Alderman wants to dial down Chicago’s public performers

The April meeting of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) at 130 N. Garland Ct. included a lengthy discussion between residents, police officers and a representative of Alderman Brendan Reilly’s office about the volume of street performers near Michigan Ave. and Lake St.

A local resident explained that music played outdoors sounds like noise to people indoors. Others implied that at least one of the performers is unable to play more than two songs.

An officer present stated that he had responded to several complaints in the past. He informed the group that most of the alleged sonic violators were licensed to perform by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). In such cases, he continued, the CPD can ask musicians to move to another location, but not order them to stop playing.

Although some acknowledged that passersby and tourists seem to enjoy street musicians, they felt that restrictions on licenses, volume, locations and/or hours are necessary to reduce the aural strain on the local residency.      

A representative from the Alderman’s office remarked that “Alderman Reilly in a million years would never issue these permits.” She encouraged residents to join Alderman Reilly in a letter writing campaign directed towards Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of DCASE, as a “pre-cursor to an ordinance campaign.”

“At the end of the day,” she explained, “we want the person who issues these permits to understand how the performers effect the quality of your life.”

The Commissioner’s office responded to a request for comment by noting via email that it had “not heard about” the Alderman’s intentions but looks forward to seeing his proposal and is “always happy to hear from the public.”

Alderman Reilly’s office did not respond to a request for additional information.

(Photo: Larry Bluesman on the Jackson Red Line platform in Chicago, by Daniel Patton)

— Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

Residential presidential poll

An informal presidential poll conducted by New Eastside News in the Village Market Lakeshore East on a recent Saturday afternoon concluded that Senator Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and Senator Rubio or Donald Trump (if the party still claims him) will win the Republican nomination.

The thoughts behind the predictions are as dynamic as the race itself. Here are responses from some of the residents surveyed:

IMG_2640bNew Eastside resident Luke Chandra, a high school student at the Latin School of Chicago, will vote in his first presidential election this year. Chandra describes himself as a Republican.

But, he adds, “I say that with a chip on my shoulder.”

“I support Marco Rubio, but I don’t think he’ll win the primary,” he explains.

“I believe that Trump will win the primary, but I’m not a Trump supporter. I believe he’s too risky of a candidate, unlike Hillary.”

Chandra believes that the White House will welcome its second President Clinton in November.

“She has the most experience of any candidate and being a woman doesn’t hurt her chances at all,” he says. “I think a lot of voters believe that she’s a very reasonable and safe candidate, so it’s a safe vote to vote for Hillary.”

IMG_2647bAnother resident, Daniel Spiess, PhD, Assistant Director of Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Chicago, has “no idea who’s going to win,” but believes that it will, “probably be a Democrat.”

“Everything is so extreme on the Republican side that I think it’s just turning a lot of people off,” he says. “It makes for great theater, but I don’t think it makes for good leadership.”

Among the things turning off voters, he says, are the candidates’ hawkish tendencies. For example, a recent New York Times article accused Senator Rubio of “stepping away” from his immigration reform bill, and a suspicion that Donald Trump — “as fun as he is” — is “just posturing.”

“I don’t even know if he really wants to be president,” Spiess muses.

As a former New Yorker, he voted for and lived through the leadership of Senator Clinton. He describes her performance as “totally fine” and says that, “people liked her.”

Maryam, an emergency room nurse from Naperville, who declined to provide her last name, predicts that Donald Trump will win the presidency.

“The sad truth is that America is completely ignorant and that’s exactly who they want to run their country.”

Mr. Trump’s negative portrayal of immigrants, a particularly sensitive topic for the first-generation American, fuels the ignorance she refers to. “My family is from Iran,” she says. “We are Muslim.”

If she “had to” cast a vote right now, Maryam, whose boyfriend lives in Lakeshore East, would support Senator Bernie Sanders because he addresses the “basic humanitarian” issues that are important to her.

A President Sanders, she says, “would help save us a little bit from this mess we’re in.”

— Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

How the city helps keep pedestrians safe

By Daniel Patton | Managing Editor

Concern over potential collisions between automobiles and pedestrians at certain neighborhood traffic lights, crosswalks and intersections dominated the comments of attendees at a recent CAPS meeting in the 42nd Ward.

A New Eastside resident described the insufficient lighting, inferior design and impending sense of disaster on Columbus Avenue between the Fairmont Hotel and CVS, just north of the location where two streets emerge from the lower infrastructure. Another mentioned gouges in the sidewalk at Columbus and Randolph. A third expressed gratitude that a crack in the walkway of the Columbus Drive Bridge had been repaired.

A Chicago Police officer at the meeting indicated that she had made and submitted reports of some of the residents’ concerns to the Chicago Department of Transportation — which bears responsibility for inspecting, analyzing and, ideally, fixing the flaws. She also also said that she would forward reports about any additional concerns to CDOT.

As a result, she continued, CDOT has and will launch traffic studies into a couple of the locations.

CDOT traffic studies generally take six to nine months to complete, the officer explained. The best way for a resident to initiate a study is by contacting CDOT directly and providing the exact location and, if possible, photographs of the area of concern.

CPD officers offered their help to residents who wished to initiate reports of additional pedestrian and traffic safety issues to CDOT.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Alderman Reilly’s office offered similar assistance.

The Chicago Department of Transportation can be reached at (312) 744-3600 or cityofchicago.org/transportation.

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