Chicago - Dec. 1, 2020
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
 
Must-See TV
Army Of Darkness
ElRey
5 p.m.
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
Weather Derby
Tribune: 51/37
Sun-Times: Ferro/McKinney
Weather Channel: 44/41
Ntl Weather Service: 54/43
BWM*: 82/12
Beachwood Bookmarks
K-Tel Classics
WKRP in Cincinnati
So You've Decided To Be Evil
St. Paul Saints
Nye's Polonaise Room
The Arcata Eye
Roadside USA
This Day In . . .
Onion History
Weird Al History
Baseball History
Beachwood History
History History
Spy Magazine History
#OnThisDate History
Chicago
Indicted!
Under Suspicion
Find Your Towed Car
Cable TV Complaints
Freedom of Information
The Expired Meter
The Mob & Friends
Stolen Bike Registry
O'Hare Music Tracker
Rats
Report Corruption (city)
Report Corruption (state)
Beyond
Scoundrels, State
Scoundrels, Federal
The Odds
Random Flight Tracker
Casting Calls
Cosmic Log
Buy Stamps
Beachwood Blogroll
A Handy List
Beachwood Ethics Statement
How We Roll
Today's Horoscope
Liberties will be taken.
Do We Sudoku?
No, but we do do moose stuff, and that can be anything you want it to be. Except Sudoku.
Losing Lottery Numbers
8, 25, 39
Daily Affirmation
I am open and receptive to new avenues of income. (louisehay.com)
Ellie
Knowing that a person may be unwittingly in danger of an assault imposes a moral duty to warn them.
Now Playing
Psychodrama/Marshall Law
Letters to the Editors
FAQ
About
Tip Line
"The Papers" archive
RSS
Beachwood Link Buttons
Media Kit/Advertising
 

The [Monday] Papers

What the fuck happened in Little Village over the weekend?

"On a day of virtual Easter celebrations and a drop in COVID-19 fatalities that signaled hope, the city was investigating a demolition in Little Village that coated the neighborhood in a cloud of dust," the Tribune reports.

"As officials fight to contain the coronavirus, a respiratory illness, the Saturday toppling of a smokestack at the Crawford Coal Plant on the Southwest Side left residents with fear and anxiety.

"A Pilsen-based street photographer who shot the demolition said the dust hurt his chest for about 20 minutes, even after he used his jacket as a makeshift mask. The photographer, Maclovio, asked that only his first name be used out of fear that the now-controversial photos could hurt his daytime job." (I added the link because the Trib didn't provide it to readers.)

"It was totally gray," Maclovio said. "It looked like something out of the movies."

To wit:

*

You can find a ton more on Twitter.

And here's the thing:

"The neighborhood near the plant has already had at least 268 people fall ill with COVID-19, according to a Tribune analysis."

COVID-19, of course, is a respiratory virus only exacerbated by fucktons of demolished smokestack dust.

*

"Northbrook-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners secured permits in March to demolish a smokestack on the property, at 3501 S. Pulaski Road, city officials said. The site had been shuttered since 2012 after a contentious push by activists who argued the plant near the Latino neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen symbolized environmental racism."

I'd say exemplified because there was nothing symbolic about it.

"A video posted Saturday by the Chicago Fire Department showed a tower falling to the ground, releasing a heavy cloud of particles into the air. Photos circulated on social media showed what appeared to be dense dust seeping into residential areas."

Okay, let's not mention the CFD without mentioning this:

*

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered Chicago's Department of Buildings to stop any nonemergency demolitions and ordered Hilco to clean up the areas covered with dust.

"This is absolutely and utterly unacceptable," Lightfoot said at a Sunday news conference. "It's unsafe, it's unsanitary. I would not tolerate it in my neighborhood, and we won't tolerate it here either."

"The developer assured the city it had a plan in place to contain the dust, which included water cannons to minimize the spread, Lightfoot said.

"You don't see any of the water that was supposed to be spraying it," Lightfoot said about videos showing the demolition. "They may claim that they were on-site, but whatever they had on-site was woefully insufficient to contain the dust."

WTF, Hilco?

Here's Lightfoot:

Look, even if Hilco had a plan, the city is also responsible. Just look at the CFD's "mission accomplished" proclamation. Somewhere there was a glitch - and now we all may end up paying for it (though none so much as the residents of Little Village).

*

Back to the Trib:

"Hilco did not respond to requests for comment by e-mail or phone. The demolition is part of a $100 million project that will redevelop the area into a 1.06 million-square-foot warehouse, which could become the largest in the city."

To that end:

*

Now, about Hilco:

"Headquartered in metropolitan Chicago, Hilco Global is the leading international financial services company having completed billions of dollars of transactions around the world."

The chairman and CEO of Hilco Global is Jeffrey B. Hecktman:

"Mr. Hecktman is deeply committed to philanthropy and ardently supports humanitarian and faith-based causes. He's been a benefactor for a major music therapy program and a stem cell research program at the University of Chicago Medical Center and at the United States Holocaust Museum. He is also a passionate supporter of educational opportunities for underserved communities in the United States and around the world. To this end, he has donated his time and financial support to several important educational programs for the children of Illinois and around the world, including the Youth Guidance mentoring programs that work with over 6000 inner city high school age boys and girls; The All Stars Arts and Education Program in Chicago; major disaster relief efforts in Haiti that provide recovery tools and books for children; and the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel, which provides support to at-risk and immigrant youth from around the world."

Mind your store, Hecktman.

*

Hecktman once complained about litter in an e-mail to Rahm Emanuel's private account:

"Jeffrey Hecktman, chairman and CEO of Hilco Global, wrote the mayor after driving into Chicago on the Kennedy Expressway and being 'appalled' to see a grassy berm between Wilson and Addison 'filled with an enormous amount of litter.'"

Also: Hecktman had Rahm Emanuel's private e-mail address.

*

The CEO of Hilco Redevelopment Partners, which seems to be the entity in charge of the Little Village project is Roberto Perez, unless he's been fired by the time I post this:

"Roberto has been instrumental in establishing the current synergistic partnership between Hilo's real estate and industrial businesses, pursuing the acquisition of end-of-life industrial facilities for the purposes of redevelopment to new and more functional uses. Under Roberto's leadership, Hilco is now one of the country's leading buyers of Brownfield sites for purposes of redevelopment."

His bio lists no charitable endeavors.

*

Hilco certainly has friends in all the right places. From the South Side Weekly in March 2019:

"Last Friday, City Council's Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development voted to recommend that industrial developer Hilco receive a $19.7 million tax break from the Cook County Assessor's Office for its controversial redevelopment plan for the former Crawford Generating Station in Little Village. The meeting was hastily scheduled - chairman Proco Joe Moreno didn't file an agenda with the City Clerk's office until after business hours on Wednesday. (Moreno was ousted by his 1st Ward constituents in last week's election; his office did not respond to a request for comment about how the meeting was scheduled.)

"The proposed tax break, which will likely be considered and passed by the full City Council at its meeting next Wednesday, would allow the property to be assessed at ten percent of its market value for the first ten years, fifteen percent in the eleventh year, and twenty percent in the twelfth year. Industrial properties are generally assessed at twenty-five percent of their market value without this break.

"Hilco bought the property, located in the Little Village Industrial Corridor, in 2017, and plans to spend $100 million to create an approximately one-million-square-foot distribution center, a plan approved by the Plan Commission over community objections in September."

That's the sort of thing that makes giving away toys look like, well, child's play.

*

By the way, the tax break passed the full council.

*

Ricardo Munoz didn't cover himself in glory, either - showing once again why aldermanic privilege should be assigned to the dustbin of history.

*

From the Beachwood last August:

Clear The Air
"Seven years after the closure of the Crawford coal plant in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, the site is still a lightning rod for neighborhood activism and outrage," Kari Lydersen reports for the Energy News Network.

"At a community meeting Tuesday, residents demanded city and state officials and the global conglomerate that purchased the site install air monitors during remediation slated to start soon.

"When a city public health official stoically explained that air monitoring isn't considered necessary or typical in such situations, residents responded that this is no 'typical' site. Rather, it is a symbol of environmental injustice in a heavily industrial and residential neighborhood where low-income, largely Mexican immigrant residents can't bear any additional health burden."

I would add that residents don't need monitors for symbolic reasons, but because neither the city nor the company remediating the site can be trusted.

*

"Residents were angry to hear of Hilco's purchase of the site in 2017, since the firm is known for developing massive logistics hubs. LVEJO, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups have argued that hundreds of diesel trucks serving a warehousing center could present a greater risk to public health even than the coal plant."

Great job, everyone.

"Under state law, the site remediation program requires different tiers of cleanup for industrial or commercial versus residential sites, with more stringent requirements for residential reuse."

Residents deserve the most stringent requirements be met, regardless of the law.

"A similar battle over remediation plans is likely to play out about five miles to the east of Little Village in Pilsen, home to the city's other coal plant closed in 2012. Hilco has reportedly also purchased that site, which is also surrounded by homes and across the street from a park."

Now that we have at least a little bit of context, and know that Hilco isn't to be trusted, let's return to the present day.

"City officials on Sunday sought to lay the blame for the massive dust cloud that descended on Little Village on a 'dishonest' developer that demolished an old coal plant smokestack the day before," Block Club Chicago reports.

"But the city had an active role in the demolition, Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged, by approving permits and overseeing the work Saturday."

Yup.

"Activists had begged the city not to allow the demolition, but it instead proceeded with representatives from the city's Department of Health, Buildings and Fire Department on hand to watch."

*

Ald. Michael Rodriguez also failed.

"There was no public meeting to warn neighbors. When Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) learned about the planned implosion, he asked Hilco to notify neighbors via letters in English and Spanish. Those notices were mailed earlier this week, Hilco spokeswoman Julia Sznewajs said. Rodriguez did not send his own notice to neighbors.

"A canvass team also dropped flyers at homes near the site on Friday, [Sznewajs] said - hours before the demolition. The developer posted an implosion notice on the project website on Thursday."

It gets worse for Rodriguez:

"Asked why he didn't push to postpone the demolition, Rodriguez, the freshman alderman who represents the area, said 'there was conversation' but with city permits issued, he felt he 'didn't have a say in that matter.'"

Rodriguez told the Sun-Times that "I wish I had communicated it to residents, and I did not. And for that I am very sorry."

But sufficiently notifying residents is only one part of his responsibilties; he also should have stuck his nose in to make sure the demolition was properly mitigated - or demanded that it be postponed during the coronavirus crisis out of an abundance of caution.

*

"Sznewajs, speaking for the developer said abatement testing shows no presence of asbestos or lead in the smokestack. The Chicago Fire Department would be on hand with a fire truck to assist with dust suppression, she said."

And indeed, the CFD thought everything went off without a hitch!

"But she told Block Club she could not immediately produce those testing reports, and deferred questions to the city.

"The Chicago Department of Public Health was monitoring the site weekly to ensure abatement work is being done safely at the site, said Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the city.

"Hofer said the company was required to provide proof that remediation was completed and appropriate steps were taken to maintain air quality standards. Block Club has asked the city to make those reports public."

*

Speaking of which, if the city had enough people on hand to push the paperwork through and show up to the demolition, they can have enough people on hand to process the FOIAs.

-

Afternoon Add:

-

Today's Coronavirus Novel

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

-

New on the Beachwood . . .

Corporate America's Tax Breaks Have Left Society More Vulnerable To Pandemic
Big business literally kills.

*

Recall! Jowett Farms Pork
Includes "Jewel-Osco Sheboygan Brand Bratwurst - Made in Illinois."

*

Meet The Worst Movie Ever Made
"It's on another level, man."

*

24 Hours With Oxygen
We got the idea after five.

*

The Chicago Special '59 Strat
The rosewood makes it darker.

-

ChicagoReddit

Air Quality in Chicago over the years. from r/chicago

-

ChicagoGram

-

ChicagoTube

Jesse Thornock With Thornock Racing in the C Class of Iracing in a Gander Outdoor Truck Series Truck at Chicagoland Speedway.

-

BeachBook

Zuckerberg's Jealousy Held Back Instagram And Drove Off Founders.

*

We Ate And Ranked All 35 Pringles Flavors.

-

TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

*

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Q-Tip Line: Rules.



Permalink

Posted on April 13, 2020


MUSIC - The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza.
TV - Newsmax On Fox News's Betrayal.
POLITICS - Dear Black Students ...
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Losing Ugly.

BOOKS - Ralph Steadman's Life In Ink.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Cole Hauser's Last Champion.


Search The Beachwood Reporter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Email:

Follow BeachwoodReport on Twitter



Beachwood Radio!