Small business owners feel at mercy of aldermen

Tim Van Le and Imre Hidvegi remember their fight with city hall several years ago.

“We really felt like we had no word,” Tim Van Le of Lincoln Square’s Decorium Furniture told WBEZ about a push by Ald. Eugene Schulter to seize his block through eminent domain.

‘”Three and a half years later, he still heaves a sigh when he describes how it felt knowing he might have to relinquish his store,” the report says.

George Fink is president of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. He says he senses fear on the part of small business owners.

“That’s the general feeling in the public that oh well, we can’t do anything unless we go through the alderman to do it,” Fink said. “Is that a good feeling for free people? No, I don’t think so.”

WBEZ says Elizabeth Milnikel agrees. She’s researched the regulatory environment in Chicago as part of her work as director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. It’s a law clinic with a libertarian bent that works with lower-income entrepreneurs. She says Chicago’s political system vests too much control in each individual alderman.

Read more at WBEZ.


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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

One thought on “Small business owners feel at mercy of aldermen

  1. I have not forgotten Nick Toma, who wanted to fix up an abandoned building but was blocked. He was eventually bought out at 1.3 million and now there is an unused lot.

    Let’s not forget. The only thing that stopped it before was community involvement. What is the new vision for Lincoln Square beyond “condos” with storefronts that can’t be rented? What is the business community, in cooperation with the community’s view of desired development? How is to be paid for and how do we keep the business that give our community character? Will it change? What does the community think?

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