Saturday, March 11, 2006

things that

make you go
(click on the image for a larger view...)
from the
Plant a Seed dept.......

Evanston is Ahead of the "GreenCurve"
City Voted Cleanest and Most Walkable in USA,1,1331127.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed
a blog we like......
I Hate My Developer
Judge Denies Claypool Supporters Request
on Early Voting Sites,1,1383023.story
More suburbs to open on weekend for early voting
Pioneer Press
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Alderman Moore,

I am writing this letter in response to the fact that at last night's meeting at Loyola sponsored by you and Alderman O'Connor, many people in the audience voiced concerns regarding lack of notification of the 4 meetings that were held to get community input on the proposed Sheridan/Devon TIF. Your response was that there was proper notification given, which didn't seem to satisfy those who had not been notified. Perhaps my experience yesterday might shed some light on the issue.

At 3 PM yesterday, I found out from a friend's e-mail, that a meeting at Loyola was taking place at 7PM. Since I had not been aware that such a meeting was planned, I thought it would be wise to check your website for official information. Your website contained no information regarding this important meeting, which was surprising, so I called your office. I was transferred to a woman who verified the meeting at 7PM, at 5400 North Kenmore, in room 142 of the Life Sciences Building. When asked the nature of the meeting, this woman told me it was a general discussion about TIFS and SSA's. When asked why no notice was posted on the 49th ward website, I was told that notification was given by flyer distribution. When asked why I had not seen any fliers, she responded nonchalantly that the bad weather over the weekend probably washed them away.Assuming the information I was given by a staff member in your office was correct, I felt confident posting this "official" information on the blog so that other people who might be interested could attend. I found out by a commenter on the blog that the address was wrong. I found out when I finally got there, that the agenda for the meeting was entirely different than what I was told by your staff member. This was a specific meeting regarding the Devon/Sheridan TIF and not a general discussion about TIFS and SSA's.

I realized then why I had not seen a flyer. I live NOH and this meeting was about a TIF in a different part of the 49th ward. So, consistent with your approach in the past, fliers were not posted in my part of town. I guess the logic assumes that what happens in another part of Rogers Park should not concern me simply because I don't live there.

If my experience is any indication, the people who complained last night about lack of proper notification were not exaggerating and in fact were right. The gap between your stated goal of "community notification" and the reality of how that "notification" is delivered to your constituency, leaves much to be desired. The importance of this issue should be reflected in your response and to this listener, your unapologetic, weary response was not indicative of your concern.

Reliable community notification is vital if we are to attend scheduled meetings and understand the issues that affect our neighborhoods. I do not think the current method of flyer distribution is the most efficient or most reliable method to achieve this goal. Inclement weather cannot be the deciding factor in whether someone receives an important notice or not.

Relying on fliers in caldendar year 2006, is like sending out the town crier for a one time announcement. There are just too many variables involved with reliance only on flyer distribution and there are truly no assurances that all interested parties will actually be notified.

Allow me to make some constructive suggestions. Someone in your office had the wisdom to set up a website. I think the website should be the primary method of notification and the fliers as a supplementation to that effort. Almost all of us are online now and using the two methods would guarantee that most people would have a fair chance of being properly notified. There would also be an archived history of notices that could be used as verification of notice given. Fliers don't allow that needed verification.

Posting notices on the website would simultaneously discontinue the questionable practice of notice given only to "affected" neighborhoods. We are all affected by what happens in our ward no matter what particular street we live on. People should be given the option of attending meetings that are not specific to neighborhood. What would be the harm in allowing that? Lastly, if your staff cannot be counted on to recite certain details properly, as happened yesterday, the website is always a perfect fallback option for callers to be referred to.

Thank you for the opportunity to make some suggestions and I hope you seriously consider their implementation. I am posting this letter because it is an important issue that affects us all. I would like a response that I can post, so that our community is reassured of your commitment to this important issue.

Gary Fuschi

January 19, 2006

Alderman Moore's Promise......

Alderman Moore's response arrived in my email @4:06 yesterday. My apologies for the delay. I want to thank Alderman Moore for his quick response.


Thank you for your e-mail. Now that I have a web site up and running (, notices of major public meetings that I sponsor are posted on the site. I intended to have the notice of last night's meeting posted on the web site, but unfortunately that didn't happen due to a miscommunication with the volunteer who maintains my site. I apologize for that oversight.

The oversight is mitigated, however, by the fact that last night's meeting was primarily informational with no major decisions on tap.

As I indicated last night, the meeting was held at the request of RPCAN, and they agreed to undertake primary responsibility for publicizing the meeting. Nonetheless, I made sure that my office arranged for volunteers to flier the portion of the 49th Ward most affected by the TIF (Farwell south to Granville). We also notified all the major community organizations. Given that well over a hundred people have attended each of the previous TIF meetings, I believe notice for those meetings was sufficient.

Few TIFs in the City of Chicago, with the possible exception of the Wilson Yard TIF, have been the subject of more community participation and process. None of the meetings that I have sponsored and none of the community process that Alderman O'Connor, DevCorp and I have put into place are required by law. We do it because we believe community residents have a right to participate in the decisions made about the future of the neighborhood. That a minority of people may disagree with the results of those decisions, does not mean that the process was somehow flawed.

Thanks again for your e-mail. I appreciate your suggestions on how I can make the process more inclusive, and I assure you I will be more vigilant about posting notices of future meetings on my web site.

Alderman Joe Moore
things that make you go

Is Your
U.S. Representative
on the

Ennui Cafe Now Offers Free Wi-fi

Last Monday (March 13) I reprinted a story here from the Trib about various Chicago cafés and restaurants that offer Wi-fi to customers. The story led off by discussing the fact that Rogers Park's own Ennui (Sheridan and Lunt) doesn't offer it. (Dang!)

Well, evidently all that has changed now. A great big new sign in the window announces that Ennui now has free Wi-fi...Thanks, Ennui!

Now folks, remember, don't be "weaseley" - if you are going to use their Wi-fi, at least go in and buy a tasty beverage to go with it...


Geekcorps: A Peace Corps for Techies

How do you bring the Internet to countries like Mali, where more than 70 percent of the population is illiterate and the telecommunications infrastructure barely exists?

You use the radio.

Equipped with dust-resistant PCs, digital audio broadcasting equipment and antennas assembled from salvage, local radio broadcasters are emerging as ersatz Internet service providers in the West African nation, thanks in part to a program initiated by Geekcorps a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultivating high-tech skills and businesses in the world's emerging nations.

If a villager wants to get a note to a friend in another part of the country, he or she comes to the radio station and dictates an e-mail to the DJ, who then sends the message off to another station closer to the recipient's location. The DJ who receives the e-mail then issues a broadcast: Muhammad Kanoute, come to the station and I will read your e-mail message to you.

Previously, sending a message could take several days of jarring bus rides, according to Wayan Vota, director of Geekcorps, which is a division of the independent non-profit International Executive Service Corps. The stations also garner revenue by selling ads and charging for the e-mail service. Many also have a service where they will broadcast live from weddings.

"There is no New York Times wedding section, but (residents) still want to be known in their community," Vota said. "The underlying goal with every implementation is: how can you make sure this is a money maker for the community?" A station created by the organization in the village of Boureem Inaly makes $50 a month after expenses. That's enough to hire an additional person at the station.

While a host of multinational corporations and academics have announced plans to bring technology to the emerging world, Geekcorps has been on the ground in West Africa and other regions for more than five years, and its presence could potentially play a pivotal role in bridging the technological divide.

Some of the technology behind the energy-efficient, ruggedized PCs from Via Technologies for emerging markets, after all, comes partly from a PC concocted by the organization.

Although the organization would love it if volunteers could stay four months or longer, one-month stints are common. Geekcorps pays the travel expenses and housing and tries to make it easy for family members to come along.

"The people we are targeting to volunteer are employed, might be mid-career and have families," Vota said. The median age is 32.

The organization will make a recruiting pitch in San Francisco on March 2 at Jillian's Billiards in the Sony Metreon entertainment complex. Currently, according to the Geekcorps Web site, the organization needs experts in Knowledge Management, object-oriented programming, C++, and Linux for spring and summer 2006 assignments in Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa.

Geekcorps can essentially be thought of as a Peace Corps with a focus on PCs. The organization recruits technical experts to conceive ideas for integrating technology into local economies in a self-sustaining way.

Initially, the payoff on these projects comes from the fact that certain tasks--getting information on vaccines and scheduling transportation, for example--are made easier. But over time, the idea is that technology can better help establish a middle class and, ultimately, greater social stability.

"Someone with an income and a job is the most dependable person you can find," Vota said. "He is going to be the first to ask for a level playing field."

In Ghana, for instance, Geekcorps volunteers six years ago noted that digital printing had yet to hit the country, so it brought in experts who could hook up PCs and teach locals how to use publishing software. A database for accessing crop prices and agricultural data across West Africa has also been established. Since then, Ghana has become an Internet hot spot of sorts for West Africa. Busy Internet in Accra is Africa's largest Internet cafe and has served as an incubator for five companies.

Additionally, Geekcorps helped set up Ghana's first Internet exchange in 2005. Before that, e-mails from one town to another were being routed through other countries, mostly Europe.

In Mali, the group brought over a wireless expert who disassembled Western-built antennas with locals. Through reverse-engineering, the locals and the expert figured out how to craft a cantenna out of an inner-tube valve, an old window screen and water bottles. In all, the cost came to about $1.

Once the design was complete, Geekcorps terminated the local apprenticeships. The next day one of them took the initiative and came back with a rate sheet for selling antennas to stations. The local antenna company now employs four people.

With a few minor tweaks, the current antennas--which still cost about a dollar and provide about the same performance as antennas sold in North America for around $40--could receive TV signals.

In general, locals adapt to technology quickly and in unexpected ways. In Mali, DJs at radio stations that installed PCs began to use them to answer listener questions using information found on Wikipedia or other Web sites. Digital technology also makes it easier to keep politicians publicly accountable for their promises.

During the Paris riots, Internet use kicked into full swing. One of Mali's largest exports is young men who serve as laborers in Paris. Villagers wanted to receive a continual stream of news reports, as well as to send messages to their migrant relatives.

Geekcorps also tries to work in countries where the Internet infrastructure exists, but can be exploited better. One project going on in Lebanon right now revolves around figuring out ways that local hotels can advertise and book rooms on the Web to expand tourism. In Lebanon, and many other nations, often the only hotels that book rooms through the Web are outposts of Western chains like Hyatt and are concentrated generally in the chief cities.

Another ongoing project involves creating a way for customs agents along the Kenya-Uganda border to communicate more easily and thus reduce the time it takes to ship cargo between the two.

Geekcorps kicked off in 1999 after Ethan Zuckerman, who had sold his company, Tripod, to Lycos in 1998, found himself flush with cash and lots of spare time. He began to discuss philanthropic ideas with other newly wealthy Internet entrepreneurs. Zuckerman attended the University of Ghana on a Fulbright scholarship and understood firsthand the difficulty of getting books there.

The dot-com crash sucked a lot of the enthusiasm out of the effort. By 2004, Geekcorps teamed up with the International Executive Service Corps. Funding for various projects comes from USAID, a branch of the U.S. State Department.

Recruiting and scheduling remain among the chief problems. Potential volunteers are often intrigued by the concept, but then drop out because of job circumstances or family issues. Most, though, enjoy the experience, Vota said.

"I will send you to a place," he said, "where you will have three to five apprentices emulating your keystrokes."

By Michael Kanellos, CNET Published on ZDNet News: February 28, 2006, 4:00 AM PT

we sent Mail.....
here it is.

Dear Joe-

I would like to take a moment to thank you for writing to The Department of Business Affairs and Licensing and opposing the issuance of these two licenses; thank you also to Alicia for acting promptly on your behalf in response to Kathleen Monohan's letter.

I understand that you plan to do additional research before moving ahead with this license request. Considering the community concern regarding various questionable business practices that Peter and Isaac Sargon are currently engaged in, I agree with this cautious approach. I would appreciate it if you could also keep me updated on any progress on this issue. I will post this letter, as always.

Gary Fuschi

that there is such a thing as artist friendly zoning categories in the 2004 version of Chicago Zoning Ordinance? I didn't until tonight, but then most of what I've learned about Chicago zoning up to now has come from zoning map re-design public meetings held in Rogers Park. Odd this subject never came up...or perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention...

At any rate, check out this useful website to learn more about this and many other topics of interest to artists (and others):
Chicago Artist's Resource

RP Neighbors Oppose Devon/Rockwell Project

By Angela Caputo
Pioneer Press

Most everyone agrees that there is a serious need for parking along the bustling blocks of Devon Avenue, but an emerging West Rogers Park citizens group is calling into question the $16 million development--that includes public parking--slated for the corner of Rockwell and Devon.

After waking up to the reality that a six-story, 70-foot building is about to go up on nearby blocks, neighbors were recently galvanized to form Citizens for Responsible Development, which is calling on city officials to put the breaks on the project just as the developer is preparing to break ground.

"As people see it and realize what it is, there is growing opposition," said Greg Brewer who lives in a bungalow on Rockwell a couple blocks north of Devon.
Just this month the publicly subsidized project cleared a final hurdle when it won City Council approval. Two city-owned lots are being sold to Chicago-based developer Asat Inc. for $1 and $3.5 million is being pledged toward the project from the local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, according to Planning Department documents.
In exchange for the public subsidies the garage will open up an estimated 115 additional public--but not free--parking spots, excluding the 57 spaces already there. And the project is expected to create jobs, both during the construction phase and the commercial and 30-unit condo development that is part of the project.

With increased density creeping down Rockwell as the parking garage and condos are scheduled to go up, in part, on a residential plot now home to a four-flat, Brewer said, "Any gain in parking would be insignificant compared with the impact of this massive structure in our neighborhood."

Others say they just want to take a step back and make sure the project isn't a missed opportunity to really fix the parking situation on Devon.

No doubt more parking will be a plus, West Ridge Chamber officer and businessman Sadruddin Noorani said. But considering that the city owns the property and can leverage spaces through the TIF subsidy, he thinks that the community should take a harder look at the project to make sure "that it benefits the community as well as the builder and the developer."

"We have a lot of shoppers who are coming from out of state out of town," Noorani added. "Even if we made 100 spots it would not be enough."

After years of planning and countless meetings around the site, Alderman Bernard Stone, D-50th, said, "After seven years you want to take a step back? I think we've waited too long. We're ready to put the shovel in the ground now."

As part of a planned development approved in 2004, the project has been through a series of City Council committees, including the Community Development Commission last August. While not widely advertised, notices of those meetings are posted on the city's Web site and are open to the public as an opportunity to weigh in.

"There were two opportunities at least where the public could testify," Planning Department spokeswoman Constance Buscemi said.

The city-owned parcels of land haven't changed hands yet, but with the full council approval it's all but a done deal, she added.

"What (neighbors) have got to understand," Stone said, "is that Devon Avenue is moving with the times and the times are changing."

It is that reality that that has prompted Brewer and others to start the citizens' group. Rather than let the 50th Ward become a place for unfettered development--like other area across the city that have been completely changed--Brewer said, "That's an attitude that doesn't work anymore...It needs to be done with an informed community and needs to be responsible."
Tax Victory Salavges School Programs in Skokie and Morton Grove
Parents, teachers and school administrators cheered Wednesday at news that voters in Skokie and Morton Grove had approved an increase in the school tax after a vigorous grass-roots campaign.

As a parent myself, I can't imagine how these parents are beginning to cope with the senseless and random loss of their babies. Honestly, it's hard to think about it and my heart goes out to our West Englewood neighbors in this most difficult time. But even in the midst of their personal grief, they are thinking of their neighbors and in a profound display of selfless neighborhood activism, the shooting victims mothers are urging a gang truce so that other parents might not have to endure a similar tragedy in thier families. How hard must it be to bury a child . I can't imagine that either.

It is difficult to think about, almost incomprehensible. But I'm beginning to believe that I must take a moment to acknowledge these events, as hard as it might be. I feel healthy when I am current. There is the temptation, as 24 hour a day news coverage starts to pile up in my head, to remove myself emotionally and pretend that it's not my issue simply because it didn't affect me personally. I think I'm fooling myself and I don't suffer fools gladly.

Honestly, I'm not sure we can really remove ourselves as hard as we might try. We all share a colective conciousness that that tethers us no matter what neighborhood or what country we happen to live in. As living, breathing and concious human beings it is what makes us the unique creatures that we are. I just wish we could all share more good news between us. I think we should try.

There's something that I'm learning these days as I share some good news and bad with my good friends. Whichever news it is, it makes us closer. And unfortunately, there is usually more bad news than good. All you have to do is read the papers or the blogs to verify that sad fact. But the profound lesson I'm learning these days is that bad news shared among friends and neighbors, allows us not to feel so alone and isolated and that the trust you give your friends and neighbors is rewarded. Give people an opportunity to rise to the enlightened occasion and they will. The bad news doesn't feel as much of a burden when you share it. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere.

"Spirituals played softly from wall-mounted speakers as mourners sat and prayed, sobbed or walked down an aisle to Siretha's white casket. Neighbor Brenda Brown-McKee said she came to offer condolences and strength to a family hit hard by tragedy.

"To let them know it's not just, `It happened to them,'--it happened to all of us," she said."

I think there's a lesson in there somewhere.

continuation of the same problematic activity as last summer

gunshots in all directions and at all hours of the day and night

people on bikes have guns

people in vehicles have guns

my neighbor who has a devotion and a significant investment in environmentally concious green technology, and whose house here in the NOH neighborhood is nationally recognized has this frightenning experience. Our Alderman says it isn't his fault and admonishes my neighbor for not talking matters into his own hands. Alderman Moore, you're kidding, right?

A murder of a young man occurs on school grounds

Apparently not, because shortly after all these terrible events,shootings, muggings, killings and national exposure to the embarrasing, squalid and deadly conditions in our NOH neighborhood, he decides to make a stand. Draw a line in the sand and put his foot down, if you will. Alderman Moore has seen enough already. QUACK QUACK Nero speaks. And North of Howard is burning.
A shrine appears to honor the young man's life and death.

young people are being killed on the streets of my North of Howard neighborhood

and we all wonder why gale park remains empty

with people being shot on our streets

innocent people beaten to death simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time

as the weather gets warmer, street activity begins to heat up

our neighbor julie asks for an understanding of our resident gang members as people with families who feel pain and sorrow just like we do

I suggest we create our own memorial at the Gateway in one of the many still empty stores, to remind our Absentee Landlord, Alderman Moore, just how well his grand plans for our neighborhood are not quite working out. Why the stores there are still empty, why the Metra Transit Hub concept will never become a reality, why the business community has not followed the Gateway fiasco to rush in and risk their capital on Howard Street and fill those empty storefronts with normal neighborhood amenities.


originally sent Feb. 13

Letter to
Alderman Moore

Alderman Moore,

At last night's CAPS 2431 meeting, business owners and residents spoke out about the double and triple parking abuses that the owner of JB Alberto's establishment is continuing to promote for his delivery drivers. As you know, this has been going on for quite some time and has now reached a potential boiling point that I believe we should try and avoid.

The Rogers Park Review believes neighbors and businesses should follow simple "quality of life" rules that are designed to foster responsible behavior in our community. As I'm sure you will agree with this concept, I am suggesting a joint effort so that we can offer JB Alberto's, one last chance to amend his irresponsible behavior before last night's somewhat drastic measures are implemented by the community. These suggestions reflect the frustration of many people over a span of many years.

I believe this practice needs to stop immediately and I hope you will agree.

The Rogers Park Review will post a photograph of the establishment along with a letter to the owner detailing the frustrations and suggestions voiced last night at the CAPS meeting. The photo and letter will be posted tomorrow.

I am suggesting that you and I visit JB Alberto's restaurant as a symbol of our mutual concern. With this collaboration, I believe we can impress upon the owner of the restaurant the importance of acting responsibly in our neighborhood. And between the three of us, perhaps we can negotiate a compromise solution to this problem.

Please respond to this letter in the customary fashion so that the community and JB Alberto's will understand our shared resolve in this matter.

Thank You,

Gary Fuschi
Rogers Park Review

Note: Special thanks to Craig Gernhardt of the Morse Hellhole.


Response from
Alderman Moore

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your concern about the double parking in front of J.B. Alberto's Pizza. As you may know, CAPS BEAT 2431 is developing a strategy to address this problem, and I will assist them in any way I can. If you want to help, I urge you to attend the next CAPS meeting on Monday March 20th, at the offices of the Rogers Park Community Council.

Alderman Joe Moore

Note: This e mail was recieved on Feb. 14, @3:21pm.

Friday, March 10, 2006

from the
Lack of
Timely Notification dept......

Unfortunately, the failure to communicate in a timely way probably caused a lot of neighbors to miss what was surely one of the most positive meetings I’ve ever been to in RP. PACTT (Parents Allied With Children and Teachers for Tomorrow) hosted a meeting this evening to discuss their plans for a home for young adults with autism at 1620 Estes, next door to their teaching facility at the corner of Estes and Greenview. This project will help to fill a horrible gap in service for young adults with severe autism and their families by providing a full time home that does not separate families. PACCT’s practice when setting up homes (the others are in Oak Park and Elmwood Park) is to invite the community to meet so that the project can be shared and concerns and questions addressed – in this case they approached the Alderman to help facilitate the meeting, but there is no zoning issue at stake (the site is zoned RS-2 and their planned use is in compliance). It was simply proactive outreach on the part of PACTT to meet neighbors and present the project.

Neighbors who live near the site, and know PACTT, were universal in their admiration for PACTT’s work, even though the block has been sorely tested by other institutional facilities (not associated with PACTT) that have not been so community friendly. A few neighbors expressed their feeling that with a total of four institutions on the block, the residential quality of the area had been compromised - especially by those institutions who haven’t been good neighbors.
But even in the face of a certain disappointment for some that the 1620 Estes property was not bought by a single family with the funds to completely restore it aesthetically, there was a general sense of relief that if an institution must purchase and occupy the house, it was going to be PACTT. There were even a few jokes from neighbors about whether they might consider buying some of the problem institutions nearby and convert them to PACTT facilities too. I think this speaks volumes about the good neighbor PACTT has been in RP up to this point. PACTT reassured us that their goal is to provide a stable, well run, home that will blend well with the residential feeling of the area and be "part of the family" of the larger community.


PACTT Executive Director Dr. Laurie Bushman extended a general invitation to the entire community to drop in and say hi anytime – she’ll be happy to give you a tour. If you’d like to learn more about PACTT, you can give them a call at 773-338-9102 or check out

--Rebecca Rouilly
Everyone wants Wi-Fi--even the city. So where can you go now to get connected? And should you pay?
By Glenn Jeffers
Tribune staff reporter

Published March 2, 2006

Heather Lindquist had a list: E-mail tax forms to her accountant in Tucson. Ship a package via FedEx. Research grant proposals. Double-check some facts for a book outline.

Rather than work at home, Lindquist, 32, packed up her laptop and went to ennui, an earthy cafe in Rogers Park. She bought a cup of coffee, situated herself along the cafe's west wall, and tried logging on to ennui's wireless network. A window appeared in the screen's upper-right corner. No signal, it read, meaning no wireless broadband service, a.k.a. Wi-Fi.

This never happens at Metropolis Coffee on Granville Avenue, the photographer and writer mused. "Usually I go there," said Lindquist, who opted for ennui on this day because it's closer to her apartment.

That she has options speaks to the huge change in the landscape of Chicago Wi-Fi. But that she couldn't get connected speaks to the fact that not every hotspot is created equal.

Wireless Internet use has grown tremendously, reaching more than 30.2 million people in North America last year, up from 20.5 million in 2004, according to Pyramid Research, a Cambridge, Mass.-based firm.

Wi-Fi is such a phenomenon that even the city is working to bring Wi-Fi access across all of Chicago. But with the third most hotspots of any major U.S. city, creating a citywide network that doesn't interfere with the others already in place is difficult at best.

"One of the challenges of any free Wi-Fi network is that it has to play well with the other networks," industry analyst John Yunker said. "There may be complaints by businesses who say that the hotspot built into the light post outside is interfering with their signal. There are a lot of risks and a lot of potential headaches, but it can be managed."

Until that happens, the questions remain: Where can you get wireless now? And how much does it cost?

Bookstores, hotels, college campuses, 79 Chicago public libraries, O'Hare and Midway airports, the Daley Plaza and Millennium Park all offer wireless Internet access.

And, chances are, your favorite restaurant or cafe has Wi-Fi too. Those two businesses are growing in hotspots faster than any other location group, according to Jiwire, a firm that provides Wi-Fi research and a nationwide directory. As of Feb. 23, Jiwire reported that 271 restaurants and cafes in Chicago offered Wi-Fi.

For those of you who have gotten this far and still don't know what we're talking about, Wi-Fi (short for wireless fidelity) is a means of connecting to the Internet and other networks without a phone, cable, DSL or any other kind of cord. Instead, data is transmitted between a device (in most cases a laptop computer) and a network via high-frequency radio waves.

In order to use Wi-Fi, you need two things: Your device must have a network card that can receive the radio transmission; and you have to be in an area, called a hotspot, that's transmitting the connection signal.

But with so many hotspots, the biggest question is no longer where to find one.

"The question is whether or not to offer it for free," Yunker said. "Free Wi-Fi is now being used as a competitive tool. It's a very cost-effective amenity to provide and some offer it free to gain advantage."

In the case of the Grind, a little cafe nestled into the heart of Lincoln Square, it's more a survival tool, said co-owner Jenny Ackerman.

The Grind opened two years ago on the northern end of Lincoln Square's central intersection, just as a Starbucks moved in on the southwest corner.

The Starbucks was bigger, had the brand name, and offered Wi-Fi access through T-Mobile. Ackerman and her co-owners bought a server and wireless router, signed up for service with SBC (now AT&T) and set up a hotspot. Any laptop with an installed or built-in wireless card can now access the Web at the Grind for free. (Starbucks' Wi-Fi service through T-Mobile requires users to sign up for a service plan that costs between $10 and $30.)

"It's hard to compete with Starbucks," said Ackerman, a former high school teacher turned entrepreneur. "We had to have something to offer. The Wi-Fi helps."

On a recent afternoon at the Grind, software designer Larry Adams came in for coffee and was soon online, browsing through All things being equal between the Grind and Starbucks, Adams said, the free Wi-Fi at the cafe won him over.

But this new demand also comes with a big problem: squatters. At the Grind, which seats about 25 comfortably, the owners now place signs on the tables, asking people to share space.

Some Wi-Fi users stay for hours on end doing work. Ackerman doesn't mind, she said. They usually end up buying a coffee or a cookie.

"A cafe is a place to linger," she said. "People are just married to their laptops."

She has less affinity for her early-morning "abusers," users who pull up in front of the cafe around 6:30 a.m., just as the Grind opens. They don't come in, but they're close enough to access the hotspot and check their e-mail without walking in and buying anything.

"That's kind of weaselly," she said.

In some places, the abuse is so egregious it's comical. Kevin Razko, co-owner of Lincoln Park's chic, Mediterranean-style Ambrosia Cafe, has had patrons walk in with drinks from other establishments, sit down and surf the Web, without buying anything.

"We ask them not to bring in anything from another establishment," Razko said.

Although the abusers make up only a small percentage of Ambrosia's base--mainly students from nearby colleges and universities--the cafe may implement a late-night, minimum purchase requirement if the abuse persists.

Seating becomes scarcer after 7 p.m., when Ambrosia starts offering hookah smoking.

"A lot of our customers will be there to enjoy a pipe while enjoying their laptop," Razko said. "So when those people are coming in and all the other tables are filled with students, it can get a little complicated."

While Yunker questions whether pay services can keep up with free access, business owners like Adam Paul of Atomix see charging for Wi-Fi as a way to keep the cafe a cafe, not a cubicle.

Between free Wi-Fi services and the new smoking ban, Atomix has taken a hit in its customer base, Paul said, but he's not changing. Wi-Fi is a nice option to have, but he'd rather people come in to relax.

"Some people just want a cup of coffee," Paul said.

we sent Mail.....
scroll down a little further,
Science Under Attack

by DarkSyde
Thu Mar 09, 2006

Via DemFromCt, an article in a recent edition of Nature again confirms the widespread frustration of scientists at the Bush Cheney Administration for meddling in science policy based purely on ideological and financial priorities:
Science Under Attack

The highlight of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week was an impassioned session organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists in the wake of revelations about how the administration's political appointees have sought to control the messages communicated by scientists to the public. And judging from the response at a packed and emotional hall in St Louis, a great many US scientists now believe that the Bush administration is prepared not only to ignore scientific facts in making policy decisions, but also to suppress findings that conflict with its own priorities.

Similar complaints have been coming from virtually every legitimate scientific agency for years now. And there's no reason to expect it to stop. Future areas of science where right-wing control freakery will likely rear its ugly head even higher are reproductive and developmental science, climate science, pharmacology, toxicology, energy, and on and on. Basically, any portion of science that contradicts a preferred ideological position, or which the CEO billionaire wing of the GOP finds inconvenient for the value of their stock options, may be savaged, suppressed, or corrupted, if it hasn't been already. The article concludes:

Yet Congress, in particular, should be doing much more to defend [science] from White House interference. And researchers should stand up and be counted with colleagues in the federal government in their hour of need.

Researchers you might have a shot with. But if Congress is unwilling to investigate acts by the Bush Administration which may be flatly unconstitutional and/or blatantly illegal, it would be borderline delusional to expect that they're going to suddenly stand against King George on matters of science. It seems apparent at this point that there is only one way to get to the bottom of any of a dozen potential scandals plaguing this White House: We're going to need a real Congress, not bootlickers and sell outs. That means we have to fire enough Representatives and Senators, and hire enough replacements, to get a majority of patriots in one or both bodies who will put America, the law, and the Constitution above covering for the White House, at the expense of we the people.
we have Mail......

mike said......
Alderman Moore, The collection process and the data gathered in our NOH neighborhood, which prompted your proposed upzoning of the 7600 block of N. Paulina, is a serious concern to many NOH residents. NHNA has heard from many NOH residents who, until very recently, had no idea about any such process, or the resulting proposed changes. Six of the nine property owners on the 7600 block of Paulina had no knowledge of this and none of the 6 were ever surveyed or contacted by any volunteers.

As a resident of the 7700 block of N, Paulina, neither myself or any of the 25 or so residents on this block that I have spoken to, were ever contacted or surveyed about any NOH zoning issue, on Paulina or elsewhere. It is because of these concerns that the NHNA Zoning Committee has requested access to the data that was gathered (NOH). You earlier stated that Michael Land would contact us, once he assembled the NOH information for our review. We look forward to that call, so that we might proceed.

Alderman Moore says......


The survey you refer to was a visual survey of the neighborhood conducted by community volunteers. The survey process and forms were designed by my office with the advice of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC). No personal interviews were contemplated in the survey. The zoning remap process was announced in the Summer of 2003, and we had a community-wide meeting in August 2003 attended by over 100 people at which MPC representatives explained the City's new zoning code and the plans for a citywide remap. We solicited community volunteers both at that meeting and subsequent meetings in the neighborhood that were held on specific development proposals. MPC conducted two training sessions for volunteers in the Fall of 2003.

The ward was divided into 12 sections, and over the course of a year and a half, volunteers fanned out across the neighborhood and conducted visual surveys in each of the 12 sections delineating what they viewed as the "assets" and "challenges" of each block. MPC compiled all the surveys and came up with a series of recommendations for zoning changes. Those changes were reviewed by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee and the City's Planning and Zoning Departments and ultimately presented to the neighborhood in a series of meetings last Fall, including a meeting at Gale School. I remember that you called me, Mike, and told me that you could not attend that meeting because you were ill.

The process resulted in a series of recommendations, including the downzoning recommendations for the North of Howard area, which apparently you support, and the zoning change recommendation for the 7600 block of Paulina, which is being held for more community discussion.

Mike Land has been ill, but returned to my office today. I spoke with him earlier today about your request and told him to give you everything you asked for. He's been busy today preparing for two community meetings on development issues unrelated North of Howard, but I'm sure he will provide you with the information within the next few days.

Joe Moore

note: received e mail 4:27, March 7
Ideological Dyslexia

Public Service, Civic Pride &
Representational Government

I am old enough to remember being taught in school, in between frightening dive under the desk and hall hugging air raid drills, about such noble concepts. During the late 50's and early sixties, my teachers had no difficulty highlighting the difference between our representational form of government and that of our ideological counterparts. Even at our early age, my classmates and I understood which form of government was superior, as we covered our heads as best we could with our little hands under the wooden desks. waiting for the big bomb to hit.

I am not, however too old to forget what these Public Service, Civic Pride and Representational Government concepts actually mean and how these principles are supposed to work in our political process. I will never forget those early impressionable memories that I learned along with all my other classmates in our elementary school and I do not intend to start forgetting those principles any time soon. They are the basis of my core beliefs and pride that, despite the many problems we have, imho, this country is still the best place to live in the world today. It is my responsibility as a citizen to make it better.

I don't know how old the Alderman is and maybe he wasn't taught the same lessons in school that I was, but in my view, he has forgotten or he is ignoring these three fundamental principles.

He is not acting as our Public Servant, he is not promoting Civic Pride in our neighborhood and he is not practicing participatory Representational Government here in our little neck o' the woods.

Ideological Dyslexia

So, I'm not quite sure what the Alderman is up to these days, what his ideology is or what his particular brand of Progressive theory is anymore.

If he's not, at minimum, promoting the basic fundamental BIG 3, what is he promoting?

If those principles aren't priorities, what principles are? Honestly, I don't care if he strays left or right of the BIG 3 philosophicaly, that is his right as a politician but this expediant limbo status we seem to be in, is giving me a headache.

I guess I’m also having trouble understanding what Progressive politics and ideology actually means, in real life NOH, oh...these last 15 years or so. I think I understand the politics. I just can't seem to reconcile the ideology with what is happening on the ground, in my neighborhood and to my neighbors. At this point, I don't care what STATE the Alderman happens to align himself with these days. I just think the state of my North of Howard neighborhood needs serious and dedicated attention. QuickQuick.

We can all talk a good progressive game but that’s too easy and almost anyone can do that. The hard part is applying that belief and enabling others to understand it by your actions and its results.

People might still disagree, but at least there would be truth in the effort.

Core philosophical beliefs should be foundation solid and unwavering, no matter what they are and who might disagree.

They should not be convenient, hip pocket cliff notes, glanced at hurriedly, at target audience time.

The Alderman cannot even talk the good game any more. His recent rebuttal to this neighbors' question regarding NOH housing affordability at the Pivot Point redo meeting drew a most curious response for a visionary Progressive. How can we consider 13 more years of a slumlord stranglehold on the Northpoint buildings as a genuine, progressive vision? That AIMCO contract renewal was his best effort at the time and it was already 3 years in arrears, philosophically, considering the HUD 2000 rewrite.

Late charges are costly and hopelessness compounds daily, making the eventual human cost even more expensive and tragic. I wish the Alderman had as much interest in my North of Howard neighborhood as he does with other seemingly trivial issues.

QuackQuack. Can anyone spell P R I O R I T I E S ?

Say what you will about Reagonomics and the trickle down theory:

At least Mr. Reagan had a theory.

What is Progressively trickling down to my North of Howard neighbors but 15 years of benign neglect? Add 13 more years to that and we're talking about almost 3 generations of human stagnation.

How many children have to continue to walk down shuttered and deserted Howard Street and wonder if this is as good as it's gonna' get?

And now we have to applaud loudly because our neighborhood owns a brand new Crime Camera.
Can anyone spell C a u s e and E f f e c t ?

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I am not proud to own that Crime Camera in my neighborhood because I think the Alderman could have and should have done better by my neighbors. And honestly, we all would have benefitted, every one of us.

If the Alderman had REALLY seriously considered some of the new thinking that was becoming Federal Law in 2000 and adopted a five year strategy for the 12 Northpoint buildings based on this new philosophy, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have needed that camera. Because maybe, that committment would have started to change other things that need to change NOH. Those 12 buildings contain 304 apartments. We have to start somewhere.

I really believe it would have been worth taking that calculated, visionary risk instead of knee jerking the same ole', same ole', tried and failed approach to affordable housing for people who truly need affordable homes and some hope and stability in their lives. Other leaders in our country and right here in our city are taking those risks. And their efforts are being supported and paid for by H.U.D. In a comparative risk / reward ratio, it seems the rewards far outwiegh the risks these days.

Taking calculated risks are the job of a visionary. It says so on their business cards.

Have the vision, explain your vision to us and ask us all to take the risk along with you. I think the Alderman might have gotten a fair hearing using that visionary approach. Now that would be a meeting that could be genuinely described as "Community Involvement".

How many people were involved in the contract renewal for AIMCO? Adding insult to an already injured people, were my neighbors even consulted regarding their own future. I understand the need to provide basic shelter. But considering what is known now and being succesfully put in to practice on the ground, basic shelter is about as basic as you can get ideologically. Offering people hope and a stake in their future by giving them a real stake in their own neighborhood is the current progressive vision. I think we need to get up to speed here, NOH.

It's Worth the 2 Dimes

I think the Alderman should make a phone call to his freinds at AIMCO. I think he should say that he had an epiphany and he wants to explore the possibility of redressing this wrong. I think AIMCO and the Alderman should explore the real possibility of adopting a five year plan to untangle the 13 year contract renewal mistake that was made 3 years ago.

I think AIMCO might be amenable to such an idea. Sure, they make a pretty penny being irresponsible slumlords NOH, but for them, Northpoint profit is probably just a drop in the bucket. After all , they are the largest landlord in the country. It says so on their business card. How management committed can a company be to Northpoint, when their corporate vision is to take over the world? Our, on the ground experience indicates that they are not management committed, not by a long shot.

Right this minute, the main security gate to the Northpoint courtyard building across the street from my place, is again, propped open. It's been like that for a few days now. There is no security for this building and there is no committment to provide it. And this little detail is only a drop in the bucket, compared to what goes on in that building. Just ask the police.

We need to start somewhere and Northpoint buildings would be a perfect place to start, imho. Mr. Corcoran expressed a realistic optimism about applying his 25 year, tried and succeeded, on the ground, approach for NOH, the last time he was contacted by a NOH neighbor. Perhaps we should interest him in the Broadmoor too, considering how lax management has ruined that renovation.

I think it would be worth the 2 dimes to find out.

Gary Fuschi

"There has to be a right to insult..."

Excerpted from interviews with Art Spiegelman and Joe Sacco which appeared the editorial "Only Pictures?" in The Nation, March 6 2006 issue. The subject of the interview was the worldwide controversy about the Muhammad cartoons published in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. We realize there are many ways to analyse this episode, but a response from Mr. Spiegelman caught our eye...

Should this controversy really be framed as an issue of freedom of speech?

Spiegelman: There has to be a right to insult. You can't always have polite discourse. Where I've had to do my soul-searching is articulating how I feel about the anti-Semitic cartoons that keep coming out of government-supported newspapers in Syria and beyond. And, basically, I
am insulted. But so what? These visual insults are a symptom of the problem rather than the cause.

In 1897 politicians in New York State tried to make it a major offense to publish unflattering caricatures of politicians. They were part of a Tweed-like machine who didn't like insulting drawings published of themselves, so they spent months trying to get a bill passed and make it punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

What happened?

Spiegelman: It got killed. We have this thing called the First Amendment that was in better shape, maybe, then than now.
Police Probe Murder

By Angela Caputo, Staff Writer
Pioneer Press

Police have launched a homicide investigation into the death of a 56-year-old woman who was found murdered in her West Rogers Park apartment last week.
On a tip from a neighbor who noticed that the glass was broken out of the victim's third-floor apartment door, which was also left open, officers made a grizzly discovery around 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 8. They found Janet Biebel of the 6200 block of North Mozart lying in her bed with a pool of blood around her head, according to a police report.
Biebel's belongings appeared to have been rummaged through, according to a police report. Neighbors told police that they hadn't seen or heard anything unusual around the building.
The Cook County Medical Examiner determined that the 56-year-old succumbed to a gunshot would to the head, according to Officer Marcel Bright.
Initially police initiated a death investigation, then reclassified it as a homicide following autopsy results.
"At this time there's no person of interest or suspect," Bright said.
Anyone with a lead can call the Area 3 Violent Crimes unit at (312) 744-8261.

we have Mail.....

Kathleen says.....

Hello Alicia:
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. As we discussed, I have concerns about Island Grove Incorporated and their application for a liquor license and a public place of amusement license at 7644 N. Sheridan Road (the former Biddy Mulligan's.)

1. The property is owned by Sargon Isaac. As you, Alderman Moore, and the community are well aware, Sargon will not be a responsible landlord to these tenants, and will not take any responsibility for what occurs on the premises. He will only be interested in whether they pay their rent, and will not care if their club is a detriment to the community. He has proven his intent over and over again in our community. This aspect of the issue is cause enough for concern about the new venue.

2. We discussed you and your colleague Michael Land doing some research on the applicants. Do they have a negative history in Michigan with their former nightclub? What does the local police and liquor commission in Michigan have to say about their establishment? Are they known to the 24th District police department, regardless of having a record? Do they have experience with operating a safe and secure nightclub? How will they 'recruit' patrons - are they planning on having open parties that are publicized through flyers in other neighborhoods? If so, the community will strongly oppose that.

3. You also said that Scott Bruner would possibly extend the time or community input into these applications if Alderman Moore made a call to him. The timeline to submit petitions for the public place of amusement license is one week from today - they are due on 3/16/06. However, when I attempted to contact the office to get petitions, the number on the notification postcard was disconnected. For this reason alone I think we should get an extension on the 30-day deadline. I am requesting an extension on that deadline if possible.

4. The deadline on the liquor license application is 40 days from the application date of 2/16/06. The liquor commission takes written comments and does not require petitions as the license above. This deadline, then, will be around 3/24/06. If you feel you cannot find out enough information about these applicants by then, I also would like to ask Alderman Moore to request and extension of that deadline. I will follow up with you in a few days to see what information you have gathered. Thanks for taking time to work on this issue.

Best regards,
Kathleen Monahan

Alicia says....

Hi Kathleen:
Thanks for putting your concerns in writing it makes it so much easier for me to have a point of reference. I spoke with the Alderman and passed on your concerns and he instructed me to write a letter to the Department of Business Affairs and Licensing opposing both licenses from being issued. We do not have enough information on this establishment at this time to allow this to move forward. I will keep you updated on any new development pertaining to this issue.
Thanks again for your input.

Alderman Moore's Office