“Chicagoist” to Downtown Residents: Drop Dead

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More or less. Chicagoist columinst Amy Hart ridiculed Downtown Chicago 42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus for wanting to put a stop to non-permitted street drummers who have lately accosted downtown visitors and residents with a panoply of obnoxious and illegal “music” to accompany their illegal panhandling. In this Chicagoist entry, Amy Hart tells downtown residents to deal with it as the price of living downtown. (Previous expletive deleted when a cooler head prevailed). Um, excuse me?

Living downtown, I pay more taxes than most Chicagoans. Living downtown, I help the core of the city stay alive, and vibrant, and safer at night than it has been for decades, all things that all Chicagoans benefit from.

Moreover, downtown is my neighborhood. My home. The streets of the Loop are as much my “own” as anyone would think of the streets in Uptown or Bridgeport. I know them intimately. I almost never leave them. And I am very protective of them and their quality of life.

In these days when thousands and thousands of people are moving downtown, it seems anywhere from unfair to downright meanspirited to tell people if they don’t like it, then leave. Hmm, how about if Amy Hart’s Alderman or local police captain told her that her neighborhood concerns were of no consequence the next time she complained about something in her outer neighborhood? Got mugged? Loud construction until midnight every night across the street? Afraid of a little local rapist? Tough, babe, go live in Oak Park, that’s the price of living in the big city? Well, no, a substandard quality of life doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be the “price” of living in the big city. And that right to a livable neighborhood does not end where the borders of the Loop begin.

Times, they are a changin’, dear Amy. Much of Downtown Chicago is turning residential, and quickly. You seem to think that the needs of we Downtown residents can be taken for granted. That we are rich enough (I wish), or dumb enough (I get to choose where I live) to know better, or that we are simply second-class citizens whose input can be flippantly tossed aside because in your experience you can’t conceive of people actually living downtown and calling it Home with a capital H.

Well, speaking as one of Chicagoist’s readers, and a regular local blogger–and more importantly, as a fiercely loyal resident of downtown Chicago–honey, you have been severely misinformed.

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