 1, 2014, and July 16, 2015, maintenance technicians assigned to troubleshoot and repair dashcam systems reported 90 incidents where no microphones were found in squad cars, according to police logs.

Another 13 inspections during that period turned up only one microphone in squad cars that were supposed to be equipped with two audio recording devices, according to the logs.

On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were “intentionally defeated” by police personnel, the records show.

(click here to continue reading Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio, Records Show – Archer Heights – DNAinfo.com Chicago.)

An important story, and you should read it all…

Written by Seth Anderson

January 29th, 2016 at 11:37 am

Posted in Chicago-esque,crime

Tagged with ,

After 36 years, Neo leaves a changing Lincoln Park

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Smoke Break in the Neo Alley
Smoke Break in the Neo Alley.

Sasha Geffen interviews Callin Fortis about the closing of Neo.

When Callin Fortis took over Neo in 1982, Lincoln Park had no Gaps, no pet boutiques, and no day cares. It was a nightlife hub, with cheap rents and 4 AM bars and 24-hour diners—”like New York,” says Fortis. His own nightclub, one of the last of its generation in the area, is now sandwiched between a preschool and an Urban Outfitters in an alley on Clark Street, just south of Fullerton Avenue, less than a mile west of the Lincoln Park Zoo. Neo had been open for just two years when Fortis moved in, and at the end of July, it will close its doors after 36 years in operation. The preschool that occupies the storefront of the same building will move into the space that has served as a late-night hangout for Chicago’s misfits since 1979. “The neighborhood has changed dramatically,” says Fortis over the phone from Miami, where he now lives. “Lincoln Park was still residential, but it was much hipper than it is now. It was still filled with art and cool stuff. Now, it’s not. Urban Outfitters is still there. That’s probably the coolest thing there is.”

Fortis and the owner of the building where Neo is housed, John Crombie, recently failed to come to an agreement on a new lease for the space, forcing the club to relocate. Currently, no new venue has been pinned down, although Fortis says he’s had offers come in from across the city, and that he’s eyeing a space in Wicker Park.

(click here to continue reading After 36 years, Neo leaves a changing Lincoln Park | Bleader | Chicago Reader.)

NEO - shutting down

I never claimed Neo as one of my spots, but I have been inside a few times, and always enjoyed myself.

Neo’s Neon

Written by Seth Anderson

July 28th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Chicago to Tax Streaming Providers

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Netflix Streaming July 2015

Wow, 9% is rather a large increase to my Netflix bill. I wonder if databases like Hoover’s  will be affected? Seems like they might. 

Chicagoans who pay to stream movies and music from services like Netflix and Spotify will now need to fork over an additional 9 percent for the privilege, as will Chicago businesses that pay to use everything from real estate to court databases online, under a decision the city quietly made recently to expand its taxing power.

The added costs are the result of a ruling by the city Finance Department that extends the reach of ordinances governing two types of taxes — the city amusement tax and the city personal property lease transaction tax — to cover many products streamed to businesses and residents alike.

According to the Finance Department changes, the 9 percent amusement tax, which has mostly been tacked onto tickets to concerts and sporting events, also now applies to paid subscriptions for streamed digital music and to streamed rental movies or TV shows, and “for the privilege of participating in games, on-line or otherwise,” if the person paying to receive the data is in Chicago.

 …

The personal property lease transaction tax expansion also applies to professional services, like electronic property databases real estate agents use, court case databases lawyers rely on and various financial information networks.

 

(click here to continue reading City extends taxing power to online movies, music, more – Chicago Tribune.)

Could I get around this by using a VPN? 

Written by Seth Anderson

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:10 am

Posted in Business,Chicago-esque

Tagged with , ,

Amtrak Plans Long Overdue Union Station Makeover

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Reign In Your Instincts
Reign In Your Instincts…

I’m pleased to note that Union Station is getting a rehab, a long over-due rehab, opening up hidden rooms and so forth. Can’t wait – Union Station is such an iconic Chicago building, yet it has been seemingly neglected for a while, probably due to the inexplicable animosity the GOP has towards Amtrak and passenger trains in general.

John Hilkevitch reports:

Amtrak is betting millions of dollars to transform Union Station into an entertainment and tourist destination, complete with restaurants and outdoor cafes, retail, a hotel and even a grocery store, Getting Around has learned.

Amtrak wants to open up thousands of square feet of space long closed to the public, literally throwing open the doors to the 90-year-old building in a bid to return the landmark station to its heyday in the 1940s and ’50s.

Hidden deep inside Union Station are palatial rooms with 33-foot-high ceilings and assorted alcoves that have been mothballed for decades. During the golden age of passenger rail, those spaces were filled with ritzy restaurants, coffee shops (including the fabled Harvey House), a dance hall, tailoring shops specializing in custom suits, law offices and more.

Behind locked doors is the former Women’s Waiting Room, adorned with murals dating to the station’s opening in 1925, a period when female passengers would take refuge from the rough-and-tumble of traveling alone and freshen up during a stopover in Chicago by using pay showers.

Other hidden spaces, tucked behind the station’s marble walls and ornamental iron bars that cover part of the building’s facade, collect dust. Some of Union Station’s doors fronting Canal Street, potential portals to outdoor cafes, haven’t been cracked open in years, officials said.

Sanders said a well-known high-end grocery chain has expressed interest in opening a food emporium at Union Station. Sanders also said he envisions a hotel on the station’s second floor, with the hotel entrance and marquee on Adams Street between Canal and Clinton streets. He’s already dreaming about reinstalling canopies that once gracefully draped the entrances to Union Station, he said.

(click here to continue reading Amtrak plans Union Station makeover – Chicago Tribune.)

Ready to Take That Night Train To Memphis
Ready to Take That Night Train To Memphis

Either Whole Foods or Mariano’s, I’d guess, even though both have stores nearby on Halsted. 

Got the Wine Country Blues
Got the Wine Country Blues

And I should pop over, and snap a few photos of the staircase in its current worn condition, just for posterity.

In the meantime, the Canal Street entrances will be closed for more than two months starting around July 15, when work is scheduled to begin to replace both sets of the worn marble steps connecting the Great Hall to the station’s main entrance on Canal, where CTA buses stop. The combination deli and bar under the steps has closed in preparation for the work.

The friction from countless pairs of shoes over the years has effectively sanded down the marble, creating indentations on the treads of the steps, which display the most wear and tear near the brass railings.

The grand staircases are famous in their own right, having been filmed and photographed repeatedly in images seen around the world. There’s a dramatic scene in the 1987 film “The Untouchables” where Kevin Costner, playing mob crime fighter Eliot Ness, exchanges gunfire with Al Capone’s gang while a runaway baby carriage rolls bump by bump down the marble stairs.

New marble for the steps was recently cut out of the same quarries near Rome where 100 years ago the marble for the original Union Station steps was mined, Sanders said.

300 S Jackson - Ilford Delta 100
300 S Jackson – Ilford Delta 100

Written by Seth Anderson

June 29th, 2015 at 7:47 am

N.F.L. Needed A Handout from Chicago To Host Draft Town

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The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game
The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game…

I am not a fan of football – I couldn’t name five starters on any NFL team – but while reading about the Draft Town event that muddled up downtown traffic all weekend

When N.F.L. executives chose last year to move the draft for the first time in a half-century, the decision was based as much on issues in New York as opportunities elsewhere.

But the three-day event in Chicago went so well that the league now faces a new choice: whether to return here next year or move the draft to yet another city.

On Thursday and Friday, 110,000 people visited Draft Town, the free fan festival in Grant Park across the street from the theater where the draft was held. On Saturday, larger crowds were expected when selections in the fourth through seventh rounds were announced at the festival. The crowds far exceeded the league’s original estimates.

Many fans who came to Chicago were from N.F.L. cities within driving distance — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis — giving the draft a Midwestern feel.

 “How could we not come?” said Alex Paszkowski, a Packers fan who drove 90 minutes from Milwaukee with two friends.

(click here to continue reading City for Next Year’s Draft? N.F.L. Could Have Its Pick – NYTimes.com.)

Rahm Has A Message For You
Rahm Has A Message For You…

I read this tidbit:

The league attracted sponsors for its fan festival and persuaded the host city, Chicago, to contribute. The success of the event this year could give the N.F.L. leverage in negotiations with other cities.

“When you negotiate with the N.F.L., you usually lose,” said Allen Sanderson, an economist at the University of Chicago, who added that while the draft helped market the city, it did not provide many economic benefits.

Wait, does that mean the City of Chicago got hosed by the NFL? One of the largest corporations on the planet – a nonprofit corporation even, for some crazy reason – needed a cash-strapped city’s funds to host an event that benefits only the NFL? /shakes fist at Rahm Emanuel  Mayor 1%

Written by Seth Anderson

May 4th, 2015 at 7:38 am

Monday March Commute was uploaded to Flickr

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Chicago

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/rHEhUf

I took Monday March Commute on March 23, 2015 at 08:46AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on March 23, 2015 at 02:52PM

Up to 5 inches of snow to drop during rush hour – Chicago Tribune: “Spin-outs and near white-out conditions slowed the morning rush Monday as a burst of spring snow hit just in time for the commute and could bring as much as 5 inches of snow in some parts of the Chicago area.”

(Via.)

Written by eggplant

March 23rd, 2015 at 9:08 am

Rahm Emanuel’s sins against the progressive movement

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Best Buddies
Rauner and Rahm, Best Buddies…

Progressives do have a history with Mayor 1%, Rahm Emanuel, and it isn’t a pleasant one. Sadly, it does look like Rahm-bo might squeak out a win over Chuy Garcia, but the special runoff election isn’t until April 7th, so there is still hope.

Digby writes, in part, a bit of the history:

Way back in the day (a decade ago) when the Progressive Netroots were just starting to organize, the first “scalp” any of the left leaning movement activists took was that of a Democratic hack from Maryland named Al Wynn when they backed a progressive challenger by  the name of Donna Edwards. Edwards defeated Wynn in 2008 and is now running to replace Senator Barbara Mikulski who recently announced her retirement. In each congressional cycle Netroots progressives have fought a number of hard-fought primaries, losing more often than they won (just like the Tea Party) but slowly managing to make the House of Representatives a bit more progressive than it was before. Congressional representatives like Matt Cartwright, Beto O’Rourke and Senators like Jon Tester were backed strongly by the grassroots of the party and managed to unseat incumbents. Nobody in the beltway noticed or cared, of course. (Progressives always forget to order their tri-corner hats and Betsy Ross wigs…)

But over time, it’s had an effect and not just because of the “scalps” they took, but because all of those hard fought races, whether won or lost, showed the incumbents that there was a restive group of activists out there who could challenge the status quo.  And aside from primary challenges, progressives in congress from Keith Ellison and Alan Grayson in the House to Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin in the Senate were enthusiastically supported by Netroots groups like, Move On, DFA, PCCC and Blue America (disclosure: I am a principal in that group) among a number of others, a support which translates into small donor involvement, campaign volunteering and strategic advice as well as engaged in grassroots activism for progressive congressional initiatives.  It’s made a difference.  The House and Senate today have progressive wings that are active and vocal in a way they did not a decade ago.

Rahm Has A Message For You
Rahm Has A Message For You…

Back in 2006 when all this really started to come together there was one Democrat who quickly determined that this nascent progressive movement was a major threat to the status quo. His name was Rahm Emanuel who was, at the time, an Illinois congressman in charge of candidate recruitment for the congressional Democrats. If there’s anyone who can take credit for being the catalyst for this long term Netroots commitment to elect progressives to congress it is him. His crude dismissal of grassroots concerns was blatant. His contempt for anyone who disagreed with his centrist Blue Dog/New Democrat philosophy was palpable.  While his wholehearted support for big money interests was seen as the ultimate in strategic brilliance by the beltway elites, it repelled Democratic activists everywhere.

Despite the fact that lame-duck George W. Bush and the war in Iraq were so unpopular that virtually anyone who could draw a breath who had a D after his or her name could have won, the conventional wisdom said that Emanuel’s DCCC win in the off year election of 2006 was a validation of his political savvy. (In case you were wondering, Emanuel wasn’t elected to congress until after the Iraq war resolution but was on record supporting it, saying that the U.S. needed a “muscular projection of force” there. You can let the shrinks sort out just what that language says about him …)

When the newly elected President Obama tapped him as chief-of-staff, you could hear progressives screaming “nooooooo” across the land. And when he departed to run for mayor of Chicago, the collective sigh of progressive relief (everywhere but Chicago) was just as audible. He is, in other words, the symbol of everything progressives are trying to change about the Democratic Party.

And right now, in Chicago, a progressive is giving him the personal challenge of his political lifetime. Political observers were stunned last month when a longtime Illinois politician by the name of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia forced Emanuel into a runoff for his second term as mayor. Perhaps stunned isn’t really the right word. Apoplectic is more apt. After all, Emanuel has a seemingly unending supply of money with which he tried to buy off every bit of institutional support and his network of elite friendships goes all the way up to the White House. But it turns out that his arrogance and corruption may be too much even for a city that is anything but starry-eyed about such things.

(click here to continue reading Why the left hates this man: Rahm Emanuel’s sins against the progressive movement – Salon.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 23rd, 2015 at 8:47 am

Wabash Avenue Facelift planned

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Spent Many An Anxious Hour
Spent Many An Anxious Hour…

In general, I’m supportive of some civic attention being paid to Wabash Avenue, but I will be sad to lose the dramatic shadows underneath it when the lighting gets upgraded.

Wabash Avenue, critically located between the tourist attractions on Michigan Avenue and shopping on State Street, is poised to undergo a significant makeover.

After more than a year spent collecting input and brainstorming, the Chicago Loop Alliance, the organization that promotes the downtown business district, has issued final recommendations for transforming the iconic corridor under the “L” tracks into a more inviting street.

The 24 recommendations range from the immediate, such as removing graffiti and litter, to the long-term, which includes installing a kinetic lighting installation running the length of the tracks.

Wabash, given its location under the tracks, tends to be dark and loud, often gathering litter and flocks of pigeons. It has higher vacancy rates, lower commercial and residential rents and lower pedestrian and vehicle counts than neighboring streets. Twelve of the projects to improve the street should start within the next two years, nine of them in two to five years and three of them five to 10 years from now, according to a timeline in the final report.

(click here to continue reading Group lays out its plans to spiff up Chicago’s Wabash Avenue – Chicago Tribune.)

Forgotten Moment - Number 382
Forgotten Moment – Number 382

While Your Train Gently Squeaks
While Your Train Gently Squeaks

Analysis and Consultation
Analysis and Consultation

Some Will Come and Some Will Surely Go
Some Will Come and Some Will Surely Go

You just want to be on the side that's winning
You just want to be on the side that’s winning

Written by Seth Anderson

March 2nd, 2015 at 10:09 am

CPD Sued to Force Release Proof of Cell Phone Spying

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 City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle

City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle, probably with a Stingray device (taken at a Haymarket Riot Demonstration).

Remember those quaint old days when the United States had a Bill of Rights? And civil liberties were commonly respected?1

Attorney Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy filed a suit against the Chicago Police Department last week. 

The Chicago Police Department was sued Friday to force release of evidence that the department has purchased equipment that allows them to covertly scan people’s cell phones for detecting telephone numbers dialed and texted, tracking their location, and cell phones’ unique device identification numbers.

Cell site simulators, also known as IMSI catchers or stingrays, masquerade as cellphone towers to obtain data secretly from nearby cellular user devices.

“Many believe that Chicago Police have already deployed this kind of technology at protests,” said Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, which represents Chicago resident Freddy Martinez in the suit.  “Local police departments in other states have widely used the technology, and have kept it secret, even to the courts, and even when it has been used to obtain evidence in a criminal case.”

“If the Chicago Police aren’t running afoul of the Fourth Amendment, they should have nothing to hide,” said Mr. Martinez. “This information will allow the public to learn the extent to which Chicago Police have this technology, and once we have that, we’ll pursue more information about how it is being used and whether Chicago Police are routinely using it to violate the Constitution.”

Mr. Martinez filed a FOIA request with Chicago Police looking for records documenting the purchase of this equipment.  “FOIA and the Illinois Constitution are clear that all records related to the use of public funds are subject to disclosure,” said Topic, “yet Chicago Police have stonewalled Mr. Martinez for months.”

(click here to continue reading CPD Sued to Force Release Proof of Cell Phone Spying | Blog | Loevy & Loevy.)

and as Mr. Martinez says:

“Should federal, state, or local law enforcement be allowed to trick your cell phone into sharing information like your location, the numbers your called or texted, or your unique device ID without your consent?” asked Martinez. “Should they be deploying this kind of technology in secret? We don’t think so.”

Copies of the suit, No. 2014CH09565, are available here: Freddie Martinez v. Chicago Police Department.

Officer with Blackberry
CPD Officer with Blackberry

From the suit, some additional background material, some of which we’ve blogged about, some not.

Read the rest of this entry »

Footnotes:
  1. as long as you were a white property owner []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 9th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Rosemont passes law to prevent release of Garth Brooks contract

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Rich Play - Poor Pay - Chicago Tribune
Rich Play – Poor Pay – Chicago Tribune.

There aren’t many times when we align unequivocally with the Chicago Tribune, but this is one such time. What the hell is the Village of Rosemont doing?1 Corporate welfare at its most transparent, and then trying to cover up their tracks? They are spending taxpayer money, right? So why shouldn’t the taxpayers know the details?

Whatever Rosemont had to do, it doesn’t want the public to know about it.

The village recently passed an ordinance to keep secret the financial details related to Brooks’ record-breaking concert run — an unusual move that came after the Chicago Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to his September shows at Allstate Arena.

The ordinance gives the mayor and other officials the power to withhold documents if they believe the release would put village-owned entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. In addition to the arena, the town owns and operates the Rosemont Theatre and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Village officials declined comment on the new law this week, citing the ongoing dispute with the Tribune over the Brooks documents.

The Tribune requested the records on Sept. 11, while Brooks was in the middle of his 11-concert run at Allstate Arena. Brooks, who had not toured in 16 years, sold 183,535 tickets for his Rosemont shows and broke the North American ticket sales record for a single city with an estimated gross of $12 million.

None of those entities, however, rely upon concert and convention revenues as much as Rosemont, which owes more than $400 million on taxpayer-backed loans taken out primarily to build an entertainment district. In 2013, the arena, theater and convention center together generated nearly $38 million in operating revenue and attracted more than 1.9 million visitors, according to village officials.

(click here to continue reading Rosemont passes law to prevent release of Garth Brooks contract – Chicago Tribune.)

To be clear, we are befuddled why such a profitable touring artist would need financial incentives from the public: the government isn’t getting a percentage of the gate. In fact, just the opposite – Rosemont gave a share of concessions, parking, and the like to the promoter. Wacky, just wacky. Smells like corruption to me.

Footnotes:
  1. a suburb of Chicago, five minutes from O’Hare Airport []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 5th, 2014 at 11:04 am