Heartland Haters, Heartland Lovers

Re: “The Heartland in Crisis: The Rogers Park hippie empire fights its way out from under $118,000 in overdraft fees” by Deanna Isaacs, October 7

“How much will it take to keep the endangered Heartland empire going? According to the letter, $50,000 by mid-October and over $50,000 more ‘very quickly in order to get through the winter.’ Long-range goal: $1 million.” Anyone else feel like they can float a really lucrative new business with a cool $1.1 million cash infusion? Seriously . . .

Tell me again why they shouldn’t go out of business? —tungstencoil

May I say something in HONOR of the Heartland. First I worked at the Heartland for a long time, though I have been gone for over six years. How many places can a homeless, or any person who is HUNGRY, truly hungry, walk in and ask, and be GIVEN food for free? Gladly given, if only a bowl of red beans & rice w/ cornbread and a cup of tea. ONLY ONE that I know of: the Heartland Cafe. When I was sick with cancer, it was Katy & Michael who brought me food, made sure I had healthy green drinks to help fight off that disease. God bless them. Yes they have made mistakes, who hasn’t. If I was working now I would give them $200. No questions asked. This wonderful place needs to be saved, if only so we remember that “There by the grace of God go I” —Leona

Button Me Up, Button Me Down

Re: “I Think I Finally Figured Out What’s Been Bugging Me About the NYT Piece on TribCo” by Whet Moser, October 8 at chicagoreader.com

I agree—Carr should have stuck to the frat boy culture aspect of the story and included more of the same kind of antics that prompted complaints at Clear Channel. And maybe noted that the Trib used to be a buttoned-up boys club; now it’s just a buttoned-down one. Zell & Michaels deserve a licking—no pun intended—but holding up the previous regime as some sort of ethical, enlightened standard-bearer is nonsense. —Steve Rhodes

Logan Square Needs Less Parking

Re: “Bread & Circuses: Will the city’s licensing laws catch up with new food business models in time to save Zina Murray’s Logan Square Kitchen?” by Martha Bayne, October 7

Zina should be applauded for what she’s created in Logan Square. It’s appalling that the single barrier to her continuing this good work is an anachronistic parking requirement. The city needs to put its money where its mouth is: bring economic development together with innovative transit strategies that promote walking, biking, and public transit as alternatives to personal automobiles. It’d be a crying shame to lose any of the building stock on Milwaukee for the asphalt crater that is the American parking lot.

If you build it, it will come. In other words, put in a parking lot, and you’ve suddenly made it a whole lot easier for people to hop in their cars and drive, rather than using alternative transportation. This is the antithesis of what’s needed in our urban neighborhoods.

Why not hold LSK up as a paragon of new business models? A business this green would run counter to its own mission by promoting or easing automobile usage. It’s at absolute cross purposes with the goal, and with the stated vision of the City of Chicago. Not only should Zina be given a zoning variance; this entire fight should set up new “rules of the road” for zoning. —logansquare

There are four CTA mass transit options within a four-block radius of Logan Square KitchenThe California Blue Line station is 1.5 blocks from LSK. The #56 Milwaukee bus stops 1/2 block from LSK. The California and Fullerton Buses stop just a few blocks away from LSK.

Chicago should have laws that discourage automobile transportation in Chicago, not require it! There should be bike parking on the street in front of Revolution Brewing and LSK—and many other businesses in Chicago. One automobile parking space allows ten bikes to park, therefore allowing nine more patrons to more easily spend money at Chicago businesses than would have been possible without on-street bike parking.

From a tax revenue point of view: higher density = more money, and cars limit density. New York City gets this. Where are Chicago’s leaders? —KevinMonaghan

Hopefully, it’s not too late to somehow rescue Zina from this nightmare—perhaps with a quick upzoning to C1-5 so the stoopid parking requirement magically disppears?

Alderman Colon, a member of the zoning committee, could introduce the C1-5 upzone at the October 14th zoning committee meeting and it could then be passed at the November 3 City Council meeting.

Come on Ald. Colon—let’s roll up our sleeves and save LSK! —As Mad as Heller

Well That Explains It

Re: “Bread & Circuses: Will the city’s licensing laws catch up with new food business models in time to save Zina Murray’s Logan Square Kitchen?” by Martha Bayne, October 7

There certainly are problems in the city licensing process, but the real problem identified by this article was the lack of a proper zoning analysis from the beginning. City officials can only act upon the information they are given. None of the people that the architect met with, as cited in the article, were from the zoning department—they were all Dept. of Buildings personnel. They work from an entirely different title in the municipal code and use different terminology when describing use or occupancy. —Codeguy