Natarus' Greatest Hits (and misses)

| 1 Comment

Funny rundown of some ordinances proposed by our Alderman, Burt Natarus over the years. If only he would be as aggressive towards smells as he is about sounds, maybe the over-powering odor of Blommers Chocolate could be regulated. However, when D met Natarus a year or so ago, in his office, about the Haymarket plans, Natarus was adamant that Blommers was going to stay.

Natarus as a Witch

For instance, in 2004, [Natarus] was able to get passed an ordinance enjoining panhandlers from too aggressively pursuing prospective donors. The fine for transgressions is $100. How an offender might pay the fine was not addressed. In 1991, he asked to strengthen the ordinance providing that people whose car sound systems could be heard 75 feet away pay $50 for each thumping instance. Natarus also proposed towing any car whose alarm system sounded for more than 10 min-utes.

He is the Nemesis of Noise. In 1972 the alderman introduced a proposal to prevent private garbage services from operating before 7 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m. Another, similar proposal would ban jackhammers before 8 in the morning (9 on weekends) near residences and hospitals. In 1984 he wanted to restrict when and where street musicians could perform. He has supported the outlawing of unmuffled motorcycles. Another proposal would require boombox owners to wear headphones while listening in public.

At a council hearing on car stereo noise, an auto-sound industry spokesperson spoke in opposition to the possible legislation, saying his organization was stressing “safe sound” with the motto: “Don't let the boom be your doom.”

Another ongoing sore spot has been carriage horses. ...


They block traffic, Natarus notes; they make deposits; they whinny. In 1986 Natarus asked that the number of carriage licenses be reduced from 60 to 40 and that a study might be conducted to see if muzzles should be required to prevent neighing.

“The neighing of horses in a city where people are not used to such noises can be more piercing than a car alarm,” he told the council. He then turned to Barton Malin, management consultant for Chicago Carriage Co., and asked, “Is there any way the driver can lean over and say, `Shush,' to the horses?”

Malin responded, “I don`t know how you can regulate neighing, but only five of my horses neigh and that is once a night.”

On the other hoof, in 1972, Natarus asked the Park District to build a stable in Lincoln Park to return horseback riding to that park.

Most famously, Natarus wanted to put diapers on Loop horses, so as not to soil the city streets.

Newspaper boxes, he said, should be limited in size to 26 inches wide and 50 inches tall and prohibited from carrying advertising. He has also proposed an ordinance to prohibit the “reckless operation of skates and skateboards on the streets and sidewalks” -- “rollerbladers and skateboarders have knocked people down,” he said.

He wanted something done about the rudeness of film crews working in his ward, wanted a repeal of right turn on red, asked that car valets be city regulated, demanded that bicycle messengers be licensed, insured and labeled, calling them “hot-rodders.”

In 1977, he proposed that, by law, dog walkers carry “a scooping device or other means.”

With mixed emotions, he called for mobile food trucks to be kept out of downtown, noting morosely that the truck parked near the traffic court building supplied his favorite cheese sandwich.

`They won't see the stars'

When constituents complained that a restoration of the beacon atop the Palmolive building would flash an 18,000-watt light into their condos and co-ops, he spoke passionately against it. “People won't see the moon,” he said, “They won't see the stars.”

In 1977, he called for strip joints to post prices for “all services rendered.”

He called for an end to the annual Air and Water Show, and, in 1980, asked that the Taste of Chicago leave North Michigan Avenue for another venue. (It did, and, after a stint at Navy Pier, the Taste has settled into Grant Park.)

In 1992, he tried to abolish parasailing along the city's lakefront. Why? “Parasailing is a very dangerous sport,” Natarus said back then. “Most parasail activities are engaged in Southern climates where you have a lot of hot air, that provides a cushion for parasailing.

”What bothers me about Lake Michigan is that it is a very windy area, gusts of winds at very high speeds; it's very unpredictable. By abolishing it, you will probably save lives.“

For all his agitation, Natarus often gets no respect. On the official City of Chicago Web site, Burton F. appears in a list of council members as Burton E. In a Tribune article about a now-gone deli on North Wells, it was noted that a sandwich had been named for Natarus -- ”remarkably,“ the writer said, ”not open faced tongue.“

For some of the snickers, the alderman has only himself to blame. He has given constituents bobblehead dolls in his likeness. He also handed them out in the council on Dec. 4, 2002, Burt Natarus Day. The mayor had the councilmen vote on the proclamation by holding the dolls aloft and bobbling their heads in approval.

Update 2/28/2007: Natarus lost the election!! We are happy.

Update: 5/13/2007 - Burt Natarus has one last gasp of attention seeking, this time at the expense of Corri Fetman and her Viagra Triangle billboard

1 Comment

This is an entertaining read.

I heard that he fainted while giving a passionate speech against the war in Iraq.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 17, 2005 9:55 AM.

B12 graphic disk display was the previous entry in this blog.

Greasemonkey rules is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37