Ben Joravsky wrote an extensive article describing the zoning disputes in the 35th Ward [April 21]. The article uses 2559 N. Bernard as an example of the conflicts between neighbors, who sum it up as 96 people are unhappy and 2 are happy. As the co-owner of that property, I guess I am one of the two that are happy.
Readers of the column should know that Mr. Joravsky never called us to get our side of the story, the most basic rule of journalism. More information would not only clear up factual errors and slanted interpretations of events, but also complicate the simplistic "Good Guys vs. Bad Guys" angle. Research on zoning law, and that process, would only muddy the water.
How do you rule in zoning issues if the objections are unreasonable, or racist? One resident voiced his disapproval by stating, "We don't want 20 people living in your basement." My partner's name is Garcia.
The outside of our building is not being changed, just repaired. The street has ample parking. Finally, we offered to roll back the zoning upon completion of the project. Having purchased the property, and having spent a considerable sum on total renovation, what rights do we have? If the Bernard Street Club wants the right to determine the fate of our home, they should buy it.
Mr. Joravsky makes no distinction between democratic process and mob rule. I strongly urge him to work a little harder and research both sides of the issue if he considers himself a reporter. A little respect for the rights of the individual would also serve him well.
Alderman Colom was courageous in being sensitive to the rights of private ownership. It would have been better for her politically if she had just given in to the demands of these impertinent people.
One phone call would have resulted in a much better story.
Very truly yours,