Public Watchdog.org

Is “The Fix” In For The PADS Special Use Permit? (Update 9/9/08)

09.08.08

Tonight (September 8, 2008) at 7:00 p.m. the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission (“P&Z”) will once again meet at Emerson Middle School in Niles to review and consider City Staff’s proposed homeless shelter Text Amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance that would enable the issuance of special use permits for homeless shelters like the one PADS wants to run out of St. Paul of the Cross School. 

Prior to August 25th, Staff proposed its original draft of the Text Amendment that included only the most minimal requirements for the applicant seeking a homeless shelter special use permit.  On August 25th, P&Z held a three-hour hearing to obtain public testimony about what additional considerations and requirements might be included in the process for a shelter obtaining a special use permit.  Much of that “testimony” was opinion rather than fact, but a number of facts were presented.

One might expect that Staff might find something in that three hours of resident testimony to justify even some minor adjustments to the original Text Amendment.  But, amazingly enough, Staff’s post-public hearing version of the Text Amendment is exactly the same as the original.  

In other words, Staff derived nothing from those three hours of citizen input that caused it to re-think and revise any aspect of its original draft Text Amendment.  Is Staff just so good that it doesn’t even need citizen input, or was that citizen input just so poor that Staff was justified in disregarding it?  We believe neither.

We have annotated the September 8, 2008, Text Amendment memorandum [pdf] from Acting Director of Community Preservation and Development Carrie Davis to point out just how shallow, incomplete and undocumented Staff’s “analysis” of the Text Amendment is.  Frankly, it’s little more than a collection of Staff’s (or somebody else’s?) substantially unfounded opinions and conclusions that pretty much ignore the nine “Standards” for zoning text amendments found at Table 1 to Section 4.8.E of the Zoning Ordinance – including the crucial criterion of whether this proposed Text Amendment “will benefit the residents of the City as a whole, and not just the applicant, property owner(s)…or other special interest groups.”  We include an annotated Table 1 with the September 8th memo.

Carrie Davis should be ashamed of releasing such a piece of fluff under her name, but we’re guessing she’s just playing typical bureaucrat and following somebody’s orders.  Over the years we’ve observed that half-baked bureacratic “work product” from Staff usually signals that some kind of “Fix” is in, for some special interest or another at the expense of the rest of our community. 

But we encourage you to read the relevant materials, form your own opinions, and show up at Emerson tonight to see whether those P&Z members – all of whom we understand to be either appointments or re-appointments by our pro-PADS Mayor Howard Frimark – will rubber-stamp Carrie Davis’ fluff or actually stand up for “the residents of the City as a whole”?

As usual, we’re not holding our breath.

Update (9/9/08):

By a final vote of 7-2, P&Z last night forwarded the proposed Text Amendment to the Park Ridge City Council, but with one significant addition: No homeless shelter shall be located within 500 feet of a school.  By the slimmest 5-4 margin, Commissioners Anita Rifkind, Aurora Abella-Austriaco, Lou Arrigoni, Cathy Piche and Milda Roskiewicz stressed public safety in advocating and voting for this requirement, while chairman Alfredo Marr and commissioners Joe Baldi, Tom Provenchar and Mary Wells voted against the requirement.

The conduct of the meeting often seemed like Roberts Rules of Order meet the Marx Brothers, especially when the 500-foot requirement was being discussed: Chairman Marr put off a vote on it as long as possible, first taking a break to privately huddle with City Attorney Buzz Hill and Acting Director of Community Preservation and Development Carrie Davis, then inviting more discussion, then asking for a show of hands (which reflected the final 5-4 majority) before finally asking for a motion and calling the formal vote. 

The Text Amendment now moves on to the City Council, six members of which were in the audience for at least part of the meeting: P&Z liaison Dave Schmidt (1st) and Aldermen Don Bach (3rd), Jim Allegretti (4th), Robert Ryan (5th), Tom Carey (6th) and Frank Wsol (7th).  

24 comments so far

No mention anywhere in the memo about whether or not the text amendment will benefit the whole town instead of just the pro-PADS people? Ridiculous!

Dear Watchdogs,

I don’t mean to be an idiot, but I am not sure I follow everything. I have to admit I have only started to pay attention to what is going on in our government in town. I had trouble moving up and down the document you have posted.

What I am wondering is if you are saying the concerns stated by residents at the last meeting don’t matter because they aren’t facts? I guess I would say it is a fact that residents have concerns.

I don’t get what you are saying. I apologize again if I am being an idiot.

Thank you.

Carrie Davis, whoever that is, really has it made to be able to write stuff this negligent and stay employed. One that is really amazing: “Several comments were made associating the homeless with crime, disease, and drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, these issues exist in all communities and are not necessarily related to shelters or the homeless.” It is hard to imagine anything more reckless.

Here are some quotations copied from a homeless advocacy publication called “Healing Hands”. The publication has been available on Glen Ellyn Safety’s website for months for anyone who takes the trouble to look. Glen Ellyn Safety is an organization trying to warn other communities about the nightmare they have been subjected to by the same organizations and type of organizations, that are now attacking Park Ridge. By all means, don’t take my word for it – you can read the entire published article at their website http://www.glenellynsafety.org click on “Homelessness and Health Risks”.

You don’t have to read far. The italicized summary of this article titled “Homeless People at Higher Risk for CA-MRSA, HIV and TB” states: “Three infectious agents that disproportionately affect homeless populations – community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) – potentially virulent diseases in homeless populations.”

The article continues “The Association for Professionals in Infection Control recently launched a comprehensive initiative to fight MRSA, calling it the “superbug…To date, cases of CA-MRSA infection are more common to children and young adults…HCH providers confirm an apparent increase in MRSA over the past few years in homeless clinics and shelters. Higher rates of hospitalization, HIV infection, and injection drug use, as well as crowded living conditions and/or poor hygiene place homeless people at higher risk for acquisition and transmission of CA-MRSA (Charlebois 2002; Pan et. Al. 2005).” So of course, where is PRMA intent on putting this? In a school gym, where the most vulnerable “children and young adults” can be constantly exposed of course.

“Prevalence of HIV is generally estimated to be at least 3 times higher among people who are homeless than in the general population. In New York the rate of new HIV diagnoses is reported to be 16 times higher. One-third to one-half of individuals living with AIDS are estimated to be homeless or at risk of homelessness (Conanan et al. 2003).”

With regard to TB “The incidence of tuberculosis in the U.S. has steadily declined since 1992, the final year of the latest resurgence… But because tuberculosis is primarily a disease of poverty and crowding, the prevalence of this disease among urban homeless populations is disproportionately high and emergency shelters remain volatile transmission sites..”

Then there are the combinations: HIV + TB, CA-MRSA + HIV, CA-MRSA + TB of which the article says: “Of particular concern is the comorbidity of HIV and TB. Because HIV infection severely strains the immune system, people dually infected with HIV and TB have 100 times greater risk of developing active, infectious tuberculosis than do people with inactive (“latent”) TB who are not infected with HIV… As many as one-third (34%) of TB-infected homeless persons nationwide are co-infected with HIV (Haddad et al. 2005). Clinicians are urged to have ‘a high index of suspicion for TB in a homeless patient who has tested positive for HIV’ (Barker et al. 2006).”

Since those most susceptible are children, of course the PRMA is going to put this – where else – a school gym. Carl Morello assures parents that they will disinfect the gym (the volunteers will, that is). He says that “All surfaces including refrigerators, door handles, counters, pots, pans, serving utensils, floors, sinks, toilets, stalls, PADS mattresses, pillows, tables and chairs are washed with a 10 percent bleach cleaning solution and wiped down with Cavi wipes which are used for sanitation at Lutheran General Hospital”. Have you ever been in a room that is constantly mopped down with 10% chlorine? Of course, Morello wants to reassure parents that they can send their children into this PRMA-created biohazard because nearly incurable infectious diseases are contained with high concentrations of toxic chemicals. Or at least the volunteers try to contain them.

If you Google “asthma and chlorine” you will get 478,000 hits. Clicking on just the first of these you can read “Although chloramines and Trihalomethanes (THMs) have long been known to be agitators of asthma and its symptoms, studies have now proven that these harmful chemicals may actually cause asthma in previously healthy individuals” (my bold). Actually, you could read it if you troubled yourself to do any checking at all.

Of course, anyone who is worried that their children will contract incurable diseases or develop lifetime afflictions such as asthma as a result of PRMA’s efforts can rely on Carrie Davis’ assurance that “…these issues exist in all communities and are not necessarily related to shelters or the homeless…”

Anonymous on 09.08.08 3:03 pm

I read today’s post to say that “facts” are like evidence. They meet certain standards of credibility, while “concerns” are more like opinions because you could have a real concern that is totally unreasonable and not fact-based (like a phobia). The triskedekaphobic may be honest and sincere about his fear, it’s real to him, but it doesn’t mean that the number 13 is dangerous to the general public.

Can I be against PADS at SPC based on the chlorine argument and yet still take my daughter to swimming lessons at an indoor pool this winter?

The lessons are 1 hr long (not 15 min) but she really likes swimming.

PD:

As I am sure you are aware from my previous posts, I am not a bright guy. Please help me digest this!

Now it goes on to the council and if they approve that means SPC is out, correct? I have not been over there with a tape measure but the SPC gym has to be considered within 500 ft of a school.

Where does SPC/PRMA go from here? Do they move it to another member church? Do they call in the lawyers? None of us can predict the future but how do you see this playing out.

By anon on 09.09.08 9:26 am

 

So much for your stupid comments about how the white shirted PADS supporters were going to intimidate the Planning & Zoning Commission! This decision takes the PADS shelter out of St. Paul where a majority of St. Paul parishioners and, I dare say, a majority of Park Ridge residents wanted it. I hope you and your anti-homeless allies are satisfied.

Don’t waste your breath Anonymous 12:48,

The people who post here won’t be happy until homelessness itself is declared a crime and the poor and unclean who don’t measure up to their perfect asthetic standards are locked up and out of sight.

Park Ridge should be embarrassed by how this has gone. I am ashamed to say I live here.

A1:55,

I looked this up especially for you:

http://www.movers.com/moving_companies/mo_christian_county.htm

Alpha:

Even though I often seem to be at the receiving end of some of your comments, you are a pistol!!

Thank you for making my day!

A2:29,

Bang! Bang!

You’re welcome!

anonymous on 09.09.08 1:55 pm:

i’m against a pads homeless shelter in park ridge (or probably anywhere else) because i dislike the pads system and have doubts about what it does and how it does it.  but i would support a homeless shelter for former park ridge residents if it were a seven-night-per-week facility all year round; and if it had a “permanent” location, not some temporary thrown-together cot-ridden church basement or school gymnasium.

i also disagree with your comment about “perfect asthetic [sic] standards” because i’ve seen more than a few ugly, flabby and not all that attractive park ridge residents. put the homeless i’ve seen around town in the residents’ clothes and you couldn’t tell the difference at a distance.

as i see it, park ridge should be proud of how this pads situation has gone. it has used lawful governmental processes to thwart the scheming hypocritical priests and ministers, along with their lemming-like followers, who try to use god as their trump card anytime they don’t have a winning hand of their own.

I agree with e.e. (and with Anita Rifkind, if what I heard about her comments at last night’s zoning meeting were accurate). If there’s anything to be ashamed about here, it’s the one night per week PADS homeless shelter. What a bunch of hooey – the absolute bare minimum you can do for the homeless, and people are bragging about it and fighting for it like it actually means something. They probably expect a parade whenever they throw a buck into a Salvation Army kettle at Christmas time.

OK, so let me get this strait. You both are OK with a 7 day a week shelter (in a stand alone building if you like)in or near your neighborhood, or in or near uptown, or a park, or in the path of kids so long as it is 500 ft from a school???

What a bunch of crap!

Aye, Aye EE! We had a neighbor who looked like Marlon Brando in drag, but not as attractive. Were it prossible, I would have loved to legislate her out of Park Ridge. To Anon at 12:48, I beg to differ with you. I think there is a silent majority from the SPC parish who are too afraid of public stoning to state aloud that they do NOT support PADS at SPC.
With proper zoning regulations in place, maybe we can start to develop a real plan with real solutions to the homeless situation in Park Ridge.

Nope. I do not support a shelter in any neighborhood. But I feel like the most critical part of the current plan is addressed and if that is the best I can do, than I’ll take that. Remember the definition of compromise? A solution where NO ONE is happy.

Hmmmm:

My previous post was not refering to you. Sorry for the confusion. I am curious about this real plan with real solutions you refer to.

The recommended Zoning Ordinance text amendment lacks a recommendation on how far a shelter should be from someone’s home. Distance is a concern because homeless guests are not allowed on shelter property until it opens and are forced to loiter nearby. The following homes in Park Ridge are very close to churches without schools, and may soon be the staging areas for temporary homeless shelters:

210 N Ashland (19’) – (approximate distance between home and church)
204 N. Ashland (19’)
301 S Fairview (19’)
305 S Fairview (19’)
309 S. Fairview (19’)
313 S Fairview (19’)
932 N Knight (25’)
933 N. Western Ave. (30’)
400 Grant (45’)
214 N. Ashland (53’)
400 Grant Pl (55’)
418 Grant (60’)
223 S Fairview (65’)
301 S Prospect (65’)
307 S Prospect (65’)
315 S Prospect (65’)
1445 W. Oakton (70’)
1317 S Prospect (75’)
409 Cedar (75’)
332 Grant Pl (80’)
1316 Courtland (84’)
332 Grant (89’)
940 N Western (95’)
320 Grant Pl (100’)
1324 S Prospect (100’)
210 N. Prospect (100’)
212 N. Prospect (100’)

This is great – I found it on http://www.glen-ellyn.com – Posted September 06, 2008 01:07 PM

One of my favorite moments in the Gospels is when Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees, who question his knowledge and authority. In Matthew 22: 34-30, The Lord rebuts them, quoting the most important law in all scripture, when he says we “must love our neighbors as ourselves.” That passage came to mind when I was reading pastor Daniels’ sermon. Loving your neighbor as yourself goes both ways.

The pastor is dismissive of our community’s business owners, saying, and I’m quoting here, they have failed because they sell “obscure and bizarre things.” She says those that oppose her are “ungodly and blasphemous”. Where is the love of neighbor in these statements? Now, I share the pastor’s concern for the homeless. They are God’s children too. Ideally, we must help them overcome their pathologies, whether drugs, alcohol, or, complete lack of self-responsibility. We must lend a helping hand. But we also have a Christian duty to correct them –and bring them back to the right path so they can contribute to the common good. He who does not work, shall not eat, as the apostle Paul states in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. That’s standard Christian doctrine, and was even cited by Captain James Smith when he founded the Jamestown colony in 1607. That’s the standard American belief, as a result.

Self-responsibility and accountability are a part of what it means to be Christian. Rather than use the pulpit to make a pharisaical attack on our local business leaders and our good citizens, why doesn’t the pastor concentrate on helping the homeless overcome their lifestyles or better yet, those that enable it? I submit that this community has been patient, hospitable, kind and just, not intolerant and brutal. Nowhere in the pastor’s sermon does she choose to acknowledge the accurate criticism of PADS — that it does not work, that it is broken. Nor does she demand it be fixed. Rather, she damns those opposed, those that demand that the actual virus be treated as opposed to its symptoms. Where in this sermon does she mention Christian accountability? She, like you, for supporting this lack common sense and allow it to get in the way of your better judgement.

To quote the pastor, she states: “Many of the homeless are suffering with very serious mental illness that is going untreated, in many cases.”

Yet in another passage, she states:

“As if to imply that these adults are to be treated like prisoners who must be supervised, or like children”.

It seems she is suggesting that people who suffer from untreated, serious mental illness need not be supervised and continue to roam our neighborhoods. That is un-Christian. How will they ever come back to their senses, regain their faculties, if we do not correct them, and try to lead them back to the right path.

The pastor’s time would be better spent promoting reunion with the families of the homeless and reform of lifestyle so they are not merely lost souls out on the street rather than attacking their gracious hosts. The pastor would be better off focusing her energy upon enablers such as PADS who through lack of accountability and responsibility allow a great deal of these poor souls to continue in a path of self destruction.

Anonymous on 09.10.08 11:12 am – “The pastor’s time would be better spent promoting reunion with the families of the homeless and reform of lifestyle so they are not merely lost souls out on the street rather than attacking their gracious hosts. The pastor would be better off focusing her energy upon enablers such as PADS who through lack of accountability and responsibility allow a great deal of these poor souls to continue in a path of self destruction.” Great idea, but that would actually involve real commitment by Morello, the PRMA and their PADSaholics. And real commitment isn’t what their into.

I agree with the end point of the message. I do not like the PADS model and do not want it in a school, as well as other places in town.

Having said that, I do get a little uncomfortable with using words like lifestyle and enabling and self distruction.

I guess I am just not sure how these words apply to an active alcoholic or a person with bipolar disorder.

But that’s just me I guess – too much of a softy!

A1:53,

Too much of a softy? Or too much of a softy heady?

Sorry, I simply could not resist!

Alpha:

Depending on the topic and time of day I am sure I am guilty of both.

Even though most of us here reach the same ultimate conclusion, some of get there a little differently.

“How will they ever come back to their senses, regain their faculties, if we do not correct them, and try to lead them back to the right path”.

When I think of a schizophrenic on the street the above quote just doesn’t make sense to me. They need to be corrected? Like they made a mistake and that is why they have this mental disorder.

Oh well. When I think about it too much it makes my “softy heady” hurt!

I think the “correction” if you will, with regard to the schizophrenic, would be in the encouragement of continuation of prescribed medication meant to control their symptoms.



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