No TIF Handout for Luxury Lakefront Hi-Rises

Monday, March 7, 2015 5:30pm
Wilson Avenue @ Lake Shore Drive

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Even by Chicago standards, the brazenness of this theft is stunning.

In a city already infamous for its taxpayer-funded gifts to the wealthy and well-connected, Alderman Cappleman proposes to build a luxury lakefront hi-rise in Uptown using $16 million of TIF tax money.

The development site sits on prime real estate off Lake Shore Drive, one of the last large parcels of land next to Lincoln Park. In no way do the developers need this tax handout other than to widen their own profit margins. It is a gross giveaway at a time of great financial need for schools, teachers and other areas of the city budget.

That homeless Chicagoans sleep underneath bridge viaducts literally a few hundred feet away is apparently of no consequence. $16M would produce a lot of low income housing in a ward that has lost over 1000 SRO units, which typically house people on the edge of homelessness, since Cappleman came into office.

Political contributions apparently greased the skids for the proposed $16M TIF gift. Rahm Emanuel got a $5000 contribution from James Letchinger, who works for JDL, the developer. Cappleman got a $10,000 contribution from a real estate banking firm and over $7,000 from a real estate agent who does work for Letchinger. In return, these politically-connected real estate manipulators get tax money to fuel the whitening and gentrification of one of the few diverse communities on the North Side.

Time and time again, residents of the 46th Ward have voted overwhelmingly for referenda calling for using TIF funding for affordable housing and human needs, and not to subsidize gentrification. Apparently this matters little to elected officials who have such contempt for the democratic demands of the majority. Let’s make it matter to them!

One week before the City Council Finance Committee will probably vote on this TIF, please come to a community march to demand:

** No TIF for the rich!
** Fund low income housing!
** Don’t subsidize gentrification and ethnic cleansing!

Assemble at the Uptown tent encampment, Wilson & Lake Shore Drive, at 5:30pm, Monday, March 7th.


Feb. 19 viaduct cleaning: Wilson Avenue

I am so glad the city of Chicago gives a one week warning and seems to be aware they are under the public microscope. Compared to the past when they would just line up garbage trucks and throw away everything it’s an improvement. But still…

Viaduct cleanings are horrible and costly events

It’s inhumane, the psychological damage the city causes to the people experiencing homelessness at the viaducts. You would have to be there. These pictures do not even begin to convey the pain inflicted. Imagine if in a few hours you had to move the contents of your home 100 feet down the street so it could be swept with brooms. Imagine the damage it would cause to your possessions and state of mind… Imagine how much worse it is for people experiencing the disaster of homelessness and the many with serious healthcare needs… All for a broom sweeping, not even for a power wash and on a day with gale force winds…

UTC ‘Tents for the Homeless’ GoFundMe spent over $1000.00 fixing the damage the city caused

Day one we replaced about 15 tents and associated tarps. Many thanks to our donors for enabling us to be able to respond to these large scale emergencies. This weekend we will replace around 5 more tents and associated tarps. I can only imagine what the cost of 13 city vehicles and 22 city workers present at the cleaning added up to. Only about 5 workers were doing any kind of work. The city of Chicago needs to clean its own house first. When they do, maybe they will adopt a housing first model instead of the torture first model presently practiced.

These pictures are from just the Wilson viaduct. Irving Park, Lawrence and Foster viaducts also had the same bogus cleanings.

Please join our Facebook page for continuing news and volunteer opportunities. If you can help financially please visit our GoFundMe page:

Update – There is a newer GoFundMe:


Feb. 19 viaduct cleaning: Volunteers needed!

February 19, 2016 – Friday 6am – Lake Shore Drive and the Wilson, Lawrence, and Foster viaducts

Everything must be moved from the viaducts to a nearby park area while the city cleans the viaducts. Then everything must be moved back. Obviously a monumental task. Please help if you can.

Also looking for volunteers to organize breakfast or lunch

Any questions, please leave a comment here or on the Uptown Tent City Facebook page:


To tent or not to tent…

“Increasing the pain by requiring an inconvenience serves to motivate them” Incompetent ‘social worker’ 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman in 2009

It’s a common criticism from homeless haters that feeding the homeless or otherwise providing sustenance including protection from the elements is preventing them from seeking ‘real’ help.

Haters will say that people experiencing homelessness should be in shelters or housing. I personally have never met a homeless advocate that prefers people living ‘rough’ to living in shelters or housing. Guess what, haters faux concerns are lies. The very same complainers will be there demanding the shutdown of shelters and nixing more affordable housing in a different interview.

“Inconvenience”, what an interesting choice of words… In the specific case of Uptown Tent City, motivating the homeless by not having a tent, not having coats or blankets and starving them… all this basically, literally can KILL them. What haters propose as inconvenience or motivation good for the homeless is death, frostbite and starvation.

You can’t use simple-minded hateful solutions for complex problems like homelessness. Among other reasons, simple-minded hateful solutions just don’t work. Letting people suffer and die while society works on these complex problems is not only inhumane but moronically foolish.

No wonder they complain anonymously…

No heads, no names – why? Because deep down they know their position is one that is shameful and embarrassing. Their ‘helpful advice’ is nothing less than the sanction and promotion of death and torture. If not by actual deed then by ignoring human tragedy and walking away from it with childish and selfish whining, and by filling digital space and neighborhood news with hateful advice.

For sure, some people will motivate in the haters imagined way to a threat of death, harm and starvation. The majority will not. It doesn’t work.

No one dislikes cameras and public speaking more than me but…

I care more about the over 100,000 homeless in Chicago than I do my own singular vanity. UTC Organizers don’t need or want personal gratitude or recognition. We do what we do, because we are human beings and this is what non-defective human beings do. A real community cares and helps its neighbors in need. They rise to tragedies in their extended human family. They don’t make piddly excuses and hide their heads and names in shame.

Non-defective humans don’t stand on stages and and say they care about the homeless, then turn and do nothing for them. They don’t jump for months, even years to give private luxury housing $15.8 million public funds subsidies like Ald. Cappleman and his haters do, while hundreds of feet away full-fledged human beings and constituents flirt with death…


UTC Organizer Yehuda Rothschild, head and misspelled name included, standing up for what is right. VIDEO:…


UTC Organizers Eric, Cindy and Kolya Clayton w/friend, names and heads included, standing up and doing what is right.


UTC Organizer Ryne Poelker, name and head included, standing up and doing what is right. VIDEO:

Important quote:

“Ryne Poelker of Uptown Tent City says supporting the short-term effort to provide tents doesn’t mean the group doesn’t back the idea of long-term solutions.”

UTC Organizers are not just supporting short-term and long-term efforts. We are not just talking about it. We are doing something about it and with the help of hundreds of great caring people!

UTC Organizer Andy Thayer, name and head included, standing up and doing what is right in the VIDEO auto-starting at 10:50.

And there are many more great UTC Organizers. Too many for this blog posting but all essential.

UTC Organizers do more than Ald. Cappleman and his legion of nameless headless haters do. This is just a fact. Not because we are great or wonderful but because our cause is.

All humans have a right to housing, health and sustenance – period!

UTC Organizers would like to see Uptown Tent City thriving, healthy and free from harassment as a STOPGAP measure. We’d like to see land allocated and tiny home villages built as a STOPGAP measure. We like to see more and better shelters including some for harm reduction, couples (unmarried & LGBT), pets and more as a STOPGAP measure. We are not going to stop working for all that and more.

In the meantime we will do everything we can to get people into shelters and housing.

Our goal is unconditional permanent affordable housing for everyone. Period. No homeless. No one living in viaducts or parks.

Haters need to get names, heads and take humanity lessons.