Nixey Callahan | Chicago Reader

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Re: “The friends of Patrick Daley Thompson

Patrick DALEY Thompson was endorsed by Chicago Tribune. Richard J's grandson managed to misspell SIX words on his Tribune questionnaire, including "enviornmental", "retension", "sensative", and other winners. $$$$ contributions can't buy this oaf intelligence.…

Evaluate the current performance of the MWRD.

MWRD has done a good job in fulfilling its mission. That being said, there is more that can be done. Storm water management is the most pressing issue for MWRD. The following steps should be taken to mitigate the flooding our communities are facing: (i) the Watershed Ordinance must be approved; (ii) accelerate the construction schedule of the Thornton and McCook Reservoirs; and (iii) utilize green technologies such as green roofs, rain barrels and permeable pavers. I also commend the MWRD Board for voting to disinfect. However, we cannot stop there. We must look to recycle the disinfected water and perhaps utilize it for commercial purposes. We must also work to clean up the existing watercourses, like Bubbly Creek. Finally, I think MWRD has done a good job managing the taxpayer’s money, but we will be challenged in the future with additional costs of operating as well as capital projects. We must look at new sources of revenue. The MWRD owns over 9,000 acres of land and we must look at engaging that land for recreational purposes or commercial use.

Explain why you are qualified to be a commissioner and three specific initiatives you seek to accomplish during your term in office.

As a lawyer, I am trained to think critically and solve complex problems. I believe having a lawyer on the Board of Commissioners will be beneficial during discussions on contracts, real estate, employment issues and other matters which involve legal evaluation. As a real estate attorney, I have been invloved [sic: involved] in matters relating to storm water management, such as detention and retension [sic: retention] issues. I am familiar with the concerns of local governments and property owners as it relates to storm water issues. Prior to becoming an attorney, I worked for 8 years in commercial real estate. The MWRD owns over 9,000 acres of land throughout Cook County and I believe the land is a valuable asset that should be evaluated and perhaps utilized to generate opportunities for recreation or for commercial uses. I have also been very active in my community and a leader in many civic organizations. I am currently chairman of the Illinois Council Agaisnt Handgun Violence, board member of the Louis L. Valentine Boys & Girls Club, Aquinas Literacy Center. I believe the leadership I have demonstrated in these organizations will carry over to the Board of Commissioners of the District. I will be a very active member of the Board and am motivated to address the issues I have outlined above. In 2007 I was appointed to the Bubbly Creek Committee by the Mayor of Chicago to address environmental problems, guide redevelopment and increase public access along the Bubbly Creek Corridor. As a community leader, I, along with other residents, business owners and the city of Chicago worked together to develop a vision for the Bubbly Creek Corridor. This experience made me more interested in improving the quality of our watercourses throughout Cook County it is also part of the reason I am running for Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

Describe in detail your conservation credentials.

I am a very proud to be a Board member of the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association (HCBA). The HCBA's main goal is to preserve Chicago's bungalows while updating to meet current building standards. We promote green technology as viable alternatives to renonvating [sic: renovating] your home. In addition to my work with HCBA, I am an attorney handling real estate related matters. From working on detention and retension [sic: retention] issues to landmark projects, I have been involved with and am sensative [sic: sensitive] to enviornmental [sic: environmental] issues.

Do you support or oppose adoption of the water quality standards proposed by the Illinois EPA?

Yes. I support the water quality standards proposed by the IL EPA.

Do you support or oppose the watershed management ordinance as drafted by the MWRD? If you support the ordinance: Would it go far enough to encourage the use of permeable paving and other tactics to conserve water, diminish flooding and enhance habitat? If you oppose the ordinance: How would you change it and why?

I believe it is extremely important to mitigate storm water flooding events we have experienced in recent years. The record rainfall and changes in our climate will continue to create serious challenges for managing our storm waters. Therefore, I believe we must pass a watershed ordinance. I understand the concerns of local municipalities and their concerns with the affects the ordinance may have on development. I believe there must be direction and leadership from the Board. If communities have concerns, we must address those concerns and make decisions as to how to proceed. I believe I bring specific skills to negotiate these complex legal documents [and help get contracts for my lobbyist clients & contributors]. I also have the experience as a real estate attorney who has negotiated with government and know how to get things done. An ordinance must be approved and I will make it a priority. A. Implementing the use of green technology such as permeable pavers is a good first step, but much more must be done. The District needs to continue to work on thinking of different methods to mitigate the effects of storm water runoff and floods while trying to recapture the rain water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying the possible re-separation of the Chicago/Des Plaines/Calumet river watershed from Lake Michigan. Do you favor or oppose re-separation?

The debate over whether to separate these water sheds from Lake Michigan is a very complex discussion. I understand one of the motivations for separating them which is to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species and I support the prevention of those species. However, the motivation for reversing the flow of the Chicago River was to divert sewage away from Lake Michigan. I do believe we have a responsibility for continuing to try and clean the water in the watercourse, starting with disinfection. I also believe that we must review the Army Corps of Engineers' Study before we make any decisions pertaining to separating the two basins.

The Deep Tunnel project is well behind schedule and thus far has cost more than $3 billion. What more, if anything, should the MWRD be doing to address the continued problem of sewage overflows into the Chicago River and, during the biggest storms, into Lake Michigan? If you propose additional actions, how would you pay for them?

One of the first actions I would take as Commissioner would be to accelerate the completion of the TARP. The McCook Reservoir is not expected to be completed until 2027. We must look at alternative solutions both temporary and perhaps permanently to complete TARP. With the recent record flooding we have experienced over the last 2 years, the completion of the TARP would help to mitigate the flooding damage. I think we should work with the Forest Preserve to collaborate on utilizing land for detention purposes as a possible solution.

Does the MWRD have surplus landholdings? If so, should those be sold for development, transferred in some way to abutting municipalities, or conveyed to the Forest Preserve District for conservation? Explain.

As I previously stated, I believe the MWRD owns over 9,000 acres of land. We must look at engaging that land either for recreational purposes or for commercial use. The land along the canals is very important to the MWRD, so any type of conveyance should be conditioned on MWRD having access to the water. I think MWRD can work in conjunction with local municipalities as well as the Forest Preserve. Creating wetlands would be one idea because it can create nature preserves while also absorbing storm water as detention during heavy rains.

Should the MWRD have an independent inspector general with unfettered power to monitor legal compliance and investigate possible wrongdoing?

I think an inspector general would be a benefit to MWRD. Most units of government have an inspector general to assist with rooting out waste and assuring compliance. Without knowing all of the details of the MWRD operations, I cannot say what level of discretion the inspector general should have.

List all of your relatives, including relatives by marriage, who are on public payrolls in Illinois, and the jobs they hold.

My uncle John Daley is a Cook County Commissioner. Other than him, I have none.

Should an elected official who is indicted on public corruption charges resign from office immediately, or instead await adjudication of his or her case?

The law in the United States is that a person is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty. As a lawyer, I would uphold that law. [However, as a lawyer and a Daley, I embrace our doctrine of Delay, Defer, Deny, Dispute, and the opportunity to negotiate a plea deal.]

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.

One of my hobbies is that I am an avid hockey player. I play on a team of lawyers including Congressman Mike Quigley and Bishop Tom Paprocki.

Posted by Nixey Callahan on 03/30/2012 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Bread & Circuses

Innovative business models regrettably must navigate plodding reality of multiple City Departments (Zoning, Buildings, Business License, Planning, Health....) which follow different rules of City Code & Ordinances as noted by previous posts. Regrettably, there IS a reason developers and property owners hire politically connected Zoning Law firms to guide proposals through City system. Local Alderman sponsorship is also important

Logan Square Kitchen needs leadership from their Alderman Rey Colon to fix this Catch-22 bureaucratic mess.

Also relevant for Zoning Appeal:
1. LSK Milwaukee Ave address is in Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF District. Milwaukee TIF has specifically encouraged Transit Oriented Development as favored attribute for projects along business zone corridors with excellent multimodal public transit. Requiring 8 new off street parking spaces for adaptive reuse of a 100 yr old lot line to lot line building isn't TOD. It's arcane City stupidity & failure of different Departments to work together.

2. How is it possible for City to hassle Logan Square Kitchen over "required off street parking for a Banquet Hall operation" when it just approved a Zoning Change for another adaptive reuse, in Alderman Danny Solis 25th Ward. Solis is Chairman of the City Zoning Committee. Zoning Application # 17062 was approved by City for big property at 463-485 W Cermak Road & 2200-2230 S Grove Street, supported by Solis, for redevelopment of existing building into (a) 80,000 sq ft of commercial retail, (b) 48,000 sq ft of Restaurant and Banquet Facility, and (c) 200 Hotel rooms WITH NO ADDITIONAL PARKING REQUIRED. 25th Ward Project summary, including NO REQUIRED PARKING, is directly from City Zoning Committee Meeting Agenda text. It also disclosed that connected ZONING ATTORNEY Rolando Acosta represented applicant "Coru 465 LLC" (Christina Chuning) for needed Zoning Change from Planned Maufacturing District to Planned Business Development.

So, how is it 25th Ward patronage supported mega project adaptive reuse which includes 200 new Hotel Rooms, plus a Banquet Facility within 48,000 sq ft Restaurant complex was approved with NO REQUIRED PARKING, but Logan Square Kitchen TOD adaptive reuse for modest innovative space less than 4,000 sq ft is held prisoner by Zoning and Business License Departments.

Rolando Acosta and his Zoning Law Firm have contrbuted more than $5,000 to both Alderman Solis and Alderman Colon. Logan Square Kitchen might bring Acosta onto zoning application team as expert advice and insurance for Chicago's patronage and Pay to Play infested process.

Posted by Nixey Callahan on 10/10/2010 at 7:07 PM

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