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No More Free Fish


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Dear Mr. Kleine:

Any composition that has used Helen Shiller's name in context with the word "chick" I feel compelled to respond to [April 2]. There were many inaccuracies in your article. I would like to point out several, if you'll allow me.

First of all, please verify the battered-women's shelter somebody was going to bulldoze. I have lived in Ms. Shiller's area for nearly five years. I volunteer in a shelter, the likes of which you have described, but never to my knowledge has a bulldozer ever been near it and, I might say, neither has Helen Shiller. For general information, I also serve as a community representative in the Local School Council at Stewart School and a volunteer at the Uptown Neighborhood Health Center. I do not own a home in the 46th Ward; I pay the escalating rent, which, I might also point out, has escalated in all areas of the city. To this end, Ms. Shiller has been seen only once in any of these facilities, and that was when she came to plead for members to come to City Hall and pander to the TV cameras to make a case for replacements for clinic personnel who were being retired. She was turned down flat even though she gave detailed instructions on how to behave in front of TV cameras. According to official sources (the recording secretary), Ms. Shiller had never attended a board meeting although she is a nonvoting member. We've never seen her at an LSC meeting even though 53 percent of the students tested below normal on their IGAPs and 56 percent do not remain in the school for a full year, creating the highest student mobility rate in the city. A survey taken recently indicated that in the Stewart School district there are 68 students whose parents have selected to send them outside the district for elementary school. These are not parents of means but low-income families who think the area is so horrible they would never permit their children to attend "that" school.

Second: Sidewalks. Streets. Building CHA housing. At no time did Ms. Shiller ever mention these infrastructure improvements were funded by tax dollars. She must have some memory of a tax base. You know, money cannot be spent on your "programs" until someone pays. She refuses to give credit to those wicked "developers" and taxpaying property owners who fund all her 46th Ward improvements. Imagine, taking credit for projects that were funded by the very budget she has voted against. So, Ms. Shiller, did you vote for funding for these projects or vote against the budget that paid for these projects? Last I checked, you cannot have it both ways. Also, that $10,000 aldermanic pay raise has been spent on about 12 different pledges to date. Is she donating $10,000 or $120,000? If not, quit telling people you're going to donate it. While we're on spending, who's financing the $600,000 you're spending on this campaign? Would it not be better to donate the $150,000 to the school and spend the $10,000 on your campaign? Bookkeeping does have you confused.

AON has donated many thousands of dollars to schools and community programs, but how does she get by with making everyone think she is the only person who has persuaded AON to donate? Many entities in this ward have donated numerous resources that benefit our children and citizens without even knowing Helen Shiller. Every block club and neighborhood organization has donated many thousands of dollars and much time and energy into trying to make Uptown a better place for the children. She has earned the Queen of Poverty title because she refuses to admit she is not the powerful entity she claims to be. All she takes credit for has been performed by a lot of other kind and caring neighbors.

I could go on and on critiquing all this false bravado that has become known as Shiller's many random acts of kindness, but I am reminded of an old biblical saying that goes something like this: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Seems to me like Ms. Shiller (and I do not call her "Alderman" because she has never behaved in a manner to earn that title) has gone about the 46th Ward giving people fish. She never expounds on how she has taught people to fish. She may want to be aware that it is 1999. Giveaway is gone. With all her "resources" at Truman College, seems she could get tuition vouchers for everyone in low-income and subsidized housing. Seems she could stabilize the community so that children could learn to read and live in neighborhoods that are not threatened with crime, gangs, drugs, and all sorts of violence. Seems she could limit the time tenants could live in low-income housing so they could get a better job or a better education and afford the increasing cost of living and make room for others to take advantage of low-cost facilities.

Helen Shiller is a fraud. She is a fraud to the citizens who pay taxes. She is a fraud to those she claims to help. They are giving away their vote and she is giving them no future. Please help your readers understand the truth.

Billie Gibson

N. Kenmore

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