Monday, April 24, 2017

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern and southern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in the western section of the district. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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CPD sergeant saves life of shooting victim
An 18-year-old West Lawn man was shot in the left thigh as he walked down the street in front of 6141 S. Hamlin at 10:01 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. The victim told police that two thugs shouted a gang slogan and fired four shots at him before fleeing.

The victim was found bleeding excessively, police said, adding in a statement that “a friend of the victim was desperately attempting to slow the bleeding by use of a sweatshirt” when a CPD sergeant “intervened and applied a tourniquet. The sergeant's quick action effectively inhibited blood loss until Chicago Fire Department personnel arrived.”

The victim was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. CPD declined to name the sergeant, but noted that she is a 25-year veteran of the force and currently works the third watch in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District and has Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training (LEMART).

Bridgeport men beaten after Archer bar argument
An argument that reportedly started at a Garfield Ridge bar turned into a fight that ended several blocks away at 4:09 a.m. Wednesday, April 19.

Police responding to a “person down” call to a parking lot at 5301 S. Harlem said they found two Bridgeport men—ages 24 and 28—lying on the pavement. The 28-year-old had been beaten and the other man had broken bones after being hit by a vehicle on Harlem Avenue as he tried to run away from the attackers.

A 23-year-old Bridgeport woman with the two men told police that the bar’s manager knows the offenders—who sped away in a white Cadillac--and could provide their names. A witness—a 28-year-old Cicero man who was driving by on his way to work—described the attackers as four or five Hispanic men armed with bottles or baseball bats. Both victims were transported by CFD ambulance to Loyola University Medical Center.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 813 or 833 (see map), come to West Lawn Park at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

Beggar threatens cabbie at Dunkin’ Donuts
A cab driver was threatened by a beggar as he parked his cab and walked toward the Dunkin’ Donuts at 4657 S. Cicero at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 21.

The victim, a 33-year-old Oak Forest man, told police that after he turned down the beggar’s request for money, he pulled out two knives—one in each hand—and said, “B~tch, I’ll kill you.” The offender also claimed to have a gun, which the victim did not see. The victim threatened to call police and took a cell-phone photo of the offender before leaving.

Later in the day, the victim returned to Dunkin’ Donuts. While inside, a witness told the cab driver that a man had just used a knife to puncture a tire on his SUV. The victim shared his cell-phone photo with police, who said the suspect is a 31-year-old Hearst area man, from the 4600 block of South Leamington. The suspect remains at large.

Robbery victims end foot chase after shots fired
A 21-year-old Clearing man and an 18-year-old Justice man were robbed at gunpoint as they sat in a car parked in the alley behind 6104 West 63rd Place at 10 p.m. Thursday, April 20.

The victims told police that two teenage boys walked up, one pulled a handgun and demanded their belongings. The victims surrendered two cell phones and a wallet containing a bank card and $500 cash, they told police.

After they were robbed, the victims chased the offenders on foot to 63rd Place and Melvina, where one of the robbers fired two warning shots in the air, causing the victims to break off the chase. The robbers were described as Hispanic boys age 14-17, about 5-foot-4. One wore a gray hoody and tan pants, and had either braces or a retainer on his teeth.

Visiting friend, robbed and carjacked
A 24-year-old Scottsdale man was robbed at gunpoint just after he got out of his SUV to visit a friend in the 4100 block of West 80th Place at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 19.

The victim told police that as many as six men converged on him. One pulled a gun and said, “Give me everything.” The victim handed over a cell phone. The others searched his pockets and took his vehicle’s keys. They piled in and sped away east on 80th Place. They were described only as black boys or men age 16-20, wearing dark clothing.

Garage on Kilpatrick burglarized
Burglars smashed the side window of a garage in the 5000 block of South Kilpatrick and stole a power saw, an air compressor, a snow blower, an aluminum-bending machine and assorted other tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 28-year-old woman, at 10 a.m. Friday, April 21.

Tools, tents taken from storage unit
Burglars entered a storage unit at 4222 S. Pulaski and stole assorted power tools and two sleeping tents. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 29-year-old Chicago Lawn woman, at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. She told police there was no sign of forced entry at the unit, which she had not checked since April 1.


Babysitter’s away, burglars kick in back door
Burglars kicked in the back door of a home in the 4400 block of South Karlov and stole a TV, a cell phone, $150 cash and assorted jewelry. The crime was discovered by a babysitter, a 56-year-old Lemont woman, when she returned to the dwelling at about 5 p.m.—four hours after she had left with the victim’s two children to run errands. The victim, a 37-year-old woman, said her home does have a security system, but it was not armed on the day of the crime.

Bikes, speakers, tools swiped from garage
Burglars forced open the overhead door of a garage in the 5400 block of South Kostner and stole two bicycles, a snow blower, a lawn mower, a lawn edger, two car speakers, a generator and assorted power tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 41-year-old woman, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19.

(Editor's note: 64th and Rockwell is considerably east of the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area, but we include the incident report below, if only to illustrate the abuse that police on the front lines get from citizens, all too often.) 

Charge teen with weapons violation after foot chase
A 17-year-old Chicago Lawn boy was taken into custody on a gun charge after police chased him into an apartment building at 6352 S. Rockwell at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 20. Police on patrol said they spotted the teen walking down the street, adjusting his waistband as if to conceal something. He ran into the apartment building and ignored numerous commands to stop, police said, who added that they saw a handgun sticking out of his waistband. During the pursuit in the building, a number of residents emerged to scream and curse at police, officers said. The suspect them emerged from a basement bedroom, reportedly hollering, “What the f~ck you stopping me for?” Police took the teen into custody and recovered a loaded pistol that they said had been ditched out a bedroom window. The teen was taken to the Chicago Lawn (8th) District station for processing.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish Again Hosting Popular Plant Sale; Order Now!

spring plant sale, sponsored by St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, is underway.

Fancy geraniums in four-inch pots are $1.75 each.
Geraniums (stock photo)

Begonias, impatiens, marigolds, pansies and periwinkles are $1.00 each.

Tomato plants (cherry, beefsteak and early girl) are $1.50 each.

Pepper plants (green and jalapeƱo) are $1.00 each.

Cherry tomatoes (stock photo)
Cucumber plants are $1.00 each.

This is a very popular annual sale, so pre-orders are strongly recommended.

To pre-order, call Barbara at (773) 735-7222.

Pick-up of plants will be 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, May 12 and 8:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 13 at the St. Mary Star of the Sea rectory garage, 6435 South Kilbourn.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern and southern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in the western section of the district. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

* * *

Woman in car shot near 51st Street
A 24-year-old woman was shot in the left shoulder while she was a passenger in a northbound vehicle near 51st and Kostner at about 11:25 p.m. Saturday, April 8. The victim was transported by friends to Holy Cross Hospital, where she was treated for a graze wound. There was no description on the shooter and no indication that the victim was the target.

Man shot on Gage Park sidewalk
A 32-year-old Garfield Ridge man was shot in the left arm as he walked down a sidewalk in front of 3530 W. 51st St. at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 5. Interviewed by police in the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital, the victim said the shooter shouted a gang slogan and fired as many as five shots from a gold-colored SUV. He added that a Good Samaritan drove him to the hospital. Police said they later found no evidence of a crime scene in the 3500 block of West 51st Street.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 812 (see map), come to Clearing Branch Library at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

Gangbangers fire at Oak Lawn man
A 19-year-old Oak Lawn man reported that three gangbangers in a car fired shots at him as he drove south on Pulaski, near 76th Street, just after 10 p.m. Thursday, April 6. The victim told police that a black four-door Mitsubishi sedan pulled alongside his car and the occupants shouted gang slogans at him. One reportedly pulled a machine gun and started firing in his direction. To elude the attackers, the victim made a u-turn and headed north, striking another vehicle. He then turned east onto 76th Street, parked and started running to a relative’s house for safety. Police said neither the victim nor his vehicle was hit by gunfire. The victim reported the crime two hours later. The three offenders were described as Hispanics age 20-29. The shooter was described as a man with black hair and a medium complexion. The driver was described as a man with long black hair and a medium complexion. The front-seat passenger was described as a woman with brown hair in a bun.

Thug robs woman outside hot dog restaurant
A 59-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint as she prepared to unlock the door at Nicky’s Hot Dogs, 4601 S. Pulaski, at 5:20 a.m. Thursday, April 6. The victim told police that she was accosted by a thug who pointed a handgun at her and said, “Give me money.” He then pushed her, entered her vehicle and snatched her purse before running away east on 46th Street. The purse contained cash, credit cards, a cell phone and other items. The criminal was described as a white man age 20-25, wearing a black hoody and black jeans.

Comcast worker robbed at knifepoint
A 21-year-old Comcast technician was robbed at knifepoint as he worked in an alley behind 5139 S. Leclaire at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, April 4. The victim told police that two thugs waving knives walked up, with one saying, “Don’t move, or I’ll slit your throat” while he held a knife to his back. The other offender rummaged through the Comcast truck, stealing wire, wire cutters, crimpers and other tools. The criminals then got into a light green truck and sped away east on 51st Street. The victim suffered no injuries. The thugs were described as Hispanic men age 25-30 about 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, wearing red bandannas, black t-shirts and black pants. 

Knife-wielding robber takes book bag
A 24-year-old Alsip man reported that he was robbed at knifepoint as he stood in a parking lot at 4343 S. Pulaski at about 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6. The victim told police that a thug pointed a knife at him and asked for his book bag, which he surrendered. The bag contained an iPad and other items. The offender was described only as a black man about 30 years old.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 814 (see map), come to the Vittum Park Field House at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 13 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

* * *

Thug with Sox cap robs Game Stop
A thug robbed Game Stop, 7945 S. Cicero, making off with $45 cash, at 8:55 p.m. Monday, April 3. Two clerks told police that the criminal walked in and said, “Don’t mess with me or f~ck with me, or I’ll kill you.” He did not show a gun or any weapon, but herded the employees to a back room before he took the cash and another item, which was later found on the front lawn of a home in the 7800 block of South Keating. The robber was described as a black man age 20-25, about 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with brown eyes and a medium complexion. He wore a White Sox cap with a red brim and a black hoody.

Gun-wielding teens threaten motorist
A 17-year-old West Lawn girl reported that two teen boys threatened her and her brother—a 28-year-old Alsip man—with guns at 65th and Karlov at 8:42 p.m. Friday, April 7. The victim told police that she was a passenger in a car driven by her brother, when they saw two boys on opposite sidewalks pointing pistols at them. In an attempt to dissuade the teens, the male victim rolled down his window and said, “I have my kids and family in here.” One of the teens on the sidewalk replied, “Then you wanna leave, because you don’t wanna hear the sound I’m about to make.” At that point, the victims sped away and the offenders ran into a nearby house. The 17-year-old victim said she knows the boys with guns and gave their names to police.

Back of the Yards man hit with trespass charge
A 53-year-old Back of the Yards was charged with criminal trespass to a residence after he
Daniel Mejias
was apprehended by police in the 5400 block of South Oak Park at 9:53 a.m. Tuesday, April 4. Daniel Mejias, of the 4900 block of South Honore, was arrested by police responding to a “burglary in progress” call in the 5300 block of South Oak Park. Mejias was positively identified by the victim, police said.

U-Haul store on 47th Street burglarized
A burglar smashed the front glass door of the U-Haul store at 4705 W. 47th St., entered, found a hidden key and used it to open a safe and steal $400 cash. The crime was discovered by a manager when she came to open up for the day at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, April 6. Surveillance video showed that the crime occurred about six hours earlier. The burglar was described as a man about 21-30 years old, wearing a red hoody, dark blue jeans and white gym shoes.

Jewelry, cash taken from home
Burglars broke into a home in the 4100 block of West 78th Street and stole assorted jewelry and $1,600 cash. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 40-year-old man, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5.

Tools, clothes swiped from garage
Burglars broke into a garage in the 6100 block of South Keeler and stole assorted clothes and hand tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 27-year-old woman, at 12:05 a.m. Friday, April 7.


Bike rack taken in garage burglary
Burglars broke into a garage in the 6700 block of South Kostner and stole a bike rack. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 20-year-old man, at 7 a.m. Tuesday, April 4.

Tool chest, vacuum stolen from garage
Burglars kicked in the service door of a garage in the 5200 block of South Ridgeway and stole a mobile tool chest and tools, as well as a shop vacuum. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 36-year-old man, at 7 a.m. Tuesday, April 4.

Bottled water, toilet paper swiped from garage
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage in the 4900 block of South Kedvale and stole a case of bottled water, a case of toilet paper and a garage-door remote control. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 45-year-old man, at 5 a.m. Tuesday, April 4.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pick Up the Torch, People of Clearing

By Tim Hadac
Manging Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

More than a year ago—14 months, specifically—I waved a red flag about the dilapidated state of the Clearing Civic League and urged men and women of good will to step forward and pick up the torch, so to speak.

Sad to say, the torch is still lying on the ground, its flame growing weaker.

I say that after seeing the latest edition of the CCL’s monthly newsletter, in which editor Marie Zilka—an exceptional woman who has served the league and the larger community so faithfully for so many years—noted that the CCL is now “in dire need” of leadership.

Nominations for the year’s officers will be accepted at the group’s May meeting.

If no one steps forward, the group will be without a president, vice president, recording secretary and sergeant-at-arms.

“In the past year, four officers have passed away, and the remaining officers are over 70 years of age, Marie Zilka added in the newsletter.

It’s almost a “last one out, turn off the lights” situation.

That’s sad because the Clearing Civic League, founded in 1960, has a long history of effective neighborhood advocacy—most notably several decades ago under the leadership of its longtime president, the late Richard Zilka. The CCL was an important voice in fighting blight and promoting prosperity in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood groups like the Clearing Civic League have a proud history in Chicago and across the nation--fostering the good and fighting the bad, speaking truth to power, rallying people around important causes, and reminding us all that the common men and women are the real owners of a community--not politicians or big business or street gangs. 

Reminding us, too, that there is strength in numbers and that when smart men and women stand up and stand together, they can work wonders they could not work alone.

So who will pick up the torch in Clearing?

I’m not asking that rhetorically. This is a real challenge to the 20,000 or so people who live in Clearing.

There are thousands of smart, able-bodied men and women in Clearing, yet the Clearing Civic League’s meetings typically attract just a couple dozen—typically good people who have been coming for years, but are generally tired at this point.

So I challenge those who have not yet stepped forward—men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s. If you’re waiting for the other guy to do it, he won’t. It’s up to you.

Please don’t be intimidated by the fact that you may be relatively new to the neighborhood—and CCL members are typically old-timers who have been around for decades. All of them were once “the new guy” in the group.

Here’s my challenge to current CCL members: do everything you can to make newcomers feel welcome. Offer a handshake, introduce yourself—and for heaven’s sake, smile. I’ve lost count of how many silent sourpusses I’ve seen at civic meetings across the Southwest Side over the years.

Clearing Civic League meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of the month at Hale Park, 6258 W. 62nd St. The next one is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11. See you there?

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Ignore federal law at your own peril

Opinion by John T. "Red" Ryan

SO NOW, THIS situation concerning so-called "Sanctuary Cities," the federal government and long existing laws never fails to amaze. Being that the actions taken by certain cities (including one that is right here on Lake Michigan) and their chief executive officers (aka "mayors") are by their very nature in violation of long standing U.S. law concerning immigration, legal visitation and integrity of our borders. All together, the laws mentioned are the heart of what makes the USA a sovereign nation.This latest development to which we refer is the latest pronouncement from the office of our own Chicago mayor.

THE INNOVATION THAT Rahm Emmanuel has thrown out for our citizenry's consideration calls for an official City of Chicago photo I.D. card for those here illegally. By its very nature, it would appear to have little or no value. It also seems that it would inherent qualities of the sort of word commonly called an oxymoron. That is defined in the dictionary as: ".........a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect." It certainly begs the question as to why would someone here in the United States in violation of the law would wish to have documentation that would appear to confirm and substantiate the fact.

AND THIS IRONICALLY comes at a time when those on the political Left are vigorously advocating the outlawing of any sort of picture identification card used as a condition of casting one's ballot at election time. This sort of faulty thinking makes for a fine addition to a similarly flawed suggestion that was floated around a year or two back. It was suggested by the Governor of some state that those illegals should be issued drivers licenses. This presumes that persons without valid licensing (or were suspended or revoked) wouldn't drive a car. (Well, we invite that governor and anyone else to consult their local police; who would tell that the only thing tat keeps these guys from driving is when they are arrested and only for that short period of time.)

BUT ALL OF this brings us back to our Mayor's suggestion for an Illegal Resident card. Other than this being a sort of publicity maneuver, we wonder just what was the motivation behind such a pronouncement?

FIRST OF ALL, we know that as a politician, he wants to retain his office. The conventional, true or not,  wisdom seems to be that sympathetic attitude toward the plight of the Spanish speaking community. This theory (and it's only that) would seem to be bolstered by the weak showing that Emmanuel had in his Mayoral Election against challenger, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in 2015; which led to a runoff as neither had a majority in the first round.

OR MAYBE THIS is a ploy to create yet another layer of the Municipal Bureaucracy. The founding of a City of Chicago, Department of Undocumented Immigrants could  prove to be a great shot in the arm for expanding the patronage army.  The hiring of those new employees by way of the old "Spoils System" would surely expand the ranks of "Ward Heelers" and bolster the number of political operatives around the polls at election time.

PERHAPS WE'RE BEING just a tad too tough on Mr. Emmanuel. He could well be on to something with this highly specialized identification card. It could be expanded and include other classes of those who are live in violation of various areas of that which is illegal. Hence, we could see various classes of ID's, such as (but not limited to): Gangbangers, Stick-up Men, Burglars, Car Thieves, Drug Pushers, etc.

BUT THEN, OF course, we'd be inviting the civil liberties types would take up arms against such regulations on the grounds that those being identified would be unfairly exposed to the general public in a highly negative manner. With this we would agree and are reminded that whereas any who are here without benefit of a legal status are breaking the law; even if in only a minor technical sense.

BUT OUR MAYOR must also remember that any public official who violates Federal Law is subject to prosecution. And if the Mayor of Chicago doesn't think that this can happen, we offer in evidence the following local names; all were prosecuted by the G Men for various violations of Federal Law. They are: Governors Otto Kerner, George Ryan &  Rod Blagevich; Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski & Jesse Jackson, Jr.; also more aldermen than we can remember.

~ ~ ~

John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Say "No" to Short-Term Home Rentals, 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn Says

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Sounding an alarm about what he calls “a new threat to the
Alderman Marty Quinn
safety of our neighborhoods,” 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn is rallying thousands of homeowners to sign petitions to block short-term rentals of homes or rooms in homes in his ward.

“Short-term rental of housing may work in other parts of the city, but the Southwest Side was laid out as a community of single-family homes,” Quinn said earlier this week. “When you tamper with that, when every one of those homes can suddenly and without warning become what amounts to a hotel, you tamper with the character of our neighborhoods, with our quality of life.”

Changes to Chicago’s Municipal Code made last year allow most Chicagoans to rent their homes—or spaces within their homes. Proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the changes “ensure that the city has the tools it needs to protect consumers and quality of life in our neighborhoods while allowing the emerging house-sharing industry to grow,” the mayor said in a statement last year.

After months of legislative wrangling, the City Council approved the changes last August in a 43-7 vote. Quinn and 18th Ward Ald. Derrick Curtis were the only Southwest Side aldermen to vote against the changes.

Months after the changes, a check of the house-sharing industry’s leading website,, shows that a number of dwellings across the Southwest Side—and citywide—are currently available for short-term rentals.

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Airbnb describes itself as “a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world…in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries.”

Southwest Siders looking to rent their homes or rooms within their homes can now “showcase it to an audience of millions,” according to Airbnb.

Too many question marks are associated with those millions, Quinn said, citing two examples of short-term home rentals gone wrong.

“These are extreme examples, but there was a situation near 112th and Longwood Drive where a house was rented by a gang members for a New Year’s Eve party—and once they were in, they live-streamed their party on Facebook, taunting a rival gang,” Quinn noted. The rival gang members headed over to the dwelling, and by about 3:45 a.m. New Year’s Day, three people had been shot.

Quinn also recalled a situation where a man renting a room in a residence on the West Side was found to be making a bomb.

The alderman added that several Southwest Siders have told him of their discomfort with such rentals. One complained about renters drinking and coming and going “at all hours” from a rented house next door.

Currently, Quinn is seeking citizen signatures in 23 precincts in his ward, with a possibility of future expansion. If 25 percent of people in a given precinct sign the petition, short-term home rentals would essentially be banned in that precinct for four years.

Quinn is joined in the effort by Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, as well as the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, which has for years fought unregulated rentals of single-family homes, especially by absentee landlords.

Thirteenth Ward residents interested in more information or signing a petition are advised to call the Madigan-Quinn Service Office at (773) 581-8000, according to a letter sent to residents of the targeted precincts.

Click here to read a Southwest Sider's opinion on this issue.

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Single-Family Homes Are Not Hotels

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

The single-family home I own is not in the 13th Ward, so I did not receive Alderman Marty Quinn’s recent letter about these new short-term home rental regulations. Click here for details.

But I’ve seen the buzz in local Facebook groups about his letter, and I’ve seen person after person in his ward respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!” to his call for 13th Ward residents to step forward to sign a petition to block short-term rentals in the ward.

If I had one word to say to Alderman Quinn, it’s “Amen!”

Make it two words, and I’d say, “Thank you!”

This is exactly the kind of leadership we need here on the Southwest Side, and fortunately, we have it—well, at least in one ward.

Why our mayor—and most other aldermen—would decide to blow open the gates and allow short-term, temporary rentals of single-family homes is beyond me.

Really, why have zoning laws if we’re going to ignore them?

Sure, I’ve read the mayor’s statement on the changes made last year, couched in layers or reassurances that City Hall will maintain a watchful eye on short-term rentals and crack down where necessary. It sounds good on the surface.

But in a part of the city loaded with city workers and retired city workers, we know better. In situations like this, we know such City Hall assurances are empty, if only because the city workforce has shrunk so much in recent decades, there basically are no more inspectors. They retired and weren’t replaced.

Advocates for the changes will characterize short-term housing rental as a harmless process, like offering a spare bedroom to an out-of-town cousin or a clean-cut college student coming here to attend a conference.

If that’s all it is, I might support it.

But it’s not.

Among other things, this gives the opportunity for absentee landlords to make money at the expense of those of us living here.

Reminds me of a situation we had a short walk away from Normandy Park, about five years ago. An elderly woman—an empty nester--who owned a single-family home downsized to a condo in the suburbs.

But with the real estate market being slow, she could not sell her Garfield Ridge home for what she wanted. So as a temporary measure, she rented it out to a nice young man.

Only he wasn’t so nice. What the elderly woman did not know was that this young man’s nickname was Baby Face, and he was a gangbanger working to establish his gang in Garfield Ridge. Night after night, Baby Face and his gangbanger pals sat on the home’s front porch, flashed gang signs and made verbal threats and other attempts to intimidate the neighbors—men, women and children alike.

Standard stuff for a gang, I know, but it caused shock and outrage in peaceful, law-abiding Garfield Ridge.

Fortunately, our neighborhood watch caught wind of the situation promptly and took action, working with our local police commander to pay a visit to the suburban landlady and—well, let’s just say convince her—to evict Baby Face and his buddies promptly. And that’s what happened.

Granted, most people who’d rent a residence on a short-term basis are not here to cause trouble, and certainly won’t.

But some are, and will.

My concern with this new situation is that it opens the door for a hundred Baby Faces—and my neighbors and I have no interest in fighting battle after battle every time bad guys appear out of nowhere.

Besides, I see no need for homes across the Southwest Side to suddenly turn into motels. There is short-term rental lodging available all around—most notably the Bedford Park hotel cluster at 65th and Cicero, with more to come along the Chicago side of Cicero Avenue. There are always vacancies.

So my advice to those who visit Chicago and want lodging? Welcome--we hope you enjoy your stay.

And "get a room," as we used to say.

Just not on my block.

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