I was at the meeting at Sulzer Library called by Mary Edsey to protest the conversion of the Davis Theater into condominiums, and Alderman Schulter didn’t help his bid to unseat Committeeman Ed Kelly any. At the meeting, Alderman Schulter’s assistant responded to one citizen’s question by offering to “kill her”–political jargon for silencing opposing views. When Mary visited Alderman Schulter’s office earlier to voice her concerns, one of Schulter’s assistants yelled at her and called her a “troublemaker.” Schulter claimed to be part of the Historical Landmarks Commission that preserved any buildings in Chicago, but then claimed to be powerless to influence them to designate the Davis an Historical Landmark. If the Hild Library could be saved, so can the Davis.

When asked how citizens could stop the conversion, Schulter could only mutter the empty phrase, “Energize the Chamber of Commerce.” I recommend instead that residents (1) boycott any business that might go in on the first floor of the Davis Theater; (2) work for Ed Kelly’s campaign; (3) work for whoever runs against Schulter; and (4) write or call Alderman Schulter to let him know that’s exactly what you plan to do unless he prevents the conversion.

The Davis represents a crucial battle in slowing the overdevelopment of Chicago’s thriving neighborhoods. The Starbucks at Lincoln and Wilson was shoved down the throats of nearby residents. Farther south on Lincoln (4100 North), business owners are being forced out to make way for a block-long condo development.

Meanwhile, a Lincoln Square resident of 30 years expressed her sentiments of what is happening in her neighborhood at the meeting: she cried when describing how much the Davis meant to her as a neighborhood theater. Her tears drew an ovation.

47th Ward resident