Concern for the Great Fred Anderson

Re: “Fred Anderson Gravely Ill,” posted by Peter Margasak, June 14

The first time I went to Velvet I felt like I had found the heart of Chicago. When I met Fred, I heard that beating heart. The jazz in Chicago changed my whole life, and I know I owe so much of that to Fred. I had the honor of interviewing him almost a decade ago, and his character resonated so deeply with me, he just really is a man of class, grace and wit. I cannot wait to see him play again. Love love love to Fred Anderson.


Some of the best, most fearless, primal music I have ever witnessed was at the Velvet Lounge.

Fred is one of the most pure musicians Chicago has ever known. He always has been a powerhouse and has shown great ferocity in his playing. A gentle man with no ego. He is a muse to so many great musicians. Hopefully he will regain his health soon.

Bob Windy

A Mass Murderer Speaks

Re: “The Human Souls of Engineers,” posted by Cliff Doerksen, June 17

So, according to you, I killed 4 people because of my disdains for ambiguity and compromise? I read a lot of stupid things written about me, but this one takes the cake.

You certainly have no idea why the shooting took place at Concordia. I was not denied tenure. Educate yourself and read my account at

Valery Fabrikant

Why We Suffer

Re: Home MD review (at

Wouldn’t a more pressing question be to ask why the Reader assigned someone to review this show, out of the dozens and dozens and dozens of shows going on in town right now?


Tony Adler replies:

We cover those other shows, too. The Reader tries to be as comprehensive as possible. Besides, we didn’t know it was going to be bad before we saw it. But now you do.

TIFs Are Problematic

Re: “The Armies Are Gathering,” by Ben Joravsky, June 17

There’s another huge component to TIF which is problematic, and that’s how much money is spent by the city to process applications. This is an administratively top-heavy program the likes of which the world has probably never seen.

Furthermore, since just producing a TIF project “study” is an expense a developer often has to make, just navigating all the red tape and hurdles weed out almost everyone but the well-heeled and well-connected.


Not only are parents aware of how TIF monies work and are spent, so are CPS students. During the three extended Division periods the the Board of Ed insisted students participate in several weeks ago to help “solve the educational budget crisis,” my students and I spent those three days reading your columns and discussing TIF monies. They’re pretty mad too. You see, our school is Jones College Prep HS at the corner of State and Harrison. We have some of the brightest kids in the city here.

I’ve seen ten graduations and I’m still waiting to have a room that is large enough to hold 50-plus choir students safely. It is narrow, small, poorly lit with falling ceiling tiles and dusty. I find occassional roaches, and birds in our room as well. Our engineer does what he can to keep us comfortable but I think CPS can do better. Last year our little vocal program here produced a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. A kid from the south side from a single parent family. You’d think that someone in city government would try and give students like this a better place in which to learn and work.

Gaye Klopack

Ben, to thousands upon thousands of CPS employees, is becoming a local folk hero. Many highly rated teachers have lost our jobs, insurance, careers in one drastic and ill-conceived measure, leaving us stunned and quite shaken. Ben’s the only reporter communicating the story in what feels like a media blackout.

Thank you sir, and keep up the good work.

Kevin B. Higgins, MS/SPED

We Regret the Error

Re: Gossip Wolf, by Jessica Hopper and J.R. Nelson, June 17

Albiz and his wife were at the BBQ from Saturday to Sunday. They pitched in like everybody else.


Tommy Dski

I edit this column, which was incorrect in stating that Steve Albini missed the festival. It’s clear that he attended most of it after his World Series of Poker appearance. I regret the mistake.

Whet Moser

What’s Next: Water?

Re: “Privatize Public Transit?” by Robert Loerzel, June 10

It is clear that the privatization of our public assets is bad idea—something we knew even before the parking meter disaster. But even more concerning than public transit is the tight-lipped but emerging discussion of another privatization target—Chicago’s water.

New water commissioner Tom Powers is clearly attempting to pull a fast one on Chicago. During a press conference last week, he denied any plans to privatize but then said we should look at the idea of bottling Chicago’s water. Bottled water is just another form of privatization and Powers’s suggestion that we might bottle our water is a suggestion that he would treat our most essential public resource as a cash cow for the city.

We should be proud that our city maintains and offers such great quality water at just prices, and I hope that Commissioner Powers has the foresight to uphold that tradition by rejecting short-term financial band-aids such as bottling our water and halting this mad dash toward privatization.

Alexandra Frantz