Make decent housing a priority
Letters to the Editor February 28, 2013 4:46PM
Ald. James Cappleman (46th)
Updated: April 2, 2013 6:25AM
I want to thank Mark Brown for bringing to light the current situation with the “cubicle hotels” — the Ewing Annex Hotel and the Wilson Men’s Club, and I applaud the work of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on this issue.
Ald. James Cappleman’s (46th) response, reported by Fran Spielman on Feb. 27, is truly horrifying. Everyone in our city deserves a safe, affordable place to live. The alderman has done nothing to ensure that these buildings are healthy environments, or to offer supportive services to help residents achieve their full potential. Instead, the alderman is hiding behind a middle-class idea of what is “acceptable” for human beings, which is absurd, and refuses to name a better place for people to go. In overcrowded shelters, people will have even less personal space and will be sharing even fewer toilets and showers. On the streets, they won’t have access to these at all.
As Ed Shurna says in this article, there is a reason that people make hotels home — sometimes for years. The dignity of your own personal space, no matter how small, is one that should be preserved. The alderman’s credential as a “social worker” to further legitimize his statements makes all of this even more appalling. There is an affordable housing crisis in Chicago, and we need an alderman, not a social worker, to start leading to way to deal with this. The actions we need from the alderman include pushing for further financial supports, working with the owners of affordable housing to develop strategies to improve and preserve these buildings, and working with the community to develop more options for affordability in his rapidly gentrifying 46th Ward.
Instead of making real efforts to improve these buildings, Ald. Cappleman has made real efforts to close them down completely, including the Wilson Men’s Club. We at Lakeview Action Coalition have attempted to work with him to preserve and improve the Chateau Hotel, another 138-unit building for low-income people in his ward. Instead of working with us, he has had a hand in the current plans to vacate that building, putting its residents at risk of homelessness.
We hope that Ald. Cappleman will stop blaming groups attempting to keep people out of homelessness, like the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and start working with the City Council and the mayor to make decent affordable housing a well-funded priority in Chicago.
Erin Ryan, president,
Lakeview Action Coalition
Good Higgins cartoon
I agree with Jack Higgins’ Thursday cartoon. This practice of blocking a parking spot after clearing it has gone overboard. We haven’t even gotten a serious snowstorm this year, and the junk comes out of the garage. I pay for my city sticker as does mostly everybody else, which gives me the right to park on the city streets. What gives them the right to private parking?
Hector Rivera, Avondale
How condescending of Rep. Jan Schakowsky for thinking that voters and taxpayers don’t know what “sequester” means (“Sequester hurts moms like Sharna,”Thursday). It’s no mystery to the people who know how wasteful and bloated the federal government really is. Her scare tactics are pathetic, meant only to terrorize middle-class families into submission.
Stop the madness! It’s time for our government to be downsized, as the private sector has been.
Kenneth Marier, Lake View
I applaud first lady
As first fady Michelle Obama was in Chicago recently to promote the “Let’s Move” campaign, I’d like to take a moment to applaud her efforts to reduce childhood obesity. Through her leadership and the continued partnership of government, business, and community, we have made, and will continue to make great strides in advancing the health of children across the nation.
When the first lady launched the “Let’s Move” campaign in February 2010, America’s beverage companies were eager to get involved, introducing the “Clear on Calories” initiative to support her efforts. You may have noticed a calorie label is now on the front of all cans, bottles and packages. This initiative has enhanced consumer access to information and enabled consumers to personalize their beverage choice. The beverage industry in Illinois and throughout the country is committed to the health of our nation’s children. As the “Let’s Move” campaign has urged kids to get active, the American Beverage Association and its member companies have acted and encouraged healthier choices by reducing beverage calories shipped to schools by 90 percent and decreasing advertising to children for soft drinks by 96 percent.
I commend the first lady for bringing the health of our children to the forefront of public discussion. These are initiatives people from all industries and organizations can come together to support.
Tim Bramlet, executive director
Illinois Beverage Association