Thursday, January 31, 2008


A solution for our cash woes has been found.

By now, you sharp cookies have noticed the CondoPerks logo on the left sidebar.

It’s not there by accident.

Not only am I a huge fan but I think so highly of the program that I want everyone to know about it as well.

CondoPerks allows condominium associations to earn money the easy way----by online shopping.

You go to the website, choose the building of your choice (cough**The Blackstone Condo Assoc.**cough) and start online shopping.

You can surf via the category bar on the left or you can scroll through all of the participating stores in the drop down above the category bar.

Can you believe that our condo association can make money every time I Peapod myself?

I know, it sounds dirty.

The founder of the service Blagica Stefanovski has found a practical, yet painless way for associations to supplement and potentially increase their reserves while complementing their existing fiscal measures.

In short, it’s brilliance.

So if your association could use a few more buck in the till, click on the link to the left and get the ball rolling.

At this point new building registration is free but that could change at any time.

But I have a better way for those of you who rent or own your own home to help out.

When you do your online shopping, help a sister and her hard working neighbors out----go to the CondoPerks website, find The Blackstone Condo Assoc. and shop with a purpose.

As previously mentioned., we have a potentially expensive capital project coming up later this year. We don’t wanna get caught with our financial pants down.

Frankly the thought of having to levy another special assessment makes my unemployed stomach lurch.

Now you don’t have to do it, but it’d be nice.

And there are 180 retailers of all stripes that I know you all use anyway.

Plus I’m not out on the street shaking the proverbial cup full of change in your face. I’m just gently doing it online.

It’s less noisy and I don’t have to give you the puppy dog eyes.

Whatever you want to do---Online shop with the Blackstone in mind, sign your building up or just cruise through to see what all the hubbub is about, all are welcome.

For all of you that needed a new excuse to cyber shop---here it is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


If Senator Obama needs to further distance himself from Tony Rezko by giving away more money, I’m all in.

An unemployed sister could use a couple of bucks as my funds are about down to zero.

It’s expensive keeping up the house AND drying cleaning bills for interview suits.

I’ll make it for February but March is gonna be interesting.

I might get a temporary reprieve if I get a huge tax refund. It might be nice if my former employer would get off their ass and send my W-2 & 1099.

When I went to the opera on Monday I was yelled at by P.E.T.A. protesters.

I know---you’re thinking opera & fur can’t necessarily equal bleak poverty.

But let me explain, prior to my layoff I split a partial subscription with my “opera buddy.”

The resale market for opera tickets is slight but not non-existent. But if Monday night was any indication, the fierce haggling at prices way below face value was not a good sign.

I’d rather donate the tickets back and take the tax write off.

Either way I really don’t get the money that I need.


I was running late and dashing across the intersection of Madison & Wacker in my mother’s vintage mink collared wool coat.

It’s an absolutely stunning piece that makes me look a little smaller than Brian Urlacher.

But when the winter wind is howling in Chicago and your taking the CTA , looks go out the window.

I rounded the corner smack dab into a bunch of shabby, malnourished looking children giving me the stares of death.

When I realized they were from P.E.T.A. I started to giggle.

What are the odds of someone who’s been unemployed for five months and who’s 26 weeks of unemployment is dwindling running into P.E.T.A. protesters looking like the poster child for the idle rich?

Take the wheel Jesus.

Where dose the trash that continues to assemble against our gates come from anyway?

God I’ve picked up so much trash these past five months perhaps that should be my new occupation.

We don’t have any open trash cans anywhere near.

People can’t litter that much, can they?

Yesterday’s heat wave melted the snow and revealed so much soggy crap on the ground that all I could do is stand there and marvel.

I suppose that when the snow melts again I’ll go out and pick up the sodden crap so our little piece of paradise doesn’t look like our neighbor’s property.

Believe it or not I happen to get a few e-mails here and there from the occasional condo owning newbie with questions about their developer or neighbors.

As usual I give them the benefit of my knowledge.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that a few things ring true:

1. You’re developer should have been paying monthly assessments for all unsold units from the date of the sale of the first unit. At the turnover, you should be having a war chest of cash waiting for you.

2. No matter how bootleg your developer may be, you can’t stop paying assessments because you’re upset with him or her. Trust me, in the end you’ll only be hurting yourselves. ’Cause if you don’t pay your assessments, you won’t be able to pay your association’s utility bills.

No one likes the water being turned off in the middle of their shower.

3. Get a friggin lawyer----right now. The money you spend now, will save you so much later.

4. It’s a business people. Like any other business if you don’t put some effort into it, it will fail. Your neighbors are your allies. If you don’t swim together, you’ll sink together.

I think this little article from today’s Chicago Tribune underscores that point.

This quote is particularly telling:

“Larry Hopkins was first to move onto the street, and first to see his monthly payment jump. When he learned his tax bill was the reason, Hopkins asked for more hours at his job as a school safety officer and cut spending.

But the taxes tacked hundreds of dollars on his monthly payment. His 2006 tax bill came to $5,001 for a $125,000 house, records show.

Hopkins said he made calls to local officials, his lender and Cook County offices but got the runaround. He went to his neighbors. "No one would get involved," he said. "They were afraid to speak up and didn't understand my problem because their bills weren't high. They didn't know the same thing was about to happen to them."

The people may have been in a subdivision instead of a condo building, but the basic premise still holds true.

My latest guilty pleasure is the fabulous Jen Lancaster.

Ms. Lancaster is the author of “Bitter Is The New Black” & my personal favorite “Bright Lights, Big Ass.”

I’ve started Bright Lights and was hysterically laughing within the first few pages.

I haven’t initially laughed that hard since I read Tucker Max’s blog.

When I first started reading him I couldn’t stop. He may be a complete misogynist but at least he’s a great writer.

You can’t deny talent.

You can’t deny talent in Ms. Lancaster’s case either.

She may be an unrepentant Fox News Network, Sean Hannity loving Republican but someone has to be, right?

Her book is so funny none of that seems to matter.

Besides don’t we all need a little diversity in our lives, no?

Monday, January 28, 2008


Like the swallows coming back to Capistrano, our association has yet another capital project to tackle.

Some might say that our latest undertaking is a result of the high quality conversion the building went through in 2000-2001.

Others might say that because of the building’s age (100 + years) that this may be a part of regular maintenance.

At this point, only the professional opinion of our vendor(s) will decide which of the two theories is correct.

In the meantime we have to figure out how to finance the tuck pointing of our façade and the possible rebuilding of our front porches.

Jesus take the wheel.

While we’re almost done paying off the back porches, we have to turn our efforts to the next project.

After all we don’t want anymore bricks falling off of our building.

At our first 2008 association meeting, the subject was broached and based on preliminary estimates we can afford to get one side of our façade tuck pointed without raising assessments.

That’s preliminary good news.

I’m worried about if the estimate was wrong or costs spiral out of control. Then what are we going to do?

We’ve worked hard to get our shit together.

Between the self management, self lawn care and careful attention to the bottom line, we’ve made the magic happen.

Naturally we had to crack the whip about the lifeblood of any association---assessments.

Now we’ve got to worry about how to pay for possible latent defects as a result of our developer.

But as I said, only the vendors will be able to pinpoint the true cause of the façade issue.

Don’t think I won’t give you the 411 when the information is available.

I can only assume that I’ll be dreaming of masonry for the remainder of 2008.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is The Grass Greener?

Once they put the new sidewalk in, the city finally laid down grass seed AND neon green foamy stuff that's supposed to sprout grass in the spring.

I don't know about that.

The color of the neon green seed has diminished and everyone and their mother has been walking through the parkway so it will be interesting to see what comes up in a few months.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Since the weather’s so crappy these days I’ve been doing some housekeeping on the blog.

With help from a friend, a new template was added. He walked me through how to edit my links so now most of my links work.

I’ve also added a new friend---Chicago Carlessness, a fellow south sider and cycling enthusiast. Give her a big “howdy.”

Maybe if I start biking everywhere instead of taking the bus I’ll be back at college weight before I know it.

By the way Carless, if you happen to run upon another potentially life threatening situation, be sure to have a sharpened old fashioned can opener up your sleeve. I generally find that and some hard looks will back a mother off of you.

Trust me, I know plenty of tough ass white girls. Don’t ever let race be a factor when you must defend yourself.

And speaking of defending yourself, and by defending yourself I mean with knowledge, I’ve also added some new links for the information junkies out there.

AlderTrack and EveryBlock Chicago are for those of you (like me) who literally want to know the latest up to date happenings.

AlderTrack gives you the 411 municipally and EveryBlock Chicago literally gives you the dish on everything else. ‘Cause I know you kids want to find out what’s being zoned down the street from you as well the crime stats with a click of a mouse.

Lastly, some food for thought.

I predict that gentrification and all of the issues that surround it will continue to be a hot button issue for the south side in the years to come.

In my scant time down here, I realized it ain’t all about race.

Those dollars you bring home also play a huge part in how you see the world.

And from where I sit, it seems like a replay of my time in Uptown is shaping up down here in Woodlawn.

The Haves (condo owners) vs. The Have Nots (subsidized renters) vs. The University of Chicago vs. The Old Time Establishment.

With all of that contentiousness it ‘s easy to forget that the root of all of this is people trying to secure the most basic of human needs----shelter.

And no matter how crappy your housing may or may not be when change beckons and the odds don’t look in your favor you tend to come out swinging.

Hence the potential battle royale.

Luckily I ran across a little article written by a person of faith that gave me pause.

It should be required reading before anyone moves into what people like to classify as an “emerging neighborhood.”

It should be required reading for anyone who lives in an “emerging neighborhood.”

It should be required reading for establishment, corporate & neighborhood activist types.

Just a little light reading on coalition building never hurt anyone.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It’s The Fraud, Stupid

Since it’s an election year, I have a question for those who purport change.

When is our government going to get out of the business of subsidizing the hucksters that sap money from condo associations?


It’s only a theory but one that bears repeating.

I don’t think it’s too long of a stretch imagining a person that would commit mortgage fraud would also attempt to defraud the government via a subsidized housing program.

Hell, let’s even take the mortgage fraud out of it since the many ways to defraud lenders and devastate neighborhoods has been talked to death.

Let’s just take this theory on it’s own merits.

Assume you have a landlord who owns a unit in a condominium association who applies for a subsidized housing program.

His or her unit passes the initial inspection, they secure a tenant and the payments from the government commence.

From the landlord’s point of view, everything is humming along nicely.

Now let’s throw a few “what if’s” in the mix.

What if the landlord ceases to pay his or her mortgage?

What if the landlord ceases to pay his or her monthly association assessments?

Now the playing field changes.

You would think that a vigilant board would be able to find out if a unit is subsidized or to notify the proper program officials that such shenanigans are taking place.

If you were a betting person, you’d be wrong.

Per current subsidized housing program procedures, unless you’re the client or the landlord, no information can be released.

And I suppose I understand the reasons for that rule.

The world is not a kind place. Let’s face it, there are those out there who would actively discriminate against clients of the program.

Frankly speaking, they’d be dumb asses to court disaster. Federal housing discrimination lawsuits are a bitch.

Nonetheless for a smart fraudster, that lack of communication----or gaping hole if you will---is a license to print money

You see my friends if that cagey trickster isn’t paying his or assessments but is still getting money from the government, how are you going to stop them?

Any attempts to reach out to the bureaucracy that is subsidized housing usually results with being talked to in very clipped, hurried tones.

You’re all but hung up on.

And I should know, I tried to tackle that maze myself.

As a result, the tricksters and fraudsters are potentially---yes I said potentially since I have no proof---getting away with bags of money on the taxpayer’s dime.

It boggles the mind that an individual can commit fraud, default on a mortgage, endanger a person’s primary residence, financially devastate a condo association AND drive down a neighborhood’s property value just like that (*finger snap*)

In a sense if fraud is being committed, one property could be yielding up to two revenue streams. One from the illegal (and inflated) proceeds and another from the subsidized housing revenues.

Now if the suspect landlord is engaging in these activities the mortgage company loses, the condo associations loses, subsidized housing dollars are being thrown out the window and more importantly the tenant loses.

It’s a big fat bag of ass for everybody.

So in this hotly contested election year I’d ask the candidates how they’d protect the interests of the tenants, condo associations and the public piggybank from assholes who are hell bent on taking all of us for a ride.

That’s the reform I’m interested in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You Deserve A Break Today

The newly rebuilt McDonalds at Marquette (66th Street) and Stony Island is the hotness.

Apparently the ownership is the same as the McDonalds on 52nd & Lake Park. If that's true, then at least we can be assured that the management will be responsible.

Responsive management is good but I have to say the restaurant is vastly improved over the pile of bricks that was there before. While the new design is cookie cutter as McDonalds go it actually happens to be really is nice.

Before the present ownership took over, the our local McDonalds was, quite frankly, a shit hole.

Panhandlers outside, flithy dining room, slacker employees, menu choices not available----the usual for a south side fast food restaurant.

So when the franchise was sold, it was music to my ears.

Ironically, not too long after the new owner took over she was slapped with health code violations stemming from the old owner's regime.

Or at least that's what the rumor mill said.

But she persevered on, dealt with the health department issues and started the process to build a new restaurant on the old footprint.

In my humble opinion---so far, so good.

Apparently Good Day Chicago felt the same way---they did a live broadcast for their morning show today.

Did anyone catch the flashy flat screen TV and the fireplace on the back wall?


Monday, January 21, 2008

Go Figure

Guess who's on page 63? Thanks for the love Chicago Magazine.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Say what you will about Craig Gernhardt but I’ve always thought highly of him.

For the unfamiliar Mr. Gernhardt is the author of The Broken Heart of Rogers Park which happens to be one of the leading hell raising blogs on the north side.

He questions authority at every turn. Generally giving his alderman and all of the “in the know types” in the 49th ward the business.

That kid takes no prisoners.

A ball breaker extraordinaire.

From political happenings to neighborhood crime to slumlords, Craig finds time to ring everybody’s bell.

Now I haven’t seen him in over eight years but he was no different when we were neighbors in Uptown.

He ran a small flower shop and stayed active in local issues when he was on Wilson Avenue.

He did not suffer foolishness lightly. His fervor for a high neighborhood quality of life was slightly eclipsed by his fervor to take an active part in the solution.

That’s a nice way of saying Craig picked up the trash instead of complaining about it; he confronted the gangbangers instead of backing down and crossing the street; he shooed away the prostitutes and the panhandlers that intimidated most others.

In short, he walked the walk.

He wasn’t (and isn’t) half steppin'.

Personally I remember him for more than his no nonsense demeanor.

I remember him for giving me my first pet.

I remember him for allowing me to buy the funeral arrangement for my mother’s casket on credit because I had to cover the bills at the house in South Bend and had no money.

I remember waving to him and the other ball hawks outside of Wrigley when I was on my way to the bleachers.

I also remember the occasional extra stems he’d slip into a bouquet I’d purchased.

Ever so often I drop in and read his blog. Frankly I think it’s one of the best in the city.

He asks the tough questions and refuses to be led politely down the primrose path.

So I say, “Give ‘em hell Craig.”

You’ve (still) got a friend down in Woodlawn.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Jackers

A friend was shot at the corner of 67th and Stony Island.

From what I was told, a car with several men stopped near the bus shelter around 7:45PM last Thursday and asked my friend to come over to the car. When he refused and tried to get away, someone from the car pulled a gun out and shot him.

Luckily the bullet only hit his arm and went right through.

Now I'm not sure if this was reported to the police but common sense says that if he received medical care for a gunshot wound then the police were notified.

67th & Stony is only a mere three blocks away from my place.

I haven't heard a peep about this foolishness in any of the mainstream media outlets. I know shootings are pretty common place in Chicago but can a sister get a "heads up?"

Unlike my neighbors to the north in Hyde Park, I don't have a variety of transportation options. If the 6, 28 or 15 is running late I just can't hop on a shuttle.

Even though there are many nights I wish I could.

I look enviously at those warm frequent shuttles that roam throughout Hyde Park. I often wish there was some way I could hitch a ride but the shuttles aren't open to the public. Then of course the University foots the bill for the vehicles, drivers, upkeep and the gas so their students, faculty & staff can stay safe.

Of course since the shooting, you see more University police patroling a wider area.

Which kinda has me thinking.

If Hyde Park is locked down from the jackers and you can't sneeze without having four squad cars show up, who are the criminal types going to prey on?

I'll tell you who----the rest of us who don't have two police departments (regularly)patroling their neighborhood, that's who.

While some parts of Woodlawn get some overlap from the U of C police it seems more like the holding of the Maginot Line rather than effective policing.

I could be wrong.

Usually after the Christmas holidays the jackers take a break.

It's colder, less people are walking around laden down with packages and Christmas cash.

Plus those jacker knuckleheads are gearing up for Christmas number two or as the rest of the world likes to call it the tax refund season.

Watch your ass when you're at a Currency Exchange.

If you go to one of those places to file your return, I'd strongly suggest Turbo Taxing your return online or if you meet the income guidelines having your return done at the IRS downtown.

Whatever the case may be I have an uneasy feeling about this latest crime.

No matter where you live---city or suburbs---you live with the constant threat of violence.

Despite what some people may think no place is exempt. The instances may be few and far inbetween but no place is 100% safe.

I love going to visit friends on the 'burbs but I lock their doors with the same compulsion that I lock mine when I'm hear in Woodlawn.

But I can't be frightened to take the trash out, run errands or wait on public transportation.

Apparently keeping an eye out and being aware of your surroundings isn't enough anymore.

I guess security is a luxury for those who can afford to pay.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


There is always a show on the 6 Jackson Park bus.

The bus line is one of the few that runs from the Loop through the south east side of the city. You have a divergent mix of people along for the ride at all times of the day.

Since the bus doesn’t have 24 hour owl service, during the later hours on the weekends the 6 has more of it’s share of University of Chicago students.

Almost every time a group of tomorrow’s leaders get on a quiet bus, tranquility goes out the window.

Now it’s not just the U of C students, hell most young people get on the bus and disturb the peace.

It happens all of the time.

My thing is that I hold the U of C kids to a higher standard as they---well---go to the University of Chicago. Hell aren’t they supposed to be smart and intuitive?

Don’t they get that no one wants to hear loud conversations in an enclosed space that they can’t easily leave?

Then of course I’m almost about to turn 40 and am turning into a curmudgeon.

So it’s was with endless amusement that I noticed a group of bright young things happily chatting while being eyed up by an awkward young man.

Frankly if the girls weren’t sitting right next to me, I wouldn’t of believed that they went to U of C.

It’s hard not engage in stereotypes but let’s suffice it to say that the University of Chicago has not made any lists of hottest co-eds.

But then of course I’m no Beyonce.

The young man attempted to read a book but was so enchanted by the girls that he almost lost his grip on one of the rails where he was standing.

Another time he almost fell on me.

Apparently this young man doesn’t spend a great deal of time on the 6 as he couldn’t bus surf.

Those of us who frequent public transportation know that if you’re standing, you have to distribute your weight evenly when the bus sways so you don’t fall all over the place.

Apparently this kid couldn’t stand and stare at the same time.

Men looking at women is nothing new.

Men rudely staring and practically drooling is something quite different.

The only he didn’t do was start to touch himself. Creepy.

The fact that everyone sitting in the front part of the bus noticed the young man’s interest made for instant rolling theatre.

I’m sure the co-eds knew what was going on as well.

As a woman you have a heightened sixth sense when it comes to your personal safety. Especially when you’re traveling on public transportation.

Despite the fact they didn’t even acknowledge him, I’m fairly confident they felt his presence.

As the bus passed the Museum of Science and Industry both the co-ed’s and the young man prepared to get off the bus at the first stop on Stony Island.

As the ladies, and their chatter, left out the back door; the young man almost ran into the door leaving out the front.

Everyone else left on the bus gave each other knowing looks.

As a few of us chuckled over what had just happened, I hoped that none of those young women had a class with that guy.

Admiration is one thing, borderline stalking is quite another.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

West Side meets East Side

Right before Christmas I had the pleasure of meeting a few of my neighbors who live in the western part of Woodlawn.

They found me via this blog and after a few e-mails back and forth we decided to meet.

The young woman who had initially contacted me also said that a few of her neighbors were going to tag along for kicks.

“No worries.” I said but strongly suspected that they wanted to make sure I wasn’t a freak show. Perhaps they thought there was greater safety in numbers.

Or maybe they were all curious to see the woman behind the curtain.

Either way we finally set a date and time to meet at one of my regular watering holes.

I met three ladies and one gentleman who seemed to be a bit taken aback yet utterly fascinated with the environment around them. So much so, that I wasn’t sure at the beginning they were listening to me after we made our introductions.

Silly me---I should of given them a head’s up to the type of place where we were meeting.

I tend to forget that not everybody may be used to a place that sells $20 martinis.

The crowd this type of place tends to attract is a bit “different” than the crowd you may get at your local corner bar.

While it makes for great people watching, to the uninitiated I can see how it can be a bit intimidating.

I personally could give a flying fig but it is interesting to know that at the end of the day the person sitting next to you could be your friendly neighborhood billionaire.

Well not exactly my friendly neighborhood billionaire but your get my sentiment.

Nonetheless, my neighbors all happened to be white and three out of the four graduated from either the University of Chicago undergrad or Law School.

Talking with them, their concerns about Woodlawn seemed to echo most of the themes that I’ve written about in the past. But because they live west of me and in the 20th ward, they had additional issues that don’t figure into my day-to-day living.

Since I have the school across the street as a neighbor, the amount of apartment buildings has been severely reduced in my neck of the woods.

My west Woodlawn living neighbors aren’t so lucky.

In their opinion, some nearby apartment buildings are poorly managed and seem to be havens for crime and quality of life issues in their immediate neighborhood.

I was told of blatant drug dealing & usage, shootings, and a near riot last summer.

You know I’m schlepping over there during the summer to enjoy cocktails on the porch and watch the crack heads and civil unrest.

It’ll remind me of Uptown back in the day.

Aside from our commonalities, my neighbors wove a fascinating tale of what it’s like to be white in Woodlawn.

While I write about the few white people that I know who live on the south side, the stories have more of a humorous slant.

And what’s not funny about a fish out of water tale?

Urban ills aside, my neighbors like their community and seem fully committed to remaining long-term residents. Yet what I found interesting is not the reactions they received from black people but the reactions that they receive from other white people.

The University of Chicago Law School grad works at a large downtown firm and routinely gets questions on why she lives on the south side.

After all she graduated law school and has a good job, why on earth would she choose to stay in Woodlawn?

While no one said it, I’m sure that quite a few of their families were (and are) a tad concerned when they decided to put down roots south of the University of Chicago.

And I’m sure the recent high profile shooting scant blocks from their home didn’t help perceptions either.

But my west Woodlawn dwelling neighbors seem to take it all in stride.

They remain active in their community, attend public meetings, strive to improve the quality of their community and continue to keep their fingers crossed for a dog park.

Next time we meet they can pick the bar.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

False Alarm

It seems that I jumped the gun.

No one in my building is putting their unit on the market.

My newest neighbor bought a lock box so her friends could access her keys while she was away on vacation.

Paranoid much? No wonder I couldn't find a lising on the real estate websites.

It has taken us so long to get everything on track, anything (read: a potential bootleg investor) that would derail our progress is going to cause concern.

Plus you wouldn't want someone to move into your association in October and put the place up by January of the next year. Baring a job transfer or a sudden engagement, you'd have to be some shitty ass neighbors for that to happen.

I can only imagine what our newest neighbor was thinking when the topic of the lockbox came up at the association meeting last night.

Maybe she should start writing a blog about living with a group of nutty Black people in a condo association on the south side of Chicago.

I'm sure it would be a hit.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

Like him or loathe him, Al Gore may have had a point about this global warming thing.

Three days ago, it was 70 degrees.

70 degrees. In January. In Chicago.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I don’t think we have to wait until this current generation of children grown up before we start noticing severe climate changes.

If this foolishness keeps up Joliet and Cicero will become prime lake front property.

Aside from this obvious problem, the big snow that the Chicagoland area received a few weeks ago has melted.

Usually I’m used to seeing the soggy trash strewn ground in late March or early April. This year my winter malaise came a few months early.

I took it upon myself to pick up the gross, wet trash that had blown in front of our buildings.

Frankly I don’t know where all of the trash comes from as we religiously pick up in front of our property. I guess the wind must carry it down the street.

It may just be me, but it seems that a bulk of the trash on our side of the street comes to rest in-between the spokes of our gates.

As I donned the gloves and filled up the bag, I noticed a significant demographic shift concerning the neighborhood refuse.

Our little neck of the woods must be on the come up as the discarded liquor and beer bottles have changed from malt liquor, Hennessey & rotgut label brands.

Now I’m picking up Fat Tire bottles, Guinness empties and all sorts of premium high priced vodka bottles. Someone was thoughtful enough to leave an empty case of Patron tequila near the curb.

Say what you will about Woodlawn but at least someone around here is drinking well

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Development

Apparently someone in my building may be selling.

There's a realtor's lockbox on our gate but so far my sleuthing hasn't turned up who may be selling. I've talked to most of our owners and trolled the internet for a listing but have come up with nothing.

The rumor mill seems to think that our newest neighbor may have put her unit on the market. She just got here in October, I can't imagine that she'd put her place on the market so soon.

Wouldn't that be an interesting development.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Curious Woody

Maybe it’s just me.

Perhaps I’ve missed the point.

I might not be firing on all cylinders.

Back in October of 2006 I asked the Lord High Executioner how was it possible that real estate developers were securing permits from DCAP without actually being a member of the real estate developer’s registry.

After all, the ordinance was to ensure “that only licensed developers could apply for building permits, this ordinance helps improve the quality of building construction.”

At least that’s what the February 11, 2004 press release said.

When the LHE started digging for an answer to my simple little question, he was told that it’s difficult to hold developer’s feet to the fire as there is no way the city can prove an individual’s intent to sell when they're applying for their permits.

In short, the ordinance can’t even begin to protect the average home buying consumer because all a shady developer has to do is not declare their intent to sell.

Then you have cut rate, half assed work and possible code violations. Once you sign your name on the dotted line, the jokes on you---it’s your entire problem.

You join the society of “God I wish I knew that back then.”

Luckily you have me to help you along the way.

Interestingly enough---and if I’ve connected all of the dot correctly---Carlton Knight is developing a single family home on the 3200 block on south Rhodes Avenue.

Naturally he flew through the DCAP permit process aided by his expediter.

And to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Knight still has not taken the step to be included on the developer’s registry for the City of Chicago.

I may be wrong---I need to go fill out Freedom of Information Act request forms anyway. It’s not like I have a job or anything. Perhaps since the last time I checked he went ahead and complied with the ordinance.

Hope springs eternal, no?

Unemployment is murder on the finances but does leave me copious amounts of time to dig through city and federal records.

The larger question is now that his intent to sell the property is in the public domain; will the city void his permits and throw a cease & desist order on the construction?

Just curious.

Friday, January 04, 2008


He’s at it again.

Our handyman has continued to store his personal belongings in one of our basements.

I also strongly suspect he’s the one who’s leaving one of our many basement doors unlocked. Who in Christ’s name would leave a door unlocked in Woodlawn?

Where does common sense come into play?

I was taking my trash out a few days ago and happened to check a few basement doors just as a precaution when I discovered that one was left open.

I walked in to the overwhelming smell of urine, various mechanical parts strewn all over a table, a shopping cart full of crap AND various condoms.

At least the condoms were unused.

Clearly our handyman did not learn anything from having his personal belongings thrown out the first time. He’s back up to his old tricks.

Apparently he’s taken up to living in the basement and can’t distinguish between his living and working situation.

Hopefully at our next board only meeting we’ll be able to make the distinction for him.

This is getting too creepy.